|02.02.12 at 12:01 pm ET|
Bruins coach Claude Julien said after the team’s morning skate Thursday that forward Nathan Horton has not progressed this week in his recovery from his latest concussion, and still is not riding the stationary bike.
“He’s still where he was a few days ago,” Julien said. “Feeling better, but not well enough right now to get to that stage of working out.”
Horton suffered the injury on Jan. 22, when he was hit by Flyers forward Tom Sestito. The play was not reviewed by the league, and Sestito was not fined or suspended for the hit.
The concussion is Horton’s second since June. Horton was famously blindsided by Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome in the first period of Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals last season. He missed the rest of the postseason with the concussion.
|02.02.12 at 11:55 am ET|
After missing Wednesday’s practice with a lower-body injury, Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid was on the ice for Thursday’s morning skate and hopes to play Thursday night against the Hurricanes at TD Garden.
“I felt good this morning,” McQuaid said after the skate. “I’m not sure exactly if there’s been a decision made, but I felt good this morning.”
Said coach Claude Julien: “As far as we know, he should be ready to go, but we’ll probably leave it at game-time decision. He looked good this morning, and we anticipate he’s going to play.”
McQuaid caught his skate in a rut late in the third period against the Senators on Tuesday, and said that though a part of him was concerned he may have suffered something more severe, he’s feeling better now.
“There’s always a little bit of that concern,” McQuaid said. “You’re not sure how your body will react to different things, but I’m pretty happy with how I felt today.”
McQuaid will also see the return of his defense partner in Andrew Ference, who will return from a three-game suspension Thursday night.
|02.01.12 at 6:12 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Andrew Ference has always prided himself on being a clean player, so is he worried his reputation has been tarnished after his three-game suspension for his hit on Rangers forward Ryan McDonagh?
“I don’t have to register in my neighborhood, so’¦ I still think it’s alright,” Ference said after Wednesday’s practice.
Ference finished serving the suspension, the first of his career, Tuesday night against the Senators. He likened sitting the games out to being an injured player, as he was anxious to get back on the ice but was forced to watch the games from the press box. After plenty of time off (because the All-Star break came in the middle of the suspension, Ference might have a bit more rust after going 11 days without game action), but he’s done the typical things — mainly extra work in practice — to stay sharp.
Ference was suspended by league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan for pushing McDonagh into the end boards when the two were chasing the puck in the Rangers’ zone in overtime on Jan. 21. Ference has repeatedly expressed regret over how the play unfolded, but maintains that he wouldn’t approach a similar play differently.
“I mean, there’s not a whole lot of options,” Ference said. “The thing about that play is — and I kind of, just for my own amusement watched the games — and that type of play happens a lot in the game. It doesn’t usually result in a guy falling. It’s usually a little slower speed, but that situation happens all the time and situations where guys can fall awkwardly. It’s a common thing, it just doesn’t happen that often because guys have good balance and stay up. Next time I’ll get the puck and score I guess.
“Every situation is different, but honestly, if that situation happens, you try to let up and you try to do what I did. You don’t plant them into the boards, you try to let up as much as possible and hope things work out.”
|02.01.12 at 4:22 pm ET|
They say that in order to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best. The Bruins’ problem this season is that they can’t beat the worst.
The Hurricanes will enter the Garden Thursday night with just 45 points on the season, which puts them dead last in the Eastern Conference, but they’ll also come in having won all three previous meetings against the Bruins this season.
For one reason or another, the Hurricanes have given the Bruins, who are a point out of first place in the conference, fits. Whether it was on Oct. 18, when Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic lost their cool on Tim Gleason late in the third period, or in their last meeting, when the B’s blew a third-period lead and saw Carolina score three unanswered goals, the Bruins simply haven’t been up to the challenge against perhaps the least challenging opponent in the East.
“To be honest, I don’t think we’ve played well against them,” Gregory Campbell said after Wednesday’s practice. “That’s no discredit to them. The first two losses came within a week, and that was probably when we were playing some of our poorest hockey of the season. I thought the last time we were in there, they played an awesome game. They were hard on us, and we weren’t prepared for that. We weren’t prepared to skate, and they were all over us. They basically smothered us, and they deserved to win that game.”
If there’s been one certainty with the Bruins this season, it’s been their dominant third-period play. They have a plus-66 goal differential in the third period this season, but the Hurricanes have even beaten them there. Only three Bruins opponents have outscored them in the third period this season: the Avalanche (who scored their only goal of the game in teams’ lone meeting), the Canadiens (who have scored four goals against the B’s in the third compared to Boston’s three) and the Hurricanes. Of those teams, the Hurricanes have the best third-period differential against the Bruins, as they’ve outscored Boston, 7-4, in the third period when the teams have met this season.
