|Bruins hold optional morning skate in anticipation of Blackhawks||03.29.11 at 11:23 am ET|
The sounds of pucks hitting boards and skates cutting ice were drowned out by a game of hallway soccer, as the Bruins held an optional skate Thursday in anticipation of their game against the Blackhawks. Tuukka Rask, Chris Kelly, Michael Ryder, Tyler Seguin, Gregory Campbell, Shane Hnidy, Steven Kampfer and Adam McQuaid skated for the B’s. Expect Tim Thomas to start with Rask the only goaltender to skate in the optional.
Given that Ryder also skated in the optional and that Claude Julien expressed a desire to stick with the same lineup that won them Sunday’s game in Philadelphia, it is probable that Ryder will be a healthy scratch once again.
Here are some notes from the morning:
- Julien said that he doesn’t feel a need to talk about last year’s playoffs with his team as they prepare for the postseason this time around. The B’s blew a 3-0 series and Game 7 lead in the second round last year against the Flyers.
“I think for us right now it’s just focusing on the moment. From here on in, we’ve still got to maintain our play, our level of play that we’ve had lately and continue to try and even improve that. There’s no room for complacency right now, and we have lots of players. If we’re going to move some players in and out from here on in it’s not because we’re taking it easy, but because we want everybody ready to go. That’s kind of the message that we gave the players. So for us, I think we need to make sure we maintain our level of play from here on in.”
- Much was made in training camp of the new situation that former Panthers Gregory Campbell and Nathan Horton found themselves in. Having never been to the playoffs in their careers, it seemed the postseason would be extra special for them. Campbell spoke about what it means to him to finally know he’s headed for the playoffs.
“I’m excited. It’s been a long time. That was the first thing I thought of when I got traded to Boston, was that I was going to get a chance to play in the playoffs,” Campbell said. “For me, at this point in my career, the most meaningful thing is to get a chance to win. I know this organization’s excited about the opportunity to get back to the playoffs again.”
- While Julien said that the recent scratches “probably” won’t get in the lineup Tuesday, he will get them in the lineup over the next two weeks to both rest those playing and keep everybody fresh.
“We’ve got to remember the guys were going to put in are good players. It’s not like you’re putting in a bad player,” Julien said of the players serving as healthy scratches. “It’s that you’ve got a 20-man roster for the game, but you’ve got 22-23 guys here. We’re going to put some guys in, pull some guys out, but certainly not to say, well this is a game that we’re going to take it easy, we’re going to pull so-and-so out. We’ve got to stay on top of our game, and that’s what I’ve been talking about, sliding guys in that can go in there and stay sharp so that if, come playoff time, we need somebody, they haven’t been sitting around for a month.”
- Julien spoke highly of David Krejci, who has 28 points in the 27 games since Marc Savard went down with his latest concussion. The coach said it’s been more a result of improved play than increased opportunity.
“He’s elevated his play, there’s no doubt,” Julien said. “He’s become a better player in the second half of the season. I think we’re starting to see more of the David Krejci we know. I think he had a bit of a slow start this year and wasn’t skating as well as we had seen him in the past. And was trying to make those plays, but when you don’t use your speed it’s pretty hard to make those plays in this league. So I think his skating has gotten better, his intensity has gotten better, and because of that he’s making some plays.”
- The coach said that as far as fine-tuning things go prior to the playoffs, special teams will be the focus. After an ugly stretch, the power play has scored four goals in the last four games, while the penalty kill has allowed one goal over the last five.
“[Power play] is an area we’ve got to get better at,” Julien said. “Even our penalty kill had been pretty good all year, then we hit that funk there for about three weeks that really made us slide down in the [rankings] in regards to that. We’ve got to get that back to where we feel it should be. I think our special teams are going to be important from here on in, and those are part of the things we need to work on.
“What I liked about the last game is that we were playing a really good team, it was a tight checking game and we stuck with it and found a way to win. You’ve got to be able to be patient with those types of games that are tight checking games. In the playoffs, that’s what you’re going to get, and I think our guys did a great job in the third period of not creating some bad mistakes or turnovers, and eventually they broke, took a penalty, and we took advantage of it. It’s those little details when you get near the end of the year. You want your team to be composed and in control of their game plan.”
|Nathan Horton has Bruins leading Sabres, 1-0||03.10.11 at 7:42 pm ET|
Horton scored his 19th over the year at 8:54, finishing a 3-on-2 with Milan Lucic and Krejci getting the assists. The play came about thanks to nice work by Adam McQuaid in breaking it out of the Bruins’ zone.
