Boucher: 'Highly doubt' Bergeron will miss Game 2

Boucher: 'Highly doubt' Bergeron will miss Game 2

By Joe Haggerty

BOSTON Guy Boucher has done a lot of talking in the series against the Bruins, and theres only been one game played. So its no surprise that the verboseTampa Bay coachprobably dingeda few B'snerves with some of his post-practice comments Monday afternoon at TD Garden including ashow-stopping statement that he expects Patrice Bergeron to be therefor the opening faceoff" in Game 2 Tuesday night.Boucher said his team prepared for Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby -- who missed the last four months of the season after suffering a concussion in the Winter Classic on New Year's Day -- to play in each game they suited up against the Pens in the first round, and he was taking the same approach now.We prepared for Bergeron playing for the first game. We're preparing for him just like we did with Crosby, said Boucher. We told the players Sidney was going to play every game and that's the way we approach it. If they're not there . . . we take out something from our game plan. ""We know how important Bergeron is to the team. He's a great player. He's a great individual. That usually has a tendency to uplift your team in terms of confidence. We know the impact he's got on the faceoff, so obviously his team's going to start with the puck a lot more often. It changes a lot of things in terms of the way the game is going to develop. We're expecting him to be there for the opening faceoff. If he's not, which I highly doubt . . . I think he's going to be there."It just makes it way harder for the Lightning. So they said they're coming out with their 'A' game and they're coming out with Bergeron. I'm sure Tim Thomas is going to be at his best. Right now we're expecting Boston to come out flawless, so if we don't play a flawless game, forget it.Bergeron skated with his teammates during the special teams and line drill portions of practice, but left the ice when the B's engaged in battle drills and some down low cycling exercises. He's expected to be a game-time decision for theBruins based on how he feels Tuesday prior to Game 2.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Bruins don't poll well in latest New England Sports survey

Bruins don't poll well in latest New England Sports survey

It’s no secret Bruins fans are getting fed up with a hockey team in decline, one that’s missed the playoffs each of the last two years. Now there are numbers to prove it.

Channel Media and Market Research, Inc. came out with its annual New England Sports survey,  tabulating responses from over 14,600 polled, and, according to the numbers, the Bruins are dropping in popularity, fan support and faith in the current management group.

The B’s are holding somewhat steady with 16 percent of voters listing them as their “favorite sports team” behind the Patriots (46 percent) and Red Sox (29 percent) while ahead of the Celtics and Revolution. Claude Julien also ranked ahead of John Farrell among the big four teams in the “coaches/manages most admired” category.

But after sitting at a relative high of ranking at 27 percent for “ownership performance” in 2014 -- they year after their trip to the Cup Finals against the Blackhawks -- the Bruins now rank dead last in that category at 2 percent, behind the Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics and even the Revolution. Ouch, babe.

Also sitting at a lowly 2 percent is Bruins president Cam Neely in the “leadership performance” category. In "management performance," Neely has dropped from a solid 49 percent in 2014 to just 16 percent in this summer’s survey.

So B’s fans are clearly upset with a team that traded away Tyler Seguin, Johnny Boychuk, Milan Lucic and Dougie Hamilton, and has featured a decimated defense corps for each of the last two seasons. But do the B’s fans think that things are getting any better with prospects coming down the pipeline?

Not really.

In the “which team has done the best job making its product better.” category, the Patriots (35 percent) and Red Sox (31 percent) were resting at the top, with the Celtics (27 percent) a respectable third. The Bruins limped in at just 4 percent with a fan base that very clearly sees that, on paper, this upcoming season’s club doesn’t appear to be much better than last year's.

On top of that, only 13 percent of those surveyed believe the Bruins have gotten better over the last year, and 52 percent believe they’ve just gotten worse. A lowly 3 percent of those surveyed think the Bruins have the best chance of the five teams to bring a world championship back to Boston; the Patriots (79 percent), Red Sox (11 percent) and Celtics (5 percent) all ranked higher.

Finally, Zdeno Chara, Tuukka Rask and Jimmy Hayes were at the top of the list of the Boston athletes “who did not meet expectations” last season. None of that is a surprise, given the state of Boston’s defense along with Hayes’ subpar season.

The good news for the Bruins: They still have a passionate fan base. But they need to start reversing course immediately before they do lasting damage to the B’s brand.

Wednesday, August 24: B's dealing with post-Vesey aftermath


Wednesday, August 24: B's dealing with post-Vesey aftermath

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading with the Olympics coming to a close . . .
-- FOH (Friend of Haggs) Kirk Luedeke sorts through the aftermath for the Bruins after losing out on Jimmy Vesey

-- Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland gave an interview where he said the Red Wings aren’t Stanley Cup contenders this season. 

-- Related to Holland’s comments, some of the media in Detroit aren’t taking the dose of reality all that well

-- It’s a big season for New Jersey Devils forward Kyle Palmieri, who will be starring for Team USA on the World Cup team. 

 -- PHT writer Cam Tucker says the Buffalo Sabres still have a strong group of forwards even without Jimmy Vesey.

-- Jamie Benn is giving everything to his Dallas Stars team, and that means that the World Cup of Hockey is taking a backseat
-- The Colorado Avalanche are nearing the end of their head coaching search as they look for their replacement for Patrick Roy.
-- For something completely different: NBC is making the argument that millenials watched the Olympics, but just not on the traditional formats