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Andy Brickley on M&M: ‘No maliciousness’ from Max Pacioretty on Johnny Boychuk hit 12.06.13 at 11:56 am ET
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Andy Brickley

Andy Brickley

NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley made his weekly appearance with Mut & Merloni on Friday, following Thursday’s 2-1 loss to the Canadiens in Montreal.

The Bruins had a 1-0 lead after a period but struggled in the second as the Canadiens took control.

“There’s nothing there in way of explaining why they played the way they did in the second period,” Brickley said. “In fact, the four days off should have worked to their benefit in the second period. You knew you were going to get a better push from Montreal than what they were able to give you in the first 20 given the fact that this was game three in four nights for them, plus travel.

“But this Montreal Canadiens team is a little different in the sense that they don’t just try to beat you with their speed and their skill, they do have a little sandpaper to their game. They compete a lot harder for pucks, they know that they had to add that element to their game if they wanted to win the Atlantic Division with a team like the Bruins in there, and the Bruins being — I don’t know if it’s the gold standard, but certainly the measuring stick that you need to play similar to in over to win the division.

“That being said, you expected Montreal to have a much better second period, and for some inexplicable reason, the Bruins played maybe one of the their worst periods of the year — Claude Julien used the word ‘atrocious’ following the game, and you can’t argue with that. When they’ve played poorly in second periods this year it’s been for a variety of reasons, but the common thread is just that lack of — I don’t know if you want to call it a sense of urgency — for me it’s more paying attention to detail.

“I’m lost, really, for an explanation as to why they are so inconsistent in the second periods when they have opportunities to put teams away after 40 minutes.”

During the first period, Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk was checked into the boards by Max Pacioretty and had to be taken off the ice on a stretcher.

“It was a borderline hit. I thought the call was accurate that it was worthy of a two-minute boarding call,” Brickley said. “He tried to get him on the side and not from the back, but it’s in that dangerous area, distance away from the boards and a player almost with his back to you. What they’re trying to do is educate players, even though you’ve played the game a certain way for so long, it has to change because too many guys are getting hurt. They have to continue to work on that and further educate these guys and maybe tweak the rules a little bit to allow you to make different types of hits in those situations.

“But there was no maliciousness there, I didn’t think, from Pacioretty. It was just one of those reactionary hits, two guys battling in an area where always there’s a puck battle. And it was just the awkwardness that Boychuck went into the boards.”

Brickley said he was impressed with how the Bruins kept their composure after the incident.

“As far as the players are concerned, they did a terrific job, I thought, of maintaining some focus. Because your focus and your attention and your emotional feelings change when you see that happen,” Brickley said. “Your focus is totally on a first-place game against your arch rival, a game that you really want, a game that you should out-energize them, and you had some decent things happening in the first period. And now your focus changes dramatically.

“And the Bruins did a pretty good job of doing what they needed to do the rest of that period to take a lead into the intermission. But then to just give it away in the second period was so disappointing.”

To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page. For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.

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Max Pacioretty feels terrible about Johnny Boychuk’s injury, and Bruins believe him 12.05.13 at 11:40 pm ET
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Max Pacioretty

Max Pacioretty

MONTREAL — Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty was adamant that he had no intention of putting Johnny Boychuk in a dangerous position on the play on which Boychuk was forced from Thursday’s game. Boychuk was taken from the game in a stretcher after getting injured on a first-period hit in the corner from Pacioretty.

The hit did not seem malicious, as Boychuk was turning when Pacioretty was already going in for a hit on Boychuk’s shoulder. The result was Boychuk going down hard after his left side was pinned against the boards.

“Honestly, I couldn’t even walk you through the hit,” Pacioretty said. “It’s, you know, I felt terrible, I didn’t even really know what happened. I was just kind of battling for the puck, I felt terrible after it happened. I’m going to have to see it because I haven’t even seen the replay.”

No Bruins went after Pacioretty as a result of the hit, and the Habs forward said he tried to get more information about the play and Boychuk’s status as the game went on.

“No,” Pacioretty said when asked if the Bruins took issue with the hit. “I mean I asked people because I literally didn’t know what happened. They said, I think he twisted his back or something in regards to that. I obviously feel terrible, I’ve been in that situation before, and I had no intent to injury anybody, I thought I was just playing hard, I hope everything’s going to be all right for him.”

The Bruins clearly believe Pacioretty, as they wouldn’t have hesitated to have some sort of on-ice answer. Tuukka Rask said the play was a case of “bad luck and bad timing,” while Gregory Campbell and Claude Julien both said it was deserving of the boarding minor Pacioretty received, but nothing more.

“I guess it was deserving of a penalty, and that’s what it was called,” Campbell said. “Things happen fast, and Johnny was going in for the puck. I don’t think there was any intent. I’m almost positive. He’s a clean player, and it’s unfortunate things happen, and things happen quickly so sometimes you put yourself in those positions. It’s hard to stop yourself from the momentum you have going into the play there.”

Pacioretty has been at the center of a few controversial plays between the Bruins and Habs over the years. Such actions include celebrating an overtime goal by shoving Zdeno Chara, jumping an unsuspecting Steve Kampfer during a scrum, and most notably being the recipient of a shove from Chara on which his head went into a stanchion at Bell Centre in the 2010-11 season.

Asked whether the hit being from Pacioretty would be reason for anyone to suspect any malicious intent, Campbell replied, “Nobody on this team thinks that.”

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Johnny Boychuk leaves game vs. Canadiens on stretcher after hit from Max Pacioretty at 8:17 pm ET
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Johnny Boychuk

Johnny Boychuk

MONTREAL — Johnny Boychuk left Thursday night’s game against the Canadiens on a stretcher after suffering an injury on a first-period hit in the corner from Habs forward Max Pacioretty.

