|With playoff layoff, Bruins making the most of their time||05.12.11 at 2:06 pm ET|
In just two days, fans will be able to see something they haven’t seen in a while: a Bruins hockey game.
Sure, this time of year, the wait is generally longer for the next Bruins game (something in the neighborhood of five months), but it still been quite a while for these B’s. When the puck is dropped Saturday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals, it will be Boston’s first game in eight days, as they have had penalty of time on their hands since sweeping away the Flyers in the semifinals last Friday.
After the Philadelphia series, the team took the weekend off from skating, returning to practice for Monday and Tuesday before staying off the ice on Wednesday. Thursday, they held their third practice of the extra-long layoff period, and it certainly belonged in the “high intensity” category. Claude Julien reached into his bag of tricks for an interesting drill which featured two goals in the corner, with a short area of space to play in between. It kept things physical, and for a team that’s gone so long without playing actual games, it kept the energy up.
“We have to find the best drills for similar-to-game situations and prepare ourselves for that same intensity like we’ve been playing,” captain Zdeno Chara, who took Tuesday off, said after Thursday’s skate. “We’re having good practices.”
One player who could certainly benefit from such a drill is Tyler Seguin. Physicality is an area in which the No. 2 overall pick’s game is lacking, and as he makes his playoff debut, being able to give and take more contact could come a long way. The rookie noted that it was only the second time the team had done the drill this season. The other came just before a very big win for the team.
“We actually did it once in Vancouver,” Seguin said. “Just going against big teams, you’ve got to be strong on the battles. We were just touching up on that in tight areas.”
By comparison, the B’s had two days off between their seven-game quarterfinal series with the Canadiens and their semifinal showdown vs. Philadelphia. Yet this time, they haven’t had to do a bit or traveling since their Game 4 win on home ice, and while they can appreciate the time off, they know they can’t let up.
“We’ve got to have tough practices,” Seguin said. “We’re going to get our rest and our breaks, but we’ve got to get back to work here. We had a tough practice today, and [we’ll have] another one tomorrow to get ready for Saturday.”
Four wins away from a chance at the Stanley Cup, the B’s are having little trouble staying motivated between the series. It’s the farthest they’ve been since 1992, but it’s not as far as they want.
“It’s been nice to have the time off,” center Chris Kelly said. “It has not been difficult at all. We know that there’s still lots of work to be done.”
|Brad Marchand and the B’s are hungry men||at 2:01 pm ET|
Brad Marchand has shown all season that he is not shy, nor does he lack in confidence.
Both were on display on Thursday at TD Garden as the Bruins had their most intense practice yet as they prepare to shake off the cobwebs from a week off and get ready for Game 1 with the Lightning Saturday night at 8 p.m.
“I think the biggest thing is we’re just keeping the mindset on the game and I think having the excitement of the game coming up and having these days off, guys are going to be hungry to play again. I think that’s big for us right now,” Marchand said.
“Everyone is hungry to go. I don’t think think we’ve been away long enough to get out of the rhythm. We’ve still been practicing very hard. Guys are staying focused and staying ready. I think it’s all mental. We’re staying in good shape. We’re working hard, practicing hard but the biggest thing is when you’re off this long is you have to stay mentally ready, mentally focused and don’t get off track.”
The man most responsible for that approach – according to Marchand – is coach Claude Julien.
“Claude’s been unbelievable,” Marchand said. “He’s such a good mentor. He really knows how to bring players along and teach them the little aspects of the game that make you a good player. He’s great at knowing players and how to read them and how to teach them. He’s been such a great mentor for me this year. I don’t think I’d be the player I am right now if I didn’t have him as a coach.”
That’s why Marchand isn’t losing sleep over how a player like Tyler Seguin will approach Saturday night when he gets his first-ever taste of playoff action. Julien brought Marchand along perfectly, in a 20-20 season. He feels Seguin will have the same result from the same treatment.
“He’s rounded out my game,” Marchand said of Julien. “He brought me in slowly, gave me more minutes as the season went on and let me grow as a player. He guided me in the right direction with agitating and using my offensive skills at the right time and when to be defensive, playing on that [fine] line but not going over it. He’s been great at just rounding out my game.”
|Chris Kelly moves up as Bruins hold first practice in anticipation of Lightning||05.09.11 at 11:05 am ET|
WILMINGTON — After being the weekend off, the Bruins returned to practice Monday for their first skate in anticipation of their Eastern Conference finals meeting with the Lightning. Given that they’ll be without Patrice Bergeron (concussion), the color-coded lines had a different look at Ristuccia Arena. Chris Kelly is on the second line, while Tyler Seguin is wearing gray to signify the third line. The lines are as follows:
Trent Whitfield, Jamie Arniel and Jordan Caron were donning green jerseys. Adam McQuaid was on the ice, though Steven Kampfer was not. Check back for more following practice.
|Peter Chiarelli: Patrice Bergeron has ‘mild concussion’, likely to miss start of Eastern finals||05.07.11 at 11:25 am ET|
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli confirmed Saturday morning that Patrice Bergeron is dealing with the effects of another concussion.
Bergeron, who missed nearly a full year after a severe concussion when hit by former Philadelphia defenseman Randy Jones in October 2007, collided with Claude Giroux with 17:30 remaining in the third period of Friday’s Game 4 win over the Flyers. He did not return, and Chiarelli indicated he is likely to miss the start of the Eastern Conference finals against Tampa Bay, with rookie Tyler Seguin getting the chance to take his spot on the roster.
“Patrice suffered a mild concussion,” Chiarelli said on Saturday, before adding that he thought the Giroux hit was “a shade late.”
