|11.15.10 at 5:14 pm ET|
Martin Brodeur did not participate in the Devils’ optional morning skate on Monday, but he is expected to get the start in net on Monday night when the Devils take on the Bruins. Tim Thomas was first off the ice in the Bruins’ morning skate, making a Brodeur-Thomas matchup likely. Thomas and the Bruins beat the Devils, 4-1, on Oct. 16 in New Jersey.
WHERE IT’S AT
– The Bruins are 2-4-1 in home games, and 2-3-1 at the Garden. They’ve scored just two goals over their last three home games, a span in which they have gone 0-2-1.
– The Devils are 4-5-0 on the road this season and 2-4-0 in their last six road games.
– Monday night will be Claude Julien’s 499th career game. He’s coached the majority of them (260) for the Bruins.
– In three home starts this season, Thomas has allowed three goals: two on Saturday against the Senators, and one in the home opener. He is 2-1-0 at home, including a shutout vs. the Maple Leafs on Oct. 28.
STORYLINES GOING IN
– Expect a bit of line shuffling for the Bruins. The merlot line/energy line/Shawn-Thornton-has-three-goals line was tinkered with, and the tweaked result is now the third line. Michael Ryder replaces Thornton on the right wing, and the third line now appears to be Gregory Campbell between Brad Marchand and Ryder.
The move also allows Tyler Seguin to resume the role of the fourth line center, though Julien said Monday that he’s not afraid to use him late in games in which the team needs a goal given his natural ability. Here are what the lines could look like:
Lucic – Bergeron – Horton
Caron – Wheeler – Recchi
Marchand – Campbell – Ryder
Paille – Seguin – Thornton
Chara – Ference
Hunwick – Seidenberg
Stuart – McQuaid
The move, at face value at least, also makes things worse on Seguin given that he and Ryder had a very apparent chemistry on the ice, seemingly always connecting on gutsy passes.
– It is Military Appreciation Night here at the Garden. Both Mark Stuart and Blake Wheeler have purchased $5,000 in tickets to the game, which will be given to troops. It is Stuart’s second straight year of buying tickets for the troops.
– Until the Bruins prove capable of winning at home, the attention is going to be on their play at the Garden. Nathan Horton, despite playing one of his best games in a Bruins uniform against St. Louis, hasn’t picked up a point in any of the B’s last four games at the Garden.
|11.15.10 at 2:38 pm ET|
Bruins center David Krejci was on the ice skating with his teammates for the second day in a row as the B’s held an optional morning skate on Monday.
For Krejci, it was the hardest workout he’s had since suffering a concussion in overtime on Nov. 6 against the Blues. The day after suffering the concussion, the Bruins announced that they expected to be without Krejci, who had been the first-line center with Marc Savard out, for at least a week. As of Monday morning, he had yet to be cleared for contact, but he was scheduled to see a doctor later in the day.
“I really hope this afternoon I’m going to know a little more [regarding] when I’ll come back,” Krejci said, admitting that he was tired after the workout, but that “it’s really hard to say whether it’s from the concussion or the skating.”
Johnny Boychuk, meanwhile, is also getting closer, as he too was once again on the ice with his teammates. The good news is that the blueliner said the fractured forearm that’s kept him out of the lineup since Oct. 23 “just hasn’t been bothering” him.
Boychuk had the cast he had been wearing removed, and on Monday was sporting what members of the media could only was a stiff removable cast.
“I’m going to have to protect it, but I’m not going to shy away from doing anything I would [normally do], so I’ll just play the way I have been,” Boychuk said.
Boychuk could return to the Bruins’ lineup as soon as next weekend. It will be interesting to see how his return shakes up the defense, given that Adam McQuaid seems to be pushing Matt Hunwick for a spot.
|11.15.10 at 12:16 pm ET|
Tyler Dellow, an Oilers blogger, on Sunday posted what he says were some of Campbell’s e-mails. (The link appeared to be dead by midday Monday). After doing a little detective work, Dellow determined a bias for Campbell’s son, Gregory Campbell, and a bias against others, namely Marc Savard.
