Bruins talk: Thomas, Bergeron soak it in


Bruins talk: Thomas, Bergeron soak it in

By MaryPaoletti StaffReporter Follow@mary_paoletti
The Bruins react to their first Stanley Cup championship in 39 years . . .


On if he's "proved" himself to career critics
For now. I know the game, and I know the way that it is, you know. Winning the Stanley Cup is huge. It's the biggest accomplishment of my career thus far. But everybody knows in this game that you have to continuously prove yourself. I'm sure if I were to, for example, start out the season bad next year that I probably, with the Cup, would have bought myself a little bit of leeway, but it won't last forever unless I turn my game around.

If he ever visualized himself winning the Cup while battling to get to the NHL
No. At that time I was probably just visualizing each game one at a time when I was in Finland. I didn't want to think about the NHL because it seemed like it was so far away. But having said that, I was happy playing where I was playing. I was playing in a very good league and I had a lot of good friends over there. I'm very happy that I made the decision to come back. It was a tough decision at the time, but it paid off in the long run in this case.

What went through his mind after Patrice Bergeron's goal
I was hoping someone else would score so I wouldnt have to shut 'em out. I was happy going into the game, talked about not getting too high. If we do score, you can't act like you've won the Stanley Cup because you will get an emotional high and it will end up showing on the ice. I was just trying to stay level. It was just one goal. It was a huge goal, the game-winning goal, but at that time, there was still a lot of game and a lot of work left to do.

A message to the fans who have waited 39 years
You've been waiting a long time, but you got it. You wanted it, you got it. We're bringing it home.

On if he lost confidence at all during the series
Yeah, to be completely honest with you, Game 6 at home. Right off the opening face-off there was a guy that whacked it backhand from the outside blue line right off the opening face-off and I just lost it. It was up in the air and I went into full panic mode in my mind. .... So, yeah, I was scared. I won't lie. I had nerves yesterday and today. I faked it as well as I could, and I faked my way all the way to the Stanley Cup.

Feeling to win the Conn Smythe trophy
It's quite an honor. The Stanley Cup is the biggest one. That's the one that you're shooting for. Conn Smythe is completely an honor. I just sat down here and started to read some of the names on it and it's an honor to be mentioned in the same Maple leaf. Patrick, Ron Hextall, Ken Dryden, those are the three goalies that I can see on this side facing me, it's amazing.


On the "changing of the guard;"past, present and future of current team
Obviously, I talked to Recchi last night and I was feeling nervous and I asked him to give me some advice. He told me to relax and go out there and play the game and to do it for him. Obviously it could be his last game and I've learned so much from him on and off the ice, it's a great feeling that we've accomplished this as a team. You're right, the future looks bright with all the guys that we have, but to be honest with you, I'm worrying about the celebration right now.

On his first goal, first of the game
I'm not sure, but I was ready for it. And Recchi tried to shoot, and obviously it was perfect because I was ready as well behind him. We sort of surprised 'em. That first goal was huge.

Mary Paoletti can be reached at Mary on Twitter at http:twitter.comMary_Paoletti

Bruins looking to avoid anxious moments on home ice

Bruins looking to avoid anxious moments on home ice

BRIGHTON, Mass. – The Bruins will have plenty of proud history on display for tonight’s home opener when Bobby Orr and Milt Schmidt drop the ceremonial first puck at TD Garden prior to the game against the New Jersey Devils.

Orr is celebrating the 50th anniversary of his first NHL game, and the amazing Schmidt is there for the 80th anniversary of his rookie NHL season, and it will be up to the current crop of B’s players afterward to play up to the standards of those two Hall of Fame legends. That was a difficult challenge for the Black and Gold last season as they struggled to a 17-18-6 record on home ice and experienced some of their worst regular-season efforts in front of the paying home customers.

When placed side-by-side with a road record (25-13-3), where only the Sharks and Capitals had more victories on the road last season, it was clear the B’s had some strange motivational issues at the Garden. Whether it was leadership, maturity or the coach to blame for their home malaise, the Bruins are looking to reverse that trend this season after an encouraging 2-1 start on the first three-game road trip of the season.

In fact, Brad Marchand didn’t even want to entertain thoughts about last year’s home ice funk.

“Last year has nothing to do with this year. We’ve got a lot of new guys and a lot of new faces, and we’re looking to have a big start at home and have a big year. We want to try and start that tonight,” said Brad Marchand. “We don’t have to get anxious and too excited. We play a good road game and if we play the same way at home as we do on the road then hopefully we’ll be okay.”