Boychuk was down on the ice for several minutes, bent over, before he was placed onto a stretcher and had his head immobilized as he left the ice.

The injury was suffered as Pacioretty hit him into the boards as Boychuk was turning. Boychuk’s left side went into the boards first and he appeared to be jammed as the rest of his body hit the boards. Pacioretty, who appeared to be going for Boychuk’s on the shoulder in what seemed to be more bad luck than anything, was given a two-minute boarding minor.

Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said the following in a statement:

“Johnny Boychuk has been taken to Montreal General Hospital for observation, after being injured in Thursday’s game against the Canadiens. Before he was transported to the hospital, he was able to demonstrate movement in all of his extremities. We will provide a further update when it is appropriate.”

The game marked the the fourth time this season the Bruins have had to play the majority of the game with only five defensemen, as injuries to Boychuk (Oct. 31), Adam McQuaid (Nov. 9) and Dennis Seidenberg (Nov. 19) have left the B’s down a blueliner.

For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Patrice Bergeron named No. 2 Star of Week 03.04.13 at 12:51 pm ET
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Patrice Bergeron

WILMINGTON — Bruins center Patrice Bergeron was named the NHL’s No. 2 Star of the Week ending on March 3, the league announced Monday.

Bergeron had points in all four games he played, registering two goals and five assists over the span. The reigning Selke winner also had a plus-6 rating. On the season, Bergeron leads the Bruins in both assists (13) and points (18) and is tied with linemate Tyler Seguin with a plus-15 rating.

The first star of the week was Max Pacioretty (four goals, three assists), with Minnesota goalie Niklas Backstrom getting third star honors.

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

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P.K. Subban, Max Pacioretty say Bruins aren’t dirty 01.12.12 at 12:56 pm ET
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Max Pacioretty wishes the Habs played more like the Bruins. (AP)

While there has been talk out of Vancouver about the Bruins having dirty players, members of the Canadiens said Thursday that their rivals are not dirty.

“No. They play a certain way and I think that’s why they’re successful,” Max Pacioretty, who had his season ended last year by a shove from Zdeno Chara, said when asked if he finds the B’s to be dirty. “To some extent, I wish we played a little more like them. Maybe not as much as they do, but they’re definitely an intimidating team to play against. They have so many guys who can step up — I’m not talking about fighting — I’m talking about physical. You watch the games recently in the NHL, and there’s not many pretty plays happening. They’re all tough, grinding goals, and a big body presence. I think that’s why they’re successful this year.”

Defenseman P.K. Subban said he has not seen former world junior teammate Brad Marchand‘s hit on Sami Salo, but that he does not consider Marchand or the Bruins to be dirty.

“It’s tough,” Subban said. “There’s a fine line now when you’re throwing hits, so you’ve just got to pay attention to it.”

Said Subban of the B’s: “They’re in your face, you know what I mean? They’ve had a lot of success over the year. They’re Stanley Cup champions, and they’re playing some good hockey this year. Whatever they’re doing, they’re doing something right. Whenever you play them, you know they’re going to be in your face, they’re going to finish their checks and they’re going to work hard.

“They’ve got some tough guys on that team. Some real tough guys. They play the game hard. Our team, we’re not built to kind of brawl it out every night. We’re going to stick up for each other as a unit as a group.”

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Tamer Bruins-Canadiens rivalry a relief for Max Pacioretty at 12:28 pm ET
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It goes without saying that the Bruins-Canadiens rivalry has lacked the fireworks it had last season. There have been only two fights, and, at last count, zero criminal investigations. That’s quite the departure from what we saw last season.

Count Habs forward Max Pacioretty among those who has no problem with that. The Connecticut native was the center of attention in the rivalry last season. It all started when he celebrated his Jan. 8 game-winning goal in overtime by shoving Zdeno Chara. He then found himself in the middle of it again when he jumped former college teammate Steven Kampfer in a scrum on Feb. 9.

Of course, the most memorably part of last season’s rivalry came when Chara shoved Pacioretty into a stanchion at Bell Centre on March 8. The play was highly controversial and ended Pacioretty’s season.

So by comparison, the 23 year-old finds this season’s tamer edition of the rivalry to be a relief.

“It definitely is,” Pacioretty said Thursday. “That’s in my past, and hopefully it’s in everyone else’s as well. I’m just looking to help my team win hockey games. Especially against a top team in our conference, I want to do whatever I can to help, and I’ve got to put the past behind me.”

This season, Pacioretty has 12 goals and 16 assists for 28 points.

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Claude Julien: Max Pacioretty hit ‘almost identical’ to Matt Cooke hit on Marc Savard 11.29.11 at 12:23 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — Bruins coach Claude Julien said after Tuesday’s practice that Habs forward Max Pacioretty’s hit on Penguins defenseman Kris Letang resembled Matt Cooke’s hit on Marc Savard in March of 2010.

Pacioretty was suspended for three games Monday for the hit in which he targeted the head of Letang.

“To me, it resembled a little bit the hit that Savard took from Cooke a few years ago,” Julien said when asked about the play. “It was almost identical, but that’s the league’s decision to make.”

Savard is not playing this season due to post-concussion syndrome. He played in only 25 games last season before suffering his most recent concussion.

Pacioretty might be known best for the shove into a stanchion he took last season from Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. While there was a criminal investigation on the play, Chara was not suspended.

“[It] certainly doesn’t have any links to what happened to him last year,” Julien said of Pacioretty. “That’s two totally different things. He was on the receiving end of one and was on the giving end of another. The league chose to make the rule on that, and that’s where it ends.”

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