Archive for October, 2008

Day off for the B’s

Friday, October 31st, 2008

Today is a day off for the B’s after the team opted to fly home from Calgary this morning rather than hop on the red-eye right immediately after last night’s game. With that in mind, here’s some other assorted NHL goodies on a day when everybody deserves sugary treats rather than a trick or two. Happy Halloween from a guy who’s being asked to dress up like Tony Romo — complete with a bandage for my right pinkie finger – to appease my Jessica Simpson-clad girlfriend. Good times.

B's fans haven't seen nearly enough of the Sturm Face this season

B's fans haven't seen nearly enough of the Sturm Face this season

The Bruins simply dug themselves too large of a hole after parading into the penalty box — and again exposing their PK issues at the same time – during the second period of Thursday night’s game, but I take their unwillingness to give up in the third period as a big positive for this team.

 Does the team need more offense on a consistent basis? Absolutely, but they should start scoring more on a regular basis once Patrice Bergeron and Marco Sturm start firing on all cylinders. Sturm is a guy that’s approached 30 goals and potted 10 power play strikes in each of the last two seasons and clearly should have more than a goal and 4 assists in the first 11 games. 

–Dallas Stars bad boy Sean Avery will be in town tomorrow, so it seems like an appropriate time to pimp his plans to turn his much-ballyooed summer internship with Vogue into Hollywood Gold. And he wants Ryan Gosling to play the lead role of the hockey bad boy wearing the black nail polish. That’s gold, Jerry, Gold.

–In honor of All Hallows’ Even and my affinity for all things Star Wars, a big salute to Ottawa Senators goaltender Martin Gerber and his “Darth Gerber” goalie mask. Gerber had taken to wearing an all black goalie mask last season and Sens fans began calling him Darth Gerber, and this season the 34-year-old goalie actually had Itech design a special Darth Vader-inspired goalie mask

Impressive! Most Impressive!

Impressive! Most Impressive!

that he’s worn this season.  Gerber obviously doesn’t have the force with him this season, though, as he hasn’t started since Oct. 22 and has gone 1-3-1 with a 3.39 goals against average in five games thus far this season. 

–Learning something I didn’t already know when I took a gander at Bruins defenseman Mark Stuart’s blog with the The Hockey News: Stuey was apparently an English Major at Colorado College. Who knew? Something tells me we’re going to have a kick-butt conversation about Beowulf in the near future. Stuart has undoubtadly been a solid calming presence along the blue line over the last two seasons, and while he isn’t going to rack up any gaudy point totals — the guy is another defenseman along with Zdeno Chara and Aaron Ward that plays with some snarl and a real physical edge.

Blame Canada: Bruins ready for Western Sweep

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

Much was rightfully made of Milan Lucic returning to Vancouver for the first time in his NHL career, but it’s a homecoming for a number of the Bruins each and every time they make the trek to the Great White North of Western Canada. Chuck Kobasew is traveling with the team — and nearing a return from a fractured ankle — and was formerly a member of the Calgary Flames for parts of four seasons. Kobasew was a scratch for Thursday night’s game, but could be ready to play next week.

Andrew Ference was also a card-carrying Flame for parts of three seasons while the stop through Edmonton allowed the 29-year-old a brief visit to his hometown. I still remember Ference telling the story — when he was first traded here – that he grew up in the same neighborhood that Petr Klima lived in while he was playing with the Edmonton Oilers. Believe it or not, young Ference was a hockey-loving 11-year-old mowing Klima’s lawn when he potted the memorable overtime goal in Game One against the Bruins in 1989-90 Stanley Cup Finals.

So, for guys like Ference and Kobasew, the voyage out to Western Canada is just as enjoyable as it was for Milan Lucic, who was grinning ear-to-ear given the attention he was showered with by the Vancouver media prior to the B’s 1-0 win Tuesday night.

