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5 things we learned: Bruins aren’t good at holding leads

10.21.15 at 10:43 pm ET
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The Bruins can build a lead and they can blow a lead. The bad commonly outweighs the good there. Anyway, now they’€™re 2-3-1.

For the second straight game, the B’€™s relinquished a two-goal lead, with Wednesday’€™s contest costing them in overtime in the form of a 5-4 Flyers win. After jumping ahead of Philly, 4-2, through the first two periods, Boston let the Flyers storm back with third-period goals from Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds. A Ryan Spooner hooking penalty in overtime led to a power-play goal from Giroux to end the game and hand the Bruins a disappointing loss.

Boston got goals in regulation from Brett Connolly, Patrice Bergeron, Chris Kelly and Jimmy Hayes. Bergeron, who was in the lineup after recently welcoming his first child to his family, scored on the power play while Kelly’€™s goal came during a second-period penalty kill. David Krejci continued his torrid start with a pair of assists to bring his league-leading point total to 11 through six games.

Here are four more things we learned Wednesday:


It took six games for Zac Rinaldo to get tossed from a game. His first offense as a Bruin came late in the first period, when Rinaldo threw a late hit on Sean Couturier after the forward had already absorbed a hit from Adam McQuaid along the boards. Rinaldo was assessed a five-minute charging major and a game misconduct.

Given that Rinaldo was suspended last season, he counts as a repeat offender if and when the department of player safety opts to punish him.

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Claude Julien on draft pick compensation: ‘Once you’re fired, you’re fired’

10.21.15 at 12:10 pm ET
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The fact that John Tortorella isn’€™t the most ridiculous part of the Blue Jackets hiring John Tortorella shows how backwards the NHL‘€™s rules regarding compensation for fired employees is.

Tortorella, who was fired after the first year of a five-year contract with the Canucks at the end of the 2013-14 season, had two-plus more years on his contract with Vancouver before being hired by the Blue Jackets. With Columbus hiring him during his contract, however, the Canucks are within their rights to seek a second-round pick as compensation for the coach, as the Bruins are doing with Peter Chiarelli and the Oilers.

That the Canucks are now off the hook for his contract should be enough, as they chose to can him. The Blue Jackets could (and should) have viewed the second-round pick compensation as a deterrent for hiring Tortorella.

Asked about the situation Wednesday, Bruins coach Claude Julien was vocal about teams seeking draft picks for people they fired. Should he be fired, Julien could find his job search more difficult if the Bruins chose to seek draft pick compensation. The fact that the Bruins are doing so with Chiarelli (they’€™ll get a second-rounder from the Oilers in one of the coming years) shows that they might not be inclined to waive their right to a pick if they eventually fire their coach.

“The league is going to look into that, but as a coach, I find it a shame that I wouldn’€™t be able to get a job somewhere because the compensation was too high, yet they thought enough of me that they would be willing to hire me, but they wouldn’€™t be willing to give a first, second or third-round pick,” Julien said. “To me, once you’€™re fired, you’€™re fired.

“If it’€™s a different situation and you’€™re not fired, you step down, you say, ‘€˜I don’€™t want to be here anymore,’€™ or whatever, well [they] still own your rights until the end of the contract. I agree with that, because they still wanted you. You’€™re the one that wanted to step down. Once you’€™re fired, you shouldn’€™t be held back from working anywhere because of compensation. Whether it’€™s called a selfish thing on our parts, the thing that we want to do, we want to get back and work again. At the same time, it’€™s definitely a benefit for the team that fired you because they don’€™t have to keep paying you for doing nothing. This is something I know the league is going to look into, and we’€™ll see what happens there.”

Julien said that he understands draft pick compensation for coaches who are under contract and are sought after by other teams.

“I think it’€™s important to understand that there’€™s teams that develop coaches,” Julien said. “[I’€™ll] use the example of Detroit. How many coaches have they lost? Todd McLellan, being an assistant coach and them giving him the opportunity to be a head coach [in San Jose]. Well, he had an opportunity to grow in [the Red Wings] organization, so all of a sudden they say, ‘€˜Well, we should get some sort of compensation.’€™ He wasn’€™t fired. He was promoted, so I understand the logistics of where that argument comes from. I’€™m not naive when it comes to that.

“Having said that, I think there’€™s two sides to it, but as coaches, I think our biggest thing is being fired — not promoted — being fired, we should be able to get another job without being held back because of compensation.”

Read More: Claude Julien,

Matt Beleskey (upper-body) out vs. Flyers, Patrice Bergeron questionable

10.21.15 at 11:23 am ET
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Matt Beleskey will not play Wednesday night due to an upper-body injury, Claude Julien said after Wednesday’s morning skate. Patrice Bergeron, who missed the skate due to personal reasons, is questionable to play.

