Haggerty: Bruins playing like they want to stay

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Haggerty: Bruins playing like they want to stay

By JoeHaggerty
CSNNE.com

UNIONDALE, N.Y. Changes are coming for the Bruins, no matter how they feel about them.

Its a bit of a shame, because every member of the Bs through words or actions showed they didnt want to go anywhere else in a 6-3 thumping of the New York Islanders at the NHL rink that time forgot Nassau Coliseum on Thursday night.

But the NHL journey doesnt stop for any player, no matter how big or small, and a few players will likely be departing for other teams in the coming days while going out with their head held high.

Mark Stuart was a healthy scratch Thursday night despite playing some of his best hockey in the two previous games, and was nowhere to be found in the Bs locker room following the game. Its expected that the rugged defenseman is going to be shipped to the Chicago Blackhawks in the next day or two in exchange for a draft pick and some salary cap relief, and if he leaves Boston he does it with some things intact: his love for Boston and the Bruins that had him hoping he would stay despite the writing on the wall, and some very good final games in Black and Gold while he controlled the matters in his own hands.

In his final five games with the Bruins Stuart had a goal and two assists to go along with a plus-5 rating, and showed the toughness and flashes of offensive competence that have many around the NHL interested in his services as a 26-year-old defenseman.

So Stuart embodied the attitude that Claude Julien has been preaching to the rest of his team with less than two weeks to go until the NHL trade deadline has passed.

Youve got to deal with it professionally, and guys have to just go out there and play, said Julien. Its up to them whether to take that approach or not, but we emphasize the approach that were professionals and you need to act like professionals.

When you sign a contract at this level you have to understand that there might be trades involved that you have to deal with down the road, and thats all you can do. What Ive told players is that trades arent the end of the world. You might be going somewhere else, but youre still getting paid to play hockey. Thats not the end of the world at all.

Blake Wheeler and Tyler Seguin have also adopted that take no prisoners philosophy with their names tossed out there as possible fodder for trades or healthy scratches now that Chris Kelly is ready to join the fold.

Wheeler has a goal and four assists in his last seven games, and Seguin has three points in his last three games while both young forwards seem to be ramping things up while skating together on the same line. The 23-year-old Wheeler is obviously the name thats popping up in trade talks given his 2.2 million price tag, and its believed hes a necessity to move if Tomas Kaberle is coming to Boston.

Seguins situation is a lot more complication. The 19-year-old looks like he finally gets it, as Julien said, following one of his best games of the season against the Islanders, and the Bruins need that kind of offensive potential in the lineup.

Wheeler sees Seguins recent two-game hiatus in the press box as the prime reason why everyone is beginning to see a determined rookie ready to make plays and do some damage while battling on the ice.

I think the biggest thing you learn sitting up in the press box as a scratch is that you dont want to be sitting up there, said Wheeler. Your teammates are out there battling and doing a good job, and you come in and everybody is sweating and patting each other on the back. Thats tough to see all your teammates were off to war with each other and you werent a part of it.

I think you learn that you want to do whatever you can to stay on the ice, and stay involved.

Once Seguin got back on the ice, Wheeler knew it was only a matter of time before the two of them clicked offensively and only a matter of time before Seguin really starting becoming some kind of dominant force.

Since hes come back from being scratched youve seen a lot more determination, said Wheeler. Youve seen a little more determination and he creates a lot. I keep telling him all along that hes got another gear that we havent seen yet. Hes going to learn. Maybe not this year, but hes going to learn that hes a lot better than the guys that hes playing against.

Once he realizes that and he has that confidence, the sky is the limit for him. Hes so young, its tough to build confidence in this league especially if youre not used to playing the way that youre used to. But if he gets some confidence and starting believing in himself then youre really going to see him take off.

While Julien has to be pleased with the desperation and commitment evinced in the games of Wheeler and Seguin with Kelly on the way, hes already said that Kelly will jump into the lineup in Ottawa Friday night. Whether it means benching Wheeler, Seguin or Daniel Paille who has also played well since coming back from a four-game suspension somebody thats done nothing wrong on the ice is going to be sitting at the end of the cold, hard, unforgiving bench when the Bs suit against the Senators on Friday night.

