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Matt Beleskey still not practicing, Tommy Cross returned to Providence

10.22.15 at 11:38 am ET
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WILMINGTON — New father Patrice Bergeron was given the day off from practice Thursday at Ristuccia Arena. Also missing from the session was Matt Beleskey, who missed Wednesday’s game with an upper-body injury. Following the practice, Claude Julien said that Beleskey will travel with the team for Friday’s game in Brooklyn.

Tommy Cross has been returned to Providence. Boston’s other seven defensemen practiced Thursday, including Joe Morrow. Though Morrow is still on injured reserve due to a recent flu bug, he can be activated at any time. Julien said that he’s yet to be cleared to play, and that the B’s will use Zach Trotman Friday if Morrow can’t go.

Zac Rinaldo was one of 12 forwards to practice for the B’s. He is currently awaiting word on whether he’ll be suspended for his hit on Sean Couturier in Wednesday’s loss to the Flyers.

 

Read More: Matt Beleskey, Tommy Cross,

Bruins blown leads a troubling trend

10.22.15 at 8:49 am ET
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The so-called most dangerous lead in hockey, the two-goal advantage, used to be downright safe for the Bruins to the tune of a 158-9-7 record over the past four seasons. But, with three of their first six games this season featuring blown two-goal leads, the B’€™s are quickly rekindling fear about the old hockey adage.

Wednesday night at TD Garden, the Bruins enjoyed a 4-2 lead heading to the third period, but watched their potential two-point reward slice in half as the Flyers came back for a 5-4 victory in overtime.

A 2-0 second period lead over Tampa Bay on October 12 at the Garden also ended in defeat for Boston this year, and a lost 3-1 third period lead on October 17 in Arizona was restored to a win thanks only to the Bruins white-hot power play. There was no such salvation on Wednesday.

“We have to play with more composure when we score a goal or get scored on,” said team captain Zdeno Chara. “[We have] some mental breaks like that. Things that are easy to be corrected. Just have to work harder and take pride in winning the battles.”

Lost puck battles were the theme of head coach Claude Julien‘€™s critique of the Flyers’€™ loss.

“We played a light game,”€ Julien said. “We had too many guys with light sticks, too many guys playing a light game. It’€™s unacceptable. What happened tonight we probably deserved. [Philadelphia] was the hungrier team. We didn’€™t respond well. A lot of guys would just go into battle, take a swing at the puck, and curl the other way. Again, that’€™s not the way we play and it’€™s not the way we’€™re going to accept players to play on our team.”

On the bright side for the Bruins, goal scoring has been plentiful to put some leads in place. Boston has netted 18 goals over their last four games. But the 2-1-1 record that’€™s resulted over that span has left a feeling of missed opportunities.

“€œWhen you score four goals you should have more than enough to win the game,” said Patrice Bergeron, who added two more points against Philadelphia to give him seven (four goals, three assists) through six games played. “€œToo many slow reactions defensively and lack of communication. Poor decisions. It ends up hurting us big time.”€

Bergeron’s colleague Chris Kelly, whose shorthanded tally gave Boston a 3-2 edge on the Flyers in the second period, agreed.

“€œWe mismanaged the puck, especially in the third [period],” Kelly said. “A team that has capable scorers like [Philadelphia has], it didn’€™t take much, a couple turnovers and misplays and they tied it up pretty quickly. It’€™s a combination of things. It’€™s about managing the puck, [not] putting the other guys in a tough spot changing, and maybe not changing at the right times. Little things. It’€™s the combinations of a lot of little things that lead to a goal. That was the case, especially their fourth goal, the [Wayne] Simmonds goal.”

“€œThe effort is there,”€ Kelly continued. “€œIt’€™s just focus needs to be sharper throughout the course of 60 minutes. There’€™s times in all four home games where we’€™ve played extremely well and done a lot of good things, just to maintain that composure for 60 minutes seems to be an issue right now.”

