|Tuukka Rask first off the ice for Bruins, will start Thursday||10.21.10 at 11:29 am ET|
The Bruins held their morning skate at TD Garden as they prepare for their home opener Thursday night against the Capitals. Tuukka Rask was first off the ice, and confirmed in the locker room afterwards that he will be in net. The lines were the same as they’ve been, so here’s what to expect:
Milan Lucic – David Krejci – Nathan Horton
Jordan Caron – Patrice Bergeron – Blake Wheeler
Mark Recchi – Tyler Seguin – Michael Ryder
Brad Marchand – Gregory Campbell – Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara – Johnny Boychuk
Mark Stuart – Dennis Seidenberg
Matt Hunwick – Andrew Ference
It seems Claude Julien wanted to conceal the starting goalie’s identity, telling a reporter that “you’ll see at 7 o’clock.” If only Rask hadn’t let the cat out of the bag earlier.
“It’s fun,” Rask said after the skate. “It’s been a while since [my] last start, so it should be great.”
|Brickley: No goalie controversy||at 9:53 am ET|
NESN analyst Andy Brickley joined Dennis & Callahan to talk about the Bruins. One of the big questions surrounding the B’s is the issue of who is the No. 1 goaltender. Both Tuukka Rask and Tim Thomas have staked their claims, but Thomas has been the hot goaltender in the early part of the season.
“I don’t like that word, controversy,” Brickley said. “It may be accurate, but I don’t like it. I just think it’s depth and competition to a position that’s critical to winning games.”
Brickley noted the Bruins teams he played on that featured Andy Moog and Reggie Lemelin. “It has a way of sorting itself out,” Brickley said. “Maybe it’s a 60-40 split, maybe it’s 50-50, maybe it’s 70-30 because one of them outperforms the other. What you try to do ideally, is when you get to the postseason, you establish your number one guy.”
Brickley has been impressed with rookie Tyler Seguin, especially the mental part of his game. “He’ll be learning from now until his final game, whether it’s regular season or playoffs,” Brickley said. “The beautiful thing about him is his [brain.] He’s got good hockey IQ. He’s picking up things right away.”
Brickley said the Europe trip was a good thing for the Bruins because it brought them closer together as a team. As to whether they can compete for a Stanley Cup, Brickley said, “They’re in the conversation. Anything can happen in the playoffs. You saw what Montreal did last year to the top two seeds in the East and the Bruins should have capitalized on that. I say, sure. Why not?”
|Mike Milbury on D&H: ‘Pleasant dilemma’ for B’s with goalies||10.20.10 at 12:46 pm ET|
NESN and NBC hockey analyst Mike Milbury made his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show Wednesday. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
The first topic of conversation was the Bruins’ goaltending situation. Tim Thomas has started the last three games, after Tuukka Rask appeared in the season opener.
“I’m a little surprised they went with [Thomas] three in a row given the fact that they had so much time off,” Milbury said. “Apparently they’re going to use Rask either Thursday or Saturday, but that’s a long layoff beteween starts. However, as you guys both know, it’s a pleasant dilemma to have when your goaltending is too deep. You can’t knock what Thomas has done in his three starts. He’s been terrific. Rask is going to have to wait his chance again.”
Asked if the Bruins might be showcasing Thomas for a possible trade, Milbury said, “No, I don’t think so, not at this stage. It may be a byproduct of him playing well, but I don’t think it’s intentional. I think Claude [Julien] is just going with a guy he thinks can win him a hockey game.”
Milbury said he didn’t understand the negative reaction to his comments from last week that Tyler Seguin will not be an impact player in his first season. “I was surprised, because it had nothing to do with an evaluation of Tyler Seguin as time goes on. It had to do with what is this guy going to being now,” Milbury said. “If you ask Peter Chiarelli or Cam Neely or Claude Julien, I don’t think any one of them thinks he’s going to be “an impact player” this season. I don’t think that’s the expectation. A contributor, yes, he can be. But I think it’s going to take him a couple of years [to be an impact player].”
