|01.26.11 at 1:18 pm ET|
Tim Thomas was the first Bruins goaltender off the ice at the team’s morning skate, an indication that he will be the starting goalie against the Panthers on Wednesday. Thomas, who was named the NHL’s First Star of the Week last week, took a 2-0 loss to the Kings Monday night in Los Angeles.
Thomas is 23-5-6 on the season and leads the league with a .945 save percentage, 1.83 goals against average. He is tied with Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist with seven shutouts.
While the goaltender for the night appears to be known, it isn’t so easy regarding Boston’s blue line. Mark Stuart has been a healthy scratch the last two games, and Claude Julien said following the skate that the team will make a game-time decision regarding who sits.
Here are some notes from the morning skate:
– The lines were similar to what they were Monday night:
– Marc Savard returned home to Peterborough, Ontario to rest, with Julien saying “that’s all you can do when you’ve got a concussion.” There remains no timetable on when the center might be able to rejoin the B’s.
With Savard out, Julien doesn’t feel the Bruins necessarily need to call a player up from Providence.
“Right now we’ve got 12 forwards and a lot of that will depend on management and the salary cap and all that stuff and whether is makes sense or not. So that’s probably going to be dealt with as we move on here but as we’re speaking right now, it’s no.”
Some have wondered whether this could mean a promotion for a former first-rounder in Zach Hamill or Joe Colborne, but given the team’s stability with capable centers in Seguin and Wheeler, it doesn’t seem the call-up options should be limited to centers.
– Steven Kampfer said he is not going to get surgery on his nose over the All-Star break after previously considering the procedure. Kampfer broke his nose last Saturday against the Penguins and has worn a full shield since. While his difficulty breathing had led to him considering surgery, he hopes that he will be able to lose the full shield when the team returns from the All-Star break next week.
Instead of surgery, the 22-year-old will return home to Michigan, where he plans on watching his alma mater take on Michigan St. at Joe Louis Arena on Saturday. He’ll be there with some other former Wolverines, including Kings defenseman Jack Johnson.
– While Kampfer is making a name for himself on the ice, but if anyone wants to keep up with him off it, they can do so, as Kampfer is on twitter. While it’s pretty rare to see the B’s on twitter, @SteveKampfer47 says he has fun with it while not going too crazy. Twitter has definitely been used as a sounding board of sorts for professional athletes across all the major sports. Coyotes forward Paul Bissonette is probably the NHL’s equivalent of Chad Ochocinco.
– Brad Marchand, who has pretty much shocked the world (or greater Boston) with his 12 goals so far this season, earned the praise of teammates and his coach on Wednesday. Lucic noted that he saw his talents at the junior level and isn’t ultimately surprised by what he’s brought, while Julien is glad to see that the rookie has made offense a part of his game without the other areas suffering.
“I think he’s building confidence and knows that he can give a little bit more to his team as he gets more experience,” Julien said. “And I think the grit is there, it’s still there but yet productively he’s gotten better.”
– The Bruins All-Stars didn’t appear to be on the same page when it came to discussing the fantasy draft for the All-Star game. Tim Thomas said he’ll watch it from his hotel room — if his room gets VS. — while Zdeno Chara assumed the players had to be there.
|01.26.11 at 1:00 pm ET|
NESN hockey analyst Mike Milbury made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show Wednesday. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
Milbury gave his thoughts on the Marc Savard situation, after news broke Wednesday morning that Savard went home to Ontario to rest his head.
“With the two hits that he took recently, and now this reaction, I think long term is the way it’s going to be,” Milbury said. “Whether they do it officially or not is I guess another matter to discuss. Either way, they’re going to have to handle this one very delicately. We all know the concussion thing is a huge concern these days and a huge topic of discussion in the NHL. So, I think the Bruins will handle this one very conservatively.”
Milbury said people who want to remove the instigator penalty are barking up the wrong tree. “Does anybody really think that being able to go up and smack somebody in the head with his fist without the guy being ready is a really good thing for concussion prevention?” he said. “I just don’t get it when I hear the argument about the instigator penalty. You want to fight somebody, who cares about the two minutes? Just take the two minutes. But you’ve got to leave the instigator penalty in, and we can stop talking about it, in my opinion.”
