Archive for October, 2011

Claude Julien shakes up Bruins’ lines once again, Benoit Pouliot sick

Friday, October 28th, 2011

With the team still not responding to the shakeups they’ve endured, Bruins coach Claude Julien once again shuffled the forward lines in Friday’s practice at TD Garden. From those on hand, the latest lines are as follows:

Milan LucicDavid KrejciNathan Horton
Brad MarchandPatrice BergeronTyler Seguin
Jordan Caron – Chris KellyRich Peverley
Daniel PailleGregory CampbellShawn Thornton

Benoit Pouliot did not practice, with Julien saying after practice that the 25-year-old forward is sick. Julien said he doesn’t know whether Pouliot will make the trip to Montreal for Saturday night’s game.

What stands out most with the “new” lines is the reunion of Lucic, Krejci and Horton, who played on the first line together for most of last season. The line was broken up when Krejci went down with a core injury early this season, and performance has prevented them from being reunited until now. Krejci has just one point, a goal, in six games this season.

“What would you expect me to do?” Julien told reporters after the practice when asked about changing the lines again. “It’s a coach trying to find solutions. It’s as simple as that.”

Added Julien: “if it doesn’t [work], I’m telling you right now, you’re going to see changes again.”

The defending champions are in last place in the Eastern Conference with six points through nine games (3-6-0).

Bruins fall to last in division as Habs win

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Tomas Plekanec scored for both teams Thursday at TD Garden, but it was his tally for his own team that secured a victory for the Canadiens over the Bruins. The Habs came out of the first game of the home-and-home series with a 2-1 victory, while the Bruins have dropped to 3-6-0 to begin the season.

Plekanec accidentally drew a puck past Carey Price and into his own net (the goal was credited to Patrice Bergeron) to give the B’s a 1-0 lead in the first period, but Erik Cole tied it in the second before Plekanec atoned for his error by beating Tim Thomas in the third period for his third goal of the season.

The game featured perhaps a long overdue fight between youngsters Brad Marchand and P.K. Subban, who fought in the second period after two unsuccessful attempts at squaring off.

The loss dropped the Bruins to last place in the Northeast division. The teams will meet again Saturday at Bell Centre.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

- The Bruins had a couple of injury scares that caused players to miss time during the game. Andrew Ference missed the last 13 minutes or so of the first period after getting slashed early on. He returned for the second period.

Gregory Campbell, meanwhile cut his leg on the play in which he went off for tripping Petteri Nokelainen at 3:35 of the second period. The fourth-line center returned in the third period.

- Not the greatest night for Tyler Seguin, who was silent for most of the night, though he had more opportunities later in the third period. Seguin finished with three shots on goal, but the 19-year-old ruined an odd-man rush in the second period by sending a pass behind Milan Lucic. Seguin has been among the Bruins’ best forwards this season and has nine points through nine games, and as long as expectations stay realistic he won’t disappoint.

- While on the subject of Marchand, he’s now gone five straight games without a point. That’s his longest slump since his seven-game drought in March of last season.

- Six points through nine games isn’t pretty any way you slice it. The Bruins dominated a generally sloppy first period and came away with only a goal off an opponents’ mistake, so this is one they definitely could have had.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

- Thanks to Plekanec, the Bruins scored first goal of the game for the first time in seven games. With the loss, the Bruins are now 1-2-0 in games in which they get on the board first.

- Good to finally see Marchand and Subban square off. The two tried fighting three times, and the third time proved to be the charm. The two tried going at 13:47 of the second period but were sent off for holding. Their second attempt saw them actually drop the gloves at 15:43 of the second, but it was broken up and they received matching delay of game penalties.

They finally got to fight when they dropped the gloves immediately after getting out of the box, and it proved to be a lengthy bout between two players who proved they aren’t in the league for their fighting chops. Marchand connected on more punches, though it was a pretty evenly matched fight overall.

The fight was just the second of Marchand’s NHL career.

Bruins-Canadiens Live Blog: Tomas Plekanec gives Habs lead

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Bruins-Canadiens Live Blog

Benoit Pouliot’s mindset vs. Canadiens: ‘You don’t want to keep me? I’ll show you’

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Benoit Pouliot has had one three-point game in his career, and it came in his only meeting against a former team. Might that be a sign that the former Canadien could be in for a big night Thursday, when he faces the Habs for the first time since they non-tendered him?

On March 20 last season, Pouliot had three assists in the Habs’ 8-0 win over Minnesota, the team that drafted him fourth overall in 2005 and eventually shipped him out in 2009. Now that he’s facing the Habs, the 25-year-old forward can identify that there’s natural motivation in facing a former club.

“I think when you face your old team, you obviously want to prove, ‘Hey, you don’t want to keep me? I’ll show you,’” Pouliot said with a grin. “It pumps you up even more I think. Obviously this is going to be our first game against Montreal, but we’re going to get plenty of them all year long, so I see this as a little boost. At the same time, I’ll just play the same way I’ve been playing and rack up some points.”

A big night statistically would be a good thing for Pouliot, who has looked good in spurts put has yet to register a point this season.

Pouliot hasn’t been shy when it comes to taking digs at Habs coach Jacques Martin, who scratched him for the final four games of the first round against the B’s last season. The forward feels there was a lack of faith in him from the Canadiens coach, and when asked Thursday the difference between playing for the two teams, Pouliot said it’s the communication between he and Claude Julien.

