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B’s extend assistant coaches

11.30.09 at 9:24 am ET
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Several assistants under Claude Julien had reason to be very thankful over the just-completed holiday weekend when Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli extended them to multi-year extensions.

Chiarelli announced on Sunday that the club has signed assistant coaches Doug Houda, Craig Ramsay and Geoff Ward, goaltending coach Bob Essensa and video coach Brant Berglund to multi-year contract extensions.

Financial terms of the deals were not disclosed.

The team’s release is below:

Houda, hired by the Bruins on July 25, 2006, is in his fourth season as an assistant coach with the Black & Gold. He came to the Bruins following three seasons as an assistant coach with the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League. The Amerks had a 125-86-16-13 record over his three seasons as an assistant, including a franchise record 112 points in 2004-05.

Houda was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in the second round (28th overall) of the 1984 NHL Entry Draft and enjoyed a 15-year playing career. He had 19-63=82 totals and 1,104 penalty minutes in 561 career NHL games with Buffalo, Detroit, Hartford, New York Islanders, Los Angeles and Anaheim. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Bruins, coaching staff, NHL,

Turn up the volume: Thomas makes amends

11.29.09 at 12:55 am ET
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There wasn’t a bigger Michael Ryder fan in the building before his shootout chance in the first extra round than the man defending the Bruins goal.

Tim Thomas was making his first start since Nov. 14, a span of six games and early and late, the rust showed. He allowed a pair of goals in the first period, including one on the second shot he faced.

But the goal he surrendered to Milan Michalek was a back-breaker. It came with 19.3 seconds remaining from a bad angle-a really bad angle. A angle so bad that Michalek was practically parallel with the goal when he flipped a back-hander on net.

As if the goal wasn’t bad enough, the timing was worse. The Bruins had just fought back with three power play goals to take a 3-2 lead and were poised to take a two-point lead in the Northeast Division.

As it was, the Bruins had to settle for a one-point gain over Ottawa as the Bruins earned two points and Ottawa one for the 4-3 Boston victory. Here’s what it sounded like in the Bruins dressing room.

Thomas was his usual standup self, admitting he cost his teammates a point.

Thomas on why he felt terrible about the late goal.

Thomas felt he let his team down.

Coach Claude Julien was impressed with the way Thomas collected himself in overtime.

Captain Zdeno Chara wasn’t surprised that Thomas re-focused himself in overtime.

Michael Ryder said this was a huge win for first in the Northeast Division.

Dennis Wideman scored for the first time since Oct. 3 as the Bruins finally got their power play going.

Read More: Boston Bruins, NHL, Senators,

Thomas returns for B’s

11.28.09 at 6:56 pm ET
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Tim Thomas returns tonight for the Bruins after missing the last six games with a minor undisclosed injury. The Bruins take on the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden.

The B’s have earned 9 of a possible 10 points in their last five games to tie Ottawa for first in the Northeast Division with 29 points.

Read More: Boston Bruins, NHL, Senators, Tim Thomas

Turn up the volume: Tuukka is still a ‘bad’ loser

11.27.09 at 5:40 pm ET
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Claude Julien made it clear after his team dropped a 2-1 shootout decision to the New Jersey Devils on Friday afternoon – you can’t criticize your team when they fight hard and lose on penalty shots.

The good to come out of the Friday’s loss – beyond the effort level without the reinjured Milan Lucic – is they gained a point and now have 29, tied with Ottawa for first in the Northeast Division, one point ahead of Buffalo.

The bad is they still are searching for ways to light the lamp. The Bruins were 0-for-3 on the power play and now have just four goals in their last 24 chances on the man advantage. They are 12-for-86 on the season, 27th out of 30 in the NHL.

Here are some audio highlights from the Bruins locker room and podium following the Black Friday matinee at TD Garden.

Julien said you can’t criticize the team or goalie Tuukka Rask after a tip-top effort.

Julien said they got a very quality goalie when they acquired Rask from Toronto for Andrew Raycroft in June 2006.