The Hurricanes recently locked up Gleason with a four-year, $16 million deal, meaning perhaps the best defensive option for the trade deadline has been taken off the market. It also means the Hurricanes will remain equipped to continue to bring it to the B’s as they continue to face them.
But for the Bruins and their struggles against the Hurricanes, they aren’t thinking about the opponent. They’re focused on the way they’ve played the opponent, and it hasn’t been up to par.
“I think it’s not really about us focusing on what they’re doing to beat us,” Campbell said. “It’s more so us focusing on brining our game and seeing what that presents.”
If the Bruins can win, perhaps they can use it as a springboard to get them back to where they were prior to their current stretch of sloppy play. The B’s are 4-3-1 in their last eight games, and failed to show up in the first 40 minutes before beating the Senators Tuesday with a third-period comeback.
“Things have slipped. It’s no secret in here,” Campbell said. “Claude [Julien] has been realistic with us. We’re not playing up to the potential we’re capable of. They’ve done their job. Our job as players is to get back to that, and it’s no secret. We just have to play our game like we did in November and December, and that’s a formula that brings success for us.”
Between their previous inability to beat the conference’s worst team and a desire to get back to the level of play they found during their 21-3-1 stretch, a lot of things can change for the Bruins Thursday night.
Said Campbell: “Good teams find a way to be consistent. That’s our issue right now.”
|02.01.12 at 2:07 pm ET|
Bruins legend Phil Esposito said Tuesday he is in shock after learning of the death of his 43-year-old daughter.
Esposito, who founded the Lightning franchise, said his daughter Carrie died Monday, apparently from a sudden illness. She was married to former Lightning star Alex Selivanov and living in Germany, where Selivanov played from 2003-08.
“I’m having major difficulties with this,” Esposito told the Tampa Bay Times. “I’m just in shock. I cannot believe it even as I sit and talk to you. I expect her to call me and start saying, ‘April fool.’ ”
Esposito said he plans to fly to Germany later in the week to get more details about his daughter’s death. He said she coughed up some blood 10 days ago, “but she refused to go to the doctor. She refused to go to the hospital. ‘I’m fine. I’m taking the kids to practice.’ That’s all I know.”
|02.01.12 at 11:59 am ET|
WILMINGTON — Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid was not on the ice as the team returned to practice Wednesday at Ristuccia Arena.
McQuaid played 14:39 in Tuesday’s 4-3 win over the Senators Tuesday, but suffered a lower-body injury after catching a rut late in the third period.
Coach Claude Julien said that McQuaid came back to the bench “a little shaken up” after the play. The team hopes McQuaid can return to the ice Thursday against the Hurricanes, but it seems the defenseman’s status is up in the air.
“He got injured last night, so we just felt that it was better to keep him off the ice today,” Julien said after Wednesday’s practice. “We’ll reevaluate his situation tomorrow morning.”
The Bruins will be getting defenseman Andrew Ference back from a three-game suspension Thursday, so in the event that McQuaid is unable to go, the B’s would not need to call a defenseman up from Providence. In 42 games this season, the 25-year-old blueliner has two goals and five assists for seven points and a plus-16 rating.
Nathan Horton (concussion) was the only other player missing from practice.
|02.01.12 at 10:33 am ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley made his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan Wednesday to talk about the Bruins’ first game since the All-Star break, the fans’ reaction to Tim Thomas and the Super Bowl.
Despite a sloppy start to Tuesday’s game, the Bruins’ first game in almost a week, the B’s impressed Brickley with their resolve by putting the pieces together in the third period for a 4-3 win.
“When the game was on the line and they had to take their intensity to a different level they did it in the third period,” Brickley said. “Third periods have been great for them all year. Now, if you look at the first 40, it looked like a team that had had five days off. That’s a lot of time.”
Added Brickley: “There’s still just too much inconsistency in the Bruins’ game right now.”
Tim Thomas received an ovation from the TD Garden crowd before the game, ending speculation that fans might turn on him following the White House controversy.
“If there were any boo-birds in the building, they were certainly going to get drowned out,” Brickley said, adding: “Nobody’s going to boo him. Even if his perception has changed with the Bruins fans, it’s not worthy of being booed. Absolutely not.”
As for Thomas’ play in the game, Brickley said: “He looked just like the rest of the team. He had his moments of real good play and then he had some inconsistent moments, some rebounds maybe he’d like to have back. But once again, that ultracompetitiveness takes over when the game’s on the line and he made the saves he had to make.”