Notes: Marchand trying not to cross the line

191545.jpg

Notes: Marchand trying not to cross the line

By JoeHaggerty
CSNNE.com

VANCOUVER -- Brad Marchand got so wrapped up in trash-talking during the Bruins' battle with Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference Finals that coach Claude Julien had a sitdown with the 23-year-old rookie in the middle of the series.

Bostons feistiest antagonist had gotten too carried away while attempting to get under the skin of Tampas players, and it was taking away from the rest of his game.

Marchand scored in only one of the seven games against the Bolts and finished with a minus-3 while failing to make a strong impression on most nights.

Julien felt like Marchand spent too much time provoking the opposition, and not enough focusing on his offensive game. Marchand scored 20 goals in his rookie season because he can be a difference-maker offensively at points, and that was getting lost among the face washes and bumps after the whistle.

I think I was focusing on extracurricular activities a little too much in the last series, and it really got me off my game a little bit, said Marchand. I just tried to play the last couple of games and it worked out better for me . . . If the rough stuff comes then Ill worry about it then, but Im not going to focus much on that in this round.

Marchand admits he got into a little bit of a trash-talking exchange with the Sedin twins' linemate, Alexandre Burrows, during the Bruins' February win over the Canucks at the Rogers Arena. But it sounds like he plans to be on his best behavior with Jjust four wins separating the Bruins from hockeys holy grail.

Hes a little rat and Im a little rat," Marchand said of Burrows, "so obviously it will be a little part of the series."

Zdeno Chara said that he and Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo surely must have gone to lunch a few times at the beginning of their careers, when they were both playing for the New York Islanders before being jettisoned by then-Isles GM Mad Mike Milbury. But he said he has no lasting memories of a relationship with Luongo.

It was really early. He was in first year and my second year, said Chara. Thats the way it is. We both got traded and moved on, and tried to get better in our new places. Im sure hes obviously happy where hes at, establishing himself as one of the top goalies in the league. Im sure he must have worked really hard.

One of the interesting little subplots in Bostons run to the Stanley Cup has been Rich Peverley and Mark Recchi alternating turns skating on the right wing with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron. The co-op allowsRecchi an additional shift or two of rest to gather his energy during what will be draining Stanley Cup games.

Its a Julien-inspired move thats worked for both players, and it also gave Marchand and Bergeron enough time together to come up with an appropriate nickname for his new linemate.

Peverley switches in there and hes a very good player on the wing. Hes very, very fast and he gets the puck quick and makes a lot of great plays, said Marchand. Hes fitting in well with whoever hes out there with. It just shows that we have another player that can come in and do some damage.

"It doesnt really matter who we have out there. Whether its Rex or Pevs . . . or Perv, thats what we call him.

Ryan Kesler seemed to take issue with the notion that the Bruins have the strength and size advantage over the Canucks in the Stanley Cup Final matchup.

"I don't think we have anybody 6-foot-7, but we're a hockey team that likes to hit," said Kesler. "We like to take the body whenever we have the opportunity. We like to be physical.

Marblehead native and former Boston College standout Cory Schneider was dead-on accurate while describing the mindset of the Boston sports fan something hes been for all 25 years of his life.

"Its a great sports town. They love the Bruins, Celts, Red Sox and Patriots all the same. Theyre very passionate . . . and borderline obnoxious. But thats how we like it, said Schneider, in his second season backing up Luongo in Vancouver. You want to make it uncomfortable for other teams when theyre coming into your city.

It was announced Tuesday that the Atlanta Thrashers will be moved to Winnipeg. December 31, 1995 marked the last time the Bruins played the Winnipeg Jets. Boston came away with a 5-3 win that included goals from Ted Donato and Cam Neely, as well as a multiple assist game from Dave Reid. Bs goaltender Craig Billington got the victory for Boston with 23 saves.

Shawn Thornton was looking for a low-key night Monday after flying from Boston to Vancouver . . . but if that's what he wanted, he shouldn't have gone to dinner with Zdeno Chara, the 6-foot-9 lightning-rod symbol of the Bruins.

I made the mistake of going to dinner with Mr. Chara, so there was no hiding. We had a few people come up to the table to wish us good luck or not so much, said Thornton.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Haggerty: No move may be the best move for Bruins at deadline

Haggerty: No move may be the best move for Bruins at deadline

The NHL trade deadline is now less than a week away, with plenty of movement expected despite the perpetual lack of sellers, and an expansion draft perhaps preventing some teams from taking on players they will then need to protect. 

The Bruins shouldn’t be much of a seller as long as they can continue their current good stretch for three more games before the March 1 deadline. The expansion draft shouldn’t be much of a scare either based on the players {Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller, Malcolm Subban) they might be in danger of losing to the Vegas Golden Knights this summer.

With the Bruins currently outside of a playoff spot by virtue of the one game in hand held by the Florida Panthers (both teams have 66 points vying for the final wild-card spot), it would be no surprise if GM Don Sweeney wanted to be a buyer at the deadline for a Boston roster that could use a big top-six winger with finishing ability, a top-four defenseman that can move the puck and a backup goaltender should Anton Khudobin have any more struggles this season.

