|Appreciative Jaromir Jagr on stint with Bruins: ‘We had a pretty good run’||10.28.13 at 12:11 pm ET|
Bruins fans gave a gift to Jaromir Jagr which he’d never received in all of years playing hockey.
“I remember my first shift I played here,” said Jagr, “everybody stand up and clap their hands. They show me the respect the first time I step on ice. That never happened to me before.”
On Saturday night, Boston welcomed back Jagr, the NHL’s active leading scorer, and the future Hall of Famer delivered two assists in the Devils’ come-from-behind 4-3 victory over his former team at the Garden.
The Bruins parted ways with Jagr shortly after the Blackhawks hoisted the Cup, and he signed with New Jersey in July. The former mulleted superstar from the Czech city of Kladno, who still claims he plans on scoring a goal at the age of 50, spoke highly of his time with the Bruins.
“The fans really like the hockey here, they understand the hockey here,” Jagr said. “We had a pretty good run. Maybe with a little more luck we would have been holding the Cup.”
Though Jagr is only 17 goals shy of 700, he failed to put the puck in the net during the B’s 22-game playoff run.
“I know a lot of people are going to say he didn’t score,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “And he didn’t. But he certainly added a lot to our team.”
Previously known for tormenting Bruins fans every spring during his time with Pittsburgh, Jagr’s lasting memory in Boston will be his assist on Patrice Bergeron‘s overtime goal against the Penguins in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals. Jagr won over his teammates by outdueling Evgeni Malkin for a loose puck on the boards, and the victory gave the Bruins a commanding 3-0 lead in the series.
Along with Jagr’s buying into the team concept, Julien also was impressed with the example the veteran set for his teammates.
“He worked hard, he had a great attitude, he made things happen,” Julien said. “I still remember in overtime there in Chicago where he just took a shot, hit the crossbar, and it could have been the winning goal. He was a good example for young guys — working out, doing extra and trying to stay on the top of his game, so he led by example in a lot of ways. We were happy to have him.”
|Claude Julien: ‘Nobody’s clean in this game’||10.24.13 at 7:03 pm ET|
Claude Julien has said multiple times in the past that he wouldn’t play Shawn Thornton if he wasn’t actually a good player, so it wouldn’t be a leap to assume he wasn’t thrilled to see the one-dimensional John Scott give one of his best players a concussion with a dirty elbow to the head, as was the case on Wednesday’s hit on Loui Eriksson.
Julien said prior to Thursday’s game against the Sharks that he doesn’t have a problem with the 6-foot-8, 259-pound Scott playing, but that he’s got a problem with some of his recent actions. That includes trying to fight Phil Kessel in a preseason game.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that John Scott is a good guy,” Julien said. “I haven’t seen too many [players] that aren’t. It’s just unfortunate that you see those kind of players end up hurting the kind of players that you don’t want to get hurt. I don’t know where those decisions are coming from. You see him dropping the gloves against Kessel and now taking that blindsided shot at Loui. I think it’s uncalled for, but that’s the unfortunate part. If those guys know their role and they do their jobs and know who to go after when the time comes and they police their team as far as nobody’s going to take advantage of them, I’m fine with that. I’m disappointed that it’s the way that’s happened and who he’s targeted lately.”
The 31-year-old Scott averages 4:57 of ice time a game and has five career points. He isn’t capable of doing anything but be an enforcer, so when all he can do is go out and either fight or hurt somebody, he gives well-rounded enforcers like Shawn Thornton a bad name.
“In my first couple of years I probably couldn’t play all that much, but I think I worked hard personally to be able to contribute in other ways,” Thornton said. “I know for a fact I wouldn’t be on this team — I’ve been told as such, that if I can’t contribute on the ice other than just sticking up for my teammates. Guys have a job to do. Some guys go about it one way and some guys go about it another, I guess.”
Thornton’s next dirty hit will be his first, and he’s worked hard to be a physical player without being a dangerous player. Of course it isn’t easy.
Julien coaches guys who have been punished for bad hits. Daniel Paille‘s elbow to the head of Raymond Sawada three years ago was as bad as it gets, while Dougie Hamilton was suspended 10 games in the OHL for a hit to the head.
