|09.14.11 at 11:08 am ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins held another veterans’ practice Wednesday at Ristuccia Arena, with Benoit Pouliot making his first appearance in a Bruins’ sweater.
The former Canadiens and Wild winger is wearing No. 67 on his helmet. Anton Khudobin is also here for the first time this preseason. He was the only goaltender on the ice.
|09.13.11 at 9:38 pm ET|
One night after Ryan Spooner stole the show in New York with a five-point performance, the Boston rookies had a much harder time finding offensive production on Tuesday. The B’s rookies fell to the Islanders’ rookie squad Tuesday night by a 7-2 score at Nassau Coliseaum. The two squads split the two-game rookie series, as Boston was victorious in Monday night’s contest.
Former Northeastern forward Tyler McNeely led the way for the Islanders, registering a goal and three assists for New York. Goaltender Anders Nilsson made 38 saves on the night, holding a shutout until the third period, when he allowed goals to Craig Cunningham and Anthony Camara.
The Bruins’ rookies went 0-for-8 on the power play, though one lasted for just the final 7.1 seconds of the game. They failed to capitalize on a 5-on-3 that lasted 1:31, as they got seven shots on goal but failed to beat Nilsson.
Michael Hutchinson started the game for the B’s, allowing six goals through the first period before giving way to Jared DeMichiel in the third period.
The game featured four fights, three of which occurred in the first five seconds of the game. Camara, who had 132 penalty minutes for Saginaw (OHL) last season, was among those to drop the gloves for the B’s.
The youngsters will return to Boston, where they will wrap up their rookie camp this week.
|09.13.11 at 11:11 am ET|
WILMINGTON — After a long weekend off, the Bruins resumed veterans’ practices Tuesday at Ristuccia Arena.
The turnout for Tuesday was much greater than the first two skates, with Matt Bartkowski, Jordan Caron, Trent Whitfield, Chris Clark and Kirk MacDonald among the players to join in. The skate consisted of a scrimmage, with Tuukka Rask opposing three tires in the goaltending matchup.
|09.13.11 at 2:44 am ET|
Around this time last year, it didn’t seem there many people banking on big things from Tim Thomas. The veteran goaltender was coming off both a down year and offseason hip surgery. In fact, much of the discussion regarding the Bruins’ goaltending situation was generally around how Tuukka Rask would follow up a season in which he led the NHL in both goals against average and save percentage.
What a difference a year and a shelf-worth of hardware makes.
Now, Thomas is coming off a both healthy and historic season, and rather than wondering whether he’s physically capable of being a dominant goalie — something he admitted he pondered before the hip healed — the 37 year-old can think about the coming season rather than how his body will hold up.
“Actually, I feel good,” Thomas said Monday. “I didn’t have any injuries that I had to deal with, which is pretty amazing considering the amount of games we had. Physically, it’s not even an issue, so I haven’t had to think about it. It’s nice.”
Thomas delighted season-ticket holders at Monday’s State of the Bruins when he said that he had no choice but to repeat the type of season — which was of record-breaking variety thanks to an all-time best .938 save percentage — he had a year ago.
While fans got a kick out of Thomas’ statement, the Michigan native said afterwards that holding themselves to their own standard is something the Bruins must do as they defend their championship.
“I think that goes for not just me but for the whole team,” Thomas said. “When you’ve won the Cup and you’re at the pinnacle, there’s nothing higher, so you need to shoot for it again.”
But could Thomas really repeat the type of season he put together last season? He started 55 regular-season games, beginning the process of claiming the No. 1 job with a shutout (one of nine on the season) in the second game against the Coyotes in Prague.
This time around, it’s Rask that’s all healed (he had arthroscopic surgery on his knee) and trying to get a few more starts. Thomas laughed at the idea that the No. 1 goalie discussion could come up this early, as he was asked whether his historic season left him assuming he’ll be the Bruins’ top netminder.
“It’s pretty much only a label that you guys put on it, anyways,” Thomas said. “We just consider ourselves goaltenders on the team. One of the goalies is going to get more playing time, but we’re both just teammates.”
Along with his .938 save percentage, Thomas had an NHL-best 2.00 goals against average and a 35-11-9 record in the regular season. He started each game of the postseason, narrowly surprising his regular season numbers with a .940 save percentage and 1.98 goals against average. For someone who’s welcomed the challenge of repeating such a campaign, Thomas did note that his lackluster 2009-10 season, which followed his first Vezina season, may have prepared him for learning how to follow a great year.
