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Bish's Blog: April 23rd

by John Bishop & Angela Stefano / Boston Bruins
The Boston Bruins celebrate their series sweep over the Montreal Canadiens.

4:17 p.m.
Tomorrow It's Gone
"This [feeling] is something that, if we want it to last, we can’t allow ourselves to put our guard down for too long." - Claude Julien
As per usual, Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien continued to live for the victory when he was questioned about the Bruins win over the Habs.

"Tomorrow it’s gone," he said of the series victory.  "It’s got to be gone tomorrow.

"The players have a day off, and they need to empty the tank and relax a little bit, but they’re going to be right back at work the following day, and I want our guys focused and sharp.

"This [feeling] is something that, if we want it to last, we can’t allow ourselves to put our guard down for too long," he said.

In that vein, I'm emptying out the goodie bag.  So enjoy some audio from yesterday's victorious lockerroom:
Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien - Game 4 Postgame
Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara - Game 4 Postgame
Boston Bruins defenseman Aaron Ward - Game 4 Postgame
Boston Bruins alternate captain Patrice Bergeron - Game 4 Postgame
Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas - Game 4 Postgame

3:46 p.m.
Here we go NESN...
From NESN: NESN New England’s most watched sports network, earned a 9.2 average household rating for the Boston Bruins four game sweep of the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal. This is the highest rated playoff series in NESN’s 25 year history. The 9.2 rating equals an average of 221,000 households in the Boston DMA.

NESN’s previous record rating for a playoff series was an 8.4 household rating, which the network earned during the 2004 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Canadiens, a series that went seven games.

“It’s remarkable that we have been able to set a new NESN playoff ratings record in only a four game series,” said NESN president Sean McGrail. ”Boston is proving that this is a hockey town that boasts some of the most loyal hockey fans in the NHL."

NESN’s ratings for the four game series proved to be consistent, featuring the network’s third (9.5 – Game 2), fourth (9.4 – Game 1) and fifth (9.2 – Game 4) highest rated Bruins games of all time.

NESN’s ratings performance in the key demographic categories are up over 60% in almost every category vs. last year’s playoff coverage including Women 25-54 where the network is up 77% year over year.The network’s pre and post-game programs have also seen exceptional growth since last year’s first round playoff coverage with WB Mason Bruins Face-Off LIVE up 126% (2.7 HH) and Bruins Overtime LIVE presented by Ace up 81% (3.6 HH).

Thank you New England!

2:59 p.m.
Discipline Personified
MONTREAL - APRIL 22: Zdeno Chara #33 of the Boston Bruins shoves Georges Laraque #17 of the Montreal Canadiens into Tim Thomas #30 of the Boston Bruins during Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal Round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Bell Centre on April 22, 2009 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)
The catch praise for most people when talking about the B's series win over Montreal is discipline -- and Bruins Norris Trophy candidate Zdeno Chara just seems to embody that word.

"Probably one of the biggest targets was Zdeno Chara – if they could get him off the ice, it was certainly going to help them," said Julien of the B's defenseman. "But he stayed away from taking those penalties, and he was by far the most disciplined because he was the most challenged in that area.

"When your leader leads by example like that, everybody else has no choice but to follow.  That was our number one key, when we talked about keys to this series, was being disciplined, not letting the emotions get the better of you.

"We needed to stay focused, and our guys did a great job of that," he said.

1:27 p.m.
Chara is a Norris Finalist
The NHL announced today that Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara is one of three finalists competing for the 2008-09 Norris Trophy, which is awarded "to the defensive player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position.” Chara joins Mike Green from the Washington Capitals and Nicklas Lidstrom of the Detroit Red Wings as this year’s finalists. This is the second consecutive year Chara has been a finalist and third time in his career (2004 with Ottawa) ...more.

1:04 p.m.

The Boston Red Sox celebrate after defeating the New York Yankees 10-3 in Game 7 of the 2004 American League Championship Series. (AP photo)
I'm still rubbing the sleep out of some pretty smiley eyes this morning.

Frankly, today has the feel of October 2004 -- the day following the Red Sox curse-breaking victory over the Yankees.

You remember the year previous when Mr. Bosox, beloved knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, gave up the homerun to Aaron Boone and the world seemed to grow darker.

Then, the following season, Boston's boys of summer took the world by storm and the sunshine returned.

That's how things feel right now on Causeway Street -- never mind the actual sunshine filtering down over the Hub of Hockey is just making us all feel pretty warm inside.

That's because Boston's boys of winter have become Boston's boys of spring and have given us all something to point to the next time someone says something derogatory about the Boston Bruins.

I remember someone saying, and my agreeing, that after the Sox beat the Yankees that year that it wouldn't matter what happened in the World Series. Boston had defeated New York and the Yankees, with all of their championships, were OLD news.

But hey, that's why I am not a professional athlete. Our Boys have bigger things in mind and want to continue the resurgence of the franchise and see it all the way through.

Last night, B's head coach Claude Julien talked about the Bruins transition from D-N-Q to O-N-E.

"What I like, personally, from being in Boston, is that the first year I got there, the first few games, you looked in the stands, and it was disappointing because it wasn’t even half full..and there wasn’t too much emotion in that building," explained Juien. "But what was fun is, as the year went on, it got better and better, and by the time we got into the playoffs, and thanks to the perfect matchup that the organization needed, was no better series than against Montreal.

"Again, we grew from that, we made it an exciting series, and our fans really bought into it, and, again, this year, the direction we’ve gone with the team, and being one of the elite teams in the league."

And with that uptick in the level of play, came a rise in intensity amongst the Black & Gold faithfu.

"The fans have really gotten back on board," said Julien. "And it’s a lot of fun playing in our building now with our fans filling the building every night and really showing a lot of emotion.

"So, for their patience and for the hard work that our guys have given us, it’s been a great match."
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