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Tuukka Rask on Claude Julien ExplanationGate: ‘He’s the boss’ 01.31.14 at 1:26 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — Claude Julien was all hot and bothered Thursday night when pressed for a reason as to why he pulled Tuukka Rask in the second period of the team’s 4-1 loss to the Canadiens. Julien said he didn’t have to explain himself and that some of the moves he makes are for the team to understand and not anyone else.

Rask obviously wasn’t happy with being pulled after the game, but he agreed Friday that Julien doesn’t need to explain his decisions to anyone — even him.

“No,” Rask said. “He’s the boss and he makes decisions based on what he sees on the ice. He doesn’t have to tell anybody anything. I battle out there as long as I need to. [Yesterday] didn’t last too long, and it’s too bad.”

As for whether he would like his coach to discuss his play and why he’d been pulled, Rask replied, “Doesn’t matter to me.”

Rask, who still leads the NHL with five shutouts and is fifth in the league with a .928 save percentage, has been pulled four times since Dec. 14. Thursday’s was the most controversial given that only one of the goals he allowed was particularly bad and Julien’s postgame comments.

‘€œDon’€™t think I have to explain myself [for] why I pull a goalie, OK? Because this isn’€™t going to be one of those things where we make a big story out of a pulled goalie,” Julien said. “Our team was poor tonight, ‘€˜K? So maybe sometimes you pull a goalie for different reasons, and I don’€™t think I have to explain everything to you guys for the reasons, because there’€™s a lot of decisions that I make that are for inside that dressing room, not necessarily for everyone to share.’€

For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Adam McQuaid still missing from practice 01.31.14 at 1:11 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — Adam McQuaid was once again the only player absent from practice as the Bruins skated Friday at Ristuccia Arena.

McQuaid has not played since the second period of the team’s shootout loss to the Blackhawks on Jan. 19 due to a leg injury. He has missed 23 total games this season due to multiple lower-body injuries.

The Bruins’ lines were the same in Friday’s practice as they were in Thursday’s loss to the Canadiens, with Chris Kelly on the third line with Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson.

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Claude Julien in no mood to explain why he pulled Tuukka Rask 01.30.14 at 10:57 pm ET
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Tuukka Rask didn’t seem happy about being pulled Thursday, and Claude Julien was in no mood to explain why.

After Brian Gionta scored on the power play to make it 3-1 in the second period of Montreal’s win Thursday, Julien pulled Rask for the fourth time since Dec. 14. Rask was visibly upset as he left the ice, and after the game said that he felt “OK” in the game.

“I play as long as they tell me to play,” Rask said, “so I try to battle out there are hard as I can, I stay out there as long as I possibly can and today it lasted a little over one period. It’s too bad.”

The Habs’ second goal came on a breakaway off a turnover from Daniel Paille, while the first goal was a shot from the point that went through a lot of traffic. Though Gionta’s goal in which he tipped in a Tomas Plekanec shot was a bad goal to give up, it was still somewhat surprising to see Rask yanked given the circumstances of the goals he allowed.

“It’s a lot of everything,” Julien said after the game when asked why he pulled Rask. “That’s decisions that I make and I don’t feel I have to explain [them] every time.”

Later in Julien’s press conference, he was asked what “a lot of everything” includes.

“[It] includes what I want it to,” Julien said. “Don’t think I have to explain myself [for] why I pull a goalie, OK? Because this isn’t going to be one of those things where we make a big story out of a pulled goalie. Our team was poor tonight, ‘K? So maybe sometimes you pull a goalie for different reasons, and I don’t think I have to explain everything to you guys for the reasons, because there’s a lot of decisions that I make that are for inside that dressing room, not necessarily for everyone to share.”

The loss Thursday night dropped Rask to 2-10-2 in his career against the Canadiens. For a guy who has dominated most other teams, those numbers are alarming. It may be a little early in his career to bring up the Pedro Martinez-Yankees comparison, but the Canadiens have been Rask’s kryptonite.

“I don’t know,” Rask said of why he’s put up poor numbers against Montreal. “I mean, I haven’t played too many bad games against them; I just can’t get the wins. I mean, it sucks, but what can you do? Just hopefully by the end of my career, they’re better.”

For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Canadiens chase Tuukka Rask, beat Bruins 01.30.14 at 9:39 pm ET
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The Canadiens interrupted the Bruins’ recent hot streak Thursday, taking a 4-1 contest at TD Garden and improving to 2-0-0 against the B’s this season.

Tuukka Rask was pulled for the fourth time this season and dropped to 2-10-2 in his career against the Canadiens. He allowed three goals on 18 shots before being pulled a little over halfway through the second period. Chad Johnson allowed one goal in relief.

The Habs got on the board 2:16 into the game when an Alexei Emelin shot from the point went through plenty of traffic but didn’t appear to hit anything on its way past Rask. Max Pacioretty made it 2-0 later in the period when he took a feed from Brendan Gallagher off a Daniel Paille turnover, flew down the wing and held off Johnny Boychuk on his way to beating Rask five-hole.