When co-host Dale Arnold said he disagreed, Milbury deadpanned: “I know you disagree with me, but if I come up and smack you in the head, you might change your mind. And I’m likely to do it if you continue along this path.”
Milbury was asked his opinion of David Krejci. “He doesn’t look like he’s reacting as quickly as he has in the past,” Milbury said. “And I can’t tell that this is the reason why, but listen, he had a severe concussion last year. It took Patrice Bergeron a full year and then some to come back from that. It takes a lot of guys a full year to come back from an injury. That could be it. His timing seems to be OK, his vision seems to be OK, but he just doesn’t have that sharpness to his game that you like to see. But otherwise, it’s the same Krejci. It’s just the pace isn’t where I think it’s been at in the past.”
Milbury also opined on Michael Ryder: “They signed him to be a goal-scorer. He’s not. He’s going to be a 20-plus goal-scorer. He’s not a physical presence. He and [Blake] Wheeler are in the same boat, as far as I’m concerned. They put some effort into the game, I think there’s more there.”
As for Milan Lucic and his lack of physical play this season, Milbury said: “I firmly believe that if he doesn’t bring that [physical] element to his game, he sells himself short and his team short. He was, as you remember, in his rookie year, changing games not with scoring lots of goals but with momentum-changing hits and an occasional fight. Those are almost as important as scoring goals. And he doesn’t bring that that often anymore. I know he’s being dinged up a little bit. ‘¦ I’d like to see it a whole lot more often. I’d like to see it from the Bruins in general more often.”
|01.26.11 at 12:16 pm ET|
Bruins forward Milan Lucic spoke with concern about teammate and friend Marc Savard on Wednesday. Savard suffered his second concussion in less than a year when he banged his head against the glass Saturday in Colorado following a hit from Matt Hunwick.
Bruins coach Claude Julien said Wednesday that Savard has since returned home to Ontario to rest. Lucic noted that it’s tough to project when a player might return from a concussion, he would rather Savard do what’s best for his health than rush back.
“We hope that we get to see him back this year, but you’ve got to think for his health number one,” Lucic said. “You’ve got to make sure he makes a full recovery and doesn’t make a mistake in coming back too early and puts his life in jeopardy.”
Savard missed the final 18 games of the 2009-10 season after suffering a concussion on March 7 on a hit from Penguins forward Matt Cooke. He returned for the second round of the playoffs but went on to miss the first 23 games of this season with post-concussion syndrome. In 25 games with the B’s this season, the 33-year-old has two goals and eight assists for 10 points and a minus-7 rating.
|01.26.11 at 7:01 am ET|
Coming off a rare road loss in regulation Monday, the Bruins (27-15-7) return to TD Garden Wednesday to face the 22-21-5 Panthers. It is the fourth meeting between the two clubs this season, with the Bruins having won the first three. The B’s took their most recent matchup in a shootout on Dec. 27. The game remains the Bruins’ only shootout win this season.
WHERE IT’S AT
– The Bruins are 12-9-3 at home this season. They have lost two of their last three games at the Garden, most recently dropping a 4-2 contest to the Sabres last Thursday.
-The Panthers are 11-13-0 on the road. Wednesday will mark just their fifth road game in January. They are 2-2-0 on the road so far this month.
– Milan Lucic has three goals over his last four games after going his 12 previous games without a goal. His continued output is key for this offense without Marc Savard getting a chance to improve to being his old self. Lucic had a hat trick agains the Panthers on Nov. 18.
– No surprise that David Booth leads the Panthers with 168 shots on goal this season. The Florida winger put 14 shots on Rask in that Nov. 18 contest. It was the lone game this season in which Booth has had double digit shots on goal, though he’s had multiple nights with nine. He’s 17th in the league in shots on goal.
– The Panthers are 0-for-13 on the power play over their last four games and are 30th in the league with an 11.4 power percentage. The B’s are third in the NHL with a 84.9 penalty kill percentage.
– In the same game that Lucic had his hat trick, Nathan Horton had three assists, which made for his season-high in points. The slumping winger has just one goal over his last 19 games.
STORLYINES GOING IN
– Tuukka Rask got his only shout of the season in the B’s 4-0 win over the Panthers on Nov. 18. He made 41 saves in the victory. On the season, Rask is just 4-10-1 despite his .923 save percentage.
