|Derick Brassard says Brad Marchand could have ended his season with slew-foot||01.15.15 at 10:49 pm ET|
Rangers center Derick Brassard said after Thursday’s game against the Bruins that Brad Marchand slew-footed him during a Rangers power play in the second period.
Marchand and Brassard were chasing a puck into the corner when it appeared that Marchand kicked Brassard in the right leg. No penalty was called on the play.
GIF: another angle of Marchand/Brassard pic.twitter.com/dVwhq7o65w
‘ Steph (@myregularface) January 16, 2015
“Well yeah [I felt it was dirty],” Brassard said. “You go in the corner with him and you go shoulder-to-shoulder, but he brings his leg in the back. I felt I got a slew-foot there. Like I said, I don’t want to find any excuses about it or I don’t want to be a crybaby or anything, but it could be dangerous and it could have been a game-changer. It could have been a 5-on-3 and we probably could have been back in the game, but the referee said it was a clean hit, I guess.”
Brassard stayed in the game, but he said he considered himself fortunate to do so given how dangerous slew-footing can be.
“The way I fell on the ice, maybe I could have missed the rest of the season if I’d have hurt my knee there,’ he said. “I’m lucky enough there. Marchand’s a pretty good player. He’s feisty, he competes hard, but those kind of things we don’t want in our game.”
Marchand was fined $2,500 for a slew-foot on Matt Niskanen back in December of 2011. He’s also been outspoken against such plays, as he called out Hurricanes left wing Jeff Skinner back during the lockout-shortened 2013 season.
“Skinner slew-foots all the time,” Marchand said back on Jan. 29, 2013, a day after Patrice Bergeron went after Skinner. “He’s always doing that to guys and I think Bergy just had enough of it. We even spoke about it before the game in the room. The guys were talking about how much he slew foots and you’ve got to watch out for him. You can see it’s very blatant. He kicks his legs out and throws him back.
“I remember I got a fine for that last year. It’s not a good play, it’s frowned upon and if you continue to do that to guys, you’re going to get it. Bergy just had enough, and it was good for Bergy to stand up for himself like that.”
Marchand was not made available for comment after Thursday’s game.
|Five things we learned as Tuukka Rask shuts out Rangers to improve Bruins’ winning streak to 5 games||01.15.15 at 9:39 pm ET|
The Bruins have started rewarding Tuukka Rask with some offense and, therefore, wins. On Thursday, the reigning Vezina winner returned the favor.
Rask stopped three Rangers breakaways and recorded his second shutout of the season as the Bruins extended their season-best winning streak to five games with a 3-0 victory over the Rangers at TD Garden (box). The veteran netminder made 30 saves on the night.
Boston got a pair of assists from Torey Krug. After Patrice Bergeron got Boston on the board in the first period with his 11th goal of the season, Krug sent a terrific slap pass from the point to the doorstep, where David Krejci tapped it past Cam Talbot for the Bruins’ lone goal of the second period. Krug fired a shot through traffic in the third period to create a Loui Eriksson rebound goal.
With the victory, the B’s improved to 24-15-6 on the season. Here are four more things we learned Thursday:
MARCHAND GETS AWAY WITH ONE
Brad Marchand was none too happy when he was called for a cross-check on Dan Boyle in the second period, but all things considered, he probably caught a break with officials on Thursday.
The veteran left wing was chasing a puck into the corner with Derick Brassard during a Rangers power play when Marchand appeared to kick Brassard’s right leg in an effort to take the player’s feet out from under. That’s known as a slew-foot to those in the business of suspending players, and it’s extremely dangerous.
Marchand has been disciplined for a slew-foot before, as the league docked him $2,500 for a slew-foot on Matt Niskanen in December of the 2011-12 season. His most recent suspension came the following month for a low-bridge hit on then-Canucks defenseman Sami Salo. He’d been suspended the previous season for a hit on R.J. Umberger.
KELLY TO THE RESCUE AND TO THE BOX
Marchand isn’t the only player who could hear from the league after Thursday’s game. Chris Kreider threw Carl Soderberg head-first into the end boards in the third period, receiving a boarding minor and a non-negotiable invitation from Chris Kelly that earned both players fighting majors.
Kelly got the worse of the deal, however, as he also received an instigating minor and a 10-minute misconduct.
|Bruins to keep David Pastrnak, burn off first year of entry level contract||01.15.15 at 7:57 pm ET|
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli announced Thursday night that the team intends to keep rookie forward David Pastrnak on the NHL roster and play him for a 10th NHL game, at which point this season will officially become the first of the 18-year-old’s three-year entry level contract.
