|04.11.16 at 12:25 pm ET|
Meeting with the media for the final time this season, Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask discussed the illness that kept him out of Saturday’s regular-season finale.
Rask missed Boston’s 82nd game of the season, something of a must-win that they eventually lost in a 6-1 drubbing, due to a stomach bug. The former Vezina-winner said that he became ill on Friday night and “spent the night in the bathroom” before realizing Saturday morning that he wouldn’t be able to play. He took warmups Saturday as the team waiting for emergency recall Jeremy Smith to arrive, though he stayed down on the ice for the majority of warmups.
“When you’re sick, you’re sick,” Rask said. “Trust me: If I felt there was a chance that I could help the team, I would have gone out there, but I couldn’t even stand up.”
Jonas Gustavsson played in Rask’s place, with Smith serving as the backup. Rask spent much of the game at the Garden sleeping.
“It was terrible, obviously,” Rask said. “But you can’t control it. That sucks, but it’s life. When it happens at the worst possible time, it just happens and you have to just take.
“It’s tough, it’s really tough, but there’s nothing you can do about it.”
As for Sunday night’s discussion as to whether he was eating chicken wings on Saturday, Rask reiterated that he was not at Buff’s Pub Friday or Saturday.
Rask has played three seasons of an eight-year, $56 million deal. Though he said he would “absolutely” want to stay in Boston even if the team were rebuilding, he said he would consider waiving his no-movement clause if the Bruins tried to trade him. Rask has full no-movement rights through next season before they’re reduced to a partial no-trade.
“I doubt that’s going to happen,” Rask said when asked about potentially being traded. “I’m here for the long run. I want to help this team get back on track, and that’s where my heads at, but if you weren’t wanted, what can you do?”
|04.11.16 at 12:04 pm ET|
David Krejci said at Monday’s year-end media availability that he will have hip surgery to repair an issue that has plagued him for the last two seasons.
Krejci first suffered the injury in the final preseason game before the 2014-15 season and was in and out of the lineup over the course of the season. Though Krejci has dealt with other injuries over the past two seasons — a knee injury last season, a shoulder injury this season — correcting the hip is his priority as he begins the offseason.
“It’s been bothering me for 20 or so games,” Krejci said of the hip. “But we have a good medical staff here, and they got me through games, so I felt like I was still in decent shape to play games and help the team, and there’s been game where I’ve felt pretty good. So, I was able to finish the season [and was] ready to play playoff games.”
Added Krejci: “I’m looking at it kind of two ways. One is, yeah, it’s been a nagging injury from last year and missing that half a season. And then this year, I felt maybe the best I ever felt my first 50 games, and then I missed some games because of my shoulder injury, and after I came back, it was never the same. And the hip, the nagging injury kind of kept coming back, and it got to the point that we’ve been talking surgery for a while now.”
The surgery will be the same procedure Krejci had in 2009, when Dr. Brian Kelly repaired a hip impingement. Kelly will also be doing Krejci’s upcoming procedure, which Krejci said will happen “in the next week or two.”
Playing in 72 games this season, Krejci had 17 goals and 46 assists for 63 points this season.
In other injury news, Brett Connolly revealed that it was a sprained MCL that kept him out of the Bruins’ last five games, while Dennis Seidenberg missed the final five games of the season due to a strained adductor. Neither Connolly nor Seidenberg will require surgery.
|04.10.16 at 7:09 pm ET|
The Bruins announced Sunday that they will hold their annual year-end availability Monday at TD Garden, but it came with an interesting twist. Then again, it wouldn’t be the 2015-16 Bruins without something being off.
Breakup day typically consists of player availability followed by a press conference with the coach and general manager. Sunday’s announcement made mention of only players, however. Reached for clarification as to whether or not Claude Julien, Don Sweeney and/or Cam Neely would be available, Bruins media relations noted that the only confirmed availability was for players. Bruins vice president of communications Matt Chmura added that the current schedule does not mean definitively mean that Boston’s leadership won’t be available Monday, but that nothing with the media was currently planned regarding the trio.
