|Pierre McGuire on MFB: ‘Zdeno [Chara] is not the same player that he was’||03.26.15 at 2:00 pm ET|
NBC Sports NHL analyst Pierre McGuire made his weekly appearance Thursday on Middays with MFB to discuss the Bruins and their run to make the playoffs. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
Part of the struggles for the Bruins this season has been the play of defensemen Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg. McGuire feels Chara isn’t the same player as he’s been in the past, as he is now 38 years old.
“Zdeno [Chara] is not the same player that he was,” McGuire said. “He’s having a harder time maintaining lots of ice time. He’s making mistakes we’re not used to seeing him make in terms of turnovers below the goal line from the hash mark down to the goal line. He’s losing guys in coverage. Getting beat wide which we haven’t seen a lot of him over the years because of that long stick.
“I don’t think he has the quickness in confined areas that he used to have and again, that doesn’t mean he can’t get it back, but it hasn’t been there for him and I am huge a Dennis Seidenberg fan and Dennis has not been the same player and I think a lot of that is because of injury more than anything else, I really believe that.”
David Krejci is likely to return to the lineup Thursday night, and the Bruins now need to find a place for him to play. McGuire says it will be an “experiment” to see where exactly he will fit in and on which line.
“I think it’s going to be an experiment,” McGuire said. “I think you’re going to take your time. I don’t think you want take away Ryan Spooner’s ice time. You don’t want to take [Patrice] Bergeron‘s ice time. You need [Carl] Soderberg to deliver for you and Gregory Campbell plays a different role. It is going to be very interesting to see how they do it. I probably would start him playing on the wing with Bergeron just because he won’t have to do a lot of the defensive heavy lifting that a center man has to do because he has Patrice there to help him out and it’s an easier position to play up high. We’ll see. Let’s be honest, Reilly Smith would be the first person to tell you he has not had a sterling season.”
As for the current status of the team, the Bruins are currently out of the playoffs in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, a point behind the Senators for the final spot. With nine games left in the regular-season, the team will need to get things going in a hurry in order to make the postseason.
“It’s not going well for them at all,” said McGuire. “There will be a lot of people watching the scoreboard tonight between Anaheim and Boston. This is not the position I’ll say just me in particular, I never thought the Bruins would be in this position. Even though I knew they would have a hard time replacing Jarome’s [Iginla] 30 goals, and he’s at 25 this year playing on a Colorado team that won’t make the playoffs and doesn’t have nearly the fire power that Boston does. But, he’s going to get 30 again, so replacing his 30 I thought would be tough and the Johnny Boychuk stuff would be tough, but I thought they would find a way doing it by committee, but they haven’t been able to do it. It’s been very disappointing.”
|Pierre McGuire on MFB: Milan Lucic has ‘elevated his game’ playing with Ryan Spooner, David Pastrnak||03.19.15 at 1:40 pm ET|
NBC Sports NHL analyst Pierre McGuire made his weekly appearance Thursday on Middays with MFB to discuss the Bruins and their push for the playoffs, as well as other NHL matters. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
With David Krejci being out, the Bruins have shuffled their lines up front and currently have Milan Lucic playing with Ryan Spooner and David Pastrnak. McGuire feels this has improved Lucic’s game, as he’s been playing more like a leader being paired with two of the youngest players on the team. He does feel once Krecji returns, Lucic will be reunited with him, but doesn’t know when that will happen.
“The thing that really stood out to me is he’s really relishing this role as a leader with those two young players in Spooner and Pastrnak,” said McGuire. “I think he’s elevated his game because of the leadership potion that has been put on his plate. I don’t know what Claude [Julien] is going to do, it’s a real debatable issue. I have to think at some point Krejci will be back with Lucic, I really do. I don’t know when or for how long, but I have to think at some point they will put them back together.”
The Bruins are in Ottawa Thursday night to take on the Senators. As it stands now the Senators are four points behind the Bruins for eighth place in the Eastern Conference. McGuire feels the Bruins are in a good spot to make the playoffs.
“I think Boston has a very good chance to be a playoff team,” he said. “In fact, I would be shocked if they didn’t make it. They deserved a better fate the other night (in a shootout loss to Buffalo). The biggest thing to be was Anders Lindback, he never played a game that good in his life. I give Buffalo a lot of credit. They showed a lot of heart and a lot of desire, but the Boston Bruins were [playing hard], they just couldn’t beat Lindback. I don’t expect goaltending like that every night against Boston.”
It seems the NHL getting rid of the shootout and going to 4-on-4, and 3-on-3 overtime is getting some steam to be put in place next season. McGuire thinks this change is needed, and will be a welcomed change with members of the league — both with the coaches and players.
