Pierre McGuire

Pierre McGuire

NBC Sports NHL analyst Pierre McGuire made his weekly appearance Thursday on Middays with MFB, following broadcasting the Bruins’ blowout loss to Toronto Wednesday night and to discuss the state of the team going into Thursday’s game against Montreal. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

McGuire was inside the benches during the Bruins’ 6-1 loss Wednesday night, and did not like what he saw from the Bruins team, which was unexpected as he thought they would have played well going in.

“I said this last night, and I meant it sincerely, I haven’t seen the Bruins get beat like that in a long time,” said McGuire. “I was dumbfounded by that because I was around their room, I talked to their coaches before the game. The players really had an intense situation that they were looking at, they were looking like they were up to the challenge.

“The coaches were really excited — they had won six of their previous seven, all seven games that they had played previously [Zdeno] Chara wasn’t there, and they were finding ways to get it done. Obviously [Patrice] Bergeron and [Dougie] Hamilton were really playing well. I had the feeling they were going to play a really good game last night, and I was really wrong. They did not play a good game last night.”

Tuukka Rask was pulled in the second period after allowing four goals and although he might not have played in the second half of the back-to-back, McGuire says he should after what took place Wednesday night, and Rask not playing the entire game.

“[Tuukka] has to get his team’s confidence in Montreal, so that the team knows that he can deliver there,” he said. “It is up to him, and if I were Claude [Julien], he’s playing tonight.”

“You have to get back on your horse and Tuukka is going to play guilty tonight,” he added. “I don’t know if he is going to be good enough to win or not, but he has to get in there and play guilty and say, ‘I wasn’t good enough last night.’ I think he’s that honest with himself and with his teammates, that I think he will play guilty tonight.”

Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.

On why playing Montreal after Wednesday’s game is a good thing: “I think one of the best things that could happen in this, is to actually have to play the next day after a humiliating loss in Toronto. Now they are playing with edge, you got to think they are all going to play with edge. They are going to bring a little bit nasty tonight.

“I can tell you one thing, on the bench, Claude Julien was not pleased and the one thing he kept saying was, ‘You’re never going to win games if you don’t touch the other bodies, you’re never going to win games if you don’t hit somebody.’ And he kept saying it, and kept saying it. He got the players attention, guys were trying, but they were a step slow and they were not engaged. They knew the game was over and they had a game tonight so they weren’t engaged.”

Is Montreal the best team in the Eastern Conference?: “No, no, no, no. Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh. Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh right now are better than Montreal. Montreal isn’t playing great and they would be the first people to tell you. Carey Price has covered up a lot of their blemishes on the back end. Their power play has not been very good — that is why they went out and got Sergei Gonchar. They are not getting consistent offense from Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais and they need both those guys to provide consistent offense.

“I do Montreal radio everyday, and have for the last 17 years, and the one thing I will tell you, is the fans are really excited about this team, but this team has under delivered thus far based on expectations of their fan base.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Pierre joins the guys to talk about the Bruins struggles, the NHL franchise in Las Vegas, and the return of the glow puck!

BROSSARD, Quebec — Tuukka Rask doesn’t win too often at the Bell Centre.

BROSSARD, Quebec — Tuukka Rask doesn’€™t win too often at the Bell Centre. The Canadiens know it, but they also know that history doesn’€™t matter in the present.

“€œThey said the same thing about Henrik Lundqvist last year,” P.K. Subban said. “€œHe seemed to play pretty well.”

Indeed, Lunqvist did. After not winning in Montreal since 2009 being sat at the Bell Centre since 2012, the Rangers’€™ netminder went into Montreal and allowed three goals over the first two games (both Rangers wins)€” of the Eastern Conference finals. New York would win the series in six games.

Rask has a career record of 3-11-3 against the Habs and in the regular season and a 3-€“6-0 against them in Montreal in the regular season (4-7-0 including playoffs). He also lost two of his three starts against them last at the Bell Centre last postseason, though his one win was a shutout. Rask blanked them in Montreal in the 2009-10 season.

It isn’€™t like Rask has been a disaster against the Canadiens, but then again, not beating the Canadiens qualifies as a disaster for the Bruins.

“I wouldn’€™t look too much into it,”€ Subban said. “When he comes to this building, whenever we play Boston, it seems that we do a good job of getting traffic in front of him and not make it easy on him. It’€™s not an easy building to play in, but to say that he can’€™t have a good game here –” I mean, I think he’€™s one of the best goalies in the league. He’€™s proven that and he’€™s played well against us at time.

“To be honest with you, when you see some of the goals that we’€™ve scored, we’€™ve done a good job of creating traffic. It’€™s not easy stopping second and third shots. We’€™ve had a couple of breakaways against him — that’€™s a 50-50 chance –€” so I think if we’€™re not prepared to get traffic in front of him tonight and make his life a living hell, then I don’€™t think we’€™re doing ourselves justice.”

Rask was pulled after allowing five goals in 47:15 in the Bruins’€™ only game at the Bell Centre this season. The Bruins gave him the start Wednesday in Toronto, which could have set up either a back-to-back for the reigning Vezina winner or a start for Niklas Svedberg. Because the Bruins pulled Rask early in the second period after he allowed his fourth goal, Svedberg had to play against the Leafs.

