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Andy Brickley on M&M: Kaspars Daugavins the right call to replace Gregory Campbell 06.07.13 at 1:46 pm ET
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Andy Brickley

Andy Brickley, the color commentator for the Bruins on NESN, called into Mut & Merloni on Friday afternoon, and he wholeheartedly agreed with Claude Julien‘s apparent decision to play Kaspars Daugavins Friday night after Gregory Campbell broke his leg in Wednesday’s double-overtime win.

Daugavins skated as the third-line left winger during the Bruins morning skate and appears set to fill that role as the Bruins and Penguins face off at TD Garden Friday night.

“You have to look at it this way: What players are available in the absence of Gregory Campbell? And what are we losing in Gregory Campell?” Brickley said. “You’re losing an energy guy, a real good faceoff guy, a penalty-killer, reliable, accountable — all those things that you want in your role-playing centerman.”

Brickley said once Julien split up Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly to center the bottom two lines, Daugavins makes the most sense of the options, including Jay Pandolfo, Carl Soderberg and Jordan Caron.

“Which player has the most trust of the coaching staff, and which player gives your team the greater flexibility and versatility if you have to shorten the bench or you get into a special teams game?” Brickley asked. “Daugavins is probably your best bet.”

Brickley, like many, many others the last two days, lauded Campbell for sticking it out for the rest of his shift after breaking his leg while blocking a shot during Wednesday’s marathon Game 3. He said the effort exemplified “the [hockey] culture, how these guys grew up,” and Campbell finishing his shift was a high-risk, high-reward situation.

“I know there was some discussion whether he should’ve just lied down and writhed in pain in order to get the whistle — but I don’t think it would have come — so he did what he had to do,” Brickley said. “The impact that that can have if you survive that penalty-killing situation, but then get yourself to the bench, the message received by the players [about] how committed you are.”

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Read More: Claude Julien, Gregory Campbell, Kaspars Daugavins, Torey Krug
Bobby Orr on D&C: Bruins ‘a better team than they were in ’11′ 06.06.13 at 9:11 am ET
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Bobby Orr

Bruins legend Bobby Orr joined Dennis & Callahan on Thursday after watching Wednesday night’s thrilling Game 3 at TD Garden, a 2-1 double-overtime victory for the Bruins over the Penguins.

“This team, you go back to the Toronto series, is this the same team? What did they do? Absolutely amazing,” Orr said. “They didn’t play great against Toronto. The 10 minutes of the last game, an unbelievable comeback. They played a little better against the Rangers. But in this series, they’re playing as well now as they did in ’11. They’ve completely dominated Pittsburgh. … They’re playing their big guys against their big guys, and the Bruin guys that are supposed to score are scoring, Tuukka [Rask] has been unbelievable. I don’t know what happened. But Claude [Julien] and the coaching staff got them playing great. Very impressive. Very impressive.”

Added Orr: “This is team is playing unbelievable hockey. And people are going to say, ‘Well, Pittsburgh’s not playing very well.’ Well, the Bruins aren’t letting them play. They’re all over them, they’re not giving them any room. And when they get those chances, Tuukka’s coming up huge for that team. It’s a team effort.”

Sidney Crosby has been criticized for his lack of production in this series, but Orr said the focus instead should be on how well the Bruins are playing to shut down all the Penguins’ stars.

“I don’t agree with that at all, about him being overrated and this guy not doing da-da-da-da,” Orr said. “Let’s look at what the Bruins are doing. they’re not giving them one inch. You want to play tough? The Bruins are there. Finesse? Every player that’s supposed to — whatever the players’ strength is, that player is playing to his full strength. It’s wonderful to watch. And they’re defense, wow. Defensively they’re very, very strong.”

Gregory Campbell took a slap shot off his leg late in the second period but showed toughness by getting back to his feet and struggling to help the B’s penalty kill for almost a minute until the puck was cleared and he had a chance to get to the bench.

“What that kid did last night — I mean, they’re reporting he may have a broken leg. He obviously he was in pain, and he hung in there,” Orr said. “That’s the team. That’s the team right there. That’s what they are right now. We saw what they’re made of. This team has a ton of character. A ton of character.”

Added Orr: “What he did was incredible. Certainly it gave the team a great lift. Certainly the fans appreciated what Gregory did.”

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Read More: Bobby Orr, Claude Julien, Gregory Campbell, Sidney Crosby
Morning skate report: Zdeno Chara-Dennis Seidenberg together, Andrew Ference hopes to return 06.01.13 at 12:53 pm ET
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PITTSBURGH — The Bruins will play a hockey game for the first time in a week when they finally open the Eastern Conference finals against the Penguins at CONSOL Energy Center. From the looks of it, there will be no changes to their lineup, although Andrew Ference could be a possibility to return.

