Haggerty: Time for Bruins to learn from their mistakes

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Haggerty: Time for Bruins to learn from their mistakes

TAMPA, Fla. The Bruins are either falling into a very troubling pattern, or living out the definition of hockey insanity.

The Bs are losing in the same confounding ways game after game, and its difficult to see that theyre taking any lessons from the piling losses. Theyve now dropped five of their eight games in March, and are in the midst of their first three-game losing streak since October, after getting spanked, 6-1, by the Tampa Bay Lightning Tuesday night.

The Bruins looked tired and lethargic, and its hard not to see it as a second, more prolonged, Stanley Cup hangover period. Coach Claude Julien admitted after the game that fatigue is probably the biggest issue facing a team thats progressively dropped in the standings over the last month.
The fatigue factor is most glaringly obvious with 37-year-old Tim Thomas flailing away between the pipes, but its a malady that seems to be affecting the entire roster from top to bottom.

The thing that keeps coming up right now and the thing I can sense is that fatigue is setting in, said Julien of a team that has played a lot of hockey over the last two seasons. Its the biggest challenge I have now. Were not playing well and youve got the fatigue factor, too.

But its not as much the final results as the way theyre losing. For the fourth time in the last six games, the Bruinssimply werent ready to play when the opening puck was dropped andfell behind 2-0 in the first period.

This time it was a couple of strange goals allowed by Marty Turco in the first 2 12 minutes of the first period.Then the penalty kill broke down and allowed Ryan Shannon to get behind their entire group of defenders before a stretch pass connected with him for a successful partial breakaway. At that point Turco was pulled from the game in favor of Thomas, but the game was essentially already lost.

After the defeat the Bruins were collectively shaking their heads about another bad start, and looking for answers. Zdeno Chara said it comes down to a mental mindset and a decision to show a little more resolve when the team is getting punched in the face.

We were down two or three goals right away and thats a tough situation, said Chara. Its something we need to be better at, and its not happening right now. We can say whatever we want about the bounces, but there are no excuses. We just have to be better.

The Bs captain said his team needs to start the game with appropriate snap, crackle and pop, rather than waiting to get punched in the face by the opposition with a scoreboard barrage or get snapped out of their daze with a timeout from their coach. Right now the Bruins seem to responding rather than being the aggressor, and thats unlike the Black and Golds normal way of doing business.

It seems good in the room before the games. Everybody is focused. But we have to be more aware of things on the ice at the beginning, said Chara. It seems like we need to get mad when they score a goal. We need to play right away the way we can without getting scored on or taking a timeout.

Some of the mental mistakes and physical errors and even the lack of focus when it comes to putting together three consistent periods can be attributable to fatigue thats running rampant throughout the team. Some of the negative results can be chalked up to rookies and journeyman playing key roles as injuries mount.

But there has to be a point where pride and anger kick in, where the Bruins start to realize they are more than what they've become this season. The Bs could go from Stanley Cup champs to the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference in the blink of an eye.

Its time for the Bs to learn from some of the mistakes they keep repeating, and stop a vicious cycle that has them pointed into a downward spiral.

Cassidy wants Bruins to break out ‘quicker and cleaner’

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Cassidy wants Bruins to break out ‘quicker and cleaner’

It was more than a decade ago that Bruce Cassidy had his one and only NHL head coaching shot with Washington Capitals, so the enthusiasm was predictable and genuine when the longtime AHL coach was named to Claude Julien’s staff this week.

Cassidy paid his dues in Providence with the Bruins the past eight seasons and posted winning records in all five seasons as coach with playoff berths in each of the past four years. He also did all of that while developing the young talent that’s come through Boston’s organizational pipeline and showed a particular penchant for working with young defensemen.

The hope is that the Black and Gold can break the puck out of their end with a little more speed, precision and confidence with Cassidy in charge of pumping some energy into the transition game. The one caveat: a hockey team also needs the personnel to be able to transition the puck no matter how good the coaching might be.

“Obviously there’s going to be some roles that those two new coaches are going to have. Bruce Cassidy will definitely be behind the bench taking care of the defense part that Doug Houda had. Bruce Cassidy being a former defenseman and one that was very successful, I think, in the transitioning of the puck and has done a great job also with the group that he had in Providence,” said Julien. “I think that’s going to be a good place for him and certainly a good area for him to help improve our transition game back there.”

The list is long of B’s players that also counted Cassidy as their head coach: Noel Acciari, Tommy Cross, Brian Ferlin, Seth Griffith, Alexander Khokhlachev, Torey Krug, Colin Miller, Kevan Miller, Joe Morrow, David Pastrnak, Tyler Randell, Ryan Spooner, Malcolm Subban, Zach Trotman and Frank Vatrano. Cassidy and P-Bruins assistant coach Kevin Dean’s work with Krug, Johnny Boychuk, Miller and McQuaid among others in AHL has earned them plenty of plaudits in the Bruins organization.

Cassidy finished with a 207-128-45 as the bench boss for the P-Bruins and has said in the past that a return as an NHL head coach is the goal for him. There is a strong belief that Cassidy would be the choice for an interim head coach if an in-season change was ever made with Julien and that missing the playoffs  the past two seasons has dialed up the warmth levels on his coaching hot seat.

Cassidy was clearly avoiding that subject on Wednesday, and instead will dutifully work with the defensemen as fired assistant coach Doug Houda had done for the last 10 years in Boston.

“I’m excited about it. Obviously, to be able to learn from a coach with Claude [Julien]’s pedigree, a Stanley Cup champion, I know it’s a big honor for me. It’s been great down in Providence with me for eight years. To be that much closer to him is only going to make me a better coach, so for me it’s a very exciting time,” said Cassidy, who guided the Capitals from 2002-2004 with a 39-29-8-6 record. “I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself because the stamp of approval is always Claude’s first. Just meeting with him and having discussions, even previous years, I think what we’d like to grow in our game is the ability to move the puck out of the zone quicker and cleaner.

“That may involve a few more one-man breakouts. Players have the ability to beat the first fore-checker with their feet, make a good outlet pass, then you don’t have to always use your partner, so we’re not quite as predictable. So that’s how I’d like us to look on the transition part, where we’re a little more fluid coming out of our zone. That generally is a mindset that the defensemen have to buy into, that they have the ability to do that. Everyone’s is a little bit different. Every player on the back end has the ability to move the puck. They might not all be labeled necessarily puck-movers throughout hockey, but they’re NHL players, they all have the ability to move the puck and we want to sort of grow their game there and at least reach their ceiling.”

Cassidy will have his transition game work cut out for him with stay-at-home defensemen like Adam McQuaid and Kevan Miller clogging up the Bruins roster, but there clearly could be later dividends for him in Boston if can work wonders with a defense that finished 19th in the NHL last season. 

Jim Breuer reads purported Jastremski email to Toucher and Rich

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Jim Breuer reads purported Jastremski email to Toucher and Rich

On Toucher and Rich, comedian Jim Breuer reads an email he says he received from a man he met at a Mexican resort who said he was John Jastremski, a key figure in the Patriots’ Deflategate saga. 

Watch the video for more. 
 

Breuer identifies picture as Patriots staffer Jastremski: ‘Absolutely’ him

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Breuer identifies picture as Patriots staffer Jastremski: ‘Absolutely’ him

Toucher & Rich try to get to the bottom of comedian Jim Breuer's ‎Deflategate story. Breuer IDs a picture of Patriots equipment staffer John Jastremski as the man he met last year at a resort in Mexico who told him he was the key guy in the controversy.

Watch the video for more.