|5 things we learned: Brad Marchand injury scare overshadows loss to Habs||10.10.15 at 9:59 pm ET|
The Bruins were having a bad enough night Saturday night. They were headed for what would become a 4-2 loss the Canadiens at the Garden, and one of the few things they had to show for it was a lack of injuries.
Then Brad Marchand collided with Dale Weise late in the game, falling to the ice and getting up extremely slowly. Marchand sluggishly found his way back toward the bench, with Colin Miller essentially needing to pull him onto the bench.
Marchand left the game and did not return. Claude Julien had no update on the player following the game.
As Boston’s leading goal-scorer in two of the last three seasons, he would be a major piece for Boston to lose for any period of time.
Here are five things we learned Saturday:
PK D GETS AN F
The Bruins were never shorthanded in the season-opener, so one of their biggest issues was not exposed. With Chara and Dennis Seidenberg out, the Bruins are without the only two left defensemen to average even 30 seconds on the penalty kill last season.
That meant that when Matt Beleskey took an illegal check to the head penalty 1:14 into the game, it was offensive defenseman Joe Morrow who was sent out kill the penalty with Kevan Miller. The B’s were extremely soft in front as Montreal began its power play, resulting in David Desharnais — all 5-foot-7 and 174 pounds of him – being able to whack away at his own rebound in front of Tuukka Rask uncontested and score 11 seconds into the power play. It was the only power play goal Boston allowed Saturday, but it was a biggie.
Even once Chara returns, the Bruins will be extremely undermanned on the penalty kill. Right now, it’s beyond worrisome.
Here are four more things we learned:
JULIEN LOSES CHALLENGE
Given his tendency to disagree with referees, it seemed that Claude Julien and the new coach’s challenge would be a match made in heaven. The two got off to a rocky start on Saturday night, however.
Trailing by a 2-0 score at the time, Loui Eriksson appeared to get the Bruins on the board after Loui Eriksson backhanded an errant puck past Price. Eriksson got to the puck after Joe Morrow had broken his stick on the shot, and while the play appeared to give Boston its first goal of the night, the play was called no-goal because Patrice Bergeron had made incidental contact with Carey Price.
Julien challenged the call, and though replays showed that Bergeron was pushed by Alexei Emelin and that the contact really wasn’t significant at all, the play held up. As fate would have it in this rivalry, the Canadiens scored 1:17 later to take a 3-0 lead.
Milan Lucic isn’t around to get tossed from Bruins-Canadiens games anymore. The guy who did get ejected Saturday night was rather surprising.
Ryan Spooner, who had eight penalty minutes in 57 career games entering Saturday night, was called for boarding Brian Flynn 3:30 into the third period. While the hit did not appear egregious, Spooner was handed a five-minute major and a game misconduct.
The call was met with confusion by those observing the game, but as pointed out by WEEI.com’s Scott McLaughlin, Rule 41.5 states that a boarding penalty that results in a head or face injury comes with an automatic game misconduct. Flynn was bleeding on the play, which likely made the officials’ decision for them.
BELESKEY GETS HIS FIRST, COLIN MILLER MAKES HIS DEBUT
Matt Beleskey didn’t have a particularly impressive Bruins debut Thursday and he was called for an early penalty Saturday to set up a Montreal power play goal. He did pick up his first goal as a Bruin in the second period, even if it was an ugly one.
Looking to feed the puck in front for Pastrnak, Beleskey’s pass went off Jeff Petry and past Price to get the B’s on the board.
Through two games, members of David Krejci‘s line have scored three of Boston’s four goals, with Krejci, Beleskey and David Pastrnak each having a goal apiece.
Another first for the B’s Saturday: Colin Miller made his NHL debut by playing in place of the scratched Zach Trotman. Joonas Kemppainen also sat in favor of Max Talbot.
Miller’s skating and passing were as advertised. The former King also took a cross-checking penalty midway through the third period.
BERGERON TARGETED AGAIN
The 30-year-old center was the target of an attempted low bridge from Alexei Emelin, which earned the Habs defenseman an interference penalty. The play came just a game after Bergeron took an elbow to the head from Jets forward Alexander Burmistrov.
Fortunately for the Bruins, Bergeron hasn’t been injured yet as the result of either play. Bergeron ended up scoring his first goal of the season by beating Price with 30.1 seconds left in regulation.
|Observations from Bruins’ preseason loss to Red Wings||09.28.15 at 9:28 pm ET|
Jimmy Howard lost his shutout bid in the final minute of Monday night’s preseason contest as the Red Wings earned a 3-1 win over the Bruins at TD Garden. Here are some quick observations from the preseason contest:
— Tuukka Rask made his first start of the preseason. After coming up with an impressive kick save on Drew Miller and stopping him again point blank in the second period, Miller finally cashed in on one of his chances when he fired a shot from the right circle past Rask at 7:11 of the second.
Rask didn’t get much help from the guys in front of him on Detroit’s second goal. After getting burned by Tomas Jurco, Linus Arnesson took a hack at Jurco but did not deter the Red Wings forward from scoring on the delayed penalty call. The Wings went up 3-0 in the third on a Andreas Athanosiou wrist shot from the point.
