|Ed Olczyk on M&M: Jaromir Jagr ‘always looking for that edge’||05.21.13 at 6:30 pm ET|
Editor’s note: In an earlier version of this story, Olczyk was quoted as guaranteeing a Bruins series victory, but the quote was mistakenly taken out of context.
NBC Sports hockey analyst Ed Olczyk joined Mut & Merloni on Tuesday, prior to Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series between the Bruins and Rangers.
Olczyk, who played for six NHL clubs during his 16-year career that ended in the 1999-2000 season and coached the Penguins for a season and a half (2003-04 and part of ’04-05), has a personal connection to Bruins defenseman Matt Bartkowski, as he coached the Pittsburgh native when Bartkowski was a youngster.
“I just knew that he had the natural ability. It was just whether or not he would take advantage of the opportunities that were presented,” Olczyk said. “I couldn’t be happier for Bart. He’s a terrific young guy. I don’t think he’s really hit his full complement of his ability. He’s only played maybe 20 games in the NHL, whatever the number is. He’s getting a great taste of what it is to be a pro. I think he’s handled the situation very well.
“He has that great ability to skate you out of trouble. He’s poised with the puck. And I think there’s still an opportunity for him to continue to push the pace. And there’s something [to be said] for that, to have a guy back there that can be strong but also can skate you out of trouble. The game isn’t just about off the glass, get in to the neutral zone. Sometimes that’s the only play for a defenseman, sometimes that’s the best play. But for me, I think he’s got a lot of upside. I couldn’t be happier for him and his family. He’s playing obviously in one of the greats sports towns in the world, and playing for a great organization, for the Boston Bruins.
“He’s stepped in here very well, and it looks like he’s a seasoned veteran from watching him play. Is he going to make mistakes? Absolutely, those are going to happen. But when you put in [Torey] Krug, and you have [Dougie] Hamilton there, and you have the leadership of a guy like Zdeno Chara on the back end, I think it really makes those guys feel really comfortable.
“I’m not surprised, particularly with Matt Bartkowski, because I know him very well, but when you do put three young guys in there with not a lot of experience in the second round of the playoffs, more times than not you’re going to have a little bit more trouble, but the Bruins have been able to overcome that. And these guys and the organization could much better off because these guys have gotten this opportunity. ‘¦ There is something [to be said] for experience, but the experience these guys are getting right now is just so valuable, not only for tomorrow or today, but for down the road.”
|Pierre McGuire on M&M: Game 1 changed after Johnny Boychuk was injured on hit from behind||05.17.13 at 11:35 am ET|
NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire made an appearance on the Mut & Merloni show Friday morning to dissect the Bruins’ Game 1 win over the Rangers.
After an uneventful first period, the teams traded goals in the second and third periods before Brad Marchand scored the game-winner when he tipped in a pass from Patrice Bergeron 15:40 into overtime. McGuire said the intensity level starting picking up after a play early in the second period.
“I really felt the whole game and the intensity of the game changed after the [Taylor] Pyatt hit on Johnny Boychuk,” McGuire said. “That amped up the entire energy in the building and amped up the entire energy between the two teams. And it created some good opportunities for some phenomenal athleticism from both teams. ‘¦ In overtime it was clearly the Bruins’ overtime and they dominated it. Obviously, they had the power-play opportunity, they felt comfortable. That’s one of the reasons why home ice matters, because you have such a raucous crowd there. And I think the crowd really helped energize the Boston Bruins, especially during that power-play sequence.”
Added McGuire: “I’m not surprised they had a bit of a slow start. But I really, again, I can’t stress this enough: I thought the whole game and the whole energy of the game changed after Taylor Pyatt hit Johnny Boychuk from behind. That really changed the entire chemistry of the game. That’s good for the series going forward.
“I asked Brad Marchand last night on my interview after the game what kind of series he was expecting. He says, ‘Nasty, physical, mean.’ I would agree.”
Jaromir Jagr didn’t register a point Thursday, but McGuire said he believes his presence will be felt eventually.
“I think he can help the power play. That’s where I think he’s going to be a huge benefit for the Bruins, because of his ability to dominate the puck and make good decisions with it,” McGuire said. “Fatigue was a very real issue for Jaromir last night. That’s why I made the comment that I made [about Jagr needing short shifts].
“I was part of the management team that drafted him, I coached him, I skated with him a ton earlier in his career. I know the body of work that he’s presented, and I know when he’s tired and when he’s not. And you could just see he was breaking down last night after about 25-30 seconds. That’s normal; he’s 40 years old. But I expect that he’s going to help their power play. And I think at some point they’re going to have to look to put Tyler Seguin back on that line in five-on-five situations, especially in the second and third period.”
|Shawn Thornton on D&C: ‘We didn’t have any passengers’||at 10:03 am ET|
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning to talk about Thursday night’s 3-2 overtime victory over the Rangers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series.