The Bruins and Avalanche had been talking steadily in recent weeks about a possible deal for 24-year-old left wing Gabriel Landeskog, but those discussions have hit a standstill with Sweeney refusing to part with either Brandon Carlo or Charlie McAvoy in the trade package. That's the 100 percent right move for a Bruins team that shouldn't start trading away blue chip D-man prospects. 

Landeskog has made sense for the Black and Gold because he’s signed long term with a reasonable $5.7 million cap hit, and because he’d theoretically be a good, power forward fit alongside David Krejci.

It’s that type of trade Sweeney and the Bruins are looking to make for a young player with term that will be part of the long-term solution in Boston. They aren’t looking for a repeat of last season where they shipped off good future assets in exchange for pedestrian rental players Lee Stempniak and John-Michael Liles and missed the playoffs anyway after dipping into the trade market.

In other words, Sweeney doesn’t sound all that keen in dipping heavily into the rental market, for a Patrick Eaves or a Dmitry Kulikov for instance, as he did a year ago.  

“Do I think we have an opportunity to make the playoffs? Absolutely, there’s no question this group has a chance to get in. Whether or not I can find a player between now and the deadline that sort of fills all those gaps, that does remain to be seen,” said Sweeney at the time of the Claude Julien firing, prior to the current four-game winning streak. 

“But I think it dovetails with the fact that I’m not going to be short-sighted. I’m going to stick to the longer term view as to what I have put in place with the intention of being able to bridge and bringing in players like David Backes and surround our guys that we get a chance to win now and be competitive now.

“I’d prefer to err on the side of a player that will integrate into us on the longer-term. Last year, we gave up draft picks. I wasn’t prepared to move players that I felt in the same regard that teams had asked for in order to get a higher-level rental or a different kind of rental. I’m not going to deviate from what I said. Are there players and we have a surplus? That’s what I want to try and evaluate and find out whether or not we can deal from a position of strength.”

Some of that may change after a current four-game winning streak with a Bruins team that looks much more playoff-worthy than the aimless group that struggled through the first 55 games. But it would have to be the perfect rental at the right price for it to make sense for the Bruins this time around and chances are that might not materialize for a team just looking to hang in there until McAvoy, Anders Bjork, Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson and Zach Senyshyn are ready to contribute a couple of years down the road.

So, would people be okay if Sweeney and the Bruins stand pat at the trade deadline if they can’t swing a big hockey deal for a young player like Landeskog who would be part of the long-term plan? Is it acceptable to just let it ride with the current group that has suddenly shown a different gear under interim head coach Bruce Cassidy, and bet on the core group rising to the occasion like they didn’t the last couple of years under Julien?

The answer from this humble hockey writer is that Sweeney should pass on anything less than a home run deal for the Black and Gold. The worst thing the Bruins GM could do is get in the way of the momentum that’s naturally starting to roll with his team, or make another severe misstep with his NHL talent evaluation. Right now, draft and development seem to be his strengths, and he should lean into those and away from being a wheeler dealer with wiser, more experienced managers around the NHL looking to once again rob the Black and Gold blind.

So, there’s a chance the Bruins do very little at the deadline and, after thinking about it, the fickle fans should be perfectly okay with that as they watch a newly transformed hockey club. 

Wednesday, Feb. 22: Talking Bruins with Ray Ferraro

Wednesday, Feb. 22: Talking Bruins with Ray Ferraro

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while getting ready for the February heat wave headed our way.

*In the interest of self-promotion, here’s a podcast I did on Tuesday talking Bruins with former Hartford Whalers great and current outstanding TSN hockey analyst Ray Ferraro, who is also a great FOH (Friend of Haggs).

*Good piece on a Hockey Night in Canada broadcaster that has already gained plenty of internet plaudits for his great, and now legendary, Nick Bonino goal call in last year’s Stanley Cup playoffs.

*It’s never too early to look at this summer’s crop of NHL draft-eligible players. Right, Kevin Allen?

*Apparently Toronto Maple Leafs rookie Auston Matthews has his own rap song, so he’s got that going for him…which is nice.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) and PHT writer Jason Brough has James Wisniewski trying to revive his NHL career after a short stint in the KHL.

*There’s a call for Nashville backup Juuse Saros to get more playing time between the pipes for the Predators.

*Larry Brooks brings his always interesting take to the Bruins situation in allowing Claude Julien to take the head gig in Montreal, and said it all came down to money. Big surprise there. I think there was also a concern from the B’s about having another PR nightmare on their hands if it was perceived that they stepped in and didn’t allow Julien to gain employment someplace else, regardless of what waited for him in the offseason. It also tells me that the Bruins aren’t afraid of Julien coaching their arch-rivals, which makes perfect sense since they just fired him.

*For something completely different: the image of Woody Harrelson in the Falcon cockpit is both jarring and super awesome.