|Bruins year in review: Top rookie||06.22.11 at 3:09 am ET|
Each day this week, WEEI.com will be taking a look back at the Bruins’ historic 2010-11 Stanley Cup Championship season. So far, we’ve looked at the goal of the year, fight of the year and save of the year. Up today is the Bruins’ rookie of the year, a no-brainer for anyone who followed the championship season.
BRUINS’ TOP ROOKIE
Brad Marchand: 21 G, 20 A, 41 points (regular season); 11 G, 8 A, 19 points (postseason)
“I was impressed with with Marchy from the moment I saw him play. I obviously wasn’t too familiar with him, but having seen him early in training camp’¦ then just build his way up and keep getting better and better, to be honest with you, he was so important to our team. When we were successful, usually Marchy had a big game or played well.
“Playing with Marchy, I enjoyed it a lot’¦ He deserves everything that he’s gotten. He’s worked for it. He had the opportunity. He made the team and he started with us and worked for his ice time. Rightfully so, he’s an important part of this team. To even do what he did in the playoffs, that’s even more important, and says more about him as a player that he can step up in those big games.”
At the beginning of training camp, Tyler Seguin was a household name in Boston. He was perhaps the only Bruins rookie a Bostonian could pick out of the very lineup Seguin assured he had yet to crack. By the end of the Bruins’ Stanley Cup run, people were talking about a few Boston rookies. Seguin’s goals got him the hype and Adam McQuaid‘s mullet got him the cult following and customized t-shirts from Andrew Ference, but no Bruins rookie came close to bringing it the way Brad Marchand did.
When the B’s opened the regular season in Prague, Marchand was a fourth-liner who got around 10 minutes of ice time. When the season ended, he had assisted the game-winning goal in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals and scored two of his own. When all was said and done, Marchand hoisted the Cup having scored 11 goals in the postseason, one behind David Krejci for the postseason lead. He worked his way from being a famed member of the Merlot Line with Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton to forming perhaps the team’s most consistent line with Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi, and aside from missing time after being rocked on a beautiful P.K. Subban hip check in December, the 5-foot-9 Marchand looked invincible in the process.
The story of Marchand’s preseason confidence has been well-documented. He told both Peter Chiarelli and Claude Julien that he would score 20 goals (the very number Milan Lucic was optimistically aiming for prior to the season) in his first full season. Chiarelli told him to think about what he was saying. While thinking may never be Marchand’s game, he certainly backed up his words by popping 21 in the regular season.
The downside with Marchand is that with the good, you must take the bad, but depending on how you look at it, the bad isn’t all that bad. He crosses the line often, whether it be with his on-ice actions or words. He was suspended for elbowing R.J. Umberger in the head, but at the end of the day he’s a far cry from a dirty player. He’s one of the Bruins who have been guilty of embellishment, but with Marchand, it’s nowhere near the point of some of the players the B’s saw in Montreal and Vancouver. If anyone wants to deem Marchand’s feistiness a problem, it’s a problem every team in the league would love to have. He’s a special type of player, and the B’s are fortunate to have someone who’s just as good in all three areas of the ice and at killing penalties as he is at getting under opponents’ skin and scoring goals.
Now, after a rookie year in which he became a hero in Boston, Marchand will get paid. A restricted free agent, Marchand couldn’t have asked for a better time to be due a raise, as it should be a big one. He had a salary cap hit of $821,667 last season and could now get upwards of $3 million.
Just a note before we get to the honorable mention section: While McQuaid was a far more mature player in his rookie campaign and provided far more stability than Seguin did (it’s an apples and oranges comparison anyway given the difference in age and position), the argument could be made that the B’s could have won the Stanley Cup without him. In this scribe’s opinion, the Bruins would not have won the Cup were it not for Tyler Seguin. The youngster may have singlehandedly changed the Eastern Conference finals with his performance in the second period of Game 2. As a result, if we had to make this thing a list, Seguin would be the runner up to Marchand.
HONORABLE MENTION: Tyler Seguin, Adam McQuaid
|Shawn Thornton on The Big Show: Bruins used Canucks’ comments as motivation||06.20.11 at 6:28 pm ET|
Bruins forward and two-time Stanley Cup winner Shawn Thornton joined The Big Show Monday to review the Stanley Cup finals and the entire Stanley Cup playoffs. To hear the interview, check out The Big Show audio on demand page.
