|Ryan Miller says Savard is out because of ‘smartass’ hit||10.12.10 at 4:55 pm ET|
Bruins fans have plenty of reason to not want to see any more ugly hits. Having watched the concussion-inducing blows that cost both Patrice Bergeron and Marc Savard significant time, it would be understandable. At any rate, here’s the hit from Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarrson on Sabres forward Jason Pominville that had Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller all charged up when speaking to WGR Sports Radio.
“I don’t care if it’s unintentional. It’s what we have to get away from in hockey right now, is the culture of, ‘I was trying to make a play, therefore it’s not my fault,’” Miller said, adding that the hit ”absolutely needs to be punished.”
“I don’t even know if there’s enough made of it is because Jason is walking out with just stitches,” Miller added. “What if Jason has a fractured neck? We don’t even know if it’s going to have an impact with concussions.”
Miller spoke very passionately against dirty hits and called for players to take more accountability in wake of such plays.
“I just think more people should be a little more outraged,” Miller said. “When [Hjalmarsson] left the ice he was surprised he got kicked out. Are you serious? I would have probably started shading towards the locker room if I were him.”
The reigning Vezina trophy winner said that he hopes “the league wakes up and sets a precedent for the year,” so that players will no longer be at risk of losing time or their careers to concussions. One of the plays mentioned was Matt Cooke‘s March 7 hit on Savard.
“Savard’s still not playing,” Miller said. “One of the best playmakers we have in this game is still not playing because of a stupid, smartass hit.”
Savard, despite returning for the team’s second-round matchup with the Flyers, has been out since training camp with post-concussion syndrom symptoms.
|Bruins make McGrattan signing official||10.11.10 at 12:59 pm ET|
The Bruins announced on Monday that they have signed enforcer Brian McGrattan to a one-year deal. McGrattan, 29, had travelled with the team to Belfast and Prague while on a tryout.
The 29-year-old has played in 182 games between the Senators, Coyotes, and Flames. Though known throughout the NHL as one of the league’s most willing fighters, McGrattan’s most impressive statistic was his 551 penalty minutes in 71 AHL games in the 2004-05 season.
The team also placed goaltender Nolan Schaefer on waivers with the intention of assigning him to Providence. Teams were allowed to bring a third goaltender on the season-opening European trip, and as a result the former Providence College netminder traveled with the Bruins.
|Tim Thomas, Nathan Horton lead Bruins in shutout win||10.10.10 at 12:34 pm ET|
PRAGUE — The newcomers made most of the offensive noise, but it was an old face in Tim Thomas who was the story as the Bruins picked up their first win of the season, a 3-0 shutout over the Coyotes at the O2 Arena in Prague.
A night after Tuukka Rask looked impressive despite allowing four goals, Thomas got the start and recorded his 18th career shutout. Additionally, the defense looked far more responsible in shutting down any of Phoenix’ offensive attempts throughout the night.
Former third overall pick Nathan Horton picked up two more points in the game, including his third goal of the season. Rookie Tyler Seguin took a pass from Michael Ryder in the third period and converted it into a breakaway goal, the first of his NHL career.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- Nathan Horton’s first two games with the Bruins could not have gone better. After getting the primary assist on Lucic’s goal and potting one of his own from the slot in the second period, he has now been on the scoring sheet for four of the Bruins’ five goals this season.
Bruins fans shouldn’t get too carried away — Horton’s scored 30 goals in his six-year career just once — but it could be time for this writer to rethink the 33-goals he predicted for the 25-year-old. Motivation was a question for Horton while he played for the Panthers, and both he, his teammates, and management have spotted a rejuvenated player in him. It’s pretty clear at this point that the Bruins won’t need Tyler Seguin to overachieve in order to have a top pick light up the stat sheet.
Horton said prior to the game that he and his linemates continue to get more comfortable with one another with each practice and each game, but the three of them have looked terrific to this point. The dynamic between he and Lucic is something to keep an eye on, as their styles of play are very similar and the two have moved the puck to one another well to this point.
- Unforced errors and turnovers grabbed headlines following Saturday’s game, but the cautious and responsible style of play that the Bruins have become known for in recent years made its return on Sunday. The Coyotes’ offense struggled to get going for long stretches at a time, particularly in the second period, when it took Phoenix about 15 minutes to get their second shot on goal of the period.
- The new third line, with Tyler Seguin skating between Mark Recchi and Michael Ryder, looks intriguing, but not for the reason one would think. Though Seguin had his first career goal on a breakaway that once again suggested his talents as a scorer will be too much to allow him to hit too big of a rookie wall, Ryder turning the corner from a down year last season could also help the Bruins big. Ryder sent Seguin a hail mary pass on the rookie’s goal.
