|Sounds of the game… Wild 1, Bruins 0||01.07.09 at 5:38 am ET|
That was something we haven’t seen all season from the Black and Gold. The Bruins were shut out for the first time this season on Tuesday night, on home ice no less. A big part of that was Niklas Backstrom, the Finnish goalie who teamed with Boston’s own Manny Fernandez to win the Jennings Trophy in 2007 with Minnesota. Backstrom made several spectacular saves and the Bruins took three straight penalties to start the second period and the Wild finally made them pay with a power play goal on the third try, beating the aforementioned Fernandez for the game’s only goal. How good have the Bruins been this year? They hadn’t lost consecutive games in regulation since Mar. 11 and 13 of LAST SEASON and they hadn’t been shutout. Our own Joe Haggerty says Buffalo and Minnesota may be providing a blueprint on how to beat the Bruins. But listen to coach Claude Julien and his players and they’ll tell you this is no time for panic.
|Sounds of the game… Sabres 4, Bruins 2||01.03.09 at 3:05 pm ET|
For the first time since Dec. 10, the Bruins tasted defeat on Saturday, snapping a remarkable 10-game run of success. And for the first time since Oct. 23, they lost at home, a 14-game string of victory. How long ago was that? The Red Sox had just lost Game 7 of the ALCS to Tampa Bay four days earlier. Afterward, every Bruin to a man talked about facing adversity and how they plan to learn from this loss. Perhaps Milan Lucic said it best when he said that “good teams don’t lose two in a row and we have to be hungry come our next game.” That will be the focus when they continue their six-game homestand against Minnesota on Tuesday night. But for now, we look back on a game with the help of coach Claude Julien, who introduced a new term into the lexicon of the Boston sports fan. “We needed some JAM and this was one of those games where you need a little bit more JAM.” JAM is apparently hockey-talk for juice, energy and desire.
|Sounds of the game… Bruins 4, Penguins 2||01.02.09 at 8:25 am ET|
In team sports, when you hear something hasn’t been done since 1929, one of two things has happened. Either a team is on a historically bad run and is about to get its coach fired. Or a team is blowing away its competition. Well of course, this is Boston, home of the 19-game winning streak in basketball and now the Boston Bruins are trying to equal their Garden co-tenants. And so far, they’re doing a pretty good job of it. Thursday night, the Bruins opened the New Year by turning away Sidney Crosby and the defending Eastern Conference champion Pittsburgh Penguins, 4-2, on Causeway Street.
Some nuggets about these men of Black and Gold… The Bruins extended their home win streak to 14 games, their longest since a 16-game run from Jan. 10-Mar. 25, 1976. It’s the longest in the NHL this season and the fifth-longest behind streaks of 20, 19, 16 and 15 games. … The Bruins 10-game winning streak is the longest since a 10-game streak in the 1972-73 season. … The Bruins drew a crowd of 17,565, their eighth sellout of the season, fourth straight and sixth in seven home games. Boston sports fans always could spot a winner. Let’s hear from them.
|A promotional opportunity…||12.30.08 at 1:44 pm ET|
Just wanted to let all my loyal readers know that A) I thank them a million times over for their patronage, B) that we’ll be taking a page out of the Bill Belichick handbook and looking ahead to what 2009 holds in store for the New England Patriots on Wednesday as well as a look at the 2008-09 Boston College men’s hoops team as they finish up non-ACC play with Sacred Heart on Wednesday and get ready for No. 1 North Carolina this weekend. And C) wish everyone a safe and prosperous 2009!
With that aside, the Patriots did make some procedural moves on Tuesday, signing five players to future contracts. The release from the team is below:
The New England Patriots signed five players to future contracts today – defensive lineman Titus Adams, linebacker Angelo Craig, punter Tom Malone, linebacker Darrell Robertson and offensive lineman Ryan Wendell. Terms of the agreements were not disclosed. All five players ended the 2008 season as members of the Patriots practice squad.
Adams, 25, spent the entire 2008 regular season on the Patriots practice squad. He was originally selected by the New York Jets in the seventh round of the 2006 NFL Draft out of Nebraska. The 6-foot-4-inch, 305-pound defensive lineman has not played in an NFL game, but has been signed by the New York Jets (2006 training camp), New York Giants (2007 offseason), San Diego Chargers (2007 training camp) and Cincinnati Bengals (2007 practice squad). He was released by the Bengals on July 7, 2008 and was signed by the Patriots on July 24, 2008.
