Archive for November, 2009

Practice, yes. Bergeron, no.

Monday, November 30th, 2009

WILMINGTON  —  It was probably just a coincidence that the Bruins decided to reward their assistant coaches with contract extensions just before they will be counted on to pace the team through a stretch loaded with heightened practice time.

After inking assistant coaches Doug Houda, Craig Ramsay and Geoff Ward, goaltending coach Bob Essensa and video coach Brant Berglund to multi-year contract extensions the Bruins got back to work at their practice rink Monday.

They will probably be spending a lot of time there.

Having played 10 games over a 19-day period, the Bruins will have just four games over a 12- day stretch. That means time to work out the kinks at practice and the chance for key players to mend minor injuries.

Leading scorer Patrice Bergeron was not on the ice for practice Monday after being struck by a shot in the leg while killing a penalty seven minutes into Saturday’€™s 4-3 Bruins victory over Ottawa. Bergeron left the ice and the Bruins bench for several minutes before returning late in the period.

Coach Claude Julien said Bergeron had been given Monday off, but the skilled center should be fine for game action when the Bruins host Tamp Bay Wednesday.

‘€œHe’€™ll been in Wednesday, no ifs, (ands) or buts,’€ said Julien. ‘€œIt was just maintenance.’€ (more…)

Bergeron not skating at B’s practice

Monday, November 30th, 2009

WILMINGTON  —  Patrice Bergeron is not on the ice as the Bruins begin practice in Wilmington this morning. Bergeron was struck by a shot in the leg while killing a penalty seven minutes into Saturday’€™s 4-3 Bruins victory over Ottawa. He left the ice and the Bruins bench for several minutes before returning late in the period.

Defenseman Matt Hunwick is also not on the ice.

B’s extend assistant coaches

Monday, November 30th, 2009

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. (more…)

Turn up the volume: Thomas makes amends

Sunday, November 29th, 2009

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.

Thomas returns for B’s

Saturday, November 28th, 2009

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.

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

Friday, November 27th, 2009

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.

Chiarelli: ‘Looks like a challenge all year’

Friday, November 27th, 2009

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.”