|11.30.15 at 12:31 pm ET|
The Winter Classic will be without its best player, as reigning Hart Trophy and Vezina Trophy winner Carey Price will not be able to suit up for the Jan. 1 outdoor game between the Bruins and Canadiens.
The Habs announced via Twitter Monday that Price, who has played in just 12 of Montreal’s 25 games this season, will be out for at least six more weeks due to what’s been reported to be a knee injury. That puts a potential return somewhere in mid-January.
Medical update: Carey Price will be out for a minimum of six weeks (lower body injury) ‘ will not require surgery.
— Canadiens MontrÃ©al (@CanadiensMTL) November 30, 2015
While keeping one of the sport’s best players off the ice will take away from the Winter Classic, it will at least provide some good news locally in that Holliston native and Belmont Hill product Mike Condon will be Montreal’s starting goaltender while Price is out.
|11.30.15 at 12:23 pm ET|
Max Talbot has cleared waivers, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie. Talbot was placed on waivers Sunday for the purposes of assigning him to Providence in order to create a roster spot to facilitate the eventual activation of Kevan Miller.
As such, Talbot will head to Providence while his teammates head west for a three-game Canadian road trip. This is the second time since October that Talbot has cleared waivers.
“There’s numbers and [the] cap,” Claude Julien said of the move. “It was just more upper-management. At one point, these decisions have to be made. It’s more that. I think Max is a very useful guy. When we need him, he comes in and does whatever it takes to do the job there. Nothing more than probably a numbers game right now.”
Miller has missed the last five games with a concussion. Once he’s taken off injured reserve, the Bruins will be at the 23-man roster limit with Talbot now off the roster.
|11.29.15 at 5:27 pm ET|
Kevan Miller is practicing with the Bruins and Max Talbot has reportedly been placed on waivers again to open up a roster spot, so it shouldn’t be long before Miller is cleared to return from a concussion that’s kept him out of the last five games. The question will be whether a spot in the lineup will be waiting for him.
Claude Julien won’t have an easy time deciding that in the coming days. The B’s have won every game since Miller went down, but Julien displayed unwavering faith in the 28-year-old defenseman leading up to Miller’s injury. Furthermore, the Bruins are still a work in progress in their own zone, meaning the B’s should not have their six blueliners set in stone at this point.
If Miller were to re-enter the lineup, he would likely do so at the expense of a fellow righty in either Zach Trotman or Colin Miller. The latter has struggled in his own zone, with unforced icings costing the Bruins at points, but the pros of Colin Miller’s offensive game (he factored heavily into both the game-tying and game-winning goals last week in Detroit) might outweigh the cons of his defensive game in the eyes of Bruins coaches.
Julien said the Bruins are taking it day-to-day with Kevan Miller. Asked if Miller would be a sure-thing to play once he’s ready, Julien scoffed.
“Honestly, which coach is going to tell you three days before whether this guy’s a lock [to play]?” Julien asked. “I think it’s a matter of looking at the situation when it comes to that. I don’t think anybody should be a lock in. I think you’ve got your key players that you know are there every night, but there’s also some competition there. Our group back there has done a pretty decent job, so before I make that decision I’ll certainly take a little bit more time to think about it.”
Miller became something of a scapegoat for fans unhappy with the Bruins’ mediocre start to the season. Difficulty closing gaps allowed shooters too much space, resulting in goals against. Given that Miller does not bring much offensively, the bruising defender’s issues in his own zone led to questions of whether he was worth keeping in the lineup if he wasn’t contributing defensively.
One would assume that the penalty kill was a big reason as to why Miller kept his spot earlier in the season. With the B’s missing Dennis Seidenberg for the first 14 games of the season, Miller was relied on heavily for big minutes on the PK. Miller is second to only Zdeno Chara with 3:21 of shorthanded time on ice per game; he and Chara (3:45 shorthanded TOI per night) are the only Bruins to average three minutes or more on the penalty kill this season.
Yet the Bruins haven’t really missed Miller on the PK since he went out of the lineup. The Bruins, who ranked worst in the NHL in penalty kill efficiency at the time that Miller went out of the lineup, have killed off 15 of their opponents’ 16 power plays over the last five games.
“Seids is in there, Zee is in there,” Julien said after Friday’s win. “Those two guys on the left side have been good. Trots has been pretty good on the right and [Adam] McQuaid. I thought we had enough bodies for the penalty kill to do their job and they’ve proven us right so far.”
The Bruins next play on Wednesday, when they’ll face the lowly Oilers in Edmonton. The Bruins are hardly desperate to get Miller back, but then again the revolving door on defense has yet to slow for the B’s this season. They might be wise to stick with the kids they’ve got in there for now.
|11.29.15 at 12:28 pm ET|
In the latest Alain Vigneault vs. the Bruins spat, members of the Bruins reacted on Sunday to the Rangers coach’s latest comments about Friday’s B’s win.
