|Shawn Thornton says he doesn’t need an ‘A’||08.08.11 at 3:13 pm ET|
MIDDLETON — On Friday, we kicked around the discussion of which Bruin should receive the second “A” now that alternate captain Mark Recchi has retired. While the opinion here is that it should go to defenseman Andrew Ference, the Stanley Cup champions are deep with candidates.
The two other most deserving candidates in this scribe’s opinion are forwards Shawn Thornton and Milan Lucic. We asked Thornton about the idea of potentially wearing an “A” for the first time in his career prior to Monday’s “Putts and Punches for Parkinson’s” golf tournament at the Ferncroft Country Club, and his response seemingly echoed everything his reputation would suggest: that he doesn’t need anything extra on his jersey to be one of the most respected guys in the Bruins’ dressing room.
“It’s tough to talk about because I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t get talked to about that stuff, so if it happened to be me, the recognition or even the consideration for that is an honor in itself. I haven’t had one in the NHL ever, so it doesn’t stop you from doing your job.
“It’s tough to talk about,” he continued. “Would I like to have it? I guess everybody would, it’s an honor. Do I need it? No, probably not. Whatever the decision is, it will be for the best of the team. There’s a lot of leaders on the team. There’s a lot, a lot of leaders on the team and a lot of guys deserving of it.”
One thing that might prevent Thornton from getting the distinction is the fact that healthy scratches could keep him out of the lineup, as they did once Patrice Bergeron returned in the Eastern Conference finals. Still, Thornton’s selflessness and leadership should definitely have him in the discussion.
|Do Bruins have most productive fighters?||07.13.11 at 5:51 pm ET|
The list is littered with Bruins, as Milan Lucic is ranked No. 1, and all five Bruins on the 85-man list rank in the top 15.
In order to come up with the list, players with at least five fightning majors last season were sorted by their TSN player rating, which is a weighted formula consisting of goals per game, assists per game, plus-minus, power play goals, shorthanded goals, game winning goals, shots on goal, blocked shots, hits, giveaways, takeaways and faceoffs.
Here’s how the top 15 shook out:
Lucic and Horton each had seven fights for the Bruins last season. Lucic, who led the Bruins with 30 goals in the regular season, had the most goals among players with at least five fighting majors. Horton’s 26 tallies put him second among that group.
While Thornton’s value has been his ability to fight throughout his time in the NHL, he had a career year last season, totaling 10 goals and 10 assists for 20 points. McQuaid’s plus-30 rating put him in a tie with Vancouver’s Daniel Sedin, among others, for fifth-best in the NHL last season.
Scott Cullen, who put the piece together, writes that the fact that the Bruins, who finished second in fighting majors last season with 71, won the Stanley Cup, their physical style may be viewed as a winning formula. Cullen believes this could lead to other teams trying to load up on power forwards and enforcers.
The idea of ranking fighters based on their value of players is interesting, as TSN’s list comes far from ranking how the players are as fighters, though that of course is not their intention.
When it comes to dropping the gloves, McQuaid or Thornton certainly have more to offer than the B’s first-line wingers, but the fact that both the Bruins’ first and fourth lines are represented by two players each in the top 15 shows that the Bruins certainly look for grit throughout their lineup.
Though Lucic is the modern-day version of a power forward, one who wanted to suggest he picks his spots would probably have an argument. His seven fights were a far cry from the 10 and 13 he had in his first two years. Yet that’s what comes as a player develops into more of a goal-scorer, as last year was not only his first 30-goal season, but his first 20-goal season as well.
As for Horton, his first season in Boston represented a career-high in fights. He more than doubled his previous best, as he totaled three during the 2007-08 season. Over his last three seasons with the Panthers, he had just four fighting majors.
Now the number the Bruins would probably like to see up is his goal total. Horton’s 26 goals last season were the most he’s had in three seasons, but he had 28 in 2005-06, 31 in 2006-07 and 27 in 2007-08.
|Report: Tuukka Rask, Milan Lucic set for surgery||06.23.11 at 4:52 pm ET|
According to a pair of tweets from the Boston Globe’s Kevin Paul Dupont, Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask and forward Milan Lucic are set to have offseason surgery. Rask is expected to have minor knee surgery to clean up an cartilage issue that had plagued the second-year player throughout the team’s championship season, while Dupont tweets that Lucic will have nose surgery.
