By Joe Haggerty
UNIONDALE, N.Y. The Bruins are getting ready for a thoroughly winnable two-game road trip against the New York Islanders and Ottawa Senators, and the word of the day for the Bs is: Defense.The Bruins have experienced some slippage in the defensive department over the last handful of games, and thats the first order of business after leaders like Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron have called the team out in recent days. The Bs have allowed 20 goals in their last four games, and lost three of the four in the process. Its not our game and its not the way were used to, said Bergeron. Weve got to adjust and get back to whats made us successfully in the past, and get back to what our system is.Its all of the little details. As players we have to play our hearts every night no matter is happening around us. Weve got to make sure we do things right on the ice and get some wins. Newly acquired center Chris Kelly didnt attend the morning skate and theres still some question as to whether hes gong to make it to New York for tonights game as his visa paperwork is holding him up. Coach Claude Julien indicated that Kelly will play if he arrives in time for the game. Patrice Bergeron didnt participate in the optional skate at Nassau Coliseum, but Julien said that Bostons two-way center will play against the Islanders. Tuukka Rask was the only goaltender to take part in the optional skate, which would seem to indicate that Tim Thomas was getting the start. But it also could have been touch and feel practice for Rask before he gets put between the pipes against the Islanders. Its a tough call on the goalie tonight from this address, but the Isles would be the exact kind of opponent designed to get Rask his groove back after a recent slump has dropped him to 5-11-1 with a .916 save percentage and a 2.89 goals against average. For those wondering, Steve Kampfer tweeted about Daniel Paille singing last night in their hotel room and it was confirmed that Paille was belting out Forget you by Cee Lo when he thought nobody was listening on Wednesday night.
Joe Haggerty can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs
BRIGHTON, Mass. – Anton Blidh plans on keeping things pretty straightforward on his first call-up to the NHL.
The former sixth-round pick of the Bruins has earned his stripes at the AHL level with Providence over the last couple of seasons, and comes to Boston as a gritty, energy forward capable of stirring things up in otherwise sleepy games. There’s also a bit of offensive upside for a fourth line-type player with five goals and nine points with 22 penalty minutes and a plus-eight rating in 19 games for the P-Bruins this season.
It remains to be seen if the Blidh call-up means that the Bruins intend to scratch a player or that somebody is questionable for Saturday afternoon’s game in Buffalo, but Patrice Bergeron did miss Friday’s practice without any real defined reason for his absence. The 21-year-old Swede said he plans to play to his strengths if he gets into the lineup for the Black and Gold, and that could mean getting under the skin of his Sabres opponents.
“It’s my first time called up, so I’m happy,” said Blidh, who was asked what he'll bring if he gets into the lineup. “I’ll just play simple and play my own game: be hard on the puck and play with some energy. I worked hard [in Providence] and then I got some confidence. I’m not a goal-scorer, but I scored a couple of goals and got some confidence.”
Claude Julien hasn’t been able to catch up Blidh’s work since the season got started, but was pleased by the youngster’s progress in training camp, where he earned notice for his feisty, physical play on a line with Noel Acciari.
“They said he’s playing well, so they brought him up. We’ll get to see him, hopefully tomorrow,” said Julien. “I didn’t hear a ton of fine details aside from him being a guy that was certainly playing with a lot of energy. I didn’t mind him in training camp either. He works really hard and competes hard, and we could use that.”
That would certainly be the case after watching the Bruins go through the motions for long stretches Thursday night against Carolina before essentially stealing a game that they didn’t deserve to win.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading, while everybody in New England is in mourning over the latest Gronk booboo.
*A pretty neat sharpshooting video with Jonathan Toews and that young whippersnapper Auston Matthews squaring off against each other.
*Craig Custance looks a little deeper into the situation with the Florida Panthers and how things are stabilizing after the rough firing of Gerard Gallant last week.
*Now. let’s get to the real important stuff: the San Jose Sharks website has put together their Movember rankings for the player’s mustaches.
*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Bruce Garrioch says that the plans for an outdoor game in Ottawa are again back on the NHL’s agenda.
*Erik Erlendsson has put together a “Lightning Insider” website where you can find all the latest news about the Tampa Bay franchise. Check it out.
*As guys such as Anton Khudobin prove when they’re thrust into the starting spot, backup goalies matter in today’s NHL.
*For something completely different: a mash-up of Kylo Ren and “Girls” from the mad mind of Adam Driver is exactly just that.