[Update: 4:21 p.m.] The Bruins have confirmed that Bergeron and wife Stephanie had their first child, a boy named Zack. B’s president Cam Neely said on 98.5 The Sports Hub Wednesday that Bergeron is expected to play.

Julien said that Beleskey’s injury was suffered between Tuesday’s practice and Wednesday morning. The Bruins’ lines were out of sorts with both players absent in morning skate, but Beleskey’s absence means that Brett Connolly will likely be in the lineup Wednesday. Connolly was a healthy scratch Saturday against the Coyotes.

Tuukka Rask is expected to start against the Flyers. Joe Morrow, who has missed the last two games due to the flu, remains on injured reserve. The defensive pairings in the morning skate were as follows:

Chara-Kevan Miller
Cross-Colin Miller

Joe Morrow working way back from flu

10.20.15 at 2:32 pm ET
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Bruins defenseman Joe Morrow remains on injured reserve, but participated when the B’€™s returned to practice Tuesday at Ristuccia Arena.

Put on IR due to the flu last Tuesday, Morrow told reporters at Ristuccia Tuesday (via the Boston Globe’€™s Amalie Benjamin) that he lost nearly 10 pounds due to his illness. Morrow was one of eight defensemen to practice Tuesday and reportedly was on the team’€™s extra pairing with Zach Trotman. Tommy Cross has been in the lineup in place of Morrow.

Having been on IR for a week, Morrow could be activated for Wednesday’€™s game if he is ready to play. The B’€™s will host the Flyers Wednesday at TD Garden.

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5 things we learned as Bruins beat Coyotes for second win of season

10.18.15 at 12:45 am ET
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With the Bruins looking for ways out of their early season slump, the old cliche of having your best players be your best players seemed worth a try. It worked well enough Saturday night.

Tuukka Rask made key saves in the second period, Brad Marchand scored a shorthanded goal in his first game back, Patrice Bergeron scored two power play goals and David Krejci kept up his hot start to give the Bruins a 5-3 win over the Coyotes. With the win, their second straight, the Bruins are now 2-3-0 on the season.

The most crucial stretch for Boston came in the second period, when Rask stopped Martin Hanzal on a shorthanded 2-on-1 for his second key save on an odd-man rush of the period. The B’€™s then got set up in the offensive zone, leading to a blast from the left circle from Krejci to break what was a 1-1 tie. With his goal and a pair of assists on the night, Krejci increased his season total to nine points (four goals, five assists) through five games.

After Marchand made it 3-1 4:44 into the third, the Coyotes stormed back with a pair of goals from in close. Bergeron gave the B’€™s their lead back by redirecting a hard pass from Ryan Spooner past Mike Smith to make it 4-3 and added to it with another power-play goal with just over a minute remaining.

Here are four more things we learned Saturday:


Eyebrows were raised when Claude Julien decided to make Brett Connolly a healthy scratch in order to keep Tyler Randell in the lineup, but he was proven right Saturday night.

Randell scored his second goal in as many career NHL games Saturday when he took a feed from Krejci and backhanded it past Smith to tie the game in the second period. It was just Randell’€™s second shot in as many games, but he’€™s been extremely efficient.

It will be interesting to see what the Bruins do with the fourth line going forward. There’€™s no way they can sit Randell after scoring in two straight games, while Connolly should not be a regular healthy scratch.


Bergeron welcomed Marchand back to his line by doing what they do best: Take the puck and never ever let anyone else have it. Through two periods, the Bergeron line had an absurd Corsi For Percentage of 91, as the trio of Bergeron, Marchand and Loui Eriksson were on the ice for 20 shot attempts for and just two shot attempts against in even-strength play.

While Connolly played well on Bergeron’s line for two games while Marchand was out, it would be tough to take Eriksson off the line. They haven’t produced a ton 5-on-5, but with performances like Saturday’s, it’s easy to see why Julien would want to give Eriksson a permanent spot with the longtime duo of Bergeron and Marchand.


A first-period breakout went awry and resulted in a goal against when Tommy Cross sent a pass from behind the net high in the zone for Ryan Spooner. The pass was well ahead of him, however, and was easily picked off by the Coyotes in the high slot. That led to a mess in front of Tuukka Rask‘€™s net in which the puck eventually appeared to go off Chris Kelly‘€™s skate and in.

The Bruins put up a fight on the play, but…


For the second time this season, Claude Julien used a coach’€™s challenge. For the second time this season, the Bruins didn’€™t have a timeout.

Julien objected to the early Coyotes goal, arguing that Joe Vitale made ample contact with Rask in front leading up to the goal. While Vitale clearly did, it came well before Shane Doan shot the puck that eventually made its way into the net, resulting in the call to be upheld.