“It’s just a matter of knowing what you do right or wrong. Maybe not hiding it, and let the guy know and he’ll work on it. It’s something that Claude’s been good to me so far,” Pouliot said. “He’s been talking to me, and the assistant coach has been talking to me all the time, [showing] video and stuff. For me personally, I just have to show up, work hard and be consistent every night in practice and games. So far, things have been going pretty well. Maybe not the points, but everything else for me is to work hard. It’s good so far. We’ve just got to start winning games and things will be good.”

Pouliot led the team during stretches at the end of Thursday’s morning skate.

Gameday notes: Adam McQuaid likely in, who’s in net?

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

The Bruins and Canadiens are set to face off for the first time this season Thursday at TD Garden. The 2-5-2 Habs are coming off a win against the Flyers Wednesday, while the 3-5-0 B’s haven’t played since Saturday’s loss to the Sharks.

Adam McQuaid (neck) has been medically cleared to play, with Claude Julien saying the “possibility of him playing is probably very good.” Julien said all seven defenseman will take the ice for warmups. If McQuaid is in, Steven Kampfer is out.

Here are a few other notes:

- The team left the morning skate in a single-file line, with Tuukka Rask the first goalie in line. That makes it tougher to tell whether he’ll be in net Thursady, but the guess here is that it’s only logical. Rask hasn’t started in nine days, and it might be better to let Thomas play in Montreal given Rask’s struggles there on March 8 of last season.

Peter Budaj was on the ice with the Canadiens’ scratches Thursday morning, so assume workhorse Carey Price will be in net vs. the B’s.

- Everyone was on the ice for the Bruins, and the forward lines remain the same as in Wednesday’s practice.

Brad MarchandPatrice BergeronRich Peverley

Milan LucicChris KellyTyler Seguin

Benoit Pouliot – David KrejciNathan Horton

Daniel PailleGregory CampbellShawn Thornton

- This will be the fourth time this season that the B’s are hosting a team who played the previous night. The Bruins are 2-1-0 in those games, as they beat the Lightning and Leafs and fell to the Sharks.

- Benoit Pouliot will be facing his former Montreal mates for the first time. In his lone career game against a former team, March 20 of last season against the Wild, Pouliot racked up three points, all assists.

- This will be the first time Max Pacioretty share the ice since Chara ended the Habs winger’s season last March 8. Julien said the team’s main feeling on the situation is one of happiness that Pacioretty is healthy.

Max Pacioretty’s return means he should face Bruins

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

People found it surprising when Habs forward Max Pacioretty, who suffered a wrist injury earlier in the week, took the ice for Wednesday’s morning skate. What was even more surprising was that Jacques Martin then said he’d be a game-time decision for Wednesday night’s game against the Flyers. The surprising news day regarding the young Habs winger ended with Pacioretty not only playing, but scoring twice in the Habs’ 5-1 win (the victory perhaps the biggest the biggest surprise of all).

That means that, assuming he didn’t re-aggravate  anything, Pacioretty will be in the lineup Thursday against the Bruins, making it the first time he’s faced the B’s since March 8 of last season. That would be the last game he’d play that season, as a shove into the stanchion from Zdeno Chara at Bell Centre left him concussed and a fractured vertebra.

Pacioretty travelled with the Habs in the first round of the playoffs, so he’s been to Boston since all of the Chara/Mark Recchi hullabaloo. The last time he played at the Garden was the Feb. 9 fight night between the Bruins and Habs, which the B’s won, 8-6. Pacioretty jumped Steven Kampfer in the second period of that game, after a Brad Marchand hit on James Wisniewski caused fireworks between the two teams. Pacioretty’s actions drew the attention of Chara, who came to the defense of Kampfer.

Chara didn’t say much when asked about Pacioretty Wednesday, saying he was just excited for the games against the Canadiens.

Practice notes: Mark Recchi stops by, Adam McQuaid ‘symptom-free’

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

WILMINGTON — Adam McQuaid was declared “symptom-free” by head coach Claude Julien after the defenseman once again. He will be a game-time decision when the Bruins play the first game of a home-and-home against the struggling Canadiens on Thursday.

McQuaid has played in only three games this season, missing the season-opener with an illness and being held out of the last four games with a neck injury that the team had been treating as a concussion.

Some other notes from practice:

- Retired forward Mark Recchi was in the house at Ristuccia Arena, sitting up top with management as he watched his former team prepare for the Habs. No word on how he feels about Max Pacioretty‘s wrist injury.

- Julien said his move to switch Rich Peverley and Nathan Horton was done in an effort to create a little more depth and a little more production. Peverley got off to a good start this season when skating with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron, so getting that line going would be big for the B’s. Marchand has been held without a point in the last four games, and said after practice that if he can get going, as an energy player he can create a ripple effect on the rest of the team.

Krejci said he hasn’t liked the start he’s gotten off to, so the move to have Horton with he and Benoit Pouliot isn’t all about just getting Horton going.

- Speaking of Marchand, he and the other players to visit Children’s Hospital Tuesday weighed in on the experience and their costumes. The best line came from Marchand, who said there was a child who honestly thought Zdeno Chara was dressed as an alien in his bunny costume. Marchand was Prince Charming, and asked why he wasn’t Aladdin for the sake of skipping out on a shirt, said that Adam McQuaid‘s Fred Flinstone costume was too similar.

- Some of our friends in the Montreal media are in town already, with one asking Chara about potentially playing against Pacioretty if he is indeed healthy enough to go in one of the upcoming games. Chara responded by saying, “I’m just happy to play the game.”

- The Bruins worked on the shootout late in practice, with Horton providing perhaps the prettiest of goals when he beat Tim Thomas glove-side.

- Tyler Seguin broke a pane of glass with a wrist-shot in practice. That’s a heck of a shot when it’s on net.