Bruins call up emergency plan Whitfield once again


Bruins call up emergency plan Whitfield once again

TAMPA BAY Trent Whitfield has been a break glass in case of emergency kind of player for the Bruins over the last three years, and hes filling that role again for an injury-ravaged Bs squad.

The 34-year-old Whitfield was called up to the Bruins on emergency recall from the AHL Providence Bruins on Monday morning, and skated with the team during an optional practice at the Tampa Times Forum. Whitfield said he never assumed the call was coming after he watched Patrice Bergeron suffer an injury while blocking a shot Sunday afternoon against the Penguins, but hed be ready just as hes been in the past.

It was Whitfield that got the call during the regular season and playoffs two years ago when injuries to Marc Savard and David Krejci ravaged Bostons roster, and he got into a total of 20 games between the regular season and playoffs.

I just know that the team is a little banged up a little bit right now and some guys are questionable for tomorrow night. Im just going to prepare like Im going to play and Im sure itll be a game-time decision, said Whitfield. Ive done this periodically on my 14-year career. Ive been here before. Ill prepare like I always do. If I play itll be great and if I dont then well see where we go from there.

Its exciting. This is where I wanted to start the year. Its obviously up to Claude and how he wants to use me, but Im just going to do the best job I can.

Mondays promotion to the Bruins marks Whitfields first recall this season after serving as the captain of the P-Bruins this year while hes managed 11 points (5 goals, 6 assists) in 41 AHL games. The two-way pivot said hes been battling injuries that have made it a challenging year for him, but elevated play on the ice over the last couple of weeks has coincided with getting the call from Boston.

We called Whitfield up because were banged up. Weve got a lot of question marks going into tomorrow, said Julien of Tuesday nights game against the Lightning. If we cant have certain guys playing then hes available to us. I have no idea whether hell be in the lineup or not, but itll depend on the situation.

Hes been with us before. I thought he was a really good player for us when injuries hit us in the playoffs a couple of years ago. Hes got a really good work ethic, hes got some experience in the league and right now this is what we need.

While its unclear what line Whitfield will center, it would clearly be a bottom-six forward role while Chris Kelly will likely get bumped up as the No. 2 center should Bergeron be unable to play. It should be a seamless transition given that the P-Bruins are Bostons offensive and defensive system employed by Claude Julien.

The systems are identical. This past season they really made a point to play the exact same system in both Boston and Providence so the transition would be smooth no matter who it is coming up to play here, said Whitfield. That will all be the same and itll be business as usual.

Its never good news in Boston when Whitfield is up at the NHL level because it means the Bruins have been besieged by injuries, but its also comforting knowing the veteran can step in and fill a role with experience and poise.

Celtics-Heat preview: Do C's need to bounce back from a win?

Celtics-Heat preview: Do C's need to bounce back from a win?

BOSTON – The final score on the Jumbotron Friday night said the Celtics beat the Phoenix Suns 130-120.
But there was a clear and undeniable sense of loss on the part of the Celtics, even if Friday’s victory was their third in a row and sixth in the past seven games.
The Celtics (47-26) hope to continue on their winning ways tonight against a Miami Heat team currently among a handful fighting for one of the last playoff slots, but are doing so without Dion Waiters (ankle) who has been instrumental in their surge after an 11-30 start to the season.
Beating the Heat (35-37) will require Boston to play better than they did against the Suns, a game Boston won, but in many ways had the feeling of defeat.
Yes, Devin Booker’s career-high 70 points was very much a blow – a huge blow – to the pride of a team that takes tremendous pride in its defense.
But the sense of a loss came in the form of purpose while playing as close to their potential as possible.
The Celtics fell short on both fronts Friday night.
Being just one game behind Cleveland (47-24) for the best record in the East, the Celtics understand getting as many wins as possible is the mindset right now.
But coach Brad Stevens knows that while winning is important, how the team plays is even more valuable.
“Like I’ve said before, I’m surprised at where we are record-wise because we’ve got to play at a higher level for 48 minutes,” Stevens said. “We just don’t do it.”
Is this Stevens’ way of trying to motivate his players after a not-so-great performance?
Or is he seriously concerned that his team isn’t as good as their record?
The Celtics, by their own standards, and to those of us on the outside looking in, know they are a better team than the one we saw on Friday night.
Not having Avery Bradley (sick) certainly hurt Boston’s efforts defensively.
Still, a Friday night’s game wore on, Booker’s confidence only grew and the Celtics’ desire to shut him down or at least slow him down, began to dissipate like an ice cube in hell.
And that’s a problem - a big problem - for a team that has to be connected at both ends of the floor for an extended period of time in order to play at the level their capable of and, most important, give them the best shot at emerging victorious in the postseason.
That’s why Stevens isn’t too caught up in the team’s chances of catching Cleveland, or whether they go into the playoffs riding a fat winning streak.
“I’m not going to get caught up in winning a couple of games in a row and all that stuff,” Stevens said. “I want to get caught up in playing well. We’ve shown ourselves capable of playing well, we have not sustained it throughout a game. And it’s been pretty consistent.”

Win vs. Islanders 'a nice building block' for Bruins


Win vs. Islanders 'a nice building block' for Bruins

BROOKLYN, NY – It wasn’t particularly entertaining and it won’t be all that memorable down the ride aside from the timing and importance of the meeting between the Bruins and Islanders. But it was a solid 2-1 team win for the Bruins over the Islanders at the Barclays Center on Saturday night with the B’s grinding all the way down to the end while protecting a one-goal lead through much of the third period.

Nearly everybody across Boston’s roster contributed in the major victory over the team trying to bypass them in the wild card standings, and it was a beautiful thing. Anton Khudobin stepped up when Tuukka Rask couldn’t start Saturday night’s showdown with a lower body issue, and Riley Nash supplied both Boston goals from a fourth line that’s played some of their best hockey lately.

It was unlikely heroes all around for the Black and Gold in the tightly-wound contest, but that diversity of talent and production can be a very good thing for a team looking to make that playoff push.

“You have to stay with it. You have to stay in the moment and stay with the game no matter what’s happening during the game. That’s how you get results, and that’s how you find ways to persevere through adversity,” said Patrice Bergeron. “We just got back to playing stingy, especially in the neutral zone. We got away from it the last few games, and it was nice tonight to be back playing a low-scoring game like what we’re used to playing.”

When it was all said and done the Bruins only allowed 19 shots on net and also killed off six penalties in the kind of grinding defensive showdown that you haven’t seen all that much out of the Black and Gold lately. It was exactly what Cassidy was looking for to snap the four-game losing streak, and once again start pushing the Bruins upward into the playoff chase.

“That’s the type of win that goes a long way in the room when your goaltender is battling hard and fighting that hard to see pucks and find pucks and your D are blocking shots. And you kill that many penalties. It was a nice building block for us,” said Cassidy. “From the goalie on out, everybody was in there [in the win]. It was a tough game. It was a nice Bruins win. We had been doing it with offense earlier, and we’ve got to be able to do it both ways. You need to be able to win 2-1 hockey games, and it had been awhile.”

Now it’s simply up to the Bruins to be feeling good about their latest win while going back to basics, and looking for more next time around after ending their worst losing streak of the season.