|Bruins beat Canucks for first time since 2011 Stanley Cup finals||02.04.14 at 9:39 pm ET|
Though it didn’t mean as much as their last win over the Canucks, the Bruins beat Vancouver on Tuesday at TD Garden for the first time since the 2011 Stanley Cup finals. The Bruins picked up a 3-1 victory, good for their sixth win in their last seven games.
Vancouver native Milan Lucic made it 1-0 at 5:12 of the first period, with David Krejci passing it back to him while on a 2-on-2 with Jarome Iginla. Lucic finished off the play by beating Roberto Luongo stick side from the slot. Iginla added to the lead with a power-play goal off a feed from Zdeno Chara in the second.
Newly acquired Canucks defenseman Raphael Diaz beat Tuukka Rask with a slap shot on a waffling puck in the second at 11:28 of the second, but a Daniel Paille breakaway goal off a stretch pass from Johnny Boychuk increased the Bruins’ lead back to two.
The game was the third played between the B’s and Canucks since the 2011 Cup finals, with Luongo making his first start at TD Garden since Game 6 of the series. He was out dueled Tuesday by Rask, who made 27 saves.
Tuesday marked Chara’s last game with the team before he leaves for Sochi to be Slovakia’s flag-bearer in the opening ceremonies of the Olympics Friday. The B’s have two games left before the break, as they’ll play in St. Louis on Thursday and host the Senators Saturday.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
— Boychuk was a beast, starting the play that gave Paille his goal and providing a bruising presence. Boychuk found Paille coming onto the ice with the B’s stuck in their zone and sent a pass from the hashmarks of Boston’s zone to Paille at the Canucks blue line. Paille took it from there, beating Luongo low with a stick-side backhander.
That wasn’t all Boychuk did, as he used his body well on Canucks forwards, most notably crushing David Booth multiple times, including a massive hit along the wall in the Vancouver zone late in the second period.
The Bruins will need a couple more performances like that from Boychuk before the Olympic break, as the 30-year-old will be the elder statesman of Boston’s blue line for the next two games without Chara.
— Speaking of Chara, it was good for B’s to get two points in his last game with them before the break. The next two won’t be easy, as the B’s, who are already without Dennis Seidenberg, will be down their best two defensemen. David Warsofsky will play the next two games after being recalled Monday and sitting Tuesday.
— Though his line didn’t have the prettiest night, Paille continued to contribute. The tripping penalty he drew in the first period was the fourth penalty he’s drawn in the last four games, while he continues to use his speed (or, as was the case Tuesday, a fortunate line change) to create chances. Paille has eight goals through 48 games this season after registering 10 in 46 contests last season.
— Iginla has points in five of his last six games, registering three goals and eight assists for 11 points over that span. His assist on Lucic’s goal was the 600th helper of his career.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
— Brad Marchand missed out on a couple of goals in the second period. What appeared to be the Bruins’ third goal was waved off after it was determined Torey Krug obstructed Luongo. Krug was in front of the net and fell into Luongo as Reilly Smith took the puck behind the net and fed Marchand, with Marchand having half the net open with Luongo down. Luongo immediately argued that the goal should be disallowed, which it was.
Later in the period, Marchand hit the post on a backhand bid in front.
— Statistically speaking, Patrice Bergeron‘s line has cooled off since its torrid stretch in mid-to-late January. The trio of Bergeron, Marchand and Smith now has gone four games without producing a goal.
|Seahawks fan Milan Lucic compares P.K. Subban to Richard Sherman, Broncos to 2007 Patriots||02.03.14 at 1:20 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The best sports analyst during Bruins’ media availability on any given day isn’t a member of the media, but rather Milan Lucic, so he was happy to discuss his hometown-ish Seahawks‘ Super Bowl victory when chatting with reporters following Monday’s practice.
Lucic, who grew up in Vancouver and has “converted” to being a Patriots fan, spent the earlier years of his life rooting for the nearby Seahawks and continues to pull for them as his “NFC team.”
It was in a conversation about the Seahawks Monday that loud and proud Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman came up, and whether there is a player like Sherman — among the best at what they do, and happy to let you know — in the NHL. Though Brad Marchand would seem to be a candidate, Lucic said the closest comparison would be Canadiens defenseman and reigning Norris Trophy winner P.K. Subban.
“As far as cockiness? Well I mean there are a lot of guys who are definitely overconfident and stuff like that,” Lucic said. “I mean, Boston, you can almost kind of look at a guy like Subban. Everyone loves to hate him, but he’s still good at what he does, as far as being a defenseman. He won the Norris last year. As far as we go in Boston, I guess you could say he’s kind of a comparison.”
