|Milan Lucic: Canadiens are Bruins’ biggest test||12.05.13 at 1:45 pm ET|
MONTREAL — It’s a bit odd that the Bruins and Canadiens have yet to meet roughly a third of the way into the regular season, but when they finally do Thursday night, it will mean a lot more than it would have had they met in one of the first two months of the season.
First place in the Atlantic Division is on the line — and crazily, as NHL.com’s Arpon Basu notes, it’s the fifth straight meeting between the teams in which the top spot in a division was up for grabs. The Canadiens, who have played 29 games to the Bruins’ 27, sit one point behind the B’s in the standings with 37.
Some quick background on the Canadiens: They’ve been really good of late — 7-0-1 over their last eight games, as Bruins team statistician/left winger Milan Lucic noted Thursday morning.
“I think it’s probably our biggest test of the year, coming into a real tough building against a real good team who’s playing its best hockey so far this year,” Lucic said. “It’s going to be a good test for us.”
The Habs, who have much of the same roster from last season but added a top-six winger in Daniel Briere and toughened up a bit with George Parros, have been led by the usual strong play from the likes of Carey Price and P.K. Subban. Price has a 2.00 goals-against average and .937 save percentage in 22 games this season and likely will be in net Thursday after Peter Budaj played Wednesday against the Devils.
Subban, fresh off of winning the Norris Trophy as a 23-year-old, leads the Habs with 24 points (four goals, 20 assists). Claude Julien said after the morning skate that Subban is being considered for Team Canada and that after years of adjusting to being a young star player, he’s got everyone on the same page about what he brings to the table.
“I think P.K. is a player that is electrifying,” Julien said. “He makes a lot of things happen offensively. When he carries that puck, he’s hard to stop. Throughout the years, a player is allowed to mature just like any other player. We’ve got some in our lineup that go through that same thing. Expectations sometimes are extremely high, and sometimes they’re not realistic and you don’t allow a player to develop the way you should without criticism, which you should.”
The Bruins haven’t played since Saturday, while the Canadiens are playing the second game of a back-to-back. The Habs blew a third-period lead against the Devils on Wednesday but came back to force overtime and eventually win a shootout.
That brings them to Thursday, when they will at long last face the Bruins. It’s been a good start for both teams, but the season doesn’t really start until the Bruins-Canadiens rivalry gets kicked off.
“It does feel different [having not played them], no doubt,” Julien said. “It’s probably a game that everybody’s been waiting for, fans and players alike. This is a great rivalry. We enjoy this kind of rivalry, and those are easy games to get up for for both sides and they end up being pretty entertaining games as well. … These are the kinds of games that I think fans want to watch.”
|Malcolm Subban to face P.K., Gregory Campbell out in preseason opener||09.16.13 at 12:35 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — All members of “Group B” with the exception of Gregory Campbell are expected play in Monday’s preseason opener against the Canadiens. Bruins coach Claude Julien said following Monday’s practice that Campbell, who has participated fully in training camp to this point after returning from a broken leg, is “close” to being able to play in games.
As for the goaltending situation, Julien said he plans to split Chad Johnson and Malcolm Subban “50-50.” That means that Subban will play against his brother, P.K. Subban for the first time ever competitively. Subban’s parents will be at the game, but the 19-year-old suppressed his excitement quite a bit when asked about it Monday.
“It will be pretty cool, obviously,” Subban said. “I’m not too worried about it, though. I’m just focused on the game.”
Here is the group of players going to Montreal:
Forwards: Anthony Camara, Craig Cunningham, Alex Fallstrom, Rob Flick, Matt Fraser, Jarome Iginla, Nick Johnson, David Krejci, Milan Lucic, Daniel Paille, Carl Soderberg, Ryan Spooner, Shawn Thornton
Defensemen: Matt Bartkowski, Tommy Cross, Torey Krug, Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller, Zach Trotman, Ben Youds
Goaltenders: Chad Johnson, Malcolm Subban
For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Claude Julien calls out P.K. Subban, Canadiens for ‘embarrassing’ the game with embellishing||03.03.13 at 11:09 pm ET|
Bruins coach Claude Julien went off on the Canadiens following Montreal’s 4-3 win over the B’s Sunday night, calling the Canadiens out for embellishing to get penalties.
