Bruins notes: B's emotionally drained

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Bruins notes: B's emotionally drained

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON Claude Julien believes that he saw a flat team that was perhaps emotionally drained after a couple of big games against the Dallas Stars and Montreal Canadiens recently, and its really impossible to prove hes off the mark.

Perhaps the Bruins had tired legs and weary brows after racking up 187 penalty minutes in an epic butt-kicking of the Habs at TD Garden, and it manifested itself in a listless 6-1 loss to a surgically precise Red Wings team on Friday night.

I think tonight we watched The Wings because I think we were flat. We werent skating tonight. We were second on the puck, and even when they had the puck, I just felt that they had lots of times to make plays, said Julien. We were very slow reacting tonight. So I dont know if the emotional games that weve played lately caught up to us, but we just came out flat.

It just seemed that nothing was going to go our way, even when we had some scoring chances. We hit the posts as well and had a couple of good scoring chances that could have gotten us back in the game, but it just wasnt going in for us. Obviously they were the better team tonight, but were a much better team than what we showed.

Tuukka Rask clearly struggled and was pulled for the second time this season, but the defense in front of him was substandard in every way possible despite limiting the Detroit skaters to less than 20 shots through the first two periods.

Mark Recchi said it was pretty clear to him that the Bs had no legs, and that Detroit was the perfect team to expose them.

I just dont think we had our legs. When you dont have your legs against a team like that, with very good puck control possession players and a team that can really move the puck well, they can make you look flat-footed a lot, said Recchi. If we have our legs, its different. For whatever reason we didnt today and we have to be a lot sharper. We have to go to their building now and try to redeem ourselves.

The Red Wings had lost three of their last four games heading into Friday night and been outscored 12-4 in those contests, so its clear they were highly motivated coming into the Friday night beating. Now its up to the Bruins to turn the tables at Joe Louis Arena on Sunday afternoon before a national audience on NBC.

This is the opportunity that we have, we get another shot at these guys, said Julien. I think its important that we go in there and play our gameplay a lot better. At least that way, you see where you stand with teams like Detroit.

Steve Kampfer donned No. 5 when he played youth and high school hockey in Michigan in honor of Niklas Lidstrom after watching the silky smooth Wings defenseman growing up a Detroit fan, and essentially said that the Joe Louis Arena feels like his own backyard.

Its fun to play your childhood idol, but you want to play him hard and hopefully someday be better than he is, said Kampfer prior to Friday nights defeat. You come to play your game, youre coming to play your teams game and when you do that youre helping the team. Thats what were trying to do tonight, and hopefully we can shut these guys down. Theyre a great team, great players with a lot of Stanley Cups, so its going to be a game where were going to have to try to make them play our style of hockey.

The Michigan University grad played in The Joe countless times over the years as a youth player and as a member of the Wolverines in some pretty epic CCHA battles, and is looking forward to playing in front of more than 50 friends and relatives in Detroit on Sunday afternoon. Kampfer said hes already got 30 confirmed for the game, and hes making arrangements for another 20 on Saturdays off day.

The bottom line is, its a big game for Kampfer after earning favorite son status as a four-year member of the Wolverines hockey team and now as a young NHL player making his way as a puck-moving defenseman.

Its definitely an exciting couple of days. Youve got to look forward to tonight. Its going to be fun, but weve got to play our game and play strong, said Kampfer, who snapped a seven game scoreless stretch with an assist in Bostons 8-6 win over the Canadiens. I grew up with Steve Yzerman, Sergei Federov, Brendan Shanahan... you know. The Russian Five days with Lidstrom, Chelios, Konstantinov. All of those guys. I grew up watching and idolizing them, so this is going to be a lot of fun.

David Krejcis power play goal in the first period was literally the only bright spot of the game for the Bruins, and snapped a 20-game goal-scoring drought for the Czech Republic playmaker. Krejcis last score before Friday night was a two-goal game against the Florida Panthers on Dec. 27 a long, long time ago in a rink pretty far away.

The Bs were outscored 4-0 after Krejcis score, and didnt show many signs of life aside from a couple of near misses in front of Jimmy Howard.

We were just looking at the first half of the first period and they scored two quick goals and I guess from there, we got a little close, but you know, the score didnt matter, said Krejci. They just outplayed us today.

Theres no reason to think it could have been any different when you have the mighty Detroit Red Wings coming to town, and its all but assured that Tyler Seguin wouldnt have been a difference-maker in a 6-1 loss to the Wings at the Garden Friday night.

Tyler Seguin was scratched for the second consecutive game and Mark Stuart was scratched for the eighth straight game in favor of Zach Hamill and Adam McQuaid, respectively.

