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June 8, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Joe McDonald

Joe McDonald
  (3:05 PM)

Hey guys, Thanks for joining me today. It's beautiful outside and nothing beats hockey this time of the year. There's a huge buzz around the Garden today as puck drops on Game 4 of the Stanley Cup final tonight.

JK (NY)

Any word yet on who is playing with Krejci and Lucic tonight?

Joe McDonald
  (3:06 PM)

JK, I think you'll see a rotation tonight between Michael Ryder, Rich Peverley and Tyler Seguin. Personally, I like Ryder on that line.

Shawn (Barre,Vermont)

I felt in game 3 the officials were trying to "send a message" and control the physicallity,do you see them making the same type of moves tonight??worse maybe?

Joe McDonald
  (3:08 PM)

Shawn, In the Stanley Cup final, you have the most reliable on-ice officials working the games. For the most part, I think the guys have done a very good job. I do think this series is only going to become more physical, so it'll be interesting to see how they handle it.

Matt (Portland, Maine)

Canucks fan in Maine, what do you expect tonight from Luongo?

Joe McDonald
  (3:10 PM)

Hey Matt, Even though the Bruins trail in this series, I think Boston actually has momentum. The Bruins are disgusted about the Horton injury and that gave them even more motivation to win this series. Tonight, I think Luongo is going to face a lot of rubber.

Mark (NYC)

Joe - what is your take on how the NHL has handled this series in general. To me, its a shame; as the focus should be all about the series, but, instead its all about how the NHL failed to admit what Burras did, suspend him or not, it seems everything spiraled down by the lack of the NHL to even admit what transpired. Then from there, the tounting happened, then the horton hit, and now all this media circus about everything instead of the actual game itself. Also, what are your thoughts on Vancouvers coach? Thanks

Joe McDonald
  (3:14 PM)

Hey Mark, Great debate here. First, the NHL should have definitely suspended Burrows for his biting incident. If he was, none of this would be going on. That's not to say something else would have triggered both teams to act in a similar fashion. After all it is the Stanley Cup final and these guys will do just about anything they can to gain an edge with hopes of hoisting the Cup. I've been impressed with Vigneault so far. Because I cover the Bruins and we don't see the Western Conference much, it's tough to get an accurate gauge on players and coaches when you're not dealing with them often. But I do like the way he handles himself. But, with that said, I can't believe he would go out of his way to say the league made the wrong decision on the Rome suspension.

Bruins Fan 6 (Boston)

Joe - do you feel like an early goal lead is critical to maintaining momentum and do you feel 1-2 goals will rattle Luongo?

Joe McDonald
  (3:17 PM)

Bruins Fan 6, What's the 6 stand for? Maybe the sixth Cup in Bruins history? Haha. At this point of the season getting that first goal is obviously critical. After Boston pummeled Luongo with eight goals in Game 3, I do agree that Boston needs to get to him early and often. You're going to see a ton of traffic in front of him. If the Bruins can strike early, it could be a long, or short, night for Luongo. If he can withstand the attack and lead the Canucks to victory, it's going to be tough for the Bruins to come back being down 3-1.

Brian (Boston)

I keep hearing the Canucks say that if Horton had been in possession of the puck, or if the hit had been a fraction of a second sooner, then it would have been a "good clean hockey hit". If that's true, then I don't want my kids either playing or watching the game of hockey. And I have been a life long die hard hockey fan since 1979. I can't imagine how the casual fan would feel about that. Talk about bad for the game.So, what do you think of this proposed rule change: no hits to an unsuspecting player. Seems to me that most of the head shots are delivered to players that don't see it coming. I love a big hit as much as the next guy, but seeing a guy get blind sided is another story altogether.Thanks Joe.

Joe McDonald
  (3:23 PM)

Brian, For the first time in my career, I felt sick about something that happened during a game. I can't believe Rome would act in such a manner, especially in a Cup game. It's tough to get into the what-ifs in this situation. If Horton had the puck then his body would have been in a completely different position. I don't like the fact that some believe it wasn't a bad hit, or that he was following his pass. Lucic already had control of the puck and was moving up ice. The hit was deliberate and gutless. I'm glad the league acted the way it did, but losing Rome compared to losing Horton can't even compare. OK, now with that rant behind me, hockey is the greatest sport on earth. Nothing in all of sports can compare to the Stanley Cup playoffs -- NOTHING. The Stanley Cup is the toughest trophy to win. It's unfortunate Nathan Horton is done for the season.

