Haggerty: Bruins get back to business

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Haggerty: Bruins get back to business

BOSTON -- Thursday nights performance against the Toronto Maple Leafs smacked of back to work night for the Boston Bruins.

Game Story: Bruins 6, Maple Leafs 2
Itvery much appearedthe Bs players finally had their minds collectively trained backto the business of hockey for the first time this season, and the results were undeniable with six goals scored, 43 shots on net and a pair of power play strikes. For a team that entered the Leafs game as the lowest goals per game (1.67) offense in the NHL, the Bruins finally managed to find their exhausting workethic for the 6-2 slump-buster of a winning effort over the Leafs at TD Garden.The B's really don't know any other way to compete and work, and they showed again in one night their pathway to hockey success.

You want to get out of that hump, I guess, as quickly as possible, so obviously there's always urgency when things are going like that. You want to get out of the slump and we're proud guys; we want to be on top every night obviously, said Patrice Bergeron. So right now I think it is a good effort, but we've seen it too often in the past six games. You have to be consistent and we need to have a good effort on Saturday against the Sharks as well.

Thats the thing now for a Bruins team thats found their blue collar mojo, and reintroduced themselves to their pre-Stanley Cup routines. The Bruins need to simply work for goals that arent going to arrive mostnightsvia pretty little plays on the ice, and earn everything they receivein this hockey world just as they did last season.

The lines were "new look" after Claude Julien threw the top three forward lines into a blender and pressed down on the high speed mixbutton, but it wasn't the exact dynamics of the lines that made it all work. Itwas all about the Bruins regulars rolling up their sleeves, punching the clock and getting to work. After all, the Bruins dont have the high-end offensive talent to float around and create exotic goal-scoring plays without their blue collar attitude and willingness to pay the price in the dangers areas.

The Bruins need to crowd big bodies in front of the net and engage in liberal use of the turbo skating speed button while speedingpucks into the offensive zone. Theyhad all of those things and more like their hockey pants were aflamewith a different kind of urgency against the Leafs. The Bs to a manknow they need to have their act together by the time November hits on the NHL calendar, and they took a big step in that direction against Phil Kessel and the upstart Leafs.

Its probably not a coincidence that all of the players with letters on their Bs sweaters stepped up with their biggest games of the season, and Shawn Thornton served his role to a tee by trading punches with Colton Orr in exchange for an emotional lift.

Andrew Ference served up three assists in the first 20 minutes and was working the control at the point on the power play like Bruins fans wished Tomas Kaberle could have last year. The dish to Zdeno Chara was a thing of beauty.Speaking ofChara, the B's Captainstepped up to finally crack the Bs offensive ledger with three points and some needed production on the power play.It wasn't difficult to see Chara's 105-mph slapper put the fear of God into Jonas Gustavsson by winding up for a one-timer in the right face-off circle.

Thats a far cry from Charas normal shooting point far away by the blue line. Gustavsson never even saw the shot coming, and could have been excused if he needed a change of underwear after watching Charas heat-seeking missilecoming at him from such close range.

It's so close and obviously that's a goal any time, said Bergeron with a smirk thinking about Chara winding up the hammer so uncharacteristically close to the Toronto net. It's an unbelievable shot and that's a great look from all the guys on the ice to get that opening for 'Z.'

We moved a lot more- we're more active as players on the ice as well -- to get open and to find passing lanes and then shooting. We're not hesitating and we're not thinking. We're just using instincts right now and that's how hockey's played.

Chris Kelly manned things upbetween Milan Lucic and Tyler Seguin, and oversaw an
offensive surge within that trio of forwards that produced three-point games for both wingers while opening things up for all involved. That from a two-way defensive pivot that some routinely dismiss when it comes to the offensive end of the ice, and a player that's become a giant leadership influence within the room.Patrice Bergeron set the tone for the other top six forward group by racking up a team-high nine shots, and truly set the leadership tone by bringing his A game to the ice for a full 60 minutes of intense hockey. His top shelf wrister in the third period turned the game from competitive to a smile-filled laugher in no time at all.

It was just about everybody focusing on their game and playing with some energy and desperation in a good way, said Claude Julien. I thought we were determined tonight, really determined as a group, and maybe we needed to play better as individuals. As a team that kind of effort would probably translate into a good team game as well.

