|Claude Julien on sticking with Torey Krug: ‘He didn’t lose any confidence’||06.16.13 at 5:58 pm ET|
There were plenty of sideline coaches suggesting Torey Krug sit Game 2 out after his gaffe in Game 1 that led to Chicago’s second goal and gave the Blackhawks momentum to begin their comeback.
But not Claude Julien.
He stuck with his talented rookie defenseman. And all the justification he needed from Krug was provided early in Game 2.
“Extremely well,” Julien said when asked how he thought Krug handled Game 2. “He didn’t lose any confidence. Again, you look at last night, he pushed the puck up the middle again, was able to come back, nothing came out of it. But, you know, his game continued to go in the right direction.”
“I thought I did play my game pretty well in Game 2, jumping up on the ice when I could, clearing the puck a little bit better,” Krug said. “Basically, there are still some things I can fix but I felt very confident, especially in overtime. We were up in the offensive zone a little bit more than we were the whole game. I felt a lot better.”
The irony is that Krug didn’t lean on a fellow defenseman for support after Game 1. It came from Patrice Bergeron, a forward, and given his propensity for offense, maybe that’s appropriate.
“He’s got the same routine every game,” Krug said. “I have never seen him play a bad game, but if he is having a bad game, I don’t think he changes anything up so that’s important in being a professional. He always goes about his business. He is an unbelievable leader and he does the little things that’s what’s amazing about him. Read the rest of this entry »
|Shawn Thornton on D&C: Nathan Horton ‘big, tough, scary guy when he wants to be’||06.14.13 at 11:30 am ET|
Shawn Thornton joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning, checking in the day before Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals in Chicago. The Bruins forward stuck up for Torey Krug and was mum on the status of the injured Nathan Horton, saying he didn’t talk to the first-line winger Thursday.
“I didn’t see him yesterday, so I don’t know the extent of it. I hope he’s in,” Thornton said. “He’s such a good player for us. I’m sure if he’s in, he’s ready to go, so I’m not too worried about him. He’s a big, tough, scary guy when he wants to be. He can take care of himself.”
Although the Bruins officially call it an upper-body injury, Horton reportedly is suffering from a chronic shoulder injury, aggravated most recently during the B’s Game 1 loss. Nonetheless, Thornton wasn’t worried about the Blackhawks targeting the shoulder, should Horton be in the lineup.
“It’s playoffs, so people are finishing their checks anyway,” Thornton said.
When questioned on Krug’s momentum-changing, third-period turnover Wednesday, Thornton was careful not to speculate too much or make any lineup assumptions, admitting he doesn’t know what coach Claude Julien’s thought process is when it comes to benching players.
Thornton did, however, give the defenseman a vote of confidence. Krug has been strong for much of the playoffs.
“For the majority of the game last game, he was really good for us on the power play, he was really good for us getting up the ice and supporting the play. One mistake … is not indicative of how he played,” Thornton said. “Whoever is in or out of the lineup, it won’t be because of anything that happened — I don’t think — in the game previous. If an adjustment is made, it’s because he figures it gives us a better chance to match up in different situations on the other side and give us a better chance of winning.
“I doubt anything’s going to happen, but I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Thornton also hasn’t talked to Krug — the players had Thursday off — but anticipated the rookie being just fine mentally.
“He’s a pretty special player, and a couple of breaks went the other way. It happens to the best of us,” Thornton said. “It’s the same as the dynamic, thought process of the team: You can’t worry about what happened last game. Move on and get ready for Saturday.”
The hosts noted that the Bruins — or Bruins fans — don’t quite have a public enemy No. 1 for the finals as they did in series past. As far as Thornton is concerned, that’s OK. There are more important things going on.
“When you don’t play all year, it’s tough to have that guy, that animosity with a non-rival,” Thornton said. “I’m not sure if it’s necessary. We have to focus on winning games, not taking somebody’s head off. I hear what you’re saying — sometimes it’s motivating when you dislike a certain individual, but this time of year you shouldn’t need an extra motivation.”
|Barry Pederson on D&C: Torey Krug’s third-period turnover ‘turning point’ in Game 1||06.13.13 at 10:19 am ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Barry Pederson joined Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning, and following the Bruins’ 4-3 triple-overtime loss to the Blackhawks in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals, Pederson pegged defenseman Torey Krug’s third-period turnover that led to Chicago’s second goal as a turning point.
Krug’s cross-ice pass got intercepted by Andrew Shaw, who assisted Dave Bolland’s goal to cut the Bruins’ lead to 3-2 midway through the third period.