Doug (Merrimack NH)

Did anyone ask Mr. Murphy yesterday, the fact that if he had suspended Burrows for the bite, the "crap" that he said has to go would have ever happened?

Joe McDonald
  (3:25 PM)

Doug, I agree! Burrows should have been suspended for the biting incident. But if it wasn't that, the players would have found something else to taunt each other. That's the nature of the playoffs. Still, it's tough to argue the fact that if Burrows was suspended he wouldn't have been able to score two goals, including the game-winning tally in Game 2. I did like the "crap" and "garbage" line by Murphy, though.

Jonathan Arnold (Medford, MA)

I'm afraid for the Bruins tonight. They do well when they are well & truly fired up, but they do not do well when they just talk about it. Are the Bruins really going to come up fired up, or will this be an emotional let down game, like the 2 Detroit games after the amazing MTL regular season fight fest?

Joe McDonald
  (3:27 PM)

Jonathan, I truly believe the Bruins come out tonight with the same intensity. Each and every Bruins players have said over the last couple of days something along the lines of: "You push us, we're going to push back." That's the type of hockey that has made them successful this season. It took Boston a couple of games to figure that out again in this series, but now that they have it, and Game 4 is on home ice, I think they even this series tonight. Basically, there will not be a let down

Ryan (Washington, DC)

Regardless of whether you agree with the suspension the NHL levied on Rome, I think most people would agree that the Bruin's loss is worse than Canucks'. I have read a few columns about how it will be relatively easy for the Canucks to fill in the roster hole created by the suspension (likely with Ballard). It seems to me that if the NHL really wants to take a stand on these hits, they need to do more to penalize the TEAMS so that they will discourage this type of hit. One way I came up with would be to prevent teams from replacing suspended players, i.e., if a player is suspended, the team loses a roster spot until that play comes back. This might make teams think twice about sending "goons" out to target top players on opposing teams (say what you will about the bruins "goons," but in general, I would say they target other "goons" and not top players). What do you think about this idea? Any alternative ideas along the same lines?

Joe McDonald
  (3:30 PM)

Ryan, Great argument here! You must be a lawyer. I have said the same for years. A team should not be able to replace a suspended player. Boston will attempt to win without the highly talented Horton and the Canucks will add Ballard to their lineup.

pat (boston)

Assuming the B's win tonight, what would you think would be a few keys/areas for the Buins to win in Vancouver?

Joe McDonald
  (3:32 PM)

Hey Pat, If the Bruins win tonight, it will be because they played similar to the way they did in Game 3. They need to be physical. They need to attack the net with reckless abandon. Win the one-on-one battles along the boards and that will completely slow the Canucks down. Once the series shifts back to Vancouver, Boston can't change its game.

JT (Cape Cod)

Do you think Mike Murphy talking to both teams will calm things down some or do you still expect a lot of nastiness tonight?

Joe McDonald
  (3:33 PM)

JT, It's the Stanley Cup final. The only thing you won't see is the finger, biting gestures. There will still be plenty of face washes, taunting and chirping on the ice. If anything, I believe the physicality will only intensify as the series progresses.

Jim (CT)

what do you expect tonight from Tyler Seguin?

Joe McDonald
  (3:37 PM)

Jim, Great question. Here's my thought about Seguin: If Horton was healthy and Julien decided to flip-flop Thornton for Seguin, the 19-year-old would be fired up that he's getting a chance again. Now that the team needs him to step him, I'm not too sure he'll have the same attitude. We've seen glimpses of it this season, and that's the way he played in Game 2 of the Conference finals. He went relatively unnoticed in Games 1 and 2 of the Cup final, and you'll probably see him with different line combinations tonight. I think he needs to fully take advantage of this situation and prove to Bruins fans what he's made of. This is his chance to shine and I hope he doesn't shy away from any of it because no doubt he has the talent to be a great player.

