|Zdeno Chara: ‘I felt much better today’||04.19.11 at 1:17 am ET|
MONTREAL — Bruins captain Zdeno Chara made his return to the lineup Monday night, playing a team-high 26:20 in Boston’s 4-2 win in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. The defenseman had missed Saturday’s Game 2 due to an illness that had hospitalized him Friday night.
Chara, who said he knew he Monday morning that he would “most likely” play in Game 3, was crossed up with Andrew Ference for a too-many-men penalty 1:08 into the game and was beating by Andrei Kostitsyn for the Habs’ first goal, though he picked up an assist on Nathan Horton’s first-period goal and posted an even rating on the night. The 6-foot-9 defenseman said he “felt pretty good,” but that the team’s performance and getting their first win of the series (Montreal leads, 2-1) was his biggest concern.
“We knew the importance of this game, and we approach it that way,” Chara said. “I was just happy with the result tonight, and we’ve got to get ready for the next one.”
Claude Julien said following the win that the team made the decision to play him following the warmup. Chara had attempted to play Saturday, but was scratched due to his illness.
“Obviously, I wasn’t feeling well,” Chara, who would not elaborate on what plagued him, said. “I tried to play [Saturday], and we decided not to. Obviously I had another 24 hours to recover, and all day today. I felt much better today.
“I wanted to play in the game before that, but obviously I knew it wouldn’t be a smart decision for the team, so I was really anxious to be in the lineup tonight.”
After holding off a surge by the Canadiens in the third period (the Habs held a 16-5 shots on goal advantage in the final 20 minutes), the Bruins will travel to Lake Placid for two days of practice. They will attempt to tie the series Thursday back at the Bell Centre.
“It’s only one win,” Chara said. “The next game is going to be an even bigger game.”
|Whether or not the big man plays, Bruins will have to block out big-time crowd noise||04.18.11 at 1:34 pm ET|
MONTREAL — The Bell Centre is going to be roaring for Monday night’s Game 3 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. Given that the Habs have taken the first two games of the series against the rival Bruins, the crowd noise should be plenty loud, and that’s without factoring in the possibility of Montreal villain Zdeno Chara playing.
If things get as loud as they’re expected to, it could actually impact the game in how players communicate with one another. Unable to hear over all the hoopla, calling to teammates suddenly becomes a much more of an intended yell.
“That happens a lot during a game,” Habs forward Michael Cammalleri said after the Canadiens’ morning skate. “I guess it will happen more often if they’re cheering or boring more often when someone’s on the ice. Even if you get a rush chance, everyone gets excited and on their feet. Sometimes you can’t hear a guy and things of that nature because the fans get loud. Players are pretty used to that kind of thing.”
The Bruins are at enough of a disadvantage playing in the Bell Centre down two games to none, so the crowd noise seems to be the least of their concerns. Either way, they know it’s there.
“If you’re close enough — and you may have to talk a little louder than normal — but normally it’s not too bad, but it definitely is a loud atmosphere,” B’s defenseman Adam McQuaid said Monday. “When you’re down on the ice, you just kind of have to speak over it.”
McQuaid has never played in Montreal in the postseason, but did admit that he “can only imagine what it will be like tonight.”
If Chara plays, he can expect perhaps the heftiest booing of his career, as long as Habs fans can top some of their personal bests. Should he be in the lineup Monday, the crowd will get its first crack at the Boston captain since he was ejected for shoving forward Max Pacioretty into a stanchion on March 8. Much like the rest of the crowd noise, the B’s will have to block out any pointed jeers as well.
“That doesn’t matter,” Claude Julien said of the reception Chara would get if he plays. “I think what matters to us right now is what is at stake in this game. No matter what happens, you have to play through those things. We’re all aware of that and guys are professional enough.
“I don’t know if there is a rink Zdeno doesn’t get booed in, certainly not because of what happened, but because of the realization of the impact he has on the game and the difference he can make in game situations. He’s a big man, he’s a strong guy that we rely on a lot and he’s a big part of our team. I think other buildings realize that.”
MONTREAL — Defenseman Zdeno Chara was on the ice as the Bruins held their morning skate in anticipation of Monday night’s Game 3 vs. the Canadiens. Chara did not play in Game 2 due to an illness that included dehydration. He was not available to the media after the skate and his status for Game 3 remains unknown, though coach Claude Julien said he has “absolutely” seen improvements from the captain.
“As we speak right now, it’s looking good, but I can’t stand here right now and say he’s a definite in,” Julien said.
Chara played a team-high 25:06 in Thursday night’s 2-0 loss in Game 1. He played in the first 81 games of the regular season before sitting out the finale vs. the Devils for the sake of rest.
|Bruins must find Bell Centre success that eluded them in regular season||04.17.11 at 2:51 pm ET|
The Bruins know they were a good road team in the regular season. They strung together that perfect 6-0-0 road trip beginning back on Feb. 17, and their 53 road points were good for fifth in the NHL over the 82-game campaign.
After dropping the first two games of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals to the Canadiens at TD Garden, they had better hope that they can play Monday night’s Game 3 and Thursday’s Game 4 like they did in many of the regular-season’s road games. The only problem is that while they have been fantastic in many buildings, the Bell Centre is most certainly not one of them.
