|Marc Savard knows there’s nothing worse than being stale during the holidays||12.21.10 at 10:44 am ET|
It was supposed to be a festive night, featuring Rene Rancournaments handed out to 10,000 fans, the Bruins wearing their white home jerseys and the Bruins and Ducks on national TV.
Instead, it turnout out to be one big dud, filled with nothing for Boston hockey fans except the proverbial lump of coal in their stockings – and stale coal at that – which could never light a fire under the Bruins.
The Bruins got 45 shots on Anaheim’s Jonas Hiller but none of them found the back of the net. The Bruins were done in by the Jonas smother.
“You can say we had forty-something shots, but a lot of them were one shot and out,” B’s center Marc Savard said. “We’ve got to dig down. I think the intensity level was lacking tonight on a lot of us and coach switched the lines there for the third. We seemed to have some more jump a bit, just to try and get some energy on the team because like I said, we were getting stale there a little bit.
“We created chances, but bottom line is that you’ve got to come to the rink and want results and I think, including myself, I’m probably top of the list right now I’m not getting any and then therefore, that’s not helping the team at all. So we’ve all got to look in the mirrors here. We’ve got one more before Christmas, it’s huge, and we need it.”
While their coach was ripping them moments later, Savard acknowledged that Claude Julien can’t do much more screaming at them.
“Claude is trying,” Savard added. “I mean, he can’t yell at us every single night. It gets long on him too, so it comes with the guys in the room here to pick up the slack and right now, that’s what we’ve got to do. Like I said, this one more before Christmas here, we’ve got to have a huge effort.”
Savard agreed with Mark Recchi, who told WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan show Tuesday morning that Thursday’s home finale before Christmas has turned into a must-win for the fragile psyche of the team.
Savard said he has no answers right now but knows they better appear Thursday against Atlanta.
“Well, yeah, I mean, I don’t have the answer for it,” Savard said. We’ve all just got to be that much more intense. Like I said, this one before Christmas is huge. We need it.”
Many people have been wondering about the near-term fate of Julien. But just as many – if not more – have wondered if the lineup and roster need a shake-up.
“No, I don’t think the lineup needs a shakeup,” Savard said. “We’ve got a good hockey club. We’ve just got to get it going here and work together as a unit and we’ll be fine. Our goalies are battling for us every night back there and we’ve just got to give them some support.”
|Bruins defeat Panthers with strong third period||11.24.10 at 10:00 pm ET|
It was yet another game in which the B’s had to fight back in the third period, as they entered the period trailing, 1-0, before they got a shorthanded tally from Brad Marchand and a two goals from Mark Recchi.
The Panthers got their lone goal from Steve Reinprecht in the second period. Aside from that, Thomas was sound once again, stopping the other 31 shots he saw. Tomas Vokoun allowed three goals on 35 shots.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Brad Marchand, sheikh of the shorthanded goal. After Vokoun misplayed a puck behind the net and sent it in front of an unoccupied goal, Brad Marchand raced to it and chipped it in, picking up his second shorthanded goal and third goal of his career.
– With Recchi’s second goal, the Bruins are now a — brace yourself — plus-17 in the third period, which is of course tops in the league (the Capitals, at plus-11 are second in the league). Something just happens to this Bruins team in the third period, especially when they’re trailing.
– Recchi reached yet another milestone as his goal was the 1500th point of his career. He’s 13th all-time.
– The third-period shaking up of the lines seemed to work, though Recchi’s first goal came from Krejci. Here’s how they looked after the changes:
Wheeler – Krejci – Ryder
Lucic – Bergeron – Horton
Caron – Campbell – Recchi
Marchand – Seguin – Thornton
– The Bruins were essentially handed the dagger to put in Florida’s heart when Radek Dvorak flipped the puck into the stands from his own end early on in a Michal Repik penalty. The result was a 5-on-3 on which Recchi scored his second goal.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Dennis Wideman was instrumental in setting up the Panther’s first goal. The former Bruin faked out Jordan Caron at the point and slid it over to Michal Repek, whose shot’s rebound found its way to Reinprecht.
– Anyone with access to twitter, (or, at times, the Big Bad Blog) can see that Panthers fans are irate that their old dog in Nathan Horton came to Boston and became a star. Luckily for those Panther fans, they didn’t see Horton do much as their opponent on Wednesday night. Horton had two shots on goal, following up a dismal showing against Tampa by disappearing for most of the night at BankAtlantic Center.
Horton, like others, picked it up in the third period, but the Bruins have seen far better from him.
– It was the third consecutive game in which the Bruins were trailing entering the third period. They’re 1-1-1 in that span.
|Michael Ryder, Bruins hope home struggles not a repeat of last season||11.13.10 at 1:44 pm ET|
The Bruins are dealing with inconsistency at home, but hold the “what else is new?” comment.
The B’s can’t seem to shake whatever it is that made them 17-17-6 at the Garden a season ago and 2-2-1 this season, but that isn’t to say that they’re willing to accept their fate as a bad home team.
