Marchand disappointed, defiant about suspension

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Marchand disappointed, defiant about suspension

Brad Marchand doesnt plan on changing his game one bit. The resident Bs agitator said hell battle through some disappointment while serving out a five-game suspension for a clip of Vancouver defenseman Sami Salo, and hell get rid of the hip check.

The Bs winger didnt feel like his hit targeted at or below the knee area and Marchand admitted that during his Monday phone hearing with Brendan Shanahan -- he did bring up the Mason Raymond clip on him during last years Stanley Cup Finals. But, according to Marchand, Shanahan wasnt having any of it and now Bostons top left wing will be on the sidelines for close to two weeks. Hes been called a predator, a rat and a cheap shot artist by some around the NHL over the last few days leading up to Shanahans decision, and it appears to be wearing on him along with the five-game suspension.

The Raymond hit came up in the conversation during the hearing, but he said that every situation was different, said Marchand of the exchange with Shanahan. You cant bring up any hit or something that happened last year.

But Marchand continued to defiantly insist he was only defending himself from the larger Salo, and the 5-foot-8 forward will keep trying to find ways to defend himself from the rising number of attacks trained on him.

Im obviously a little disappointed, said Marchand after practicing Tuesday morning prior to the BruinsJets game. I wasnt expecting as many games as I got. But thats what it was and I know I have to move on. Im a small guy. I play low to the ice and thats a way that Ive always protected myself on the ice. I felt that it was better to be safe than sorry. But Im still going to play hard. Thats my game. I have to play hard. At the end of the day I still have to protect myself and so does everybody else in the league. I cant change the way that I play.

When I brought it up with Shanahan originally and when I talked away from the conversation he told if it was to protect myself that it was okay in that situation. So when those situations arise I thought it was okay to protect myself. Thats what I did. I guess its clear that Im not allowed to do that and guys around the league arent allowed to do it. Ill have to come up with something else.

Marchand was peeved rather than disappointed about the comments from the Vancouver side. Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault intimated that Marchand was going to get it and going to get hurt as response to his actions on the ice. The Bs agitator said he took those words as a threat. As Claude Julien said on Monday, we all know what happened the last time somebody from Vancouver said that in reference to the Todd BertuzziSteve Moore incident, and Marchand wasnt too happy with the war of words.

Yeah, theyre threatening, said Marchand. It sounds like its a threat.
Marchand didnt elaborate, but he couldnt hold back when presented with the statements made by Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa that the Bruins play stupid hockey. The Nose Face Killah was not pleased at all, and will now have five games to stew about it while missing out on more than 152,000 in game checks.

They needed six or seven guys to jump Shawn Thornton and nobody wanted to seem to want to do anything after they were pulled off. It just shows their character, said Marchand. Yeah, we play stupid. Yeahwe play stupid, but were smart enough to win a Cup.

Though Marchand has been silenced on the ice for five games, it appears he can still be heard long after the Canucks high-tailed it to their charter flight on the way out of Boston.

Acciari, Heinen called back up to Bruins

Acciari, Heinen called back up to Bruins

BRIGHTON, Mass. – The Bruins made a few roster moves after a slogging 4-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche earlier this week, with an eye toward getting some competition going among the forward group, and perhaps spark a team struggling offensively.

Danton Heinen and Noel Acciari were brought up from Providence to skate with the big club on Saturday morning at Warrior Ice Arena and gritty Anton Blidh was returned to the P-Bruins after a solid stint as a fourth-line energy guy for the Black and Gold. 

Jimmy Hayes and Colin Miller were the late skaters off the ice following morning skate, so those will be the healthy scratches for the Bruins with both Acciari and Heinen in the lineup for the Black and Gold tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs at TD Garden.

Heinen has been tearing it up for the P-Bruins lately with four goals and seven points in his past five games with a plus-2 rating, including a couple of two-goal games for a Providence team that’s starting to heat up. 

Otherwise, things looked fairly similar for the Black and Gold, who didn’t make any changes to the struggling top power-play unit that was a disaster on Thursday night in the first period. It was Patrice Bergeron in the bumper role, Ryan Spooner on the half-wall, David Backes at the front of the net and David Krejci and Torey Krug manning the point positions. 

