Chara ready for first post-Pacioretty game vs. Habs

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Chara ready for first post-Pacioretty game vs. Habs

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

WILMINGTON Zdeno Chara didnt shy away from the teeming mass of Boston and Montreal media that crowded around his locker after Wednesday's practice, looking to ask questions about Thursday nights HabsBruins regular-season finale.The two storied NHL rivals still appear to be on a collision course for the first round of the playoffs, and the CharaMax Pacioretty collision that left the Montreal forward with a severe concussion and fractured vertebrae was on the minds of everyone within the dressing room.Though Bruins media relations maven Matt Chmura said Chara wouldnt be answering any questions about the Pacioretty incident prior to a five-minute scrum with reporters, the Bruins captain did manage to get a few things across that hes likely been waiting to express.Without going into details, Chara said hes reached out to Pacioretty several times over the last few weeks, but Pacioretty hasnt responded. The B's defenseman may have attempted to go through Pacioretty's Michigan teammate, Steve Kampfer, to get in touch with the Montreal winger, but that's not something Chara was elaborating on.Ive made a few attempts to contact Pacioretty, but he hasnt responded back yet. So far, nothing, said Chara. Im glad hes doing much better and hes probably going to be playing based on the reports that weve heard. Im glad hes going to be fine. Thats good news.Chara seemed to lose a little bit of his edge following the loss, and controversy, up in Montreal, and both the player and team battled through a bit of a dark cloud over their head as police investigations and some truly vicious accusations emanated from Montreal.But Chara battled through on the ice, and has put up two goals and five assists in the six games since the incident, along with a plus-5 rating. It was Charas power-play goal on Tuesday night that proved to be the game-winner over the New Jersey Devils.Chara said well see when asked if he felt like any retribution was coming his way from the Canadiens as a result of the hit a likely scenario, given that no suspensions or supplemental discipline was handed down by the NHL after the collision and it appears the Bruins are braced for anything coming their way.The game itself should be a lot less about settling scores, and quite a bit more about simply playing for Northeast Division supremacy and potential home ice in the playoffs as only three points separate the third-seeded Bs from the sixth-seeded Habs. A win for either team in Boston gives the other momentum and a huge emotional advantage headed into the last few weeks of the regular-season sprint.With two games in hand on Montreal, Chara and the Bruins know theyd essentially be securing their divisional crown with a victory over a motivated Habs bunch that embarrassed them on the Bell Centre ice in the Pacioretty game. They also need to make a statement after struggling with a 1-3-1 record in the previous five meetings against the Canadiens this season.The Bruins have lost 11 of their last 13 regular-season meetings with Montreal, and need to play their strong, intimidating game against a speedy, finesse Canadiens bunch thats skated circles around them in four out of five games this year.The lone exception was the bloody battle on the Garden ice that led to nearly 200 penalty minutes, and set up the CharaPacioretty scene in Quebec.If you look at the standings it looks like BruinsCanadiens could be the playoff matchup, so well see whats going to happen in the next 10 games, said Chara. We all know its a big game for both teams. The rivalry is there and the competition is there. We just need to focus on our game and establish what were working on in the last game. Were focusing on our game.The Habs have a lot of skill and speed up front, and theyre very good system-wise. Its tough to play against teams like that. You have to be in control. Its part of the game to be emotional and play with a lot of jump, but you have to keep a lot of it bottled up and not let emotions take over your game.

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

Saturday, May 28: Frustating season for Pred's Rinne

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Saturday, May 28: Frustating season for Pred's Rinne

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while wondering how much of a dark cloud Slava Voynov’s presence is going to bring to the World Cup of Hockey.

*PHT’s Joey Alfieri tracks the ups and downs of Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne, who had a frustrating season.

*Jonathan Drouin says that he “definitely wants to be” part of the Tampa Bay Lightning after a very rocky year with a happy ending for all.

*Speaking of the World Cup of Hockey, Taylor Hall was one of a number of deserving Canadian players – including P.K. Subban -- left off the roster.

*The San Jose Sharks have come a long way from their inaugural season in the league.

*Ottawa Senators senior advisor Bryan Murray is still getting used to a new role after a change in the Sens front office structure.

*Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford has plenty of reasons to be proud after a very good year running hockey ops for the Penguins.

*For something completely different: this January Rolling Stone magazine piece on Stevie Nicks was an excellent retrospective.

 

 

Marchand: Selection to Canada World Cup 'on a different level'

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Marchand: Selection to Canada World Cup 'on a different level'

Bruins left wing Brad Marchand definitely altered a lot of people’s perceptions about him as a hockey player when he scored 37 goals this season, and embraced more of a leadership role on a B’s team getting younger by the year. The B’s agitator started to reap the rewards of those changed opinions with a gold medal at the IIHF World Championships in Russia earlier this month, and on Friday with his inclusion on a ridiculously talented Team Canada roster set for the NHL and NHLPA-organized World Cup of Hockey in the fall.

Marchand will join linemate Patrice Bergeron and head coach Claude Julien as part of the Team Canada contingent, and could even be part of a reunited Marchand-Bergeron-Tyler Seguin line if Mike Babcock and Co. are looking for instant chemistry.

Either way Marchand was excited about suiting up for his country, and being part of a World Cup tournament that will include Bruins players Tuukka Rask, Zdeno Chara, David Pastrnak, David Krejci (who may not be available to play due to his hip surgery), Loui Eriksson and Dennis Seidenberg along with the Team Canada contingent.

“It’s an incredible honor to play for Team Canada. It’s something that I think we all take a lot of pride in, and something that is…it’s not an easy accomplishment,” said Marchand. “It’s not something you get to do very often, and to have that opportunity twice this year is very special and it’s not something I take for granted

“I think being part of a team like this is on a different level, and people may give a little more respect to that fact and may look at more of the kind of player I am, other than just the stuff they’ve seen in the past, with the hits and being a pest and stuff like that. Maybe those people will realize that I’m an OK hockey player, and I do play the game as well. But regardless, that’s not why I play the game. I play it to help our team win and just because I love the game, so however they feel, then that’s their opinion. But [earning more respect league-wide] is a possibility.”

This is the fifth time Marchand has been selected to compete for his home country of Canada in international play. The 5-foot-9, 181-pound forward tallied four goals and three assists in 10 games while helping Canada earn a gold medal at the aforementioned 2016 IIHF Men’s World Championships, held earlier this month in Russia. Marchand previously won gold with Team Canada at the U-20 World Championships in 2007 and 2008. He also earned a bronze medal with Team Canada Atlantic at the 2005 World U-17 Hockey Challenge.

The 2016 World Cup of Hockey will take place from Sept. 17 to Oct. 1, 2016 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, home of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs. The two-week tournament, featuring eight teams comprised of more than 150 of the best players in the NHL, will progress from the Preliminary Round to the Semifinals and ultimately the Final. 

The involvement of so many Bruins players along with Julien will make for a spare NHL camp in Boston come September with so many important pieces out for what is traditionally the first two weeks of camp.