|Jaromir Jagr’s favorite player growing up was Jaromir Jagr||06.15.13 at 8:17 pm ET|
CHICAGO — The video says it all.
|Media day extras: Jaromir Jagr is dyeing his playoff beard||06.11.13 at 9:38 pm ET|
CHICAGO — Media day is a big mess.
A typical day of work for a reporter (take a game day, for example) is reporting followed by writing, followed by more reporting and then more writing. On media day, it’s just a marathon of reporting followed by a marathon of writing, so it’s easy to let stuff slip through the cracks. Here’s a bunch of that stuff:
– Jaromir Jagr is dyeing his playoff beard. When asked to confirm that, he responded, “Got to look tough.”
– Speaking of Jagr, Jonathan Toews said he modeled his game after Jagr’s when he was younger.
“You’ve got to tell him to slow down a little bit,” Jagr said when hearing of the praise. “He’s too quick for me.”
Jagr has a very good sense of humor about his age and speed. He knows that he’s old and slow, but he’s effective. He opened the press conference by asking reporters if they were surprised he was still alive.
– A reporter asked Tyler Seguin if he’s hit puberty after busting his chops for over his playoff beard. It was super, super, super, super weird.
– Peter Chiarelli was asked about the job the general managers before him did for the Bruins, and he had high praise for Mike O’Connell and Jeff Gorton, the latter of whom made the Andrew Raycroft-for-Tuukka Rask trade.
“Mike O’Connell I think did a terrific job with Jeff, that we’ve got at least half of our roster, I don’t know if it’s half, but including [Brad] Marchand, [Milan] Lucic, [David] Krejci, [Tim] Thomas at the time. I thought they did a real good job.
“I’ve told Mike that. Mike was gone, I was the GM, but Jeff was the interim GM. He executed those trades.”
– Cam Neely gave a comically strange answer when asked about how he felt when the Bruins were down by three goals in the third period of Game 7 against the Maple Leafs.
“I went from today’s texting world to the feeling of ‘OMG,’ ” he said. “Then when we won in overtime, the same feeling. You’re peeking at the clock. It feels like it’s going down faster than you’d like. But, again, go back to my point earlier about the character of the guys, they didn’t quit, they didn’t give up.”
|Bruins insist the Blackhawks aren’t the Penguins||at 7:08 pm ET|
CHICAGO — The Bruins didn’t see the Blackhawks in the regular season this year because of the lockout, but did facing the Penguins prepare the B’s for Chicago?
“It’s hard to really compare them to someone when you haven’t faced them, but if you look at them on paper, their lineup, a lot of people like to compare them to Pittsburgh,” Zdeno Chara said.
That’s right. A lot of people do compare them to Pittsburgh, and it’s probably why many assumed that the Penguins and Blackhawks would meet in the Cup finals. There is a difference between the teams though, most notably that Chicago is a much stronger team defensively. Their defensemen are good in their own end and move the puck exceptionally well, plus they have stronger goaltending.
Yet the team’s high offensive output has led to comparisons to Pittsburgh. Brad Marchand even made the comparison, but like Chara noted that the similarities are in the rosters, not the styles of play.
“The closest team to what they would do would be Pittsburgh just because of the talent and skill they have, but they don’t really play a similar game,” he said. “Pittsburgh was more keen on chipping pucks in and going after it. I don’t know if Chicago’s like that, but there’s not really any other team that plays like they do. They play a different game and I think that’s why their so tough to stop.”
Marchand was then asked if the Bruins would take the same approach to the Blackhawks as they did against the Penguins.
“That’s a sneaky question right there,” Marchand said with a grin. “It’s a completely different team. I just said that they’re not the same team. They’re similar in skill and talent, so very sneaky question by you. Trying to get me in trouble over here, but they play a different game and it won’t at all be like the Pittsburgh series.”
There is one Bruin who faced the Blackhawks this year: Jaromir Jagr, who played them twice as a member of the Stars and had no points, four shots on goal and a minus-1 rating in two meetings against Chicago.
“I know everything about them,” Jagr said with a laugh, as questions about the teams’ unfamiliarity with one another were aplenty given that teams only played conference opponents this season.