“I have guys like that in my lineup that could be stupid if they wanted to. Nobody’s clean in this game,” Julien said. “We’ve had some incidents happen that as a coach you wish didn’t happen. At the end of the day, we’re trying to clean our game up, and the only way we’re going to clean it up is if we did it as a group. Let’s not expect the league disciplinarian to do it by himself and let’s not expect the players to do it by themselves. It’s everybody, and I think a lot of it starts with respecting each other a little bit better than we have so far.”
|Carl Soderberg takes contact, still a game or two away||10.16.13 at 4:21 pm ET|
SUNRISE, Fla. — Carl Soderberg returned to taking contact Wednesday at BB&T Center as he tries to work his way back from an ankle injury suffered in the preseason. He has missed all five games this season due to the injury, but he was wearing a Merlot sweater Wednesday as the fourth line’s extra forward and participated fully in battle drills.
Following the practice, Claude Julien said that Soderberg is a game or two away from being ready to play in a game for the B’s.
The forward lines for practice were as follows, with Brad Marchand remaining on the third one:
Lucic – Krejci – Iginla
Smith – Bergeron – Eriksson
Marchand – Kelly – Caron
Paille (Soderberg) – Campbell – Thornton
Soderberg had won the third line left wing job in training camp, as the team was set to go with a third line of Chris Kelly between Soderberg and Reilly Smith, but Caron’s improved play seems to have left Soderberg without a spot in the lineup. With that being said, Julien said he’d still like to find a way to get Soderberg into the lineup once he’s ready.
“I think it’s important that we get players in,” Julien said. “He had a really good camp; it’s unfortunate he got hurt then. When the time comes, I’m going to have to make that decision. If I can’t take anybody out, I can’t, but I’d certainly like to get him in there if I could.”
Julien did not seem to think the team would send Soderberg to the AHL for a conditioning assignment.
As for the player himself, Soderberg said that he feels he could get back in a game “very soon.” He said the biggest concern with getting ready to go was taking contact, which he’s now taken.
Said Soderberg: “You always need one or a couple of practices before you get into a game so it’s all set when you [play].”
|Claude Julien: ‘We’re really struggling with our finish lately’||10.15.13 at 10:19 am ET|
Claude Julien isn’t about to panic about his team’s lack of finish to start the season.
After all, the Bruins have been through this before in the last several seasons and eventually found their touch when it mattered most late in the season.
Still, Monday’s 3-2 loss to the Red Wings stung because the Bruins not only have five power play chances but a 5-on-3 for nearly a full two minutes and had good puck possession time in the offensive end but couldn’t get one past Jonas Gustavsson. The Bruins have just 12 goals in five games. Only Buffalo and Ottawa have scored fewer in the new eight-team Atlantic Division.
“We’re really struggling with our finish lately,” Julien said. “It looks like we’re feeling the pressure of scoring goals and they’re not coming easy. So it’s been like that. Even the game in Columbus, took us a while to get going there, obviously Colorado. So I think our goal scoring confidence is probably not where we’d like it to be right now but you have to work through those things.”
As for the experience of having gone through this before, Julien says there are similar tendencies he seen over the years.
“We go through that it seems like every year at some point,” Julien added. “You’re seeing guys either fanning or shooting over the net. There were some scrambles there today where everybody thought the puck was going in the net and whether the goalie stops it or pucks are bouncing it doesn’t matter; the confidence isn’t there right now. So wait on that when the confidence comes back; you’re going to see us score some goals because we feel we have some guys that can score goals on this team.”
The only player who seems to be gripping the stick tighter than anyone right now – by his own admission – is Jarome Iginla. The star forward is still looking for his first goal in a Bruins uniform. He had five more shots on goal on Monday and 19 for the season in five games and still nothing.
“I had some great looks,” Iginla said. “I’ve had great looks for a few games. And pretty much I’ve been getting more chances and you get to a five on three you get chances like that you want to score. I think I missed the net on a couple goals, I think it’s probably just being a little too anxious. Just lifting my head up and you want to get that goal for the team and just get one and get feeling it. At times you squeeze a little too hard, its all those clichÃ©s, sayings you hear, you try to swing a little too hard and lift my head a little bit. And just not in a grove there where you just want to kind of will it in the net as opposed to let it happen.”
