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Ray Bourque on D&C: Defensively, Zdeno Chara is ‘one of the best that’s ever been’ 05.25.11 at 7:56 am ET
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Legendary Bruins defenseman Ray Bourque stopped by for a chat with Dennis & Callahan Wednesday morning during a charity benefit for the Massachusetts Soldiers Legacy Fund at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Boston. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Asked if the Lightning have a psychological edge over the Bruins in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday night because they are the more desperate team, Bourque said: “I think it brings the best out of you, so I’d say yes. But the flip side of that, the Bruins are kind of a good counter-puncher kind of a team.

“Sometimes when you come out with that kind of energy or intensity, you might try to do too much and make mistakes and counter and maybe take advantage of those mistakes and go down early in the game, like you saw in Game 4 in Tampa. That’s what happened. It’s not that the Bruins played an incredible first period and came out of that period up 3-0. It’s Tampa that made some mistakes, and the Bruins capitalized on it. So, a game like tonight, you could see that happening again.”

Should the Bruins finish off the Lightning, the challenge in the Stanley Cup finals would be enormous. “Vancouver’s going to be very tough,” Bourque said. “That’s going to be by far their toughest series.”

Bourque said no matter how the season ends this year, the future looks bright for this Bruins team. “I think it’s a very good team with a great goalie, and a team that’s only going to get better, I think, in years to come,” he said. “And experiencing what they’re experiencing this year in the playoffs, the growth of some of these players is going to be tremendous.”

Asked where Zdeno Chara rates among the best Bruins defensemen ever ‘€” a list that includes Bourque and Bobby Orr ‘€” Bourque was highly complimentary of the Czech standout.

“I think defensively he’s better than both of us,” Bourque said. “He’s a shutdown D that is like no other in the league. I’ll tell you that any player playing against him ‘€” you’re not hearing much about [Martin] St. Louis or [Vincent] Lecavalier because of Zdeno. That’s why.

“Defensively, he’s the best, and one of the best that’s ever been because of his size and his strength and his reach. I mean, this guy’s 7 foot on skates and his reach is incredible. You just watch him, like Inspector Gadget all of a sudden ‘€” bang, that stick comes out, and it’s amazing.”

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Read More: Bobby Orr, Ray Bourque, Tim Thomas, Zdeno Chara
Mike Keenan on D&C: Dwayne Roloson ‘a calming influence’ for Lightning 05.23.11 at 9:15 am ET
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Former Bruins coach Mike Keenan joined the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning to talk about the Eastern Conference finals, which resume Monday night at TD Garden with the tiebreaking Game 5. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Keenan, who coached the Bruins in the 2000-01 season, one of eight NHL teams he helmed, said the B’s have to be hurting after blowing a big lead in Saturday’s Game 4 loss to the Lightning.

“How many times do you have a 3-0 lead in a series? And Boston knows this from Philadelphia [last year], it was 3-0, I hope it doesn’t end up the same result. But you have a chance to take the other team out. Then you have to look at yourself and say, ‘What happened?’ ”

Lightning backup goalie Mike Smith came off the bench and did not allow a goal Saturday, but Keenan said he would go back to Dwyane Roloson for Game 5. “He’s a calming influence for this group,” Keenan said of Roloson. “He’s got good leadership skills.”

Keenan said another reason to return to Roloson is to inspire the rest of the team. “There’s a great deal of respect, the players really like Roloson,” Keenan said. “And to show that they do, they’re going to come out and play really hard for him. And that’s part of what you take into account as well.”

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Read More: David Krejci, Dwayne Roloson, Mark Recchi, Mike Keenan
Claude Julien isn’t about to let his team think Stanley Cup finals yet 05.20.11 at 2:55 pm ET
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TAMPA — Despite a dominating defensive perfomance in Game 3 and watching his team record its first shutout of the playoffs, Bruins coach Claude Julien isn’t letting his team think about what could be if they win their next two games. Julien was asked Friday if being two wins away from the team’s first Stanley Cup finals appearance in 21 years provides motivation.

“We don’t even talk about that, honestly,” Julien said. “Right now, all we’ve talked about is how important a game tomorrow is for us. We don’t want to live in the past. Yesterday was yesterday. [Saturday] is what we want to talk about. We want to live in the present. And today is about getting some good rest and making sure that tomorrow we’re well rested, we’ve got the energy and the focus to do a job. That’s what we’ve been doing since the start.

“And that’s what’s helped us get through it. The same thing in Montreal. We lost the first two games. We went to Montreal not thinking about the two losses but what we had to do that night. It’s really helped us get through things, and that’s what our guys are all about right now. So I don’t have to worry about what you just asked, because we’re not thinking that way.”

The players would certainly appear to be heeding the message.

“You can’t take any situation for granted,” Milan Lucic said after Friday’s mainly optional skate at St. Pete Times Forum. “You can’t take any team for granted, and that’s what we’ve done so well. We’ve got to keep being determined to push for more.”

Lucic says there no need for reinforcement of Julien’s message from veterans like Zdeno Chara, Mark Recchi or Tim Thomas.

“At this point, there’s not much you can say,” Lucic added. “You’ve got to know what needs to be done, and when they speak, you can learn a lot from them. They’ve done a great job leading the way so far, and hopefully they keep leading the way and staying vocal and getting us ready for every situation.”

