|Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara can’t explain Bruins falling so flat||01.01.16 at 6:39 pm ET|
FOXBORO — No excuses.
The Bruins managed just three shots in the opening 20 minutes of the biggest hockey spectacle in New England since the 2013 Stanley Cup finals.
They went a span of 15 minutes in the first period without a single shot.
The Bruins were without the suspended Brad Marchand and the injured David Krejci but still, Bruins players couldn’t come up with a reason for such a flat effort in a 5-1 loss to Montreal in the 2016 Winter Classic.
“We couldn’t generate any rhythm,” Patrice Bergeron said. “We weren’t first on pucks. We were second on every one of them, and you can’t get any pucks on net if you don’t have the puck, so that was basically the reason why.”
|Tuukka Rask: ‘I haven’t seen us play so bad in a while. It was bad’||01.01.16 at 5:47 pm ET|
FOXBORO — In the immediate aftermath of the Bruins’ 5-1 stinker to the Montreal Canadiens in the 2016 Winter Classic, Tuukka Rask stormed off the ice, walked very fast on his skates and blew off some steam in the Bruins locker room.
The steam was audible from the long list of media waiting to get into the room, which doubles as the visitor’s locker room during Patriots’ games.
“We didn’t have our legs. We weren’t moving. They came out hard. We weren’t making any plays. They got the first goal and then I think that might have deflated us even more. First two periods, I haven’t seen us play so bad in a while. It was bad.
“You would think that, especially when we’re missing guys like we are, you’d have to play hard and stick with the system, and it definitely didn’t look like that today.”
After generating just three shots in a lame first period, the Bruins had several chances to make it close in the second period. Matt Belesky’s goal was waved off after the play was whistled dead. To end the period, Ryan Spooner waited too long for Mike Condon to adjust in goal and his wrist shot found Condon’s glove just before the final horn of the second period.
“It’s a 1-0 game, 2-0, you’re expecting to get that next goal and keep the game tight. But when they make it 3-0, it makes it even more difficult to climb. We never could overcome that. Overall, we didn’t definitely didn’t deserve to win.”
But again, Rask kept coming back to the mental approach of the Bruins.
“I think we were just mentally not there, I guess, and weren’t executing the game plan like we wanted to. We didn’t skate. When a couple of little things go wrong like that, it becomes big and that’s the way it looked like. We gave up a ton of scoring chances in the first two periods. That’s just unlike us. For those you give up, you have to create some scoring chances and we didn’t do that.
“When things go wrong, you have to stick with a game plan and play your system and we didn’t do that. And it just snowballs. We’re trying out there and sometimes, you just don’t have it. Today, we get scored on a couple of times in front of the net. It definitely hurt us.”
Rask was asked about the conditions and whether the wind, which NBC’s Pierre McGuire noted several times in the broadcast, was a factor.
“I felt fine. It felt like a normal game, a little breeze sometimes but it felt like a normal game,” Rask said. “Great event but to lose like that that takes the fun out of it, obviously. Too bad we couldn’t give the fans a little bit more to cheer for.
“We looked flat out there and they kind of caught us off guard. It’s disappointing. It’s very disappointing. I really don’t know what else to say.”
|Tuukka Rask: Bruins ‘had a chance to score way more goals’ in season-opening loss||10.09.15 at 12:48 am ET|
Maybe it’s appropriate that the best comments on the Bruins’ lack of offensive finish in a 6-2 season-opening loss Thursday night came from their goalie.
On a night when the Bruins outchanced the visiting Winnipeg Jets badly in the first period, Tuukka Rask had to make several saves close in to preserve a 1-0 lead heading into the first period. There were chances from Ryan Spooner, Brett Connolly and Brad Marchand, all in close and around Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec minutes after the Bruins were staked to a lead on a pretty goal from David Krejci.
“I mean I think most importantly, we want to take that offense,” Tuukka Rask said of what he saw from his vantage point 180 feet away. “We created a ton of chances, and had a chance to score way more goals than we did, so I think that’s the most important thing to take from this game.”