The Bruins appeared to be in control for much of the game, but Thornton said there was no overconfidence heading into OT.
“I was actually thinking that we’ve hit a lot of posts tonight,” Thornton recalled. “I don’t know how many times you’ve seen it where you have that many chances to win and then all of a sudden they come down the other way and pop one. We talked about it, we wanted to come out in overtime and put the pedal down. They’re a good team, so you can’t give them any reason to get going.”
Added Thornton: “I thought it was pretty even until overtime. We stepped it up. I liked that pretty much all the guys were going last night. We didn’t have any passengers. It’s been a while since we’ve had everyone, all lines going. That was positive.”
Brad Marchand, who left the team’s morning skate with an apparent injury, bounced back with a strong game and scored the winner in overtime — something Thornton said he predicted.
“That was his best game last night of the playoffs,” Thornton said. “I told him it was such. I actually called him in between the third and overtime for scoring — I was very psychic, obviously. He played really well. He wants to do better. He’s a competitor, you can tell. His whole life, everyone has told him he’s too short, too whatever. He wants to win. It was good to see him get back to those ways last night, that’s for sure.”
The Bruins were playing without three injured defensemen, but young blueliners Dougie Hamilton, Matt Bartkowski and Torey Krug came through with solid performances.
“They were really good,” Thornton said. “I thought maybe one of them out of the three might have had some jitters — no one in particular. I saw Bart and Dougie in Game 7, and they were both spectacular in Game 7, too. But Kruger’s first game in a while, he scores a huge goal. I think his first shift he had a couple of plays where he skated out of the zone, and I think that settled him down. I think all three of them were unbelievable back there last night. A little — I don’t want to say surprised, because I’ve seen them all play, and I know they’re very capable of playing in those games. But you’re right, when it’s your first playoff game or your second playoff game, you could have those jitters, and they didn’t. They were unbelievable.”
|Brad Marchand the OT hero this time as Bruins take Game 1||05.16.13 at 10:48 pm ET|
Overtime once again was the Bruins’ friend as Brad Marchand scored the game-winner to give the B’s a 3-2 win over the Rangers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Thursday night at TD Garden. The goal was Marchand’s first of the playoffs, and the Bruins now have won two straight overtime games and all three overtime contests this postseason.
After a scoreless first period, Zdeno Chara got a slap shot through from the point that trickled past Henrik Lundqvist, ending the goalie’s shutout streak at 152:23. Ryan McDonagh scored on a laser from the left point that Tuukka Rask didn’t see with bodies in front of him. The goal came with 1.3 seconds left in the second, and Derek Stepan scored 14 seconds into the third to give the Rangers the lead on two goals in a span of 15.3 seconds. It was Torey Krug, playing in his first career NHL playoff game after playing only one regular-season game for Boston this season, who tied it with a slap shot on the power play.
Krug, Matt Bartkowski and Dougie Hamilton were called upon Monday, as Dennis Seidenberg, Andrew Ference and Wade Redden were out of action due to various undisclosed injuries. Game 2 will be played Sunday at TD Garden.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
‘¢ The Rangers might regret not taking advantage of this one later in the series if those defensemen are back. On the other hand, give guys like Krug and Hamilton credit for making the most of their responsibilities. Hamilton showed some of that much-talked-about poise on his pass to Krug on the power play to set up Boston’s second goal.
‘¢ David Krejci picked up the primary assist on Chara’s goal, which means he now has an NHL-best 14 points (five goals, nine assists) through eight games this postseason.
‘¢ Though they didn’t score on it, the Bruins turned in a very strong power play following a Derek Dorsett interference penalty in overtime. The B’s managed six shots on goal during the man advantage — three from Chara and one apiece from Seguin, Hamilton and Jaromir Jagr.
‘¢ Once again, the back end was a source of offense for the Bruins. After the B’s got six goals from their defensemen against the Maple Leafs, they got two more Thursday from Chara and Krug.
‘¢ Speaking of the Bruins’ D, Bartkowski is just oodles more confident these days than he had been in the past with the Bruins. The same kid who was once too afraid of messing up is skating with the puck, hitting guys and doing everything in between. After losing his stick in the neutral zone, Bartkowski lit up Rick Nash, much to the delight of the crowd. Bartkowski was on the ice for both New York goals, but he’s been a very important part of this team’s defense since stepping in. He was third on the Bruins in time-on-ice in regulation, skating 21:55.