Rask finished the game with 21 saves on 23 shots.
— Loui Eriksson scored Boston’s only goal, with Loui Eriksson picking up a rebound in front off a Torey Krug point shot during 6-on-5 play and jamming it past Howard. It was a good finish to the game for his line with Patrice Bergeron and Marchand after the trio struggled to stay onside early in the contest.
— The B’s survived an injury scare late in the second period. After leaving the ice slowly and in pain, Brad Marchand could be seen grabbing his right thigh area as he remained on the bench for the final 5:38 of the period. Fortunately for the Bruins, Marchand was back on the ice to start the third period.
— David Pastrnak may have taken an uncalled stick to the face late in the third period. Pastrnak dropped his stick and left the ice holding his mouth after Brian Lashoff’s stick apparently got him with a little more than four minutes remaining.
– David Krejci was not in Monday’s lineup, Matt Beleskey and Pastrnak were centered by Austin Czarnik. The line wasn’t anything special, though it did draw a pair of penalties.
Pastrnak sprung Beleskey for a breakaway, but the puck was just out of his reach and Jimmy came out of his net to minimize the threat.
|Why Claude Julien and the Bruins still consider new OT a work in progress||09.25.15 at 12:22 pm ET|
You can safely assume when on-ice officials are explaining what happens to a head coach in the middle of a play, there is still some uncertainty about the rules.
Such is the case with the reformatted overtime in the NHL. On Thursday night, Bruins defenseman Matt Irwin took a hooking penalty 1:25 into the extra period. Instead of the Bruins going down a man, the Rangers went up a man.
The NHL is introducing the 3-on-3 overtime this season. To avoid a 3-on-2 situation that would be more like a pre-game warmup rush, the NHL decided to go with a modified power play that would be identical to overtimes of the past. But while that was difficult enough to get used to, what happened next was even a little more peculiar.
The Rangers, getting mixed up with the extra man line changes of the new overtime, took a too many men on the ice when they wound up with the puck and six skaters on the ice. Veteran referee Eric Furlatt went over to Claude Julien to explain that the Bruins would not gain an extra man and go 4-on-4 but rather the Rangers would lose their additional man on the ice.
Then the Bruins would have their own 4-on-3 once Irwin’s penalty expired. Neither team scored and the Bruins would win the preseason game, 4-3, in seven rounds of a shootout. Still, the experience was much more helpful than Tuesday night’s encounter with the Capitals, a game that featured 3-on-3 for all of 12 seconds before David Pastrnak scored.
|Brad Marchand tells NHL.com he had offseason elbow surgery||09.01.15 at 9:32 pm ET|
Marchand, who led the Bruins with 24 goals last season, told Kalman he had offseason surgery to fix torn tendons in his elbow, which had been hampering him since the start of the 2014 playoffs. Kalman noted that Marchand spent six weeks in a cast following the surgery before switching to a splint for another three or four weeks. The 27-year-old, who is in town skating with teammates in preparation for training camp, said he is “feeling good now” after recovering from the surgery and hopes to be at 100 percent for the start of the season.
“There were days where I couldn’t even hold my stick,” Marchand told Kalman. “It was always tough to shoot. There’d be times throughout the year where it was good. But when it was bad it was tough to even … like I wasn’t shooting in practice and stuff like that. So it definitely affected my game a bit. So it was good to get it done.”
To read Kalman’s story, click here.
|Brad Marchand promises missing playoffs ‘definitely something that’s going to drive us next year’||04.13.15 at 11:33 pm ET|
One of the pitfalls of success can be the false sense of comfort it provides.
Brad Marchand said Monday on wrap-up day at TD Garden that these Bruins who missed the playoffs with 96 points took winning for granted too often this season and it eventually caught up with them at the end.
This is a Bruins team that had made the playoffs in each of the first seven seasons under Claude Julien. But the run of success ended in season No. 8 as the Bruins watched their hold on the second wild card spot slip out of their hands in the final week.
“We all have to come in knowing that we have to learn from this year,” Marchand said. “We have to know that every game we have to be prepared for and we can’t have any guys taking nights off. I think too many nights we had guys not at the top of their game and most nights we could only rely on a couple of guys. We have to make sure that we all are prepared every night. That’s what we seemed to be so good at in the past. Four lines, 60 [minutes] and the goalie rolling and when we play like that and play within the system, we’re a good team.”
Having won the Stanley Cup in 2011, reaching the finals two years later and finishing with the best record last season, does Marchand think the Bruins took winning and success for granted too much this season?
“For sure. We definitely did,” Marchand said. “When you’re at the top, you feel like it’s going to be there all the time,” Marchand said. “It’s always going to happen. This is a big wakeup call for our team. I think now we realize how hard we have to continue to work to be at the top and get back there. It is definitely a wakeup call for us. We definitely took it a bit for granted and expected it to be there. We’re going to have to make sure we’re working hard to get back to the top.”
Marchand made the playoffs in each of his first five seasons before missing out this year.
