Bergeron expects to draw Crosby matchup


As one of the NHL’s  best defensive forwards, Patrice Bergeron knows what his likely assignment will be for the Eastern Conference finals:

Matching up with Sidney Crosby.

“I expect to play against him,” Bergeron told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “You play this game to play against the best.

“This is going to be a great challenge.”

The reigning Selke winner and a nominee this season, Bergeron has made a living doing battle with opposing centers.

He’s one of the league’s premier faceoff men (currently leading the playoffs at 63.5 percent) and has earned Crosby’s respect from their numerous head-to-head matchups.

“Nothing is easy against him,” Crosby said.

Here’s more, from the Tribune-Review’s Josh Yohe:

Bergeron and Crosby have met 18 times. Crosby has recorded 27 points in those meetings, giving him an average of 1.5 in games against Bergeron.

His career average is 1.42 points per game, which is fourth-highest in NHL history. Despite numbers that suggest Bergeron’s presence doesn’t hinder him, Crosby knows better.

Even though Bergeron figures he’ll draw the Crosby assignment, he won’t be alone in trying to shut down No. 87.

At practice on Wednesday, the Bruins split up defensemen Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg in an attempt to find pairings to match up against Pittsburgh’s top two lines.

No hearing scheduled for Burmistrov after Bergeron headshot

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Winnipeg forward Alex Burmistrov isn’t in line for a disciplinary hearing for his elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron on Thursday night, an NHL spokesman confirmed to PHT.

Burmistrov was tagged with an illegal check to the head minor late in the first period. Bergeron received a minor roughing penalty for retaliating on the Russian forward, but was able to finish the contest.

Afterward, B’s head coach Claude Julien expressed frustration with the hit.

“It will be interesting how that is being reviewed, and especially to an elite player in the league who’€™s had some [concussion] issues in the past,” Julien said, per WEEI. “I hope they look at it seriously. In my mind, I don’€™t see why there wouldn’t be further consequences [for] that.”

Bergeron said that, while it was “definitely a hit to the head,” Burmistrov did come up to him afterward and apologized.

According to sources of CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty, Burmistrov received a warning from the Department of Player Safety.


After lopsided loss, Julien says it’s ‘not about the young D’

Claude Julien

The Boston Bruins’ young, makeshift defense failed to come through Thursday night as the B’s were thumped, 6-2, on home ice by the Winnipeg Jets.

Without injured veterans Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg, the defensive pairings were as follows:

Torey KrugAdam McQuaid
Joe MorrowKevan Miller
Matt IrwinZach Trotman

And let’s just say, turnovers were a factor:

That was Irwin getting checked off the puck there.

“I had the puck behind the net, and I went to one side of the net, and then I just didn’t use the net to my advantage,” he explained afterwards, per CSN New England. “He got his stick in there, obviously stripped me of the puck, and we all know what happened after that. I take full blame for that one.”

But head coach Claude Julien wasn’t willing to blame inexperience for the poor outing.

“It’s not about youth. It’s not about the young D,” said Julien. “It’s about our game without the puck. I think we might have gotten a little excited here about our offense and forgot about the other part of our game.”

And to be fair, even Boston’s more accomplished d-men had their challenging moments.

Here’s Krug failing to get position on Nicolas Petan in front of the Bruins’ net:

All in all, it was a tough night.

“We’ll correct those [mistakes] tomorrow in practice,” said Irwin. “We’re a confident group in here. We liked our offense. We liked the chances we were getting. All those mistakes, D-zone, are something that we’re going to work on and get better every day.”

The Bruins host their rivals from Montreal on Saturday.