Marchand responds to Julien's challenge


Marchand responds to Julien's challenge

If only it were so easy to get every hockey player going as it was for motivating Brad Marchand.

The pesky Bs right winger was called out by his coach the day before Game 5 after four lackluster playoff performances, and was put on the fourth line at practice far from his customary top six forward spot on Bostons roster.

Claude Julien knew the prideful Marchand would respond to such a tactic, and that's exactly what he did with a two-point performance that included a big rebound goal in a 4-3 loss for the Bruins in Game 5 at TD Garden. The return to the front of the net was a welcome one for Marchand, who is one of the most hard-nosed Bruins when it comes to paying the price around the cage.

His efforts werent enough to seal a victory, but Marchands five shots on net in 16 plus minutes of ice time registered as his best effort of the playoffs.

After the game he credited the quick trip to the fourth line which was over after the first shift of Game 5 with getting him back into his hard-working frame of mind that allowed him to have success in the first place.

I know I have to be better and I try to prepare that way that I have to be better out there and I felt better today, said Marchand, who notched his first goal of the playoffs in the defeat. We seemed to have a little bit more energy at times there. We got down on a couple, we battled back, and I thought we really took it to them after that. We had a pretty solid game, but definitely got to get guys scoring a little bit more.

Marchand was being a good team guy in accentuating the need for more scoring while glossing over a pair of soft Tim Thomas goals in the third period, but improvement in both areas is required if the Bruins want to push things to seven games. Julien gave Marchand an attaboy after the game, and soft-peddled the message rendered when he dropped Marchand and Tyler Seguin to the bottom lines during Fridays practice.

It wasnt just a message: it was kind of getting another look at practice. At the same time, you know your players. I knew that Brad Marchand would certainly respond, said Julien. It was important for him to be put on a line that he deserves to be on and he responded well tonight. I thought he played really hard and played a great game for us.

Julien will have to go back to the drawing board to figure out a workable plan to awaken the offense in Milan Lucic and David Krejci, but it appears the Little Ball of Hate is back on track after a reality check.

Saturday, Dec. 10: Vegas,scoring on NHL governors' minds

Saturday, Dec. 10: Vegas,scoring on NHL governors' minds

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while doing some early Christmas shopping ahead of the late rush. 

*Mike Zeisberger sits down with a quartet of NHL governors and discusses a number of hot topics including the Vegas franchise and scoring around the league. 

*Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos has been removed from the NHL Board of Governor’s Executive Committee amid rumors that the Canes might be a prime candidate for relocation. 

*Pierre McGuire weighs in on Connor McDavid’s war of words on the ice and Carey Price losing his mind in the crease against the New Jersey Devils. To that end, Wayne Gretzky liked seeing McDavid get a little combative at such a young age. 

*The New York Islanders signed Cal Clutterbuck to a five year contract extension, and some are skeptical it will turn out well for the Isles.

*David Pastrnak is a premier scoring threat in the league, and Scott Cullen has some details behind that. I will say this: his stock falling in the draft had less to do with his size or heaviness, and more to do with him being concussed for a long stretch of time during the year leading up to the draft. 

*The Florida Panthers are really struggling to stay positive with a 1-5-0 record since the ownership group and management decided to fire Gerard Gallant. 

*For something completely different: Baywatch stars then and now. 



Curran: To gauge Patriots' plans for Jimmy G, look to Brissett

Curran: To gauge Patriots' plans for Jimmy G, look to Brissett

When trying to figure out what the Patriots will ultimately do with Jimmy Garoppolo, forget about the speculation and instead focus on the little things the team does. 

Like how they are tending to Jacoby Brissett. 

After having thumb surgery on Oct. 7, Brissett was put on IR. But the team used its one "Get off of IR free card" on Brissett and he's been practicing with the team for the past couple of weeks while not taking up a roster spot. 

That alone isn't compelling evidence that he's the backup-in-waiting and Garoppolo's about to be packed up and shipped out, argued my compadre, Senator Phil Perry. The team had no other players on IR that they could use the designation on at the time. Why not use it on Brissett?

Prior to that, though, we've seen Brissett accompanying the team to away games including the cross-country junket to San Francisco. A reason? Since the Patriots played three straight at Gillette at the start of the season when Brissett was the direct backup to Garoppolo, he didn't get a good look at the road operation and the tempo of being the visiting team. How things work on flights, in meetings, at opposing stadiums and on the sidelines is worth getting a promising young players' eyes on. Also, getting his offensive teammates used to having him around is probably an even bigger benefit. It's not unprecedented to have IR players travel but its not conventional practice either. 

With so many quarterback-needy teams around the league, Garoppolo is perhaps the most attractive option out there. By the end of this year, he will have apprenticed three seasons behind the best quarterback of all-time in a sophisticated offense for a program that's as demanding as any in the league. In the 10 quarters he was able to play as a starter in place of Tom Brady, he was sensational.

He got hurt and that's not great. But any team making a deal for him that has concerns about his durability can take him for a spin for one season. Garoppolo is on the books for $825K in 2017 and then his contract is up. The team that dealt for him can franchise him if they need another season to think on it. 

I don't think the Patriots are itching to move Garoppolo. They know they are sitting comfortably with a stack of the most valuable commodity in the sport -- good quarterbacks (or at least one great one and two promising ones) - piled in front of them. They can let the game come to them. 

If it does, as former Patriots executive and Bill Belichick consigliere Mike Lombardi thinks it will, the Patriots can rest easy dealing Garoppolo knowing that they already did advance work getting Brissett up to speed.