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Pierre McGuire on M&M: Bruins ‘played with the heart of a champion’ 06.13.13 at 8:08 pm ET
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Pierre McGuire

NBC hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Thursday afternoon to discuss Wednesday’s Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals and the ramifications of the Bruins’ marathon loss going forward.

Sure, the 4-3, triple-overtime loss was disappointing, McGuire said, but the Bruins don’t have much reason to be down on themselves going into Saturday’s Game 2.

“Boston played with the heart of a champion, and I don’t expect it to be anything different [the rest of the series]. It could be a long, hard series,” McGuire said. “I saw so many positive things from the Bruins. I saw a lot of positive things from the Blackhawks. These are the two best teams. There’s no Cinderella here. Both of these teams deserve to be in the Stanley Cup final.”

What will be interesting is when the series shifts back to Boston for Game 3 Monday and the Bruins get the last line change before the game time. McGuire suspects Claude Julien will match up Patrice Bergeron’s line with that of Jonathan Toews, and David Krejci’s unit with Michal Handzus.

Speaking of Bergeron’s line, McGuire also said Tyler Seguin is a likely candidate to play with Krejci and Milan Lucic should Nathan Horton be unable to play. Horton left Game 1 during the first overtime and did not return.

McGuire also expects Seguin, who has five points (one goal, four assists) and is a minus-2 in 17 playoff games, to break out soon.

“He wants the puck. He wants to make a difference. His speed is very apparent, especially at ice level,” McGuire said. “For those that weren’t at the morning skate [Wednesday], everything he shot went in. It was unbelievable watching him in practice. He was letter perfect with his passing and shooting. His skating is great. I just get the feeling he’s about the break out, I really do.”

McGuire gave much credit to goalies Tuukka Rask and Corey Crawford, even calling Crawford “superhuman” in the first overtime,” and said while Torey Krug’s crucial, third-period turnover was quite unfortunate, the defenseman can bounce back, just as the Bruins can.

“It’s a tough situation for a young player, an undrafted player, to go into the Stanley Cup finals,” McGuire said. “It was an egregious turnover. Obviously it ends up in the back of the net. Nobody wants to see that.

“But I thought he got better as the game went along. I know they weren’t afraid to use him in overtime, and he had some good chances. They used him on the power play, too, with [Dennis] Seidenberg. He’s a young player. He’s going to grow. I think he’ll be better off with the experience. Was it his best game? No. Was it a terrible game? No. He just made one bad mistake.”

To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page. For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.

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Media day extras: Jaromir Jagr is dyeing his playoff beard 06.11.13 at 9:38 pm ET
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CHICAGO — Media day is a big mess.

A typical day of work for a reporter (take a game day, for example) is reporting followed by writing, followed by more reporting and then more writing. On media day, it’s just a marathon of reporting followed by a marathon of writing, so it’s easy to let stuff slip through the cracks. Here’s a bunch of that stuff:

Jaromir Jagr is dyeing his playoff beard. When asked to confirm that, he responded, “Got to look tough.”

– Speaking of Jagr, Jonathan Toews said he modeled his game after Jagr’s when he was younger.

“You’ve got to tell him to slow down a little bit,” Jagr said when hearing of the praise. “He’s too quick for me.”

Jagr has a very good sense of humor about his age and speed. He knows that he’s old and slow, but he’s effective. He opened the press conference by asking reporters if they were surprised he was still alive.

– A reporter asked Tyler Seguin if he’s hit puberty after busting his chops for over his playoff beard. It was super, super, super, super weird.

Peter Chiarelli was asked about the job the general managers before him did for the Bruins, and he had high praise for Mike O’Connell and Jeff Gorton, the latter of whom made the Andrew Raycroft-for-Tuukka Rask trade.

“Mike O’Connell I think did a terrific job with Jeff, that we’ve got at least half of our roster, I don’t know if it’s half, but including [Brad] Marchand, [Milan] Lucic, [David] Krejci, [Tim] Thomas at the time. I thought they did a real good job.

“I’ve told Mike that. Mike was gone, I was the GM, but Jeff was the interim GM. He executed those trades.”

Cam Neely gave a comically strange answer when asked about how he felt when the Bruins were down by three goals in the third period of Game 7 against the Maple Leafs.

“I went from today’s texting world to the feeling of ‘OMG,’ ” he said. “Then when we won in overtime, the same feeling. You’re peeking at the clock. It feels like it’s going down faster than you’d like. But, again, go back to my point earlier about the character of the guys, they didn’t quit, they didn’t give up.”

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Don’t text your bro: Tyler Seguin, Patrick Kane saving talk for handshake line at 7:42 pm ET
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Patrick Kane and Tyler Seguin, teammates in Biel during the lockout, are on opposite sides in the Stanley Cup final. (AP)

CHICAGO — When Tyler Seguin was in Switzerland for EHC Biel during the lockout, he tweeted a screenshot of his phone, showing a text message from a girl named “Don’t Text Her Bro” in his phone. Now, it’s only of his lockout teammates he isn’t texting.