It might not be the wisest idea for the Bruins to play Svedberg two nights in a row given that he hadn’€™t played since Oct. 30 prior to getting in Wednesday’€™s game. Had Rask finished Wednesday’€™s game, the smart move for the Bruins might have been to go with the Rangers/Lundqvist method and keep him away from the Canadiens. Lundqvist proved that goalies can win in any building in the postseason despite their past troubles. Rask is Lundqvist’€™s peer as one of the five best goalies in the league, so he should be held to the same standard.

Should Rask play, the Habs will be aware that he’€ll want to prove something. That, Subban said, gives the Habs something to prove as well.

“€œIf anything, if the history is that he does have a tough time playing here, I think that puts even more of an onus on us to to try and be ready to play,” Subban said, “€œbecause you know he’€™s coming in here with the mindset of he wants to play well.”

That’€™s if he plays.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

MONTREAL — According to multiple reports (first reported by Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports in Montreal), the Bruins have called up center Alexander Khokhlachev for Thursday night’€™s game

Alexander Khokhachev

Alexander Khokhachev

MONTREAL ‘€” According to multiple reports (first reported by Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports in Montreal), the Bruins called up center Alexander Khokhlachev for Thursday night’€™s game against the Canadiens.

The Bruins do not have a morning skate Thursday, so it’€™s tough to predict where Khokhlachev would slot in the team’€™s lineup. It is unknown whether Khokhlachev will replace a healthy player or whether one of Boston’€™s forwards isn’€™t able to play Thursday. Brad Marchand did not play the final 6:23 of Wednesday’s loss.

Assuming those who played Wednesday are healthy, the B’€™s have some options. Khokhlachev is amidst an impressive stretch in Providence, so it’€™s possible the B’€™s could put him in Chris Kelly‘€™s place on Milan Lucic‘€™s line with Seth Griffith and return Kelly to Carl Soderberg’€™s line. Claude Julien shook up Boston’€™s lines in the second peril of Wednesday’€™s loss to the Maple Leafs, moving Matt Fraser from Soderberg’€™s line to the fourth line. Fraser or Simon Gagne could be options to sit, though Gagne scored Boston’€™s only goal Wednesday.

A second-round pick in the 2011 draft, Khokhlachev has five goals and six assists for Providence in 12 games this season. The Moscow native has centered a line with wingers Jordan Caron and David Pastrnak, with Anthony Camara playing left wing on the line the last four games while Caron nursed an upper-body injury.

Assuming he cracks the lineup, Thursday will be Khokhlachev’€™s second career NHL game. He skated in last season’€™s regular-season finale against the Devils.

David Krejci did not travel with the B’€™s to Toronto or Montreal. He remains out due to a hip injury suffered in the final game of the preseason.

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

Things are not going well for former Bruins forward Nathan Horton.

Nathan Horton is deciding on career-ending back surgery. (Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

Nathan Horton is deciding on career-ending back surgery. (Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

Things are not going well for former Bruins forward Nathan Horton. The current Blue Jackets forward hasn’t played in an NHL game since last April because of a degenerative back injury.

Thursday, Horton spoke via the Columbus Dispatch about the condition for the first time.

“I can’€™t stand up like a normal person, I can’€™t bend over,”€ Horton said. “€œI can’€™t run. I can’€™t play with my kids. To get in and out of the car, I’€™m like a 75-year-old man … so slow and stiff. I can’€™t sleep at night. I try to lay down and my back seizes up and I can’€™t move, so sleeping is out. I’€™m like a zombie in the daytime.”

The only way to get rid of the pain would be surgery, “likely a three-or four-level spinal fusion with a titanium rod,” the paper said. The surgery would end his career. Horton is only 29-years-old.

“I don’€™t want to have surgery, because of what that means,” Horton said. “I don’€™t want to live with this pain, but I don’€™t want to make that decision. It’€™s hard for me to say that, at 29 years old, I’€™m done. I mean, really? Done at 29?”

The back was never an issue during his time in Boston, but recovering from shoulder surgery last fall was when Horton started feeling pain in his back.

“It just hit me,”€ Horton said. “There I was working on my shoulder, while my back started getting worse and worse.”

“€œI couldn’€™t get my socks on,” Horton added. “I could barely tie my skates. But I’€™ve played through stuff my whole career. I kept going.”

Horton needed groin surgery last April, ending his season after just 36 games, but the back was still an issue.

“After I rehabbed the groin, my back flared again, and it has not gone away,”€ Horton said. “I went back to Florida in the spring [May] to rehab it, and I went for an easy jog –€” just 25 minutes ‘€” to get back into it. The next couple of days, I couldn’€™t move. And here we are. I couldn’€™t jog right now if I wanted to.”

Horton, who has played 10 seasons in the NHL, spent three seasons (2010-13) with the Bruins, scoring 51 total goals and won the 2011 Stanley Cup.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

The Bruins overlooked the Leafs Wednesday. (Abelimages/Getty Images)TORONTO — The Bruins slept on an opponent and got their rear ends kicked.

TORONTO –€” The first eight games of the Zdeno Chara-less schedule looked like a group of largely winnable contests before they would have to face the Canadiens.

For as well as the Bruins survived that stretch, they ended it in disastrous fashion.