|Claude Julien: We still need Tuukka Rask||02.11.11 at 10:28 pm ET|
Tuukka Rask has enough on his plate. He’s not about to try and read Claude Julien‘s mind on coaching decisions.
But to be honest, he didn’t exactly need to be The Amazing Kreskin to figure out what the Bruins coach was thinking when he yanked Rask after the second period of Friday’s 6-1 dud against the Red Wings before a displeased Garden crowd.
“I’m not going to start analyzing that,” Rask said. “I thought I deserved to get pulled. I didn’t play to my level today.”
That’s one way of putting it.
Rask admitted he did not have one of his finer performances of the year and that he deserved to get pulled after allowing five goals on 18 shots in two periods. Rask, who fell to 5-11-1, said he had no criticism of coach Julien, who started Tim Thomas in goal to start the third.
Julien said he has not lost confidence in Rask, who allowed goals on the first two shots he faced as the Bruins fell behind 2-0 in the first three minutes and never recovered. The last time Rask was pulled was on New Year’s Day in Buffalo when Rask allowed three in the first, despite the Bruins leading, 4-3.
Julien started him in the next game and Rask was very good in a 2-1 at Toronto.
“We didn’t feel he was as sharp as we needed him to be, that was number one,” Julien said of Rask. “He still made some good saves. I don’t think we didn’t recognize that as well, but he just wasn’t as sharp tonight and after discussing the situation, we just felt that the right thing to do was to give Timmy the third period.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Chara: Bruins need to do ‘everything’ better Sunday||at 10:19 pm ET|
It isn’t surprising that after the 6-1 beatdown the B’s took from the Red Wings on Friday, they’re expecting a little more on Sunday when they face Detroit for the second time in three days. Coach Claude Julien understandably didn’t like what he saw from his team, as the Bruins came out flat against a highly skilled Detroit club with great puck-moving ability, and the Wings dominated throughout the night as a result.
“We weren’t skating tonight. We were second on the puck. Even when they had the puck, I just felt they had lots of time to make plays,” Julien said, adding, “it just seemed that nothing was going to go our way.”
The game left Julien looking to see what type of effort the B’s can give against the Red Wings Sunday in Detroit. The Bruins have won four of their last six games, but it’s games against top teams like the Red Wings (second place in the Western Conference) that will show whether the Bruins can hang with the best the league has to offer.
“We’re a much better team than we showed,” Julien said. “We have another shot and we can see where we stand with teams like Detroit.”
When it comes to tailoring their approach, captain Zdeno Chara says the difference on Sunday will have to be sticking to their game-plan, something that went out the window in the first 1:10 of the game on Todd Bertuzzi‘s first goal of the night.
“I think overall our game has to be better [Sunday],” Chara said. “Everything about it. We were losing battles, we didn’t skate with them, pretty much everything. We were just flat all around.”
The B’s will face the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena Sunday 12:30 p.m. on Sunday.
|Milan Lucic muscles up so Nathan Horton can finally do his thing||02.10.11 at 10:21 am ET|
Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton are big, big men on the ice, cut from the same mold. But while it’s been a great year for Lucic, it’s been an up-and-down one for Horton, in his first season in Boston.
They both clicked Wednesday night and as a result, the impact on the Bruins’ offense was dramatic – as in eight goals dramatic.
Lucic added to his team lead in goals with tallies Nos. 22 and 23 and Horton – with a goal and four assists – had his most productive night of his career in an 8-6 knock-down, drag-out KO of the Habs.
“We are just happy that we were able to get that win,” Lucic said. “They have been a tough opponent for us. We lost last time but not [this time]. Most of all we are happy to get those two points and to keep moving up in the standings.”
Indeed, for all the excitement over the pugilistic debut of Tim Thomas against Carey Price, this game was a huge one in the standings. The Bruins increased their lead to four points over the Habs, with a game in hand, still.
As for his line of center David Kreji and Horton, it was on fire.
“I mean I felt like that ever since we were put back together lately we have been ok, I mean we have had no goal here, one goal there,” Lucic said. “We knew we could be a threat every time we went on the ice and that is what we have kind of talked about as a line yesterday we wanted to be that threat and you know get in there and play with that emotion. Be the guys that Coach counts on, and so its definitely great that we had a game the way we did we have to keep pushing it and keep getting more.”
