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Wednesday, March 21, 2001
Chat wrap: Boston Bruins defenseman Don Sweeney
ABC Sports Online
On March 21, Boston Bruins defenseman Don Sweeney appeared in the ABCSports.com chat room to discuss this Saturday's game between the Bruins and the Colorado Avalanche (ABC, 1 p.m. ET) when Ray Bourque returns to Boston for the first time as an opposing player. Sweeney also talked about the Bruins' playoff chances.
Tracy from Clarksville Tn
Are you excited about Ray coming home for the first time since the trade? What would be the one thing you like to ask him before or after the game?
Obviously, I still keep pretty close touch with him. I have kept tabs with how they are doing. But we are in a tight playoff race here. We have it in our minds, so I haven't given it too much thought yet about his return. We have a game tomorrow night and then move on.
I am sure his return will be an emotional one for him and for those who played with him. The fans will be very much behind him. They will give him a warm ovation, and then it will be all business. I know Raymond as well as I do. He is going to want to win desperately.
In Colorado, it was an eery feeling. Both of us had talked about it. For him, he said it didn't get emotional until the warmups when he saw guys at the other end skating around in Bruins shirts. And he realized it.
It set in during the playoffs for everyone last year and he took a run at it, and we talked during the summer. If we had played him right away, it might have more of an effect. But it was pretty far removed from when we had to play each other. It's had a lot of time to sink in. For him, the shock of being on the ice and not wearing a Bruins shirt against the Bruins for the first time didn't have as big an effect.
Adam in Michigan
|Don Sweeney has played his entire 13 years with the Bruins, and ranks fourth all-time in franchise history in games played.|
Hi Don. Do any of the players or fans seem to be emotional about Ray Bourque returning to Boston and do you think it could inspire the team to put on a strong performance this weekend against the Avalanche? Good luck on getting that playoff spot!
Absolutely. The fans in particular will be. We are in a serious playoff race. As players, that's what are focus has to be. The fans will be able to separate the two and give him a warm reception.
How does it feel to have played for the same organization for so long?
There's a lot of pride involved in that. I have been fortunate that I have played my whole career here. Amongst games played, I am with people I have great respect for in the organization, like Terry O'Reilly and Don Marcotte. Being around those guys and what they have meant to the organization and having played with the same one for so long, it has been a great privilege.
Sweens, Do you feel there is a significant chance of the Bruins making the playoffs this year? What are your thoughts on the last 10 games of the regular season? Go B's!
We obviously put ourselves in a difficult situation. You never want it completely out of your hands. But it is still somewhat in our control. If we put together a good string, we have an opportunity. We have played a little better as of late. We have an opportunity. That is what you hope for. It's going to be a struggle. Each and every point is important. We are a desperate team in a desperate situation.
Hey, I saw you get hit knee-on-knee once, in a game against the Sabres. Thankfully, it didn't look like you were badly injured. How long do you think the suspension should be for hits like that? It seems like 3 games (Marchment's latest) is a really short suspension.
A knee-to-knee things is a lot of times a reactionary situation, where a player has been distracted and another player moves. Sometimes it's an act of desperation as you don't want a guy to go by you. Is it premeditated? I don't think so in 90 percent of those times. But the onus should still be on the player to not still it out there. I can argue both sides of it, but I don't think the justification is good.
how did you feel when playing with bryan dafoe?How good is he.
When Byron is healthy, he is in the upper echelon the he league. He instills confidence in his teammates. It says a lot about giving us an opportunity to win every night. He provides a sense of stability to each and every one of us. That's for the team in general. Mistakes and breakdowns happen in games. When your goaltender is there -- he's not going to get them all -- but it gives you confidence to continue to make a play and stay mentally focused to get your job done.
You look around the league, every upper echelon team in National Hockey League does not win without a No. 1 goaltender.
Since you guys have been out to the West this season, what have you noticed are some of the differences in play between the East and the West?
The flow -- the transition game -- in the West is pretty dynamic. The Eastern Conference can still be a pretty much clog, grind-it-out mentality. But you are seeing that change a little bit. New Jersey won the Stanley Cup last year and everyone talked about their trapping, but they have a great transition game. They have expanded their game. They have taken it from a trap team to a trap and go team. Whereas the Avs and Dallas are explosive when they force you to make mistakes. Pittsburgh fits that category, especially with special teams in the playoffs when it is so important. Especially with the five guys they put on the ice.
So do you guys secretly root for Colorado outside of the two interconference battles?
Last year in the playoffs, I was a huge fan of the Colorado Avalanche. I will be openly honest. If you look at the ratings here in Boston, you would have been surprised with the Bruins not in the playoffs. The ratings were generally pretty good and that was directly related to Raymond playing.
I am not a fan of the Colorado Avalanche. I am a fan of Raymond Bourque.
PAUL IN LOUISIANA
|Ray Bourque's return to Boston will be an emotional one for Bruins players and fans.|
I noticed the transition game has improved in the past couple of weeks. Is that something that Keenan has stressed with you guys or is it something that you've just taken upon yourselves?
It has been a group effort, from the defense doing a better job getting it to our forwards and our forwards have been skating much better. It has been a team effort to improve that area.
I have to go now. Thanks for the questions.
I do believe it will be a nice evening for Raymond's return. For us, the two points are important. But give credit where it is due. His family and friends will be there. It will be a nice moment for him.