Vigneault, whose issues with the Bruins date back to the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, questioned Julien’s eyesight on Saturday in reaction to Julien calling Henrik Lundqvist an actor for embellishing a Brad Marchand penalty. This came after Vigneault had compared Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan – a likely case of boarding that went uncalled – to Aaron Rome’s head shot on Nathan Horton in Game 3 of the 2011 Cup Final between the Bruins and Vigneault-coached Canucks.
“Who would you rather have as a son: Henrik Lundqvist or Brad Marchand?” Vigneault asked Saturday. “For him to say things like that about Hank, totally wrong, and probably Claude is getting a little older and needs to check his eyesight.”
Julien clarified Sunday that he respects Lundqvist, getting another dig in at Vigneault in the process.
“I think it’s pretty obvious what I said was that I thought Lundqvist sold it. Not for a second did I ever question Henrik Lundqvist as a goaltender or as a person. We all know how good a goaltender he is. I know he’s a good person,” Julien said. “I’ve met him at the All-Star games and all that stuff, so it certainly wasn’t any more than just the situation. That’s all I’ve got to say on Lundqvist.
“As far as my eyes, I’m not the one who compared Beleskey’s hit to Rome, so we’ll just leave it at that.”
Despite the absurdity of the comparison of a late hit in the corner to a head shot at the blue line, Beleskey was measured in politely disagreeing with Vigneault’s comments about his hit.
“I think it was a little different than that hit, obviously,” Beleskey said. There was no suspension. [Rome’s] was a serious hit. I think [mine] was a clean hit, came from the front. I think it was, what? Point-nine seconds after, or something? I don’t know what the rule is — 0.8? I don’t know. Tough to count 0.8 in my head. Like I said, I don’t think he really braced himself for the hit and that’s what resulted in the outcome.”
As for Marchand, the Bruins’ left wing smirked through much of his media availability Sunday, but shied away from lobbing any more shots in Vigneault’s direction. As you might remember, Vigneault said back in 2012 that Marchand would one day get seriously injured by another player, something that Marchand responded to at the time by saying, “it just shows the class he has, or lack thereof.”
Marchand was more measured on Sunday, however. Clearly aware that this all goes back to 2011, Marchand pled ignorance as to why Vigneault — whom Marchand says he’s never met — has continually taken shots at him in the press.
“I’m not sure, you know? I thought I was a likable person,” Marchand said. “That’s something you’re going to ask him. We just want to play the game and try to keep everything on the ice.”
With regard to how good a son he is, Marchand said his parents like him just fine.
“I don’t know if my mom’s seen it yet and I haven’t talked to my dad about it,” Marchand said. “I think they love me, though.”
|11.28.15 at 1:08 pm ET|
Alain Vigneault and the Bruins have gone back and forth in the media ever since the Bruins’ 2011 Stanley Cup championship over the Vigneault-coached Canucks. Despite Vigneault being long gone from Vancouver, that spat is now in its latest installment.
The Rangers coach responded Saturday to Claude Julien and Brad Marchand voicing their frustrations with an uncalled Henrik Lundqvist embellishment on a Brad Marchand goaltender interference penalty in Friday’s Bruins win. In particular, Vigneault seemed annoyed with Julien summarizing Lundqvist’s dive by quipping, “I know he does some acting on the side, but I don’t think it needs to be on the ice.”
“Well, [the Rangers public relations staff] filled me in a little bit on what was said after the game,” Vigneault said Saturday, per the New York Daily News. “I mean, it’s a little disappointing. Obviously everybody saw the knee to the head. The comments on Hank were very inappropriate. The way Hank conducts himself, on the ice, away from the rink, off the ice, the example that he sets.
“Who would you rather have as a son: Henrik Lundqvist or Brad Marchand? For him to say things like that about Hank, totally wrong, and probably Claude is getting a little older and needs to check his eyesight.”
Exclusive video of Vigneault, Marchand and Lundqvist pic.twitter.com/uNa3AaBp8N
‘ DJ Bean (@DJ_Bean) November 28, 2015
The “check his eyesight” comment is absurd given that there is little debate as to what happened on the play. Marchand made contact and Lundqvist had a woefully delayed reaction. Both players deserved penalties.
As for the stuff about having Marchand as a son, this marks the latest occurrence of Vigneault having something peculiar to say about the B’s left wing. After Marchand low-bridged Sami Salo in a January 2012 game that earned him a five-game suspension, Vigneault made what the Bruins perceived to be a threatening comment about Marchand.
“Marchand — and this is just my feeling — but some day he’s going to get it,” Vigneault said back in 2012. “Some day, someone’s going to say ‘enough is enough’ and they’re going to hurt the kid because he plays to hurt players. And if the league doesn’t care, somebody else will.”
