|Pierre McGuire on M&M: ‘I’m not that concerned’ about Bruins heading into postseason||04.04.14 at 1:43 pm ET|
NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to discuss the Bruins’ mindset heading into the postseason. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
Since the Bruins clinched a playoff spot on March 21, they have gone 4-3 with two consecutive losses to the Red Wings and the Maple Leafs this week.
“They understand it,” McGuire said of the team’s focus heading into the postseason. “They’ve been to the finals in 2011 and had to win three Game 7s — they had to beat Montreal in Game 7, they had to beat Tampa in Game 7 and they had to beat Vancouver on the road in a Game 7. That takes a lot of focus and determination and good portions of that team are back, so they understand that commitment.
“They also lost a heartbreaking Game 6 last year — everybody in Boston, with about three minutes to go, everybody thought there was going to be a Game 7. Obviously there wasn’t because of the offensive explosion of the Blackhawks. I think Boston learned from that.”
The Bruins spent the majority of March on a 12-game winning streak.
“I don’t think there are a lot of hockey lessons that these guys have to learn,” McGuire said. “I’m not that concerned about them, and, again, I throw this out because of the experience I had — I went through this twice in Pittsburgh where we had real good teams and we clinched early — we never had a problem keeping our guys focused and taking them in and out of the lineup. I see Claude [Julien] doing that, and I think he’s doing some really good things with that group.”
|Andy Brickley on M&M: ‘I have no problem with tinkering with lines right now’||04.02.14 at 12:32 pm ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley made his weekly appearance with Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to talk about the Bruins’ final stretch of games in April before the playoffs begin. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
With the season winding down, Claude Julien may change some of the lineups to see how different players play together and give rest to others.
“I have no problem with tinkering with lines right now,” Brickley said. “If I expect a few guys, like [Patrice] Bergeron or even a David Krejci, get a night off between now and the final game against Jersey, the regular season, then you’re going to be forced to have different combinations. And if you choose to break up some lines in order to see what something look likes, now is the time to do it.”
The Bruins went 15-0-2 in the month of March, playing in multiple back-to-backs on their way to securing a division title. According to Brickley, the third and fourth lines were a big reason they were able to do that.
“That third line along with the fourth line and their ability to play and handle significant minutes during that month when you’re playing 17 games really sets this Bruins team apart from the rank and file,” Brickley said.
Brickley sees two distinct views when it comes to projecting the first opponent of a team during the playoffs.
“Do you want to start out with a team that you know you can pretty much handle, and then you want to gradually increase that emotion and adrenaline to keep you getting in the postseason?” Brickley said. “Or do you want someone really meaningful right off the bat, get that emotion where it needs to be in the postseason? I’m of the school of thought that it doesn’t matter. You’ve got to beat three really good teams to get to the final. You’ve got to beat four unbelievable teams to win a Stanley Cup.”
|Patrice Bergeron named NHL Second Star of Week||03.31.14 at 7:57 pm ET|
Bergeron had five goals and one assist for six points in four games during the week. He is currently on a seven-game goal-scoring streak and has 27 goals and 29 assists this season for 56 points.
The honor marked the second consecutive week in which a Bruins player was one of three stars, as Jarome Iginla was the Third Star in the previous week.
Ottawa forward Kyle Turris was the First Star of the Week, while Blues forward T.J. Oshie was the Third Star.
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|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.”
WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and DJ Bean assess the chances of the Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks getting back to the Stanley Cup final, one year after Chicago won the Cup on Boston ice in Game 6. They also discuss the best strategy for resting Zdeno Chara and how to keep Patrice Bergeron hot.
|Claude Julien on Patrice Bergeron: ‘Now there’s no doubt in my mind that everybody knows how good he is’||02.25.14 at 3:58 pm ET|
Claude Julien called coaching a gold medal-winning Canada team in the Olympics “a once in a lifetime kind of thing” upon returning to Bruins practice Tuesday, but he seemed just as happy for Patrice Bergeron as he was for himself.
Julien, who was an associate coach under head coach Mike Babcock, said he found it very satisfying to see Bergeron — a player who has won gold at both the World Championships and World Junior Championships, win the Stanley Cup and added his second gold medal over the weekend — cement his standing as one of the world’s best players, even if he often gets overlooked because he doesn’t put up as many points as others.
“He’s such a complete player, and it’s nice to see that he was seen the same way on a bigger stage,” Julien said. “Now there’s no doubt in my mind that everybody knows how good he is.”
