Pierre McGuire

Pierre McGuire on OM&F: 'I'm really encouraged' by Bruins' moves at deadline

March 04, 2016 - 4:36 am

Pierre McGuire of NBC Sports joined Ordway, Merloni & Fauria on Thursday to discuss the state of the Bruins after the trade deadline. To hear the interview, visit the Ordway, Merloni & Fauria audio on demand page. After rumors were swirling that Bruins general manager Don Sweeney was in the market for a bigger deal, the team only ended up with two relatively minor acquisitions when all was said and done. While the moves did not blow anyone away, some feel they will make a positive impact. "I thought Boston had to do something, and they did. I like the additions that they made, subtle little additions. Lee Stempniak and John-Michael Liles I think will address some of the needs of the Bruins," McGuire said. "It changes a little bit of the batting order, it will be interesting to see how they play it when Stempniak's there and comfortable with the group. I wouldn't be surprised to see him replace Brett Connolly on the line with [Brad] Marchand and [Patrice] Bergeron, bump Connolly a little deeper in the lineup. John-Michael Liles will help their transition game. So I'm really encouraged by what Boston did." Bruins fans are hoping these moves will be enough to make the team a legitimate contender. The next few games will be very telling as to where the B's fit in the NHL. "Here's how I look at the whole league: I think there's Los Angeles, there's Anaheim, there's Chicago, there's Washington," McGuire said. "There's that group that's ahead of everybody else, and then there's the next tier. That's where we'll see whether Boston fits in the next tier or not." If the team is to make a playoff run, it likely will need to start at the defensive end. With the trade deadline now passed, it's time to see how the B's defense will change as a result of the moves they made. "It will be interesting to see [Adam] McQuaid and [Zdeno] Chara now become kind of a staple tandem for the Bruins, in terms of shutdown situations. I don't know whether they decided, you know, 'Let's get someone with a little more mobility and puck-handling skills and put him with Chara,' and maybe that's where John-Michael Liles fits in, or maybe they move him deeper in the lineup." McGuire said a perfect example of defense carrying a team in the playoffs came in the 1991-92 season, when he was an assistant coach with the Penguins. "Back in '91 and '92, our Pittsburgh Penguins season when I was coaching there, we were very, very good in the regular season in terms of offense and not very good in terms of defense. We found a way as a staff and as a team to become better defensively," he recalled. "If you go check the stats, you look at our regular-season defensive numbers vs. our postseason defensive numbers, they're not even close, because our guys became more committed to playing defense. So yeah, team defense matters a ton in the playoffs."