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Do Bruins have most productive fighters? 07.13.11 at 5:51 pm ET
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In case you need a refresher of what the Bruins’ roster looks like, TSN ranked which fighters in the NHL are the most productive.

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.

In addition to Lucic topping the list, Nathan Horton was ranked No. 3, with fellow B’s Adam McQuaid (No. 6), Gregory Campbell (No. 8 ) and Shawn Thornton (No. 15) also making the list.

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.

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Bobby Orr on M&M: Tomas Kaberle let criticism get to him in Boston 07.06.11 at 12:07 pm ET
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Bruins legend Bobby Orr joined Mut & Merloni live from the Pinehills Golf Club for a charity golf event benefiting Mark Herzlich‘s foundation. Orr discussed the Bruins’ Stanley Cup run and offered updates on a couple of players his agency represents. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

“The Bruins have given us a lot to cheer about and talk about,” Orr said. “The heart that that team showed this year was incredible. Again, [Tim] Thomas shows that you cannot win without goaltending. This guy was incredible. If you look at that team everyone did something, someone came up one night and the next night it was someone else.”

Orr was asked about the Stanley Cup and its whereabouts. Orr noted how it is much different from when it was back when he won titles with the Bruins in 1970 and ’72.

“We didn’t get it like they do today,” he said. “We had it for the parade and that was it. I think it is wonderful. The Stanley Cup will be all over the world. I think it’s the only trophy in sports that it’s ‘The’ trophy, the others every year there is a new one. This is it. To have it all over the world, and let the kids touch it and see it. It is wonderful.”

Orr gave an injury update on forward Nathan Horton: “He’s fine,” Orr said of his client. “We really won’t know until he starts working out that will be the true test. I talked to him a few days ago and he feels great. He loves Boston, he was so excited to be in Boston. … We really won’t know until he starts working out. He has to let things settle down. He also hurt his shoulder in the Montreal series and probably shouldn’t have been playing, so he is trying to heal the shoulder and the concussion.”

On Tuesday the Bruins lost defenseman Tomas Kaberle to the Hurricanes but acquired defenseman Joe Corvo from Carolina in exchange for a fourth-round pick in 2012. Orr said that Corvo is a good player who can shoot the puck.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Andrew Ference, Bruins make their Cup run last with tattoos 06.20.11 at 2:47 pm ET
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Andrew Ference is far and away the most heavily-tattooed man on the Bruins. While the likes of Nathan Horton and Tyler Seguin sport notable ink as well, Ference is essentially the Travis Barker of the team’s dressing room.

That’s why it’s no surprise that he set up a tattoo room for the Stanley Cup champions on their final day at the Garden. Ference, who travels to Calgary every offseason to get his ink done at the Smilin’ Buddha parlor, said Sunday that the plan to celebrate a Cup championship with tattoos was a long time in the making. Ference’s tattoo artist told him back in 2007 that if the Bruins ever won the Cup, he’d be there.

“I usually have to back there to get tattoos finished or done during the summer, and he told me years ago when I first got traded to Boston, he said that he loves Boston and has always wanted to come here,” Ference said. “He told me right then, ‘If you guys ever win, I’ll come down and tat all you guys up.’ I’ve seen him every year since, and he tells me every year, so I sent him a quick email after we won, and he hopped on a plain, and here he is.”

Ference said that “probably over half” of his teammates would be getting tattoos to commemorate the Cup run.

“Different things,” Ference said. “Some guys are just getting some writing, some guys are getting the ‘B’ or the Cup and ‘B’ combo or something like that. I think [Mark Recchi] is getting all of his done from past Stanley Cups.”

Ference, whose arms are nearly covered in tattoos, said he is “getting the spoked ‘B’ for sure,” while other teammates seemed uncertain as to what they’d be getting.

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Peter Chiarelli says Nathan Horton was playing with separated shoulder 06.17.11 at 12:00 pm ET
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Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said Friday at TD Garden that even before being severely concussed on a headshot from Vancouver’s Aaron Rome in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals, first-line winger Nathan Horton was playing hurt for the Bruins. Horton, who had three game-winning goals in the postseason, two of which clinched series, had been playing with a separated shoulder, according to the GM.

“Well I know Nathan, before he was hurt with his concussion was actually hurt. He had a serious separated shoulder,” Chiarelli said, adding that Horton was “hurt significantly.”

Horton had eight goals and nine assists for 17 points in the postseason, his first experience in the playoffs.

Chiarelli added that he considered the B’s lucky for their lack of injuries suffered by players.

