|What Tim Thomas did – and didn’t – see on the Capitals’ game-winner||04.14.12 at 9:29 pm ET|
There’s an old hockey adage that was proven very true Saturday as the Capitals tied the Bruins at a game apiece in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series – you can’t stop what you can’t see.
When Marcus Johansson outworked Johnny Boychuk for the loose puck in the defensive cornerboards, the Swede fed his native countryman Nicklas Backstrom to nearly the exact same spot Chris Kelly won Game 1.
Only difference this time was that there was a lot more traffic in front of the goalie. And in this case, Tim Thomas practically had no chance, unless he was lucky enough to have the puck hit him. No such luck.
“I just had time to yell ‘screen’ and then I think I picked it up about halfway to me, but it was one of those knuckle [shots],” Thomas said. “You can’t get a read on exactly where it’s going. It is what it was.”
Asked if the shot dipped on him or just fluttered, Thomas again couldn’t describe what he couldn’t see.
“I didn’t see it enough to tell you,” Thomas added.
It was a bizarre kind of game for Thomas, who thought he was going to smother a puck that fluttered in on him in the second period. But out of nowhere Greg Zanon collided with him as he was trying to cover and Troy Brouwer was on the spot to find it, and flip a backhander between his legs while he was on the ground trying to get on it. Read the rest of this entry »
|After facing shots, Tuukka Rask one step closer to being ready for Bruins||04.09.12 at 1:19 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins saw a familiar face on the ice Monday, as Tuukka Rask joined his teammates in their first practice in anticipation of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
Rask has been out since suffering an abdomen strain/groin strain on March 3, and after being expected to miss 4-6 weeks, he seems to be on pace to be available should he be needed at some point in the postseason. After starting to skate last week, he faced shots for the first time on Monday.
“Good,” Rask said when asked how he felt after the practice. “It was good to get back on the ice with the guys and stop some shots, so it was all good.”
Rask didn’t look slowed by his injury Monday, as he moved around well and went into the butterfly position with ease.
The goalie wouldn’t say whether he thinks he’ll be on the bench for Game 1 against the Capitals Thursday, while Claude Julien said Rask remains day-to-day. The Finnish net minder was pleased with what he was able to get out of Monday’s skate, and said that he made every type of save he would need to make to feel ready without overdoing it.
“You don’t want to just go out there and hurt it again in the first practice,” he said. “I pretty much did everything I wanted to, so it was a good day.”
This injury was the first time in his Bruins career that Rask has been out for an extended period of time. While recovering, Rask said he spoke to teammates Andrew Ference and Greg Zanon, both of whom have had similar injuries in the past.
“It’s not easy,” he said. “It’s been a tough five weeks and a couple more days, just to stay out and not be able to go out with the guys and go on the road and stuff. It’s tough to not push it too much and just stay patient.”
Rask wouldn’t go into specifics regarding what his plan is in the coming days. He didn’t say whether he needs to ramp it up more, as he said is plan is to “just try to stop every puck.”
|Still adjusting, Greg Zanon reacts to healthy scratch||03.09.12 at 2:05 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — When the Bruins traded for Greg Zanon and Mike Mottau at the trade deadline, it created a situation in which they would have multiple veteran defensemen battling for playing time. After all, when everyone is healthy, the B’s will have eight defensemen. That would likely leave the likes of Mottau, Zanon and perhaps Joe Corvo competing for one spot.
After putting forth a strong showing in his Bruins debut last Thursday, Zanon appeared to be a good candidate to stick as one of the six blueliners in the B’s lineup each night. In the games that followed, however, he took a few strides backward, knocking a puck into the net Sunday against the Rangers and screening Tim Thomas on a Maple Leafs goal. He was a minus-4 over a three-game stretch, and was made a healthy scratch Thursday against the Sabres in favor of Mottau.
“I don’t make those decisions, so I just come,” Zanon said of being scratched. “I prepare the same every day. I prepare like I’m playing, and then when you find out if you’re in or you’re not in, that’s the way it goes. That’s the staff, that’s the management’s choice. All I can do is make sure that I’m ready for Saturday’s game, whether I play or not play, and just make sure my body’s ready to go at all times.”
If there was any message delivered by Claude Julien Thursday, Zanon prefers to keep it between him and the coach. Julien had said after Thursday’s morning skate that he had liked the way Zanon was playing, yet he still opted to sit the 31-year-old against Buffalo.
“It was [Julien’s] decision,” Zanon said. “I don’t ask questions about it. It was, you know, ‘You’re not going tonight.’ He said I’d been playing well. It’s just, I wasn’t going.”
After Friday’s optional practice (in which Zanon took part) at Ristuccia Arena, Julien said the move was more about getting Mottau into a game. The 33-year-old hadn’t played since making his Bruins debut last Tuesday against the Senators, so Julien wanted to make sure he kept the Quincy native fresh.
