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Brad Marchand on Matt Cooke: ‘It’s not even in our minds right now’ 05.29.13 at 5:02 pm ET
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Brad Marchand opened up about Matt Cooke Wednesday. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

WILMINGTON — The Bruins are not consumed with exacting revenge on Matt Cooke.

As Brad Marchand reminded everyone on Wednesday after practice, the stakes now are way too high to get into revenge games for a hit that happened three seasons ago.

Of course, the hit that is etched in the mind of every Bruins fan when you mention the name Matt Cooke is the blindside hit he laid on the head of Marc Savard on March 7, 2010. That hit resulted in a Grade 2 concussion. After sitting out the first round of the playoffs, Savard scored the game-winner against the Flyers in overtime in Game 1.

Savard, however, was never the same player. After suffering another concussion 10 months later, he was shut down for the season and could not participate in the run to the Cup title.

How do the Bruins deal with their emotions on Cooke?

“Well, it depends what you mean by that,” Claude Julien said. “Are you talking about the Savard thing? Or are you talking about the way Matt Cooke plays. There’s different ways of answering that. At one point, you’ve got to move on from certain things. Just like the next question will be like [Jarome] Iginla. Stuff like that. We all know about that. The thing we have to focus on is finding a way to win the series. If you just want revenge on this guy or that guy. Is it really the right focus to have? The best way to get that satisfaction is by winning a series. So I think that’s where your focus has to be.”

Asked on Wednesday what he thought of Cooke, Marchand, a rookie in 2010, agreed with his coach, adding the Bruins can’t worry about exacting some measure of personal revenge.

“He’s playing well right now,” Marchand began, before offering a bit of backhanded compliment. “If you watched the Ottawa series, he’s running around a bit but he’s doing some things offensively, too. He’s doing good things for the team. We’re not going to focus on any single guy over there. They’ve got four lines that can do damage so he’s just another guy who’s on their team.

“It’s a completely different season. We’re not worried about that at all anymore. It’s a long time ago. There’s much bigger things at stake than that hit. It’s not even in our minds right now.”

Marchand’s primary focus is to work with Patrice Bergeron to try and get linemate Jaromir Jagr into the goal-scoring column against the team he began his NHL career with.

“He’s doing a lot of good things right now, making a lot of plays,” Marchand said of Jagr. “He’s in the right spot a lot of the time. He’s getting a ton of opportunities. You really only have to start worrying when you don’t get any opportunities and that’s not the case for him. So hopefully, they’ll start going in for Jags.”

The other priority will be to keep a close eye on the Penguins’ highly potent second line of Evgeni Malkin, Jarome Iginla and James Neal. Marchand said keeping the puck in the offensive zone will be a big part of Boston’s defensive attack when those three are on the ice.

“That’s definitely a big part of playing like a line against that,” Marchand said. “They want to play in the offensive zone, and if we can find a way to keep them down in the defensive end and work it down there, it limits their opportunity to score. We want to play in their end as much as possible, but it’s not an easy thing to do with the skill and talent they have over there.”

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Pierre McGuire on M&M: Pittsburgh ‘has an answer for the Bruins’ fourth line’ at 1:00 pm ET
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Pierre McGuire

NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to preview the Bruins-Penguins Eastern Conference finals.

Boston’s fourth line of Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton came up big for the Bruins against the Rangers, playing key roles in Games 3 and 5. McGuire said Pittsburgh’s depth will negate that advantage.

“There was no answer from the Rangers for Boston’s fourth line. … Pittsburgh, I can tell you, has an answer for the Bruins’ fourth line,” McGuire said. ” Paille, Campbell and Thornton aren’t going to run around and dominate the way they did the Rangers. Because guys like Jussi Jokinen, guys like Joe Vitale, who played at Northeastern University, a kid out of St. Louis, guys like Craig Adams, who played at Harvard. You’re going to see, these guys can make a mess and they can put you through the boards as much as Thornton can, as much as Paille can, they can fight as much as Campbell can. That’s going to be the X factor that really helped the Bruins last series, it won’t be as much of an impact this series.”

