Bruins eager for regular season

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Bruins eager for regular season

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
The Bruins have reached a point in the preseason where some veterans are ready to go, and the regular season cant come quickly enough.

Obviously there are others getting their timing perfected or shaking off the rust from a wildly abbreviated summer, and there is still one dress rehearsal against the New York Islanders on Saturday to get things synchronized. Its kind of an in-between mode that has players traveling at different speeds with a week to all collectively get in the same gear.

For some players like Tim Thomas and Nathan Horton that have been brought along deliberately in training camp, the extra few days are a boon for their readiness. Brad Marchand estimated that Thursday nights preseason game against the Senators was probably running at 95 percent speed when compared to the regular season, and thinks hes ready to go as well.

The last few games Ive felt like Im catching back up to speed and my mind is reacting quickly enough again, said Marchand. I feel pretty good. The last game is really when it started to feel better, and I got my legs under way. Each game was a little bit better, and one more will be good for a lot of these guys.

But a well-trained hockey machine like Patrice Bergeron in the prime of his career needed exactly three games in the exhibition season, and told his coach that hes as ready to go as hell ever be. Its almost like clockwork for the two-way center.

Weve only played five preseason games and well finish with our sixth one. Some teams play a lot more than six games during the preseason, so I think our guys have been happy to get a few games under their best, said Julien. Ive talked to a few guys from last year that are saying theyre feeling pretty good.

Bergie has played three games and he feels like hes ready to go. Other guys as well. So theres an element where I think guys are feeling ready to go and theyre excited about getting the season going. But I dont feel like theyre antsy to start tomorrow. They know theres another game to play and team-building to go.
Ah, yes, the team-building.

Perhaps any readiness to start the season is tempered by some Bruins readying themselves for the natural order of things in training camp.

Over the last few seasons the expected group of Bs players set for the NHL roster escape Boston for several days of a camp retreat. The teams players and coaches take off just prior to the season for a sequence of events that promote team-building and camaraderie between players.

Even in the hustle and bustle of last seasons trip to Europe, the team found time to steal away to Vermont for a couple of days. Thats on tap for the two days following their preseason finale against the Islanders on Saturday, and Julien and his coaching staff have kept the camps location a secret from the players for the last month.

The coaches know the location and the players dont. We have it organized. They dont know where were going and they dont know what were doing, so were keeping the element of surprise, said Julien. Its going to be a surprise, itll be fun and itll be good. So we left it that way and thought it was the best way to approach it.

So it will a quick next few days of games and ropes courses designed to bring the Bs together. One thing is known and certain: theyll all be on the ice Oct. 6 on the Garden ice to watch the new Stanley Cup championship banner raised in the rafters before getting the season started.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. 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

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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