|Gameday notes: Bruins looking for first win vs. Habs||02.09.11 at 3:02 pm ET|
With the Canadiens in town on Wednesday, a regulation win for either team means a four-point swing in the standings. With the Bruins leading the Habs by two points, that means a ton right now.
The unfortunate thing for the Bruins is that they have yet to win against the Canadiens this season, going 0-2-1 in their three games and blowing a 2-0 lead late in the third period Jan. 8 en route to a 3-2 overtime loss.
“It’s a long season,” Shawn Thornton said of the B’s lack of success against the rival Habs. “The last game in there we definitely should have won. ‘¦ We had a couple of breakdowns, they ended up pulling it out late, and give credit to them for not giving up, but it’s a long season. We’ve got three more against them, and hopefully we can do some damage control.”
The Canadiens are coming off a 4-1 loss to the Devils on Sunday. Here are a few other notes:
– In case you haven’t seen it yet, Tyler Seguin is a healthy scratch for the Bruins. It’s technically the second time he’s been a “healthy” scratch, with the team listing flu-like symptoms as the reason he didn’t play on Dec. 11 against the Flyers. Zach Hamill and Jordan Caron are both in the lineup playing on the third and fourth line, respectively.
– Patrice Bergeron, who left Tuesday’s practice and had to go to the hospital for stitches after getting a puck to the face, is fine and will play Wednesday. Mark Recchi and Zdeno Chara were not on the ice for morning skate but were just given the morning off to rest. They’ll both play as well.
– It looks like the recent exchange between former Bruin Hal Gill and rookie P.K. Subban in which Gill called the fellow blueliner an “a–hole” over his treatment of the team’s jersey was blown way out of proportion. Members of the Montreal media here who observed the exchange are saying the it was very obviously a joke after Gil accused Subban of “throwing” the Habs’ jersey on the ground while getting undressed.
– Speaking of Subban, Tuesday will be his first game at the Garden since destroying Brad Marchand with a very clean but very hard hit in Montreal on Dec. 16. Subban’s done some damage against the Bruins, as he has a goal and an assist against them this season in addition to the hit that kept Marchand out for three games with “soreness.” The Gregory Campbell penalty he drew following the hit also led to a power play goal.
“I’d like him to elevate it all the time. It’s something that I think he strives to be consistent, and I think he’s a good player, but he’s got the ability to be a great player. When he’s given that challenge he seems to rise to that occasion.”
Krecji has no goals over his last 19 games.
|Mike Milbury on D&H: Andrew Ference overstepped his role||02.09.11 at 1:32 pm ET|
NESN and NBC Sports hockey analyst Mike Milbury made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show Wednesday to talk about the Bruins and the NHL. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
B’s coach Claude Julien announced at the morning skate that Tyler Seguin would be a healthy scratch for Wednesday night’s game vs. the Canadiens. “Well, it’s been a long time coming,” Milbury said. “His level of involvement has been less than you would hope for. He’s got a lot of things to learn. There was a lot of pressure on this kid coming into the season. And the expectations, as I think we all knew, and I stated it earlier, were a little unrealistic.
“There are some 18-year-olds, the rare exception, who can come in and be an impact player of some form or another. But most go through a fairly long growing phase. And that’s what he’s in. And that’s what he’s going to have to go through when he sits out and watches the game, and hopefully sees the kind of pace he needs to play at and sees the kind of physical involvement, the price he needs to pay, and I’m sure that’s why Claude made this decision.”
Asked for a particular criticism on Seguin’s game, Milbury said: “I think he’s way too comfortable. I’m not talking about being a Shawn Thornton fighter or a [Brad] Marchand-type hitter, but he’s got to get involved physically. He’s got to scrum for loose pucks, he’s got to brush a body on the way by. Right now, he’s a circler. He circles forward and he circles back. There’s got to be a little more stop-and-go to his game and a little more determination.”
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli acknowledged Tuesday that it’s likely the Bruins will make a move in an effort to bolster the roster following the loss of Marc Savard. Milbury is not surprised. “If the Bruins feel that they’re in the position to take a swing at a Stanley Cup, then much like Chicago last year, they have to throw everything at it,” he said.