“It was an opportunity to put Mike Mottau in,” Julien said of the decision. “We’re trying to do a little bit of what we did with [Shane] Hnidy last year, trying to keep everybody I guess as fresh and as sharp as we can. Every once in a while, you pull a guy out, you put another guy in. When Ference is back, we’ve got eight D, so we’ve just got to kind of monitor that in a way that we’re going to try to do the best we can, so that guys don’t sit around too too long.”
Added Julien: “I didn’t mind [Mottau’s] game last night. He’s a smart player, he makes smart plays, good decisions. He finishes his checks when he has to. I thought he was good last night. I really did. You say that because he’s been sitting around for a while, watching some games, and he gets back in the lineup and plays the way he did. That’s exactly what we need from the players that aren’t playing every night. When you come in, remain sharp.”
As for Zanon, the former Wild blueliner says he is still getting adjusted to how the Bruins handle rushes, and that a lot of the acclimation process is getting used to the other defensemen and their positioning. Known as a safe defenseman capable of blocking a lot of shots, he doesn’t feel the flubs in his own end led to him spending Thursday night’s game in the press box.
“The D zone thing, I don’t think it’s been the issue,” he said. “You’d have to ask [Julien]. I don’t know what it was. Obviously, any time you can watch from up top, it’s a lot slower. It’s a way different game when you watch from up top. Obviously, when you’re on the ice, you base everything more on reaction and what you see on the time. It helps a little bit to be up there, but you also want to be in the game.”
|Greg Zanon to make Bruins debut Thursday vs. Devils||03.01.12 at 12:35 pm ET|
Bruins coach Claude Julien told reporters Thursday that defenseman Greg Zanon will be in the lineup Thursday night against the Devils, while Mike Mottau will be a healthy scratch.
Zanon, acquired from the Wild on Monday, arrived in Boston Tuesday but was kept out of the lineup agaisnt the Senators after missing the morning skate. In 39 games with Minnesota, he had two goals and four assists for six points.
Mottau made his Bruins debut Tuesday, logging 10:49 of ice time.
|Joe Corvo knows he may be battling for his spot in the Bruins’ lineup||02.28.12 at 12:17 pm ET|
Monday’s defensive additions made Joe Corvo‘s job a lot less safe. He knows that.
In the weeks leading up to the NHL’s trade deadline, it was clear that the Bruins would benefit from adding a defenseman to potentially upgrade Corvo’s spot in the lineup. Corvo’s first (and likely last) season with the B’s has been a disappointment, as he just three goals and 19 assists for 22 points, a step backwards from his 11-goal, 40-point campaign a season ago with the Hurricanes.
On Monday, the Bruins added two defensemen who could compete to take away Corvo’s minutes once Johnny Boychuk is healthy. The most likely candidate is shot-blocking wiz Mark Zanon, with the other addition coming in the form of local boy Mike Mottau. Corvo normally plays on the team’s second pairing with Dennis Seidenberg, but Seidenberg and Zanon, who was second in the league last season with 212 blocked shots, would create a shut-down pair for the B’s.
“You definitely count the numbers and figure out that somebody’s got to sit,” Corvo said. “‘¦It just depends on how everybody’s playing.”
Corvo admits that he hasn’t performed as well with the B’s as he had hoped when the team acquired him over the summer. He’s a free agent at season’s end, and spending the stretch run as a healthy scratch wouldn’t exactly boost his stock once he hits the open market.
“I think I’m old enough to the point where you just play and not worry about [what it means for my next contract],” Corvo said. “You worry about that stuff in the summer time. It’s been obviously a slow year, but I feel like I’ve been making strides lately and playing well, so that’s all I’m concerned about, is just playing well and feeling good about my game.”
Corvo knows Mottau well, as the two were roommates for the World Junior Championships in Finland back in 1998. Now, Corvo knows Mottau may be here to take his job.
“I’ve seen him over the years, too. I feel like I’ve known the guy my whole life, just because I’ve been at USA camps with him and stuff,” Corvo said. “I know what kind of guy he is. He’s awesome, awesome to have in the room. I’m excited to have him here. Maybe it creates a little competition within the D core to be sharper every night and to be accountable, so it’s good.”
Corvo has also been in the news recently for the headshot he took from Kyle Turris in Saturday’s meeting with the Senators. The lack of suspension surprised a lot of people, including Corvo, who went off after hearing the news.
‘That’s ridiculous,” he told reporters Monday. “I think if you look back at the game before [in Boston Jan. 31], I hit him clean in center ice. I made it a point not to get my elbow up in his face. But apparently he didn’t give me the same courtesy.
‘So, let’s just say I’ll be looking for him right off the bat.’
Added Corvo: ‘Two days of walking around, I’ve got a headache. Just because I didn’t lie on the ice and get carted off or miss a period ‘¦ I don’t know. It doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a cheap shot. In my opinion, I think he saw my numbers and he took the opportunity to seek revenge from the game prior.
‘Hopefully he’s a man and he’s going to step up tomorrow when I come after him. I’m not going to try and hurt him, I’m going to try to fight him.’