Read More: Chris Kelly, Claude Julien,

Bruins leave Tuukka Rask no room for error

10.22.15 at 1:44 am ET
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Tuukka Rask has allowed 22 goals this season. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Tuukka Rask has allowed 22 goals this season. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Tuukka Rask has not been a cure-all for the Bruins’€™ issues. That doesn’€™t mean he’€™s been a primary source of those issues.

In five games played this season, Rask has allowed a jarring 22 goals. While goals against is a team statistic, having a goalie of Rask’€™s caliber is typically a fail-safe against such results.

These are not typical circumstances, however, so judging Rask based on them isn’€™t entirely fair, even if he is making a whole lot of money.

The Bruins have lost four games this season. In three of them, the B’€™s were unequivocally worse in front of Rask than he was behind them. Last week’€™s loss to Tampa qualified as a stinker on Rask’€™s behalf, but the other performances have seen him allow goals not usually seen around these parts. Does Rask deserve criticism for not being at his best? Sure, but no five-game sample can possibly be seen as an indication that one of the best goalies in the league (remember: Rask is the leader among active goalies in career save percentage, ahead of Henrik Lundqvist, Carey Price and everyone else) is some flawed player who no one noticed because he was on a good team.

Granted, what’€™s alarming with Rask is that, for the first time in a long time, he doesn’€™t pass the eye test. The numbers are ugly enough, but so too are the goals. Commonly this season, such lowlights have been the result of a Rask miscue exacerbated by Boston’s defensive play.

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Read More: Tuukka Rask,

Zac Rinaldo ‘for sure’ concerned about suspension after hit on Sean Couturier

10.21.15 at 11:52 pm ET
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Zac Rinaldo is well aware that his hit on Sean Couturier in the first period of Wednesday’€™s loss to the Flyers got the attention of the Department of Player Safety.

A repeat offender given that he’€™s been suspended within the last 18 months, Rinaldo said he is “for sure” concerned about being suspended for his charging major Wednesday, which came with a game misconduct.

Though Rinaldo did not target the head, the hit was highly avoidable given how late it was. He said after the game that his intention was to lay a clean hit.

“I saw the puck coming around the boards and I thought he still had full control of the puck, and I just tried to deliver a body check,” Rinaldo said.

Asked whether he felt he actually did lay a clean hit, Rinaldo reiterated, “That’€™s what I was trying to do, yeah: deliver a clean hit, just go through the body. It’€™s a part of the game, so that’€™s what I tried to do.”

Rinaldo has been suspended three times for a total of 14 games in his career.

Read More: Zac Rinaldo,

5 things we learned: Bruins aren’t good at holding leads

10.21.15 at 10:43 pm ET
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The Bruins can build a lead and they can blow a lead. The bad commonly outweighs the good there. Anyway, now they’€™re 2-3-1.

For the second straight game, the B’€™s relinquished a two-goal lead, with Wednesday’€™s contest costing them in overtime in the form of a 5-4 Flyers win. After jumping ahead of Philly, 4-2, through the first two periods, Boston let the Flyers storm back with third-period goals from Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds. A Ryan Spooner hooking penalty in overtime led to a power-play goal from Giroux to end the game and hand the Bruins a disappointing loss.

Boston got goals in regulation from Brett Connolly, Patrice Bergeron, Chris Kelly and Jimmy Hayes. Bergeron, who was in the lineup after recently welcoming his first child to his family, scored on the power play while Kelly’€™s goal came during a second-period penalty kill. David Krejci continued his torrid start with a pair of assists to bring his league-leading point total to 11 through six games.

Here are four more things we learned Wednesday:

RINALDO TOSSED LATE IN FIRST

It took six games for Zac Rinaldo to get tossed from a game. His first offense as a Bruin came late in the first period, when Rinaldo threw a late hit on Sean Couturier after the forward had already absorbed a hit from Adam McQuaid along the boards. Rinaldo was assessed a five-minute charging major and a game misconduct.

Given that Rinaldo was suspended last season, he counts as a repeat offender if and when the department of player safety opts to punish him.