The other big Bruins news of the past week was Danielle Paille‘s four-game suspension for his hit on Dallas’ Raymond Sawada on Thursday. Following the game, Andrew Ference spoke out about the hit. Milbury was among those who criticized Ference for speaking out against a teammate.
“I agree with Andrew Ference. This was a play that was worthy of suspension, and this was something that the league quickly acted on and did suspend the player,” Milbury said, adding that he was surprised Paille didn’t get more than four games. “I don’t have any trouble with him going to Danny Paille and discussing the issue with him. I don’t have any trouble going to his player rep and discussing it with him. I don’t have any trouble having a discussion in the locker room with any of those guys or the coaches or the manager. But it’s not his role, it’s just not his role to pontificate about this thing in the media.”
|Tyler Seguin scratched vs. Canadiens, Tim Thomas to start for Bruins||02.09.11 at 11:47 am ET|
Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas was the first to leave the ice in Thursday’s morning skate, an indication that he will be in goal when the B’s host the Canadiens at 7 p.m. Thomas, 25-6-6 this season, has a 1.80 goals against average and a .945 save percentage, both of which lead the league.
Tyler Seguin, meanwhile, will be a healthy scratch for the Bruins, with fellow rookies Zach Hamill and Jordan Caron cracking the lineup for the B’s. Coach Claude Julien said it’s more of a numbers game regarding why the second overall pick will find himself in the press box for the third time this season.
“I know who he is, and I know where he was drafted and all that stuff,” the coach said, adding that Seguin’s recent struggles don’t “change the outlook of what we think of him.”
In 51 games this season, Seguin has eight goals and nine assists for 17 points and a plus-1 rating. He has averaged 12:18 of ice time, though he has played less than 10 minutes of the last four games.
|Peter Chiarelli’s willingness to trade Maple Leafs pick makes things interesting||02.08.11 at 3:59 pm ET|
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli, making an appearance on Dale & Holley on Tuesday, fired the proverbial gun to kick off trade speculation with the NHL’s deadline just 20 days away. While he reiterated his preference to add a defenseman and potentially a forward, he shed light on the team’s financial situation as it moves toward the trade deadline (something he generally refers people to capgeek.com for), but that isn’t the real news. The GM said that, unlike last year, he is willing to put the Maple Leafs’ first-round pick, which has had “top five” written all over it for quite some time, in play.
“Yeah, I’d look at it, sure. I would,” Chiarelli said. “I’ve had discussions involving that pick. I certainly would look at it. We’ve got a lot of assets, so that alone allows us to be creative also, but I would look at it.”
Already having opened a big door, Michael Holley asked Chiarelli to elaborate on how Toronto’s first rounder, one of two received in the Phil Kessel deal in September of 2009, has come up in trade talks.
“There’s been one [deal] that we’ve thrown around here internally. I don’t know that I would do it, but it’s something that warrants further discussion,” Chiarelli said.
The fact that Chiarelli is willing to consider dealing the Maple Leafs’ selection ‘ on pace to be fifth overall in a draft in which he admitted there being “uncertainty as to what the order of the top five is” ‘ gives the Bruins a leg up on other contending teams. Sellers want top prospects or the ability to obtain top prospects, and the Bruins are the only team with two first-rounders this year, let alone a potential top five pick.
Plus, with Marc Savard being shut down and thus placed on long-term injury reserve, the team has cap space (seemingly enough to add a player with a cap hit in excess of $4.5 million without removing anyone from its own roster) to add a top player.
“Basically you can replace [Savard’s] salary, that cap number,” Chiarelli said. “So that’s [$4 million] and a little bit of change [$4,007,143 to be exact]. We’ve got about $500,000 in cap space, so with Savard on LTI you have the ability to replace that player with a number of players up to an amount of $4 million. That’s not cap space, that’s actual salary. We’ve got some good flexibility right now.”