“It’ll be fun for me to go back to Calgary and see a few of the guys that I played with that are still on the team,” said Ference. “We have a lot of young guys on our roster too, and it’s going to be good for them to play in these games. In many ways the hockey out in places like Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton is the purest pro hockey that you’ll ever experience.

“It’s something I’ve really come to look forward to, so hopefully we do well while we’re out there,” added Ference.

Kessel still impressing

Well, the B’s have already stamped a Borat-style ”Great Success” imprint on the three-game road trip with a pair of Tim Thomas-authored 1-0 shutout wins over the Oilers and Canucks, but can really go for the gusto with the road finale at the Pengrowth Saddledome tonight. [Quick Pucks with Haggs aside here: Pengrowth sounds like something you have surgically removed from your body rather than a traditionally imposing moniker for a hockey rink in Alberta. Can you imagine a couple of Flames fans asking each other if "they're going to the 'growth to watch the Flames game tonight?"]

Kessel is growing up on and off the ice...

Kessel is growing up on and off the ice...

Anyway, the B’s have been impressive in the defensive zone and obviously enjoyed some superior goaltending, but they continue to get tremendous offensive pressure/play from Phil Kessel, David Krejci and Marc Savard despite only registering a goal in each of the first two games on the long and winding road.

Many around the B’s have expressed genuine pleasure watching both the physical and emotional maturation of Kessel as a 21-year-old puck prodigy growing into adulthood. Kessel obviously leads the B’s with six goals this season, but has really grown up in a whirlwind two years that saw him recover from cancer and experience a career-changing benching in last year’s first round of the playoffs.

“I think even though [Phil] is perhaps a bit stubborn in admitting that last year’s playoffs was a learning experience — and I appreciate that same stubbornness that also makes him a good player — it’s been great to watch his maturation both on and off the ice,” said B’s General Manager Peter Chiarelli. “He really seemed to be starting to come out of his shell during training camp this fall. That was good to see.”

Kessel has truly been a different player since coach Claude Julien inserted the young speedster back into the lineup in Game Five against the Canadiens last spring, and it’s been easy to see through his performance firding off wristers on the ice. Off the ice, Kessel has also begun taking on the responsibility that comes along with a being both a professional athlete and cancer survivor — and the powerful effect he can have on youngsters stricken with cancer that view him as an inspirational role model.

The NHL has declared October Hockey Fights Cancer month and over the course of the last month members of the Boston Bruins — including Kessel – reached out to patients of all ages suffering from cancer. Hockey Fights Cancer was a league wide initiative to create cancer awareness.

Here’s some video from the NHL Networks “The Hockey Show” during a recent visit to some of the pediatric patients at Mass General Hospital by Phil the Thrill.

No Money?

Interesting report from Forbes Magazine concerning the NHL and each of the 30 teams in the league. According to Forbes (who has been covering the finances of each team over the last 10 years) the B’s are seventh in the league with a current valuation of $263 million — which includes the TD Banknorth Garden as well as the hockey team.

Interesting to note that the team reportedly lost $3 million last season — one of 11 NHL teams that reportedly lost money during the 2007-08 season. Some have expressed doubt about that figure, but it’s not surprising given that the B’s had one of the worst average attendence figures in the NHL last season while still suffering the post-lock-out aftermath from the bottom dropping out for the B’s.

This might be another chance to try and bash Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs for “cooking the books” to make it look like he’s losing money, but the truth is that it’s a dated, inaccurate criticism when the team is spending up to the NHL-mandated salary cap. Look at the numbers and the product out on the ice, and it’s hard to deny it.

A few minutes with Jarome Iginla

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

The Bruins have a well-deserved day off after taking a second straight 1-0 win along their Western Canada road odyssey, so there isn’t a ton to report on the Spoked B’s other than the notion that Tim Thomas finally seems to have gained the upper hand in goaltending situation. After last night’s second straight shutout, Thomas is leading the NHL with a .943 save percentage and is second in the league after six games with a 1.77 goals against average.

