|Why the book on Carey Price is not out||05.05.14 at 1:24 pm ET|
Last year it was Corey Crawford‘s glove, and now it’s the top half of the net against Carey Price. As the Bruins score their goals in certain spots, the idea of “the book being out” on the opposing goaltender naturally emerges.
Yet in the case of the Bruins vs. Price, the narrative developing isn’t quite accurate. Speaking to the Bruins goaltender — whom we all know is extremely honest – the whole thing is silly. In Tuukka Rask‘s mind, goaltenders can’t reach the NHL with free spaces on their bingo boards.
“I think every goalie in this league feels like if you see the shot, you should stop it pretty much,” Rask said Monday. “I mean, there’s tendencies where guys get scored on more than other places, but I don’t think there’s one particular spot on any goalie where you just want to keep shooting and shooting.”
On Sunday, Bruins players were asked about the Bruins having scored a lot of goals this series on Price by shooting high, and their answers suggested that to be the case. Dougie Hamilton even said that B’s shooters had picked up on the fact that Price was looking low.
“I think we’ve definitely noticed that when he’s screened he’s looking low and he gets really low,” Hamilton said. “I think we can score a lot of goals up high when we have a net-front presence. I don’t know if we’re really trying, but we’ve noticed that.”
That may be the case, but after looking through all seven goals the B’s have scored on Price through the first two games of the series, it’s barely even a tendency. In fact, only three of Boston’s goals have come from shooting high: Reilly Smith‘s third-period goal in Game 1 while Price was trying to look around a screen, Daniel Paille‘s snap shot in Game 2 (which wasn’t even shot all that high; it went off Francis Bouillon and up) and Hamilton’s Game 2 snap shot glove side high as Price was moving across his net.
If anything, taking advantage of Price on the move has been key for the Bruins. Hamilton’s goal and Smith’s Game 2 goal both came as a result of that, as Smith shot the puck glove side around the middle of the net as Price was moving across.
|Tuukka Rask welcomes baby daughter||at 12:16 pm ET|
Tuukka Rask and his girlfriend welcomed a baby girl this weekend, making the Bruins goaltender a father for the first time.
The due date for the child to arrive was Friday, the day after Game 1 of the second round against the Canadiens, and the baby was born either Sunday or early Monday morning. There was a state police officer at Friday’s practice, perhaps to provide an escort if need be, and the Bruins would have had a plan to get Rask to Boston from Montreal had the baby come after the Bruins had left for Canada on Monday.
Bruins backup goaltender Chad Johnson told ESPN Boston on Thursday that he was prepared to play in case Rask had to leave Game 1 to tend to the situation.
“I’ve sort of talked to him about it. You don’t know what’s going to happen there, so you sort of have to be ready,” Johnson said. “I don’t know if he’s going to leave or not leave in that situation, but again, you can’t really control anything. I just have to try to be ready for any situation, if I get to start or I get put in, I want to make the best of it and try to do as well as you can.”
Understandably with a lot on his mind, Rask had an uncharacteristic performance Thursday and vented about his own play following the 4-3 double-overtime loss to Montreal.
The weight off the new father’s shoulders was celebrated by the entire team Monday, as the B’s selected Rask to lead the team’s stretch at the end of Monday’s practice.
Games 3 and 4 of the second round will be played Tuesday and Thursday at the Bell Centre.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|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.”
One sign of a true leader is taking full blame for a difficult playoff loss. Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask did just that Thursday night when he stood in front of his dressing room stall and told the world he should have saved P.K. Subban‘s rocket of a shot from the center point that beat him and the Bruins 4:17 into the second overtime, giving the Canadiens a 4-3 win in Game 1 of the second-round series.
Matt Bartkowski had just taken a holding penalty for hauling down Dale Weise in front of Rask. Seven seconds later, Subban beat Rask to give Montreal the 1-0 series lead.
“I think I saw enough of that last one to catch it but I don’t know. Just a typical overtime goal. Somebody’s mistake, right? Now, it was mine,” Rask said.
“When you suck, you suck. That’s it. What can I say? It’s the playoffs,” added the Bruins goalie, who stopped 29 of 33 shots on the night while Carey Price stopped 48 of 51 Boston shots on goal.
