|Andrew Ference on D&C: ‘We needed a little shakeup’||10.21.11 at 10:47 am ET|
Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference joined Dennis & Callahan Friday morning for his weekly appearance. After the Bruins’ dominating 6-2 victory over the Maple Leafs Thursday night, Ference talked about Boston’s line changes and improvement on the power play.
“It’s one of those things, the power play was actually working pretty good, we were getting the puck around, we just weren’t putting it in,” Ference said. “We were working towards larger things on the power play and we felt that it was doing a lot of good things, so it was a matter of time.”
The Bruins scored twice on the power play against Toronto, with Ference assisting on one of those goals. In addition to better play from special teams, the Bruins also benefited from some line changes made by coach Claude Julien in recent days. The top line of Milan Lucic, Chris Kelly and Tyler Seguin was particularly effective against the Maple Leafs. Ference said that the line changes helped the Bruins get back to focusing on the simple parts of the game.
“I think it helped, it energized guys I think a bit, just to give them a little kick in the pants,” Ference said. “I think when you change linemates, you get out of your comfort zone a bit. You really just concentrate on doing simple things, like skating hard, getting to the net, throwing pucks at the net.
‘ª”It was a good move. We needed a little shakeup. Guys were a little bit stale with the old lines and you can always go back to them, but I think just letting guys concentrate on the simple things really helps.”‘¬
Ference also talked about emotions running high in the Bruins’ loss to the Hurricanes on Tuesday and forward Shawn Thornton‘s value to the team.
Following are more highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
On Boston’s penalty-filled loss to the Hurricanes: “I think that game, the emotion was a byproduct of the frustration. When our team’s good, the emotion’s just a part of our game. It’s not forced, it’s just there. I think that I mentioned after the game, the game of hockey within its rules allows us to be very physical, allows us to be emotional without hitting the box all night. When our team’s playing well, sure there are fights here and there, but we’re just a physical team all the time. We’re always hitting, always forechecking, always giving teams no room. … In a game where there’s a bunch of fights and a bunch of penalties and it’s just kind of chaotic with the physical stuff, that’s going to happen once in a while but that stuff’s definitely not something that we define ourselves as.”
|Five stats on the Bruins through five games||10.17.11 at 6:28 pm ET|
Five games into last season, one could hardly tell the Bruins were going to be Stanley Cup champions, but a couple of things were apparent. For starters, it was clear that Tim Thomas was capable of playing at a high level again after his offseason hip surgery, and it seemed that Nathan Horton had it in him to play some big games for the B’s.
Now five games into this season, there are a few things that are apparent about this team, though injuries to the likes of David Krejci and Adam McQuaid have made it tough to effectively gauge some things.
The Bruins started off the season in a 1-3-0 funk, but may be coming out of it after their 3-2 shootout victory over the Blackhawks Saturday in Chicago. Up next is a four-game home stand with the Hurricanes, Maple Leafs, Sharks and Canadiens coming to town.
“I feel we’re turning the corner here,” coach Claude Julien said Monday of the team after five games. “I liked our game in Chicago, the way we progressed through tut the day. Today in practice we seemed to have a much better pace. Hopefully that’s a good sign of us turning the corner.”
Here are five quick stats on the Bruins through five games, with a look at last season as well.
1. Tyler Seguin leads the Bruins with five points, which is a little less than a quarter of his 22 points from all of last season. He also leads the team with a plus-3 rating and has 16 shots on goal, good for tops amongst forwards and second only to defenseman Dennis Seidenberg.
2. Last season, Horton led the team with seven points through five games. This season, he has a goal and an assist through five contests, struggling mightily in the first few games of the season before seemingly finding himself of late. Bottom-six forwards Gregory Campbell, Chris Kelly and Jordan Caron (who has only played in three games) are the only Bruins’ forwards with less than his five shots on goal.
3. Thomas has won two and lost two this season, allowing eight goals in four games. Five games into last season, Thomas had allowed three goals in four games, and had won all four of his starts. He picked up his first shutout in the second game of the 2010-11 season and went on to have two more by the end of the month.
4. Bruins were 4-for-19 on the power play through five games last season. This season, they are 1-for-21, as they have not scored on the man advantage since Brad Marchand scored on the team’s first power play of the season.
