|Brad Marchand knows he’s not scoring or pestering enough||10.31.11 at 3:35 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Count Brad Marchand among the large group of Bruins players who have gotten off to poor starts this season, as the second-year pest, who scored 21 goals as a rookie, has been awfully quiet of late.
Marchand scored the Bruins’ first goal of the season and had two assists in the team’s second game against the Lightning, but much like his team, his production has gone downhill since. The 23-year-old had a third-period goal in the Bruins’ 3-2 loss to the Hurricanes on Oct. 12, but since then has been kept off the scoring sheet in the last six games.
After such a strong rookie campaign, Marchand said that the one area in which he was focused on improving was getting pucks to the net. He did a pretty good job of that in the early going (two or more shots on goal in the first eight games), but has put just one puck on net over the last two games.
Despite his lack of production and lack of effectively bugging the opponent, Marchand isn’t expressing much frustration with his own game yet.
“Sometimes you get more opportunities [in some games] than you do in different games, but I just want to keep working hard and continue to build confidence,” Marchand said. “Hopefully the goals will come.”
As for the lack of getting under opponents’ skin, Marchand admitted there hasn’t been as much jawing and egging on, but that it’s been by design.
“I’ve been trying to stay away from that stuff doing too much of that stuff this year and just worry about playing, but I think I’m going to have to get back to it so I can play the same way I did last year,” Marchand said.
That he’s cut back on being a nuisance at all is surprising. Much like Milan Lucic with fighting, it seems players abandoning one aspect of their game can hurt their overall impact. Marchand rose to stardom a season ago not just for his scoring, but his complete package of grit, penalty-killing and his ability to drive opponents crazy.
Marchand has remained with Patrice Bergeron on the second line throughout the season, the there’s been a revolving door for the line’s right wing. The line started with Rich Peverley in Mark Recchi‘s old spot, and had Nathan Horton for a bit before Claude Julien put Tyler Seguin on the line.
Marchand and Bergeron work well together, as they did last season following his promotion from the team’s first line, but the success hasn’t been there yet. The Nova Scotia native said Monday he hasn’t observed any real differences in how teams and referees approach him this year.
“Not really,” Marchand said. “Every time you play a team, they play you hard and play you strong. Usually, Bergie’s line’s playing against the top line on the other team and trying to shut them down. Playing against top guys, it’s a little tougher.”
There’s no denying Marchand doesn’t have the easiest job in the world, but he faced top lines last season as well. Whether this is some sort of sophomore slump or not, the B’s are obviously hoping for bigger and better things after giving him a two-year deal with $2.5 million per year.
|Milan Lucic says Bruins need to change their play, not their roster||10.31.11 at 1:26 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — When a team is in dead last one month into the season, it’s generally obvious that change is needed, but what about when that team is just a few months removed from winning the Stanley Cup?
With the Bruins currently sitting in last place in all of the Eastern Conference and coming off three straight losses, there has been speculation regarding what moves can be made to improve the club. General manager Peter Chiarelli has reportedly been working the phones, and the possibility exists that the team could call up a player from Providence.
Bruins forward Milan Lucic, who led the team with 30 goals last season, said after Monday’s practice that he doesn’t feel change to the roster is needed.
“I think we’ve proven that this group works. If you look into it too much, you can almost go [crazy] if you read into it or look into it too much,” he said. “This group works, and the only way we’re going to start working again is if we start playing like a group again. I think that’s our biggest challenge right now.
“We need everyone going at the same time and everyone being on the same page and trusting the system, because when we’re going as a group and playing that system that we know how to play, we’ve obviously shown that we can be one of, if not the best, team in the league.”
The 3-7-0 Bruins will host the Senators Tuesday at TD Garden.
|Ice-cold Bruins return to practice||10.31.11 at 11:09 am ET|
WILMINGTON — Benoit Pouliot was the first to take the ice Monday as the Bruins, coming off three straight losses and a rough home-and-home with the Habs, returned to practice at Ristuccia Arena. Pouliot was sick over the weekend and did not travel with the team to Montreal for Saturday’s game.
