|Andy Brickley on M&M: ‘Bruins appear to be very vulnerable right now’||04.24.13 at 12:18 pm ET|
NESN commentator Andy Brickley joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to talk about the Bruins’ turnover issues, how their defensive pairings might look in the playoffs and how Milan Lucic has responded to being benched on Saturday.
Brickley said he saw a number of recurring issues in the Bruins’ 5-2 loss to the Flyers on Tuesday.
“[I was] surprised by the lack of complete-game effort by Boston,” Brickley. “It’s almost an indifference to their game. Not enough meaningful contact, the turnovers were just way too many. And not just by one player or a handful of players — it’s everybody. When they get good penalty-killing, their power play can’t score. When they get a power-play goal, their penalty kill seems to fall by the wayside.
“When they need a save in a close game, they haven’t gotten it lately. And if you’re looking for that Bruin team that we got so used to liking because they had that cockiness and swagger to them and they had tremendous confidence as a team, it’s just not there, plain and simple. This is a team that no matter where they finish, whether it’s second or fourth in the conference, [potential playoff opponents] will have no reservations because the Bruins appear to be very vulnerable right now.”
Turnovers have plagued the Bruins all over the ice as they’ve continued to struggle recently, and Brickley said he thinks that’s their No. 1 issue at the moment.
“The ones that jump out at you are the ones where the defensemen turn the puck over in their own zone, and a scoring chance or a goal happens,” Brickley said. “But turnovers at the offensive blue line, turnovers deep in the offensive zone, bad passes through center ice — usually when you make mistakes like that, it’s your decision-making.
“Is that a result of mental or physical fatigue? If you told me that in the middle of the third week of March, when they were playing 17 games in that month, I’d say, OK, I get that. But not now. This is where fatigue cannot be part of the equation. You have to compartmentalize, totally focus on the job at hand. And what the Bruins really need is for their leaders to lead and their star players to do more. [Zdeno] Chara can be a better player. [Patrice] Bergeron has been awesome all year long, but I’m going to ask him to do even more. I want [Andrew] Ference to stand up, [Dennis] Seidenberg, those are the guys that really play tons of minutes. Those are the guys that have to lead the way.”
|Milan Lucic a healthy scratch as Carl Soderberg makes NHL debut||04.20.13 at 12:18 pm ET|
Milan Lucic was made a healthy scratch for Saturday’s game against the Penguins and did not take warmups. The scratch comes two days after Lucic skated with the Bruins’ extra forwards in Thursday’s practice.
After scoring 30 goals two seasons ago and scoring 26 last season, Lucic has just six goals in 41 games this season. He has two goals over his last 27 games.
Prior to the lockout, the 24-year-old Lucic signed a three-year contract worth $18 million that will make him the Bruins’ highest-paid forward beginning next season.
With Lucic out, Carl Soderberg was in the lineup for his NHL debut. Dougie Hamilton was also absent from warmups, making he, Aaron Johnson and Wade Redden the healthy scratches on defense. The lines and pairings appeared as follows in warmups:
Daniel Paille ‘ David Krejci ‘ Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand ‘ Patrice Bergeron ‘ Tyler Seguin
Carl Soderberg ‘ Chris Kelly ‘ Jaromir Jagr
Gregory Campbell ‘ Rich Peverley ‘ Shawn Thornton
The Bruins took the ice for warmups wearing hats for the police departments of Massachusetts, Watertown and Boston.
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Milan Lucic wouldn’t blame Claude Julien for making him a healthy scratch||04.18.13 at 1:21 pm ET|
“Nope. Nope. I wouldn’t blame anyone but myself. If that’s what needs to be done in order to get myself going, I’m for what’s best for the team and not best for myself,” Lucic said. “Like I said, I want to be a part of the team. I want to be better. I want to contribute. I know I can be a big part of the team. Ultimately it all comes down to myself, so there’s no one to blame but myself.”
Lucic has only six goals this season and is about to begin a three-year, $18 million deal next season that will make him the highest-paid forward on the Bruins. For whatever reason, he hasn’t looked like the 30-goal scorer he was two seasons ago or the premier power forward that warranted the big payday, as he’s scored just twice over his last 27 games. Julien admitted Thursday that he might indeed scratch the star forward.
“You saw where he was this morning and it indicates that he may not play tomorrow,” Julien said. “But I haven’t decided that yet.’
Lucic said Thursday his confidence is the lowest it’s been since his the 2009-10 season, when he had nine goals and 11 assists for 20 points and a minus-7 in 50 games of an injury-plagued season.
“It’s not where it was two years ago or last year,” Lucic, who has just two goals over the last 27 games, said. “It’s almost back to where it was at year three when things are just not gong the way you want them to go. Enough with the excuses. You can’t just keep making excuses and saying all these things and pointing fingers and stuff like that. You’ve got to work yourself through it.”
