Julien: Head-hunting accusations 'ludicrous'

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Julien: Head-hunting accusations 'ludicrous'

ARLINGTON, Va. The Bruins have heard the accusations from Capitals coach Dale Hunter and the rest of the organization that they are crossing the line, that they are head-hunters.

All the Bruins can do is shake their heads.

The B's are down two players right now with head injuries (Nathan Horton, Adam McQuaid). They have one player whose career is effectively over because of concussions (March Savard), and another who has been one of the strongest voices for concussion prevention (Patrice Bergeron) after his promising career was nearly derailed by a head injury.

Bergeron said he had no doubt in his mind that his teammates wouldn't target someone's head with malice.

No. I would hope not. Weve been in the middle of it on the other side of it with Marc Savard, Nathan Horton and me having deal with concussions, so its not fun," he said. "You never want that to happen. Were worried about playing playoff hockey, playing hard and within the rules while finding results. Games are played hard, especially this time of year. I havent seen anything thats out of the ordinary with our series."

Does Bergeron think it happens within the league?

I hope not, said Bergeron. Its about making sure we stay in our own bubble and not paying attention to whats happening outside our own room and our own team.

Claude Julien understood Hunter's comments probably sticking up for his recently-suspended player, Nicklas Backstrom. But still, Julien took major umbrage with his team being labeled as cold-blooded head-hunters.

"Being accused of head-hunting is ludicrous," Julien said. "Its ludicrous. Its ridiculous. Okay? Theres always going to be emotions in games and these are things that are happening. There were three cross-checks and they penalized one and suspended one. But were not whining about the referees and whats going on here. We need to win a game and we need to win a series and thats where our focus is on. Thats what it should be. There is not a coach in this league not one that is going to tell his players to targets somebodys head.It shows an innate misunderstanding of the game of hockey for anyone to think Tim Thomas hitting a player with his blocker, or Patrice Bergeron face-washing a player with a visor is even in the same zip code as something worthy of a match penalty.

Neither of those equals the kind of head-hunting the NHL is trying to vanquish.

There's no bigger Scarlet Letter in the NHL than being labeled a head-hunter, which is why the Bruins haven't taken kindly to the accusations.

Complaining about hits and lobbying for suspensions is as much a part of playoff hockey as overtime goals and postseason beards. But the Bruins finally had to fire back after hearing too much "head-hunting" jibber-jabber coming out of Washington.

Talking Points: Young Bruins 'took advantage' of opportunities

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Talking Points: Young Bruins 'took advantage' of opportunities

GOLD STAR: Danton Heinen got off to a slow start in his first NHL preseason game, but was operating at full efficiency when he redirected a Brandon Carlo point shot early in the third period for the game-tying goal that eventually pushed the game into the shootout. Heinen finished second on the B’s with 22:10 of ice time, had four shot attempts and blocked a shot along with the goal, and had another power play chance robbed on the doorstep with a sweeping glove save from Curtis McElhinny. It’s clear from the large amount of ice time that the Bruins want to get a good look at Heinen, and that he’s got a solid chance at an NHL job based on his added development in a big time Denver college program for the last couple of seasons.

BLACK EYE: Peter Mueller wasn’t bad, but zero shots on net along with a penalty in 13:49 of ice time isn’t the kind of performance that’s going to force you to notice him. The Bruins coaching staff then put him out as the final shooter in the shootout with another chance to make a play, and the former Coyotes star forward couldn’t do anything with it before the Columbus game-winner. He clearly has skill, good size and looks like he can make things happen with the puck on his stick, but Mueller needs to make more plays leading to tangible results if he wants to earn a roster spot with so many talented young wingers around him. Both Heinen and Jake DeBrusk cracked the score sheet tonight, and Mueller did not.

HONORABLE MENTION:  Give Jimmy Hayes credit, he showed up and played well in what he hopes is going to be a giant rebound season with the Bruins. He scored the game’s first goal on a great give-and-go with Jake DeBrusk, and he was active and strong paying the price in front of the net while engaged in battles that left him with a giant fat lip after the game was over. It was from a Dalton Prout shot at the end of the second period, and it was Hayes paying the price in a game that really doesn’t matter to a veteran player like him. That’s a good sign if he’s willing to keep doing it, as was his decision to stick up for his smaller teammates when big Blue Jackets D-man Oleg Yevenko started pushing people around in the second period. Hayes finished with the goal, four shots on net and put in an honest night’s work for a team that needs it from him on a nightly basis.

TURNING POINT: For the Bruins it was a 5-on-3 at the end of the second period that didn’t get them a goal, but pulled the momentum of the game in their direction while getting Danton Heinen and Seth Griffith into the flow of things. Both players were robbed on the doorstep by diving saves from Curtis McElhinney, but bolstered their determination to make something happen in the third period down a goal. Only a few minutes of ice time later, Heinen was redirecting a Brandon Carlo shot past the Columbus goaltender for the game-tying goal and the B’s were on equal footing with the Blue Jackets. The power play was 0-for-5 on the night, but most of their PP possessions were actually decent considering how little they’ve practiced it this early in camp.

BY THE NUMBERS: 5 – the number of shot attempts for Jakub Zboril, who was more good than bad for the Bruins in the first preseason game for the Black and Gold. He set up the first initial transition pass that led to Jimmy Hayes’ goal, and was active while aggressively playing the position and showing off his skills that were very clearly worthy of a first round pick.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “There were a lot of young players in the lineup. I won’t go through all of them, but I thought quite a few of them acquitted themselves quite well. They were given opportunities to do that and some of them certainly took advantage of that.” – Bruins assistant coach Bruce Cassidy after the 3-2 shootout loss. 

Yankees beat Blue Jays, Red Sox have chance to clinch AL East on Tuesday

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Yankees beat Blue Jays, Red Sox have chance to clinch AL East on Tuesday

For tonight, the Boston Red Sox can say "thank you" to the New York Yankees.

Despite the Toronto Blue Jays loading the bases with no out in the ninth, the Yankees hold on to beat the Blue Jays, 7-5. The result moves the Red Sox' magic number in the AL East to just one game. 

David Price will take the mound for the Red Sox on Tuesday night against those very Yankees with a chance to clinch the division. 

They can also clinch the AL East with a Toronto loss to the Baltimore Orioles.