"He has a ton of talent," coach Claude Julien said of Seguin. "He hasn't had the benefit of other players, such as Taylor Hall in Edmonton, who has played for Memorial Cup teams and so forth. We all know the skill set is high and potential is very high.

"His game may have slipped lately, but he doesn't have the privilege of playing on a rebuilding team where you can keep throwing guys like that out there. He has that time to be patient with that."

Fridays home game at TD Garden against the Detroit Red Wings was the first Friday night Bruins game in Boston since a Nov. 20, 2008 tilt against the Florida Panthers at the Garden.

Tuukka Rask was pulled after the second period, and it marked the third time this season that the Bruins have pulled a goaltender from the game. The Bruins are 0-2-1 in those three games this season.

Bostons 6-1 loss to Detroit tonight was their largest margin of loss since a 6-1 setback to Anaheim on Oct. 8, 2009 and their first of the season by more than three goals.

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

Sweeney: 'Helpless feeling' hoping World Cup players return healthy

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Sweeney: 'Helpless feeling' hoping World Cup players return healthy

BRIGHTON, Mass. – It’s a bit of a helpless feeling for an NHL general manager watching their star players participate in an intense hockey tournament like the World Cup of Hockey that doesn’t directly benefit their respective teams.

Not helpless because of the tournament’s outcome, obviously, but helpless because players could return from Toronto dinged up, or even worse significantly injured.

Aaron Ekblad had to shut it down for Team North American with what many speculated was a concussion, and Pittsburgh goalie Matt Murray is out a month, or more, with a broken hand sustained playing for the same young guns team.

So, it certainly must have been an uneasy few moments for Don Sweeney when Brad Marchand was pulled from Team Canada’s last game for the concussion protocol after a nasty-looking collision with Team Europe forward Marian Hossa.

Marchand went through the testing, and ended up returning to the game no worse for the wear. But it could have been a lot worse for a Bruins team that can’t afford to be missing Marchand, Patrice Bergeron or Zdeno Chara, who are still playing for teams alive in the semifinal round of the tourney.

“I would expect all of us to have been in a similar situation. For everybody - any general manager, coaches, staff, you're concerned about [injuries],” said Sweeney, talking about the World Cup and Marchand’s close call. “I mean, especially when you realize the stakes are going to go up as the tournament goes along. The pride involved - it's a risk. There's no question, it's a risk.

“But you also want to see them play their best hockey and they're not going to hold back. Yeah, it's a definite concern. You've got your fingers and toes crossed.”

David Pastrnak and Tuukka Rask have already returned to Boston fully healthy. David Backes should be joining the team anytime now after Team USA’s rude dismissal from the tournament. But Sweeney and the Bruins still have their sensors out for the three B’s players taking part that aren’t quite out of the woods yet before returning to B’s camp in one piece. 

 

Bruins lose Vatrano for three months after foot surgery

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Bruins lose Vatrano for three months after foot surgery

BRIGHTON, Mass. – The first bad break of Bruins camp arrived on Saturday with the news that scoring winger Frank Vatrano will be out three months after tearing a couple of ligaments in his left foot.

The 21-year-old winger from UMass and East Longmeadow, Mass., sustained the injury training just prior to the B’s fitness testing for camp and will have surgery on Monday at Mass General Hospital with Dr. George Theodore.

Vatrano had missed the first two days of camp after participating in captain’s practice just about right until the start of main training camp, so the injury must have happened just prior to Thursday’s off-ice testing.

“He had an injury just prior to testing, and it took a couple of days to make sure he had the proper evaluation. He saw a specialist yesterday and he’s scheduled for surgery on Monday,” said Bruins GM Don Sweeney. “One or two of the ligaments were torn when he was doing some running, so he’s out.”

The injury is a big blow for a Bruins team that clearly had plans on Vatrano filling out a top-six role and leaves the door wide open for a young players Danton Heinen, Jake DeBrusk, Zach Senyshyn or Peter Cehlarik to win an NHL job out of camp. Perhaps a veteran such as camp invite Peter Mueller could secure a job when it didn’t appear to be any room on the NHL roster just a few days ago.

Either way it’s damaging to a Bruins team that was relying on goal-scoring and explosive forward play from a guy who topped 40 goals combined in the NHL and AHL last season.

“Obviously it’s a blow. Frankie looked at as an opportunity to [win a top-6 spot]. We all did. How that was going to play out remained to be seen, but he was going to be afforded a position to see if he could grab hold of it,” said Sweeney. “So obviously, he’s disappointed, and we are as well. You look at as with all injuries…it’s a setback. But the doctors feel very good that three months from now he’ll be able to play and move forward.”

It’s not officially NHL training camp until a major injury strikes, so now the Bruins are in the middle of it after learning they’ll lose Vatrano until Christmastime. 

Here's Vatrano's "Countdown to camp" profile