|Claude Julien admits Bruins aren’t as motivated as in years past||12.28.14 at 8:00 pm ET|
Claude Julien admitted Sunday what a lot of people have been able to tell for a long time: This year’s team is a tough group to motivate.
Dougie Hamilton pretty much said as much a week ago when he said players weren’t following the coach’s game plan, but to hear it from Julien himself is big. It brings to light an issue with the team’s character.
“We’ve been a lot livelier in the past,” Julien said. “Sometimes tough things that you go through kind of take the wind out of you, but that’s not an excuse. You have to have enough character to bring it every night, every day and there’s no doubt I think that if we can get our work ethic and our compete level up and make good decisions, we’re going to start winning games, we’re going to have fun again and the energy level’s going to be where we want it to be.
“That’s our job to create that. We have to create it as a coaching staff, as players and as a team. It’s as simple as that.”
The Bruins lost leaders this season with the departures of Shawn Thornton, Johnny Boychuk and Jarome Iginla. What Thornton lacked in on-ice effectiveness late in his Bruins tenure he more than made up for in character. Boychuk, a bit of a goofball who kept things loose, took great pride in being a Bruin. Iginla’s experience and leadership called for an received the respect of his teammates.
Despite those losses, the Bruins still have players wearing letters on their sweaters in captain Zdeno Chara and alternate captains Patrice Bergeron, Chris Kelly and David Krejci. When Chara and Krejci were hurt, Milan Lucic and Dennis Seidenberg took turns wearing an A.
All of the aforementioned Bruins have seen much better days with the Bruins and know how dominant they can be. It’s their job just as much as it is Julien’s to have themselves and their teammates motivated.
|Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron day-to-day for Bruins||12.28.14 at 1:49 pm ET|
Bergeron took only tree shifts in the third period Saturday in Columbus before leaving the game with what Julien told reporters was a minor injury. Lucic’s ailment is not known.
Adam McQuaid (thumb) practiced with the team, but Julien said that to his knowledge McQuaid is not ready to return to game action.
The lines in practice were as follows:
Marchand – Griffith – Smith
Fraser – Krejci – Cunningham
Kelly – Soderberg – Eriksson
Paille – Campbell – Caron
All right defensemen, including McQuaid, were on the ice.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Bruins recall Jordan Caron, place Matt Fraser on waivers||12.28.14 at 12:35 pm ET|
The Bruins have placed forward Matt Fraser on waivers, presumably with the intention of assigning him to Providence.
The 24-year-old has dressed in 24 games for Boston this season, scoring three goals with no assists.
Earlier in the season, Boston successfully put Jordan Caron, Cunningham and David Warsofsky through waivers, with al three players going unclaimed.
The B’s also recalled Caron Sunday. He was present for practice, skating on Boston’s fourth line with Danielle Paille and Gregory Campbell.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|5 things we learned as Bruins take step backwards vs. Blue Jackets||12.27.14 at 9:40 pm ET|
The Bruins took a couple steps forward prior to the Christmas break. Then they returned and jumped a mile backwards.
The Bruins, who were coming off consecutive wins over the Sabres and Predators, have still won three games in a row just twice this season. Getting blown out just when it appeared they were finding traction served as a perfect microcosm of their 2014-15 season.
The Bruins will return to the Garden this week to host the Red Wings, Maple Leafs and Senators.
Patrice Bergeron took only three shifts in the third period and did not play the final 13:14 of the game Saturday.
Bergeron, who in the first period scored his seventh goal of the season, left the bench midway through the third. Claude Julien said in his postgame NESN interview that he was being cautious with Bergeron and sent him to the room himself.
SVEDBERG YANKED, BUT HE WAS ALSO STARTED
For the first time in his Bruins career, Niklas Svedberg was pulled from a start. It was done for good reason. He was not good.
Svedberg was taken out in the second period after allowing his third goal of the game, but he had to be bailed out by David Krejci in the final seconds of the first period in a 1-1 game.
Facing a bad-angle shot from Matt Calvert off the rush, Svedberg kicked a big rebound to David Savard, who had half an open net to deal with. Fortunately for the Bruins, Krejci went down and blocked the shot with his leg to keep the game tied.
When Kevin Connauton’s second-period goal chased Svedberg, it marked the third time this season the B’s have made an in-game goalie change.
Claude Julien often accuses the media of second-guessing, so we’ll good on it here. The decision to start the backup Saturday was puzzling. Boston was coming off two straight wins in a season that has seen them struggle to string wins together, and Rask had been off the ice with the rest of his team for three days entering Saturday.
CLAUDE HATES THE CALLS
There’s no telling whether Claude Julien is more disappointed in his players this season or the NHL‘s officials. Julien’s on-bench reactions to penalties have been stronger than ever, and he has passive-aggressively vocalized his issues with officiating to the media on several occasions this season.
On Saturday, Julien appeared highly displeased with a slashing call against Brad Marchand. After Nick Foligno called on the ensuing power play, Julien could be seen on the bench muttering choice words.
BRUINS WASTE POWER PLAYS
The Bruins got a much-needed first power play when Savard was sent off for interference midway through the second period with Columbus holding a 4-1 lead. Boston squandered that power play, landing just one shot on goal.
The Bruins soon again had reason for hope, when Fedor Tyutin was called for slashing Patrice Bergeron, but the B’s again failed to score and spent the last quarter of the man advantage in their own zone.
Craig Cunningham tipped a Gregory Campbell shot past Curtis McElhinney on the next shift to finally bring the B’s within two, but Matt Calvert would increase Columbus’ lead to three again with a goal in the final minute of the second.
|Reports: Simon Gagne loses father to cancer||12.27.14 at 7:30 pm ET|
According to multiple reports, Simon Gagne’s father died Friday after losing his battle with cancer. The news was first reported by Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports.
