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March 18, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Joe McDonald

Joe McDonald
  (3:00 PM)

Hello everyone, thanks for joining me today. Now that I'm back from covering the Red Sox in spring training, it's time to turn the focus on the Bruins. It's no doubt going to be an interesting night at TD Garden when the Bruins host the Pens. All the attention for tonight's game has been on the Penguins' Matt Cooke for his blindside hit on the Bruins' Marc Savard on March 7 in Pittsburgh. No matter what happens, the Bruins main concern should be a victory because they are still fighting for a postseason berth. Don't get me wrong, I like a nice scrum just as much as the next guy, but this team can make its presence known by playing physical and with a win. OK, I've dropped my gloves now, so bring it on!

RJ (Boston)

Hey Joe,I'm from Colorado and remember the RedWings blood feud, and the Bertuzzi incident well. One of those events served to galvanize both teams... the other, not so much.Crazy thing is that the Wings Avs games were still very competitive despite all the fighting... where as the Vancouver game was a blow-out where you'd expect a melee to be more likely.I'd like to see a lot of fighting tonight, but not a Bertuzzi/McSorley/Simon sort of thing... doubt we will see much of anything though, with the 8th seed on the line

Joe McDonald
  (3:03 PM)

Hey RJ, What you will see tonight is a clean, tough and very physical game that will live up to hockey standards. Matt Cooke should take on whoever wants to go early and get it over with. The Bruins need these two points, but there will be that fine line, as Shawn Thornton talked about this morning after the team's game-day skate. I'm sure it will be a very entertaining game.

Kevin (Fall River)

Since Julien originally said that they will let the league take care of Cooke which they didn't, What are the chances that the Bruins tell Campbell 'hey you had a chance to do your job, but didn't, so don't get in our way of doing our job so take a hike' or atleast shout obscenities in his general direction?

Joe McDonald
  (3:06 PM)

Kevin, Colin Campbell will be in the building tonight and will address both teams before the game. I don't think he will lay down the law in a strict manner. He probably will explain to the players the importance of the situation and to keep the physical part of the game within reason. He knows Bruins fans, even the players, aren't happy with his decision to not suspend Cooke for his hit on Savard, and I'm sure the Bruins players will let him know their disappointment. When Campbell is in the Bruins room prior to the game, I'm sure there will be a back and forth conversation.

LucicSucks (Boston)

What happened to Kalman?

Joe McDonald
  (3:08 PM)

LS, Matt Kalman and I will both be covering the Bruins for ESPNBoston.com. Matt has been covering the team for many years now and is one of the best. Hopefully Matt and I can bring you the best possible coverage of the Bruins.

Lil Bit Special (Newton, MA)

Instead of starting a stupid, worthless fight, beat the crap out of the Pens all night. Hit hard. Hit often. Lay some lumber. But dont do anything stupid.

Joe McDonald
  (3:10 PM)

Hey Lil, Like I said earlier, I believe this is going to be a very physical and entertaining game. I don't think things will get out of hand. The Bruins will respond in the best possible way they can, and that's by beating the Penguins on the scoreboard. If someone decides to drop the gloves, I'm all for that, too.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

What year since you covered the Red Sox

Joe McDonald
  (3:11 PM)

Hey Chris, I worked at the Providence Journal for 18 years and began covering the Sox in 2002. I will continue to cover both the Red Sox and Bruins for ESPNBoston.com. Hope you keep reading.

Bill (Nashua, NH)

Do you think the B's should have retaliated immediately following the hit or do you think they did the right thing by focusing on winning the game.

Joe McDonald
  (3:14 PM)

Hi Bill, Yes, I do believe the Bruins should have retaliated immediately following Cooke's hit on Savard. If the Bruins did handle it that night on March 7 in Pittsburgh, I don't think there would be this much focus on tonight's game. Now, I also believe the Bruins need to handle it in a professional manner tonight, and then focus on winning the game en route to a continued push towards a postseason berth.

Craig (NH)

If tonight goes to a shootout, who do you want taking the shots?

