Chara, Seidenberg anchor shutdown line

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Chara, Seidenberg anchor shutdown line

Claude Julien wasnt going use all of his bullets during the regular season, but hes unloading them now with the season on the line.

With a team that dropped out of the divisional lead for the first time since November and was riding a four-game losing streak, the Bruins head coach decided it was time to start making a few adjustments on his defensemen corps. One decision led to Joe Corvo being a healthy scratch for the first time this season after struggling nearly all season for the Bruins, and the other was slotting Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg together as a shutdown defensive pair.

Chara and Seidenberg were put together in the Montreal series during last years playoff series, and it was no coincidence the Bruins turned things around when Bostons two best defensemen were joined together. Julien put both blueliners together in the latter stages of the blowout loss to the Florida Panthers, and they played every shift together in Saturdays 3-2 shootout victory over the Flyers.

Not a single goal was scored by the Flyers when the new CharaSeidenberg pairing was out on the ice.

Everybody likes that pairing because of what they did last year in the playoffs. Its a long year, and we said maybe eventually youd see that combination. But we had other things we had to do first and foremost. For now, that is a pairing. Whether it disappears for a while and comes back, thatll depend on the teams were playing against, on whos in the lineup, and what players theyre playing etc, said Julien. Those are decisions you make almost on a game-to-game basis. But at the same time, youre not going to hide the fact that you like that pairing especially if both of them are at their best. Theyve probably become one of the best pairs in the league when theyre together.

Both Chara and Seidenberg topped 28 minutes of ice time in the needed win and there was a marked difference in clearing the net in front of Tim Thomas. Of course Philadelphia worked and managed to get a pair of tipped goals to push things into overtime, but Julien finally likes the way his defensemen crew is shaping up in front of the grit.

Last year Ference and Boychuk were a good pair during the playoffs. Youve got Johnny -- when hes on his game, hes a real physical player, and Andrews going to battle like he plays twice his size. Then youve got a guy like Adam McQuaid on the third pair whos also a real physical, tough individual, said Julien. Greg Zanon is a good shot blocker, whos a gritty player, who goes in and battles hard.

You know, youve got to have guys, when its time to play against other lines, thatll wear them down. I think weve got some of those guys that can do that.

What Julien didnt say is that its pretty clear the defensively weak Corvo isnt one of those guys, and that makes him a real potential liability when things get rough during the playoffs.

The defensive miscues and softness around the net were nowhere to be found against the Flyers after it had been rampant in allowing 36 goals over the first nine games during the month of March. Both Chara and Seidenberg are ready to work together just as they did to such great success last spring.

Honestly, we are used to playing everybody with everybody. Its just the way it is right now. We got together and we played together the whole playoffs last year, so were used to each other, said Chara. Thats the way this group has been working for as long as Ive been here. But, you know, we try to keep the pairings against certain guys and it worked well.

Julien did a lot of talking over the last couple of days about stabilizing things defensively and finding Bostons structure and layers a couple of vital steps in regaining their game and the desired won-loss results. Working in practice was certainly one step in accomplishing the goal and the other was putting the right personnel out on the ice to get the job done.

Pairing Chara with Seidenberg and dropping Corvo out of the top six achieved that goal and gave the Bruins the air-tight defense they were looking for all around the cage. Its an effective formula that Julien and the Bruins should be looking to carry out over the final 11 games of the season with results so very important.

Danny Ainge on Josh Jackson: 'He didn’t want to play for the Celtics'

Danny Ainge on Josh Jackson: 'He didn’t want to play for the Celtics'

BOSTON – There was no late-night workout in New York City between the Boston Celtics and Josh Jackson.

There was no conversation between Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations and the Kansas University star, either.

And that made the decision by Boston to select Duke’s Jayson Tatum with the No. 3 pick a lot easier than some might have thought.

Following Thursday night’s NBA draft, Ainge spoke to the media on several topics which included him explaining the interaction – or lack thereof – between the Celtics organization and Jackson who was selected with the No. 4 pick by the Phoenix Suns.

When asked about his level of communication with Jackson, Ainge said, “never talked to Josh. No one in our organization did. I know someone wrote something that was different.”

That’s because in New York City on Wednesday, Jackson told a group of reporters that he had spoken with head coach Brad Stevens and other assistant coaches, but had not had a chance to talk with Ainge.

Despite the lack of communication with the Celtics, Jackson said he was still open to playing for Boston.

“It would be great to play in Boston,” Jackson told reporters on Wednesday. “I see a lot of their players on their team are about the same things I’m about. Anybody who knows me, knows I love to win. I see that in a lot of the guys on their team. I would love to play in Boston.”

Those were his words.

But his actions told an entirely different story.

Jackson said he didn’t work out for Boston because he and his agent didn’t think the Celtics were interested in him when they had the number one overall pick.

Once Boston traded the No. 1 overall pick for Philadelphia’s pick (No. 3) and a future first-round pick, Jackson said there was more interest on Boston’s part but there was not enough time to schedule a workout.

Boston's attempt at working out Jackson went horribly wrong. 

“They canceled a workout on us,” Ainge said. “When we flew out to Sacramento, they decided to cancel it; as we flew, Brad and I and (assistant GM and team counsel) Mike Zarren flew cross country.”

Although it was never said explicitly, Ainge had a feel for what was happening.

"There was something that he didn’t want to play for the Celtics,” Ainge said.

Ainge, who played for the Sacramento Kings (1989-1990), acknowledged he wasn’t thrilled to make the long trip and not get to see Jackson workout.

“I was mad,” Ainge said. “Flew cross-country. . . there’s nothing to do in Sacramento.”

Despite not having had a chance to speak with Jackson or getting to work him out, Ainge said the Celtics still had not ruled out drafting him.

“In spite of that, we watched Josh for two years and we were fans,” Ainge said. “He’s a terrific kid and a good player.”

Thomas (hip) feeling better, but still no determination on surgery

Thomas (hip) feeling better, but still no determination on surgery

BOSTON –  Brad Stevens said Isaiah Thomas (hip) is feeling better, but no decision has been made on whether the two-time All-Star will have surgery.

“He’s doing some rehab work out there with his people in Seattle,” Stevens told a pool reporter during Thursday night’s NBA draft. “He’s getting ready to host his Zeke-end (basketball tournament), which is a big deal for him.”

Thomas, who led all players in the Eastern Conference with a 28.9 points per game average, suffered a right hip injury in Boston’s second-round series against Washington but continued to play through it.

However, the injury only worsened and ultimately led to him being unable to return in the second half of Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals against Cleveland which ended in five games.

Stevens said no decision has made yet as to whether Thomas will require surgery.

“He has his follow-up appointment here in a couple of weeks to determine next course of action,” Stevens said. “And nothing’s determined after that. He hasn’t done a lot, physically, and will be off his feet until that next appointment, or won’t be doing any basketball.”