5. Seidenberg leads the B’s in ice time with an average of 25:26 a night yet also has a minus-2 rating that is tied for worst on the team. Further proof that plus-minus rarely tells the whole story.
|David Krejci doubtful for Tuesday after returning to the ice||at 12:33 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Though he wasn’t on the ice for the team’s practice, Bruins center David Krejci, who is dealing with a core injury, skated Monday morning at Ristuccia Arena. Krejci has been out since he left last Tuesday’s practice, missing games in Carolina and Chicago. He is also expected to miss Tuesday’s game against the Hurricanes.
“David skated this morning,” coach Claude Julien said. “He’s coming around. Probably doubtful for tomorrow, but after that I would really qualify him as day-to-day.”
|Andrew Ference on D&C: Bruins ‘have to work through some frustrations’||10.14.11 at 10:33 am ET|
Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference joined Dennis & Callahan Friday morning for his weekly appearance. Ference discussed the Bruins’ slow start to the season and the reasons behind their struggles. Boston is 1-3, and some have wondered if the B’s are struggling from the so-called “Stanley Cup hangover.”
“I know that we’ve had some close games, we’ve been a bit frustrated that we’ve not been playing as good as we can,” Ference said. “We’re just going through a tough little stretch right now.”
Ference said that execution has been the problem for the Bruins, as they’ve played some “sloppy games.” The defenseman suggested that the Bruins may be expecting too much of themselves this early in the season, especially after the success of last year’s team.
“We’ve gone through it before as a team where we’ve almost tried too hard to be perfect and you expect yourself to be perfect at this time of year. It just doesn’t work that way,” Ferrence said. “You have to build up your game again. Obviously, we have a foundation to work from. But everything’s not going to be as crisp as it was halfway through the year and you can’t get frustrated when things aren’t at the standard that we had during the playoffs. You have to build up to that. I think we have to work through some frustrations with that.”
Following are more highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
On if teams are playing the Bruins tougher this year: “They’ve been tough games, for sure. ‘¦ It’s definitely tough. Every opponent is going to get up for you. You know, I think that we had a standard as a pretty good team in the league for the last three years. Teams would get up for the Boston game anyways because of our success over the last few years. But you definitely expect a bump. I know how I would play against the defending champs in past years.”
On if bringing the Stanley Cup to Gillette was overkill now that the season has started: “I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it. It’s a real positive thing that the Patriots were going to do for us. ‘¦ It’s the last thing with the Cup, for sure, but there’ll be plenty more team get-togethers and we’ll have a good time, because that’s what we do. It helps build the team up. ‘¦ You turn the page on the Cup, but you don’t forget about it.”
On how road trips are good for team bonding: “It’s nice, especially for a couple of the new guys we have on the team just to get them more involved with everybody. Those are the guys that I feel bad for during the start-of-the-season Cup stuff, because it’s just a little awkward.”
On Marchand and Seguin playing well early in the season: “I’m not surprised with how well they’re playing. Definitely I think there were a few guys who talked with them after the season when they were going pretty good there. They’re both really good character guys and have some pretty good drive and unbelievable skills. I can’t say I’m surprised. I’m happy that they took care of themselves for the majority of the summer and got ready. As soon as I saw Seguin when he came to training camp, I knew we were in for a good year from him. He was absolutely ripped. He was a kid last year and he bulked up, he looked more like a man, so we’re in for good things from him, so that was great. And Marchand’s got a killer attitude, as you can tell, he plays on the edge. He’s not going to give up on anything.”
|A few numbers on Tyler Seguin centering the Bruins’ top line||10.13.11 at 6:06 pm ET|
With David Krejci out for Saturday’s game against the Blackhawks, Bruins fans can expect to see more of Tyler Seguin as the team’s first-line center. Seguin skated between Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic for the first time in Wednesday night’s 3-2 loss to the Hurricanes and made a good impression. He scored the team’s first goal in the third-period and is now tied for the team lead with four points through four games.
Given that he’ll play with the line again, here are a few quick notes on Seguin’s first game as the Bruins’ first-line center.
– It should come as no surprise given that he played on the first line, but Wednesday saw Seguin play 20:06, good for a new career high. His previous best in ice time had been 17:22, which he received last Nov. 3.