“I think he can shoot the puck a lot better than we’ve seen him because we know he’s a good shooter,” Julien said. “So, whether that’s pressing or whether that’s circumstances I don’t know. But he’s been around the league long enough, he’s going to find his way and he’s going to score some goals for us and he’s going to be the player that we thought he would be for our hockey club. So right now it just isn’t there and I see maybe a little hesitation in shooting where, when a player has confidence, their release is a little quicker too.”
|Patrick Roy back in Boston, won’t attack Claude Julien||10.10.13 at 12:59 pm ET|
Patrick Roy gave Bruins fans plenty of bad memories in Boston over the years, and now the former Canadiens and Avalanche goalie is back in town as Colorado’s head coach.
The Hall-of-Famer played 10 seasons for the Habs, winning two Conn Smythes and three Vezinas for the Bruins’ biggest rival.
“Especially with Montreal, playing so many good games here, [it brings back memories],” he said Thursday. “I guess most of my career when I played with Montreal, we were playing in the Garden, but there were a lot of great memories. No doubt about it.”
Now, after eight seasons of coaching the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Roy is the bench boss for the team with which he won two of his four Stanley Cups.
Roy’s tenure as Avs coach is off to a good start with a 3-0-0 record, but it was his antics in the team’s season-opening win over the Ducks last week that were most notable.
Following a knee-on-knee hit from Ben Lovejoy on Colorado rookie Nathan MacKinnon, Roy went after Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau, pushing the glass between the benches at him in a fit of rage.
“I’ve spent the last couple of days solidifying the glass between the benches,” Claude Julien said Thursday morning. “It gave me lots of time to do a lot of different things, so that’s the good part about having a few days off.”
Whether or not he appreciated the joke, Roy stressed after the Avalanche’s morning skate that he couldn’t see himself throwing one of his signature tantrums against someone he respects as much as he does Julien.
“I don’t expect any problems with Claude Julien,” Roy said. “To be honest with you, I have so much respect for him, and he’s a great coach. I mean, when you’re in the finals of the Stanley Cup in two years of the last three, there’s certainly a lot of credit and respect.
“Every time I’ve spoken to him, I’d ask a few questions. If I called him, he was available. He said, ‘Any time you want to talk.’ It’s fun to see guys open up like this with a junior coach, I and I respect that. I’m happy to see him being so successful here in Boston.”
|Carl Soderberg joins morning skate, not ready to play||at 11:50 am ET|
The Bruins held an optional skate Thursday morning, with Carl Soderberg joining his teammates on the ice for the first time since injuring his left ankle nearly two weeks ago.
Soderberg has been skating on his own since Monday but had not practiced. The morning skate was a good opportunity for the B’s to get him in a practice situation, as morning skates are less physically trying and do not involve contact. Claude Julien said that he Soderberg to practice Friday.
“I think it’s a start,” Julien said. “He’s skated enough the last [few days], so it was good to see him out there and doing at least some line rushes and stuff like that. He’s progressing well, but obviously not ready to play.”
|Carl Soderberg skates, Bruins get silly in practice||10.07.13 at 12:43 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Bruins forward Carl Soderberg returned to the ice Monday, skating before the team’s practice at Ristuccia Arena as he works his way back from an ankle injury. Soderberg did not participate in practice, with Jordan Caron remaining on the third line left wing.
“He skated this morning, so he’s getting closer,” Claude Julien said of Soderberg.
After Soderberg finished up and the ice was cleaned, the Bruins acted silly by doing drills with the opposite-shot sticks. After doing offensive zone drills for about 10 minutes, they had a shootout, with a left-handed Shawn Thornton actually scoring on Tuukka Rask.
The Bruins last skate with opposite-shot sticks in a laugh-a-minute practice last season, so with four days between games (they took Sunday off and play the Avalanche Thursday), Julien took the opportunity to keep things light.
“For me, the [hardest] drill in practice is finding a warmup drill where you allow guys to get guys to get their legs and goaltenders feeling pucks,” Julien said. “It was one of the things we’ve done before, give them a chance to loosen up and have fun with it. We’re three days away from the next game, so I don’t think we have to be too hard on them in a Monday morning practice.”
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