Added Milbury: “Time will tell how good he is. But for anybody to think he should be an impact player in his first season hasn’t followed the game a lot.”
As for the Bruins’ 3-1 start, Milbury said: ”I think they’ve had a pretty nice blend over the last three games of opening it up [offensively] when they’ve had to, and being able to shut it down at the same down when they’re responsible, as they usually are.”
Canucks center Rick Rypien aggressively pushed a fan on his way to the dressing room Tuesday night in Minnesota. Milbury, famous for his role in the Bruins’ brawl in the stands at Madison Square Garden in 1979, said Rypien’s actions were inexcusable, but there are things teams can do to make it a safer situation.
“Why they allow such immediate access to players is beyond me,” Milbury said, adding: “You really don’t want fans close enough so that if a guy is ticked off about something that he can react in the spur of the moment because he’s lost his cool. … Getting them away from the players as they exit and enter the arena to me seems like a pretty simple and sane idea.”
Added Milbury: I don’t know how severe the penalty will be, but they’ve got to do it. They have to keep that sanctity [where] player and fan has to be protected at all times. There’s no excuses, no matter what.”
|Bruins beat Devils, 4-1||10.16.10 at 9:18 pm ET|
For the second straight game, it took until the second period for the Bruins to come alive offensively, but once they did, it was substantial enough to seal a victory. The B’s responded to a 1-0 Devils lead with four unanswered goals — one from each line — in the second off Martin Brodeur and hung on for a 4-1 victory at the Prudential Center.
Notable individual feats were accomplished for the Bruins, as Jordan Caron picked up his first NHL goal, Tyler Seguin had his first career assist, and Nathan Horton picked up his 300th career point in assisting Milan Lucic‘s tally.
Tim Thomas earned the victory for the Bruins, following up a shutout last Sunday with a 31-save effort.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- It was good to see Caron get his first career goal out of the way. The 19-year-old struggled with confidence and over-thinking things as the preseason wore on, and was a scratch in the season-opener as a result. After Mark Recchi and Patrice Bergeron took notice, Bergeron, who has served as a mentor for the rookie, took Caron out for dinner and Prague to remind him that he’d be fine if he stuck to his game. The two have been linemates since Sunday’s 3-0 victory and the jitters seem to be a thing of the past.
- There weren’t any real struggles for Seguin in the preseason, but it’s still greatly encouraging to see the rookie center do more than his specialty in scoring. Seguin’s pass to set up Michael Ryder‘s go-ahead goal in the second provided proof of two things: that the second overall pick is already making a big impact and that the chemistry between Seguin and Ryder, who had a down year last season, is something that could very well take off.
- It won’t be every game that the Brad Marchand - Gregory Campbell – Shawn Thornton line puts together a well-executed goal on Martin Brodeur, so let’s give credit where credit is due. It was Thornton’s first goal since the second game of last season, a 7-2 win over the Hurricanes at home.
- It will be very interesting to see how Claude Julien handles the decision of who starts in net for Tuesday, because Tim Thomas continued to prove on Saturday that he is no backup goalie. The 2008-09 Vezina winner stood on his head at various points of the night and kept it a close game in the early going.
Thomas made 31 saves on the night, doing so six days after stopping all 29 shots he faced in last Sunday’s 3-0 shutout over the Coyotes. Dainius Zubrus scored the lone Devils goal on a rebound in the second period.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- Yes, it is but three games into the season, but the power play in its small sample size has not provided much to write home about. With the team’s 0-for-3 showing with the man advantage on Saturday, the Bruins are now 1-for-11 on the season, with Nathan Horton’s power-play goal in the third period of last Saturday’s 5-2 loss their lone saving grace.
To stick with special teams, the penalty kill was quite impressive, with Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, and Johnny Boychuk looking very sharp in killing off a 5-on-3 to end the first period.
