Bruins pick Benning trying to live up to family legacy

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Bruins pick Benning trying to live up to family legacy

PITTSBURGH The Bruins kept it in the family with their sixth-round pick, taking assistant general manager Jim Bennings nephew, Matt, a big defenseman with the 175th overall selection.

Benning is an interesting story in that hes also the son of longtime NHL veteran Bryan Benning, but the 18-year-old wasnt always sure if he wanted to follow in the footsteps of his hockey-playing relatives.

But Bruins scouting director Wayne Smith assured that Benning has become fully committed in the last couple of years, and provides the kind of size, strength and nastiness that Boston always needs along their rear-guard. The younger Benning said he was phoned by his overjoyed uncle on Saturday when hed been chosen by the Bruins, and was in the middle of studying for his math final exams.

No doubt the books were put down for a little while, and Benning envisioned what it might be like playing in a Bruins uniform.

With my uncle obviously playing in the NHL and my dad playing in the NHL too theres a bit of pressure, admitted Benning. But they support me in whatever I do and hopefully one day I can pursue my dream of playing in the NHL just like they did.

Smith said that Benning has a little bit of a nasty streak at 6-feet tall and 218 pounds, but he's still a bit raw around the edges as he enters into a season with the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the USHL.

He plans to play college hockey following a year at the major junior level in the US, and has no illusions about his game. Its high on the defensive end and the physicality scale, and modestly improving on the offensive side of things.

Hes toured the TD Garden and the Bruins practice facilities as a guest of Uncle Jim, but he knows next week hell be there on business as part of the teams development camp.

I think Im more of a stay-at-home 'D'-man, kind of like a Matt Green. Just kind of like rough and tough, stay at home, and just hard to play against kind of 'D', said Benning. So over the summer Im going to try to work on my foot speed some more and my skating and hopefully I can improve.

Given the NHL bloodlines its a fair bet that Benning is going to improve now that hes committed to a hockey career, and there couldnt be a more perfect fit for his development than his uncle Jims Bruins.

Julien: 'A lot of problematic things' in Bruins loss to Avalanche

Julien: 'A lot of problematic things' in Bruins loss to Avalanche

BOSTON – The Bruins simply weren’t ready to play on Thursday night when the puck was dropped against the Colorado Avalanche at TD Garden. 

They fell down quickly by a 2-0 score, had a couple of completely inept power plays in the first period that sucked all the game’s momentum away from them and received some subpar goaltending from Anton Khudobin on the way to a 4-2 loss to the lowly Avs. About the only B’s person above reproach in this one was David Pastrnak after scoring a pair of goals in the second period to get Boston back into the game, but it all fell short in a very frustrating, lackadaisical loss to a Western Conference team that isn’t very good. 

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Needless to say B’s coach Claude Julien wasn’t too happy after a loss where the Bruins might have had more success with a smarter approach to holding the puck. 

“There were a lot of problematic things [in the loss]. No doubt that the power play could have helped us in the first period, and failed to do that. They’ve got to be better,” said Julien. “We needed some saves tonight, and we didn’t get them. [Anton Khudobin] has got to be better. 

“A lot of things here that we can be better at, and take responsibility [for]. But at the same time, you got to move on here.  It’s one of those nights that had we been smarter from the get go, we would have had a chance.”

Clearly it was about a lacking group effort when dissecting the loss, and the minus-3 for David Krejci on Thursday night marked back-to-back negative performances from the playmaking Czech center in big spots. The goaltending was shoddy with Anton Khudobin allowing four goals on 22 shots for Colorado, and unable to make plays on a couple of Colorado shots from outside the painted area that built up the Avs lead in the first place. 

But it was also very much about the inability of the Bruins to generate consistent offense outside of David Pastrnak’s offensive burst in the second period, and the complete breakdown of the Boston power play in the opening 20 minutes. The Bruins struggled to enter the zone in their first PP possession of the game, and then allowed a Nathan MacKinnon shorthanded goal after Torey Krug futilely dove at the blue line to try and keep the puck in the offensive zone. 

The Krug misplay at the offensive blue line gave MacKinnon a clear path the net, and he buried a wrist shot past Khudobin to get the one-sided loss rolling. Beyond the costly mistakes that ended up in the back of the net, the Bruins looked sloppy and slow-reacting in their breakouts and more than willing to settle for outside perimeter shots.

That doesn’t exactly make for a winning combo even when it comes against a flawed, underachieving team like Colorado, and especially when it comes less than 24 hours after a hard-fought road game in Washington DC. 

“I think we were still sleeping there early in the game and they were able to capitalize on their opportunities. We couldn’t claw our way back,” said Brad Marchand, who picked up an assist on David Pastrnak’s second goal of the night on a perfect dish for the one-timer. “I think it was definitely a mental [block]. You’re able to battle through that physical fatigue. It was more the mental mistakes and not being prepared right off the hop of the start of the game. Again, that’s kind of where we lost it.”

The sleepwalking Bruins lost Thursday night’s valuable two points as soon as the opening puck was dropped against the Avalanche, of course, and the Bruins never got out of lollygag mode at a time when intensity should have been automatic.