“We knew last year that we struggled at home, but we’ve tried to block it out and get to our mentality that we have on the road,” Michael Ryder said following the Bruins’ morning skate on Saturday. “Maybe when when we’re on the road, we’re a little more focused than we are at home. I think we’re aware of it, but I don’t think we need to panic. It’s still early in the year, and I think if we win tonight it will be a big step forward.”
The Bruins will face an Ottawa team on Saturday that is 3-3-1 on the road this season, though the Senators have won their last three road contests. The key to victory will be getting past goaltender Brian Elliot, and that will require more scoring than the Bruins have been able to turn in at home this season.
Counting both the “home” and “away” game in Prague, the Bruins have scored 3.7 goals per away game, while they’ve averaged just 2.2 goals per game at home. Ryder, who has gotten his points both on the road and at home, doesn’t quite know how to diagnose what the team’s done differently from one place to the next.
“Not really,” Ryder said when asked if he felt the team was doing anything specifically different. “Maybe it’s just that at home, sometimes you try and do things a little different than you do on the road. You keep it more simple when you get on the road, and I think at home we just get away from that and our style of play. I think if we do that tonight, we’ll be fine and we’ll start winning at home a lot more.”
The most recent loss suffered at the Garden came Thursday, when the Bruins lost their legs after coming out flying early in the first period en route to a 3-1 defeat against the Canadiens. It’s after games such as the Habs contest that the veterans stress that the team be encouraged by what they do right.
“We’ve got to just keep plugging along,” Mark Recchi said. “We got off to a great start last time, but the puck didn’t go in. Just keep plugging. We have a good road mentality, to just go out there and play our game. We know what makes us tick as a team and what makes us go. If we play that way, we’re going to be fine at home or wherever we are, really. We just have to get back to that, and make sure we continue it.”
Like Ryder, Recchi knows that it’s easy to look at the struggles at home and think that it’s simply a case of continuing down a road embarked upon a season ago, but he also sees a distinct difference in this Bruins club from that of a season ago.
“We believe in ourselves, and we believe in what we’re doing and we believe that if we do the right things, we’re going to win hockey games,” Recchi said. “We’ve got a strong belief in each other, and that’s very important. We know if we play the right way and play Bruins hockey and lay physical, get pucks deep, and skate, we’re very tough to play against. We’re still trying to grow that identity, and it’s a process, and it’s early, and we’ve still got a long ways to go, but the guys are forging ahead here and want to get better.”
|Mike Milbury on D&H: Forget about Matt Cooke, B’s have ‘other things to worry about’||11.10.10 at 12:39 pm ET|
NESN and NBC Sports hockey analyst Mike Milbury made his weekly appearance with the Dale & Holley show Wednesday and talked about the Bruins’ game on Wednesday night vs. the Penguins and instigator Matt Cooke. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
Milbury said the Bruins aren’t likely to spend much time focusing on Cooke. “No, they’ve got other things to worry about right now,” Milbury said, although he added that the Bruins will be “much more willing to answer the bell if he rings it.”
Added Milbury: “I’m not big on the staged thing or the planned vengeance. I mean, it’s a hockey game, after all. They got their pound of flesh, or at least some of it, maybe a half-pound with [Shawn] Thornton last year. Get over it, play the game. They’ve got a couple of injuries, they’ve got other things to worry about right now. They’re playing two tough teams back to back. They’ve got to get some points on the board while they’re waiting for people to get back in the lineup.”
Asked his opinion of Cooke as a player, Milbury said: “He’s not a bad player. He’ll get his share of goals. He clearly is a guy that will mix it up, will look for a good hit. And I have no trouble with that. It’s when he crosses the line that you start to get agitated. The Bruins probably were slow to react to some of the things he did, but I don’t think he’s Darth Vader or anything. I just think he’s one of those guys that likes to toe the line, and sometimes he crosses it.”
Andrew Ference stood up for teammate Mark Recchi on Saturady night, jumping in to fight St. Louis’ David Backes after Backes had drilled Recchi with a clean hit. “Somebody’s got to do it for grandpa. You’ve got to step in,” Milbury said, although he noted: “Recchi’s no angel either on the ice. Even at his age he can be frisky.”
With the injured David Krejci joining Marc Savard on the sideline, Milbury said the Bruins can only do so much to fill the holes vacated by their top two centers. “When you take two of your better players out of the lineup, you’re not going to replace them,” Milbury said. “Not in the salary cap era. You just can’t do it.”
|Don’t expect Tyler Seguin to live with Mark Recchi||10.29.10 at 4:36 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Tyler Seguin knows that he’s staying, but where is he staying?
After being told Thursday night that he would not be sent back to juniors, the biggest question immediately became whether he, like many young players before him, would live with a teammate, much like Patrice Bergeron in his rookie year with Martin Lapointe.
The obvious line of thinking would lead one to think Mark Recchi, a future Hall-of-Famer and Seguin’s linemate, could be an obvious choice to host the 18-year-old. As a result, both players were bombarded with questions about whether Seguin might should study up on the rules of the Recchi home.
The verdict? The mentorship will have to be limited to the ice and the locker room.
