Five thoughts: Bruins-Maple Leafs


Five thoughts: Bruins-Maple Leafs

TORONTO Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Bruins leading the Toronto Maple Leafs by a 1-0 score after the first 20 minutes of play at the Air Canada Centre.

1) Finally a Chris Bourque moment arrives for people to hang their hat on. The 26-year-old received his fair share of criticism over the last couple of weeks as he worked to establish chemistry and understanding of the Bruins way of doing things, and it paid off tonight with his first goal in the Bruins uniform. It was a nice play by the third line with Chris Kelly firing a blind backhanded pass through the crease to Bourque crashing the net and the left wing slammed home the shot for the games only score. Hopefully the goal quiets an unfair level of criticism that had been following a player that deserved a legit chance to establish himself at the NHL level.

2) Bonus points to Bourque for dusting off the Ray Bourque fist pump on one knee after he scored. Its been a long time since his dad did one of those in a No. 77 sweater and it was a pretty clear tribute to his dad for anybody that grew up watching the Hall of Fame defenseman during his career in Boston.

3) It looked like the Leafs had themselves a goal as well when Cody Franson fired a puck from the high point that hit the back of the net after going through a bevy of traffic in front. But the puck got through so cleanly because Nazem Kadri bumped Rask while the Bruins goaltender was trying to track the puck, and so it was waved off. The Bruins outshot the Leafs by a 12-7 margin in the first period.

4) Good scrap between Mark Fraser and Lane MacDermid less than three minutes into the first period. The fight should go down as a draw as both players got some jabs and uppercuts in before Fraser finally took MacDermid down to the ice to end the fight.

5) Apparently Lebron James has tweeted that hes here in the crowd at the Air Canada Centre taking in the game. Ill see if I can track him down and berate him for his The Decision bull crap from a few years ago. That still bugs me even if I respected his performance in last years playoffs.


TORONTO Here are five thoughts from the second period with the Bruins leading the Toronto Maple Leafs by a 1-0 score after the first 40 minutes of play at the Air Canada Centre.

1) A lot of action surrounding one play: what appeared to be a Tyler Seguin goal off his leg while he was camped in front of the net was waved off by refs. The play had started with Brad Marchand driving the left side of the net while riding Mike Komisarek to the net. Marchand tripped over James Reimers equipment as he reached the net, and the Bs agitator went crashing back-first into the end boards. Marchand left the ice in pain, returned for a shift and then spent the rest of the period on the bench while Gregory Campbell was skating in his place alongside Patrice Bergeron and Tyler Seguin.

2) The goal appeared to be a good one as it kicked around the offensive zone before bouncing off Seguins leg in front of the net, but the refs apparently waved off the goal because of the contact Marchand originally made with Reimer. It seemed that he had ample time to get up and get back into the play, but the referees felt otherwise after a video review.

3) Tyler Seguin is incredibly snake-bitten right now. The Bruins forward appeared to have a goal in the second period when he fired a snapshot through traffic that James Reimer never saw. But the puck smacked off the knob of Reimers stick and bounced into the netting for a face-off. This is after his deflection goal was waved off in front of the net. Seguin is second on the Bruins with four shots on goal and has combined with Patrice Bergeron for nine of Bostons 24 shots on net.

4) Good physicality by Jamie Tardif, who nailed Phil Kessel with a clean hit in the neutral zone that knocked No. 81 off his pins. That prompted fight No. 2 for Lane MacDermid and Mark Fraser, and this time the Bruins tough guy dropped the Toronto fighter after a couple of hard right-handed punches to the face. Proper response from Toronto and MacDermid took care of business.

5) Four blocked shots for Johnny Boychuk and four hits for Milan Lucic in a gritty, gritty game between these two teams. It looks like Randy Carlyle finally has the Maple Leafs on the right track here in Toronto with the way the Leafs are battling the Bruins tonight.


TORONTO Here are five thoughts from the third period with the Bruins taking down the Toronto Maple Leafs by a 1-0 score after the first 60 minutes of play at the Air Canada Centre.

1) Good game for Tuukka Rask tonight. The Leafs had a couple of very good scoring chances and Phil Kessel just missed on one when he winged a shot off the far crossbar. But Rask the defense had a nice rebound performance while holding the Leafs down to 17 shots during the game.

2) Bogus penalty call on Zdeno Chara when he came to the aid of Johnny Boychuk after he was boarded in the corner by Leo Komarov. Chara came over and bumped the Toronto skater to let him know he didnt like the hit, and the Bruins called him for a roughing penalty wiping out a potential power play. The refs have to show a little situational discretion there.

