Bruins hung up on hangover talk

561912.jpg

Bruins hung up on hangover talk

CHICAGO The Bruins have had about enough of the whole Stanley Cup hangover thing, and the season is only four games old.

The Black and Gold roll into the United Center for a Saturday night meeting against the Blackhawks that should press down firmly enough on the Bs emotional buttons. But its also appropriate theyre going up against the poster children for the Stanley Cup hangover.

Tyler Seguin came up with the line of the day, but it typified how everyone in the Bruins dressing room was looking at things after a couple disappointing losses to Carolina and Colorado.

I liked part 1 and 2 of the movie The Hangover, but this catchphrase isnt something we want sticking with this team, said Seguin. Its getting annoying and we dont want to keep it over our heads.

So how does somebody put the hangover chatter to bed?

Its pretty simple:

Win.

The Bruins have lost focus largely at the beginning of games, but at certain points throughout in three out of the four games played this season, and its cost them. Theyve been a little light on the physical side, without a fight in any of the four games, and they haven't stirred memories of the Big Bad Bruins.

But the NHL will still assume that Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis and Bradley Cooper have been smuggled onto the Bruins roster unless the reigning Cup champs can find a way to minimize the struggles. It starts with upping the intensity and focus and continues when pride starts getting involved with players that know the Stanley Cup party is pretty much over at this point.

Of course there are effects from winning the Cup, but I wouldnt call it a hangover, said Tim Thomas, who hasnt shown any hangover effects in the early going and seems the likely choice as starter on Saturday. By talking about it and by having it brought up in the media all the time, it brings it up into your conscious mind. It gives you an excuse or it allows you to think that way.

The battle as a player is to not waste your time thinking in negative directions like that, and instead stay positive and in the moment. That was last year and this is a new year. If you want to have success, we need to focus on what each of us need to in each individual period and each individual game.

The Bruins are working on simple, fundamental things like transition passes, forechecking and special teams during their Friday practice in Chicago, and its about hammering home the basics for the coaching staff. Claude Julien believes his players have the will to win, but that needs to translate into the kind of Bruins hockey that everyone is accustomed to.

For a lot of people the hangover seems unavoidable, but we dont want to be accepting that, said Julien. If anything, wed like to be the exception to the rule and battle our way out of it. Right now our mental state is whats probably hurting us the most.

Its not clicking right now whether its the transition game or our forecheck. The attention and the will seem to be there, so its just finding a way to push ourselves past that zone and find our game again.

A couple of power-play goals wouldnt hurt; the Bs havent notched a man-advantage tally since their first goal of the season on Oct. 6 against the Flyers when Seguin hit Brad Marchand with a home run stretch pass.

It seems to be a pretty good signs that the Bruins players are getting a bit peeved about the Stanley Cup hangover talk, and the next step is doing something about it by winning some games.

The Bruins continue their effort to find the cure for the common hockey hangover Saturday night against the Blackhawks.

Saturday, Jan. 21: McKenzie on Julien's job security

Saturday, Jan. 21: McKenzie on Julien's job security

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while proud of my wife and daughter participating in today’s Women’s March.

*This is from a few days ago, but Bob McKenzie weighing in on the prospects for Claude Julien and his job security is always worth checking out.  

*The New York Rangers have themselves a rookie named Pavel that’s doing a pretty darned good job for the Blueshirts.

*What should the St. Louis Blues do with Kevin Shattenkirk as the trade deadline approaches and the seven-year, $49 million contract waiting for him in free agency is pretty daunting?

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Kevin Allen has a list of underperforming NHL stars, including Jamie Benn and Jonathan Toews, that may have been impacted by the World Cup of Hockey. Certainly Patrice Bergeron could have made this list as well.

*Blackhawks backup goalie Scott Darling may be earning some more playing time after the way he performed against the Bruins, according to Pro Hockey Talk.

*Good news with Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson set to return to the team in a couple of weeks after tending to his wife in a battle against cancer.

*The struggles of Anthony Duclair with the Arizona Coyotes mirror the team’s issues this season as well. It’s interesting that Duclair has popped up in trade rumors with the Desert Dogs this season.

*For something completely different: the final Wolverine movie with Hugh Jackman is going to be extremely emotional with its characters.


 

Both Millers missing from Bruins practice, but trending toward return

Both Millers missing from Bruins practice, but trending toward return

BRIGHTON, Mass – While both Kevan Miller and Colin Miller were missing from Bruins practice on Saturday morning, both injured Bruins defensemen could be rejoining the team soon.

Colin Miller skated on his own prior to Saturday’s team practice at Warrior Ice Arena for the second or third time since suffering a lower body injury in the win over the St. Louis Blues. Claude Julien said his presence on the ice was proof that the puck-moving defenseman is “definitely on the mend”, and could be nearing a return to practice soon with Sunday marking the sixth straight game that he’ll have missed.

Kevan Miller is out with a concussion suffered last weekend in the win over the Philadelphia Flyers, and the B’s current three-game losing streak has coincided with his absence from the lineup.

Julien said Miller has actually been away from the team for the last couple of days while dealing with a virus, and that his recovery from the concussion symptoms was good prior to being knocked down by the illness.

“Kevan was actually feeling really well and then he got hit by a virus that’s kept him in bed for the last two days,” said Julien. “It’s nothing to do with his original injury. There was a possibility he could have been ready very soon, but that’s set him back a bit.”

Both are obviously out for Sunday’s matinee against the Penguins, but a return to practice at some point next week seems like a good bet for both players. Here are the line combos and defense pairings from Saturday’s practice with the Bruins focusing on getting a good result in Pittsburgh with the hockey club on a “mom’s trip” with 22 of the players’ mothers traveling with the team to and from the game:

Marchand-Bergeron-Vatrano

Schaller-Krejci-Pastrnak

Spooner-Nash-Backes/Hayes

Blidh/Beleskey-Moore-Czarnik

 

Chara-Carlo

Krug-McQuaid

Morrow-Liles

 

Rask

McIntyre