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Neely: ‘We’re waiting like everyone else’ 06.24.10 at 10:08 pm ET
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Cam Neely

Cam Neely

New Bruins president Cam Neely was taking care of business at the NHL Board of Governors meeting in Los Angeles on Thursday, but he now has to play a waiting game like everyone else.

While the Board of Governors approved a rule change providing a five-minute penalty for a blindside hit to the head — such as that which sidelined Bruins center Marc Savard this season — Neely emerged from Thursday’s meeting focused on Friday’s draft in which the Bruins have the second overall pick.

The Edmonton Oilers have the first pick in the draft, and with it the possibility of trading down if the player they would select is different than the player the Bruins want. Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin are considered locks to be selected with the top two picks, but so far, the Oilers have not indicated which player they prefer.

There has been much speculation the Oilers plan to take Hall and the Bruins would then choose Seguin, but nothing is definite at this point.

“Edmonton still hasn’t really said anything, so nothing is etched [in stone]. We’re still waiting like everyone else,” said Neely, who was named as the Bruins President on June 16.

Neely had attended Board of Governors meetings before, but was doing so his new capacity for the firs time on Thursday.

“A lot of the stuff I’ve been doing has not really changed that much,” said Neely. “Obviously, a little more responsibility now, which is OK. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

Among his first duties at the Board of Governors meeting was assessing the blindside hit rule approved Thursday.

“The one concern that I have is that it’s still going to be a tough rule to call,” Neely said. “I don’t know if you’re going to get everyone happy. That’s the problem.”

In response to a question regarding the Matt Cooke hit on Savard, which caused Savard to incur a significant concussion, Neely said that the hit would be illegal under the new rule, which he generally favors.

“I think it’s going to be tough for the referee in that split second to really judge the call. Like all new rules, there’s going to be some questions,” he said. “At least there is an attempt to get [hits to the head] out of the game. “

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Bruin nemesis Cooke re-ups with Pittsburgh 06.23.10 at 10:35 am ET
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Penguins forward Matt Cooke has become Public Enemy No. 1 in Boston. (AP)

Bruins nemesis Matt Cooke re-signed with Pittsburgh for three years (AP)

Bruin fans will be hard pressed to forget the questionable, blindsided hit Matt Cooke delivered on Marc Savard on March 6. Replays confirm the maliciousness of the blow, although Cooke was never penalized on the ice and received no fine from the league office. The hit knocked out Savard until the Flyers series in May.

Known for being a pest on the ice, Cooke re-signed with the Penguins Wednesday, a reported three-year, $5.4 million contract. One of the Penguins’ top penalty-killers, he had 15 goals and 15 assists last season, to go along with a plus-17 and 183 hits. Cooke, who also has played for Vancouver and Washington, could have become a free agent July 1.

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Savard: ‘Just trying to feel normal again’ 03.27.10 at 2:09 pm ET
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Marc Savard spoke to the media Saturday about his struggles since suffering a concussion March 7. (AP)

Marc Savard spoke to the media Saturday about his struggles since suffering a concussion March 7. (AP)

Marc Savard is taking walks, getting some fresh air and trying to regain his full wits.

On Saturday, he spoke publicly about the hit from Matt Cooke on March 7 in Pittsburgh and how it’s affected him.

Thanks to the Bruins media relations department, here is the full transcript:

On how he is feeling and if he remembers the hit:
I am not feeling myself quite yet, still. I still don’t have any recollection of the hit. Obviously, I have seen it but that’s the only recollection I have, when I see it. I just don’t remember any of it.

On if he has any close calls with similar types of hits before this particular one:
No, none of that nature, I guess. I have obviously seen them but, I haven’t come close to getting hit like that ever.

On his reaction to the hit:
Well, I have obviously viewed it a couple of times and I think it was a play that didn’t need to happen, obviously. To me it wasn’t a shoulder and I watched the [Mike] Richards on [David] Booth hit. I think that was a shoulder. I think mine was more of an elbow, so I think there was an attempt to injure there. I was, obviously, very unhappy with what happened and I think it could have been avoided very easily. Read the rest of this entry »

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Savard: ‘I have no interest in talking’ to Cooke at 1:04 pm ET
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Speaking publicly for the first time since taking a hit to the head from Pittsburgh’s Matt Cooke on March 7, Bruins center Marc Savard said he believed “there was intent to injure,” adding he was “very unhappy with what happened and it could have been avoided.”

Savard said he has had trouble sleeping since the hit and has had a mixture of good days and bad.

