|Showcase Time at Fenway||07.15.09 at 7:35 pm ET|
But as the sun shone down on Fenway Park on Wednesday, the spotlight could not have been brighter or more welcome for Boston and its beloved hockey team.
Not only did it appear real summer weather had arrived in Boston after a brutal spring, but it appears the NHL is warming to Boston as a showcase city for its sport on the world stage. The Bruins will play the Philadelphia Flyers on Jan. 1, 2010 in the NHL “Winter Classic.”
“This is so great for the organization,” Bruins Vice President Cam Neely said following Wednesday’s ceremony atop the first base dugout. “It’s great for our fans. We’ve kind of been working our way out of where we were maybe up until the last couple of years. I think this is just another great stepping stone for us being relevant, not only here in the local market, but league-wide.” Read the rest of this entry »
|No Rust here||05.01.09 at 10:59 pm ET|
Bruins coach Claude Julien doesn’t hand out compliments freely.
But even he was impressed with the way his team handled the nine days since dispatching the Montreal Canadiens in four straight games as the Black and Gold skated past the Carolina Hurricanes, 4-1, Friday night at TD Banknorth Garden in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.
On Friday night, the Bruins came out fast, stumbled and then regained the focus that has made them a viable Stanley Cup contender.
'For a team that hadn't played in a week-and-a-half, I thought we came out decently and were pretty poised throughout the whole game and were patient and took advantage of our opportunities,” Julien said. “But no doubt, I think our team was as good as we could have expected for tonight.'
|The Sheriff to the Rescue||04.18.09 at 11:38 pm ET|
The moment that the Boston Bruins found out that Matt Hunwick had his spleen removed on Saturday afternoon, Shane Hnidy knew his time had come to provide the best kind of boost.
And that’s what he did when he fired a shot from the high slot past an unsuspecting Carey Price. The second period goal was arguably the biggest of the game since it came five minutes after Alex Kovalev brought the Canadiens within one goal, 2-1.
“I went in for a screen and was just trying to get the puck off and it went in the net,” Hnidy said following Boston’s 5-1 win at the Garden that but the B’s up 2-0 in the best-of-seven series.
“Shane Hnidy has been a good player for us all year,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “Coming into our lineup and doing the job he did is to his credit because he’s worked hard in practice and kept himself sharp. And the minute he’s had the opportunity, he’s come in and played well.
“The fact he was rewarded with a goal, I was really happy for him, and that’s the kind of team we have right now,” Julien said. Read the rest of this entry »
|Hunwick Hospitalized with Spleen issue||at 11:34 am ET|
Bruins defenseman Matt Hunwick has been hospitalized with a spleen-related issue, according to Bruins head coach Claude Julien. Hunwick was taken from the team’s practice facility at Ristuccia Arena this morning around 11 a.m. and transported to a local hospital.
According to The Bruins Blog, two ambulances, two fire trucks and two police vehicles were on the scene. The site also reports that Hunwick looked ‘extremely’ pale as he was taken off the ice. Veteran blueliner Shane Hnidy will replace Hunwick in Saturday night’s lineup for Game 2. The Bruins host Montreal tonight at 8 o’clock at TD Banknorth Garden in Game 2 of their first round series, leading the Canadiens, 1-0, in the best-of-seven series.
The Bruins issued the following release at 1 p.m.
“This morning Bruins defenseman Matt Hunwick was transported to a local hospital due to a spleen injury. At this point there are no further details regarding Matt or his condition.
The Bruins ask that the media and general public respect Matt’s privacy at this time, and the club will provide an update on Matt’s condition when one is available.”
|Canadiens clearly ‘mean’ business||04.16.09 at 10:28 pm ET|
Long before they took exception to Milan Lucic passing to a wide open Phil Kessel for an empty net goal, Kessel’s second of the night, the No. 8 seed Montreal Canadiens showed they were not going to be a pushover in this opening round best-of-7 series, despite losing 4-2 to the Bruins at TD Banknorth Garden.
