|04.07.11 at 11:58 am ET|
This is a very, very difficult time of the year for NHL coaches who know their teams are already in the Stanley Cup playoffs. They have to balance fighting for playoff position with fighting complacency.
Sometimes, the task can become quite frustrating, if not overwhelming, to manage.
Just ask Claude Julien. With his team already assured of home ice in the first round by virtue of their Northeast Division crown, Julien watched on Monday night as his team blew a 3-0 lead to the Rangers at Madison Square Garden in an ugly 5-3 loss.
Then on Wednesday, at home to the lowly Islanders, he watched his top two lines go through the motions, only to get great games from his “energy line” in a 3-2 escape at TD Garden. Shawn Thornton had a goal in his return and Gregory Campbell had a goal and an assist.
Afterward, a reporter at Julien’s press conference opened by asking if that’s the kind of effort he was looking for after the Monday meltdown in New York.
“Are you serious with that question?” Julien chirped. “No, certainly not the kind of game you want to see from your team and I think the execution wasn’t very good tonight. We weren’t very sharp. Our best players certainly didn’t make a difference and who made a difference was our fourth line and the Campbell line was very good for us tonight and the goaltender made some good saves for us.
“But, it’s one of those games where you try and motivate your team to play hard and play well and I think there’s a challenge there. You know, you can say what you want and you can preach what you want, but there’s a lot of players I think that are looking forward to the next season and so those are the challenges that we have at this time of year.” Read the rest of this entry »
|04.07.11 at 1:43 am ET|
The Bruins announced late Wednesday night that they have assigned defenseman Steven Kampfer to Providence. Kampfer will report to Providence on Thursday.
Kampfer has played in 38 games for the Bruins this season since being called up following a hand injury to Mark Stuart in December. He has totaled five goals and five assists for 10 points.
The Providence Bruins have three games remaining on their schedule, meaning Kampfer could see time Friday, Saturday and Sunday. In 20 AHL games this season, Kampfer has three goals and 13 assists for 16 points.
|04.06.11 at 11:24 pm ET|
Forget the fact that he is regarded by many as their toughest player, if everyone on the Bruins had Shawn Thornton‘s energy, the team would never be accused of taking nights off. Thornton is trying to make sure that the Bruins are fired up for the playoffs that start next week.
His goal at the latest possible moment (19:59.9) of the first period got the Bruins going in his first game back and helped the Bruins to a 3-2 win over the Islanders at TD Garden. The Bruins have 101 points now but to Thornton, the more important mission in the final two games is to keep focus.
“Just keeping that rhythm I think,” Thornton said. “Keeping our confidence. Keeping the fun going into the playoffs. This is the best time of the year. The weather is getting nice. You have to want to come to the rink this time of year. For me that’s the biggest thing: to stay upbeat, confident and play our game.
As their coach Claude Julien pointed out afterward, the Bruins did not look sharp in the win as there were defensive breakdowns that allowed the Islanders back in the game, two days after blowing a 3-0 lead to the Rangers in New York.
“I mean there were some lapses,” Thornton said. “We just have to play our game and not worry who we’re playing against. When we’re playing our style of game we’re a really, really good team. When we get away from that, we’ve seen it through the years what happens there. As long as we continue to play our game plan we’ll be a pretty good team.”
As for who they’ll be playing in the first round, Thornton said it doesn’t matter to him since he’s not even paying attention to the standing right now.
“You’re talking to the wrong guy,” Thornton said. “I don’t ever pay attention to the standings. No I don’t know what is going on. Maybe the other guys are different, but I just kind of focus on what’s going on today and don’t worry about the rest.”
After scoring his 10th goal of the season in his first game back since a nasty injury to his forehead, Thornton was also quick to give credit to his assistant coaches and back-up goalie Tuukka Rask after Wednesday’s win. Read the rest of this entry »
|04.06.11 at 9:25 pm ET|
The Bruins broke the 100-point mark on the season Wednesday, grabbing a 3-2 victory against the Islanders and bringing their point total to 101.
