|Shawn Thornton on D&C: Jaromir Jagr has ‘bought in’ to Bruins system||06.19.13 at 9:35 am ET|
Despite the Bruins’ domination in their 2-0 victory in Game 3 on Monday night, Thornton said his team is not overconfident.
“It’s just one game,” he said. “We played pretty well last game. [But] we had some frustration, too. We took a few penalties and we had some emotions at the end, too. So, it could have went either way. We just were fortunate enough that Tuukka [Rask] stood on his head and got us that shutout. To say that we’re in control I think is a little bit of a stretch at this point in the series.”
The Blackhawks were never more inept than when on the power play, as the Bruins stopped all five opportunities (allowing just four shots) and had better scoring chances shorthanded.
“They have pretty dangerous players over there,” Thornton said. “Our PK has done a very good job so far. But when I was in [penalty box] last game for two minutes, I was sweating the whole time hoping that my penalty wasn’t the reason they scored.
“They were missing [Marian] Hossa, one of their best players, last game. I don’t know what happened to him. But he’s back tonight, as far as I know. I think it will be a little bit of a different game tonight.”
The Bruins have demonstrated a solid team approach, committing to coach Claude Julien‘s defense-oriented system. Asked who the most important Bruin is, Thornton said newcomer Jaromir Jagr deserves credit for adjusting his game to fit the B’s style.
“Everyone has to buy in for us to be successful,” Thornton said. “The most impressive is probably I’d say Jagr, being that he just got here. I don’t know a whole lot about where he was before this — other than what you read on paper, and everyone knows — but I’m pretty sure that he’s pretty used to doing his own thing out there, and it’s worked out pretty well for him the last 22 years. He comes in here and he’s backchecking and finishing checks and battling on pucks. That’s pretty impressive when you’ve been doing something one way for 21 years and now you’re told you’re going to do it this way if you want to have success, and he’s bought in.
“The other guys, top to bottom, the whole time I’ve been here, it starts with those big boys. Then the little guys like myself have to fall in line and follow the system or else you’re not around. So, I think all the way throughout it’s been pretty good.”
Patrice Bergeron has stepped into the national spotlight with his all-around play in this series, something Thornton noted is long overdue.
“I think he’s finally getting his due,” Thornton said. “We’ve appreciated him in that room for the last five, six years that I’ve been here. He’s so good defensively. And the players he plays with — this isn’t taking anything away from [Tyler Seguin] or [Brad Marchand] when they’re together, or Jags and Marchy now, but if you put another centerman in between them, I’m not sure if they’re as successful in their own zone. He does a lot of things to cover up — not cover up, but he’s in the position to let them maybe take advantage a little bit more offensively, because he’s so good at being in the right spot and making sure that he’s behind you 100 percent defensively.”
Added Thornton: “On the other side of the puck he doesn’t get enough credit, how good he is offensively. He’s finally starting to get some due because he’s scored some timely goals for us in the playoffs. But when we skate with him in the offseason and in training camp and on a daily basis, the things you see him do with the puck, and how strong he is on it and how quick he is, there’s not too many guys that can control it like him.”
|Patrice Bergeron loses Selke, wins King Clancy||06.14.13 at 6:15 pm ET|
CHICAGO — Patrice Bergeron was edged out by Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews for the Frank J. Selke Trophy, which is given “to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game,” as voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association. With 1260 points, Toews finished just 10 points ahead of Bergeron, who had 1250.
Bergeron had the most first-place votes with 78 to Toews’ 75, but Toews’ combination of first, second, third, fourth and fifth votes surpassed Bergeron’s total. Bergeron led the league with a 61.2 success rate on faceoffs, with Toews finishing second with a 59.9 percent clip. Pavel Datsyuk of the Red Wings finished third in Selke voting with 737 points.
While Bergeron was denied the Selke, he did win the King Clancy Trophy as the player who “best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and who has made a significant humanitarian contribution to his community.”
‘It means a lot, it’s a huge honor,” Bergeron said of winning the King Clancy. “Obviously, anytime you have the chance to help out the community, it’s something that speaks a lot to me and I want to do,’ said Bergeron. ‘Like I said it’s a huge honor, and I’m very happy about it. I like to lead by example and just work as hard as I can on and off the ice and help whoever I can.’
Among Bergeron’s charitable efforts is the Patrice’s Pals program, in which he hosts patients from local hospitals and others children’s organizations at Bruins games in a luxury suite.
