|Zdeno Chara played with hip flexor||06.26.13 at 1:37 pm ET|
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli was not very forthcoming in regard to players’ injuries at Wednesday’s breakup day, though he did say that Zdeno Chara was playing through a hip flexor that was “pretty potent.”
Chara did not want to discuss his injury with reporters. Chiarelli added that he believes Nathan Horton (bankart procedure on his shoulder) is the the only player set to have offseason surgery.
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|For Zdeno Chara, he and Bruins didn’t get ‘bounces’ they needed||06.25.13 at 10:17 am ET|
The last 76 seconds of Game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup will be dissected and analyzed by Bruins fans for years to come.
What happened and how did the Bruins defense collapse? How did Bryan Bickell get free enough to pot the game-tying goal?
“I think you if I had to really talk about defense, I thought throughout the whole playoffs we did a really good job,” Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said. “They did find some holes and at times, I have to be honest, it’s not just a matter of being in the right position or covering guys. Some bounces you need to have go your way.
“If it gets deflected and goes off skates and this and that, obviously that’s not an excuse but you need to have some bounces. It seemed like we didn’t get those like we did before. But you know, they did a great job going to the net and creating a lot of traffic in front.”
Chara, who acknowledged he was dealing with some sort of injury throughout the series, will be an obvious scapegoat in the eyes of some. He was on the ice for the game-tying goal by Bryan Bickell with 1:14 left. He was on the ice for the first two goals Monday. He was on the ice for all three goals (one empty-net) in Game 5 and he was on the ice for five of the six goals in Game 4. In all, Chara was on the ice for 10 of Chicago’s final 12 goals in the series.
But, of course, Chara was also on the ice for all of those goals because no one is trusted enough to skate the kind of minutes he did all season and throughout the playoffs.
Claude Julien rode he and Dennis Seidenberg as hard as he possibly could until there was nothing left to give. In Game 6 Monday, Chara logged a team-high 25 minutes, 29 seconds in 30 shifts. Only Duncan Keith, with 28:51 in 38 shifts skated more.
Chara was asked if he was shocked when Dave Bolland scored 17.7 seconds later on a rebound from a Johnny Oduya shot from the left point.
“You know, it wasn’t like it was over,” Chara said, almost defiantly. “We were still in the game. We still had some times left and obviously you’re asking me where was my thinking and where were my emotions? Yeah, I mean, till that buzzer I am going to try to win a hockey game. At that point, we were trying to obviously get inside their zone and make a play to try and even the game.
“On the tying goal it was a quick play, I think out of the corner that there was a guy coming to the net, guy in front and guy on the side. So, they made a quick play. The third goal there was a shot from the point, and a deflection. It’s a tough way to lose, tough way to lose a game, tough way to lose a series.”
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After Monday’s game, Claude Julien made it a point not to address injuries specifically because he thought that would come across as making excuses in the wake of a crushing Game 6 loss that handed the 2013 Stanley Cup to the Chicago Blackhawks.
“The reason I’m saying that is because this is not a time to make excuses,” Julien said of not addressing specific injuries. “They’ve got injuries, too. As the series went on, talking about since the start of the Stanley Cup, we had some injuries. And again, it’s hard to keep guys out. They want to play through it, and some guys were able to do that. I think the biggest challenge for me was probably these last few
games starting with a full roster but not being able to end with it.
“Somewhere along the way you have to shorten your bench because you don’t have four lines and players were getting hurt either at the beginning or middle of the game, so that was probably the biggest challenge. But playing hurt is part of it, and our guys did that, and that’s why I said earlier you’ve got to be extremely proud of those guys. It’s going to take a little while before we can realize the accomplishment that we had in making it to the final again, but right now it doesn’t feel good.”
In addition to Patrice Bergeron playing with a broken rib, torn cartilage and a separated shoulder, suffered in Monday’s loss, there were other Bruins playing through significant injuries.
As first reported by WEEI.com, Nathan Horton confirmed that he was playing with a separated left shoulder, which forced him out of the first overtime in the Game 1 loss in Chicago.
Tyler Seguin said he was playing through an injury that he is going to see a medical specialist about.
“I’ve got to see the docs [this week] and see what they say,” Seguin said. “I don’t know. I don’t want to say. I’ll talk to you guys. I’ve had the same problems my whole life.”
Then Seguin acknowledged the fact that – while he had a shortened NHL season – playing in Switzerland made for a long season.