Following Game 7, rookie forward Brad Marchand said that he hated the Canucks given how “cocky” they were throughout the series. Thornton wouldn’t use Marchand’s words, but he did share the same feelings.
‘No, I mean I don’t want to talk bad about them and be a sore winner, but I will say some of the comments that were made and kind of the way everyone had us dialed in,’ he said. ‘They were planning the parade on Monday and they hadn’t even won the game yet. Stuff like that motivates the other team. We did a good job of toeing the line and not letting anything get out into the open. Even though we were a confident bunch as a group we weren’t out there talking about it as much.’
Even though Thornton’s line, the fourth line did not score much during the playoff run, Thornton knew what their role was and how it changed from series to series.
‘Our line, when we played over a certain amount we did a good job getting the puck deep, and creating energy,’ he said. ‘That’s our role. In different series’ our line was used in different ways. The Montreal series not as much, they are run and gun, the Philadelphia series we were used a little more and Tampa not as much again because they are built a little different, but that Vancouver series the first couple games they came out and were really physical, so our line did the same thing and we wanted to push that and be physical.’
Thornton did not play in the first two games of the Stanley Cup finals, but was inserted into the lineup for Game 3.
‘Right before warm up I found out,’ Thornton said. ‘That was tough, I’m not going to lie. I thought he [Claude Julien] was going to make the change, but you are never 100 percent. I was ecstatic. I prepared like I was playing, but it’s different when you’re not sure. You’d rather know, but I guess it was a last minute decision and it worked out just fine.’
After going down dropping the first two games in Vancouver the Bruins knew that they weren’t out of it.
‘We knew we were in them, we were a goal away in each game,’ Thornton said. ‘We knew if we got back playing the way we needed to play we could win. We did a good job all year of not letting the highs get too high and the lows too low, and we did a really good job after that game of just focusing on the next game and the game after that. That was our main focus going into those games.’ Read the rest of this entry »
|Shawn Thornton: The Cup is no ‘rec league trophy’||06.18.11 at 3:40 pm ET|
That’s exactly what Thornton and his buddies did with Lord Stanley on Friday – a day before the biggest “Rolling Rally” in Boston history – as they just hung out in his Boston home and had a few beverages and soaked it all in.
“Just kept looking at it,” Thornton said. “Nothing was forced, it was just relaxing, pretty cool.
“The best part is I had it at my house [Friday] for about an hour, hour and a half, just me and the guy who lives downstairs, my neighbor and a couple of friends, just chillin’ out, having a couple of drinks. Being able to settle down, it was good.”
Thornton – who won the Cup in 2007 with the Ducks – had the Cup out at a couple of establishments as well in Boston. Safe to say, there was a little more attention paid to it in Beantown than Disneyland.
“When we had the Cup out the other day at Tia’s and Stella’s and a couple of other places, compared to Anaheim, we had it on the beach on Newport and there was like 20 people looking at it,” Thornton said. “Pretty much looked at it as a rec league trophy. Nobody knew any different. Having helicopters over Tia’s is probably a little bit different, yes.”
Thornton – who admitted to be “blurry” after the last two days of celebrating – wore Mardi Gras-type beads to Saturday’s rally, joining several other Bruins doing the same on the duck boats.
“They gave them to me,” he said. “I’m not throwing them unless you deserve them. That’s all I’m going to say.”
|Plain and simple: Bruins win the Stanley Cup||06.15.11 at 10:45 pm ET|
VANCOUVER — The Stanley Cup never entered TD Garden when the Canucks had a chance to win it on Monday. Now, it’s safe to say it will be in plain sight in Boston for quite some time.
The Bruins knocked off the Canucks, 4-0, in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals Wednesday night to win the Cup for the first time since 1972 and take the trophy for the sixth time in franchise history.
It was only fitting that the longest tenured Bruin, Patrice Bergeron, sure-fire Conn Smythe winner Tim Thomas and top rookie Brad Marchand stole the show in Vancouver in providing Boston with the most coveted trophy in all of sports.
