|Bruins hold final practice before Devils game||10.15.10 at 11:32 am ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins took the ice on Friday for their final skate at Ristuccia Arena before travelling to New Jersey for a Saturday night matchup with the Devils.
All players were accounted for on Friday, and the lines remain unchanged from Thursday. The team did some shootout work about 15 minutes into the skate as teammates looked on in amusement. Johnny Boychuk did appear to get hit in either the back of the leg or the side of the skate with a Milan Lucic shot, but he seemed to skate it off and did not leave the ice. Stay tuned for more from the locker room following practice.
|Boychuk back with Bruins||06.24.10 at 12:49 pm ET|
The Bruins and would-have-been unrestricted free agent defenseman Johnny Boychuk have agreed to a new deal to keep the defenseman in Boston. Multiple outlets have reported it’s a two-year deal worth around $3.75 million. The deal was first reported by the New England Hockey Journal.
Boychuk had a breakout year for the Bruins last year, chipping in 15 points. He highlighted the campaign with strong play in the postseason. He was on the ice for just over 26 minutes per game, trailing only Zdeno Chara, and blocking 39 shots in 13 games. He added six points.
“He made great strides this year,” Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli said in Marina Del Ray, Calif., where the NHL draft will take place on Friday. “He was patient before he got into the lineup, he learned our system, he’s got a dimensional shot, he competes, he’s got size, but the biggest thing that I saw was that he improved from being the defenseman of the year in the [AHL] to being maybe our seventh [defenseman] to start [while] patiently waiting to learn along the way. We have a very good defensive system and Johnny has picked it up and showed improvement while he is in the lineup. He’s a good kid and he’s still young.”
Boychuk didn’t have much of a desire to test free agency, he told reporters in a conference call. Though the ride from forward, to defenseman, to the NHL, to being a healthy scratch, to playing, to being on the top pairing in the playoffs was a bit hectic, returning to Boston was his priority.
“I was thinking about maybe going to free agency and seeingwhat was out there, but when I looked around the league, I knew what kind of position I’d be in,” Boychuk said. “Just to come back to Boston to a great coaching staff that we have there and I know a lot of the guys.
“It made it a lot easier decision knowing that we would have all these people back in boston, so that was the main factor that tipped the scale for me.”
As for his role, he anticipates being a more regular contributor with the recent trade of Dennis Wideman to the Panthers in the Nathan Horton deal.
“When they moved Dennis, obviously it maybe makes an opening for me to maybe jump into the top four and play little more minutes than being a five or six guy,” Wideman said. “When they moved him, it kind of just maybe sent a message to me saying ‘You’d better be ready to be a top four guy.’ And even if I’m not, I want to play like I am.”
Boychuk’s new deal, which carries a $1.87 million cap hit in each of the next two seasons, leaves the Bruins with $5,723,690 in cap space. Notable contracts still to be tacked on include Taylor Hall/Tyler Seguin (anticipated $3.75 million), and Mark Recchi, should he return.
Graig Woodburn contributed to this report from Marina Del Ray, Calif.
|Boychuk has little doubt he will be back||05.18.10 at 2:42 pm ET|
Johnny Boychuk is the type of guy who will be laughing, joking and making sarcastic remarks when things are going well. When things are not, he tends speak quietly about what went wrong.
Boychuk was definitely quiet Tuesday morning during breakdown day at TD Garden. He becomes a Category 6 unrestricted free agent this offseason even though he does not technically have the service time in the NHL to make him unrestricted. Category 6 is a rare designation for guys who normally spend most of their time in the minors and then become free agents after their initial contracts expire. To be a restricted free agent, which would make general manager Peter Chiarelli’s job in keeping him in Boston much simpler, Boychuk would have needed to complete 80 career games this year and be under the age 26, marks he missed by 12 games (including playoffs) and sixth months. Boychuk spent most of five seasons in the minors before coming to Boston and his progress towards becoming a productive NHL defenseman was hindered while he was in the Colorado system as it tried to make him into a dual defenseman/power forward. For a simple guy like Boychuk who likes to hit things and take big shots, forward is probably too complicated a position.
“Just try to keep it simple. Get the puck away try to turn pucks over, simple. I got more comfortable and then tried to do a couple different things. Nothing drastic, I just wanted to keep it simple,” Boychuk said. “I just wanted to get pucks to the net and keep it simple. Simple is my way, I guess.”
In terms of staying in Boston, Boychuk has little doubt that he will be back.
“Everybody knows that I want to be in Boston. So, I want to be here, it is not a big secret,” Boychuk said. “100 percent. I love it here in Boston. I want to be back.”
Boychuk said that he has not even thought about what would happen if another NHL team threw a lot of money at him come July 1. He hopes that it will not even make it that far.
“Well, they can’t talk to me before July 1. I hope it doesn’t go that long,” Boychuk said. “No talks but I am pretty sure that I am going to be back, I hope I am going to be back at least. So, we will see.”