As the Bruins continued to misfire in close in the opening five minutes of the second period, there was the overwhelming sense that the visitors were dictating the pace, using Boston’s desperation against them. That was reinforced once the Jets tied the game and took the lead minutes later in the second.
“When we start cheating offensively a little bit, then one mistake leads to another very quickly, and we did that today a couple times,” Rask said. “It’s a process in the making, and we just have to correct some things out, but it’ll be good.”
Patrice Bergeron was another player who had his chances from close range but could not finish to beat Pavelec.
“It definitely would have been nice to come out of that [first] period with more than one goal,” Bergeron said. “That definitely wouldn’t have hurt us. Looking back in the second, we had a few breakdowns that they capitalized, which we didn’t. That was the story of the game right there. We definitely lost momentum, yeah – we got to find ways to score when we do have our chances and generate some more momentum with that.”
The Bruins outshot the Jets, 14-6, in the first 20 minutes and headed into the first intermission with a power play, thanks to a cheap shot elbow to the face of Bergeron by Jets defenseman Alexander Burmistrov.
“I think it would’ve been nice to come out of there with a better lead than we did after the first with the type of opportunities that we had,” Claude Julien said, echoing the words of Bergeron. “It should’ve been a two- or three-goal period. But we misfired or missed those opportunities and allowed them to stay in the game. And then the second period they came out and kind of took over and we started making some defensive mistakes. Whether, I thought, whether it was coverage, layers, or whether their was decisions with the puck or D-zone awareness, we made all of those mistakes tonight which resulted in goals against.”
|Tuukka Rask happy to get back on ice: ‘You kind of forget how tough it is out there’||09.29.15 at 12:12 am ET|
The long wait finally came to an end for Tuukka Rask Monday night.
The 28-year-old goalie made his 2015 preseason debut after watching the likes of Jonas Gustavsson, Jeremy Smith, Malcolm Subban and Zane McIntyre fill the void over the first four games, all wins.
Monday night wasn’t about the final result, a 3-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings. It was about getting Rask’s feet wet for the first time in game action since the regular season finale last April 11 at Tampa Bay. That night, the Bruins were eliminated in the middle of the game. Monday night, in a game with far less significance, Rask stopped 21 of 24 shots in getting his first taste of action.
“Good to get it out of the way,” Rask said. “You kind of forget how tough it is out there. It doesn’t matter how much you workout or skate, it’s always different when it’s a real game and I definitely felt it. It’s good to get that first one out of the belt and to keep moving on that.”
Rask posted a 2.30 goals against last season with a 34-21-13 mark in 70 games. He will, of course, be the starting goalie for the Bruins when they open the season on Oct. 8 against Winnipeg at TD Garden.
“I think at this point I focus on myself and getting my game where I feel like it needs to be – it’s just with the feel and everything,” Rask said. “I felt that timing was sometimes a little off, angles were a little off at times — not natural all the time. Those are the things I need to work on, but I think in the bigger picture too, looking at the breakouts we did a pretty good job today and communication was pretty good too. The first period I had to handle it a couple times, the first one of the game I just made a bad pass, but after that I made a couple good passes. A couple guys talked to me where they wanted the puck to be and I think they did a good job in front of the net, clearing some sticks and some players. I think it was good.”
Rask realizes that improving Boston’s breakout this season begins with him.
|Why Claude Julien and the Bruins still consider new OT a work in progress||09.25.15 at 12:22 pm ET|
You can safely assume when on-ice officials are explaining what happens to a head coach in the middle of a play, there is still some uncertainty about the rules.
Such is the case with the reformatted overtime in the NHL. On Thursday night, Bruins defenseman Matt Irwin took a hooking penalty 1:25 into the extra period. Instead of the Bruins going down a man, the Rangers went up a man.
The NHL is introducing the 3-on-3 overtime this season. To avoid a 3-on-2 situation that would be more like a pre-game warmup rush, the NHL decided to go with a modified power play that would be identical to overtimes of the past. But while that was difficult enough to get used to, what happened next was even a little more peculiar.
