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Tuukka Rask gives Bruins an ‘F’ for season: ‘If you don’t make the playoffs, you’ve failed’

04.14.15 at 10:52 am ET
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Good was not good enough.

In a nutshell, that sums up Tuukka Rask and the Bruins’ first non-playoff season since 2007. The Bruins goalie acknowledged as much in assessing what went wrong throughout a season in which the Bruins could never find a consistent groove.

Rask finished with a 34-21-13 mark in a career-high 70 games, including 64 starts, also the most ever by the 28-year-old in his eight-year career. Rask had a 2.30 goals against average and a .922 save percentage, good numbers to be sure but when you compare them to the previous three seasons (2.03 GAA, .929 save percentage), they represented a drop off, just like the team.

“Good. Not great, good,” Rask said. “Improve? Always like to improve. But I looked at my numbers and the scoring chances, and it was not obviously quite as good as last year, but it was still over 82 percent. So, that’€™s good.”

But Rask left no doubt about how he felt about the season from a team perspective when asked to give a grade for the season.

“Well, what’€™s failed, F? Because you know, if you don’€™t make the playoffs, you’€™ve failed,” Rask said. “You know, it doesn’€™t matter what happened, if you make the playoffs you’€™ve failed. I mean, if we were to make the playoffs, who knows what could have happened. So the line there is very thin, and we really felt like we had a group of guys to make a good run in the playoffs. But we failed because we didn’€™t make the playoffs and we’€™ll never find out.

“Never would have thought that I’€™d be in this situation, never been in this situation in my career before. Hopefully never have to be here again. It’€™s tough.”

After reaching the Cup finals in 2013 and the second round in ’14, Rask has a little extra time this spring to think about what went wrong.

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Brad Marchand promises missing playoffs ‘definitely something that’s going to drive us next year’

04.13.15 at 11:33 pm ET
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One of the pitfalls of success can be the false sense of comfort it provides.

Brad Marchand said Monday on wrap-up day at TD Garden that these Bruins who missed the playoffs with 96 points took winning for granted too often this season and it eventually caught up with them at the end.

This is a Bruins team that had made the playoffs in each of the first seven seasons under Claude Julien. But the run of success ended in season No. 8 as the Bruins watched their hold on the second wild card spot slip out of their hands in the final week.

“We all have to come in knowing that we have to learn from this year,” Marchand said. “We have to know that every game we have to be prepared for and we can’t have any guys taking nights off. I think too many nights we had guys not at the top of their game and most nights we could only rely on a couple of guys. We have to make sure that we all are prepared every night. That’s what we seemed to be so good at in the past. Four lines, 60 [minutes] and the goalie rolling and when we play like that and play within the system, we’re a good team.”

Having won the Stanley Cup in 2011, reaching the finals two years later and finishing with the best record last season, does Marchand think the Bruins took winning and success for granted too much this season?

“For sure. We definitely did,” Marchand said. “When you’re at the top, you feel like it’s going to be there all the time,” Marchand said. “It’s always going to happen. This is a big wakeup call for our team. I think now we realize how hard we have to continue to work to be at the top and get back there. It is definitely a wakeup call for us. We definitely took it a bit for granted and expected it to be there. We’re going to have to make sure we’re working hard to get back to the top.”

Marchand made the playoffs in each of his first five seasons before missing out this year.

“It’€™s obviously very disappointing. Something to really’€”it’€™s tough to describe,” Marchand said. “You have such high hopes coming into the year and obviously with this team we’€™re expected to not just make the playoffs but win the whole thing. To not be there is different. I’€™ve never missed the playoffs before in my life so it’€™s not a good feeling at all. It’€™s definitely something that’€™s going to drive us next year.”

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Bruins assign Ryan Spooner, David Pastrnak, Zach Trotman to Providence for AHL playoffs

04.13.15 at 9:27 pm ET
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Ryan Spooner

Ryan Spooner

Ryan Spooner, David Pastrnak and Zach Trotman will play postseason hockey this spring after all, just not the way they had hoped.