Matty Snyder (Foxboro, MA)

Hey Joe, I'm thinking all the momentum has swung in favor of Boston, who seem to have shut down the Sedin twins and also figured out how to beat the beast in Luongo. If they can continue this frenetic pace, there's no way they're losing. What do you think?

Joe McDonald
  (3:38 PM)

Matty, I couldn't agree with you more. Despite the fact that the Bruins still trail in this series, and with Game 4 on home ice, I believe the Bruins have momentum and will even the series tonight.

Billy (Boston)

OK Joe, right off the bat, lets get your prediction for tonight's game.

Joe McDonald
  (3:38 PM)

Billy, Bruins 3-1

Eric (MA)

We've seen Burrows bite, Lapierre taunt, Rome's late but "clean" hit, Sedin diving twice this series already (no shame?) Vinnault's complaining about the wat Tim Thomas plays... and nothing about Raffi Torres, yet. I knew nothing about this team before the series but I now have absolutely no respect for them. Are they as despised around the league?

Joe McDonald
  (3:41 PM)

Eric, Sounds like you're comparing them to the Canadiens. It's tough to argue against the President's Trophy winners as being the best team in the NHL, but now that we're three games into this series, I think the Bruins have finally settled in nicely with the way they want to play. And if they can continue to do what they did in Game 3, the Canucks and pull all the shenanigans they want because they won't be able to beat Boston.

Marc (Malden, MA)

The NHL should look into how it punishes teams in situations like this. Horton for Rome is not even, nor do I think it's a deterrant. What's to stop VAN's #12 forward from going after Krecji or Thornton going after Kesler? The NHL should think about a system where, in this case, VAN would have lost a player equal to Horton. I know it comes with it's own issues of who/how do you assess each player's value, but it would be more fair.

Joe McDonald
  (3:44 PM)

Marc, Ryan from D.C. brought this up earlier and I completely agree with him. If a player is suspended, that team should not be able to fill that void on the roster. Depth usually wins out and that could be the case in this situation. Instead, Vigneault will be able to insert Ballard into the lineup for Game 4. You can't replace a player like Horton at this stage.

Alexandre Burrows (Vancouver)

If vancouver wins tonight, will shawn thorton and Lucic pound my face in?

Joe McDonald
  (3:45 PM)

Alex, I don't think either of those guys want their hands anywhere near your face or mouth.

Brian B. (Longmeadow, MA)

Joe-Is the drop-off from Horton to Seguin a difference-maker? What about the impact it have on Vancouver's defense to be down two men (Hemhuis and Rome)?

Joe McDonald
  (3:49 PM)

Brian, At this stage, there is a "drop-off" in ability but Julien will rotate a few of his line combinations until he finds something that works and can be effective. Julien is good at, especially during the playoffs. As far as Vancouver, sure it helps Boston's chance that the Canucks are short on the backend, but there's no way to replace Horton's production at this point. Unless, however, Seguin has the type of game he played in Game 2 of the conference finals.

Nate (Cambridge)

How many minutes do you think seguin gets tonight and does he fill horton's PP minutes?

Joe McDonald
  (3:50 PM)

Hey Nate, Seguin will get significantly more ice time than he did in Games 1 and 2 only because of the situation. You should also see him on the PP. As I said earlier, this is a golden opportunity for Seguin to step up and contribute in a big way. I'm extremely interested to see how the kid responds.

Marc (Malden, MA)

I want Seguin on the first line, but I knew Claude won't do it. Ryder would be good as long as the good Michael Ryder shows up. I know Peverly is fast, but he couldn't hit the net if he was the only one on the ice.

Joe McDonald
  (3:52 PM)

Marc, I think you're going to see a rotation of guys on that top line. I've really like the way Ryder has played this series and I would stick with him on the top line. When he wants to, he can control the play with the skillful hands, and skating alongside a playmaker like Krejci for a full game, could only help. We'll see.

Ross MacKinnon (Providence)

Do you think that Tyler Seugin will have an impact offensively in the game tonight?

Joe McDonald
  (3:53 PM)

Ross, The Bruins are hoping he does. I'm interested to see how he plays. This is the kind of opportunity that gives you a genuine read on the makeup of a player's heart and soul.

Paul H. (Chelmsford, MA)

Joe, poor ice conditions tonight would have to favor the B's, right? Anything that slows down Vancouver should be a plus.