Here are the Bruins projected line combos and D-pairings based on the morning skate: 

 
Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

Heinen-Krejci-Backes

Spooner-Nash-Czarnik

Schaller-Moore-Acciari/Hayes

 
Chara-Carlo

Krug-McQuaid

Morrow-K. Miller

C. Miller

Rask

 

Bruins power play looking for some upgrade answers

Bruins power play looking for some upgrade answers

BOSTON - It would appear things can’t continue the way they are for the Bruins' power play. 

After a disastrous first period helped dig them a hole in a 4-2 loss to the lowly Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night, there was some pretty serious soul-searching going with a man-advantage that has been both toothless and mistake-prone on far too many nights. 

In the Colorado loss a couple of early power-play possessions, one that was completely ineffectual with zero meaningful possession or shots on net and then a second that turned into a Nathan MacKinnon shorthanded goal, dropped the B’s into a hole they couldn’t climb out of. The shorthanded sequence was particularly damning with a desperate Torey Krug diving to keep a puck in the offensive zone, and then watching helpless as MacKinnon beat him to the loose puck and then took off down the ice behind the last line of B’s defense. 

Krug placed the blame on himself for the high-risk play at the offensive blue line, but it’s hard to wholly blame somebody that was using hustle to try and make something happen offensively. 

“I thought they were tired, and if I could keep it in then we keep them hemmed in and get them running around. At the end of the day, it’s a 50-50 play, but maybe early in my career, I learn that now and probably won’t do it anymore. Sometimes you’ve got to go through those things to learn,” said Krug. “It’s just one of those plays I thought instinctively I could get there and keep him hemmed in, and you could even tell when he went in on the breakaway that he was tired.

So, if I keep that in and we keep them hemmed in, hopefully we get a couple chances. But we’ve got to be better, some of our better players on our team, and we’ve got to take the onus on ourselves to start capitalizing on opportunities and changing the game for our team.”

Nobody is going to reasonably suggest that a dangerous power-play guy like Krug be removed from the special-teams unit, but clearly something needs to change. The Bruins are tied for 25th in the NHL on the power play with a 14.1 percent success rate, and they can’t blame lack of opportunities because they’re middle of the road when it comes to power-play chances this season. 

Only the Flyers, Stars and Blackhawks have allowed more shorthanded goals than the Bruins (four) in 28 games played as well, so the Black and Gold essentially aren’t playing good defense or offense on the power play this year. Krug saie that it’s a mindset thing and that the Bruins need to get back to the confident, energetic way they attacked penalty kills last season. 

“We want to make plays, we want to help our team. It’s not like we’re out there not trying to make plays or anything, but we just have to be better,” said Krug. “We’ve got to have better focus, crisper passes, making quick plays to the net and making things happen. I feel like right now we might just be standing there, [just kind of] static, just hoping that things are going to happen and we’re not making them happen. 

“So, we’ve got to change our mindset, and like I said, those guys on that unit are the guys that will go to work and make sure we’re better next time for our team.”

But it goes beyond simple approach. The Bruins lost their second-leading PP goal-scorer last season when Loui Eriksson signed with the Vancouver Canucks. Other top unit PP performers like David Krejci,  Krug and Ryan Spooner haven’t been as good this season. Still, perhaps the biggest reason is the all-around offensive disappearance of Patrice Bergeron, who had 12 goals and 13 assists on the PP last season for a team-best 25 power-play points. This season, Bergeron has one goal and two points on the PP in 25 games and has been neutralized by opposing penalty kills from his “bumper” position roving up and down the slot. 

The Bruins are determined to ride things out with Bergeron both five-on-five and on the PP, and rightfully so, given his quality, productive body of work with the Bruins. He’s Boston’s best player and you don’t ever go away from those guys. 

But Bergeron has been ordinary for the Bruins on the PP after being extraordinary last season, and not much is going to change with the B’s man advantage unless No. 37 begins to find the range, confidence and short-term quick burst that’s needed for the B’s power play to flow through him like a well-oiled scoring machine. A greater impact by David Backes on the net-front power play could help and an uptick in PP production from Krug, Krejci and Spooner would obviously be welcome for the Black and Gold. 

But the Bruins power play is designed to play off Bergeron’s many qualities and strengths when he’s at his best, and a big part of the B’s troubles and Bergeron’s troubles are linked together because No. 37 has been less than his best in a season that’s been challenging for him from the very beginning.