The lines appear to be the same as they were to begin Saturday’s game:
All seven defensemen were present.
|Bruins remain in last place after latest loss to Habs||10.29.11 at 9:46 pm ET|
The Bruins didn’t do much to move out of last palce Saturday at Bell Centre, as they fell to the Canadiens, 4-2, and dropped their conference-worst record to 3-7-0.
The Bruins fell behind late in the first period when Brian Gionta and Lars Eller scored within 26 seconds of one another. They took a 3-0 lead on a David Desharnais power-play goal in the second period before Milan Lucic got the Bruins on the board. Tyler Seguin made it 3-2 with less than a minute remaining, but Tomas Plekanec put the game away with an empty-netter. Tuukka Rask took the loss for the B’s, dropping his record to 0-3-0 on the season. The Bruins have scored just three goals for Rask in his three starts his season.
The B’s will host the Senators on Tuesday at TD Garden.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– The B’s failed to take advantage of 56 seconds of 5-on-3 play in the third period. Penalties to Eller and Gionta put the B’s in good position to get back in the game while trailing by two, but a it post by David Krejci and a foolish penalty (see below) prevented them from doing any damage.
– Horton once again took an astonishingly ill-timed penalty with the Bruins trying to grasp momentum for their comeback. After Eller’s penalty expired in the third period, the B’s still had a man-advantage to try to make it a one-goal game, but Horton cross-checked Hal Gill in a fit of frustration. This is the same Horton who killed the Bruins’ momentum in the third period against the Hurricanes earlier this month by socking Tim Gleason and taking a roughing double-minor.
– The Bruins were sucked in P.K Subban’s game, making their bid for a comeback that much harder to complete. With the B’s down a man, Andrew Ference gave the Habs defenseman a little shove to the head at 10:25 of the second period, which landed Ference in the box for roughing. Late in the period, Lucic slashed Subban, and the second-year player milked it enough to get a power play out of it. Say what you want about the way he embellishes, but Subban gives his opponents the option to react to his antics. On a night in which the B’s needed to be focused, they chose wrong.
– The Bruins hit a pair of posts in the first period, with both Rich Peverley and Brad Marchand striking iron when trying to beat price stick-side. Krejci hit the same post during the Bruins’ 5-on-3 in the third period.
– Speaking of Marchand, the silence continues from the second-year winger. Marchand has no points over the last six games, and the opportunities haven’t been as plentiful. The 23-year-old said entering the season that his intention was to get more pucks on net this season, but he had no shots on goal Saturday to follow Thursday’s one-shot effort. Julien took him off the second line late in the game in favor of Daniel Paille.
– Lars Eller continues to be a thorn in Rask’s side. The young Habs winger has two goals in the first period on March 8 last season against Rask, and added another in the first period Saturday to make it 2-0. It was ultimately an up-and-down night for Eller, who by this scribe’s count could have easily had four goals, and in addition to causing the turnover that led to the Bruins’ goal, also took the Habs’ first penalty of the night in the third period.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– At least the Bruins got a goal out of Claude Julien’s decision to reunite the Lucic – Krejci – Horton line. Krejci made a nice play by poking at Eller’s stick enough to make a giveaway to Horton possible. Horton then dished it to Lucic, who beat Price for his third goal of the year. For a team that desperately needs its offense to get going, having a first line that actually looks like a first line would be big.
|Report: Tyler Seguin has hip condition||10.28.11 at 5:51 pm ET|
McDonald writes that the team is not currently concerned over what the condition may mean for Seguin in the near future, though Seguin could suffer a hip injury if he does not maintain strength in the area.
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli told McDonald that the condition is “nothing to be alarmed about” and that approximately 70 percent of the Bruins have some sort of hip issue.
“I’m not going to comment whether it’s congenital or not,” Chiarelli said. “I don’t want to get into details what we think it is or isn’t and I don’t want any alarm bells going off. Like I said, you can go through our roster and there are probably 12 or 13 guys with something similar or the same thing.”
|Claude Julien shakes up Bruins’ lines once again, Benoit Pouliot sick||10.28.11 at 1:23 pm ET|
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:
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||10.27.11 at 9:37 pm ET|
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.