|Recchi leads by example||02.26.10 at 1:11 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — It was your typical late-season practice at Ristuccia Arena on Friday. The Bruins did some battle drills, some rebound drills, shooting drills with the foam pads. For the most part it is a matter of getting their work in, back to full speed after a week-and-a-half watching the Olympics.
Towards the end of the session the Bruins forwards worked on rebound drills in front of the net. Veteran Mark Recchi looked to be taking the lead in the drill, as well he should. With 1550 career NHL games and 557 goals, Recchi knows how what it takes to make a living in the crease.
“Yeah, you look at what he does and since the first day that he was here, the thing he does so well is he stands and he is a good screener in front of the net and gets a good tip in front of the net. What he does is he stands right in front of the goaltender and he is right in front of the goalie’s face and you always give yourself a good chance to score when you do that.”
With all his experience, Recchi is the perfect type of tutor for the younger players on the roster learning the nuances of what it takes for a good screen. Recchi, for his part, is not all that vocal as a mentor. He trusts that the younger guys will see what he does and mimic the veteran’s movements.
“You don’t even really have to ask him, you just look and see what he is doing and that is why he has as many goals as he does,” Lucic said. “I think he has told me and [Wheeler] and other guys how he does it and it is kind of nice to learn from someone like him to see how it is done.”
Recchi agrees that he is more of a leader by example than a vocal presence.
“They come and work at it,” Recchi said. “It is not so much talking but a matter of working. You have to be willing to go there and they actually have been unbelievable at it and have gotten a lot of those little goals because of it.”
Recchi said the trick to being successful in front of the net is developing a lack of fear.
“Yeah, you can’t be afraid,” Recchi said. “You are going to get hit with pucks, whatever. We got got great defensemen who try to hit it smart. Sometimes you are going to get slashed or cross-checked. You have to be willing to pay the price to go there. A lot of the time it is not even creating tips. It is rebounds, creating traffic, creating some other opportunities for other guys. That is one thing you have to think about. It is not about you it is also about all the other guys.”
Coach Claude Julien sees the work that Recchi puts in with the younger guys and appreciates having a veteran like that on the roster.
“That is what you hope to see,” Julien said. “You hope that your veteran players, especially a guy like Mark who has been around the block not once, but probably a few times, you know. He has been good with the kids. He is willing to share his knowledge and he is willing to share also what he would have wanted to know when he was that age and I think that has really helped our young players to be a little more hungry and willing to learn the things that sometimes you don’t always want to learn.”
Standing in front of the net is not an easy job in the NHL but Recchi has a way about him that proves contagious to the rest of the players.
“Coaches will always say, you know, when you can get your team to do some things that they may not like doing but they know will make us better, that is when you know you have your team going in the right direction,” Julien said. “I think that is part of what Mark does with some of those guys. It is like ‘hey, it is not fun to stand in front of the net and you may not like it, but if that is what is going to give you success then you should be willing to do it.’ That is what he has done and he has shared those tidbits with the players and it has been good.”
Does Lucic see a career as a coach in Recchi’s future?
“Yeah, I definitely think so,” Lucic said. “He knows the game, he is smart and, you know, he has played in every situation so he knows what it is like. I think definitely he could make a pretty good coach some day.”
For his part, Recchi has no interest in being a coach on the professional level. He owns 12.5 percent of the Kamloops Blazers in his native British Columbia and partners with other NHL players such as Jerome Iginla. Coaching may not be in Recchi’s future but that does not mean he will leave hockey behind.
“No coach,” Recchi said. “Maybe my kid. My boys is eight and maybe I would coach him. I like the management part more than I like the coaching part. I would like to build a team more than [coaching] them. I am part owner of the Kamloops Blazers so, I am able to watch it and be part of something like that, be part of some of the juniors teams. So, you know, we will see. I would like to get involved in organization at some point and kind of see where it goes from there. Before that I want to take time and see my kids and my family and see where it goes from there and figure it out. It intrigues me and something that I would really like to do but it is also very time consuming.”
Friday participation by sweater color:
Goaltenders — Tuukka Rask, Matt Dalton
|Bruins breakdown: Riding shotgun||02.23.10 at 12:33 pm ET|
On Monday we took a closer look at the Bruins centers, Tuesday is time for the men riding shotgun — the right wingmen.