The Bruins can still send Pastrnak down and up between Providence and Boston going forward this season, as burning the first year one’s entry level does not require a team to keep the player on its NHL roster. The incentive for the Bruins to have not kept Pastrnak in the NHL for 10 games was that his three-year window would have slid ahead to begin next year, meaning he would be up for a new contract as a restricted free agent after the 2017-18 season rather than after the 2016-17 season, the latter of which will now be the case.
Chiarelli credited Pastrnak’s work with Providence both at the beginning of the season and following his November/December callup — which Chiarelli said was dominant — as a major reason as to why the Bruins felt he was ready for the NHL.
“He went down there and he did what we told him to do, which was play without the puck, play heavier, play on the wall, the defensive wall, offensive battles,” Chiarelli said. “Then he came up here and played in the West Coast trip and I think he got his feet wet a little bit, went back down and dominated down there again. I think in making this decision, we really scrutinized his play in Providence and we felt that he was able to play and excel at that level with the proper physicality for him and against the proper physicality.
“He’s going to be up here and we’re happy to make that decision and we’re going to continue to look at it as a development piece, which means that, as we’ve done before with some of the younger players, it doesn’t mean you’re in the lineup all the time. There may be points in time when his play dips a little bit and we may sit him down for a game or two here or there, but I think the important thing to take away from this is that he’s going to be up with the big team, practice with the team, and hopefully play on a regular basis.”
Thursday night’s game against the Rangers, in which Pastrnak remained on the Bruins’ first line with David Krejci and Milan Lucic and was a plus-1 in Boston’s victory, marked Pastrnak’s ninth NHL game.
In his brief NHL career, Pastrnak has four goals and one assist, with his goals coming in back-to-back two-goal performances Saturday and Tuesday. Pastrnak was first recalled on Nov. 23 and made his NHL debut the next night against Pittsburgh. The right wing stayed up with Boston for a six-game stretch in which he played five games and was a healthy scratch in another.
After the game, Krejci expressed excitement for both Pastrnak and himself, quipping, “I have a Czech buddy.” He won’t have a Czech roommate, however, as the Bruins will make other living arrangements for the 18-year-old. Teenage players often live with veteran players in their first years, as Patrice Bergeron did with Martin Lapointe and Dougie Hamilton did with Adam McQuaid.
Boston chose Pastrnak with the 25th overall pick of the first round last June and kept him in North America with the Providence Bruins rather than sending him back to Sweden, where he’d played the previous two seasons. After sending him down in December, the B’s loaned him to the Czech National Team for the World Junior Championships and sent him to Providence for a one-game pit stop before bringing him up to the NHL club on Jan. 6.
Pastrnak has been the youngest player at both the AHL and NHL levels this season. In 24 AHL games, Pastrnak has 10 goals and 17 assists for 27 points.
|Bruins prepare for surging Rangers||01.15.15 at 12:00 pm ET|
After missing Wenesday’s practice, Brad Marchand took part in Thursday’s morning skate as the Bruins prepared to host the Rangers.
Thursday will be Pastrnak’s ninth NHL game, meaning it could be his last if the Bruins opt against burning the first year of his entry level contract. That would be silly, of course, but the Bruins have yet to announce their intentions to keep the offensively gifted 18-year-old.
Based on morning skate, Boston’s lineup for Thursday night is as follows:
The Bruins, riding a season-best four-game winning streak, will face a red-hot Rangers team. Though the Rangers coming off a 3-0 loss to the Eastern Conference-leading Islanders, they have won 13 of their last 15 games and, with 52 points on the season, have as many points as the Bruins do with four games in hand. The B’s and Rangers both possess wild card spots in the Eastern Conference entering Thursday night’s game.
The Rangers will start backup goaltender Cam Talbot. The 27-year-old made 12 saves Tuesday night against the Islanders in a scoreless third period after entering in relief of Henrik Lundqvist.
|Bruins confident David Pastrnak can hold up defensively||01.14.15 at 6:11 pm ET|
With David Pastrnak, the Bruins’ first line will be able to score goals. The question is how many it will give up.
Given that Pastrnak, though clearly offensively gifted, is the youngest player in the NHL, it’s only fair to question how Krejci and Milan Lucic‘s line will do in the plus-minus department when playing against other teams’ top players. The line did not allow a goal in its first game together on Tuesday (really half a game, as they were united midway through the second), but it did score three. Claude Julien will take that any day of the week.
Yet the cautionary tale of the Tyler Seguin Experiment exists, as Pastrnak isn’t the first highly talented youngster to see time in the spot that has typically reserved for veteran power forwards (Nathan Horton, Jarome Iginla) over the years.
