|Cam Neely: ‘It’s a very sweet day for us’||06.18.11 at 2:21 pm ET|
The city of Boston has celebrated world championship teams before with a “rolling rally” like it did on Saturday but never did so many fans turn out. When the city rolled out the duck boats for a three-mile rally route from TD Garden to Copley Square, fans as deep as 20 rows lined the streets to celebrate the 2011 Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins.
“Mayhem, but all good,” Bruins President Cam Neely said in describing the day. “These fans have waited a long, long time for this. They deserve this. Today is their day to really celebrate it, which is really great.”
Boston Police estimated the crowd at over 1,000,000 and city officials said that it eclipsed the 2004 “Rain Rally” on Oct. 30, 2004 when the city and region celebrated the first World Series title in 86 years. Neely’s Bruins became the seventh Boston team to be celebrated and honored with a duck boat rally, joining the 2001, ’03 and ’04 Patriots, the ’04 and ’07 Red Sox and the ’08 Celtics.
“Just how mentally draining it’s been. You live and breathe for every game, especially when you have four elmination games. I’m proud of the guys for what they did.”
“It’s nice that people feel that way. I came here when I was 21 and grew up here and have a huge passion for the Bruins and the players who played before me and the players I played with and the organization in general. And our fan base took me in and showed their passion for the team and the players. So, to finally win it for them has been an incredible experience.”
“It’s really sweet for everyone that’s put some time and effort in. The people in the back office, work extremely hard, don’t get the recognition. Obviously, all the players, coaches, GMs, it’s going to be a very sweet day for us.”
Neely said he and the organization have yet to come down completely from their epic 4-0 win over Vancouver in British Columbia last Wednesday in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals.
“It’s been fantastic, just the excitement the whole city has,” he said. “It’s kind of sunk in but hasn’t really sunk in yet. It’s been an incredible experience so far. I was driving in [Friday] and all I kept thinking is, ‘We’re Stanley Cup champs.’ You drive in, you think it’s a normal day but you’re Stanley Cup champs. It keeps running through your head. It’s starting to sink in but it hasn’t fully sunk in.”
|Tim Thomas earns Conn Smythe with historic playoff performance||06.15.11 at 11:02 pm ET|
In delivering one of the most dominating goaltending performances in postseason history and leading the Bruins to their first Stanley Cup in 39 years, Tim Thomas was awarded the Conn Smythe trophy as the most outstanding player of 2011 playoffs.
He earned the honor with staggering and historic numbers. He established new all-time records by making 798 saves on 849 shots in 25 games, both new standards. Thomas appropriately ended his epic season with his fourth shutout of the playoffs.
Thomas made several spectacular saves in the third period, including a pair on Jannik Hansen, finishing with a 37-save performance in the first Game 7 of a Stanley Cup finals series in Bruins history.
The Flint, Michigan native is the second U.S.-born player to take the Conn Smythe, joining New York Rangers defenseman Brian Leetch in 1994, and, at 37, is the oldest Conn Smythe recipient.
Thomas was the Bruins’ only goaltender during their Stanley Cup-winning run, finishing the playoffs with a 16-9 record, 1.98 goals-against average, .940 save percentage and four shutouts.
Thomas Playoff Highlights
* set NHL record for most saves in one playoff year (798)
* set NHL record for most shots faced in one playoff year (849)
* set NHL record for most saves in the Stanley Cup Final (238)
* fourth all-time for most shots faced in the Stanley Cup Final (246)
* finished with an 11-1 record when facing 35 or more shots
* led all NHL goaltenders in goals-against average (1.98) and save percentage (.940) and shared lead in shutouts (four) in the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs
* became the first goaltender in NHL history to post a shutout on the road in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final
* posted a 1.15 goals-against average in the Stanley Cup Final, the lowest in the modern era among goaltenders with at least five appearances
* posted a .967 save percentage in the Stanley Cup Final, third all-time and tops among goaltenders with at least five appearances
* became the 13th goaltender since 1927 to post multiple shutouts in the Stanley Cup Final (two)
* made 52 saves on 54 shots in the Bruins 3-2 win at Philadelphia in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals
* stopped all 24 shots in posting a 1-0 shutout victory over Tampa Bay in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals
* posted the first shutout by a Bruins goaltender in the Stanley Cup Final since May 18, 1978, when Gerry Cheevers made 16 saves to blank Montreal 4-0 in Game 3 at Boston Garden (Game 3)
|Brad Marchand is a rat’s rat||06.14.11 at 7:50 am ET|
If the Canucks were hoping that Brad Marchand would wilt as a rookie under the pressure of his first playoff experience, they obviously did not judge or scout him nearly close enough.
And there’s no reason to think Marchand is about to crumble under the pressure of the first Stanley Cup finals Game 7 in Bruins history.
“We have to make sure that we have a good start. And they just seem to get so much momentum and energy off their crowd and we just have to find a way to counter that and come out strong,” said Marchand sounding every bit the veteran of 24 playoff games.
When he scored in the Game 3 blowout of the Canucks, he referred to the fact that he is considered the modern-day “rat” of the Bruins, a nickname lovingly bestowed on Ken Linseman for being the bur in the side of every opponent. It’s a nickname that he continues to wear with pride as he proved again to the Canucks on Monday.
When he wheeled in and took a puck off the boards from Mark Recchi he showed no hesitation snapping off a wrister that beat Roberto Luongo over the goalie’s left shoulder just 5:31 into Game 6.
“I was there, it was a good shot but I have to make that save,” Luongo said. “He put it where he wanted but I have to make a save there.”
