Five thoughts: Bruins-Islanders

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Five thoughts: Bruins-Islanders

Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Boston Bruins and New York Islanders locked up in a 1-1 tie after the first 20 minutes on the TD Garden ice.

1) Dougie Hamilton really has a knack for finding shooting lanes and ways to get pucks through to the net, doesnt he? It was his big blast from the right point that caused a juicy Rick DiPietro rebound that Shawn Thornton backhanded into the net for the games first goal. A nice little piece of retribution for Thornton after he was unable to clear a puck against the Rangers that led to a goal in the third period against the Bruins. Two points in the last two games for Hamilton, who is making that second PP unit look very good when it gets on the ice.

2) Four registered hits and a plus-1 for Dennis Seidenberg after the first period in 6:03 of ice time, and no worse for the wear in his return from a lower body injury after missing two games. He even absorbed a big Matt Martin hit early in the game as any good pain sponge should and would.

3) Had to feel good for Waltham native Keith Aucoin to get the equalizer for the Islanders as he tries to secure himself a permanent NHL gig on Long Island. It was a rare blown defensive assignment for Zdeno Chara and Johnny Boychuk that freed up Colin McDonald to find Aucoin cutting to the net. Rich Peverley and Chris Bourque also dropped to minus-3 on the season as they were forward group on the ice for the goal against.

4) The Islanders will gladly trade Matt Carkner for Milan Lucic after the two dropped gloves in the first period, but No. 17 showed that area of his game is perfectly healthy after leveling Carkner with a straight right to the jaw. The Isles tough guy popped right up, but Lucic hit him right on the button.

5) More fight club later in the period as Daniel Paille crushed former BU defenseman Brian Strait with a hit in the corner, and then was jumped by Matt Martin looking for a fight. Paille dropped his gloves, but Shawn Thornton stepped in before the fight got started. Thornton was slapped with a 10-minute misconduct for protecting his linemate, but wasnt given a third man in as the sequence wasnt considered an actual altercation with no punches thrown. Otherwise No. 22 might have been ejected as a third man in, but that didnt happen.

SECOND PERIOD

Here are five thoughts from the second period with the Boston Bruins and New York Islanders locked up in a 2-2 tie after the first 40 minutes on the TD Garden ice.

1) Bruins are 0-for-3 on the power play again tonight, and had one that was a real dogs breakfast for two minutes in the second period. No urgency snapping the puck around and no movement. That being said the Dougie Hamilton-led second PP unit is doing a much better job of moving around and generating chances right now than the Tyler Seguin-led top unit. Its easy to see why Claude Julien keeps putting that second unit out there despite big names like Seguin, Zdeno Chara, Milan Lucic, Nathan Horton and David Krejci on the first unit. At least that unit was able to free Seguin up for a one-timer in their final power play of the period, but theyre now 1-for-17 on the PP for the season.

2) Two Bruins goals from the fourth line with Shawn Thorntons rebound score and a Gregory Campbell strike after a long David Krejci shot bounced off Joe Finleys skate in front of the net.

3) One shot and a minus-3 from the third line of Chris Kelly, Chris Bourque and Rich Peverley so far tonight. They just dont look good as a unit right now, and youve got to wonder when things will get changed up if they continue to be invisible during five-on-five play.

4) Got to feel good for Chelmsford High legend Keith Aucoin, who has both goals on the night for the Islanders and is really entrenching himself as an NHL guy after bouncing between the AHL and the NHL. The second goal was a straight bomb from the high slot that beat Tuukka Rask glove-side high.

5) Six hits and three blocked shots for Dennis Seidenberg tonight. The Bruins definitely miss that willingness to sacrifice and absorb punishment for team gain when hes out of the lineup.

THIRD PERIOD

Here are five thoughts from the third period with the Boston Bruins taking down the New York Islanders by a 4-2 score after 60 minutes on the TD Garden ice.

