Bruins look to get back on track on the road

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Bruins look to get back on track on the road

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

The Bruins built up the third-best road record in the Eastern Conference last season, and poured the foundation for their Stanley Cup run with a 10-day trip to Europe to begin the season.

The Bs actually struggled on their own home ice for long stretches of the regular season before catching fire late in the year, and some of their finest moments came together in rinks not named TD Garden. So with that in mind, Boston will lick their wounds at a Tuesday morning practice at Ristuccia Arena, and then set off for a two-game road trip that will take the Bruins through Carolina and Chicago.

We need to be together as a team and go out there on the road, said Patrice Bergeron. We can't panic right now. Yeah, we have to be better and, yeah, we have to expect the best out of every team.

It's a real challenge, so we have to go into Carolina and have our heads up. We need more. We need to be better.

The trip will span six days and give the Bruins a chance to get out of dodge after managing only win in their first three home games of the year, and totaled only a single goal in the two losses while getting inundated with Stanley Cup hoopla.

Both the Hurricanes and Blackhawks are expected to have playoff-caliber teams this season, so they wont be easy games for the Black and Gold. But perhaps thats a good thing after the Bs players failed to properly wake up against the lowly Colorado Avalanche Monday afternoon at the Garden.

I dont think going on the road is going to hurt, but at the same time I really think its more about our approach to the game thats going to make a difference, Claude Julien said. Now whether that helps getting away to get us focused and being in the hotels, being around each other and knowing the purpose of us being on the road certainly could help. As you know at home there are always more distractions.

Its important that the Bruins dont view the road as a cure all given some of the consistency issues in a pair of home games at the Garden, but the road isnt quite so cold and unforgiving at the NHL level.

The Bruins learned their first important lesson of the new season when they paid dearly for overlooking an Avalanche team at the Garden, and there should be a few more learning moments on the road over the coming week.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

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Hayes: 'I know I've got to bounce back and have a strong year'

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Hayes: 'I know I've got to bounce back and have a strong year'

DORCHESTER –Bruins general manager Don Sweeney spoke last weekend of the need for big winger Jimmy Hayes to step up next season if Loui Eriksson should indeed depart via free agency.

“I think Jimmy had a pretty good start to the year, but he really tailed off when the team needed him most. He should take some responsibility for that,” said Sweeney. “We had a pretty frank discussion about that to challenge him to take his game to another level, and be able to help out a younger player. He played a lot with Ryan Spooner.

“I have to put ownership on Jimmy in terms of saying ‘Hey, I have to take more responsibility. It’s not just about finishing and scoring goals.’ He has the capacity to do that. He gets power play time and net-front time, and he needs to get to the hard areas of the ice with more consistency. It’s an area that he needs to continue to improve upon. We as an organization feel that we need to have players that are driven to get better.”

Hayes heard that loud and clear just as he received the same message during exit interviews with the Bruins back in April, and knows that he needs to simply put more into next season.

Hayes’ numbers dropped from the previous season with the Florida Panthers, and he finished with 13 goals, 29 points and a minus-12 while going through long stretches where he completely disappeared on the ice. That’s a difficult thing for a 6-foot-6 forward to do, but Hayes managed while going weeks at a time without scoring and failing to play the big man’s game around the net on most nights.

The 26-year-old Hayes knows that needs to change for both his personal benefit and for the well-being of the Black and Gold this upcoming season.

“It’s definitely something that’s going to motivate me beyond just already motivating myself [this summer]. We had our own discussions [during exit interviews], and I know I’ve got to bounce back and have a strong season,” said Hayes. “I need to make sure I help my team win, and that’s what it’s all about. I want to be consistent and available every night to try get two points for our team, and get us as an organization back where we want to be.

“We just talked about how the season went, and we were really up-front with each other. We just want to continue to get better and more consistent, and get better through the season rather than have these spurts where you’re putting up numbers. And if you’re not scoring then you’ve got to find other ways to help the team win, and get to those areas where you’re going to get rewarded for going to those hard areas on a consistent basis.”

This isn’t the first time that Hayes has said all the right things about turning around his game, and really, truly living up to the hope he could be a big-bodied factor down low for the Black and Gold tipping, redirecting, screening and shoveling home rebounded pucks from areas all around the front of the net.