The Blackhawks won both games Jagr played against them, one of which was an 8-1 blowout, so it’s no surprise that Jagr respects their talent.
“When we played them in Dallas, I thought they were in the best team in that conference for sure,” Jagr said. “They played different hockey than any other team in that conference. They’re quick, so talented up front, but they’re quick on defense. I think that’s a huge difference compared to other teams. They’re so fast and everybody can move the puck on their defense, so we have to be careful of that.”
CHICAGO — Jaromir Jagr could very well be playing for his last shot at the Stanley Cup, yet he says he wasn’t sure he’d be a Bruin when the Stars and B’s struck a deal at the trade deadline.
Jagr — who had no language in his contract that would allow him to block a deal — said the Stars gave him the choice of whether they’d trade him. He then spoke to Peter Chiarelli and asked the Bruins’ general manager three times whether he was sure he wanted him.
“They told me I’m going to get traded, and it’s up to me if I want to go or not,” Jagr said. “When I talked to the boss, I asked him like three times, ‘Are you sure you want me?’ They said, ‘Yeah.’ So here I am.”
But why would Jagr ask such a thing? If the team was trading for a player, they obviously wanted him. Asked where the concern came from on Jagr’s end — whether it was the fact that he isn’t the player he once was, or the fact that this was communing days after the B’s had missed out on Jarome Iginla — Jagr said he didn’t know.
“I just wanted to make sure,” he said. “I don’t want to go somewhere where they don’t want you. I don’t want to be somewhere where I’m kind of useless. I’d rather to not play at all. I wanted to make sure three times before I said, ‘Yes, I’m coming.’”
Jagr has no goals this postseason, but he has been playing on the team’s second line and has used his big body and puck protection to the Bruins’ advantage.
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Tuukka while, but patient Rask ready to step into spotlight||06.10.13 at 9:38 pm ET|
Jaromir Jagr didn’t know where he was shooting the puck. He just wanted to put it on net.
“Good goalies, they always hate to be scored on, even if practice,” said Jagr. “They remember every shot, they remember every goal somebody score. And they tell you after the practice, ‘You lucky.’ They all remember your shot.”
Tuukka Rask stands four wins away from making a permanent mark on the Bruins franchise. By winning a Stanley Cup, the soon-to-be restricted free agent can secure a golden contract, erase any doubts over his play, and forever remove the shadow of Tim Thomas. But the soft-spoken, most “normal” goalie Bruins coach Claude Julien has ever had the pleasure of coaching is no different than any other goalie when it comes down to one simple fact: He hates when you score on him.
“Tuukka hate it,” Jagr confirmed. “Sometimes you just shoot it in the air because you don’t want him to be mad. I scored on Tuuka, I score one goal, and he come to me and say, ‘[Expletive], you never shoot there! You always shoot over there!’ He know where you shoot in practice. How am I supposed to know? I don’t even know where I am shooting.”
Rask’s play is persuading people to forget about the quirky yet extremely talented Thomas. While Thomas refuses to speak to anyone associated with the Fourth Estate, Rask has played outstanding in goal. Through the first three rounds, the 26-year-old Rask’s 2013 playoff numbers are even slightly better than Thomas’ from the Stanley Cup run in 2011. While Thomas had a .932 save percentage and 2.28 goals-against average, Rask’s numbers are even more spectacular. He has a .943 save percentage and an outstanding 1.75 GAA, and stopped 134 of the 136 shots the Pittsburgh put on net in the 4-0 sweep of the vaunted Penguins.
“I feel good,” said Rask. “I don’t feel any better than I’ve felt all throughout the playoffs. The team is helping me out a lot. You let in two goals in [four] games, you’re making some good saves, but we’re blocking shots and taking care of the rebounds pretty well.”
RASK DEFLECTS PUCKS AND PRAISE
Rask is adept at stopping pucks as well as deflecting praise. It simply isn’t in his nature to bask in the glory of his play or take all of the credit for shutting down a team like the Penguins.
