|11.03.10 at 1:03 pm ET|
NESN and NBC Sports hockey analyst Mike Milbury made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show Wednesday to talk about the Bruins and league news. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
Said Milbury: “It’s a happy problem, but you wonder what goes on in the mind of Tuukka Rask under these circumstances. I was talking to Kelly Hrudey last week, the Hockey Night in Canada analyst with me, and he said, ‘He may not know it, but this could be the best thing to happen to Rask. He’s got to earn that right to be called the No. 1. It’s not always easy and it’s not always a given.’ And he’s right. I’m sure Tuukka Rask doesn’t really look at it that way, but in some ways, it’s not a bad thought. Rask has to continue to compete. It keeps him sharp. The question is, When does he get the chance to go again?”
Added Milbury: “I think we mentioned last week, the schedule’s been so uneven. They’ve got to get into a rhythm at some point. And at that point, I think because of the way Thomas plays, although he’s been fairly compact and economical through the first part of the season, he still has a tendency to want to explode out and dive here and there. It will take its toll, and they’ll need Rask. And Rask will have his chance then. But who saw this coming?”
Milbury said he’s not aware that Thomas was close to being dealt last season. “I never heard anything that anything was imminent,” Milbury said. “I think there were a lot of people kicking tires, but they weren’t kicking them as hard as they would be if they were shopping him right now, I would think. He had an uneven season, and he had a bunch of years left on his contract, and he’s always been looked on as, ‘I can’t believe he’s doing this.’ There seems to be some degree of incredulity that he can make this thing happen. But he does. He does through his competitiveness and his athleticism, and his mindset.”
Milbury said the Bruins might have to consider moving Thomas, but only if an enticing trade offer is made.
“It would be interesting to see if they shopped him around, and he’d be willing to be traded, if that would bring A) cap relief and B) fill a hole someplace else, i.e., the blue line, where they’re thinner than I’d like them to be,” Milbury said, adding: “I don’t think there’s going to be any talk of that. I think things are so good right now for the Bruins, that if Peter Chiarelli is looking for cap relief, he’s probably going to look in a different direction. And I certainly don’t blame him. It would be a really gutsy move to make that deal, and if somebody came with a sweetheart of a deal, you’d have to take a look at it, knowing that Rask played as well.”
|11.03.10 at 11:06 am ET|
According to multiple reports out of Buffalo, Sabres goaltender and reigning Vezina winner Ryan Miller will not play when the Bruins take on the Sabres in Buffalo on Wednesday night due to a lower body injury. Patrick Lalime was reportedly first off the ice for the Sabres at their morning skate Wednesday.
UPDATE: 6:40: Jhonas Enroth, recently called up by the Sabres, is set to start for the Sabres after leading the team onto the ice on Wednesday night. Ironically, the 22-year-old’s only NHL start prior to Wednesday came last November against the Bruins. He allowed four goals on 37 shots in a Bruins victory.
|11.02.10 at 4:41 pm ET|
Miller did not practice on Monday, but did see limited ice time in Tuesday’s skate. Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said that the decision on whether Miller, whom he said is not dealing with a groin injury, will be healthy enough to go against the B’s will come Wednesday morning.
“I thought he looked OK,” Ruff said on Tuesday. “I thought he was also taking it a little bit easy, just to give it a try. I think he’s just trying to find out exactly where he is at.”
Miller hopes to play but doesn’t want the struggling Sabres, off to a 3-7-2 start, to have a less-than-capable guy in net against the Bruins, winners of six of their last seven games.
“I felt better than I anticipated,” Miller said. “… I want to play, but I want to be sure that I’m giving the guys the best chance.”
Miller began feeling pain during Friday’s 4-3 loss to the Thrashers. If he is unable to go, Patrick Lalime, who allowed four goals against the Stars on Saturday, will man the pipes for Buffalo.
|11.02.10 at 2:11 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — With Panthers general manager Dave Tallon recently saying that he would like to propose a coach’s challenge rule, many are wondering what kind of a game hockey would become. Take the reason Tallon wants the challenge, a blown call that allowed a Leafs goal despite goaltender interference on Colton Orr last week. How different would things be? Claude Julien wondered the same thing when asked on Tuesday.
‘I think before I give my approval on that, I’d certainly have to look at what it’s all about,’ Julien said on Tuesday. ‘Certainly, you need structure when it comes to that. You can’t keep challenging every play you think should be challenged. There’s got to be some sort of structure, whether it’s one per game, or depending on what it is, the rule too, you can’t challenge just anything. So I think it’d have to be looked at pretty closely at minimizing what it is. I understand because we saw that game against Toronto and Florida, there was no doubt, it was black and white, that that should’ve been an interference call on Orr. Somehow you feel like, ‘what if you get a review? Now it’s still a tie game.”