Joe McDonald
  (3:16 PM)

Hi Craig, What I would really like to see in this game from the Bruins is an absolute offensive barrage. Boston needs to make this the proverbial statement game, so a shootout is not needed.

Joe McDonald
  (3:21 PM)

Hey G. Hart, I know Gordo must be missing me down at The Fort. Your question reminds me of a conversation I had with Cam Neely two winters ago after he spoke to a group of Red Sox prospects. I asked No. 8 if he had any advice for the young baseball players just in case there were involved in a bench-clearing brawl. "I told them to leave their pocketbooks in the dugout," Neely told me. Hockey players do settle things a lot better than baseball. Bench-clearing brawls in baseball are a joke. If a pitcher wants to throw at a batter, then it should be between those two players. If a catcher leaves the box, or players leave the dugouts or bullpens, there should be automatic suspensions. Just my opinion.

Bob (Tacoma, Wa)

Hi Joe - I have a question. If Campbell and the NHL deemed Cooke's hit to be legal and that he did nothing wrong, then why does Campbell (and Gregson) feel the need to go this game and address both teams ? It doesn't make sense. According to their logic, the hit was legal and Boston "should have nothing to be mad about". But if Boston has nothing to be mad about, why would they need to address before the game and then watchthe game in person ? It defies logic...

Joe McDonald
  (3:25 PM)

Hi Bob, As Campbell said during an interview on NHL Live on Wednesday, he wants to be here in hopes to "keep things civil" so things don't get out of control. The league is trying to come up with a quick answer to the recent increase in hits to the head over the last few seasons. A new rule could even be in place by the end of this season. It's a process, and being in the building for tonight's game is part of it. This isn't something new for Campbell. Being the league's top cop, he attends games all the time. I'll tell you this, I would love to be a fly on the wall when Campbell talks with the Bruins players prior to tonight's game.

Jason (CT)

How tough do you think Campbell will be on any Bruin who touches Crosby...I see him going a little bit overboard in regard to his "Golden Boy"

Joe McDonald
  (3:27 PM)

Hey Jason, I believe Crosby will be on the receiving end of a lot of clean hits tonight. He's probably expecting as much. Campbell will stress the importance to both teams to keep the game clean.

Jay Kustka (Boston)

Hi Joe,I'd say the Bruins should put Chara on forward when Cooke is out there and let him take Cooke on. No cheapshots, just invite him to dance. That would be a clear message from the leader and could go a long way in galvanizing the team.

Joe McDonald
  (3:29 PM)

Hey Jay, I agree. Whether it's Chara, Shawn Thornton, or even Mark Stuart, I think either one of them can "dance" with Cooke just to get it over with and then concentrate on getting the win. I'm not a betting man, but I would say Stuart is the one who steps up with Cooke because they're in similar weight classes.

RJ (Boston)

Thanks Joe,Any chance you will be on hand for the meeting Campbell is gonig to have with the team, before the puck drops? I would love to hear how the team responds directly to him, while they have that chance.

Joe McDonald
  (3:30 PM)

RJ, Everyone in the media will want to talk to Campbell at some point tonight. I'll do my best to track him down and get his take on the situation.

Jeff (NC)

If you take the Red Sox out of the equation, who is your favorite baseball team?

Joe McDonald
  (3:32 PM)

Hey Jeff, I know I'll be crucified for this but . . . I've always said I respect the Yankees organization for the way it does business, both on and off the field.

RJ (Boston)

P.S.Very glad you are in the mix for the Bruins fans! Been a long time coming.

Joe McDonald
  (3:33 PM)

Thanks, RJ. I really appreciate the kind words. I'll do my best.

Bill Marquis (Nashua NH)

Hi Joe, I'd like to know what Colin Campbell hopes to accomplish by attending tonights game. Is he going to threaten anyone who retaliates with suspension?

Joe McDonald
  (3:34 PM)

Hey Bill, Campbell is a true hockey guy and he gets the fact the Bruins will stick up for their teammate. As long as the Bruins handle it within the standards of hockey, I think it'll be over and one with without any more injuries or suspensions.

