|Bruins respond to ‘ludicrous’ accusations from Dale Hunter||04.18.12 at 3:27 pm ET|
ARLINGTON, Va. — Responses are usually saved for the ice in hockey, but on Wednesday the Bruins had to answer to something pretty serious.
On Tuesday, Washington coach Dale Hunter suggested the Boston players had been targeting the head of Nicklas Backstrom, who missed 40 games during the regular season with a concussion.
Backstrom was suspended for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals for cross-checking Bruins forward Rich Peverley in the face after the Bruins’ 4-3 victory in Game 3. Hunter said on Tuesday that because of how the Bruins had been playing against him, Backstrom had to “protect himself.”
“That doesn’t make sense,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said after Wednesday’s practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. “I don’t know any coach that would tell his team to go after somebody’s head. It speaks for itself.”
Added Julien: “It’s ludicrous. It’s ridiculous. There’s always going to be emotions in games, and there’s things that are happening. Like I said [after Game 3], there was three cross-checks. They penalized one and they suspended one. We’re not whining about the refs and we need to win the series and what’s going on here. That’s where are focus is on. That’s what it should be.”
Bruins center Patrice Bergeron has returned from two major concussions in his day, and last season missed two playoff games with a concussion. He said he hasn’t gotten a sense that players target the heads of players returning from head injuries, and certainly hopes that id doesn’t happen on any team.
“I think we’re just playing playoff hockey,” Bergeron said. “We’re not worrying about who’s out there. I certainly would be the last guy to do something like that. I’ve been through it, so I don’t really worry about that, to be honest with you.”
Shawn Thornton doesn’t pay attention to other teams, whether it be their place in the standings, the scores of their games or the words that they say. One thing Thornton is sure of, however, is that Hunter’s accusation had nothing to do with a mere fourth-liner.
“I’m not on the ice against that guy anyway,” Thornton said of Backstrom, who once had 101 points in a season, “so I really don’t have to worry about it.”
ARLINGTON, Va. — The Capitals released the following statement Wednesday on the suspension of Nicklas Backstrom. The center was suspended for Game 4 after his cross-check to Rich Peverley‘s face at the end of Game 3.
“We disagree with the NHL’s decision to suspend Nicklas Backstrom. This has been a competitive and physical series, and we do not understand why a suspension was imposed in this case while other incidents in this series have not been reviewed. Our singular focus is on Game 4, and we look forward to the energy that our great fans provide.”
Capitals center Keith Aucoin joined the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning to discuss his team’s series against the Bruins and his experience growing up in the Boston area.
Aucoin may have grown up playing hockey in Waltham and Chelmsford, but now he plays on an enemy line as far as Bruins fans are concerned as the B’s and Capitals square off in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Aucoin and the Capitals returned home with the series tied heading into Game 3, but the Bruins were able to snag a victory, something that Aucoin said was because the Bruins simplified their game.
“I think they kept the game a lot more simple,” Aucoin said. “They were a lot more physical than they were in Game 1 and 2, and I think they kind of wore us down a bit toward the end of the game. They turned the puck over, which is what they key on.
“They got us off our game a little bit, and after the whistles stopped there was a lot of extracurricular activity. We have to make sure we stay away from that and that’s what we did in Games 1 and 2.”
When asked if the physical play of Game 3 was a sign of things to come, if the series may take an ugly turn as it has in many series around the NHL, Aucoin said that these kinds of actions are what happen when two teams have prolonged exposure to each other in such a condensed period of time.
“I think that’s what happens in a series,” Aucoin said. “[In] Game 1 there wasn’t much at all, and Game 2 a little bit more and Game 3 a little bit more. As the games go on, you get sick of each other and you grow tired of each other. You never know what can happen. You could see the hate going in Game 3.”
