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 "I think it’s a coach just trying to defend his player, hoping to get that penalty rescinded at the end of the game because Backstrom is a critical piece of his offense.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."
We had an impromptu visit from Peter King from SI / MMQB to our Fenway Studios and decided to talk some NFL and Patriots with him.
Pete talks with The Senator, Phil Perry about the Patriots trading for Dwayne Allen, ruling out a return to New England for Martellus Bennett. They also talk about the potential future of Patriots backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo and some of the big names in NFL free agency
Pete, Thornton and Price give their final thoughts and predictions for the Super Bowl.
Dale, Holley and Rich Keefe discuss NBA lottery pick Lonzo Ball with his very outspoken father Lavar Ball. The guys touch on the Celtics, his feud with his sons' high school coach, Lonzo being better than Steph Curry and much more.
Kirk, Gerry, and Alex Reimer discuss whether or not Isaiah Thomas will win a title in Boston.
Gerry, Kirk, and Trenni react to the Celtics loss against the Suns.
Dale, Michael and Rich Keefe catch-up with former Sox GM Theo Epstein who is in town with the World Champion Cubs to take on the Sox this weekend.
We sit down with the manager of the Sox, John Farrell, for our weekly interview.
Rob Bradford is joined by Minnesota Twins relief pitcher Craig Breslow, who is one of the foremost authorities among professional athletes when it comes to understanding how charities work. Not only does Breslow head up his own charity, the Strike 3 Foundation, but also proactively has taken the Boston Globe to task via a letter to the editor after a 2013 article criticizing the allocation of funds for high-profile athlete's charities. Breslow digs into the recent controversy surrounding Tom Brady's affiliation with Best Buddies, explaining why the recent Globe article was misguided.
Gerry and Kirk read some inspiring quotes from Tony Robbins and Curtis is all set to see the man himself in June.
Tony Robbins fans were sent to the hospital after getting injured walking over coals and Pat is a massive fan of Tony Robbins.
Gerry, Kirk and Arcand react to Brady getting into a business relationship with Tony Robbins.
Night 1 of the draft has passed and Jimmy Garoppolo is still here. The general consensus on the Bears was that they screwed up their draft. And Larry Bird is out in Indiana. Is there hope for Ordway's Paul George dream?
The offensive issues for this Red Sox team are becoming more and more obvious. We also react to our interview with Pedro Martinez.
Chris Sale basically took on Tanaka and the Yankees by himself last night. And the Sox hot corner of days past seem to be gone as far as third base goes.
Final two hours of Dale and Holley with Keefe for a Friday.
Dale, Holley and Keefe discuss a variety of topics for the first two hours of Freestyle Friday.
We close out the week with another edition of the madness and LAROY!!!!!!!!!!! takes you into the weekend.
Kirk Minihane, Springsteen super fan, is joined by Garry W. Tallent, founding member of the E Street Band. Kirk and Garry talk about what it's like on tour with Bruce, how the band goes about selecting songs for the tour, Garry's projects away from the band, and Garry's upcoming solo tour that will bring him to the New England area.
Kirk Minihane, future radio hall of famer, sits down with current radio hall of famer Howie Carr. Kirk and Howie talk about Howie's latest book Kennedy Babylon. If you like famous people engaging in sex scandals, hard drug taking, and murder this is the podcast for you. Its a fascinating look at Boston's most famous family and the problems that took the family down.
Kirk Minihane, host and overlord of the morning show, brings Gerry Callahan and producers Chris and Ken into the studio to hear his show proposal. Kirk is thinking about making some changes to the morning show and wants to hear his crew's opinion.
Ben and Alex talk to Charlie Stillitano, the man responsible for the International Champions Cup. He has created tournaments for the biggest teams in the world to be played in the US every summer. This year he will bring Juventus and Roma to play in Foxboro on July 30th.
Ken and Chris have the Good Weekend recap of a Friday Christian Arcand edition of K&C.
It’s Day 1 of the NFL Draft tonight so Jim Hackett & Pete Davidson offer a little pre-draft fodder for you featuring the Top Tight Ends and Top Wide Receivers. It’s Day 1 of the draft so there’s a lot of focus on the Top Tier talent who you could see drafted tonight including analysis on OJ Howard, Evan Engram & David Njoku; all Tight Ends that could be drafted in tonight’s 1st Round – a rarity. The analysis deepens with more focus on the Top 10 Tight Ends including Jake Butt, Bucky Hodges and Jordan Leggett. Then the boys turn to the Top Wide Receivers, including John Ross, Corey Davis, Mike Williams and JuJu Smith-Shuster. We’ll see where these guys land tonight, but you can learn more and have a few laughs right now.
Christian Arcand made his triumphant return to K&C and the guys talked about the future of Jimmy Garoppolo.More from this show
Gerry, Kirk and Arcand react to Brady getting into a business relationship with Tony Robbins.More from this show
Hour 4. Kirk questions the show about whether or not anyone would have relations with another man while in prison. Jemele Hill threatened Kirk on Twitter, but did she delete her tweet?More from this show
Gerry and Kirk read some inspiring quotes from Tony Robbins and Curtis is all set to see the man himself in June.More from this show
Tony Robbins fans were sent to the hospital after getting injured walking over coals and Pat is a massive fan of Tony Robbins.More from this show