“The Bruins had complete control of this hockey game early in the third with that 3-1 lead. People I think are talking about the deflection, the bad break they got. But to me the turning point of the hockey game was the giveaway by Krug in his own end,” Pederson said. “That’s one of those plays that’s a rookie mistake under pressure. You have the near-side wall is wide open. You either have to carry it up or make that play. As we’re taught as youngsters throughout your hockey career, there’s one play you don’t make in your own end, and that’s cross ice. That to me was the one that really changed things.”
It was that turnover — and the ensuing “emotional letdown” — that did in the Bruins more than potential complacency up by two goals with about half a period to go, Pederson noted.
Despite the error, Pederson said he doesn’t think Claude Julien will bench Krug for Game 2 Saturday, nor does he think the rookie defenseman should be benched. Pederson noted that Krug’s ice time was lessened for much of the rest of the game, but he doesn’t expect that to carry over.
“I would hope not,” Pederson said, “because they really need him. He brings that element of speed and offense to the lineup, and I think he helps their power play as well.”
When the hosts expressed concern that the Bruins, particularly the older players, might be lagging come Saturday, Pederson said not to worry — the Blackhawks are in the same position, after all.
The bigger concern should be replacing Nathan Horton, if needed, after the forward left with an upper-body injury in the first overtime. Pederson suggested moving Tyler Seguin up to replace Horton on the first line, as Julien played it the rest of Game 1.
|Tuukka Rask: Torey Krug turnover ‘terrible’||at 1:44 am ET|
CHICAGO — Tuukka Rask was the victim of some bad luck Wednesday night, as the Bruins’ two-goal lead in the third period was erased by a Torey Krug turnover and a puck that bounced off Andrew Ference‘s skate. After the Blackhawks won in triple overtime, it was the Krug turnover that left him most frustrated.
With the Bruins holding a two-goal lead with just over 12 minutes left in regulation, Krug sent a long pass from the Bruins zone in the direction of Kaspars Daugavins in the neutral zone, but it was intercepted by Andrew Shaw. The Blackhawks winger sent it across to Bolland, who beat Rask. A little more than four minutes later, a Johnny Oduya shot from the point went off Ference’s skate in front and past Rask.
“We had the game,” Rask said. “We were up 3-1 in the third and then a terrible turnover leads to a second goal, and a tough bounce leads to a tying goal and we just gave it away. We’ve got to be better than that.”
Krug did not play for the rest of regulation after his turnover, though he eventually got shifts in the first overtime and worked his way back into more of a rotation as the game progressed. He was on the ice for Shaw’s game-winner and finished the game with a minus-2 rating.
Rask faced 63 shots in the game (the most he’s seen in his career) and made 59 saves. Asked about the team’s first experience playing Chicago this season, Rask said, “We definitely didn’t play our best game. We turned the puck over too many times and didn’t manage the puck good enough.”
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|Torey Krug taking unlikely shot at Stanley Cup in stride||06.12.13 at 2:02 pm ET|
CHICAGO — Usually, the Stanley Cup marks the end of a long journey from a group of guys who have spent the whole season with that gigantic trophy in mind. Even if a player was acquired at the trade deadline, his attention shifted in the regular season from winning it with one team to winning it with another.
Torey Krug is in a different situation. After playing essentially the whole season in Providence, Krug’s mindset less than a month ago was winning the Calder Cup as the AHL’s top team. Yet here he is, a contributor on a team that is four games away from the Cup, and the 22-year-old blueliner admits that he never even thought about the Cup this season. After all, why would he?
“I worked all season toward the regular season championship down there,” Krug said after Wednesday’s morning skate. “I obviously want to put myself in a position to compete in the National Hockey League, and now that I’m here, you’re always working towards [the Stanley Cup]. Every team has that in sight. I’m just trying to contribute every game here.”
Krug obviously has contributed. Stepping in due to injuries on the blue line for the second round against the Rangers, Krug became the first defenseman in NHL history to score four goals in his first five playoff games. His performance earned him a concrete spot in Boston’s lineup, as he took Wade Redden‘s spot once the veteran defenseman was healthy and contributed a pair of assists and a plus-2 rating in the Bruins’ sweep of the Penguins.
Now that he has the chance to win the Cup on a team for which he played just one regular season game this year, Krug is grateful for where he is at this point in his career. Tyler Seguin said Tuesday that he didn’t fully appreciate what it meant to be in the Cup finals two years ago as a rookie, but Krug isn’t letting the fact that he’s young confuse him about just how special an opportunity he has.
“I haven’t gone through something like this before, so those feelings will arrive when they come, but as far as understanding that it is rare — there’s guys that obviously haven’t made it to a Cup final through their whole careers — obviously [Jaromir Jagr] has waited a long time to get to the position where he is right now,” Krug said. “I understand how rare it is, but the emotions and the feelings will come afterward.”