Dougie Hamilton got the B’s on the board at 15:38 of the first when a shot from the point hit a Montreal body and got past Peter Budaj, but it would be Boston’s only goal of the night. A Brian Gionta power-play goal at 11:54 of the second chased Rask, and a Daniel Briere breakaway goal on Johnson made it a three-goal lead for the Habs.

The loss snapped the Bruins’ four-game winning streak. The B’s have four games left before the Olympic break and will host Andrew Ference and the Oilers on Saturday.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

– Rask has now been pulled four times this season, all of which have come in the last month and a half. Rask was pulled Dec. 14 against the Canucks, Dec. 28 in Ottawa and Jan. 9 in Los Angeles. Though Gionta’s goal was the only particularly bad one he allowed, getting yanked at least four times in a season isn’t a great thing to have on a Vezina resume.

– The Bruins had scored six goals in three straight games (3-0-0) prior to Thursday’s game, but they were able to muster exactly one sixth of that mark Thursday. Read the rest of this entry »

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Bruins set to host Canadiens 01.30.14 at 12:01 pm ET
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Tuukka Rask will be in net Thursday night against the Canadiens, as he was the first goaltender off the ice in Thursday’s morning skate. He will face Peter Budaj, who gets the start for the Habs. Montreal last played Tuesday, with Carey Price making his eighth consecutive start.

It will be just the second meeting between the teams this season, with the Habs taking a 2-1 win Dec. 5 in Montreal.

The Bruins have been hot of late, going 6-1-1 over their last eight contests and scoring six goals in three straight (3-0-0), while the Canadiens are slumping. Montreal’s win Tuesday over the Hurricanes stopped a four-game skid, and the Habs currently stand fourth in the Atlantic Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference. By comparison, the Habs, who have played 53 games to Boston’s 52, are 10 points behind the B’s (Boston has 71 points to Montreal’s 61).

Adam McQuaid did not take part in the morning skate as he remains out with a leg injury. Chris Kelly took line rushes with the fourth line, which is where he played for the first two periods of Tuesday’s win over the Panthers.

The anticipated lineup is as follows:

Lucic – Krejci – Iginla
Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
Paille – Soderberg – Eriksson
Campbell – Kelly – Thornton

Chara – Hamilton
Bartkowski – Boychuk
Krug – Miller

Rask

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Report: Bruins in mix for outdoor game next season 01.29.14 at 11:37 am ET
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According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, the Bruins are among the teams in the mix for an outdoor game next season.

The Bruins hosted the 2010 Winter Classic at Fenway Park, defeating the Flyers in overtime. Dreger is reporting that there will be four outdoor games next season, which will be a drop-off from this season’s six.

 

 

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Tim Thomas defends role in altercation with Carl Soderberg 01.28.14 at 11:04 pm ET
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Things hadn’t gone great for Tim Thomas after he had allowed six goals in what would eventually be a 6-2 Bruins win Tuesday, and they got worse when he went after Bruins forward Carl Soderberg with 3.4 seconds left over a play and could put himself in Brendan Shanahan‘s phonebook.

Soderberg was going for a rebound in front of the net his stick appeared to make contact with Thomas’ mask. Thomas didn’t like it and struck Soderberg in the head with the paddle of his stick.

“Soderberg, the play before that he did quite a hard jab and then all of the sudden the puck is up in the air, you’€™re catching it, and his stick is in my throat,” Thomas said after the game. “With less than a minute left in a game and they’€™re up by four goals, 6-2, I took exception to that.”

The idea that a player shouldn’t go for a rebound late in a blowout is preposterous, especially coming from as hard a worker as Tim Thomas. There’s no unwritten rule about players letting up in already decided games, just like there’s no unwritten rule about batter striking out in the top of the ninth inning when their team is winning.

Told of Thomas’ suggestion that there was something wrong with playing until the final whistle, Soderberg found the logic rather silly.

“We can’t stop playing just because the game has like 30 seconds left,” Soderberg said. “We have to try to score the whole way.”

Thomas has never been suspended in his career, but Tuesday’s whack at Soderberg’s head is a strong candidate to be his first.

Claude Julien agreed with Soderberg, taking no issue with the player going to the net as he usually does.

“Well Carl does that even in practice,” Julien said. “I’m not going to say he’s reckless, but he has no fear. It’s great to see a guy like that just go in there and get his nose dirty. It doesn’t matter what time of game; you tell your players to play until the final whistle, and that’s what he does.”

Soderberg said that Thomas hit him in the ear but that he was OK. He disagreed with Thomas’ assertion that he put his stick in Thomas’ throat.

“Oh, not really,” Soderberg countered. “I was just going for a rebound.”

Tuesday’s game was the first Thomas had played against the Bruins in Boston. The first question asked to him in a heavily attended postgame media scrum was whether he’d had fun in his return to the Garden.

“Well, no,” Thomas said. “I think I might’ve enjoyed myself watching the State of the Union more. No, probably not.”

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