Julien: 'You can never say enough' about Bergeron

706284.jpg

Julien: 'You can never say enough' about Bergeron

BOSTON -- There was little doubt Patrice Bergeron was going to insert himself into Saturdays win against the Philadelphia Flyers.

The two-way center finished Bostons 3-2 shootout win over the Flyers with 21:02 of ice time, and was involved in nearly every game-winning play. He was winning one-on-one battles in all three zones and won 12-out-of-17 face-offs to keep the puck on his teams stick, and he created the teams second goal when he fed Tyler Seguin cutting toward the net.

Claude Julien was attempting to recognize the entire team for their group effort following the victory, but he couldnt help but credit Bergeron after the center managed four shots and a pair of blocked shots.

Its not fair to point out just one guy because Bergeron sticks out a little more because of what he brings to the team, and I think everybody did a pretty good job. But Bergie is one of those guys that, Ive said that numerous times, you can never say enough about the player, said Julien. You can never say enough about the person because hes great at both ends. Hes a real good team player, good person. You never see a negative thing come out of his mouth, and if he gets mad, hes mad at himself."

He demands a lot, and he expects a lot out of himself. I dont know that theres that may players that take as good of care of themselves off the ice as he does. He really cares about his job, and he wants to be the best every day. He comes to practice, and he wants to be the best guy on the ice on practice day; he wants to be the hardest-working guy, and those guys end up getting rewarded for that. Those guys stick out in times of need. You see them bring their A game to the table, and theyre always one of the best players on the ice.

But the true capper came in the shootout when Bergeron followed successful scoring shots from David Krejci and Tyler Seguin, and won the game for Boston with another successful shot over Ilya Bryzgalovs glove hand. The fact that hes done it all while playing through significant pain in his left knee made it all the more impressive.
Bergeron actually came up with the game-winning shootout attempt while firing stick-side after both Krejci and Seguin had luck going glove-side high on the Flyers goaltender in the shootout.

I asked David Krejci before and he said the blocker side wasnt open, but still when I went in I thought it was open. I was actually thinking about glove side when I was going in at first for the first couple of strides because they told me it was glove-side open, said Bergeron. But when I got in I thought he cheated more to his glove side maybe because he got beat there twice. I felt like the hole was on the blocker side so I went with it.

The Bruins coach is always fond of stating that his teams best players have to be at their best in the biggest games: Bergeron was that and then some as the Bruins finally broke free of their season-worst four-game losing funk.

Knicks' Noah suspended 20 games by NBA for drug policy violation

Knicks' Noah suspended 20 games by NBA for drug policy violation

NEW YORK - Joakim Noah of the New York Knicks has been suspended 20 games without pay for violating the league’s anti-drug policy.

The NBA announced the suspension Saturday, saying Noah tested positive for Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator LGD-4033 – something that can be found in over-the-counter supplements.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports first reported the suspension.

Noah has not played since Feb. 4 and was likely to miss the Knicks’ final 10 games this season because of a knee injury. The NBA said Noah’s suspension will begin with the ”first NBA regular season or playoff game for which he is eligible and physically able to play.”

Noah is in the first year of a four-year, $72 million contract. He and the Knicks (27-45) have been a disappointment this season. He averaged 5.0 points and 8.7 rebounds in 46 games this season, and has been limited to 75 games over the past two seasons.

Haggerty: Legacies on the line at edge of another Bruins collapse

Haggerty: Legacies on the line at edge of another Bruins collapse

BRIGHTON, Mass – Let’s start with the straight fact that it’s asinine, apologist drivel to let the Bruins off the hook, and perpetuate an off-the-mark myth there isn’t enough talent on the B's roster to be a playoff hockey team.

They are middle-of-the-road in the talent department to be sure, and the roster depth clearly isn’t what it was in their elite years, as the Bruins balance an aging core group with an influx of youthful talent from the next generation. But this is also a proud, talented group with one of the best all-around centers in the NHL in Patrice Bergeron, a former Norris Trophy winner and future Hall of Fame defenseman in Zdeno Chara, a legitimate Hart Trophy candidate and in-his-prime All-Star left winger in Brad Marchand, an emerging 20-year-old offensive superstar in David Pastrnak and a former Vezina Trophy winning goaltender still in his prime in Tuukka Rask.

That doesn’t even mention high-end players David Krejci, David Backes and Torey Krug that are game-changing talents in their own right.

Combine that with the other players on the Bruins roster and this is a team interspersed with proud Stanley Cup winning players and enough talent to still take care of business in the final eight games and punch their playoff ticket. Winning a Cup in 2011 can never be taken away from Chara, Krejci, Bergeron, Marchand, Rask and Adam McQuaid, and neither can the seven straight seasons in the playoffs under Claude Julien.

But there’s a danger now of some late-in-the-game tarnish on Black and Gold legacies for some of those distinguished, proud players if they once again collapse down the stretch this season and miss the playoffs for the third year in a row with a late-season nosedive. Four consecutive regulation losses have cast doubt into everything for the Bruins and roused all the same old uncomfortable questions from the past three years.

Bergeron and Marchand need to find their best games and dominate the way elite players do in big-game situations like Saturday night vs. the Isles. Pastrnak, Brandon Carlo and Frank Vatrano need to show they're ready for the playoffs.Rask needs to finally show he's ready to shine as a No. 1 goalie and lead his team to victory in a big game rather than buckle under weighty pressure. 

“This is their legacy, those guys. They are Stanley Cup champions and they missed last year. Each year we talk about writing our own story, and I believe that because guys come and go,” said coach Bruce Cassidy. “But generally there is a core group of guys and it’s their legacy. I’m sure they want to reach the playoffs and get back to being a Stanley Cup contender every year.

“That’s what they want and to a man I’m sure they would tell you that. I do believe that they believe it’s different [this season]. Until you change the course of your results, those questions are going to come. We have to change the results to make then go away. One week of not getting results that we want doesn’t mean we’re panicking, but we do understand what’s at stake. We want to be playing in April and May.”

If the Bruins can’t pull out a win on Saturday night against the Islanders, who just pushed even with them at 82 points on the season, then their playoff lives will no longer be under their own control anymore. It will become another late-season choke job by a team that will have its character and courage questioned. The highs of six years ago will be matched by the bitter lows of the past three seasons.

People won’t talk about a scrappy, little underdog Bruins team that just couldn’t get over the hump once again. Instead, they’ll lament a formerly proud, tough-minded group of hockey players that somehow turned into NHL tomato cans all too willing to play the victim once the going got tough late in the regular season.

That’s no way to go out if you’ve ever had your name etched on Lord Stanley’s Cup, and the Bruins that know better should be taking that to heart right now.