Dafoe back in his brawling days

Dafoe back in his brawling days

Thomas became the first B’s netminder since Byron Dafoe in 1999 to register back-to-back shutouts after Tuesday night’s 1-0 win in Vancouver. It was also the first time in nine games this season that B’s coach Claude Julien has given the same goaltender the starting nod in two consecutive games.

With the Calgary Flames on the schedule for Thursday night, here’s a few minutes Flames right winger Jarome Iginla courtesy of an NHL conference call from Monday. The rugged, skilled Iginla exploded for 5 goals and 2 assists over three three games before getting shut out against the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night.

Iginla is also one of the few elite scoring players in the NHL that’s also willing to drop the gloves, as he’s done numerous times in his career — including this haymaker-throwing donnybrook with Vancouver’s Willie Mitchell.

 

Containing Iginla will be a large part of the B’s dousing the Flames and going a perfect 3-0 in the Great White Western North of Canada, so here’s a few thoughts with the 31-year-old winger with 6 goals and 4 assists this season:

Q. Fighting is up significantly in the NHL this season. Do you have any theories on why that is?
JAROME IGINLA:
No, I don’t. I don’t have any theories. I think it’s definitely still part of the game. I guess the numbers would show it, but I think it’s still part of the game and part of the team and as far as momentum, and also making sure you don’t get intimidated or vice versa. No, I wasn’t aware that it was up or not, but definitely when you play, you know, there’s always that chance you never know if it’s going to be a fight. It’s not out of it, as people are talking.

 

First we score, and then we dance, dance, dance...

First we score, and then we dance, dance, dance...

Q.

You guys added a couple of new people in the off-season, and maybe that was part of the reason for the slow start. How hard has it been working in a couple of these new guys this year?
JAROME IGINLA:
It’s been great. I think that we made changes in the off-season, as most teams do, and up front I think we’ve gotten a lot quicker. I think that [Todd] Bertuzzi has come in and played really, really well for us, and that’s been a big part of our power play.

[Mike] Cammalleri has fit in really nicely, and we added [Rene] Bourque and [Curtis] Glencross with their speed. I wouldn’t say that the start that we had was slow. We had a good preseason. We were playing pretty well and things were going good, and we just got off to a tough start. We had a bad first game against Vancouver, and then we lost a few one-goal games in a row where defensively our game wasn’t very sharp, and we were still right there in the one-goal games and we were having terrible second periods.

So I wouldn’t say it was like getting used to everyone. It didn’t really feel like that. It was just that we kind of just went into a little bit of a funk and got a little bit away from what we wanted to do and weren’t moving the puck very well or playing very strong defensively. We tried to change those things. It’s all the things you talk about. And fortunately this last week was a lot better for us.

Q. And looking at your team, you mentioned Todd Bertuzzi. Can you talk about how he fit in and the strong start he’s gotten off to for you guys?
JAROME IGINLA:
Yeah, he’s been really, really good for us. He’s come in and he’s playing really hard. He’s having a lot of fun. Talking to him, he’s really enjoying himself. He’s one of the older guys on the team, so he’s been a leader in our dressing room.

He’s come in on the power play. I think our power play has been really coming on, and he’s a big part of that. He grabs a lot of attention in front of the net. He moves the puck well still. So on the power play, we wanted to win, we want to be a better team in the league and we’ve got to get our power play up there, too, and he’s been a big reason why it’s been improving.

Q. This is sort of a league issue. I was going to talk about the new injury disclosure policy in which the league has really tightened what the teams can release publicly about injuries. I wanted to just talk a little bit about the rationale. Have you ever been targeted by an opponent who may have known you were injured any time in your career? Did you ever feel that that was a threat?
JAROME IGINLA:
I personally haven’t been. You know, I can see the one side where it sounds like you don’t want anyone to know if a guy has maybe a bad hand and you’re going to start slashing his hand. But I don’t think that’s going to happen regularly.