Mike (Burrillville, RI)

If Ferrance, Boychuk, and/or Wideman aren't able to play tonight, which defenseman gets the callup from Providence?

Joe McDonald
  (3:36 PM)

Hey Mike, Julien said the flu bug is going around the room right now and Wheeler, Boychuk and Wideman will all be game-time decisions. If the Bruins need help from Providence, it could be Penner and Whitfield getting the call.

Jason (CT)

They should just start with a 5 on 5 fight...everyone involved, but in one on one bouts. Cooke/Stuart...Crosby/Bergeron. I know it won't happen, but that would be quality entertainment...plus, If the game winds up being terrible, they'd have plenty of new footage to go back to during the broadcast.

Joe McDonald
  (3:40 PM)

Hey Jason, The first Bruins game I went to as a kid I had a front-row seat for a bench-clearing brawl against the Colorado Rockies. I absolutely loved it. Coach Julien even said this morning that "this isn't the 1970s" and he just wants this game to be over with so everyone can focus on the remainder of the season and hopefully a playoff berth. Bergeron and Crosby are very close friends. The two were actually roommates during the World Juniors a few years ago, but that would be pretty funny to see those two drop the mitts.

Sportsbozo1 (Vero Beach,Fl)

Joe I'm an old school hockey fan and I don't think attacking Cooke will be equal retribution,I think the Bruins need to hit Sid the Kid on every shift he takes. I see that Evegni is a healthy scratch. I'm surprised the Penguins even brought Sidney with them.

Joe McDonald
  (3:42 PM)

Hey Bozo (I mean that in a good way) I do think Crosby will take more hits tonight than he's used to -- albeit clean ones. Malkin is out of the lineup tonight, but I don't believe it has anything to do with the Cooke/Savard incident.

Don (Phila PA)

Joe, would the Bruins have any interest in bringing in any of their prospects playing in the NCAA tournament (eg Colburne) after it is completed? or is it too late in the game ?

Joe McDonald
  (3:44 PM)

Hey Don, It's very possible the Bruins could bring in some of their draftees after the collegiate season is over. If the organization were to do that, however, those players could play for the AHL affiliate in Providence. That has happened in the past.

Mike (Boston)

Hey Joe I have been B's fan all my life 40 years or so if the B's don't go after Cooke then they lost me as a fan. I know they are saying hte right thing but honestly this team isn't going anywhere in the playoffs espically now with Savard out.

Joe McDonald
  (3:46 PM)

Hey Mike, This game could do a few things for the Bruins. First and foremost, if Boston can post a victory over the Penguins, it'll give the Bruins a much-needed spark down the stretch. Also, if there is some kind of retribution on Cooke, it could unite the players and bring them closer for a run at the postseason. I think both with happen and the Bruins will go about it in a professional manner.

tim (boston,ma)

Joe do you see Tuuka starting for the rest of the season making thomas the backup? Also what do you think the goalie situation will be come playoff time?

Joe McDonald
  (3:49 PM)

Hey Tim, Rask is starting tonight. I think if he plays well against the Penguins, and the Bruins are able to pull off the win, it could be his job to lose the rest of the way. Thomas, however, has more experience and I'm sure he's not liking the fact he's on the bench for an important game in March. The goalie who is playing the best come the end of the regular season, I think will get the nod in the playoffs.

Mike (Burrillville, RI)

Why do the B's consistantly give minutes to Wideman when both Hunwick, Boychuk and Stuart outplay him/

Joe McDonald
  (3:52 PM)

Hey Mike, to answer your previous post, the Bruins just announced that Penner and Whitfield have been recalled from Providence.

Joe McDonald
  (3:54 PM)

I want to thank everyone who participated today and thanks for the great questions. Sorry I wasn't able to get to all of them, but we'll do this many, many more times. Be sure to check back after the game tonight to get a full report of the festivities. Thanks again. Joe