Seguin played with Blackhawks star wing and 2007 first overall pick Patrick Kane for EHC Biel in Switzerland, and in addition to both having success (both players had more than a point per game, with Seguin racking up 40 points in 29 contests), the two became friends. They lived in the same building, where Kane’s mom — who was staying with the occasional troublemaker — was rumored to do Seguin’s laundry. For the record, Kane denied that. He did have high praise for his former Biel teammate, though.

“Just watching him in Switzerland, at first I thought for sure this kid’s one day going to lead the NHL in goals or maybe in scoring because of the skill he has and his shot, his speed and his smarts for the game, too,” Kane said. “I think you’ll see some special things from him in the future.”

Yet right now, anything that’s said will be about one another, and not to one another. With the Stanley Cup on the line, the two youngsters — who were teammates in a different league months ago — are now opponents on the biggest stage.

After the Bruins and Blackhawks clinched their berths in the Stanley Cup finals, Seguin got text a couple mass texts from Biel teammates. He saw that they were sent to Kane, too.

“He didn’t say anything and I didn’t say anything,” Seguin said. “We’re keeping the friendship to the side now.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Shutting down secondary scoring remains priority for new bottom six 06.07.13 at 1:58 pm ET
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Chris Kelly

The Penguins are going to give their biggest push Friday, and after outplaying the Bruins in Game 3, that should make the fourth win — as it usually is anyway — the toughest one to get.

Yet also facing the Bruins is the fact that they’ll be sporting a revamped bottom six. Regardless of whether the bottom six that Claude Julien put out in morning skate (Daugavins – Peverley – Seguin, Paille – Kelly – Thornton) sticks, the Bruins will be dealing with two different lines than usual.

That could be an advantage for the Penguins, as they are already a deeper team offensively than the Bruins (though this series wouldn’t tell you that), so their bottom two lines could take advantage of those of the Bruins as they try to get their footing.

“I don’t think it’s unfamiliar roles,” Chris Kelly said after Friday’s morning skate. “I think everyone’s played with one another in certain aspects not only this year, but in years past. It’s just one of those things that you plug in guys and they go out there and do a job. There’s chemistry between all six of us that play, so I don’t see it being a problem.”

The Penguins still have just two goals in the Eastern Conference finals — one from Chris Kunitz and one from Brandon Sutter. THat means that Pittsburgh has gotten one goal out of its top two lines and one from it’s bottom two.

So for as much attention is being paid to the Bruins shutting down Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and friends, consider that the B’s — while not getting much secondary scoring themselves — have also kept the Penguins’ bottom two lines quiet.

“I think everyone wants to play their role and get their required job done,” Tyler Seguin, who has gone from a top-six guy to the bottom-six in this postseason, said. “I think it’s good D zone first with us, and it always has been. Whether it’s shutting down secondary scoring or whatnot, that’s what comes first. We’d obviously like to pop in a couple for ourselves if we can.”

Assuming the lines seen in morning skate are used Friday night, it will be interesting to see which one is used as a third line and which one is used as a fourth line. Kelly has no points the last 19 games, but his presence on the Merlot Line might mean more minutes than usual for what was once the Merlot Line.

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Thanks to Bruins winning games, Tyler Seguin not losing confidence 06.03.13 at 1:38 pm ET
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Tyler Seguin

PITTSBURGH — Tyler Seguin was sniffling Monday morning.

No, it wasn’t because he was sad that his numbers haven’t been there this postseason (one goal and three assists for four points), but because of his allergies. In fact, Seguin’s been upbeat despite his lack of offense. His coach and teammates gave him a vote of confidence Sunday, and he thinks he’s doing the right things to work his way out of his slump. Most importantly, as he plays on the third line following a demotion from the second line earlier in the playoffs, he’s trying to be as good as he can be on that line rather than making it about him.

“I’m playing my role on this team,” Seguin said. “I’m here to win games, not to want to score every single shift. Obviously it gets frustrating at times, but we’re winning games. It definitely makes you happy and it’s a fun time right now.”

Seguin’s played his way out of slumps like this before. After returning from Switzerland when the lockout ended, Seguin, who scored 29 goals last season, scored just once in Boston’s first eight games of the season. He got through it by focusing on the rest of his game and following Claude Julien‘s logic that when you concentrate on all aspects of the game, the offense will come.

“It’s just really doing more simple things, I guess, whether it’s making sure you don’t lose any battles out there or just being good in your own zone,” Seguin said. “That’s what I’m focusing on right now since the goals aren’t coming.”

The issues with Seguin’s game at this point don’t seem to be anything necessarily new. He can be a bit hesitant if there’s a possibility of contact, but he was the same way when he was lighting it up last year. He’s throwing a lot of pucks on net, which is good, although he had none in the Bruins’ Game 1 win over the Penguins.