The Capitals suffered a tough setback to their hopes to rebound from their Game 3 loss when it was announced that Nicklas Backstrom would be suspended for Game 4 for his cross-check on Rich Peverley at the end of the game. Though Backstrom’s absence will certainly make things tougher for the Capitals, Aucoin said that the team can possibly rally around it.
” I think the guys have to rally around each other and go out there and figure out a way to win,” Aucoin said. “Tomorrow’s a must-win game for us, so we can’t feel sorry for ourselves. We have to go out there and somebody’s got to step up.
“[For] the last month and a half before the playoffs started we’ve been playing playoff hockey. We have to figure out a way to do it again and rally. We’re a team that’s rallied around each other all year and it’s been fun to be a part of.”
|Nicklas Backstrom suspended for Game 4||04.17.12 at 11:13 pm ET|
Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom was suspended one game for cross-checking Bruins forward Rich Peverley in Monday’s Game 3, the NHL announced Tuesday. The incident occurred at 20:00 of the third period, and Backstrom was assessed a match penalty for attempt to injure.
WASHINGTON — Capitals coach Dale Hunter thinks the Bruins are targeting Nicklas Backstrom‘s head. That’s a big accusation, especially given Hunter’s track record as a player.
Backstrom, of course, missed 40 games this season due to a concussion, so the suggestion that the B’s are going after his head is pretty heavy.
“Every scrum, Nicky comes out with no helmet on, he gets blockered to the head by [Tim] Thomas the game before. He’s protecting his head,” Hunter told reporters Tuesday. “He just came out for 40 games. You have to protect your head. With his stick being in his face like that, it was a dangerous play on his part.”’
Backstrom has a hearing with the league on Wednesday for his cross-check to the face of Rich Peverley at the end of Game 3. Hunter said he doesn’t think Backstrom will be suspended because Peverley’s stick was “up in his face first.”
“He’s got to protect himself,” Hunter said of Backstrom. “If you get a second concussion, you’re out a long time. If it wasn’t there, if a stick wasn’t in his face, Nicky Backstrom’s not that kind of player. He doesn’t just cross-check somebody in the face. He’s not like that. Because of the stick was there, he protected himself.”
WASHINGTON — According to a tweet from TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the Capitals have been informed that center Nicklas Backstrom will have a hearing with the NHL Tuesday at 3:30 over his cross-check to the face of Rich Peverley in Monday’s game.
After the final seconds ticked off the clock in Boston’s 4-3 victory over the Capitals in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, Backstrom cross-checked Peverley in the face and was given a match penalty, which carries with it an automatic suspension pending review of the league.
|Andy Brickley on D&C: Bruins over Capitals in six games||04.11.12 at 9:03 am ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley joined the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning to go in-depth and discuss the Bruins’ upcoming first-round playoff series against the Capitals.
With so many different facets of the game that could come into play against a talented Washington team, Brickley said that one of the Bruins’ primary strengths, their third- and fourth-line productivity, will be tested against the Capitals, who boast a similar strength in that area.
“That’s how the Bruins play when they play their best and that is their expectation that that’s the way they’re going to play this year,” Brickley said. “I think that the fact that Washington may have gotten the better or was certainly equal to the Bruins in that area during the season series is why I’m kind of highlighting it.
“The Bruins’ third and fourth lines, because they were so good last year, are going to have to do it again. It’s good that they’re playing a team in the first round that will make them be very aware that they have to get the complete contribution from all 12 forwards.”
When asked to pick out a particular X-factor in the series, Brickley turned his attention to Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom, someone he said can have a big impact on this series despite missing significant regular-season action.
“He missed three months with a concussion, came back at the end of the year, played four games, seemed to get better each game,” Brickley said. “But keep in mind that playoff hockey — the speed, the physical play, the way you win as you win in the dirty areas – and because everything is ramped up a lot, when you’re coming off a head injury and you miss that kind of time, I’m not so sure what they’re going to get from him because the Bruins are such a heavy team and I think that would be a concern for Washington.”
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