Lucic played late in the season and into the playoffs dealing with a sinus infection. He then broke his toe when a Tyler Seguin slapshot went off his foot in practice during the Eastern Conference finals. After leading the B’s with 30 goals in the regular season, Lucic finished tied for fifth on the team with five playoff goals.
Rask, who led the NHL with a 1.97 goals against average and a .931 save percentage in the 2009-10 season (his rookie campaign), lost the starting job to Tim Thomas this past season. In 29 games (27 starts), he went 11-14-2 with a 2.67 GAA and .918 save percentage.
|Tyler Seguin’s shot broke Milan Lucic’s toe in practice||06.20.11 at 12:00 am ET|
Bruins left winger Milan Lucic admitted Sunday at the team’s breakup day that Tyler Seguin broke his right big toe with a slap shot at a practice during the team’s championship run. Lucic, who said he had played the end of the regular season and into the playoffs with a sinus infection, said it was painful for him to play through it, but that he wanted to remain in the lineup.
“Against Tampa, just before Game 2 at practice, Seguin hit me in the toe with a slap shot, so I had a broken toe for the last 13 games, which sucked big time — which really, really sucked,” Lucic said.
“You don’t realize how much you actually push off it until you break it,” he added. “I don’t know if you guys had seen me limp a little bit, but I was limping a little bit. I definitely had to deal with that, especially in that Tampa series. That was kind of tough to deal with.”
Lucic said the injury “heals on its own” and will not require surgery. The 23-year-old did not miss any time in the postseason and totaled five goals and seven assists for 12 points in the playoffs. He led the B’s with 30 goals in the regular season.
|Bruins have one last chance to get traffic in Vancouver||06.15.11 at 3:40 pm ET|
VANCOUVER — The Bruins had no problem addressing the elephant in the province Wednesday.
The Bruins don’t play well in British Columbia (specifically Vancouver) — at least they haven’t thus far in the Stanley Cup finals. They’ve been sound defensively for the most part, and Tim Thomas has turned in the same type of dominance he’s turned in (three goals against in three losses) anywhere else. Yet the team hasn’t been able to create traffic and set up shop in front of Roberto Luongo, limiting their close-range chances and handing the Vancouver goaltender a pair of easy shutouts.
“It seems like we haven’t brought our physical game here to Vancouver,” native Milan Lucic said. “If we can just focus on that and moving our feet, kind of just playing more of a relaxed game ‘¦ It feels like we’ve been tense the last three times that we’ve played here, so if we can do that I like our chances.”
It was interesting that Lucic admitted to playing tense, as it’s seemed clear that the Bruins’ offense has seemed to be just that on the Rogers Arena ice. If there’s any time for them to break out of it, it’s now.
“I don’t think that we’ve had our best games out here,” Chris Kelly said Wednesday, “so hopefully tonight we can correct that and come out and play our best game.”
It’s been a breeze for the Bruins when it comes to getting in close when playing at home. So why, in Vancouver, have the Canucks been able to box them out as well as they have? And why, in turn, have the Bruins seemingly bought into the mirage that is a stronger Vancouver defense at home?
“I think [it’s been] a bit of both,” Kelly said of whether it’s been the Canucks’ defense or the Bruins’ offense that is to blame for Boston’s lack of traffic in British Columbia. “Give them credit. They’ve done a good job boxing us out, preventing us from getting to the front of the net, but I think we need to battle a little harder and find ways to get there.”
If the Bruins can’t find ways to battle harder, their season will end in so-close-yet-so-far fashion. Coach Claude Julien has sent a message to the B’s since they closed out Game 6. The message?
“Crash ‘n bang,” Tyler Seguin said. “We made our adjustments, and obviously we want to get up in their face a little bit more. I think last time in their building they took it to us more than [we did to them], and we definitely want to respond with just as much if not more physicality.”
