Bruins vs. Capitals: Ten thoughts through two


Bruins vs. Capitals: Ten thoughts through two

Here are five thoughts with the Bruins trailing the Washington Capitals by a 2-1 score after the first 20 minutes at TD Garden.

1) Gigantic goal for Milan Lucic at the end of the first period with five seconds to go until the intermission. Patrice Bergeron worked like a dog against Jay Beagle to make sure the Bruins won the face-off and then Lucic managed to snap a wobbly wrist shot through Tomas Vokouns legs after hed put together a very good first period. The Bruins are starting to show the ability to quick strike opponents with rapid goals in succession again, and score goals right before the conclusion of periods. Thats the sign of a team finding their legs again. Lucic with points in six straight games, and a huge goal after Vokoun looked well on his way to a big afternoon against Boston.

2) Patrice Bergeron is in beast mode today. He was fighting off Washington attackers to hold the puck behind the Caps net while setting up Brad Marchand for a one-timer earlier in the period and he wouldnt accept defeat on that key offensive face-off at the end of the first period. Hes unstoppable when hes playing heavy on the puck like he is today.

3) Joe Corvo once again having issues clearing pucks from the front of the net. He couldnt get the puck away from the net before Matt Hendricks pounced on it to score Washingtons second goal of the first period. Corvo had a couple of good games, but today is a regression to bad Corvo.

4) Ten hits for the Bruins this afternoon including Zdeno Chara rattling Mathieu Perreault with a glass-shattering hit over by the penalty boxes. It smashed the glass between the penalty box and the fan seating immediately behind it. Bruins outhitting the Caps by a 10-5 margin in the first period.

5) Interesting to see the Bruins going with seven defensemen to start this afternoons game as Benoit Pouliot battles with an injury suffered in Toronto. Looks like this is the team that Boston wants to go with from here on in and wanted to see if Mike Mottau could play a little forward along with his defensemen role. Good versatility by Mottau.

Here are five thoughts from the second with the Bruins trailing the Washington Capitals by a 4-2 score after the first 20 minutes at TD Garden.

1) Bruins looked sloppy and selfish in the second period after battling themselves back into it with a short burst. Nothing more selfish than David Krejci flinging the puck at linesman Jean Morin in a fit of pique after an off-sides call. Morin skated by Krejci, barked at him and then whistled him for an unsportsmanlike conduct that left Boston shorthanded. Bruins cant take selfish penalties like that when theyre trying to win games and close with some strength down the stretch.

2) Rough times continue for Greg Zanon, who took a pair of penalties in the second period including a holding call when Matt Hendricks got the drop on him from the outside and a roughing call when he dropped Mathieu Perreault with what looked like a good hit. Hes having a tough time getting settled into a role here in Boston. Tim Thomas has played pretty well today to all those wondering about potentially playing Marty Turco today. Not his fault Bs defensemen are playing like the keystone kops.

3) A rough game for Dennis Seidenberg as well. He crashed into Adam McQuaid behind the net and that resulted in chaos in their own end before Jay Beagle fired a laser past Tim Thomas to put Washington ahead. A lot of sloppiness from the Bs defensemen corps today: Zanon, Seidenberg and Corvo all struggling.

4) A minus-2, no shots on net and a bad penalty for David Krejci today. This is the kind of inconsistency that can be maddening when hes played well with Tyler Seguin and Milan Lucic recently. Hes been good in the face-off circle, but hes doing anything else effectively.

5) Johnny Boychuk is tough as hell. He takes a shot off his right foot and needs help walking down the runway. But hes immediately out and on the bench before play begins again, and finishes off the period with a problem.

Curran: Do Bledsoe's recollections give insight to Brady's state of mind?

Curran: Do Bledsoe's recollections give insight to Brady's state of mind?

Drew Bledsoe’s being asked to reminisce a lot this fall. And not exactly about fuzzy, feel-good topics that warm the heart.

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Instead, it’s reminiscing about 2001, the year his heart got lacerated and he was replaced for good by Tom Brady, who went on to win a Super Bowl. Or about 2006 when -- as Cowboys quarterback -- he got yanked in favor or Tony Romo and never got back in.

This being the 15th anniversary of SB36 has caused Bledsoe’s phone to ring. And the Brady-Jimmy Garoppolo-Jacoby Brissett dance early this season has brought to the fore discussion of the Brady succession plan, especially now that it appears both players aren’t going to be disasters. How is this situation similar to the one in 2001? Meanwhile, the emergence of Dak Prescott in Dallas puts the oft-injured Romo in more immediate peril of losing his job.

In the past few days, Bledsoe’s opened up to both Albert Breer of MMQB and Michael Silver of NFL Media about the emotions of getting bumped and -- with Breer especially --– the depth he goes into discussing the situation and his emotions then and now are kind of moving.

