Notes: Julien blasts B's for taunting

175733.jpg

Notes: Julien blasts B's for taunting

By Danny Picardand Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- @font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; The Bruins werent too happy when Maxim Lapierre tauntedPatrice Bergeron in Game 2, by waving his fingers in front ofBergerons mouth. The hand gesture was done to mock Bergeronssituation with Alex Burrows in Game 1, where Burrows bit Bergeronsfinger in a scrum after the whistle.

So on Monday night, Mark Recchi and Milan Lucic used the same mocking hand gestures in the faces of LaPierre and Burrows.

But it didnt go over well with their coach.

Well,Ill tell you what. I said this morning that I wouldnt accept it onour team, said Claude Julien. It happened a couple of times tonight. Theyvebeen told that I dont want any of that stuff.

Youve got tolive by your words. It was disappointing for me to see that happenafter what I said this morning. But part of it is my fault for notbringing it up to the guys. They did it. Emotions got the better ofthem. Im going to stand here and say Im not accepting it. The guyshave been told.

Both Lucic and Recchi said they regret taunting the Canucks players like that.

Itssomething that this team isnt about, and that Im not about, saidLucic. Its definitely a classless move. Claude talked about it. Hedefinitely gave me some heat after the game about it. You regret doingit, but heat of the moment type of thing, things like that will happen.

I got in trouble for that, said Recchi. Coach gave me heck for that.

Its emotional out there, but it wont happen again.

So much has been made of the Bruins special teams in this postseason, especially the power play.

And even though the Vancouver Canucks hold a 2-1 series lead in the Stanley Cup Final, the Bruins have scored more power-play goals, after scoring two goals on the man advantage in Monday nights 8-1 win in Game 3 at the TD Garden.

Recchi scored one of his two goals on the power play, which gave the Bruins a 2-0 lead, 4:22 into the second period. It came on an attempted pass out front, which was re-directed off the stick of Vancouvers Ryan Kesler, and through Roberto Luongos legs.

The second power-play goal of the night came from Michael Ryder, with 30.9 seconds left in the game, making it 8-1.

But for the Bruins struggling power play, it doesnt matter how or when they go in.

I think, in this series, its been pretty good, said Julien. Just the fact that, again, when you look at where our issues were before, we had a hard time getting in the zone, had a hard time keeping the puck in.

At least now, were getting in, moving the puck around. Youd like to see maybe more shots. At the same time, it produced tonight, which was good.

Boston is now 3-for-13 on the power play this series, while Vancouver is 1-for-16. That tells you more about the Bruins penalty kill than it does about their power play.

The Bs scored two short-handed goals on Monday night, first from Brad Marchand to give Boston a 3-0 lead in the second. And then from Daniel Paille to make it 5-0 in the third.

Thats really helped us survive, as far as the power-play struggling, said Julien. When your power play struggles, your penalty kill has to do a really good job, in order to at least even things out. Theyve done a great job at that.

Were doing the right thing, obviously, he added. I think weve done a pretty good job of getting in the shooting lanes, weve done a pretty good job of taking away the passing lanes. Thats not giving away any secrets. Its what penalty kills have to do. Our guys have done a pretty good job of sacrificing themselves, blocking shots.

Its about sacrifice, more than anything else. Our penalty kill has taken a lot of pride in these playoffs to be very, very good. And it has been.

