|Are expectations high enough for Tyler Seguin?||04.17.12 at 12:10 pm ET|
WASHINGTON — Last year, the first round was a time for Tyler Seguin apologists to bash Claude Julien for not putting him in the lineup.
This year, the game sheet says that Seguin is in the lineup, but little else has.
Seguin, who is still just 20 years of age, has struggled to produce thus far in the postseason after leading the B’s with 29 goals and 67 points. He hasn’t been the only Bruins star forward to start the playoffs quietly, but after a dominant regular season, expectations to continue that means more pressure when the points aren’t coming.
While Seguin was very good in the beginning of the Eastern Conference finals (his Game 3 performance, though it featured no points, was perhaps the most complete game as a rookie), it isn’t a complete shock that he’s failed to match his regular-season success early on in the playoffs. He’s getting the minutes as a top-six forward, but two of the areas in which he isn’t particularly strong — battling for pucks and play in his own end — are ones that are often exploited in the postseason.
Julien was asked at Tuesday’s media availability what the team needs to do to get their young scorer going.
“I think we've got to, kind of, in a way leave him alone,” Julien said. “When I say leave him alone, we're helping him through it, but to put too much pressure on a young player like that, I don't think is the right approach, for me anyway.
“You've got to guide him along and you know he's going to find his game. He's not playing badly. But again, there's a lot of expectations on some of these young players and sometimes it is maybe not always fair. And that's why you've got guys like [Brian] Rolston and [Chris] Kelly and those kind of guys producing for us, because they're veterans and they've been through these situations before.”
To be fair to Seguin, he isn’t the only big name forward that needs to get going offensively for the B’s. Milan Lucic still doesn’t have a point, though he had a much better game on Monday. David Krejci, who led the NHL with 12 goals and 23 points last postseason, also does not have a point through the first three games.
The top two lines still have not scored a goal this postseason. Though Rich Peverley scored in the second period Monday, it came on 4-on-4 while he was on the ice with Kelly. The Bruins’ bottom-six forwards have scored four of the team’s six goals this postseason, a sign that the B’s need more from their top two lines. That means that the pressure is on their leading scorer from the regular season. Julien doesn’t think that pressure’s fair.
“Tyler last year was in and out of the lineup during the playoffs so for us to expect that he's just going to take over because he led our team in scoring, to me it's not reality,” Julien said. “He's going to find his way because he's a smart player, he's a good player, and we're going to allow him the time to do that without putting undue pressure on him.”
That doesn’t exactly sound like the biggest vote of confidence from Julien. The team should expect Seguin to take over games. He’s one of the most talented players in the league, even if he doesn’t play as physical a game as is required in the postseason. Seguin can dominate games, as the Bruins have seen before. They don’t need to make excuses for him, they just need him to start producing.
|Claude Julien on Tyler Seguin: ‘He knows everybody on his team has his back’||04.10.12 at 2:01 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Moments after captain Zdeno Chara was pointing with his stick and barking at Tyler Seguin Tuesday morning on a power play drill, coach Claude Julien and assistant coach Doug Jarvis came over and had a heart-to-heart with the Bruins’ leading goal scorer this season.
They were simply reminding him to play hard on the power play and play with a “heavy stick” – Julien’s way of saying scoring on the power play and scoring in general, requires more will power in the playoffs than in the regular season.
“Playoffs, a lot of times, it’s all about little details and that’s why we’re going over video,” Seguin said Tuesday. “Even on the ice, obviously, coaches see stuff that they want you to improve on or little details they want you to fix and sometimes, as a player, you see something different. You just compare notes without crossing the line and just get prepared.”
Julien knows that Seguin – with his 29 goals – will be a marked man by Dale Hunter‘s Washington Capitals much more than he was at the start of the Stanley Cup championship run 12 months ago. Julien and Chara just want Seguin to be ready for that hunt beginning Thursday night in Game 1 at the Garden.