The Bruins assigned all three players to Providence on Monday, which will allow the trio to play in the Calder Cup playoffs next week. The Baby B’s clinched their playoff spot last Friday.

Pastrnak, the team’s first-round pick in last summer’s draft, played 47 NHL games this season. He finished with 10 goals and 17 assists for 27 points. Spooner had 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists) in 29 games for Boston this season, while Trotman played in 27 games as the Bruins dealt with various injuries on the blue line.

All three players figure to be on Boston’s NHL roster next season. Trotman is on a one-way deal, while Pastrnak will be in the second year of his entry level contract. Trotman is a restricted free agent who is expected to be re-signed.

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Zdeno Chara won’t need surgery, vows to return to normal self

04.13.15 at 2:28 pm ET
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Zdeno Chara thinks he can be great if he stays healthy. (Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)

Zdeno Chara thinks he can be great if he stays healthy. (Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)

Zdeno Chara‘€™s PCL may be toast, but he says he’s got a healthy offseason ahead of him.

Chara will not require knee surgery after tearing the PCL on Oct. 23 and missing nearly two months. He admitted that he wasn’€™t right when in his first 10-15 games back.

“Obviously I was not looking good and [took] a lot of criticism for that, but that’€™s the only way you can do it,” he said. “What are you going to do? You’€™ve just got to play. You’€™ve just got to go through it and eventually you play out of it. It took me a number of games, but then I started feeling better and better, made more adjustments and honestly, towards the end I had no issues. I was skating back to normal. It just takes time.”

The ligament Chara tore is pretty much destroyed — he said “œmaybe 10 percent”€ is still attached –€” but it stabilized after two or three months. Chara, who will continue to wear a knee brace, feels the PCL will not be an issue this summer.

In the final week of the season, Chara was hit twice in the left ankle by shots. He said he is in fine health now heading into the offseason.

If that’€™s true, that will be a departure from the last couple of years. Chara played through injuries until the end of the last two seasons entering this year, with a hip issue hindering him in the 2013 Stanley Cup Final and broken fingers hurting his play against the Canadiens in the second round last season.

Instead of having to recover from such injuries in a relatively short offseason, Chara now has all of the spring and summer to train. He will continue to tweak his workout plan.

This season was a step back from Chara’€™s 2013-14 season, which was one of the best of his career and deserving of the Norris Trophy (he finished second). Asked whether he can tell after a season with injuries if he is still the same player, the 38-year-old was adamant in his response.

“I am,” he said. “Believe me, I will be.”

Continued Chara: “I know there’€™s a lot of questions asked about my age and this and that, but trust me, it’€™s not an issue. If it [wasn’€™t] an issue last year, why would it be this year? One year, you’€™re not going to lose everything.

“It’€™s something that an injury did happen, and obviously, it slowed down the whole season. As much as I would like to have a great season, it’€™s not going to happen when you miss two months off the ice and then it takes another month just to get your timing back. For sure, it’€™s not ideal. It’€™s difficult to deal with, but I will find a way to be [great] again. I have no doubt to be at my top performance.”

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Peter Chiarelli, Claude Julien unsure of job security with Bruins

04.13.15 at 1:24 pm ET
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Peter Chiarelli and Claude Julien held their annual breakup day press conference Monday at TD Garden. They’€™re well aware it could be their last public appearance as Bruins employees.

After missing the playoffs for the first time since 2006-07, both Julien and Chiarelli are at risk of losing their jobs. Chiarelli seemingly had authorization to notify Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille that the Bruins would not be re-signing them. As such, he said he is able to handle this breakup day the way he has in previous years.

Charlie Jacobs said in January that missing the playoffs would be unacceptable and that the team’s leadership was under review.

“The job uncertainty, the questions surrounding us is part of the job and you have to deal with it and move forward, but it hasn’€™t impacted my interviews, my discussions, my dealings with Claude,” Chiarelli said. “Business as usual.”

Julien and Chiarelli don’€™t know whether they’€™re staying or going. They also don’€™t know when they’€™ll be notified.

“I couldn’€™t tell you,” Chiarelli said. “As I said, business as usual until we hear otherwise.”