– With the Canadiens taking a 5-2 loss to the Flyers on Tuesday night, the Bruins have an opportunity at expanding their lead in the Northeast Division four points. The B’s and Habs will have played an equal amount of games (50) at the All-Star break after the Bruins played the season’s first four months with games in hand.
– The Panthers have just one win over their last five games (1-2-2), a 4-3 victory over the Rangers Tuesday night. Florida is 3-5-0 when playing their second game in as many days.
|01.25.11 at 2:23 pm ET|
Former Bruins defenseman Aaron Ward joined the Dale & Holley show on Tuesday to discuss the status of B’s center and former teammate Marc Savard. The team announced Monday night that Savard, who missed the first 23 games of the season with post-concussion syndrome, had suffered another another concussion on Saturday vs. the Avalanche and will be out indefinitely.
Ward told Dale Arnold and Larry Ridley there isn’t much Savard can do to prevent further concussions, and he doesn’t feel the Bruins should take any extreme measures when it comes to handling Savard this season.
“No,” Ward said when asked whether the Bruins should shut Savard down for the season to be safe. “I was in Boston, and you have great doctors [there]. You have Mass. General doctors, everybody involved, they’re smart people. They went to school for umpteen years to qualify and be able to assess these players. The relationship between a player and a doctor is essential, and i think those guys have a great rapport with the players. Marc Savard will communicate to those doctors whether he can or can’t go. He’s a competitive guy.
“Doctors have to know when a guy isn’t built that way. You can tell if a guy is not really excited about getting back because there’s a fear of playing. If he doesn’t have any apprehension about going back out there and taking another hit, let him play. He understands that this is his career. If he has reservations about stepping out there, doctors should communicate it to the coaches and accept the fact that that’s the state of affairs. If it doesn’t exist, let him go out there, and he understands the risk that he’s taking by stepping out there.”
Ward played parts of three seasons with the Bruins from 2007 to 2009.
|01.25.11 at 1:06 am ET|
The former UMass netminder made 34 saves on the way to the shutout, his fifth of the season. The Kings received goals from Ryan Smyth and Andrei Loktionov in the first and third periods, respectively.
Tim Thomas made 32 saves on 34 shots in the loss. It was Thomas’ first regulation loss since Dec. 20.
The Bruins will return home to face the Panthers on Wednesday.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Just a sloppy game all in all for the Bruins, as both of the Kings goals came off of turnovers. An Andrew Ference turnover at the blue line of the offensive zone buried the B’s by making it a 2-0 game. With the way Quick was playing, it was pretty clear scoring for Boston would be hard to come by, and a two-goal deficit in the third period was simply insurmountable.
The B’s case for a comeback was further hurt when they had to kill a Shawn Thornton holding penalty at 10:38. The Kings didn’t convert on the power play, but the 120 ticks off the clock did plenty of damage.
– Here’s proof of an offense that struggled to get going: Through the first two periods, Michael Ryder and Mark Recchi were the only two Bruins forwards with more than one shot on Quick. Ryder had three, all of which which came in the first period, while Ryder had two shots on goal through the game’s first 40 minutes.
– Given that the B’s couldn’t get on the board, it was another night without a goal for Nathan Horton. He now has just one goal over his last 19 games, and has also now posted a minus-1 rating in each of the last four games.
– The Bruins went 0-for-3 on the power play Monday, including their two opportunities in the second period.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– For someone who entered the game having never defeated the Kings (0-0-4), Thomas sure didn’t play like somebody incapable of winning. He turned in another very impressive performance, keeping the B’s in the game in a scoreless second period. Monday made for the fourth straight game in which Thomas allowed two goals or less (3-1-0).
– If watching that regulation road loss for the Bruins felt odd, it’s because it hasn’t happened much of late. Monday marked the first time the B’s lost an away game in regulation since Dec. 16.
|01.25.11 at 12:11 am ET|
Tim Thomas made some big saves in the second period, but the Bruins’ offense was unable to get on the board in the second, so the B’s trail the Kings, 1-0, entering the third period.
Los Angeles outshot Boston for the second straight period, and the B’s went 0-for-2 on the power play after Wayne Simmonds and Alexei Ponikarovsky each took holding penalties.