Craig, 23, was a member of the Patriots practice squad from Dec. 3 through the end of the 2008 season. He was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the seventh round of the 2008 NFL Draft out of the University of Cincinnati. The 6-foot-5-inch, 242-pound linebacker was released by the Bengals in the final preseason roster cutdown on Aug. 31, 2008. He was signed to the Carolina Panthers practice squad on Sept. 3, 2008 and was released the following day.
Malone, 24, had two stints on the Patriots practice squad in 2008 – from Sept. 10 to Sept. 15 and from Nov. 26 through the end of the season. He was also on the Patriots practice squad late in the 2006 season and was with the team for its 2007 training camp. He was signed to the Patriots practice squad on December 20, 2006, and was signed to the active roster on January 23, 2007 before being released on Aug. 22, 2007. The 6-foot, 205-pound punter was originally signed by the San Francisco 49ers as a rookie free agent on May 5, 2006, out of the University of Southern California.
Robertson, 22, was a member of the Patriots practice squad from Nov. 17 through the end of the 2008 season. He was originally signed by the Dallas Cowboys as a rookie free agent following the 2008 NFL Draft. The 6-foot-4-inch, 246-pound linebacker was released by the Cowboys on Aug. 30, 2008. He was signed by the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League on Sept. 9, 2008 and played in two games for Edmonton, recording six tackles before being released on Sept. 29.
Wendell, 22, was a member of the Patriots practice squad from Sept. 24 through the end of the 2008 season. He was originally signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent out of Fresno State on May 2, 2008. The 6-foot-2-inch, 275-pound guard/center was with the Patriots throughout their 2008 training camp and was released on Aug. 26. Wendell was a four-year starter at Fresno State and was a first-team All-WAC selection as a senior in 2007.
|Sounds of the game… Bruins 4, Hurricanes 2||12.20.08 at 3:37 pm ET|
While the Bruins were busy racking up their 13th straight home win, much of the focus afterward was for the well-being of Patrice Bergeron. His serious concussion last year had people wondering for not only his professional career but his long-term health. Then in the second period, he went to the ice after taking a hit int he neutral zone and was motionless while trainers tended to him. He eventually left the ice alert but was being evaluated after the game. As for the game itself, Marc Savard, Shawn Thornton, David Krejci and Stephane Yelle (empty net) all scored to lead the Bruins to the victory. They don’t play at home again until Jan. 1 against Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
|Sounds of the game… Bruins 8, Maple Leafs 5||12.19.08 at 9:30 am ET|
The Bruins have shown they can win under all types of circumstances this season. Defensive struggles. Hard-hitting games and Thursday night, they showed they can win games that start out as blowouts and turn into shootouts. The Bruins led 5-1 after just 4 1/2 minutes into the second period when the pesky Toronto Maple Leafs collectively said, ‘Not so fast.’ After all was said and done, eight goals had been scored in the second period alone, with Phil Kessel collecting two. But the star of the game was David Krejci, netting his first career hat trick, including a goal in the third period that sealed the deal. The Bruins extended their home winning streak to 12 games, their longest since 1976 and the fifth-longest in team history.
|A first taste…||12.14.08 at 10:24 am ET|
Martins Karsums made his NHL debut on Saturday night, playing with Vladimir Sobotka and Shawn Thornton on the Bruins fourth line. He was Boston’s second round pick in 2004. In the Juniors, he was a star for the Moncton Wildcats of the QMJHL (see the highlight clips below).
The 22-year-old right wing played eight minutes, 52 seconds, 10 shifts while blocking a shot and doling out two hits. But he did enough to impress coach Claude Julien on Saturday before being sent back down to Providence after the game.
“I thought he was good tonight. To me, he almost had a couple of goals there. He had two real good chances to score,” Julien said.
Julien was asked if the team was sending him back down immediately.
“Have they announced that yet? Whether we’re going to keep him or not? Well, he’s going back. That’s the official announcement from the coach,” Julien said.
But don’t be surprised if Karsums get another chance in the not-too-distant future.