|If you don’t know Nathan Horton’s face yet, you soon will||09.15.10 at 12:10 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The process of acclimation continues for Nathan Horton, who has been out there for each of the Bruins’ captains practice. Though he will technically be a newcomer come Friday’s opening of training camp, Horton, acquired in June from the Panthers, has been everywhere for the Bruins since arriving in town. In addition to his aforementioned attendance on the ice, he’s participated in charity events and has thrown out the first pitch at Fenway Park.
One of his more recent adventures around New England came Monday, when he and Milan Lucic delivered tickets to a season-ticket holder. Though his teammates are plenty familiar with the winger, Horton understands the fans may not quite have his mug memorized.
“We did surprise them. I’m not sure they knew somebody was coming, and then it was me and Milan,” Horton said. “[I don’t think] they know my face real well, but they know him and they were pretty excited.”
Wednesday night Horton will try his luck in Marco Sturm‘s charity poker tournament. Though the getting-to-know-you process has been an enjoyable ride thus far, Horton’s ready to get down to business on Friday.
“It hasn’t started yet,” Horton said of his new job. “It’s been fun till now, but once Friday comes I think it will be a little more serious. It’s been fun though. I get to do a lot of stuff and see a lot of the things in Boston.”
|Lucic has advice for Seguin, excited for Savard||09.08.10 at 1:01 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — It wasn’t too long ago that left wing Milan Lucic was the most popular Bruins rookie. Now preparing for his fourth season in the NHL, the 22-year-old Lucic can look back on his experience in the 2007-08 season and offer some perspective on what second overall pick Tyler Seguin might go through with the Bruins this year.
“I remember my first year, there were things I needed to do to adjust to this level and adjust to this game,” Lucic said. “There was stuff that I worked on for the first three months that I was here, just little things. You just can’t get frustrated when things aren’t going your way, you’ve just got to keep working at it.
“One thing that I always looked at when I was young like that, I just went out there and played. I didn’t want to let any type of expectations or any type of pressures get to me. I just wanted to go out there and play and have fun with it and enjoy the time that I was here.”
Seguin isn’t the only newcomer Lucic is psyched about. Lucic is generally grinning at all times, but he spoke with a great deal of excitement when asked about Nathan Horton.
“He’s a big body. He can skate and he can score,” Lucic said of Horton. “That’s the expectations on him is just to do that. Obviously, he’s going to be a big part of our team and big part of the right wingers. Hopefully it doesn’t take him too long to find his game in our system here. We’ve got some pretty good centermen here that we can match him up with, so I’m sure he’ll be fine.”
The centerman figured to be the best match with Horton might be Marc Savard, who was reportedly shopped by the team at points during the offseason. The rumors led to Savard admitting that he was “hurt” by the idea of the team trading him, but Lucic has been in contact with his friend this summer and has been training harder than he ever has in anticipation of the 2010-11 season.
Though Lucic said he’s excited to see what kind of shape Savard in is after such a good offseason, he is first and foremost glad that none of what was written about Savard came true.
“Clearly they were all rumors,” Lucic said. “Everyone’s different, everyone takes it different. Obviously, Savvy took it the way he did and his feelings were a little bit hurt. I’m happy that he’s still a part of this team because I felt in the three years I’ve been here, he’s been one of the guys that I’ve been closest with, and obviously we have our special bond off and on the ice. I’m happy that he’s back and I hope he’s happy that he’s still around, too.”
Lucic played in only 50 games last year due to a nagging ankle injury but is skating now with any hindrance or tape. He felt he was able to get into a groove in the playoffs, when he had nine points in 13 games, and feels that if he can keep it up, he’ll be effective as ever.