Shawn Thornton, playing in his first game since receiving approximately 40 stitches for a gash above the right eye last week, scored his 10th goal of the season in the final second of the first period. The B’s also got goals from Dennis Seidenberg and Gregory Campbell. Islanders rookie Michael Grabner provided all of the scoring for New York with a pair of second-period tallies.
Tim Thomas picked up the victory for the Bruins, improving his record to 34-11-9 on the season. He made 30 saves on the night, with the Islanders totaling just four shots on goal in the third period. The B’s will host the Senators in their final regular season home game before finishing the season Sunday in New Jersey.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– With Thornton’s first-period goal, he and Gregory Campbell are the first B’s teammates to have both double digit goals and fights in the same season since Cam Neely and Nevin Markwart way back in 1986-87. Stick-tap to Doug Flynn over at NESN discovering a very interesting stat.
– Even without considering the milestone that Campbell and Thornton reached, Wednesday was all about the Merlot Line for the Bruins. Daniel Paille has shown an unmistakable determination since returning to the lineup, and he came close to beating Rick DiPietro multiple times Wednesday. Campbell’s goal, his
– Seidenberg’s goal Wednesday puts him at a career-high 31 points this season. Seidenberg’s previous best was 30 with the Hurricanes back in 2008-09. His seven goals are also a career-high.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Another poor performance on the power play. The B’s went 0-for-5 on the night and squandered a two-minute two-man advantage in the first period. They frequently missed on passes, and the cherry on top came in the form of Grabner’s sixth shorthanded goal of the season.
– Speaking of Grabner, the Islanders rookie has been large and in charge this season. The 23-year-old now leads all rookies with 33 goals, and his shorthanded tally in the second period gave him a total good for second in the NHL.
– No-show performance from the Bruins’ top line. Milan Lucic, Nathan Horton and David Krejci had only a Krejci shot to show for themselves on the stat sheet. Claude Julien broke the line up in the third period, playing Chris Kelly at center between Lucic and Horton. Krejci got just three shifts in the third period.
|04.06.11 at 8:37 pm ET|
The B’s continued to get pucks past Rick DiPietro in the second period, but a pair of Michael Grabner strikes have the Islanders within one. After two, the Bruins lead the Islanders, 3-2.
Grabner tied the game at one with his 32nd goal of the season, a power play strike at 3:24. Though the B’s would answer back with goals from Dennis Seidenberg and Gregory Campbell, Grabner would make it 3-2 on a shorthanded goal at 14:26.
The Islanders outshot the B’s, 14-10, in the period. Through two, the Bruins are 0-for-4 on the power play and have allowed a shorthanded goal.
|04.06.11 at 7:44 pm ET|
The Bruins took a 1-0 lead in the first period, and all it took was 19:59.9 for them to grab it.
The Bruins’ energy line carried the load in the period, with Shawn Thornton capping the period with his 10th goal of the season. The B’s went on a two-man advantage at 7:03 thanks to penalties drawn by Daniel Paille and Thornton. Paille, who got the primary helper on Thornton’s goal, has had a couple of great chances, though former BU goalie Rick DiPietro has come up big for the Islanders.
|04.06.11 at 7:32 pm ET|
According to ESPNChicago, Bruins forward Shawn Thornton was yelled at by a Blackhawks player to “get off the ice” as he skated by the Chicago bench last Tuesday upon being cut in the head by Fernando Pisani‘s skate.
Thornton reacted furiously after hearing something the bench and had to be restrained by referee Don VanMassenhoven.
“I heard someone say, ‘Get off the ice, get off the [expletive] ice,'” VanMassenhoven told ESPNChicago. “I don’t know who said it.”
Thornton, who ended up receiving approximately 40 stitches and missing three games, noted after the contest that VanMassenhoven was “pissed” with what was said.