Marchand's wait is almost over


Marchand's wait is almost over

TAMPA Brad Marchands waiting game is almost over.

The Bruins agitator will serve out the final game of his five-game suspension Tuesday night at the Tampa Times Forum as his teammates suit up to take on the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Once the game in Tampa is over Marchand will officially be out of the leagues doghouse.

Its been a bit of a lonely existence for Marchand practicing long after his teammates have left the rink and getting run through bag skates all by his lonesome. Marchand went through the suspended guy routine one final time on Tuesday following morning skate, and now hes ready to rejoin his teammates for both regular practice and games starting tomorrow. One positive: The games have so been bunched up for the Bruins that Marchand said the time on the sidelines actually felt shorter than the five games hes missed.

But theres no mistaking his enthusiasm to jump back into meaningful hockey with the boys after a forced vacation.

Its been a long week-and-a-half and its always tough to watch the team play, so itll be nice to get back in there, said Marchand. Its more mentally frustrating with watching. Sometimes things arent going the right way and you think that you could help.

When youre watching the games you really cant do anything. Its also a grind because they put you through a tough bag skate workout in the morning and then another one at night. Itll be nice to get back out and feel like youre a part of the team.

What wasn't nice was the 150,000 taken out of Marchands wallet for clipping Sami Salo during Bostons loss to the Vancouver Canucks nearly two weeks ago.

You dont like to lose that kind of money, but Im still making out okay. At the end of the day you learn from it. You realize you might have to change your game if you dont want it to happen again, said Marchand. It was a little frustrating to lose that kind of money . . . especially at my age. It sucks. But life goes on.

With all of that in the rear view, Marchand is revved up to jump back into the lineup Thursday night against the New Jersey Devils. The left wing hopes to put the incident behind him and feels hes got a pretty good grasp on when hell be able to duck an onrushing attacker next.

The way Brendan Shanahan explained it during my meeting was that if were not going at each other physically then its a little more acceptable, said Marchand, who was a little surprised at the suspension's length after thinking he might get hit with a two-game penalty. Maybe its okay if a guy is trying to blindside me or something, but for the most part Im going to try and stay away from the clipping hits.

Marchand's penalty handed the Canucks a pair of power play goals that ultimately provided the difference between the two hockey teams. When Marchand puts together the consequences of the five-minute major in that specific game and the five games missed due to suspension, he still has some lingering issues with the harshness of Shanahans decision.

But something Marchand knows very well is that anytime you fight the law, the law is going to win.

I can understand that thered be a bit of punishment, but not to the extent of what was given. One or two games would have been more than enough especially given that I lost the team our game against Vancouver, said Marchand. That would have been acceptable. I still dont think it should have been five games.

Whatever the amount of games, Benoit Pouliot has done a solid job standing in for Marchand during the last four games with Patrice Bergeron and Tyler Seguin. Pouliot has posted a pair of points and a plus-2 in the first four games of substitute work, and has one game to go against the Lightning.

But theres no replacing the kind of chemistry Marchand has with Bergeron and Seguin, and the team wont have to miss it anymore when Marchand returns to the mix Thursday night against the Devils.


Celtics take two in international players in record breaking NBA Draft


Celtics take two in international players in record breaking NBA Draft

BOSTON –  The Boston Celtics turned quite a few heads when they used two of their three, first-round picks on International players.

They were part of a record-setting night for international players, with 15 being selected in the first round – the most ever in NBA history.

But like many international draft picks, it is far from a given that you’ll see either of Boston’s international first rounder picks Guershon Yabusele and Ante Zizic who were selected with the 16th and 23rd picks, respectively.

While it’s not uncommon for teams to draft international players in the first round and do so with the plan being to keep them overseas for another year or two, the potential hold-up for Boston’s two international picks has more to do with coming to terms on a buyout amount with their current teams.

“We’ve had initial discussions with their representatives,” said Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, when I asked him about it during the team’s press conference to introduce the newest Celtics on Friday. “We have not concluded anything yet. We’re still in that discussion. And I’m not sure about summer (league).”

