Chiarelli: Canucks' comments 'inappropriate'

570288.jpg

Chiarelli: Canucks' comments 'inappropriate'

BOSTON -- Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said that he'll speak to Alain Vigneault at some point, regarding his latest comments, in which the Vancouver Canucks coach said that Brad Marchand "plays to hurt players" and that "someday, he's going to get it."

But on Monday at the TD Garden, Chiarelli defended his player in front of the media, calling Vigneault and Vancouver defensemen Keith Ballard's comments "distasteful" and inappropriate.

"I just feel the need to respond," said Chiarelli. "Whether it's from coaches, GMs, or players, I don't like to hear that kind of stuff. Certainly, I think there's a lobbying element to it. I feel the league does a real good job in these hearings. And I don't think it's necessary to have that out there.

"I like the league to take care of these things. I don't think you have to plead them out in public. But when they talk about our players, I feel the need to respond . . . We try to take the high road on responding to stuff, but when it comes at us like that, we have to respond. That's our position."

Marchand was hit with a game misconduct for "clipping" on Saturday after he took a defensive approach to being hit by Vancouver's Sami Salo, and ducked down at the last minute, sending Salo over the top of him.

Salo left the game with an upper-body injury.

Because of the hit, Marchand had a hearing with the league on Monday. But prior to the hearing, Chiarelli defended Marchand, and told the media that he doesn't want his pesky forward to change his game.

"It's about protecting yourself," said Chiarelli. "That's what this is all about.

"We're a physical team, and we're going to be under the microscope for being that. But our players are generally clean. Every team has players that do dirty things. A dirty thing isn't an illegal thing, it just happens. That's why penalties are in place. That's why supplemental discipline's in place.

"But Marchand was protecting himself, and we're going to tell our players to protect themselves."

Chiarelli pointed out that Keith Ballard is notorious for hip checks, and asked what the difference was between his signature hits and the one Marchand put on Salo on Saturday.

"With respect to some of the comments made from Ballard, regarding what's a hip check and what's clipping, and all that stuff, I mean, I think that's naive too," said Chairelli.

"What makes a difference if you have the puck or if you don't, on a hip check? What's the difference? To say that there's a distinction, there's not. It's like a reverse check. And Ballard, he's notorious for that stuff, with or without the puck."

Chiarelli said he didn't know what to expect from Monday's hearing, but he does know that there's no need for the other side calling out Marchand before that hearing.

"I look at the hit, I certainly don't think it was clipping," said Chiarelli. "He hit him in the rear, if you look at it closely. But if they think it is clipping and they hand something down, fine, we'll accept it. Again, I think they do a good job. There's a lot of discussion amongst their group when they hand out these things.

"But the lobbying, I call it propaganda that comes out yesterday, in advance of the hearing, I think it's distasteful."

The most distasteful comments he heard was from Vancouver's coach, about Marchand going to "get it."

"I think we've learned our lesson over time, that, that's a real inappropriate comment," said Chiarelli. "That's a real inappropriate comment. And it's an unprofessional comment.

"There's a carryover effect from the playoffs. It's a big game, it's a hyped-up game. There's a lot of probably pent-up emotion that was behind Vigneault's comment. Having said all that, they shouldn't say stuff like that."

Friday, Sept. 30: It's all Bruins in World Cup final

cp-morning-skate.jpg

Friday, Sept. 30: It's all Bruins in World Cup final

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while taking a nap this afternoon so I can watch the 1:30 am replay of tonight’s Bruins/Red Wings game on the NHL Network.

*Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara scored the goals at the World Cup’s decisive game on Thursday night, and No. 63 got the clutch game-winner late in the third period for Team Canada. Then he watched as linemate Sidney Crosby won the MVP for the tournament in what could be perceived, from a Boston point of view, as a largely Canadian-based hockey media fawning over Sid the Kid once again. Look, he was the tournament’s leading scorer, but last night’s heroics probably should have tipped the scales toward the B’s agitator getting the World Cup hardware.

*PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Mike Halford has Anaheim Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm seeking an eight year deal from his team. That could be another contract negotiation to watch closely if you’re a Bruins fan.

