Boston Bruins

Kelly confident B's will avoid Stanley Cup hangover

437918.jpg

Kelly confident B's will avoid Stanley Cup hangover

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON -- Chris Kelly had been to the Stanley Cup Finals before last season, and he knows what the hangover year is all about.

Kellys Ottowa Senators didnt capture the Cup in 2006-07, losing to the Anaheim Ducks in five games, but Ottawa played all four rounds of the playoffs and was still skating into the month of June.

Kelly played in 20 games that postseason after skating in all 82 regular-season contests, and he knows the potential pitfalls of a short summer and worrying too much about the start to the regular season. During the next season the Senators were under new management and a new head coach when the team of Bryan Murray and John Paddock took over, and Ottawa stormed out the gate with a 23-3 record over the first couple of months.

But a little normal seasonal fatigue, combined with the previous years long playoff run hit the Senators hard down the stretch that season, and they were an easy first-round victim of Sidney Crosby and the Penguins in the playoffs.

Clearly the situation was a little different there than it is in Boston. The Senators didnt actually win the Stanley Cup and there were some personality quirks on some of those Senators teams.

But Kellys lesson is clear: Dont be so intent to prove there is no Stanley Cup hangover early in the season and then leave little in the gas tank for the stretch run and playoffs.

Thats a big part of the reason why the Bruins' front office forbade their players from showing up for organized practices prior to Labor Day. The Bs want their players in good playoff position by Thanksgiving, but they know having them rested and ready come playoff time is the priority.

Paddock wanted us to come in, you know, in the best shape possible and really get off to a great start. We did that. I think we got out to a 23-3 record and won all our preseason games, but that year we barely snuck into the playoffs. I think it came down to the last game or the second last game for us to make it.

We ended up getting swept four straight in the first round. I think that was a good lesson to learn that its a long season, you know, and you don't want to peak too soon. The 82 games are in place for a reason. I think the coaching staff and management and players, we know that and know there's not going to be any easy nights for us. We want to stay focused from the first game right to the last one.

Kelly knows the hangover talk will be part of the entire post-Stanley Cup lexicon this season, and hes ready to deal with it. There will be fatigue that needs to be overcome, there will be teams looking to knock the Bruins off their top rung and there will be mass amounts of adversity as there was last season.

I think everyone's going to talk about the Stanley Cup hangover and that comes with the territory, said Kelly. That's what happens when you win. I'm sure Chicago went through it all last year. I think it's a mind-set that we're all aware of and something that you need to focus on.

You need to come to the rink each and every day and work that much harder because the rest of the teams are going to play you hard. You're a measuring stick to the rest of the league right now.

The official start to measuring stick season is Oct. 6, and it appears that Kelly among others will be ready for it.

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

Czarnik trying not to be 'the forgotten man' in Bruins camp

bruins_austin_czarnik_082716.jpg

Czarnik trying not to be 'the forgotten man' in Bruins camp

BOSTON – With all of the talk about young forward prospects Anders Bjork and Jake DeBrusk, it would seem that Austin Czarnik wants to serve a reminder that he can play a little hockey too.

For the second year in a row, the 24-year-old diminutive forward is putting together a strong start to his training camp with a multi-point performance in a 4-2 exhibition victory over the Detroit Red Wings Tuesday night at TD Garden.

Czarnik finished with a penalty-shot goal, two points and tied for the team-lead with four shots on net while playing with the energy, skating aggressiveness and in-your-face attitude that he’s going to need for NHL success. He also made his point that there are more than just a couple of young forwards in camp who can potentially help in Boston this winter.

“He was very good. I think the forgotten man, maybe, he was thinking [a bit] because we’ve talked about a lot of young guys. He’s still a young guy, and wants to make his mark and push for a job on the team,” coach Bruce Cassidy said of Czarnik, who posted five goals and 13 points in 49 games for the Bruins last season. “I thought he looked real good tonight. He won a lot of pucks. He’s always going to make plays in space, that’s his game. He won a lot of pucks and did a lot of little things well.”

It was Czarnik who really helped put the game away in the second period when he sped past a pair of defenders and forced them into hauling him down for a penalty shot with the B’s already up, 2-0. Czarnik patiently slowed his penalty-shot attempt before ripping one past Petr Mrazek’s glove hand in what ended up being the game-winning goal. Czarnik was in the middle of things again in the third on the insurance marker as he engineered a 3-on-1 rush before expertly feeding to Teddy Purcell for the sizzled one-timer.

Czarnik was downplaying the idea that he’s been overlooked in camp but show there was a strong need to remind the B’s organization how he can potentially help them as a fast, aggressive, pesky little center that can also make some plays.