The Rangers, getting mixed up with the extra man line changes of the new overtime, took a too many men on the ice when they wound up with the puck and six skaters on the ice. Veteran referee Eric Furlatt went over to Claude Julien to explain that the Bruins would not gain an extra man and go 4-on-4 but rather the Rangers would lose their additional man on the ice.
Then the Bruins would have their own 4-on-3 once Irwin’s penalty expired. Neither team scored and the Bruins would win the preseason game, 4-3, in seven rounds of a shootout. Still, the experience was much more helpful than Tuesday night’s encounter with the Capitals, a game that featured 3-on-3 for all of 12 seconds before David Pastrnak scored.
|Don Sweeney says ‘highly unlikely’ Bruins bring back Carl Soderberg, offers ‘no comment’ on Dougie Hamilton||06.19.15 at 11:34 am ET|
Carl Soderberg appears to be the latest casualty of the Bruins’ salary cap crunch.
The 29-year-old center had 13 goals and 31 assists this year while playing in all 82 games, playing out the final year of a three-year, $3 million contract. Soderberg will be looking for a big pay day as an unrestricted free agent.
The Bruins have just 16 players signed on their current roster and project to have $6.531 million in cap space remaining. Don Sweeney, preparing for his first NHL draft as general manager, knows he’s up against it.
“We’re trying to plan for every circumstance that may exist,” Sweeney said on a conference call Friday with reporters. “Carl was a very important part of our team this year. In a perfect world, we would be able to retain Carl. It’s highly unlikely at this point in time that that will be happening relative to our overall situation.”
With that eventuality in mind, the Bruins signed forward Joonas Kemppainen on May 21 to a one-year, two-way contract which would be worth a cap figure of $700,000 at the NHL level.
The 27-year-old played 59 games for Oulun Karpat in the Finnish Elite League during the 2014-15 season and recorded 11 goals, 21 assists and a plus-15 rating. In 19 playoff games for Karpat this year, the forward potted 10 goals and 14 assists for 24 points with a plus-14 rating. Kemppainen also competed in this year’s IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship where he ranked third on the Finnish team in goals (three), second in assists (six) and second in points (nine) in eight games played.
“I think Joonas represents a player of similar nature, similar skill set. He’s a big strong player,” Sweeney said. “He’s responsible. He’s 27 years old so he’s been through the pro ranks and he’s ready for it. He’s got some heaviness to his game. Look at his offensive production, it was pretty darned good this year in particular but really the last couple of year, he’s been very, very consistent and he rolled that right over to world championship, where again he was both very reliable, accountable as a two-player but also produced offensively, which is huge, huge for us.”
|Bruins announce 7-game preseason schedule||06.19.15 at 9:51 am ET|
The Bruins will have a distinctive New England feel to their seven-game preseason slate.
Four of the seven games the Bruins will play to get ready for the upcoming season will be in either Boston or Providence. The team announced its full preseason schedule Friday. Three of the games will be played at TD Garden.
The preseason will begin on Sunday, Sept. 20 in Providence, against the New Jersey Devils at the Dunkin Donuts Center. The Bruins also announced that they will release more information and dates in regards to the annual rookie camp and training camp, including rosters, later in the summer.
Here is the complete preseason schedule (subject to change):
Tuesday, September 22 (Boston, MA)
–Washington Capitals at Boston Bruins (TD Garden, Boston, MA, 7:00 p.m. ET)
Thursday, September 24 (Boston, MA)
–New York Rangers at Boston Bruins (TD Garden, Boston, MA, 7:00 p.m. ET)
Saturday, September 26 (Detroit, MI)
-Boston Bruins at Detroit Red Wings (Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, MI, 7:00 p.m. ET)
Monday, September 28 (Boston, MA)
-Detroit Red Wings at Boston Bruins (TD Garden, Boston, MA, 7:00 p.m. ET)
Wednesday, September 30 (New York, NY)
-Boston Bruins at New York Rangers (Madison Square Garden, New York, NY, 7:00 p.m. ET)
Friday, October 2 (Washington, DC)
-Boston Bruins at Washington Capitals (Verizon Center, Washington, DC, 7:00 p.m. ET)