Julien: Power-play critics need to 'take a breath'

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Julien: Power-play critics need to 'take a breath'

WILMINGTON, Mass. The streak remained alive Sunday as Claude Julien was once again asked about the struggling Bruins power play following practice on Ristuccia Arena. The Bs man advantage is now ranked 29th in the NHL after getting out to a 1-for-17 start, and is only behind the Los Angeles Kings that have started out a putrid 0-for-23 on the season.

The Bruins practiced with their top two PP units on Sunday before leaving on a flight to Carolina for the start of back-to-back games against the Hurricanes and New Jersey Devils on Monday and Tuesday, respectively. Dennis Seidenberg wasnt entered back into the mix on the second PP unit after coming back from injury Dougie Hamilton and Rich Peverley have been manning the points on the second unit for the last three games and Julien preached patience just one week into the season.

Given the Bruins track record with the power play crapping out in the playoffs in each of the last two seasons, thats a pretty special request. David Krejci probably should have been credited for a power play goal but a video replay ruled no goal against the Rangers, and both Nathan Horton and Tyler Seguin have clanged posts on power-play scoring chances.

But the Bruins have also had entire two minute power play possessions in the last two games where there wasnt a single fired at the net, and the enthusiasm seemed to be flagging within the units skaters.

I thought Id be able to get away for at least one day without a power play question, said Julien. The results havent been there, but Id say in three of the four games that we moved the puck well, we hit a post and we had a goal disallowed. A lot of stuff has happened.

I could throw a lot of things at you whether it was LA winning last year without a good power play or Tampa Bay not even practicing the power play this year because they know you cant win a Cup without strong five-on-five play. But I think people need to step back and maybe take a breath a little bit . . . and not make a mountain out of a power play. We want it to work well, but its not the end of the world. Were still winning hockey games.

Its true that the Bruins and Kings made it two straight Stanley Cup champs that survived the postseason gauntlet without a high-functioning power play, and whatever the Lightning are doing is working because theyve got five PP goals in 20 tries this season. But then again they also boast Steve Stamkos cranking one-timers from the face-off dot, so perhaps that makes practicing a little less important for their special teams unit.

But the expectation is that names like Tyler Seguin, Hamilton, Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, Milan Lucic and Krejci involved in the Bs man advantage will eventually perform up to their potential, and turn the bright scrutiny of the spotlight elsewhere.

We hope with time that well get some of the results that we havent received so far, said Julien.

For now the Bruins are hanging their hat on a perfect 17-for-17 mark in killing penalties as well, so one dominant special teams unit is covering for the other one while the PP performers get their swagger back. Unfortunately theres no telling when that will be for a Bs power play unit that doesnt get the benefit of the doubt after the way things have looked over the last two years.

Saturday, May 28: Frustating season for Pred's Rinne

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Saturday, May 28: Frustating season for Pred's Rinne

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while wondering how much of a dark cloud Slava Voynov’s presence is going to bring to the World Cup of Hockey.

*PHT’s Joey Alfieri tracks the ups and downs of Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne, who had a frustrating season.

*Jonathan Drouin says that he “definitely wants to be” part of the Tampa Bay Lightning after a very rocky year with a happy ending for all.

*Speaking of the World Cup of Hockey, Taylor Hall was one of a number of deserving Canadian players – including P.K. Subban -- left off the roster.

*The San Jose Sharks have come a long way from their inaugural season in the league.

*Ottawa Senators senior advisor Bryan Murray is still getting used to a new role after a change in the Sens front office structure.

*Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford has plenty of reasons to be proud after a very good year running hockey ops for the Penguins.

*For something completely different: this January Rolling Stone magazine piece on Stevie Nicks was an excellent retrospective.

 

 

Marchand: Selection to Canada World Cup 'on a different level'

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Marchand: Selection to Canada World Cup 'on a different level'

Bruins left wing Brad Marchand definitely altered a lot of people’s perceptions about him as a hockey player when he scored 37 goals this season, and embraced more of a leadership role on a B’s team getting younger by the year. The B’s agitator started to reap the rewards of those changed opinions with a gold medal at the IIHF World Championships in Russia earlier this month, and on Friday with his inclusion on a ridiculously talented Team Canada roster set for the NHL and NHLPA-organized World Cup of Hockey in the fall.

Marchand will join linemate Patrice Bergeron and head coach Claude Julien as part of the Team Canada contingent, and could even be part of a reunited Marchand-Bergeron-Tyler Seguin line if Mike Babcock and Co. are looking for instant chemistry.

Either way Marchand was excited about suiting up for his country, and being part of a World Cup tournament that will include Bruins players Tuukka Rask, Zdeno Chara, David Pastrnak, David Krejci (who may not be available to play due to his hip surgery), Loui Eriksson and Dennis Seidenberg along with the Team Canada contingent.

“It’s an incredible honor to play for Team Canada. It’s something that I think we all take a lot of pride in, and something that is…it’s not an easy accomplishment,” said Marchand. “It’s not something you get to do very often, and to have that opportunity twice this year is very special and it’s not something I take for granted

“I think being part of a team like this is on a different level, and people may give a little more respect to that fact and may look at more of the kind of player I am, other than just the stuff they’ve seen in the past, with the hits and being a pest and stuff like that. Maybe those people will realize that I’m an OK hockey player, and I do play the game as well. But regardless, that’s not why I play the game. I play it to help our team win and just because I love the game, so however they feel, then that’s their opinion. But [earning more respect league-wide] is a possibility.”

This is the fifth time Marchand has been selected to compete for his home country of Canada in international play. The 5-foot-9, 181-pound forward tallied four goals and three assists in 10 games while helping Canada earn a gold medal at the aforementioned 2016 IIHF Men’s World Championships, held earlier this month in Russia. Marchand previously won gold with Team Canada at the U-20 World Championships in 2007 and 2008. He also earned a bronze medal with Team Canada Atlantic at the 2005 World U-17 Hockey Challenge.

The 2016 World Cup of Hockey will take place from Sept. 17 to Oct. 1, 2016 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, home of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs. The two-week tournament, featuring eight teams comprised of more than 150 of the best players in the NHL, will progress from the Preliminary Round to the Semifinals and ultimately the Final. 

The involvement of so many Bruins players along with Julien will make for a spare NHL camp in Boston come September with so many important pieces out for what is traditionally the first two weeks of camp.