“I think he knows everybody on his team has his back, and all he has to do is go out there and compete and be ready to face that kind of challenge,” Julien said. “If we want him to be a better player, he has to be able to face those kind of challenges and face them with a positive result. He has to be able to work his way through and we expect him to be able to do that.”
For his part, Seguin downplayed being a focal point of Washington’s defensive game plan.
“I don’t really know about that. If you look at our team, there wasn’t exactly much gap between [players],” Seguin said. “We’re pretty close. We had [six] 20-goal scorers. That’s what makes our team pretty dangerous.”
“I don’t think he’s been bad at that this year whenever things were a little tough,” Julien added. “We’ve always kept a close eye on him. He’s a young prospect that we want to make sure that he continues to go in the right direction so we’ve taken time to bring him in and talk to him. Players have done the same thing. When it comes to a situation where you haven’t scored in a while or you’re a little frustrated, you go back to basics, and you stop looking at the big picture and just take a step back and keep your game maybe a little simpler but more efficient, and eventually, things come back.
“We’ve done a good job with him as far as the whole coaching staff, the players, to help him through those things. And he likes his teammates, he likes our coaching staff, he has a lot of trust in all of us where he’s not afraid to come up and say, ‘Listen, this is what’s happening here.’ Or whenever we suggest something, it’s nice to see a guy with that much talent and skill be so open to suggestions and help, as well.”
|Sidney Crosby leads Penguins past Bruins||04.03.12 at 10:08 pm ET|
Sidney Crosby had two goals as the Penguins beat Marty Turco and the Bruins by a 5-3 score Tuesday night at TD Garden.
The Penguins jumped out to a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Crosby and Paul Martin, but Benoit Pouliot made it a one-goal game late in the period by beating Penguins goaltender Brent Johnson with a nifty backhander. Milan Lucic tied it just 18 seconds into the second, but the Penguins cashed in on a 5-on-3 by getting power-play goals from James Neal and Crosby to give Pittsburgh a two-goal lead. The Pens would add to it when Aaron Asham scored his fifth of the season in the third period to make it 5-3, and though the Bruins responded with Rich Peverley‘s 11th goal of the season, they were unable to make it any closer.
Turco took the loss for the Bruins, stopping 22-of-27 shots and falling to 1-2-0 since signing with Boston last month.
The Bruins will play their likely first-round playoff opponent Thursday when they travel to Ottawa to face the Senators.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Johnny Boychuk left the game with just over 13 minutes remaining in the third period. Boychuk appeared to injure his knee while going for an open-ice hit on Asham, and he remained on the ice and was joined by trainer Don DelNegro before being helped off the ice by Brian Rolston and Chris Kelly. He did not return to the game.
– The Bruins fell victim to a couple of bad calls in the second period that both resulted in Penguins goals. Seconds after Daniel Paille was sent off for charging for his hit on Matt Niskanen, Peverley was given a high-sticking penalty on a play in which Kris Letang clearly embellished. Neal scored his 40th of the season with the Penguins on the 5-on-3, and Crosby made it 4-2 with Peverley still in the box. Peverley’s stick did not touch Letang’s face, but the Pittsburgh defenseman whipped his head back, resulting in the call.
– Patrice Bergeron‘s line had been playing well for the Bruins in recent games, but the line was a minus-2 after two periods. Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin managed to put pucks on net, including a Seguin shot on a 2-on-0 in the second period, but the line failed to produce a goal and was on the ice for two Pittsburgh tallies, while Bergeron was on the ice for the Penguins’ first four goals. In addition to failing to cash in on the 2-on-0 with Marchand, Seguin was stopped by Johnson on a pair of breakaways.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Pouliot’s goal, his 15th of the season, gave him a career-high 31 points this season. Aside from last season’s 79-game campaign with the Canadiens (13 goals, 17 assists, 30 points), Pouliot has spent much of his career unable to play a full season at the NHL level due to either injury or performance. He’s been able to put together a solid season in Boston, coming three goals short of Michael Ryder‘s production in Ryder’s last two seasons with the Bruins.
– Though he was the recipient of a debatable charging penalty, Paille was extra physical Tuesday night. He also put a big hit on Asham that nearly sent the Penguins forward into the Bruins bench in the second period.