1) Not a dominant night for them against a weak-ish Islanders defensive corps, but a timely goal from the LucicHortonKrejci line in the third period finished off by Zdeno Chara from the high slot. Theyve come to play in the opening weeks of the season and its making all the difference for the Black and Gold.

2) Dougie Hamilton with a sweet tape-to-tape outlet pass to a streaking Brad Marchand that turns into a Patrice Bergeron breakaway goal. Thats two assists from Hamilton in the first multi-point game of his NHL career. The Bruins have got themselves something special.

3) Posts hit for Andrew Ference and Rich Peverley in the third period as the Bruins really turned it on against a team that was playing the second night of back-to-back games.

4) First goals of the season for both Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron in the third period. The Bruins needed their money players to step up after the fourth line was keeping them in the game.

5) Four games and no goals for Tyler Seguin. Been a really slow start for the 20-year-old after he lit things up in Switzerland. Didnt see that one coming at all now, but its clear hes putting extra effort in now to get things going.

Haggerty: Trouba deal is one Bruins need to get done

Haggerty: Trouba deal is one Bruins need to get done

Bruins management has been in a holding pattern waiting for something to “shake free” in the top-four defensemen department and that might have finally happened this weekend.

With the news on Saturday that Jacob Trouba won’t be reporting to training camp with the Winnipeg Jets and has asked for a trade, a player is becoming available that the Black and Gold have had their eyes on for months and months.

CSN was the first to report that the Bruins were putting together a plan for an offer sheet for the 22-year-old American-born defenseman back in June, but that never materialized. GM Don Sweeney eventually backed off that aggressive plan to nab a player they have tapped as a top-four, right-shot defenseman, but clearly there is still interest from a Boston team that literally did nothing to upgrade their back end over the summer.

Cam Neely admitted to CSN a couple of weeks ago that the Bruins were still positioned to make a move for a D-man if something opened up on the market.

“Basically from April to now everybody is talking about our back end, and not being able to land a top-four defenseman. We still have an opportunity as far as cap space goes if something shakes free, and I know Don [Sweeney] has been working hard trying to do something,” said Neely. “But I feel like as a group we can do better than we did last year.

“I think Tuukka [Rask] can play better than he did last year. If that happens we should be a better club. It’s going to be a challenge and it’s going to be competitive. But I feel like the changes we’ve made through the organization, and not just in player personnel, that there’s opportunity for our group to improve.”

Well, here’s a memo for the B’s brass on Causeway Street: things just opened up as high and wide as a vintage Rich Peverley shot off the high glass. The ninth overall pick in the 2012 draft is going to be made available and will undoubtedly be the best defenseman to move in trade between now and the start of the regular season.

He’d also go a long way toward providing the B’s with the kind of bridge D-man that could improve markedly in the present, and allow the back end to be much closer to good until young defenesmen Charlie McAvoy, Jakub Zboril, Jeremy Lauzon and Brandon Carlo are ready for prime time.

This Saturday night statement from agent Kurt Overhardt explains the situation succinctly, but basically Trouba doesn’t want wind his career away stuck behind Dustin Byfuglien and Tyler Myers on the right side of Winnipeg’s defense.

“Our client, Jacob Trouba, will not be attending the Winnipeg Jets NHL training camp. Since May, we have been working with the Jets management in an effort to facilitate a trade of Jacob’s rights. Both parties continue to work on this matter,” said Overhardt in the statement. “There has been no negotiation regarding the terms of a contract between our client and the Jets over the course of the last several months. The situation is not about money; it is solely about our client having the opportunity to realize his potential as a right shot NHL defenseman.

“To the Jets credit, the club has two outstanding right shot veteran defensemen and our client simply wants the opportunity to have a greater role. As a consequence of the Jets depth on the right side, we believe it is in both parties’ best interest to facilitate a mutually advantageous trade.