Blake Wheeler, who scored Boston’s only goals on the day in regulation and the shootout, said they turned up the intensity in the third.

Wheeler said the team is looking forward to their Saturday night showdown with Ottawa at the Garden.

Marc Savard said the team is not about to have a ‘woe is us’ mentality after losing Milan Lucic for a month.

Savard almost won the game with three seconds to go in regulation but was denied by Martin Brodeur.

Savard is looking forward to the Senators coming to town.

Tuukka Rask calls himself a bad loser, in regulation or overtime.

Read More: Blake Wheeler, Boston Bruins, Marc Savard, NHL

Chiarelli: ‘Looks like a challenge all year’

11.27.09 at 1:31 pm ET
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It’s hard to blame Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli for feeling ‘woe is me’ when it comes to the mounting injuries of his club.

The Bruins lost Marc Savard for 15 games with a broken foot and Milan Lucic for 14 games with a broken finger. Tim Thomas has missed the last six games now with a minor undisclosed injury.

Savard made his return on Wednesday and Lucic had been back four games and the Bruins appeared to be hitting their stride with a four-game winning streak. But you never know when you’re going to catch an edge at the wrong time.

Just ask Lucic, who caught the tip of his left skate in the ice in Minnesota on Wednesday and fell awkwardly to the ice. The diagnosis – out at least a month with a left high ankle sprain.

“It is consistent with the rest of the year,” bemoaned Chiarelli before Friday’s matinee. “It looks like it is going to be a challenge all year. All teams have their challenges but this is pretty consistent.”

Asked if he feared the worst, Chiarelli was philosophical.

“You do that by nature as a general manager,” he said. “You also learn to wait. Usually the report on the injury initially is really, really bad. That applies every time. You learn to wait until the next morning, then the following morning. As is the case, it got better this morning.”

But it’s coach Claude Julien who has to deal with shuffling the lines, which included slotting in Vladimir Sobokta on Friday afternoon.

“Well, it’s something we’ve been dealing with since the beginning of the year and injuries are part of the game,” Julien said. “We just go forward with what we’ve got. That’s always been the case and that’s what we have to deal with right now. Obviously, you lose a pretty good player who has a pretty good impact on games at times so we’ve been without him for a month and we’ll have to deal with it for a little longer now.”

Read More: Boston Bruins, Milan Lucic,

Looch out a month

11.27.09 at 12:13 pm ET
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Bruins power forward Milan Lucic will miss up to a month with a high left ankle sprain. Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli made the announcement Friday morning before the Bruins matinee contest with New Jersey.

Lucic was back just four games before injuring his ankle on Wednesday night in Minnesota. Lucic caught his left skate in the ice and fell back awkwardly.

‘€œCertainly when I saw the injury happen, you look at the stress on the lower knee and the ankle, I certainly expected worse,” Chiarelli said. ‘€œI think that if you look at it real close, he broke the fall with his hand. That probably took some stress off of the knee.’€

Lucic missed 14 games with a fractured finger on Oct. 16 in Dallas. He has been limited to just 10 games this season, with two goals and three assists.

‘€œI am sure he disappointed. We get him back for three or four games, now he is gone for a month.’€

Read More: Boston Bruins, Milan Lucic, NHL,

Power Rankings 11-24-09

11.24.09 at 9:13 pm ET
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Closing in on the end of November, some NHL teams have plenty to be thankful for, others need to shake off the Tryptophan and still others ‘€” you got it ‘€” are just plain turkeys. Pile on the cranberry sauce and feast on this week’s WEEI Power Rankings:

1. (2) 16-5-4  The Sharks have the best road record in the league and have not lost in regulation (7-0-2) at home. They play six of their next eight games at the Shark Tank. Get the picture?

2. (4) 15-5-2  The Blackhawks have the NHL’s best record over the last ten games, 8-1-1. Set the DVR, Grandma, the Hawks are in San Jose Wednesday.