This group of forwards includes Blake Wheeler, Mark Recchi, Michael Ryder, Miroslav Satan and Byron Bitz. Note that for the sake of breakdown this group is demarcated by official roster designation, not where the player always plays on the ice. For instance, when Wheeler and Ryder are on the same line, as they often are, it will usually be Wheeler who jumps to the left side.
So, let’s take a look at what is cooking on the right side of the aisle. On Wednesday we will look at their left wing counterparts.
Ryder — Is there any other player on the Bruins roster (outside of Tim Thomas currently) who is more persona non grata than Ryder? He was a productive player in Montreal but ended up in Guy Carbonneau’s doghouse and his production suffered. He then came to Boston to reunite with Claude Julien with the hope of regaining his spark. It is not the first time that a player has jumped from Hab to Hub (or vice versa) but, really, two Original Six teams with rabid, unforgiving fan bases one right after the other? No pressure there.
There are a few factors that are always sure to set fans off regarding particular players. One is being a high paid player who does not produce. Another is being a top six forward who in a scoring slump. The third, and most pertinent in this case, is not living up to expectations.
|Canadiens come back to down Bruins||02.04.10 at 9:45 pm ET|
Summary — The Bruins had a solid overall defensive game against Montreal on Thursday but relinquished a two goal lead to the Canadiens in the second period en route to a shootout loss in front of a sold out crowd at TD Garden. Brian Gionta scored the game-winner in the shootout to give Canadiens the two points. Tuukka Rask took the loss for the Bruins with 23 saves and Jaroslav Halak was decent in stopping a barrage of 45 Boston shots in the win. The nine-game losing streak is the longest since the Bruins lost 11 straight from Dec. 8, 1924 to Feb. 17 1925.
Former Bruin Glen Metropolit got the Habs on the board at 17:06 when he crashed the net off his own shot and stuffed the puck past Rask. 39-seconds later Roman Hamrlik beat Rask again with a shot from the left point to erase the Boston advantage and send the game into the third tied at two.
The Bruins got on the board in the first period at 15:48 when Derek Morris set up a nice lead pass for Dennis Wideman to wind up and slap a shot from the point on Halak. Mark Recchi, as he has been known to do in his career, was camped in front of the net and deflected the puck just enough to get it into the net and give Boston a 1-0 lead heading into the second period.
Blake Wheeler scored his 13th goal of the year in the second period when he put a rebound off a David Krejci shot of Halak’s shoulder and in at 5:25. Krejci’s assist gives him a goal and two assists in the last three games.
Through three periods and overtime the Bruins outshot the Canadiens 47 to 25.
Jaroslav Halak – The Canadien’s goaltender stood up to the barrage and stared it down to the tune of 45 saves.
Mark Recchi — The Bruins veteran forward does what he has done so many times in his career — camp in front of the net and deflect pucks past goaltenders. Recchi scored his 11th of the season in the first period for the first goal of the game.
Scott Gomez — The Canadiens center was credited with assists on Montreal’s two goals late in the second period to give him 30 helpers on the season.
Boston defenseman Matt Hunwick took an interference penalty at 16:08 in the second period that helped Montreal back into the game. The Canadiens scored their first goal 58-seconds later and would tie it less than a minute later to erase the Bruins two goal advantage and sully what had been a solid defensive effort to that point. It was the Bruins first penalty of the game and their tied-second penalty kill could not keep Montreal off the board.
Gionta went to the backhand against Rask in the third round of the shootout to nail down the victory for the Canadiens. Gionta was the only player to score in the shootout as Tomas Plekanec and Gomez were stuffed by Rask while Krejci, Michael Ryder and Marc Savard missed for the Bruins.
|Habs storm back late in second||at 8:35 pm ET|
The Bruins were putting together a good defensive effort through two periods against the Canadiens. They were clamping down and forcing odd shots out of Montreal and not letting any Habs get comfortable in front of the net. It took the Canadiens 5:06 to get their first shot of the second period and the scoring opportunities had been few and far between.