Horton’s struggles have been well-chronicled. Even coach Claude Julien has pointed to Horton’s struggles often in the last two months. Wednesday night, Julien admitted that the Bruins have been waiting for this breakout ever since Horton started the season with eight goals and 10 assists in the first 17 games of the season.
“Well, that’s what we have wanted from him for a while now, so it happened tonight,” Julien said after Horton’s career game. “We are certainly happen with that. Now it’s a matter of hopefully him continuing to do that for our team, he was a big help for us.”
“It’s nice,” Horton said in the understatement of the night. “Obviously, it helps me a little bit with my confidence. It is nice but it’s nice to get the points, it’s a big game for us. It was a four-point game, and we won.
“It was just working hard. I think we were ready to go. We talked about it as a line, before the game, we need to start playing and start contributing. I think we did that tonight but it’s only one game and hopefully we can continue to keep bringing it.”
But nothing means more than to have the support of a fellow teammate and linemate.
“It seemed like he was getting really hard on himself getting really down on himself but it these last few games you can see he is on his game again and its all starting to find his game again,” Lucic said of Horton. “It all starts with him skating, using his speed, his body, and you know he had a big night tonight and hopefully he continues with his confidence.”
It was almost like fighting your brother. You know deep down you don’t want to but as a matter of pride – and territory – you need to.
That was one way to look at the way Tim Thomas took off some 185 feet like hell on skates after fellow All-Star goalie Carey Price with 7:24 left in the second period Wednesday night.
So Tim, what happened?
“Which part? I mean…well he was jumping in,” Thomas said of Price’s actions when Brad Marchand drilled James Wisniewski on an icing touch-up. “I went off the blue line and he backed into his crease. And then so I’m like okay, and then he went in again and you just can’t let it be an outnumbered situation and so that’s what I was thinking when I went down there. He was more than willing to fight. And I had this big old plan. I was going to grab his right and I was going to throw lefts because I know he’s bigger and taller and has a reach on me.
“I thought I could do a better job throwing lefts in him and when I went to grab he got a good hold on my right arm and I got nothing. So then I was like, oh now what do I do? Because I know he’s got a big right cocked and ready to come so I tried to switch arms and get my right free and I grabbed him by the back of the shirt and when he threw the right I pulled on…I was trying to pull him off-balance and his shirt came off his head and then I fell and…actually as I was falling my left arm came free and but then it was over. He fought with the fighter’s manners as far as not hitting when you’re down.”
Fighter’s manners. There’s a new one. Fighter’s manners apparently included patting each other on the shouler and backside after it was over, after only 15 seconds of grabbing and tugging.
“We’re on opposing teams but we spent some time together at hockey camp a few summers ago and we were just at the All-Star game together,” Thomas said. “We’re on friendly terms. It was business. But once business is done, it’s done.”
“Well, I know Timmy pretty well,” Price added. “I think we were just out there play-fighting more than anything. Neither one of us really wanted to get hurt, but we are out there doing whatever we had to do, I guess.”
Price was surprised when he saw Thomas skating right for him but in the end, he didn’t think the wrestling match was going to amount to much and certainly not like the fight between the Islanders’ Rick DiPietro and Pittsburgh’s Brent Johnson that ended when Johnson knocked out DiPietro, breaking the orbital bone of his face with a punch.
“Yeah, we didn’t really know what is going on, but really there is not much to get thrown out about,” Price said. “The biggest thing is that we didn’t back down. Our guys stood behind each other. I think these are good games to play in. I think they are good character builders.”
What was also new to Thomas was the idea of fighting the opposing goalie.
“I’ve been playing a long time and it’s just never a situation where it’s worked out like that but tonight it did,” he said.
Bruins coach Claude Julien sounded a much more serious but still, understanding tone.
“It’s not something you like to see,” Julien said. “I don’t think, you never like to see your goaltenders get into those kinds of things but, certainly not sitting here and condemning him for doing that, it’s the heat of the game. They were both willing combatants and you live with that.”
|Tyler Seguin scratched vs. Canadiens, Tim Thomas to start for Bruins||02.09.11 at 11:47 am ET|
Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas was the first to leave the ice in Thursday’s morning skate, an indication that he will be in goal when the B’s host the Canadiens at 7 p.m. Thomas, 25-6-6 this season, has a 1.80 goals against average and a .945 save percentage, both of which lead the league.
Tyler Seguin, meanwhile, will be a healthy scratch for the Bruins, with fellow rookies Zach Hamill and Jordan Caron cracking the lineup for the B’s. Coach Claude Julien said it’s more of a numbers game regarding why the second overall pick will find himself in the press box for the third time this season.
