By Joe Haggerty
BOSTON David Krejci was lambasting Bauer hockey on Saturday afternoon following Bostons loss to the Sharks because hes being forced to play with an old model of sticks for the next week while waiting for a new Bauer factory to open on Feb. 11.
Krejci said he put in an order for a new batch of Bauer sticks weeks ago, and was told that he would have to play with the Bauer model he was dissatisfied with at the beginning of the year and it was the Czech center up in arms while he waits.
This stick sucks, and thats all Ive got, Krejci, who was actually named Third Star of Saturdays loss after firing four shots at the net in 22 minutes of ice time, told DJ Bean of WEEI.com. You can put it up on TV or in the papers. I dont care. This stick sucks.
That was the reason why I changed from those sticks to the new ones Im using, because I dont like these ones, he said. I changed them because I didnt like them anymore, but now its the only thing I can have.
Krejci hasnt scored a goal in 19 games, but has six assists in his last 10 games while playing with a batch of bum sticks, and wanted to stress he wasnt using the equipment excuse for anything less than outstanding play.
Im not making excuses for my game, said Krejci. I just dont like those sticks. Thats all it is.
Its always a little unfair to look at players drafted in the same class a few years down the road, but it was difficult to ignore the connection of San Jose forward Logan Couture and Bruins center Zach Hamill when each team faced off Saturday afternoon at TD Garden.
Hamill was selected by the Bs as the eighth overall pick in the 2007 NHL draft in Ottawa, and Couture was taken one spot later by San Jose scouting director and Melrose native Tim Burke in a selection thats turned out very well for the Sharks.
While Hamill played his second career NHL game on Saturday afternoon and wasnt much of a factor on Saturday afternoon, Couture cranked in his 23rd goal of the season to lead San Jose to a 2-0 victory over the Bruins.
Couture leads all NHL rookies with the 23 tallies this season, and was invited to take part in All-Star weekend after his impressive first half of the season in San Jose.
I think he is the most complete player that Ive seen at that age, said Sharks Captain Joe Thornton of Couture. He penalty kills, he plays power play. He plays all the important minutes. Hes been a stud for us all year long. He is very very complete, by far the Calder (trophy) winner so far this year.
Hamill meanwhile is still trying to establish himself as a thinking mans center capable of seeing plays develop and picking teams apart with his passes despite average size and skating speed for a skill center in the NHL. Its a tough spot to be in, and it becomes tougher when youre lumped together with a player like Couture that the Bs arguably had a chance to select way back in 2007 with their high first round pick.
Hamill has taken a longer and more deliberate path to the NHL since draft day, but has turned a bit of a corner while leading the Providence Bruins with 25 assists prior to his promotion to Boston this weekend in the days leading up to a decision whether or not to shut Savard down for the rest of the season.
Hamill said he knows Couture a little bit from the draft and their junior hockey days, and said watching his Sharks opponent play inspires to try and have a similar kind of impact for the Bruins.
We know each other to say hi and thats about it, said Hamill. Hes a good hockey player and a nice guy. We were both right there and hes obviously had a good year and stuff. You see the kind of year hes having, and you want to go out there and do what hes doing.
You see him doing that and you want to do the same thing.
Joe Thornton was happy to be back in Boston again for his third visit since getting dealt to San Jose way back in the 2005-06 season, and even happier to get the victory for the Sharks. While Thornton admitted that the first time he came back to Boston was an important one to him and a game where he lasted mere minutes after hitting Hal Gill from behind and earning an ejection from the contest in the first period its more about playing one of out 82 now that Jumbo has been in San Jose for such a long period of time.
What can I say? I had really, really long hair and obviously was eighteen years old. That was a long time ago, said Thornton. Pat Burns was the coach. He was really tough and a really good coach for me, but I really dont remember too much from being eighteen.
It is just a win. Maybe the first time I was here, you wanted to win the first one. But now it is just any other road game, I think.
The last remnants of the Thornton trade are also gone from the Bruins as Brad Stuart, Wayne Primeau and Marco Sturm have all moved on to other hockey pastures after arriving in Boston via the deal that rocked the Bs franchise five years ago.
Saturdays win was the first shutout of the Bruins for the San Jose Sharks in the franchise histories of both hockey clubs.
The Sharks had an apparent goal taken away because of goaltender interference in the second period.
The Bruins' previous low for shots allowed was 20 on Oct. 28 in a 2-0 win over Toronto.
Zdeno Chara played in his 900th NHL game and Tim Thomas played in his 300th career NHL game on Saturday afternoon.