Notes: Marchand trying not to cross the line

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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

Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation

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Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while wishing everybody a safe and relaxing Memorial Day weekend. 

*Apparently Nashville Predators head coach Peter Laviolette has yet to try Nashville’s hot chicken despite his time behind the Preds bench. It’s okay, I have yet to try it either in my handful of visits to Music City. 

*Good stuff from PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough. Apparently it wasn’t so easy to make Wayne Gretzky’s head bleed when it came time for director Doug Liman to cut Swingers together

*Sidney Crosby cares about the history and the issues of the game, and has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation despite the hate that always comes with such responsibility. 

*Puck Daddy examines Crosby’s performance in the playoffs, and the odds of him winning another Conn Smythe Trophy. 

*The Penguins have made it to the Stanley Cup Final without Kris Letang for their playoff run, and that’s an amazing accomplishment. 

*Erik Karlsson said that he will be tending to his injured foot next week, and expects a full recovery for next season after a brilliant run with his Ottawa Senators

*Larry Brooks again rails against the Stanley Cup playoff structure and it’s relation to an “absurd regular season.” Say what you will, but the fact the Penguins are there for a second straight season shoots down some of the absurdity stuff in my mind. The best team from the East is where they should be and they did it without Kris Letang to boot. 

*Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alex Debrincat is confident his abilities will translate to the NHL despite his size after taking home honors as the best player in junior hockey this season. 

*For something completely different: Apparently there’s a hard core comic book geek gripe that “The Flash” is burning through bad guys too quickly. This would make sense if they couldn’t revisit these bad guys at any point, but they absolutely can go back to a big bad like Grodd anytime they want. 

Playoff run ends for Providence Bruins, but some promising signs

Playoff run ends for Providence Bruins, but some promising signs

It was the longest run that the P-Bruins have had in a few years and another unmistakable sign that the future is brightening for the Black and Gold, but the Bruins AHL affiliate has ended their playoff push in the Calder Cup semi-finals. 

The Providence Bruins fell by a 3-1 score to the Syracuse Crunch on Saturday night to lose to the Crunch in five games when the best-of-seven series was set to return to Providence this coming week. The P-Bruins had vanquished the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins and Hershey Bears in the first two rounds of the Calder Cup playoffs before finally exiting against Syracuse. 

Though it’s over, it’s clear some of the Bruins prospects made a nice step forward over the second half of the AHL season and then into the Calder Cup playoffs. With the Calder Cup Finals yet to start, B’s forward prospect Danton Heinen stands as the second-leading playoff scorer in the entire AHL with nine goals and 18 points in 17 playoff games after really struggling in the first half of his first pro season while bouncing back and forth between the NHL and the AHL. 

This could bode well for the skilled Heinen and his hopes to make the leap to the NHL in the near future after a stellar collegiate career at the University of Denver. AHL journeymen-types Wayne Simpson and Jordan Szwarz were the next two top scorers for the P-Bruins in the playoff run, but Jake DeBrusk had a strong playoff season as well while popping in six goals in 17 games. DeBrusk led all Providence players with his 54 shots on net in the 17-game playoff run for Providence, and he headlined a group that included B’s prospects Ryan Fitzgerald, Zach Senyshyn, Matt Grzelcyk, Peter Cehlarik (who succumbed to shoulder surgery during the playoffs), Emil Johansson and Robbie O’Gara all getting some vital playoff experience. 

Both Heinen and DeBrusk will be strong candidates for jobs on the wing with the Boston big club when training camp opens in the fall after strong showings in the postseason. 

On the goaltending side, Zane McIntyre was solid for the P-Bruins at times while in 16 of their 17 playoff games with a .906 save percentage. But it was Malcolm Subban that was playing at the very end of the playoff run for Providence and featured a sterling .937 save percentage in the four AHL playoff games that he appeared in this spring after an up-and-down regular season. McIntyre had an .857 save percentage and 4.37 goals against average in the final series against Syracuse, and looked a little spent like many of the other P-Bruins players once they’d unexpectedly made it to the third round of the AHL postseason.  

The only unfortunate part of Providence’s run is that newly signed youngsters Charlie McAvoy and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson couldn’t be a part of it after signing and then appearing in NHL games following a cut-off date for AHL playoff rosters. Both missed on an experience that could have been very conducive for their professional development, and uncovered a wrinkle in the NHL/AHL transaction process that really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for a developmental league.