“I felt like at the end of the season there against Philly, I felt like I played my best hockey and I thought I was good and strong with the puck, being able to be hard with the puck and be that physical presence,” Lucic said. “It’s basically the same thing. Just go out there and do that. If I’m just being a physical presence out there, everything always seems to take care of itself.”
|Slideshow: Putts and Punches for Parkinson’s||08.09.10 at 10:51 pm ET|
WEEI.com was on hand for Shawn Thornton’s first annual Putts and Punches for Parkinson’s golf tournament, which means photographer John Vu was snapping plenty of pictures at Ferncroft Country Club in Middleton. Here is the slideshow of the event, which also featured Bruins forward Milan Lucic and goaltender Tuukka Rask (click the picture to begin). For the full low-down on the event and what it meant to Thornton, whose grandmother passed away from Parkinson’s, click here.
|Bruins can hear the hype||at 7:22 pm ET|
MIDDLETON — Eighty-something days after the Flyers eliminated the Bruins in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, Bruins Shawn Thornton, Milan Lucic, and Tuukka Rask took to the golf course for Parkinson’s disease, re-energized on the tail end of the offseason. Frustration and shock that stained the end of the season seems to have washed away, and for good reason.
The Bruins infamously let the Flyers erase a 3-0 series lead and allowed Philadelphia to advance to the conference finals, where they would defeat the Canadiens.
“[It was] really hard. Obviously when something like that happens, it stays in for a long time, but you’ve just got to realize what happened and learn from that,” Rask said Monday. “I think if we’re ever in the same kind of situation again, we’re much stronger as a team and as individuals for [learning] from that situation.”
Since things ended for the Bruins, though, the team started on a course to fill whatever perceived holes they had while also retaining its core group of guys.
Though the team finished sixth in the conference with 91 points last season and were viewed as somewhat of a regular season disappointment, in coming within a game of playing for a shot to represent the East, the Bruins confirmed to Boston their legitimacy as a team with significant playoff potential. As a result, fans have overlooked the loss to the Flyers and instead have zeroed in on how close the Bruins appear to be. Whether it be adding Tyler Seguin and Nathan Horton or bringing back Mark Recchi, Blake Wheeler, Thornton, and key guys on defense, something has sent a jolt of life into Boston’s fanbase and the Bruins are noticing. Read the rest of this entry »
|Flyers help Bruins make dubious history||05.14.10 at 9:33 pm ET|
Summary — The Flyers became just the third team in the history of the National Hockey League to come back from a 3-0 series deficit and win a seven-game series, in the process coming back from a 3-0 first-period hole to score four straight goals to advance to the Eastern Conference finals with a 4-3 win over the Bruins at TD Garden on Friday night.
Tuukka Rask was the loser for Boston, allowing the four Flyers goals on 27 shots. Michael Leighton overcame a shaky first period to put the clamps down on the Bruins season with 25 saves. Simon Gagne scored the game-winner at 12:52 in the third period on the power play after the B’s were whistled for too many men on the ice.
The Bruins struck first (and, for that matter, second and third), jumping to an early lead eight seconds into a power play after Scott Hartnell went to the box for a high sticking call on Matt Hunwick in the neutral zone at 5:18 in the first period. Boston wasted no time, controlling the puck on the face off and getting a couple attempts on Leighton. The second — of the stick of Zdeno Chara — rebounded down to the right dot, where Michael Ryder sent it right back on the crease past a hopping Mark Recchi and the Bruins were off and running at 5:27.
Boston made it 2-0, again on the power play, at 9:02 when a broken rush through the neutral zone ended up in a reset by Dennis Wideman, who decided to take it all the way down the right wing into the corner and send it back towards the crease where Milan Lucic timed his crash perfectly to bang it past Leighton for the two-goal advantage before the first period was halfway over.
Leighton would let in a third straight Boston goal at at 14:10 as Lucic struck again when he turned a giveaway into a lamplighter when he rushed all the way down the right wing and let off a snap shot by the right faceoff dot that went five-hole and made TD Garden erupt.
But the Flyers, remarkably, refused to concede defeat. James Van Riemsdyk fought hard to the right of Rask, leveling Wideman and getting a broken-play dribbler under the net minder’s left pad for a soft goal that made it 3-1 at 17:12 in the first. It was Van Riemsdyk’s first career playoff goal in his second professional season (first in the NHL) coming out of the University of New Hampshire.
The Flyers made it a one-goal game early in the second period on an even strength play where Danny Briere was able to penetrate the Rask’s crease after Ville Leino put the puck deep. Briere did a spin-o-rama and put the puck across the crease, where Andrew Ference could not put a stick on it at the goal line and Scott Hartnell flipped it back over Rask at 2:49.
