Haggerty: 15 thoughts from Bruins-Lightning

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Haggerty: 15 thoughts from Bruins-Lightning

TAMPA Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Bruins trailing the Tampa Bay Lightning by a 1-0 score after the first 20 minutes of play at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

1)Another disinterested first period for the Bruins against the Lightning. Sloppy on defense, little emotion and no real push offensively coupled with pedestrian opponents are bringing the worst out of the Bs. Very flat, very passive and no physical engagement whatsoever for the Bs, but Id call it a malaise more than slump.

2)Second game in a row that the Bruins had only six shots at the end of the first period. Thats simply not enough offense for the Bruins and not enough sustained possession in the offensive zone.

3)Three Bs bodies (Zdeno Chara, Johnny Boychuk and David Krejci) all around Vinny Lecavalier in front of the Boston net, but My Center Vinny beat them all to a loose with Tim Thomas way out of the net after challenging Marty St. Louis. Too easy for Lecavalier and not enough push-back from the Bruins.

4) Patrice Bergeron had to retreat to the Bs dressing room twice during the first period for what looked like equipment issues. He missed one of the Bs power plays because of it. No. 37 needs to lock down the equipment problems because the Bs can afford to miss him in big moments.

5)Brett Clark blocked four shots in the first period for Tampa and literally walked right in front of the Joe Corvo slap shot. The guy seems to have no fear. Impressive.

TAMPA Here are five thoughts from the second period with the Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning tied at a 2-2- score after the first 40 minutes of play at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

1)Claude Julien calls out Nathan Horton after last nights game, and the right wing responds by scoring a pair of goals and helping keep his hockey club in the game. Horton leads the Bruins with four shots on net and had another three shots blocked in the most active offensive night hes had in quite some time. When is Claude Julien going to go on his motivational speaking tour?

2)Another group of defensive breakdowns for the Bruins leading to a Tom Pyatt goal. Milan Lucic made an ill-advised cross-ice pass that was intercepted, Joe Corvo vacated his defensive post in front of the net and Tim Thomas ventured way out of his crease with no defensive support. That amount to an easy tap in for Pyatt that has the game tied after two periods.

3)Joe Corvo is in a pretty deep funk right now. Hes not making enough happen offensively and has been a leaking oil liability in his own end.

4)Pierre-Cedric Labrie running around with five hits in 2:43 of ice time through two periods, and hasnt been challenged to back away by any of the Bruins as of yet. Stay tuned in the third period.

5) Have to share the Jack Edwards tweet after Nathan Hortons second goal: Horton hears a hoo. Two. Has a clue. Would like to make it a few. Please do. You cant make that stuff up. By the way, love the 40 million renovations at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. The pipe organ theyve added really makes it feel like a hockey barn rather than a rink stuck in Florida.

TAMPA Here are five thoughts from the third period with the Bruins falling to the Tampa Bay Lightning by a 5-3 score after 60 minutes of play at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

1)Tyler Seguin called for diving in the third period on a matching call with Steve Stamkos. Thats not the Bruins way, Tyler. You cant be diving. Not on this team.

2)Tim Thomas was flat beaten by the Dominic Moore shot in the third period for the game-winner. Not a great game for the Bs goalie with the Bruins defense very shaky in front of him.

3) Bruins definitely look like they could use the energy of Brad Marchand, dont they?

4)Daniel Paille doesnt cash in close to all of the breakaways hes given because of his speed, instincts and tenacity, but given enough chances hell figure it out as he did in the third period on a filthy roofed backhander.

5)How is this Lightning team as bad they are this season? Looks to me like they have everything they need to win hockey games based on one nights effort against the Bruins.

Bjork returns to Notre Dame after impressing at Bruins' development camp

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Bjork returns to Notre Dame after impressing at Bruins' development camp

Given that he’s a former fifth-round pick, he’s not a local guy with any Boston ties to speak of and that there isn’t a lot of fancy to his game, Anders Bjork might be a bit under the radar as far as Bruins prospects go right now. 

Still, the 19-year-old Notre Dame forward has been steadily rising among the ranks at the NCAA level and Bjork put on a pretty impressive show at B’s development camp right along with more hyped forwards like Danton Heinen and Jake DeBrusk.

Bjork showed great skating speed and a hard-nosed willingness to battle whether the puck was on or off his stick. Even better, he showed a finishing flourish with the puck whenever he was around the net. He was literally blowing by defenders with his speed throughout drills each and every day at camp, and it was hard not to notice. Time after time Bjork buried those chances earned through speed and tenacity and showed the offensive confidence that saw him lead Notre Dame in points (12 goals and 35 points in 35 games) last season as a sophomore.

“You can tell the guys that have been here. Grizzy [Matt Grzelcyk] has a great week and Anders [Bjork] has a great week because they’re just comfortable in what they’re doing,” said Bruins general manager Don Sweeney. “I mean they’ve played at the college hockey level for two, three, four years in some of these cases. They’re very comfortable in their own skin and in what they do.

"In Anders’ case he gained a tremendous amount of confidence in the World Juniors last year and you can tell he’s carrying that over offensively. He also plays in a very tight system at Notre Dame, so the habits away from the puck are really ingrained in him. Now he’s looking to explore his offensive side.”

The good news for the Bruins: Bjork wants to keep improving on the offensive end and pump up the goal-scoring numbers in his third season with the Fighting Irish. If the week spent at Ristuccia Arena is any indication, Bjork should be lighting it up in Hockey East next season after being a second team All-Hockey East selection last season.

“I’m just working on trying to contribute a little more offensively, and really work on my goal-scoring and offensive abilities like that,” said Bjork, who is a bit of a legacy at Notre Dame with his father, mother, siblings and cousin NHL forward Erik Condra all having matriculated in South Bend as well. “Working on the little things in areas like goal-scoring and playing on the wall are what I’ve been focused on. The feedback from the Bruins has been really good, and really helpful.

“Sometimes they’ll check in after a game or after a weekend of games, and give really helpful feedback. Sometimes it’s even different than what my coach said, so it’s nice to get my viewpoint and sometimes they see things that my coach doesn’t notice. Stuff like that has been really helpful, and has helped me develop as a player definitely.”

Bjork said the Bruins have stressed consistency and greater focus in his game from shift-to-shift and game-to-game and that’s something he clearly took to heart in a dominant week at development camp. Given the rising number of college hockey players that are foregoing the teams that drafted them and become free agents following their senior seasons, one would expect that next season will be Bjork’s last at Notre Dame before signing with the Bruins.

The way that the 6-foot, 188-pound Bjork is improving his game each and every season after being projected a couple of years ago as a possible third-line player in the NHL, the Bruins should be looking to bring him into the Black and Gold fold sooner rather than later. 
 

Hurley: Why the rush to clear Manning's name?

Hurley: Why the rush to clear Manning's name?

Michael Hurley discusses the NFL's investigation into Peyton Manning's alleged PED use with Toucher and Rich. Hurley wonders why their was such a rush to clear a retired player and continue the probe into still-active players.