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

Czarnik 'playing bigger' while looking to secure job with Bruins

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Czarnik 'playing bigger' while looking to secure job with Bruins

It’s not difficult to see why Austin Czarnik might have been a little overlooked headed into this Bruins training camp when forecasting favorites among the forwards to win a roster spot on the big club. After all he’s only 5-foot-9 and 167-pounds coming off just one very solid season at the AHL level for the Providence Bruins, and there are bigger, stronger forwards candidates that maybe rank a bit higher on the prospect list than him.

But the 23-year-old Czarnik put together an excellent training camp last fall before finishing with 20 goals and 61 points for the P-Bruins last season, and now he’s doing the exact same thing again this time around.

“Yeah, I feel more comfortable. I think we could have been a lot better in a lot of areas. Overall I think everyone is just happy to be back on the ice,” said Czarnik, who along with Frank Vatrano was one of the real starts of camp last season. “You know that type of mentality and you know mistakes are going to happen, and you’ve just got to move forward from it so everyone’s happy to be back.”

The former Miami University star is clearly happy to be back, and it’s showing on the ice with each chance he gets to show his tenacity, withering fore-check and his willingness to crash the net despite his smallish stature.

Czarnik was one of the most dangerous forwards on the ice for the Black and Gold in their preseason opener, and collected a key assist on Boston’s first goal of the game when he pushed a puck through the neutral zone before setting up on odd man rush for Jimmy Hayes and Jake DeBrusk.

This time around Czarnik scored the game’s only goal on a nifty rush during four-on-four play through the offensive zone by Ryan Spooner, who drew in the defense and dished to Czarnik for a wide open tap-in chance.

So it’s a couple of big plays in each of the first two preseason games that led to goals, and a genuinely excellent level of play throughout both contests. It’s something the Bruins coaching staff has taken note of along with his skating speed and hardnosed mentality, and now they have to figure if it fits in with their other NHL pieces.

“We were just talking about it. Everybody has that same feeling. He’s playing well. He moves well. He’s on the puck. He competes, and that’s the thing you’re looking for really,” said Bruins assistant coach Joe Sacco. “Like right now, we know there’s going to be mistakes made by a lot of our players, especially the younger ones.

“We’re looking to see who’s got that competitive, you know, that competitive fire. [We’re looking for] who’s going to go out there and who can compete at a high level. I know he’s not big in stature, but he plays bigger than he is. He’s had two pretty good games so far.”

Czarnik had a couple of good games early in B’s camp last year before flat-lining a bit at the end when the NHL jobs were seriously on the line, and the 23-year-old wants that story to change endings this time around. It remains to be seen where he’s going to fit as yet another center among Boston’s group of training camp players this month, but Czarnik might just force the Bruins to make a tough decision if he keeps playing at his current high level.   

Talking Points: Veteran Red Wings torch Bruins

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Talking Points: Veteran Red Wings torch Bruins

GOLD STAR: Take your pick: Steve Ott, Drew Miller and Luke Glendening torched the Bruins with veteran savvy and toughness against a very young defensemen unit trying to survive in the second preseason game. Ott and Glendening each scored a goal and finished with three points, and Miller finished with a goal and two points while all three forwards had a plus-3 rating for the night. All of their goals came off winning battles, crashing the net and taking advantage of defensive miscues. The goals provided a good lesson to the young kids that have a ways to go before they’re NHL ready at this point in their careers. It certainly must have been a kick to the stones to many Bruins fans when “Brave” Steve Ott was named the No. 1 Star of the game after it was all over, but that was certainly appropriate.

BLACK EYE: Adam McQuaid was the most experienced defensemen out on the ice for the Bruins on Wednesday night, and it was a rough night for him with so many young guys around him on the back end. McQuaid finished a minus-2 in 17:41 with a couple of hits and got a little better as the game was going on, but was on ice for two of the first three goals allowed to Detroit in a really lackluster middle section of the game. In general, it was about more than just one player, though. There were blown assignments in the D-zone and some really noticeable lost battles leading to scoring chances for a Red Wings group that aggressively took it to the Bruins. This is a game that will leave the Bruins coaches with plenty of video material moving forward.

TURNING POINT: The real slippage came early in the game when the Bruins failed to score on some good power play chances for Peter Mueller and Matt Beleskey, and then allowed two goals within 19 seconds of each other in the first period. The first goal was a PP one for the Red Wings with Ryan Spooner whistled for a face-off infraction, and the second was simply the Bruins falling asleep at the wheel just seconds after the first goal was scored. Lost battles led to a bang-bang play in front with Steve Ott scoring as Malcolm Subban was turned around looking for the puck, and the B’s were reeling headed into the first intermission. Only a Subban shoulder save kept it from being 3-0 at the end of the first, and that was something the B’s never seemed to rebound from.

HONORABLE MENTION: Austin Czarnik scored the B’s only goal off a nice play from Ryan Spooner driving toward the net, and continues to put together another strong training camp after doing the same thing last season. Czarnik finished with the goal, three shots on net and six shot attempts in 17:38 of ice time, and battled back from a rough start to go 6-for-12 in the face-off circle while centering an extremely young line with Sean Kuraly and Zach Senyshyn. While Czarnik might not have been a big name when talking about an open roster spot with the Bruins a couple of weeks ago, he’s pushed toward making himself a part the conversation with his heart-filled, high effort energetic performances for the Black and Gold.

BY THE NUMBERS: 4-for-16 was the final tally for Ryan Spooner in the face-off circle as he continues to be a work-in-progress on the draw.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “Maybe I was a little bit shocked first going out there. The speed of the game is noticeably faster, but I think as time went on I got more comfortable out there. Hopefully I can build off that moving forward.” – Bruins rookie D-man Matt Grzelcyk on his first NHL preseason game being a bit of a big wakeup call.