Pandolfo excited to see first game action


Pandolfo excited to see first game action

WINNIPEG -- Jay Pandolfo grew up as a Bruins fan while blossoming into a bona fide Massachusetts hockey stud playing for Burlington High School and Boston University.

So its a special kind of pride for the 38-year-old local product as he makes his Boston Bruins debut Sunday afternoon against the Winnipeg Jets at the MTS Centre in place of Milan Lucic.

I havent played a game in a while so Ill be a little anxious. But once you settle down it will be fine, said Pandolfo. Anytime you grow up somewhere watching a team your whole life its special when you get a chance to play for themyou take a little extra pride in it. Im appreciative that I have this chance and Im looking forward to it.

The former New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders winger hasnt played an NHL game in roughly nine months, and wasnt sure if this day would come again coming out of the lockout. He skated with the Bruins for over a month on a professional tryout agreement before signing a one-year deal with Boston earlier this week, and will get his opportunity after Lucic had to leave the team for personal reasons.

Pandolfo will skate on the fourth line with Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton while Daniel Paille moves up in the lineup. Nobody should expect much offensively from a guy that totaled three points in 60 plus games for the Isles last season, and his coach expects him to keep things simple as a longtime veteran would in this particular situation.

It goes without saying that youll keep an eye on him, but hes been through this enough times that hell know how to handle his shifts, said Claude Julien, who previously coached Pandolfo in New Jersey. Hell keep things short, and hes a smart player thats been in this league a long time. So I dont think youll see anythingstupid, if I can use that termcoming out of his game.

He never gave up. We certainly never guaranteed him anything. We thought he could be a possibility, but he kept a great attitude and he slipped in there easily with his teammates. Hes a guy that gives us some really reliable depth.

Pandolfo may get some penalty killing time, but otherwise probably wont play much more than five or six minutes in his Boston debut. But thats more than enough for the two-time Stanley Cup that wondered openly if his NHL career was over when he didnt have a roster spot guaranteed coming out of the lockout.

Instead he found the perfect situation with the Bruins after patiently waiting for it to materialize, and that era in his career begins Sunday in Winnipeg.

Backes: Bruins were ‘wounded’ after ugly Detroit loss

Backes: Bruins were ‘wounded’ after ugly Detroit loss

BRIGHTON, Mass – It certainly sounded like there were some things that made the Wednesday night loss in Detroit a little different for the Bruins.

The Bruins media corps conducted postgame interviews in the hallway rather than in the visiting dressing room after what must have been a combustible atmosphere immediately following the shootout defeat. 

There was also evidence of anger in the visitor’s dressing room at Joe Louis Arena, according to reports, with a door off its hinges when the media was able to get a look inside the dressing room area.

David Backes confirmed something was different about the loss after blowing a pair of three-goal leads, and failing to follow up their dreadful no-show vs. the Islanders with a winning performance against another bad team in Detroit. The B’s forward said the plane ride home from Detroit was solemn and quiet, and that it was clear the Bruins team was “wounded” after a crushing loss.

“Both [losses] can be great lessons if we learn from it, and neither was very enjoyable. That was probably the quietest I think our guys were all year on that plane ride home from Detroit,” said Backes. “To me, that’s a great sign that it hit us in the heart, and it hit us where it really mattered. We’re thinking about how we can turn the tide and thinking about we can be victorious the next time out.

“We had the lead, and in a lot of instances you’re expecting, as you should, to come out of there with two points. We’re at the time in the season where wins need to be garnered and taken home.

“There were a lot of aspects where we should have grabbed the game back. When you feel like you’ve had a lot of opportunities to take the game and you don’t do it, it’s not a good feeling. I was reflecting on that during a very quiet team plane ride back from Detroit, and it seemed pretty clear that the whole team was feeling wounded. I think it’s a good sign that guys were feeling that way, and that means they’re going to do everything in their power to not have that feeling again.”

The words are encouraging from a 32-year-old natural leader in Backes, who has seen good times and bad as captain of the St. Louis Blues in his 10-year NHL career. But the proof is ultimately on the ice where the Bruins have games against the Blackhawks and Penguins coming up and face some very stiff tests coming off a couple of losses against the worst teams in the East that exposed Black and Gold fragility at this point in the season. 


After knee injury, Beleskey set to return for Bruins vs. Blackhawks

After knee injury, Beleskey set to return for Bruins vs. Blackhawks

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins, looking for a spark after terrible, back-to-back losses to the New York Islanders and Detroit Red Wings, are hoping the return of Matt Beleskey from a knee injury can help provide the inspiration. 

The blue-collar left winger has missed the past 23 games with a torn MCL in his right knee suffered in early December against the Buffalo Sabres, but now he’s easing back into the lineup on the fourth line in Friday night’s showdown with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Beleskey was skating with Dominic Moore and Austin Czarnik on the fourth line at morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena and should be expected to throw a few hard hits and play with some intensity in his return.

“I’m ready to go and excited to get back out there,” said Beleskey, who has been skating with the team for roughly a week after giving the knee sufficient time to heal. “I’ve just got to keep it simple and do what I do well: Be hard on pucks, take the body and just try and find your groove. You don’t want to expect too much in your first game back, but you just want to be able to contribute.

“’I’ve been saving [the pent-up energy] for a while, so I’m ready to get back out there and hopefully provide a spark for us.”

The Beleskey return also provides the player with a bit of a reset button after a slow start to the season that saw him with two goals and five points along with a minus-6 rating in 24 games played for the Black and Gold prior to his injury. Here are the projected line combos and D-pairs against the Blackhawks based on morning skate today: