stats Making the Business of Life Easier

   Finance globeinvestor   Careers globecareers.workopolis Subscribe to The Globe
The Globe and Mail /
Home | Business | National | Int'l | Sports | Columnists | The Arts | Tech | Travel | TV | Wheels


  This site         Tips

  The Web Google


  Where to Find It

Breaking News
  Home Page

  Report on Business



Subscribe to The Globe

Shop at our Globe Store

Print Edition
  Front Page

  Report on Business




  Arts & Entertainment



   Headline Index

 Other Sections

  Births & Deaths






  Facts & Arguments




  Real Estate









  Food & Dining




  Online Personals

  TV Listings/News

 Specials & Series
  All Reports...


   Where to Find It
 A quick guide to what's available on the site



  Customer Service

  Help & Contact Us



 Web Site

  E-Mail Newsletters

  Free Headlines

  Globe Store New

  Help & Contact Us

  Make Us Home

  Mobile New

  Press Room

  Privacy Policy

  Terms & Conditions


Hainsey and Rielly are all set for a match-game challenge
Maple Leafs' No. 1 defensive pair has been preparing for a tricky mission - shutting down top Bruins line

Email this article Print this article
Thursday, April 12, 2018 – Page B14

BRIGHTON, MASS. -- on Hainsey thinks trying to R defend against the Boston Bruins' top line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak is like an endless game of Whack-A-Mole. And just about as much fun.

"I don't know where they're going a lot of the time and it makes it very, very challenging," said Hainsey, who will see a lot of that line as part of the Toronto Maple Leafs' top defence pair with Morgan Rielly, starting Thursday night in Boston when their first-round NHL playoff series begins.

The way Hainsey sees it, they are constantly popping up in open spaces, ready to take a blind pass from one of the others and bury a one-timer. The constant motion works well enough that all three Bruins hit 30 goals this season. Pastrnak, by far the youngest member of the trio at 21, led the way with 35 while Marchand, 29, had 34 and Bergeron, 32, scored 30.

"What I struggle with them is they know where each other is without looking," Hainsey said.

"They have these automatic plays where Bergeron and Pastrnak, especially on that side, the right, you think they might do one thing and it's a no-look pass to one of them for a one-timer and it can end up in your net in a hurry.

"They're really, really dangerous with that. You can't predict exactly what with them."

Hainsey's concerns were put to Marchand after the Bruins finished practising on Wednesday afternoon. He considered the Leaf defenceman's run to the Stanley Cup last season when he was with the Pittsburgh Penguins and his stint with the Leafs this season, in which they went 3-1 against the Bruins.

"It doesn't seem like Ron's had a tough time shutting us down the last couple years," Marchand said. "I think he's got it figured out."

In the four games between the Leafs and Bruins this season, perhaps. In those games, the Bruins line was held to a total of six goals and five assists. The Leafs could also throw in the fact they were missing Auston Matthews for three of those games.

However, in keeping with the NHL axiom that regular-season records must be tossed out the window for the playoffs, there is no question Leafs head coach Mike Babcock has a plan for the three Bruins.

"They're elite players any way you look at it," Babcock said on Wednesday. "Bergeron is real good in the faceoff circle, they all work real hard and compete real hard.

"Marchand and Bergeron are elite penalty killers so they know how to play the game without the puck and for the longest part of the year they hardly got scored on."

While Babcock is not strictly a match-up coach, one who is willing to disrupt his team's rhythm by changing on the fly in away games to get the line match-ups he wants, he does like to put one unit against another when he can without too much trouble. But it is not clear just how he will approach the Bergeron line.

The only certainty is Hainsey and Rielly will be on the ice as much as possible against them.

With the forward lines, Babcock has the luxury of assigning the Bergeron line to his shutdown unit of Nazem Kadri, Patrick Marleau and Mitch Marner. He could also restore noted pest Leo Komarov to Kadri's line in place of Marner. And there is the chance Matthews and his wingers Zach Hyman and William Nylander will play opposite Bergeron and company.

What is interesting about this is Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy is not a match-up guy. When someone asked him what would happen if he found himself trying to match lines with a match-up coach, Cassidy said, "I'd probably lose the match-ups then, right?" Kidding aside, Cassidy allowed he plans to use his home-ice advantage of last change in the first two games of the series to put the Bergeron line against Matthews's line. But only up to a point.

"I think they will see Matthews and Nylander," Cassidy said. "Will it be a marriage so to speak? We have generally not chased the game for match-ups. Of course it's playoff time; if we feel we need to do that we will. But [second-line centre] David Krejci is a world-class player."

One thing that might push Cassidy into making sure Matthews sees as much as possible of Bergeron is the Bruins' injury situation. Third-line centre Riley Nash will miss the first game with an undisclosed injury (he's been out since March 31) and Cassidy never hesitated to match him against the opposition's best line.

And there is the matter of the Kadri line being as dangerous offensively as it is defensively.

"At the end of the day, I think Kadri's line is dangerous as well [as the Matthews line]," Cassidy said. "So when [Bergeron] is out there against Kadri, I thought during the regular season they did well against that line. It's a dangerous line.

"We can't focus on, 'Hey, if we shut this one line down everything will fall into place.' I think there's other attacks they have."

Associated Graphic

Maple Leafs defenceman Ron Hainsey tangles with Bruin Brad Marchand in Toronto in November. Toronto won three of its four games against Boston this season.


Huh? How did I get here?
Return to Main Brian_Milner Page
Subscribe to
The Globe and Mail

Email this article Print this article

space  Advertisement

Need CPR for your RSP? Check your portfolio’s pulse and lower yours by improving the overall health of your investments. Click here.


7-Day Site Search

Breaking News

Today's Weather


Rick Salutin
Merrily marching
off to war
Roy MacGregor
Duct tape might hold
when panic strikes

Where Manley is going with his first budget



For a columnist's most recent stories, click on their name below.


Roy MacGregor arrow
This Country
Jeffrey Simpson arrow
The Nation
Margaret Wente arrow
Hugh Winsor  arrow
The Power Game

Rob Carrick arrow
Personal Finance
Drew Fagan arrow
The Big Picture
Mathew Ingram arrow
Brent Jang arrow
Business West
Brian Milner arrow
Taking Stock
Eric Reguly arrow
To The Point
Andrew Willis arrow

Stephen Brunt arrow
The Game
Eric Duhatschek arrow
Allan Maki arrow
William Houston arrow
Truth & Rumours
Lorne Rubenstein arrow
 The Arts

John Doyle arrow
John MacLachlan Gray arrow
Gray's Anatomy
David Macfarlane arrow
Cheap Seats
Johanna Schneller arrow

Murray Campbell arrow
Ontario Politics
Lysiane Gagnon arrow
Inside Quebec
Marcus Gee arrow
The World
William Johnson arrow
Pit Bill
Paul Knox arrow
Heather Mallick arrow
As If
Leah McLaren arrow
Generation Why
Rex Murphy arrow
Japes of Wrath
Rick Salutin arrow
On The Other Hand
Paul Sullivan arrow
The West
William Thorsell arrow

Home | Business | National | Int'l | Sports | Columnists | The Arts | Tech | Travel | TV | Wheels

© 2003 Bell Globemedia Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Help & Contact Us | Back to the top of this page