“I know who he is, and I know where he was drafted and all that stuff,” the coach said, adding that Seguin’s recent struggles don’t “change the outlook of what we think of him.”
In 51 games this season, Seguin has eight goals and nine assists for 17 points and a plus-1 rating. He has averaged 12:18 of ice time, though he has played less than 10 minutes of the last four games.
|Bruins struggle on power play in loss to Sharks||02.05.11 at 4:59 pm ET|
On the Bruins’ first power play of Saturday’s 2-0 loss to the Sharks, Milan Lucic had a golden opportunity to tie the game up. A Zdeno Chara one-timer led to a rebound at the left side of the net and gave Lucic a brief look at an open cage. Unfortunately for the Bruins, Lucic’s bid went wide right.
That was the closest the Bruins would get on the power play, as they ultimately finished the game 0-for-4 on the man advantage. Not only did they fail to get another great look on their final three power plays, but they struggled to even get set up in the offensive zone.
“Our power play tonight had a tough time,” said coach Claude Julien. “Tonight was probably one of the tougher times we’ve had at getting the puck in. When we did get it in, we weren’t winning those battles for loose pucks and they kept shooting it back down the ice. That was probably, to me, the biggest difference in tonight’s game.”
The Bruins have now gone 0-for-12 on the power play over their last five games and 1-for-19 over their last seven. Julien said Saturday’s problems with getting organized and maintaining possession don’t really reflect how the power play has performed lately, though.
“I think the other night against Dallas, even though we didn’t score, our power play was good,” Julien said. “We moved the puck well and we had some chances and we didn’t score. … So we really felt our power play had taken a stride in the right direction. Tonight was a totally different case. We weren’t good enough in that area. This is our best players having to be at their best.”
Julien credited the Sharks with doing a good job on the penalty kill, but he also said his players could’ve made better decisions with the puck to try and overcome that.
“They were here the other night watching us, obviously, and they made some adjustments with their PK,” Julien said. “At the same time, we still have other options, and I don’t think our guys always took the best options. Consequently, we weren’t getting in clean.”
As much as the power play struggled, David Krejci said he liked some of the chances the Bruins generated on it in the first period. He also said he thinks it has looked pretty good lately despite the dearth of goals.
He pointed out that if Lucic’s rebound bid had gone in instead of going wide, he probably wouldn’t have to answer questions about the power play’s struggles.
“If that goes in,” Krejci said, “it would be a different game and we wouldn’t be talking about how the power play was bad tonight.”
|How the Bruins have become Team Unity, and why it matters||02.04.11 at 8:57 am ET|
Just four minutes into Thursday’s slugfest at the Garden, Stars forward Adam Burish came in on Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask and fired a shot several seconds after the whistle had clearly blown, stopping play.
That is a big hockey no-no.
And Andrew Ference made sure Burish paid the penalty. The Bruins defenseman came over to enforce the hockey the law, eventually drawing Burish into a fight — which Ference clearly won — and a message had been sent. Don’t mess with these Bruins or you pay the price, especially on Boston’s home ice.
“We’re a tight group,” said Patrice Bergeron, who scored twice and assisted on an empty-netter. “We’ve always said that and we all know that. We’re … we get along real well off the ice and we try to bring that on the ice. I think that Ference fight is the best example just by showing that he took a shot after the whistle on Tuukka and Andy responded right away. So I think it’s … it showed our unity, and we’ve got to keep going.”
As for Ference himself, he said Thursday’s win showed how the Bruins can get back to being the right mix of talent and toughness, just like 2008-09, when they were the top seed in the East and a favorite to get to the Stanley Cup finals.
“One of the good things we did in that year, and something we’ve established over the last few is, when our team is emotionally and physically involved, we’re a very good team,” Ference said. “We’ve proven that the other way around, too. When it’s not there, we lose games. You know, go back to the Carolina series a couple years ago. I think that’s what almost all of us pointed our fingers at, it was missing. We know that that has to be there for us to be successful, and it was good [against Dallas].”
Bruins coach Claude Julien certainly had no problem with it.
“It was an opportunity for us to step up for each other, and we did and I thought it certainly played in our favor,” Julien said of the four fights in four minutes — three in the opening four seconds. “We’re a team that can handle that and guys seem to be ready for it and certainly that part of it was good. Those two quick goals also were proof that we were ready to play.” Read the rest of this entry »
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