“I was feeling good, seeing the puck a lot, being patient, and made some good saves,” said Rask. “But nobody wins these games by themselves. Our defense did a really good job, and a lot of credit goes to them, too.”
|No lineup changes expected for Bruins in Game 2||06.03.13 at 12:37 pm ET|
PITTSBURGH — Everyone with the exception of Jaromir Jagr was present at the Bruins’ morning skate Monday at Consol Energy Center. Jagr was on the ice on his own before the skate, so one shouldn’t read into the absence as being injury related.
With Jagr absent, Carl Soderberg skated on Patrice Bergeron’s line in his place. The lineup for Monday’s Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals figures to be as follows:
Milan Lucic – David Krejci – Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – Jaromir Jagr
Rich Peverley – Chris Kelly – Tyler Seguin
Daniel Paille – Gregory Campbell – Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara – Dennis Seidenberg
Andrew Ference – Johnny Boychuk
Torey Krug – Adam McQuaid
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Matt Bartkowski on going home to Pittsburgh: ‘Everyone’s calling in their favors’ for tickets||05.29.13 at 5:45 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Going home again has its drawbacks. Just ask Matt Bartkowski.
The Bruins’ 24-year-old defenseman is headed back to where it all began for him and he couldn’t be more excited. But the homecoming for the native of nearby Mt. Lebanon, Pa., does have some obligations to fill.
“The last few years it’s been close [to] playing Pittsburgh in the playoffs and now it’s finally happening,” he said after practice on Wednesday. “I’m stoked up, pumped up and ready to go, and I’m sure the rest of these guys are. Everybody’s calling in their favors, this and that and all that crap. It just pumps us up and we’re ready to go.”
The homecoming was made possible the moment the Bruins beat the Rangers in Game 5 on Saturday, less than 24 hours after the Penguins eliminated the Senators, also in five games.
“You can’t believe how many times I’ve been asked that,” Bartkowski said of being asked about heading home. “It’s going to be awesome. I can’t think of any other way of it happening. Playing a role on the team now, and it’s playoff hockey. We’ve been looking at this match up for a while, especially me. It’s going to be awesome.”
When Bartkowski was growing up, his current teammate Jaromir Jagr was helping Mario Lemieux win back-to-back Cups in 1991 and ’92. The Penguins then went through a down period in the early 2000s before Sidney Crosby was drafted in 2005. Pittsburgh, home of the Steelers and Pirates, once again had the hockey bug.
“It died down for four years or so until Crosby got drafted,” Bartkowski said. “It’s the same thing with Jagr-Lemieux era. Now it’s the Crosby-Malkin era. Every time they get big players in Pittsburgh, it seems to jump-start all the little kids playing. It’s good for the area.
“With the Pirates doing [great], what do even you say about them? It’s pretty unfortunate. Every year they have a chance at the playoffs and then they kind of blow it. Once football season is over, it’s a hockey town. And especially with the talent they have now, it’s a hockey town once football season is over.”
His coach isn’t worried about Bartkowski being overwhelmed with it all.
“No, I don’t think so,” Claude Julien said. “I think it all depends how you approach it. He seems pretty excited, he’s looking forward to it. I think at the end of the day, he knows who he’s playing for. He wants to do well for his team. The better he does, the better he looks in everybody’s eyes, whether it’s his hometown that’s rooting for the other team or whether it’s us. I don’t see an issue with that; if anything, it’s a positive, it’s exciting. You know that he’s going to be ready to play.”
What’s interesting is that, as a defenseman, his idol didn’t play for the Penguins.
“Actually, it was [Scott Stevens] on the Devils,” Bartkowski recalled. “Any chance I got to watch a Devils game, I would. I remember in ’95, they played the Penguins in the playoffs.”
Reminded that it was Stevens who carved a reputation by laying out star players of other teams, like Eric Lindros in the 2000 playoffs, Bartkowski conceded, “Yeah, I don’t think you’d get away with those hits now. We talk about that sometimes.”
When Bartkowski, who was paired Wednesday with Dennis Seidenberg, gets on the ice, he won’t be worried about the fans, tickets or his hometown. The only names he’ll be concerned with are Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, James Neal, Jarome Iginla and the roster of the Penguins.
“I don’t know if many adjustments,” Bartkowski said. “Just making sure you’re hard on the puck and playing as physical as you can in every situation that you can. Don’t get yourself out of position but be as physical as you can.”