“I’m not going to worry about [getting overlooked]. It’s part of life, you know it’s happened a lot? I’m not going to worry about that,” said Czarnik, who similarly won a job with the Bruins after a strong initial training camp last season. I’m just going to worry about myself and just try to do the right thing every single time and show them what I can do.

“I need to be an energy guy. There’s a lot of young talent now, you know, on the power play and everything now, so I need to try to create energy on the penalty kill and the fore-check. So that’s what my main focus is going to be.”

The energy really is the key to Czarnik’s long-term hopes with the Bruins and, consequently, the rest of the NHL. If he can play with the same skating legs, high energy and rapid pace that he’s consistently shown in preseasons, then there’s no reason to think he can’t help the Bruins. But there were far too many lulls in Czarnik’s rookie NHL season where the skating game wasn’t good enough, there wasn’t enough bite to his fore-check and there just weren’t enough plays being made on the ice.

Clearly, Czarnik is trying to change that impression in this camp with the B’s, but that could prove to be a much more difficult task with so many more quality forwards now battling for a few jobs on the roster in Boston. 

CSNNE SCHEDULE

Morning Skate: Sorry, Shaughnessy but young B's are on the rise

boston-bruins-charlie-mcavoy-2-90917.jpg

Morning Skate: Sorry, Shaughnessy but young B's are on the rise

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while appreciating that Brad Marchand is willing to say something is “an absolute joke.” There are not enough candid players in the NHL like good, ol' No. 63.

*So FOH (Friend of Haggs) Dan Shaughnessy writes that the Bruins are “a lowly number four nowadays” in the power rankings of the big four Boston sports teams. Certainly, Danny is technically correct in saying that the Patriots, Red Sox and Celtics are ahead of the Bruins in terms of the Boston pro sports zeitgeist and that they dominate the sports conversation.

But Shaughnessy points to the Bruins doing nothing to improve themselves last summer as some kind of reason behind their low position among the other Boston sports franchises, and that’s not really a factor. The problem right now is that the Bruins are extremely young and still a couple of years away from returning to true Stanley Cup contention as a result. 
Once Charlie McAvoy is a few years into his career, some of the other Bruins prospects are in the NHL for good and Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Tuukka Rask are still at the back end of their prime, the Bruins will once again be a Cup contender that’s pushing their way back into the championship conversation that commands the attention of the Boston fan.

Would Shaughnessy have been more satisfied with the Bruins if they spent bad money on a big free-agent contract as they did with Matt Beleskey and David Backes in back-to-back years, or if they traded premium prospect Brandon Carlo for hired gun Matt Duchene? That would be the kind of “big splash” move that a bad management group would make to appease the casual fans that don’t truly understand what the B’s are going with their draft-and-development plan.

This Bruins outfit is still a playoff team while they’re building back to that Cup-worthy level. They were playing a much more exciting, entertaining brand of hockey once Bruce Cassidy replaced Claude Julien last winter. This isn’t a lowly team unworthy of the fans’ attention, or more importantly their sports dollar. This is much more about the all-time greatness of the New England Patriots, the deserved excitement for a Celtics team that is truly going for it after being in the Bruins current “building it back up” phase for the past few years and a playoff-level Red Sox team that really has no competition in the summertime.

This isn’t about what the Bruins aren’t doing right now. This is about what the Patriots and Celtics, and to a lesser degree the Red Sox, are doing right now. It's as simple as that in a local sports landscape that’s cyclical and constantly in motion.  

*What a great Facetime hit here from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Ray Ferraro with Jay and Dan now that they’re thankfully back to their rightful home in Canada. The technical difficulties really make the whole thing come together.  

*Congrats to Jonathan Drouin for making a commitment to the city of Montreal that goes well beyond being a player for the Canadiens.

*Lots of prayers and well-wishes to Hingham, Mass., native and New Jersey Devils forward Brian Boyle after his stunning cancer diagnosis. Anybody that knows the Boyle family knows how courageous they are, and how much love and support that Brian will have at a time when he’s going to need every bit of it. I also included a link to a New York Post Q&A with Boyle where he talks a bit about his father’s miraculous battle with cancer as well.   

 *John Chayka is trying to bring with him a new chapter to the history of the Arizona Coyotes, but it’s seemingly always an uphill battle there.

*Nobody should have any problems with the contract extension handed out to Mikko Koivu by the Minnesota Wild.

*For something completely different: Are we seriously living in a world where the Juggalos are marching for their rights?

CSNNE SCHEDULE