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Pierre McGuire on M&M: Pittsburgh ‘has an answer for the Bruins’ fourth line’ 05.29.13 at 1:00 pm ET
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NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to preview the Bruins-Penguins Eastern Conference finals.

Boston’s fourth line of Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton came up big for the Bruins against the Rangers, playing key roles in Games 3 and 5. McGuire said Pittsburgh’s depth will negate that advantage.

“There was no answer from the Rangers for Boston’s fourth line. ‘€¦ Pittsburgh, I can tell you, has an answer for the Bruins’ fourth line,” McGuire said. ” Paille, Campbell and Thornton aren’t going to run around and dominate the way they did the Rangers. Because guys like Jussi Jokinen, guys like Joe Vitale, who played at Northeastern University, a kid out of St. Louis, guys like Craig Adams, who played at Harvard. You’re going to see, these guys can make a mess and they can put you through the boards as much as Thornton can, as much as Paille can, they can fight as much as Campbell can. That’s going to be the X factor that really helped the Bruins last series, it won’t be as much of an impact this series.”

Andrew Ference, who missed the entire Rangers series with what the Bruins called a lower-body injury, skated with his teammates at Tuesday’s practice. That’s let to discussion about which young defenseman the B’s might sit if the team wants to make room for the veteran. McGuire suggested the B’s might want to give Ference more time to recover fully.

“He’s walking around with a walking boot on, so clearly there’s a problem with the lower part of his foot or ankle,” McGuire said. “It’s not easy to come back from something like that at this time of the year. So, I don’t think they’re in a rush. And Andrew would probably be the first person to tell you: You know what, when a team’s playing as well as Boston’s playing, especially those players, you probably don’t take them out of the lineup.”

Another topic of discussion around the Bruins is whether the team should move Tyler Seguin back up to the second line in place of Jaromir Jagr.

“We saw what Jaromir could do in confined areas against the Rangers, and there were points in that series where he really wanted to take the puck over but he was overextending his shifts and you could see he was breaking down a little bit,” McGuire said. “Tyler, you could see, and I talked to Tyler a couple of times during the series, he was fighting it in terms of getting pucks in, but he was still making plays. I know he turned the puck over a couple of times. That’s going to happen with offensive players, you’re going to turn the puck over because they’re trying to make stuff happen with the puck. It’s the checkers that you can’t afford having them turn it over. Because they don’t do much with it. They chip it in and chip it out, and they usually don’t score a lot.

“Tyler will probably get augmented minutes. I’ve got to believe the coaching staff is seeing what we’re seeing, and that is that here’s a kid that’s got a chance to be a difference-maker, and his speed is going to be huge.”

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Read More: Andrew Ference, Jarome Iginla, Jaromir Jagr, Matt Cooke
Pierre McGuire on M&M: ‘Virtually impossible play’ for Dougie Hamilton on game-ending goal 05.24.13 at 2:01 pm ET
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NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to offer his take on the Bruins’ mistake-prone 4-3 overtime loss to the Rangers in Game 4.

McGuire said that despite Thursday’s loss, the Bruins have no reason to be overly concerned.

“The Rangers can talk about coming back and getting back in this series. It’s still 3-1. You’re going back to Boston for Game 5. And the Rangers should have lost that game last night,” McGuire said. “The Boston Bruins were full of self-inflicted wounds. … Whether it’s Tuukka Rask falling down, Tuukka and Zdeno Chara not communicating properly, Chara being lackadaisical with the puck. But also give credit where credit’s due: Henrik Lundqvist was phenomenal, especially in overtime.

“So, stuff’s going to happen in a playoff series. You can’t overreact to it. You move along, you play Game 5 and you do a good job in front of your fan base.”

McGuire said he was impressed with how the Bruins started Thursday’s game, and surprised at the Rangers’ performance.

“The Rangers had nothing going on,” he said. “The first period I was shocked. The shots were 12-4 and I was absolutely shocked at how the Rangers were playing. Jaromir Jagr in particular really had a sense of urgency to start that game. You could see the Bruins were jumping. They were good. They were ready to play.”