Joe McDonald
  (3:55 PM)

Paul, The ice was in pretty good shape for Game 3, but tonight could be a different story due to the heat and humidity. Players on both teams are expecting as much, especially late in each period. But it'll be the same for both teams. The Bruins installed a dehumidifier for the Eastern Conference finals in order to keep the building dry. We'll see how it goes, but expect a lot of bouncing pucks.

Jim Coughlin (Dorchester, MA)

On ESPN Boston's page for the Stanley Cup finals, you put in a prediction for the series as Bruins in 7. What's your reasoning? Why not Bruins in 6, which is many people seem to be saying.

Joe McDonald
  (3:58 PM)

Jim, If the Bruins win this series in 7, you owe me a libation at the Eire Pub. Deal? Here's the thing: Vancouver is a very good team and take advantage of home-ice advantage. My take is the Bruins win tonight, lose Game 5 at Rogers Arena and win Game 6 back here. Once you get to a Game 7, it does't matter where it's played and that's why the Bruins will win in seven. If I'm wrong, beers on me.

Chioke Hassan (Baltimore,Md)

Dear JoeWill Rome be suspended for that play Monday Night?

Joe McDonald
  (3:58 PM)

CH, He was suspended four game and will miss the rest of the series.

Bill (Boston)

One player that has really impressed me is Peverley. What are your thoughts on him?

Joe McDonald
  (4:00 PM)

Bill, I've been very impressed with Peverley. I like his speed, relentless style and versatility. When Peter Chiarelli landed both Peverley and Chris Kelly at the trade deadline, he scored big time with these guys. They're both true professionals and fit perfectly with the rest of the guys in the room.

Marc (Malden, MA)

The other solution is to come up with a system, where Vancouver loses their equivalent of Nathan Horton. So maybe instead of losing Rome, they lose one of the Sedins or Burrows.

Joe McDonald
  (4:02 PM)

I get what you're saying, but that's not fair to the player. I'm all for penalizing a team, but not a player due to a teammate's bonehead move.

Nick (Nashua)

Do you think the fact that Seguin is playing the rest of this series will help with his career development?

Joe McDonald
  (4:05 PM)

Nick, It should help his development in a big way. I also think because he's been in and out of the lineup during the playoffs gives him a better understand of what it takes to win at this level. He should take full advantage of this opportunity and when the season is over, it should also serve as a motivation to arrive at training camp in September in the best shape -- both on and off the ice -- in his career. There's no denying this kid's talent. I want to see what he's made of on the inside.

Nick (Nashua)

Do you think it will be an advantage having a rested Seguin after last game? It seemed like that last game would take a lot out of everyone playing and Seguin will have fresh legs and is fast anyways.

Joe McDonald
  (4:07 PM)

Nick, I really like the current roster. PC has done a good job assembling this team, and CJ has gotten the most from it.

Shawn (Motor D)

I love Seidenberg but...maybe Cam needs to come down to practice and give him a few fighting tips...waddya think??

Joe McDonald
  (4:10 PM)

Shawn, He's a lover, not a fighter. Haha. Kidding. Seidenberg has been one of the Bruins' best players the entire postseason. And, he's one of the strongest players on the ice for both teams. It's not part of his game, but I believe he can handle himself in any situation.

Joe (Brockton, MA)

Do you think that Shawn Thorton was a key to winning last game?

Joe McDonald
  (4:11 PM)

Joe, Without question he was one of the reasons. He's a guy who has won a Stanley Cup and is a leader on and off the ice. His first hit on Burrows during his his first shift of the game got the fans and the Bruins players into it very quickly. There's no doubt his presence made a major impact. Expect more of the same in Game 4.

Marcus (Boston)

GO BRUINS!!!! thorton is gonna lace somebody up and thomas will have a brilliant night in net 4-1 bruins

Joe McDonald
  (4:12 PM)

Good prediction, Marcus. I'll go with 3-1

Joe McDonald
  (4:14 PM)

I want to thank everyone for joining me today. If I did not get to your question or statement, I apologize. I hope we can do this again soon. As for Game 4, and the rest of the series, enjoy it because it's going to be incredible hockey. Thanks again, guys. Joey Mac