|Patrice Bergeron again showing he’s best two-way player in hockey||03.28.14 at 8:06 am ET|
The last time Patrice Bergeron scored 25 goals in a season, he was a 21-year-old sensation out of Quebec Junior hockey, with lots of speed, playing for a Bruins team out of the playoffs. It was the 2005-06 season and the Bruins under Mike Sullivan finished 29-37-16.
A lot has changed and evolved since.
After watching him put on a two-goal display Thursday night against the team he faced in the finals last season, it’s hard not to come to the conclusion that he is in line to win another Selke Trophy this season. He finished second in the race last season and has finished in the top-5 in voting for the award in each of the last four seasons. This will be the fifth straight. As DJ Bean points out, it will be a race between Bergeron and Chicago’s Jonathan Toews, who was a minus-1 in Thursday’s 3-0 Bruins win at TD Garden.
Not only did Bergeron score twice, he won 15 of 21 face-offs and helped lead a defense that shutout the highest-scoring team in the NHL for just the third time this season. He has an NHL-best plus-38, two better than when he won the Selke in 2012. The Bruins have given up just nine goals in their last nine games.
“It’s not something you really are always thinking about,” Bergeron said. “It is something that is part of our game as a team as a whole. We are a defense type of team and we get some offense with playing defensively sound and stuff like that. So I think we have to keep that going.”
Listen to Bergeron and you get a glimpse of what makes him so special – a two-way player who doesn’t take a shift off.
“Every shift is important,” he said. “You can’t really sit back or take a breather because obviously they’re going to turn it up against you. They’re a team that relies a lot on speed I think and their transition as well. I thought once we played a little tighter in the neutral zone and also in our fore check, it gave us some success.”
All of the above was great before but now he’s scoring at a Sidney Crosby pace, at least for the last five games, in which he has six goals, at least one goal in five straight.
“The puck’s going in I guess,” Bergeron said, showing his typical humility. “There’s not much to say about it. It’s just you get those chances sometimes during the year and it doesn’t go in and now it is. Obviously it’s great any time I can chip in offensively and keep my two way game, I’m happy with it.”
|Johnny Boychuk says ‘everything is OK’ after once again sacrificing his body||03.15.14 at 5:42 pm ET|
He could laugh about it after the game but Johnny Boychuk knows full well he was very lucky to even be standing in his electric blue pinstripe suit after Boston’s 5-1 throttling of the Carolina Hurricanes Saturday afternoon at TD Garden.
Midway through the third period, he lost an edge as Carolina’s Patrick Dwyer reached with his stick for the puck. Boychuk went careening feet first into the boards behind the Bruins net and lay prone on the ice for several minutes clutching his right leg.
Training staff came out and Boychuk immediately got to his feet and swatted away a helping arm so he could get on his skates and test his banged up right leg. He eventually conceded help, with teammate David Krejci helping him off the ice and down the tunnel. Just five minutes after going to the dressing room, Boychuk was back in front of goaltender Chad Johnson, blocking a shot with his skate on the same leg that had just suffered a nasty collision into the unforgiving corner boards.
“I’m a little sore,” Boychuk said with a painful grin. “I’m just glad everything’s OK.”
Indeed, Boychuk appeared to have escaped serious injury, as he had no walking boot on his right leg after the game and didn’t show any noticeable limp while walking. He did need about 30 extra minutes of treatment postgame before speaking to reporters.
Boychuk said he had x-rays on the leg but didn’t have the results immediately available.
As for what happened, on the play into the boards, Boychuk said it was just an unfortunate case of losing his balance.
“I was going for the puck,” Boychuk said. “I was looking left and right to see where my guys were and I went to [make a] hit and then all of a sudden, I’m going into the boards and just went feet-in kind of awkwardly, I guess.”
“I think the part is that we’re happy he’s not injured,” Julien said. “The way he went into the boards with both feet could have been a lot worse. So, kind of happy that he was able to come back and that shot on the foot is nothing compared to how hard he went into the boards, but you know what our team has always been made of those kind of players and guys that gut it out and certainly it helps our team get some, I guess, some energy, and some momentum at a certain point of the game where we needed it.”
|Tim Thomas gets a new teammate in Roberto Luongo and immediately ‘pumps his tires’||03.04.14 at 11:59 pm ET|
Tim Thomas couldn’t resist.