Here’s an e-mail to former director of officiating Stephen Walkom sent in February of 2007 regarding then-referee Dean Warren:
To Stephen Walkom/Tor/NHL@NHL
Subject Re: Delayed Penalties/High Sticks 02/#/2007 4:24 pm
A bend in the road is a dead end if you round the corner and Dean Warren is standing there. Your answer re: his high stick calls and the score of the game were horse [manure]. The 3rd call on [player] was while they were down 5 on 4 and on a def zone face off vs that little fake artist [player] I had him in [city] biggest faker going. And Warren fell for it when he grabbed his face on a face off. Your supposed to see the act, not call the embellishing act. Dean Warren has to go with [referee] There must be a way to get rid of this guy. Is there a way we can tract sic and total minors called by referees this year. We could then get the minors they call per game. … or with 2 [referees on the ice] it is impossible? Warren and [referee] out of [team’s] games. Give them to [referees].
Thanks to Dellow’s investigative work, the only Warren-reffed game in February of 2007 in which a player had three high-sticking penalties was on the 24th, a game between the Panthers and the Bruins. Gregory Campbell was called for the high-sticking, and Savard drew the call that Colin Campbell seemed to particularly take umbrage with. The “biggest faker going” remark seems to apply to Savard, given that by saying “I had him in [city],” he appears to be referring to New York, where Savard played while Campbell was an assistant coach.
Campbell spoke to TSN on Monday regarding the matter, but commented only on emails sent to Walkom regarding a tripping call on Gregory in a different game.
“For me, it’s much ado about nothing,” Campbell told TSN. “Stephen and I would have banter back and forth and Stephen knows I’m a (hockey) dad venting and both of us knowing it wouldn’t go any further than that. Stephen would laugh at me. The game in question (when Gregory Campbell was penalized late in the Atlanta-Florida game) wasn’t on TV and I was asking Stephen to find out for me if it was a soft call. That’s all there ever was to it. The (refs) working that game are still in the league, aren’t they? Stephen handled the officials, just like Terry Gregson does now, and I’ve got a lot of emails to those guys asking about this soft call or that soft call and that’s in a lot of games. I’m not ultimately responsible for the (on-ice) officials, that’s Terry Gregson’s responsibility, but I have to answer to GMs on these calls.”
Campbell famously chose against throwing the book at Matt Cooke when he delivered a blindside hit to the head of Savard last season. If one wanted to draw a connection between what the e-mails allege and the lack of punishment on Cooke, they would appear to have a case, depending on the authenticity of the e-mails.
The Bruins politely informed media on Monday that Gregory Campbell, who of course now plays for Boston, would not be taking questions about his father. The league, however, did offer a comment to TSN later in the day.
“Any suggestion that Colin Campbell performs his job with any less than 100 percent integrity at all times and in every decision he makes is way off base and just factually wrong,” deputy commissioner Bill Daly said. “Because of the potential for a conflict of interest, or more importantly a perceived conflict of interest, the League has implemented various structural protections that prohibit Colie from having any oversight or disciplinary authority relating to any game in which his son, Gregory, plays. Its always fair to question and criticize League decisions as being wrong, but not on the basis that they aren’t justly and fairly arrived at.”
|11.13.10 at 9:35 pm ET|
Tim Thomas suffered his first loss of the season as the Senators defeated the Bruins, 2-0, at TD Garden on Saturday night behind a shutout from Brian Elliot. With the loss, Thomas is now 8-1-0 in 10 starts this season.
Erik Karlsson scored for the Senators in the first period, getting the puck off a face-off won by Ottawa center Chris Kelly and firing a wrist shot past Tim Thomas. Daniel Alfredsson picked up his seventh goal of the season and made it 2-0 at 4:15 of the third when he took a pass from Milan Michalek and beat Thomas from the bottom of the circle on a bang-bang play.
Patrice Bergeron nearly had the Bruins on the board in the second period with the B’s on the power play. A high shot from Bergeron took a funny bounce off Elliot and nearly crossed the goal line. Blake Wheeler dove to tip it in, but accidentally got a glove on it, and the play was called no goal.
The loss dropped the Bruins’ record in home games to 2-4-1, with their Garden record falling to 2-3-1. The Bruins have not won a home game since Oct. 28, when the B’s defeated the Maple Leafs, 2-0.
The Bruins will try to remedy their home woes when they host the Devils on Monday night.
|11.13.10 at 8:44 pm ET|
With both teams posting goose eggs in the second period, the Bruins continue to trail the Senators with 20 minutes to play.