While the Bruins have been able to make deadline deals in recent seasons to land them major contributors including Dennis Seidenberg and Mark Recchi, the team has not made a blockbuster at the deadline since perhaps 2004, when the old regime gave up first and second round picks as well as Shaone Morrisonn for Sergei Gonchar. If the team is willing to see how far that Toronto pick can take them on the trade market, Chiarelli might be able to pull off something of similar magnitude.
While you can count out guys like Brad Richards (possessing a no-trade clause and playing on a third-place team in the West) or Jarome Iginla (no-trade clause and captain of a playoff team) the Bruins might not be kidding around when it comes to more realistic options. A top-five pick can go a long way, especially if it’s sent to a team that will need young stars to anchor a rebuilding effort.
This isn’t to say that Chiarelli will blindly toss the chip of all chips up for grabs blindly. It is, to borrow a term from the GM, an asset that franchises throughout the league would take considerable steps to acquire. And now, it seems an asset that could land the Bruins the major piece they’re hoping for without having to announce it at a podium in Minnesota.
Chiarelli said that he would “bet” the Bruins make a trade before the deadline. After Tuesday, how big a deal it is seems to be the only thing in question.
|Patrice Bergeron expected to play vs. Canadiens after receiving stitches||02.08.11 at 1:17 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Bruins center Patrice Bergeron left Tuesday’s practice after a puck off the stick of teammate Johnny Boychuk bounced off a partition in the glass and hit him in the chin. Bergeron was taken to the hospital, where he received stitches and had x-rays taken. Coach Claude Julien said that the x-rays were taken “just as a precaution” and that he expects Bergeron to be in the lineup Wednesday night against the Canadiens.
“Just basically stitches,” Julien said of what Bergeron’s trip to the hospital consisted of. “He felt good leaving here, but medically you’ve got to make sure that you cover all angles.”
Bergeron leads the Bruins with 44 points (19 G, 25 A) on the season, and has eight points over his last six games. He was named the league’s No. 1 star of the month for January, a month in which he led all NHL scorers with 17 points.
|Bruins work on power play prior to practice, Patrice Bergeron leaves early||02.08.11 at 11:25 am ET|
WILMINGTON — A familiar face was on the ice at Ristuccia Arena Tuesday as Jordan Caron and the Bruins practiced after having Monday off. The first 20 minutes were spent working on the power play, with units consisting of Zdeno Chara, Mark Recchi, David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic, as well as a unit of Dennis Seidenberg, Steven Kampfer, Brad Marchand, Gregory Campbell, and Michael Ryder getting work in.
The rest of the B’s took the ice at 11 a.m. Caron is skating on the Campbell/Thornton line, while a grey sweater-wearing unit of Tyler Seguin, Blake Wheeler, Zach Hamill, and Ryder was used in all sorts of different combinations. Bergeron left the ice at about 11:20 a.m. after a puck hit him in the face area on a drill. Tuukka Rask immediately opened the door at the other end of the ice, with Bergeron leaving practice in a hurry.
Here is a look at the lines:
Lucic – Krejci – Horton
Marchand – Bergeron – Recchi
Seguin – Wheeler – Hamill – Ryder
Caron/Paille – Campbell – Thornton
We’ll have more from the room after the conclusion of practice.
|Bruins prospect Tommy Cross plays star in Beanpot semifinal||02.08.11 at 12:39 am ET|
Boston College defenseman Tommy Cross hopes to one day make some noise at TD Garden as a member of the Boston Bruins, but Monday he settled for doing so in his familiar Eagles sweater. The former second-round pick of the Bruins scored the game-winning goal in Monday’s Beanpot semifinal, beating Boston University netminder Kieran Milan in overtime with the Eagles on the power play and clinching a 3-2 win.
The Bruins traded up in the 2007 NHL Draft to select Cross with the 35th overall pick. Right knee injuries kept him from participating in Bruins rookie development camps until this summer, where he joined fellow B’s prospects for the first time.
With Harvard’s Alexander Fallstrom and BU’s David Warsofsky having lost on Monday, Cross will be the lone Bruins representative in the tournament final vs. Northeastern.