It came with a simple Julien point in the Bs dressing room after warmups, and Shawn Thornton found out he was in the lineup for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final after missing the first two games in Vancouver. The 33-year-old enforcer made his presence felt immediately and never stopped in nine shifts and 5:50 of ice time in the 8-1 victory that felt like a Thornton kind of game from the very beginning.Thornton got call in favor of 19-year-old Tyler Seguin being made a healthy scratch, and its a decision that Julien got 100 percent completely correct.Of course I was excited to be out there because I havent played in a while, said Thornton. I had plenty of energy and I wanted to put it to good use.Thornton belted out a pair of hits including an Ill be here all night body smash on Alex Burrows in his first shift of the game, and a tripping penalty drawn on Canucks forward Jeff Tambellini in the second period that led to Bostons second goal of the night. As was the case all year, the fourth line didnt get the most ice time but No. 22 made the absolute most of everything he received while just simply being sky high to the play in the Stanley Cup Final.He also thoroughly enjoyed the crowd that gained in volume and appreciation for the teams efforts as the game kept rolling on.They are very passionate fans. They like their physical games. I mean it was pretty loud out there, I hope that continues on Wednesday, said Thornton. I love playing here, I have for four years. The fans have always been great as far as Im concerned.The Bruins held a 40-31 hit advantage in the game at TD Garden, but really carried the physical portion of the contest for long stretches for the first time in the series a development that really seemed to frustrate Henrik and Daniel Sedin. From Bostons perspective, the steady stream of physical punishment is expected to eventually take its toll on the speedy Canucks players and slow them down in what Boston is expecting to be a long, wearying series.While the long-range plan against Vancouver is clearly something the Bruins have some interest in, its also about getting back to Bruins hockey and heavy hits that keep opponents on their toes.When we play physical and bring that presence, were playing our type of game, said Milan Lucic. I also said that I wasnt surprised that they came out physical and theyre not going to shy away from anything. They arent shying away from anything, and you can expect the physicality to keep on being there.The best hit of the night from most peoples perspective was the Ron Hextell-like body shot that goalie Tim Thomas threw on Henrik Sedin as the Swedish scorer glided through his crease area.He was catching the puck, said Thomas. That happens a lot in practice off of rebounds and stuff like that when the guy reaches up to catch the puck. I get scored on in practice if I sit back and try to react to where he sets the puck down with his hand.I had 1100th of a second to make a decision of what I was going to do. Thats the way I decided to play it to try to keep the puck out of the net.The Bs victory marked the first home Stanley Cup Finals win for the Bruins since a 1978 victory against the Montreal Canadiens at the old Boston Garden so it was certainly a long time coming.The 145 penalty minutes accumulated by the Bruins and Canucks in Game 3 is the second-most in a Stanley Cup Final game in the last 25 years, behind only the 176 minutes in a 1986 battle between the Habs and the Flames. Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

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

NHL shouldn't overthink offsides challenges any longer; they should just get rid of them

NHL shouldn't overthink offsides challenges any longer; they should just get rid of them

When the hockey world grew tired of shootouts, the league took something of a half measure. Rather than eliminate the shootout, the league moved overtime from 4-on-4 to 3-on-3. It worked; games that were tied at the end of regulation were more likely to end in the five-minute OT period than before, thus reducing the frequency of shootouts. 

Now, the NHL is dealing with its latest cumbersome gameplay issue: the offsides challenge. A half-measure isn’t as desirable in this case. No more half measures, Walter. 

The offsides challenge was introduced with good intentions, but it’s simply too easy to abuse. And really, when the option is there with only a timeout at risk, why wouldn’t a coach roll the dice that maybe a guy was offsides entering the zone 29 seconds before the goal was scored? 

The option needs to be taken away. Rely on blueline cameras and automatically look at anything close on a goal that’s scored off the rush. It would take two seconds and would save the refs from another Matt Duchene incident while saving the viewer a lot of time. Let anything else go the way of the dry scrape. 

There’s the temptation to instead tweak -- maybe make offsides challengeable if the entry in question occurs within however many seconds -- but that would just mean more time would be wasted seeing if a play was even challengeable. 

It was proposed at the GM meetings in Chicago that if a coach loses an offsides challenge, his team will be assessed a two-minute penalty. That sounds great as a deterrent, but it won’t stop instances of the needless why-the-hell-not challenge. Late in games, coaches might be just as likely to take their chances in a tie game or a one-goal game. That goal allowed could likely be the deciding tally, so if they’re likely to lose anyway, some coaches might still go for the time-wasting Hail Mary. 

And of course, the loser there is the person hoping to catch their train out of North Station in time, or the person who might doze off during the stupid challenge, wake up four hours later on their couch and develop back issues over time. That was a friend, not me. 

Colin Campbell said at the GM meetings in Chicago ahead of the draft that the league is trying to "temper" the negative reaction the offside challenge has received from players and fans. 

There’s really only way to do that, and that’s to get rid of it.

See you in a year when we’re going through the same thing with goalie interference. 

Haggerty: Bruins need more than draft-weekend output if they want improvement

Haggerty: Bruins need more than draft-weekend output if they want improvement

CHICAGO – With the 2017 NHL Draft officially wrapped up and the proverbial eve of NHL free agency upon us, there wasn’t anything to get particularly alarmed or excited about when it comes to the Bruins actions over the last few days.

The Bruins lost a potential-filled defenseman that might never actually realize any of it in Colin Miller, and they followed up the expansion draft subtraction with an average draft class where they addressed defense, goaltending and their depth up front. But at the same time, it didn’t really feel like the Bruins got anybody in the draft that they were particularly bowled over by, and the B’s lost a potential trade chip once they’d used their 18th overall pick in the first round to select smooth-skating defenseman Urho Vaakenainen.