When Horton was out for the season with a concussion in March of 2012, Julien went for broke offensively by sticking the then-20-year-old Seguin with Lucic and Krejci. They produced at over a goal-per-game clip, but gave up 10 goals before Julien separated them. When the B’s were desperate for offense in Game 7 of the first round in 2013, Julien again put Seguin with Krejci and Lucic, only to see them allow goals on their first two shifts.
In case you haven’t noticed by now, Julien isn’t comfortable with lines that give up more goals than they score (insert then-why-does-he-ever-play-the-fourth-line quip here), so if he plays a trio together, he does so because he thinks it can do more good on the scoreboard than damage.
As such, it was interesting to see that, after the Lightning scored to make it a one-goal game Tuesday night, Julien kept Pastrnak with Krejci and Lucic for the top line’s next shift.
Or, put it this way: With the Bruins defending a one-goal lead in a game they had to win against the division leaders, Julien put the youngest player in the league — one whose defense seemed to be one of the things he’d need to improve in order to make the NHL — on the ice against Steven Stamkos and the Bruins lived to tell about it.
“This is not a time to test guys,” Julien said Wednesday of his decision to play Pastrnak in such an important spot. “If he was out there, it was because I felt comfortable with him.”
Julien said that he considers such decisions with young players to be ‘calculated chances.’ He noted Pastrnak’s improvement getting pucks out along the wall in his defensive zone (Julien makes a good point; Pastrnak had some struggles there in his first five game stint with the B’s) and sound decision-making he’d seen from the rookie all night that made him confident that Pastrnak would not be defensive liability in the game’s most crucial minutes.
“I think for a player to develop, when you see the right things on certain nights, you’ve got to allow that player to have an opportunity,” he said. “That’s how you gain that kind of experience in those situations. Throughout the game, if you’ve seen situations where he’s kind of struggled and had some tough situations come up, you try to keep him away from that. It’s up to me to stay on top of the player and the game itself and see whether he’s earned it.”
Both Krejci and Lucic have given their endorsements to Pastrnak; it would be rather difficult to do given that he’s scored four goals over his last two games. Yet while Lucic acknowledged that the trio must stick to the team’s system to avoid suffering the same score-a-goal, allow-two-goals fate that they did in the Seguin days, Krejci said that Pastrnak, who hopes to become a strong two-way player like Krejci, will become better and better at applying his defensive learnings as he gains experience.
“It’s going to happen that we’re going to get scored on, that’s for sure, but we have to try to minimize the mistakes,” Krejci said. “On the other hand, he knows what to do defensively, but he has just been here a small amount of games and sometimes in a situation, he has to think twice of what do, and in that split second, something can go wrong. It will come with games played and I’m sure he’ll be fine.”
|David Krejci producing as he continues to manage injury situation||01.14.15 at 1:59 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — David Pastrnak is just one of the reasons the Bruins are starting to win again. His center being healthy enough to stick in the lineup and perform is among the biggest.
After going in and out of the lineup with lower-body injuries and missing a total of 20 games, Krejci has been back in Boston’s lineup for nearly a month. Though he has since hit his stride (nine points in his last eight games) and has established quick chemistry with Pastrnak, Krejci told WEEI.com Wednesday that his injury concerns aren’t fully in the rear-view mirror.
“I feel better and better every day,” he said. “It is what it is, but yesterday I felt pretty good. As long as there’s no setbacks, that’s great news.”
Asked Wednesday if he’s had to do anything to manage the injury since re-entering the lineup on Dec. 17, Krejci said that he’s been cautious to make sure what’s been his longest healthy stretch of the season doesn’t get derailed.
“Yeah, just because this is the [fourth] time coming back,” he said. “If it was only the only the first time and I would be fine, I would be like, ‘Oh, whatever,’ but now I know that I have to stay on top of it. Yeah, it’s just because this is the [fourth] time and I don’t want to be sidelined again with that. I’m trying to take care of it every day and it’s been working.”
|Brad Marchand misses Wednesday’s practice||01.14.15 at 11:51 am ET|
WILMINGTON — Brad Marchand did not participate in Wednesday’s practice as the Bruins prepared for Thursday’s contest against the Rangers. Claude Julien said following the skate that the veteran left wing had taken a maintenance day.
Marchand played his regular shifts in Tuesday’s win over the Lightning and spoke to the media following the game, an indication that there were no serious injury concerns. Daniel Paille practiced Wednesday in his place on Patrice Bergeron‘s lines.
Boston’s lines in Wednesday’s practice were as follows:
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