The opportunity to make a joke about the goaltender who was the butt of all Boston jokes in 2011 fell right in his lap when Roberto Luongo was traded from Vancouver to Florida on Tuesday, hours before the Wednesday 3 p.m. ET trade deadline.
“I did have one good line that probably somebody else has already thought of: It looked like [Panthers GM] Dale [Tallon] went kicking some tires and found one that needed pumping,” Thomas laughed.
Thomas, of course, was referring to an infamous comment Luongo made during the 2011 Stanley Cup finals.
Asked about how Thomas was carrying the Bruins on his back during the Bruins’ Cup run, Luongo famously said, “I’ve been pumping his tires ever since the series started and I haven’t heard one nice thing he had to say about me.”
Thomas replied, “I didn’t realize it was my job to pump his tires.”
Now, the two goalies are teammates thanks to a surprising deal in which the Panthers acquired Luongo in a trade with the Vancouver Canucks Tuesday afternoon. That wasn’t the only storyline of the trade as Luongo returns to the organization where he played from 2000-06.
For the record, Panthers GM Dale Tallon said he intends on keeping both goalies in Florida and rebuilding the franchise around them.
“It’ll be interesting, but you know what, I don’t know how things are going to work out, but assuming I’m staying in Florida, it’ll be interesting,” Thomas said. “I’m looking forward to it. It’ll be fun.”
Thomas insisted there are no hard feelings with Luongo.
“No, not at all,” Thomas said. “I wasn’t an enemy with him even [in 2011]. I was so focused on playing and doing my job and that’s the way I was looking at it. So, yeah, we’re both pros, both been in the league a long time. I have a few more years on him, obviously, but we both have a lot of experience to bring to the team.
“Surprised, obviously, at first just like probably a lot of people who were caught off guard and didn’t see that one coming,” Thomas said. “But then I had to get ready to play the game against obviously a difficult team.”
Thomas, on a one-year deal with the Panthers, said he can get along with Luongo.
“Yeah, of course,” Thomas said. “He’s a good goalie and from everything I’ve heard about him he’s got good character. I don’t know what their plans are. I don’t really know anything at this point. I can’t say too much.”
While Tallon did say he plans on keeping both, that didn’t stop speculation that Florida would eventually trade Thomas before the deadline to a contender. Thomas was asked if he would like to be traded to a contender now that Luongo is in Florida.
“Yeah, but now I’ve got to see the situation and see what they’re thinking. I’d like to check in with Dale before I comment on anything,” Thomas said.
What does Claude Julien think of all of this from afar?
“We’ll see if that’s still the case [Wednesday},” Julien said with a wide grin. “Maybe I can comment on it [Wednesday] after the deadline. Fair enough? I know it’s a lot of tire pumping.”
|Mike Petraglia, DJ Bean assess Bruins at the Olympic break||02.08.14 at 11:42 pm ET|
WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and DJ Bean assess the Bruins at the Olympic break. The Bruins finished the pre-Olympic portion of the schedule as one of the hottest teams in the NHL, going 8-1-2 in their final 11 games before the break, including Saturday’s 7-2 rout of the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden.
|Fun while it lasted: Niklas Svedberg solid in first NHL start before return to Providence||01.02.14 at 11:49 pm ET|
It’s been a roller-coaster ride over the last few weeks for Bruins goaltender Niklas Svedberg.
After posting a 50-13-5 record in 70 games for Providence over the last two seasons and capturing the 2012-13 Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award as the AHL’s top goaltender, Svedberg was finally called up to the Bruins on Dec. 27 and was expected to start in net for the Black and Gold on Dec. 29 against the Senators.
However, Svedberg’s tenure with Boston was short lived, as the Bruins had to send the 24-year-old netminder back down to Providence on Dec. 28 after a knee injury to defenseman Dennis Seidenberg forced the team to recall defenseman Zach Trotman on an emergency basis.
“That’s how it works,” Svedberg said earlier Thursday. “You just move on and go back to Providence, play there and wait to get another chance.”
Svedberg would get his chance five days later, as the Bruins once again called him up on Thursday morning before announcing that he would get the start in net against the Predators later that night.
Playing in his first NHL game, Svedberg was impressive between the pipes, turning aside 33 of 35 shots on the way to a 3-2 overtime victory for the Bruins.
