Archive for September, 2010

Horton: Lucic ‘the ultimate hockey player’

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

It’s pretty hard to imagine Cam Neely not loving the idea of Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton as the wingers on the Bruins’ top line. Both are big, strong, and can score goals, and those qualities were on display in Saturday night’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Panthers.

Though the first thing one might think of regarding either of the two on Saturday was Horton’s second-period goal, the chemistry that is forming between the two on the ice might be worth taking a closer look at. Take the first period for example. Triston Grant was looking for somebody to spar with. After getting a little chippy with Horton, he got his guy: Lucic.

The left-winger lost his helmet but won the fight as he and Grant — teammates for a game in 2004-05 on the Vancouver Giants — dropped the gloves with 2:38 to go in the first period. He cited both the game “lacking a little big of emotion” and Grant’s pestering Horton as reasons to show the fans at TD Garden a familiar sight. Horton wasn’t surprised to see his new teammate stick up for him early.

“Well, he’s the ultimate hockey player,” Horton said. “He can do everything. It’s pretty amazing just to watch him. He fights, he hits, he scores. He’s a pretty good players and, obviously, he’s a nice guy too.”

The two players bring a similar style of play as gritty goal-scorers. From what Lucic had to say, it seems he feels the two may need to work on complementing one another rather than always doing the same thing.

“Our job as wingers, we’ve got to take care of the boards and make good strong plays,” Lucic said. “When we do get into the offensive zone we’ve got to establish that forecheck and make strong plays down low. You know, we are both willing to do it, so we’ve got to step back and let the guy do his job. We’ve got to be smart about that, and get in to high slot there and get a good shot off so I think that is going to take a little bit of time to find that chemistry.”

Horton impresses despite bad bounce

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

Tyler Seguin wasn’t the only player to have a nice night offensively and still want a play or two back. Nathan Horton, who scored the Bruins’ second goal in the second period Saturday night, fell victim to a tricky bounce that eventually led to a Radek Dvorak goal that tied the game in the third period of the team’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Panthers.

Behind Tuukka Rask’s net, Horton turned the puck over to Marty Reasoner, who fed it Dvorak.

“I don’t know [what happened],” Horton said. “I was skating back and it kind of hopped over my stick and it was a bad bounce, but hopefully that won’t happen during the year,” Horton said before cracking a smile.

Horton, the centerpiece of June’s trade that sent Dennis Wideman, the 15th overall pick in the draft, and a 2011 third-rounder to Florida, may have been given a pass given the skills he put on display Saturday night. In addition to his obvious strength, his goal was more or less a PSA on not giving him space or time to shoot given how easily he beat Scott Clemmensen from the hash marks with ample time to pick his spot top shelf.

“I  just had a little bit more time I guess and I just tried to get a better shot, a better angle,” he said. “Just luckily it went in.”

In facing his old teammates, Horton was on the ice for 19:12, starting on the team’s projected top line with Milan Lucic and David Krejci and seeing time both on the power play and penalty kill. All in all, Horton saw positives and negatives on the night, but nothing too extreme.

“I mean, obviously, it’s still preseason, so it was pretty sloppy,” Horton said, “but we need to obviously work on things and get more comfortable with guys [we’re] playing with. But I think every fame is going to get better from here on in and just keep pushing hard, keep working and I think things will come together pretty quickly.

Seguin takes the good with the bad

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

Saturday night was a big night for Tyler Seguin. It definitely wasn’t the first time he heard a crowd go crazy after he scored, and it certainly wasn’t the first time Boston fans lost their voices cheering for him each time his name was announced. It was, however, the first time the two occurrences coincided, as he netted his first goal of the preseason and scored for the first time at TD Garden.

Seguin scored the Bruins’ first goal of the night, one that was followed by a tally from another newcomer in Nathan Horton. Though he was glad to “finally” score as a member of the Bruins (if one scoreless game in which he had an assist against the Canadiens qualifies in Seguin’s mind as a scoring drought, the Bruins are in great shape), Seguin may have been more concerned with the one that got away than his first preseason goal. With the Panthers holding a 2-1 advantage in the shootout, Seguin was stopped by Florida netminder and former Boston College great Scott Clemmensen to end the game.

