By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON -- Here are five lingering thoughts from Thursday nights 2-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden where the Bruins really dominated play for at least 23 of the game.
1) Great to see Adam McQuaid wearing the A as an alternate captain for Thursdays game, along with normal letter carriers in Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara.
Clearly the Bruins are searching for another alternate captain with the retirement of Mark Recchi, and theyve handed the 'A' off to Andrew Ference and Chris Kelly, among others. McQuaid isnt the loudest guy in the room and hes certainly among the younger group of players, but there isnt a harder worker or a more conscientious kid than the strapping 6-foot-5 defenseman. Hes a great lead by example kind of player. Claude Julien may decided to simply rotate the second A among several of the players in his dressing room this season, and that might be the best way to go given the large group of leaders within the team.
2) Tim Thomas looked better in losing to the Senators than he did in his first preseason game against the Islanders, but the 37-year-old still doesnt look quite Vezina ready.
Thomas really wasnt challenged all that much in the first two periods while facing only 10 shots, but he got a little more action in the third. There were some solid stops within those Senators shots, but its not inaccurate to say Tuukka Rask has outplayed his goaltender partner to this point in the preseason. Thomas will get the nod again on Saturday against the Islanders in Bridgeport for a final season tune-up, and should be opening night starter barring anything unforeseen. But as everyone remembers Rask was the opening night starter last season, and that didnt last for very long.
3) Rich Peverley has been a difference-maker on the power play during the preseason and looks like hell be seeing much more specials team play this season.
He finished with four shots on net and over four minutes of power-play ice time, and his combination of puck creativity and skating speed allows the Bs to sustain possession in the offensive zone. Peverley really didnt factor much into anything toward the end of last years regular season once he arrived, but he looks like a legitimate difference-maker this season as a top-six forward.
4) It sounds like Tyler Seguin is going to be getting a lot more power-play ice time this season working off the half wall.
Seguin was one of the Bs regulars that sat out Thursday nights game against the Senators, but Claude Julien indicated that the supremely skilled 19-year-old was one of Bostons choices to help upgrade the man advantage this season. If Seguin gets consistent power play time the chances are pretty good that his offensive stats are going to rise considerably this season flashing shooting and passing off the half wall. I think that half board is a pretty important position and you know, Tyler's Seguin a guy that we're looking at right now that can hopefully step in and do that job, said Julien.
5) Its looking like there may be room for both Jordan Caron and Chris Clark on the Bruins roster to break training camp.
Claude Julien confirmed hes had discussions with GM Peter Chiarelli about carrying a roster of 23 players to start the regular season, which would allow for 14 forwards including a pair of extras and seven defensemen along with the two goaltenders. Both Caron and Clark again played strong games on Thursday night against the Ottawa Senators despite no point production from either player. Caron piled up shots and hits while camping out in front of the Ottawa net and Clark freed up Daniel Paille for a breakaway with a smart stretch pass through the neutral zone. Its beginning to look like a Bs team built on depth last season could be even deeper this year.
Joe Haggerty can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs
BOSTON – It was probably only a matter of time before it happened, but it looks like Boston’s favorite Little Ball of Hate is stepping up his game on social media.
Brad Marchand is known as much for his rabble-rousing and trash-talking on the ice as he is for massive offensive production while serving as Boston’s top scorer in each of the last few seasons. So Marchand has the perfect mixture of good humor and clout as a star NHL player, and that usually combines for a pretty powerful voice on Twitter.
Marchand has been noticeably more active on Twitter in recent days with a wide-ranging group of tweets, and the big winner is the hockey fan that gets a little more exposure to some classic Nose Face Killah wit. Some of the tweets have been as a Bruins team leader where he’s praising the talented young crop of B’s prospects that he’s watching during training camp:
Some have been about chirping the NHL for their decision to skip the Olympics this winter where Marchand most certainly would have been primed for a chance at a Gold Medal:
Some have been engaging with “fans” and dropping classic pop culture references from children’s books while showing the nasty edge that routinely drives opponents up a wall:
The Charlotte’s Web reference is a devastating classic from Marchand, a noted longtime fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Sometimes it’s just telling a quick story in a tweet that gives you an inside look at the kind of chirping that goes on when Marchand is on the ice:
A social media platform like Twitter was made for a personality like Marchand, and a stepped-up presence is good for him and good for hockey fans. So why all of a sudden is No. 63 tweeting with greater frequency over the last few days?
It sounds like it’s a combination of training camp boredom and a genuine interest in amplifying his voice on all manner of subjects.
“I’ve just been kind of lying around with nothing to do and I jumped on [twitter]…thought it was kind of funny,” said Marchand. “I thought I’d get a little more involved. I don’t know if I’m going to have enough time to do it every day, but it’s fun.”
As fun as it’s been for Marchand, it’s no doubt even more fun for the fans that might get a chance to interact with him even if it’s as the unwitting foil for one of his well-placed chirps.
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.