Said Julien: ‘I don’t know what it is. But we all know he’s struggling right now. He obviously knows that. We’ve had our chats about his game for a while now. He’s really trying to turn the corner but doesn’t seem to be able to. So as a coach, you’re trying to help him through that stuff. A big portion of it’s going to have to come from him, obviously. We can support him and give him opportunities but at the end of the day you have to be able to step up there. And he knows he’s not, it’s not a secret, I don’t think to anybody. But we also know what he’s done for this team in the past and what he’s capable of doing. And you’ve just got to hope that this player finds his game because we’re going to need him.’
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Milan Lucic skates with Bruins healthy scratches in practice||at 11:50 am ET|
WILMINGTON — Perhaps a healthy scratch could be in Milan Lucic‘s near future, as the 24-year-old power forward was among the extra forwards in Thursday’s practice at Ristuccia Arena.
Lucic, who has just two goals over his last 27 games and six goals on the season, joined Kaspars Daugavins and Jay Pandolfo in green jerseys to signify the spare forwards. The lines were as follows:
Extra forwards: Lucic, Kaspars Daugavins, Jay Pandolfo
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Canadiens’ Alexei Emelin out for season after collision with B’s Milan Lucic||04.08.13 at 1:35 pm ET|
Canadiens defenseman Alexei Emelin will miss the remainder of the season after tearing a ligament in his left knee following a collision with Bruins forward Milan Lucic on Saturday in Montreal, the team announced Monday.
Emelin lined up Lucic as the winger was reaching for a pick near mid-ice, but Lucic was able to brace himself, and Emelin got the worst of it. While Lucic skated away, Emelin tumbled to the ice in pain and required immediate assistance from the medical staff.
Emelin, a 26-year-old Russian who is in his second NHL season, recorded three goals and nine assist while playing almost 20 minutes per game this year.
|A picture says a thousand words: Jaromir Jagr is so much older than Milan Lucic||04.02.13 at 10:32 pm ET|
New Bruin Jaromir Jagr has been playing for a while. He’s 41. He was a rookie when current Bruins assistant general manager Don Sweeney was in his third year in the league — and Sweeney played 1,115 games in the league before retiring nine years ago. He made his NHL debut before Dougie Hamilton or Tyler Seguin were born.
After Tuesday’s game, Lucic explained the picture, which he remembers well.
“That picture is still in my bedroom back in Vancouver,” he said. “I’ve had it there since it was developed back in ’98 when I first got to meet him.
“A long time ago, back when I was 10 years old, my uncle, Dan Kesa, he played on the Pittsburgh Penguins,” he said. “When they played the Canucks I had a chance to go down in the dressing room and meet him. That was obviously when he was back in his absolute prime. For me and my brothers as kids, it was pretty awesome to meet a guy like him. [You get] the same feeling today when you hear the news that you get to play with a legend like himself, it’s definitely going to be a great addition to our team.”
So Lucic was 10 years old when Jagr was in his ninth season. Now Lucic, 24, is now in his sixth season and will be a teammate of Jagr’s.
Said Lucic: “If you would have told me back then that we were going to be teammates down the road, I probably wouldn’t have believed you, but here we are today.”
|John Buccigross on D&C: Bruins are ‘going to add a significant player’ before deadline||03.28.13 at 10:19 am ET|
ESPN’s John Buccigross chatted with Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning, focusing on the trade of Jarome Iginla to the Penguins.
By the end of the Bruins’ 6-5 shootout loss to the Canadiens, it still seemed almost certain that the B’s would acquire the six-time All-Star, in a move that would have immediately helped Boston’s Stanley Cup aspirations.
“This is an all-timer,” Buccigross said. “I can’t remember in NHL history when a player of this impact, future Hall-of-Famer, was all set to come to a team, especially an Original Six team like the Bruins, and the whole hockey world had it coming, and then it didn’t happen, and of all teams he goes to another up-and-coming kind of organization like the Penguins. It’s a stunner.”
A key part of the potential trade with the Bruins was the fact that Iginla had a no-trade clause, and that could have been the difference.
“I think Calgary got a little better deal with the Bruins than they got for two marginal prospects from the Penguins,” Buccigross said. “But in the end, the player had the no-trade clause and he controlled where he wanted to go.”
Even without Iginla, the Bruins still have a legitimate shot at making it to the Stanley Cup finals. The current fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, the B’s still could make a trade before Wednesday’s 3 p.m. deadline.
“Last night I almost tweeted, I’d rather see Jay Bouwmeester come to Boston than Jarome Iginla,” Buccigross said. “They need Jay Bouwmeester more than they need Jarome Iginla. A defenseman who’s experienced, who can really skate. He would become the Bruins’ best skating defenseman if he got traded to Boston. You look at Dennis Seidenberg, Zdeno Chara‘s not getting any faster. To me he looks a lot slower this year, personally. … A lot of big guys who don’t move so well around the Penguins and the Canadiens. So, I would prefer really good skating defenseman, and Jay Bouwmeester’s just that and he’s big.”