As for the game itself, Lucic said he was in awe of Seattle’s defense, which took the ball away four times and limited Peyton Manning‘s offense to just eight points in a blowout win. He compared the Broncos‘ high-powered offense missing out on the Lombardi Trophy to the Patriots in 2007-08, as it too set records but failed to reach its ultimate goal.
“Yes. Yes,” Lucic said when asked if he was surprised to see Seattle handle Denver the way it did. “Especially a safety off the first play, and it kept going downward for the Broncos after that, but you know what? It was pretty impressive to see Seattle’s defense and what they can do. They kind of just bull-rushed the Broncos offense and [Denver] didn’t have really any answer for it. It still amazes me how in most sports, the best defense usually comes [out] on top over the best offense.
“I guess from the Broncos standpoint, you could kind of compare it to the ’07-’08 Pats, having all that success and all those touchdowns and points, but they lose the big game. I felt that here my rookie year, so I’m sure they’re really disappointed, but like I said, it’s great to see that defense does win championships.”
|Milan Lucic has replayed shocking end to Stanley Cup finals ‘100 times’ in his mind||01.18.14 at 5:10 pm ET|
CHICAGO — The Bruins are back in Chicago for the first time in Stanley Cup finals, and though the series ended at TD Garden, returning to the Windy City brings back plenty of memories.
“I don’t think it’s weird; it’s nice to be back,” Claude Julien said after the team practiced at Johnny’s Ice House. “Last year, although when you don’t win, it’s a bittersweet situation. If anything when you take time to look back it was some really good hockey played, great games, overtime in a lot of them and everything else. I thought it was a well-played battle. Hopefully for the betterment of the game you hope it was appreciated.”
Of course the Bruins wish the results could have been different. The banged-up B’s limped to the finish line as they blew a one-goal lead in allowing the Blackhawks to score two goals in 17 seconds and end the series in shocking fashion.
“The last minute, minute and 15, I’ve replayed in my mind 100 times since that moment,” Lucic said. “Obviously there are a lot of questions. [The game-winner] goes right off the post and right back to [Dave] Bolland‘s stick. You always think ‘What could you have done?’
“And it’s not just Game 6. You look at Game 1, we’re up 3-1 with eight minutes left and they were able to tie it and win it. Then we were up 2-1 in the series and we don’t take care of business in Game 4. Those are the things that haunt you in the summertime and replay it over in your mind. It sucks thinking about it and you want to do everything you can to move past it. Obviously, we’ve done our best to play well this year and move past it.’
To a man — and along the lines of what they said during the series — Sunday’s meeting between the Bruins and Blackhawks won’t be anything like the two meetings the Bruins and Canucks have had since the 2011 finals. Where the Bruins and Canucks hated — and clearly still hate — each other, the B’s and Blackhawks turned in a great six games of hockey, with perhaps the most disappointing part of the series the fact that it didn’t go to seven.
“I would definitely say it’s different [than with the Canucks],” Lucic said. “There was so much more I guess you say chippiness in the Vancouver series where bad blood, still, as you saw in the last game, carried over. There isn’t as much talk heading into this game tomorrow, but we both know what’s on the line.
‘”I wouldn’t say there was any other series [like last year’s] where there was that mutual respect. I’m sure once the puck drops and we get going, that emotional level will be back at it pretty quick.”
Julien agrees, saying he wouldn’t expect to see cheap shots from the players in this rematch like there have been in the rematches with the Canucks. Patrice Bergeron, who wouldn’t have even been able to play in a Game 7 given his injuries suffered in the series, says the respect between the two teams is too great.
“I’ve also talked with a couple guys that played on the team as well and that’s what we basically said, it was a great series, a hard fought series but still lots of respect on both sides,” Bergeron said. “I thought it was for fans, I thought it was a great series to watch also.”
For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Loui Eriksson cleared for contact||01.08.14 at 9:19 pm ET|
Bruins forward Loui Eriksson has been cleared for contact, Bruins coach Claude Julien told reporters Wednesday. Eriksson took contact in Wednesday’s practice after returning to the ice last week.
Eriksson is recovering from his second concussion of the season, which he suffered on Dec. 7 against the Penguins. The veteran winger has missed a total of 19 games this season between his two concussions. Julien told reporters that Eriksson is not expected to play Thursday against the Kings.
Both Milan Lucic (illness) and Jordan Caron (back) were reportedly back on the ice for Wednesday’s practice after missing Tuesday’s game against the Ducks.
