Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.
from Stephen Harris of the Boston Herald,
In recent seasons, Chiarelli iced one of the most physically imposing teams in the league with plenty of size and toughness throughout the lineup. Against the Kings, especially, the B’s seemed overmatched, with few players beyond Milan Lucic capable of standing up to the rough and ready Kings.
Against a Sharks team that isn’t as good as LA or Anaheim, Julien admitted his team was shown as being not very good.
“It looked like we were exposed just because we were so bad,” said Julien.
The B’s like to regard themselves as a hard team to play against. But when you subtract Jarome Iginla, Shawn Thornton, Johnny Boychuk, Zdeno Chara and Adam McQuaid, you’re left with a lightweight roster that doesn’t intimidate anyone....
The B’s problems extend beyond a three-game losing streak, and the hoped-for returns of Chara and David Krejci soon after the team flies home tomorrow will help immensely. Of course, the status of those two is not known. Will they be ready when the Bruins face another mega-challenge, the Chicago Blackhawks, on Thursday? Will they be able to stay in the lineup when they do return? Even with all the woes this season, if all the key pieces are back in place, this should be a playoff team.
from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE,
The trade winds are kicking up with Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli making stops at other NHL arenas to scout players for potential trades for a Boston team that’s in a serious offensive drought. Sportsnet analyst Nick Kypreos is reporting that there’s “strong speculation” the Boston Bruins and Edmonton Oilers are revisiting trade talk that goes back to this summer when Johnny Boychuk was one of the names being mentioned before Boston’s deal with the Islanders.
Those past discussions also involved third line center Chris Kelly and perhaps either Niklas Svedberg or Malcolm Subban for an Edmonton team in dire need of quality goaltending, and it’s believed that right wing Jordan Eberle has always been the desired top line target for the Black and Gold....
One thing that is a fact: Edmonton management covets power forward Milan Lucic and would be extremely interested in netting the punishing left wing in a deal with the Bruins, but don’t count on that one happening with the B’s looking to get heavier on their sticks rather than lighter with any moves that they make.
Stay turned on this one as Chiarelli is obviously highly motivated to make moves that help his team after watching the Bruins grind it out for the last two months.
from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE,
It’s the same old story for the David Krejci- and Zdeno Chara-less Bruins.
Defensively they’ve been able to band together and, in tandem with some hot goaltending, hold the opposition in check. But without the unique offensive contributions of Krejci and Chara, they remain toothless on the attack.
The latest example was a 2-0 shutout loss to the Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center on Tuesday night, a defeat that leaves the Bruins with 15 goals scored in their last 10 games. During those 10 games, the Bruins have scored more than two goals just once. That’s not enough offense to beat most teams and certainly nowhere close enough to beat the Anaheim Ducks or the Kings, whom they've lost to in the last two nights.
“We’ve done a lot of good things, but at the same time when we’re not scoring then any small mistakes turn into big ones,” said Patrice Bergeron. “We don’t make up for it on the offense. We’re playing a pretty stingy game when it’s 1-0, so defense isn’t a problem. We just have to find a way to score more goals.”
continue for more on the game...
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
It's still a bit jarring to look at the Atlantic Division standings and have to search all the way to the fourth spot to find the Boston Bruins. But, that's exactly where the Bruins are after Monday's 3-2 loss in Anaheim that kicked off a four-game west coast trip.
The Bruins began the season in salary cap hell, having to off-load solid defender Johnny Boychuk who is now thriving for the New York Islanders. Then there were injuries to the blue line including the loss of captain Zdeno Chara. Still, not so long ago the Bruins had won eight of 10. However, Monday's loss, in which they launched 34 shots at Ducks netminder Frederik Andersen, is their third loss in the last four outings (one was in overtime).
With Montreal and Tampa Bay both winning Monday and Detroit on fire, the preseason notion that the Bruins would somehow automatically find themselves at or near the top of the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference standings has yet to be proven true.
read on for more topics from the ESPN hockey writers...
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
The Bruins, who began a four-game Western trip Monday with a 3-2 loss at Anaheim against the Ducks, and will face the Kings on Tuesday at Staples Center, have been rocked by injuries to franchise defenseman Zdeno Chara (left knee), big-bodied defenseman Adam McQuaid (broken thumb), and skillful forward David Krejci (undisclosed), among others. The Bruins are fourth in the Atlantic Division and lead the wild-card standings in the East, short of what is expected of a team that won the Stanley Cup in 2011 and lost to Chicago in the 2013 Cup Final.
“We've faced a lot of adversity this year, but I think at the same time, it makes you a stronger team. It builds a lot of character, and you know how to handle it down the road if that presents itself again,” center Patrice Bergeron, a two-time winner of the Selke Trophy as the NHL's best defensive forward, said Monday morning.
“I think it is somewhat a good thing. We can learn from it and relish the challenge and keep trying to get better as a team. It's never getting satisfied, and getting the job done no matter who's in there.”
“Can you imagine saying to the Detroit Lions even when they really stunk, ‘You can’t play on Thanksgiving day. The Bruins created that slot, they own it and the league and NBC took it away from them. It’s flat-out wrong.”
-Jack Edwards on the Bruins not playing a matinee game on Black Friday. NESN has a video with more from Jack Edwards on this topic.
"When you've got to score two goals every night to get one, it’s tough to win hockey games. We got some tough calls against us and our guys played hard right till the end. Unfortunately, we didn’t get that second point that I thought we deserved."
-Claude Julien, head coach of the Boston Bruins after losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 in OT. More on the game from Caryn Switaj of BostonBruins.com.
You can view two of those "tough calls" below....
from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch,
The Boston Bruins are irate at the altercation between forward Milan Lucic and Blue Jackets defenseman Dalton Prout at the end of overtime on Friday and are vowing revenge when the teams meet on Dec. 27 at Nationwide Arena.
Lucic told the Boston Herald that he let Prout know he wasn’t going to fight, and he let his guard down just before Prout buckled his knees with a heavy right to the chin.
“It’s the end of the game,” Lucic said. “I let him know I wasn’t going to fight him. I wasn’t prepared, I let my guard down, and that’s what happens sometimes when you let your guard down. I’ve been in over 100 fights, and I never took a shot like that. Like I said, we get two opportunities to play the Blue Jackets, and I’ll be ready.”...
“There’s many a times when I could have done the exact same thing, and I held off because the guy’s refusing to drop his gloves,” Lucic said. “I find it to be gutless, and that’s my thoughts on it.”
Watch the incident below if you missed it earlier, video includes feed from both teams.
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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.
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