|Alain Vigneault compares Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan to Aaron Rome’s hit on Nathan Horton||11.27.15 at 4:58 pm ET|
Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan Friday did two things: It broke Stepan’s ribs and led to a whole lot of reaction. It did not, however, receive punishment.
Beleskey threw Stepan into the boards on a slightly late hit that deserved a boarding penalty but did not receive one. Rangers defenseman Dylan McIlrath responded by promptly pummeling Beleskey in a fight that earned McIlrath an instigator penalty.
Amidst all the postgame chatter of whether the hit deserved more punishment than just Beleskey getting punched a bunch, Beleskey insisted that the reason the play went awry was because Stepan did not brace himself to be hit.
Rangers coach Alain Vigneault, better known around these parts as Vancouver’s head coach when the Bruins beat the Canucks in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, put a different spin on it.
“In our opinion it was a late hit,” Vigneault said. “It was more than a second and he was a couple of feet away from the boards, so we’ll have to wait and see. I remember Aaron Rome in this building, .06 seconds late and getting suspended four games in the Stanley Cup finals, so it’ll be interesting to see.”
That’s a really — let’s call it “ambitious” — comparison to make considering one play was a guy shoving another into the boards while the other was a player going after a guy’s head for no apparent reason (so on second thought, let’s just call it a dumb comparison to make). Other than both plays being illegal (seemingly, at least, given that Beleskey wasn’t penalized), the plays don’t have much in common.
Here’s Beleskey’s hit on Stepan. pic.twitter.com/pyzRJA4EE6
‘ Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) November 27, 2015
“I just think he didn’t think I was going to hit him,” Beleskey said after the game. “He kind of didn’t brace himself. I didn’t take any extra strides or anything like that. Maybe, maybe a little bit late, but he saw me coming. I came from the front. It’s unfortunate that I think I just saw he’s injured, so hopefully he’s all right.”
|Report: Nathan Horton deciding on career-ending back surgery||11.13.14 at 8:58 am ET|
Thursday, Horton spoke via the Columbus Dispatch about the condition for the first time.
“I can’t stand up like a normal person, I can’t bend over,” Horton said. “I can’t run. I can’t play with my kids. To get in and out of the car, I’m like a 75-year-old man … so slow and stiff. I can’t sleep at night. I try to lay down and my back seizes up and I can’t move, so sleeping is out. I’m like a zombie in the daytime.”
The only way to get rid of the pain would be surgery, “likely a three-or four-level spinal fusion with a titanium rod,” the paper said. The surgery would end his career. Horton is only 29-years-old.
“I don’t want to have surgery, because of what that means,” Horton said. “I don’t want to live with this pain, but I don’t want to make that decision. It’s hard for me to say that, at 29 years old, I’m done. I mean, really? Done at 29?”
|Peter Chiarelli happy with how his summer moves have worked so far: ‘That’s what is expected of me’||02.08.14 at 5:35 pm ET|
Eyebrows were a bit more than raised when Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli traded away young gun Tyler Seguin and reliable forward Rich Peverley to the Dallas Stars last summer in return for Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith, Joe Morrow and Matt Fraser.
That was a Fourth of July calculated gamble that Chiarelli was willing to take just a week after his team lost in six games to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup finals. Smith has 18 goals this season on the Marchand-Bergeron line, second only to Marchand’s 19 goals this year. Add to that the addition of veteran forward Jarome Iginla to replace Nathan Horton on the top line, and the moves have worked out quite nicely for the Bruins.
Iginla scored again Saturday and all of a sudden has 17 goals with 25 assists. Eriksson assisted on the first two goals Saturday and has 14 helpers on the season, not bad considering he’s missed 21 games with a pair of concussions.
Before he joins one of seven Bruins off to the Sochi Winter Games, Chiarelli was asked before Saturday’s 7-2 demolition of the Senators at TD Garden just how satisfying it is knowing the deals he made in the summer have paid off.
“It’s good, I mean that’s what is expected of me,” Chiarelli said. “Certainly I’ll hear it from you guys if they don’t. You, know Iggy ‘ high character. So you know you’re going to get a good effort. What were my other deals? Loui [Eriksson], yeah Loui is still a work in progress but I’ve seen parts of his game that I’m going to expect at some point that I have seen before. He’s got to work his way through it but he is a very good two way player and I’m happy with him. Reilly [Smith], of course has been good. So yeah it’s good. That’s what I’m expected to do and it helps bringing these players into a successful team and structure. It’s easier to do that provided they buy in and these guys have bought in.”