Added McGuire: “I’m telling you guys straight up: People are underplaying how deep Boston is and how good Boston is. And the Rangers don’t match up particularly well with Boston. That’s just the reality because they don’t have the same kind of offensive depth, especially down the middle, as they have in Boston. That’s a big problem. You compound that with the Chara factor and with the [Johnny] Boychuk factor in terms of size. You’ve got some very big defensemen. Whatever offensive press you might have if you’re New York, it gets shut down pretty quick.”

Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton was beaten on the game-winning goal when Chris Kreider redirected a pass from Rick Nash past Rask in overtime. McGuire said Hamilton was in a tough spot.

“That play, by the way, you’ve got numbers back, you’re in a good position,” McGuire said. “I will say this, and I’m not trying to be overly defensive of the young player: You tell me, in this new NHL, what Hamilton’s supposed to do against a player that’s 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, and can skate as fast as almost anybody in the league. That is a virtually impossible play. It’s a beautiful pass by Nash. And the only thing Hamilton could have done — and if he’s a little bit older, maybe he does do — he takes a penalty. … Because that is an unbelievably difficult play to defend. Because of the size of the man attacking the net, because of the speed of the man attacking the net, and because of the precision of the pass made by Rick Nash. That’s an unbelievable pass by Nash and a great finish by Kreider. This is something he’ll learn over time. In that situation you may just take a penalty. Just tackle the guy as he goes to the net.”

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Read More: Pierre McGuire, Tuukka Rask, Zdeno Chara,
Pierre McGuire on M&M: Tyler Seguin ‘about to break through’ 05.22.13 at 12:07 pm ET
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NBC Sports analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday, following the Bruins’ 2-1 victory over the Rangers in Tuesday night’s Game 3.

The Bruins controlled the first couple of minutes of the game, despite the Rangers’ desperate situation, sending an early message.

“If you’re going to start a game on home ice, you’re down 2-0, you know you’re never in trouble in a playoff series until you lose on home ice, you want to set the tone early,” McGuire said. “So, you want to go after it, you start your heavy hitters, you start Brian Boyle, you start Derek Dorsett, you start Taylor Pyatt. You start your bangers, I call them the stampeding elephants, and you’re expecting them to stampede. Well, they didn’t. In fact, Boston took the game to them. That really set the whole tempo for the game, I thought.”

McGuire said the Bruins have the upper hand because they have the Rangers questioning themselves.

“There’s three things you want to accomplish in a playoff series: concern, doubt and fear, if you’re the opponent,” McGuire said. “Right now the Rangers are clearly concerned, they clearly have doubt, and I thought last night in the third period in particular after [Daniel] Paille scored the second goal, they had fear. If you can accomplish those three characteristics in a playoff series, your chances of winning are really good. I think the Bruins have put themselves in that position right now.”

Shawn Thornton sent a message to the Rangers in the third period when he stepped in for Brad Marchand and confronted Derek Dorsett, who had been trying to goad Marchand into a penalty.

“Shawn is an emotional leader and he’s not going to burn you defensively,” McGuire said. “And he’s a tough guy. When they started challenging Marchand last night with Dorsett, you saw what happened on the offside faceoff: Marchand comes off, Thornton comes on, Dorsett gets stabilized, no more issues.”

That said, McGuire insisted Dorsett’s failure to respond physically doesn’t reflect badly on the Rangers winger.

“I don’t think he backed down,” McGuire said. “I just think at that point their team’s kind of lost some momentum. Thornton’s not going to fight him, but he’s going to tell him in his ear, whisper sweet nothings: Listen, dude, do you want to mess around? We will dance, and it won’t be fun for you. That’s all Shawn had to do.”

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Read More: Daniel Paille, Derek Dorsett, Gregory Campbell, Pierre McGuire
Pierre McGuire on M&M: Game 1 changed after Johnny Boychuk was injured on hit from behind 05.17.13 at 11:35 am ET
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NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire made an appearance on the Mut & Merloni show Friday morning to dissect the Bruins’ Game 1 win over the Rangers.

After an uneventful first period, the teams traded goals in the second and third periods before Brad Marchand scored the game-winner when he tipped in a pass from Patrice Bergeron 15:40 into overtime. McGuire said the intensity level starting picking up after a play early in the second period.

