|Pierre McGuire on M&M: ‘Montreal doesn’t have an answer for Carl Soderberg’||05.12.14 at 2:57 pm ET|
NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Monday 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 took a 3-2 series lead on Saturday by defeating the Canadiens by a score of 4-2 in Game 5 at TD Garden. Four skaters scored for Boston, while Tukka Rask recorded 31 saves in the contest.
“The Boston Bruins played a tremendous game. They had a good start, they had tremendous supplemental offense from the third line, which Montreal doesn’t have an answer for, with Carl Soderberg, Matt Fraser and obviously Loui Eriksson,” McGuire said. ‘Their penalty killing was very solid until the P.K. Subban ripper.
“I thought, quite frankly, that it was Boston playing a very good game and Montreal not playing up to their normal level because Boston didn’t allow it.”
Soderberg was particularly impressive in Boston’s last game, scoring his first goal of the postseason and adding two assists in the win. McGuire said that Soderberg’s size and playmaking ability has caused problems for Montreal throughout this series.
“As a smaller team, Montreal doesn’t have an answer for Carl Soderberg,” McGuire said. “If you’re going to win a series, you need to have an X-factor player — someone that doesn’t get canceled out. The X-factor player so far in this series has been Carl Soderberg.”
Added McGuire: “Montreal doesn’t have an answer size-wise and skilled-wise for the depth of the Boston Bruins lineup. That’s the biggest issue that’s haunting them.”
Boston has the tall task of eliminating Montreal in the Habs’ home, the Bell Centre. The Canadiens posted a 23-13-5 record during the regular season and sit at 3-1 this postseason when playing in the friendly confines of their home arena.
“[The Bruins are] a different team when they play here,” McGuire said. “They play a much smarter brand in terms of penalty management. … They play a more physical, attacking style in Boston, they’re really comfortable playing and they want to provide that for their fans. When they go on the road, they want to take the crowd out of it and I thought they did a really great job in Game 4 in taking the crowd out of it and taking P.K. Subban out of it.”
Following are more highlights from the interview. For more on the Bruins, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.
On the potential return of Dennis Seidenberg in the Eastern Conference finals: “I had a really nice visit with Dennis on Saturday night before the game. I would say that there’s a very good chance, if the Bruins were to progress, that he would be back for that next round.”
On what Matt Fraser has brought to the third line over the last two games: “[He brings] better board play and the ability to maintain a cycle and dominate the defense and put duress on Carey Price because of that cycle play. … He can shoot the puck. He can shoot the puck from in tight and elevate it or he can shoot the puck from about 20 feet and get it there with a lot of velocity, so that makes a difference.”
On Shawn Thornton spraying Subban with water during Game 5: “As soon as the play was blown dead, I saw that [Subban] was angry and that there was some water on his visor. … Obviously, it was Shawn. He pays a price, he pays the fine. … I don’t think it’s that big of a deal, quite frankly.”
|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.”