|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.”
|Shawn Thornton fined for squirting P.K. Subban with water bottle; Claude Julien ‘can’t support’ Thornton’s actions||05.11.14 at 11:21 am ET|
Thornton squirted Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban with a water bottle at least once during the game, with Subban complaining to the official and yelling at Thornton after the second occurrence in the final minute of the game.
“With Thorty, I don’t know if it was him, but somebody had squirted water twice at the end of the game there,” Subban said after the Bruins’ 4-2 win. “Hit me in the visor. I couldn’t even see the last minute and a half out there. I was pretty upset about that.”
After the fine was handed down, Thornton spoke to the media about it, taking no questions. Thornton seemed irked by the life the story has taken on and didn’t sound overly apologetic.
“I obviously got caught up in the moment. I’ll pay the fine. We obviously agree with what the league does there. I’ll pay the fine and move on. I’m sorry that the silly incident kind of overshadowed how my teammates played and the great win and how good the series has been.
“I think that there are definitely more important things to be focusing on. I got caught up in the moment. I probably shouldn’t have done that. I’ll move on, get ready for Game 6, pay the fine, and hopefully have a good showing.”
Claude Julien said Sunday morning that upon seeing the video of Thornton squirting Subban, he gave Thornton a talking to. Julien also made clear that he doesn’t support such behavior.
“As a coach, you always want to support your players, but there are certain things you can’t support,” Julien said. “I don’t think I can support Shawn on those actions. To me, I don’t think we like seeing our players do that. Whether he got caught up in the game or whatever, to me, he’s got to own up to it. That’s all I’m going to say about it.”
The fine was the maximum possible for unsportsmanlike conduct under the current CBA.
It’s been a costly season for Thornton, who forfeited approximately $84,615.45 earlier in the season during his 15-game suspension that stemmed from his Dec. 7 incident with Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik. This season is the first in which Thornton has made over $1 million, as he signed a two-year contract that would pay him $1.1 million both last season and this season, but he lost somewhere in the neighborhood of $456,000 during last season’s lockout.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Shawn Thornton on D&C: ‘You focus on winning tomorrow’||05.09.14 at 11:05 am ET|
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday following Thursday’s overtime win against the Canadiens in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
“It is a three-game series,” Thornton said of the rest of the semifinals, “but I think you look at it, honestly, just as tomorrow and you focus on winning tomorrow. I think if you start looking at, ‘Oh, we’ve got to get two out of three, got to win both at home, you just start — all focus should be on the first period tomorrow, then the second period, then the third period.
“That’s how I approach it. That’s how our team approaches it and that’s why we’ve been pretty good in the playoffs the last few years.”
The Bruins have struggled with puck luck as several of their shots have hit the post in this series.
“[It’s] eight, nine times now?” Thornton said. “Keep saying to yourself the next one’s going to go in, the next one’s going to go in, I guess. It has been a lot of ringing it off the bar. I think three last game? Carl [Soderberg], [Reilly Smith] and [Jarome Iginla] had a couple the game before.
“You hope the hockey gods start letting those go in for you.”
The Bruins’ first line in particular has struggled to find the back of the net in the series.
“The effort’s there,” Thornton said. “It’s not like they’re just coasting around. The pucks are going to start going in for them. They’re too good for them not to.”
|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.”
|Shawn Thornton on D&C: ‘There’s no panic’ in Bruins, even when trailing Canadiens late||05.05.14 at 10:14 am ET|
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday to discuss Boston’s comeback win over the Canadiens in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
The Bruins are 1-1 in the second round of the playoffs after they scored four goals in the final nine-plus minutes in Saturday’s game to grab a 5-3 victory.
“We started talking about it yesterday at the rink,” Thornton said. “I don’t think anybody really realized that we did all that in nine minutes left. We weren’t looking at the clock. We were just looking at the next shift and the next shift. It was how we’ve been for the past I don’t know how many years, but we’re not like, ‘Oh, no, we’ve got to get …’ There’s no panic. It’s just like, keep going, keep going, keep going. It’s going to work out. And we like to make it interesting, I’ll say that.”
Through the first 40 minutes of Saturday’s game, Montreal goaltender Carey Price stopped 26 shots and had a big save on a shot by Milan Lucic in the second period. Price said after the game that the Bruins “got pretty lucky” in the third period.
“He’s obviously got a lot of confidence right now,” Thornton said. “We’re going to have to prove him wrong.
