Bruins need to play with a chip on their shoulder

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Bruins need to play with a chip on their shoulder

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

VANCOUVER Milan Lucic cant decide if hes trying to silence the media critics doubting his Bruins, or just ignore them completely.

For the second straight time big No. 17 addressed the media in his home city with the first coming in the postgame locker room after a 1-0 loss to the Canucks in Game One and pulled a page out of Rodney Harrisons book of disrespect with the Patriots.

The Bruins have been labeled underdogs, they havent been given a chance by most in the hockey world including this humble hockey writer and theyve taken on an Us against the World mentality that the New England Patriots used to execute as part of their regular playbook in the playoffs.

Whatever works for the Bs is advisable as long as it helps them create more scoring chances and keeps Tim Thomas locked in just as he was for the first 60 minutes of the Stanley Cup Finals.

The peeved Lucic said the players in the Bs dressing room arent buying into the Canucks as heavy favorites with a slim 1-0 lead in the series, and proving people wrong has become an item on Loochs to do list along with scoring goals, avoiding rabid French-Canadian forwards and handing out knuckle sandwiches when deemed appropriate.

That's not the way we feel. We have confidence in each other, said Lucic. We feel like we deserve to be here and there's a reason why we made it to the Stanley Cup final.

There were times where we were the better team in Game One, and there were times obviously they were the better team last game. It's clear that you guys in the media aren't giving us much of a chance. Weve just got to do whatever we can to prove people wrong.

The Bruins can take solace in a couple of things. First of all, theyre in the same position that they found themselves in eventual seven game victories over both the Canadiens and the Lightning in their current playoff run so its not exactly daunting.

We dont want to lose the first game, you know? But the good thing is that weve been there before. We dont panic or anything, said Krejci. We just go out and play the game. We know weve been there before and maybe thats a good thing. You dont want to lose it, but if it happens then it happens.

The Bruins have overcome adversity and hurdled over troublesome patches all year long, and it became something of a calling card for the Black and Gold during the playoffs. If Zdeno Chara being the prime suspect in a farcical Montreal Police investigation didnt daunt the Bruins players, then theres no reason to believe being down early in a seven game series would suddenly activate the panic button.

I expect our team to respond, you know. When we lose a game, we've always taken the next game as a challenge of getting ourselves back in it, said Lucic. I think that's the maturity in the team that we've been able to create this year from the playoff losses in years past. We were able to deal well with that pressure and make plays under pressure. Were able to step up to play in big games.

Game Two is definitely a big game for us. We want to do what we did in the last couple series.

If the Bruins want to find the perfect mindset for the next series of games, they need only turn back the clock to a couple of years ago when they were the heavily-favored juggernaut against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Boston managed to flex their muscles and win that first game against a dog-tired Canes team, and that young team of Bs began to believe things would come just as easily for the rest of the series.

It was a hard lesson for the Bruins as the underdog Canes stunned the Bruins in three straight games before the overconfident bunch of Bs finally gathered themselves off the mat. The Bruins fought back hard in that series to push it to seven games, but ultimately couldnt overcome their power nap in the middle of the series.

Maybe, just maybe, the Bruins can catch Vancouver buying a little too much into their own hype with a 1-0 lead in the series and another home game on tap. Perhaps the Canucks have bought into the notion theyve seen the best from a Boston team that knows they can play better.

Maybe the Bruins can pull their own little Carolina caper before the powerfully built Canucks know what hit them.

The Canucks are just as new to the Stanley Cup Finals as the Bruins, so just about anything is possible.

Theres nothing wrong with Milan Lucic and the Bruins lugging around a chip on their shoulder gathered all of the non-believers.

But its more important that the Bruins come out playing like teed off hockey players with a chance to knock the Canucks back on their heels. Thats the exact kind of attitude that was missing in the first game of this rapidly escalating series.

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

Thursday, Aug. 25: Nearly two decades later, the Whalers live on

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Thursday, Aug. 25: Nearly two decades later, the Whalers live on

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while in disbelief mode that the summer is almost over.

*Good piece on the remainders of the Hartford Whalers organization in Connecticut trying to keep the dream alive for the Whale.

*Tyler Seguin sits down for a podcast this week that I freely admit I did not have the time to listen to. I wonder if Boston even rated a mention in the conversation?

*Rating the top NHL contracts, according to the fancy stats hockey analysts, sounds like an interesting exercise.

*Tracey Myers has Duncan Keith bowing out of the World Cup of Hockey while recovering from an injury, and getting replaced by Jay Boumeester.

*The “Da Beauty” Hockey League has kept players like Dustin Byfuglien, Ryan McDonagh and David Backes in hockey shape this summer while slowly getting ready for the season.

*The Arizona Coyotes make a historic hire by naming Dawn Braid as skating coach, making her the first female coach in the NHL.

*For something completely different: FOH (Friend of Haggs) Rich Shirtenlieb guested on the #DORK podcast this week, and it sounds like he didn’t love “Stranger Things.” At the very least he liked “Preacher” better. I thought Preacher was entertaining, but I didn’t even think it was in the same stratosphere as Stranger Things. Rich also has me wanting to watch “It Follows” now, however, after his endorsement.

 

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