The Bruins play Game 4 against the Lightning Saturday afternoon at 1:30 at St. Pete Times Forum before returning to Boston for Game 5 Monday night in Boston.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Boston Bruins, Claude Julien, Mark Recchi
Day off for Zdeno Chara, Tim Thomas, David Krejci among others at 2:23 pm ET
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TAMPA — Three key stars of Thursday night’s 2-0 win over the Lightning in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals were given the day off on Friday from the team’s brief practice at St. Pete Times Forum.

Captain Zdeno Chara, Tim Thomas and David Krejci were all absent as the team skated and went through drills for about 40 minutes in preparation for Game 4 Saturday afternoon in Tampa. Krejci scored the game’s first goal 69 seconds into the opening period Thursday while Tim Thomas turned away all 31 Lightning shots in recording the team’s first shutout of the 2011 playoffs.

Veterans Dennis Seidenberg and Mark Recchi were also given the day off. The Bruins will be looking to take a 3-1 series lead before the series shifts back to Boston for Game 5 Monday night at TD Garden.

The Bruins will be looking to take a 3-1 series lead before the series shifts back to Boston for Game 5 Monday night at TD Garden.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Boston Bruins, David Krejci, NHL
Barry Melrose on M&M: Shawn Thornton deserves to be in lineup 05.18.11 at 4:12 pm ET
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ESPN hockey analyst Barry Melrose joined the Mut & Merloni show Wednesday afternoon to talk about the Bruins’ 6-5 victory in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals Tuesday night. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

Melrose was quick to compliment the play of Bruins rookie center Tyler Seguin, who tallied four points (two goals, two assists) in Game 2.

“He certainly rode over the horizon at the right time on his white horse because Boston needed a spark and Seguin, in the last two games, has given Boston a spark,” Melrose said.

Seguin, who scored only 11 goals in the regular season, patiently waited for his opportunity and took full advantage of it in crunch time.

“He’€™s done everything right,” Melrose said. The kid’€™s kept his mouth shut. He’€™s never complained. He’€™s never gotten his agent involved. He’€™s never gone to the press. And when he got a chance to play in Game 1, bang, he was great. And then in Game 2, when they put him on the power play, bang, he scored.

“That’€™s what he has to do. He’€™s letting his actions speak for himself, and now Claude [Julien] has to play him. And the kid doesn’€™t hurt you defensively, he competes. Is he going to win the Selke award? No. But the guy who wins the Selke isn’€™t going to make the plays that Seguin is making either.”

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Read More: Barry Melrose, Claude Julien, Patrice Bergeron, Rick Middleton
Video: Bruins react to game one loss to Lightning 05.15.11 at 12:43 am ET
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Read More: Tim Thomas, Tomas Kaberle, Tyler Seguin, Zdeno Chara
With playoff layoff, Bruins making the most of their time 05.12.11 at 2:06 pm ET
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In just two days, fans will be able to see something they haven’t seen in a while: a Bruins hockey game.

Sure, this time of year, the wait is generally longer for the next Bruins game (something in the neighborhood of five months), but it still been quite a while for these B’s. When the puck is dropped Saturday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals, it will be Boston’s first game in eight days, as they have had penalty of time on their hands since sweeping away the Flyers in the semifinals last Friday.

After the Philadelphia series, the team took the weekend off from skating, returning to practice for Monday and Tuesday before staying off the ice on Wednesday. Thursday, they held their third practice of the extra-long layoff period, and it certainly belonged in the “high intensity” category. Claude Julien reached into his bag of tricks for an interesting drill which featured two goals in the corner, with a short area of space to play in between. It kept things physical, and for a team that’s gone so long without playing actual games, it kept the energy up.

“We have to find the best drills for similar-to-game situations and prepare ourselves for that same intensity like we’ve been playing,” captain Zdeno Chara, who took Tuesday off, said after Thursday’s skate. “We’re having good practices.”

One player who could certainly benefit from such a drill is Tyler Seguin. Physicality is an area in which the No. 2 overall pick’s game is lacking, and as he makes his playoff debut, being able to give and take more contact could come a long way. The rookie noted that it was only the second time the team had done the drill this season. The other came just before a very big win for the team.

“We actually did it once in Vancouver,” Seguin said. “Just going against big teams, you’ve got to be strong on the battles. We were just touching up on that in tight areas.”

By comparison, the B’s had two days off between their seven-game quarterfinal series with the Canadiens and their semifinal showdown vs. Philadelphia. Yet this time, they haven’t had to do a bit or traveling since their Game 4 win on home ice, and while they can appreciate the time off, they know they can’t let up.

“We’ve got to have tough practices,” Seguin said. “We’re going to get our rest and our breaks, but we’ve got to get back to work here. We had a tough practice today, and [we’ll have] another one tomorrow to get ready for Saturday.”

Four wins away from a chance at the Stanley Cup, the B’s are having little trouble staying motivated between the series. It’s the farthest they’ve been since 1992, but it’s not as far as they want.

“It’s been nice to have the time off,” center Chris Kelly said. “It has not been difficult at all. We know that there’s still lots of work to be done.”

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Chris Kelly, Claude Julien, Tyler Seguin
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