|05.16.11 at 1:16 pm ET|
Bruins center Patrice Bergeron took a significant step in his return from the concussion he suffered in Game 4 of the conference semifinals, skating with the team for Monday’s practice. It was his third straight day of on-ice work, and the first with his teammates since suffering the concussion.
Bergeron did not don his usual yellow (second line) jersey, though he did participate in line drills, rotating in on his regular line that now consists of Brad Marchand, Mark Recchi and Rich Peverley. He also took part in special teams drills prior, though he left the ice early without taking contact. Though it seems the center is making quick progress, coach Claude Julien didn’t offer too much on where the 25-year-old stands.
“He’s going through the protocol of what he has to go through,” Julien said. “There’s not much more to update you guys on except [to say] when he is ready to go, you guys will know it. You can’t predict how quickly or how soon it’s going to be. It’s just one of those situations where right now, you see him going through today’s skate. That’s protocol. Right now we’re not ready to make any comments, because he’s just going through those stages.”
Asked specifically about Bergeron’s chances of playing in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals vs. the Lightning on Tuesday, Julien was not ready to lean either way.
“No comments,” the coach said. “I don’t know.”
|05.16.11 at 11:41 am ET|
The Bruins scored just once in the first 58 minutes of Saturday’s 5-2 loss to the Lightning in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals.
Meanwhile, Milan Lucic had to take a momentary seat on the bench after taking a slap shot from Seguin on the right foot during pre-practice warmups.
|05.16.11 at 11:17 am ET|
In a sign that he may be ready to return for Game 2 Tuesday night against the Lightning, Patrice Bergeron returned to full practice Monday morning with the rest of the Bruins. Bergeron has missed the last week – including Boston’s 5-2 loss in Game 1 of the Eastern finals against Tampa Bay Saturday night – with a mild concussion, suffered when he was hit by Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux on May 6.
Before practice, Bergeron came on the ice and skated in front of general manager Peter Chiarelli before participating in power play and penalty kill drills.
He was then cleared by the coaching staff to join in full practice. Bergeron participated in a light skate before Saturday morning’s pregame skate at the Garden and skated again Sunday before being cleared for Monday morning’s practice.
Bergeron skated with the power play until then worked on penalty kill drills against the Bruins’ second power play unit. Bergeron then took a shift with his normal linemates of Brad Marchand and Mark Recchi before leaving the ice at about 11:25, while the Bruins continued practicing. Bergeron was on the ice for approximately an hour.
|05.15.11 at 2:10 pm ET|
Tomas Kaberle has taken a beating from the media — this space included — since he’s come to Boston. He hasn’t been as advertised, he’s made costly turnovers and as positive and upbeat a guy as he is, that can come off as a lack of accountability when things are going wrong.
Unfortunately for Kaberle and the Bruins, Game 1 of the conference finals vs. the Lightning didn’t feature the step in the right direction many are still waiting for him to take. Kaberle gave the puck away behind his own net to give Teddy Purcell an easy unassisted goal in the first period, and he looked like a combination of Fulton Reed and Uncle Rico with some of his shots on the power play. It hasn’t been easy for Kaberle since coming over in Feb. 18, and it may be weighing on the veteran defenseman.
“There is no doubt he is pressing a little bit,” Claude Julien said Sunday at TD Garden. “I would say that because he knows what is expected of him and he knows what is being said about him. He knows all that stuff, at one point you hope that he is capable of focusing on just doing the job. We have confidence in him and we are going to work with him for him to get better, because we are going to need him to play at his best if we plan on moving on here and winning some hockey games.”
Kaberle has generally contented throughout his struggles that he needs to leave any negative moments in the past, but as they continue to pile up, it seems they could be sticking with him when he’s out on the ice. A player of Kaberle’s caliber isn’t used to being a weak link, and there’s still time for him to be a strength on the Bruins. It will need to come sooner rather than later, and once the defenseman can clear his head, the B’s could be in the clear with what’s looking like an uglier trade with each passing day.
|05.15.11 at 1:54 pm ET|
The Bruins had plenty of reason to be frustrated with their effort in a 5-2 loss in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals Saturday night, but rookie Brad Marchand showed his emotions in a much louder way than anyone else.
Marchand, who had a very forgettable night that included a minus-2 rating and zero shots on goal, made more noise when he shattered his stick in a rage in the second period than when he was out on the ice. It took a couple of whacks, but the sound of the rookie breaking his stick could be heard throughout the building.
“It wasn’t good enough the first time,” Marchand said of how he felt as he was taking his anger out on his stick. “I had to do it again. I just had a lot of frustration built up. I wanted to be a factor out there, and it wasn’t happening. It just got to me.”
The rookie is used to having to explain his actions, but when he crosses the line, it’s generally due to his chirping, and not a result of anger. Though it was far different from him calling the Canadiens divers or making a golf-swing gesture to the Maple Leafs bench, the result was the same: a talk from coach Claude Julien and a subsequent apology.
