|Julien: Ference ‘hopefully back soon’||02.06.10 at 1:22 pm ET|
Bruins coach Claude Julien knows a little experience could go a long way to restoring some order his blue line.
On Saturday, Andrew Ference, who’s been out since Jan. 5 with a groin injury, skated with the team in warmups prior to the tilt with Vancouver. He was scratched and missed his 14th straight game.
“He’s coming along and I think he’s getting better and hopefully we’ll see him back soon,” Julien said “There’s no doubt, I think there’s some experience missing back there and when you don’t have that, to me, a defenseman is like a quarterback on a football team. If you get guys moving the puck well, your offense benefits from it as well.”
The Bruins have lost Ference and fellow veteran defenseman Mark Stuart with a broken pinkie finger. That doesn’t include Zdeno Chara, who is playing with a bad pinkie himself that will likely require surgery after the season.
“We’ve got Hunwick, who’s in his second year, and then we’ve got two guys who are in their first year, so we’re lacking a little bit of experience back there, there’s no doubt,” Julien added. “But that’s not to take away anything from the guys who are in their first year. They’ve done a great job for us.”
So what the Bruins didn’t need was another injury to a defenseman – and a scary one at that. A bloodied Boychuk took a shot to the left side of his face from Mikael Samuelsson midway through the first and had to be helped off the ice by Blake Wheeler and Chara.
|Rask: ‘Don’t know to cry or laugh’||02.04.10 at 11:47 pm ET|
Perhaps it was complete frustration of it all that inspired Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask to sum up the current state of affairs for the Bruins after firing 47 shots on net and scoring twice in a 3-2 shootout loss to Montreal, extending their futility streak to nine games.
“I don’t know to cry or laugh here because I think we pretty much dominated the whole game,” Rask said of his teammates who outshot Montreal, 47-25.
“Good chances and their goalie plays an unbelievable game. Going into shootout, I wanted to win so bad, make that save.”
Neither team seemed destined to score after two scoreless rounds to open the shootout. But then Brian Gionta beat Rask up top with a backhander. And when Marc Savard failed on his attempt, the ninth straight ‘L’ was in the books.
“Their guy happened to beat me there and we took the loss,” Rask said. “At least we get a point so it’s something.”
|Recchi: Claude’s not going anywhere||at 11:26 pm ET|
Even in good times, Mark Recchi has been around long enough to know that no hockey coach has security – let alone when you’ve lost nine straight and are falling out of the playoff picture.
Still, the veteran Bruins forward doesn’t think Claude Julien is going anywhere and he made that clear following Thursday’s 3-2 shootout loss to Montreal at TD Garden.
Recchi pointed to the Carolina Hurricanes that got hot at the end of last season, a team that eliminated the Bruins in the second round of the playoffs in seven games.
“Claude ain’t going anywhere,” Recchi said. “He’s a great coach. But it’s there and we’re right there and if we keep playing like this, then that could happen. We could get on a big run.”
|With a lack of offense, Julien gets defensive||at 10:55 pm ET|
Claude Julien just watched his team take 47 shots on net and score twice in 65 minutes, including a 4-on-3 power play in overtime and a scoreless shootout. All of this on top of 42 shots on Tuesday night that resulted in just one goal in a 4-1 loss to the Washington Capitals.
The Bruins coach was had seen enough. And when he was asked whether three goals in 89 shots and nine straight losses means his team was no better than average, Julien responded.
“We believe we have a better-than-average hockey team,” Julien said. “I think our team was pretty good tonight. I’m not going to stand here and say we’re a bad team. Absolutely not.”
Click here to hear Julien’s response in Thursday’s postgame presser following a 3-2 shootout loss to Montreal.
|Canadiens set to invade TD Garden||at 1:27 pm ET|
If there was ever a game for the Bruins to get back to their winning ways, Thursday night against archrival Montreal Canadiens would be it. Boston has fallen from fifth to 12th in the Eastern Conference standings during its eight game losing streak and has watched division opponents like the Habs leapfrog them in the standings.
Over the past three games the Bruins have played with good energy and decent emotion but have not seen the results on the scoreboard. The team has not had a positive seminal moment during the season, a game that defines the squad and sets the pace for winning hockey. With the Canadiens in town and all the fanfare that comes along with them, Thursday could be a good time to turn things around.
