Bruins notes: Lucic failed to show up

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Bruins notes: Lucic failed to show up

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

WILMINGTON, Mass. Milan Lucic is a tone-setter for the Bruins in just about every sense of the word. Hes a big game player with 18 points (8 goals, 10 assists) in his last 24 NHL postseason games, but the 22-year-old was completely invisible for nearly all of Thursday nights 2-0 loss to the Montreal Canadiens in Game One of the playoffs.

The Habs managed to completely neutralize David Krejci in the first game by having Tomas Plekanec shadow the Bs center all over the ice, and Lucic wasnt able to gain any kind of a foothold offensively or physically.

Lucic led the Bruins with 30 goals scored this season, but he didnt even register a shot on net in the first two periods of Game One. He finally got on the board in the third period, but there wasnt nearly enough work by the 6-foot-3, 230-pound Lucic and 6-foot-2, 225-pound Nathan Horton to blast holes in the Montreal defense guarding Carey Price.

"I think we all know that although we played a decent game, we can all be a little better," Claude Julien said. "As a team, we feel we can be a little better. That's to a man. Not necessarily just putting all the emphasis on one guy. No doubt Lucic has a big impact on our hockey club. Certainly we need him at his best."

Hal Gill and P.K. Subban were charged with standing their ground in front of the Montreal net, and didnt really budge at all when matched time after time against the KrejciLucicHorton line.

Bostons size and strength didnt come into play against the Canadiens as many thought it would in Game One, and its up to them to decide to step and join the playoff party after coasting a bit too much in the first Montreal game. Lucic hasnt scored in the last 11 games, and Krejci had a single assist and a minus-3 in his last five games entering the playoffs. Both players need to start putting in a playoffs-style days work if they hope to harvest some results against Gill and Subban.

"Gill is a big defenseman and he certainly does a good job of boxing out, said Julien. Subban is also a very good player. He's a guy that carries the puck very well and is very mobile. He was a good asset for them as well. You've got to give credit where credit is due. At the same time, you've got to look at your team and find ways to make your team better. I think our guys have to be a little better in battling through those kinds of picks and those situations where they box you out."

Tyler Seguin was on the ice at Ristuccia Arena more than 30 minutes after the rest of his teammates had finished up their practice session and retired to the Bs dressing room. Seguin continued to fire pucks at the net and perfect that curl-and-draw wrist shot from the left faceoff dot that he scored against Nashvilles Pekka Rinne a weapon that the Bs could certainly have used while going 0-for-3 on the man advantage during their Game 1 loss.

Seguin continues to split time with Michael Ryder at the right wing spot and it looks like itll be a choice between those two players if it ever comes down to it during this postseason run. Seguins status as the last guy on the ice would seem to indicate hell be a healthy scratch for Game 2 as well.

Every Bruins player that was supposed to be on the ice made it out there for Fridays practice, and appeared to make it out of Game 1 with their health intact. The Bs defensemen corps worked quite a bit on breakouts and reversing the puck, and the kind of transition game that led immediately to Montreals first goal early in the first period on a careless puck reversal by Tomas Kaberle.

General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced Friday that the club has recalled forward Kirk MacDonald and defensemen Andrew Bodnarchuk and Colby Cohen from the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League to serve as Black Aces for the Bs during their playoff run. All three players will remain in Providence and train with the P-Bruins coaching staff.

The Bruins stat of the week courtesy of Bs media relations maven Eric Tosi: The Bruins went 5-1-0 in the six games following games in which they were shut out during the regular season, including an 8-6 win over Montreal on Feb. 9 which followed an 0-2 loss to San Jose on Feb. 5.

They have not been shut out in consecutive playoff games since May 7 (0-5) and May 8 (0-3), 1995 vs. New Jersey in the Conference Quarterfinals.

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

Veteran center Dominic Moore among Bruins signings

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Veteran center Dominic Moore among Bruins signings

The Bruins announced some organizational signings and one surprise dip into late summer free agency with a one-year, $900,000 contract for 36-year-old depth center Dominic Moore.

The B’s also announced one year, two-way contracts for forward Brian Ferlin, along with defensemen Chris Casto and Alex Grant, and all three of those players will serve as young, organizational depth players in Providence.

Moore has spent each of the last three seasons with the New York Rangers amid a career 765 NHL games played as a solid face-off and penalty-kill player that has fourth line candidate written all over him.

The Bruins will be former Harvard center Moore’s 10th NHL team. He’s coming off a season where he posted six goals and 15 points in 80 games for the Blueshirts, and has previously played for Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Toronto, Buffalo, Florida, Montreal, Tampa Bay and San Jose along with the Rangers.

While Moore is a solid candidate for fourth-line duty that will provide leadership, good face-off work, solid and gritty penalty-kill work and all kinds of NHL experience, he is also a 36-year-old on a team that has a ton of center candidates headed into camp. 

Moore’s presence could be problematic if he’s standing in the way of developing young centers Austin Czarnik and Noel Acciari. The expectation is that B’s coach Claude Julien, as he always has in the past with safe veterans like Chris Kelly, will go with a player like Moore over the youngsters if times start getting tough for the Black and Gold.

Ferlin, 24, completed his second professional season with the AHL's Providence Bruins in 2015-16, producing six goals and eight assists for 14 points with 27 penalty minutes and a plus-nine rating in 23 games. He was sidelined for much of last season in Providence by a concussion.

Casto, 24, completed his third full AHL season with Providence in 2015-16, establishing career highs with seven goals and 16 assists for 23 points with 47 penalty minutes in 68 games.

Grant, 27, spent the 2015-16 season with the Arizona Coyotes organization, splitting time between the Coyotes and their AHL affiliate in Springfield. He recorded seven penalty minutes in five games in the NHL, while compiling 11 goals and 31 assists for 42 points with 57 penalty minutes in 69 games in the AHL.  