Andrew Ference, who missed the entire Rangers series with what the Bruins called a lower-body injury, skated with his teammates at Tuesday’s practice. That’s let to discussion about which young defenseman the B’s might sit if the team wants to make room for the veteran. McGuire suggested the B’s might want to give Ference more time to recover fully.

“He’s walking around with a walking boot on, so clearly there’s a problem with the lower part of his foot or ankle,” McGuire said. “It’s not easy to come back from something like that at this time of the year. So, I don’t think they’re in a rush. And Andrew would probably be the first person to tell you: You know what, when a team’s playing as well as Boston’s playing, especially those players, you probably don’t take them out of the lineup.”

Another topic of discussion around the Bruins is whether the team should move Tyler Seguin back up to the second line in place of Jaromir Jagr.

“We saw what Jaromir could do in confined areas against the Rangers, and there were points in that series where he really wanted to take the puck over but he was overextending his shifts and you could see he was breaking down a little bit,” McGuire said. “Tyler, you could see, and I talked to Tyler a couple of times during the series, he was fighting it in terms of getting pucks in, but he was still making plays. I know he turned the puck over a couple of times. That’s going to happen with offensive players, you’re going to turn the puck over because they’re trying to make stuff happen with the puck. It’s the checkers that you can’t afford having them turn it over. Because they don’t do much with it. They chip it in and chip it out, and they usually don’t score a lot.

“Tyler will probably get augmented minutes. I’ve got to believe the coaching staff is seeing what we’re seeing, and that is that here’s a kid that’s got a chance to be a difference-maker, and his speed is going to be huge.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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Bruins-Penguins Live Blog: Matt Cooke makes it 3-1 12.05.11 at 6:59 pm ET
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Marc Savard to attend Game 2 05.17.11 at 7:04 pm ET
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Bruins center Marc Savard will be at Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals between the B’s and Lightning, marking his first return to TD Garden since being shut down for the season on Feb. 7.

Savard is dealing with post-concussion syndrome following a clean hit from former teammate Matt Hunwick on Jan. 22 in Colorado. Since being shut down for the regular season and playoffs, Savard has stayed at home in Peterborough, Ontario. The 33-year-old had two goals and eight assists for 10 points in 25 games this year. He began the season on long-term injured reserve due to PCS from the hit he took last March 7 from Penguins forward Matt Cooke.

Savard will not be available to the media.

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Report: Memory problems plague Marc Savard 03.27.11 at 12:11 pm ET
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A source has told ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun that Bruins center Marc Savard is dealing with “real memory problems and he’s quite worried about it.”

Savard, who was placed on long-term injured reserve in February with his second concussion in less than a year, was last injured on Jan. 22 when he sustained a concussion after being checked into the boards by Matt Hunwick. The injury came after he missed the first 23 games of the 2010-11 season due to post-concussion symptoms stemming from a concussion suffered on March 7, 2010 thanks to a hit from Pittsburgh’s Matt Cooke.

Savard said in February that he didn’t know what his future held.

“I’m not going to make any decision about my future until I get some more medical stuff done,” he said. “I’ve just got to be patient going forward.”

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Don Cherry on D&C: Matt Cooke is ‘a little rat,’ Mario Lemieux ‘one of the biggest phonies’ 03.22.11 at 9:20 am ET
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CBC hockey commentator Don Cherry joined the Dennis & Callahan show Tuesday morning to discuss the Matt Cooke suspension, what could happen the next time Zdeno Chara travels to Montreal and the recent slide of the Bruins.

After a seven-game winning streak that seemed to announce the Bruins as serious Stanley Cup contenders, the club has struggled, posting a 1-3-3 mark in its last seven games. Cherry was asked if the Bruins were built for a deep postseason run.