“I’m real happy with this win,” Svedberg said. “It’s just one game, but it’s real fun to get a win in a close game.”
Despite a solid first period that saw the Swedish goaltender hold Nashville scoreless over the first 20 minutes, the Predators finally were able to get on the board with 1:56 remaining in the second stanza, as Viktor Stalberg scored off a rebound shot from Mike Fisher to give Nashville a 1-0 lead.
Despite the fact that the Bruins trailed 1-0 at the end of the second period, it could have been much worse for Boston, as Nashville outshot the Bruins by a 16-3 margin in the period, with Svedberg staying steady in net despite the barrage of pucks.
“I didn’t see him [playing] much different from the first to the third, but I thought in the second, when they did throw a lot of pucks at him, he stood tall and made some good saves,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien after the game.
Despite giving up a goal to Predators captain Shea Weber at the 14:35 mark of the third period, knotting the game at 2-2, Svedberg would eventually earn the win, as Brad Marchand scored 56 seconds into overtime to give Boston the dramatic victory.
Svedberg was quick to deflect any talk of what his future is up in Boston going forward, instead focusing on continuing to improve his game.
“I haven’t even thought about it. All my focus was on the game right now,” Svedberg said. “Obviously, I want to play more here, but we’ll see what happens. I just got to keep working.”
Julien announced after the game that Svedberg is going to be sent back down to Providence Friday, but was quick to state that based on what he showed tonight, it won’t take long for the young goalie to once again make a return to the Garden ice.
“I liked his game tonight. I really thought he was good and he just showed us that he’s a guy that we need to look at and keep an eye on and consider,” Julien said. He’s going to head back to Providence tomorrow, but I think there’s a good chance you’re going to see him here again very soon.”
|Claude Julien watches his Bruins implode due to ‘self-inflicted’ sloppiness||01.01.14 at 1:26 am ET|
There were bad bounces Tuesday night. There were highly questionable calls that went against them in the second and third periods.
But in the end, the real reason the Bruins blew a 3-1 lead to the bottom-feeding Islanders on Tuesday evening was a lack of discipline. The Bruins took penalty after penalty, and on Tuesday night, their penalty kill couldn’t erase the mistakes. They allowed four power play goals in eight New York chances in a 5-3 loss to the Islanders at TD Garden.
“I think when we took the 3-1 lead [in second period] we kind of relaxed and they came back hard and they kind of got the momentum back and we couldn’t regain it,” Claude Julien said. “They made their own breaks and they made their breaks by getting some good bounces and got themselves back in the game but in the third period, they were the better team, again. We lost because I think it was, like you said, probably self-inflicted. We took a lot of ill-advised penalties that at one point caught up to us and I didn’t think our penalty kill obviously was very good tonight.
“A lot of things I didn’t like tonight. Obviously our penalty kill wasn’t very good, some of the decision making, even again, we talked about our forecheck ‘ we were late, we weren’t winning battles, they dominated the battle area ‘ and when you start losing those kind of things, to our team it’s certainly not a good sign.”
What did he see from the penalty kill that made it so ineffective?
“Sloppiness,” Julien said. “You guys got your answer.
Then the subject turned to Tuukka Rask, the victim of shoddy penalty-killing Tuesday. Rask, it was pointed out to Julien, has allowed eight goals in his last two games.
“I don’t evaluate players just to ‘ you guys can evaluate him the way you want,” a curt Julien said. “All I know is that he’s been a real great goaltender for us and players sometimes have good games, they have so-so games, and I’m certainly not going to throw him under the bus with everything he’s done for us so I’ll leave it at that.
“Bad PK tonight. I’m not going to start analyzing the game here guys. You guys can do that. I have enough of that to do on my own.”
What caused the high amount of penalties?
“Well I mean if we’re going to talk penalties here you’re going to have to be specific. What I mean is that, some of them I thought were really bad penalties on our part. Other ones, I don’t agree with the [Milan] Lucic penalty at the end.
“To me that’s a battle, to me that’s a battle and that’s what I mean. We can discuss that. To me, I don’t agree with those calls. They were made but there were some that, again, Lucic’s penalty at center ice and [Brad] Marchand‘s, some of those penalties are penalties that ended up hurting us a lot on the road so we have to take ownership of that.”
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