With the Dennis Wideman whiners seemingly bored these days, Blake Wheeler gave them some ammunition for him to be the next target. With the Bruins on the power play, Patrice Bergeron put a shot up high on Brian Elliot. The puck bounced up and behind the Senators’ goaltender. Wheeler lunged at the puck to tip it in, but instead got a glove on it before it went in. The irony, of course, is that the slow-bouncing puck appeared to be going in without any help.
Despite the play, which was reviewed, the second line has been the best line on the ice tonight. Mark Recchi has three shots through two periods, and Jordan Caron had a breakaway opportunity in which he was stopped by Elliot. Michael Ryder also saw some time with Recchi and Wheeler late in the period.
The B’s outshot the Senators, 11-9 in the period and the Senators have a shots on goal advantage of 24-21 after two periods. Both teams are 0-for-2 on the power play tonight.
|11.13.10 at 7:49 pm ET|
The Senators lead the Bruins, 1-0, after 20 minutes. Ottawa has outshot the B’s 15-10, with the lone goal perhaps not even being spotted by Tim Thomas.
– Erik Karlsson got the Senators on the board at 9:34 when Chris Kelly drew a faceoff back to Ottawa blueliner. Tim Thomas didn’t seem to see the lazy wrister, as it sailed past him, suggesting he couldn’t see past Tyler Seguin, who lost the faceoff.
– As could be expected, there was a fight in the first period and it did involve Chris Neil, who went after Dennis Seidenberg late in the Oct. 30 meeting between the two teams. Zdeno Chara was the Bruin who stood up for Seidenberg, tangoing with Neil in a short-lived bout that ended when the B’s captain lost his footing.
– The Blake Wheeler-centered line seems to be hitting its stride, and with the exception of an offsides call late in the period, seemed to apply the most pressure on Senators netminder Brian Elliot.
|11.13.10 at 1:44 pm ET|
The Bruins are dealing with inconsistency at home, but hold the “what else is new?” comment.
The B’s can’t seem to shake whatever it is that made them 17-17-6 at the Garden a season ago and 2-2-1 this season, but that isn’t to say that they’re willing to accept their fate as a bad home team.
“We knew last year that we struggled at home, but we’ve tried to block it out and get to our mentality that we have on the road,” Michael Ryder said following the Bruins’ morning skate on Saturday. “Maybe when when we’re on the road, we’re a little more focused than we are at home. I think we’re aware of it, but I don’t think we need to panic. It’s still early in the year, and I think if we win tonight it will be a big step forward.”
The Bruins will face an Ottawa team on Saturday that is 3-3-1 on the road this season, though the Senators have won their last three road contests. The key to victory will be getting past goaltender Brian Elliot, and that will require more scoring than the Bruins have been able to turn in at home this season.
Counting both the “home” and “away” game in Prague, the Bruins have scored 3.7 goals per away game, while they’ve averaged just 2.2 goals per game at home. Ryder, who has gotten his points both on the road and at home, doesn’t quite know how to diagnose what the team’s done differently from one place to the next.
“Not really,” Ryder said when asked if he felt the team was doing anything specifically different. “Maybe it’s just that at home, sometimes you try and do things a little different than you do on the road. You keep it more simple when you get on the road, and I think at home we just get away from that and our style of play. I think if we do that tonight, we’ll be fine and we’ll start winning at home a lot more.”
The most recent loss suffered at the Garden came Thursday, when the Bruins lost their legs after coming out flying early in the first period en route to a 3-1 defeat against the Canadiens. It’s after games such as the Habs contest that the veterans stress that the team be encouraged by what they do right.
“We’ve got to just keep plugging along,” Mark Recchi said. “We got off to a great start last time, but the puck didn’t go in. Just keep plugging. We have a good road mentality, to just go out there and play our game. We know what makes us tick as a team and what makes us go. If we play that way, we’re going to be fine at home or wherever we are, really. We just have to get back to that, and make sure we continue it.”
Like Ryder, Recchi knows that it’s easy to look at the struggles at home and think that it’s simply a case of continuing down a road embarked upon a season ago, but he also sees a distinct difference in this Bruins club from that of a season ago.
“We believe in ourselves, and we believe in what we’re doing and we believe that if we do the right things, we’re going to win hockey games,” Recchi said. “We’ve got a strong belief in each other, and that’s very important. We know if we play the right way and play Bruins hockey and lay physical, get pucks deep, and skate, we’re very tough to play against. We’re still trying to grow that identity, and it’s a process, and it’s early, and we’ve still got a long ways to go, but the guys are forging ahead here and want to get better.”