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Claude Julien on draft pick compensation: ‘Once you’re fired, you’re fired’

10.21.15 at 12:10 pm ET
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The fact that John Tortorella isn’€™t the most ridiculous part of the Blue Jackets hiring John Tortorella shows how backwards the NHL‘€™s rules regarding compensation for fired employees is.

Tortorella, who was fired after the first year of a five-year contract with the Canucks at the end of the 2013-14 season, had two-plus more years on his contract with Vancouver before being hired by the Blue Jackets. With Columbus hiring him during his contract, however, the Canucks are within their rights to seek a second-round pick as compensation for the coach, as the Bruins are doing with Peter Chiarelli and the Oilers.

That the Canucks are now off the hook for his contract should be enough, as they chose to can him. The Blue Jackets could (and should) have viewed the second-round pick compensation as a deterrent for hiring Tortorella.

Asked about the situation Wednesday, Bruins coach Claude Julien was vocal about teams seeking draft picks for people they fired. Should he be fired, Julien could find his job search more difficult if the Bruins chose to seek draft pick compensation. The fact that the Bruins are doing so with Chiarelli (they’€™ll get a second-rounder from the Oilers in one of the coming years) shows that they might not be inclined to waive their right to a pick if they eventually fire their coach.

“The league is going to look into that, but as a coach, I find it a shame that I wouldn’€™t be able to get a job somewhere because the compensation was too high, yet they thought enough of me that they would be willing to hire me, but they wouldn’€™t be willing to give a first, second or third-round pick,” Julien said. “To me, once you’€™re fired, you’€™re fired.

“If it’€™s a different situation and you’€™re not fired, you step down, you say, ‘€˜I don’€™t want to be here anymore,’€™ or whatever, well [they] still own your rights until the end of the contract. I agree with that, because they still wanted you. You’€™re the one that wanted to step down. Once you’€™re fired, you shouldn’€™t be held back from working anywhere because of compensation. Whether it’€™s called a selfish thing on our parts, the thing that we want to do, we want to get back and work again. At the same time, it’€™s definitely a benefit for the team that fired you because they don’€™t have to keep paying you for doing nothing. This is something I know the league is going to look into, and we’€™ll see what happens there.”

Julien said that he understands draft pick compensation for coaches who are under contract and are sought after by other teams.

“I think it’€™s important to understand that there’€™s teams that develop coaches,” Julien said. “[I’€™ll] use the example of Detroit. How many coaches have they lost? Todd McLellan, being an assistant coach and them giving him the opportunity to be a head coach [in San Jose]. Well, he had an opportunity to grow in [the Red Wings] organization, so all of a sudden they say, ‘€˜Well, we should get some sort of compensation.’€™ He wasn’€™t fired. He was promoted, so I understand the logistics of where that argument comes from. I’€™m not naive when it comes to that.

“Having said that, I think there’€™s two sides to it, but as coaches, I think our biggest thing is being fired — not promoted — being fired, we should be able to get another job without being held back because of compensation.”

Read More: Claude Julien,

Matt Beleskey (upper-body) out vs. Flyers, Patrice Bergeron questionable

10.21.15 at 11:23 am ET
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Matt Beleskey will not play Wednesday night due to an upper-body injury, Claude Julien said after Wednesday’s morning skate. Patrice Bergeron, who missed the skate due to personal reasons, is questionable to play.

[Update: 4:21 p.m.] The Bruins have confirmed that Bergeron and wife Stephanie had their first child, a boy named Zack. B’s president Cam Neely said on 98.5 The Sports Hub Wednesday that Bergeron is expected to play.

Julien said that Beleskey’s injury was suffered between Tuesday’s practice and Wednesday morning. The Bruins’ lines were out of sorts with both players absent in morning skate, but Beleskey’s absence means that Brett Connolly will likely be in the lineup Wednesday. Connolly was a healthy scratch Saturday against the Coyotes.

Tuukka Rask is expected to start against the Flyers. Joe Morrow, who has missed the last two games due to the flu, remains on injured reserve. The defensive pairings in the morning skate were as follows:

Chara-Kevan Miller
Krug-McQuaid
Cross-Colin Miller
Morrow-Trotman

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