Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
There have been whispers of the Bruins and Blues circling each other for weeks now, but the initial scuttlebutt suggested something smaller was in the works—maybe a deal for the rights to malcontent center (and former Bruin) Vladimir Sobotka, who is currently plying his trade in the faltering KHL. But as the two teams struggle to meet preseason expectations, it's thought that the pot has gotten a little richer and could well include a swap of top-six wingers.
The appeal of Lucic to the Blues is obvious. If they hope to get past the Blackhawks, Ducks and Kings they need to be heavier up front. And Lucic, when he's on his game, is as heavy as they come.
Boston, meanwhile, needs someone that can help them set a higher pace. A bit of an edge would be nice, but speed and scoring touch are paramount. Oshie is struggling this season, but is coming off a 21-goal, 60-point campaign highlighted by his stunning performance in the Olympics for Team USA. He has the wheels and the tools to fill that hole.
more plus other NHL topics...
from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE,
The Florida Panthers, Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Rangers all earned two points on Tuesday night to pass by the Bruins in the Eastern Conference playoff standings. The more sobering realization: Each of those teams also has games in hand on Boston. The B's 15-13-3 record after the first 31 games is their worst over that number of games in any of the eight seasons that Claude Julien has been coach. If the B's don't find another gear, and soon, this may be the first season a Julien-coached Bruins team doesn't made the playoffs.
more on the Bruins after their 3-2 shootout loss to Nashville last night...
Also from Haggerty,
“You’ve got Zdeno [Chara] coming back as your top defenseman, and you’ve got David Krejci still out and injured,” said Julien to reporters following Tuesday night’s loss in Nashville. “We’ve had our best players out this season, so there’s no doubt that we’ve had to scramble. Now that we’ve got players coming back it’s going to make us better.
“I think we’re making a big deal out of a guy [in Chara] that’s missing two months. The first couple of games were a bit of a challenge, but he’s getting better and finding his game. I told him, and everybody, it’s like training camp for him after he’s been out for two months. It’s like just starting the season when everybody he’s playing with and against him has been going pretty good for the last few months.”
below, a look at the Eastern Conference race including wild card spots...
On St. Louis capitalizing on momentum:
I didn’t really see it like that. I think that we’ve got to get a save in there somewhere. It’s frustrating.
On the team having been strong at protecting leads:
It’s not the same team. It’s quite a bit different team on the back end, and I’ve said all along we need great goaltending.
LA Kings head coach Darryl Sutter after losing 5-2 to the St. Louis Blues, via Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider.
"things aren't coming easy for us--have to find a way to get some wins here. You look at the standings, we're behind the eight ball"
"hasn't been an easy year at all and we need to find ways to grind it out, start getting wins & start feeling good about ourselves"
-Milan Lucic of the Boston Bruins after losing 3-2 to the Nashville Predators in a shootout. Quotes via the Boston Bruins twitter account.
from Stephen Harris of the Boston Herald,
So while the B’s have long carried a reputation as a strong defensive team, in recent years they’ve also usually been quite proficient on offense, too. This year, things are out of kilter on both sides of the puck, as the team ranks just 14th defensively (2.57 GAA), while having a tough time scoring more than two a game. In their last 14 outings, thy have lit the lamp just 29 times.
By almost any metric, the Bruins are having a highly unusual season. Their power play, which ranked third last season (20.5 percent), is 17th now, at 17.4; their shooting percentage of 8.2 ranks 24th; their penalty-killing, normally a strength for this group, is 21st (79 percent).
We knew going into the season that, with the losses of winger Jarome Iginla and defenseman Johnny Boychuk, this team might take a step back. But with the departures and the injuries, there’s been an across-the-board slip.
So while Chiarelli certainly wants to see more pucks going in, that is not the only area that needs improvement.
