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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,
Pierre McGuire on M&M: ‘Boston, Pittsburgh and Montreal are the three best teams in the Eastern Conference’ 03.22.13 at 12:31 pm ET
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NBC commentator Pierre McGuire spoke with Mut & Merloni Friday about where the Bruins stand among the top teams in the East, what problems Dougie Hamilton could be facing, and what might happen with Jarome Iginla before the trade deadline.

“I would say Boston, Pittsburgh and Montreal are the three best teams in the Eastern Conference,” McGuire said, noting that the Penguins‘ fourth-line forwards contribute on offense and that the Bruins have a similar degree of depth.

“You go watch Danny Paille play — he’s having a great year for Boston. He’s a fourth-line player. His skill level is pretty excessive too, for a depth player. Gregory Campbell‘s skill level’s not so bad. Rich Peverley‘s skill level’s not so bad. So the Bruins can match [the Penguins] in terms of depth skill, and that’s one of the things you’re going to have to have if you’re going to win in the East.”

McGuire said fatigue could be a factor in the struggles of both Milan Lucic and Hamilton. Lucic’s game has been less physical this year, and McGuire said that’s been a trend across the NHL.

“Early on we were seeing the physical teams be physical,” McGuire said. “I would say right now, we’re starting to see some guys let up a little bit. I was talking to Mario Lemieux about this the other day in Pittsburgh, and he said one of the hard parts about the 48-game schedule is that as you get to the halfway point, it’s more than that, because you haven’t had training camp and you are fatigued and you are breaking down.

“There’s a little less physical play, there’s more speed play, there’s a lot more open ice. ‘€¦ I’m not saying that’s the problem with Milan, but I do think fatigue is becoming a very real issue for a lot of players around the league.”

Peverley’s benching has been seen by some as Claude Julien‘s attempt to send a message, but McGuire said he doesn’t think that’s the case.

“Sometimes the games go a lot slower when you’re upstairs and you get a chance to see, maybe you do have more time to make a play, maybe you do have a different outlet and a different decision you can make,” McGuire said. “It’s not really so much about message-sending, I think it’s more getting the player refocused and re-energized.

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Read More: Dougie Hamilton, Pierre McGuire, Rich Peverley,
Pierre McGuire on M&M: Patrice Bergeron ‘one of the top 10 players in the league’ 03.08.13 at 12:22 pm ET
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NBC’s Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to talk about Carl Soderberg, for whom the Bruins traded in 2007 only to see him stay in the Swedish Elite League, the possibility of visors being made mandatory for NHL players, and Patrice Bergeron‘s role on the team.

“You look at the plus-minus for Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand last year — a big part of it was because of Patrice Bergeron teaching them to play in their own zone. I’m convinced of that,” McGuire said. “There’s a lot of similarities to what Bergeron does to what Jean Ratelle did in his prime, and he’s a Hall of Famer. Bergeron and Ratelle are so similar. The one thing about Jean was the consistency in his game. Just ask Rod Gilbert about the influence Jean Ratelle had on him on the Goal-A-Game-line down in New York, or you can ask Marchand and Seguin, and I’ve done it, what’s the influence of Bergeron on their game. It’s huge.”

McGuire said he considers Bergeron “one of the top 10 players in the league,” and that his consistency and two-way play likely will lead to a long-term contract extension with the Bruins soon.

“I think [the Bruins] understand the value of players like that in a city like Boston,” McGuire said. “They’re so proactive when it comes to signing players they want to keep. You look at the extension to Seguin, you look at the extension to [ZdenoChara. They’re aggressive when it comes to identifying players that are really important to their team and keeping them, so I’ve got to believe at some point they’re going to get aggressive with Bergeron.”

News broke Thursday that Soderberg, for whom the Bruins traded Hannu Toivonen in 2007, is in talks with the Bruins about coming to Boston after the Swedish Elite League season ends. McGuire said he sees him as an impact player, likely a third-liner.

“The thing about him that’s so good is he’s rangy — he’s about 6-foot-3, 6-foot-4, 195 to 200,” McGuire said. “Serious skill level ‘€¦ he’s got huge offensive skills, a major breakthrough year for him this year, more mature now than he probably ever was, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him be able to play right away in the National Hockey League.”

McGuire said Soderberg’s transition to the NHL could be comparable to that of Damien Brunner, who came over from Switzerland to put up 10 goals and eight assists so far in his rookie season with Detroit.

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Read More: Chris Pronger, Patrice Bergeron, Pierre McGuire,
Pierre McGuire on M&M: ‘Nobody likes to see embellishment’ 03.04.13 at 2:35 pm ET
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NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Monday, a day after the Bruins dropped a 4-3 decision to the Canadiens.

Following the game, B’s coach Claude Julien was critical of the Canadiens for what he deemed to be “embellishment” to draw penalties. McGuire empathized with Julien.