Our client has nothing but respect for the people and City of Winnipeg, the Winnipeg Jets, its fans, management and ownership - our desire to get him moved has everything to do with opportunity. We will continue to work with the Jets in good faith to achieve this end.”

Clearly, Trouba will draw big interest around the league: he’s a 6-foot-1, 200-pound, right-shot defenseman who posted 10 goals and 29 points in his rookie season as a teenager and has averaged more than 22 minutes of ice time per game since entering the league. 

This is yet another chance for Sweeney and Co. to close a deal on a defenseman and finally start to address some of the damage done while shipping away Johnny Boychuk and Dougie Hamilton in successive years. It will undoubtedly cost a pretty penny in terms of assets, but there has to be a reason why Sweeney has been stockpiling centers headed into training camp.

A package of Ryan Spooner, Joe Morrow and a first-round pick would be considerable, but it also might not be enough to get a deal done for a high-demand talent in Trouba. Undoubtedly the Jets would also for a blue chip D-man prospect such as Carlo, or perhaps they’d be more interested in  veteran right-shot option Adam McQuaid, who could immediately replace Trouba in the Winnipeg lineup.

The worst-case scenario is Kevin Cheveldayoff taking a page from the Kevin Shattenkirk trade talks, and both starting and ending any conversations with David Pastrnak as the main trade chip. The Bruins have made it clear they’re done “sprinkling their talent around the rest of the league” as one B’s front office exec made clear to CSN.   

The bottom line: it’s not going to be easy, but this is exactly the kind of situation where Sweeney needs to become a closer rather than a lamenter who starts an explanation with “price are high” or “it takes two to tango.”

It takes a good manager to close a deal his team desperately needs. This Trouba situation is shaping up to provide the B’s with that opportunity. 
 

Rask: Last season 'something to rebound from' personally

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Rask: Last season 'something to rebound from' personally

BRIGHTON, Mass. – While David Pastrnak, Tuukka Rask and David Backes are back from competing in the World Cup of Hockey in Toronto, that doesn’t mean you’ll see those players on the ice over the next couple of days. Perhaps the trio will practice on Monday in the fourth on-ice session at main training camp, but Bruins GM Don Sweeney confirmed that none of those returning players will suit up against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the B’s preseason debut at TD Garden on Monday night.

“Yeah…absolutely,” said Sweeney when asked if those three players have been ruled out for Monday night. “They’re going to get through the weekend here. Next week, we’ll evaluate [them] when they get on the ice. But, all those guys will not be on the ice until next week.

“It might be case-by-case for each guy. Those guys have been playing for a while at a high level. It’s unique for David Backes coming into the organization, so he’d like to integrate himself. I talked yesterday with all three of them just to get a read of where they’re at. But, sometime first of next week, they’ll be on [the ice].”

Both Pastrnak and Rask have checked in with the Bruins media over the last couple of days after returning from Toronto, and the Bruins goaltender, in particular, has plenty of motivation coming off a down statistical season. The 2.56 goals against average and .915 save percentage were well below his career numbers, and people like B’s President Cam Neely have pointed to Rask as somebody that needs to have a better season for Boston to rebound back into the playoffs this year.

“There were a couple of years where the standards pretty high, so obviously when they go down there’s something to rebound from. You kind of know where you can be. That’s where I try to be every year and I’m working on being there this year, and taking us to the playoffs and moving forward,” said Rask. “But every year is a new year where you’ve got to work hard, and set your goals to be at your best. More often than not you hope [being at your best] is going to happen, and I hope this year is going to be a great year for us.”

Clearly Rask wasn’t alone in his struggles last season behind a mistake-prone defense that allowed plenty of Grade chances, and that could be a repeating phenomenon again this season for the Bruins unless the defense is substantially upgraded along the way.

As far as the other three B’s players still taking part in the World Cup, it could be a while for Patrice and Brad Marchand as Team Canada has advanced to the final best-of-three series that could also feature Zdeno Chara if Team Europe is victorious.