“I think most people that really care about the sport want to see the best players play in the game and having the game decided by the players playing the sport rather than just having a skills competition,” said McGuire. “I am all for it and I think most of the players are for it. I can tell you 99 percent of the coaches are for it in terms of the people that I have spoken with, so I would be absolutely shocked if it was not put into place for next season.”
|Pierre McGuire on MFB: In the playoffs ‘I would prefer Montreal if I were Boston’||03.12.15 at 1:48 pm ET|
NBC Sports NHL analyst Pierre McGuire made his weekly appearance Thursday on Middays with MFB to discuss the Bruins’ recent hot stretch and to look ahead to possible playoff opponents. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
The Bruins have rattled off wins in five of their last six games, and it now seems more likely they will make the playoffs, as they currently sit in eighth place in the Eastern Conference, six points ahead of the Panthers. When it comes to possible playoff opponents, McGuire thinks the Bruins should actually want the Montreal Canadiens.
“I watched what happened with Henrik Lundqvist last year and there are a lot of similarities,” McGuire said. “I can’t believe nobody in the Boston media has brought this up. I watched Henrik Lundqvist go into Montreal and exorcised so many demons for him. The Rangers couldn’t win forever in Montreal, but Henrik Lundqvist found a way and they eventually won against the Canadiens in the Eastern Confercence Final last year.
“Yes, they didn’t have Carey Price on the Montreal side because of an injury after a collision with Chris Kreider, but Montreal because they are offensively challenged right now and they didn’t really address that at the trade deadline. I know they tried to, but they didn’t want to dismantle good portions of their roster to do that because they still think they are a team that is building for the future, which I agree with them on.
“I would prefer Montreal if I were Boston just because I saw what Lundqvist did last year. I think [Tuukka] Rask could do the same thing. I think quite frankly because they are offensively challenged Montreal would be a better matchup than the Rangers or Tampa.”
McGuire feels the most important player on the roster is goaltender Tuukka Rask.
“I think the most important thing is if Tuukka can hold it up,” he said. “If he can play like he did in Ottawa the other night, Boston will be a very, very difficult out as an eight seed. I would not want to be the No. 1 seed and play them in the first round.”
Overall, McGuire feels good about the Bruins because he feels they now have four lines, especially with the addition of Max Talbot at the trade deadline.
“I feel really good about the Bruins,” McGuire said. “I spent the weekend in Boston last weekend watching them come from behind and beat Philadelphia and then do a really good job, especially with their special teams, against Detroit on Sunday. The biggest thing to me is the coaching staff is sound. The leadership of the team is sound. Tuukka Rask played a tremendous game against Ottawa the other night. He was a big difference for why the team won. Sometimes you don’t have your best game. What I am impressed with is this team now has four lines. With the addition of Max Talbot this is a four line team again. Really important to their well-being moving forward.”
|Pierre McGuire, on MFB, respects Peter Chiarelli: ‘I think the price points were a little excessive on trade deadline day’||03.05.15 at 1:41 pm ET|
NBC Sports NHL analyst Pierre McGuire made his weekly appearance Thursday on Middays with MFB to look back at what the Bruins did at the trade deadline and to discuss other NHL matters. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
The Bruins didn’t add any defensemen at the deadline, rather trading for forwards Brett Connolly and Max Talbot. Many have said the asking price for some of the defensemen available was just too high, and McGuire agreed.
“I respect Peter [Chiarelli] because I think the price points were a little excessive on trade deadline day, I can tell you that,” said McGuire.
One of the players the Bruins did add in Connolly suffered a broken finger in practice and is now out for six weeks. McGuire said the former Tampa Bay forward has had some questions in the past.
“There were questions about his ability to be a complete player and then you compound that with the hip flexor and the abdominal stuff and there were more questions about him,” said McGuire. “All that being said, I know in Tampa they had high hopes for him, but I think if they had a mulligan and they could do it all over again in that draft, they would have taken Cam Fowler instead of Brett Connolly.”
Even with all the injuries the Bruins have had to deal with this season, McGuire still expects them to make the playoffs. He also referenced the 1992 Bruins when they used 55 players during the season because of injuries. He still has a lot of faith in the Bruins’ organization.
“I still think this coaching staff is amazingly good,” said McGuire. “I think the management group is outstanding. The future for the team is extremely bright, they have some very good young players coming. Everybody is kind of panicking now, I understand that if you’re a fan of the team, I don’t bet on any of the horses in the race, but I can tell you the Bruins are a very respected franchise in the league.”
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Pierre McGuire on MFB: Peter Chiarelli going to have to get ‘aggressive’ at trade deadline||02.26.15 at 1:48 pm ET|
NBC Sports NHL analyst Pierre McGuire made his weekly appearance Thursday on Middays with MFB to talk about the Bruins and what moves he expects them to make at the trade deadline next week. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
With the Bruins still slumping and needing a boost, many expect them to make a move prior to the trade deadline on March 2. McGuire said the team is playing better, starting with their 6-2 win in Chicago on Sunday and played well despite losing to the Canucks on Tuesday.
With that being said, McGuire thinks general manager Peter Chiarelli needs to be aggressive at the deadline.
“I see some things that are starting to happen for them that are positive,” McGuire said. “I still think Peter Chiarelli is going to have to get aggressive here at the trade deadline, I think they will on the Boston side of things depending the price points for certain players. I think they are in a pretty good spot, I really do. I liked their compete on Sunday and I liked their compete in their last game against Vancouver.”