Yes, the Bruins have been a different, weaker animal in Vancouver than they have been in Boston. But when it comes to Wednesday night, they have to be aware that with the Stanley Cup just 60 minutes (or more) of hockey away from being theirs, they have to look at it as one game to shine, rather than the fourth game of a rough Vancouver experience.
“That’s kind of why we think it’s a different mindset tonight,” Seguin said, “because it’s just one game.
|David Krejci: Revolving door at RW makes it ‘hard to get the chemistry going’||06.13.11 at 1:02 pm ET|
Everyone knew the loss of Nathan Horton was going to be a big blow for the Bruins. But after Rich Peverley scored two goals while playing on the top line in Game 4, some of the questions about how the Bruins were going to replace Horton subsided. Then they rose right back to the surface after the top line — along with the rest of the offense — was shut down in Game 5.
Although Peverley is the one who has scored on the first line that includes mainstays David Krejci and Milan Lucic, he hasn’t been a permanent fixture there. Michael Ryder and Tyler Seguin have also seen time there in the two-plus games since Horton went down. Krejci admitted Monday that it has been tough playing with new right wings after having Horton on his flank pretty much all season.
“As a line, me and Looch have basically played every time with a different guy, so it’s hard to get the chemistry going,” Krejci said. “Obviously you like to have your linemates and stick with them so you can get chemistry going, but it’s kind of hard to do. With the power plays and PKs, it’s tough to get us there together.”
Krejci said he was hoping that being at home Monday night and having the last change would help stabilize the lines a little bit, but Claude Julien said that isn’t necessarily something he’s trying to do.
“It’s been by design,” Julien said when asked about the revolving door. “We talked about that when Horton went down. I had to use different players, so that’s exactly what I’ve done.”
Although Lucic agreed with Krejci about the adjustment not being easy, he said they’re not going to use it as an excuse for anything.
“It’s tough because we’re obviously used to Nathan being there on our right side, and the same game you have Peverley, Ryder and Seguin on the right side,” Lucic said. “But you don’t want to make excuses. Everybody has to do their part when we’re out there. We still have to play the same way we always do. Not much is going to change tonight, so we’re going to have to find a way.”
Pederson said he was surprised at the Bruins’ inability to match the Canucks’ intensity in Game 5 Friday night.
“Momentum has been funny this series,” Pederson said. “The Bruins had momentum going out to Vancouver and I thought let Vancouver off the hook. They didn’t make [Roberto] Luongo‘s life very difficult. They had four power plays, and all they needed was just even one to get some momentum. Vancouver, to me, was the far more desperate hockey club, outhitting and taking the play to the Bruins.”
Asked about Luongo’s comments regarding Tim Thomas, Pederson said Luongo may have been affected by all the pressure he faced going back to Vancouver and felt a little smug after posting a shutout following two routs in Boston.
“Tim Thomas has played spectacular this entire series, every game,” Pederson said. “Win, lose or draw, I think Tim Thomas is going to be your Conn Smythe winner anyway. To me, it was more of [Luongo] was just relieved they had won the game.”
Pederson talked about the Bruins’ matchups ‘ specifically how they try to get defensemen Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg on the ice against the Canucks’ first line ‘ and how it’s affected the attack.
“I think they work so hard at trying to get that, I think sometimes it takes away from your offense,” Pederson said. “If they’re able to win tonight, which I expect, then I would think maybe they may try to change things up a little bit [for Game 7] and maybe split Chara and Seidenberg so that one of two of those are on the ice every time.”
Pederson picked Milan Lucic as the key to the Bruins’ offensive success.
“I think that’s going to be the key for the Bruins, is attacking, five-man attack, get the forechecking game going and get the Garden crowd into this thing early on,” he said. “We said it all season long, obviously Thomas is the key in goal, but to me, the key person up front is Milan Lucic. He’s the key that sets the pace for this hockey club. He’s the guy that gets that puck dumped softly into the corner, making the defenseman turn around, and that’s defenseman knows ‘ he can hear him coming ‘ he knows it’s going to be a big hit. And as soon as that big hit happens, the Garden crowd goes crazy, momentum happens and the Bruins can get a team on the run.”
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