– Last season, Seguin only got 15 minutes of ice time in five games. This season, he has played at least 16 minutes in every game but Monday’s shutout loss to the Avalanche.
– Seguin won seven of 16 faceoffs Wednesday, good for 43.8 percent. Patrice Bergeron won 16 of 23 (69.6 percent), Chris Kelly won one of seven (14.3 percent) and Gregory Campbell won five of nine (55.6 percent).
– Seguin led all Bruins forwards with four shots on goal Wednesday night. It was the second time this season that he’s done so, as he and Rich Peverley each had five shots on goal Saturday against the Lightning.
|David Krejci remains out, Adam McQuaid’s status unknown||at 3:46 pm ET|
It appears Tyler Seguin is in for another game on the first line.
Bruins coach Claude Julien told reporters in Raleigh Thursday that center David Krejci, who suffered a core injury in Tuesday’s practice, will not travel with the team to Chicago for Saturday’s game against the Blackhawks and will miss his second game of the season.
The status of defenseman Adam McQuaid remains unknown. McQuaid went head-first into the boards behind the Bruins’ net in Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to the Hurricanes. Julien said the second-year defenseman is still being evaluated. Should McQuaid be unable to play Saturday, it’s assumed that Matt Bartkowski, who played in place of a sick McQuaid in the season-opener, would play his second game of the season.
|Bruins’ early-season woes continue as they fall to Hurricanes||10.12.11 at 10:05 pm ET|
The Bruins’ comeback bid fell short Wednesday in Carolina as they fell, 3-2, to the Hurricanes. The defending champs are now 1-3-0 on the season.
Pitkanen opened the scoring 42 seconds into the second period when he beat Tim Thomas from the faceoff circle on a power play. Stewart made it 2-0 3:42 into the third period before the 19-year-old Bruins center got the B’s on the board. Seguin scored his first goal of the season when he took a quick pass from Nathan Horton in the neutral zone and beat Cam Ward glove-side with a nearly impossible angle wrist shot from the right side. The assist was Horton’s first point of the 2011-12 campaign. The Hurricanes made it 3-1 when Jordan Caron couldn’t control a puck in front of Thomas’ net and Tlusty beat the Bruins’ netminder for his first goal of the season. Marchand brought the Bruins back within one with a shot that hit Ward on its way in.
The Bruins will next play the Blackhawks on Saturday in a matchup of the last two Stanley Cup champions.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– That Tomas Kaberle has a way of sticking it to his former team, as the veteran blue liner not only assisted a power play goal — something he failed to do consistently in Boston — but he actually shot the puck. Kaberle was infamous for his lack of shooting in Boston, and he had three shots on goal Wednesday, including a golden opportunity in the second period when Thomas stopped him point blank.
– The Bruins didn’t get a ton of close-range opportunities, and as a result, Hurricanes defenseman Bryan Allen had seven blocked shots on the night, six of which came in the game’s first 40 minutes.
– As unbelievable as it may sound, the Bruins are having issues on the power play. They had issues getting set up at points and only got seven shots through on their first five power plays. Though they scored on their first man advantage of the season against the Flyers, the B’s power play is now a dreadful 1-for-18 on the season.
– Adam McQuaid went down awkwardly and hit his head on the boards about eight minutes into the third period behind the Bruins’ net. He did not return to the ice and left the bench.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Seguin looked like he was capable of skating on the team’s first line, as he and Horton led the B’s in shots on goal through two periods. Seguin also played on the team’s top power play unit in Krejci’s absence. His willingness to not shy away from contact once again showed in a painful way, as he was housed in the offensive zone by Tim Gleason in the third period.
– Benoit Pouliot looks like a man trying to prove he’s better than his line’s other winger. With Krejci out, both Pouliot and Jordan Caron, who have been competing for a spot on the third line, played on Wednesday. Pouliot created a couple of turnovers in the first period and had a positive showing, though an attempt at a third takeaway late in the first period nearly cost the Bruins. Julien gave him shifts on the second line (Rich Peverley went to the third line) in the third period.
– Don’t look now, but Nathan Horton now has four shots on goal this season thanks to three shots on goal Wednesday night. He played a more aggressive game Wednesday and was definitely playing with more intensity, but the Bruins’ first line woes are far from over. Horton still has zero points through four games this season.