|What Tuukka Rask and Kenan Thompson have in common||12.03.11 at 12:25 pm ET|
Remember that timeless scene in D2: The Mighty Ducks in which Russ Tyler (played by a young Kenan Thompson), dons the goalie pads so he can get a clear shot — his famous knuckle puck — off in the finals seconds of the Junior Goodwill Games championship to tie the game against Iceland?
Dumb question. Of course you do.
Well, something slightly similar but far less dramatic has been happening at the Bruins’ morning skates lately. For the last two morning skates at TD Garden, when the circle of players stretching (which ends the skate) breaks up, goaltender Tuukka Rask has flown out of the circle with a teammate’s stick and fired a slapshot into the empty net, with teammates cheering as they leave the ice.
Rask said after Saturday’s skate that there’s no significance to the act, but that he’ll continue to do it.
“I’m having fun,” he said. “[I’ve done it for] a couple of games, so I might as well keep it going, right?”
On Saturday, it took Rask two tries. Using Rich Peverley‘s stick (he used Shawn Thornton‘s last time; Tyler used Lester Averman’s), he missed the net and hung his head in disappointment before scoring on the second attempt. Needless to say, he hasn’t exactly been practicing.
“Not too much,” Rask said of how much time he’s put into perfecting his shot. “I missed the net today, so’¦”
He may be a far cry from Russ Tyler, but Rask has certainly made the final seconds of a game-day routine much more interesting.
|Morning skate notes: James Reimer starting for Leafs||12.03.11 at 11:42 am ET|
The Bruins got back on the ice Saturday morning in anticipation for the second game of a home-and-home with the Maple Leafs. Boston currently leads Toronto by one point in the Northeast division after Wednesday’s 6-3 victory at Air Canada Centre.
All of the regulars were on the ice for the Bruins Saturday morning, with the exception of defenseman Steven Kampfer and forward Jordan Caron. Both players were sent to Providence Wednesday so they could get some game action, and both players played in Friday’s 4-1 loss to the Connecticut Whale. Caron had an assist, while Kampfer went without a point and had an even rating.
One are that remains a bit of a question mark for Saturday is the Leafs’ goaltending situation. Jonas Gustavsson is slated to be the starter, but No. 1 netminder James Reimer has been cleared to play.
[UPDATE: 12:32 pm] Both Reimer and coach Ron Wilson told reporters that it will indeed be Reimer in net. The Leafs have not lost a game in regulation this season with Reimer in net (4-0-1).
|Jordan Caron, Steven Kampfer to get game action in Providence||12.01.11 at 2:07 pm ET|
In an effort to get their healthy scratches some game action, the Bruins assigned forward Jordan Caron and defenseman Steven Kampfer to Providence on Thursday. The two are expected to play Friday night against the Connecticut Whale, as the Bruins next play on Saturday.
In 11 NHL games this season, Caron has one goal and two assists. Benoit Pouliot has found a home on the Bruins’ third line, making Caron a healthy scratch the last seven games.
Kampfer, who missed the first six games of the season with a knee injury, has played five games for the Bruins this season. He has one assist and a plus-4 rating.
|Quick notes from the David Krejci press conference||12.01.11 at 1:42 pm ET|
Newly extended Bruins center David Krejci‘s press conference just wrapped up at TD Garden. Here are a few quick notes, with more to come.
– Krejci’s deal, a three-year $15.75 million deal with a limited no-trade clause in the final two years, was actually signed prior to Wednesday’s game against the Maple Leafs. Peter Chiarelli joked that he likes to think it put Krejci in the right frame of mind to go out and rack up three points in the win over Toronto.
– Krejci said that he isn’t going to worry about whether he is judged by his contract. Considering he’s being paid like a first-line center, it seems that judgement will be pretty common over the length of the deal.
– Chiarelli spoke glowingly of Krejci as a two-way player.
“David’s biggest asset is his head,” Chiarelli said. “He sees the ice so well. He makes plays, he uses the players around him. He’s very competitive. He’s got a very well-rounded game.
“I think his game is underrated by its two-way component. He’s got a lot of really good offensive skills and instincts, but I think the two-way component of the game — I don’t want to harp on that — but it’s important if you want to win championships.”
“Logjam is probably not the proper word,” Chiarelli said. “I think it’s an excessive supply that I’m happy to have.”
– Chiarelli also scoffed at the notion that committing this money to Krejci might make it tougher to re-sign upcoming RFA’s Tuukka Rask (at the end of this season) and Tyler Seguin (at the end of next season).
– The GM said that these negotiations weren’t based on this season too much, as they had begun over the summer. He did note, however, that he didn’t consider the first month of the season in his long-term assessment of Krejci, saying that such thinking would be “shortsighted.”
|Tim Thomas named NHL’s First Star of the Month for November||12.01.11 at 12:56 pm ET|
Goaltender Tim Thomas earned some national recognition for his no-loss November when he was named as the NHL’s First Star of the Month on Thursday. The two-time Vezina Trophy winner was 9-0-0 in November with a .941 save percentage and a 1.76 goals against average. Thomas recorded three shutouts in the month, the first of which came on Nov. 5 against the Maple Leafs while the other two came in back-to-back fashion against the Islanders on Nov. 19 and the Canadiens on Nov. 21.
Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews took home Second Star honors while the Maple Leafs’ Joffrey Lupul was the league’s Third Star. Toews finished the month with nine goals and nine assists via three multi-goal games and five multi-point games in the month. Chicago went 7-6-1 in November.
Lupul found his way onto the scoresheet in 12-of-14 games the Maple Leafs played in November. He started the month with a hat trick in a 5-3 win over the Devils and finished with a seven-game point-scoring streak. Toronto was 7-6-1 in November. This is the second time this season a Maple Leaf took home a monthly honor, as Phil Kessel finished as the league’s First Star in October.
|Bruins give David Krejci three-year extension||12.01.11 at 10:01 am ET|
The Bruins announced Thursday morning that they have signed center David Krejci to a three-year extension. According to TSN, Krejci, who would have been a restricted free agent at season’s end, will get $5.25 million a year with his new deal. The 25-year-old is in the final year of a deal that pays him $3.75 million a year.
The new deal also includes a limited no-trade clause, according to TSN. Krejci could block a trade to six teams.
Krejci’s signing takes care of what would have been the team’s biggest financial question mark at season’s end. The B’s also re-signed Rich Peverley in October to prevent him from reaching free agency, and with Krejci now signed, Tuukka Rask (restricted) and Chris Kelly (unrestricted) may be bumped up to the top of general manager Peter Chiarelli‘s to-do list. Gregory Campbell, Shawn Thornton, Daniel Paille, Joe Corvo and Johnny Boychuk are also set to become unrestricted free agents.
The new contract will also make Krejci the highest-paid forward on the Bruins, and the second-highest paid Bruin. Captain Zdeno Chara‘s deal has an annual cap hit of $6.916 cap hit.
The signing comes the morning after Krejci led the way in Boston’s 6-3 win over Toronto Wednesday. The first-line center had three points (1 G, 2 A) in the victory. The Bruins drafted Krejci in the second round of the 2004 draft. In his NHL career, he has 62 goals and 165 assists for 227 points. He led the postseason in scoring during last spring’s Stanley Cup run.
|Bruins wrap up impressive November with win over Leafs||11.30.11 at 9:39 pm ET|
The Bruins took over first place in the Northeast Division with a 6-3 win over the Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre Wednesday. The win wrapped up an impressive month of November in which they went 12-0-1.
The Leafs got on the board first with a power play goal from Mikhail Grabovski in the first period, but the B’s responded with a power play goal of their own thanks to Lucic’s ninth of the season. Krejci gave Boston its first lead of the night at 3:33 of the second period, but former Bruin Phil Kessel set up a Joffrey Lupul goal to tie it. The B’s then got goals from Chara and Pouliot to give them a 4-2 lead before Tim Thomas surrendered a soft goal to Matt Fratin. Lucic provided the B’s some insurance with his second goal of the night at 15:21. Brad Marchand sealed it with an empty-netter.
Thomas collected the win for the B’s, his 12th of the season. He made 34 saves in the victory.
The B’s have now collected 25 of a possible 26 points over the last 13 games and lead the division with 31 points. They will host the Leafs Saturday at TD Garden.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Chara remains red-hot. His two-point night put him at 15 points (5 G, 9 A) over his last 14 games. Points aren’t necessarily what make a defenseman great, but Chara is on pace for his best statistical season since his Norris Trophy-winning 2008-09 campaign.
Though he led the B’s with six shots on goal, it wasn’t a perfect night for Chara. Kessel blew past him in the neutral zone to give he and Lupul a 2-on-1 that led to Lupul’s goal.
– Good to see the first line producing like a first line. The Lucic-Krejci- Horton trio has generally been hit or miss this season, but all three brought it Wednesday night. Krejci’s goal was his first since Nov. 7 and just his fourth of the season, while Lucic’s goal, his ninth, was his first since Nov. 10. Horton had helpers on Krejci and Chara’s goals.
– As hard as it may be to believe, Pouliot has proven to be a statistically clutch player. Two of his three goals, including Wednesday’s, have been of the game-winning variety, and he also won the B’s last Wednesday’s game against Buffalo in the shootout.
– The Bruins once again allowed the first goal and went on to win. With Wednesday’s victory, the B’s are now 9-5-1 when allowing the first goal. They are 9-7-1 in games in which they trailed.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Adam McQuaid was a team-worst minus-2 on the night. He was the lone defenseman back on Kessel and Lupul’s 2-on-1 in the second period, and was also on the ice for Frattin’s goal.
– Speaking of Frattin’s goal, Thomas didn’t respect Frattin enough on the play, leaving the Leafs forward just enough space to beat him at a wretched angle from the corner to make it a one-goal game. Thomas was obviously expecting Frattin to dish the puck from such a bad angle, but the result was an uncharacteristically weak.
– Tyler Seguin picked up the primary helper on Lucic’s goal thanks to some sharp passing between he, Lucic and Chara, but the 19-year-old’s slowed goal-scoring pace continues. He now has just one goal in his last eight games after scoring seven in his previous four.