By Joe Haggerty
TAMPA David Krejci, Zdeno Chara and Tim Thomas were all missing from the St. Pete Times Forum practice ice on Friday afternoon the day after Bostons convincing 2-0 victory over the Lightning. The win gave Boston a kung fu grip on the series up 2-1 with home ice advantage back on their side, and hands the Bs a pretty good feeling headed into Saturday afternoons Game 1 matinee.Krejci surely had a little full-body soreness after taking a big hit in the first period, Chara appeared to be battling some kind of cold after logging more than 28 minutes in the victory and Thomas can pretty much do whatever he wants after putting together his second playoff shutout in the 2-0 win.Krejci played well after suffering a crunching body hit at the hand of Marc-Andre Bergeron in the first period, and the Bs coach said that there are no injury issues with the play-making center stemming from the heavy hit.David is fine," Claude Julien said. "We had a bunch of guys stay off today. Its more of an optional and short skate. There are no issues with David. Hes playing tomorrow in Game 4 with no issues at all.As for the hit itself, Julien understood why Tampa coach Guy Boucher looked like Dr. Evil -- with no Mr. Bigglesworth -- on the Lightning bench after the refs called Bergeron for an elbowing penalty on the collision. The Bs coach concurred with most hockey people that Bergeron dropped a hellacious good hit in the playoffs, and that the refs played a bit of the makeup game in ignoring Dwayne Roloson handling the puck outside the trapezoid area during the ensuing power play.If you have time to look at the replay you can say, well, it was a good hit, said Julien. Its happened to us before from our end of it. Sometimes you get called for penalties. The one thing weve always said is that the league is very sensitive to head issues, so something theyre making a call.Maybe it wasnt the right call, but at the same time they have had a second penalty on that same play where the goaltender touched the puck outside the area. The referee was there and I think he didnt call it . . . probably trying to make up for it. I think it all evened out in the end. Thats what we talk about when you play the games. Plenty of cameras and recorders out for Shane Hnidy and goalie coach Bob Essensa as talk stirred up about the Atlanta Thrashers moving into Winnipeg starting next season with Hnidy from the Winnipeg area and Essensa proud of his six seasons as a member of the Winnipeg Jets. Shawn Thornton was kind enough to assist reporters in doing their jobs as he continuously yelled Shane Hnidy is available, and hes from Winnipeg! during media availability in the visitors dressing room at the St. Pete Times Forum. Patrice Bergeron said he was no worse for the wear after playing upwards of 19 minutes during his first game action in two weeks, and said recurring concussion symptoms wasnt even a thought in his head. The day after Bergerons return there was no soreness, no concussion recurrences and nothing but good feelings about where hes at for the rest of the playoffs.To be honest I wasnt even worried about it," Bergeron said. "I knew I was back and I was ready. It took maybe a couple of shifts keeping things simple, but after that I really felt like I was in the groove and things were good. I knew I was good physically and I was ready mentally as well.
Joe Haggerty can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs.
The Coyotes have hired former player Craig Cunningham as a pro scout, keeping the 26-year-old in hockey after a cardiac episode ended his playing career this season.
Drafted by the Bruins in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, Cunningham played 34 games for Boston over parts of two seasons before he was waived and claimed by Arizona. He totaled 19 games for the Coyotes, but served as captain of the Tucson Roadrunners, the team’s AHL affiliate.
Cunningham was hospitalized after he collapsed during pregame warmups on Nov. 19. He was kept alive by continual CPR, but had his lower left leg amputated the next months due to an infection from the episode.
Known as a high-character player who was popular with his teammates, Cunningham’s transition to scouting lets him further his career after a scary break.
"I'm very excited to begin the next chapter of my life with the Coyotes," Cunningham said in a statement released by the team. "I'm very grateful to John Chayka, Dave Tippett, the Coyotes and Roadrunners organizations, and all of the great fans across Arizona for the incredible support I've received over the past year. I'm looking forward to helping the Coyotes and I can't wait to get started in my new role."
Said Chayka, the team’s general manager: ”We're thrilled to have Craig join our hockey operations department as a pro scout. Craig was a smart, hard-working player with an incredible passion for the game. We're confident that he will bring those same qualities to the Coyotes in his new role and that he will be an invaluable asset to our organization. We look forward to Craig helping us in several areas and are excited that he is staying with the club."
Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while really enjoying what the CW does season in and season out with the Flash.
*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Don Brennan says that the Senators fans not showing up for Game 6 is their way of sticking it to Sens owner Eugene Melnyk.
*The talk is turning to the next captain of the Buffalo Sabres, and what they can do to help open up communication up and down the roster.
*A guy that wore a Habs toque on his twitter avatar writes a glowing, praise-filled article about the performance of PK Subban during these Stanley Cup playoffs. He’s undoubtedly been good, but he just might have been wearing his Montreal Canadiens footie pajamas when he wrote this one, and rattling his fist at Habs management all the while.
*Interesting piece by Jason Gregor about the “window to win” for the Edmonton Oilers, and an odd notion that the window will close when Connor McDavid has moved out of his entry level contract. I’d say that’s kind of ludicrous.
*The Colorado Avalanche coaching staff has been let go after last year’s dreadful season, and that’s too bad for a really good guy in former Providence College head coach Tim Army. I’m sure he won’t be out of work long.
*Colin White made his Stanley Cup playoff and NHL debut for the Ottawa Senators in Game 6, and helped push Ottawa to a Game 7. It will be interesting to watch the Massachusetts native and former Boston College standout develop with the Senators as White was one of the players that the Bruins skipped over to instead draft Jake DeBrusk and Zach Senyshyn in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft. The others, Mathew Barzal, Travis Konecny and Kyle Connor, are all either in the NHL or knocking on the door as well, and it’s going to be a challenging road for both of Boston’s forward prospects to live up the justification of the B’s drafting them first. Granted DeBrusk and Senyshyn are also both doing their thing for the P-Bruins as they push into the conference finals of the Calder Cup playoffs, and they’re both bright prospects in their own right. It’s going to take years to determine the rights and wrongs of that first round, but White getting into the lineup for the Senators is proof of just how high that organization is on him.
*Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan says that Sidney Crosby handled the targeted abuse well from the Senators in a Game 6 loss that will push to a Game 7 between the Penguins and the Senators.
*For something completely different: A great message from Brookline homey and former Sox GM wonder boy Theo Epstein in his commencement address to Yale University.