While the Bruins didn’t release any information on the particulars of the injury, it appeared that Giroux’s shoulder made contact with Bergeron’s head. Bergeron slowly skated off the ice on his own power to finish his shift but didn’t return. The Boston Globe initially reported Saturday morning that Bergeron had sustained a concussion.
Chris Kelly stepped up from his third-line role to center the line with Mark Recchi and Brad Marchand. Bergeron leads the Bruins with 12 points in 11 playoff games. The Bruins will play Games 1 and 2 at home this week against Tampa Bay, with the series possibly starting Tuesday or Thursday at TD Garden.
|Brad Marchand not focusing on Max Pacioretty’s tweet, or going anywhere near twitter||04.24.11 at 12:43 am ET|
Bruins forward Brad Marchand would have been a popular guy either way on Saturday night, as he scored the Bruins’ lone goal of regulation in a game the B’s went on to win in double overtime. Yet before he even put his first career playoff goal past Carey Price more than four minutes into the third period, there was a buzz surrounding the 22-year-old thanks to injured Habs forward Max Pacioretty.
Out since taking a hit into the stanchion on March 8 from Zdeno Chara, Pacioretty tweeted after the second period that “this game is longer than marchands [sic] nose.”
At times a very interesting quote during the regular season, Marchand did not take the bait Saturday, downplaying the significance of the tweet, which Pacioretty later deleted and apologized for.
“I don’t know what kind of reaction I should [have],” Marchand said. “It happens.”
Minutes after the tweet surfaced, Marchand scored to give the B’s a 1-0 lead.
“I didn’t know [about the tweet at the time].” he said. “I scored quickly after, but it’s always nice to just kind of rub it in a little.”
The rookie winger did note that he will not get on twitter, saying “twitter is not for me” and adding that he would probably get himself in trouble if he began using it.
Asked whether he feels he’s a bit more creative with his trash talk, Marchand laughed and said “yeah, on the ice, but that’s going to stay on the ice.”
Marchand’s fellow rookies, Tyler Seguin and Steven Kampfer, are the only Bruins using twitter.
|Michael Ryder proves Claude Julien right, plays hero in pivotal win over Canadiens||04.22.11 at 12:09 am ET|
MONTREAL — To say that Michael Ryder has been the whipping boy of Bruins fans is an understatement. The $4 million man was far from that for too long after the Bruins’ Feb. 9 win over the Canadiens. The free-agent-to-be totaled just two goals over his final 25 games, and was even a healthy scratch three times.
Since the playoffs began, fans and some media members have lobbied for Ryder to watch them from the press box in order to make room for Tyler Seguin in the lineup.
On Thursday, Ryder showed that Claude Julien‘s decision to stick with him was the right one, ending his lengthy disappearing act with a pair of goals in Game 5 against the Canadiens, including the game-winner in overtime. Julien has coached Ryder everywhere from juniors to the AHL to Montreal to Boston, so it was only fitting that Ryder prove Julien right at Bell Centre.
‘I’ve been with him for a while,’ Ryder said of Julien. ‘Just for him to give me the ice time and give me the confidence, for me, it just gives me that extra boost to show people that I can still play and still got it.’
Ryder’s big night began when he tied the game at one in the second period, beating Habs netminder Carey Price with a wrist shot after taking a pass from Tomas Kaberle. From there, the weight was finally off the struggling winger’s shoulders.
‘You always get a little frustrated when you don’t score and you don’t get that many opportunities, but it was definitely a confidence boost,’ Ryder said. ‘Hopefully now our line keeps generating stuff, helping to do whatever we can to help this team.’
He would go on to assist Chris Kelly‘s game-tying goal at 13:42 of the third period, which marked the third time in the game that the B’s came back to tie it up. They actually never led in the game until Ryder beat Price for the game-winner just 119 seconds into overtime.
‘I’m happy for Rydes,’ Shawn Thornton said of the winger. ‘A couple of guys talked about it before, he usually plays pretty well in this building,’ Shawn Thornton said of the former Canadien. ‘I’m happy his hard work paid off. Maybe some people in Boston will lay off him now. He’s a good guy.’
|Chris Kelly will play Game 4 wearing cage||04.21.11 at 12:55 pm ET|
MONTREAL — Bruins center Chris Kelly will be in the lineup for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals after being cleared by team doctors. Kelly, who returned to Boston to be examined following a hit into Carey Price’s goal on Monday, wore a cage in morning skate and will do so Thursday night. He said there was no fracture after seeing the doctors.
“I’m good to play tonight,” Kelly said afterwards. “I went back to see our doctors in Boston and they gave me the green light and said everything is great and to just go out and have fun.”
Coach Claude Julien confirmed that Kelly would play, saying the third-line center is “good to go” and that “he’s going to be in the lineup tonight.”
Kelly was shoved by Habs forward Scott Gomez while the Bruins were on a 3-on-1 in the first period. The B’s center said he took no issue with the hit, which caused him to slide head-first into the post and left him with a shiner below his right eye.
“I know Gomez. I played against him for a lot of years,” Kelly said. “He’s a good, honest player and works hard. I don’t think it was deliberate by any means.”
As for wearing a cage for the first time since he was 14 years old, Kelly said that his comfort with it is “much better” than he expected it to be. Kelly even joked that if he were to play well with it, he could keep it on a la Richard Hamilton with the Detroit Pistons, who kept a clear mask on as his signature look in the 2003-04 season.
“He kept it on,” Kelly joked. “Who knows?”
As for any lineup changes, it appears there won’t be any. Mark Recchi was the only Bruin to not take the ice for the morning skate, though it’s likely the veteran was simply given the morning off. Rookie Tyler Seguin stayed out on the ice with the scratches following the skate.
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