Boston Bruins

Morning Skate 33: Time to hit Gillies hard

Morning Skate 33: Time to hit Gillies hard

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.comBOSTON Its time to get Trevor Gillies out of the NHL, and not let the NHL swinging door hit him on the way out.The New York Islanders goon concussed Pittsburgh Penguins Eric Tangradi with a blind side hit during the embarrassing fight night between the Isles and Pens several weeks back as one its main perpetrators. But thats just the beginning.He also laughed and mocked the fallen player while watching medical staff rush onto the ice to treat Tangradi after Gillies delivered the knockout hit and then pummeled Tangradi as he crumpled toward the frozen sheet.It was a disgusting moment in a sport where honor, reputation and a code of conduct have been set in place since the very first puck was dropped.So Gillies, the Mohawk-sporting thug, serves a nine-game suspension for his little piece of deranged behavior against the Penguins, and then Wednesday night tries to take out tough guy Cal Clutterbuck with a head shot in his first game back from the league-mandated discipline against the Minnesota Wild. Word in hockey circles is that Gillies is a mixed martial arts fan and Ultimate Fighting guy that fancies himself that kind of colorful character on the ice. He seems to have no desire to better himself as a player or become a real hockey asset, and instead is overjoyed to simply be what fellow hockey players derisively call a meathead on a hockey team.The hit on Clutterbuck was away from the play, and nowhere near the puck in true meathead fashion. Gillies didnt even try to take the body or make a hockey play -- and instead directed his glove, stick butt end and fist right at the side of Clutterbucks face while his back was turned to the charging Islanders skater. Meanwhile Tangradi is clearing the fog out of his head for the Penguins, and things simply get uglier on Long Island.In many ways the Isles situation seems like Reg Dunlops Chiefs from Slap Shot after the Hansen Brothers have taken over. Its where the Isles have given up any pretense of winning or losing for the season and instead are paying players to go out hunting for heads. For a team thats already been on the NHL fringe for quite some time, its a dangerous place for the squad to position itself.That kind of things need to be dealt with swiftly and mercilessly by the NHL as they meet with Gillies and decide on some form of supplementary discipline. Theres no place in the game for a guy like Gillies looking to make a name by hurting his fellow players.Colin Campbell and the NHL should make that clear while they have the chance to end this Gillies situation, once and for all, before somebody truly gets hurt.On to the links:Bob Probert had evidence of degenerative brain disease after all the hits and fights during his NHL career. Not really surprising and a little scary to guys living the Probert Way of Life in the NHL.CSN controversy magnet and self-styled truth teller Mike Felger doesnt think the Bruins belong in the conversation as one of the Top Four teams in the NHL.Justin Bourne takes a look at why some teams manage to pull themselves together in the sport of hockey despite crippling injuries.A good piece by SI.coms Michael Farber about the number of quality ex-NHL coaches that are simply hanging around waiting for a phone call.More with another believer that Tim Thomas could and should be in the running for the Hart Trophy this season. I have a vote and Im certainly listening to any and all arguments that goaltenders should qualify for the award.Dan Hamhuis ready to suit up against the Nashville Predators team that saw him walkaway via free agencylast season.Adrian Dater ticks off the top five NHL fan groups, and somehow has the Los Angeles Kings in there for VERSUS.cominstead of some much more traditional choices like Boston for instance.A really well-constructed piece about Sidney Crosby from Pittsburgh Magazine, concussions and the effect its had on the league and its players.

Cassidy: Khudobin 'has a leg up' on backup competition in Bruins camp


Cassidy: Khudobin 'has a leg up' on backup competition in Bruins camp

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.  


Morning Skate: Why NHL players hate analytics


Morning Skate: Why NHL players hate analytics

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while already hating my fantasy football team just a couple of weeks into things.

*Interesting look at why NHL players hate analytics and why most of them don’t even care what Corsi is or how it’s tabulated.

*Interesting piece on the play-by-play for Bruins radio, where over 200 applicants threw their hat in the ring to replace Dave Goucher as the voice of the Bruins. FOH (Friend of Haggs) Ryan Johnston is one of the finalists and has great on the call on Tuesday night, so count me as rooting for him to wind up getting the gig he’s worked his whole life for.

*This is actually a fairly thoughtful and well-researched blog post on the Blackhawks logo and why it’s unfair to claim that it’s racist using the same arguments as for the Washington Redskins or the Cleveland Indians.

*It’s unfortunate, but an arena conflict between the Flames and the city of Calgary is the same kind of thing that’s forced franchises to move in other NHL cities.

*Good piece from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Craig Custance about Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Sheahan and the bond he has with one Michigan family and one special little boy.

*Count the Winnipeg Jets among the teams that are going to have former NHL referees stop by training camp to give them the lowdown on slashing and face-offs. I think everybody understands the slashing enforcement, but this face-off stuff is ridiculous.

*For something completely different: I’ve enjoyed “Billy on the Street” while it’s been on TruTV, but it looks like it’s finding a new home soon.