– The B’s top line of David Krejci between Lucic and Peverley was productive for the B’s, producing two goals. Krejci had a nice backhanded dish to Lucic to set up the Bruins’ second goal, and the center picked up helpers on both of his line’s goals. All three players finished with multiple-point nights, as Lucic and Peverley each had a goal and an assist.
– Good on defenseman Andrew Ference for not only taking on but taking down a much bigger opponent in Neal. The two fought in a spirited bout in the second period, with Ference getting the decision.
|Bruins lose Tuukka Rask, then game to Islanders||03.03.12 at 3:40 pm ET|
The Bruins lost more than a winnable game against a non-playoff team Saturday, as they lost goaltender Tuukka Rask to injury and fell to the Islanders, 3-2, at TD Garden.
The Bruins got on the board in the first period when Milan Lucic scored on the power play, a goal assisted by Brian Rolston for the veteran forward’s first point since returning to the Bruins. The Islanders tied it late in the first on a Josh Bailey goal.
After Thomas took over for Rask in the second period, Matt Moulson gave the Islanders a 2-1 lead on the power play. Tyler Seguin tied the game 7:29 into the third period, but the Islanders would regain the lead in the final five minutes on John Taveres‘ 26th of the season.
The Bruins will return to action Sunday when they face the Eastern conference-leading Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- After defeating the Devils Thursday, the B’s blew their latest chance at winning back-to-back games, and have still not one consecutive games since Jan. 10 and 12, a span of 23 games.
- The B’s are in trouble if Rask’s injury keeps him out for a while. After Sunday’s game against the Rangers, the Bruins will still have games on back-to-back days three times for the remainder of the season. Given that Providence goaltenders Anton Khudobin (wrist) and Michael Hutchinson (flu) are out, the B’s could be looking at Adam Courchaine, who was called up to Providence from the ECHL and has played only five career AHL games.
- Rask wasn’t the Bruins’ only injury scare. Daniel Paille left the Bruins’ bench and headed down the tunnel after getting tripped by Steve Staios in the third period. Paille did not return to the game. Staios was the same guy who hit Paille in the face with a slapshot back on Nov. 7.
- Greg Zanon got beaten for the first time in a Bruins uniform. After playing early in the first period on a pairing with Joe Corvo, Zanon went back to playing with Adam McQuaid. Late in the first period, Anders Nillson sent a pass through Zanon to Bailey, who beat Rask to tie the game at one goal apiece.
- There was a pretty bad non-call late in the first period, as P.A. Parenteau got Brad Marchand in the face with a high stick that appeared to cut the Bruins forward. Marchand remained down on the ice for a few moments, but got back up and played the rest of his shift. Of course, a high-stick that draws blood should yield a four-minute double-minor. Overall, the officiating wasn’t great, as Shawn Thornton was given a questionable roughing call when both he and Travis Hamonic were shoving after Hamonic hit Thornton.
- That pesky second period got to the Bruins again, as the Islanders took the lead on Moulson’s goal. The Bruins have outscored their opponents in the second period only once over their last eight games.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- The B’s got Johnny Boychuk back after he missed the last two games with a concussion sustained last Saturday on a hit from Senators forward Chris Neil. Boychuk didn’t seem to take much time getting back to his usual self, as he led all players with four hits in the first period.
- Seguin is heating back up for the Bruins, and it’s no coincidence that his output has increased since being teamed with David Krejci and Milan Lucic. Seguin had gone 10 games without a goal leading into Thursday night’s game against the Devils, but he now has goals in two straight. On the season, Seguin has 22 goals, which doubles last season’s total of 11.
|David Krejci: ‘You just can’t turn it on when the playoffs come’||03.02.12 at 8:46 am ET|
David Krejci knew full well what his February was like. Like his whole season to this point, it had been very up and down and inconsistent.
That all changed Thursday when the calendar flipped to March. The center-turned-winger was back at center and he netted his second career hat trick, finishing it off with an overtime goal that propelled the Bruins past the Devils, 4-3, in overtime.