It didn’t take long for Bergeron, who began as the team’s fourth-line right wing on a line with Jamie Benn and John Tavares, to establish himself as a difference-maker on a loaded roster. With Norway playing Canada in a much closer game than anyone could have expected early on in Canada’s opening game of the preliminary round, Bergeron assisted goals from Shea Weber and Jamie Benn in a 3-1 win, the latter of which was the result of a beautiful pass from Bergeron in the offensive zone.
As the tournament went on, Bergeron moved up to play with Sidney Crosby and he proved to be a big asset in keeping the team’s semifinal game against Team USA a 1-0 contest.
“He was one of our best players and I’m not afraid to say that,” Julien said of Bergeron’s performance. “He came in and his line in that first game, with Benn and Tavares, was probably our best line. He was playing so well, he ended up moving up to the Crosby line and basically brought some good stability to that line and they were much better from then on.
“He made a lot of highlight clips in our reviews just by how hard he worked on both sides of the coin. Defensively, offensively, he made some great things. Forecheck, turn pucks over, backcheck.”
Bergeron used the stage provided by the team’s 2011 Stanley Cup to show anyone unsure of his abilities that he is among the game’s best players. In addition to being the best faceoff man in the world, his two-way play was impressive enough to make the Pro Hockey Writers Association realize that he was overdue for the Selke Trophy, which he was given the next season.
Bergeron will never be one the two or three biggest names in the league because though he plays the sport as well as anyone else, his two-way prowess isn’t as sexy as putting up a ton of goals or points, a la a Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin or Steven Stamkos.
Still, Julien says, there’s no confusion among big-name players that Bergeron is one of the best in the game today.
“He’s not Crosby and he’s not those kind of guys in people’s minds, but when the puck is dropped — and you can even ask Sid — Sid loves playing with him,” Julien said. “They played together in World and Junior championships. They’ve been linemates and he just loves playing with him. He’s got a great appreciation for Bergy.”
|Milan Lucic has replayed shocking end to Stanley Cup finals ‘100 times’ in his mind||01.18.14 at 5:10 pm ET|
CHICAGO — The Bruins are back in Chicago for the first time in Stanley Cup finals, and though the series ended at TD Garden, returning to the Windy City brings back plenty of memories.
“I don’t think it’s weird; it’s nice to be back,” Claude Julien said after the team practiced at Johnny’s Ice House. “Last year, although when you don’t win, it’s a bittersweet situation. If anything when you take time to look back it was some really good hockey played, great games, overtime in a lot of them and everything else. I thought it was a well-played battle. Hopefully for the betterment of the game you hope it was appreciated.”
Of course the Bruins wish the results could have been different. The banged-up B’s limped to the finish line as they blew a one-goal lead in allowing the Blackhawks to score two goals in 17 seconds and end the series in shocking fashion.
“The last minute, minute and 15, I’ve replayed in my mind 100 times since that moment,” Lucic said. “Obviously there are a lot of questions. [The game-winner] goes right off the post and right back to [Dave] Bolland‘s stick. You always think ‘What could you have done?’
“And it’s not just Game 6. You look at Game 1, we’re up 3-1 with eight minutes left and they were able to tie it and win it. Then we were up 2-1 in the series and we don’t take care of business in Game 4. Those are the things that haunt you in the summertime and replay it over in your mind. It sucks thinking about it and you want to do everything you can to move past it. Obviously, we’ve done our best to play well this year and move past it.’
To a man — and along the lines of what they said during the series — Sunday’s meeting between the Bruins and Blackhawks won’t be anything like the two meetings the Bruins and Canucks have had since the 2011 finals. Where the Bruins and Canucks hated — and clearly still hate — each other, the B’s and Blackhawks turned in a great six games of hockey, with perhaps the most disappointing part of the series the fact that it didn’t go to seven.
“I would definitely say it’s different [than with the Canucks],” Lucic said. “There was so much more I guess you say chippiness in the Vancouver series where bad blood, still, as you saw in the last game, carried over. There isn’t as much talk heading into this game tomorrow, but we both know what’s on the line.
‘”I wouldn’t say there was any other series [like last year’s] where there was that mutual respect. I’m sure once the puck drops and we get going, that emotional level will be back at it pretty quick.”
Julien agrees, saying he wouldn’t expect to see cheap shots from the players in this rematch like there have been in the rematches with the Canucks. Patrice Bergeron, who wouldn’t have even been able to play in a Game 7 given his injuries suffered in the series, says the respect between the two teams is too great.
“I’ve also talked with a couple guys that played on the team as well and that’s what we basically said, it was a great series, a hard fought series but still lots of respect on both sides,” Bergeron said. “I thought it was for fans, I thought it was a great series to watch also.”
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