The period featured a fight between Gregory Campbell and Cody McCormick, with the Sabres forward winning the bought. Each team had power plays that lasted just seconds, as Tyler Myers went to the box for tripping just five seconds after Shawn Thornton went off for interference.
Tim Thomas had an impressive period, making big saves on Jordon Leopold and Jason Pominville, the latter of which he made by quickly sliding from side to side to rob the Bruins killer (eight points in five games vs. Boston this season).
The B’s are outshooting the Sabres, 15-11.
|How is Adam McQuaid going to keep track of his nicknames?||02.20.11 at 1:44 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Remember the days when Adam McQuaid was “Adam McQuaid?” The defenseman has done some big things this season, proving himself a reliable enough blueliner to make Mark Stuart a healthy scratch for eight straight games and eventually expendable in a trade.
Yet for “‘Quaider,” as he’s more commonly known around the dressing room, he’s picked up more than experience and fighting majors this season. Matt Kalman of the Bruins Blog recently slapped him with the nickname “Lone Wolf” based on the Chuck Norris film “Lone Wolf McQuade,” but fellow defenseman Andrew Ference really upped the ante on Sunday. Here’s a picture that Bruins.com jack-of-all-trades John Bishop snapped Sunday of Ference’s new t-shirt.
Ference, who walked through the Bruins’ dressing room donning the tee, said that this was more than a light-hearted iron-on effort. He went online to customize the shirt.
“It’s high quality, huh?” Ference said with a laugh when asked about the effort put into making the shirt a reality.
McQuaid found the t-shirt amusing as well. He admitted he doesn’t quite know how he’ll keep up with all the nicknames, let alone suddenly becoming a brand name.
|Red Wings take lead in second period||02.13.11 at 2:06 pm ET|
The Bruuins relinquished the lead in the second period on Sunday, and will have to overcome a 3-2 defect to avoid a home and home sweep at the hands ot the Red Wings.
Pavel Datsyuk tied the game 3:54 into the period, sending it in following a Tim Thomas collision with Adam McQuaid in front of the net. McQuaid’s collision wouldn’t prove to be the only rookie blunder, as Tyler Seguin, who scored the Bruins’ first goal, gave a reminder as to why he had been a healthy scratch the last two games. He didn’t stick with his man in Kris Draper at the blue line, and with Draper coming into the zone unattended to, Patrick Eaves hit him with nice saucer pass in front of Tim Thomas.
The Bruins had only six shots on goal in the second period, and through two are being outshot, 29-15.
|Mark Stuart: ‘I’m not packing my bags yet’||02.12.11 at 1:23 pm ET|
WILMINGTON –Mark Stuart entered the season as an important part of the Bruins’ blue line, and a guy who seemed a fit to one day wear a letter other than “B” on his jersey. After missing the 18 games with a fractured hand a dislocated finger, thing have been much different. With the emergence of Steven Kampfer and solid play of Adam McQuaid, Stuart knew while on the mend that his spot in the lineup would not be guaranteed.
‘You have to earn your way back,” Stuart said on Jan. 13. “I don’t care who you are. ‘¦ Guys are playing well. It would probably be different if the team was on a downswing and they were looking to change things up.”
Unfortunately for Stuart, his prediction was dead-on, as he has played in just three games since returning to the lineup on Jan. 17. A free agent at the end of the season, he has been a healthy scratch for the last eight games entering Sunday’s contest vs. the Red Wings in Detroit.
“I hoped it wouldn’t be this long,” Stuart said in a conversation with WEEI.com Saturday, “but that’s just the way it’s gone.”
Stuart has had to spend plenty of time recovering from injuries, and went down with his injury on Dec. 7 against the Sabres, it was just another in a long series for the blueliner. Last season, hand, finger, and sternum injuries cost him a combined 35 games.
Despite knowing what it’s like to watch from the press box, doing so when you’re healthy enough to be on the ice is even tougher.
“It’s probably harder when you could be out there,” Stuart said. “On the other hand, you’re healthy, too,” Stuart said, knocking on his wooden stall. “It’s obviously a lot better to be healthy, but it’s almost harder watching a game when you could be out there.”