Both Bergeron and Marchand had a pair of goals on the night, factoring for all of the Bruins’ tallies. Marchand’s second was an empty-netter with just over two minutes remaining.
Bergeron opened the scoring for the Bruins at 14:37 of first period, taking a pass from Marchand in the slot and sending the puck past a pair of Canucks skaters and just past Roberto Luongo‘s right leg.
The goal marked one bookend of a telling issue for the Bruins, as they did not record another shot on Luongo until 7:40 into the second period. Marchand had another superb opportunity in that span, though he saw his backhanded bid in front of Luongo go off the crossbar.
Despite the lack of work provided for Luongo, Marchand made his presence felt by beating the Vancouver netminder on a wraparound at 12:13. The rookie finished the postseason with 11 goals, and the B’s won all nine games in which he scored.
If it’s possible for a dagger to come in the second period, Bergeron provided it with a shorthanded goal on a breakaway late in the period. The play was reviewed to determine whether Bergeron punched the puck into the net, though the goal stood, and so too did the Bruins’ lead.
Thomas’ performance capped a remarkable series for the anticipated Vezina winner, as he allowed just eight goals over the entire series and set the record for most games in a Stanley Cup finals series. His shutout was his fourth of the postseason and second of the finals.
Though first period yielded the Bruins’ first goal, though it was not the most encouraging 20 minutes. The B’s managed only five shots on goal, with the fourth line of Gregory Campbell between Shawn Thornton and Daniel Paille. The line’s tireless work and aggression stood out for the Bruins, with each member getting a shot on Luongo. By the end of the period, the line had contributed 60 percent of the team’s shots on goal.
An injury scare occurred for the Bruins early on as well, as a hit from Chris Higgins at the blue line in the first period left captain Zdeno Chara down on the ice for a few moments. Chara got up and returned to the bench without any further issues.
The Canucks came out of the gate much stronger than the Bruins, and had quality opportunities throughout the night despite the Bruins’ attempts to push the play to the side. Vancouver’s best opportunity came a little over nine minutes into the second, when Chara was attempting to send the puck up the boards in his own zone, only to see the puck deflect off of Henrik Sedin and in front of the net to Alexandre Burrows. The controversial Vancouver winger had an empty net to work with, but Chara made up for his own miscue by getting in position to save the puck for Thomas.
A few odds and ends from the game:
– Dennis Seidenberg is now the second German to win the Stanley Cup, joining Uwe Krupp (1996).
– Both Henrik and Daniel Sedin were on the ice for the first three Bruins’ goals. Henrik was one of the players in front when Bergeron’s shot went past him on its way to Luongo on the first goal.
– The Canucks’ power play finished the Stanley Cup finals just 2-for-31.
– Tyler Seguin has gone from No. 2 overall pick to Stanley Cup champion in less than a year.
– Of the four major sports, the Patriots now have the longest Boston championship drought, as they las won the Super Bowl in February of 2005.
|Don Cherry on D&C: Bruins pushed ‘smug’ Sedins ‘a little too far’||06.08.11 at 9:27 am ET|
Hockey Night in Canada analyst Don Cherry joined the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning to offer his thoughts on the Stanley Cup finals that continues with Game 4 Wednesday night. To hear the interview, go the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
The Bruins put together an inspiring performance in Game 3, and Cherry said he thinks the Bruins can build off the 8-1 victory. He credits Shawn Thornton as the key to Boston’s resurgence.
“The big thing was Thornton,” he said. “At the start of the second game, I said, ‘Why isn’t Thornton in the game? [The Canucks are] running the Bruins, they own the Bruins right now. They don’t get Thornton in the game. Get some banging going in there and play like Bruins, and it’s going to be four straight.’ Why Thornton wasn’t in there from the start, I don’t know. It was Thornton that set the tone.”
Cherry also questioned B’s coach Claude Julien‘s decision to remove Tyler Seguin from the lineup. “Seguin will be in there [for Game 4], and he should have been in there. I just don’t understand two moves. And this is what I said ‘ and I’m not telling Julien, he’s a good coach, he’s in the final, he’s got to be good. Why Seguin wasn’t in there, and Thornton from the start, it was beyond me.”