“I don’t have a big enough place right now,” Recchi told WEEI.com on Friday. “I think the team will let him go on his own around the guys. Everybody’s right down town. [Jordan Staal] lived with me [in Pittsburgh], and I had a guest cottage on my property, so it was kind of the best of both worlds. He had his own space, and he hung out with us all the time for dinner and stuff like that. They’ll figure out exactly what [Seguin] wants, and the guys are all within such a small area that everybody’s going to be looking after him anyways.”
Seguin figured as much, and it appears the teenager will try living on his own, but in close proximity to his teammates.
“Right now I think I might be getting my own place, and everyone else kind of in the same building.”
The second overall pick in June’s draft, Seguin has two goals and two assists, good for four points through seven games. Some tried stirring the pot when it came to suggesting there was even a possibility Seguin would return to the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers, as the B’s could have sent him back to juniors without burning a year on his contract. In the end, the B’s elected to not wait for the nine-game trial to expire, telling Seguin after seven to get comfortable in Boston.
Recchi, who has seen just about everything in the NHL, couldn’t see a scenario in which the goal-scoring center didn’t stick.
“I didn’t think there would be any doubt [he’d stay],” Recchi said. “He’s talented, and the great thing about it is that he’s got the whole year to grow as a player and learn and get better. It’s a good spot for him to do it, so he’s in a good situation.”
Seguin still keeps in contact with some of his teammates from Plymouth and received a text message from head coach Mike Vellucci after he scored his first career goal. Seguin appreciated the kind thoughts from Vellucci, who essentially resurrected his junior career two years ago, but noted on Thursday that he isn’t rushing to tell him that they officially are no longer affiliated.
“I’m not going to be the one to call him and tell him that I’m staying up here,” Seguin said. “It’s not my place or my position. Once he finds out I’m sure he’ll call me.”
|Thomas starting, lines shuffled for Bruins||10.10.10 at 8:40 am ET|
PRAGUE — A night after the Bruins lost their season-opening game in Prague to the Coyotes, 5-2, Claude Julien said that Tim Thomas would be starting in goal for Boston on Sunday. Tuukka Rask allowed four goals to Phoenix in Saturday’s losing effort, though one came from a flukey bounce off the boards and another came on a breakaway caused by a Daniel Paille turnover. Julien indicated that the team’s plan was to start Thomas in the second game anyway barring an overwhelming effort from Rask.
Additionally, Mark Recchi stated prior to the game that he would be playing on the third line with second overall pick Tyler Seguin and Michael Ryder. Daniel Paille and Adam McQuaid are the healthy scratches.
Recchi had played on Patrice Bergeron’s line, which at one point included Seguin, throughout camp and the preseason. Rookie Jordan Caron, another former member of the second line in preseason, will return to skating with Bergeron after being scratched in the opener. Blake Wheeler will remain the second line’s other wing.
The defensive pairings remain unknown entering the game, though it’s worth noting that they were changed during Saturday’s game, with the Dennis Seidenberg-Matt Hunwick pairing dooming the team early on and eventually being separated.
|With no chance at a mohawk, Recchi will settle for toughness||10.08.10 at 10:02 am ET|
PRAGUE — The Bruins’ town hall meeting from last month was pretty interesting in that season ticket holders voiced their grievances with the 2009-10 Bruins and stated how they want the team to improve in the coming season. Though the way their opinions were phrased provided the checkmark for the entertainment column, nothing they said really went against what management or the players were trying to do. For example, an older season ticket holder got up and said that he had been watching hockey his entire life and pleaded with the players in attendance — Zdeno Chara, Mark Recchi, and Patrice Bergeron — to finish their hits. Much as was the case with the other requests, the players agreed, as Recchi and teammates had a discussion about making toughness on the ice a priority in the coming season.
“One thing we were talking about, all of this us this morning [is that] we’re a tough team. When you look at our team, we’ve got a big, physical team. If you don’t play that way every night, you’re not going to get that respect factor,” Recchi said. “If we learn to play every night as a presence on the night, physical, skating in your face, what your goal is as a team is by the second half of the year for teams to go, ‘Jeez. I don’t want to go play them, because you know they’re going to come and work their tails off, you know they’re going to finish every check, they’re going to be physical every night, and they’re big and they’re fast.’
“You want to get that reputation. That ‘Jeez, we’ve got to go play them. No matter what, they’re going to work.’ That’s important. If we can get that consistency, we’ll be a real tough team.”
Recchi said he still gets the same jitters and experiences the same sort of emotions for opening night at this stage of his career as all the others. One thing that has changed since his first game in the NHL is his look.
“I got called up from Muskegon to play in Toronto,” Recchi said of his debut with the Penguins in the 1988-89 season. “I had a mohawk. All the rookies got shaved a week before, so I remember it perfectly.”
After hearing of Recchi’s former hair style, a reporter noted that mohawks are fashionable in Prague, and that perhaps it might be appropriate if he sported one for the team’s games on Saturday and Sunday. Recchi simply smiled and took off his baseball cap to reveal how much his hair has thinned over the years.
“I don’t know if I can even grow one anymore,” the 42-year-old Recchi said.