|Bruins hope to shake sloppy play as they return from All-Star break||01.30.12 at 9:04 pm ET|
The Bruins are ready to jump back into their busy schedule, and they’re hoping that they’ll look more ready for their games than they did prior to the break.
The B’s were red-hot in November and December, but they limped into the All-Star break with uncharacteristically sloppy games, and a seven game stretch that saw them go 3-3-1. in their last three games prior to the break, the Bruins allowed three or more goals in three straight contests for the first time this season.
Now that the break is over, the Bruins are embracing the fresh start that comes with diving back into game action, and they’re hoping that whatever was plaguing them in past weeks is gone.
“It’s almost a blessing in disguise that we got to shut it off and reload and refocus after a couple crazy games and uncharacteristic games,” Milan Lucic said Monday. “That’s probably the best way to describe it. We’re aware of what we need to get back to doing well.
“The feeling for me coming off this break is that I wanted to get back and be around the boys and start playing again. Hopefully everyone else has got that same feeling, and that’s what’s going to help us be at our best.”
The B’s will be without both Andrew Ference (serving the last game of his three-game suspension) and Nathan Horton (concussion) Tuesday against the Senators, but that doesn’t mean they can’t come out with a better effort Tuesday. The B’s may have peaked in November, but that doesn’t mean they’re incapable of returning to the level of play that saw them go on a 21-2-1 earlier in the season.
“We enjoy winning, and we enjoy playing the way we were in November and the early part of December,” Brad Marchand said. “It’s a little frustrating when you’re not playing your best, and you know you can be better, but that’s how hockey goes. You’re not going to be your best every night. We know that.
“There’s always ups and downs during the season. The thing that you have to be bale to do is make sure you don’t get too high and don’t get too low, and hopefully we’ll be able to bounce back here.”
|NHL rescinds Milan Lucic’s game misconduct from altercation with Canucks||01.07.12 at 6:54 pm ET|
Breathe easy, Bruins fans. Milan Lucic will not be suspended for one game, let alone 10.
The NHL rescinded the game misconduct issued to the Bruins forward Saturday in the first period of the team’s 4-3 loss to the Canucks.
Lucic was tossed from the game for leaving the bench to join an altercation. Upon review, it was determined that Lucic had gotten on the ice for a line change and was actually considering getting back on the bench.
“The referees reacted to what they saw,” NHL director of officiating Terry Gregson said. “The only player they saw coming from the bench area from either team was Lucic. But with the benefit of replay, we can see that Lucic had previously entered the ice over the boards legally to join the play and actually was contemplating stepping back onto the bench through the door when the altercation ensued.
“It should be further noted that a review of the video confirmed that all players on both teams involved in the altercation had entered the ice legally for the purpose of joining the play. None entered the ice for the purpose of joining or starting an altercation, which is prohibited by Rule 70.”
Had the penalty not been rescinded, Lucic could have faced a 10-game suspension, which is issued to players for leaving the bench to participate in altercations.
|Green Men Blog: Checking in before Bruins-Canucks rematch||01.06.12 at 7:00 am ET|
We meet again Boston.
With the Canucks in town for a rematch of the Cup final, we thought we’d check in. The fans back here in Vancouver are starting to think we retired after last year’s second place finish. It’s funny to look at message boards and see people asking if Force is actually a different person or if I [Sully] have a different suit. Nothing’s changed. We just haven’t had the chance to renew old rivalries yet.
Since September, Force and I have done quite a bit off the ice. We rappelled down a skyscraper in Vancouver and helped raise $10,000 for charity. We’ve travelled abroad to ECHL, BCHL and even NFL games and cheered on other teams as part of our training camp. We’ve paid a visit to a few friends in hospitals and we’ve wished everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. The fun good-willed seasonal spirit ends now though.
In 2011, Force and I picked up nearly a quarter million fans online, tickets to see every game of the cup final, met the Prime Minister, were spoofed by Letterman and were on ESPN almost every other day. Needless to say, it’s going to be tough to top what happened last spring. That doesn’t mean that we’re not going to do it, we’re just saying it won’t be easy.
