Quick hits: Reactions from Vancouver

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Quick hits: Reactions from Vancouver

By MaryPaoletti
CSNNE.com StaffReporter Follow@mary_paoletti
The postgame player quotes were hoarse because of the screaming.

Here are some quick hits that came through from the melee of Boston's Stanley Cup victory:

Canucks goalie and possible playoffs goat Roberto Luongo (21 GAA), was one of the first players to skate through the line of handshakes; Tim Thomas (8 GAA) was one of the last. When they reached each other Thomas leaned in: "Great series, great year, great everything. You're a great goaltender."

Surprising to no one, Thomas was announced winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy, awarded to the player deemed most valuable to his team in the postseason. Thomas finished with a .967 save percentage in the finals and a .940 percentage in the playoffs overall. He also had four shutouts and 16 wins, including three Game 7's.

Thomas: "So special, its a team effort like I said. It's about everyone in dressing room. This is why we play hockey for that Stanley Cup -- for the city of Boston. It means so much to me. Just to be a part of this team that can say we brought it back to Boston.

Bruins captain Zdeno Chara accepted the Stanley Cup from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. After a quick skate, some kisses and unintelligible joy, Chara handed the mug to 43-year old warrior Mark Recchi -- a three-time title winner. Recchi passed the Cup to Patrice Bergeron, second assistant captain, who then got it over to Thomas.

Injured forward Nathan Horton was on the ice for the celebration in full gear, "and smiling. Always smiling," said CSN's Mike Giardi. Horton suffered a severe concussion in Game 3 of the finals on a hit by Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome.

Of the experience: "I couldn't be happier. We all knew we had it in us. People get hurt in playoffs, that's just the way it goes."

Horton on if the trade from Florida to Boston changed his life: "All year it's been an amazing year. its been very special. Obviously this here tops it off . . . Playing in Boston with such great fans."

In an interview between Mark Recchi and NBC analyst Pierre McGuire -- who was an assistant coach of the 1991 champion Penguins when Recchi was on the team -- the Bruins forward announced he will retire. Recchi had 14 goals and 34 assists in 81 regular-season games (5-9-14 in 25 playoff contests). Three Cups with three teams (Pittsburgh, Carolina in 2006) places him in elite company with Joe Nieuwendyk and Claude Lemieux.

In the locker room, champagne covered players, coaches and cameras. Chara first doused his teammates before pouring a generous amount into the Stanley Cup and lifting it to his lips. He topped it off as Recchi took a long drink. The two then shared a longer hug.

Brad Marchand's emotions didn't wait until the final horn to surface. The rookie said after his second goal, "I was starting to tear up there on the bench. We were sitting there with a few minutes left and we knew we had it . . . we accomplish something we wanted our whole life. I'm going to look back on all of this. This is all so unbelievable."

Just 10 minutes after the game ended, Giardi tweeted that there were already reports of trucks being tossed over and burned in Vancouver. "Also a slew of fights." CBC-TV later reported the streets of Vancouver "unsafe" for police and emergency vehicles because the riots of disheartened fans were blocking the way.

Mary Paoletti can be reached at mpaoletti@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Mary on Twitter at http:twitter.comMary_Paoletti

Julien reaches breaking point with struggling, inconsistent Bruins

Julien reaches breaking point with struggling, inconsistent Bruins

It sounds like Claude Julien has reached a breaking point with a fragile, inconsistent group of Bruins players who have lost four games in a row at a critical point in the season.

The Bruins dropped a 5-1 decision to the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena on Sunday afternoon, and completely fell apart in the final period after Tuukka Rask was lifted because of migraine issues in the middle of the game. It was a typical Bruins effort, in which there weren’t enough scoring chances despite 45 shots on net -- largely from the perimeter -- and the defense totally unraveled in the third period once the Penguins got their offense going.

After the loss, the embattled Julien challenged his players, saying they weren’t providing enough across the board . . . which has largely been the case for the last two months as the Bruins have stagnated as a team.

“If you look at some of the mistakes we made, it’s a team that just got unraveled there in the third period,” he told reporters after the game. “With the opportunities that we had, we don’t capitalize on them. You always give the goaltender on the other side some (Matt Murray) credit. He was good tonight but at the same time, if you’re going to win hockey games, you’ve got to find ways to get [shots] through to him.

"It’s frustrating. There are a lot of guys that, right now, aren’t giving us enough, and this is a team that I think needs all 20 guys going in order to win. We don’t have enough talent to think that we can get away with a mediocre game, so this is where it’s important for our guys to understand that and it’s important to have 20 guys that want to go. It’s okay to have talent, but you’ve got to compete. For others, you’ve got to get involved. You’ve got to be willing to do the things that are not fun to do but are going to help your hockey club. It’s too bad because I think the players we expect a lot out of every night are certainly battling every night, but we need more than that . . .

“When you’ve lost three, now four in a row, it sets in. We’ve got to find a way to turn this around and start going back to the drawing board with our guys respecting what they need to do and be patient enough to give it time to turn around. When I say patience I don’t mean we need to do it in the next week. We need to do it next game but we need to respect what we’ve done well and when we’re in our game and within our structure we’ve had success but in order to be within the structure, you’ve got to be willing to want to do those things. Right now, we don’t have everybody and it just takes one guy not to want to do his job and it throws everybody else off. We have to look at personnel that way, and say that if we need to replace some guys, and we need to be patient with others, I want guys that care and want guys that want to come in and give it their all every night. We need more of that, and we don’t have enough right now.”

It remains to be seen what, or who, Julien is referring to when he mentioned personnel during his postgame comments, but it’s clear he's well aware the effort hasn’t been consistently good enough over the last two months.
 
The Bruins have dropped to third in the Atlantic Division, with the Maple Leafs just a point behind them while holding a whopping six games in hand. Even struggling teams like the Panthers, Lightning and Hurricanes have caught up to the B’s in the playoff race, while holding games in hand.

The B’s are in big, big trouble at this point in the season, and it doesn’t get any easier with games against an improving Red Wings club and the dominant Penguins prior to a much-needed break recess for the All-Star break.