The last team the Sabres probably want to see visit HSBC Arena under the circumstances is the Boston Bruins, who have won four straight and nine of their last 10. (more…)
Well, let’s start by saying that the NHL All-Star Fan Balloting is a joke this year. If the results of the Eastern Conference voting that was released today stands up until the end of the campaign, the entire East starting line-up will consist of Montreal Canadiens players. If the NHL didn’t intend to do anything about this hi-tech form of ballot-box stuffing, then it should’ve just decided that for the 100th anniversary of the Canadiens, Montreal would face off against the NHL All-Stars and the voting would’ve only been for that opposing team.
Nonetheless, the only good news is that Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas, who if he can’t make the All-Star ballot at least knows he’ll be in the conversation for the Vezina all year, is getting a nice round of support from write-in voters. (more…)
Recently selected as one of Boston’s 25 most fashionable people, Boston Bruins defenseman Aaron Ward had this to say today about the club’s new third jersey:
“I love it. It’s understated. It’s got a little bit of a link to the past with the emblem on the front. They didn’t try to do too much. I think it’s classy, it’s good.”
The challenge for the Boston Bruins right now is to maintain their high level of focus and determination in order to keep their run of success going. For winger Michael Ryder, the objective is the same, except he also has to figure out how to get the puck to reach the back of the net more often. (more…)
The NHL today announced that Boston Bruins center Marc Savard was named the league’s First Star for the week ending Nov. 23. The Second Star was Vancouver’s Henrik Sedin and the Third Star was Chicago’s Nikolai Khabibulin.
Last week, Savard posted 2-6-8 totals, as the Bruins went 4-0-0.
So, how do you like the third jersey? It’s definitely different from what the Boston Bruins traditionally wear. And it’s a far cry from the days of Pooh Bear (the way the Bruins played in the aftermath of the lockout, Eeyore would’ve been a better character for their jerseys). (more…)
The Boston Bruins are practicing this morning at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington.
•Forwards Patrice Bergeron and Marco Sturm, and defenseman Dennis Wideman are not on the ice.
•A handful of players will leave after today’s practice for an event that TD Banknorth Garden Pro Shop (2 p.m.) to unveil, sell and sign the club’s new third jersey.
I’ll have more on these issues later today.
It was thought that veteran defenseman Andrew Ference’s broken right tibia might derail the Boston Bruins,
who entered last week winners of five of their last six.
Alas, rookie defenseman Matt Hunwick filled in ably. During the Bruins’ 4-0 romp through Toronto, Buffalo, Montreal and Florida, the former University of Michigan star scored twice (including his first NHL goal Monday against the Leafs), notched two assists and posted a plus-3 rating. For his efforts filling Ference’s skates on the Bruins’ second pair opposite Dennis Wideman, Hunwick is my Bruin of the Week.
Hunwick has played well enough to earn some time on the second power-play unit and he’s made life a little easier for general manager Peter Chiarelli, who hasn’t had to make a desperate move to acquire a puck-moving defenseman.
Other candidates for this week’s award were forwards Phil Kessel (3-1-4, plus-3) and Chuck Kobasew (2-2-4, plus-5), and goaltender Tim Thomas (91 saves on 97 shots, 3-0-0 record).
The week ahead features a road date with Buffalo and Garden visits by the New York Islanders and Detroit Red Wings.
As you already know, the Montreal Canadiens will tonight retire the No. 33 of goaltender Patrick Roy, who led the Habs to two Stanley Cup titles, before their home date with the Bruins at the Bell Centre.
Roy held a conference call this week, and here’s what he recalled about his old battles with Boston:
“We had a lot of good games with the Bruins, and a lot of playoff games at the beginning of my career, in those 10 years, actually, with Montreal. It was always, you know, it was always special playing against the Bruins, especially playing at the Boston Garden. I mean, it was a fun rink to play at, and I’m glad I had that opportunity to play in these rinks. I’m thinking of Chicago, Boston.
“It was very (intimidating) for any players who started, and it was fun playing in these games. But, yeah, Boston, I mean, I’m thinking of Cam Neely and Ray Bourque, they were always in the middle of the battle and it was always good games.”
It’s safe to say the Montreal Canadiens will be jacked up tonight when they host the Boston Bruins at the Bell Centre. Not only will the Bruins’ archrivals be looking to put on a show on Patrick Roy Night, but they’ll also be looking for revenge after the 6-1 spanking they took from Boston at the Garden Nov. 13. The Bruins, however, are the hotter team, with wins in eight of their last nine games.