“I think it’s always been a problem in the league,” McGuire said. “Nobody likes to see embellishment. We’re not soccer. No disrespect to soccer players, either; I think that’s more in the culture in their game than it is in ours. And I don’t think there’s any coaches or general managers or even officials that want to see embellishment. It’s a hard enough game for the officials to referee now. With the embellishment that does take place from time to time, it’s really a tough game to officiate, even tougher.

“I can tell you, I’ve talked to a ton of coaches and a ton of players around the league and a ton of managers. Every one, to a man, they don’t want embellishment.”

McGuire said Zdeno Chara deserves credit for going after Alexei Emelin after the Canadiens defenseman sent Tyler Seguin to the ice with a cross check to Seguin’s side that broke Emelin’s stick.

“At the end of the day, Chara did what he was supposed to do. Chara showed leadership on Emelin,” McGuire said. “I thought that was a great job by him. You’ve got to think the referees missed the cross check that Emelin dished out to Seguin. You don’t like that. I didn’t like that.”

McGuire said Chara’s message got through, and not just to the Canadiens.

“I think what Z was doing more than anything else is he’s sending a message not only to the Montreal Canadiens but to the rest of the league. And believe me, that message has resonated. I just got done watching Tampa and Pittsburgh skate, and all the players know what happened last night. And they’re like, they don’t want to mess with Chara.

“So, it gives some more room to Seguin, it gives some more room to [Brad] Marchand, it gives some more room to [David] Krejci. People are aware in the league. While it’s a small sample size of, are you mad because Boston lost if you’re a Bruins fan, you look at it long term, it will probably pay itself off in the long term.”

Looking at the NHL this season, McGuire puts the Bruins in lofty company — alongside the record-setting Blackhawks.

“The Chicago Blackhawks and the Boston Bruins right now are the two best teams in the league, in my humble opinion,” he said. “And I’ve watched every single team in this league so far since the season started. The fact that they lost a tight game to Montreal, I don’t think it was all about embellishment. I just think there were some things Boston needed to do better in that game, and they didn’t get it done.”

To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page. For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Pierre McGuire, Zdeno Chara,
The day after the Cup: Pierre McGuire talks to The Big Show 06.16.11 at 3:55 pm ET
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NBC analyst Pierre McGuire was a guest on The Big Show on Thursday and he noted that as the Bruins were inching closer toward capturing the Stanley Cup on Wednesday night in Vancouver, there was a major difference between the two teams.

“There were definitely chemistry issues on one bench,” McGuire said. “Coaches overreacting. I thought in the case of Alain Vingeault when the frustration set in, and the composure and the focus and basically every one of the Bruins players acting as coach. It was really an interesting dynamic to witness.”

McGuire added, “When you have a knockout game and things start to go south in a hurry, guys just deviate from the plan and you could sense that. You didn’t see the same Vancouver Canucks team in the third period that you saw in Games 1 or 2 or Game 5 when they were in Vancouver.”

McGuire said that he thought Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo hurt himself with his comments about Tim Thomas after Game 5. “The damage was done to Roberto Luongo [after Game 5],” McGuire said. “The whole thing, the two-day break, putting the foot in the mouth, questioning Tim Thomas’ ability to make a save against Maxim Lapierre in Game 5.

“The one thing I thought was very apparent and I’ve been through this twice as a coach winning a Stanley Cup in Pittsburgh in 1991 and 92, you have to manage the message and make sure your players are debriefed before dealing with the media. You’ve got to be so careful because everything is scrutinized. I really felt the Vancouver PR machine went off the rails going into Game 6. They were too brash, too arrogant. I give Boston full credit. They managed their message the entire playoffs and they deserve a lot of credit for the way they handled themselves. On the Vancouver side I don’t think it was handled very well.”

McGuire also had praise for Bruins’ coach Claude Julien, particularly his decision to practice as soon as the team landed in Vancouver. “Instead of practicing the day of the game they practiced as soon as they got off the plane,” McGuire said. “They had a much better start. They had livelier legs and they were ready to go. They really believed in their plan. That little deviation helped them a ton. That’s where Claude Julien isn’t getting enough credit.”

McGuire also felt Julien was more willing to adapt this year as opposed to last. “The one thing I was really impressed with from Claude compared to a year ago, the ability to make adjustments both in-game and during the series,” McGuire said. “We didn’t see that last year. I think that’s a big reason they lost last year. [Peter] Laviolette outrcoached him and obviously the injury to [David] Krejci. But this year I saw a man prepared to make changes. He could deviate from the matchups if he had to, he wasn’t afraid to get his fourth line on the ice and I thought they were a huge factor in Game 7. Claude deserves a lot of credit.

Read More: Claude Julien, Pierre McGuire, Tim Thomas,
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