Is Rask confident he will better Saturday when the Bruins take on the Canadiens at 12:30 p.m. in Game 2 at TD Garden?
“Yeah, we have practice [Friday]. Maybe I’ll save [good performance] for Saturday. That’s the only option. We played a great game. We can’t change anything except we have to kill those penalties and I’ve got to keep the puck out of my net. That’s the only change we need.
“We played overall a good five-on-five, pretty much dominated, had a lot of chances, couldn’t score. But I was [expletive] today. I’ve got to be better.”
But then Rask clarified, adding, “Not an off night. I made some saves, but I couldn’t make the game-savers as you say. So, just go home, sleep and regroup. We had a lot of bounces there. Could go either way, especially in the first overtime. It just went the wrong way, on the goal line and stuff.”
Rask was referring to the puck that came from the stick of Carl Soderberg and passed along the goal line behind Carey Price midway through the first overtime, only to just barely stay out of the net.
Said Rask: “I think as a team, we deserved to win, but from a goalie’s standpoint, Price played a lot better than I did.”
|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.”
|Tuukka Rask, Bruins earn a ‘breather’ while getting ready for ‘pretty familiar’ Canadiens||04.26.14 at 8:03 pm ET|
Here we go again.
Depending on whom was asked in the Bruins dressing room after Saturday’s 4-2 series clinching win over the Detroit Red Wings, the Montreal Canadiens are either just another opponent ahead in the playoffs or the obvious arch-rival that awaits in a long series.
Perhaps Vezina Trophy finalist Tuukka Rask had the best perspective after stopping 31 of 33 shots Saturday to lead the Bruins into the second round.
With the Flyers-Rangers and Penguins-Blue Jackets assured of going at least six games, the Bruins are assured of not starting their series until late next week, possibly as late as next Saturday at TD Garden. The team has Sunday off.
“I think people tend to make it a huge deal outside our locker room, but we’ve learned over the years that the more focus resting on our own doing and keep the focus on us, we get the better results, so for me and for everybody else I think it’s just another series we want to win and [we’re] looking forward to it,” Rask said. “They have a great team, so it’s going to be tough, but we’ll see.
“They’re a quick team. They’re a talented team, so I’m sure it’ll be entertaining for the fans. We’ll take a breather here for a couple days and then we’ll see when it starts, but we’ll enjoy this win today and then we’ll move on.”
Rask knows that while Detroit came in with the reputation of having a lot of speed, Montreal will be on a whole new level. Throw in familiarity, and the Bruins goalie knows full well what is in store for him.
|Pierre McGuire on M&M: Red Wings’ Mike Babcock ‘the most creative coach in the NHL’||04.18.14 at 2:33 pm ET|
For McGuire, Friday night’s matchup against the Red Wings is the toughest scenario the Bruins could have faced.
“The only reason I say that is the creativity of Mike Babcock, [Detroit’s] coach,” McGuire said. “I think most people know on paper the rosters don’t compare. Boston’s roster is better on paper than Detroit’s just because of the veteran experience and the fact that most of the players on the Bruins roster have been part of a Stanley Cup run to the final and/or won a Stanley Cup.
“A lot of these Detroit players really haven’t been a part of that. It’s really been a huge turnover in their roster — some because of injury, some because of retirement and some just because they had no other choice. The one thing I will say about this Detroit roster is a lot of the younger players you’ll see won an American [Hockey] League championship last year in Grand Rapids.”
One of the main concerns for the Bruins is the Red Wings’ speed.
“That’s going to be the No. 1 thing to watch early on,” McGuire said. “Watch what they do when they’re attacking Zdeno Chara. Watch what they do when they’re attacking Johnny Boychuk — two of the bigger, more important defensemen for the Bruins just because of the shutdown capabilities. Let’s see if they play chip-and-chase hockey or if they really try to stretch them out and create huge seams.
“You won’t know until the game starts, but this is going back to my point about Mike Babcock — to me he is the most creative coach in the NHL. Doesn’t mean he’s the best — although he’s getting one of my votes for Coach of the Year. I think he’s the most creative coach in the National Hockey League and we’ll see how he breaks down the Bruins defense because the Bruins defense, as we know, is extremely good.”
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