|Patrice Bergeron named NHL All-Star||01.06.16 at 12:51 pm ET|
This is the second consecutive and second overall All-Star nod for Patrice Bergeron. The silly event will take place Jan. 30-31 at Bridgestone Arena.
Bergeron leads the Bruins with 37 points. With 15 goals, he’s on pace for a career-high 32 goals. Bergeron has hit the 30-goal mark twice in his career, reaching the plateau in 2005-06 (31 goals) and 2014-15 (30).
Bergeron is the Bruins’ only representative in the tournament, meaning Zdeno Chara will not be able to participate in the Hardest Shot competition for the second-straight All-Star game. Chara holds the record for hardest recorded shot at 108.8 miles per hour, set in 2012.
|Bruins have no update on Adam McQuaid||01.06.16 at 12:43 pm ET|
McQuaid suffered an apparent head injury in the second period of Tuesday’s loss to the Capitals. Wednesday marked the second time in three practices dating back to Sunday that Bergeron has not been on the ice.
Claude Julien did not offer an update on the status of McQuaid and termed Chara’s and Bergeron’s absences maintenance days. The lines in practice were as follows:
|Undermanned Bruins in a strange state after season-worst 5-of-6 skid||01.05.16 at 11:58 pm ET|
Washington took a 1-0 lead in the first period and never trailed en route to a 3-2 victory at TD Garden.
Now, compared to the B’s poor effort in a 5-1 loss to Montreal on New Year’s Day, Tuesday’s one-goal defeat might even qualify for “moral victory” status to some.
However, when the B’s big picture now paints a season-worst funk, with the team having lost five of its last six games, it was hard to find great optimism in the Boston locker room after Tuesday’s game.
“I don’t know, a little bit up and down,” winger Loui Eriksson said of his team’s effort. “We’re playing a good team and they took advantage of us in the first [period]. We came back a couple of times, but in the end they won a game. It’s a tough one, we need to start winning here again.”
Coach Claude Julien approved of the will, but not quite the way.
“Yes, for me, disappointed in the loss,” Julien said. “Not disappointed in the effort. There’s no moral victory, but I can’t criticize the effort our team gave tonight. In the situation we’re in we almost had to play a perfect game to beat those guys. Our guys worked hard, they had chances, and this is a good [Washington] hockey club.
“We gave ourselves a chance there, I don’t think we ever quit. We were down a goal, then down two and came back into it. They made a big save on [Zdeno Chara] at the end to keep that game from being tied. I think our guys tried, really tried, but at the same time in this league you’ve got to win hockey games. We’ve got to be disappointed, hungrier for the next game so we can turn things around here. Hopefully the bitterness in our mouth from losing tonight is going to carry into Friday in New Jersey.”
|5 things we learned as Bruins fall short in bid to upset Capitals||01.05.16 at 9:35 pm ET|
If the Bruins wanted to use a game against perhaps the best team in the league as a measuring stick, Tuesday could have been a lot worse.
Despite the B’s suffering their fifth loss in their last six games, Tuesday did not prove to be the rear-kicking that many expected when the Eastern Conference-leading Caps came to town. Down a defenseman for most of the night (Adam McQuaid left in the second period — see below), the slumping Bruins managed to keep the game close before ultimately suffering a 3-2 loss at TD Garden.
Boston pushed back hard in the third period and came within a goal thanks to a two-point night from Patrice Bergeron (one goal, one assist), but the B’s were unable to put a third puck past Washington netminder Braden Holtby. That’s a common tale given Holtby’s dominance over the Bruins, but Tuesday was one of the more encouraging performances in what’s been a bad stretch for the Bruins.
“For me disappointed at the loss, not disappointed in the effort and you know I think that’s the biggest thing,” Claude Julien said. “Our guys worked hard, they tried, we had chances and this is a good hockey club. I said it this morning: This is probably in my mind one of the best — if not the best — teams in the league.”
The Bruins will play their next five games on the road, beginning Friday in New Jersey.
Here are four more things we learned Tuesday:
MCQUAID LEAVES WITH APPARENT HEAD INJURY
The Bruins had to play most of the game with five defensemen because of a dirty hit that Adam McQuaid from Zach Sill on his second shift of the second period. Sill slammed McQuaid into the glass along the half wall head-first, forcing McQuaid to fall to the ice, where he remained for multiple minutes. Surprisingly, no penalty was called on the play. McQuaid did not return to the game.
Adam McQuaid injured on this hit from behind by Zach Sill. No penalty. pic.twitter.com/YG7Hyo51KM
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) January 6, 2016
If McQuaid is to miss any stretch of time, Zach Trotman could return to the lineup.
Speaking of returning to the lineup, Joonas Kemppainen played Tuesday night after missing the previous 11 games with an upper-body injury. Kemppainen centered a third line with Frank Vatrano and Jimmy Hayes.
Kemppainen also took a second-period penalty for hooking Marcus Johansson, but the ensuing Washington power play didn’t last too long given that T.J. Oshie took an interference minor 48 seconds later.
BELESKEY LOSES A GOAL
Prior to the game, the NHL announced a scoring change from the Winter Classic. The change, which came four days after the game, credited McQuaid with Boston’s only goal of the game. It had appeared live that Matt Beleskey had redirected McQuaid’s shot from the point past Canadiens goalie Mike Condon, but the change indicated that the puck had touched a Montreal player and not Beleskey.
With the scoring change, Beleskey is now back down to seven goals on the season.