Boston lit the red light again at 5:25 when Jaroslav Halak deflected a rebound off the stick of David Krejci that Blake Wheeler corralled and spit back at the Habs’ goaltender, off his shoulder and into the net for the 2-0 advantage. It is only the second time in the last six games that Boston has scored two goals, let alone two through the first two periods.
The only penalty of the period was to Bruins defenseman Matt Hunwick who took at a hooking call at 16:08. It led directly to the Canadiens first goal of the game as former Bruin Glen Metropolit crashed the net after his own shot from the point as the puck bounced around in front of Tuukka Rask and crashed the rebound home at 17:06. Montreal followed up immediately with an even strength goal from Roman Hamrlik at 17:45 to erase the Bruins lead and send the game to the third period tied at two.
Shots in the second period (total):
Bruins – 17 (32)
Canadiens – 9 (14)
|Turn up the volume: Tuukka is still a ‘bad’ loser||11.27.09 at 5:40 pm ET|
The good to come out of the Friday’s loss – beyond the effort level without the reinjured Milan Lucic – is they gained a point and now have 29, tied with Ottawa for first in the Northeast Division, one point ahead of Buffalo.
The bad is they still are searching for ways to light the lamp. The Bruins were 0-for-3 on the power play and now have just four goals in their last 24 chances on the man advantage. They are 12-for-86 on the season, 27th out of 30 in the NHL.
Here are some audio highlights from the Bruins locker room and podium following the Black Friday matinee at TD Garden.
|Sobotka strikes gold in win over Oilers||10.31.09 at 3:14 pm ET|
It isn’t going to get the fans jumping out of their seats or snag them many trophies at year’s end, but the Bruins are rolling up their sleeves and getting to work. Game by game the Black and Gold are sinking deeper into the disciplined, layered, exacting system of defense installed by the B’s coaching staff, and that brand of hockey was fully on display in Saturday afternoon’s 2-0 shutout win against the Oilers.
The Bruins were led by the gritty Vlad Sobotka, who finished with a goal and an assist — and had another tally wiped away when it came a second after the buzzer ended the second period.
“Our team without the puck is getting better,” said Claude Julien. “Vladdy [Sobotka] is starting to find his game again with us that we saw a few years ago. [A game] we really liked. He’s an in-your-face type of player, but he’s also capable of making some good plays, doing the right things and scoring some goals. He’s been much better the last three games, no doubt.”
Missing two of their biggest guns due to injury, it’s going to take a simplistic, scaled-down approach to the game and an abundance of slim victories in the near future for the Black and Gold. That was exactly what the team received from their whole team, and the Blake Wheeler/Sobotka/Daniel Paille line finally exploded in the third period with two goals en route to victory. With a two-goal lead suddenly in hand, the Bruins defense and goaltender Tuukka Rask clamped down to preserve the shutout over the final 10 minutes of hockey.
The Bruins are still activating their defensemen to keep pressure in the offensive zone as much as possible and rolling their lines, but it’s clear that there’s some offensive skill missing from the roster. That’s why a gritty goal by Sobokta — busting his way through Theo Peckham and Fernando Pisani with the puck to set up Wheeler’s score — was exactly what the hockey doctor ordered. Wheeler setting up Sobotka minutes later for the two-goal lead was just icing on the cake.
Andrew Ference missed wide right on a one-time bomber opportunity while pinching down from his defenseman position during a first period flurry. Marco Sturm embarked on a one-man rush up the left side in the second period and earned a clear attempt at the net, but missed high to the top right corner with his slap shot..
The Bruins put heavy pressure on at the end of the second period when Wheeler, Sobotka and Daniel Paille fired off a bevy of shots at the Edmonton cage, and it appeared they broke through when Sobotka whistled an attempt past Nikolai Khabibulin. But the attempt clearly skipped past the goalie following the second period buzzer and whistle indicating the period was over. There was no goal and a scoreless first 40 minutes of action prior to the Sobotka and Wheeler finally putting up some in-regulation fireworks during the final period.