It’s good that Seguin’s keeping positive, because as was evident with Milan Lucic during the regular season, a player can be in big trouble once they lose their confidence. Now the B’s just need Seguin to start producing, and quickly. The Penguins are going to score, and Seguin’s one of the Bruins’ best potential weapons in matching their production.

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Shawn Thornton on D&C: ‘It’s tough this time of year to retaliate’ against Matt Cooke at 10:44 am ET
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Shawn Thornton

Bruins forward Shawn Thornton joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning to talk about his team’s Eastern Conference finals series against the Penguins.

With usual suspect Matt Cooke not being suspended for his Saturday night hit against Adam McQuaid, there is an expectation that the Bruins will try to retaliate against Cooke. However, Thornton downplayed that possibility.

“It’s tough this time of year to retaliate,” Thornton said. “You don’t want to be the reason that you lose a game in the playoffs. Everything is just worth so much more this time of year, especially how far along we are in the playoffs. It gets more important to keep your composure.

“This hit was a little bit different [than the one on Marc Savard], obviously, and if need be I’m pretty sure Adam McQuaid can take care of himself. He is a pretty big, tough guy.”

Mark Madden, a sports talk radio host at 105.9 The X in Pittsburgh, said the Bruins did not immediately retaliate when Cooke checked Savard in the head on March 7, 2010, is because Savard was disliked in the Bruins locker room. Thornton denied that claim.

“Matt Cooke got kicked out of that game with Savvy years ago [actually, Cooke was not penalized at all]. The people that were on the ice with Savvy — a couple of them didn’t see what happened and I think a couple of them couldn’t get there in time. It was like Michael Ryder, who I don’t think ever had a fight in the NHL. Then there was three minutes left in the game, if I’m not mistaken [actually 5:37], so you can’t go out there and jump anyone either because it’s a $10,000 fine for you and a $10,000 fine for the coach and a $20,000 fine for the team — I don’t know what the exact numbers are but there are a lot of rules in place that stop you from gooning it up at the end of the games. They’re just trying to clean up the game.

“So, it wasn’t because Savvy was disliked. It was just at what time it went and who with that incident.”

One player who did fight Saturday night was Patrice Bergeron, who dropped the gloves with Evgeni Malkin after the second period. Bergeron lost the fight and got a bloody face, but Thornton said he did not have much of a chance to win it once Malkin pulled his jersey over his head.

“His jersey came over his head really quickly and there is nothing you can do when that happens,” Thornton said. “You can’t see anything, kind of the old-school way, I guess. He did a good job getting in there. He didn’t back down. I know Malkin is not known as a tough guy, but he still is about five inches taller than him. Any time anyone gets in there, it’s not an easy job to do, so I definitely congratulated him.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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Claude Julien: Tyler Seguin is going to ‘bust out’ of slump 06.02.13 at 6:35 pm ET
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Tyler Seguin has one goal this postseason. (AP)

PITTSBURGH — Tyler Seguin still isn’t scoring, and that might catch up with the Bruins. They’re not panicking yet, however, as they have a one-game lead in the Eastern Conference finals to more exceptional work from David Krejci‘s line.

Seguin had zero shots on goal in 13:50 of ice time in Game 1 against the Penguins and had a bad giveaway in the offensive zone that led to a scoring chance for the Penguins the other way, but both Claude Julien and Seguin’s teammates say they’ve seen positive strides from the 21-year-old winger in recent games. Seguin scored his only goal of the playoffs in Game 4 against the Rangers and picked up an assist in Game 5. He played the entire Rangers series as a member of the third line with Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley.

“Maybe he hasn’t produced it at the level that he’d like to and maybe we’d like to, but I thought he played a real good game yesterday,” Julien said of Seguin Sunday. “I thought not only with the puck, without the puck he was good. [He] threw some checks, puck pursuit was good, and that line to me was much better line than we’ve seen him in the first two rounds.

“I thought they had some chances and I was encouraged by the way they played yesterday, and then as far as Tyler’s concerned, seems to be extremely focused and wants to be a better player and has a coach that’s all you need to see and at one point he’s going to bust out and give us the production that we’re looking for.”

So far this season, Seguin has just four points (one goal, three assists), with the lack of scoring a big issue considering he was second to Brad Marchand in the regular season with 16 goals. Marchand sees a player that’s as determined as Seguin was when he struggled to find offense after coming back from Europe following the lockout.

“I think he’s playing well right now. He’s battling very hard,” Marchand said. “That’s what you have to do if things aren’t going right, but the last couple games, the last series, he played much better. He’s battling harder, he’s getting opportunities and he got a goal and [an assist] there, so he’s turned his game around and he’s playing well right now.”

If Seguin doesn’t get going offensively and the Bruins don’t get the opportunity to use the Merlot Line much (as was the case in Game 1), one option could be to move Daniel Paille to the left wing of Kelly’s line, move Peverley to right wing and then use Seguin to take some of Jaromir Jagr’s shifts on the second line, much like Peverley did with Mark Recchi from Game 7 of the conference finals until Nathan Horton’s concussion in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals.

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