While it remains an option, a league source told that it’s unlikely that either player will participate in either of Boston’s summer league squads which will play in Salt Lake City and Las Vegas.

Ainge agrees that there are a number of positives one can take from drafting an overseas player in the first round.

But the decision by Boston to draft Yabusele and Zizic in the first round had a lot to do with one thing – talent.

“The reason that these two guys are here, … is because they’re good players,” Ainge said. “The fact that they have people that want them on their teams on the International top level competition, tells you how good players they are. They could easily find jobs overseas at the top level. They’ve earned that reputation. They’re both very productive. Guerson very productive and Ante very good rebounding … now we’re trying to figure out the best way they can help us for their development. We’re working with their representatives on that plan.”

Yabusele, a 6-8, 275-pound power forward, averaged 11.5 points, 6.8 rebounds in 28.7 minutes with Rouen Metropole Basket in the LNB Pro A league in France. While appearing in 34 games last season, he grabbed 10 or more rebounds 11 times while tallying eight double-doubles.

Zizic, a 6-11, 250-pound center, distinguished himself as one of the better players in the Adriatic League this past season. He was voted by fans, media and coaches as the Adriatic League’s Top Prospect after averaging 12.7 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game in 24.8 minutes while shooting an impressive 60.7 percent from the field.

Bruins need Hayes to "take his game to another level"


Bruins need Hayes to "take his game to another level"

BUFFALO -- With it appearing that Loui Eriksson is all but gone from the Bruins with the July 1 opening of free agency around the corner, B’s general manager Don Sweeney must find a way to replace the second-leading point man from last year’s hockey club. With or without a suitable Eriksson replacement at right wing via trade or free agency, the Bruins will also need greater production from their returning wingers on the right side.

That means 20-year-old David Pastrnak needs to have a breakthrough season after the Bruins knocked away attempts to extract him in trade discussions for a top-4 defenseman, and Jimmy Hayes needs to rebound from a streaky, disappointing first season in Boston. The 6-foot-6 Hayes slumped to 13 goals and 29 points in 75 games, and was a team-worst minus-12 while going through long stretches where it was hard to even notice him on the ice.

His GM said that needs to change next season with the Bruins counting on him to play more consistently, and be willing to play the big man’s game.

“We have internal candidates that might have to step up, and David is a player like that…Jimmy is a player like that. There’s no question we’re not a complete team right now,” said Sweeney. “So we’ll go to work now, and that could be through free agency, or through potential trade stuff. It could also be about the excitement if somebody pops from the development side of things. I think Jimmy had a pretty start to the year, but he really tailed off when the team needed him most. He should take some responsibility for that. We had a pretty frank discussion about that to challenge him to take his game to another level, and be able to help out a younger player.

“He played a lot with Ryan Spooner. I have to put ownership on Jimmy in terms of saying ‘Hey, I have to take more responsibility. It’s not just about finishing and scoring goals.’ He has the capacity to do that. He gets power play time and net-front time, and he needs to get to the hard areas of the ice with more consistency. It’s an area that he needs to continue to improve upon. We as an organization feel that we need to have players that are driven to get better.”

As far as the free agent options mentioned by Sweeney, Kyle Okposo and Troy Brouwer would be names to watch closely as they both fight the Black and Gold mold of winger with size, strength and finishing ability.

Clearly there’s no choice but for the 26-year-old Hayes to have a bounce-back season given that he’s signed for two years in Boston at $2.3 million per season, and that they need him with the right side of their forward group in flux. 

Ray Bourque arrested and charged with OUI Friday


Ray Bourque arrested and charged with OUI Friday

Bruins Hall of Fame defenseman Ray Bourque was arrested in Andover this weekend, and charged with operating under the influence of alcohol according to multiple reports.

Andover Police told CBS Boston that the former Bruins and Avalanche defenseman was taken into custody around 11:30 p.m. Friday night on Lowell Street. The Bruins legend has lived on the North Shore with his family since retiring from the NHL, and has been a constant presence in the community at charitable events and Bruins functions.

Bourque was released on bail. No additional information was immediately available