Even though overall the Bruins have lost seven of their last eight games, McGuire said it isn’t always about wins and losses.
“What I see is not just the results, but seeing what they are doing in games,” he said. “Not every game is going to be perfect. I think with this team they are competing, they’re not mailing it in. They deserved a better fate against Vancouver on Tuesday. That is a very difficult game to play against coming back after a very long road trip that didn’t go particularly well. If you watched their game against St. Louis, I know they got blown out, but Malcolm Subban didn’t play very well in that game. St. Louis took 15 shots on goals and [scored three goals in] 5-on-5 chances out of 15 shots. That’s pretty impressive hockey playing in St. Louis and playing that kind of hockey.
“I think being in the playoffs is like the lottery — you have to have a ticket to be in it to win it. If you get into the playoffs and you’re the Boston Bruins, you have a legitimate chance to do some serious damage, especially if they are aggressive at the trade deadline.”
|Pierre McGuire on MFB: ‘Pressure is just amped up unbelievable’ with Bruins right now||02.19.15 at 2:11 pm ET|
The Bruins lost in a shootout to the Oilers on Wednesday night, which was their fifth straight loss overall, and sixth in their last seven games. McGuire noted the loss to the struggling Oilers was a bad loss, and the pressure has been raised a great deal with the team as the trade deadline approaches.
“I am not going to change because I really like this team. I like major components of this team, but there were a few things last night,” McGuire said. “No. 1, they did all the changes they needed to change in order to try and be competitive in that game. Secondly, they had a terrible start, which doesn’t speak well to some of the commitment of some of the players on that team. And the third thing is they did go with their perceived best goalie and probably is their best goalie in Tuukka Rask and weren’t able to get the job done.
“That is a huge point in the standings. It’s a huge, huge point. If you look at the rest of the road trip — they are in St. Louis and they are in Chicago — two very difficult places to play. This has a chance to be 0-5 on the trip. That is not where you wanted to be, especially with their run through Alberta. This is going to be really interesting to watch the Bruins because I got to believe the pressure is just amped up unbelievable.”
With the way things are in the standings, currently sitting in eighth place in the Eastern Conference, there is no wiggle room for the Bruins.
“They are up against it, no question,” said McGuire. “I think this is going to be, especially when you consider Cam Neely’s words to Kevin Paul DuPont. Those were strong words. Those were coming from ownership. Those were coming from a man that is fully vested in the team and helped put the team together. You have to think this is a real difficult situation for Peter Chiarelli and for the Bruins hierarchy to figure out because the cap wise they are in trouble. That is the reason why they traded Johnny Boychuk this year. Now some people could say revision is history.
“‘Hey, they should have kept Boychuk and just played it out at the end of the year, and why didn’t they keep Jarome Iginla and his 30 goals?’ There are going to be a lot of second guessers here. I still think the team is good enough to make the playoffs and have a run, but I do think they need to do something before they get to the trade deadline on March 2. What that is, I don’t know. I don’t know how they are going to pull it off.”
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Pierre McGuire on MFB: Bruins might need trade to shake things up||02.12.15 at 1:54 pm ET|
NBC Sports NHL analyst Pierre McGuire made his weekly appearance Thursday on Middays with MFB to preview the Bruins’ upcoming West Coast trip, and also to look at what might happen at the trade deadline. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
With the Bruins losers of three of their last four games, and in fourth place in the Atlantic Division, McGuire feels the team might need to shake things up at the trade deadline.
“The Bruins are a team that might need to shake the tree,” said McGuire. “Not really hard so they lose a lot of the leaves on the tree, but shake it so the tree gets everybody’s attention. I do think there might be a tune out factor, or there could be a burnout factor — maybe some guys just need to be traded to get them a new leaf on life.”
“I wouldn’t mess with the depth of guys — I really wouldn’t,” he added. “I don’t think the depth guys are a problem. I think what they really need to do is add more offense. If you at it, this is a team that doesn’t have a 20-goal scorer on their roster. That is a little bit scary when you look at the depth they have down the middle. … When you have that kind of depth down the middle and you’re not getting scoring from the wingers in particular, that is problematic.”
The Bruins are set to begin a five-game road trip, beginning Friday night in Vancouver. McGuire feels this is a big stretch for the black and gold.
“They definitely have to go on a run here,” said McGuire. “I am telling you, this is the first time I can honestly tell you guys this … this is the first time the Bruins have to scoreboard watch.”
Over the last four games, the Bruins have scored just a total of eight goals. McGuire noted goal scoring has been one of the biggest issues this season.
“They are not scoring goals easily enough,” said McGuire. “There is some haphazard defensive play. There isn’t enough consistency for 60 minutes in their game. Tuukka Rask has this huge problem playing against the Montreal Canadiens — they are going to have to sort that out. There’s been a little bit of a lack of discipline. That was troubling the other night in that loss to Dallas — two short-handed goals against, that speaks to the lack of intensity and speaks to guys not paying attention to little details.
“This is the first time I will say this, because I am bullish on this team, I still like this team a lot, but this is the first time this year that they have to scoreboard watch and that is not a real comfortable thing for a team that is probably underachieving right now.”