|04.09.09 at 2:30 pm ET|
Responding to a report out of the Boston Herald that the Boston Bruins will play the 2010 Winter Classic outdoors at Fenway Park on New Year’s Day, Boston Bruins and Delaware North Companies Principal Charlie Jacobs stated in an email to WEEI.com this afternoon that nothing has yet been finalized to make the Jan. 1 hockey game a reality. Jacobs said that the classic is “close” to coming to Boston, but that nothing has been finalized by the parties involved.
‘Contrary to published reports, at this time we have not finalized plans for a Bruins game at Fenway Park on New Year’s Day,” wrote Jacobs in an email to WEEI.com. “It is no secret that I would love to bring The Winter Classic to the City of Boston ‘ and I have been working with the NHL to consider a number of venues in the area. We believe that we are close to accomplishing this. Bruins fans deserve to have an outdoor game, and we hope to deliver one to them in the near future.’
|04.09.09 at 11:47 am ET|
A hockey source familair with the proceedings has confirmed to WEEI.com that the 2010 NHL Winter Classic will take place at Fenway Park on Jan. 1 with the Boston Bruins taking on an as-yet-undetermined opponent. The two most speculated opponents for the Fenway game have been the New York Rangers and the rival Montreal Canadiens, with the Habs the more likely of the two teams.
After the last two NHL Winter Classics have gone without a Canadian hockey team, it’s expected there will be pressure exerted by the powers that be North of the Border to get the Canadiens involved in the Boston game. Bet on B’s and hope for the Habs Jan. 1 at Fenway Park, and expect a banged out ballpark with mittens, hot cocoa and earmuffs as far as the eye can see. Should be a once-in-a-lifetime type event.
|04.09.09 at 11:27 am ET|
Young Czech forward Vladimir Sobotka was called up to Boston this morning on an emergency basis for tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens at the TD Banknorth Garden. The 21-year-0ld Sobotka has a goal and three assists in 23 games for the Bruins this season, and has 20 goals and 24 assists and a +11 in 44 games for the Providence Bruins this season.
Chuck Kobasew, Dennis Wideman and P.J. Axelsson were all question marks heading into a game with playoff implications against the Montreal Canadiens after not practicing at Ristuccia Arena on Wednesday afternoon. Sobotka’s recall is a pretty indication that either Axelsson or Kobasew won’t be healthy enough to go against the hated Habs tonight.
|04.09.09 at 7:42 am ET|
For one of the first times this season Bruins head coach Claude Julien has completely scrubbed the pre-game morning skate at the TD Banknorth Garden prior to tonight’s grudge match against the Montreal Canadiens. Though the Black and Gold have clinched the top spot in the Eastern Conference, the game still has playoff ramifications for a Habs squad that’s currently situated as the seventh seed — but hasn’t yet clinched a playoff berth. A Bruins’ win could drop the Canadiens to the eighth spot and set up a potentially explosive Bruins vs. Canadiens match in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs tentatively set to begin next Thursday.
Three injured Bruins — Dennis Wideman, P.J. Axelsson and Chuck Kobasew — are being considered day-to-day, and would have had their playing fates for tonight answered during the morning skating session. Now that will have to wait until game time. The Bruins media relations staff called with the news around 8:15 a.m., and gave advanced notice that there would be no “players or coaches” reporting to the Garden until just hours before game time. The playoffs may be starting a week early with tonight’s showdown against Montreal.
|04.09.09 at 12:29 am ET|
A report out of the Boston Herald says it’s a done deal that the Bruins will host next season’s NHL Winter Classic at Fenway Park against an unnamed opponent. Boston apparently beat out bids by the hockey teams in New York and Philadelphia for the 2010 game, which will be played on New Year’s Day. Earlier reports had both the Montreal Canadiens and the New York Rangers as the likely opponents set to play against the Bruins outdoors at the Fens.
|04.08.09 at 7:09 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Rugged Chuck Kobasew, he should have his name officially changed given the reckless abandon that he routinely displays on the ice, has been one of Boston’s hottest forwards during the second half of the season, but Kobasew wasn’t a participant in today’s practice — along with P.J. Axelsson, Andrew Ference and Dennis Wideman — and saw his name listed with the rest of the walking wounded following Tuesday night’s loss to the Ottawa Senators.
It could be that Kobasew is in the same “maintenance” rest realm that Axelsson and Wideman reside in with three games remaining before the long, cold, merciless road through the Stanley Cup playoffs. B’s coach Claude Julien seemed to hedge at simply labeling Kobasew’s undisclosed malady as a simple maintenance issue, however, which begs the question “How serious is Kobasew’s undisclosed issue?”.
”Yeah, it’s a maintenance day,” said Julien in agreement with the maintenance query, ”But having said that, he’s like the other two guys [Axelsson and Wideman]….he’s day-to-day.”
If all three players remain on the maintenance shelf following tomorrow’s morning skate, then Julien could potentially call up a forward or a defenseman to fit his club’s needs. Providence defenseman Johnny Boychuk was up for a cup of coffee earlier this season when injuries hit and Vladimir Sobotka played in 23 games for the Black and Gold this season — so they would likely represent the P-Bruins front-runners if an injury necessitates a Thursday call-up. Matt Hunwick and Steve Montador’s matching abilities to play both forward and defense potentially give Julien the freedom to tap either a forward or D-man for the vacant roster spot.