Will he look at bringing in veteran leaders at the March 5 trade deadline?
“Usually when I’m trying to add something on a temporary basis, on a rental basis, I’d like that player to have some experience,” Chiarelli said. “So, that usually translates into being a veteran. Playoff experience would be good too so that’s something I look for, I don’t know if I’m going to get it if we add somebody but that’s what I look for, I think it’s important. I t’s not so much for leadership; I feel our group has strong leadership. It’s more for having been in the battles and having that composure because that is what you need to win, is composure and compete by the composure also.”
|Chad Johnson likely in net for Bruins vs. Blue Jackets||11.30.13 at 11:32 am ET|
It would appear that Chad Johnson will be between the pipes for Saturday night’s game between the Bruins and the Blue Jackets. Both Johnson and Tuukka Rask participated in an optional morning skate for the Bruins, but Rask stayed out much longer than Johnson.
Johnson has started just four of the Bruins’ 26 games this season. He is 3-1-0 with a .917 save percentage and a 2.21 goals-against average. His last start came last Saturday against the Hurricanes, with each of his last two starts resulting in overtime wins for the Bruins.
Saturday’s game is the second of a back-to-back for the Bruins, as it follows Friday’s 3-2 win over the Rangers. It’s the fifth time the Bruins have had back-to-backs this season, but the first in which the B’s haven’t had to travel. Rask has started both games of two of the Bruins’ back-to-backs thus far, with the two goalies splitting the other two to this point.
The Bruins will have four days between games following Saturday, as they won’t play again until they face the Canadiens in Montreal on Thursday.
Nathan Horton did not travel to Boston and remains on long-term injury reserve for the Blue Jackets. He has yet to play for them since getting offseason shoulder surgery, though he has been skating with them since last week.
For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Jarome Iginla on his slow start to season: ‘I’ve been here many times’||10.15.13 at 1:57 pm ET|
The numbers are not pretty for 36-year-old Jarome Iginla to start the Boston portion of his career.
No goals, one assist in five games on 19 shots.
The effort is there, like the rest of the team. But like the rest of the Bruins, the finishing touch has yet to be put on his work. After failing to get the right winger at the trade deadline last spring, the Bruins signed him to a one-year, $6 million deal in the summer with the hopes of successfully replacing Nathan Horton and giving another right wing – 22-year-old Jordan Caron – more time to mature.
Last season, he had one goal in his first 16 games before finishing with 14 between Calgary and Pittsburgh. In 2011-12, he opened with two goals in his first 10 games and four in his first 15. The year before? Two goals in his first 17 games, before breaking out with a hat trick in Game No. 18.
“Unfortunately, I’ve been here many times,” Iginla said Monday. “It’s all part of the game and you just try to work hard and keep going and keep getting the chances and always keep saying that the next one is going to go in.”
Iginla is getting his chances with David Krejci and Milan Lucic and the general consensus is that he looks more in tune with with his linemates in his first five games than fellow newcomer Loui Eriksson on the second line with Patrice Bergeron with Brad Marchand line.
“Krech and Looch have been playing great and working hard and I’m trying to work hard with them and like I’ve said I’ve had really good chances for a number of games,” Iginla said. “Whenever you win you never feel as bad, you just shrug it off and say next time. But whenever you lose by a goal it always feels a lot worse when you know that one of those could have made a difference. But keep going and like I said I’ve been here before and you just keep working through it and stay positive and keep trying to get open and like I say, keep believing the next one goes in.”
In an attempt to get Iginla some momentum, Claude Julien placed Iginla on Boston’s 5-on-3 power play unit. Good chances, a couple of missed shots but still no dice.
