Bruins notes: B's stand by Chara


Bruins notes: B's stand by Chara

By Joe Haggerty

BOSTON Zdeno Chara gave it his best shot as any red-blooded competitor would. The 33-year-old defenseman couldnt answer the bell in Game Two of Boston Bruins' best-of-seven Stanley Cup series against the Montreal Canadiens due to severe dehydration and a flu-like illness, and it cost the team severely.

Chara managed to man up for the warm-up skate at TD Garden prior to the game and nearly everyone thought the Bs Captain would play, but instead the Bruins blueliner was not granted medical clearanceafter being hospitalized overnight because of dehydration. Chara played 25 minutes in the Game One loss to the Canadiens and took part in a full Friday practice, but went to the hospital later on Fridaywhen he wasnt feeling well.

His teammates assumed once theyd seen the Bruins defenders haggard appearance that it would be enough to keep Chara out of the lineup, but that never daunted the team in terms of replacing a valuable player short-term. Perhaps it should have as Chara is clearly the most irreplacable piece on the B's roster, and somebody that simply can't be made up for by the other six blueliners on Boston's active roster.

Everyone in this room knows each other well enough that if theres any chance that you can help the team, youre going to go. We all know how tough Chara is, he doesnt have to prove that to anybody, saidAndrew Ference.He makes the right decision for the team, so he knows himself better than anybody else.

Coach Claude Julien said Chara was sweating and dizzy after the pregame skate, and TV replays at both Versus and NESN showed the big defenseman simply trying to battle to keep the puck on his stick during warmups. It was only the second game this season that Chara missed along with the final off-day during the regular season, and his coach gave an impassioned defense of his leader when it was clear he wouldn't be able to play due to illness.Chara will certainly hear it from the media and fans because it's the Stanley Cup playoffs and something like dehydration wouldn't seem to be something that could really knock a player out -- but it can and did in the big 6-foot-9 Captain's case.

"He deserves so much better for what he did tonight, coming to the rink and going out there for the warm-up, said Julien. "Even attempting to come, it was courageous on his part. We missed him. He did the best he could, but to be honest with you it wasn't even close.

I know that hes been beat up on a little bit with some of you media that think you know better than anybody else, but there was no way he could play. So anything else, its disappointing to see people making comments. And youre going to say, Well, we dont know the whole thing. Well, I think if he could have played, he would have played tonight. He tried his best and he couldnt play. So, disappointing that people would even question this guy for what he is and what hes done.

The Bruins will have a dry-land day of workouts Sunday, then will travel up toMontreal on Sunday afternoon in anticipation of Monday night's Game Three at the raucous Bell Centre.

The Bruins have fallen behind 2-0 in 26 different playoff series over the long history of the Bruins franchise, and the Bs have dropped every since one of the 26 games throughout their history. The Bruins have also now lost six straight playoff games and been outscored by a 20-9 margin over that time in six defeats at the hands of the Flyers and the Canadiens.

"Let's be honest: Our team has not played at all close to the way we can," Julien said. "If they're going to score some goals, they're going to need to earn them more than they have. We had to work pretty hard to get that one goal. I don't think they had to work as hard to get theirs." JohnnyBoychuk andDennis Seidenberg both had tough nights in their own end with Chara out of the lineup, and it was Boychuk who twice was caught flat-footed by crashing Canadiens for goals after Tim Thomas kicked out gigantic juicy rebounds. Boychuk and Seidenberg were both a minus-2 and got caught on the first and third goals attempting to make long stretch passes to forwards that never had a chance against the fast recovery of the Montreal attackers in the neutral zone."Number one you cant every say that you didnt miss Zdeno Chara. Hes one of the best defensemen in the league and when you lose a guy like that it leaves you with a big hole. Having said that, I still think our Ds are capable of handling themselves and can definitely be better," said Julien. "Those costly goals are what were talking about. They have to make the other team earn their goals and I dont think that was the case tonight. We certainly have to get better in regards to that and those kinds of mistakes and are type we cant keep making."

Canadiens D Hal Gill played in his 100th career playoff game. The first 36 were with the Bruins. He is still looking for his first goal.

Tyler Seguin and Matt Bartkowksi were the healthy scratches for the Bruins Saturday night, and Steve Kampfer sat out knee injury. Seguin could very well get a chance to crack the lineup and play for Boston after his teammates went a miserable 0-for-7 on the power play in the first two games against the Habs."We'll see," said Julien of the potential for Seguin to play. "We'll see about that."

Joe Haggerty can be reached at Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Haggerty: So what exactly has happened to the Bruins-Habs rivalry?


Haggerty: So what exactly has happened to the Bruins-Habs rivalry?

BRIGHTON, MASS -- It didn’t take last season’s embarrassing Winter Classic result to figure out something has been missing from the storied, legendary Bruins-Canadiens rivalry over the last few years.

