Sauve bulks up to try to stay healthy for Bruins

684922.jpg

Sauve bulks up to try to stay healthy for Bruins

The goal is pretty simple for Max Sauve: stay healthy.

The forward is in the final year of his entry level contract with the Bruins, and has shown flashes on his climb up the organizational ladder after being selected in the second round of the 2008 draft.

He had a good career in the QMJHL and snapped off 21 goals in his first full season with the Providence Bruins. But the 22-year-old with the good skating wheels has also had a profoundly difficult time remaining healthy since joining the pro hockey ranks. He missed 17 games in his first full season in Providence, and played in only 39 games last season while totaling 11 goals and 26 points.

Then Sauve was knocked out in the opening minutes of his NHL debut with the Bruins, and was never heard from again in Boston while the team fought through injuries in the second half of the year.

Concussions, groin issues, hip pointers and other injuries can be freak occurrences, but the last thing any player wants -- especially in the game of pro hockey -- is a reputation of being injury-prone. The Bruins organization also clearly wants to see exactly what they have in Sauve, who still projects to be an NHL third line player capable of popping in double-digit goal totals if he can remain healthy.

Last years experience appears to have had a profound effect on the 6-foot-2, 184-pound Sauve as hes come into this season noticeably sturdier and bigger in build.

Sauve confirmed it was no accident.

I dont want any more injuries, so I worked really hard this summer to get in the best shape that I could. Im in way better shape, said Sauve. Its important to me to show what I can do on the ice, and obviously that wont happen if I cant play. I want to show them that I can stay on the ice.

That would help explain the two point performance (1 goal, 1 assist) in Saturdays 3-1 victory over the Springfield Falcons on Saturday night at the MassMutual Center, and the four points Sauve has already amassed in four games this season. He was instrumental in the game-winning goal while screening in front of the net for a Garnet Exelby point blast, and then he pounced on the rebound of a Zach Trotman shot for Providences insurance goal in the third period.

In both instances Sauve went to the blue painted area, and thats a testament to his new-found strength and tenacity in front of the net. Its something P-Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy wants to see more of along with the team-leading six shots on net he finished with against Springfield.

Sauve is getting rewarded for going to the blue paint, said Cassidy. He almost got a goal in Manchester on Friday night as well, and he was driving hard to the net when he got one against Bridgeport.

Hes going to the net. He just needs to clean up his board-work a little bit and in the neutral zone he needs to know when to make plays and when not to. But hes been good and that line has been consistent. Theyve scored a goal in every game.

Cassidy is referring to the line of Sauve, Ryan Spooner and Jamie Tardif as one of its best in the first two weekends of the season. Their success is clearly a byproduct of all the work put in by Sauve during a summer that could prove to be pivotal to his hockey future.

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:

Marchand-Bergeron-Vatrano

Schaller-Krejci-Pastrnak

Spooner-Nash-Backes/Hayes

Beleskey/Blidh-Moore-Czarnik

 

Chara-Carlo

Krug-McQuaid

Morrow-Liles

 

Rask