Bruins getting gritty on faulty power play

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Bruins getting gritty on faulty power play

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

WILMINGTON The Bruins are 0-for-13 on the power play dating back to the Saturday afternoon when Marc Savard went down in Colorado, and those adjustments along with Jordan Carons role within the lineup became very clear after Tuesdays practice at Ristuccia Arena.The Bruins moved Mark Recchi to the point of the top power-play unit with Zdeno Chara on the other side. Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic were camped down low, with David Krejci working the half-wall position normally occupied by Savard.The second unit had a very different look with Dennis Seidenberg and Steve Kampfer working the points, and both Brad Marchand and Gregory Campbell joining Michael Ryder off the half-wall.
The point, according to coach Claude Julien, was to add some grit and toughness to the power play while also placing Recchis calming influence at one of the point spots on the top PP unit.Its a function of still trying to make our power play better, said Julien. While our last game was one when you could say you werent pleased with the power play, we had a hard time getting it into the zone and we lost our share of battles once we did get it in.Weve kind of tweaked our personnel around and hope that we get better in that regard. Thats something that since the beginning of the year weve really been working hard to turn around to make it better. We put a plan together, but you have to make sure if youre one of our best players that youre at your best.The Bruins are tied with the Ottawa Senators for 20th in the NHL with a 16.8 percent success rate on the power play, and its seemed that all year the man advantage has had problems achieving consistency and at no point has really felt like a dangerous unit ready to strike at any second.With that in mind, it appears Julien is taking a bit of the roll up the sleeves approach and will instead put a couple of grinders out on the second PP unit to force the puck into the net rather than try finessing it in.
Conspicuous by his absence on either power play unit is Nathan Horton, who only got some PP time in practice when Johnny Boychuks chip attempt caught Bergeron in the chin.Were one of those teams that continue to work on that part of the game, said Julien, who admitted that the Bruins will open Wednesdays game vs. Montreal with the PP alignments from practice. What you saw is something youll see. Maybe we need a little bit more grit and a few more shots from the back end and maybe itll work with that.We feel like weve had some issues taking pucks off the wall near the blue line and making plays under pressure, and Recchi is one of those guys thats been pretty good in that area the few times weve used him there. If we dont try it, then well never know.Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Friday, July 29: Good signs in Bruins-Marchand negotiations

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Friday, July 29: Good signs in Bruins-Marchand negotiations

Here are the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while using “malarkey” in my day-to-day vocabulary as much as possible. 
 
-- Dale Tallon was promoted with the Florida Panthers to accentuate his strengths as a talent evaluator, but maintains that he still has final say on hockey decisions
 
-- PHT writer Cam Tucker has another young D-man off the board with the Wild’s Matthew Dumba signing a two year, $5.1 million deal with Minnesota
 
-- In the interest of self-promotion, here’s my take on the negotiations between Brad Marchand and the Bruins: There’s a couple of good signs at the outset of negotiations
 
-- The Arizona Coyotes are stressing the defensive side of things in a big, big way, and it appears to be part of John Chayka’s master plan

 -- Alex Pietrangelo would be a natural selection to replace David Backes as the next captain of the St. Louis Blues. 

-- A moving letter from Sens forward Bobby Ryan to his recently passed mother is up at the Players Tribune website. 

-- Chris Kreider has re-signed with the New York Rangers, and plans to get out of his head and onto the score sheet more often. 
 
-- For something completely different: Jerod Mayo will bring a new voice to Tom E. Curran’s Quick Slants program on our very own CSN network. 

 

List of Bruins prospects includes two familiar names

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List of Bruins prospects includes two familiar names

With decidedly Boston-sounding names and thoroughly familiar faces, given their resemblances to their ex-Bruin dads, it might have been easy to overlook Ryan Donato and Ryan Fitzgerald and focus on the truly little-known prospects at Development Camp earlier this month.

But on the ice, their brimming confidence, their offensive skills and the maturity to their all-around game was impossible to ignore.

When it was over, general manager Don Sweeney singled out Donato, who plays at Harvard, and Fitzgerald, from Boston College -- along with Notre Dame forward Anders Bjork and former Boston University defenseman Matt Grzelcyk -- as players who have developed significantly.
 
“[They're] just comfortable in what they’re doing,” said Sweeney. “I mean, they’ve played at the college hockey level . . . two, three, four years with some of these kids. They’re very comfortable in their own skin and in what they do.”
 
Donato, 20, is actually coming off his first season at Harvard, where he posted 13 goals and 21 points in 32 games. He looked like he was in midseason form during Development Camp, showing off a scoring touch, skill with the puck on his stick in tight traffic, and the instincts to anticipate plays that allow him to beat defenders to spots in the offensive zone. He’s primed for a giant sophomore season with the Crimson, based on his showing at camp.
 
“Every year is a blast," said Donato, son of former Bruins forward and current Harvard coach Ted Donato. "You just come in [to development camp] with an open mindset where you soak everything up from the coaches like a sponge, and see what they say. Then I just do my best to incorporate it into my game and bring it with me to school next year.
 
“One of the things that [Bruins coaches and management] has said to me -- and it’s the same message for everybody -- is that every area of your game is an important one to develop. The thing about the NHL is that every little detail makes the difference, and that’s what I’ve been working on whether it’s my skating, or my defensive play. Every little piece of my game needs to be developed.”
 
Then there's Fitzgerald, 21, who is entering his senior season at BC after notching 24 goals and 47 points in 40 games last year in a real breakout season. The 2013 fourth-round pick showed speed and finishing ability during his Development Camp stint and clearly is close to being a finished hockey product at the collegiate level.
 
“It was good. It’s definitely a fun time being here, seeing these guys and putting the logo on,” said Fitzgerald, son of former Bruins forward Tom Fitzgerald, after his fourth Development Camp. “One thing I’m focusing on this summer is getting stronger, but it’s also about just progressing and maturing.
 
“I thought . . . last year [at BC] was a pretty good one, so I just try to build off that and roll into my senior season. [The Bruins] have told me to pretty much continue what I’m doing in school. When the time is right I’ll go ahead [and turn pro], so probably after I graduate I’ll jump on and make an impact.”
 
Fitzgerald certainly didn’t mention or give any hints that it could happen, but these days it has to give an NHL organization a bit of trepidation anytime one of their draft picks makes it all the way to their senior season. There’s always the possibility of it turning into a Jimmy Vesey-type situation if a player -- like Fitzgerald -- has a huge final year and draws enough NHL interest to forego signing with the team that drafted him for a shot at free agency in the August following his senior season.
 
It may be a moot point with Fitzgerald, a Boston kid already living a dream as a Bruins draft pick, but it’s always a possibility until he actually signs.
 
In any case, both Donato and Fitzgerald beat watching in their respective college seasons after both saw their development level take a healthy leap forward.