Bruins show a champions' poise in forcing Game 7


Bruins show a champions' poise in forcing Game 7

WASHINGTON DC Things werent trending all that positively for the Bruins headed into the third period.

The score was tied at 2-2, of course and the Bruins were still hanging with the Washington Capitals while their Verizon Center home was rocking. The Caps had just outshot the Bruins by a 15-5 margin in the middle period and the Bs had frittered away a four-minute power play created when Alex Ovechkin gashed Zdeno Chara in the forehead with a high stick.

In an elimination game where Bostons playoff lives hung in the balance, things probably could have been moving in a more positive fashion. But thats when the Bruins hunkered down, tapped into their previous Stanley Cup-winning experience when their collective backs were against the wall and started treating things on the ice like it was go time for the reigning champs.

It certainly keeps your heart rate down, said a smiling Andrew Ference after he potted a pivotal third period rebound goal that allowed things to go to overtime. Thats probably the biggest thing with playing in a lot of pressure situations and playoff games. Its hard to play in them when your heart beat doesnt slow down and youre sweating twice as much.

While Ference brings 105 games of NHL playoff experience to the table and certainly isnt fazed by big game situations or elimination scenarios -- and even tosses the occasional unintentional bird out there at a particularly relentless crowd even relative newcomers to the postseason way of life can feel the difference. Gregory Campbell had never been to the playoffs before logging his 25 games of experience with the Bruins en route to the Stanley Cup last year. But he more than made up for it with a career full of experiences in last years sprint to the Cup, and recognized the quiet determination running their locker room headed into Sundays third period and overtime sessions.

The Bruins didnt know whether they were going to win or lose, but they werent going to blink when it mattered. Ference scored his goal to give the Bruins their go-ahead chance in the third period, and the Bs refused to fold when Alex Ovechkin tied it back up with a missile off an offensive zone face-off.

Its huge. For teams to win you always hear people resort to the face that we have experience. Fortunately we have a team-full of experienced players right now, said Campbell. Its not a guarantee, but it certainly is a huge help for us to have been through so many things during the playoffs: Game 7s or being down in series.

The playoffs are a roller coaster of emotions and were just riding the wave. Not only has the series been up and down, but every game has been up and down. Its been back-and-forth, and the key to it all is to remain calm.

That calmness was coming through loud and clear as the Bruins outshot the Caps 3-1 in the opening minutes of overtime, and they were simply looking for their first opening to force a Game 7 back in Boston. Seguin supplied that chance with a calm, poised, confident move setting up the overtime score that personified the champions swagger heading into the extra session.

The best part about Bostons heart of a champion coming to the forefront: the Bruins should have a distinct advantage on Wednesday night at TD Garden after taking home three Game 7 scenarios last year.

It comes into a factor if you use it the right way. The same goes for Game 7, said Ference. Maybe we can draw on some of that experience and ride that line of excitement and keeping your wits about you.

Amid signs his job might be in trouble, Julien says: 'I'm not quitting on this team'

Amid signs his job might be in trouble, Julien says: 'I'm not quitting on this team'

BRIGHTON, Mass – Roughly 12 hours after embattled Bruins coach Claude Julien bristled at a question about his job security and labeled it “shock journalism” in the heat of the moment after a tight loss to the Blackhawks, the B’s bench boss delivered a classy, heartfelt response to the same question.

Julien was asked about it in French by a reporter from the Montreal Gazette, but answered in English because of the “loyalty he feels to the people in Boston.”

In essence, Julien basically said he should be relieved of his duties if he’s deemed to be behind what ails the Black and Gold, but he’s going to keep working to fix things until that day comes.

It was exactly the kind of response you would expect from a coach who's taken the B’s to the mountaintop in his 10 years running the team and will always be respected and loved in Boston long after his coaching days are done.

“How do I deal with all of the rumors and all that is going on? I didn’t feel like [Friday night] was the appropriate time for me to answer that after a game where you’re emotions are pretty high. I wasn’t getting into that, but to be honest with you my job is to coach the hockey club,” said Julien. “Am I worried about my job? No, I’m not. Because it’s not my job to worry about it. My job is to fix things, and my job is to coach this team and do everything I can. If I become one of the reasons that we’re not doing well, then management has to make that decision.

“It’s not my decision to make. I’m not quitting on this team. I’m not quitting on anybody. I’m not quitting on management. I’m ready and willing to go through the hard times, and I said that at the end of last year. If it’s deemed my fault, then I shouldn’t be here, and that’s all I can say.”

While the Bruins roster is clearly less than perfect and has a larger dose of youthful players than in years past, Julien also freely admitted that they should be held to a higher standard after proving many nights that they should be a playoff team. That’s the mandate from Bruins ownership and that’s the challenge that Julien has willingly accepted.

It’s also the challenge that’s falling a bit short now as they’ve lost three crushing games in a row and have fallen behind the Ottawa Senators in the playoff standings, with Toronto also right behind them holding six games in hand.

“If we’re going with what we said we were going with and there’s going to be some growing pains along the way, so be it,” said Julien. “I think we put ourselves in a position earlier in the year where we could all of a sudden believe that we’re a playoff team...absolutely. I still think we’re a playoff team. Whether we can do it or not we’ll find out at the end of the year, but my job is to do everything I can to get us into the playoffs and that’s what I’m going to do.

“As far as the rumors are concerned, they’re out there and I know that. But I don’t worry about it because worrying is wasting a lot of my time. And my time is spent trying to fix things here.”

Julien and the Bruins are headed to Pittsburgh for a Sunday matinee against the Pittsburgh Penguins, and will have two games against the red-hot Pens headed into an All-Star break weekend that must feel like a well-earned oasis for Julien at this point in the season. 

Sox hope to bring David Ortiz back to Boston for new role

Sox hope to bring David Ortiz back to Boston for new role

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- David Oritz’s time in Boston as a player is over. He continues to say there’s no Brett Favre-type comeback, no matter how many people ask him.

However, that doesn’t mean his time with the Red Sox is over.

Sam Kennedy, Tom Werner and Dave Dombrowski are heading down to the Dominican Republic to tour the team’s academy on the island to see what changes, if any, need to be made.

Ortiz will join them on those tours.

“He’s just a good guy to go to the Dominican with,” Kennedy said. “We thought it’d be great to catch up. Haven’t seen him since before the holidays.”

But the front office members intend to exchange more than just pleasantries and stories from the holiday season. One goal on the trip is to bring Ortiz back to the organization as an employee.

“Yeah that’s something on the agenda,” Kennedy said. “We’re gonna talk about what he may or may not want to do. He did say after the season let’s just talk in January. He was so overwhelmed and tired so it’s a good time to start those conversations.

“I know he has a lot of plans, broadcasting, a lot of businesses he’s involved with and we’ll see what he’s up to. But we hope to cement something so he’s a part of the organization.”

What role that is yet to be determined. Assuming he doesn’t pursue a broadcasting career.

“I truly don’t know what’s on his mind,” Kennedy said. “He’ll obviously be good at whatever he decides to do, but I would hope that we could create a role where he has influence in the baseball operations side, he has influence in marketing, as an ambassador. A lot of our alums we’ve found really enjoy working with young players. Pedro [Martinez] is a perfect example of that.

“So we’ll see what he’s interested in doing, but I have heard him talk about broadcasting in the past and I think he’d be great at it if he decides to do it.”