If you think you’ve heard it all before -- and I believed I had -- you probably haven’t.  The seriousness of Bledsoe’s 2001 injury was not exaggerated, as he explains in an anecdote. He acknowledges feeling entitled to a degree and admits to being bitter about the way he’s recalled.

“One thing I do bristle at a little bit is, I feel like there’s too much of me and Wally Pipp (the Yankees first baseman famously replaced by Lou Gehrig who never got his job back and birthed the verb “Pipped” for anyone who missed a day and got replaced),” Bledsoe told Breer. “I was the single-season passing leader for three organizations when I left. Unfortunately, Tommy’s been so damn good that people sometimes forget I had a pretty nice career.”

Speaking with Silver regarding Romo-Prescott, Bledsoe plumbed his experience with Brady and Bill Belichick in 2001.

"When you're young in the league -- when you're young in life -- you think you're 10-foot tall and bulletproof," said Bledsoe. "You think nobody can ever replace you, and that you're gonna be the guy forever. Eventually, you learn the lesson that it's a replacement business. Sometimes that hits you right between the eyes, which is what happened to me with [Tom] Brady, and again with Tony.

"It happens to all of us. I don't know if it's the time for Tony, but it's something that every quarterback has to confront."

In less than a week, Brady -- the best quarterback in NFL history in the minds of many -- will be back from his suspension. He will have seen in a month’s time that the NFL train rolls along without him and that, while he could never be cloned, he can be capably replaced.

Brady, because of the way he ascended to the job and the friends he’s seen get taken behind the barn in New England, has always been open about understanding he could be replaced. But now he’s got concrete evidence.

Said Bledsoe: "In our heart of hearts, we all want to feel indispensible. We all want to believe, 'There's no way the team can succeed without me.' Then you see the team going on, and winning with a young guy playing the position, and playing it well, and you do some soul searching . . . and you start to think, 'Maybe the team's gonna make that decision to move on.'

"You always want the team to do well, but it's hard. It can be [awkward]. Tommy and I are still good friends, and I text with Romo once in awhile . . . but it's hard to love 'em if they've got your job and you want it back."

Please read both.

Marchand: 'No place I'd rather play' than Boston

Marchand: 'No place I'd rather play' than Boston

The Bruins made it official on Monday -- mere minutes after the news had broken -- as they clearly couldn’t wait to announce an eight year, $49 million contract extension for Brad Marchand. who is finishing up his Team Canada gig at the World Cup of Hockey.

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The deal averages $6.125 million per season, broken up between actual salary and signing bonus money. The Bruins were most definitely given a hometown discount by an elite player who snapped home a career-high 37 goals and 60 points last season, the most goals scored by a Bruins player since Glenn Murray in 2002-03. And everybody knows goal scorers get paid in the NHL, even if Marchand won’t be expected to score quite that many every year.

Marchand, 28, has also been the second-leading scorer in the entire World Cup of Hockey tournament, behind only Sidney Crosby, and continues to raise his profile in the NHL world beyond his customary agitator role. The “Nose Face Killah” could have waited for until free agency if he'd wanted to pick up every last nickel on the table, but it’s very clear he’s invested in the team that drafted and developed him, and with which he won a Cup five years ago.

"This is an extremely exciting day for me and my family," said Marchand, who now has a full no-move clause for the first five years of his next contract. "I would like to thank the Jacobs family, [president] Cam Neely, [general manager] Don Sweeney, [coach] Claude Julien, the coaching staff, my teammates and our fans for their continued support and belief in me. I have been a Bruin since the start of my pro career and there is no place I would rather play. I look forward to doing everything I can to help our team achieve success and bring the Stanley Cup back to Boston."

Marchand has been among the team’s leading scorers since joining the league in 2010-11, has been the NHL’s most dangerous penalty killer over the last five years, and pairs with Patrice Bergeron to anchor the top line. He’s also become much more of a leader in the last few seasons as other character veterans have been peeled away from the core group, and a hometown discount proves it one of the most meaningful ways possible.

It was clear Marchand was invested in the Bruins when he helped recruit free agent David Backes with phone calls this summer, and he was also present for the recruiting pitch to Jimmy Vesey at Warrior Ice Arena last month.

The Bruins players at training camp were happy to hear No. 63 was going to be in Boston for the long haul.

“Marchy is Marchy. I think everybody kind of knows what that means,” said Kevan Miller. “He’s been great for our organization and great for the fans and for this city. He’s been all in since Day One, and he’s been a guy that I looked up to.”

While the Bruins have confirmed the contract, Sweeney won't weigh in until later today. But one would expect there will be an appreciation for the skill of the player, and Marchand’s commitment to the organization after accepting less than he could have gotten on the open market.