So far, Force and I have been to only one game this season, between the Canucks and the Nashville Predators in early December. The crowd wasn’t quite as into it and you could tell each team in the rink wasn’t quite in playoff mode either. That was a whole year ago though.
Since then, the Canucks have been on a tear. [Roberto] Luongo‘s played his best hockey of the season. [Ryan] Kesler is back to beast mode and our young rook Cody Hodgson can’t be stopped. This team added a few pieces in the offseason, got focused again and hasn’t looked back.
Now, having to watch your Bruins tear it up in the east from over here hasn’t been easy. You guys have a good team this year, I’ll give you that. Since you cleared some space in the locker room by getting rid of Mark Recchi‘s walker and his lifetime supply of Bengay, you’ve looked refurbished. This will be your first test though. Who are we kidding? The East is always a cakewalk.
The better team won last year, we won’t question that. You guys played harder and you earned the Cup. While we still can’t stand your team, we’re happy and proud of our hometown boy Looch [Milan Lucic].
In fact, we took a bit of flack last year because of 17 in black. A lot of people thought he was giving it to us in the box, because of his hand gestures [in Game 5]. The guy was a beauty to us though, and was laughing the whole time. I had a fake witch’s nose on and he kept saying his was bigger. Though on TV, it looked like he was talking about Brad Marchand in the showers.
Everyone back here is congratulatory of your accomplishment last year, except for the few skidmarks of this city that unfortunately all showed up at Game 7 to riot. They don’t represent our city or country. In fact, we’re doing our best in Vancouver to put them where they belong, behind bars.
Our Green Men 2012 debut is inching closer and closer, much like your inevitable choking when it comes to defending your Cup. You have a great city and we really enjoyed our time there. When it comes to baseball, we don’t like the Stanks either, so we’ll leave that alone. When it comes to football, your glory days are behind you. When it comes to basketball, same thing. Hockey’s no different. You’re forgetting that this is our game. Consider what happened last year a gift, it won’t happen again.
See you in the final Boston,
The Green Men
|Bruins-Flames Live Blog: Daniel Paille makes it 9-0||01.05.12 at 7:01 pm ET|
|Andy Brickley on D&C: Bruins ‘the best team in the NHL’||12.21.11 at 12:14 pm ET|
NESN analyst Andy Brickley made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning with guest hosts Dale Arnold and Bob Ryan for his weekly discussion the Bruins.
The Bruins are the Eastern Conference leaders after winning 19 of their last 22 game. While they only hold a one point edge on the Flyers, the Bruins man handled the Flyers in a 6-0 win last Saturday, taking complete control over the East. The Bruins are in the middle of a five-day break right before the holiday season, giving Brickley and guest D&C hosts Bob Ryan and Dale, plenty to talk about before the Bruins get back in action against the Panthers on Friday. Brickley told the hosts that he thought the Bruins are currently playing better than any other Eastern Conference team.
“They certainly are right now, I don’t think there’s any question about it,” Brickley said. “You can point to all the statistics and numbers you want, but just give it the eyeball test and watch this team play. I guess the simplest way to look at it is as a collection of six defensemen, four lines, two goaltenders, the matchups that the Bruins get because of that depth and balance makes them the better team on most nights. And when you have that believability because you’re Stanley Cup champions — which was really the only element missing, I thought, from a pretty confident team over the last couple of years despite some serious playoff dramatic defeats — that once they became champions, that learning to win was embedded in them. And that’s how they play now. And if you combine those elements, yeah, they are the best team in the NHL, as we speak.”
Brickley chalked up the Bruins’ early season struggles as purely an emotional battle that veterans hadn’t dealt with before.