YOU’RE THE BEST AROUND, NOTHING’S EVER GONNA KEEP YOU DOWN:Vladimir Sobotka has looked increasingly impressive since a pep talk with Claude Julien prior to the Ottawa game last weekend, and it finally showed up on the scoreboard Saturday afternoon. Sobotka broke a scoreless deadlock when he fought through both Theo Peckham and Fernando Pisani with the puck, and dished a beautiful backhanded pass to Blake Wheeler. Wheeler slammed the shot past Nikolai Khabibulin and victory was Boston’s. Wheeler and Sobotka teamed again minutes later to give Vlad the Scrorer his first goal of the season.
GOAT HORNS:Marco Sturm and Andrew Ference both missed golden scoring opportunities earlier in the game, but there was a great deal to like about the effort and execution in an air-tight win over the Oilers. The Bruins kept putting on the pressure, and finally worn down Edmonton in the final 20 minutes. No goats on Saturday.
|Sluggish start dooms B’s on Columbus Day matinee||10.12.09 at 3:27 pm ET|
Once again the Boston Bruins underwhelmed on home ice. It was a lackadaisical start for the home team Bruins during their Columbus Day Monday matinee, and it took almost 30 minutes of hockey for the B’s to finally wake up. It was a case of “too little, too late” in Boston’s 4-3 loss to the Avalanche on the TD Garden ice. Perhaps it’ll be good for the B’s to get on the road for a while as they’ll do after competing a five-game homestand on Monday afternoon.
After spotting Colorado a 2-0 lead following a sleepy first period, the B’s stopped and started their way back into the game in the second period. Mark Recchi scored his first goal of the 2009-10 season and Blake Wheeler added an athletic score to get Boston back in the game, but the B’s let down again following their game-tying efforts.
Defensive breakdowns and soft play in their own zone helped the Avalanche pile on two more goals in the second, including a David Jones breakaway score after Andrew Ference made the elementary mistake of playing the body instead of the puck. Perhaps okay to do in certain situations, but not when that player — Ference in this case – represents Boston’s last line of defense during a sequence of 4-on-4 play.
Michael Ryder scored midway through the third period to give Boston a shot at tying the game, but the B’s sluggish started ended up proving too big a hill to scale this time. The defeat saddled them with a 1-3-1 homestand to start the season. Not exactly what anybody had in mind for a hockey built on so much promise headed into the NHL regular season.
“I think it’s one of those things were everyone realizes that things that worked for us in the past, things that we were comfortable doing and being successful at aren’t necessarily working for us right now,” said Wheeler, who scored one of Boston’s goals in the middling loss. “It’s one thing getting beat 2-1 or 1-0. We pride ourselves on defense and we are giving up quite a few goals here. It’s not the goalie’s fault at all.”
YOU’RE THE BEST AROUND, AND NOTHING’S GONNA EVER KEEP YOU DOWN: Johnny Boychuk. The AHL refugee has been waiting patiently for his shot with the Bruins, and he finally got it when Dennis Wideman went down with a left shoulder injury. Boychuck played with a Bruins-sized chip on his shoulder and didn’t allow himself to get bogged down in Boston’s end. He led Boston with three official hits and was a plus-2 on a night the B’s allowed four goals. David Krejci also played a pretty strong game for the Bruins and put his first two marks on the season tally with a pair of assists.
GOAT HORNS: Andrew Ference. The B’s defenseman hasn’t gotten off to a very good start this season and that continued Monday afternoon against the Avs. He did register one shot on net and a pair of hits, but his gaffe ended up leading to Colorado’s game-winning score. Ference also finished at a minus-1 for the evening. He was ineffective as a quarterback to the second power play unit and his breakout passes weren’t of the crisp tape-to-tape variety as well. Ference needs to turn things around and give Boston something better on the ir second defenseman pairing.
The veteran defenseman said following the game that he mistook Matt Hunwick for David Krejci on the ice, and the mistake prompted him to leave his position guarding Boston’s end. Not pretty.
Boston’s power play unit could very well get tossed in here as well as they are — in the words of Joe Namath — “struggaling.” The B’s man advantage is fruitless in their last 17 attempts, and is just 4-for-29 on the season good for a 13.8 percent success rate. Marco Sturm and Marc Savard were also both minus-2 for the Bruins in a loss that could best be termed as mediocre.