|02.07.14 at 4:38 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Claude Julien doesn’t like to talk too much about other teams’ players, so in a session with the media Friday that centered largely around the Olympics, the Team Canada Associate Coach was rather tight-lipped when asked to assess Tuukka Rask‘s chances with Team Finland.
“You’re asking me a question that has nothing to do with Team Canada, so I don’t comment on other teams,” Julien said with a smirk. “I’m happy that Finland has chosen Tuukka. He’s had a good year.”
Finland is considered to be stacked at the goaltender position, as it features Rask, Antti Niemi and Kari Lehtonen. Team Canada is considered to be loaded, though its perceived weakness — if it has one — is in net, where it has Roberto Luongo, Carey Price and Mike Smith. Price and Luongo both have a 2.36 goals-against average as of Friday, good for 14th and 16th in the NHL, respectively, while Smith is 37th in the league with a 2.85 clip.
“We’re fine. We’re fine,” Julien said. “I mean, we’ve got a goaltender in Luongo that won a gold medal. You’ve got a goaltender in Price that, to me, has probably been one of the steadiest goaltenders this year, has done a great job for Montreal, and then Smith has had a good year.
“Where people may be questioning that, I’m not. Right now, it’s just a matter of going out and showing that we have the right goaltending threesome to again compete for that gold.”
This marks the second time this week that Luongo has been defended by a member of the Bruins, as Milan Lucic went out of his way to speak to the character of the embattled Canucks netminder on Monday.
“I think too many people point the finger too much on Luongo,” Lucic said. “I think he’s a great goaltender, and I mean, he was still able to get [the Canucks] one win away from the ultimate goal. I think it shows the type of person that he is going through what he went through with how he was treated over there by everyone, and he still managed to keep his game at a high level, and he’s back on the Olympic team. He’s still one of the best goaltenders in the league, so as far as that goes, it shows a lot about his character and I wish him all the best in Sochi.”
On the subject of Steven Stamkos, who undoubtedly has a big fan in Julien (the Bruins coach visited Stamkos in the hospital after the young superstar broke his tibia in Boston in November), Julien said he felt bad that the Lightning center wouldn’t be headed to Sochi, but feels Martin St. Louis is a more than serviceable replacement.
“It is disappointing, because he’s one of the elite players,” Julien said. “I think everybody knows he was a shoo-in right from the get-go, but at the same time we keep talking about our depth and how Canada has enough players to make two teams. Well, we went and got another player that, in my mind, deserved to be on our team right from the start.
“When I say that, [I mean] we have to limit ourselves to a certain number, but there’s no doubt that he’s good enough to play — we’re talking about Marty St. Louis here — and there’s others on that list that could easily step into our lineup. You live with the situation, and I think if anything, they’re very smart at making the decision that’s for the well-being of Steven Stamkos. It’s unfortunate for us, but in the long run for the athlete and for the people that want to watch the guy play and be part of the NHL, it was the right decision, I guess.”
|02.07.14 at 3:47 pm ET|
The Bruins made a minor move Friday afternoon, sending forward Carter Camper to the Blue Jackets in exchange for defenseman Blake Parlett.
Parlett has four goals and 14 assists this season for AHL Springfield. The Rangers signed the undrafted blue-liner to a minor league contract out of the Ontario Hockey League in 2010, then traded him to Columbus last April as part of the blockbuster deal that sent Marian Gaborik to the Blue Jackets. Parlett has yet to appear in an NHL game.
Camper was the Providence Bruins’ third-leading scorer this season, posting eight goals and 23 assists in 41 games. The Miami of Ohio product totaled 36 goals and 90 assists over three full seasons in Providence. He appeared in three games for the parent club during the 2011-12 season.
|02.07.14 at 2:51 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins held a very brief practice Friday afternoon, skating for a little over 20 minutes in their last practice before the Olympic break. The B’s will host the Senators Saturday and then return to practice on Feb. 20.
Loui Eriksson and Adam McQuaid were both missing from practice, as Eriksson was getting dental work done following a high stick to the mouth in the first period of Thursday’s game and McQuaid remains out with a leg injury. Zdeno Chara also remains out as he is already in Sochi for the Olympics. With Eriksson out, Jordan Caron skated in his place on the third line, though Claude Julien said he expects Eriksson to play Saturday.
“Loui’s doing OK. The only reason he missed is he’s obviously getting some dental work done and making sure he’s all fixed up before tomorrow and before he leaves for the Olympics,” Julien said. “He should be in the lineup tomorrow; there’s no reason why he shouldn’t, but I think it’s going to be a long day for him, getting his mouth fixed.”
As for McQuaid, he will not play Saturday, though the team hopes he will be able to play after the break. He has not played since Jan. 19.
Because teams have to break for the Olympics, McQuaid will not be able to see team doctors and trainers regularly, though he was able to rehab his blood clot condition during the lockout without the help of the team staff.
“With the CBA and stuff like that, he’s basically on his own, but he will continue to get the treatments and all that stuff that he needs,” Julien said. “Hopefully, by the time we get back, he’ll be ready to jump in with us. If not then, very soon.”
For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com/bruins.
|02.07.14 at 1:39 pm ET|
Bruins defenseman Matt Bartkowski joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to discuss being a young defenseman, the Olympics and other hockey-related news. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
With Zdeno Chara out of the B’s lineup due to the Olympics, Bartkowski and the rest of the team’s younger defenseman are getting more ice time.
“We’re just trying to focus on playing our games,” Bartkowski said. “We’re not trying to change too much of what we do. We try and do too much then it ends up hurting the team or being detrimental, so as long as we play our games, we’re just getting some more minutes.”
Bartkowski, who played in 20 regular-season games and skated to a minus-3 in the previous three seasons, has registered 10 points in 41 games this season.