The B’s took a 4-3 loss to the Habs on Dec. 16, and in their second meeting in Montreal, they blew a 2-0 lead in the final 2:22 en route to taking an embarrassing 3-2 loss in overtime on Jan. 8. While the March 8 game in Bell Centre was ugly enough as a result of the Max Pacioretty/Zdeno Chara mess, the B’s play in a 4-1 loss wasn’t much prettier. With the Habs winning all three games of their meetings at the Bell Centre, they could conceivably be licking their chops at the prospect of sweeping the B’s in front of their home crowd. They’re not thinking about it, but the Bruins are thinking about finding a way to turn into the team that grabbed 24 road wins.
“That’s hopefully something that can help us get back in the series, and that’s going to be up to us to have that same approach as we’ve had most of the year on the road,” Claude Julien said Sunday. “We’ve been a good road team, we’ve done the things better, and for some reason on the road you seem to want to keep your game a little simpler than you do at home. That’s something that’s going to have to happen. Keep it simple, but keep it efficient and maybe if we do that we’ll make less mistakes.”
|Zdeno Chara will travel with Bruins||at 1:45 pm ET|
Not exactly earth-shattering news, but Claude Julien said Sunday that Zdeno Chara will travel with the Bruins to Montreal for Games 3 and 4 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. Chara sat out the team’s 3-1 loss in Game 2 due to an illness that included dehydration. His status for Game 3 is uncertain.
The most alarming part of Saturday’s no-show by the Bruins was their complete inability to pick up the emotional or physical slack left by the absence of Zdeno Chara. From the drop of the puck, the Bruins looked shell-shocked when Chara skated pregame but couldn’t go, leaving them without their best defenseman and captain.
“Well, number one you can’t every say that you didn’t miss him,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “He’s one of the best defensemen in the league and when you lose a guy like that it leaves you with a big hole. Having said that, I still think our Ds are capable of handling themselves and can definitely be better.
“And those costly goals are what we’re talking about. They have to make the other team earn their goals and I don’t think that was the case tonight. We certainly have to get better in regards to that and those kinds of mistakes and are type we can’t keep making.”
“Yeah, he’s our captain but at the same time, we all need to step up in here,” added Patrice Bergeron, the man who likely would be captain if not for Chara. “Yeah, it hurts missing “Z” but it’s playoffs and it’s adversity and it’s things we have to go through. We’re not the only team that’s missing key players. We have to find a way.”
And while Julien announced Sunday that Chara will be making the trip to Montreal for Monday’s Game 3, there’s still no guarantee he plays. Whether Chara is on the ice or not, the Bruins can’t afford to bumble and stumble like they did in the first two minutes Saturday night or their season will – for all intents and purposes – be over.
“I don’t know if it’s about making up for the loss,” Julien said. “We need to make some better decisions. We did the same thing in that first game as well. The two goals we gave up were, they are glaring mistakes, to our eyes anyway. And like I said after the first game, they’re uncharacteristic of our hockey club and we’re here talking about the same thing. So yeah, we have to correct that and we have to correct it starting next game. We have to make sure those things are eliminated from our game if we want to give ourselves a chance to win this series.”
Things like flipping the puck blindly up the middle of the neutral zone, leading to a turnover and an odd-man rush that ended in Yannick Webber‘s back-breaking goal late in the second, restoring Montreal’s two-goal cushion and crushing Boston’s comeback hopes.
“I was looking up ice,” said Seidenberg of his ill-fated transition attempt. “It seem like the boards were taken so I tried to hit Horty going through the middle. But their D stepped in front.”
Julien knows his team has one more shot Monday to redeem themselves before being put on life-support.
“It’s the best-of-seven,” Julien said. “We’ve lost the first two games. And, let’s be honest here, our team has not played at all close to the way we know we can. You can outshoot them, you can do a lot of things, but the mistakes that we have made in this series so far are very uncharacteristic of our hockey team, and we need to be better than that. If they’re going to score some goals, they need to earn them a lot more than they have. We had to work pretty hard tonight just to get that one goal, and I don’t think they had to work as hard to get theirs.
“And that’s basically the difference right now in the games, is the execution of one team, compared to the execution of the other one. I’m going to stand here and tell you that our execution isn’t good enough and it needs to be better. That’s what we have to do from here on in.”
|Claude Julien: ‘There was absolutely no way in the world’ Zdeno Chara (dehydration) could have played||04.16.11 at 11:07 pm ET|
After the Bruins’ 3-1 loss to the Canadiens in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals Saturday, coach Claude Julien defended B’s captain Zdeno Chara, who did not play due to dehydration. The 6-foot-9 blueliner, who played in 81 regular-season games, went out for warmups but was not able to overcome the issues that had hospitalized him Friday.
“He came off the ice and he was sweaty, he was dizzy. There was no way in the world we could have used him tonight and played him. Absolutely no way,” Julien said. “The doctors said the same thing. I spoke to him, and even attempting to come was courageous on his part, but there was absolutely no way that he could have played tonight. It’s unfortunate. We missed him, but certainly he did the best he could to even try. To be honest with you, it wasn’t even close.”
As for Chara’s status for Monday’s Game 3, Julien said the team will “see how these next two days go,” though he did say that dehydration was not the only issue with Chara. The coach also proceeded to call out any members of the media questioning the captain.
“[Dehydration] is one of the situations, and we’re not going to comment any further than that,” Julien said. “I know that he’s been jumped on a little bit by some of the media that think they know better than anybody else, but there was no way he could play.
“You’re going to say, ‘Oh, well we don’t know the whole thing’ — I think if he could have played, he would have played tonight. He tried his best and he couldn’t play. I was disappointed that people would even question this guy for what he is and what he’s done.”
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