AND ERIKSSON GETS ONE
Wearing the ‘A’ on his sweater for the second straight game, Loui Eriksson broke out of a mini goal-scoring slump when he took a second-period pass from Brett Connolly on an odd-man rush and beat Holtby short side. Prior to the game, Eriksson had gone five straight games without a goal, though he was a point-a-game player in that stretch thanks to five assists.
Beleskey’s current goal-scoring pace has him in line to score 30 goals this season. In case you forgot, he’s a free agent at season’s end.
|Joonas Kemppainen off IR, Bruins welcome his return in faceoff dot||01.05.16 at 3:12 pm ET|
Over the years, the Bruins’ forward group has been overflowing with centers. The B’s place such an emphasis on strength down the middle that they’ve never shied away from carrying so many centers that pivots end up playing wing (i.e. Rich Peverley, Tyler Seguin, Chris Kelly).
The Bruins have had to deal with many changes this season, one of which has been playing without as many centers. Kelly was injured early in the season, while Joonas Kemppainen was hurt last month and David Krejci is week-to-week with an upper-body injury.
Claude Julien loves having options at center, but those options haven’t really been there of late. With Kemppainen likely to return Tuesday from an upper-body injury (he was activated off injured reserve Tuesday afternoon), Julien hopes he’ll be able to better balance his lines and control possession.
“It hurts,” Julien said of not having as many centers as usual. “I think it’s been obvious in the faceoffs and how we’ve lost faceoffs in our own end especially, losing them clean and other teams getting possession of the puck a lot more than we’re used to. When you don’t win them, you’ve got to chase that puck. When you win them, you get to start with it.”
Kemppainen, a strong defensive center, is one of three Bruins who have won most of their faceoffs. His 52.3 success rate at the dot puts him behind Patrice Bergeron (56.6 percent) and Max Talbot (52.8 percent).
“People sometimes don’t realize how important (winning faceoffs) is,” Julien said. “For our team not to have those centermen winning draws closer to 55 percent or more a game is huge. We miss that. And it’s been a huge part of our game; it’s been a strong suit for a long, long time. So there’s no doubt that hurts our game.”
|Don Sweeney explains David Pastrnak situation||01.05.16 at 11:30 am ET|
Bruins general manager Don Sweeney confirmed Tuesday that the Bruins’ demotion of David Pastrnak to Providence came as a result of a roster crunch and the fact that the player would not be in Tuesday’s lineup anyway.
Pastrnak, who was in Finland for the World Junior Championships, got to Boston on Monday afternoon. He did not practice on Monday, making it very unlikely that he would play Tuesday vs. the Capitals. With the Bruins only having 11 forwards at their disposal (12 on their roster due to the suspended Brad Marchand taking up a spot) and 22 total roster players, the B’s needed to activate Joonas Kemppainen from injured reserve in order to have a full group of forwards against the Capitals. Adding Pastrnak would have left the B’s over the 23-man roster limit.
“Really the only [thing] was he didn’t arrive until yesterday afternoon,” Sweeney said. “We had him checked out, and he’ll skate today and we’ll re-evaluate. Really, it’s a matter of we play tonight, Joonas in all likelihood will come off IR, so our roster is what it is at this point in time. We’ll make a decision going forward, and David will be a part of that process.”
Sweeney added that the Bruins are not concerned with a finger injury through which Pastrnak played WJC games. Sweeney was noncommittal when asked whether Pastrnak would play any games in Providence before returning to the NHL roster.
In 10 games this season, Pastrnak has two goals and two assists for four points.
|Brett Connolly can (and can’t) relate to Jonathan Drouin situation||01.04.16 at 7:05 pm ET|
The story sounds familiar enough — a top pick of the Lightning has not become a star and figures to eventually be traded — but Brett Connolly can’t put himself in Jonathan Drouin’s shoes completely.
On Sunday, the Lightning sent Drouin, whom they drafted third overall in the 2013 draft, to Syracuse of the AHL. That led to agent Allan Walsh revealing that his client had requested a trade from Tampa in November, news that was still somewhat shocking despite ongoing murmurs that the 20-year-old left wing was not happy with how the team and coach Jon Cooper were using him.
Based on his own experience, Connolly — the Lightning’s first pick (sixth overall) in 2010 — hopes that Drouin doesn’t expect anything in the league to just come to him. He calls Drouin a “good kid” whom he feels can be a star wherever he ends up.
“He’s a good player. He’s got a lot of talent,” Connolly said of his former teammate. “Young guys come in the league and you realize really fast that it’s a tough league. You’ve got to find your game and you’ve got to work at it. It’s not going to be given to you no matter how high a draft pick you are.”
Connolly knows what it’s like to be drafted early by the Lightning and not ascend to stardom as quickly as planned. Like Drouin, Connolly returned to his junior team for another season after being drafted and then turned pro a season later. Both players spent their first pro season playing for Tampa given that the CHL/NHL transfer agreement required players under 20 to either stay with their junior teams or play for their NHL club. Most notably, neither one put up mesmerizing numbers in the NHL in the early going; Connolly had four goals in 68 games in his first NHL season, while Drouin had four goals in 70 games as a rookie.
Yet Connolly’s situation is different from Drouin’s in that he wouldn’t have had a problem staying in Tampa. The team traded him last season because they had a crowded forward group and couldn’t send him down without waivers. At least from the outside, a lack of patience from a still-developing player appears to be a big factor in Drouin’s case. Drouin has two goals in 19 games this season, giving him a total of six goals in 89 career NHL games.