Brad Marchand to return from concussion, Bruins to make Brett Connolly healthy scratch

10.17.15 at 3:14 pm ET
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Bruins coach Claude Julien told reporters in Arizona Saturday that Brad Marchand will return from a concussion Saturday night after missing the last two nights.

Per Steve Conroy of the Boston Herald, Julien said that Brett Connolly will be a healthy scratch for the B’€™s. He’€™s expected to join Max Talbot and Zach Trotman in the press box.

With Marchand out the last two games, Connolly skated on Patrice Bergeron‘€™s line. Connolly’€™s absence means the Bruins will return to a first line of Bergeron between Marchand and Loui Eriksson while keeping Chris Kelly with Ryan Spooner and Jimmy Hayes together after a strong performance Wednesday against the Avalanche.

Trotman being a healthy scratch means that Tommy Cross will stay in the lineup after making his NHL debut Wednesday. Tuukka Rask is expected to be in goal Saturday night.

A look at how former Bruins have started with new teams

10.16.15 at 1:09 pm ET
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Milan Lucic and the Kings are off to a quiet start. (Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Milan Lucic and the Kings are off to an underwhelming start to the season.  (Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

The Bruins’ changes this summer meant familiar faces are gone and new ones have arrived. Though the B’s can’t be happy with their start, it’€™s also been a mixed bag for those to whom they bid adieu.

Jimmy Hayes’€™ four-point performance on Wednesday aside, Boston’€™s newcomers have been slow to get adjusted. Here’€™s a look at how the former Bruins have started with their new teams:

Milan Lucic, Kings: It’€™s been a very quiet start for both the Kings (0-3-0) and Lucic. Through three games, Lucic has landed just two shots on goal. The bad news there is that he has zero points, but the good news is that he’€™s one point away from tying for the team lead. He played the first two games on a line with Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik, but the Kings have since pulled the plug on that experiment. Lucic is now skating with Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli.

Dougie Hamilton, Flames: Playing on what should be a stellar top pairing with T.J. Brodie out, Hamilton and Mark Giordano haven’€™t had the hottest start together. Though Hamilton scored a power-play goal in Calgary‘€™s second game of the season, he’€™s been on the ice for just one even-strength goal for and four goals against. All four of those goals came on shifts played with Giordano.

Martin Jones, Sharks: Though only Bruins property for less than five days, it’s worth including Jones here for the sake of justifying what looked like a rather odd trade at the time. After getting Jones in the Lucic trade, the Bruins got the Sharks to surrender a first-round pick and a prospect (Sean Kuraly) for the former Kings backup goaltender. So far, the deal hasn’t looked like as much of a steal for the Bruins as it did back in June. Jones has been absolutely lights-out with two shutouts and a .987 save percentage in three starts for San Jose.

Carl Soderberg, Avalanche: Wednesday night saw Soderberg’€™s former teammates make his new contract look not-so-good. Soderberg was on the ice for goals by Boston’€™s second, third and fourth lines. The 30-year-old center had assists in each of Colorado’€™s first two games.

Reilly Smith, Panthers: Smith’€™s doing a little bit of everything for the Panthers, including killing penalties after never being used in that role as a Bruin. Smith has a pair of goals (both of which he scored in his Panthers debut) and an assist through four games on a line with Nick Bjugstad and Brandon Pirri.

Gregory Campbell, Blue Jackets: The former Merlot-Liner is averaging a little under 11 minutes a night through four games with Columbus and so far the results haven’€™t been great. His line is getting outscored (three goals against, none for) and Campbell has managed just one shot on net.

Matt Bartkowski, Canucks: Bartkowski has suited up in all four of the Canucks’€™ games after being in and out of Boston’€™s lineup over the years. He’€™s been used on Vancouver’€™s second pairing with Dan Hamhuis, which has held up well despite its poor possession numbers. He has an assist on the season, but he’s still looking for his first regular-season goal 135 games into his career.

Daniel Paille, Rockford IceHogs (AHL): After spending training camp with the Blackhawks on a professional tryout, the 31-year-old left wing went to Chicago’€™s AHL camp before signing with the IceHogs. He’€™s played one game for them, recording no points.

Niklas Svedberg, Ufa Salavat Yulayev (KHL): Svedberg went to the KHL after a statistically decent showing with the Bruins, but one that saw the B’€™s lose confidence in him and stop playing him. So far, Claude Julien appears to have been in the right. Svedberg has an .887 save percentage in 19 games in Russia.

Peter Chiarelli, Oilers: It’€™s going to be a while before the Oilers are competitive. That they had to play the Blues twice in their first four games makes their 0-4-0 start less than surprising.

Read More: Dougie Hamilton, Matt Bartkowski, Milan Lucic,
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