3) Brad Marchand never returned to the bench for the third period after his second period tumble into the boards. He skated one shift afterward, but was on the bench at the end of the second period while replaced by Gregory Campbell on his forward line.

4) Great rebound performance by Zdeno Chara tonight. Was the big stopper in his own end and was right where he needed to be when somebody took liberties with his defenseman partner. Two shots on net, three hits and two blocked shots for the Big Captain in 20 minutes of ice time.

5) By the way, Johnny Boychuk is one tough son of a gun. He takes some of the worst-looking hits and then jumps back up and never misses a shift. I remember seeing him take a shot to the head that I thought would knock him out of the game for sure in the AHL playoffs for Providence, and he shook it off and never missed a shift. You need that kind of toughness to play defenseman in the NHL and he definitely has it.

Spooner to jump back in for Bruins, knows he 'wasn't good enough'


Spooner to jump back in for Bruins, knows he 'wasn't good enough'

BRIGHTON, Mass. – After serving as a healthy scratch for Thursday night’s home opener, Ryan Spooner will be back in the lineup manning the left wing position alongside David Krejci and David Backes as that line looks for an offensive breakthrough.

Spooner will also be looking to change his early season storyline as it’s clear that Claude Julien is looking for more from a player that looked a little too passive on the puck to start the season.

Spooner wasn’t really utilizing his speed to put pressure on opponents, he wasn’t creating enough on the power play and there were a couple of instances where his mistakes led to directly to goals against. That’s not a good combination from a B’s perspective with a player who has showed plenty of game-breaking talent while posting 13 goals and 49 points last season.

“I have to take [the scratch] as a message that I wasn’t the player that I can be,” said Spooner. “I have to use it as motivation and just go out there and play.”

The speedy, skilled forward had just a single assist in three games to start the season, but to be fair none of the three forwards on his line, Spooner, Krejci or rookie Danton Heinen, looked particularly good once Backes was moved to fill in for the injured Patrice Bergeron.

Instead, it looked like Krejci centering one player skating out of position (Spooner) and another young guy (Heinen) just trying to gain some confidence in the NHL and things looked much better for Krejci and Backes after being reunited on Thursday. Spooner’s speed and playmaking could be an asset there tonight vs. Montreal, and certainly could help a power play that is 1-for-14 through the first four games of the season.

“He just has to be better. That’s why we sat him out. He just wasn’t good enough and he’s capable of doing more,” said Claude Julien. “We expect more out of him. He’s a guy that can produce and can play the full game, and he’s shown that he can do it. It’s nothing something that he has to do, but it’s something that he can do. That’s what we want.”

So, Spooner was scratched for the home opener after totaling an assist and seven shots on net in the first three games, and knows that he needs to be better than he was in the early going.

“I wasn’t moving my feet. I think I was playing too much of a passive game. I need to use my speed a little more when I’m on the wing there,” said Spooner, who still hasn’t played much more than a couple dozen games at the wing over the course of his career. “The first two games I didn’t think I played good at all, and the last game against the Jets was just so-so. I don’t think it was good enough, so it needs to be better.

“At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter which players I was playing with, the game I was playing just wasn’t good enough. That’s on me and I need to change that.”

Spooner will get a big chance to change that conversation when he suits up in a top-six winger role with Krejci and Backes on Saturday night while looking to provide a little more balanced scoring against Montreal. 


Saturday, Oct. 22: Coyotes' growing pains


Saturday, Oct. 22: Coyotes' growing pains

Here are the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while suffering from the same “general soreness” as Tuukka Rask.

*The Arizona Coyotes are suffering from growing pains that were extremely evident during a winless road trip.

*Steve Dangle is obviously jacked and pumped about his Maple Leafs, but wondering about the future of Roman Polak. But aren’t we all at this point?

*Old friends Johnny Boychuk and Dennis Seidenberg both scored the victorious Islanders in a Friday night win.

*Clarke MacArthur isn’t ready to retire even as concussion issues are really starting to impact his ability to stay on the ice.

*Teemu Selanne gives fellow Finn Patrick Laine a thumbs up as he was in town for events with his former Winnipeg Jets.

*Pro Hockey Talk has the details on noted Bruins killer Dale Weise getting suspended for three games after some dirty activity with the Philadelphia Flyers.

*For something completely different: Geoff Edgers has been trying to reach Bill Murray for weeks, and here’s what happened when he finally called back.