Bruins notes: Campbell drops the gloves

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Bruins notes: Campbell drops the gloves

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

DENVER Gregory Campbell would be the first to tell anyone that hes not one of those scary players thats going to intimidate in the way that a potential fight with Shawn Thornton or Milan Lucic can.

But Campbell constantly shows his leadership and burning will to win when he picks and chooses spots to drop the gloves, and thats exactly what he did again in Saturdays 6-2 win over the Avalanche.

His fight with Cody MacLeod wasnt a knockout win while the two were throwing punches, but theres little doubt that the entire vibe on the ice changed once the brawl was broken up.

I think he did a great job. He went out there dropped the gloves, and it really did seem to settle our team down and change the momentum a little bit, said Claude Julien. Hes done a really good job of recognizing those moments in a game, and taking advantage of them.

The Bs were down 1-0 after a quick Colorado goal and seemed to be a bit on their heels to start the game.

Perhaps Campbell felt the skittishness coming off a flat loss to Buffalo, and decided to take it into his own hands and change the momentum that was trending away from Boston. Both players got in some decent shots with the more experienced pugilist in MacLeod taking the victory in the fisticuffs, but Campbell got the last laugh that he pretty much solely concerns himself with.

Those things happen. We were down 1-0 and sometimes its good to start something like that early and give a wakeup call to everybody. It sends a message to everyone that were here on the road and were not going anywhere, said Campbell. It was a little enthusiasm and a little emotion was what we needed, and we answered pretty quickly after that.

Fighting is not an easy thing to do. Im not Thornton or Lucic. Im not a scary guy. But you kind of have to put yourself out there, show that you care and its pretty satisfying when you see the other guys respond.

With Mark Recchis second period goal, he notched the 573rd goal of his career and moved into a tie with Mike Bossy for 19th place all-time on the NHL career goals scored list.

Brad Marchand finished with two goals, two assists, a plus-4 rating, four shots on net and a hellacious hit on Matt Duchene in the first period, but somehow the rookie rink rat didnt earn the No. 1 star of the game at the Pepsi Center. Might be time for a recount.

Strong games for both Milan Lucic and David Krejci, who both struggled in the Thursday night loss to the Sabres at TD Garden and had been battling with some consistency issues as of late.

Its about winning board battles. We knew before the game that they like to pinch a lot, and we knew if we held the boards and made strong plays that wed be in good shape, said Lucic. That was one of our best skating games recently. Thats why we were able to create a lot out there. But we cant sit on it. We need to go out there and keep going for more.It was an unfortunately eventful day for former Bruins defenseman Matt Hunwick in his first game back against his old teammates at the Pepsi Center. Hunwick played a mistake-free 21:48 against the B's and finished with a plus-1 in a 6-2 loss -- a pretty difficult thing to do -- and it seemed that many of his Bruins teammates and colleagues appreciated the chance to catch up with "Munch."Hunwick was also the Colorado player involved in the collision with Marc Savard in the corner that left the playmaking center dazed and in pain after his head slammed against the glass once Hunwick finished his check. It was clear that Hunwick was concerned as watched Savard struggle to get to his feet, and skate off with what seemed to be another apparent head trauma in a career that's had way too many of them already."I got a chance to see Matty in the hotel a bit on Friday and it was good to see him," said Julien. "He's a good player and a very good person, and in this day and age these kinds of moves are made for salary cap purposes. It seems that he's really gotten comfortable here in Colorado and things are working out for him, and as a coach you're happy when you see that."

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

Haggerty: From top to bottom, still no urgency from Bruins

Haggerty: From top to bottom, still no urgency from Bruins

BRIGHTON -- The Bruins pulled the worst of their no-shows on Monday afternoon in the 4-0 shutout loss to the Islanders.

It was a lethargic, mediocre start in the first period that devolved into the bottom dropping out on the Black and Gold when they allowed three unanswered goals in the second. Then, to top it all off, they showed zero urgency or push to make a comeback in the final period. 

It was “unacceptable” in the words of the Bruins players from beginning to end with careless, elementary mistakes in the defensive zone and absolutely zero sustained push in the offensive zone despite a deceiving 32 shots on net.

So, where was the urgency for a Bruins team that’s barely ahead of the Maple Leafs and Senators in the Atlantic Division despite having played six more games than each of those two?

Apparently the Bruins were feeling a little cocky after playing a solid five-game stretch where they’d gone 3-1-1 and taken down the Panthers, Blues and Flyers while elevating their level of play. Heart and soul team leader Patrice Bergeron admitted as much on Tuesday morning as the Bruins cancelled practice and turned their attention toward righting the ship Wednesday night in Detroit.

It was frankly a little stunning to hear Bergeron admit that his Bruins team thought they could win just by showing up on Monday afternoon, but that’s exactly what he copped to in something of an apologetic way.

Brad Marchand said Monday postgame that the Bruins “just weren’t ready [to play]” against the Islanders, and it sounded like his linemate agreed with him.

