Bruins notes: Kelly enjoys homecoming

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Bruins notes: Kelly enjoys homecoming

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

OTTAWA Chris Kelly wasnt expecting it and he was a little too modest to speak too much about it, but it was a pretty rare and interesting experience to play in his first game as a Bruins player at his longtime NHL home, Scotiabank Center. There were no jokes about heading to the wrong locker room or putting on the wrong uniform by accident, but there was a nice sports moment when the jumbotron at Scotiabank went through a highlight package of Kelly's career, and the Sens fans gave Kelly a long ovation as a way of saying both "goodbye" and "thank you."

That was great," said Kelly. "Ottawa is a classy organization, and to get that reception from the fans is something Ill always remember. It was great. It was my first game and I havent been told too much about my role in Boston. I just went out there and played, and that was good enough.

Kelly played 15:09 of ice time in the game without a point or a shot on net, butit certainly calmed his nerves down a little bit as he attempts to fit in with the Bs players alongside line mates Tyler Seguin and Michael Ryder.

Kelly might be the most unheralded of the three players arriving in Boston at their pre-deadline deals, but he shows off a pretty fine set of skills: he can skate like the wind with some pretty incredible jets in his legs, hes an excellent finisher around the net and hes a reallyquietconsensus-maker with his opinions in the locker room.

Its all of those skills that made Kelly so beloved in the city of Ottawa, and its what made the people drink it all in when they followed the video tribute to Kelly with a standing Ovechkin. Kelly also finally had his visa paperwork taken care of by the US and Canadian governments, so hes allowed to fly back with the Bruins on the team charter back to Boston following the game. Tomas Kaberle is stuck on the United StatesCanada for the weekendsince switching from the Maple Leafs and hes planning to meet the team in Calgary on Monday night rather than practicing with the the B's at home this weekend. Rich Peverley is expected to take care of all the due diligence on any paperwork he might have yet to file, and will practice with the team on Sunday.

Tomas Kaberle was asked following the game whether hed thought about the idea of signing a contract extension with the Bruins. Kaberle seemed to indicate now is not the time to get something done, and the All-Star defenseman preferred to wait until after the hockey season was over. "It all depends," said Kaberle. "I'm just focusing on games and not on July or whenever I become a free agent. I'm just trying to focus on hockey games, and those things will take care of themselves."

Johnny Boychuk was the healthy scratch for the Bruins on Friday nightat the defenseman position for the second time in the last three games, and it's clear that playing time is going to be a precious thing for all seven of the B's defensemen moving forward.

The conditional second round pick traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for the Bruins either A) making it to the NHL Stanley Cup Finals or B) the Bs being able to sign Tomas Kaberle that he'll be a free agent following the season after getting bumped up to the NHL's "first class" with the BruinsBrad Marchand potted a pair of goals in Friday night's win over the Maple Leafs, and now sits just two goals away from hitting the 20-goal plateau that he bragged about to Claude Julien and Peter Chiarelli during exit interviews last season. Marchand would be the first B's rookie with 20 goals since Brad Boyes did it with the Bruins while potting 26 goals during the 2005-06 hockey season.Tyler Seguin notched an assist on Brad Marchand's first goal against the Senators, and now has five points (3 goals, 2 assists) in his last six games while going on one the best mini-tears of his rookie season, and is staking a claim that he deserves to stay in the B's lineup once Rich Peverley arrives from the Atlanta Thrashers. One thing Seguin must do if he's playing more on the wing: the 19-year-old needs to shoot the puck at the net more often from the wing position.There are time when a young player needs to remember that a shot on net is almost never a bad play in the game of hockey.

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

Haggerty: Good, but not good enough, again the story for Bruins

Haggerty: Good, but not good enough, again the story for Bruins

BOSTON – The all-important results continue to elude the Bruins at the time when they need them most.

The Black and Gold lost their third game in a row, 1-0, to the Chicago Blackhawks at TD Garden Friday night when they allowed the game-winning goal with less than 90 seconds remaining in regulation. It was a simple defensive breakdown and some great tic-tac-toe passing with Marian Hossa finishing things off, but it also felt like a game where the Blackhawks coasted against a wounded Bruins team for 58 minutes before turning it on when it was winning time.

The winning goal was a cross-ice pass from Tanner Kero to Hossa, with the puck sliding right between the legs of Adam McQuaid in the slot, and Hossa picking a corner while giving Tuukka Rask zero time to react side to side.

“We had a game plan in place and our guys executed well, they were ready to play,” said Claude Julien. “One little mistake and it’s in our net, and you lose yourself a pretty important hockey game.”

