BOSTON -- Some of the Bruins werent happy with Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff taking a timeout with 13.6 seconds to go in the third period with the Sabres holding a three-goal lead in a game that had already been decided. Claude Julien said it was within the Sabres coaches right to call for a timeout, and that Ruff should be the one to be asked about the reasoning behind it.
I just played along with it, said Julien. He mightve thought that something was going to happen, which wasnt, but thats probably for him to answer. I dont know.
Brad Marchand was a little rawer in his assessment following the Bruins first regulation loss of the season to a Buffalo team hungry for revenge upon entering the TD Garden Thursday night.
Ruff wants to be a big shot, and it was not the best play to dopretty disrespectful, said Marchand. If he wants to be like that, thats fine and we just have to move on.
The longtime Sabres coach indicated that he didnt call the timeout to show up a Bruins team in a game that had already been decided when Boston was outscored by a 4-to-1 margin in the third period. Instead Ruff said that he was worried the Bruins were going to pull some shenanigans with AHL tough guy Lane MacDermid on the ice for the final shift of the game.
So the Sabres coach called timeout and put 6-foot-8 enforcer John Scott on the ice to close out the game.
When Lane MacDermid was with one of our skill players I didnt want anything to happen, said Ruff. Thats really all it was about.
The Sabres coach was likely on high alert after Scott had injured Shawn Thornton in a fight earlier in the game and Drew Stafford had managed to get away penalty-free on a dirty blow to Dougie Hamiltons head in the third period. But its also highly unlikely in this day and age that the Bruins would attack the Sabres in the closing seconds of a loss when suspensions and fines would be an automatic for a team foolish enough to recreate something out of Slap Shot.
Little more than a year after he was drafted in the middle of the first round by the Boston Bruins, some are whispering that 19-year-old Jakub Zboril isn’t going to live up to advanced billing. Clearly the Czech defenseman took a step back for the Saint John Sea Dogs after being taken 13th by the Bruins in last year’s draft, and dropped to six goals and 20 points in 50 games in the QMJHL while watching second round pick Jeremy Lauzon pass him by on the prospect hype chart.
Perhaps the more concerning thing have been the whispers about an erratic work ethic and bad habits in Zboril’s game, a couple of criticisms that haven’t exactly gone away since the Bruins signed him to a contract last summer following development camp. Bruins assistant general manager Scott Bradley was asked about those concerns with the young D-man as he heads into an important training camp with Boston this fall, and didn’t seem all that concerned about his first round pick being a “bust.”
“I think his offensive production was down, and that he struggled a little bit coming out of the gate” said Bradley of Zboril, who had 13 goals and 33 points in 44 games during his first season in the Quebec Major Junior League prior to getting drafted by Boston. “But he had a strong playoff. Everybody forgets that he’s a gritty guy, and a strong player that moves the puck. The thing that stands out about him are that his numbers are down from last year.
“But everything is on track with him. He’s going to come to camp and hopefully shines, and has a good year this year…patience.
“I think it’s great if the second rounders are on par with him: the [Brandon] Carlos and the [Jeremy] Lauzons. If you look at the whole of our draft last year you can’t rule out the first eight picks that they might play [in the NHL]. We’re excited. Donnie and I were at the Memorial Cup, and Lauzon raised our eyebrows every night that he played. You’d come away with a good feeling like this kid plays hard, plays the Bruins style, moves the puck and is tough. Obviously [you had to like] what Carlo did when he was brought in [to Providence] at the end. It just bodes well for what we have coming this year. Zboril and Lauzon are probably going back to junior, but Carlo is going to get a long look.”
The young Czech D-man is still at a point where his stock can still shoot higher than it’s ever been with a good showing at training camp, and a strong season for the Sea Dogs entering into his professional hockey career. But he can’t afford to go through another down season, or that talk of him being a first round bust is only going to get louder and stronger.
Joe Haggerty joins Dalen Cuff on SNC via phone to discuss the Bruins chances at landing a top free agent, the NHL Draft, and where the team still needs to improve.
Here are the links from all around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while happy to be back in the city of Boston.
*The Buffalo Sabres don’t sound happy about the accusations against Evander Kane that cropped up during NHL Draft weekend, why would they be?
*NHL teams can now start discussing free agents, exchanging ideas with them and start the chase up to July 1.
*PHT writer James O’Brien has the biggest winners in the 2016 NHL Draft. Here’s a shocker: the Bruins aren’t among them.
*A good piece from Alex Prewitt on the importance of the land line phones on the draft floor during NHL Draft weekend.
*The Edmonton Oilers are another team that didn’t come out of draft weekend with a defenseman, and are still in search of their back end help.
*A nice piece on Philadelphia Flyers draft pick Pascal Laberge, who could have been plucked by the Bruins at No. 29 rather than Trent Frederic.
*Bruce Garrioch has his Sunday NHL notes, and says that Steven Stamkos appears destined to play somewhere other than Tampa Bay.
*For something completely different: Jonah Keri has TV critic Alan Sepinwall on his podcast, and one can only hope it’s to explain how and why he could have disliked last week’s episode of Game of Thrones.