|Pierre McGuire on M&M: Bruins ‘much more disciplined on the road’||05.06.14 at 12:37 pm ET|
Pierre McGuire of NBC Sports joined Mut & Merloni on Tuesday morning to discuss the Eastern Conference semifinal series between the Bruins and Canadiens. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
The Bruins evened up the series in dramatic fashion on Saturday, as the team rallied from a two-goal deficit in the third period en route to a 5-3 victory in Game 2 at TD Garden.
“It was like Game 2 of Detroit and Boston, too, exactly what Boston had to do,” McGuire said. “Sometimes it takes a little while to warm up to a series, and it took the Bruins a little while to warm up to the Detroit series and they clearly did that in Game 2 and never lost another game in the series. I thought that Boston really warmed up to this series after losing in double overtime in Game 1. It takes a little while.
“They’re into it, they’re fully engaged now, and they’ll have to be because that will be a raucous crowd in Montreal tonight and Thursday night won’t get any easier.”
The Bruins once again struggled with maintaining their composure in Game 2. The Canadiens made use of six power-play opportunities in the contest, with two goals coming on the man advantage.
“It’s easier to say and harder to do,” said McGuire, adding: “It’s really difficult to talk about it and you keep getting hit over the head all the time with it, and I think there was some frustration because they were getting chances. … It’s all difficult stuff, but I think they’ll find their way. The one thing I know about this team, when they’re home, it’s one thing, because they want to please their fans so badly. … But the other thing, when they go on the road, I find them to be much more disciplined on the road than they are at home.”
It was not just the Bruins skaters getting penalized by the referees in Game 2, as Bruins coach Claude Julien was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the final minutes of the second period.
“It started early on in the game and I can tell you, he was really upset with [official] Scott Cherrey on an offside that he thought wasn’t an offside,” McGuire said. “Then it carried over to the second period, he didn’t like some of the calls going against his team, but it was nothing out of this world. It was nothing crazy. Trust me, I hear it all. It wasn’t anything nuts. And then, I don’t know what happened.”
Added McGuire: “I did not hear him say anything derogatory. I thought it was something that happened on the ice. I don’t know how [official] Dave Jackson heard anything from where he was standing from the Bruins bench, because it was definitely loud at that point in the game and when you’re on the ice, you’re down low. Unless you’re really scrutinizing, there’s no possible way you can hear anything.”
|Pierre McGuire on M&M: ‘The Bruins know it’s going to be a long series’||05.02.14 at 12:48 pm ET|
Pierre McGuire of NBC Sports joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to discuss the Bruins’ 4-3 double-overtime loss to the Canadiens in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
“I was really surprised at the caliber of play, and that speaks well to a fantastic seven-game series, hopefully, because the caliber of play was good as any I’ve seen in this playoff season,” said McGuire, who noted that Friday night he will work his 18th game in 18 nights in 18 cities when he covers the Rangers-Penguins game in Pittsburgh.
The Bruins had 51 shots on goal but missed the net on a number of other opportunities and appeared to overplay the puck on others, leading to turnovers. From his perch between the benches, McGuire heard the Bruins coaches telling the players to be more aggressive in getting the puck to the net.
“I kept hearing them say, ‘Just shoot the puck. Shoot the puck. Don’t be too cute. Shoot the puck,’ ” McGuire said, adding: “One of the big agendas I think for the Bruins going into Game 2 tomorrow afternoon is to shoot the puck from anywhere and just get to the net.”
Meanwhile, the Canadiens pounced on some Bruins turnovers to create chances on the Boston goal.
“The closing speed of the Canadiens is vastly underrated. People that don’t see them a lot don’t understand,” McGuire said. “Everybody knows about Carey Price. Two things people don’t know about the Canadiens that are really important: One, they’re extremely quick. Two, they have a huge amount of character. Much greater than ever before. You saw it with Dale Weise, you saw it with Brandon Prust, you saw it with Travis Moen last night. Their character quotient is a lot higher than people give them credit for. And that’s why I think this will be a long series. And I know the Bruins know it’s going to be a long series and a hard series. They’re aware of it as a team.”
“I think Tuukka said it best. I don’t have to jump on and pile on. I’m sure people are piling on,” McGuire said. “But then again, I remember after Game 1in the Detroit series, everyone was ripping him for the [Pavel] Datsyuk goal, which was a thing of beauty. And he said, ‘Well, maybe I should have had it.’ Tuukka’s harder on himself than any fan could ever be or any newspaper reporter could ever be. He knows he needs to be better. He wasn’t good enough last night. And I think he’ll have a huge bounceback. I’m not surprised that he’s as honest and open as he is, because he doesn’t doubt his abilities at all. And when you don’t doubt your ability, you’re not afraid to say when you make a mistake or you’re not on top of your game. He wasn’t on top of his game last night.”
|Pierre McGuire on M&M: Bruins in position ‘where they can afford to experiment’||04.11.14 at 12:30 pm ET|
NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to discuss the Bruins’ road to the Presidents’ Trophy and the postseason. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
While Boston clinched a playoff berth back in March, the team is two points away from clinching the Presidents’ Trophy following Tuesday’s 2-1 shootout loss to the Jets in Winnipeg.