“That (scoring) is not the only issue here,” Chiarelli said. “We have to play better. I feel we probably have to make a couple of changes. But the last thing I want to do is force something. So, we’re patient. I don’t like losing. But there’s no magic potion here — whether it’s in a player, whether it’s getting back to basics, whether it’s personnel-wise or whether it’s playing-wise.”
George Stroumboulopoulos sits down with Toronto’s Larry Tanenbaum, Boston’s Jeremy Jacobs and Calgary’s Murray Edwards to discuss the perks and issues of owning a hockey franchise.
Part two and three of the video can be viewed at Sportsnet.
from Jess Isner of BostonBruins.com,
The playoffs may be a long ways off, but the pressure is on, and the Bruins are putting the onus on themselves to respond -- and respond now -- before it’s too late.
“I don’t think we’re feeling sorry for ourselves, but we’ve talked about waking up and putting in the effort and doing all the right things,” Rask said. “We’re showing we can do it, and then sometimes, we just sleep and don’t do them.
“The wake-up call should have been a few weeks ago. We’ve been talking about it enough, and it’s not going to get any better if we keep talking about it. We’ve just got to bury our heads down and work hard, and good things are going to happen. But it’s really frustrating when you look at these mistakes and stuff we’re doing out there, night in and night out.
“It’s just not the Bruins hockey.”
In seven of their last nine games, the Bruins have scored no more than two goals. The point has been driven home: They’re not finding the back of the net, and in order to win, they need to be.
Now, it’s time to execute. Now, it’s time to find a way to get the job done.
more post-game talk after the Bruins lost to theOttawa Senators 3-2 in a shootout...
added 3:35pm, Begeron back for OT.
from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE,
While it would be easy to dismiss the Kelly/Shaw dust up as insignificant because the Bruins didn’t end up winning the game, but that would be monumentally missing the point. The Bruins are their best when they are playing with a major chip on their shoulder, and doling out equal parts punishment and intimidation with their hard-hitting play.
It’s also not exactly a coincidence that something like happens on the night that Zdeno Chara returns to the lineup. It brings a little extra courage to the entire team knowing the 6-foot-9 captain has their back.
That’s a good thing because the more this happens, the more the Bruins get back to what makes them special.
Me, I think they need more goal scoring more than anything.
from Caryn Switaj at BostonBruins.com,
The Bruins have been without captain Zdeno Chara for 19 games. Head Coach Claude Julien is planning on having him back in the lineup on Thursday night, when they host the Chicago Blackhawks at TD Garden.
"Not officially, but I’m counting on him," Julien said Thursday morning, while the team was on the ice for a pregame skate.
While the official decision hadn't yet been made for tonight, the talk about Chara's impending return has made for an excited Bruins' room.
Since he suffered the knee injury on October 23, it's been a long month and a half for the Bruins without their longtime leader.
"There was definitely some adversity throughout that time, and I think we've managed it pretty well overall," said alternate captain Patrice Bergeron, looking back on his time out of the lineup (the Bruins have gone 11-7-1 in his absence). "We definitely had some ups and downs, but it's still definitely going to give us a lift to have our captain back if he is back tonight."
continue, much more on the Bruins...
from Alex Reimer of the Boston Herald,
Bruins apologists will point to Seguin’s putrid showing in the 2013 playoffs as a legitimate reason for his departure. How quickly they forget about his four-point performance off the bench in Game 2 of the 2011 Eastern Conference finals, or that he led the team in points in 2011-12.
Maybe Seguin lacks grit, and can’t play in Claude Julien’s defensive-minded system. But then that’s a negative commentary on the Bruins. When you have a talent like Seguin, you make it work. The Red Sox, for example, rode the mercurial Manny Ramirez’s bat to two championships.
Julien’s brand of conservative hockey and rolling four lines hasn’t been able to save the Bruins from a mediocre first half. Krejci and Zdeno Chara have been nursing injuries, and only appeared in 11 and nine games this season, respectively, but that’s the point. A coach’s system is only as good as the players who play in it.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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