As for what his future may hold, it’s hard to imagine someone on a one-year deal being happy with not being a healthy scratch. His name has been tossed around in trade rumors, with some speculating on whether he could be moved at the trade deadline. General manager Peter Chiarelli recently declined comment on what the market has been for Stuart, but if the defenseman had his way, he’d be playing in the same sweater he’s always worn.
“I would love to [stay] here. I’ve been here my whole career, and I love it here,” Stuart said. “There’s always rumors, but I’m not packing my bags yet or subletting my apartment until I get the call.”
|Bruins lead 4-0 after physical (and simply crazy) first period||02.03.11 at 7:53 pm ET|
A lot of skaters saw the penalty box, and a starting goaltender saw the bench very early on as the Bruins outmuscled and outscored the Stars in the first period to the tune of a 4-0 lead.
An astonishing three fights took place in the first four seconds of the game, while Andrew Raycroft, starting in an exciting matchup against Tuukka Rask was pulled from the game after only 1:20.
Gregory Campbell dropped the gloves off the face-off with Steve Ott, and their tango just one second into the contest made for the quickest into a game this season that a Bruin has tangoed with an opponent. Campbell was bloodied and left the ice for the locker room. He would return later in the period.
The guy who previously held the distinction of quickest to get in a fight for the B’s this season, Shawn Thornton, wasn’t to be outdone. He fought Krystofer Barch one second later (the second time this season he dropped the gloves two seconds into the first period, Dec. 23 vs. Thrashers). Adam McQuaid did the twist with Bryan Sutherby two seconds later, with Andrew Ference and Adam
Thirty-one seconds after McQuaid’s fight (and still just 35 seconds into the game), Milan Lucic opened the scoring for the Bruins when he beat Raycroft with a wrist shot for his 21st goal of the season.
Forty-five seconds later, Brad Marchand took a pass from Mark Recchi and fired a shot from the top of the circle. Patrice Bergeron redirected it past Raycroft, ending his night after just 80 seconds. Bergeron would score his second goal of the night with 10:25 remaining in the first. The 25-year-old picked up his 19th of the season when Marchand returned his pass in offensive zone to set up the goal.
Thornton beat Kari Lehtonen top left corner with an absolute lacerate 16:01 for his eighth goal of the season. It is the second time he has fought two seconds into the first and also scored in a game, as he had two goals on Dec. 23.
Tuukka Rask stopped all nine shots he saw.
|Brad Marchand, Milan Lucic have Bruins leading Avalanche||01.22.11 at 3:47 pm ET|
Some funny bounces and a fight have the Bruins leading the Avalanche, 2-1, after one in Denver on Saturday.
The Avalanche jumped out to an early lead on a flukey Paul Stastny goal that bounced off Dennis Seidenberg before going in.
Brad Marchand tied the game at 9:20. A Mark Recchi pass deflected off an Avalanche player before making its way to the front of the net, where Marchand was trying to outmuscle Ryan O’Byrne. The puck appeared to hit O’ Byrne’s skate before Marchand sent it past Craig Anderson for his 11th goal of the season.
O’Byrne did further damage to the Avalanche’s case Saturday when he sent the puck over the glass in his own zone, landing him a costly delay of game penalty. With the B’s on the power play, David Krejci fired a shot off the end boards that bounced in front. Anderson was unable to control it, and Milan Lucic flew in to send it past the Avalanche netminder for his career-high 18th goal of the season. Recchi got the secondary assist, giving him a pair of helpers in the period.
O’Byrne would take another penalty when he went off at 15:51 for roughing Gregory Campbell. The B’s went 1-for-2 on the power play. They were not shorthanded in the first period.
The lone fight of the period was between Campbell and Cody McLeod following Stastny’s goal. The bout itself was non-eventful, though it accomplished Campbell’s objective of shifting the momentum in the Bruins’ favor. The B’s controlled the tempo of the period from there, scoring both their goals and rattling off a 12-0 shots on goal stretch.
One interesting but ultimately not too surprising bit is that Mark Stuart is a healthy scratch, allowing Adam McQuaid into the lineup. While such a scenario would seem suspicious earlier in the year, Claude Julien is simply giving all seven defensemen — who have played well — an opportunity to get ice time without missing long stretches.
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