Youkilis: 'Exciting to have Valentine on board'


Youkilis: 'Exciting to have Valentine on board'

BOSTON -- Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis hasn't had a lot of time this season to get to know his new manager. But he and Bobby Valentine chatted for a few minutes before a fundraiser Thursday night for Youkilis charitable orgnazation.We talked once on the phone and then we texted a couple times about the event and stuff like that, Youkilis said. My main question to Bobby was, Whats the dress code? Because were all going to spring training, what do we bring? Because some teams wear suits. So we definitely had that conversation. It went well.It's exciting just to have him on board. He's really pumped. I think hes been everywhere, from what I hear. Hes been all over the country and doing all kinds of stuff. So its kind of fun to have him going. It's going to be a tougher spring training. We're going to be working our butts I think off with Bobby. Not that we didn't before, but I think we're going to be hitting a lot more of the fundamentals."Youkilis acknowledged the teams attitude last season was lacking. Asked if he though, Valentine was the manager who could change that, Youkilis responded:Its like my dad always said with Hall of Fame manager Sparky Anderson: 'You show me a great manager, you got a lot of great players'. Youkilis grew up in Cincinnati as a Reds fan. If Bobbys going to be the guy, we got to do it. But if we dont win games, the blames going to go on him, which is unfair. Thats just how it is. When players dont play well, managers, you know, things happen. Managers get fired. And I always feel personally, its on the players. Players got to play the game to keep managers looking like theyre doing the right thing. But I think hes going to be great. I think hes going to bring a winning attitude and I think hes going to get this team going from day one.Youkilis didnt know much of Valentine before he was named manager less than two months ago. The third baseman believes theyll get to know each other better during the grind of the season.I really cant go off a couple offseason conversations, either, Youkilis said. I always tell people, like when June and July rolls around and were grinding it out and were in it, then you can have a better impressions. You cant, even in spring training, you wont get a good impression because youre not in winning streaks and losing streaks. But I think the thing with Bobby that I got now is you play the game hard you play the game right and you do the little things and hes going to love you.

Haggerty: Subban looking more like a 1st-round bust than NHL goalie

Haggerty: Subban looking more like a 1st-round bust than NHL goalie

BOSTON, Mass – Malcolm Subban says that he believes that he can still be a No. 1 goaltender in the NHL.

While that’s admirable on some level for the sheer, brazen self-confidence involved in saying this after getting yanked from a 5-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild at TD Garden, pretty much all of the evidence points out the contrary. Nearly two years after getting pulled from his NHL debut in against the St. Louis Blues after giving up three goals on six shots, Subban was pulled from Tuesday night’s appearance after giving up three goals on eight second period shots with the Bruins desperately in need of a quality start in goal.

He maintained a defiantly confident tone after another humbling NHL effort against Minnesota, and that’s a testament to the maturity and mental toughness of the person behind the goalie mask.

“It sucks. Obviously, I’m just trying to finish the game, let alone win one. Obviously it sucks, but what can you do now, right?” said Subban, who has now allowed six goals on 22 career shots faced in two starts. “Obviously I want to be a number one goaltender in the league. I was a high pick for a reason. I have the potential, and I just have to show it. Obviously I haven’t done that so far yet, but I think I’m getting closer to it. Honestly, I think I can do it right now. I just got to show it. Obviously, I didn’t [do it] today, but tomorrow’s a new day.”

Given the stunningly bad quality of his two NHL starts combined with a thoroughly pedestrian body of work at the AHL level over the last three years, there is literally zero tangible evidence Subban is tracking to be a franchise goaltender. Instead he’s the emergency goaltender called on by the Bruins only after Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin have both been shelved by injuries, and he’s now flunked the two pop quizzes when the NHL team needed him to come through.

Meanwhile, a sizeable selection of goaltenders taken after him in the 2012 NHL Draft class have already proven their NHL worth and broken through at the elite level: Matt Murray, Frederik Anderson, Connor Hellebuyck and Joonas Korpisalo.

Subban was hoping all along to break through this season in Boston, but things went south on him quickly with a Bruins team not playing well in front of him. The first goal was a fluttering Charlie Coyle shot that trickled between his glove hand and the top of his leg pad. The third goal was a softie low and to the glove side, power play strike authored by Ryan Suter. It added up to poor goaltending and shoddy defense, but it also added up to a Bruins goaltender that didn’t even give his hockey club a chance to win.

“It could be a combination of both. There are some goals – I’m not going to lie – there are some goals that we thought our goaltenders should have had. But I’m not here to talk about a goaltender who’s in one of his first few games because he let in a couple of bad goals,” said Julien. “We were terrible in front of him and we weren’t any better, and that’s the big picture. That’s more important.

“I don’t care who’s in net. I think when you have some injuries you need to be better in those situations and we weren’t good enough tonight. It doesn’t matter if Tuukka [Rask] is in net and we had injuries up front, or we’re lacking players here or there. You’ve got to let the system take care of the game. If you play it the right way, you have a chance to win. When you don’t, you don’t. That’s what happened [against Minnesota].”

There’s no question the defense in front of Subban wasn’t nearly good enough, and Adam McQuaid and Torey Krug in particular struggled to lock things down in the defensive zone. The wide open shots from the slot - like the Chris Stewart score in the second period that arrived 12 seconds after Minnesota’s opening goal - are indicative of a hockey club that’s not sticking to the game plan once things start to get a little wonky.

But this is about a player in Subban that should be entering the NHL stage of his career after being a first round pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, and anybody would be hard-pressed to see him as an NHL goalie after failing in each of his first two NHL starts. Combine that with the lack of dominance at the AHL level over the last three years, and there’s a better chance that Subban will be a major first round bust for the Bruins rather than suddenly develop into a late-blooming No. 1 goaltender in Boston.

The scary part is that Subban and fellow young netminder Zane McIntyre are all the Bruins have for Wednesday night’s game at Madison Square Garden, and perhaps longer than that if Rask can’t make rapid progress with his lower body injury.

Maybe Subban can be a bit better than he’s shown thus far, and the four goals allowed to Minnesota were not all his fault. The bottom line, however, is that Subban should be up for doing this job right now. Tuesday was a big chance for the young goalie to make a statement that he was ready for it.

Instead he looked like the same goalie that’s been pulled from two of his first four AHL starts this season, and plays like a goaltender that’s never going to truly be ready for the call in Boston.