“I played I don’t know many games ‘ even though I don’t regret going to Europe, I definitely felt zeros pouring on in the end in the playoffs,” Seguin said. “I gave it everything I had in the tank tonight. I have no regrets looking back. Obviously I would have liked to pop a few goals for my teammates, but I’ve just got to move on and learn from it, and realize I’m still young, and have a great offseason to get ready for next year.”
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|Pierre McGuire on D&C: Bruins ‘unbelievably resilient’||06.24.13 at 12:29 pm ET|
Bergeron, who left Game 5 with a ‘body injury,’ did not participate in the morning skate prior to Game 6 Monday night. However, if Bergeron is unable to play, McGuire said he thinks that the Bruins can have success without their assistant captain.
‘They can come back from it,’ McGuire said. ‘It’s a big loss, but they can come back from it. This is one of the most resilient teams I have seen in the last seven years in the NHL. They are unbelievably resilient. So they can overcome it. It won’t be easy. I think everybody knows that. But I could see them overcoming it. This is where your core leadership steps in. This is where Dennis Seidenberg and Zdeno Chara, Milan Lucic take it to another level and everybody else follows.’
While Bergeron did not participate in the morning skate, McGuire said that it is a good sign for the Bruins that the 28-year-old center took the flight back from Chicago to Boston between games, because that may eliminate the idea that he suffered an internal injury.
‘If you have a punctured lung, if you have a lacerated spleen, if you have any kind of internal — and this is from talking to doctors; I’m not a doctor but I’ve talked to doctors about it — if you have any type of internal injury like that or the potential for a punctured lung, they can’t put you on an aircraft,’ McGuire said. ‘It’s just too dangerous. The fact that he was able to get on an aircraft and fly back home, I think that is positive more than negative.’
Without Bergeron and his defensive skill in the lineup, it puts more work on the shoulders of Chara, who has struggled in recent games. Chara is minus-5 in the last two games despite recording a goal and two assists in the process. McGuire said that Chara’s struggles are a result of good strategy from Chicago.
‘You want to make the bigger person go back and get the puck,’ McGuire said. ‘You want to put some physical pressure on him. You want to get him out of his comfort zone. If Zdeno Chara is allowed to get into a comfort zone, he can dominate a game. So Chicago has done the right thing by attacking him.
‘The guy that has made probably the biggest difference on that has been Brian Bickell. Again, in-series adjustments by Chicago and Joel Quenneville by putting [Patrick] Kane and [Jonathan] Toews together, but also putting Bickell on that line and creating a snow plow effect so that that big body can go around and start bouncing some Bruins players.’
|Claude Julien to Jonathan Toews: ‘Try it again’ on Zdeno Chara||06.22.13 at 2:14 pm ET|
CHICAGO — Bruins coach Claude Julien was very aware of the comments by Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews after Game 4. In the hours before Game 5 here Saturday, Julien said if Chicago thinks they can attack and expose Zdeno Chara, then go for it.
“I mean, they’re allowed their comments,” Julien said. “If that’s what they think, then they should try it again. A lot of people have tried to figure out Zdeno, and he’s the type of player he is. People talk about five goals against, but were they all his fault? None of them were his fault, actually.
Chara was a minus-3 on Wednesday night in Game 4 and was on the ice for five of the six Chicago goals, leading several Blackhawks – including Toews – to say they had success by not being intimidated by the 6-foot-9 36-year-old Bruins captain.
Julien said stats don’t mean nearly as much in the eyes of his coaching staff as the presence Chara provides on the ice.
“Just one of those situations where we feel he’s one of our best players on our team,” Julien said. “He’s one of the best defensemen in the league, so I don’t think there’s too many flaws in his game. But if they want to think that way, they’re entitled to it. I have no response to that except to know that my player is going to be good and ready tonight, and they can try it again if that’s what they think.”
|These ‘really confident’ Bruins know they have to re-capture road warrior mentality||06.21.13 at 9:09 pm ET|
Perhaps the lasting legacy of the 2011 Stanley Cup champion Bruins was their ability to win in a hostile environment when they had no other choice.
Game 7 in Vancouver was the ultimate testament to that quality.
Now, these Bruins have a chance to repeat that accomplishment, and must, if they are to achieve their ultimate goal. Already, the Bruins have proven they can win in Chicago. But after losing Game 4 in overtime, they must find a way again.
“It’s tough, but we know we can do it,” captain Zdeno Chara said Friday. “We have a good enough team. We just have to be ready. It’s going to be a battle.”