Julien felt that the B’s were at a disadvantage because Alexei Emelin‘s second-period cross-check on Tyler Seguin wasn’t called, though Zdeno Chara got an instigator penalty and a 10-minute misconduct for challenging and fighting Emelin after the play.
“The frustrating part is that you end up with 17 minutes in the penalty box when you should have been on the power play. It’s as simple as that,” Julien said. “It’s frustrating because tonight, as everybody saw, there was a lot of embellishment and this is embarrassing for our game, embellishing. Right now, they’ve got over 100 power plays so far and it’s pretty obvious why. We’re trying to clean that out of our game and it’s got to be done soon.
“It’s not about tonight. It’s about the game and the embellishment embarrasses our game, and we need to be better at that because it was pretty obvious when P.K. [Subban] gets hit, he throws himself into the glass and holds his head. You know what? If we start calling those penalties for embellishment, maybe teams will stop doing it, but until we take charge of that, it’s going to be an issue.”
Julien said that the Bruins shouldn’t have to feel the need to play less physical against the Habs. He wants the games to be called better, specifically with Habs players getting their comeuppance for diving.
“We can’t change our style. We’ve got to play the way we play,” he said. “If it’s clean, then it should be deemed clean, but it’s hard on referees because when people embellish, it makes them look bad. Well, we’ve just got to make sure we get the right people when it comes to that. When you call the embellishment, maybe they’ll stop embarrassing referees.”
|Players want to distribute list of divers, which is hilarious||08.23.12 at 11:53 am ET|
One of the topics discussed at Wednesday’s rule enforcement meeting in Toronto was one of the most maddening acts in the game: diving.
According to a report from NHL.com, the players attending the session — a group that included Jason Spezza, Kevin Bieksa and John-Michael Liles — “led an impassioned discussing on enforcing” Rule 64.1, which is the rule against diving/embellishment.
The players had an interesting idea, proposing that a list of “divers” can be distributed throughout the NHL so every team’s dressing room can have it and so officials can see it before each game.
While that’s a nice idea in theory, it gets a roll of the eyes from this scribe. Diving, embellishment or whatever you want to call it happens with every team, so that would be one hell of a list. Sometimes it’s more outrageous than others, but diving happens. Maybe it can go away with more discipline, but I’m not counting on it.
For example, Kevin Bieksa is leading the charge against divers? Bieksa committed perhaps the worst dive of the 2011 playoffs — and P.K. Subban certainly had some candidates in the first round — in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals in order to get a high-sticking call on Mark Recchi. But it happens. Andrew Ference did pretty much the same thing to get a call on Mason Raymond in the same series.
How much would a list really accomplish? Does any referee go into a Canadiens game unaware that Subban has been known to embellish calls?
Honest players do it and dishonest players do it. As much as fans want to think it only occurs with whichever team the home team is playing, diving is ubiquitous. Maybe it won’t be some day, but it’s prevalent enough these days for this “list” idea to seem laughable.
|Shawn Thornton talks Tuukka Rask, Malcolm Subban and the Merlot Line||06.26.12 at 6:14 pm ET|
Bruins enforcer Shawn Thornton was at Fenway Tuesday to take in a Red Sox game, and he took a few minutes to talk to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. Here are a few highlights of the conversation:
On Tuukka Rask being the No. 1 goalie this coming season:
“I’ve been texting with him. He’s back in Finland, so I haven’t had a full conversation with him, but I’ve texted back and forth with him. Not about anything hockey-wise, just life stuff.
“It’s June, so I’m not too worried about it right now. I have all the confidence in the world in Tuukka. His numbers have proven that he can start in this league. All his teammates love him. He’s a great guy. They still have to re-sign him, but I’m very confident with him between the pipes.”