“I think it’s more just your comfort level and your confidence level,” Bartkowski said. “The more and more you play, and the more you understand that you, yourself, you should be there and you’re good enough, and you should be there for a reason — once you understand that, I think your instincts just kind of take over and you just play the game like you know you can.”
|02.07.14 at 11:59 am ET|
The shortcomings of Sochi’s accommodations for the Olympics have been well documented over the past few days. From yellow water to broken door handles, the media has lit up Twitter with the pictures to prove it.
So if media and averaged-sized athletes are having problems with their rooms, how will the NHL‘s tallest player and the flag-bearer for Slovakia handle the conditions?
“I’ve been in Russia many times, and yeah, there are many different levels of hotels from one-star, two-star to really luxury ones,” Bruins captain Zdeno Chara told WEEI’s DJ Bean earlier this week. “I’m sure it’s not going to be a five-star accommodation, but I don’t think it’s going to be anything bad. Really as an athlete, we’re more looking for getting enough rest and a good night’s sleep and obviously good food. That’s all you should really care about ‘ not what kind of pillows.”
‘ Tomas Kmec (@Tomas_Kmec) February 6, 2014
The 6-foot-9, 255-pound Chara won’t need to worry about the pillows, but after a picture surfaced of his bed in Sochi, he will need to deal with sheets that may not cover his entire body. While Olympic organizers had an extension to add onto Chara’s bed, they don’t appear to have the necessary extension to add to his sheets.
|02.06.14 at 10:47 pm ET|
The Bruins came back to steal a point Thursday in St. Louis, but suffered a 3-2 overtime loss without Zdeno Chara.
T.J. Oshie jammed a puck that had deflected off the boards past Tuukka Rask during the extra session, leaving the B’s with their first overtime loss of the season.
Alexander Steen got the Blues on the board at 15:48 of the first period with a slapshot that beat Tuukka Rask stick side, with Jaden Schwartz scoring on a wrist shot from the left circle at 3:32 to make it a two-goal game.
The Bruins appeared to be headed for a loss against one of the tougher teams in the league until goals from David Krejci and Brad Marchand 2:08 apart from one another tied the game in the third period. The game was the second straight in which the Blues had blown a third-period lead.
The Bruins will host the Senators Saturday in their final game before the Olympic break.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- Jarome Iginla came an Alex Pietrangelo stick away from ending it earlier in overtime, as he had the puck on his stick at the post with half the net empty, but Pietrangelo was able to get his stick on the puck to deflect when Iginla tried putting it in.
- The Bruins were already missing their best two defenseman, so they didn’t need their own seasoned veteran missing four minutes for reacting to a clean hit. That’s what happened late in the second period when Boychuk went after T.J. Oshie after the Blues forward crushed Torey Krug with a clean hit. Boychuk was given a double-minor for roughing, while Oshie got a minor, which left the B’s shorthanded for the last two minutes of the period.
Krug would end up going after Oshie in the third period, with both players going off for roughing.
- The officials missed a high stick from Maxim Lapierre to the face of Loui Eriksson in the first period, and there wasn’t a stoppage of play until Steen’s goal. Eriksson was bleeding pretty heavily from the mouth, so the B’s were cost both a four-minute power play and a goal.
That wasn’t the only flub by the officials Thursday night, as a premature whistle on a puck that Halak hadn’t tied up yielded a rebound that easily could have been buried for a goal in the second period.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- Marchand’s goal was the Patrice Bergeron line’s first goal in five games. The line had been on a statistical tear in January but had cooled off over the Bruins’ four-game home stand from Jan. 28 to Tuesday.
- Though it didn’t bring the B’s any goals as he took Chara’s spot in front on the power play, Milan Lucic provided a good net-front presence to tie up Barrett Jackman and screen Jaroslav Halak on Krejci’s goal. Lucic also had a scoring chance in the final seconds of regulation but was denied by Halak with a kick save.
- With an assist on Krejci’s goal, Iginla now has 12 points (three goals, nine assists) over his last seven games.
|02.05.14 at 1:44 pm ET|
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton talked with Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday about Tuesday night’s game against the Canucks, coaching in the NHL and more. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Thornton was pleased with winning on Tuesday, but he said that the usual intensity for the rivalry wasn’t there.
“It’s been a couple of years,” Thornton said, referring to the Bruins’ win in the Stanley Cup finals in 2011. “They’re coming off back-to-back games, too. [The Canucks] just played in Detroit, so maybe not as much of an energy level for them, and I think they had lost three or four in a row, too. Think they have their own stuff going on internally.”
Despite the Canucks’ off night, Thornton said the Bruins did what they do best.
“We’re more focused on what we do, but it might have taken from it a little bit,” Thornton said. “When you’re up by a couple goals to start, I guess really running around and creating the emotion, you could be playing with fire. … You’re in control of the game, you just want to keep control of the game the way it is.”
With the win against the Canucks, the Bruins have gone 7-2-1 in their last 10 games. Thornton credits focus as a big reason for their success.
“Yeah, things are going well,” Thornton said. “We kind of broke it down about 10 games before the Olympic break that we wanted to ride into this two-week break on a high, and I think we’ve done a good job of that for the last seven, eight games. That’s still our goal, we’re pretty good at not looking at the long-term board, just taking it game to game and sometimes segment to segment.”
Latest from Bleacher Report
- Do the Bruins Need to Make Major Change on Defense Before 2014-15?
- Should the Bruins Re-Sign Shawn Thornton?
- Bruins Prospects Look to Preserve Their AHL Playoff Run
- Complete Guide to Bruins' 2014 Offseason
- Final Report Card for Bruins' 2013-14 Season
- Game 6 Keys for Bruins, Canadiens
- Takeaways from Canadiens vs. Bruins Game 5