“I guess it helps some kind of confidence there, but it’s still going to be a tough one,” Tuukka Rask said of winning Game 2 last Saturday.
Chara knows the value of the experience of Game 7 in 2011 – and Game 2 this year – in Boston’s quest.
“It’s huge,” Chara said. “You need to be able to win games on the road. It’s something that good teams go to do, and certainly we’ve done it once, so we’ve got to do our best to do it again.”
Added Tyler Seguin: “I think it helps a ton. We know what to expect a bit more and that being said Chicago’s been in this series just as much as we have. You know, it’s going to be a long series still and it’s one we’re enjoying.”
All eyes will be on Rask to see how he handles the “bounce back” game.
“Yeah, we’ve got to focus on [Game 5], hopefully get the win and have a chance to finish it at home,” Rask said. “[We’re] really confident. I think that’s one of our good qualities as a team. We never let things bother us.”
Maybe Johnny Boychuk had the best take of all on the road factor.
“It doesn’t really matter at this point where we’re playing,” Boychuk said. “I think both teams are just trying to worry about what they’re doing and trying to just battle as hard as you can to win a Cup.”
|Barry Pederson on D&C: Tuukka Rask ‘making it look easy’||06.18.13 at 11:33 am ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Barry Pederson joined the Dennis & Callahan show Tuesday morning to talk about the Bruins’ win in Game 3, the value of team defense and Tuukka Rask‘s technically sound play in goal.
Pederson said that the Bruins team defense has played consistently well throughout the playoffs and has been key in winning not only the physical battle but the mental battle.
‘We have seen it whether it was Toronto, the Rangers, Chicago in here or Pittsburgh,’ Pederson said. ‘It is the fact that they’re breaking the will of the opponent. It is so frustrating to go out there and every time you get the puck, [Zdeno] Chara is taking away your space, he is running you through the boards, you think you’ve got an open lane and you go to throw it across and all of a sudden [Dennis] Seidenberg is in there with his stick, with his feet. They just don’t give you an inch.
‘After a while it is almost like when you have a horse and you saddle-break him. Once his shoulders roll on you, you know you have the horse’s spirit broken and you have a chance of breaking him and getting him saddle-broken. Here’s the situation to me where you can see it on the ice where guys are going, ‘OK, we are ready, Chicago. Here comes our energy.’ And it’s like, ‘Oh, this just ain’t happening.’ They’re just frustrating them.’
That strong team defense is a testament to Claude Julien sticking with his defensive system and having his players buy into it. It is also the result of general manager Peter Chiarelli bringing in players that fit Julien’s system well and are willing to play hard on the defensive end every night.
Pederson said that one thing that makes Chiarelli successful is that he is willing to pay players for their contributions on the defensive end — not just the offensive end.
‘What happens a lot of times is somebody says, ‘OK, we want to play a certain style and we want to reward these guys for being successful, but yet they’re playing team defense,’ ‘ Pederson said. ‘A lot of times throughout the season when things aren’t going well it’s like, ‘We just don’t have enough offense. We don’t have those stars like [Evgeni] Malkin and [Sidney] Crosby who can generate a lot of goals.’ But champions, as we know, are known for both sides of the puck. Not only the offense, but it’s that great, smothering team defense and the structure and the layers they have defensively.
‘It has been very important also for Peter Chiarelli to reward these players for not only their offense that they show us by being maybe a point-a-game guy, but they are capable on other teams of probably being 80- or 90-point seasons, but they’re not. They are giving it up for the team and they are doing it the right way.’
Tuukka Rask was the beneficiary of the strong team defense in the Bruins’ win in Game 3, as he was protected well in his 28-save shutout Monday. However, Pederson said he thinks Rask may not be getting the credit he deserves because he is making it look easier than it is.
‘I think one of the things that we are getting ourselves maybe into a bad habit of, is because Tuukka is so sound technically and is so much in control of his emotions right now, he is making it look easy,’ Pederson said. ‘It’s not as easy as it looks. He is just attacking the shooters correctly. When he goes down he is taking up space, his belly is not touching the ice, he is standing up straight with his chest, he is controlling his rebounds.
‘A couple of times last night you could see the shifts were getting long and the Bruins needed a whistle. They are coming down the right side and they shoot the puck. He is able to control the rebound and throw it outside of the rink to get yourself a stop or a whistle. He has done a great job. He will be the first to tell you that his team in front of him is playing very well defensively, but I also think his teammates will tell you, ‘Hey, listen, he is playing so well right now and he is so locked in, he is making it look easier than it actually is.’ ‘