I know when we hear a guy with an injury, we just played [Jason] Arnott. We knew he came back in Nashville, and we knew he came back from a finger injury. We’re trying to be hard on him obviously because it’s his first game back and he plays so well against us, but no one made one comment about let’s go slash his hands or anything like that. I mean, maybe playoff time things heat up even more. But no, we’ve never really talked like that at all.

Q. And just one quick follow-up. There’s been some comparisons drawn with the NFL only because it’s a pretty physical sport, as well, and guys try to take advantage of every piece of intelligence that they have. They have the most transparent policy, in which every Wednesday and Friday there’s a report that comes out on each injured player, where he’s hurt, what he’s been able to do. There’s a big reason for that, and that’s in Las Vegas with the wagering and whatnot. But I’m just curious, if the NFL can be that transparent, why can’t the NHL?
JAROME IGINLA:
Well, yeah, I think it’s obviously a very physical sport, too. I mean, we’re trying to not say a guy has a shoulder injury. Say we’re playing another team and one of their top guys has a shoulder injury. Well, we’re probably trying to hit him anyway, but we’re trying to hit him as much as we can.

And if it’s an ankle injury, there’s nothing a guy is really doing to another guy’s ankle. I guess it would be a hand would come to mind that you might see more, but refs are on that and see that anyway. So yeah, most of them are like yeah, I’m not that personally, obviously, I’m not that worried about it because usually I feel like they’re trying to hit me anyway, or playing against another team’s defensemen and they’re trying to run me into a corner whether my shoulder is good or not. No, I could see why it could be more transparent.

Q. I want to ask you, you’ve been captain in Calgary for five years. Did you feel any more pressure to put the team up on your shoulders? You had such a great week this week. Since you’re the captain and the leader, did you maybe send out the message to the rest of the guys about how everybody needs to pick up their play a little bit more and if they see the captain doing it they’ll try to do what they can to try to follow your lead?
JAROME IGINLA:
Well, I mean, we had a lot of talk before this week about the fact that we definitely want to turn it around, but that’s something that happens when you’re not winning as a team. Yeah, I personally want to be better, but every guy wants to be better in the room.

I think if you went around and you asked Dion [Phaneuf] and Kipper and Bertuzzi, and you went to our young guys, [Dustin] Boydie, it’s something that it’s every single guy. There’s not many that feel good and they just want to keep going. Every guy thinks when you’re not winning that you can do just a bit more and you want to be a little bit sharper. I don’t think it’s because I’m a captain or anything. I think partly I’m a veteran and have been here, and I thankfully play a good amount of minutes and I’m out there, but I think it’s just something that’s part of a team that every guy does look at himself and see how he can contribute and collectively be better as a group.

B’s Bruiser returns to the Looch Lair

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008
Lucic will be playing in front of friends and family tonight...

Lucic will be playing in front of friends and family tonight...

It’s a homecoming tonight for Vancouver homeboy Milan Lucic, who played junior hockey for the Vancouver Giants and is appropriately pumped to play his first ever NHL game at GM Place against the Canucks on Tuesday night. The local Vancouver media has the requisite “prodigal pugilist coming home” stories with the best of them including a photo gallery and baby picture of Looch before he became the 20-year-old glass-shattering Hulk lurking on the TD Banknorth Garden ice.

Lucic told ESPN’s Louise K. Cornetta last weekend that he was understandably besieged by ticket requests in his home city, but he instead bought just seven tickets for his parents, siblings and grand-parents to attend the game. Lucic’s older brother Jovan, however, rented out a luxury box at GM Place for at least 70 of Lucic’s closest admirers, so there should be an usual amount of cheering and “Looch Calls” for the Bruiser in the Spoked B on Tuesday night. 

