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

Bruins' Zboril uses criticism and Twitter hate as motivation

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Bruins' Zboril uses criticism and Twitter hate as motivation

BRIGHTON -- It’s easy to see that Jakub Zboril , one of the Bruins' 2015 first-round pick, has come a long way in a year.

“I feel more comfortable,” said Zboril. “After last year, when all of the people saying something about what they didn’t like about me, it really pushed me forward. I told myself I wanted to be in better shape and so I worked really hard at it.”

The 19-year-old wasn’t in very good shape for last season's training camp after coming back from a knee injury, and that carried over into a junior season for the Saint John Sea Dogs (6 goals and 20 points in 50 games). That was a drop from his 13 goals and 33 points in 44 games prior to hearing his name called by the B’s on draft night.

Zboril was back at peak effectiveness in the playoffs for the Sea Dogs with a couple of goals and 10 points in 17 games, but the chain of events caused some to wonder if the Bruins had drafted something of a bust.

It seems ludicrous, considering Zboril is a 19-year-old talented enough to be selected 13th overall in the entire NHL draft, and even more so now that he’s showing much more in his second camp with Boston. It was some good and some bad for Zboril in his preseason debut against Columbus on Monday with a misplay leading to a goal against, but Zboril also kicked off the transition pass that helped the Bruins score their first goal of game.

“From last year I think he’s made big strides,” said assistant coach Jay Pandolfo. “He’s a young kid that’s only 19 years old, and he’s going to keep getting better. So that’s what you want. The structure in his game and the overall attitude [is better]. He was a little young last year. He’s in better shape. He’s done a lot of things that we got on him for last year, and he’s taken it and listened, he’s working hard. He’s done a good job.”

It’s a long shot for Zboril to crack the B’s roster this fall, so he’s likely headed back to Saint John for another junior hockey season after watching fellow prospect Thomas Chabot get a lot of the No. 1 D-man playing time last season. He quickly shot down any possibilities of playing in Europe rather than going back to the Quebec Major Junior League, and said there could still be plenty to learn in his final junior season.

“Right now where I am, I can just learn from myself and pushing myself,” said Zboril, of going back to junior. “What I can take from last year is that my role on the team changed, and I had to be more of a shutdown D. I had to show my defensive abilities, so I improved a lot from the year before. I think I can be more of a defensive defenseman too, so there’s that.”

Still, the so-so season last year had its impact in a positive fashion with Zboril really stepping up his game. But it’s also had its drawbacks as the Czech-born defenseman was forced to deactivate his Twitter account because of the harsh criticism and messages he was getting from hockey fans. Disappointingly, Zboril said most of it was coming from people in Boston that claim to be Bruins fans, and that it was like “people just spitting on you.”

“It was really pushing me down a lot,” said Zboril. “After some games when you know you weren’t playing really good, then you go on Twitter and you just see . . . people just spitting on you. So I had to delete it.”

Zboril said he’s much happier since getting off social media. But it’s a shame that a bright young prospect’s first impression of his future NHL city was the flaming dumpster of keyboard warriors that should forever be known as “Bruins Hockey Twitter.”

Wednesday, Sept. 28: Ex-Bruin Ruzicka in hot water

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Wednesday, Sept. 28: Ex-Bruin Ruzicka in hot water

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while fully ensconced in the Bruins' second exhibition game, on tap for tonight. 
 
-- It’s awesome to see Wayne Gretzky back in the mix with the NHL, and serving as “official ambassador” for the NHL’s centennial celebration. 
 
-- Tough times for former Bruins forward and former Czech national coach Vladimir Ruzicka, who was fined for some shady, fraudulent activity

-- Andrew Shaw announced his presence in Montreal with authority. The only thing missing from this WWE-type performance was a Hulkster hand to his ear before the threw a punch. 
 
-- A sad column from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Donnie Brennan, who says it’s time for Clarke MacArthur to retire after all the concussions. I remember writing the exact same thing about Marc Savard five or six years ago before he ultimately took one last big hit and retired. 
 
-- It sounds like old friend Vladimir Sobotka is going to stick in the KHL, and isn’t coming back to the St. Louis Blues as many suspected. 
 
-- For something completely different: A pretty fun Lyft commercial featuring David Ortiz, but how the hell did these people not recognize him?