Boston Bruins

Bruins still haven't learned their lesson

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Bruins still haven't learned their lesson

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON The Bruins got back to work on Tuesday morning after a lost evening in New York City, where they allowed five consecutive goals -- three in the third period -- and blew a three-goal lead to the Rangers.The game -- fortunately or unfortunately -- brought back memories of a blown 3-0 lead in Game Seven against the Philadelphia Flyers last season, not to mention the blown 30 series lead, and the Bs were picking up the pieces at practice at Ristuccia Arena.Coach Claude Julien distanced himself a bit from the players, whom he maintains strayed from the game plan once they got ahead, and said they'll either finally learn their painful lesson or repeat their mistakes again in the playoffs . . . to disastrous results.There's little question that Boston's effort, with its playoff position assured, wasn't what it should have been.
Thats what happens when you dont respect the game plan, and start playing your own game, said Zdeno Chara. We knew the Rangers werent going to give up because they needed the points. They deserved the win because they were a much hungrier team in the second half of the game.Its a lack of focus and a lack of discipline to respect the game plan. I hope were not coasting. Certainly we have to address that and we did that during practice.The Bs could have pushed for the top seed in the East and sent a thumping message to the Rangers, whom they might just see in the first round of the playoffs -- but none of that happened. Now, with their third seed all but assured and three games left against the Islanders, Senators and Devils, the Bs have to focus on getting back on message and avoiding any more fire-drill chaos in their defensive end once the playoffs arrive.That means curbing Tomas Kaberle of the instinct to anticipate cycles in the corner that never happen, and vacating the net with the enthusiasm of a dog chasing after a thrown tennis ball when it's his responsibility to guard the front.That also means some poise from Tim Thomas to stay in his net and battle rather wandering too far out when he senses his defense breaking down around him.I think we need to learn as a group from the incident against the Rangers, said Julien. Part of it is that you need to respect the game plan for 60 minutes, and we didnt do that. Hopefully we learned a valuable lesson from here until the end of the season and beyond that you cant get too comfortable. "We got comfortable and you could see the level of play slipped a little bit, and before you knew it the damage was done. You have to respect the game plan for 60 minutes. Thats what has made great teams great in the past.It should have been the same lesson learned once the Bs were up 3-0 on the Philadelphia Flyers last season, but apparently class is still in session with these Bruins.We should have never believed that the game was over once we got up 3-0, said Julien, something he could have said during the Philly series last season. If its a lesson learned then itll be a positive thing down the road. If its not then itll come to haunt us because it will happen again. Shawn Thornton practiced without the half-shield off his mask, and said he was hoping to play against the Islanders Wednesday night at TD Garden after missing the last two games with a 40-stitch gash over his right eye.Well figure it out tomorrow. Hes day-to-day and that hasnt changed, said Julien. Well make a determination of whether hes ready to get back into the lineup or night. Chara said following practice that he realized Ryan Callahan was injured after sliding over to block his booming slap shot in the final minutes of New Yorks come-from-behind win over the Bruins. Callahan was diagnosed with a broken ankle on Tuesday morning, and the Bs defenseman voiced concern for a player he respects greatly.Callahan is a top-six guy, yet he still plays with so much heart and grit. You dont see many guys that throw their bodies around to block shots like that, said Chara. He plays the game so hard. You have to respect a guy like that. I heard after the game that hed probably broken a bone, so I just hope that hes okay long term. Every Bruins player was healthy and accounted for on the practice ice, and Michael Ryder was skating with Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley a sign that perhaps Ryder will be getting the nod in the playoffs when combined with 8 minutes of ice time with no power play reps for Tyler Seguin.Ryder is getting better, said Julien. Hes got to continue to work hard. Hopefully hell be a good playoff performer for us because he has been in the past. His stats have been pretty decent. If were going to have some success then were going to need Michael Ryder to be good for us.

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

Cassidy: Khudobin 'has a leg up' on backup competition in Bruins camp

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Cassidy: Khudobin 'has a leg up' on backup competition in Bruins camp

BOSTON – Fresh off a strong performance allowing just a single goal on 31 shots in his preseason debut, Tuukka Rask looked close to the top of his game and exactly where he needs to be with the regular season a couple of weeks away. Nearly as important as Rask’s state as the regular season nears, the Bruins coaching staff has been keeping a keen eye through camp on the all-important backup goaltender position as well. 

It’s important that the Bruins have a quality backup goalie in place as they hope to start Rask in just 55-60 games this season, and manage the slender puck-stopper in a way where they can get the best out of him from beginning to end. Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy indicated Anton Khudobin has the inside track on the backup job after finding his groove in the second half of last season, and it would appear he’s well on his way to retaining his job with a Malcolm Subban/Zane McIntyre tandem in Providence.

“Tuukka looks good, and looks good in practice and healthy. So that’s reassuring,” said Cassidy. “[Anton Khudobin] I thought played very well in his game. He had the one unfortunate goal, but I thought he was rock-solid the rest of the game. He’s in very good shape and he’s practiced well, so he’s got a leg up on the other [goalies] based on his experience.

“We know that going in, but he’s going to get pushed. Zane [McIntyre] was good in a game, and Malcolm let in a couple where he could have been more aggressive. But it was a first game, so right now they all look good. That’s a good problem to have if they all push each other, but to get direct to the point Anton has done nothing to lose that backup spot.”

At this point, it would likely be McIntyre rather than Subban that would challenge for the NHL backup job if Khudobin did stumble at all in training camp or early in the regular season as he did last year. There will be no backup controversy, however, if the 31-year-old plays like he did in stopping 20-of-22 shots in Tuesday night’s win vs. the Red Wings or as he did going 6-1-0 with a .922 save percentage after the All-Star break last season.  

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Morning Skate: Why NHL players hate analytics

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Morning Skate: Why NHL players hate analytics

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while already hating my fantasy football team just a couple of weeks into things.

*Interesting look at why NHL players hate analytics and why most of them don’t even care what Corsi is or how it’s tabulated.

*Interesting piece on the play-by-play for Bruins radio, where over 200 applicants threw their hat in the ring to replace Dave Goucher as the voice of the Bruins. FOH (Friend of Haggs) Ryan Johnston is one of the finalists and has great on the call on Tuesday night, so count me as rooting for him to wind up getting the gig he’s worked his whole life for.

*This is actually a fairly thoughtful and well-researched blog post on the Blackhawks logo and why it’s unfair to claim that it’s racist using the same arguments as for the Washington Redskins or the Cleveland Indians.

*It’s unfortunate, but an arena conflict between the Flames and the city of Calgary is the same kind of thing that’s forced franchises to move in other NHL cities.

*Good piece from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Craig Custance about Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Sheahan and the bond he has with one Michigan family and one special little boy.

*Count the Winnipeg Jets among the teams that are going to have former NHL referees stop by training camp to give them the lowdown on slashing and face-offs. I think everybody understands the slashing enforcement, but this face-off stuff is ridiculous.

*For something completely different: I’ve enjoyed “Billy on the Street” while it’s been on TruTV, but it looks like it’s finding a new home soon.