|10.27.10 at 3:57 pm ET|
The Bruins are preparing for their first match-up against the Toronto Maple Leafs Thursday night, in an always-anticipated clash of original six teams. In the 2009-10 season, the Maple Leafs were nothing special, finishing at the bottom of the Northeast Division with a 30-38-14 record. Now, eight games into 2010-11, it seems the Leafs have turned things around. Toronto won its first four starts, then dropped three games in a row before picking up a 3-1 victory over the Panthers Tuesday night. The Leafs’ 5-2-1 record currently has them sitting atop the division standings.
‘They’re a good team, they’re a young team,’ Patrice Bergeron said after practice on Wednesday. ‘Their players have developed into good players so I think that’s why they’re improved.’
Right wing Nathan Horton said he knows the Leafs have shown plenty of reasons for other teams to fear them thus far.
“Their defensemen are big, strong, physical, and their forwards are quick and fast,’ Horton said, adding the Bruins will need to be prepared to work for 60 minutes on Thursday. Coach Claude Julien seemed to agree, noting that the B’s are ‘facing a team that’s coming in with lots of confidence, lots of speed and lots of energy.’
Speaking of energy, it has seemed to be just that the B’s have lacked early on in each of their losses this season. On Saturday, the Rangers put up a quick 2-0 lead on the Bruins in the first period, and the Bruins, despite getting goals from Zdeno Chara and Horton, were never quite able to make a full comeback.
‘I think it’s just about making sure we have a good first couple shifts and be good on the forecheck right away,’ Bergeron said. ‘If we get scored one goal against, we’ve got to make sure we keep our balance instead of just getting back over our heels for a couple shifts and letting them score another one.’
|10.27.10 at 2:31 pm ET|
NESN hockey analyst Mike Milbury joined the Dale & Holley show Wednesday for his weekly hockey update and discussion of other hot topics regarding the Bruins. Milbury also talked about the latest debate, which has been the goaltender situation thus far in the season.
“It’s how to handle both of them, not just Tuukka [Rask],” Milbury said. “I don’t throw Tuukka in the 2-hole now just because [Tim] Thomas has had a good start. It looks like they’re going to battle for the top spot, and I think one of the things … is the schedule. I mean, they go overseas, they play two games, they get basically a full week off, they played three more and then they get four days off. There’s no rhythm for any of their players, not just the goaltenders.”
Following are highlights from the conversation. To hear the entire interview, visit the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
Can we assume the hype we saw last night in Boston won’t be matched, but will at least be evident as Phil Kessel returns to the Garden with the Maple Leafs tomorrow night?
Yeah, it’ll be fun, and the Maple Leafs are winning their share of games, so it should be competitive. They’re not trading on the back end. I mean, they’re supposed to be strong on the blue line, but they’ll, they cough it up regularly, so there’ll be plenty of opportunities to score. [Jean-Sebastien] Giguere‘s been backstopping the goals against, so it’s been OK, but they’re a vulnerable team, but at least they’re playing with some vinegar, and so it should be a pretty good matchup.
If each goaltender starts roughly 40 games, what’s the best way to handle two goaltenders, and Tuukka, who’s been shaky lately?
That’s a great question. I mean, it’s how to handle both of them, not just Tuukka. I don’t throw Tuukka in the 2-hole now just because Thomas has had a good start. It looks like they’re going to battle for the top spot, and I think one of the things, before I try to answer that question, that has conspired against Rask and Thomas is the schedule. I mean, they go overseas, they play two games, they get basically a full week off, they played three more and then they get four days off. There’s no rhythm for any of their players, not just the goaltenders.
But once they get into the need of their schedule, you know, I think there’s plenty of room to let a guy run two, three or even four games in a row. But if you really want to keep the party going in terms of competition, once you get into five and six games in a row for one guy, you’re asking much from the other guy to just bounce back and be excellent in his first start.