“I think I had a few of them but two were good ones, one I just missed probably by a couple inches the top right corner, one I missed by a mile and that was just trying to hard and too excited and just missed it,” Iginla said. “But I thought ‘ when you’re feeling it those go in and unfortunately they didn’t. It was an important time of the game, it could have been a big difference. And you get out there in those situations and you definitely want to help the team and feel responsibility, all of us out there. So when you don’t score when you have a two minute one it stings but at the same time I think the guys did a great job and just keep going almost to that last second and really we almost found a way to get it to over time there.
|Andy Brickley on M&M: Bruins’ power play ‘a work in progress’||10.09.13 at 2:11 pm ET|
NESN’s Andy Brickley joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to talk about the Bruins’ hot start to the season.
Boston posted a pair of home victories last week. On Thursday, the Bruins beat the Lightning, 3-1, then they took down the Red Wings, 4-1.
One area Boston needed improving on following its Stanley Cup runner-up season is the power play. The Bruins ranked dead last in the NHL in power-play goals last season with 18. But they’ve already notched two man-advantage goals through two games.
‘It’s still a work in progress, and will be for a while, they’ll continue to experiment, and continue to try [Zdeno] Chara at the front of the net with one power-play unit,’ Brickley said. ‘You’ve got different weapons this year, [Jarome] Iginla‘s a great finisher with the man advantage, [Loui] Eriksson‘s a real good power-play guy.’
The Bruins hope Eriksson, who came over from the Stars for Seguin, can fill that void. Eriksson has not entered the point column yet as a Bruin.
‘He came in as the centerpiece of that deal, with Seguin going the other way down to Dallas, and I think the expectations are that he’s going to be a 70-point guy, and he’s off to a slow start as far as the offense is concerned,’ Brickley said. ‘I think the reason why is he, too, is playing with a little bit of a conservative attitude, trying to fit in with the system.
‘But he had a couple of really good scoring opportunities last game.’
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning and discussed the heartbreak of last season’s Stanley Cup finals, the optimism he has for this year and his relationship with Red Sox players.
Boston began the regular season 2-0 with a pair of victories at home last week. The Bruins beat the Lightning 3-1 last Thursday, then the Red Wings 4-1 last Saturday.
‘It’s only been two games, but you can tell the personalities in the room, that guys are built not to take a night off,’ Thornton said. ‘We might not be at our best every night, but I think that guys get in there wanting to show up and play every night. That might sound like it’s easy to do and you should do it, but not everyone’s built like that. But I think that the guys we brought in, and the guys who were already here, and the guys we kept are definitely built that way.’
Looking back at last season’s Cup finals, the Bruins blew a 2-1 lead with just over a minute remaining in the third period of Game 6 vs. the Blackhawks on June 24, a loss that still stings for Thornton.
‘No, it’ll never be over,’ Thornton said when asked when the hangover from the postseason ends. ‘I’ll be thinking about it for years to come, but it’s more of a motivator than a hangover, you get that close and it stings.’
Less than three months removed from its gut-wrenching loss to Chicago, Boston made significant changes to its lineup. Forwards Tyler Seguin and Nathan Horton are gone, replaced by former Penguin Jerome Iginla and former Star Loui Eriksson, while youngsters Reilly Smith — acquired via trade from Dallas along with Erikkson this offseason — and Jordan Caron have taken on elevated roles.
‘We’ve got a group of guys that have been around for seven or eight years, and we know how important that is to make people feel welcome. So, coming into our room, you’d probably have to ask them, but I’d like to think that it’s a fairly easy transition, you come in with open arms,’ said Thornton.
The NHL implemented a new rule regarding fighting this season. Any player who removes his helmet before the start of a fight will receive a two-minute penalty in addition to the five-minute penalty for fighting.
‘I’m not a fan, I’m really not,’ said Thornton, Boston’s enforcer. ‘Obviously I’m a little biased, but it’s seven minutes for fighting now if a guy has a visor because everyone’s going to take their helmet off. And I think when you take the helmet off you take away from the player safety that everyone’s preaching, so I think it’s counterproductive.’
The Red Sox beat the Rays on Tuesday night and moved on to the ALCS where they’ll face either the Tigers or Athletics.
‘We’re big supporters of the Sox, pretty much any local sports team I guess,’ Thornton said. ‘You get to meet a lot of those guys when you’re out and about in town so there’s a lot of crossover, they support us, we support them. I’ve been here for seven years, kind of turned me from a Jays fan to a Sox fans, I’m not going to lie.’