The comeback was complete when Briere struck on his own, this time with the assist from Hartnell at 8:39 of the second period. Briere came back down around the net and did a wrap-around on Rask that rattled through the net and back out the other side to tie the game at three. The play was reviewed but it was conclusive that Briere had put the puck in the net and Boston had relinquished another 3-0 lead in the series.
Simon Gagne — His Game 4 return from a broken toe made all the difference for the Flyers in this series as he scored his second game-winner of the series to complete the series comeback.
Danny Briere — Perpetual thorn in the Bruins side was instrumental in getting the Flyers back in the game as his goal and assist in the second period were the answer Philadelphia was looking for after it went down 3-0 in the first.
Milan Lucic — Two first period goals got TD Garden pumping as the Boston forward set the stage for the excitement that was to come.
Turning Point — When Briere and Hartnell teamed up to take over in the second period. The pair was able to bring the Flyers back from the brink as the Bruins went soft in front of Rask. The wily center and his large wingman were able to get deep into the crease twice to tie the game and give the Flyers a chance to win it in the third period.
Key Play — The Bruins took a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty at 11:10 of the third period, which set the Flyers up to score the go-ahead goal by Gagne when he found the puck on the right dot in front of Rask for the wrist shot top shelf to bury Boston and its Stanley Cup dreams once and for all.
|1st Period Summary: Bruins vs. Flyers Game 7||at 7:54 pm ET|
Those wondering whether Milan Lucic’s goal in the final 60 seconds of Game 6 would carry over to Game 7 didn’t have to wait too long for their answer.
Lucic had two goals in the opening 20 minutes of Game 7 as the Bruins took a 3-1 lead in what appears to be turning into a no-holds barred affair.
The Bruins put on a heavy forecheck, forced the Flyers into two high sticking penalties and took advantage of the great energy in TD Garden to gain early momentum and – more importantly – the lead.
Michael Ryder put the Bruins up on top when he took control of the puck in the lower right circle and turned and fired a shot that beat Michael Leighton five-hole for a 1-0 lead at 5:27
Johnny Boychuk skated deep with the puck and just before crossing the end line to the right of Leighton, fed a beautiful pass to Milan Lucic, who stuffed it past Leighton inside the left post.
The goal at 9:02 was fourth of the playoffs for Lucic and the second power play tally in as many chances for the Bruins.
But Lucic was hardly done. Just over five minutes later, he took off with Miroslav Satan from the Bruins blue line as the Flyers lost possession of the puck and skated right for the shell-shocked Leighton. His shot beat the Flyers goalie low for his fifth of the postseason and it was 3-0.
And it could’ve been worse for the Flyers, who called their timeout after the third goal. One shot hit the right post and another hit the crossbar as the Bruins spent most of the period deep in the Flyers zone.
James Van Riemsdyk gave the Flyers a pulse at 17:12, the first career playoff goal for the UNH product.
The Bruins outshot the Flyers, 14-8, in the opening 20 minutes.
|Bruins to ’embrace challenge’ of Game 7||05.13.10 at 12:53 am ET|
PHILADELPHIA — Sometimes you just have to tell yourself things will be okay in the face of adversity.
The Bruins will spend the next 24 hours preparing themselves and reassuring themselves of the positives – namely win one game on home ice and earn the right to have home ice advantage against the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference finals.
Only minutes after losing their third straight in the series to the Flyers, 2-1, many Bruins attempted to put on a brave face as they now face a do-or-die Game 7 at TD Garden on Friday night.
‘Like my buddy once said, ‘Pressure is five kids, no job.’ This is just fun,” Bruins forward Shawn Thornton said. “Game 7. Enjoy it. Just drink it in as they say.’
Milan Lucic, who scored Boston’s only goal and the first by the Bruins in nearly 135 minutes of play in the series, also attempted to put things in perspective.
“We’re just looking forward to the challenge ahead of us,” Lucic said. “We know it’s going to be an exciting game. I’m not nervous. I think you have to embrace the struggle, embrace the challenge and have fun with it.”
Of course, if the Bruins don’t win, they join the 1942 Detroit Red Wings, the 1975 Pittsburgh Penguins and the 2004 New York Yankees as the only teams in major professional North American sports to blow a 3-0 lead and lose a best-of-seven series.