So, now the Bruins have taken only one point in their past three games, have dropped behind the Ottawa Senators in the Atlantic Division standings and continue to skate around like they’re wearing the weight of the entire organization on their shoulders.

“At the end of the night it is another loss and that’s the biggest thing. Did your team play fairly well? I think so. I think we competed hard, but then again you’re dealing with some growing pains. We had an icing late in the game so that’s not necessary, but the winning goal that goes through three of our guys and in our net with a minute-and- a-half left,” said Julien. “We have to stand there again, and take the responsibility for our own actions. It’s unfortunate because that minute-and-a-half that was left in the game kind of tarnished everything we had done for the first 58 minutes.

“I thought we played pretty well against a good team. We had contained the guys that we needed to contain. We didn’t score any goals – I don’t think we did a good enough job there - we had some chances but again you got to find ways to score goals. That’s where we are at.”

Clearly, the Bruins didn’t give up a ton defensively and Rask had been solid for the first two-plus periods, but there was also a sense Chicago didn’t bring its best game either when Boston outshot the Blackhawks 17-6 in the opening period. It was also clear that, aside from a couple of good, early chances from Tim Schaller and Brad Marchand, along with a Joe Morrow breakaway chance, the Bruins offense wasn’t doing enough work to get closer to the Chicago net for any sustained pressure.

So, instead of a solid result with dark clouds swirling over Causeway Street that a big change is needed to jolt a stagnant team, the Bruins hang up another loss where they outshot their opponent and end up with nothing to show for it.

These are the kinds of losses that test morale and togetherness and could either be taken as a sign of things tightening up for the Bruins or of things continuing to spiral away from a team that just needs wins at this point.

“I’m sure everybody’s feeling down right now because we lost, but you can’t start pouting too much. You’ve got to move on,” said Rask, who allowed one goal on 22 shots in the loss. “[There’s a] big game coming up Sunday, and next week, so it’s a loss and we have to move on. [We have to] get ready for the next one. I’m sure guys are pissed today, but tomorrow’s a new day.”

Tomorrow is a new day for everybody on the Black and Gold including Julien, who is scheduled to still run practice on Saturday as the B’s bench boss before speaking to the media prior to the team leaving for Pittsburgh. So, it’s business as usual after another loss on Friday night in a classic Original Six matchup that’s clearly most of the luster from where it was at four years ago, but one can only sit and wonder how much longer business as usual cuts it for a hockey club that continues to flounder. 
 

Julien sidesteps job security question with "shock journalism" comment

Julien sidesteps job security question with "shock journalism" comment

BOSTON -- With three crushing losses in a row at a time when results are really all that matters, the Boston Bruins are reeling at the wrong time during the regular season. The B’s tried their best to win a game 0-0 with strong defense against a sleepy Chicago Blackhawks bunch on Friday night, but ultimately coughed up a Marian Hossa goal in the final minutes for a 1-0 regulation loss at TD Garden.

The defeat continued a swirl downward for the Black and Gold over the last week, and was a second straight shutout loss on home ice for the first time in almost 15 years. The losing stretch has also kicked up the chatter that Claude Julien is in trouble as head coach of the Bruins, and the hockey club’s underperformance up and down the lineup is ultimately going to cost the NHL’s longest tenured bench boss his job.

The Ottawa Senators have passed the Bruins in the Atlantic Division, and it’s only a matter of time before the Toronto Maple Leafs move by them as well with both Toronto and Ottawa holding six games in hand on Boston. Combine all of this with the B’s having missed the playoffs in each of the previous two seasons leading into this one, and it shouldn’t be at all surprising that Julien is squarely on the coaching hot seat.

The B’s bench boss was asked about his job security after the Chicago loss, and clearly didn’t appreciate the tough, but appropriate question.

“Well, I’m not into shock-journalism,” said Julien in a prideful tone. “So I’ll stay away from that question if you don’t mind.”

The Bruins posted their Saturday schedule shortly after Julien and the B’s players had addressed the media following the loss, and sure enough the embattled coach is scheduled to address the media post-practice as part of the regular practice day routine. So it doesn’t seem that a move with Julien is imminent this weekend despite another loss, but both the coach and the players know something is going to happen to shake things up with this team if they continue to struggle.

“Right now it’s a results based situation, so if you’re going to keep losing games then probably something’s going to happen,” said Torey Krug. “But right now we’re just pretty down emotionally after this game, so I don’t want to look at the big picture. I just [want to] focus on what’s going on in this room, and hopefully we can come back with a good effort the next game.”

A good effort might help Julien’s standing with the Bruins in the short term, but it’s impossible to imagine the B’s bench boss making it through the rest of the Bruins regular season given all of things working against him right now.