“It’s not so much about winning and losing, you want to see some positive things in your game whether it’s coming from behind, whether it’s having a few good penalty kills, some good power-play situations, making sure your defensive players are obviously stepping up and doing what they want to do,” McGuire said.
“The most important thing, though, you want to be playing well situationally going in, especially when you’re in a situation like the Bruins are where you’re one of the top teams, if not the top team, in the league.”
Since clinching a spot in the postseason on March 21, the Bruins have gone 5-5 and have lost two straight.
“You’ve put yourself in a position where you can rest guys who you chose to rest, you can experiment with some different things offensively, defensively, matchup-wise,” McGuire said. “You don’t want to get players hurt, obviously. You want to make sure they’re high-octane going into the playoffs. … [It] is really important to remember the Bruins have put themselves in this position where they can afford to experiment and still maintain a lot of their organizational integrity just because of how well they’ve played all year long.”
“They really think there’s potential,” McGuire said. “I wouldn’t say he definitely will, but there’s potential that he can come back because he’s been so impressive with his training. The Bruins do this about as well as any team in the league in terms of rehabbing players and getting them back.
“Dennis — he’s such a solid athlete and such a competitive person — it doesn’t surprise me that he did everything in his power to try to come back. … Will he help? Absolutely. But you do not want to rush this player back. You have to make sure that it’s signed off on by the doctors. If it’s not signed off, then you can’t put him in the lineup. But if it’s signed off on, boom, put him in.”
For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.
|Pierre McGuire on M&M: Dennis Seidenberg might return for playoffs||03.21.14 at 12:39 pm ET|
NBC sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to discuss the Bruins’ winning streak and the potential for league expansion. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
“I was talking with some of their people around the team who are really tight with Seidenberg, and he was actually telling them that there’s a chance that he might be back for the playoffs,” McGuire said.
Seidenberg suffered a torn ACL and MCL in his right knee in late December and had surgery for the injury in January. He was expected to miss the rest of the season.
“With him I don’t think there’d be a lot of issues,” McGuire said of Seidenberg returning for the playoffs. “He’s a tremendous athlete — extremely fit. He’s very strong — everybody knows that. I don’t think there’d be that big of an adjustment for him.”
The news comes as the Bruins look to extend their winning streak to 11 games Friday night against the Avalanche.
“You see the level of consistency and when they need to defend a lead, they know how,” McGuire said of the B’s recent success. “When they need to generate some enthusiasm in the building, they know how by being physical. Their cycle game is excellent. They’re four lines deep.”
|Pierre McGuire on M&M: Olympic hockey officiating ‘will start to get better’||02.14.14 at 12:41 pm ET|
NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to discuss the refereeing in the Olympics and the U.S. men’s and women’s hockey teams. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
During the U.S. men’s hockey team’s game on Thursday, referees missed on offsides call that led to a goal by Slovakia. Officials also missed calls during the women’s game against Canada.
“I think it will start to get better,” McGuire said. ‘I’m not that concerned. … I think the biggest thing is the caliber of play. The caliber of play in this tournament, to date anyways, both on the women’s side and the men’s side, it has been phenomenal. It’s just been awesome and I do think the officiating will sort itself out.”
The play on the women’s side may be part of the reason why the teams have had trouble with officiating.
“I mean this with all due respect to all the officials in the world, men or women — I really think when Canada and the United States women play, it’s so fast, it’s so frenetic, it’s so physical,” McGuire said. “There are not a lot of women in the world that are prepared to referee at that level, because I’m telling you the referee that worked the other day, she was more in the play than away from the play, and it became pretty hazardous.”
|Pierre McGuire on M&M: Brad Marchand ‘running out of race track pretty fast’||11.21.13 at 2:22 pm ET|
NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Thursday afternoon to discuss the Bruins’ upcoming game against the Blues, the recent struggles of Brad Marchand, as well as other news from across the NHL.
Boston have been rolling as of late, winning six out of its last seven games. Despite the dominant run in November, some members of the Bruins have been slumping, namely Marchand. The 25-year-old winger has yet to really find his bearings so far this year, as he has seen a dip in his production (eight points in 21 games) while increasing his turnovers and penalties. Bruins coach Claude Julien‘s frustration with Marchand has become apparent over the last few days, as Marchand was demoted to the fourth line during Monday night’s 4-1 win over Carolina.
