|Mark Recchi sees Tyler Seguin becoming a ‘good pro’ late in his rookie year||03.25.11 at 4:34 am ET|
Tyler Seguin might not be showing up on the score sheets, but he’s certainly been leaving a positive impression with his play of late. The rookie isn’t shying away from contact the way he had earlier in the season, and took it a step further Thursday.
Seguin, a skill player, has avoided scrums on the ice, as many skill players do. Yet Thursday, with Mark Recchi getting caught up with Paul Mara after the whistle in front of Carey Price‘s net, Seguin came to his teammate’s aid, exchanging a few shoves with Habs blueliner Brent Sopel. There was no shortage of praise from Recchi after the game.
“His growth the last month has been wonderful,” Recchi said after the game. “He’s really learning how to be a good pro. His work ethic is awesome. He’s really stepped up. He’s using his speed, he’s using his skill, and he’s really learning to battle hard, and it’s great to see.”
In eight games from Feb. 18 to March 15, Seguin played more than 12 minutes just once, totaling 12:13 on March 5. Since March 15, he has played at least 12:30 in all four games. Claude Julien has further expressed his faith in the youngster by giving him time on the second power play unit.
The bump in responsibility still hasn’t led to increased production (he has just one point, a goal, in his last 11 games), but Seguin has certainly shown in recent games that he is coming along. With each game, it seem he is making a stronger and stronger case to eliminate any talk of future healthy scratches.
“He’s a great kid, and he’s getting better and better,” Recchi said. “This has been a good process for him.”
|Bruins hold optional skate||03.22.11 at 11:20 am ET|
After two days of high-energy practices, Claude Julien elected to make Tuesday’s morning skate optional. Just about everyone on the team agreed with this logic, as only Tuukka Rask and Daniel Paille took the ice.
Reading into things, this could mean that Paille might be the healthy scratch among the forwards. Brad Marchand is eligible to return vs. the Devils after a two-game suspension, while Tyler Seguin‘s recent play has made him hard to sit. The last two practices have featured both Marchand and Michael Ryder on the wing opposite Mark Recchi, so if Paille is the scratch, Marchand could be a candidate to reunite with the Merlot line.
|Bruins take the ice for Sunday practice||03.20.11 at 11:21 am ET|
WILMINGTON — Ah, the rare Sunday practice. After an ugly 5-2 loss in Toronto Saturday, the B’s took the ice here at Ristuccia Arena in attempt to work out the issues that have made them losers of six of their last seven games (1-3-3).
|Tim Thomas pulled as Maple Leafs add to lead||03.19.11 at 8:50 pm ET|
Twenty-nine seconds after Joey Crabb buried a rebound past Thomas to make it 3-1, Mike Brown beat the B’s netminder five-hole from the left face-off circle, giving the Leafs a three-goal lead. Claude Julien then elected to yank his starter, putting Tuukka Rask in. Rask looked good for the most part but was beaten by Keith Aulie on a shot he never saw. He seemed upset following the play, as he was screened by Dennis Seidenberg.
Of the six players to score goals between the two teams tonight, none of them had more than three goals on the season entering the game.
The period featured some more encouraging signs from Tyler Seguin. The 19-year-old is playing a more confident game and was robbed by James Reimer earlier in the period on a breakaway. For the second straight game, he has gotten time on the power play, and his style of play really fits with the speed of Rich Peverley, with whom he’s skated of late.
|Patric Hornqvist not suspended for elbow on Tyler Seguin||03.18.11 at 1:17 pm ET|
Hornqvist was tossed from the Predators’ 4-3 overtime win with 2:30 remaining in the first period when he hit Seguin in the ear with an elbow. Seguin left the ice and received stitches in his ear but did not leave the game.
The initial reaction here? Hornqvist’s case in his hearing with Mike Murphy was probably that he couldn’t possibly have expected Seguin to get rid of the puck that quickly. Still, Seguin had a pass to make on the play, and he made it, while Hornqvist led with his elbow. Given all the suspensions of late, you might have expected Hornqvist, who was tossed from the game for the play, to miss a game or two. At any rate, his argument held up.
|Tuukka Rask, Bruins beat Blue Jackets in shootout to snap skid||03.15.11 at 9:47 pm ET|
The Bruins fell behind in the final minute of the first period when Grant Clitsome sent a blast from the blue line past Rask, but a Zdeno Chara shot that went off David Krejci would tie it in the second. With the Bruins trailing in the third period and Nathan Horton in the box for holding the stick, Rich Peverley scored the B’s eighth shorthanded goal of the season, beating Steve Mason for his 16th goal of the season.