- After having just two last Sunday, Blake Wheeler went all of Saturday without a shot on net. Wheeler didn’t exactly have a poor showing on Saturday, but he’ll need to read a certain Wayne Gretzky quote if he wants to improve on his 18-goal mark from last season.
|Tyler Seguin up to speed, won’t ‘over-respect’ Martin Brodeur, Devils||10.14.10 at 2:07 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Anyone with access to YouTube can be the judge of whether Tyler Seguin‘s first goal as a member of the Bruins rivaled Jordan Eberle‘s first NHL tally. Seguin pointed out on Sunday with grin that the Oilers rookie’s first goal was more impressive than his breakaway clinic on hand-eye coordination despite not having seen his own goal’s replay.
Four days later, could Seguin have avoided even seeing his replay in the time following the team’s 3-0 win over the Coyotes? Likely not. Friends have directed him to websites showcasing the play, while family members have texted him support. The second overall pick actually did not call his parents in Prague following the game, given that the team was hurrying to leave for Boston, and he joked that the long-distance charges would make the call to Ontario a “pretty pricey call.” Despite not being able to hear the reaction from his folks, Seguin is pretty confident he could imagine the scene.
“I think my mom was screaming probably,” Seguin said.
Much had been made during the summer and the preseason of how Seguin would adjust to the NHL in the early going. So far, it’s been as predicted — it seems he’ll have an impact as a scorer, while the rest of his game fills out. One positive about the former OHL MVP is that he’s more concerned with on-ice adjustments than he is about dealing with nerves. He’s been a hyped prospect for too long to make him shy on the professional ice. In fact, he noted that O2 Arena didn’t even bring out the most nerves he’s felt thus far in the process.
“I think I was more nervous going into the first preseason game against Montreal than I was for my first NHL game for whatever reason,” Seguin said. “It was kind of the same game, but the pace was much different [Saturday]. It really took only one period to adapt, but I feel pretty comfortable out there now.”
Unlike some of his teammates, Seguin had been to Prague multiple times, so seeing the city was nothing new. As much as the “team bonding” thing has been played up in wake of the trip, Seguin didn’t view it as something that should be overlooked. He felt the trip brought players closer together, with the re-signings of Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara evidence that the team is what he called “a big family.”
Seguin had an interesting take when asked Thursday how he felt about facing a future Hall of Fame goaltender in Devils’ netminder Martin Brodeur. Seguin, 18, noted that though he is a younger player who grew up watching many of the players still in the league, getting anxious to face certain players is not the right way to look at things.
“Every single team is going to have their superstars. I don’t really look at that,” Seguin said. “Obviously, I’m always going to be a hockey fan, but I’m still here. This is my job now. I’m not going to over-respect too many people with the opposition. If you give people too much respect, they’ll take your game right away from you.”
Brodeur made 24 saves on Wednesday night in the Devils’ 1-0 victory over the Sabres. It was Brodeur’s 111th career shutout.
|Mike Milbury on D&H: Tyler Seguin ‘not an impact player’||10.13.10 at 1:22 pm ET|
NESN and NBC hockey analyst Mike Milbury made the first of his weekly appearances on the Dale & Holley show Wednesday to talk about the Bruins. To hear the interview, visit the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
Asked about rookie Tyler Seguin and the impact he could have this season, Milbury said Bruins fans will need to be patient. “I’ll answer the question without having seen him enough: He’s not going to be an impact player this season. He’s not,” Milbury said. “Those players are very few and far between. I’d put big money that he’s not an impact player. Does he get 15-20 goals? Maybe. Thirty points, 50 points tops, but that’s not an impact player. And when [Marc] Savard comes back — and I assume he will — he’ll have a tough time finding ice time.”
With the Bruins signing Zdeno Chara to a seven-year contract extension last week, Milbury voiced his displeasure with long-term deals, citing the risk of injury and psychological letdown. “I don’t like it. I don’t like it for anybody, let alone the Bruins,” Milbury said. “And they’re not the only ones making questionable decisions with the salary cap. I mean, the team they play next, New Jersey, is a mess. They can’t even dress the full complement of players because of the cap issue.”
Added Milbury: “I don’t like long-term contracts. It’s a heartbeat away. You never know what these contracts will do a player’s psyche. This is not baseball. It’s not like you might not get hurt. You’re going to get hurt. It’s just how seriously.