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|Andy Brickley on M&M: Bruins ‘have to replace Dennis Seidenberg with a guy from outside the organization’||at 1:00 pm ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley made his weekly appearance with Mut & Merloni on Wednesday, following the Bruins’ 5-2 loss to the Ducks on Tuesday night in the first of three games on the West Coast this week. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
“I was actually impressed with the way the Bruins played in the first period, when you talk about how good is Anaheim and how good in Boston,” Brickley said. “But their penalty-killing just totally let them down last night. It will be another stern test on Thursday [vs. the Kings], and probably even a tougher one on Saturday [vs. the Sharks].”
The Bruins appear to struggling to adjust since the loss of defenseman Dennis Seidenberg on Dec. 27 to a torn MCL and ACL in his right knee.
“The biggest void on this team right now is clearly the loss of Dennis Seidenberg,” Brickley said. “They’re going to try in the short term to continue to win games and put some points on the board in his absence within the organization to make up for his loss. But long term, and if they think they have a chance to win another Stanley Cup or get to a Stanley Cup final, there’s no question they’re going to have to replace Dennis Seidenberg with a guy from outside the organization.”
The Bruins have had a dip defensively and most notably on the penalty kill since Seidenberg went down.
“I think [Seidenberg’s absence] has a lot to do with it,” Brickley said. “I don’t know if it’s a one-to-one correlation with that kind of lack of getting the job done when it comes to killing penalties in his absence, but yeah, he’s one of those guys that’s got real good gaps, he’s able to hold that defensive blue line better than most defenseman, he wins way more than his share of one-on-one battles when the puck’s up for grabs, he’s a good decision-maker, when to be aggressive, when not to be, when to hold your position, he’s real good with stick position, he blocks a ton of shots when killing penalties, he gets to the loose puck so there’s no second and third opportunities when the rebound’s are there. So he does all the stuff that you need a quality penalty-killer on the defensive side [to do].
“In his absence, you still have other guys that can do the job, but he’s one of your premier penalty-killers. He’s just an awesome player in this system, with this group, in his role. When you lose a guy like that, you still have guys like [Johnny] Boychuck and [Adam] McQuaid that are pretty good in that area but not as good as a Dennis Seidenberg.”
|Milan Lucic misses Tuesday’s game vs. Ducks due to illness||01.07.14 at 10:02 pm ET|
Bruins left wing Milan Lucic missed Tuesday night’s game against the Ducks due to an illness.
In addition to it being the first missed game for Lucic all season, it also marks the first time that the team’s top line of David Krejci between Lucic and Jarome Iginla has not been intact. That line had been the only one to stay together for the first 42 games of the season.
With Lucic out and Jordan Caron (back) both out, the Bruins dressed seven defensemen, with Kevan Miller getting into the lineup.
For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Former Bruins enforcer Chris Nilan on D&C explains friendship with Whitey Bulger: ‘I’m a loyal person. He was a friend of mine’||12.19.13 at 10:49 am ET|
Former NHL enforcer Chris Nilan joined Dennis & Callahan on Thursday to talk about his hockey career, his post-NHL addiction issues and his friendship with Whitey Bulger that continues to this day.
Nilan, a product of West Roxbury and Northeastern University, was selected 231st (of 234 players) in the 1978 NHL draft but managed to have a long career with the Canadiens, Rangers and Bruins. He still holds the Canadiens franchise record for penalty minutes in a career (2,248) and season (358). He had 222 fights in his 13 NHL seasons, including 43 in 1985-86 during the Canadiens’ Stanley Cup-winning season.
Following his retirement after the 1991-92 season, Nilan had issues with alcohol and drugs, he was arrested for shoplifting and his 25-year marriage dissolved. Nilan says he has been clean and sober for three years, living with his girlfriend on the West Island of Montreal. He recently wrote a book: “Fighting Back: The Chris Nilan story.”
Nilan, now 55, grew up in Boston in the 1970s and fell in love with hockey while watching the Big, Bad Bruins. He made the NHL as a tough guy but worked to develop his game and ended up averaging 20 goals over two seasons in the mid-1980s. He said the drive he used to get him to the NHL came in handy when he hit rock bottom after his career.
“I had a dream of playing in the NHL one day,” he said. “I think the story somewhat reverts back to the things that — I had my transgressions and my drugs after hockey. Through alcoholism and drug addiction, I kind of reached back and used some of those things that drove me and got me to the National Hockey League to get me sober.”
Nilan said his turning point in his fight against addiction came after he started shooting heroin, something he promised himself he would never do.
“I was wrapped up in that for about eight months,” Nilan said. “And that night, sitting on the toilet, I basically overdosed. I woke up probably three hours later. I stood up and I fell forward and hit my head on the wall and knocked myself out again. And when I woke up from that I had I guess what you’d call the gift of desperation. I knew I needed to get help. I was in such a bad place. I was so beaten down; I beat myself down. I made a phone call and asked for help. It was the best move I ever made. … Clean since. And sober.”
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