Both Ference and Matt Bartkowski took rushes with Johnny Boychuk on Boston’s second pairing in the morning skate, with Bartkowski taking the majority of them. After the skate, Claude Julien declined to tip his hand regarding Ference’s status for the game, with Ference saying he wants to play but that the decision is up to the coaches.

Another notable takeaway from the morning skate was that it appears the Zdeno Chara-Dennis Seidenberg pairing will be kept together, presumably to play against the Penguins’ top line of Evgeni Malkin between James Neal and Jarome Iginla.

The Bruins’ lineup looked as follows in the morning skate:

Milan Lucic – David Krejci – Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – Jaromir Jagr
Rich Peverley – Chris Kelly – Tyler Seguin
Daniel Paille – Gregory Campbell – Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara – Dennis Seidenberg
Matt Bartkowski/Andrew Ference – Johnny Boychuk
Torey Krug – Adam McQuaid

Tuukka Rask

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Andrew Ference, Dennis Seidenberg, Zdeno Chara,
Pierre McGuire on M&M: ‘Virtually impossible play’ for Dougie Hamilton on game-ending goal 05.24.13 at 2:01 pm ET
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Pierre McGuire

NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to offer his take on the Bruins’ mistake-prone 4-3 overtime loss to the Rangers in Game 4.

McGuire said that despite Thursday’s loss, the Bruins have no reason to be overly concerned.

“The Rangers can talk about coming back and getting back in this series. It’s still 3-1. You’re going back to Boston for Game 5. And the Rangers should have lost that game last night,” McGuire said. “The Boston Bruins were full of self-inflicted wounds. … Whether it’s Tuukka Rask falling down, Tuukka and Zdeno Chara not communicating properly, Chara being lackadaisical with the puck. But also give credit where credit’s due: Henrik Lundqvist was phenomenal, especially in overtime.

“So, stuff’s going to happen in a playoff series. You can’t overreact to it. You move along, you play Game 5 and you do a good job in front of your fan base.”

McGuire said he was impressed with how the Bruins started Thursday’s game, and surprised at the Rangers’ performance.

“The Rangers had nothing going on,” he said. “The first period I was shocked. The shots were 12-4 and I was absolutely shocked at how the Rangers were playing. Jaromir Jagr in particular really had a sense of urgency to start that game. You could see the Bruins were jumping. They were good. They were ready to play.”

Added McGuire: “I’m telling you guys straight up: People are underplaying how deep Boston is and how good Boston is. And the Rangers don’t match up particularly well with Boston. That’s just the reality because they don’t have the same kind of offensive depth, especially down the middle, as they have in Boston. That’s a big problem. You compound that with the Chara factor and with the [Johnny] Boychuk factor in terms of size. You’ve got some very big defensemen. Whatever offensive press you might have if you’re New York, it gets shut down pretty quick.”

Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton was beaten on the game-winning goal when Chris Kreider redirected a pass from Rick Nash past Rask in overtime. McGuire said Hamilton was in a tough spot.

“That play, by the way, you’ve got numbers back, you’re in a good position,” McGuire said. “I will say this, and I’m not trying to be overly defensive of the young player: You tell me, in this new NHL, what Hamilton’s supposed to do against a player that’s 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, and can skate as fast as almost anybody in the league. That is a virtually impossible play. It’s a beautiful pass by Nash. And the only thing Hamilton could have done — and if he’s a little bit older, maybe he does do — he takes a penalty. … Because that is an unbelievably difficult play to defend. Because of the size of the man attacking the net, because of the speed of the man attacking the net, and because of the precision of the pass made by Rick Nash. That’s an unbelievable pass by Nash and a great finish by Kreider. This is something he’ll learn over time. In that situation you may just take a penalty. Just tackle the guy as he goes to the net.”

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Read More: Pierre McGuire, Tuukka Rask, Zdeno Chara,
Barry Pederson on D&C: ‘The Bruins are going to need a lot more intensity from their leaders’ at 10:20 am ET
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Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk levels Rangers forward Derek Dorsett during Thursday night's Game 4. (AP)

NESN Bruins analyst Barry Pederson joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday to examine the B’s mistake-prone effort that cost them Game 4 vs. the Rangers.

Tuukka Rask had the most glaring error when he fell and let the Rangers break through with a cheap goal that cut the B’s lead to 2-1 in the second period.

“It’s one thing to give up a goal and kind of keep momentum. But the way that goal went in, with Tuukka falling flat on his butt and the puck going in, in one of the softer goals we’ve seen, that kind of started to change momentum,” Pederson said. “And then once [Zdeno] Chara gave up the other one it was as if kind of the floodgates opened up a little bit.