The defenseman is going to take a short vacation and ship his truck back to Montana for the purpose of driving to his home in Edmonton where he will spend the summer. He said that he does not look forward to the 10-hour drive across the nothingness that lays between Minneapolis and the Rocky Mountains. Anybody who has driven through those plains would probably agree. In terms of the pack up, Boychuk still is a little stunned about the Bruins sudden exit at the hands of the Flyers and knows that, if he is back next year, the memory will light a fire under the team.
“I don’t even think I should be here packing up my stuff. It was weird packing my stuff last night to go back up [to Edmonton]. So much stuff to do now. Drive home, fly home. However I am getting home. Haven’t really had any time to watch hockey. Just packing up everything and try to get everything settled before we leave,” Boychuk said. “It is going to light a fire, that is for sure. Hopefully we take this next year and use it to our advantage.”
|Taking the edge off the Bruins||05.11.10 at 2:30 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Somebody needs to take a little bit of an edge off these Bruins.
Captain Zdeno Chara made a half-admission after Game 5 on Monday night that the team may have been a touch nervous heading into what could have been a series-clinching victory.
I don’t know if we were maybe a little bit nervous. It’s hard to explain and really find words for it so for sure we didn’t play with the composure we were playing with,” Chara said Monday. “Maybe it wasn’t nervous, it was just… we couldn’t make those plays we normally do, strong plays with the puck, plays that we are normally doing and all of the sudden it was tough for us to make those plays.”
In the grand world of hockey cliches, this is what is called “clutching the stick.” The Bruins need someone, be it Johnny Boychuk and his eccentric antics, Shawn Thornton and his smile and his wife’s cooking or Claude Julien putting “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” on repeat on the team plane.
“Everybody can keep it loose and there is no reason to tense up and grip the sticks too tight,” Boychuk said. “We know what we have to do and just go out there and do it. There are times to keep loose and times to focus and we know that and that is what we have been trying to do.”
Thornton was of the opinion that, heading into Game 5, the team was relatively loose and had a good energy level. For the most part the Bruins tend to be a loose team. Chara and Patrice Bergeron are serious with the media and on the ice but there are moments when you catch them joking around with the guys. Thornton thinks that everybody on the team has a role to play in taking the edge off. He would not name specific characters for fear of being labeled the jokester by the coaching staff.
“We have got a few guys who like to keep things loose. It wasn’t too tense today [Tuesday,” Thornton said. “We did a pretty good job of forgetting about losses and forgetting about wins and moving on. We learned some things today and move on to the next one. There is nothing you can do. There was only seven on the ice but before the game too, there was a lot of energy. I don’t know. We definitely didn’t play the game we wanted to but honestly I thought going into it that we felt pretty good.”
Coach Claude Julien agreed that everybody on the teams plays their part in keeping the room loose and said that, when it really come down to it, winning is what puts a smiles on everyone’s face.
“We all have a part to do in that. I am telling you right now that we have too put yesterday aside and learn from it,” Julien said. “That is what the players have to do and so do the coaches. You know, we have to take the same approach as a group and that is what we have done here. We have to focus as a group and do what we need to do tomorrow and hopefully those are good things and that we can come back with smiles on our faces.”
|Boychuk on D&H: Krejci ‘took a hit for the team’||05.06.10 at 1:35 pm ET|
Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk joined the Dale & Holley show Thursday afternoon to talk about the Bruins’ success in the Stanley Cup playoffs. To hear the interview, click on the Dale & Holley audio on demand page. Boychuck was asked if he felt capable of providing more offense to help make up for the loss of Marco Sturm and David Krejci to injuries. “I know I can do it for sure,” Boychuk said. “With those two guys out, everybody’s going to have to step up their game. I can’t really jump up in the rush at the wrong time, but when I see an opportunity to jump up in the rush, I’m going to make sure to do it and try to put the puck in the back of the net.”
On the hit from Flyers forward Mike Richards that injured Krejci Wednesday night, Bochuk said: “It actually looked like a clean hit to me. It was unfortunate that Krejci got hurt on it, but he made a play and we scored a pivotal goal in the game last night. He took a hit for the team, and we made sure to capitalize when it happened.”
Boychuk took some heat from Sabres fans for his hit that injured forward Thomas Vanek in the first round, but Boychuck said he doesn’t care if he’s the bad guy in Buffalo. “I don’t even think it was a cheap shot,” he said. “It was just a hockey-instinct play. It wasn’t like I was trying to hurt him. But they had to point the finger at somebody, so they had to point it at me, I guess. I just take it as it is. If they want to point the finger for their loss at me, then go ahead. That’s fine by me. It won’t bother me at all, and I’ll just keep playing the way I am.”
On the contributions of veteran forward Mark Recchi, Boycuk said, “I think we have to check his birth certificate, because he sure doesn’t play like a -year-old. He’s a great team leader, and he plays like he’s 25. Having him in the dressing room — just his presence in the dressing room helps our whole team out just by keep it calm, keeping it cool. He gets goals for us that we need and want.”