“The team has made its bet on these core players. And we’ll find out in two years, three years maximum whether this core has the stuff to win a Stanley Cup championship. But the bet’s been made. And we’ll find out if it was a good one or not.”
|Good morning, the Bruins are playing||10.09.10 at 6:18 am ET|
PRAGUE — After taking in the Bruins’ final skate before they take the ice for real against the Coyotes, it’s quite apparent that they’ve had enough of the preseason. It’s been a blast seeing Europe for some of these guys, but they’re ready to begin the process of making last season’s playoff collapse a distant memory.
Camp has been long enough. We’ve had the opportunity to do different things and try different things and get our team ready for the season-opener. Now it’s time to get going here. I think everybody’s anxious to get the regular season going.
“It’s a different feeling,” Nathan Horton said following the skate. “The preseason is nice, but this is a different feeling already this morning [in practice]. Everyone’s excited it’s finally here.”
Horton and second overal pick Tyler Seguin have both been cast as the offensive saviors for a club that finished last in the NHL with 2.39 goals per game last season. While both have impressed in the preseason — Horton more so than Seguin based on experience — Claude Julien cautioned those on hand Saturday morning to not place too high of expectations on the young scorers.
“I don’t think we should expect more [from Horton and Seguin] than we should expect from the rest of our team,” Julien said. “Those guys have come in and they know what their strengths are and what they need and want to do to help this team succeed. That’s basically what we need from those kind of guys. Horton’s a guy who can score goals, and I think he’s proven throughout the preseason that he can do that, and we expect him to continue doing that.
“A young kid like Seguin, with three goals in the last two games, I think he’s already proven that he can play at this level, and we have to give him that opportunity to keep growing with our hockey club without putting excess pressure on his shoulders. I think it’s up to us as a team to really come together.”
Horton, the third overall pick in the 2003 NHL draft, spent the first six seasons in the NHL with the Panthers, never once tasting playoff hockey. He’s voiced his excitement with the town and the organization since being acquired in June via trade, but he hasn’t been the only one chirping since the move. Prognosticators have been particularly high on Horton now that he’s a Bruin, and though he’s had just one 30-goal season to this point, some feel he could be a 40-goal scorer.
In chatting with Horton after the skate, it seemed as good a time as any to ask. Over or under 40 goals this season?
Horton, who smiles so much that this writer suspects it could just be his bone structure, grinned and responded, “I’m aiming [for it]. I’m trying my best.”
Horton, 25, will skate on the first line, centered by David Krejci with Milan Lucic on the left wing. The line makes for one of the more physical first lines throughout the league, with Horton having a reputation for his physicality and Lucic a fan favorite for his bruising style of play. As a result, Horton reiterated his stance that Lucic, 22, is “the ultimate hockey player.”
“We have a pretty tough team. You have to use it to your advantage. Any time you’re playing a team that’s tough, it’s hard to play against [them]. It’s not fun, and we want to make it like that tonight.”
The defensive pairings have been tough to get a read on due to how much they’ve been moved around, but here’s a safe bet for the forward lines for Saturday night.
Lucic – Krejci – Horton
Wheeler- Bergeron – Recchi
Paille – Seguin – Ryder
Marchand – Campbell – Thornton
Expect Tuukka Rask to be in net.
Here are the preseason leaders, courtesy of the Bruins.
1. Patrice Bergeron, 4
1. Tyler Seguin, 4
3. Nathan Horton, 3
4. Brad Marchand, 2
1. Patrice Bergeron, 4
1. Zdeno Chara, 4
1. Matt Bartkowski, 4
4. Shawn Thornton, 3
4. David Krejci, 3
1. Patrice Bergeron, 8
2. Tyler Seguin, 5
2. Zdeno Chara, 5
4. Matt Bartkowski, 4
Here’s one final big-picture quote from Julien this morning:
“Everybody has something that they excel in, as far as their roles are concerned, whether it’s goal-scoring, whether it’s physical play. If we put it all together and we do it well, we’ve got a pretty good hockey club.”
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