Sweeney Addresses Media Ahead of Bruins’ Return to Florida

Sweeney Addresses Media Ahead of Bruins’ Return to Florida
Sweeney Addresses Media Ahead of Bruins’ Return to Florida

BEDFORD, Mass. – Bruins general manager Don Sweeney addressed the media on Monday afternoon ahead of the team’s return flight to Florida for Tuesday’s Game 5. With the Black & Gold now facing a 3-1 deficit to the Panthers, Sweeney touched on a number of topics, including Brad Marchand’s status, how he feels the team has played thus far, as well as the controversial officiating decisions that have surrounded the series.

On Brad Marchand’s health…

Sweeney: “Brad skated today, he’ll travel with the team. He’s still day-to-day. Hopefully he’ll continue…the guys have to give him a chance.”

On the Bruins’ failed challenge for goalie interference on Florida’s tying goal in the third period of Game 4…

Sweeney: “We’re not in a position to be criticalizing the officials…that’s standard protocol. We’ll get finished as a result of that, so there’s no intention on my point to be critical. The overall premise that I have is, to be perfectly honest with you, you should not be asking the coach after the game what they feel about officiating and what happens.

“You guys should really be focusing on what we didn’t do well enough in the course of the game to win a hockey game. Those questions should be directed at either the supervisors of officials, supervisors of the series, and/or the officials. You want full access or transparency, then put the officials in front of the microphone to answer the questions. They’re the only ones who have the experience to be able to handle whatever interpretation they applied, Rule 69 in that case, to answer your question. That’s it…

“Clearly, we challenged it because of our interpretation…don’t put out a statement, just stand in front and answer the questions. It’s as simple as that.”

On the lack of any discipline for Florida forward Sam Bennett following his hit to Brad Marchand’s head early in Game 3…

Sweeney: “Department of Player Safety needs to make a statement on how they interpret that situation. We’ve seen every angle that you can possibly imagine. No different than when Brad himself has been called to the carpet and comparables are looked at. That’s their job, their responsibility to protect the players and we have to respect that, whatever their judgment is. It’s not a Source of frustration on our part.”

On when the definitive angle showing Bennett’s right hand strike Marchand was made available to the Bruins…

Sweeney: “We didn’t get that until later on. If we had it earlier, maybe we would’ve passed it along. Clearly somebody did and they passed it along. We felt that way all along, but that was more definitive as to what transpired.”

On officials being available to the media to discuss important calls…

Sweeney: “A player, coach…every game, you guys go in and ask them critically plays good or bad, fair? I don’t think it’s any different. If you want full access, if you want transparency, and you want explanations, then the people who are making the decisions should explain, simple as that for me. That’s another growth in our game.”

We face a 3-1 series deficit…

Sweeney: “Our guys played well [Sunday] night, we had a 2-0 lead, they clawed their way back into the game and we didn’t get it done. It’s no different than the way Toronto felt down 3-1 to us and how we felt last year, the fact that they gained momentum. We just have to go down and win a hockey game. Go out and execute the way we’re capable of and we’ll be fine.

“It’s disappointing to walk out of there last night knowing that you could’ve tied up a series. You’ve just got to go back and focus on one game at a time. Toronto got a little bit of momentum out of it. Our guys just have to focus on a really god start [Tuesday] night and keep their crowd and feeling like they can close it out on our side and get the job done.

“I know our guys are excited about going down to play. There’s no hanging our head, there’s just a refocus of really what we have to do to move forward.”

On being outshot so significantly throughout the series…

Sweeney: “We’re not a volume-shooting team, we’re trying to get quality. In a perfect world, you get both quality and quantity. We have three breakaways [Sunday] night, you can extend the lead…they had two…Game 2 we’re in a 2-1 hockey game, we don’t execute at the end of the period and they take momentum. Playoff hockey. We definitely needed to do a better job of recognizing some offensive situations and remaining tight defensively, staying above and playing behind, creating as much traffic as possible.

‘We haven’t had a lot of rebound opportunities in this series, I think we have to generate a little more of that with the intention of going to the harder areas of the ice. Our defense has to be a little more active to be able to get pucks through and change their lanes. Give the other team credit for blocking shots and just do a better job. We’re behind in the series because they’ve executed better than we have.”

On the recalls of goalie Brandon Bussi and forwards Patrick Brown and Jayson Megna from Providence on Monday morning…

Sweeney: “We travel with three [goalies]. Michael DiPietro went down to practice with a few other guys. Providence is doing their exit meetings, some players will stick around…Megna and Brown both joined us just to make sure we have bodies and if lineup changes need to be made. You always do an inventory, now you’re traveling, make sure we have the appropriate numbers with us at this time of the year.

“Just having different players at our disposal if we wanted to throw a different look in any way, shape, or form or if players are crazy up. That’s just how this time of the year is, it’s pretty common around the league.”

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