Morning Skate: B's not quite over the hump

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Morning Skate: B's not quite over the hump

SAN JOSE, CA For the Bruins its something akin to Groundhog Day.

Twice in this month of March the Bs have put together two consecutive wins that had most optimistic they were pulling out of their forever .500 rut of the last two month. Twice the Bruins have dropped that third game to keep from hopping onto the season-ending roll that would signify that the Bruins are headed into the postseason at the top of their game.

Thursday night the Bruins dropped a flat 2-1 decision to the San Jose Sharks at their HP Pavilion home and truly didnt register much of an offensive blip until Zdeno Chara finally got them on the board in the third period.

The 17 shots signified a team that wasnt working hard enough to generate offensive chances or pay the price around the net. But Bruins coach Claude Julien said it was important that the Bruins avoid falling into the vicious cycle of frustration after again failing to prolong a winning streak.

I dont think were going to get frustrated every time we lose a game, said Claude Julien. We did do some good things out there. We allowed two goals the whole game. We didnt allow a ton of shots. Offensively we just didnt have the legs to create any kind of attack.

The first couple of periods there was a big gap between the defensemen and the forwards because the forwards were standing still instead of coming back to create speed. It got a little better in the third period, but we didnt have enough time to come back.

Tim Thomas was the best player on the ice for the Bruins with 25 saves many of them of the death-defying circus variety in the second period and was just as surprised at anybody else given the positive, energetic vibe in the dressing room prior to the San Jose loss.

There was no momentum carryover from the prior two wins at home when the Bruins were hoping with every fiber there would be.

If you asked me before the game I would have thought we would carry over the momentum. I thought wed turned the corner in the last two wins at home, said Thomas. Were having a hard time picking up momentum and keeping it for a long time. We have to pick it up again Saturday against the Kings.

But the Bruins need to bring that energy to the game rather than simply having it during warm-ups, and then theyll be the team they were against the Flyers and Maple Leafs and the team everyone expects them to be in the playoffs.

Morning Skate Links

Daniel Sedin appears to be out with a concussion but I dont think Ive heard an actual, official diagnosis from the team.
http:www.theprovince.comsportsDanielSedinreturndateunclear6345152story.html

Eric Duhatschek asks what is going on with the San Jose Sharks to which I would reply: a really cool yard sale of hockey players after the season is over.
http:www.theglobeandmail.comsportshockeyeric-duhatscheksan-jose-sharks-a...

FOH (Friend of Haggs) Joe Yerdon has an NCAA hockey tournament preview prior to games getting going this weekend.
http:prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com20120319back-to-class-your-pht-ncaa-tour...

Plenty of interesting thoughts here in a Calgary Sun piece about Brendan Shanahans philosophy about playoff suspensions, and the issue the league may have with some of it.
http:www.calgarysun.com20120322nhl-backtracking-on-punishment-with-shana...

Justin Bourne says when in doubt that players should probably shut up on the bench.
http:blogs.thescore.comnhl20120323nothing-gets-accomplished-on-the-bench...

A scathing hatchet job on Duncan Keith throwing a head shot at Daniel Sedin which ends with the line Friends dont let friends act like Canucks. Damn, I wish I had written that.
http:www.chicagotribune.comsportsrosenblogchi-keith-acts-like-a-canuck-2...

For something completely different: Bo Jackson has never played Tecmo Bowl. This seems all kinds of wrong to me
http:kotaku.com5895676bo-jackson-hero-of-tecmo-bowl-has-never-played-the...

Injury report: Amendola out for Ravens game, Bennett questionable

Injury report: Amendola out for Ravens game, Bennett questionable

Wide receiver Danny Amendola was officially listed as out on the injury report for the Patriots' Monday night home game against the Baltimore Ravens.

Amendola injured his ankle on a punt return against the Los Angeles Rams last Sunday. It will be the first game he's missed this season. The Patriots signed veteran wide receiver and kick returner Griff Whalen during the week.

Tight end Martellus Bennett (ankle, shoulder) is among the Pats listed as questionable, along with special teams ace Matt Slater (foot), who missed the Rams game, safety Jordan Richards (knee), linebacker Elandon Roberts (hamstring) and cornerback Eric Rowe (hamstring).

Whalen, part of Colts' infamous fake punt play, settles in with Patriots

Whalen, part of Colts' infamous fake punt play, settles in with Patriots

FOXBORO – Griff Whalen was at the epicenter of one of the stupidest, funniest, most “did that just happen?!” plays in NFL history.

So indescribable it never even really earned a name, it was the fourth-down gadget play the Colts tried to run against the Patriots on Sunday Night Football in the first meeting between the teams after Indy ran to the principal’s office to start Deflategate. 

Whalen was the center on that play (I tried to call it “Fourth-and-Wrong” but it didn’t take) and the millisecond between him snapping the ball and the three players processing that the ball had indeed been snapped is perhaps my favorite moment of the past several seasons. 

Whalen is a Patriot now, brought in this week in the wake of Danny Amendola’s knee injury presumably to fill Amendola’s role as a punt returner and wideout. The Colts released him last January, the Dolphins picked him up and cut him at the end of training camp and the Chargers had him on their roster from mid-September until releasing him last month after eight games, two catches and 22 yards. He returned kickoffs for San Diego but no punts since 2015.

The primary area of need for the Patriots is on punt returns. Rookie Cyrus Jones’ transition to appearing comfortable remains glacially slow. It was Jones’ muff last week that brought on Amendola in relief. When Amendola hurt his ankle on a late-game return, the Patriots were forced to decide between Jones, wideout Julian Edelman (who doesn’t need extra work) and making a move.

Whalen is a move they made.

The slight and baby-faced Whalen indicated he had fielded some punts in practice, saying it went, “Fine.” Punt returns are something he’s done “since I was a kid.”

His first impression of the team was, "A lot of what I expected to see. A lot of detail. A lot of effort in practice. Good coaching all-around. I am excited to be here. I was excited to come into a good team that I’d gone against a few times. Hopefully come in and help out the team with whatever I can.”

I asked Whalen if he saw much of the commentary or creativity last year’s failed play spawned.

“I wasn’t paying too much attention,” he said. “When it’s during the season guys are pretty locked in on what they’re doing inside the building. But I heard more about it later on afterwards.”

Asked if he’d heard anything about the play since being here, Whalen replied, “I haven’t. Kinda was [expecting it].”

The Patriots will be hoping Whalen remains as productive for them on fourth down this year as he was in 2015.