Bruins notes: Krejci blasts Bauer for sticks

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Bruins notes: Krejci blasts Bauer for sticks

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON David Krejci was lambasting Bauer hockey on Saturday afternoon following Bostons loss to the Sharks because hes being forced to play with an old model of sticks for the next week while waiting for a new Bauer factory to open on Feb. 11.

Krejci said he put in an order for a new batch of Bauer sticks weeks ago, and was told that he would have to play with the Bauer model he was dissatisfied with at the beginning of the year and it was the Czech center up in arms while he waits.

This stick sucks, and thats all Ive got, Krejci, who was actually named Third Star of Saturdays loss after firing four shots at the net in 22 minutes of ice time, told DJ Bean of WEEI.com. You can put it up on TV or in the papers. I dont care. This stick sucks.

That was the reason why I changed from those sticks to the new ones Im using, because I dont like these ones, he said. I changed them because I didnt like them anymore, but now its the only thing I can have.

Krejci hasnt scored a goal in 19 games, but has six assists in his last 10 games while playing with a batch of bum sticks, and wanted to stress he wasnt using the equipment excuse for anything less than outstanding play.

Im not making excuses for my game, said Krejci. I just dont like those sticks. Thats all it is.

Its always a little unfair to look at players drafted in the same class a few years down the road, but it was difficult to ignore the connection of San Jose forward Logan Couture and Bruins center Zach Hamill when each team faced off Saturday afternoon at TD Garden.

Hamill was selected by the Bs as the eighth overall pick in the 2007 NHL draft in Ottawa, and Couture was taken one spot later by San Jose scouting director and Melrose native Tim Burke in a selection thats turned out very well for the Sharks.

While Hamill played his second career NHL game on Saturday afternoon and wasnt much of a factor on Saturday afternoon, Couture cranked in his 23rd goal of the season to lead San Jose to a 2-0 victory over the Bruins.

Couture leads all NHL rookies with the 23 tallies this season, and was invited to take part in All-Star weekend after his impressive first half of the season in San Jose.

I think he is the most complete player that Ive seen at that age, said Sharks Captain Joe Thornton of Couture. He penalty kills, he plays power play. He plays all the important minutes. Hes been a stud for us all year long. He is very very complete, by far the Calder (trophy) winner so far this year.

Hamill meanwhile is still trying to establish himself as a thinking mans center capable of seeing plays develop and picking teams apart with his passes despite average size and skating speed for a skill center in the NHL. Its a tough spot to be in, and it becomes tougher when youre lumped together with a player like Couture that the Bs arguably had a chance to select way back in 2007 with their high first round pick.

Hamill has taken a longer and more deliberate path to the NHL since draft day, but has turned a bit of a corner while leading the Providence Bruins with 25 assists prior to his promotion to Boston this weekend in the days leading up to a decision whether or not to shut Savard down for the rest of the season.

Hamill said he knows Couture a little bit from the draft and their junior hockey days, and said watching his Sharks opponent play inspires to try and have a similar kind of impact for the Bruins.

We know each other to say hi and thats about it, said Hamill. Hes a good hockey player and a nice guy. We were both right there and hes obviously had a good year and stuff. You see the kind of year hes having, and you want to go out there and do what hes doing.

You see him doing that and you want to do the same thing.

Joe Thornton was happy to be back in Boston again for his third visit since getting dealt to San Jose way back in the 2005-06 season, and even happier to get the victory for the Sharks. While Thornton admitted that the first time he came back to Boston was an important one to him and a game where he lasted mere minutes after hitting Hal Gill from behind and earning an ejection from the contest in the first period its more about playing one of out 82 now that Jumbo has been in San Jose for such a long period of time.

What can I say? I had really, really long hair and obviously was eighteen years old. That was a long time ago, said Thornton. Pat Burns was the coach. He was really tough and a really good coach for me, but I really dont remember too much from being eighteen.

It is just a win. Maybe the first time I was here, you wanted to win the first one. But now it is just any other road game, I think.

The last remnants of the Thornton trade are also gone from the Bruins as Brad Stuart, Wayne Primeau and Marco Sturm have all moved on to other hockey pastures after arriving in Boston via the deal that rocked the Bs franchise five years ago.

Saturdays win was the first shutout of the Bruins for the San Jose Sharks in the franchise histories of both hockey clubs.

The Sharks had an apparent goal taken away because of goaltender interference in the second period.

The Bruins' previous low for shots allowed was 20 on Oct. 28 in a 2-0 win over Toronto.

Zdeno Chara played in his 900th NHL game and Tim Thomas played in his 300th career NHL game on Saturday afternoon.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Win vs. Islanders 'a nice building block' for Bruins

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Win vs. Islanders 'a nice building block' for Bruins

BROOKLYN, NY – It wasn’t particularly entertaining and it won’t be all that memorable down the ride aside from the timing and importance of the meeting between the Bruins and Islanders. But it was a solid 2-1 team win for the Bruins over the Islanders at the Barclays Center on Saturday night with the B’s grinding all the way down to the end while protecting a one-goal lead through much of the third period.

Nearly everybody across Boston’s roster contributed in the major victory over the team trying to bypass them in the wild card standings, and it was a beautiful thing. Anton Khudobin stepped up when Tuukka Rask couldn’t start Saturday night’s showdown with a lower body issue, and Riley Nash supplied both Boston goals from a fourth line that’s played some of their best hockey lately.

It was unlikely heroes all around for the Black and Gold in the tightly-wound contest, but that diversity of talent and production can be a very good thing for a team looking to make that playoff push.

“You have to stay with it. You have to stay in the moment and stay with the game no matter what’s happening during the game. That’s how you get results, and that’s how you find ways to persevere through adversity,” said Patrice Bergeron. “We just got back to playing stingy, especially in the neutral zone. We got away from it the last few games, and it was nice tonight to be back playing a low-scoring game like what we’re used to playing.”

When it was all said and done the Bruins only allowed 19 shots on net and also killed off six penalties in the kind of grinding defensive showdown that you haven’t seen all that much out of the Black and Gold lately. It was exactly what Cassidy was looking for to snap the four-game losing streak, and once again start pushing the Bruins upward into the playoff chase.

“That’s the type of win that goes a long way in the room when your goaltender is battling hard and fighting that hard to see pucks and find pucks and your D are blocking shots. And you kill that many penalties. It was a nice building block for us,” said Cassidy. “From the goalie on out, everybody was in there [in the win]. It was a tough game. It was a nice Bruins win. We had been doing it with offense earlier, and we’ve got to be able to do it both ways. You need to be able to win 2-1 hockey games, and it had been awhile.”

Now it’s simply up to the Bruins to be feeling good about their latest win while going back to basics, and looking for more next time around after ending their worst losing streak of the season.

Anton Khudobin battles for a huge win filling in for Tuukka Rask

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Anton Khudobin battles for a huge win filling in for Tuukka Rask

BROOKLYN, NY – Things didn’t go so well last season for the Bruins when Tuukka Rask suddenly wasn’t well enough to play in the last game of the season, so there was good reason for the B’s to be a little nervous when their No. 1 goalie again couldn’t answer the bell Saturday night vs. the Islanders.

Anton Khudobin had won four games in a row headed into Saturday night, of course, and in his previous start he’d helped snap a 10-game winning streak for the Calgary Flames. So perhaps it wasn’t all that surprising when Khudobin stood tall for the Bruins making 18 saves in a tight, nervy 2-1 win over the Isles at the Barclays Center.

“You don’t have that many shots, but maybe 10 scoring chances…that can be tougher than seeing 30 shots and same amount of scoring chances,” said Khudobin. “But I’m glad got the job done, we got our points and we got the ‘W’.”

It wasn’t wall-to-wall action in a game where both teams combined for 37 shots on net, but it was still impressive that Khudobin and the B’s special teams killed off six Islander power plays in such a tight hockey game. After the B’s backup netminder was lauded for the way he battled in the crease and competed for pucks like his team’s very life was on the line in a pivotal game.

“That’s the type of win that goes a long way in the room when your goaltender is battling hard, and fighting that hard to see pucks and your D are blocking shots. And you kill that many penalties. It was a nice building block for us,” said Bruce Cassidy. “I loved his performance. He’s a battler. He got swimming a couple of times, but that’s Dobby. He keeps it interesting for you. He’s a battler and he always has been. That’s what we needed tonight.”

One could spend days analyzing Cassidy's words and wondering much of that was deserved, appreciative praise for Khudobin, and how much of that might have been a veiled message to Boston's No. 1 goaltender sitting back home in Boston. 

The best save of the night probably won’t even count as a save for the Russian netminder. It was John Tavares, after having beaten Khudobin once in the first period, moving into the offensive zone with speed during a third period power play, and getting an open look at the net front in the high slot. Khudobin thought quickly and dropped into the unconventional double-stack pad save that seemed to throw Tavares off just a little, and the Isles sniper smoked the shot off the crossbar rather than tying up the game.

“I didn’t touch it. I didn’t really have time to get there, so the only thing I tried to do was the two-pad stack, old school Bob Essensa-style,” said Khudobin, who has now improved to 6-5-1 with a 2.60 goals against and an .899 save percentage this season. “Then he hit the crossbar. You need to get some luck in this league, and if you don’t get luck you’re going to lose games.”

A little luck and a little good, old-fashioned battling between the pipes was enough for Khudobin and the Bruins in Saturday night’s mammoth win. Now the questions become whether or not to go right back to Khudobin again on Tuesday at home against the Nashville Predators.