“But the Rangers still didn’t show me a lot last night. … It’s up to the Bruins. The Bruins are going to need a lot more intensity from their leaders. It wasn’t only Tuukka that I thought lost his concentration — because of probably lack of action — but also I didn’t think Chara, [Milan] Lucic and [David] Krejci, the three leaders that they’ve had so far this playoffs, I didn’t think they were nearly as intense as they had been. And that’s what makes it hard to win four games in a row. It’s not only the team that you’re playing is usually a little bit more desperate and playing with pride. It’s also the fact that you kind of let up a little bit.”

Added Pederson: “The Bruins just weren’t as intense and as focused as they need to be as a team. … You had the opportunity, you just let it slip through your fingers.”

Pederson said he was surprised at the effort — or lack thereof — from the Rangers.

“I didn’t see much at all from the Rangers last night that tells me, Oh, boy, this offensive juggernaut now all of a sudden is going to click; here they go. I thought it was a situation where the Bruins totally dominated the first part of that hockey game. I was shocked again at the end of the first period at how bad the New York Rangers looked. And then once the Bruins took that 2-0 lead I kind of felt like it was over and that the Bruins had complete control of this because the Rangers hadn’t showed us anything up to that point.

“So, the Bruins have to come home and be ready Saturday night right from the open, give the Rangers a reason to not show up. They have to bring that intensity level that they showed earlier on. I’m kind of counting on that, I think.”

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Read More: Barry Pederson, Dougie Hamilton, Tuukka Rask, Zdeno Chara
Bruins not feeling cocky with 3-0 series lead 05.22.13 at 12:10 am ET
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Brad Marchand and the Bruins have jumped out to a 3-0 series lead over the Rangers. (AP)

NEW YORK — With the Bruins a win away from the Eastern Conference finals, they hope to have a better focus than they did the last time they got their third win. The B’s let the Maple Leafs come back from a 3-1 deficit last round to nearly eliminate them, so they weren’t getting too far ahead of themselves after their 2-1 Game 3 win.

“We’ve had the experience, but we’ve also had a tough time closing out teams and we know they’re going to be tough to play against in Game 4,” Shawn Thornton said. “Their backs are against the wall, so that’s usually when you see the most desperate of teams. I think we’re going to have to be ready for that again.”

Though the Bruins have a 3-0 series lead, Games 1 and 3 could have gone either way. If a few bounces went the Rangers’ way, this series could be much closer, and the B’s aren’t forgetting it.

“Every game is a tough game,” Zdeno Chara said. “Sometimes the scores aren’t always showing how close the games are.”

Game 4 will be played Thursday at Madison Square Garden.

“We know it’s going to be a tough one,” Patrice Bergeron said. “It’s always a tough win to get, is the last one. We have one day to regroup and we need to make sure we’re ready for Game 4. We know the Rangers are a team that’s not going to give up, so it’s about making sure we’re ready for that game.”

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Patrice Bergeron, Shawn Thornton, Zdeno Chara,
Claude Julien on heavy minutes for Zdeno Chara: ‘Right now, we don’t have a choice’ 05.17.13 at 3:47 pm ET
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Captain Zdeno Chara focused on the mission of leading the Bruins in the playoffs. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

One of the by-products of having three regular defensemen out of the lineup and injured is putting a heavy burden on others.

No where has the burden fallen more heavily than on the shoulders of Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. Claude Julien admitted as much on Friday, a much-needed day of rest for Chara, who logged 38 minutes of ice time in the Game 1 overtime win, three days after skating nearly 36 minutes in a Game 7 win against the Leafs.

Is Julien concerned?

“Well, he’s done it twice in a row now, when you look back at Game 7 and [Thursday],” Julien said. “We’re including overtime in that session, as well. He’s in great shape, he’s got a couple of days here to recover, so I don’t see that being an issue. To be honest with you, right now we don’t have a choice. You deal with it the best way you can.”

In addition to scoring the first goal of the game, Chara’s poke check in the Bruins zone set Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand off on the game-winning rush in overtime Thursday. Those two feats, combined with the 38 minutes on the ice earned him the Army Captain’s Bruins jacket for hero of the game.

“I’m just trying to help the team as much as I can and whatever coach feel comfortable putting out there, I’m fine with that,” Chara said.

Chara has been instrumental in helping rookies, Dougie Hamilton, Torey Krug and Matt Bartkowski in their first NHL playoff experience. He started the game Thursday paired with Hamilton. There is the chance that some combination of Andrew Ference, Dennis Seidenberg and Wade Redden return for Game 2 Sunday but until then, Chara and the Bruins will have no choice but to be prepared.

“You try to obviously try to talk to them on the ice as much as you can,” Chara said. “[The] coaches [are] doing their part so, and also you’ve got to let them play, the way they naturally like to play. So, that’s the biggest thing, but like I said it’s something that’s never easy for any player to come in and all of a sudden be put in a spot like this and you got to make sure that as a unit of five we all play a certain way to make it easier on certain situations.”

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