The home ice anxiousness was clear on many occasions for the Bruins whether it was getting blown out at the Winter Classic, getting smoked in Milan Lucic’s return to the Garden with the LA Kings or epically blowing the final game of the season vs. Ottawa with the playoffs on the line. It will be interesting to see what a big personality and hardened, vocal leader David Backes can bring to combat some of the home ice skittishness of last season. 

One other thing the Bruins will be looking to change: allowing the other team to score the first goal, as they’ve done in all three games to start this season. It could perhaps be excused with the B’s playing the polite visitor at the emotional home openers for  the Blue Jackets and the Maple Leafs last week, but now it’s their turn to jack up the emotional level and make TD Garden a much more difficult place to play than it was for the majority of last season. 


Slow-starting Krejci looking for a spark in Bruins’ home opener

Slow-starting Krejci looking for a spark in Bruins’ home opener

BRIGHTON, Mass. – David Krejci hasn’t exactly been his usual self in the opening three games of the season for the Bruins and there are understandable, underlying reasons for that. 

One of them is that the 30-year-old playmaking center is coming off major offseason hip surgery and that’s made him look less than his silky-smooth best with the puck in the season’s first three games.

The good news is Krejci doesn’t believe any lingering hip problems have been a big factor at all, and instead his comfort level is increasing each time he takes the ice.

“I feel better and better every day. This is a tough injury, but I’m in good shape and in really good hands. The doctors have done a really good job with me every day, and it’s been really good,” said Krejci, who has one assist in the opening three games with just three shots on net while fighting to hang onto the puck. “It’s been fun to be out there with the guys, and I’m just trying to get better every day.”

A more reasonable explanation for Krejci’s sluggish start was the last-second injury to Patrice Bergeron prior to the start of the season and the major alteration to his forward line as a result of No. 37’s absence. David Backes was pulled from the right wing spot on the Krejci line to fill in for Bergeron over the season’s first three games and he came away with two goals and three points in three games centering Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak.

But the B’s second line was almost non-existent with smaller, skilled wingers on either side of Krejci that weren’t able to generate anything productive with No. 46. The B’s obviously have massive production from the top line in Bergeron’s absence and have found a respectable fourth line that can get the job done for Claude Julien. Even the third line has found some footing after the B’s bench boss replaced rookie Austin Czarnik with veteran Riley Nash and instead went with a bigger, tougher power line with Matt Beleskey and Jimmy Hayes on the wings.

Now, Backes goes back to his rightful spot on the wing with Krejci and 21-year-old rookie Danton Heinen looks to replace a scuffling Ryan Spooner at left wing for tonight’s home opener vs. the New Jersey Devils. Backes is ready to bring some needed balance to the forward lines after the B’s top line really carried them over the first three games of the season and produced a team-high four goals for David Pastrnak.

The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Backes also knows that he’s exactly the kind of strong, determined net-front presence with goal-scoring ability that Krejci has always produced with over the course of his 10-year NHL career.

“I won’t be involved in the immediate face-off, but [I will be involved] in helping him on the 50/50 draws to win the puck back. Just talk all over the ice like we have been with Heinen on the wing he’s got two veteran guys with him, and we need to make him feel comfortable to be a very productive member [of the line],” said Backes. “We’ll get back to cooking a little bit with how we were looking before I was forced to play center.

“I think it puts the other teams in a predicament with that they’re going to try to defend if we have a couple-pronged attack. It’s a kind of pick-your-poison kind of deal. A checking line can typically do a good job of neutralizing a line, but when you have multiple options and multiple guns pointed at them it’s a little bit more of a predicament for them. When we’re healthy, we’re going to have that.”

So, the hope is that having a power forward, play-finisher like Backes is going to allow him time and space to create plays that have a little more hope of being turned into scoring chances at the offensive end of the ice.

“When injuries happen you’ve got to balance the team and that’s what happened. But I’m happy [Backes] is back on our line,” said Krejci, who has always been at his best while utilizing big, strong wingers on his line whether it was Milan Lucic or Nathan Horton over the years. “Hopefully we can get the chemistry early on as a line, and help the team to win.

“[Backes] is a right-handed shot, so that’s nice to have.  I had two lefties there [in Spooner and Heinen] and sometimes it’s tough to get a good pass on the backhand. He’s been playing well the first two games, so hopefully I can keep up and we can get some chemistry to help the team win.”

So, it remains to be seen how long it will take Krejci to find his offensive mojo while centering a line combo of Heinen-Krejci-Backes that didn’t get much of a look in the preseason, but the sooner, the better for a Bruins team that needs to start firing on all offensive cylinders while still working through their defensive challenges.