Bruins notes: Julien moves Recchi to third line


Bruins notes: Julien moves Recchi to third line

By DannyPicard

WILMINGTON -- Claude Julien likes what he sees out of his top line, but the second and third lines haven't produced as much lately. As a result, the Bruins' coach made a minor adjustment at Wednesday's practice, in preparation for Thursday night's game against the Buffalo Sabres at the TD Garden.

Julien took Mark Recchi off his usual line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, and put him on the wing with Chris Kelly and Michael Ryder. Rich Peverley replaced Recchi on the wing with Bergeron and Marchand.

The B's coach called it a "normal adjustment through the course of the year."

"I don't think there's too much to make of it, more than a little tweak here and there," said Julien. "Because I think, right now, we're getting Krejci's line to produce for us, but the other two lines have been a little bit quiet."

Injured defensemen Andrew Ference (lower body) and Steve Kampfer (concussion) were the only Bruins players missing from Wednesday's practice, but Julien said afterwards that both are progressing as expected.

Ference skated on his own on Wednesday, prior to the team's skate, and depending how his solo session goes on Thursday, he could stay on the ice for the team's morning skate at the TD Garden.

Kampfer continued to go through the normal protocol for concussions on Wednesday, as he rode the stationary bike, and Julien said there's a possibility that he could skate on Thursday as well.

In case there was any concern regarding Tim Thomas and a possible injury, the Bruins' goaltender was on the ice at Ristuccia Arena on Wednesday.

Rask's start on Tuesday night in Montreal caused some concern about the health of Thomas, but he took just as many shots as Rask on Wednesday.

Defenseman Johnny Boychuk was sporting a vicious black and swollen left eye on Wednesday, after his long fight with Montreal's Ryan White, who instigated the fight with Boychuk, after the Bruins' defenseman missed a big, open-ice hit on P.K. Subban in the opening minutes of Thursday's game.

Boychuk had a full practice on Wednesday, and was in good spirits afterwards.

"I didn't really have my gloves off before he came after me, but it was a good fight," said Boychuk after practice.

Julien addressed his team's struggles on the power play as of late, even after the addition of Tomas Kaberle, who was acquired to become the power play's "quarterback."

The B's coach pointed out that Kaberle has improved the man advantage, but said it's now up to the forwards to finish the plays that the guys up top make.

"We've got to be a little hungrier around the net, and jamming that net, jumping on the loose pucks," said Julien. "I think that's the main thing, because we're getting scoring chances, but we're not getting goals. There's a reason for that, and sometimes it's about being a little hungrier down low. It's about maybe being a little bit better on those loose pucks and those rebounds.

"Every team has it's challenges, and right now, our challenge is our power play."

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on hisstreaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from9-10 a.m. on

Haggerty: Subban looking more like a 1st-round bust than NHL goalie

Haggerty: Subban looking more like a 1st-round bust than NHL goalie

BOSTON, Mass – Malcolm Subban says that he believes that he can still be a No. 1 goaltender in the NHL.

While that’s admirable on some level for the sheer, brazen self-confidence involved in saying this after getting yanked from a 5-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild at TD Garden, pretty much all of the evidence points out the contrary. Nearly two years after getting pulled from his NHL debut in against the St. Louis Blues after giving up three goals on six shots, Subban was pulled from Tuesday night’s appearance after giving up three goals on eight second period shots with the Bruins desperately in need of a quality start in goal.

He maintained a defiantly confident tone after another humbling NHL effort against Minnesota, and that’s a testament to the maturity and mental toughness of the person behind the goalie mask.

“It sucks. Obviously, I’m just trying to finish the game, let alone win one. Obviously it sucks, but what can you do now, right?” said Subban, who has now allowed six goals on 22 career shots faced in two starts. “Obviously I want to be a number one goaltender in the league. I was a high pick for a reason. I have the potential, and I just have to show it. Obviously I haven’t done that so far yet, but I think I’m getting closer to it. Honestly, I think I can do it right now. I just got to show it. Obviously, I didn’t [do it] today, but tomorrow’s a new day.”

Given the stunningly bad quality of his two NHL starts combined with a thoroughly pedestrian body of work at the AHL level over the last three years, there is literally zero tangible evidence Subban is tracking to be a franchise goaltender. Instead he’s the emergency goaltender called on by the Bruins only after Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin have both been shelved by injuries, and he’s now flunked the two pop quizzes when the NHL team needed him to come through.

Meanwhile, a sizeable selection of goaltenders taken after him in the 2012 NHL Draft class have already proven their NHL worth and broken through at the elite level: Matt Murray, Frederik Anderson, Connor Hellebuyck and Joonas Korpisalo.

Subban was hoping all along to break through this season in Boston, but things went south on him quickly with a Bruins team not playing well in front of him. The first goal was a fluttering Charlie Coyle shot that trickled between his glove hand and the top of his leg pad. The third goal was a softie low and to the glove side, power play strike authored by Ryan Suter. It added up to poor goaltending and shoddy defense, but it also added up to a Bruins goaltender that didn’t even give his hockey club a chance to win.

“It could be a combination of both. There are some goals – I’m not going to lie – there are some goals that we thought our goaltenders should have had. But I’m not here to talk about a goaltender who’s in one of his first few games because he let in a couple of bad goals,” said Julien. “We were terrible in front of him and we weren’t any better, and that’s the big picture. That’s more important.

“I don’t care who’s in net. I think when you have some injuries you need to be better in those situations and we weren’t good enough tonight. It doesn’t matter if Tuukka [Rask] is in net and we had injuries up front, or we’re lacking players here or there. You’ve got to let the system take care of the game. If you play it the right way, you have a chance to win. When you don’t, you don’t. That’s what happened [against Minnesota].”

There’s no question the defense in front of Subban wasn’t nearly good enough, and Adam McQuaid and Torey Krug in particular struggled to lock things down in the defensive zone. The wide open shots from the slot - like the Chris Stewart score in the second period that arrived 12 seconds after Minnesota’s opening goal - are indicative of a hockey club that’s not sticking to the game plan once things start to get a little wonky.

But this is about a player in Subban that should be entering the NHL stage of his career after being a first round pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, and anybody would be hard-pressed to see him as an NHL goalie after failing in each of his first two NHL starts. Combine that with the lack of dominance at the AHL level over the last three years, and there’s a better chance that Subban will be a major first round bust for the Bruins rather than suddenly develop into a late-blooming No. 1 goaltender in Boston.

The scary part is that Subban and fellow young netminder Zane McIntyre are all the Bruins have for Wednesday night’s game at Madison Square Garden, and perhaps longer than that if Rask can’t make rapid progress with his lower body injury.

Maybe Subban can be a bit better than he’s shown thus far, and the four goals allowed to Minnesota were not all his fault. The bottom line, however, is that Subban should be up for doing this job right now. Tuesday was a big chance for the young goalie to make a statement that he was ready for it.

Instead he looked like the same goalie that’s been pulled from two of his first four AHL starts this season, and plays like a goaltender that’s never going to truly be ready for the call in Boston.