NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley joined the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning for his weekly appearance, this time to discuss the aggressive and often dirty play seen in the NHL playoffs, as well as the state of the Bruins now three games into their series against the Capitals.
After two closely contested games in Boston, which the teams split, the Bruins were able to rebound from a Game 2 double-overtime loss for a win on the road in Game 3. For Brickley, the difference was simply that the Bruins came out harder and more aggressive than they had in the first two contests of the series.
"I think big picture is the fact that they played harder," Brickley said. "They competed harder and they won more battles.
"They were just fully engaged emotionally, mentally and physically. When they play that way, they are the superior team."
The series also took another important and decisive shift in Game 3 when the Capitals' Nicklas Backstrom cross-checked Rich Peverly at the end of the game, a hit that landed him a one-game suspension. Backstrom's absence could prove to be a very costly one in Game 4, according to Brickley.
"[It's] very significant," Brickley said. "Some people refer to him as the engine as far as their offense is concerned. It certainly gives them balance.
"It’s a significant loss. They have enough that they’ll give the Bruins a hard time, but without him their chances of winning go down dramatically."
Backstrom's hit, however, has been far from an isolated incident thus far in the playoffs, as games have been defined by big hits and the suspensions that have come about from them. While Capitals coach Dale Hunter defended Backstrom after the game, Brickley said that it's hard to rush to the defense of these players making these hits.
"If you look across the National Hockey League right now [with] what’s going on in the playoffs and the number of suspensions and how nasty it is, it’s hard to defend anything that some of these players are doing," Brickley said. "I think it’s a coach just trying to defend his player, hoping to get that penalty rescinded at the end of the game because Backstrom is a critical piece of his offense. Without him, they are not as good of a team and that puts them in a difficult position."
Taking a series of factors into consideration, most notably the way that the Bruins came out in Game 3 and Backstrom's suspension, Brickley said that the series has shifted decidedly in the Bruins' favor.
"The fact that the Bruins played the way that they wanted to play, not completely, but they looked more like the Boston Bruins and the style of the Boston Bruins want to play," Brickley said. "I think they raised their hate level for this team, which I think is a good thing.
"The absence of Backstrom, they delved into the young rookie goaltender’s mind, I think that all favors Boston. If Boston comes out, as I expect, to impose their will, I would expect them to win both games in Washington."
Following are more highlights from the conversation.
On what NHL officials have to think of the playoffs so far: "I don’t think they like it. I think they love that there’s a lot of one-goal games, there’s a lot of overtime, there’s a lot of parity, lower seeds can beat the higher seeds. I think they love all of that. I just think the nastiness … they’re looking for consistency, they’re looking for responsibility and some accountability from the players. If they start to get that the deeper they get into the playoffs, then the hockey becomes more of the focus than all of this nastiness that we’re watching. Brendan Shanahan has a difficult job. He’s basically the voice of authority that has to mete out all of the discipline and that is a challenging position to be in. He’s trying to do it right, but you’re never going to be in the right side of that argument in that kind of position of authority."
On whether the Capitals will channel the aggressiveness of other playoff teams: "I don’t think it’s in their makeup, I really don’t. One or two players, perhaps, but they want to play, I believe, the right way, which is the way the Bruins play. They want to man up, they want to be physical, they want to stay within the rules, they want to play playoff-style hockey, which is rough and tumble. You’ve got to get some penalties along the way, but I don’t think they want to be or have the reputation that they’re going to leave their feet to make hits, they’re going to blindside people, they’re going to run people from behind. It’s not in their makeup and it’s not in the Bruins' makeup."
On whether the crying gesture from Karl Alzner will motivate the Bruins the same way Alex Burrows' biting did in the Stanley Cup finals last year: "I don’t know if it’s on par with that, but it certainly gets players’ attention. The Bruins aren’t going to make a big deal out of it publicly, but they’re taking numbers for sure."
On Rafi Torres' hit on Marian Hossa in the Coyotes-Blackhawks series: "I think he’s a predator by nature. I can’t believe this guy hasn’t been suspended more times when I watch this guy play. The fact that the intent is to hurt, that he left his feet, I would expect a lengthy suspension because he’s a repeat offender."
Pete, Thornton and Price give their final thoughts and predictions for the Super Bowl.
Gabe calls the boys to handicap one of the biggest gambling days of the year - Super Bowl 51! Gabe has all the point spread info down and gets to all of the major prop bets that interest him.
Fauria is still down in Houston and calls live from NRG Stadium to give his take on what will go down later on in Super Bowl 51. He likes the Pats and gives his reasons why, but also gets into the scene in Houston all week, famous people he met and why he is tired out from a wild week.
The NBA trade rumor mill is beginning to swirl as the deadline approaches and Picard is ready to go! He talks about the possibility of Jimmy Butler coming to Boston, why Isaiah Thomas is not getting enough respect and the future of the Celtics.