“There is a lot of history in it, the crowd always gets into it. It is kind of cool when they have all those Montreal Canadiens fans in the crowd. It always gets us excited every time we play these guys,” Milan Lucic said.
Yes, there is history between these two Original Six hockey clubs, but recent history between the players on each roster is not worth much going into Thurday’s contest. Last year Boston and Montreal hooked up for a memorable, fight filled battle in the Bruins last home game of the regular season and tensions and between the two were high during the Boston’s three game, first round sweep in the playoffs. Yet, significant agitators on last year’s Habs roster such as Mike Komisarek (Toronto), Saku Koivu (Anaheim), Georges Laraque (released late January) and Andrei Kostitsyn (knee injury, out till after Olympics) are not around as are several players from last year’s Bruins roster. Hence, there are not many hard feelings carried over between the players going into Thursday’s contest.
“I wish [there was carry over] but they have kind of revamped their lineup so a lot of those guys who we had the big rivalries with in the last three years are gone. I would not mind creating new ones, I suppose,” Bruins enforcer Shawn Thornton said. “We don’t like each other, we haven’t for years. I think it will be a fun game to play in, I think everybody will be up for it. So, I hope we will turn it around, yeah.”
The Bruins roster turmoil has had some effect on their goal output recently as they strive for chemistry on newly formed lines with the roster turnover or players returning from injury. As players such as Marco Sturm and Marc Savard get their health and timing back, the hope is that Boston can start generating more goals and find a way to win some games.
“We have not helped ourselves either with all the different line combinations but we are not the only team going through that and we are not going to make excuses but we have not had the same lines,” coach Claude Julien said. “The chemistry with injuries and the lines, it is a challenge and kind of have to fight through that and hopefully as we are getting a little healthier hopefully that comes back.”
At the same time, the Bruins goaltenders would do the rest of the team a big favor if they could completely shutdown an opposing team. Tuukka Rask was the first goalie off the ice after Thursday’s morning skate and will likely get the start against the Canadiens. He said that both him and Tim Thomas are always approach games with the notion that the goaltender might be able to steal a win for the team.
“We got to have that state of mind before every game. The past few games have been like that, we can’t let in any weak goals. We approach games that way that we are going to steal them and hopefully it is going to happen soon,” Rask said. “We really feel that we have been playing better and better here just without the results but I am trying to get the win here today.”
10 Bruins forwards participated in the morning skate with Mark Recchi, Savard, Sturm and Michael Ryder the missing men. On the blue line Boston had six skaters with Andrew Ference taking the ice and Dennis Wideman absent. Ference has missed the last 12 games with a groin injury. Mark Stuart will still be sidelined with a broken finger he sustained against the Kings last Saturday and is expected to be out until after the Olympics at the very least. It remains doubtful that Ference will play against the Canadiens which probably means that Adam McQuaid and Wideman will be on the rink when the puck drops barring a last minute change of plans.
|Slumping Bruins: ‘We have to win sooner or later’||02.03.10 at 3:04 pm ET|
Three of the most prominent leaders on the Bruins are sounding the same theme ‘ wins are right around the corner.
The problem is the Bruins have to turn the corner first. On Wednesday, they got back to practice in Belmont and the business of pounding the pavement ‘ or ice ‘ and looking for the positive street signs ahead.
‘We always can get going and find a way to motivate ourselves,” said Chara, who has been playing with a dislocated left pinkie finger that will likely need surgery in the offseason, according to ESPN. “We have to put this one behind us and there’s a new day tomorrow. We just have to get ready for the next game and keep trying. We have to win sooner or later.’ Read the rest of this entry »
|Julien: ‘We deserved the win if we scored the goals’||02.02.10 at 10:54 pm ET|
It seemed very innocent and obvious when Bruins coach Claude Julien gave his team credit for battling the hottest and best team in the NHL to a 1-1 draw after two periods. After watching his team surrender three in the third, it became nothing more than another in a string of eight straight losses, 4-1 to Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals.
In short, Julien said they deserved the win on Tuesday night “if we had scored some goals.” Julien believed his team could have been up, 4-1, after two instead of tied.
And of course, deserving the win and earning the win is a bridge these struggling Bruins have yet to cross.
Here is what Julien had to say for his troops following Tuesday’s setback, an eighth straight loss that gave them their longest losing skid in 54 seasons.