- That would indeed be Mr. Tim Thomas with the shutout for your Boston Bruins. Thomas wasn’t spectacular, and at times could have been caught out of position, but the bottom line was that he made timely saves. As was mentioned above, the Phoenix offense had its fair share of lulls, but Thomas was ready for the spurts of pressure when they came.
In total Thomas, made 29 saves in the game, his first win of the season and his 18th career shutout.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- The defense was strong for the Bruins, but it can’t be an encouraging sign that the team has shuffled its pairings regularly throughout the first two games. Such was the case in the preseason, but it appears that Claude Julien needs to be careful with who he pairs with Matt Hunwick, who despite playing better on Sunday than he’ll probably be noticed, is a bit of a liability as he comes into his own.
|Lucic, Horton have the Bruins leading after two||10.10.10 at 11:40 am ET|
PRAGUE — Sure, there have been some things not to like about the Bruins so far in their young season, but that first line still looks awfully good. Milan Lucic, admittedly on a quest for his first 20-goal season, got one out of the way courtesy of a Nathan Horton feed. Horton later scored yet another goal on a wrist shot from in front of the net, ant the first line has now produced all four of the Bruins’ goals this season. Horton has been on scoring sheet for each of them after a two-goal performance Saturday.
The Bruins were sloppy in every area of the ice on Sunday, so they’ll they have plenty of reason to be excited by the solid neutral zone play displayed through the first 40 minutes of the game. Horton set up Lucic’s goal at the red line, hitting his streaking linemate in stride, and Lucic took it into the offensive zone and rifled a powerful slapshot past Bryzgalov from behind the circle at 12:12.
The Coyotes essentially gave Tim Thomas the first 15 minutes of the period off, producing just one shot on goal for the majority of the period. They finished the period strong with eight, and the shots on goal are now 27-16 in favor of the Bruins.
|Bruins shooting for success after 1||10.10.10 at 10:46 am ET|
PRAGUE — Though the game is scoreless after one, it appears the Bruins have taken note of what they should have been throghout the first two periods on Satruday: shooting.
The team jumped out to a 10-1 lead in shots on goal in the first seven and a half minutes of the game, with the totals reading 15-8 at the end of the period.
A night after the defense struggled with puck control and consistency, the Bruins once again moved pairings around throughout the first period. Dennis Seidenberg and Johnny Boychuk started the game as a pairing, but Boychuk was moved to a pairing with Zdeno Chara almost immediately. Seidenberg skated with Mark Stuart, with Andrew Ference and Matt Hunwick pairing up.
Tim Thomas has looked solid thus far, stopping all eight shots he’s seen from a Coyotes offense that put up four goals on Tuukka Rask a night earlier.
|Video: Coyotes in Prague||10.10.10 at 8:52 am ET|
PRAGUE — As any writer on this trip will tell you, stability regard internet connections has not been one of the more amazing parts of this European trip. As a result, this video is getting to you a day late, but here’s proof that the Coyotes are well-represented here in Prague. There was a massive pack of fans who made the trek from Phoenix outside of O2 Arena prior to the team’s 5-2 season-opening victory over the Bruins. Disclaimer: don’t watch this video if you don’t like howling.
|Thomas starting, lines shuffled for Bruins||10.10.10 at 8:40 am ET|
PRAGUE — A night after the Bruins lost their season-opening game in Prague to the Coyotes, 5-2, Claude Julien said that Tim Thomas would be starting in goal for Boston on Sunday. Tuukka Rask allowed four goals to Phoenix in Saturday’s losing effort, though one came from a flukey bounce off the boards and another came on a breakaway caused by a Daniel Paille turnover. Julien indicated that the team’s plan was to start Thomas in the second game anyway barring an overwhelming effort from Rask.
Additionally, Mark Recchi stated prior to the game that he would be playing on the third line with second overall pick Tyler Seguin and Michael Ryder. Daniel Paille and Adam McQuaid are the healthy scratches.
Recchi had played on Patrice Bergeron’s line, which at one point included Seguin, throughout camp and the preseason. Rookie Jordan Caron, another former member of the second line in preseason, will return to skating with Bergeron after being scratched in the opener. Blake Wheeler will remain the second line’s other wing.
The defensive pairings remain unknown entering the game, though it’s worth noting that they were changed during Saturday’s game, with the Dennis Seidenberg-Matt Hunwick pairing dooming the team early on and eventually being separated.
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