Adrian Wojnarowski has been talking about the possibility of the Celtics making a trade with the Bulls to bring Jimmy Butler to Boston. He actually thinks it may be the the marquee deal to keep an eye on this week heading into the trade deadline. Pete and Jerry discuss and give their thoughts on if they would want Butler. Pete thinks it will happen, Jerry thinks Ainge will stay put. The guys get into more Celtics, present and future and if they can battle with the best of the NBA.
Anna Horford, sister of Boston Celtics Al Horford, makes her Boston radio debut. She talks about Twitter and reacting to mean tweets about her brother. She also gives us her thoughts on the city of Boston and racism.
Bradford checks in from spring training to give us all the media dirt he can dig up...oh, and talk some baseball too.
Rob Bradford is joined by Lou Merloni to talk life in spring training, his toiletries, sleeping arrangements, and facing off with Red Sox personnel that he might have been critical of. Rob and Lou also get into the dynamic of electronic and print media when it comes to ripping the Red Sox.
Pete, Bradford, and Tomase are talking all about the Boston Red Sox, who opened spring training on Monday with pitchers and catchers reporting. They talk about what the Red Sox approach at the plate will be to replace the loss of David Ortiz bat, the impact of some players participating in the WBC, and of course the pitching rotation.
Guys talk the Bruins season so far and the All-Star Break
Guys discuss if or when the Bruins will fire Coach Julian
Ken, Rear and Ty get into a very solid week for the B's beating St Louis and the Flyers and losing a hard-fought game against the Predators. Is this team turning things around? Krug and Marchand are kicking things up a notch. The guys also talk about Claude and Sweeney's job security before getting into some big hits around the league this week.
Hour 4. Milo is done after advocating for pedophilia. The guys dive into the Red Sox roster.
Hour 3. Kirk and Gerry's dream of doing play-by-play is over.
President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski joins Kirk and Gerry in Fort Myers.
The Dallas Mavericks traded for Nerlens Noel, and dumped Andrew Bogut in the process, leading the guys to wonder why the Celts weren't pursuing 6'11" power forward/center.
Chris Mannix, Yahoo! Sports joined the show to give the latest on the NBA trade deadline.
The guys acknowledge that the Green-teamers will defend Danny whether he makes a move or not.
Dale, Michael and Rich Keefe discuss the C's lack of moves at the NBA trade deadline and try and figure out why, and what is the next best opportunity for the Celts to make a move?
Dale, Michael and Keefe discuss the comments made by Dave Dombrowski on K&C this morning concerning John Farrell and his in-game management.
We close out the show with the best sound bites of the day.
Kirk and Glenn continue their conversation from last week. In this episode Kirk and Glenn scream at each other about the infamous "station incident", what the news of the merger means to WEEI and the Sports Hub, and Kirk tries to get Glenn to answer what the perfect "Big Show" would be. You will not find a better look behind the scenes of radio.
Kirk sits down with the legend Glenn Ordway to talk about when Glenn got fired here at WEEI, his start with the station, the controversial decisions he made when he was the Program Director, and he relationship with Eddie Andelman.
Kirk chats with David Duchovny about his current music tour, which takes him to the Wilbur on February 22nd, how David got his start in television, from his first stint on Red Shoe Diaries, becoming a superstar on the X-Files, and his hilarious appearances on the Larry Sanders Show. This is a fascinating discussion about show business and controlling your own career.
Ken Laird and Chris Curtis recap Wednesday and Thursday's K&C shows on location in Ft. Myers
Kirk and Glenn continue their conversation from last week. In this episode Kirk and Glenn scream at each other about the infamous "station incident", what the news of the merger means to WEEI and the Sports Hub, and Kirk tries to get Glenn to answer what the perfect "Big Show" would be.
Rich Keefe & Ryan Davey talk best and worst movie/TV presidents. Plus the always important "This Week in #DORK" and the Pick of the Podcast.
Hour 4. Evan Drellich joins the show. A fight for the ages ensues.More from this show
Kirk and Glenn continue their conversation from last week. In this episode Kirk and Glenn scream at each other about the infamous "station incident", what the news of the merger means to WEEI and the Sports Hub, and Kirk tries to get Glenn to answer what the perfect "Big Show" would be.More from this show
Hour 1. Evan Drellich attacked Kirk and Gerry for their interview with John Farrell. Kirk had an accident.More from this show
Kirk and Glenn continue their conversation from last week. In this episode Kirk and Glenn scream at each other about the infamous "station incident", what the news of the merger means to WEEI and the Sports Hub, and Kirk tries to get Glenn to answer what the perfect "Big Show" would be. You will not find a better look behind the scenes of radio.More from this show
Hour 2. John Steigerwald says Brady doesn't pass the eye test. Headlines with Kirk.More from this show