Gagne had taken a leave of absence from the Bruins last month following his father’s diagnosis. He issued the following statement on Dec. 10.
“I have taken a personal leave of absence from the Boston Bruins in order to return home to Quebec to be with my father, who was recently diagnosed with liver cancer,” Gagne said in the statement. “The doctors — who have been great throughout this whole process — unfortunately informed us that his cancer is not curable.
“I greatly appreciate the support and understanding that the Bruins organization and my teammates have given to me and my family since I let them know the news and I look forward to rejoining them when the time is appropriate. Until then, I would kindly ask everyone to respect my family and I’s privacy during this difficult time.”
It is not known when Gagne will return to the Bruins. In 23 games this season, the 34-year-old wing has three goals and one assist for four points.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|5 things we learned as Brad Marchand, Loui Eriksson each score twice in Bruins’ win over Predators||12.23.14 at 9:37 pm ET|
Dec. 23 never fails.
Even a season as icky as the Bruins’ 2014-15 campaign wasn’t enough to change the fact that the Bruins are heading into Christmas on a positive note. With a 5-3 win over the Predators Tuesday (box), the B’s have now won their last six Dec. 23 games dating back to 2008.
It wasn’t the smoothest game, as Boston blew two leads in the game and let Nashville cut into a two-goal lead with Taylor Beck’s goal at 6:48 of the third period.
The Bruins now head into the Christmas break at 18-14-3, sitting ninth in the Eastern Conference.
Here are four more things we learned Tuesday night:
THE BRUINS HAVE A 10-GOAL-SCORER
With a pair of goals Tuesday, Brad Marchand became Boston’s first player to reach 10 goals on the season. The B’s were the last team without a nine-goal scorer entering Tuesday and were one of three (Buffalo, Arizona) on Monday who hadn’t seen a player get into double digits.
Along the lines of the Dec. 23 thing, that’s also been a good date for Brad Marchand, as he had two goals Tuesday night and a hat trick against the Panthers on Dec. 23, 2011.
Also, oddly enough, the Bruins have had at least one player score two goals in their last four Dec. 23 games. Shawn Thornton had two against the Thrashers in 2010, Marchand had the aforementioned hat trick in 2011, Jarome Iginla scored two against the Predators last season and both Marchand and Eriksson scored twice Tuesday.
LOUI ERIKSSON IS… SCORING GOALS?
Eriksson scored twice Tuesday night (one was an empty-netter) and now has three goals in the last two games and six in the last eight. Entering December, Eriksson had never scored more than three goals in a month since joining the Bruins. He now has six this month. Eriksson led the Bruins with seven shot attempts Tuesday, with three of them ending up on goal.
POWER PLAY SCORES AGAIN
The Bruins got a goal from their second power-play unit Sunday against the Sabres, and Tuesday provided a reminder of what the team’s first power-play unit can do when people are healthy.
With Zdeno Chara setting up shop in front of the net, Torey Krug fed David Krejci, who blasted a one-timer that appeared to go off Chara on its way into the net. The goal was Krejci’s first power-play goal of the season and fourth goal overall in his injury-riddled campaign.
BRUINS GIVE UP TWO ON FOUR SHOTS
The first tally came as a result of some shoddy defense from Krug and Kevan Miller, with James Neal going around Krug at the blue line and feeding Colin Wilson, who protected the puck well as he went to the net and finished with a backhander past Rask.
While that first goal was pretty for the Predators, their second wasn’t pretty for anyone. Calle Jarnkrok took a wrist shot that slipped under Rask’s right arm to tie the game. Rask appeared to be in position to make the save and, whether he was screened by Dennis Seidenberg or not, should have had it.
Scott McLaughlin contributed to this article.
|Why December 23 is a meaningful day for the Bruins||12.23.14 at 1:02 pm ET|
It’s been a while since the Bruins approached the Christmas break as a fringe playoff team. The last time it happened, however, they won the Stanley Cup.
Dec. 23, 2010 was a critical day in that ultimately successful season. The Bruins, coming off a postseason collapse against the Flyers the previous spring, were struggling.
Offseason acquisition Nathan Horton, who was in the midst of what would be a nine-game slump with no goals and one assist, was looking like a very talented non-factor who appeared to be bringing Milan Lucic down with him.
The team was going through the motions and it was taking them nowhere. It led to the Bruins losing four of five games, punctuated by a troubling no-show in a 3-0 shutout loss to the Ducks on Garden ice. Claude Julien, who historically is a set-it-and-forget-it guy with his lines, pulled Horton off the top line and replaced him with Blake Wheeler in that game.
After that 3-0 loss, the eighth-place Bruins had two days off before they would host the Thrashers in their final game before the holiday break. Those two days were the height of “Fire Claude Mania.”
In his weekly interview with CBS radio, President Cam Neely was asked if they were going to fire the coach. Neely said the Bruins weren’t, but did say, “I can understand why the fans are frustrated and may be calling for a coaching change.”
Dennis Seidenberg doesn’t remember too many specifics about the mood of the team at that point, only saying Tuesday that “it was really dead.”
Then, on Dec. 23, the Bruins came out and absolutely ran over the Thrashers. Shawn Thornton fought Eric Boulton off the faceoff and spent the next five minutes in the penalty box devising a plan to score two goals in the game. Patrice Bergeron had a shorty. Michael Ryder had a power play goal. Lucic sucker-punched Freddy Meyer and somehow didn’t get suspended.
Ference fought. Horton fought. Marc freaking Savard fought. The game was an explosion of emotions and every bit the coming out party that the team had forgotten to have earlier in the season.
“I think that was definitely a defining game for us,” Brad Marchand said Tuesday. “We turned it on and really didn’t look back.”