On Tuesday, Corvo did a little backpedaling, saying that he had “foot-in-mouth syndrome” when he reacted to the lack of suspension.
“It was just a situation where I said to much and maybe put my individual priorities over team priorities, but I haven’t seen the hit,” Corvo said.
The blueliner is feeling better after having headaches the last three days. He’ll be in the lineup vs. the Senators Tuesday, so look for him to make good on his words and find Turris.
|Greg Zanon won’t play for Bruins Tuesday night||at 12:17 pm ET|
Bruins coach Claude Julien said after Tuesday’s morning skate that he expects additions Brian Rolston and Mike Mottau to be in the lineup when the B’s take on the Senators Tuesday night. Greg Zanon just arrived in Boston and did not take part in the morning skate and will not play Tuesday.
Julien added that forward Shawn Thornton, who has been sick recently, is expected to be in the lineup. Thornton was present for Tuesday’s morning skate.
Rolston, who was acquired with Mottau from the Islanders Monday, centered Benoit Pouliot and Jordan Caron in the morning skate.
Julien said he was “really happy with the moves, which provide the B’s with depth for the stretch run.
“Depth doesn’t mean they don’t belong in our lineup,” Julien said, “it means we have a lot more options now.”
|Breaking down Bruins’ additions of Greg Zanon, Mike Mottau, Brian Rolston||02.27.12 at 4:14 pm ET|
After what was looking like a very quiet trade deadline, the Bruins did indeed pull of a pair of trades, landing the likes of Greg Zanon, Mike Mottau and Brian Rolston. According to capgeek.com, the Bruins added $7.8 million against the salary cap with the three trades.
B’s general manager Peter Chiarelli is set to address the media at 5:00 p.m. here at TD Garden. Until then, here are some quick reactions to the two deals.
Zanon deal: Bruins trade defenseman Steve Kampfer to Wild for defenseman Greg Zanon
Reaction: At face value, the Bruins traded a defenseman who couldn’t crack the top six for a defenseman who should end up on the second pairing with Dennis Seidenberg.
Zanon, 31, is in the last year of his contract and carries a $2.1 million cap hit. The 5-foot-11, 202-pound veteran averaged 18:37 of ice time in Minnesota this season, and last year he was second in the league with 212 blocked shots. That makes him a solid pickup, especially if he can fit well with Seidenberg for the rest of the season before Claude Julien presumably reunites the Seidenberg-Zdeno Chara super pairing.
Of course, if Zanon ends up playing on Seidenberg’s pairing, that would mean that Joe Corvo has lost his spot in the Bruins’ lineup (at least once Johnny Boychuk is back in the lineup). That’s the assumption at this point, as it seemed all along that one of the Bruins’ biggest needs at the deadline was an upgrade at Corvo’s spot. Corvo, a free agent at season’s end, has been prone to bad turnovers and has not produced as much offensively as he has in seasons past with other clubs.
One stat with Zanon that sticks out: He has just 27 shots on goal in 39 games this season. By comparison, Adam McQuaid has the lowest total amongst Bruins’ regulars with 39. He’s played six more games than Zanon, but he’s also average about three less minutes per game.
As far as the compensation goes, consider this scribe somewhat surprised to see Kampfer go. The 22-year-old blue liner had been up for stretches at a time over the last two seasons. He showed promise with his speed and skills in the offensive zone, but he never got enough consecutive games this season to look quite as comfortable as he did when he was first called up by the Bruins last season.
The good news for Kampfer is that he’ll get a break from life as a seventh defenseman and actually play in Minnesota.
Mottau/Rolston deal: Bruins trade AHL defenseman Marc Cantin and forward Yannick Riendeau to Islanders for defenseman Mike Mottau and forward Brian Rolston
Chiarelli brought a couple of players back to Boston, as Mottau played his college hockey at Boston College, while Rolston played five seasons for the Bruins after being acquired in the Ray Bourque deal.
Mottau was recently activated off injured reserve by the Islanders, as he was out from Dec. 29 until Sunday with a concussion. In 29 games this season, the 31-year-old has two assists and a minus-10 rating. He should be an extra guy on the Bruins’ lineup.
As for Rolston, he becomes the Bruins’ lone pickup to address their injury-bitten offense. With both Nathan Horton (concussion) and Rich Peverley (knee) out, the 39-year-old Rolston is by no means a replacement for either, though he can handle minutes on the Bruins’ third line for the time being. He also brings a good veteran presence. From his days with the Bruins (2000-2004), only Patrice Bergeron remains on the roster.
As NESN’s Douglas Flynn notes, Rolston’s $5.0625 million cap hit actually makes him the Bruins’ highest-paid forward, and second-highest player behind Chara ($6.9 million).
This trade lands the B’s a couple of veterans whose impact will be limited, but given the cost, it was a deal worth making. Neither Cantin nor Riendeau figure to make much of an impact at the NHL level.
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