Then-Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli had an impromptu media session with reporters after those comments were made to voice his feelings on Vigneault’s handling of the situation.
“I think we’ve learned our lesson over time that that’s a real inappropriate comment,” Chiarelli said. “That’s a real inappropriate comment, and it’s an unprofessional comment.”
Vigneault’s words about Marchand aren’t the only comments about the Bruins he’s made in recent days that raised eyebrows. On Friday he compared an uncalled boarding penalty on Matt Beleskey to Aaron Rome targeting the head of Nathan Horton in Game 3 of the 2011 Cup Final.
The Bruins did not practice on Saturday, but they’ll have the opportunity to respond to Vigneault’s words after Sunday’s practice.
|11.27.15 at 5:13 pm ET|
If the Bruins hadn’t come back Friday afternoon, it would have been a tough loss to swallow. Not coming back would’ve meant that the Rangers’ winning goal would’ve come on a power play they shouldn’t have had.
With 12:01 remaining and the game tied 2-2, Brad Marchand drove to the front of the net as Adam McQuaid put a shot on goal from the point. Marchand made a little bit of contact with Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, and Lundqvist reacted with a delayed flop to the ice.
The referee called Marchand for goaltender interference, which may have been a bit of a soft call, but there was contact, so you can at least understand that.
What’s hard to understand, though, is how Lundqvist didn’t get called for embellishment. Worst-case scenario for the Bruins should’ve been matching minors. Instead the Rangers got a power play and then scored on it to take a 3-2 lead.
After the game, the Bruins didn’t hide their frustration with the no-call, and with Lundqvist himself.
“I was upset when it first happened. I think this was the second time — in preseason Lundqvist did the same thing,” Claude Julien said. “I know he does some acting on the side, but I don’t think it needs to be on the ice.
“Referees are there to protect goaltenders, and they should, but goaltenders shouldn’t take advantage of referees. He may think it’s a good play for his team to get a power play, but we’re all trying to get that out of our game. If my guys do that, I’m going to address it. I’m not hypocritical about that. We’re trying to improve the game here.”
Marchand, who has embellished more than once himself in the past, also didn’t appreciate Lundqvist’s behavior.
“He must’ve got hit with a cement block the way he went down,” Marchand said. “I didn’t know I was that strong. It’s tough. It seems like they don’t call goalies on that one. Maybe they should. There’s a lot of that around the league.”
Fortunately for the Bruins, the no-call and ensuing power-play goal didn’t cost them the game. Ryan Spooner tied the game with 3:46 to go and then David Krejci scored what proved to be the game-winner with 1:43 remaining.
“We didn’t get all rattled and thrown off our game,” Julien said. “We just stuck with it. It was frustrating to see them score on that, but at the same time it was up to us to keep our heads there.”
Sell! Sell! Sell! pic.twitter.com/KHC9xGEwMg
‘ Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) November 27, 2015
|11.27.15 at 4:58 pm ET|
Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan Friday did two things: It broke Stepan’s ribs and led to a whole lot of reaction. It did not, however, receive punishment.
Beleskey threw Stepan into the boards on a slightly late hit that deserved a boarding penalty but did not receive one. Rangers defenseman Dylan McIlrath responded by promptly pummeling Beleskey in a fight that earned McIlrath an instigator penalty.
Amidst all the postgame chatter of whether the hit deserved more punishment than just Beleskey getting punched a bunch, Beleskey insisted that the reason the play went awry was because Stepan did not brace himself to be hit.
Rangers coach Alain Vigneault, better known around these parts as Vancouver’s head coach when the Bruins beat the Canucks in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, put a different spin on it.
“In our opinion it was a late hit,” Vigneault said. “It was more than a second and he was a couple of feet away from the boards, so we’ll have to wait and see. I remember Aaron Rome in this building, .06 seconds late and getting suspended four games in the Stanley Cup finals, so it’ll be interesting to see.”
That’s a really — let’s call it “ambitious” — comparison to make considering one play was a guy shoving another into the boards while the other was a player going after a guy’s head for no apparent reason (so on second thought, let’s just call it a dumb comparison to make). Other than both plays being illegal (seemingly, at least, given that Beleskey wasn’t penalized), the plays don’t have much in common.
Here’s Beleskey’s hit on Stepan. pic.twitter.com/pyzRJA4EE6
‘ Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) November 27, 2015
“I just think he didn’t think I was going to hit him,” Beleskey said after the game. “He kind of didn’t brace himself. I didn’t take any extra strides or anything like that. Maybe, maybe a little bit late, but he saw me coming. I came from the front. It’s unfortunate that I think I just saw he’s injured, so hopefully he’s all right.”