Emotions aren’t a big part of the undersized defenseman’s game. The young Steve Zahn lookalike is Johnny Boychuk-like in that he’s outgoing but calm at the same time. Matt Bartkowski, who played with him in Providence, predicted every bit of this success when the B’s called Krug up because he knew the pressure of the Stanley Cup playoffs wouldn’t get to him. Krug himself says he can’t remember the last time he was nervous.
“I don’t really sit in the locker room or get sick to my stomach,” Krug said. “My heart’s not beating too fast. Maybe the first couple shifts I’m a little jittery here and there, but I never sit there. You hear of guys puking before games and stuff like that, but my nerves are pretty calm.”
|Andy Brickley on M&M: Kaspars Daugavins the right call to replace Gregory Campbell||06.07.13 at 1:46 pm ET|
Andy Brickley, the color commentator for the Bruins on NESN, called into Mut & Merloni on Friday afternoon, and he wholeheartedly agreed with Claude Julien‘s apparent decision to play Kaspars Daugavins Friday night after Gregory Campbell broke his leg in Wednesday’s double-overtime win.
Daugavins skated as the third-line left winger during the Bruins morning skate and appears set to fill that role as the Bruins and Penguins face off at TD Garden Friday night.
“You have to look at it this way: What players are available in the absence of Gregory Campbell? And what are we losing in Gregory Campell?” Brickley said. “You’re losing an energy guy, a real good faceoff guy, a penalty-killer, reliable, accountable — all those things that you want in your role-playing centerman.”
Brickley said once Julien split up Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly to center the bottom two lines, Daugavins makes the most sense of the options, including Jay Pandolfo, Carl Soderberg and Jordan Caron.
“Which player has the most trust of the coaching staff, and which player gives your team the greater flexibility and versatility if you have to shorten the bench or you get into a special teams game?” Brickley asked. “Daugavins is probably your best bet.”
Brickley, like many, many others the last two days, lauded Campbell for sticking it out for the rest of his shift after breaking his leg while blocking a shot during Wednesday’s marathon Game 3. He said the effort exemplified “the [hockey] culture, how these guys grew up,” and Campbell finishing his shift was a high-risk, high-reward situation.
“I know there was some discussion whether he should’ve just lied down and writhed in pain in order to get the whistle — but I don’t think it would have come — so he did what he had to do,” Brickley said. “The impact that that can have if you survive that penalty-killing situation, but then get yourself to the bench, the message received by the players [about] how committed you are.”
|Andy Brickley on M&M: ‘Surprised’ to see Andrew Ference play over Matt Bartkowski in Game 1||06.03.13 at 1:58 pm ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley, in an interview with Mut & Merloni on Friday, talked about the Bruins’ win over the Penguins in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals and previewed Monday night’s Game 2.
Brickley said that the end result of the game was what impressed him most about the Bruins on Saturday night, because they did not start the game very well. Pittsburgh outshot Boston 22-17 through the first two periods.
“The way they played the first 40 minutes was not Bruins hockey,” Brickley said. “They played real strong, they looked more like the team and their identity in the third period. I liked the way they played in the third, the neutral zone was a lot better, fewer turnovers. Once they had that 1-0 lead and were able to extend that lead they got real comfortable in that third period playing the style that they wanted to play. They are going to need a better start tonight because that could have easily been 3-1, 4-1, 5-1 after the first 40 minutes.”
One thing that surprised Brickley on Saturday night was that Andrew Ference returned to the lineup in place of Matt Bartkowski. Bartkowski, a Pittsburgh native, played more than 19 minutes in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Rangers before sitting Game 1 against the Penguins.
“Yeah, [I was] a little surprised to be honest with you,” Brickley said. “I know it was a very difficult decision. The minute you get clearance from team doctors and you’re ready to go, it is a tough decision. Bartkowski being a Pittsburgh kid, he was instrumental in advancing in that five-game series against the Rangers. He gave a different element to the Bruins back line with his speed, his ability to pinch down the wall, make key plays in the offensive zone, the quick ups. He was a good match for the Rangers because the Rangers don’t have a ton of team speed so he had more time and space.
“But Andrew Ference is a guy that shouldn’t lose his job to injury. He is a veteran guy, he plays real well in the postseason, he is a leader and he is a good match for the Pittsburgh Penguins when you talk about their high-end talent. I was a little surprised. I thought they would go with the same lineup that you saw in Game 5 against the Rangers, but it was a good decision because Ference played real well.” Read the rest of this entry »
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