Experienced Cross taking a leadership role among B's prospects

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Experienced Cross taking a leadership role among B's prospects

WILMINGTON, Mass. Tommy Cross is finally ready for his Bruins Development Camp graduation.

The Boston College defensemen and Connecticut native was a part of the first development camp six years ago that included Milan Lucic and David Krejci, and has been tracked by the Bruins through his hockey career at the Heights.

In fact Bruins third round pick Matthew Grzelcyk remembered Cross being on the ice as he sat in the Ristuccia Arena stands a couple of years ago watching development camp as a 16-year-old Bruins fan.

That kind of makes Cross feel like the old guy at prospect camp, doesnt it?

ReallyGrzelcyk said that? said Cross. Wow, I guess that does make me feel a little old. Thanks for telling me that.

Development camp has been a great learning tool for me. It just so happened that I came to the first one when I was 17 years old and went to college for four years. I wouldnt change that experience at all.

In truth thats the kind of veteran presence that a strong, tough, stay-at-home defenseman prospect like Cross needs to exhibit, and will suit him well in the world of pro hockey after getting two AHL games under his belt at the end of last season.

Now the 22-year-old Cross is signed, sealed and delivered to the Bruins, and hes likely headed to the Providence Bruins for some AHL seasoning while preparing for a run at an NHL job. Cross helped the Eagles to a pair of NCAA championships and overcame knee injuries that hampered his development in college, and now the Bruins are hoping that the 6-foot-3, 195-pound bruiser develops that same winning aura in the pros as he did in college.

The guys in the AHL are older and its a little bit of a controlled style, said Cross, who put up 24 points in 44 games for Boston College last season. College hockey was a great place to learn, grow and prepare myself for a new level.

Much of that starts with attitude. Cross showed plenty of that in Saturdays practice session as he got tangled up with Jared Knight by the boards during a battle drill, and both players got in a little stick-work and shoving before heading back toward the benches.

Cross gave Knight a long glare at the end of the exchange, and thats exactly the kind of physicality, grit and attitude the Bruins are looking for out of the physically impressive defenseman.

Its good for Tommy. For him to be a National Hockey League player hes going to have to develop a bit of that edge. Knight is a guy that naturally bowls his way toward the net. Thats just the way he plays and Tommy is going to have to stop those kinds of players, said Cassidy. Its good for him to show some push-back and if he develops that side of his game that will be a good thing for him.

Providence Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said hed encourage Cross to watch video of Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg if hes looking for directions to take his on-ice game.

His first AHL game he was a little tentative, and we had a little chat about what he had to do better. That second game he was crisper, he was snapping passes and physical when he needed to be, said Cassidy. It was night and day, but its too small a sample size to say what well be getting out of him. But we need more of that second game guy.

Hes a very mature guy, hes a winner and I think hes going to figure it out. Whether hes good enough, who knows? But thats the game he needs to bring to us. Because hes a big-bodied guy he can be a Seidenberg-type player where he physically moves guys and can make that good first pass.

Nobody is expecting Cross to immediately show signs of German engineering in his game like Seidenberg, but thats a pretty lofty goal to shoot for a Boston College kid looking to make an impact in the Bs organization.

Blackhawks edge past Bruins with late goal in 1-0 win

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Blackhawks edge past Bruins with late goal in 1-0 win

BOSTON -- Anybody looking for an emotional, high-energy response from the Bruins after back-to-back putrid losses to the Islanders and Red Wings didn’t get it on Friday night against the Chicago Blackhawks at TD Garden.

Instead the Bruins had plenty of shots with zero goals to show for it, and then gave up a goal to Marian Hossa on a nifty tic-tac-toe passing play to give the Blackhawks a 1-0 regulation win over the Black and Gold. It was the third straight loss for a Bruins team that continues to sink down in the playoff picture at a time of years when the results are the only thing that matters.

The defeat could also very well cost B’s head coach Claude Julien his job as a lifeless Bruins organization looks for any way to get out of the mud they’ve been stuck in for the last six weeks.

The Bruins and Blackhawks couldn’t crack the scoreboard for the first 50 minutes in regulation, and the genuine scoring chances were few and far between for both sides.

Tim Schaller and Patrice Bergeron had scoring chances down low in the first period, and Joe Morrow had a breakaway turned away by Blackhawks backup goalie Scott Darling early in the proceedings. But the scoring chances and sustained attack really began to dry up in the second period, and it became a series of one-and-done shots on net for both sides.

As one would expect both goalies were stellar with Darling putting together a 16-save performance in the first period, and Tuukka Rask turning away several Blackhawks chances including an Artem Anisimov wrist shot off the rush with just a couple of minutes to go in the third period. Rask finished with 21 saves, and Darling finished with 30 saves in a big win for the Chicago backup netminder. 

Backes: Bruins were ‘wounded’ after ugly Detroit loss

Backes: Bruins were ‘wounded’ after ugly Detroit loss

BRIGHTON, Mass – It certainly sounded like there were some things that made the Wednesday night loss in Detroit a little different for the Bruins.

The Bruins media corps conducted postgame interviews in the hallway rather than in the visiting dressing room after what must have been a combustible atmosphere immediately following the shootout defeat. 

There was also evidence of anger in the visitor’s dressing room at Joe Louis Arena, according to reports, with a door off its hinges when the media was able to get a look inside the dressing room area.

David Backes confirmed something was different about the loss after blowing a pair of three-goal leads, and failing to follow up their dreadful no-show vs. the Islanders with a winning performance against another bad team in Detroit. The B’s forward said the plane ride home from Detroit was solemn and quiet, and that it was clear the Bruins team was “wounded” after a crushing loss.

“Both [losses] can be great lessons if we learn from it, and neither was very enjoyable. That was probably the quietest I think our guys were all year on that plane ride home from Detroit,” said Backes. “To me, that’s a great sign that it hit us in the heart, and it hit us where it really mattered. We’re thinking about how we can turn the tide and thinking about we can be victorious the next time out.

“We had the lead, and in a lot of instances you’re expecting, as you should, to come out of there with two points. We’re at the time in the season where wins need to be garnered and taken home.

“There were a lot of aspects where we should have grabbed the game back. When you feel like you’ve had a lot of opportunities to take the game and you don’t do it, it’s not a good feeling. I was reflecting on that during a very quiet team plane ride back from Detroit, and it seemed pretty clear that the whole team was feeling wounded. I think it’s a good sign that guys were feeling that way, and that means they’re going to do everything in their power to not have that feeling again.”

The words are encouraging from a 32-year-old natural leader in Backes, who has seen good times and bad as captain of the St. Louis Blues in his 10-year NHL career. But the proof is ultimately on the ice where the Bruins have games against the Blackhawks and Penguins coming up and face some very stiff tests coming off a couple of losses against the worst teams in the East that exposed Black and Gold fragility at this point in the season.