“I think we’ll only have one, maybe two, surgeries and we’ll get that out there when I get all the information,” Chiarelli said. “But we’ve had our guys dinged up, and all teams do, like Vancouver did and Tampa did and Philly did. Montreal did. I think what I can say about the injury front is we were fortunate from that perspective. And again when you look back at past winners, I remember the one year Tampa won I think they had like twenty man-games lost due to injury the whole year in the playoffs. So you have to have an element of luck. And on that front we certainly did.”

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Video: Nathan Horton pours Boston water onto Vancouver ice 06.15.11 at 7:13 pm ET
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VANCOUVER — Check out the below video of Bruins winger Nathan Horton, who has been out with a severe concussion, pouring Boston water onto the ice prior to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals at Rogers Arena in Vancouver. The Bruins have gone 3-0 in Boston in the finals but have dropped all three games in Vancouver.

The video is not ours, as it is property of the NHL Network posted to YouTube by our friend Jeff Schools of the Maine Sports Network.

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Nathan Horton obviously not playing Game 7 at 2:00 pm ET
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VANCOUVER — In the “how is this news?” moment of the day, here’s a good one.

Bruins coach Claude Julien didn’t even let a reporter finish his question Wednesday in Vancouver when the topic of Nathan Horton potentially playing in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals was brought up. The coach said there was no way Horton would be playing, a statement so obvious that the fact it became a story up here speaks volumes to how badly the media up here gets carried away. After all, Horton was diagnosed with a severe concussion just over a week ago and was ruled out for the rest of the playoffs.

“Let me cut your question short,” Julien said. “Absolutely no. It’s ridiculous. So let’s put an end to that.”

A television station in Vancouver turned Julien’s quote from Tuesday about Horton wishing he could play into a report that “Horton was trying to convince the Bruins to let him play in Game 7.”

So no, Horton is obviously not playing. It’s astonishing that even had to be said.

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Nathan Horton travels to Vancouver with Bruins, teammates keep him in mind 06.14.11 at 11:28 pm ET
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VANCOUVER — It wasn’t immediately clear whether Nathan Horton would be well enough to endure a coast-to-coast flight, but the concussed Bruins forward did indeed make the trip to Vancouver to watch his team play Wednesday’s Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals.

“He certainly wanted to be here. We wanted him on this trip,” coach Claude Julien said Tuesday. “As you know, when you get this far, you’re a pretty close-knit  group. Our guys wanted everybody here and they’ve got it.”

Horton suffered a severe concussion that ended his season when he was dropped by Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome early in Game 3 of the series. The first-line right wing left the game and arena in a stretcher and was ruled out for the remainder of the playoffs the next day. Rome, meanwhile, was suspended for four games for the hit. Horton was at TD Garden for Game 6, being shown on the Jumbotron with tears in his eyes waving a pair of Bruins flags.

Now, the Bruins have left Horton’s equipment in his locker, a sign that he is still just as big a part of the team as anyone else. Given that he came to the Bruins with a reputation as a player who was indifferent to the game, the former third overall pick certainly made a strong impression on his teammates in his first year in Boston and found an NHL home.

“That’s something the guys wanted to do,” Julien said of the equipment gesture. “They wanted him to be part of our group here. Until, again, the third game of the playoffs, he was a big contributor to our hockey club. If the doctors would let him, he would play [Wednesday] and we all know that that’s the way he feels right now. He would be willing to play through what he’s gone through.

“But we know that’s not the right decision to make. But that’s the way he’s feeling right now. He wants to play so badly, he would be willing to play through that. So when a guy has that approach and has that will to want to do that for his team and teammates, the least you can do is honor him in your own way. Our players chose to honor him by making sure the trainers brought his equipment. Before the game, his sweater is hanging in his stall. He’s part of our team and we want him there to the end.”

One man who will not be at Rogers Arena Wednesday is Marc Savard. Like Horton, Savard is dealing with issues from a concussion, though Savard’s history of concussions likely make traveling more difficult. Savard has been in attendance at for a couple of games in Boston, a significantly shorter trip from Peterborough, Ontario, this postseason.

“Marc is probably the only one right now that’s not here, and his health varies from day to day, week to week,” Julien said. ”He’s still in our thoughts and he’s part of our hockey club as well. We’ve got a lot of guys that are part of this and some of them are here and one of them isn’t.”

Horton developed a reputation as a clutch player in his first postseason this year, scoring series-clinching goals in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals and finals. He had eight goals and nine assists for 17 points and a plus-11 in 21 games.

Video courtesy of Bruins.NHL.com.

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