NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley joined Mut & Merloni via phone from Edmonton, where the B’s play Thursday night, for his weekly discussion about the team.
“No question he crossed the line, he’s aware of that, and the league will obviously discipline him, use him as an example,” Brickley said. “This is the type of stuff that’s a hot-button issue in the National Hockey League — injuries, concussions, bad decisions, bad hits in the game. That’s what they’re trying to clean up, and it’s an opportunity for the league to really make an example of him, which they probably will do.
“Certainly in the moment, when we were doing the broadcast, when the initial hit [by Orpik on Loui Eriksson] was made and then Eriksson was concussed, obviously, no penalty on the play, I thought it was a borderline hit, could have been a penalty, could not have been a penalty. I have a hard time even with my experience knowing what’s a penalty and what’s not a penalty anymore. …
“When the first hit by Orpik was made on Eriksson, then he was challenged initially, if you remember, by Dougie Hamilton — no response. Then Shawn Thornton had the opportunity to challenge Orpik — no response. That’s when you know, because you’ve been there, that this is going to get ugly. Because if you’re not going to handle it the way the Bruins feel it should be handled, then people were going to start crossing lines and the game was going to get ugly. You knew it was going to happen, and I think that’s where it started to break down.”
Brickley said Orpik, who is known as a hard hitter but someone who does not fight, could have handled the situation better.
“This kid, he’s a good player, he’s a good hitter, he likes to hit in open ice,” Brickley said. “But he’s also got a reputation for a guy that hits the Loui Erikssons, the Jeff Skinners. He broke Erik Cole‘s neck from hitting him from behind. … When you have a reputation like that, you have to answer for those types of hits if you’re going to play that way. It’s plain and simple. That’s code. If you want to talk code, that’s code.”
Added Brickley: “Just flip it around if you want to have this kind of conversation. If Johnny Boychuck stands up and knocks Chris Kunitz on a borderline hit, interference, on-the-puck play, if you want to call it that, and Deryk Engelland comes over and challenges Boychuck, what does Boychuck do? … That’s how those plays get defused and you don’t get into the nasty anymore.”
Looking at the length of Thornton’s suspension, Brickley said he expected double-digit games.
“I think that’s what it’s going to be — I think it’s going to be more than 10, less than 15. Just the fact that it’s an in-person hearing, that makes it a minimum of six,” Brickley said. “I thought that the knee to the head by James Neal warranted more than five games, to be honest with you. I thought that was probably just as egregious as what Thornton did.”
Added Brickley: “I think they will make an example of him. I think they have to. It’s unfortunate for Shawn. … He’s always done that job as well as anybody, with the code. If you want to put integrity attached to it, I would attach it. It’s unfortunate that decision was made, that circumstances went the way they went. And the league really has no other option other than to have a lengthy suspension.”
Brickley received some criticism for the way he analyzed the incident Saturday, criticizing Orpik for allowing the situation to escalate.
“I didn’t really pay a lot of attention to it,” Brickley said. “I was made aware of it. … Part of me says that’s just noise, and I don’t really worry about that criticism. But everybody’s certainly entitled to their opinion. Could we have been more critical of the response by Shawn Thornton? Possibly. I was a little surprised by the degree of injury or trouble that Brooks Orpik was in from what I was watching. … I was unsure of what was happening and how hurt Brooks Orpik was. Maybe we could have been more critical, I don’t know. But it’s not something I pay lot of attention to, to be honest with you.”
On Oilers star Taylor Hall: “He’s a nice blend of skill and speed, he’s not afraid to go to the dirty areas. What prevents him from being better than a point-a-game guy is, when you’re that talented up front, you’ve still got to get the puck, and you’ve still got to have a defenseman or two that can be involved in your offense in order for your numbers to be what they really should be based on your skill set. And until Edmonton establishes that, he’s going to be a really good player, but it’s going to be hard to be a great player.
“When you watch him tonight, you’ll appreciate that speed, you’ll appreciate his offensive creativity, If Edmonton plays the style of hockey that they want to play, which is if you allow them to, then you will really see tremendous talent. But if you have to fight for every inch on the ice the way the Bruins want to make this game tonight, then he won’t stand out. And none of those players that play with high speed and high skill will really stand out if you really take away the ice.”
On Reilly Smith: “He’s been terrific, obviously. I think that what jumps out at you is is hockey IQ for a kid that’s just 22, 23 years old. He understands the game, he’s versatile, can play left wing, can play right wing, they’re using him on one of two power-play units on the point, even, which tells you how much they value his ability to make the right play, the right decision, and it’s been very effective. He can play with any centerman that’s in the lineup for Boston. …
“When you have that versatility and you have that hockey knowledge and you have opportunity, and that opportunity is met with preparation, you’re going to have success. That’s where he’s at right now. He’s developing as a young player, the confidence is on the rise, he’s on a very good team, and he understands the opportunity and what’s expected of him because of that system that we’ve already talked about. And it’s a good fit, and you hope that it continues, but it continues to even get better because he is that talented.”
On the warm reception for Jarome Iginla upon his return to Calgary: “It reminded me certainly of some of the great players that have gone back after they’ve moved teams, whether it was [Wayne] Gretzky going back into Edmonton, or Raymond Bourque coming back to Boston, maybe even Guy Lafleur when he was a Ranger going back to Montreal. To be in the building, to be there, to take part in it, to watch really what happened over a 48-hour period, just the minute we arrived in Calgary, and how revered he is, and what he’s meant to the city, and how charitable he was, and the love that still exists between Iginla and the town of Calgary and the surrounding area was pretty impressive.
“They were ready, they were prepared. They hadn’t had an opportunity as a community to say thank you for everything that he had done. And they really gave him a chance to say thank you back. And I really appreciated what the Bruin players insisted that he did following the game when they all came back out on the bench and made Iggy take a nice little lap around the arena and acknowledge the fans that just would not leave the arena. They wanted to see him, and they didn’t want it to end.”
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.
Final two hours of Dale and Holley with Keefe for a Friday.More from this show
Gerry, Kirk and Arcand react to Brady getting into a business relationship with Tony Robbins.More from this show
Dale, Holley and Keefe discuss a variety of topics for the first two hours of Freestyle Friday.More from this show