“I really felt the whole game and the intensity of the game changed after the [Taylor] Pyatt hit on Johnny Boychuk,” McGuire said. “That amped up the entire energy in the building and amped up the entire energy between the two teams. And it created some good opportunities for some phenomenal athleticism from both teams. ‘€¦ In overtime it was clearly the Bruins’ overtime and they dominated it. Obviously, they had the power-play opportunity, they felt comfortable. That’s one of the reasons why home ice matters, because you have such a raucous crowd there. And I think the crowd really helped energize the Boston Bruins, especially during that power-play sequence.”

Added McGuire: “I’m not surprised they had a bit of a slow start. But I really, again, I can’t stress this enough: I thought the whole game and the whole energy of the game changed after Taylor Pyatt hit Johnny Boychuk from behind. That really changed the entire chemistry of the game. That’s good for the series going forward.

“I asked Brad Marchand last night on my interview after the game what kind of series he was expecting. He says, ‘Nasty, physical, mean.’ I would agree.”

Jaromir Jagr didn’t register a point Thursday, but McGuire said he believes his presence will be felt eventually.

“I think he can help the power play. That’s where I think he’s going to be a huge benefit for the Bruins, because of his ability to dominate the puck and make good decisions with it,” McGuire said. “Fatigue was a very real issue for Jaromir last night. That’s why I made the comment that I made [about Jagr needing short shifts].

“I was part of the management team that drafted him, I coached him, I skated with him a ton earlier in his career. I know the body of work that he’s presented, and I know when he’s tired and when he’s not. And you could just see he was breaking down last night after about 25-30 seconds. That’s normal; he’s 40 years old. But I expect that he’s going to help their power play. And I think at some point they’re going to have to look to put Tyler Seguin back on that line in five-on-five situations, especially in the second and third period.”

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Read More: Brad Marchand, Henrik Lundqvist, Jaromir Jagr, Johnny Boychuk
Pierre McGuire on M&M: With Bruins’ depth down middle, ‘I do think this is a team that can flip the switch’ 05.15.13 at 12:11 pm ET
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NBC hockey analyst Pierre McGuire was a guest of the Mut & Merloni show Wednesday to talk about the Stanley Cup playoffs.

McGuire said “only in youth hockey” has he seen a comeback like the Bruins’ miracle against the Maple Leafs in Monday night’s Game 7.

“I’ve never seen anything like that with 12 minutes or less to go in an NHL game — in a playoff game, a deciding Game 7,” McGuire said. “Never seen that before.”

McGuire said the tide started to turn in the Bruins’ favor when Tuukka Rask stopped Matt Frattin on a breakaway with 3:35 left in the third period and Toronto leading 4-2.

“Boston got urgent. Boston really felt better after Frattin missed the breakaway. You could see there was a huge surge after the save was made by Tuuka on Matt Frattin’s breakaway. And you could see the better players for the Bruins every other shift were starting to take over momentum,” McGuire said.

“So, it was a combination of Frattin misses the breakaway, Boston starts to amp it up, their star players really start to amp it up and they get the feel. Then all of a sudden they put the lunar eclipse in front of James Reimer, that is Zdeno Chara, and [Patrice] Bergeron with a seeing-eye shot makes it all equal. Then they go into overtime and win.”

Looking at the Bruins’ inconsistency, McGuire said some of it can be traced to the post-Marathon fallout.

“The thing that’s impressed me the most about this Bruins team: I think that this team was emotionally hurt, like most of the city of Boston was, after the Marathon tragedy,” McGuire said. “I really mean that. I was there to do their game following the Marathon tragedy, and you could sense the emotion, you could sense how these guys felt terrible for the families, for the victims, for the entire city. It was a huge blow. It took time for these guys to rebound.

“If you remember, the first game after was against the Buffalo Sabres, and they didn’t win the game. You could sense that guys were ready to cry after the game; they felt like they had let the city down. So, I think there’s been a lot of emotion that’s gone into the season for the Bruins. Let’s remember, it was a 48-game schedule, there was a lockout, a lot of players were saying stuff they probably shouldn’t have said or didn’t want to say but it was out of character, but emotion got involved. And I think this has been an emotional roller coaster for this team all year.