While he did say that he’d need all the details before fully endorsing such a proposition, Julien seemed to see the good that could come of the idea, noting last season’s loss to the Blue Jackets and what a challenge could have done after Milan Lucic was called for high-sticking Derick Brassard in a tie game. Replays showed that it was actually teammate Anton Stralman‘s stick who got Brassard in the face, and 15 seconds later the Blue Jackets scored to give them the game-winner with 1:16 remaining in the game.
‘Last year, we lost a game to Columbus because they gave Lucic a four-minute high-sticking penalty and it was his own teammate’s stick that hit him in the face, and they end up scoring the winning goal on that power play,” Julien said. “Somehow those are kind of clear-cut things that should be revoked. So that’s where you think, ‘should we put a challenge in?’ I’m not saying we should, because at one point you’ve kind of got to let the referees do their jobs as well.
‘We make mistakes as coaches, we make mistakes as players, and it’s almost like we’re not willing to accept a referee making a mistake. And that’s where we’ve got to be careful. If we do it, it’s got to be a win-win situation. One would be having that right call being made, the other part is that you’re giving the referee a second chance to make the right call because he’s on the spot, he’s got to make that call right away. For us, in hindsight, it’s easy to look back at a replay and say it was wrong. But he had to make that call quickly.
|11.02.10 at 1:46 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins opened the season with games in Prague on back-to-back nights (or days, depending where you were watching it). Since playing the second game on Oct. 10, they’ve been able to familiarize themselves with comfortable spacing between their games. They’ve had no back-to-back games, and there have been plenty of days in between, playing their games on the 16th, 19th, 21st, 23rd, 28th, and 30th of October. It’s a new month, and perhaps a Patrice Bergeron quote from Tuesday sums up the schedule best.
“Now it’s coming.”
The Bruins will hit the road for Buffalo, where they’ll kick off a stretch Wednesday that has three games in four days, including the first of three different back-to-back nights of work in the next three weeks. From Buffalo they’ll head to Washington to face the Capitals before returning to the Garden to take on the Blues at home.
“The whole month is going to be like that,” Bergeron said of the hectic schedule. “We’re going to need to get our rest when it’s there, but get on a roll and just go from there. Just try to be ready for every game.”
Claude Julien can see that having the back-to-back games will be a challenge throughout the month, but his main focus is on a couple of teams with revenge on their minds. The Bruins eliminated the Sabres in the first round of the playoffs last season, and the 2010-11 edition has taken both of its games against Alexander Ovechkin and the capitals this season.
“It’s going to be a good challenge,” Julien said of the stretch. “First of all, going to Buffalo is never easy building to play in, I don’t care what they’re going through right now. They always play us hard, and then you go to Washington, a team that’s going to be looking for revenge, no doubt, after beating them in back-to-back games. And then you’re coming back late. We’ve got to go to the airport, which is at least an hour’s drive after the game, so we’re going to be getting in late Friday night. Then you’ve got a St. Louis team that’s really playing well and you’ve got to play them at home the next night. It’s not going to be an easy week for us. It’s not going to be an easy trip. We’ve got to be prepared for that mentally as well as physically.”
|11.02.10 at 10:42 am ET|
WILMINGTON — A trio Bruins skaters took the ice at Ristuccia Arena prior to the B’s practice on Wednesday. Marc Savard, Marco Sturm, and Johnny Boychuk skated and shot pucks before their healthy teammates took the ice.
Savard is still recovering from symptoms related to post-concussion syndrome, while Sturm is coming off a knee injury suffered in the playoffs last year. Boychuk suffered a fractured bone in his forearm in last Saturday’s loss to the Rangers.
|11.01.10 at 9:30 pm ET|
WILMINGTON ‘ Brian McGrattan returned to the Ristuccia Arena ice on Monday after taking the weekend to do something he hadn’t done in a while: play in games.
The B’s sent McGrattan, a healthy scratch in five contests since signing with the team on Oct. 11, to Providence for conditioning, where the veteran enforcer played in three games.
“It was good,” McGrattan said of the three-day trip on Monday. “It was fun to get out there and get in a game atmosphere and kind of get my game legs going, because obviously a game is a lot different than practicing and skating after practice, so I was just glad that I got the opportunity to go down and play there.”
McGrattan, who has practiced with the fourth line, has yet to see ice time with the NHL club due to the solid play of fourth-line wingers Brad Marchand and Shawn Thornton. Asked if he felt rusty after going so long since skating in a game, McGrattan provided a reminder that he doesn’t generally expect to see 82 games a year.
“My whole career I’ve kind of had long layoffs between games,” McGrattan said with a smile. “It was fun. It was good to get out there. To be able to play a regular shift felt good. Three games in about two and a half days, I wasn’t used to that.”
McGrattan, who famously holds the record for penalty minutes in an AHL season with 551 back in 2004-05, ironically did not spend a second in the box this weekend. He chalked that up to a lack of worthy adversaries, saying “there’s not really anybody down there to go with.”
McGrattan figures to eventually see some ice time with the Bruins, though the second and third line tinkering seems to be the extent of the roster tweaks the 6-2 club is making for the time being, wisely taking the if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it approach.
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