This is the first time in Julien’€™s eight-year tenure in Boston that the Bruins have not made the playoffs. Asked if one year was enough to warrant being on the hot seat, Julien said it doesn’€™t matter.

“The bottom line is it’€™s a tough business and right now it’€™s not my decision to make,” Julien said. “It will all depend on how it’€™s being viewed from above me and [I’€™ll] deal with it from there. I’€™m like Peter. I’€™ve had exit interviews today with players and my job continues just like any other year. Again, I’€™m kind of repeating what Peter said: Unless I’€™m told otherwise, I’€™ve got to continue to do that.

“I’€™ve been here for eight years and enjoy being here and certainly look forward to staying here. Again, having said that, I also understand the nature of this business.”

Read More: Claude Julien, Peter Chiarelli,

Pierre McGuire on MFB: Bruins would have made playoffs with Jarome Iginla, Johnny Boychuk

04.13.15 at 1:05 pm ET
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Pierre McGuire

Pierre McGuire

NBC Sports NHL analyst Pierre McGuire joined Middays with MFB to discuss the Bruins failure to make the playoffs and the decisions that face the team in the offseason. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The Bruins sat in playoff position heading into the last three games of the season but failed to win any of them and were passed by the Senators. This marks the first year the B’s have missed the postseason since 2008 season.

“I took the Bruins to make the playoffs, I thought the Bruins would have a great run,” McGuire said. “I’m totally wrong on that, they did not. But I think one of the ways you can track it, the two players that they lost.”

Before the season, Bruins management allowed free agent forward Jarome Iginla to leave and traded defenseman Johnny Boychuk to the Islanders for draft picks.

“I think the biggest thing is, I’m looking at it this season and I’m seeing 29 goals from Jarome Iginla that are in Colorado, and I’m seeing over 22 minutes a game from Johnny Boychuk and nine goals with the New York Islanders and over 35 points with the New York Islanders,” McGuire said. “Just those two players alone, you lose those two players for nothing basically, and that basically tilts your season, especially when you compound it with all the injuries the Bruins had.”

Added McGuire: “Let’s just say for the sake of argument that [Iginla] only scores 15. I guarantee you those 15 goals get you in the playoffs. … Boychuk, let’s just say that he only plays 16 minutes a game rather than 22. He’s still going to give you 35 points.”

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Bruins won’t re-sign Gregory Campbell, Daniel Paille

04.13.15 at 12:23 pm ET
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Much of the conversation of Monday’€™s breakup day at TD Garden revolved around the future of the Bruins. Some current players won’€™t be part of it.

The B’€™s have six unrestricted free agents in Gregory Campbell, Daniel Paille, Carl Soderberg, Adam McQuaid, Matt Bartkowski and Niklas Svedberg. The team could lose all of them and survive.

Paille and Campbell have already been notified that they won’t be back. Bartkowski has not yet been told whether he’€™ll be offered a contract. Soderberg will not return to Sweden. He’d like to stay with the Bruins, but he would get more money and opportunity elsewhere.

The free agents are just part of the equation. Especially if Peter Chiarelli is to be relieved of his duties, trades could be a big part of this offseason. The biggest name to watch in that regard is that of Milan Lucic. The 26-year-old left wing is entering the final year of his three-year, $18 million contract, and though he wants to stay, that might not be the right business move for the Bruins.

“I like to think that I’€™m worth it,” Lucic said of his contract. “I showed in the past that I earned the deal that I’€™m currently on with my play on the ice. That’€™s one of the things that I have to do in order to [get another big contract] moving forward. I have to prove that I’€™m still worth that, and you have to prove that by your play on the ice.

“I still believe I can bring a lot to the table as a player. I plan on doing that moving forward.”

Lucic’€™s modified no-trade clause allows him to submit a list of 15 teams to which he would accept a trade. He is coming off an 18-goal season, marking the second time in the last three seasons that he has averaged less than 0.25 goals per game. Lucic scored at a 0.37 goals per game rate in his 30-goal 2010-11 campaign.

Read More: Carl Soderberg, Milan Lucic,
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