“I’m not feeling myself quite yet still,” Savard said. “I still don’t have any recollection of the hit. Obviously, I’ve seen it. That’s the only recollection of it is when I see it. I don’t remember any of it.”

Savard acknowledged that Cooke tried reaching out to him on March 18 when the Penguins returned but he declined through the team.

“I guess he’s tried to get my phone number,” Savard said. “From what happened, I really don’t, at the moment, have any interest in talking to him. I’m not feeling any better so I’d rather not talk to him.”

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Second period summary: Bruins vs. Lightning 03.25.10 at 8:42 pm ET
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The Steven Stamkos show continued late in the second period as his power play blast beat Tuukka Rask for his 45th goal of the season. Not only did the goal with 25.8 seconds left in the period put Tampa Bay up, 4-2 after two periods, it tied the unsung star with Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin for the NHL lead.

Johnny Boychuk and Zdeno Chara are having similar nights. The two defensemen have been downright offensive.

Chara had a couple of bad giveaways in his own zone in the first period but scored Boston’s first goal with an aggressive pinch up the slot with 26.8 seconds left.

Then, in the second period, Boychuk lost control of the puck behind Tuukka Rask. It was stolen by Paul Szczechura, who put it past the unsuspecting Bruins netminder for a 3-1 Tampa lead.

But Boychuk, like Chara, redeemed himself with a nifty shot from the low right point. Boychuk used the screen in front of Antero Niittymaki beautifully and when the puck went through the five-hole, the Bruins had closed the gap again to one at the 10:22 mark.

In the opening two minutes, there was an ironic moment as Shawn Thornton took out Kurtis Foster on the corner boards to the right of Niittymaki. The check close to the head of Foster could be the first instance of discipline from the new NHL ‘Blindshot Headshot’ rule enacted earlier in the day.

It was exactly one week ago when Thornton exacted his revenge on Pittsburgh’s Matt Cooke for a hit on Feb. 7 on Marc Savard that left the Bruins center out indefinitely with a concussion.

Bruins are more-than-doubling up Tampa Bay on the shot clock, 31-15, after 40 minutes.

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Julien, Bergeron react to new blindside rule at 3:11 pm ET
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The NHL finalized a new blindside hit rule on Thursday that will ban blindside hits to the head, effective immediately. The rule is intended to prohibit ”a lateral, back-pressure or blind-side hit to an opponent where the head is targeted and/or the principal point of contact.”

“I don’t think there are too many people who are going to argue against it,” coach Claude Julien said. “I think the players want a little bit of security when it comes to that and what I personally like about the rule is that there is responsibility for both sides. You can’t expect the player carrying the puck to be able to see what is behind him in a way where there is what is called blindside hits but at the same time also puts the responsibility for the puck carrier. If you are going to put your head down and you get hit head on it becomes your responsibility. They are not taking hits out of the game and they are putting the responsibility, and the right responsibility, on both players.”

Julien said that coaches were shown a video of the type of hits the league is talking about but, to be sure, the rule was sped through the system after the brouhaha of Matt Cooke’s hit to Marc Savard on March 7. The Flyers’ Mike Richards hit to Florida’s David Booth earlier this season was also impetus to implement the rule. Booth missed 45 games after the hit.

The rule initially calls for a suspension for blindside hits with no in-game penalty this season though it is likely that an in-game penalty will be instituted by the start of the 2010-11 season.

“Personally, I think it is pretty black and white,” Julien said. “A blindside hit or a head on hit. We are talking about hits to the head. You can hit from the side, as long as you are not hitting the head … To me it is pretty clear the way it has been explained and if they want to put it into play anytime I am for it because it doesn’t take practice, it takes common sense.”

Patrice Bergeron, no stranger to concussions after questionable hits, completely agreed with Julien that the rule is more common sense than any type of game changer.

“For me it is a rule that is kind of common sense,” Bergeron said. “It is a rule that should have been in place and now that it is I hope everyone’s going to think about it … I don’t think it is going to change the game, I think it is still going to be a physical game. There will still be some good hits but those hits, direct to the head are careless and there is no need for it and I am just happy that there is a rule in place now.”

Ultimately, Bergeron said, it is up to the players to do the right thing on the ice.

“I think in between the players we need to be responsible, we need to think about the actions before we do it,” Bergeron said. “Kids are watching, it’s something important but first and foremost it is the players.”

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Shawn Thornton press conference, 3/18 03.18.10 at 10:12 pm ET
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Bruins enforcer Shawn Thornton spoke to the media following the Bruins’ 3-0 loss to the Penguins. Thornton wasted no time seeking revenge vs. Penguins forward Matt Cooke at the start of the game.

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