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Pierre McGuire on M&M: Bruins ‘played with the heart of a champion’||06.13.13 at 8:08 pm ET|
NBC hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Thursday afternoon to discuss Wednesday’s Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals and the ramifications of the Bruins’ marathon loss going forward.
Sure, the 4-3, triple-overtime loss was disappointing, McGuire said, but the Bruins don’t have much reason to be down on themselves going into Saturday’s Game 2.
‘Boston played with the heart of a champion, and I don’t expect it to be anything different [the rest of the series]. It could be a long, hard series,’ McGuire said. ‘I saw so many positive things from the Bruins. I saw a lot of positive things from the Blackhawks. These are the two best teams. There’s no Cinderella here. Both of these teams deserve to be in the Stanley Cup final.’
What will be interesting is when the series shifts back to Boston for Game 3 Monday and the Bruins get the last line change before the game time. McGuire suspects Claude Julien will match up Patrice Bergeron‘s line with that of Jonathan Toews, and David Krejci‘s unit with Michal Handzus.
Speaking of Bergeron’s line, McGuire also said Tyler Seguin is a likely candidate to play with Krejci and Milan Lucic should Nathan Horton be unable to play. Horton left Game 1 during the first overtime and did not return.
McGuire also expects Seguin, who has five points (one goal, four assists) and is a minus-2 in 17 playoff games, to break out soon.
‘He wants the puck. He wants to make a difference. His speed is very apparent, especially at ice level,’ McGuire said. ‘For those that weren’t at the morning skate [Wednesday], everything he shot went in. It was unbelievable watching him in practice. He was letter perfect with his passing and shooting. His skating is great. I just get the feeling he’s about the break out, I really do.”
McGuire gave much credit to goalies Tuukka Rask and Corey Crawford, even calling Crawford ‘superhuman’ in the first overtime,’ and said while Torey Krug‘s crucial, third-period turnover was quite unfortunate, the defenseman can bounce back, just as the Bruins can.
‘It’s a tough situation for a young player, an undrafted player, to go into the Stanley Cup finals,’ McGuire said. ‘It was an egregious turnover. Obviously it ends up in the back of the net. Nobody wants to see that.
‘But I thought he got better as the game went along. I know they weren’t afraid to use him in overtime, and he had some good chances. They used him on the power play, too, with [Dennis] Seidenberg. He’s a young player. He’s going to grow. I think he’ll be better off with the experience. Was it his best game? No. Was it a terrible game? No. He just made one bad mistake.”
Andrew Shaw scored off a double deflection at 12:08 of triple overtime to give the Blackhawks a 4-3 win over the Bruins in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals Wednesday night at the United Center in Chicago. It was the longest overtime game in Stanley Cup finals play since Petr Klima beat the Bruins in triple overtime in Game 1 of the 1990 finals at Boston Garden.
With 52 minutes, eight seconds of overtime play, it was the fifth-longest finals game in history and the longest since Detroit beat Carolina on June 8, 2002, a game that took 54 minutes, 47 seconds. The longest game in finals history came on May 15, 1990, at Boston Garden when Petr Klima scored at 55:13 of overtime.
Tuukka Rask made 59 saves while Corey Crawford stopped 51 shots for the Blackhawks.
Milan Lucic scored Boston’s first two goals of the Stanley Cup finals, staking Boston to a 2-0 lead midway through the second period. Lucic scored on a pretty assist from Nathan Horton just over 13 minutes into the game.
Lucic scored on a shot from between the circles just 51 second into the second period.
‘¢ The game was the longest of this postseason at 52:08 of overtime and stands as the fifth-longest game in Stanley Cup final history.
‘¢ The Bruins played their 123rd lifetime playoff overtime game, and they now have a 53-67-3 record in playoff overtime. They are 4-2 in overtime in this postseason. It was their 64th on the road and that record now stands at 23-40-2.
‘¢ It was Boston’s 21st multiple-overtime playoff game in their history and second of this postseason. It was the sixth game in their history to go into three or more overtimes and they now have a 3-2 mark in triple-overtime games and an 0-1 record in a six-overtime game. It was the fourth-longest game in Bruins history.
‘¢ The Blackhawks played their 84th lifetime playoff overtime game, and they now have a 45-39 record in playoff overtime. They are 4-1 in overtime in this postseason. It was their 43rd on home ice, and that record now stands at 27-16.