*Zach Werenski, one of the D-men the Bruins were trying to trade up to get two years ago in the first round of the draft, is looking like he might be NHL-ready for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

*Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov is holding out with the Tampa Bay Lightning, and just wants to get paid like the rest of his teammates.

*Marian Hossa says he still wants to play hockey when he’s 42 years old, or close to the age that countrymen Zdeno Chara is right now.

*Here are some preseason college hockey storylines with the world of NCAA hockey about to start up in force.

*A judge has ruled that the family of the late Derek Boogaard may pursue a lawsuit against the NHL over the death of their son.

*For something completely different: “Tex Ryan” takes his jokes to open mic night and I’m fairly this is Toucher and Rich skewering the Buffalo Bills head coach. And rightfully so.

 

 

Spooner working on his draws to help become a more complete center

bruins_ryan_spooner_122815.jpg

Spooner working on his draws to help become a more complete center

BRIGHTON, Mass. – Ryan Spooner quickly ticked off face-offs as one big area that needed improvement headed into his second full NHL season with the Bruins and the speedy young center has most definitely put in the work thus far in camp.

Still, it didn’t translate in Spooner’s first preseason game in Wednesday night’s lopsided loss to the Red Wings as he finished 4-for-16 on the draw, and to add insult to injury: he also served a two-minute minor penalty for a face-off violation that led to a power-play goal. 

The skilled center made up for it at the other end by setting up a score for fellow speed-demon center Austin Czarnik as Boston’s only goal, but he was again back out on the Warrior Ice Arena sheet working on his draws again Thursday.

“I wasn’t great on my face-offs [against Detroit] trying to cheat a little bit too much. I think I just need to maybe just bear down a little bit more,” said Spooner, who finished at a very lackluster 42.8 percent success rate on face-offs last season. “[I need to] not try to win them clean, maybe just tie them up a little bit more. I was just trying to cheat on those [face-offs], and it didn’t work.”

Clearly, the draws were a contributing part of the problem in the rough loss to the Red Wings and it’s something Spooner will need to iron out before he’s fully trusted by the coaching in the nitty-gritty situations late in games. That was obvious at times last season. It’s something Spooner wants to change this season when there’s so much competition at the center spot, with Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, David Backes, Dominic Moore, Noel Acciari, Riley Nash and Czarnik all considered natural centers.

“When you start with the puck then the game is so much easier,” said B’s assistant coach Bruce Cassidy. “For Spooner [face offs] are important. I don’t want to speak for Claude [Julien], but he does have the luxury now of playing Spooner with guys that can take draws in his place if he wants to go down that road.

“At some point he’s going to have to improve [on the draw]. I think he wants to [improve on the draw] and he’s working at it, but the numbers aren’t where they need to be for him obviously. That’s the challenge Claude has going forward, but I think he can still get out on the ice and help you, even if he’s deficient in the face-off circle, and if he has some wingers that can help him.”

Spooner has employed veteran center Moore to give him some pointers while the two have worked out together in training camp and, in theory, it should be a big help for the young third-line center. Moore is one of those trusted veterans that is used in key face off situations with positive results, and is a left-shot player who can show the 24-year-old the exact techniques to help him.

Spooner said that getting face-off tips from Bergeron or Krejci had a limit to its helpfulness because those are right-handed centers doing the absolute reverse technique that a left-shot center would employ. Moore downplayed his role as a bit of a face off mentor, but the statistics, and his reputation on the draw would indicate he’s got plenty of knowledge to offer a second-year player.

“There are a lot of little things in the game, face-offs being one of them, that you learn through experience, and you want to try to pass it along to help make the team better,” said Moore. “[Spooner] is eager to try and improve a little bit every day. Part of face-offs is trying to get an edge any way that you can because they’re such a hotly contested thing.

“It’s definitely not easy, but if you have the right mentality then you try and build it up. You just have to approach it on a daily basis, commit to it and try to improve as best you can.”

Like so many things in life it would seem face-off ability is about putting in the work as much as it’s about natural-born skill and Spooner is putting in the hours to be a more complete center and trusted part of the team.