“I was a little frustrated there, and I reacted in a way that I shouldn’t have,” Marchand said Sunday at TD Garden. “It was selfish and it brought a lot of negative energy to the team at the wrong point. He recognized that. He’s upset about that because he knows I’m better than that. He knows that I can control my emotions better than that. I can’t be getting off my game. I need to be getting teams off their game.”
Julien has had to keep the fiery young winger in check throughout the season. Emotion is a big part of what makes Marchand the player he is, but controlling that emotion is an area in which the coach still needs to aid the 23-year-old.
“That’s something we don’t like to see and we don’t want to see but he is a first year player, he is a rookie and he is certainly learning,” Julien said. “He is going to be the first one to tell you that he is learning as he goes along here. You can’t allow yourself to get frustrated — you have to battle through things. We just showed a little bit of frustration, and I’m sure you are not going to see that again.”
Marchand has been one of the Bruins’ top performers in his rookie year, scoring 21 goals in the regular season and working his way from the fourth line up to the second line. Yet as strong as his game has been, he knows that his secret weapon — his emotions — can often backfire.
Such was the case back on March 8 in Montreal when he had no problem slapping the Habs with the “divers” tag in talking to the media. The result that night? A 4-1 Bruins loss. The team didn’t fare any better on March 31 when he made his infamous golf gesture in a Game the Leafs would win.
“I started shooting my mouth off,” Marchand said of the Canadiens incident. “It always comes back to bite you in the butt. The golf swing incident — we lost that [game] too,” he added before seemingly coming to a realization.
“I’ve just got to stop doing dumb stuff.”
|05.15.11 at 1:23 pm ET|
Patrice Bergeron skated for the second straight day on Sunday, an encouraging sign as the Bruins await the concussed center’s return to the lineup. Coach Claude Julien made clear Sunday at TD Garden that while Bergeron is progressing, the team has zero intention of rushing the 25-year-old back into the lineup.
“If he’s not 100 percent, he will never play,” Julien said. “Whether it’s regular season or playoffs, our organization, even before they tightened up the rules on that, there is no way we would ever do that to a player. That is too important to his personal lifestyle and the life he is going to lead after hockey that, that will always come before the game. It’s unfortunate, but that’s the way it should be.
“We believe in that and we are going to continue to enforce it, so the day you see Bergy back in our line-up, he will be 100 percent. If he’s not, you’re not going to see him.”
The concussion , which Bergeron suffered in the third period of Game 4 of the conference semifinals, is the third of the young center’s career. Bergeron leads the Bruins with 12 points this postseason.
|05.15.11 at 2:04 am ET|
The Bruins’ power play deserves all the criticism it gets for its performance in the playoffs, but the Lightning’s penalty kill also deserves quite a bit of credit for its performance in Game 1.
The Lightning made it difficult for the Bruins’ man advantage, which went 0-for-4 in the game, to enter the zone and get set up all night long. They pressured the Bruins out high and forced them to gain entry by dumping the puck instead of sitting back and letting the B’s skate over the blue line. They also did a good job winning races to pucks and clearing the zone quickly, and they consistently got in passing and shooting lanes.
That’s not really all that surprising given the fact that the Lightning ranked eighth in the regular season on the PK at 83.8 percent. They’ve taken their game to an even higher level in the playoffs, killing off penalties at a 94.8-percent clip (55 for 58).
‘I think we’ve had a good penalty kill all year long, top five for most of the year,’ coach Guy Boucher said. ‘I think we’re following that up in the playoffs. We had a really good penalty kill in the first series and the second series. We’ve got to adjust to the other team and at the same time stay confident in what we are doing. Obviously our guys pay the price a lot and I think that’s the key to our penalty kill.’
Goalie Dwayne Roloson said there’s no one thing that has been the key to the Lightning’s successful PK, but that it’s more about attention to detail.
‘Our guys have done a great job focusing and doing the little things to allow us to kill those penalties off,’ Roloson said. ‘You know, whether it’s battles at the blue line or getting pucks down deep when we get that opportunity. So there’s no one thing. I think it’s just, for us as a team, just playing within our structure and doing the little things that we have to do to win hockey games.’
Although there might not be one specific key, the Lightning’s shot blocking is one thing that really stands out. They blocked 17 shots total in the game, with at least a handful of those coming while they were shorthanded.
‘You have to block shots,’ said forward Martin St. Louis. ‘It is a desperate time of the year. I think it is the mentality we have, blocking a lot of shots all year long and in the playoffs. ‘¦ You want to get that shot and block that shot and make an attempt to block every shot so Rollie gets less work.’
As good as Tampa Bay’s penalty kill was, though, there was still a lot the Bruins’ power play could’ve done better.
“I thought our execution could certainly have been better, especially on those entries there,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “If we do our job properly, I think we are going to have success, but you need the execution. … You need the execution to be there and you need the killer instinct. When you have the chance, you need to bury those things. And same thing with the loose pucks, you have to be first on those and make sure you get them and not the other team. So execution, killer instinct is something that needs to be better on our power play moving forward here.”