Krejci had been in a huge slump coming in, just 13 goals, including two in 13 games in the month of February. His assist totals are also way off. He hasn’t had a helper since Jan. 31 and has 28 for the season, one reason why Julien moved him from center to wing.
But Thursday night with Tyler Seguin on his wing, Krejci was back at center. He looked reenergized and fresh, and most importantly, ready to contribute in a big way down the stretch as the Bruins try to regain their momentum for another spring title run.
“Yeah, I wasn't thinking about it, I had two goals in the month of February,” Krejci said of his struggles in February. “But, you know, I just take it game by game. I want to do my best every game and I was feeling really good before the game and I got Segs on my line so I was excited about it. We click well together with Looch [Milan Lucic] and him and it was a good game for us. I know we had a little sloppy second period but we came back hard in the third and won the game. That was the most important thing.”
His coach has noticed an improvement of late.
“I think he's really, he looks more comfortable right now,” Claude Julien said of Krejci. “As I've often said, he puts a lot of pressure on himself. He's probably his worst enemy when things aren't going well, and because of that, it doesn't help him in the long run. You try and take some of that pressure off and say, 'Listen, you've just got to go out there and play.' So, when he feels good about his game, you see a big difference, and that's what we've seen here.”
Like his previous two goals, his overtime goal came as the result of finding space in front of Martin Brodeur. And like his first two goals of the night his timing and positioning in front paid off.
“A little lucky that one, I guess. I was at the end of my shift, I was tired and, you know, Bergy [Patrice Bergeron] made a good play,” he said. “I kind of sensed it that he was going to throw it in front of the net and Z [Zdeno Chara] tried to jam it and I was just at the right time at the right place. I saw Brodeur was down so first thought was go upstairs and it worked that time.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Andy Brickley on D&C: ‘Too much inconsistency in the Bruins’ game right now’||02.01.12 at 10:33 am ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley made his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan Wednesday to talk about the Bruins’ first game since the All-Star break, the fans’ reaction to Tim Thomas and the Super Bowl.
Despite a sloppy start to Tuesday’s game, the Bruins’ first game in almost a week, the B’s impressed Brickley with their resolve by putting the pieces together in the third period for a 4-3 win.
“When the game was on the line and they had to take their intensity to a different level they did it in the third period,” Brickley said. “Third periods have been great for them all year. Now, if you look at the first 40, it looked like a team that had had five days off. That’s a lot of time.”
Added Brickley: “There's still just too much inconsistency in the Bruins’ game right now.”
Tim Thomas received an ovation from the TD Garden crowd before the game, ending speculation that fans might turn on him following the White House controversy.
“If there were any boo-birds in the building, they were certainly going to get drowned out,” Brickley said, adding: “Nobody’s going to boo him. Even if his perception has changed with the Bruins fans, it’s not worthy of being booed. Absolutely not.”
As for Thomas’ play in the game, Brickley said: “He looked just like the rest of the team. He had his moments of real good play and then he had some inconsistent moments, some rebounds maybe he’d like to have back. But once again, that ultracompetitiveness takes over when the game’s on the line and he made the saves he had to make.”
|History repeats itself: Zdeno Chara breaks his own hardest shot record with 108.8 mph blast||01.28.12 at 9:30 pm ET|
Another year, another new record.
Bruins captain Zdeno Chara broke his own record for the NHL’s hardest shot, blasting a 108.8 mile-per-hour bomb on his second attempt in the hardest shot contest Saturday night in Ottawa.
Chara won the contest for a fifth straight year, defeating Shea Weber, amongst others. The previous record, which Chara had set last year, was 105.9 mph. He broke that on his first attempt Saturday with a 106.2 mph shot, before registering the all-time best 108.8 mph. His last two attempts clocked in at 106.9 mph and 107 mph.
Tyler Seguin, who competed in the accuracy shooting competition, struggled and did not complete the drill in 30 seconds. Dallas’ Jamie Benn won the competition.
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