By Joe Haggerty
RALEIGH It was an optional skate for the Bruins at the RBC Center, and the Bruins head into Wednesday nights game happy to be out on the road ready to take a few days away from the Cup frenzy still taking place in Boston.
Expect Tim Thomas to start between the pipes with both goaltenders out on the ice facing shots during the morning skate. Tyler Seguin will get the first crack at replacing David Krejci (core injury) temporarily as the No. 1 center between Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton.
Horton has only a single shot and no registered hits in three games thus far this season, and doesnt think its quite fair to label him off to a bad start this season. The winger has always been streaky and knows he needs to be better. To that end, both Horton and Milan Lucic were among the first players to get to work in Carolinas barn on Wednesday morning, and the top line right winger was working diligently on his sticks prior to the skate.
I feel like Im getting in good spots, but Im not shooting enough or quick enough to shoot. I need to be aware of shooting the puck and getting it toward the net, said a smiling Horton. I havent had any setbacks. I feel good. I definitely know I have to be better and I will be better . . . so thats it.
Its only been three games, so I think it would need to be a few more games before Id call it a slow start. Im looking to end all that sooner rather than later.
Itll be interesting to watch what kind of an effect No. 19 will have with the two big bookend wingers given that Seguin has looked like hes playing at a different speed through the early portion of the season.
Here are the expected lines tonight vs. the Hurricanes with the new-look top line:
Joe Haggerty can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while refraining from shoving any world leaders today.
*Larry Robinson and the San Jose Sharks are parting after working together for five seasons, per FOH (Friend of Haggs) Kevin Kurz.
*Speaking of Kurz, he also has a Sharks mailbag on which players are most likely to be traded out of San Jose during the offseason. Somebody has got to go, and you’d think it would be somebody without much tread left on the tires.
*Moving on to other topics, Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Kesler said that losing a Game 6 in the Western Conference Finals to the Nashville Predators was the “toughest” loss of his career. I don’t see how this is possible. You see, Kesler is no slouch at falling short. In fact, he’s a tremendous loser, having dropped a Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final at home in 2011 as a member of the Vancouver Canucks, and also having lost a Gold Medal Game for Team USA at the hands of Sidney Crosby and Canada in 2010 in overtime that was also played in Vancouver. It took a simple Google search to find an actual postgame video of Kesler crying into his hockey glove on the bench in the aftermath of Game 7 vs. the Bruins. So, pardon me if I’m not buying Kesler talking about a conference finals loss as the worst of his career when he was one home win away from being a Stanley Cup champion in Game 7, and proceeded to lose like he’s done many, many times in the most important games of his career. Dude, you’ve been through tougher losses. Trust me on that one.
*The idea of trading Alex Ovechkin might be gaining some traction with the Capitals fan base, but it doesn’t seem to be based on reality at this point.
*The pride of Melrose, Mass, Conor Sheary, delivered in Game 7 for the Penguins as they return to the Stanley Cup Final in back-to-back seasons.
*Bobby Ryan said his strategy for success in the playoffs, at least in part, was staying off the phone. Maybe he ought to try that a bit more during the regular season.
*Congrats to the folks at NBC for another successful Red Nose Day that featured a reunion of the “Love Actually” cast among other things.