“That’s the playoffs,” said Marc Savard, who set-up Zdeno Chara’s go-ahead strike midway through the third. “There’s going to be some bad blood. Obviously, throughout the game, we tried to get away from that. There’s some bad blood but that’s the way playoffs are. We’re going to have to be ready Saturday night.”
Saturday night at 8 o’clock there figures to be more tension when the two rivals take the ice for Game 2 at the Garden.
“Obviously, Looch makes a great play like he does and then he’ s unselfish and decides to go to Kess like that, maybe there’s a little animosity on the other side,” Savard said.
The animosity, and hard-hitting, began early in the first period when Montreal enforcer Georges Laraque drilled Zdeno Chara along the corner boards in the Boston defensive zone followed up by a neutral zone hit on Milan Lucic. But it was the one against Chara that made the most noise.
“I want to play hard minutes,” Laraque said. “That’s what you do with every shift. You have to do this for the first couple of games and eventually it will turn around and make it easier for our skilled guys to play against him.”
Those two hits were no mistake. The Canadiens were clearly targeting the two toughest and biggest Bruins in an effort to show that they are not intimidated by the top-seeded Bruins, even on their home ice.
The hard hitting continued in the second period when the Canadiens managed to wipe out what was once a two-goal Boston lead when Alex Kovalev scored. The goal with 2:23 remaining in the middle frame reinforced to the Bruins that these Canadiens, even without Andrei Markhov and a limited Mathieu Schneider, mean business. Read the rest of this entry »
|Warning signs||at 8:15 pm ET|
The Canadiens came out and carried play for the first five minutes, spending most of the time in the Bruins end. A concern if for no other reason than they also dominated the final five minutes of the second period, including a game-tying laser by Alex Kovalev from the right circle.
It was the 43rd playoff tally for Kovalev, a rookie when the Rangers ended their 54-year Cup drought in 1994.
Kovalev’s goal was scored just seven seconds after the Bruins killed off Stephane Yelle’s goaltender interference penalty.
2-2 with 12:17 to go in the third. And the crowd that was waving the yellow towels up 2-0 in the first is getting a tad nervous.
|Bear beware||04.15.09 at 1:44 pm ET|
Thomas heads into this series knowing full well all eyes will be on him and how he handles the anticipated traffic in front as Montreal tries to disrupt him. He also knows the the history of the Stanley Cup playoffs when a No. 1 can go down in flames when a No. 8 team gets hot — like last year, when the Bruins nearly pulled it off against the Habs.
It happened in 1982 when Wayne Gretzky and the Edmonton Oilers were beaten by the Los Angeles Kings in round 1 in the Miracle on Manchester. And it happened in 2000 when the St. Louis Blues, with 114 points, were ousted by San Jose. And while the Bruins were a No. 2 seed in 2004, they lost to the underdog Canadiens in seven games.
“A lot of it is because teams are so close,” Thomas said in offering his explanation. “The difference between one and eight in this league isn’t very much. The difference between five and 11 isn’t very much. There are no easy teams on any given night, depending on how teams are playing and how the momentum has been going for that team, any team can beat any other team and I think that’s why you see the results you see.”
What’s even more intriguing is listening to Thomas talk about the intensity level of this series, and what he learned from last year’s seven-game battle that ended in heartbreak for the B’s in Montreal.
“I had the NHL playoffs described to me before the playoffs last year and I was thinking to myself, ‘Okay, I’ve been to the (Frozen) Four in college, I’ve won a championship in Finland, I’ve been to the World Championships, it can’t be that much different than anything I’ve experienced.’ And I was wrong. It was all more emotional and adrenaline-rushed than anything I could have imagined,” said Thomas, who played at Vermont and went to the Frozen Four in 1996, losing in double-OT to Colorado College.
Thomas doesn’t have to go back that far to remember last week’s hour-long second period, where the Bruins-Canadiens resembled a UFC steel-cage death match.
“I think it’ll increase, if anything,” Thomas said of the intensity. “I’m expecting both teams to obviously be more disciplined. But as far as that type of game, with all-out competing, every man competing up and down the bench, yeah, that’s what I expect.”
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