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|10.27.10 at 1:47 pm ET|
In a brief chat with Gregory Campbell following the Bruins’ practice on Wednesday, it came up that it could be seen on twitter that he had called Brandon Prust to apologize for his high-stick that got Prust right around the eye late in the second period of team’s 3-2 loss to the Rangers on Saturday.
“Really?” Campbell asked. “Did he put it on there?”
It was a reporter who had tweeted it, but that, not surprisingly, is Campbell. A quiet guy who isn’t looking for headlines when he does something like check on an opponent after an unfortunate play.
Campbell, who hails from Tillsonburg, Ontario, knows Prust a bit, as Prust is from the nearby city of London. Campbell said the two see each other “out and about” and at golf tournaments during the summer. The B’s fourth-line center said that despite not being “best friends,” he felt it was important for him to offer an apology for the high stick.
“That’s a pretty dangerous thing where you get cut near the eye or on eye, so I just wanted to make sure that he was alright. I’m an honest player,” Campbell said. “I didn’t mean to high-stick him, and I just wanted to make sure he was fine.”
Campbell, who has now picked up two double-minors through six games for high-sticking, said that he is making a conscious effort to avoid seeing a third. He doesn’t want to develop a reputation, and, more importantly, doesn’t want to see anybody get hurt by his doings.
“Of course I don’t want it to happen again. The first two times, I didn’t mean for it to happen. I think the coaches know what kind of player I am, and if you watch the plays, it’s totally unintentional and part of the game.”
Prust went to the hospital after leaving the game on Sunday but was able to play the Rangers’ next game against the Devils.
|10.27.10 at 12:29 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — David Krejci‘s teeth have been popular around Ristuccia Arena recently, as the B’s first-line center missed Monday’s practice after getting his wisdom teeth removed. Here’s the video of him talking about how he feels and how the team is gearing up for Thursday’s game against the Maple Leafs.
|10.27.10 at 10:58 am ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins took the ice for their Wednesday skate at Ristuccia Arena at 10:30 am. The team is gearing up for a bout Thursday with surprising Northeast division co-leaders in the Maple Leafs, who have gotten off to quite the start. Toronto won its first four games of the season before dropping three straight and picking up a 3-1 victory over the Panthers on Tuesday.
The lines and color-coded jerseys remained the same for the B’s. The team worked on the power play, with Tyler Seguin getting hit in what appeared to be the skate in front of the net by a Michael Ryder shot. Seguin remained on the ice for a moments but was grinning the whole time. He got up and continued the power play work without a problem.
|10.26.10 at 2:05 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Here’s the video of Bruins coach Claude Julien talking to the media following the Bruins’ practice. He comments on Marco Sturm, who returned to the ice to skate by himself on Tuesday, saying that there is no set return date for the rehabbing winger.
|10.26.10 at 1:58 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Gregory Campbell said on Tuesday that he’s not feeling any of the effects of a puck that hit him in the back of his head in Saturday night’s 3-2 loss to the Rangers. Campbell said that he got eight or nine stitches between the first and second periods, and that they should be out around this weekend.
Campbell’s helmet also took a beating on the play, and asked whether his initial concern was a concussion or the cut he suffered, he said his first thought was the former, saying “It’s a big blow to the head” and that such thinking is natural. Even so, Campbell, who has had a few concussions, noted he didn’t think that the play had yielded such an injury at the time. He grinned in saying that was focused on “trying to look like I was fine” when he came back out for the second and third periods.
Campbell took his second high sticking double-minor of the season on Saturday when he got Brandon Prust near the eye with 30 seconds to go in the second period. Prust left the game but was able to play the next day against the Devils.
‘I don’t mean to high stick anybody,’ Campbell said following the game. ‘I am a pretty honest player. I don’t like spending time in the box, especially when we’re behind. The team did a great job of killing [the penalty], but it was unintentional.’
It seems he proved how honest a player he was, as Andrew Gross of the North Jersey record tweeted Tuesday that Campbell called Prust to offer him an apology for how he handled his stick. Not surprising from as nice a guy as Campbell is, but a good story nonetheless.