“We weren’t too worried about that in here,” Marchand said of Luongo’s talk after Game 5. “He can say what he wants to say. We were just trying to focus on playing this game so we got a couple early, and you know, obviously they switched the goaltenders up. Obviously he’s bounced back every game and I expect the same thing back in Vancouver.” Read the rest of this entry »
The singular turning point of the series has also turned into a rally cry for the Bruins, as Michael Ryder acknowledged after scoring a goal in Boston’s 5-2 win over Vancouver in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals Monday night at TD Garden.
With the crowd already in a frenzy following two quick goals to start the game, the video board at the Garden showed Nathan Horton in the zamboni area waving a Bruins black and gold hanky. Horton was shown live for the first time since being knocked to the ice with a severe concussion exactly one week ago on hit by Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome in Game 3. He has been ruled out of the playoffs.
“Horty’s a big part of this team and he’s one of the reasons we’re where we are,” Ryder said. “He’s a great guy and it’s good to see him a lot better and we know he’s excited and he wants us to win. We have to make sure we do everything we can to pull it off for him.”
“We didn’t know that they were going to be doing that and showing him up there,” added Bruins forward Brad Marchand. “You know for him to come in and give us that boost of energy is unbelievable. And obviously the crowd loves it and loves him and are supporting him every minute of the day. It was great to see him out there. He gave us a big energy boost.
Two and a half minutes later, Andrew Ference fired a slap shot past Roberto Luongo on the power play for Boston’s third goal and pandemonium ensued with the Bruins up, 3-0, and Luongo chased to the bench.
|Game 6 countdown, 2 p.m.: Other cities have issues with Vancouver||06.13.11 at 2:02 pm ET|
Boston is not the only city that has an issue with the way the Canucks play the game.
Chicago Tribune writer Steve Rosenbloom wrote an article about the Blackhawks being familiar with the Canucks style of play because they acted the same way when they faced the Canucks in Round 1 of this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs. He notes a few dirty hits that the Canucks laid on the Blackhawks and the league did nothing in response to them.
The Province, a newspaper in British Columbia, recently ran a story about how most of Canada is pulling for the Bruins to win the Stanley Cup because most of Canada hates Vancouver. It says the hate comes from Canadians being jealous of Vancouver because it is a beautiful city and it hosted the Winter Olympics.
The Globe and Mail, a Toronto newspaper, had a story saying that the Canucks have become the NHL’s most hated team. The story examines the way the Canucks have reached the Stanley Cup finals and the way they have played the series. It also includes a quote from Oilers defenseman Ryan Whitney, who said, “This team is so easy to hate, it is unbelievable. … I’d say that 90 percent of the guys in the league want nothing to do with seeing them win.”
It was a little thing – a little thing that Claude Julien works on often during practice. But on this Monday morning, the small detail of winning faceoffs could have a huge impact on who wins Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals.
Last Friday, in Game 5 in Vancouver, the Canucks found a way to win 34 of 65 draws while the Bruins only won 29 of those 65 one-on-one battles.
While none of them led directly to a goal, it did skew puck possession in Vancouver’s favor as the game progressed.
It’s actually been an area the Canucks have won in nearly every game of this series, including in both blowout wins by the Bruins in Games 3 and 4. But add the faceoffs in with losing puck battles and not getting enough bodies in front of Roberto Luongo and the small things become huge problems – problems the Bruins cannot afford tonight with no margin of error left.
In a close game, losing those battles can be deadly, especially when you’re the Bruins trying to kill one of best power play units in the game. So far, the Bruins have killed 24 of 25 Vancouver power plays.
The Bruins coach was also asked about the benefit of having Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci – two of the team’s top faceoff men – out on the ice for the team’s top power play unit.
“I don’t think we would be putting them there if it was just a faceoff thing,” Julien said. “But between Bergeron and Krejci are right-handed shots, and whether one of them is on the half fall, doesn’t really matter. The other one can be on the goal line. Krejci can make some plays from down low and Bergeron can take pucks at the net. We just feel that right now that’s a good scenario for that power play.
“We’ve got [Rich] Peverley who does move the puck well and [Dennis] Seidenberg who can shoot the puck well, we’ve got a good combination there. It’s shown some flashes of being very good, and when it hasn’t, it’s been not because of who you got out there, but what they’ve done. We’ve lost some battles in the last game. Certainly didn’t make some strong passes that were cut off. Vancouver does a great job. They’ve got good sticks on the penalty kill. If we don’t make crisp passes, you end up turning it over.”
The same goes for Vancouver.
“We have to bring our ‘A’ game and play the right way,” said Daniel Sedin. “When we win faceoffs and we have a lot of puck possession, we’re a good team. They’re obviously a good faceoff team so that’s going to be a big thing tonight. If we play the right way, and we play tight the way we did at home, it’s hard to get good scoring chances against us. When we play like we did in Games 3 and 4, we’re going to get some scoring chances but they are too, and that’s not the way we want to play.”
CSNNE Bruins analyst Tony Amonte spoke with the Mut & Merloni show Monday morning. To hear the interview, go the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
Amonte said the key to the Bruins winning Game 6 Monday night is to “ride [Zdeno] Chara and [Dennis] Seidenberg.”
“I think that’s what they’ve done at home is been able to ride those two defensemen, their top D pair,” Amonte said. “They don’t get scored on much, and they help you out, create a lot of offense for the Bruins.”
Amonte said that a key to the offense is getting Tyler Seguin more minutes, especially on the power play.
“Seguin’s a guy that could break the game open,” he said.
“You have to play the odds. You have to put a guy out there you know is going to score a little bit more than another guy.”
While Gregory Campbell is good on faceoffs and penalty kills, Amonte said he lacks the puck control necessary to play in front of the net on power plays.
“If you can’t get control of the puck and you can’t get it set up, you’re never going to see a net-front guy,” Amonte said, adding: “That second unit just never had the ability to get the puck, settle it down, and establish a net-front presence.”
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