“You’ve got to get some bounces to go your way when you’re down that many goals within nine minutes, to score that many goals with nine minutes left. You have to get the fortunate bounces that we maybe weren’t getting earlier. I don’t know if that’s luck. I think that’s just hockey. I think that happens a lot on both sides.
“I think we’re very fortunate that we got a few by him at the end. [Patrice Bergeron‘s] line played unbelievable — they capitalized on their chances, they were creating a lot of havoc and the pucks were where they needed to put them. … The stop on Lucic in the second period — I still don’t know how [Price] didn’t yank everything out of his body stretching to make that save. I’m glad we finally got something through, because we needed that win in a big way.”
The Bruins will fly out to Montreal on Monday before taking on the Canadiens at the Bell Centre in Game 3 Tuesday night.
“The crowd definitely — I’ve seen the crowd call penalties up there, as crazy as that sounds,” Thornton said. “The energy in the building — I think we obviously fed off it last game in our building, and they’ll probably try to do the same in theirs.”
For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.
|P.K. Subban apologized to Shawn Thornton for ducking||05.03.14 at 5:18 pm ET|
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton left the game in the third period after hurting his right knee on a collision with P.K. Subban in the neutral zone. Thornton was going for a hit on Subban, who lowered himself as he sent the puck into the Bruins zone. Thornton ended up returning to the game, but he said after the game that he didn’t like the position Subban put him in and that the Canadiens defenseman apologized to him for the play.
“I don’t like people ducking. I think [Brad Marchand] got about five games for it once,” Thornton said. “I will say, off the draw he apologized afterwards, so there’s that. I think it’s a dangerous play, personally. But it’s playoffs, it’s hockey, I’m fine, so we’re OK.”
The suspension to which Thornton referred was Marchand’s ban in the 2011-12 season for a low-bridge hit on Sami Salo. Marchand’s offense was far more egregious than Subban’s, and no penalty was called on Saturday’s incident.
“I don’t know what happened,” Subban said of the play. “I just tried to shoot the puck around the zone and I sort of lost my footing there. Obviously you don’t want to see anybody go off hurt, but he came back. I don’t know if he stayed in the game, but [I was] happy to see that.”
When Thornton got back on the bench, the Bruins were still trailing by a pair of goals in the third period. He delivered them a message on the bench midway through the period: one goal every five minutes.
“I’m not psychic. It’s a pretty standard statement depending on the time and the score,” Thornton said. “I think I said two goals, but we’re a resilient crew here. We have been all year, so I knew the character would be there’I was just hoping the pucks would go in.”
|Montreal sports radio host Mitch Melnick on M&M: ‘Every player dives and embellishes a little,’ including Bruins’ Shawn Thornton||05.01.14 at 12:04 pm ET|
Montreal sports radio host Mitch Melnick of TSN 690 joined Mut & Merloni on Thursday to discuss the Bruins-Canadiens playoff series and accusations that the Habs sell out in an effort to get penalty calls. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
The Canadiens often are criticized — at least in Boston — for embellishing physical contact in an effort to draw penalties.
“When the Bruins talk into microphones and cameras and are talking about stuff like, ‘We don’t do stuff like that. We don’t dive. We don’t embellish. We don’t do this, we don’t do that.’ Everybody does it. Everybody does it. Shawn Thornton, stand-up guy, he does it. Every player dives and embellishes a little,” Melnick said.
“The fact of the matter is, if you polled players around the league, who’s the most disliked guy on the ice, Brad Marchand probably wins that poll by a mile since Sean Avery was kicked out of the league. And do they respect Brad Marchand? Absolutely. It’s kind of like Boston toward [P.K.] Subban. The bigger the moment, the more P.K. Subban wants that spotlight. Those guys are winning hockey players. On the ice, in the heat of battle, they do things that drive you absolutely up the wall, and you want to strangle them. But there’s a respect factor. As long as they don’t cross the line and do stuff that ends up in a serious injury. These are winning hockey players.”
Subban has become the poster child for Bruins fans’ distaste for the Canadiens’ style. Melnick said Subban “takes a lot of abuse ‘¦ behind the play” and it’s not always visible to fans.
“I’m not trying to defend him. He’s still learning. He’s still a kid,” Melnick said of the 24-year defenseman. “He’s doing things that he won’t do a year from now, or two years from now. But it’s a growing process. And he feels that he gets so much abuse that once in a while he’s got to put some mustard on it.”
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