The Looch started slowly during B’s training camp this fall amid expectations that he was going to immediately morph into Cam Neely as a 20-year-old NHL neophyte, but it’s fair to say he’s now hitting his stride after creating a youtube sensation with his monster hit against the Maple Leafs and then following that by rattling off the first hat trick of his career last weekend. Much of Lucic’s success can be traced to the natural physical gifts bestowed upon the hulking power forward, but the youngster also has the work ethic to match — as his former Vancouver Giants strength and conditioning coach, Ian Gallagher, told Pucks with Haggs last month: 

“He certainly did a lot of his power speed-work and he’s getting older now…so his game is coming along appropriately fast. The first step is all about power that allows you to go from a stationary position to full exertion very quickly. So plyometrics are a big staple of his program and power cleaning is a big staple of his program. Change of direction is big with a lot of diagonal sprints where they’re stopping and going quickly There was steady growth for Milan over the summer. He’s got great genetics and he’s a very committed person. He came back very motivated and very willing to improve, and his scores improved over the summer as you expect somebody would that’s got the proper motivation. Nothing surprises me with Milan though because he’s got a real disposition for growth.”

“He’s got a great frame to put on muscle mass and handle it. He’s got great levers and he’s got a very strong core and a good musculature to him that allows him to excel,” said Gallagher. “His leg mass is tremendous. His leg press is well over 900 pounds for eight reps and his power clean for reps is 275 pounds, which are both really football player-like numbers.

“Which is a little amazing because he’s got a very unassuming musculature to him. Because you look at his arms and there’s not a heck of a lot of mass to them, but his core is just so bloody powerful. His legs are massive and his trunk is massive, and when he gets those big muscles going it demonstrates itself in a powerful way when he collides with somebody or when he’s shooting the puck. I think it’s one of his biggest assets.”

 

 

 

New rules kicked around at GM Meetings
Here’s a good piece from respected columnist Ken Campbell from The Hockey News about some of the rule proposals discussed at the GM Meetings in Chicago that Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli mentioned to Pucks with Haggs last week. Included in the proposals are some pretty revolutionary ideas, like penalizing players for leaving their feet to block shoots.
Offense has been up thus far this season, but these kinds of rules would really take the NHL back to the offensively heavy NHL days of yore. Diving to block shots is such a time-honored, gritty way to play ‘D’ in your own zone that I’d be hesitant to take it out the game, but wide open hockey does have its positives. 

–In other link news: Don Cherry takes some well-aimed shots at Dallas Stars bad boy Sean Avery during last weekend’s Coach’s Corner on Hockey Night in Canada after the rough-and-tumble forward backed out of a few fights over the last week — including a potential scrap with New Jersey Devils forward David Clarkson, who dropped his stick and had the gloves coming off in anticipation. Something tells me Clarkson might have been defending the honor of legendary goalie Martin Brodeur, who Avery called “fatso” during the playoffs last season when the NHL adopted the “Avery Rule.”

 
 

 

 

 

Oil drilled in overtime

Monday, October 27th, 2008
Good thing I got three shots for a $1 in overtime...

Good thing I got three shots for a $1 in overtime...

Solid two-way hockey effort in a 1-0 overtime win over the Edmonton Oilers last night helped kick off a character-testing three game road trip into the hockey hotbeds of western Canada. The defense was crisp and supportive in the box-and-one style preached by Claude Julien, and the offense finally deliverd in the extra session and saved the B’s from another bittersweet fate in the shootout.

A few interesting things to ponder after watching Dennis Wideman bury the second goal for a Bruins blueliner this season — with Wideman accounting for both defenseman lamp-lighters:

–The Bruins defenseman had talked last week about stepping up their offensive production and helping support the goal-scoring load largely carried by the forwards, and Wideman’s blasts from the point became the focal point of the power play enjoyed by the Black and Goal in overtime. Wideman picked up a pair of assists in the 5-4 win over the Trashers on Saturday and notched the game-winner last night, and is an offensively-gifted defenseman that should be develop into a key part of Boston’s offensive efforts. Wideman has the best purely offensive skills among Boston’s D-man corps, and seems to be finding that elusive balance between offense/defense for a rear guardsmen.

“There’s a vocal demand for the defenseman to jump in, but you’ve got to do it and not forget about your defensive responsibilities,” said D-man Aaron Ward prior to the B’s embarking on their three game road trip. “It’s great when you do it and we have the same goals against [as last season]. As much as [the defenseman] are not showing up in the scoreboard, there is a definitive defensive effort being shown out there.”