The Bruins all showed that they deserve to be in the lineup after the way they performed on and off the ice on Thursday but rarely is anything in professional sports truly about what one individual or another deserves.

Its a lot more about what you get, and what you need.

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

Morning Skate: No surprise cheap-shot artists are running wild

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Morning Skate: No surprise cheap-shot artists are running wild

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while hoping everybody on this Memorial Day takes some time to appreciate all of those that made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom. We should also take a moment to say thanks to people like the three heroes in Oregon that stood up to a hateful bigot earlier this week, and in doing so reaffirmed what the majority of people living in the US believe we are all about while trying to live up to that ideal every day.
 
-- A number of NHL legends are shaking their heads at the dirty play that we’re seeing in these playoffs, particularly those plays targeting the superstars that people pay big money to see in the postseason. Why should anybody be shocked by this? The rooting out of enforcers, and fighting, has taken accountability out of the game for the cheap-shot artists and dirty players, and leaves little real deterrant for players looking to take out opponents with dangerous plays. I wrote about this a couple of years ago when the NHL threw the book at Shawn Thornton for going after Brooks Orpik, and in doing so chose to protect somebody trying to hurt opponents (Orpik) and punish somebody trying to protect his teammates (Thornton). It was a sea change for the league, and something players didn’t forget as more and more enforcers were quickly weeded out of the NHL. This is what the rule-makers and legislators wanted, and now it’s what they’re getting just a couple of years later with dangerous stick-work, cheap shots and a general lack of respect for fellow players.
 
-- Here's why the Tampa Bay Lightning would consider trading a player like Jonathan Drouin, and the major impact that could have on the offseason trade market.
 
-- Down Goes Brown has a Stanley Cup Final rooting guide for the other 28 other fan bases now that Nashville and Pittsburgh are in the final series.

-- So which goaltender has the edge in the Stanley Cup Final: Nashville's Pekka Rinne, or Pittsburgh's two-headed monster of Matt Murray and Marc-Andre Fleury?
 
-- Scotty Bowman says winning back-to-back Stanley Cup titles has become monumentally difficult since the advent of the salary cap.
 
-- Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are pushing each other to be betters, and showing exactly how a team should be led by its superstars in the salary-cap era for the league.
 
-- For something completely different: We can confirm through this report that a lot of hot dogs are eaten in the summertime. So glad we have people to research these kinds of things.
 

Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation

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Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while wishing everybody a safe and relaxing Memorial Day weekend. 

*Apparently Nashville Predators head coach Peter Laviolette has yet to try Nashville’s hot chicken despite his time behind the Preds bench. It’s okay, I have yet to try it either in my handful of visits to Music City. 

*Good stuff from PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough. Apparently it wasn’t so easy to make Wayne Gretzky’s head bleed when it came time for director Doug Liman to cut Swingers together

*Sidney Crosby cares about the history and the issues of the game, and has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation despite the hate that always comes with such responsibility. 

*Puck Daddy examines Crosby’s performance in the playoffs, and the odds of him winning another Conn Smythe Trophy. 

*The Penguins have made it to the Stanley Cup Final without Kris Letang for their playoff run, and that’s an amazing accomplishment. 

*Erik Karlsson said that he will be tending to his injured foot next week, and expects a full recovery for next season after a brilliant run with his Ottawa Senators

*Larry Brooks again rails against the Stanley Cup playoff structure and it’s relation to an “absurd regular season.” Say what you will, but the fact the Penguins are there for a second straight season shoots down some of the absurdity stuff in my mind. The best team from the East is where they should be and they did it without Kris Letang to boot. 

*Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alex Debrincat is confident his abilities will translate to the NHL despite his size after taking home honors as the best player in junior hockey this season. 

*For something completely different: Apparently there’s a hard core comic book geek gripe that “The Flash” is burning through bad guys too quickly. This would make sense if they couldn’t revisit these bad guys at any point, but they absolutely can go back to a big bad like Grodd anytime they want.