It’s worth noting that both Julien and then-GM Peter Chiarelli were both available at last season’s breakup day. At the time, Chiarelli said that things were “business as usual until we hear otherwise.” Chiarelli was fired two days later.
|04.09.16 at 9:40 pm ET|
I’m a dinosaur and don’t see any funny internet things unless Pete Blackburn makes them, but get a load of this:
— Dustin (@TheClapperton) April 9, 2016
|04.09.16 at 7:13 pm ET|
The “Should Claude Julien be fired” talk had already begun even before Saturday, but with the Bruins missing the playoffs for a second straight year and getting absolutely embarrassed on home ice in their season finale, it’s only going to pick up.
Most Bruins players weren’t willing to make any sort of comment on the possibility of Julien being fired after Saturday’s 6-1 loss to the Senators given that, at the time, the B’s still had an outside shot of making the playoffs (the Flyers’ win over the Penguins later Saturday officially sealed their fate). But the team’s best and most important player came to the defense of Julien.
“I’ve said a million times that Claude has been the best coach I’ve had,” said Patrice Bergeron. “It’s definitely not on him. It should be on us. His system is there, the game plan is there. It’s about us executing, and we didn’t do that. So it should fall back on the players.”
In the case of Saturday and other games down the stretch that saw the Bruins lose to non-playoff teams, Bergeron is right that the players deserve a good chunk of the blame. There’s no excuse for making the kinds of defensive mistakes that led to Ottawa’s goals on Saturday. There’s no excuse for a top-five offense struggling to score against three non-playoff teams over the last two weeks of the season. Regardless of who the coach is or whether his message is getting through, those are things for which the players need to take responsibility.
But there is plenty of blame to go around, and yes, Julien deserves some of it. A coach should be able to do more to ensure that his team isn’t making as many mistakes as the Bruins made Saturday, whether it was getting beat wide, leaving guys uncovered in front or making bad breakout passes that were easily intercepted. Those things are coachable, and the fact that they happened this late in the season doesn’t reflect well on the coach.
The group that deserves the most blame, however, is the front office. Don Sweeney and company are the ones who built a team that had one legitimate top-four defenseman — and that one, Zdeno Chara, is 39 years old. It’s fitting that defense was the Bruins’ biggest issue on their disastrous last day, because it was their biggest issue all season, and it will remain their biggest issue going forward unless they bring in multiple defensemen who are significant upgrades over what they have now.
|04.09.16 at 6:26 pm ET|
What seemed likely early Saturday afternoon became official just a few short hours later: The NHL playoffs will not include the Boston Bruins.
With a 3-1 win over the Penguins on Saturday, the Flyers secured the second wild card spot and punched their ticket to a first-round matchup with the Capitals. Finishing as a wild card team was the Bruins’ only hope after their 6-1 loss to the Senators on Saturday ruled out getting in as an Atlantic Division team.
Painfully, the Bruins actually would have finished with the No. 3 seed in the Atlantic had they beaten the Senators. Playing at the same time as the Bruins, the Red Wings lost to the Rangers but still ended up getting in thanks to Boston’s loss.
|04.09.16 at 4:10 pm ET|
Following a disastrous 6-1 loss to the Senators in their regular-season finale, Bruins coach Claude Julien would not elaborate on the status of goaltender Tuukka Rask, who was unavailable to the Bruins due to illness.
Julien said the Bruins “scrambled” to get Jeremy Smith to Boston after recalling him from Providence on an emergency basis. Rask was on the ice for warmups but moved very little and didn’t face shots until after line rushes.
Rask did not ultimately dress for the game, as Smith made it to the bench for the 12:30 p.m.
Jonas Gustavsson stopped 30 of the 34 shots he faced Saturday. Julien said the Bruins should have been able to overcome not having their starter in goal.
“It shouldn’t have been an issue,” Julien said. “He is a great goaltender, but our team could have easily played much better and allowed Gus to be the winning goalie today. I think some of the goals they scored today were tips and a lot of goals, we didn’t give him much help. If anything, he gave us a lot of help there in that first period. [Goaltending] was certainly not the reason for [the loss]. Excuses are out the window.”