The last traces of the latest, great incarnation of the B’s-Habs rivalry were clearly still there a couple of seasons ago when the two hockey clubs met in the second round of the playoffs. After falling short the last few times the teams met in the postseason, Boston was summarily dismissed by Montreal in Game 7 on their own home ice during that series. The following season the B’s simply had so many of their own players struggling to put out a consistent effort, so the games against the Habs didn’t really register highly on the importance scale, and last season both Boston and Montreal suffered through subpar seasons that saw them each fall short of the playoffs.

Since the second round loss to the Habs in the 2013-14 playoffs, the Bruins are 2-7 while being outscored by a 31-18 margin in nine regular season meetings over the last two seasons in an incredibly one-sided chapter in the two teams’ shared history. The real lack of competitiveness has been a noticeable lack of deep emotion or ill will on the ice between the two hockey clubs, and that is very different from the recent past when signature players like Milan Lucic, P.K. Subban and Shawn Thornton were card-carrying members of healthy hate that regularly spilled out on the ice between the two rival NHL organizations.

Instead it will probably be new blood that breathes glorious, hard-edged life into the history between the two Original Six teams, and new personalities like David Backes, Shea Weber and Andrew Shaw are likely to do just that. Certainly the Canadiens wanted to be much more difficult to play against in recruiting players like Shaw and Weber, and, their presence along with the offensively explosive Alex Radulov, could make it a tough matchup for the Black and Gold.

Either way, the Bruins are curious to see what the matchup looks like this season with the electric P.K. Subban removed from the mix as one of the classic Habs villain-type characters from a Boston perspective.

“It’s always fun to play Montreal at home, or in Montreal. This will be our second time counting the preseason, and our first time at the Garden. It’s going to be pretty cool,” said David Krejci. “When you say any NHL team there are a few names that pop out for that team, and [P.K. Subban] was definitely one of them [for Montreal]. But P.K. is gone, and now it’s Shea Weber. So it’s going to be a little different, but he’s a hell of a player as well so it isn’t going to be any easier.

“It’s a big game. It’s a division game. We don’t want to take any game lightly within the 82 games because you don’t know what can happen at the end. When those games against [Montreal] are done you always feel like you’ve played two games, and not just one. It’s high intensity, and it’s obviously a rivalry that you get up for.”

As Bruins head coach Claude Julien would say it, things are a bit too civilized between the two enemy teams when thinking back to the days of Georges Laraque chasing Milan Lucic around the ice challenging him a fight on the Bell Centre ice, or the awful epoch in B’s-Habs history when Zdeno Chara clobbered Max Pacioretty with a dangerous, injury-inducing hit into the stanchion area.

Nobody is looking for players to get hurt on borderline plays when the two teams suit up on Saturday night, but something to introduce a new chapter into the Boston-Montreal rivalry would be a good thing for both teams, a good thing for the fans and a potentially great thing for an NHL that prides itself on good, old-fashioned rivalries.

“We need to make sure that we’re ready to play [on Saturday]. I like the way that we’ve played so far, and except for Toronto we’ve managed to compete with all of the teams that we’ve played against,” said Julien. “I don’t know if it’s going to stay that way, but I’m going to use the word that [the rivalry] has been more civilized for the last few years. There hasn’t been as much of the sideshow as there has been [in the past].

“I think there’s still a lot of hatred between the two organizations when they meet, but I think the way the game is trending, and how costly that penalties can be in a game, both teams are a little cautious in that way. I still think there is great intensity and both teams get up for the games, so hopefully that happens tomorrow, and the fans get to see a good game.”

One thing that should ensure a good, familiar showdown with plenty of hard-hitting and honest-to-goodness rivalry-like behavior: both the Canadiens and Bruins are off to strong starts at the top of the Atlantic Division in the first couple of weeks this season, and there are some new faces that are undoubtedly going to want to announce their presence for these Bruins-Habs tilts with authority.

Let’s hope this happens because last season’s Bruins-Habs games needed a pair of jumper cables and 1.21 jigowatts of electricity to shock them back into their elevated level of intensity, and that’s when hockey is served best after all. 

Friday, Oct. 21: Pee-wee push-ups draw coach’s punishment


Friday, Oct. 21: Pee-wee push-ups draw coach’s punishment

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while anxiously awaiting a Cleveland/Chicago Cubs World Series showdown with all of the Red Sox subplots that could be involved.

*A peewee hockey coach in Quebec has been given a season-long suspension for punishing his players with hundreds of push-ups.

*The NHL game has changed radically over the last 11 years as Henrik Lundqvist has been a fixture for the New York Rangers.

*A lot has changed since Jaromir Jagr scored his first goal in 1990 and this article is worth it for the Jagr mullet picture alone.

*PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough says that a healthy Brandon Sutter has been a difference-maker for the Canucks.

*Carey Price is back in net for the Montreal Canadiens, and that makes the Habs a new team as they prepare for the Bruins on Saturday.

*This is what it looks like when you’ve completely given up on just about everything else except for being a hockey fan. So very gross.

*For something completely different: The Doctor Strange cast is being forced into answering some tough questions at the premiere of what is essentially a comic book movie.