VANCOUVER Johnny Boychuk has certainly struggled a bit in the playoffs, and those defensive lapses have been more pronounced over the last few games.Zdeno Chara made the wrong read on the play that eventually won Game 1 for the Vancouver Canucks, and there was little support from anyone else in the vicinity, but theres no question Boychuks aggressive movement toward Ryan Kesler was the wrong decision at the wrong time.With 18 seconds left in the game Boychuk lunged at Vancouvers playmaking center and lost a puck battle, giving Vancouver an odd-man rush with Jannik Hansen and Raffi Torres once Kesler zipped a pass to Hansen. Torres finished the play with the game's only goal, meaning Boychuk has been on the ice for each of Bostons last seven goals allowed, dating back to Game 5 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.Boychuk has certainly had his ups and downs in the playoffs, but Wednesday night's last-second mistake was unfortunate given that he otherwise played a solid 20-plus minutes in his first career Stanley Cup Final game.
Boychuk wasnt made available to the media on Thursday afternoon, but coach Claude Julien wasnt going to throw his player under the bus.Julien did, however, admit that the affable Boychuk would probably like to have that final play back, or at least have the chance to alter his decision-making process.
Let's put it this way," said Julien. "At this time of the year I'm not going to come in here and criticize my players. I'm not going to answer that question about Boychuk as far as we're going to deal with it internally. I think what we have to do here is regroup as a team and play better. Right now I'm not going to stand here and start answering questions about people criticizing individuals. I'm going to stay with the team concept. I think if you ask him, he knows he probably could have played that last goal a lot better. We all know that, but we all need to move on right now.Boychuk has six points and is averaging 21 minutes per game in 19 postseason games during this run at a plus-4 rating, but its clear that its time for the defenseman to rein in some parts of his decision-making process.
Joe Haggerty can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs
CHICAGO – Don Sweeney said the Bruins knew and expected they were going to lose one of three players in the NHL expansion draft, and it’s pretty clear it was going to be Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller or Colin Miller leaving the team. The B’s took Kevan Miller out of the equation by leaving him on the protection list after a strong season while also playing some of his best hockey in the playoffs.
That left McQuaid and Miller with each of the two D-men standing an equal chance of getting selected by the Vegas Golden Knights, and the 24-year-old puck-moving Miller going to Vegas for the time being. It remains to be seen if Miller sticks with the Golden Knights, or if there is an eventual plan to flip him elsewhere like perhaps an interested party in Toronto.
Sweeney said the Bruins didn’t want to lose a player with potential like Miller, but it’s also true that he would have been stuck behind younger, better D-men on the depth chart with Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo as better right-handed options.
“It was an interesting process to go through. It was hard at times because you felt like other teams were able to find deals to keep their team together while you felt vulnerable in that regard,” said Sweeney at the B’s team hotel in Chicago during a Thursday availability with the media. “You knew you were going to lose a good player. You knew they had targeted three players on our team that we felt they would target, and unfortunately we’re losing a good, young player.
“We thought highly of Colin. He was part of a big trade for us and we wish him well moving forward. We thank for him doing his part with the organization. We lost a good player.”
Clearly, the Bruins lost a defenseman with skills and youth on his side, but it’s also a young guy that hasn’t put it all together yet while never posting more than 16 points in each of his two seasons with the Black and Gold. Perhaps he will put together the offensive package at his next landing spot after showing flashes in Boston over the last two years, but that unknown factor while no longer being considered a prospect is the reason he didn’t find himself on the protected D list along with Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug.
The Bruins released their schedule for the 2017-18 season Thursday, with their campaign beginning at TD Garden on Oct. 5 against the Predators.
Two things stand out in Boston’s schedule. Eleven of their final 15 games are on the road, and they don’t play the Canadiens until mid-January.
Then, when the B’s and Habs do finally meet, they play three times in an eight-day span. The rivals face each other Jan. 13 in Montreal, Jan. 17 in Boston and Jan. 20 in Montreal. The Bruins’ final regular-season meeting with the Habs is March 3.
To see the full schedule, click here.