No one in black and gold was more under the microscope in the near-disastrous series with the Maple Leafs than Tyler Seguin.
The third-year super-talented winger had no goals and one assist in the seven games, with the one assist coming on the final goal of the series, when he was on the ice for the series-winning goal by Patrice Bergeron. Things got so bad that Seguin was demoted to the third line of Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley while Jaromir Jagr skated with Bergeron and Brad Marchand, a trend that continued at Thursday morning’s pre-game skate.
“Whole new series. Game 7 doesn’t matter and what happened in the last series doesn’t matter in this series,” Seguin said after Thursday morning’s pregame skate. “You have to come in fresh and ready to go.
“[This is a] fresh start for everyone. When I look at myself, it’s a whole new team, and my sisters don’t have to worry about going to school. It’s going to be nice. It’ll be nice to get things going.”
Seguin believes he was close to breaking through in the opening round series but just didn’t get rewarded.
“I thought the whole seires was kind of up and down,” he said. “I had a couple of games there where I thought I was playing great and wasn’t rewarded and there were a couple of games where I felt I wasn’t making smart plays or smart decisions and but in the end, being in overtime, getting the result says a lot, felt great and definitely gives me confidence.”
Seguin had three goals and four assists in 13 playoff games in 2011 after two goals and an assist against the Capitals in the only playoff series of 2012.
Seguin said he is hopeful that the team can take the momentum from the last 10 minutes of Game 7 and apply it toward this series, and maybe, just maybe, it will rub off on him.
“You try to take the momentum but also I think our team does really well and we succeed when we keep an even keel after losing and winning games,” Seguin said. “Obviously, you can’t block out the emotion of what happened in the last game and we wanted to make sure we enjoyed it but we want to make sure [we're focused] and get ready for tonight.”
|Dennis Seidenberg, Andrew Ference not skating for Bruins, Tyler Seguin moved to third line||05.15.13 at 11:23 am ET|
Dennis Seidenberg and Andrew Ference were both absent Wednesday as the Bruins practiced at TD Garden in anticipation of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Rangers. Defenseman Wade Redden, who missed Game 7 against the Maple Leafs with an undisclosed injury, was present but did not stay for the whole practice.
The practice featured a slight change to the lines, as Claude Julien flip-flopped right wings Tyler Seguin and Jaromir Jagr. Seguin, who had been skating on the second line with Patrice Bergeron, was moved down a line to skate with Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley, while Jagr moved up to play with Bergeron and Brad Marchand.
The lines in practice were as follows:
Extra forwards: Kaspars Daugavins, Jay Pandolfo, Carl Soderberg
For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Andy Brickley on M&M: ‘Who can handle’ a determined Milan Lucic?||05.14.13 at 1:06 pm ET|
NESN Bruins commentator Andy Brickley joined Mut & Merloni on Tuesday to talk about the Bruins’ historic comeback in Game 7 against the Maple Leafs.
Brickley admitted he started questioning his faith in the Bruins when they fell behind by three goals in the third period before rallying for a 5-4 overtime victory.
“My believability was challenged that they could come back once we got close to that 10-minute mark,” Brickley said. “But I will go back to the beginning of the third period. When we were trying to set the stage, we talked about — I think Jack [Edwards] used the phrase ‘final 20 minutes of someone’s season.’ I wasn’t convinced of that. I thought that game would go to overtime. But when it did get 4-1, yeah, I certainly had my doubts. It was creeping in.
“No surprise, though, when you look back at that third period, that a guy like Milan Lucic would spearhead that charge. It’s in his DNA, it’s in his makeup. When he’s that determined, that committed and refuses to lose that attitude, who can handle him?”
When the Bruins started to exert their will late in the third period, the Maple Leafs showed their inexperience.
“Absolutely unchartered water for these guys, and that certainly worked in the Bruins’ favor,” Brickley said. “The minute you start to put a little pressure on a team that’s trying to protect a three-goal lead, and really, because they haven’t been in that closeout situation in the NHL playoffs – you can be in those positions during the regular season, with a three-goal lead or a two-goal lead in the third period, it’s a heck of a lot easier than it is in the postseason. Especially when you’re playing a team that supposedly, and in all probability, is a superior team to you.
“The minute [Nathan] Horton scores on that great rush up the ice by Lucic, the power move around the net and the nice pass out front, now that doubt seems to creep in. You start sneaking peeks at the clock, you start to watch the clock a little bit. You have the believability in your goaltender, even though he played really well in Game 5 and Game 6, can he handle the onslaught that you know is coming here in the final surge by Boston. And because they don’t have that experience on their resume, you knew that there was a lot of doubt, or at least some level of doubt for the Leafs.”
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