“They couldn’t get the emotional needle to where it needed to be,” Brickley said. “I think people were well aware of that within the organization, players included, that that was going to be the toughest task. I think you saw the younger players not have a problem with it as much as the older players, the established players, the guys that maybe had not won a Stanley Cup and now were finally champions. To understand where they needed to be emotionally game in and game out and to have to do it just a couple of months after doing it to the middle of June and try to do it in October was more difficult than anybody realized, myself included.
“I didn’t expect them to start 3-7. I thought at worst-case scenario maybe a .500 team through the first four or five weeks of the season, which would have been fine with me. But I got a little concerned at 3-7. When I heard players like Tim Thomas and Milan Lucic say, ‘You know, we’re not that far off,’ you look at the game tape and you break it down and you say maybe they’re right, what’s missing? And it was that emotion, that physical engagement that comes with the emotion of being involved in a game was the only thing that was lacking. And they found it.”
|Peter Chiarelli: ‘If I could find another Milan Lucic, I’d be very pleased’||12.19.11 at 8:49 pm ET|
Bruins fans can rest easy.
The team’s general manager made it clear Monday night he’s not about to change the way he builds his roster based on a one-game suspension of one of his higher profile players.
Peter Chiarelli said Monday he understands what Brendan Shanahan was doing by handing out a one-game suspension for Milan Lucic for the hit-from-behind on Zac Rinaldo on Saturday in Philadelphia. There’s a history there with Lucic and the Bruins have skated from possible suspensions on transgressions from Brad Marchand and Adam McQuaid in the last two weeks.
But not this time.
Still, Chiarelli wants to be clear. The Bruins will still be big and bad.
“It’s one game, for one thing, so I’m not going to react to that,” Chiarelli said minutes before the game Lucic missed with the Canadiens. “We went into the year with the new rule changes thinking that we were going to be a little more heavily scrutinized. We might have even played a heavier game in the playoffs, and, again, people were clamoring that we got away with stuff, and maybe we did, maybe we didn’t. But that’s the way we built the team, and I’m going to continue to build it that way.
“I mean, hey, if I could find another Milan Lucic, I’d be very pleased. I think everyone in the league would want a player like that. No, we won’t stray from how we built it, and we’ll continue to put the pieces in that have some character and have some toughness.
Chiarelli said he spoke with the top judge in the NHL operations office on Monday, getting the full explanation of the discipline.
“I talked to Brendan Shanahan today following his sanction on Milan, the one-game suspension, and what was explained to me was that when there have been incidents before with a player, they look at the whole body of work,” Chiarelli said. “I don’t know if it’s as strong as being a repeat offender, but he’s done stuff in the past, according to hockey ops, that go to his character reference when they’re looking at putting up punishment. Brendan didn’t say this, but if it was his first incident, I would think maybe he wouldn’t have been suspended. Brendan didn’t say that, but that’s my take on the whole thing.
“If you go back and see what Milan has done, to me, it’s pretty unremarkable, but they obviously look at everything.”
But Chiarelli, to his credit, did itemize the list of misdeeds that led up to Monday’s suspension.
“I think he got a suspension against [Maxim] Lapierre, he got the fine against Freddy Meyer, he got a warning on [Ryan] Miller, and this,” Chiarelli said. “I might have been missing one, but he didn’t get any other warnings. You wouldn’t know of warnings because, short of a fine, they don’t publicize that. I agree with the global objective of addressing player safety, and if the body of work means that now he’s in that, again, not ‘repeat offender,’ but the ‘repeat concerns,’ I guess, however you want to characterize it, then if that’s what it is, that’s what it is. Obviously I support the league’s attempt at addressing player safety.
“And I think Milan might have explained to you, and he actually, if you look at it closely, I feel that he has, he did change his game, so to speak, on that check. I thought he stopped skating. If you looked at his left arm going in, I thought he tried to lever him so that he could hit him in the crest, and I don’t think he hit him as hard as he normally does. Milan’s a guy who’s led our team in hits, I think, since he’s been here, and he’s very rarely been penalized with boarding, hit from behind ‘ the roughing stuff. He’s a clean player, and that’s what the law is now, so we’ll abide by it.”