Bruins brace for new head shot enforcement


Bruins brace for new head shot enforcement

By Joe Haggerty Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs

WILMINGTON -- The Bruins spent Tuesday morning working out off the ice and readying for their Black and White scrimmage in Providence, but they also spent time at the movies. Both Bs training camp groups watched the NHLNHLPA sponsored video about the new rules governing head shots and boarding calls for the upcoming hockey.

The Bruins have always been a team sensitive to the injuries, given Marc Savards difficulties after suffering through a Matt Cooke cheap shot and the Patrice Bergeron season lost to a severe concussion on a hit from behind. So the Bruins players paid close attention to the video, but most veteran players said it wouldnt change the way they already play the game.

Defensemen like Adam McQuaid and Andrew Ference talked about respecting all the other players in the league, and drawing a line when it comes to finishing off a vulnerable player.

Most of it was common sense to me. Its certainly okay to hate some of the guys that youre playing against, said McQuaid. But you also have to respect the fact that these players have a life outside the game.

Ference cautioned his teammates that theyd be foolhardy to play on the edge this season, with former NHL great Brendan Shanahan taking things over as the NHL discipline chief. There are the circumstances of the last two seasons with the needed crackdown on head shots, concussions and the indifferent league attitude that left so many players with brain injuries. Then there is also the NHLs poster boy in Sidney Crosby missing more than half of last season including the playoffs with post-concussion symptoms after he was injured in the NHL showpiece event at the Winter Classic.

The league has begun to realize it needs to protect the elite players that put rear ends in the seats, and players like Ference seem to be anticipating a disciplinarian thats going to toss the book at the first few agitators that test his resolve. The Bs defenseman will leave that up to the Matt Cooke miscreants of the world.

It seems like pretty common sense stuff, said Ference. I know youve got into specifics when youre talking about wording and stuff with rules. There are going to be gray areas, and decisions will be made by Brendan now and the referees. All you can do is hope that the referees see everything from the correct angle and then make the proper call. Thats all you can do as a player along with being responsible for what you do yourself.

Ference certainly thinks that Shanahan is waiting to get tested by NHL players willing to operate on the edge and potentially hurt fellow players while stepping firmly over that edge.

If guys arent clued in that the league will be watching especially in Brendans first year and if you think youre going to get away with anything then youre not kidding anybody, said Ference. Youre probably going to be made an example of if theres anything borderline this year.

Not every hit is malicious and there is incidental contact out there. Nobody is disputing that. But there are also definitely repeat guys that do the same hit time and time again. Youd think that if there was ever a season last year and this year combined to put that to an end, this would be the year.

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

Spooner responds positively to healthy scratch


Spooner responds positively to healthy scratch

BOSTON -- It wasn’t perfect by any means, but Saturday night represented a step in a positive direction for Ryan Spooner.

The 24-year-old speedy forward was scratched for the home opener against New Jersey in classic message-sending fashion by Bruins coach Claude Julien, and deserved it based on a passive lack of production combined with some costly mistakes as well. So he stayed quiet, put in the work and then returned to the lineup Saturday vs. the Montreal Canadiens where he scored a power play goal in the 4-2 loss to the Habs at TD Garden.

“He was better,” agreed Claude Julien. “He was better tonight.”

Spooner could have had even more as he got a couple of great scoring chances in the first period vs. Montreal, but Carey Price was able to turn away a couple of free looks at the Montreal net. So the Bruins forward felt he possibly left points on the ice after it was all said and done, but also clearly played his best game of the young season after going from the press box back to the lineup.

“Yeah, I had like maybe four or five [chances] that I could have scored on,” said Spooner. “I’ve just got to bear down on those [scoring opportunities], and a lot [of them] in the first period. It’s good that I’m getting those looks, but I have to score on them.

“I’m just going to go out there and just try to play. I can’t really think about [fighting to hold a spot]. I’ve just got to go out there and try to play, I guess, the game I can and try to use the speed that I have.”

The Spooner power play strike was a nifty one with the shifty forward and David Backes connecting on a pass across the front of the net, and the young B’s forward showing the necessary assertiveness cutting to the net from his half-wall position.

Spooner had five shot attempts overall in the game, and was one of the few Bruins players really getting the chances they wanted against a pretty effective Montreal defensive group. Now it’s a matter of Spooner, along with linemates Backes and David Krejci, scoring during 5-on-5 play and giving the Bruins a little more offensive balance after riding Boston’s top line very hard during the regular season’s first couple of weeks. 

Sunday, Oct. 23: Hall fitting in with Devils


Sunday, Oct. 23: Hall fitting in with Devils

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while waiting to find out which Walking Dead character got brained by Lucille in last season’s cliffhanger. I’m going with Abraham.

*The SI roundtable talks about the future of Jacob Trouba, and where he’ll end up going when his current situation resolves itself.

*P.K. Subban is apparently getting very comfortable in Nashville, and enjoying life in a city with NFL football.

*Fun conversation between Yahoo’s Josh Cooper and Brad Marchand about a whole range of random topics.

*A cool father-son story where they became the goaltending tandem for the Ontario Reign through a series of dominoes falling after Jonathan Quick went down with injury for the Los Angeles Kings.

*Pro Hockey Talk has Taylor Hall serving as exactly what the New Jersey Devils have needed for the last couple of years.

*For something completely different: FOH (Friend of Haggs) Dan Shaughnessy says that the MLB playoffs couldn’t have played out any worse for the Boston Red Sox.