“There’s something wrong there,” said Cherry, who coached the Bruins from 1974-79. “Right now, there’s something wrong with that team. When they came into Toronto, and they were absolutely awful. But if you’re going to take a swoon, this is the time to do it. I would like to see [Shawn] Thornton play. He hasn’t played that much since [Chris] Kelly came to Boston. … I would play Thornton a regular shift because he’s the Bruins for sure.”

The NHL suspended Penguins forward Cooke for the final 10 games of the regular season plus the entire first round of the playoffs on Monday, the fifth suspension in Cooke’s 12-year career. Cooke, of course, was not suspended for the elbow to the head of Marc Savard last year, which directly caused what might turn out to be a career-ending concussion for the Bruins center. Cherry feels if Cooke had been properly disciplined for the Savard hit it might have prevented the elbow to Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh that led to Cooke’s suspension.

“He should have been tossed for what happened to Savard, but they said they didn’t have a rule,” Cherry said. “The guy never even got four minutes or anything for that. If he had got [suspended for] 20 games then, maybe he would have been straightened out. He should have been suspended for what he did to Savard and he got his comeuppance. … They should have given him 20-30 games back then and it might have straightened the little rat out.”

Cherry added that Mario Lemieux, who complained about dirty play following last month’s game against the Islanders, is “one of the biggest phonies I’ve ever seen in my life.”

“He says, ‘we have to get ride of headshots,’ and the [president], Dave Morehouse, says ‘we have to get rid of headshots,’ and [general manager] Ray Shero, who I really like, says the same thing. What happens? They’ve got the [biggest] headshot guy of all time, they’re paying his paychecks. What a bunch of hypocrites, I’ll tell you.”

Chara was not suspended for his March 8 hit of Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty, who suffered a concussion and a non-displaced fracture of cervical vertebrae. This led to outrage throughout Montreal, and Montreal police did open a criminal investigation against Chara. Cherry was asked if the Boston defenseman has reason to be concerned about future trips to Montreal.

“Who’s going to arrest him? That’s not going to happen. And the Canadiens have really have nobody to do anything to him,” Cherry said. “Who would? And if the game is close, nothing is going to happen. He’s too big, too strong. … There’s no way he did that to that guy [on purpose], he was just taking that guy out. And I really give it to the owners — the Molsons — they didn’t have enough padding on that turnbuckle. It should have been padded, the kid would have bounced right off.”

To hear the interview, click here.

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Matt Cooke suspended for remainder of regular season and first round of playoffs for elbow on Ryan McDonagh 03.21.11 at 5:26 pm ET
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Matt Cooke will miss at least 14 games. (AP)

The NHL announced Monday Penguins forward Matt Cooke has been suspended for the remainder of the regular season and the first round of the playoffs for an elbow on Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh that took place Sunday. It is the fourth suspension of Cooke’s career, and second of this season.

“Mr. Cooke, a repeat offender, directly and unnecessarily targeted the head of an opponent who was in an unsuspecting and vulnerable position,” Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell said following the ruling. “This isn’t the first time this season that we have had to address dangerous behavior on the ice by Mr. Cooke, and his conduct requires an appropriately harsh response.”

The Penguins weren’t looking too good when Mario Lemieux, who employs Cooke, complained about dirty play following the team’s game against the Islanders last month. This time around, the Pittsburgh organization wants to make sure everyone knows where they stand.

“The suspension is warranted because that’s exactly the kind of hit we’re trying to get out of the game,” Penguins general manager Ray Shero said in a statement Monday. “Head shots have no place in hockey. We’ve told Matt in no uncertain terms that this kind of action on the ice is unacceptable and cannot happen. Head shots must be dealt with severely, and the Pittsburgh Penguins support the NHL in sending this very strong message.”

Cooke has long been criticized as one of the league’s dirtier players, and was responsible for a blindside hit last March that has left Bruins center Marc Savard with concussion issues. Savard is currently out for the season after a routine hit from Avalanche defenseman Matt Hunwick caused another concussion from which he is still recovering.

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