“It’s about realizing that you can’t take teams lightly, or take the foot off the gas pedal for a period, for a game, or whatever. It hurts us every time we do it, so we have to learn and realize that it just cannot happen. Teams are too good and the points are too valuable for us,” said Bergeron. “You never want to do that, but at the same time maybe it was something that happened because it was a terrible start, and to not respond when they scored the goals. Maybe that’s what happened yesterday.

“As much as you don’t want it to happen, maybe we thought it was going to be an easier game than it actually was against them.”

On the one hand, it’s somewhat shocking to hear that admission from a player that’s always played with full work ethic and an effort level that’s never been questioned. But Bergeron was also a minus-3 in the 4-0 loss and was every bit as guilty as everybody else up and down the roster for the team’s most pathetic loss of the season at a time when results are all that matter.

Perhaps this shouldn’t be surprising, though, because the lack of urgency on the bench is mirrored by the lack of urgency upstairs in the Bruins management office right now. Bruins general manager Don Sweeney told the Boston Globe last week that he’s considering a move with the head coach along with a number of other things to spark a team treading water, but it doesn’t feel like a major move is on the horizon with this Bruins team.

Trade talks are still in the formative, discussion stages as GMs like Joe Sakic and John Chayka are overvaluing their players looking for a king’s ransom for guys like Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog, Martin Hanzal and Radim Vrbata. While Claude Julien should be under the microscope with a team sleepwalking its way through perhaps a third season in a row without the playoffs, it also doesn’t feel like the Bruins are going to pull the trigger on that move until the offseason at the earliest.

This humble hockey writer still insists that this playoff-caliber Bruins team plays at times like a one that needs a swift kick in the backside. Perhaps Julien isn’t up for it after 10 long, successful years of battles with the same core group.   

So, what is there to do then besides make cosmetic moves like shipping underperforming Anton Khudobin down to Providence, or rearrange the deck chairs on a third and fourth line that it’s difficult to tell apart on most days in Boston?

If the Bruins front office wants to truly get to the bottom of their team’s lack of urgency on the ice, perhaps a look in the mirror might be in order. Because that same lack of urgency is playing out with a management group that’s watching their team sink into the Atlantic Division muck right now and seems gun-shy on making a move that could rattle cages.

“Right now where we are in the standings, we’ve got a lot of games to play but we’re still in a playoff spot,” said Julien. “We try and play with the expectations that we have, and that’s to do the best with what we’ve got. We’ve got a lot of new faces and we’re trying to build with what we’ve got here moving forward.”

Certainly nobody is talking about trading away their blue chip prospects like Brandon Carlo or Charlie McAvoy, but there are veteran players on Boston’s current roster that aren’t cut out for battling into the postseason with a young team. It’s plain to see when a middling hockey team can’t find the inspiration to go out and take care of business against a bad Islanders group on a sleepy Monday afternoon just a month after they made the same mistake against the same team on home ice.

The Bruins showed in a five-game stretch leading up to the Islanders debacle that they should be held to a higher standard - that of a team that should qualify for the postseason. But one question arose again and again watching the poorest of poor efforts play out on Monday afternoon: why should the Bruins players show any feet-in-the-fire urgency on the ice when it doesn’t feel like there’s much feet-in-the-fire urgency from upper management to improve the flailing hockey club?

Until that organizational dynamic changes, it’s difficult to see things getting much better, or worse, for a Bruins team that looks destined for the mediocre middle once again this season. 
 

Bruins cancel practice to 'regroup' after bad loss to Islanders

Bruins cancel practice to 'regroup' after bad loss to Islanders

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins were supposed to hit the ice for the eighth day in a row on Tuesday following their empty 4-0 loss to the New York Islanders on Monday afternoon, but those plans were scrubbed.

The reeling Black and Gold instead cancelled practice, with only Matt Beleskey, Jimmy Hayes and Zane McIntyre taking the ice at Warrior Ice Arena and the rest of the B’s hitting the giant reset button after an embarrassing loss.

“I think it’s one of those [things] where you’ve got to regroup and recharge the batteries, and feel better,” said Patrice Bergeron. “Maybe a little bit of fatigue was part of it [Monday vs. the Isles] and you use a day like today to look forward, look at videos and be better the next day. It happens today and we have another game tomorrow [against Detroit].”

While it is true that the Bruins and Winnipeg Jets have played more games than anybody else in the NHL in this wacky season with a condensed schedule, the B’s leaders weren’t having it as an excuse with both the Maple Leafs and Senators holding an incredible six games in hand on Boston. Blown opportunities against bad opponents are exactly the recipe for missing the playoffs, as they have in each of the past two seasons, and the Bruins are tracking to do that again.

“All of the teams are in the same situation. It’s about managing and finding ways to be at your best every night and in every game. Yes, maybe [the condensed schedule] is part of it, but you can’t just put the blame on that. We’re professionals and we need to show up every game.”

The Bruins didn’t show up against the Islanders on Monday afternoon and basically pulled their second no-show vs. the Isles on home ice this season. There’s no excuse for that given the B’s current situation battling for the postseason. 

Maybe a day off the ice will improve that situation and maybe it’s simply rewarding a team that didn’t earn it on Monday afternoon, but the B’s have to hope it’s much more of the former than the latter.