MORE: NHL shouldn't overthink offsides challenges any longer; they should just get rid of them

The sense at this address, though not confirmed by anybody inside either organization, is that the Bruins weren’t willing to trade a first-round pick as part of a package for Wild defenseman Marco Scandella, and would have preferred Jonas Brodin if they were going to give up that kind of asset. Don Sweeney confirmed that Boston’s first-round pick was in play, but stressed it was for “target specific” players that the Bruins coveted.

A deal was never worked out for one of those “target specific” players, so the Bruins continue to move on and hope that something breaks over the next few weeks.

“I was on record saying we’d be offering our first-round pick for target-specific players, and we did do that,” said Sweeney. “I don’t blame teams for not necessarily wanting to do it, so we went ahead with our own pick. I was target specific on a few players and there were other considerations being discussed.

“It’s an area we’d like to address and help our team currently. I’m not going to stop exploring areas where we can improve our club. It’s hard to tell [which way trade talks will go]. Maybe people will feel that picks from next year’s draft will be even better, or they like that pool of prospects a little bit better. It’s hard to tell [where trade discussions will go], to be perfectly honest.”

At least the Bruins were right on time with picking a Finnish player in the first round as a record six players from Finland were nabbed in the first round of the draft, and one would hope that means all will benefit from the hockey talent streaming out of that Scandinavian country right now. It will take years to determine how Vaakenainen, Jack Studnicka, Jeremy Swayman and the other members of the 2017 draft class ultimately pan out, but it sure doesn’t feel like the same outpouring of talent as in 2015 when Brandon Carlo, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Jake DeBrusk and the rest of the Bruins draft picks officially entered the Black and Gold system.

B’s assistant GM Scott Bradley admitted as much when discussing the entire draft class on Saturday afternoon at the United Center, home of the Chicago Blackhawks. The Bruins got good value, addressed organizational needs and felt good about the players they picked in each and every spot, but there isn’t going to be a Charlie McAvoy or David Pastrnak coming out of a really “meh” group of draft-eligible hockey players.

“Our first rounder is somebody we’re excited about. His skating is close to what we call a ‘5’ in our system. He’s a left-shot. You compare his skating to [Paul] Coffey at times, really mobile and transition defenseman,” said Bradley, who hadn’t run a draft board for the Bruins in roughly ten years while Wayne Smith and Keith Gretzky had been in charge of the Black and Gold’s scouting operations. “I think we addressed a lot of our needs. It wasn’t sexy, but I think we did well in addressing a lot of the organization’s needs.”  

So with the amateur draft and the expansion draft both in the rearview mirror, the Bruins must move on in the roster-building process while still facing a pair of big needs in top-6 left wing and top-4 left side defenseman. They may be able to nail down one of those needs by swinging a trade with their list of available assets including Ryan Spooner, Jimmy Hayes, Jakub Zboril, Adam McQuaid and next year’s first-round pick.

A deal that would send a Spooner-led package elsewhere might be enough to land the big, skilled, young winger that the Bruins are currently in the market for, and provide top-6 insurance in case DeBrusk, Danton Heinen or Anders Bjork all aren’t quite ready for full-time duty skating, passing and finishing off plays with David Krejci.

It might be that the Bruins have to begin thinking about free agency as a viable place if they want to land a solid, top-4 D-man for the next handful of years to pair with Charlie McAvoy. Karl Alzner headlines a list of players that would be a good fit for the Black and Gold, but they would absolutely have to overpay for a 28-year-old UFA that’s averaged 20:13 of ice time per game over the course of his 591 career games with the Washington Capitals. More affordable would be a young, free agent defenseman like Dmitry Kulikov, who is still extremely young as he comes off a rough year with the Buffalo Sabres after getting traded there from Florida. Or other potentially available left-shot free agent defenseman like Brendan Smith or Ron Hainsey could be stop-gap answers for the Bruins until the next crop of D-men in Jakob Zboril, Jeremy Lauzon and Vaakenainen, and others, are ready to step up just like Brandon Carlo and Charlie McAvoy did last season.

The bottom line is that the Bruins did perfectly fine over draft weekend with no true idea until a few years have passed for these teenage prospects, but they need to aim higher than “perfectly fine” with their offseason if they want to be any better at the NHL level next season. A big move or two will be needed from the Bruins front office if the B’s are going to make the jump that everybody wants to see from them over the next couple of seasons.