“Do I think they can flip the switch? Absolutely. I respectfully disagree with Peter Chiarelli — I do think this is a team that can flip the switch because of their depth down the middle. When you look at it with [David] Krejci, with Bergeron, with [Chris] Kelly, with [Gregory] Campbell. I truly believe, when you have that kind of depth down the middle, you can flip a switch.”

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Read More: Henrik Lundqvist, Patrice Bergeron, Pierre McGuire, Tuukka Rask
Pierre McGuire on M&M: ‘I wouldn’t be afraid about playing [Islanders] in the playoffs’ 04.12.13 at 12:36 pm ET
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NBC’s Pierre McGuire talked with Mut & Merloni on Wednesday about the state of the Bruins as the regular season winds down, who they might match up well against in the playoffs and why some other teams are picking up their game as the Bruins appear to wear down.

McGuire was there for the Bruins’ 5-4 win over the Devils on Wednesday, and he said that despite their inconsistencies lately, Boston fans shouldn’t be worried about the team.

“They were solid and reliable early on and then they let their guard down a little bit,” McGuire said of Wednesday’s game. “I think mental and physical fatigue is probably kicking in a little bit. But they were good enough to win in that game. The big thing that’s impressing me is their ability to kill penalties, their ability to play with an edge that’s required, especially when it comes to the playoffs. If you play with that edge and you do take penalties and you can kill them off, that’s huge.

“I know a lot of people are probably a little bit fidgety right now because they lost last night on home ice to the Islanders. The Islanders are doing that to a lot of teams right now, and I think three games in four days right now probably broke [the Bruins] down a little bit. I wouldn’t worry too much about them. I think the Bruins are going to be just fine.”

Despite the fact that the Islanders just beat the Bruins, McGuire said he still thinks they’re an ideal first-round playoff matchup for the Bruins.

“The New York Islanders obviously are an upstart team,” he said. “If I was the Bruins, I wouldn’t be afraid about playing them in the playoffs. I just don’t think they have enough overall depth to play against the Boston Bruins. That would be the team, if I could pick a team — that’s the team I’d want to play against.”

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Read More: Brad Marchand, Carl Soderberg, Pierre McGuire,
Pierre McGuire on M&M: ‘I don’t think Calgary paid attention to doing their due diligence’ 03.29.13 at 12:10 pm ET
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NBC’s Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to talk about what went wrong with the Jarome Iginla trade and what the Bruins can do now that Iginla is off the market.

McGuire said Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli did nothing wrong to jeopardize the Iginla deal. Rather, Flames GM Jay Feaster mishandled the trade — not the first time Calgary’s management has made a visible mistake this year.

“I don’t think Calgary paid attention to doing their due diligence. I really don’t,” McGuire said. “Jay Feaster, I’m sure, told Peter Chiarelli, ‘You guys have won the sweepstakes. You have Jarome Iginla. I’m sure he told them that, because I was in Boston to do that game, and there’s no way there was that much information that was so fluid around the Bruins dressing room when I got to the rink at 4:30, that you didn’t know that this deal was going down. So ‘€¦ then Jay Feaster didn’t prioritize. He should have called [Iginla's agent] Donny Meehan before he called Peter Chiarelli.

“Instead, he told Boston they had the player, and Donny Meehan gets the call from Feaster saying he’s been traded, and Donny Meehan says, ‘No, no, that’s not how this works.’ ‘€¦ I think the biggest reason there was no trade call made was when Jay Feaster called Donny Meehan and said, ‘By the way, we’ve moved Jarome to Boston,’ Donny Meehan said, ‘No you haven’t, because Jarome wants to go to Pittsburgh.’ ”

Iginla’s press conference after the trade made clear that he was headed to Pittsburgh no matter what Chiarelli did, McGuire said.

“When you heard him talk, he said, ‘How can you blow away now playing with the two best players in the world?’ ” McGuire said. “With all due respect, he wasn’t talking about [DavidKrejci and he wasn’t talking about [PatriceBergeron. Both guys are great players. He was talking about Crosby and Malkin.”

With Iginla off the table, McGuire said he thinks the Bruins should focus on acquiring a defenseman, and mentioned 35-year-old Islanders blueliner Mark Streit as a possibility.

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Read More: Jarome Iginla, Peter Chiarelli, Pierre McGuire,
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