The big performances from the extended Bs leadership group, the losses and wins piling up in either side of the ledger after two weeks, and the shuffled up Bs rotation of forwards all spelled to a greater sense of urgency against a Toronto hockey club thats one of the hottest in the NHL just a couple of weeks into the season. It spoke to a group of influential B's players that decided it was time to put the hard hats back on, and start grinding away at the 82-game gauntlet.

Of course Tim Thomas put his imprint on the victory just as seriously and appropriately as the rest of his teammates, and the 37-year-old was at his best in the second period when the Bruins fell asleep for a time.

The mission now for the Bruins with seemingly all 20 players on board for a statement win of sorts just three weeks into October: crush a weakened and weary San Jose Sharks on Saturday night at the Garden to perpetuate some of the consistency thats eluded themafter solid early wins against the Lightning and Blackhawks. The B's need to start piling up wins, and they need to do it now.

You want to get out of that hump, I guess, as quickly as possible, so obviously there's always urgency when things are going like that. You want to get out of the slump and we're proud guys; we want to be on top every night obviously, said Bergeron. So right now I think it is a good effort, but we've seen it too often in the past six games. You have to be consistent and we need to have a good effort on Saturday against the Sharks as well.

Thats the thing now for a Bruins team thats found their work fervor, and reintroduced themselves to their pre-Stanley Cup roots. The motto is simple: the Bruins need to simply work for goals that arent going to arrive via pretty little plays and earn everything they get in this hockey world just as they did last season.The challenge is a little morecomplex:to carry that out consistently for the rest of the season

Backes set to star in Animal Planet special this weekend

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Backes set to star in Animal Planet special this weekend

It’s only a coincidence that it will air the same week that the Boston Bruins went Hollywood with their annual three-game road trip through California, but David Backes and his wife Kelly are going to get some solid TV time this weekend. The animal-loving couple are going to be featured Saturday night in the all-new Animal Planet special "Stars to the Rescue," which highlights the Backes family’s excellent work to ensure every animal has a ‘furever’ home.

The lifelong animal lovers have adopted five rescue pets that all made the move from St. Louis to Boston this summer, and launched Athletes for Animals in 2013, a non-profit organization supporting professional athletes and animal advocacy efforts. The 32-year-old Backes chose a Boston animal shelter as his first setting to meet with the Boston media this summer after signing with the Bruins in free agency, and spoke glowingly about his inspiration for marrying two of his passions: helping animals and sports.

“The full story is that in college we wanted an animal or two, but it just wasn’t responsible because we were renting and the landlords didn’t approve," said Backes, the proud owner of four dogs (Maverick, Rosey, Marty and Bebe) and two cats (Sunny, Poly). "We just didn’t really have the time or resources to support them, so we volunteered at the local shelter for the three years I was in school.

“When my wife [Kelly] and I moved to St. Louis, we wanted to connect with the community, be a part and use our voice to influence social change to do our part making the world a little bit of a better place. So we said, ‘Why not connect with the animal welfare rescue community?’

“We absolutely love doing it: Walking dogs, scooping litter boxes and cleaning kennels. Let’s use our voice to kick this off and see what we can do, and it really just snowballed from that to then trying to tie other guys into it. It’s not limited to the animal stuff, but the animals that don’t have a voice, and the kids that don’t have a voice, really tug at our heart strings. We want to help them with this blessing of a great voice we’ve been given as professional athletes, and to really use that to give them some help.”

The “Stars to the Rescue” special premieres on Saturday night at 8 pm on Animal Planet where there will be a full segment on the Backes family, but here’s a clip where Backes talks about his well-publicized involvement with a number of stray dog rescues during his 2014 Olympic Hockey stint with Team USA in Sochi, Russia.

Backes isn’t the only Boston athlete featured during the Animal Planet special as it also chronicles the stories of other well-known athletes and celebrities and the dogs they can't live without: Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman, Baltimore Ravens’ Ronnie Stanley, Selma Blair, ESPN Correspondent Michelle Beadle, WNBA star Elena Delle Donne, former Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield and more. From training buddies to comforting companions, “Stars to the Rescue” shows first-hand how these celebrities first met their cute rescued canines and how their dogs have impacted and transformed their lives for the better.

What we learned in Bruins' 4-1 win over Kings: Back on track

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What we learned in Bruins' 4-1 win over Kings: Back on track

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