B's show toughness, togetherness in win


B's show toughness, togetherness in win

TORONTO It turned into a roughing penalty for Jordan Caron in the third period, but there was a lot the Bruins liked about a play that first started with Dion Phaneuf flattening Chris Kelly by the blue line.

The hit arrived quickly and surprisingly for Kelly, and perhaps a little too late for Phaneuf and the Leafs since the game had already well been decided in a 7-0 win for the Bruins at Air Canada Center on Saturday night.

Some instant-replay jockeys thought the hit was a little on the dirty, given that Phaneuf left his skates ever so briefly after making an impact with Kellys upper body.

Some Toronto wags also felt Phaneuf should have woken up and actually started playing a little defense earlier in the game instead of watching Milan Lucic blow right past him for Bostons third goal in the second period.

You have to wonder how many times those in Toronto were decrying the disappearing act of their captain during the winning and losing portion of the game early on before the Bruins ran up a touchdown on them. All of that along with Phaneufs minus-3 for the evening likely went into the spring-loaded slam of Kelly when the Bs center found himself in a prime position to be catapulted.

The best part: thoughts from Kelly about the play being a good, hard competitive hockey play rather than the whining or chest-thumping that can sometimes accompany a jarring hit on the ice.

Its a non-issue. I think if you ask every guy in our room they still want to see hits like that remain in the game, said Kelly. Nobody wants to take the physical part of the game out.

While Seguin vs. Kessel does seem a little played out and Kessel vs. the Bruins even more so -- after more than a dozen permutations of the individual match-up that have come up over the last three seasons, there was plenty of refreshing things about the Phaneuf hit in the third period.

The best teammate to Kelly in the moment immediately afterward was Jordan Caron arriving -- without hesitation -- to the defense of his teammate. The second-year player stood over Phaneuf and gave him a quick little shove to remind him there are consequences after his train-wreck hit.

Caron, of course, went on to the penalty box after the shove with a roughing penalty for responding for an overwhelmingly clean hockey hit. But the first year player wouldnt have been blamed if he was timid in the face of split-second decision in the wake of his fallen teammate.

He reacted correctly, and those are the kind of good penalties teams will rally around and kill off when it comes to winning and losing time for the Bruins over the course of a long hockey season.

Other players noticed Carons reactive move for the team-building purposes they represented, and snapped the mental pictures of a team building the right kind of chemistry. The Bruins are at their best when theyre standing up for each other and preventing other teams from taking liberties with any of their players.

The rookie forward did his part to step in for his alternate captain in Kelly, and his veteran leader appreciated it after seeing many times when big hits have gone unnoticed by a team that couldnt be bothered.

Were sticking up for each other, were a close group and thats awesome. But I think that really reflects the score a lot more than the hit, said Kelly. We really thought that we went out and played our game against the Leafs and that we really find our identity.

Morning Skate: Former PC coach Army on Avs' rough year

Morning Skate: Former PC coach Army on Avs' rough year

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Star Wars being released today. Amazing that the power and influence of the best movie franchise in cinematic history are just as strong today as it was four decades ago. I still remember my first time seeing it as a very little kid with my parents at the dearly departed Starlight Drive-In in North Reading.

*Good guy and recently fired Colorado Avalanche assistant coach Tim Army talks about a rough past season with the Avs, and some of the difficulties they faced in a truly terrible season. The former Providence College head coach and good hockey man shouldn’t have much trouble finding his next gig.

*A great move by the Arizona Coyotes, who have hired former Bruins forward Craig Cunningham as a pro scout after his awful medical situation last season that resulted in his leg getting amputated. Cunningham is a hard worker and a hockey lifer, and that’s exactly the kind of traits that the best scouts have in huge amounts.

*The New Jersey Devils have fired a number of employees after a rough season, including a groundbreaking radio analyst.

*With the ultra-competitive demand for an edge in NHL player development, teams are beginning to look to Europe for more and more diamonds in the rough. The Bruins tried that with Joonas Kemppainen, but it didn’t work out so well.

*One of the real big advantages of the Nashville Predators getting to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time is a national spotlight getting flashed on PK Subban, who shows off his personality in a rare ESPN interview of a hockey player featured on the network's magazine show.

*Ryan Johansen isn’t done talking smack to Ryan Kesler after the Predators prevailed over the Ducks, and it’s some delicious playoff hatred.

*Is the NHL ready to draft another goaltender with the last name DiPietro in the first round? Inquiring minds want to know, but I’d recommend the New York Islanders take a pass just in the name of avoiding a repeat of some bad history for them.

*Taylor Hall sounds pretty bitter about the whole “Edmonton Oilers getting into the playoff without him” thing, doesn’t he?

*For something completely different: As mentioned above, it’s a milestone birthday for the Star Wars franchise hitting 40 years old today. Boy, this Boston Globe movie review was right on the money back in 1977.