Player to Watch: Obviously, if he gets the start, goaltender Carey Price will try to be at his peak with possibly the NHL’s greatest goaltender ever in the house for his number retirement ceremony. Price was 5-0 in the regular season against the Bruins as a rookie last year. But then the Bruins solved him in the postseason and this year, obviously got to him during their one win over Montreal. Price on the season is 9-4-1 with a 2.51 goals-against average.
What they’re writing: The Gazette’s Pat Hickey reports on what will now be an extended absence by Montreal defenseman Mike Komisarek.
Quotable: Bruins defenseman Aaron Ward has been front and center during the renewal of one of hockey’s hottest rivalries. He’s ready for an emotional night that will test the Bruins’ resolve.
“We’re going to be faced with adversity,” Ward said after the Bruins’ win over Florida Friday. “When you’re retiring a jersey, I think that process will take over an hour. So the onus is on the older guys to hopefully … keep the guys focused. Because an hour is a long time to wait, and we talked about what happened at the start of the year with the (season-opening) game in Colorado. It was a long time to wait so we’ve got to learn from our mistakes in the past and really prepare for this game.”
The second-year center stole the puck at the Boston blue line and dashed up ice, but recognized he didn’t have enough speed going for a breakaway, so he slowed to let the play develop. Next thing you know, he feeds Chuck Kobasew, who shoots one off Panthers defenseman Noah Welch and Krejci, heading to the net, taps the puck in.
With so many guys always trying to do things 100 miles per hour, it’s rare to see a play like Krejci’s made in the NHL.
“You don’t think about it. You go every shift up there … you give 100 percent, so you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”
Mostly allergic to comparing his players to other players, past and present, Bruins head coach Claude Julien still connected a line between Krejci and the play he made, and other one-time playmakers.
“He controls the play so well, and he also controls the pace of it too,” Julien said. “And I’ve seen players in the past, that they were extremely good at that. I remember J.F. Sauve from the Nordiques was one of those guys that would make those plays, slow things down, and we’ve got other players. … John Chabot that’s now a coach at the Islanders, too, and they’re gifted with the stick and they find seams.”
The Bruins held Slap Shot Night tonight at the TD Banknorth Garden to honor what’s widely regarded as the best hockey movie ever. And the Hanson Bros. own Steve Carlson was in the house for the festivities. Before the game, he recalled the one season (1987-88) that he was an assistant coach with the Baltimore Skipjacks of the American Hockey League and Bruins head coach Claude Julien was a player on the squad.
“Thank God I only had him for one year,” said Carlson with his tongue firmly in his cheek. “What’s good about coaching Claude is, if we needed an extra pilon, we just let him out there.”
“Claude was a good hockey player, a hard-working hockey player. But I’m glad I only had him for one year. Thanks God he’s telling his players, ‘Do as I say not as I did’ because they’d be walking around him all night.”
Earlier, Carlson had some serious praise for his former pupil’s job with the Bruins.
“When you have four lines that work hard, play the system, you don’t have to worry about nothing because you can outwork the other team. Man for man, Boston doesn’t have the best team in the league. But I guarantee you, they’re going to be one of the hardest working teams in the league. And that’s what’s going to get them over the top.”
Well, one player the Boston Bruins won’t have to worry about facing in Montreal Saturday night is Mike Komisarek. The defenseman, injured in a fight with Boston’s Milan Lucic Nov. 13 (a 6-1 Bruins win), is going to miss at least another month, according to CBC Sports. Komisarek hasn’t played since that night in Boston because of a shoulder injury.
I’ll have more on the Habs tomorrow.
In the NHL, they call games like tonight’s Boston Bruins (12-3-4) tilt with the Florida Panthers (7 p.m., TD Banknorth Garden) a trap game. The Bruins have won seven of their last eight, 10 of their last 12 and are the winners of their last six home games. The Panthers, on the other hand, are just 2-3 over their last five and sit at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings with just a 7-10-1 record. (more…)
This week, Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien alluded to the fact that Patrice Bergeron might be a little worn down because the star center has been working hard ever since last
April, when he first started to rehab from his serious concussion and his post-concussion syndrome. The coach pointed to Bergeron’s potential weariness as the source of his slight scoring skid, which reached seven goal-less games after the win over Buffalo Wednesday (although Bergeron did record two assists in the victory).
Today after the club’s practice in Wilmington, I asked Bergeron if the fact that he’s been working out for eight straight months, while his teammates and most of his opponents took at least some time off during the summer, is catching up to him. (more…)