“[Marchand’s] just going through tough times right now as a player on the ice and he’s not helping himself at all,” McGuire said. “He is running out of race track pretty fast in terms of some of his decision-making.”
The Bruins will have a tough task in their next game, as they will face off against the Blues, who hold the third seed in the Western Conference with a 14-3-3 record. St. Louis, off to its best 20-game start in franchise history, has gotten a big boost from Alexander Steen, who leads the NHL with 17 goals.
“[St. Louis] learned a lot from their first-round loss to Los Angeles last year, where it was just a battle of attrition,” McGuire said. It was just unbelievably savage the entire series and obviously Steen is off to a great start. It’s the depth of their team. … they remind me so much of the Boston Bruins. They really do.The teams are so similar. … This is a great game you guys are going to have tonight. Unbelievable game.”
Elsewhere in the NHL, a former Bruin’s play is starting to attract attention, as Panthers goaltender Tim Thomas has been viewed as a possible candidate to the U.S. Olympic team. Thomas has bounced back from a poor start to post solid numbers over the last month (2.49 goals-against average, .915 save percentage in November).
“He’s definitely worked his way back into the discussion, I can tell you that right now,” McGuire said. “He’s back into the discussion, that doesn’t mean that he’s going to make the team. One of the reasons why he’s back in the discussion, the injury to Jonathan Quick, who won’t be back until December, maybe even not until the middle of December. The other thing is Craig Anderson and Jimmy Howard have both been lukewarm … and Cory Schneider is sitting on the bench in New Jersey behind Martin Brodeur.”
|Pierre McGuire on M&M: ‘I’d be all in’ for overtime rule changes||11.14.13 at 4:47 pm ET|
NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Thursday afternoon to discuss potential format changes to NHL overtime rules, the Bruins’ three-game winning streak, and the potential for some members of the Black and Gold to make it on Olympic rosters come February.
One of the chief topics at the NHL GM meetings this week has been the discussion about changing the rules for overtime play. A proposed format would have an overtime period last 10 minutes instead of five, with four-on-four hockey for the first five minutes and three-on-three play for the remaining five minutes. The game would then switch to a shootout format if no team can score over those 10 minutes.
“I’d be all in,” McGuire said. “Five minutes of four-on-four, five minutes of three-on-three. I was talking with one of the premier players in the league last night after the Pittsburgh-Philadelphia game and he said the one thing that it would do is create a lot of water-cooler conversation around the fan base, because the fans are so passionate.
“Coaches would be challenged: Do you go with two defensemen and one forward? Do you go with two forward and one D? Do you go with three forwards if you’re trying to put an extra point in the bag. It would create all kinds of different fodder and conversation. … I’m all for anything that would get the game decided by players on the ice rather than just a shootout situation.”
After two disappointing losses to the Islanders and Stars last week, the Bruins seem to have righted the ship, as they are on a three-game winning streak with victories over Florida, Toronto and Tampa Bay.
“I was blown away by their effort on Saturday night vs. Toronto,” McGuire said. “I mean, that was a smash-mouth kind of, ‘Here you go Toronto, do you like it? Take it,’ and they took it hard. That was a physical beatdown that I’m used to watching the Bruins perform, and then to see them carry it over to Monday afternoon against Tampa. … I was really impressed with, again, the Bruins’ defensive ability, their ability to move the puck.
“Milan Lucic is a completely different player because of his speed. Last year, he had a tough time getting up and down the rink, this year he’s not having that problem and it’s really impressive to watch. David Krejci, same kind of thing. These guys are in much better shape, you can see it as the season has gone along.”
While players such as Zdeno Chara and Tukka Rask seem to be locks to make their respective Olympic teams, other Bruins are on the outside looking in for a possible roster spot. One such player is Lucic, who has received some consideration from Team Canada. Lucic is the top goal-scorer for Boston this year (seven) and is second on the team in points (14).
“Yes, very good shot [Lucic makes Team Canada],” McGuire said.”In 2007, Canada played against Russia, the best under-20 players in a eight-game super series. It was a celebration of the 1972 Summit Series, and Lucic was basically the star for Team Canada. Hockey Canada remembers those things. He basically carried that team on his shoulders through 18 days in Russia, and he was off-the-charts good. … He was very capable playing on big ice, he was an intimidating factor, and they’re watching him right now. … There have been a lot of guys working for Team Canada that are watching a lot of Bruins games. … He’s played well enough to merit major consideration to be on that team.”