On goalie Tuukka Rask, Boychuck said, “He’s kind of like an ice man. Nothing really bothers him. He’s always focused and into the game. You can’t really get him off his game easy.”
|Bruins bracing themselves||05.04.10 at 2:40 pm ET|
Not everyone in black and gold had bad things to say about the physical play of the Flyers on Monday night in Boston’s 3-2 win.
Defenseman Johnny Boychuk – who put the Bruins on top with a first-period goal – was drilled on a clean, hard hit by Philly’s Scott Hartnell midway through the ‘eventful’ second period, just seconds after Boston captain Zdeno Chara took a run at Hartnell behind the Flyers net.
The result was Boychuk going airborne and landing hard on the ice. Boychuk wasn’t hurt except for his ego momentarily and acknowledged that he expects to see more of that kind of play when the series shifts to Philadelphia Wednesday night for Game 3.
“It wasn’t too wide-open There were some timely goals each team scored and some good hits, like the one on me. It was a great hit.”
Boychuk also believes the Bruins can learn something from Game 5 in Buffalo when they were playing a desperate Sabres team looking to stay alive. They were blown out, 4-1, and had to come back to Boston to seal the deal.
“We were in Buffalo and they took it to us,” Boychuk said. “We’re going to have to learn from that. Hopefully, we can overcome their intensity when we go to Philly.”
There will be some 20,000 fans not cheering on the Bruins on Wednesday and Boychuk and the Bruins are more than bracing themselves for what to expect.
“It’s a good barn play in and it’s tough barn to play in,” Boychuk said. “They’re going to come out hard and we have to match their intensity.”
Chara agreed with Boychuk’s assessment and won’t be shocked when the black and orange sweaters are out in force at the Wachovia Center.
“The further you go, it’s going to get tougher and tougher and the games are going to be harder and harder,” Chara said. “It’s just normal. That’s just the playoffs. It’s Philly and they like to play that kind of style and obviously, we like to play physical. It’s just two teams meeting each other with similar physical styles of play.”
|Lucic’s winner give Bruins 2-0 series lead||05.03.10 at 9:45 pm ET|
Summary — The Flyers twice came back from a one-goal deficit before the Bruins reasserted their will in the third, paving the way for a 3-2 win and a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Milan Lucic scored the game-winner in the third to wrap up the victory for the Bruins. Tuukka Rask won his third straight playoff game with 24 saves, and once again out-dueled Brian Boucher, who took the loss by allowing three goals on 27 shots.
With the game tied at two heading into the final minutes of the third, David Krejci battled behind Boucher and sent a bouncing puck of a Flyers’ stick into the slot where Lucic settled it down and banged it home for the game-winner at 17:03.
After a strong start to the first period for the Flyers, the Bruins tampered the Philadelphia heat when Patrice Bergeron won a face off to the right of Boucher straight to the stick of defenseman Johnny Boychuk. Boychuk slipped a wrist shot with enough vigor on it through traffic to the top of the net and Boston had its second early lead of the series at 5:12.
Philadelphia came back late in the first when it used its aggressive two-man forecheck to break down the defensive pair of Matt Hunwick and Dennis Wideman coming out of the Bruins defensive zone. The trio of Ville Leino, Danny Briere broke down the exit and pushed the puck around the back of the net to Mike Richards who circled in from the circle to put the puck to the far side of Rask to make it 1-1 at 17:06.
Miroslav Satan continued his hot postseason in the second period when he put the Bruins back up at 9:31. The Flyers had been aggressively attacking the point of action on the puck to disrupt the Bruins flow in the offensive zone. Krejci was able to create a seem of space on the half wall and kick the puck to Wideman and then onto Blake Wheeler, who caught Satan on the dot on Boucher’s left and put a wrist shot into the net to make it 2-1.
Boston was guilty of one of hockey’s greatest pet peeves — allowing a goal in the last minute of a period. Leino and Briere rushed down the wing with a little give-and-go game that ended with the puck on Briere’s and a wrister above Rask to tie the game at two with 21.8 seconds left in the second.
Danny Briere — The feisty forward has pushed the Flyers attack through the first two games of the series and was instrumental in their first two goals with an assist in the first and a lamp-lighter in the second.
Miroslav Satan — Scored his fourth goal of the playoffs and extended his point streak to five games. Also had an assist on Lucic’s game-winner. The forward has nine points in the Bruins eight playoff games thus far.
Tuukka Rask — Solid when he needed to be in holding the Flyers to two goals and sending the series back to Philadelphia with the Bruins up two games.
Turning Point – Boston took control of the momentum in the second half of the third period when the Flyers took a couple of penalties to Arron Asham and Briere, as the Bruins turned the play around and held on after a fury of a Philadelphia attack through the late second period and beginning of the third.
Key Play — Lucic’s game-winner. The hulking forward scored his first of the playoffs in a big way when he settled the bouncing puck, turned and fired to beat Boucher low to his stick side.
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