Bruins notes: Kaberle distracted in homecoming

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Bruins notes: Kaberle distracted in homecoming

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

TORONTO The expansive Toronto stage was set for Tomas Kaberle to come up big and show everyone at the Air Canada Centre what he was all about in his first appearance against his former Leafs team.

The Leafs organization put together a nice video tribute on their jumbotron during a TV timeout in the first period set to the music of U2s Where the Streets Have No Name, and a warm ovation washed over Kaberle as he waved to the crowd from the Boston bench.

Kaberle admitted afterward that the night turned into much more of an emotional endeavor than he ever anticipated, and perhaps that played into the Bs defenseman playing an invisible game. It sounds like the Bruins defenseman was a little distracted to say the least, so hes got some make-up work to do in the final 11 games as Boston readies for the playoffs.

It was an emotional night. Its always tough when you lose, and there were a lot of things going through my mind all night, said Kaberle. It was a lot tougher than I thought it was going to be.

But that was the only highlight for the 33-year-old defenseman as he was otherwise silent in a 5-2 shellacking of the Bruins by the Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. The Bs power play went 0-for-2 to make it 2-for-34 since Kaberles arrival in Boston and the puck-moving defenseman was badly beaten by Toronto blue collar forward Mike Brown in a race to the puck for the Leafs fourth goal of the game.

Kaberle now has three assists and only one power play assist in 13 games along with a plus-4 since arriving in Boston, and its time for the offensively-gifted defenseman to shift into a higher gear with a hockey team that badly needs his puck skills.

Zdeno Chara took a Mikhail Grabovski puck to his left foot in the waning moments of the third period that felled the 6-foot-9 defenseman, and caused pockets of cheers throughout the Air Canada Centre at the sight of the fallen Bruins Captain.

It was a normal hockey, said Chara. Its okay. Its just part of the game.

It was an ugly moment in Toronto to be sure, but Chara said he thought hed be fine following the game. He was walking around the Bruins dressing room without a limp, but did say that he wasnt happy with the reaction from the Leafs fans a likely Canadian carryover from the incident in Montreal with Max Pacioretty.

I cant control that, said Chara. Its a little disappointing, but theres nothing I can do about it.

Andrew Ference returned to the Bruins lineup, but he and Adam McQuaid had a tough night while going a combined minus-6. Ference poked a puck from behind Thomas that carried through the crease and set up a Joey Crabb goal in front of the net that helped Torontos avalanche of goals in the second period.

It was par for the course for a group of Bruins defensemen that have been going through a difficult period over the last few weeks and dont look anywhere near the solid Bs defense thats led the NHL in goals against pretty much all season.

One of the things we need to correct is defense. We have bodies back, but for some reason were not picking up players and theyre getting into scoring chances, said Chara. Theyre eventually burying pucks. We have bodies back, but we need to start picking up our men in the defensive zone.

Tyler Seguin led the Bruins with five shots on net the same total Adam McQuaid had as well and logged plenty of power play time in another promising effort for the 19-year-old late in the season.

Adam McQuaids first period goal snapped a 17-game goal-scoring drought for the physical Bruins defenseman.

Nathan Horton engaged in a hockey fight with Dion Phaneuf for the second time this season, and this time skated off the ice with a bloody forehead after getting driven into the frozen sheet by the Leafs defenseman at the end of the bout.

Highly touted Leafs prospect Nazem Kadri scored his first career NHL goal in the first period for Toronto on a shot that appeared to be tipped by Darryl Boyce in front of the Boston net but was never changed by game officials.

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

Heinen looking to show his offense in his shot on Krejci line

Heinen looking to show his offense in his shot on Krejci line

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins mixed things up with their roster a bit on Saturday after dropping a couple of games in a row to Washington and Colorado. 

Fourth-line energy winger Noel Acciari and playmaking forward Danton Heinen were called up from Providence and will be in the lineup against the Toronto Maple Leafs at TD Garden on Saturday night. 
Acciari went to Providence the past couple of days to get some game action in after missing the past month with a lower body injury, but clearly showed he’s ready to go. 

So, Acciari is back to provide the same hard-hitting and energy he showed before he was hurt and Heinen is looking to show off a little more offense than in his first stint with the Black and Gold this season. He’ll be featured in a top role as left wing with David Krejci and David Backes and with marching orders to shoot the puck like he never shot it in his previous stint in Boston. 

For the Bruins, it’s about getting another look at a candidate to play left wing beside Krejci with both Ryan Spooner and Tim Schaller, with limitations to their respective games, unable to fully grasp that same opportunity. 

“My hope is that Heinen can come in and give us some good hockey. He’s a skill player and he’s been down there for a while, and he’s back up again because he’s been playing well,” said Claude Julien of the Bruins rookie, who had four goals and seven points in his past five games with Providence. “Hopefully he can play well here also. It’s about getting some confidence. When he went down to [the AHL] the pace of his game had to get a little bit better, and in the battles coming up with the puck along the walls. Those are the kinds of things we thought he could work on down in Providence.”

Heinen knows he needs to shoot the puck a bit more to show off his offense after a seven-game stint with the Bruins where he went scoreless, was a minus-2 and had just six shots on net.

“Being hard on the walls, playing fast and shooting the puck, those were all things I was working on [in Providence],” said Heinen, who has seven goals and 13 points in 13 games for the P-Bruins after being assigned to Providence. “I was doing what they told me to do [in Providence] and that’s shoot the puck. They were going in, and I was getting some good opportunities on the power play. It’s seriously tough to get chances [at the NHL level], so you can’t pass them up when you have chances. That was kind of my focus down there.”

Fellow fourth-line energy winger Anton Blidh has been shipped to Providence after three solid games with the Black and Gold. 

Julien said Blidh goes back to Providence having adequately shown that he can play in the NHL. He clearly showed the Bruins that he understands his role as a player that stirs things up a bit and gets his nose dirty on a regular basis.

“[Blidh] was fine. No issues there. He does his job. He plays with lots of energy and obviously he’s getting more experience. He’s a lot better at understanding his positioning within the game and what he has to do,” said Julien. “I thought he helped us out for the time that he was here.”

With Heinen and Acciari both in the lineup and Blidh back in Providence, that means Jimmy Hayes will be scratched after dressing for three of the past four games for Boston.

Saturday, Dec. 10: Vegas, scoring on NHL governors' minds

Saturday, Dec. 10: Vegas, scoring on NHL governors' minds

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while doing some early Christmas shopping ahead of the late rush. 

*Mike Zeisberger sits down with a quartet of NHL governors and discusses a number of hot topics including the Vegas franchise and scoring around the league. 

*Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos has been removed from the NHL Board of Governor’s Executive Committee amid rumors that the Canes might be a prime candidate for relocation. 

*Pierre McGuire weighs in on Connor McDavid’s war of words on the ice and Carey Price losing his mind in the crease against the New Jersey Devils. To that end, Wayne Gretzky liked seeing McDavid get a little combative at such a young age. 

*The New York Islanders signed Cal Clutterbuck to a five year contract extension, and some are skeptical it will turn out well for the Isles.

*David Pastrnak is a premier scoring threat in the league, and Scott Cullen has some details behind that. I will say this: his stock falling in the draft had less to do with his size or heaviness, and more to do with him being concussed for a long stretch of time during the year leading up to the draft. 

*The Florida Panthers are really struggling to stay positive with a 1-5-0 record since the ownership group and management decided to fire Gerard Gallant. 

*For something completely different: Baywatch stars then and now.