|Max Pacioretty’s return means he should face Bruins||10.27.11 at 2:23 am ET|
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’||10.26.11 at 1:48 pm ET|
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.
|Bruins make one more tweak to lines||10.26.11 at 11:17 am ET|
|Should Tuukka Rask be playing more?||10.25.11 at 8:44 pm ET|
An interesting point was raised regarding Bruins goaltending during Peter Chiarelli‘s conference call with the media Tuesday. Remember when the Bruins said their intention was to play Tuukka Rask more than last season, especially early on?
Rask has started just two games this season, allowing one goal to Avalanche in the B’s 1-0 loss in the third game of the season, and allowing four goals last Tuesday against the Hurricanes. As was the case last season, Tim Thomas has been the No. 1 guy by a large margin as far as starts goes.
“In fairness to Tuukka, he probably should have gotten another start here or there, but you see Tim, how he’s playing, and you want him to recapture some of the stuff that he had last year,” Chiarelli said. “‘¦ What I see and observe is we’ve had had discussions on the goaltender situation. I think in the end you’ll see it go into line with what he originally put out there.”
The upcoming home-and-home with the Canadiens should be interesting when it comes to splitting up goaltending duties, should they go in that direction. If Rask starts Thursday and Thomas starts Saturday, Thomas will have gone a week without playing. Rask has gone a week since his last start as it is, and his last game in Montreal wasn’t pretty for anyone, perhaps with the exception of Lars Eller.
Rask started 27 games last season, posting an 11-14-2 record, 2.67 goals against average, and .918 save percentage. Thomas started the rest of the games, going 35-11-9 in his second Vezina-winning season. He had a 2.00 GAA set the NHL single-season record with a .938 save percentage.
|Peter Chiarelli: Bruins are seeing some form of Stanley Cup hangover||10.25.11 at 8:33 pm ET|
It’s the oldest cliche in the book, but one that it seems is worth believing.
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said in a conference call Tuesday that he believes the Bruins’ 3-5-0 start is, on some level, the team suffering from a Stanley Cup hangover. The defending champs have failed to capitalize on scoring chances, and have scored as many goals as they’ve allowed (19).
“I’ve talked to GMs and coaches and players that have been through this,” Chiarelli said. “They have different stories, but they all say there’s something that happens that you can’t avoid. Malaise is too strong of a word, but it’s just a bit of a cloud right now. I know one team said it took them 20 games before they were back to normal. There’s no easy answer, and I’m not using it as a crutch. It’s something that we expected, and talking to the guys to start the year, we’ve just got to deal with it.”
The Bruins have not played since Saturday’s 4-2 loss to the Sharks and will not play again until they host the Canadiens Thursday at TD Garden.
“I’m obviously not happy with where we are in the standings, but this is new to us,” Chiarelli said. “I don’t want to overreact, and unfortunately we have to do it game-by-game.”
|Where did Zdeno Chara get the world’s biggest bunny costume?||10.25.11 at 7:28 pm ET|
Stick-tap to NESN’s Naoko Funayama for snapping this picture of the Bruins visiting Children’s Hospital on their off-day Tuesday, and kudos to Zdeno Chara for dressing up as an enormous bunny. If there’s a theme to these costumes, I don’t get it.
|Bruins still searching for consistency||10.25.11 at 1:48 pm ET|
With the Bruins having another day off Tuesday, they figure to be well-rested and refreshed when they face the Canadiens at TD Garden on Thursday. The contest, the first game of a home-and-home, will be their first game in five days, with ideal result being wins in Boston and Montreal to mark their first two-game winning streak of the season.
Consistency has been a major issue for the Bruins through eight games (3-5-0). Each win has been followed with a loss or two, and the team will need to win both games against Montreal to even be .500 in the month’s first season.
It’s for that reason that, while the time off is good for the Bruins, they’re hungry to return to game action. While this week can provide rest and an opportunity to correct mistakes, Tim Thomas and the B’s are eager to face the Habs and pick up some points.
“I don’t think a break can help you with [consistency],” Thomas said Monday. “That’s got to come when you’re playing. It can help prepare you to get to that level of consistency when you start to play, but you can’t build consistency when you’re not playing a game.”
Three of the Bruins’ five losses have come against teams that currently do not have winning records, while the B’s have allowed as many goals as they’ve scored (19).
“We’re not too far out,” Thomas said. “We’re not getting completely dominated. We’re just making mistakes and not scoring enough. We’re right there, but with this league, every game is a battle. Every game is a very tight game. We had a whole year of tight games last year and a whole playoffs of tight games, for the most part. It’s the same thing this year.”