3. (1) 14-6-1  The Devils currently sit sixth in the league in points, but they have played three less games than three of the five teams with more points. Four less games than the Sharks. Win those contests and New Jersey would actually vault past San Jose. That’s a very good hockey team.

4. (7) 13-6-3  Jarome Iginla has 12 goals in his last 10 games, helping to fuel the Flames to a 7-1-3 record on the road.

5. (10) 16-8-0 Starting to round into form ‘€” Sidney Crosby nets OT game winner in comeback win in Florida.

6. (3) 13-5-6 The Caps are thankful to be leaving Canada after three straight losses to Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa.

7. (17) 11-6-6 The Stars have quietly made their way into the Top 10 with wins in three of their last four games and 28 points in 21 games for Brad Richards. That’ll work.

8. (21) 12-6-3 Four wins in a row for the Sens. Should make for an interesting “Saturday Night’s All Right For Fighting” matchup with the B’s this weekend.

9. (20) 13-8-1 Please don’t tell me you saw the Preds taking off on a 8-2 run in their last ten.

10. (12) 12-7-3 The Blue Jackets are making a great case that the second-best team in the Central Division might be from Ohio, not Michigan or Illinois.

11. (5) 14-7-3 Hanging in there, but slowly falling. They are more like a glacier than an Avalanche.

12. (8 ) 13-9-2 No sophomore slump for skilled D-man Drew Doughty, who has 20 points in 24 games, fourth-best among defenseman. Leading scorer Anze Kopitar has just three assists and no goals in last five games.

13. (18) 13-10-1 The Coyotes only move this season is toward greater heights in the standings.

14. (12)  12-8-1 A tough loss for the Flyers in San Jose makes sense. Follow-up setbacks in Phoenix and Colorado, not so much.

15. (10) 11-7-4 The Red Wings already had defensive problems, and losing Niklas Kronwall to a cheap hit will not help.

16. (22) 11-8-4 The Bruins are glad to be getting key players back into lineup ‘€” and glad that Patrice Bergeron never left it.

17. (6). 12-6-2  The Sabres are starting to meander through a 4-5-1 stretch in last ten, with three straight losses.

18. (13) 9-5-7 Steven Stamkos is bringing it for the Bolts with 24 points in 21 games. Ryan Malone adding 22 points in 21 games is more of a surprise.

19. (15) 10-7-3 Thrashers play entertaining hockey, with power play and penalty killing units within the Top 10. But that needs to translate into wins.

20. (19) 12-11-0 A mediocre 5-5 stretch for the Canucks is not where this team expected to be.  Last Sunday’s return of  leading goal scorer Daniel Sedin after a five-week absence should help.

21. (14) 9-8-7 Still playing tough, but counting on Dwayne Roloson to make 58 saves to beat the Leafs is not a great plan. Tests against Flyers, Pens and Devils this week will tell us something.
22. (24) 10-9-3 The Panthers squandered a two-goal lead in a 3-2 OT loss to Pens Monday, but are still 6-2-2 in last 10. They will be making some noise.

23. (16) 12-10-1 The plummet continues. Rangers are 4-6 in last 10, now hitting the road for three.

24. (26) 8-11-3 The Ducks are starting to turn a corner ‘€” only a home loss to Sharks marred a decent week. Corey Perry run his league-best point streak to 15 games.

25. (23) 11-11-1  Yep. Even keel, .500  hockey sure sounds like a nice time in Montreal.

26. (25) 8-12-2  After slow start, the Wild has gone 5-3-2 in last ten. Interesting test against B’s.

27. (29) 8-9-4 An uptempo opening period against Boston Monday showed what the Blues can do. So did a mediocre final two periods.

28. (27) 10-11-3 Not a lot of life here, but the Oilers have won two of three and host the suddenly teetering Kings Wednesday.

29. (29) 4-11-7 The play of Phil Kessel (six goals, three assists, in nine games)  still stands as the most entertaining part of the Leafs.

30. (30) 5-13-5  Canes pick up a pair of wins, could be ready to make a move. 

Read More: power rankings,
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