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Zdeno Chara: Loss of friend Pavol Demitra, former coach Brad McCrimmon ‘hard to swallow’ 09.08.11 at 12:56 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — It takes a lot to shake the biggest player in the league, but a day after the tragic plane crash that killed the members of the KHL team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, it was clear that the event had a major impact on Bruins’ captain Zdeno Chara.

Among those killed in the crash were former Bruin Brad McCrimmon, who was the head coach of the KHL team and had previously coached Chara while the two were in the Islanders system, as well as longtime NHL forward and Slovakia native Pavol Demitra. Chara had ties to both men, so the crash hit close to home for the Slovakian defenseman.

“It was huge. Still. It’s horrible,” Chara Thursday said of how hard the last 24 hours-plus had been. “It’s just a tragedy that shook up the whole world and hockey world especially. We all feel bad about the players’ families and it’s something that is just hard to swallow.”

Demitra and Chara grew up in neighboring towns, as Chara hails from Trencin, with Demitra being born in Dubnica nad Vahom. The two grew up less than 20 minutes away from one another, but had a long-standing friendship.

“Pavel was a guy who was always easygoing, was always friendly with everybody and never really had a conflict with anybody,” Chara said of his late friend. “He was really a very favored and popular guy between other guys, and obviously we all know he was an extremely talented player.

“People probably don’t know dedicated a dad he was,” Chara continued. “He was always spending time with his kids and family, and I think that speaks for itself, too. He had offers from the NHL, but he chose to return back home and be there for his kids and his wife when they were going to school, and they chose the school system in Slovakia. It’s a very very said time right now.”

Demitra had a profound impact in the NHL for a former ninth-round pick, as he was a three-time All Star, three-time 30-goal-scorer, and the recipient of the Lady Byng in 2000. McCrimmon was chosen by the Bruins with the 15th overall pick in the 1979 draft, and after a long playing career became a successful assistant coach in the NHL. Chara said he’ll remember those lost not by their accomplishments, but by who they were as individuals.

Said Chara: “When you get to know players as [people], it’s just devastating.”

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Bruins cannot catch a break 02.06.10 at 5:08 pm ET
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When things are going bad there is a no such thing as catching a break. Sometimes the break catches you.

The Bruins were skating to what was looking like a 2-1 win against Vancouver on Saturday afternoon when Canucks defenseman Sami Salo broke his stick trying to send a blast on Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask. The puck idled off the shot and was over-skated in a clearing attempt by Milan Lucic before Tanner Glass came in and found it in the high slot to send it back on Rask. Vancouver forward Pavol Demitra was in the perfect place to redirect it with the shaft of his stick to tie the game at two. Vancouver went on to win in a shootout.

“Bad luck, story of my season, [expletive deleted], nothing can go right. What can you do?” Lucic said.

Rask saw the play develop in front of him but the odd deflection was enough to get it passed him in his second straight start and second straight shootout loss.

“I saw it, I saw it,” Rask said. “But the guy tipped it in front of me and you can’t just stand there and wait for the tip. I try to be square for the puck and he just happened to make kind of a weird tip and he tipped it over my shoulder. That’s the kind of luck we haven’t gotten in the past couple of games. Just got to stick with it, and it’s coming.”

It is those type of plays that are really starting to wear on the Bruins patience. For three straight games Boston has played well only to see a seemingly innocuous play turn into the deciding factor in the game. On Thursday it was the Matt Hunwick’s penalty that led to the first on Montreal’s two goals in the final minutes of the second period that turned the game around. On Tuesday against the Capitals it was Blake Wheeler and David Krejci not being able to get the puck past Jose Theodore on a wide-open net and then watch as Washington comes storming back minutes later. Good games by the Bruins are turning into losses on a dime.

“It is disheartening. You guys watched that last goal. A guy breaks his stick, [Lucic] should be off on a break away, 2-on-1, and it just kind of flubs through his legs and skate and the guy turns and fires it away,” Savard said. “It is not even a clean tip, it hits his shaft and skips up in the top corner. It is just disheartening, like I said. We go through overtime trying to get the win but no break.”

The Bruins were good in the third period against Vancouver. They did not sit back and wait to lose the game, they were active in trying to put a third goal passed Luongo. The Canuck stoned them which allowed his team enough of an opportunity to catch the break that the Bruins have not been able to in their 10 game skid.

“I still thought we played well in the third with that 2-1 lead and then that mistake and that turned into a goal and that is the end of it,” coach Claude Julien said. “I really thought that we were playing well enough in the third that we could have won that game 2-1. When [Lucic] over-skated that puck and they just threw it at the net, those are the type of things where you say ‘you’ve got to be kidding me, give me a break here’ . . . right now it is just the way it is.”

So it is. The Bruins 10th straight loss turned on a broken stick, a breakaway that wasn’t and a tip off the shaft of Demitra’s stick. With all the breaks, it is a wonder that the Bruins cannot catch one. That is just how things work when a team is in the skids.

Read More: Marc Savard, Milan Lucic, Pavol Demitra, Tuukka Rask Print  |  Email   | Bark It Up!  |  Digg It
Bruins lose 10th straight to Vancouver at 3:52 pm ET
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Summary — Boston scored two first period goals but could not hold onto the lead as Vancouver came back to tie the game in the third period and win it in a shootout 3-2 at a sold out TD Garden. Tuukka Rask took the loss in his second straight start for the Bruins with 29 saves in a duel with Roberto Luongo who made 41 in the decision. Pavol Demitra had the game-deciding goal in the shootout which the Canucks won 1-0.

The Bruins used to the power play to their advantage to go up two goals in the first period. Captain Zdeno Chara got the first on a perfect pinch play at 1:56 after Marc Savard cycled the puck to Marco Sturm in the corner and found Chara crashing to the net to beat Luongo. The second goal came also came courtesy of the power play at 14:20 when Savard sent a wrist shot on net that was redirected by Michael Ryder’s stick. It was the 10th time this season that Boston has had multiple goals on the power play.

Vancouver cut into the lead at 8:51 on an even-strength strike by Mason Raymond at 8:51 in the second period. Ryan Kesler won the puck from Milan Lucic off the back wall and fed it in front to Raymond who took to steps left and beat Rask on the stick side.

The game-tying goal came courtesy of Demitra at 15:18 in the third period. Demitra screened Rask and redirected a shot from defenseman Sami Salo. The score was Demitra’s first goal of the season.

Three Stars

Roberto Luongo — The star goaltender made 41 saves on the day and shut the Bruins out in the shootout for the victory.

Marc Savard — The Bruins center had two assists in the first period to give him five in the last five contests. It was his sixth multiple-point game of the season and he now now has 27 points through 33 games on the year.

Zdeno Chara — The captain scored his fifth of the season in the first period and was very active in all phases of the game. The towering defenseman was instrumental in shutting down the explosive Sedin brothers and bottling up the Canucks attack.

Turning point

Canucks defenseman Sami Salo had a slap shot from the point late in the third period that forward Pavol Demitra was able to get just enough of a piece of in front of the net to redirect it passed Rask for the game-tying goal at 15:18. The goal was Demintra’s first of the season in his 10th game of the year with Vancouver.

Key play

Demitra circled wide to the right in the shootout before attacking Rask on his glove side. Demitra was the only player to score in the shootout as Blake Wheeler, Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci were shutout. Over the last two games the Bruins have missed six straight shootout chances.

Read More: Marc Savard, Pavol Demitra, Roberto Luongo, Zdeno Chara Print  |  Email   | Bark It Up!  |  Digg It
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