Stay tuned, as the B’s should know by tomorrow morning if a healthy body from Providence is needed for a sure-to-be statement game against a Montreal Canadiens team — a team that the Bruins have a palpable dislike for and a team that still may just find themselves in Boston for the first round of the Cup playoffs.
”We could find that out later today,” said Julien when asked about potential Providence call-ups. ”Or it could be tomorrow morning….if it’s the same as today, if we’re only 19 [roster players], we will need someone to come up.”
Julien, for one, is putting plenty of import on the final regular season game against a Habs team still licking their wounds after dropping two straight against the Senators and Rangers. On top of that the Canadiens have lost top defenseman Andrei Markov and Mathieu Schneider for at least the first round of the playoffs due to injury, and appear to be sliding back after a decent spurt over the last few weeks. The Habs are still hanging on to the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference, but Sean Avery and the Rangers lurk only one point behind with two games remaining for each hockey club.
“Is it a rivalry, or (are the Canadiens) possible playoff opponents?” asked Julien rhetorically. “Whatever they may be, it’s all of the above and we need to be honest and realistic that we don’t know what’s going to happen with the few spots that are available. We approached the Rangers game (like a playoff game), and there’s no reason to approach it any other way.”
|04.07.09 at 10:46 pm ET|
The “good” Bruins team has shown up so many times over the last few weeks on the road to clinching the East. With that in mind, it was difficult to recognize the Boston hockey club that showed up Tuesday night at Scotiabank Place, because it was far from the “Good” Bruins team.
The B’s kept it close with a pair of second-period goals, but didn’t really bring their “A” game with them in a 3-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators at the Sens home rink in Canada’s Capital City. There wasn’t a great deal of surliness or heart-stopping jump in Boston’s game on this night, and the vaunted power play — a weapon that was again striking fear in the hearts of their opponents during their just-finished six-game winning streak — sprung a few leaks in the face of a speedy Sens attack.
So there may not be many moments from the listless loss that are going to make it into the season’s Greatest Hits reel.
It’s easy to chalk this up as a hockey team missing a few key players from their regular rotation — with blueliner Andrew Ference now gone for the rest of the regular season due to an undisclosed injury, and certainly now a question mark for the beginning of the playoffs. And perhaps the Big Bad B’s were missing a bit of their edge without much to play for after wrapping up the Eastern Conference while giving Sean Avery and the Rangers a Saturday afternoon beatdown. The President’s Cup seems like it’s out the door now with the San Jose Sharks three points ahead of the B’s — a situation that could have been a whole lot closer if the Bruins could have at least pushed last night’s effort into overtime.
But OT simply wasn’t meant to be.
It’s imperative, though, that the Black and Gold doesn’t drift too far away from the blue-collar tendencies and smash mouth work ethic that got them back on the winning track in the first place. The bone-rattling, board-shattering hits were at a bare minimum, and there wasn’t even a hint of the gloves being dropped.
The regular season has only three games left in it, and the B’s will be dropped right into the playoff pressure cooker little more than a week from today.
With Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron manning the points due to injuries to both Ference and Dennis Wideman — after the B’s had enjoyed so much success with No. 37 down low by the post in recent weeks — things seemed a bit off on the PP unit and led to a short-handed goal as well as a 3-on-1 in the third period. The odd man rush in the third would have led to another score if not for a quick Manny Fernandez glove save that saved the PP unit’s bacon.
Things will need to tighten up when the Rangers — or the suddenly reeling and injury-plagued Canadiens — come calling in mid-April.
Injury Ward: Phil Kessel, Shawn Thornton and Aaron Ward all returned to the lineup Tuesday night after missing assorted time with injuries, but the B’s might be without Ference for a while. Claude Julien said before the game that the B’s veteran blueliner and key team leader will sit out of the final four regular season games with an undisclosed injury. Ference will be reevaluated prior to the playoffs, but that’s not a reassuring sign for a hard-working player that’s had his share of tough luck over the last few seasons.
Player of the Game: Stephane Yelle managed to total four official hits and won 6 of his 9 faceoffs in little more than 10 minutes of ice time, and put together another heady and solid veteran game manning the pivot between Shawn Thornton and Byron Bitz.
Goat Horns: The power play. The Bruins did manage a power play score in the waning seconds of the second period when a Chara bomb from the right point smacked up against Alex Auld’s water bottle, but the PP unit made way too many sloppy mistakes. A playoff-ready and responsible team can’t give up multiple odd-man rushes during a power play, as they did on the Mike Fisher goal in the first period and again in the third period on a 3-on-1 where Bergeron was the only player to make it back on D.
Turning Point: The Bruins put 10 shots on net in the third period and really upped the pressure on Auld and the Senators’ defense over the final 20 minutes, and Mark Recchi and Chuck Kobasew both had golden chances they couldn’t quite put home for the Bruins. It was simply too little, too late for the Black and Gold.
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