Asked which of the Bruins he would have sat, Cherry said he didn’t know, but he noted that some players did not show up for the first two games. “In Vancouver they had a few passengers up there,” he said, later adding: “They were a bunch of pussies up there.”
|Andy Brickley on D&C: Playoffs ‘time to make strong statements’ about hits to head||06.07.11 at 9:25 am ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley called in to the Dennis & Callahan show Tuesday morning to talk about the Bruins big 8-1 win over the Canucks in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals the night before. The former Boston forward said he enjoyed what he saw Monday night.
“Thoroughly,” he said. “Absolutely loved just about everything about it except for the [Nathan Horton] hit and the result and maybe a little bit of stooping to the Canucks’ level when they started getting into the taunting with the fingers. Other than those two issues, I really enjoyed the game.”
The biggest reason why Brickley thought that the Bruins were able to take Game 3 was that that they were able to control their emotions and turn that energy into putting pucks in the back of the net, especially following the late losses earlier in the series as well as the early loss of Horton on a hit by Aaron Rome in Game 3.
“I liked the Bruins emotional level coming into the game because that was actually my biggest concern coming off the two dramatic losses in the fashion that they lost in Vancouver. Not a lot of turn-around time to recover emotionally from that overtime loss in Game 2. When you couple that with the late loss in regulation of Game 1, I had some concerns in that area. I think the coaching staff did a real good job, the players themselves, the leadership in the room, got themselves ready to play. Not a great first period but they were ready to play. They were going to bring their skating game and then when one of their top players and a guy that really lean on to make big plays and score big goals goes down early enough in the game, it just took the emotional zeale to another level. But they were able to keep enough disicipline until that game got out of hand.” Read the rest of this entry »
Almost as big a story as the game itself is Aaron Rome‘s first-period hit on Nathan Horton. After Horton dished a pass off to Milan Lucic, Rome stepped up and landed a late hit to the head that left Horton lying motionless on the ice for several minutes before being carried off on a stretcher.
After the game, players and coaches on both sides agreed that the primary concern was for Horton’s well-being. What they didn’t agree on, however, was how dirty or clean the hit actually was.
“I think what I would call it is it was a blindside hit that we’ve talked about taking out of the game,” Claude Julien said. “[Horton] made the pass. It was late. [Rome] came from the blindside. Whether it’s through the motion of the hit, it appeared he left his feet a little bit.”
Canucks coach Alain Vigneault disagreed with the assessment that it was the kind of hit the NHL is trying to get rid of.
“That hit was a head-on hit,” Vigneault said. “[Horton] was looking at his pass. It was a little bit late, but I don’t think that’s the type of hit that the league’s trying to take out.”
On replay, it appears that Horton was following the play more than anything — something any player would do while entering the zone on an offensive rush. Vigneault also conveniently ignored the fact that it was a hit to the head, regardless of what Horton was looking at. He wasn’t the only one in the Vancouver dressing room to defend the hit, though.
“I thought it was a very clean hit,” center Manny Malhotra said. “The timing was maybe a fraction off, but all in all, you see those hits on a daily basis.”
Malhotra’s assessment seems even more misguided than his coach’s. If it was “very clean,” Rome wouldn’t have been ejected from the game and he wouldn’t have a disciplinary hearing with the NHL Tuesday morning. And Malhotra must be playing in a different league than everyone else if he sees hits like that every day.
No one on the Bruins called Rome a dirty player, but they did say it was a bad hit.
“I played with him and from what I know of him, he is an honest player,” Shawn Thornton said. “But that doesn’t take away from the fact that it was a lateral hit to the head, and that’s what that rule was set into place for as far as I’m concerned.
“Aaron Rome is a good person. I played with him. We played together in Portland [Maine] and Anaheim. I’m not saying he’s a bad person. I’m just saying those are the hits – as players – we have to take out of the game.”
Whether or not NHL disciplinarian Mike Murphy decides to take Rome out of Game 4 and perhaps beyond remains to be seen. The Bruins didn’t directly say they think Rome should be suspended, but they certainly hinted at it by saying it’s the type of hit the league is trying to eliminate.
“I’ll say what I always say: let the league take care of it,” Julien said. “We’re trying to clean that out. Let’s see where they go with that.”