Boston Bruins

Prague with the Bruins: Morning skate sound

278834.jpg

Prague with the Bruins: Morning skate sound

By Mary Paoletti
CSNNE.com

I spend most of morning skate in the media workroom today (it's not a long story, just not one worth explaining). But when the locker room is clear for media entry, the game is on.

Shawn Thornton is my first target. Luckily, he's in a fun mood. Big surprise there.

You've been talking about fourth line chemistry and how it's been a beautiful thing so far. Do you think this line will give you opportunities to get that 119 shots on net total up?
Laughs Up? That wasn't enough?

You know you're better than that.
Yeah, I hope so. Finally I have a centerman who will get me the puck, he's been looking for me all over the place. Begin always looked me off so . . . tries to look innocent. Now they're realizing I'm the dangerous guy in the line so they're probably going to get it to me a lot more. Teams might shadow me too because they know how dangerous I am.

Is that right? Huh.
Campbell has said he was bummed after last season that he didn't play as well as he had the year before. What have you seen from him so far?
I guess I gotta be serious on this question.

Yes, you do.
I think he's got a lot more skill than people give him credit for. He's got really good hands, good vision. He works really hard. We've had a little bit of chemistry in the couple of games we've played . . . it's been fun to play with him. He can skate and I know he's tough. He doesn't back down from anyone. So I'm looking forward to getting started with him.

Blake Wheeler is at a locker to the right.

You look like you're playing with a lot of intensity. How have you felt in the preseason as far as being physical is concerned?
I feel great. It's an area of my game that I wanted to work on a lot and I think it's an aspect that, if I can improve on it, it's going to help take me to the next level. Bringing a lot of energy every night contributes to that. You seem to play your best and play well when you have a lot of energy so I'm just trying to bring that every night and let the pieces fall where they may.

What were your other offseason goals?
I wanted to work on my shot a little bit . . . improve that . . . extend my range a little bit and be more of a threat in more places. Other than that, just look at the weak parts of my game and I thought being physical was definitely one that I could improve on. Hopefully that translates into good success.
What do you see as the most dangerous part of Phoenix's game?
Defensively I think they're very tough to play against. They have great goaltending and a good defensive core, so scoring goals is going to be tough. There's not going to be any easy goals out there, you gotta really work for them. As long as we bring the lunchpail tomorrow and bring that attitude that we're going to have to work hard and try to have more energy than them, it's gonna be a good game. We just can't take anything for granted or think anything's going to be easy.

Newly signed Bruin Brian McGrattan is hanging out in the same corner.

What was the moment like when business got taken care of . . . getting the deal out of the way?
I haven't signed it yet, so . . . gotta wait 'til we get back. But it's good because it was a really tough summer waiting around. You really sit and think about how great it is in this league and how much fun it is and stuff. So it's nice to be rewarded for hard work.

Talk about the guys here in Boston, getting adjusted.
It's more or less been a good group of guys to get to know. It's a fun group to try and gel with. Hockey systems are hockey systems. I've been learning them my whole life so, everything's kind of the same when you get up to this level. A couple of things are different on every team but more or less it's all the same. It's more or less just getting involved and getting to know the guys.

As far as the games go, Phoenix will be coming in fierce, looking to prove that playoff run was legit. What do you see there?
I played with them a couple years ago so I know a few of the guys. They're a fast team, a skilled team. I think they do want to prove that last year wasn't a fluke, so we've got to be ready for them. They've got good goaltending, really good forwards, so I think it will be a good test to see what we're made of to start the season.

Mary Paoletti can be reached at mpaoletti@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Mary on Twitter at http:twitter.comMary_Paoletti

Marchand stepping up his twitter game to hilarious effect

bruins_brad_marchand_012417.jpg

Marchand stepping up his twitter game to hilarious effect

BOSTON – It was probably only a matter of time before it happened, but it looks like Boston’s favorite Little Ball of Hate is stepping up his game on social media.

Brad Marchand is known as much for his rabble-rousing and trash-talking on the ice as he is for massive offensive production while serving as Boston’s top scorer in each of the last few seasons. So Marchand has the perfect mixture of good humor and clout as a star NHL player, and that usually combines for a pretty powerful voice on Twitter.

Marchand has been noticeably more active on Twitter in recent days with a wide-ranging group of tweets, and the big winner is the hockey fan that gets a little more exposure to some classic Nose Face Killah wit. Some of the tweets have been as a Bruins team leader where he’s praising the talented young crop of B’s prospects that he’s watching during training camp:

Some have been about chirping the NHL for their decision to skip the Olympics this winter where Marchand most certainly would have been primed for a chance at a Gold Medal:

Some have been engaging with “fans” and dropping classic pop culture references from children’s books while showing the nasty edge that routinely drives opponents up a wall:

The Charlotte’s Web reference is a devastating classic from Marchand, a noted longtime fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Sometimes it’s just telling a quick story in a tweet that gives you an inside look at the kind of chirping that goes on when Marchand is on the ice:

A social media platform like Twitter was made for a personality like Marchand, and a stepped-up presence is good for him and good for hockey fans. So why all of a sudden is No. 63 tweeting with greater frequency over the last few days?

It sounds like it’s a combination of training camp boredom and a genuine interest in amplifying his voice on all manner of subjects.

“I’ve just been kind of lying around with nothing to do and I jumped on [twitter]…thought it was kind of funny,” said Marchand. “I thought I’d get a little more involved. I don’t know if I’m going to have enough time to do it every day, but it’s fun.”

As fun as it’s been for Marchand, it’s no doubt even more fun for the fans that might get a chance to interact with him even if it’s as the unwitting foil for one of his well-placed chirps. 

CSNNE SCHEDULE

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

bruins_anton_khudobin_121516.jpg

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.  

CSNNE SCHEDULE