On the team giving three-year deals to line mates Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille:
“I’m ecstatic. I’ve loved playing with those guys. We kind of know where each other are on the ice now. We don’t have to talk, we’ve been with each other for so long now that we can kind of just read off each other. That should help us in years to come.”
On the chemistry between fourth-liners:
“I’ve been on it longer, I guess. I get along with them very well as friends, first and foremost, and obviously as teammates. I’m happy to have them back.”
On having a Subban (Malcolm Subban) in the organization:
“I don’t follow junior hockey, so I didn’t even know [P.K. Subban] had a brother playing, to tell you the truth. If he was the best player available and he’s going to make our team better in the future, then I mean Peter’s a pretty smart man and I’m sure they made the right choice.”
Rob Bradford contributed [a.k.a. did all the legwork] to this report.
|Andrew Ference on D&C: ‘Step in the right direction’ for Bruins||02.24.12 at 12:51 pm ET|
Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference checked in with the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning to discuss the mindset of the team with the NHL trade deadline looming on Monday.
The Bruins beat the Blues Wednesday night after going 3-6-0 in their nine previous contests. The win allowed them to remain two points ahead of the Senators for the Northeast Division lead.
“We had a couple of frustrating losses before that where we didn’t play bad, but we definitely took a step in the right direction,” Ference said. “We needed it. It was good. … I think it’s one of those games you can always reach back to, you can always look to. We have a team, especially over the last couple of years, it’s always done really well with challenges and always getting up for those big games, and like Andy [Brickley] said, using it as a launching point. It’s just one of those games where you set the bar at a certain level and we do well with trying to keep it there.”
The trade deadline is Monday and the Bruins are rumored to be in the market for help, but Ference said this team does not appear to him like one that is in need of an infusion in the form of a new player.
“I’ve been on teams that have felt like they definitely need an extra element or they need a little jolt just to get them going, and we definitely don’t have that feeling right now,” Ference said. “But that really doesn’t matter as far as whether or not the GM’s going to get something done because we know we have a guy that if he has the chance to make the team better, he’s going to do it.”
Added Ference: “Especially as players, something so far out of our control, that if you really waste too much energy on it, you drive yourself crazy. It is completely out of our control. I think that you really just have to have trust in the fact that they’re going to make the right move if it’s there and not make it if it’s not. That’s really their job. Personally, I really don’t spend any time thinking about it and I’m pretty sure most of the guys are the same. Obviously, you’re going to have guys that love looking at the rumors and checking out all the news from around the league. But there’s really no chatter about it amongst the guys. … It’s just really not talked about.”
|P.K. Subban, Max Pacioretty say Bruins aren’t dirty||01.12.12 at 12:56 pm ET|
While there has been talk out of Vancouver about the Bruins having dirty players, members of the Canadiens said Thursday that their rivals are not dirty.
“No. They play a certain way and I think that’s why they’re successful,” Max Pacioretty, who had his season ended last year by a shove from Zdeno Chara, said when asked if he finds the B’s to be dirty. “To some extent, I wish we played a little more like them. Maybe not as much as they do, but they’re definitely an intimidating team to play against. They have so many guys who can step up — I’m not talking about fighting — I’m talking about physical. You watch the games recently in the NHL, and there’s not many pretty plays happening. They’re all tough, grinding goals, and a big body presence. I think that’s why they’re successful this year.”
Defenseman P.K. Subban said he has not seen former world junior teammate Brad Marchand‘s hit on Sami Salo, but that he does not consider Marchand or the Bruins to be dirty.
“It’s tough,” Subban said. “There’s a fine line now when you’re throwing hits, so you’ve just got to pay attention to it.”
Said Subban of the B’s: “They’re in your face, you know what I mean? They’ve had a lot of success over the year. They’re Stanley Cup champions, and they’re playing some good hockey this year. Whatever they’re doing, they’re doing something right. Whenever you play them, you know they’re going to be in your face, they’re going to finish their checks and they’re going to work hard.
“They’ve got some tough guys on that team. Some real tough guys. They play the game hard. Our team, we’re not built to kind of brawl it out every night. We’re going to stick up for each other as a unit as a group.”
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