“I’ve had experience,” Thomas said. “I had the year after the Vezina. Coming off that was hard enough. Now, winning these, I’m starting to get some experience with dealing with success, and hopefully that helps going forward.”
|09.12.11 at 11:59 pm ET|
One petitioned player will be on the Stanley Cup, but what about the others?
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli confirmed Monday night that center Marc Savard‘s name will be on the trophy, which is good news for a guy who hasn’t had much of it.
Due to his latest concussion, Savard played in only 25 regular season games last season (41, or one Stanley Cup finals game are required to get one’s name on the trophy). The Cup will be engraved this week, with 52 names (including the players) allowed.
“It’s not an easy task, it really isn’t,” Bruins president Cam Neely said of trying to narrow down the list while also seeking approval for petitioned players who don’t meet the required games. “You’d like to get as many on there as possible, but it was important to have Savvy on there, and fortunately enough it worked.”
While the Bruins know Savard will be on the Cup, they aren’t sure about defenseman Steven Kampfer, who played in 38 games in the regular season. Both Savard and Kampfer had injuries last season (Savard a season-ending concussion and Kampfer a lower-body injury during an AHL stint late in the regular season), but Chiarelli said they don’t know whether the young defenseman will get his name on the trophy.
“I’m going to know that shortly,” Chiarelli said. “I’ve had discussions [about it]. Those are tougher arguments, unfortunately. I’ll probably know that by the end of the week.”
Obviously, the feel-good story is for Savard to get on there, and the powers that be absolutely made the right decision in allowing Savard’s name. With that being said, it’s pretty crazy to imagine Kampfer not getting on the trophy given his contributions as a blueliner capable of logging 20 minutes a night in the middle of the season. Shane Hnidy is far less likely to get on there.
|09.12.11 at 9:56 pm ET|
The Bruins’ rookies defeated those of the Islanders, 8-5, Monday night at Nassau Coliseum. It was the first rookie game of the preseason, with another to follow Tuesday night in New York.
Both Ryan Spooner and Jared Knight, the two players in rookie camp who figure to push the hardest for a roster spot, had two goals apiece for the Bruins in the victory. The B’s also got goals from Dylan Hood, David Warsofsky, Yannick Riendeau and Carter Camper.
Last year, Jordan Caron figured to compete for a job on the Bruins and came out with a hat trick in the first rookie game. Knight and Spooner showing their chops early on this year should come as no surprise.
|09.12.11 at 12:19 pm ET|
BOLTON — We have a Brad Marchand update, and it’s that it doesn’t seem anything has changed.
Marchand, a restricted free agent who has yet to sign, was at the Bruins’ annual golf tournament Monday, which to his credit is the latest sign of him doing everything he can to remain involved despite the uncertainty surround when his deal will get done.
He’s been at captains’ practices, the golf tournament, and was at the team’s DVD premier over the summer, but the biggest two questions remain unanswered: will he be signed before training camp opens Friday, and, if not, would he really show up for camp without a contract? Marchand was once again noncommittal in answering the latter.
“I’m not looking that far ahead right now,” he said. “It’s just day to day.”
With Friday just four days away, he doesn’t need to look too far ahead. The clock is ticking for Wade Arnott, Marchand’s agent, and Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli to get something done.
[UPDATE: 8:30 pm] Chiarelli weighed in — barely — on the matter after the team’s annual State of the Bruins meeting with season-ticket holders.
“He’s obviously a good player, and he’s a god kid, and we want to get him signed,” Chiarelli said. “I’ll leave it at that.”
Asked whether he would expect Marchand to show up for camp without a contract, the general manager didn’t say.
“It’s something that I’d have to discuss with the agent and the player,” Chiarelli said. “We’re not at that point yet.”
One thing that may have shaken up the market a bit is the contract that agent Alec Schall was able to get for Flyers forward and former second overall pick James van Riemsdyk. The winger got a six-year, $25.5 million deal, and his regular season production last year (21 goals, 19 assists) was right on par with what Marchand did (21 goals, 20 assists). It’s hard to imagine the Bruins giving Marchand that kind of money or such a lengthy deal.
“No, not at all,” Marchand said when asked whether he felt he was worth more than JvR. “Everyone’s in a different place, with a different team and different dynamic. He’s a great player, and he’s going to have a great future. It’s a great deal for him, but that isn’t really any of my business.”