Rask, who had 32 saves in regulation, made timely saves in the third period in stopping Jakub Voracek, Antoine Vermette, Derick Brassard and Derek Dorsett on key Blue Jackets opportunities. He followed that by stopping Rick Nash and Fedor Tyutin in the shootout.
The Bruins will head to Nashville to face the Predators on Thursday.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– While benching Michael Ryder may have opened some eyes, there’s no debating that the Bruins are in better shape for a shootout with Seguin in the lineup. The rookie has struggled to pin down the NHL game physically, but when it comes to skating down the ice untouched, talent trumps all.
– The Bruins may have not seen much time on the power play, but they scored more than Columbus on Blue Jackets power plays. The B’s killed off all six penalties they took, with Peverley scoring the timely short-handed goal.
– Either Milan Lucic or Krejci were bound to see their point streaks continue due to the B’s first goal, and after a scoring change it proved to be Krejci. Lucic hit Johnny Boychuk with a pass in the offensive zone, with Boychuk setting up a Chara blast that went off Krejci before sailing past Steve Mason. Though Lucic didn’t get an assist on the play, he still has six points (2 G, 4 A) in his last six games. Krejci now has at least one point in each of his last six games, and eight points (2 G, 6 A) over the span.
– Good to see Rask play the role of stopper, as he picked up the Bruins’ first win in five games. The Bruins’ four-game skid was the ninth time this season the team had lost at least two games in a row. Of the previous eight occurrences, Tim Thomas had gotten the win that followed the first five losing streaks, with Rask now serving as the stopper in the last four. That’s a combination of both coincidence and the fact that Claude Julien is giving his young goaltender more time down the stretch.
– Mark Recchi continues the climb up the list for most games played. Tuesday, he surpassed former Bruin Dave Andreychuk, and at 1,640 games, Recchi is now fifth all-time.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– The Bruins had just one power play in the game, and it lasted all of five seconds. Patrice Bergeron took an interference penalty following the face-off that began an Antione Vermette hooking minor. The team’s power play struggles have been well-documented (just one power play goal since Feb. 28), and having just five seconds on the man advantage isn’t exactly the right way to remedy them.
– Scottie Upshall continues to haunt Rask. Nice puck-movement by his line drew Rask way out of his net with less than eight minutes to go, and Upshall easily put his 20th of the season into an unoccupied net. The goal was his third goal against Rask in three games facing him.
– That’s now two games in a row in which Nathan Horton has taken a penalty in the final seven minutes of the game with the Bruins trailing. Horton was called for interference at 13:12 of the third period against the Islanders on Saturday, and he went off at 13:06 for holding the stick. Of course, the Bruins ended up tying the game with Horton in the box, but it certainly isn’t the type of habit the B’s want to develop. Krejci would later be called for a cross-check with 4:34 remaining.
Bruins coach Claude Julien told reporters Tuesday morning that defenseman Steven Kampfer will make his return to the lineup against the Blue Jackets after being out with a concussion. The team brought Kampfer, as well as fellow injured defensemen Andrew Ference and Shane Hnidy, with them for their current road trip.
“Kampfer is playing tonight,” Julien said. “Andrew is touch-and-go. He’s very very close, and we’ll be make decisions on him for the next few days, but tonight he’ll sit this one out. He’s very close to being able go as well.”
While Kampfer will be in the lineup, Julien can’t necessarily say the same for slumping scorer Michael Ryder. The 30-year-old has just one goal over his last 14 games, and three points over his last 11. As a result, it will come down to Ryder and Tyler Seguin for who will play on the third line, and who will be scratched.
“Michael is a streaky player as well,” Julien said when asked to compare the winger’s struggles to those of Nathan Horton earlier in the season. “In his case, he’s here to score goals. He’s been known to score goals, but at the same time, when those things don’t come, players always have to give an effort in other areas as well.
“In his case, the last three games, that’s why we’re going to be making a decision tonight on who [will play] moving forward. At this stage, we want some accountability. I think the message has to be clear that everybody has to step their game up, and that’s what we expect. When things aren’t going well, you’v got to be able to bring something else to the table. Effort is always a big part of it.”