 

 

Haggerty: Bruins say hunger is back, but we must see it on the ice

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Haggerty: Bruins say hunger is back, but we must see it on the ice

BRIGHTON – It only amounts to lip service coming in the first few days the Bruins players are simply getting together for informal captain’s practices, but it’s pretty clear the fire is burning brightly after missing the playoffs two years in a row.

For a group that still includes some players that made the playoffs seven seasons in a row, made it to the Cup Finals twice and hoisted the Stanley Cup in 2011, it feels like that sting of pride is very close to the surface.

Torey Krug wouldn’t even entertain discussion of last season when asked about it following Monday’s skating session at the new Warrior Ice Arena practice facility. David Krejci said he’s officially done talking about winning the Cup five long years ago. Now, it’s about righting the ship for the Bruins, and getting things back moving in a positive, forward progression after moving backwards and sideways over the last two years.

As always, the playmaking Krejci gives a straight, honest take about where the team is on the down side of their Cup years.

“I feel like we’re back to where we started 10 years ago, you know? The teams didn’t make the playoffs, and now we kind of have some new guys. It’s still a good mix with some experienced guys,” said Krejci. “But the hunger, it’s there again. Obviously we haven’t been in the playoffs for a couple of years. It’s exciting times.

“If you go back to 2011 and then to 2013, we were in the Final. But we knew that we had already won two years before. We did try, but you always knew in the back of your mind that you’d already won the Cup. Now, it’s like the Cup is out of the window and that was a long time ago. I’m going to talk about the Cup when I retire, so now we’re all hungry again. We missed the playoffs two years in a row, and it’s a new excitement again. I just can’t wait to get back into it.”

Krejci’s first full season in the NHL was actually the year that the B’s made it back into the postseason in 2007-08, but he was close enough to the organization to see what it was like at the 2006 training camp when a great deal was in flux for the Black and Gold.

It’s not unlike the big changes that the Bruins have seen in the past two years with the hopes that there will start being a payoff in the near future.

It’s exciting for Krejci, in particular, as he should be 100 percent healthy for the first time in three years after surgery on his left hip last spring. A healthy Krejci and Patrice Bergeron will give the Black and Gold their potent 1-2 punch down the middle and there’s also a healthy chip on the shoulder of the B’s defensemen crew after a difficult campaign last year.

Krug admitted as much while brushing off big picture questions about what happened last season, and why this season should be any different for a group of seven defensemen returning from last season’s crew ranked 19th in the league.

“I’m not going to talk about [last year]. We’re moving on. This group will use it as motivation moving forward. With this new practice facility, everybody is excited to get back together and start moving forward,” said Krug. “We have [D-men] pieces in here that maybe people aren’t getting too excited about, but we know what we have in this room. We’ve grown and developed together.

“We know that we’re highly capable of taking whatever is thrown our way. But I know the D-men especially are motivated to prove a lot of people wrong that we’re not ready to compete, and not ready to be a playoff team.”

That’s essentially what it comes down to for the Black and Gold. They can talk about regaining the hunger to compete and utilizing last season’s failures as motivation for this season, but it all amounts to nothing unless they show it on the ice on a consistent basis.

It will be months before everybody truly knows if it’s more than talk from the Bruins and before we learn whether the B’s even have the talent on the roster to truly compete in a difficult, improving Atlantic Division. 

For now, the optimism is running high for the returning Black and Gold players and that registers as something as they slowly ramp up to the start of training camp next month and the season opener on Oct. 13 in Columbus against the Blue Jackets. 

 

Bruins come away impressed with new practice facility

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Bruins come away impressed with new practice facility

BRIGHTON – It’s been a summer brimming with anticipation for Bruins players and management alike with the prospect of moving into a new, state-of-the-art practice facility.

The Bruins contingent hosted Jimmy Vesey at their new Warrior Ice Arena home a couple of weeks ago and the B’s players christened the ice by kicking off their informal captain’s practices on Monday morning.

Torey Krug, David Krejci, Adam McQuaid, John-Michael Liles, Noel Acciari and Frank Vatrano all hit the ice to work with a local goaltender and went through skating drills for the hour-plus to get the blood pumping. Krejci left the ice after roughly 15 minutes as he recovers from left hip surgery, but was still left excited at the prospect of practicing in the new digs after spending his entire Bruins career with Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington as their practice home.

The arena doesn’t officially open until the Bruins and New Balance hold a grand opening on Sept. 8, but color several Bruins veterans impressed.

“It’s beautiful. It’s great. It’s a little bit different than Wilmington,” said Krejci. “You guys will get a chance to see it next week, but it’s pretty cool.”

The captain’s practices will continue in earnest with more Bruins players joining the group as the calendar gets closer to the start of training camp. The expectation is that all of the B’s skaters will be wholly impressed with the new facility. 

Clearly, it’s got all the bells and whistles of a new rink, and the closer proximity is a bonus for Bruins players that these days live in and around Boston rather than in the distant suburbs.

There's even the distinct possibility in the not-so distant future that the Bruins could start holding game day morning skates at the practice facility rather than at the Garden. It's something already done in Montreal, where the Habs have a similar setup with their practice rink in Brossard, just outside of the city. 

“It’s beautiful. For the guys that have been the scenes and doing all the work in Wilmington all of these years, it’s great for them to be a part of this and move into a new building,” said Krug. “I’m fortunate to be here and be a part of it. That’s exciting.”

Krug joked that being an early arriver at Warrior Arena doesn’t guarantee him one of the big lockers in the dressing room once training camp gets going: “I’m pretty sure Zee [captain Zdeno Chara] will kick me out of whatever stall I picked. It’s obviously exciting to be one of the first guys skating on this ice.”