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.