‘¢ It was Chicago’s 20th multiple-overtime playoff game in their history and second of this postseason. It was the seventh game in their history to go into three or more overtimes and they now have a 4-3 mark in triple-overtime games. It was the third-longest game in Blackhawks history.
|Shawn Thornton on D&C: Gregory Campbell ‘a special kind of person’||06.06.13 at 10:08 am ET|
Following Wednesday’s 2-1 overtime victory over the Penguins, Bruins forward Shawn Thornton checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning to offer his thoughts on the instant classic that ended with Patrice Bergeron‘s goal in double overtime.
“I wasn’t too involved,” Thornton joked, as he saw minimal action and was confined to the bench after linemate Gregory Campbell was injured in the second period. “On the edge of my seat the whole time. It was exciting.
“You can’t say enough about Bergy, the way he plays on both sides of the puck. For him to get that goal for us is huge. He’s been great for us this whole playoffs. It was very deserving that he was the one that potted it.
“It was back and forth; it could have went either way. We ended up pulling it out, and that’s all that matters.”
Thornton played just four minutes in the game, in part because of Campbell’s injury and also because of a flurry of penalties the Bruins had.
“Not for lack of playing well, I was told afterwards,” he said. “We kind of went down to like three lines. ‘¦ When we have everyone healthy its easy to roll four lines. But when not, it’s a little bit tougher.”
Campbell’s toughness in taking a slap shot off his leg — reportedly breaking a bone — but getting back up and doing all he could to help the B’s penalty kill provided a spark to the team.
“Myself, a couple of guys, we talked about it in between [periods]. Somebody lays down and puts himself on the line like that, let’s not let it be all for naught, I guess,” Thornton said. “That’s huge. It’s not easy to block shots. People from the outside look in, maybe think that, oh, that’s what you’re supposed to do. But there’s that split-second before you see that guy tee it up and you know it’s going to hurt like hell and you still have to lay down in front of it. Not everyone has that in him. That was huge of him. Who knows if that would have been the shot that was the difference for that game.
“We’re very happy to have him on our team. I’ve been blessed to play with him for three years. He does stuff like that all the time. He throws himself out there and puts his body on the line, whether it’s fighting somebody or laying down in front of shots or finishing his checks. He’s a warrior for us.”
Added Thornton: “How about the courage on him to stand up and play on that leg. He wasn’t going to let anything — I think he tried to block another one. That takes a special kind of person. ‘¦ It might look simple, but that’s not an easy thing to do. I’ve been there. Every hockey player at some point has flamingoed it at one point or another. It’s not easy to do that.”
The Bruins look to wrap up the series on Friday night.
“Closing out a series is always the toughest game, to get this fourth game. Their backs are against the wall,” Thornton said, adding: “They are going to give us their best, and we’re going to have to be a lot better than we were last night. Because I think that they were probably the better team for the majority of the game, to be honest.”
The Bruins fended off a much improved Penguins effort Wednesday night at TD Garden, getting a 2-1 double-overtime win thanks to Patrice Bergeron‘s latest game-winner and taking a 3-0 series lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals.
The win was Boston’s fourth overtime victory of the postseason. Bergeron, who scored the series-clincher in Game 7 against of the first round against the Maple Leafs, redirected a Brad Marchand pass past Tomas Vokoun with 4:41 left in the second overtime.
Game 4 will be played Friday at TD Garden, with the series shifting back to Pittsburgh for Game 5 on Sunday if necessary.
The Bruins scored the first goal of the game for the third time in as many games series thanks to a David Krejci shot that went off Matt Niskanen‘s skate and past Vokoun for Krejci’s ninth goal of the postseason. The goal came just 1:42 into the game, and the score remained 1-0 until the Penguins finally got a goal out of their top six forwards when Chris Kunitz put them on the board in the second period.
The Bruins lost Gregory Campbell in the second period after he blocked an Evgeni Malkin slap shot from the point with the Penguins on the power play.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
— Tuukka Rask was sensational at times on Wednesday, coming up big with saves on James Neal and Beau Bennett on the Penguins’ third power play of the night. But perhaps his biggest save of the night came on Kris Letang in front off a feed from Sidney Crosby behind the net in the opening minutes of the third period. He finished regulation with 38 saves. He also came up big with about five minutes to play in the fourth period with back to back saves on Pascal Dupuis and Craig Adams.
— The B’s got the Penguins to take a couple of retaliatory penalties — Joe Vitale in the first and Kunitz in the third — to wipe out what would have been Pittsburgh power plays. On the other hand, Brad Marchand now has taken three dangerous penalties in three games — boarding James Neal in Game 1, tripping Crosby in Game 2 and kneeing Kunitz in Game 3.