–The “energy line” of Shawn Thornton, Petteri Nokelainen and Stephane Yelle gave the B’s a bucket full of jump and jam for the second straight game, and allowed Bruins coach Claude Julien to roll through all four lines without hesitation. Nokelainen used his tenacity on the puck to draw a penalty late in the third period that could have set the Bruins up to win it in regulation, and the trio has gelled a unit that’s become an asset rather than a bunch of skaters at the end of the lines that a coach is loathe to give ice time to.

The one thing we’ve been trying to get this year, talking about trying to improve our hockey club, was to get a line, an energy line, whatever you want to call it, the fourth line, that could help contribute as well as give us energy,” said Julien of Nokelainen/Yelle/Thornton after Saturday’s win. “[They] gave us the spark that we needed.”

–Tim Thomas was huge throughout his 27 saves en route to his eighth career shutout, and made a game-saving stop when he leapt to smother a Ales Hemsky blast in the waning seconds of the third period. Claude Julien has essentially rotated Thomas and Manny Fernandez evenly in the early going for the B’s, but it may be time to ride last season’s All-Star goaltender a little bit.

The B’s netminder is fully aware that he can’t physically handle a 70 plus game workload during the season and needs breathers fairly often, but the 34-year-old is clearly giving the Black and Gold their best chance to win right now. Fernandez’s time will no doubt regain his full stride and he was able to hang in for Saturday’s win over the Thrashers, but there’s no doubt that Thomas is just that much sharper between the pipes at this point in the season.

–Also interesting to note the ice time that forwards received in the overtime game, and that the three top ice- time deserving forwards were David Krejci, Marc Savard (19:45) and Phil Kessel (19:23), with Krejci logging a whopping 20:40 during the overtime game. The cerebral Krejci just keeps earning more confidence and trust from the Bruins coaching staff, who clearly see a smart player consistently making excellent decisions with the puck in all game situations. Krejci’s hockey sense and improved shot have really stood out over the first nine games of the season.

Looch seeing clearly now

Saturday, October 25th, 2008
I will crush you, and then I will score all over you!

I will crush you, and then I will score all over you!

Good times all-around for the Bruins following a 5-4 win over the Thrashers Saturday night at the TD Banknorth Garden before an announced crowd of 16,044 — a rowdy bunch that booed the B’s off the ice when they were down 2-0 following the first period and then easily tossed 50 hats on the ice following Milan Lucic’s game-winning third goal of the night with 1:41 to go in the third period.

It was the B’s first hat trick since Phil Kessel pulled it off early last season against the LA Kings on Oct. 12, 2007.

The big hero on the evening was the same punishing guy that utilized brute strength to shatter the glass around the boards while checking a Maple Leafs defenseman just two days earlier. This time the Looch used his strength and skill to camp out in front of the net and notch the first multiple goal game of his career, a performance that might have been aided by a recent decision to use contact lenses on the ice.

Lucic started using contacts while playing the Leafs on Thursday night — after just wearing glasses when he was watching TV at night for the last three years or so — and things have appropriately taken off for the hulking 6-foot-4, 220-pounder.

“This is my second game wearing contacts out there, so it’s a lot easier to see the puck when your vision is clear. [Wearing contacts] is like going from a regular, old TV to a High-Definition TV, so that’s the perspective that I have now,” said Lucic, who last collected le trick de chapeau (that’s only a strict Haggs French translation right there, so don’t go parading that little bon mot down St. Catherine Street. “[The hat trick] was nice, but one goal, two goals, no goals…it doesn’t matter to me as long as we get the win.”

B’s head coach Claude Julien says that he still sees Lucic squinting and wincing on the ice out of habit, but will take whatever aid is helping Looch perform out on the frozen sheet — while also pointing out that the good and fearless work habits exhibited by the brawny forward are a good example for the rest of the team. Lucic fights to keep his position in the offensive zone with ferocious intent, and brandishes a fearless willingness to brave into the violent areas of the ice where both goals are made and blood is spilled on occasion.