“It’s obviously very disappointing. Something to really’it’s tough to describe,” Marchand said. “You have such high hopes coming into the year and obviously with this team we’re expected to not just make the playoffs but win the whole thing. To not be there is different. I’ve never missed the playoffs before in my life so it’s not a good feeling at all. It’s definitely something that’s going to drive us next year.”
|Milan Lucic doesn’t want to be traded, Bruins players accept blame for lost season||04.11.15 at 11:37 pm ET|
TAMPA, Fla. — The Bruins didn’t play dumb after concluding their disaster of a 2014-15 season. They know that when the bar is set high and the results come in low, things can change quickly.
Charlie Jacob’s words about the team’s leadership being under review midway through the season suggested general manager and Peter Chiarelli could be on the hot seat. Star players could be shipped out of town.
Milan Lucic, a player who is both one-of-a-kind and overpaid, hopes this season didn’t cost anyone their jobs, himself included. Lucic has one season remaining on a three-year, $18 million contract with a modified no-trade clause. The 26-year-old, who will be an unrestricted free agent following the deal, had just 18 goals in 81 games this season.
“Obviously, there’s high expectations on this team and this organization,” he said. “I think, if you look at things, when there’s those high expectations and they aren’t met, changes usually seem to be made. As a player, those are things that are out of your control.
“For myself, personally, I just want to be back and stay in Boston. You love the team, you love the city, you love the organization and you hope that things stay the same as much as they can.”
Players were aware of Jacobs’ comments. The B’s went on a five-game winning streak in January following that press conference, but their play dropped off again in a season full of starts and stops. Tuukka Rask felt that said the players failed their bosses and not the other way around.
“Coaches put the game plan out there and we go out there and try to execute it,” Tuukka Rask said. “Obviously that wasn’t the case this year, so a lot of it falls on us as players because we underachieved. We just have to live with it.”
Asked about Julien and Chiarelli, Brad Marchand said it’s ‘not their fault that we didn’t perform.’ Marchand, who led the Bruins with 24 goals this season, said that nobody did well enough this season.
“I don’t think that any of us really performed to our capabilities this year,” Marchand said. “The goals may have been there at times, but that doesn’t mean that I had any better of a season than anyone else. I think we all know that we could have been better, and if we were then we wouldn’t be here right now. This is a failure of a season for all of us and it doesn’t matter what guys’ stats were.”
TAMPA, Fla. – Chowder and playoff hockey: That’s what Boston does.
Perhaps until Saturday night, anyway. If the Bruins do not get the help they need from both other teams and then beat the Lightning, they will miss the playoffs for the first time since the 2006-07 season. Dave Lewis was the head coach, Zdeno Chara was in his first year with Boston and a 21-year-old Patrice Bergeron was the team’s bright spot. David Krejci (six games) was the only other current Bruin to play for that team.
That roster was terrible. This one isn’t.
Postseason hockey has become a given since Claude Julien arrived the following season. Brad Marchand, in his fifth full NHL season, has never realistically had to think about where to vacation in April. If Lady Luck spurns the B’s Saturday, he and his teammates will be cleaning out their lockers at TD Garden before the superior half of the league begins the playoffs on Wednesday.
Julien’s Bruins have set a higher standard. Though they’ve had a couple close calls over the years, none have been anything like this. Marchand said that while he figured there would be a time in his Bruins career that the team might fall off from the elite teams of the Eastern Conference, he never thought it would happen this quickly.
“I know teams go through times where they rebuild, especially in the cap era, but I don’t think we were expecting to be battling for a playoff spot like this for a few years to come,” Marchand said after Saturday’s morning skate.
Milan Lucic, a member of the 2009-10 team that finished with the seventh seed and blew a 3-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals to the Flyers, said Saturday morning that he would consider this the most disappointing season he has experienced if the Bruins missed the playoffs.
Lucic’s first season was in 2007-08, the start of Boston’s seven-year streak of reaching the postseason annually. That group didn’t secure its spot until the final days of the season, getting in as a No. 8 seed before taking the top-seeded Canadiens to seven games before being eliminated.
Compared to this, that season was triumphant. There is no feel-good story attached to the Bruins’ current situation and they know it.
“You compare this team to the ‘07-08 team,” Lucic said. “On paper, we’re so much better, and here we are with the situation we’re in. I guess I’ll have a better answer for you tonight.”
The Bruins built off that 2008 playoff berth. Missing out on one this season could signal organization changes and they know it.
Peter Chiarelli and Claude Julien both deserve to keep their jobs. They are two of the best in the league at what they do, and with no guarantee that better options will be available, blowing things up could leave the Bruins where the Penguins currently stand: fighting for the playoffs on the last day themselves, with no first-round pick after the team hastily moved it in a desperate attempt to bolster its offense.
Yet Charlie Jacobs said what he said in January and he might feel required to hold someone accountable. That could mean changes, and a new leadership group would mean no current players are safe.
“Anything can happen if things go wrong,’ Marchand said, ‘but today isn’t really the time to talk about that. It’s more worrying about what we can control and playing a big game tonight.
“You know what? If we win tonight, then it’s possible that we’re still in. Hopefully that’s the case, but if not then we’ll worry about that in the next few days.”