— The Bruins stopped the Penguins on six power plays (including two in overtime), making Pittsburgh 0-for-12 on the series. Prior to the series, the Penguins had scored at least one power play goal in eight of 11 games.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– The Penguins began dominating on faceoffs (37 of 56 in regulation), and it paid off for them when Crosby beat Bergeron on a second period offensive-zone draw for the Penguins that led to Kunitz’ goal. Through regulation, no Bruin was above the 50 percent mark on faceoffs, with Bergeron winning eight of 22 faceoffs and Chris Kelly winning three of 13.
— David Krejci missed a shift in the third period after taking a forearm to the head from Deryk Engelland. The play went unpenalized but could be looked at by the league.
— The Bruins were positively abhorrent on a pair of third-period power plays on which they could have regained the lead. With Douglas Murray slashing Rich Peverley and Dupuis going off later for tripping Johnny Boychuk at the point, the Bruins mustered barely any offensive-zone time and totaled just one shot on goal (which came at the very beginning of the Murray penalty) between the two power plays. That’s a textbook case of a bad power play being costly.
— Dan Bylsma clearly made the right call in sticking with Vokoun. After letting in a goal off a deflection early on, Vokoun was consistently sound. Remember, he didn’t necessarily play bad in the first two games, but the Penguins had to do something in that first period of Game 2 with the Bruins exposing Pittsburgh’s defense.
— Campbell was in serious pain after laying out to block a Malkin shot from the point with the Penguins on the power play in the second period. After blocking the shot, Campbell stayed down on a knee before slowly getting up. The play continued as he got back on his feet, but he could barely move. Given that the play was still going on, he contributed as best as he could, softly getting his stick on a Penguins pass and knocking it back to Malkin. As fans took note of what was going on, the crowd began to chant “Camp-bell” and did so again as he headed off the ice and down the tunnel in pain.
— Kelly’s career-worst stretch of games without a goal now has reached 19 games. He was very good on the Penguins’ first power play, but he struggled on faceoffs (see above) and aside from a second-period two-on-one and the rebound of Jarmoir Jagr bid in double overtime Wednesday just hasn’t gotten significant scoring chances. This has been a disappointing season for Kelly, and that hasn’t changed in the playoffs.
|Shawn Thornton on D&C: ‘It’s tough this time of year to retaliate’ against Matt Cooke||06.03.13 at 10:44 am ET|
With usual suspect Matt Cooke not being suspended for his Saturday night hit against Adam McQuaid, there is an expectation that the Bruins will try to retaliate against Cooke. However, Thornton downplayed that possibility.
‘It’s tough this time of year to retaliate,’ Thornton said. ‘You don’t want to be the reason that you lose a game in the playoffs. Everything is just worth so much more this time of year, especially how far along we are in the playoffs. It gets more important to keep your composure.
‘This hit was a little bit different [than the one on Marc Savard], obviously, and if need be I’m pretty sure Adam McQuaid can take care of himself. He is a pretty big, tough guy.’
Mark Madden, a sports talk radio host at 105.9 The X in Pittsburgh, said the Bruins did not immediately retaliate when Cooke checked Savard in the head on March 7, 2010, is because Savard was disliked in the Bruins locker room. Thornton denied that claim.
‘Matt Cooke got kicked out of that game with Savvy years ago [actually, Cooke was not penalized at all]. The people that were on the ice with Savvy — a couple of them didn’t see what happened and I think a couple of them couldn’t get there in time. It was like Michael Ryder, who I don’t think ever had a fight in the NHL. Then there was three minutes left in the game, if I’m not mistaken [actually 5:37], so you can’t go out there and jump anyone either because it’s a $10,000 fine for you and a $10,000 fine for the coach and a $20,000 fine for the team — I don’t know what the exact numbers are but there are a lot of rules in place that stop you from gooning it up at the end of the games. They’re just trying to clean up the game.
“So, it wasn’t because Savvy was disliked. It was just at what time it went and who with that incident.’
One player who did fight Saturday night was Patrice Bergeron, who dropped the gloves with Evgeni Malkin after the second period. Bergeron lost the fight and got a bloody face, but Thornton said he did not have much of a chance to win it once Malkin pulled his jersey over his head.
‘His jersey came over his head really quickly and there is nothing you can do when that happens,’ Thornton said. ‘You can’t see anything, kind of the old-school way, I guess. He did a good job getting in there. He didn’t back down. I know Malkin is not known as a tough guy, but he still is about five inches taller than him. Any time anyone gets in there, it’s not an easy job to do, so I definitely congratulated him.’