“Looch got rewarded tonight for being willing to [go to the front of the net] and paying the price. He’s got the physique to do it, and if he keeps doing it he’s going to keep scoring goals,” said Julien. “This is the Boston Bruins and it’s about heart and soul and working hard, and Looch is the perfect example of that. He won us a hockey game tonight with the game that he played and the identity that we’re talking about.”

–Just before face-off with Atlanta, the Bruins announced that the third period in tonight’s game would be split, with the teams switching ends at the first stoppage in play after the 10-minute mark of the period. 

 The change in format is occurred due to incorrect markings on the West End (visitors bench side) of the TD Banknorth Garden Ice. In the West End, the two face-off dots are 24 feet from the goal line – four feet longer than NHL specifications — a discrepancy that was first noticed by New Bedford Standard Times hockey reporter Mick Colageo.  The corresponding face-off circles are also four feet further away from the goal line.

The Bruins and Thrashera began the third period in the same ends that they finished the second period.  Following the first stoppage after the 10-minute mark of the third period, the teams switched ends, and the face-off took place on the opposite side of where play ended.

The current sheet of ice was installed on September 9, 2008, and the error was not noticed by the Bruins until this morning. Due to the error, the NHL mandated the changes to tonight’s game format.

“Of the many logistical tasks the Garden operations team is called upon to perform each season, painting and marking the ice sheet is one of the more routine and straight-forward.  Therefore, this oversight is simply an inexcusable and disappointing error for which we apologize to the Boston Bruins and the NHL at-large,” said TD Banknorth Garden President John Wentzell.

–Aside from the Lucic on-ice heroics, the game also featured a Julien-fueled tongue-lashing between the first and the second period when the B’s found themselves down by two goals while playing a pretty uninspired brand of hockey. 

Let’s let Julien tell the story:  

“To put it mildly [the effort] was unacceptable by individuals and as a group. Right now I think it’s pretty obvious that we’ve got a lot of our good players that aren’t at the top of their games. We can stand here and pretend and sugarcoat it. But maybe it’s encouraging because it means that we can be that much better when everybody finds their games and starts playing the way they can.”

–One thing to look for going forward is increased ice time and responsibility — and a bump up to the first unit — for the former second power play unit of David Krejci, Milan Lucic, Dennis Wideman, Andrew Ference and Phil Kessel.

That quintet provided a pair of power play strikes in Saturday night’s win and have been dangerous with the man advantage while mixing responsible play with Lucic’s toughness, Kessel’s sniper-like abilities and Krejci’s playmaking skills with the puck. The second-teamers were the first one’s out on the man advantage a handful of times on Saturday night, and that may be the case in the B’s foreseeable future — per the orders of their coach.

“They’ve been going first because they’ve been our best power play [unit],” said Julien. “They’re the ones that have given us the most goals, and — hey — why not have a little competition between the two power play [teams]? If you want to be first, then go out there and earn it.”

“It’s important right now that players don’t take it as a position of status and think they’re automatically going to get that ice time,” said Julien. “[The second power play unit]” has earned the right to start as we speak.”

Sounds of the game… Bruins 5, Atlanta 4

Saturday, October 25th, 2008

In the words of colleague Joe Haggerty, the Thrashers felt the power of the Looch on Saturday night at TD Banknorth Garden as the Bruins erased an early 2-0 hole and beat the Atlanta Thrashers, 5-4, for their first home win of the season.

It was a night of firsts as Milan Lucic collected his first career hat trick. In fact, it was the first multiple goal game in the league.

Lucic talks about his trick.

Lucic said he is getting accustomed to wearing contacts.

Lucic said the Bruins had puck luck Saturday.

David Krejci calls them as he sees them and calls Lucic one big dude.

Andrew Ference said it was nice to give the home crowd their first win of the season.