Chara wins Messier Award, finishes third for Norris

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Chara wins Messier Award, finishes third for Norris

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
LAS VEGAS Its only appropriate that in the season when Zdeno Chara made his quantum leap as a leader that he was awarded the NHLs highest honor for leadership.

Chara finished third in the Norris Trophy voting for best defenseman behind winner Nicklas Lidstrom and Shea Weber, but the 6-foot-9 Bruins captain took home the Mark Messier Leadership Award after leading the Bruins to the Stanley Cup.

The award is bestowed in recognition of commitment and services to the charities in the community as well as to the player who leads by positive example with his on-ice performance, motivation of team members and dedication to community activities.

The rough-and-tumble Chara has always been a lead-by-example player on the ice and a charitable sort since arriving in Boston, and those qualities have only been enhanced by what he's done off the ice.

Messier solicited opinions from league officials and team executives as well as NHL fans in picking Chara, Phoenixs Shane Doan and Detroits Lidstrom as the finalists for this years award. The former Oilers and Rangers great eventually chose the 18th captain of the Bruins due to the great strides hes taken in becoming only the second European-born Captain to lead a team to the Cup. Charas extensive work with Right to Play, the Bruins PJ Drive and Cuts for a Cause charities in the city of Boston also helped his cause.

To be selected by somebody like Mark is an honor, said Chara. You have to be a true leader and it doesn't happen overnight. Coming to Boston was great. I'm lucky to be surrounded by other players. I learned from veterans from previous years and early in my career too . . . but it just takes time.

I'm at the point where I'm really myself and I know that to be a leader you need to have followers. That's what I had in Boston. I'm thankful to my teammates, obviously the coaching staff and the organization. They all believed in me. They know that we as a group can get a job done. It's a privilege. I take it to heart to do a good job on and off the ice -- and be fair and a hard worker.

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

Julien: 'The less said and the more shown' is good for Bruins right now

Julien: 'The less said and the more shown' is good for Bruins right now

BRIGHTON, Mass – Claude Julien met with the media after Tuesday’s morning skate and there was a bit of a long pause between questions at one point early in the session.

“I understand because everything that needs to be said has already been said, right?” cracked the longtime Bruins bench boss, who was in good spirits after morning skate despite the turmoil around him.

It’s clearly less about words and more about results right now for a struggling team that’s lost a season-worst four games in a row in gut-punching fashion and has fallen out of a playoff position despite teams above them, Ottawa and Toronto, holding five games in hand on them. 

The Bruins are in a freefall at the worst possible time and at this point, Julien wants to see positive action and winning results from his team rather than the empty talk with the media.

“We want to respect our game plan, execute it well and that normally helps you. We’ve been a little bit all over the place, especially in the last game,” said Julien. “That’s what we addressed yesterday, moving forward.

“I haven’t used the All-Star break as a motivation. We’re basically looking at these last two games, and what we have to do in these last two games. I think we’re well aware of what’s waiting for them after that. The players normally know when the breaks are. That’s not for us right now. I’d like to see our focus on what we need to do [against the Wings] to right the ship. We’ve talked about it a lot, and I think right now the less said, and the more shown is probably the best thing.”

With two games left until the All-Star break, one has to wonder what Julien’s fate will be if the Bruins drop both games to Detroit and Pittsburgh before the group breaks up for All-Star weekend. 

A good showing might be enough to keep Julien calling the shots for the Black and Gold down the stretch this season. But the sense is that more of the same fragile, losing efforts from the Bruins in these final two home dates, a familiar look from this group over the past three seasons, could spell doom for the winningest coach in Bruins franchise history.

One thing is for sure: Words aren’t going to do anything for Julien, and instead it’s about cold, hard results for the coach and the Bruins players who are nose-diving in the middle of the regular season.


 

Rask skates, expected to play tonight vs. Red Wings

Rask skates, expected to play tonight vs. Red Wings

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins held an optional morning skate on Tuesday morning at Warrior Ice Arena with little more than a handful of B’s players skating, but the most important player to Boston success, Tuukka Rask, was taking part after missing practice on Monday.

Rask missed Monday’s practice session while getting checked out medically following his exit from Sunday’s loss to Pittsburgh due to vision issues. He said on Tuesday that it was all related to migraines that have cropped up a couple of times in his NHL career. The Bruins No. 1 netminder also said he was good to play on Tuesday night against the Red Wings with just a couple of home games left until this weekend’s All-Star break.

That was the kind of good news embattled coach Claude Julien was looking for as Boston looks to end its season-worst, four-game losing streak.

“We’ve got good news so far, so that’s nice to see,” Julien said of Rask, who has started 13 of Boston’s past 14 games dating to a Dec. 27 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. “Obviously it was because of the migraines, so hopefully we won’t see much more of that.”

In other Black and Gold health news, both Colin Miller and Kevan Miller have been cleared to play, and are expected to rejoin the B’s lineup with John-Michael Liles and Joe Morrow headed for healthy scratches. Here are the projected Bruins line combos and D-pairings as the Red Wings arrive for a divisional tilt after a shootout loss for Boston last week at Joe Louis Arena:

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

Vatrano-Krejci-Backes

Schaller-Nash-Beleskey

Spooner-Moore-Hayes

 
Chara-Carlo

Krug-McQuaid

K. Miller-C. Miller


Rask