“There was a lot of pressure there,” Seguin said when asked of the moments leading up to his turn in the shootout. “When I went in, I heard Bergeron [who scored the first goal of the shootout] say the goalie was back in his net, so I wanted to go up high there, but I ended up going low. I kind of whiffed on it a bit, but what can you do?”

Last season’s OHL MVP, Seguin admitted that he could get away with more in his days in juniors than now. He pointed to his play in his own end as an area where he feel he still needs to improve.

“Back in the OHL, you can probably make a couple more errors. Here, if you make those errors, they’re going to cost you,” Seguin said, adding that there are also bits and pieces of his game as a winger that have been developing with more practice.

As for being called on in a shootout again, Seguin said that though he isn’t too experienced with them, he feels comfortable in the setting. He added that he would embrace being used in such a scenario again.

“You know, we didn’t have a lot [of shootouts] on the Whalers, but I’ve always been good at shootouts,” Seguin said. “I’m just going to keep working on it and hopefully I get the opportunity more this year.”

Bruins assign Sauve and Alexandrov to Providence

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

Before writers could rush to their computers to write that Claude Julien said a couple more cuts were coming, the Bruins announced Saturday night that they have assigned defenseman Yury Alexandrov and forward Max Sauve to Providence. With the move, the team’s roster currently stands at 33 players.

Julien said prior to the move that the team had “unfortunately tough and quick decisions to make before we go to Prague.” The team leaves for Belfast on Wednesday night and will head to Prague a week from Sunday. Shameless plug — will be there.

Panthers win it in shootout

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

Cory Stillman notched the game-winner against Tuukka Rask in a shootout as the Bruins took a 3-2 loss in third preseason game, their first at TD Garden. After Patrice Bergeron netted the team the first shootout goal, Ryan Spooner and Tyler Seguin failed to convert on their attempts.

In regulation, both teams went scoreless in the first period with each with the Bruins scoring twice in the second and the Panthers picking up two of their own in the third. Seguin and Nathan Horton provided the offense for the B’s, with both of the high-profile newcomers beating Scott Clemmensen in the second. Seguin’s tally was the first of his preseason, while Horton had already potted one against the Canadiens on Wednesday night.

Radek Dvorak slid a Rask at 2:20 of the third period to make it a 2-1 game. The goal broke up a shutout bid by Rask in which the Panthers otherwise failed to capitalize on rebounds. Later in the period, a Horton turnover behind his own net led to Marty Reasoner setting up Nathan McArdle for the game-tying goal.

The new guys can score

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

There was a season ticket holder at the Bruins’ Town Hall meeting earlier this week who professed his love for the Garden’s goal horn but demanded he hear it more often. Tyler Seguin and Nathan Horton were believed to be two guys acquired in the offseason who could grant his wish. They each gave him and everyone else in the Garden something to get excited about in the second period on Saturday night.

After Seguin put the B’s on the board by beating Scott Clemmensen with an easy wrister, Horton later sidled over to position himself perfectly to rifle one top shelf past the Panthers’ netminder. Both players have gotten some different looks lines-wise since the first period. Stay tuned.

Scoreless after one

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

The first period is wrapped up with the Bruins and Panther’s currently scoreless. The Bruins outshot the Panthers, but the Panthers had a few scoring opportunities that they either failed to capitalize on or had their plans foiled by Tuukka Rask.

There were a couple of fights in the period, with Mark Stuart dropping the gloves with Panthers forward Kenndal McArdle in a rather balanced fight in which Stuart eventually took McArdle. The biggest cheer from the crowd at the Garden, however, came when Milan Lucic lost his helmet after coming to the defense of Nathan Horton. Lucic, who had earlier been sent off for elbowing Mike Weaver, dropped Tristan Grant with 2:38 left in the period.

Ryan Spooner came awfully close to impressing once again after catching a nice pass from linemate Max Sauve, but was held by Nathan Paetsch while on the breakaway.