Bruins still haven't learned their lesson


Bruins still haven't learned their lesson

By Joe Haggerty

BOSTON The Bruins got back to work on Tuesday morning after a lost evening in New York City, where they allowed five consecutive goals -- three in the third period -- and blew a three-goal lead to the Rangers.The game -- fortunately or unfortunately -- brought back memories of a blown 3-0 lead in Game Seven against the Philadelphia Flyers last season, not to mention the blown 30 series lead, and the Bs were picking up the pieces at practice at Ristuccia Arena.Coach Claude Julien distanced himself a bit from the players, whom he maintains strayed from the game plan once they got ahead, and said they'll either finally learn their painful lesson or repeat their mistakes again in the playoffs . . . to disastrous results.There's little question that Boston's effort, with its playoff position assured, wasn't what it should have been.
Thats what happens when you dont respect the game plan, and start playing your own game, said Zdeno Chara. We knew the Rangers werent going to give up because they needed the points. They deserved the win because they were a much hungrier team in the second half of the game.Its a lack of focus and a lack of discipline to respect the game plan. I hope were not coasting. Certainly we have to address that and we did that during practice.The Bs could have pushed for the top seed in the East and sent a thumping message to the Rangers, whom they might just see in the first round of the playoffs -- but none of that happened. Now, with their third seed all but assured and three games left against the Islanders, Senators and Devils, the Bs have to focus on getting back on message and avoiding any more fire-drill chaos in their defensive end once the playoffs arrive.That means curbing Tomas Kaberle of the instinct to anticipate cycles in the corner that never happen, and vacating the net with the enthusiasm of a dog chasing after a thrown tennis ball when it's his responsibility to guard the front.That also means some poise from Tim Thomas to stay in his net and battle rather wandering too far out when he senses his defense breaking down around him.I think we need to learn as a group from the incident against the Rangers, said Julien. Part of it is that you need to respect the game plan for 60 minutes, and we didnt do that. Hopefully we learned a valuable lesson from here until the end of the season and beyond that you cant get too comfortable. "We got comfortable and you could see the level of play slipped a little bit, and before you knew it the damage was done. You have to respect the game plan for 60 minutes. Thats what has made great teams great in the past.It should have been the same lesson learned once the Bs were up 3-0 on the Philadelphia Flyers last season, but apparently class is still in session with these Bruins.We should have never believed that the game was over once we got up 3-0, said Julien, something he could have said during the Philly series last season. If its a lesson learned then itll be a positive thing down the road. If its not then itll come to haunt us because it will happen again. Shawn Thornton practiced without the half-shield off his mask, and said he was hoping to play against the Islanders Wednesday night at TD Garden after missing the last two games with a 40-stitch gash over his right eye.Well figure it out tomorrow. Hes day-to-day and that hasnt changed, said Julien. Well make a determination of whether hes ready to get back into the lineup or night. Chara said following practice that he realized Ryan Callahan was injured after sliding over to block his booming slap shot in the final minutes of New Yorks come-from-behind win over the Bruins. Callahan was diagnosed with a broken ankle on Tuesday morning, and the Bs defenseman voiced concern for a player he respects greatly.Callahan is a top-six guy, yet he still plays with so much heart and grit. You dont see many guys that throw their bodies around to block shots like that, said Chara. He plays the game so hard. You have to respect a guy like that. I heard after the game that hed probably broken a bone, so I just hope that hes okay long term. Every Bruins player was healthy and accounted for on the practice ice, and Michael Ryder was skating with Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley a sign that perhaps Ryder will be getting the nod in the playoffs when combined with 8 minutes of ice time with no power play reps for Tyler Seguin.Ryder is getting better, said Julien. Hes got to continue to work hard. Hopefully hell be a good playoff performer for us because he has been in the past. His stats have been pretty decent. If were going to have some success then were going to need Michael Ryder to be good for us.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Haggerty: So what exactly has happened to the Bruins-Habs rivalry?


Haggerty: So what exactly has happened to the Bruins-Habs rivalry?

BRIGHTON, MASS -- It didn’t take last season’s embarrassing Winter Classic result to figure out something has been missing from the storied, legendary Bruins-Canadiens rivalry over the last few years.

The last traces of the latest, great incarnation of the B’s-Habs rivalry were clearly still there a couple of seasons ago when the two hockey clubs met in the second round of the playoffs. After falling short the last few times the teams met in the postseason, Boston was summarily dismissed by Montreal in Game 7 on their own home ice during that series. The following season the B’s simply had so many of their own players struggling to put out a consistent effort, so the games against the Habs didn’t really register highly on the importance scale, and last season both Boston and Montreal suffered through subpar seasons that saw them each fall short of the playoffs.

Since the second round loss to the Habs in the 2013-14 playoffs, the Bruins are 2-7 while being outscored by a 31-18 margin in nine regular season meetings over the last two seasons in an incredibly one-sided chapter in the two teams’ shared history. The real lack of competitiveness has been a noticeable lack of deep emotion or ill will on the ice between the two hockey clubs, and that is very different from the recent past when signature players like Milan Lucic, P.K. Subban and Shawn Thornton were card-carrying members of healthy hate that regularly spilled out on the ice between the two rival NHL organizations.

Instead it will probably be new blood that breathes glorious, hard-edged life into the history between the two Original Six teams, and new personalities like David Backes, Shea Weber and Andrew Shaw are likely to do just that. Certainly the Canadiens wanted to be much more difficult to play against in recruiting players like Shaw and Weber, and, their presence along with the offensively explosive Alex Radulov, could make it a tough matchup for the Black and Gold.

Either way, the Bruins are curious to see what the matchup looks like this season with the electric P.K. Subban removed from the mix as one of the classic Habs villain-type characters from a Boston perspective.

“It’s always fun to play Montreal at home, or in Montreal. This will be our second time counting the preseason, and our first time at the Garden. It’s going to be pretty cool,” said David Krejci. “When you say any NHL team there are a few names that pop out for that team, and [P.K. Subban] was definitely one of them [for Montreal]. But P.K. is gone, and now it’s Shea Weber. So it’s going to be a little different, but he’s a hell of a player as well so it isn’t going to be any easier.

“It’s a big game. It’s a division game. We don’t want to take any game lightly within the 82 games because you don’t know what can happen at the end. When those games against [Montreal] are done you always feel like you’ve played two games, and not just one. It’s high intensity, and it’s obviously a rivalry that you get up for.”

As Bruins head coach Claude Julien would say it, things are a bit too civilized between the two enemy teams when thinking back to the days of Georges Laraque chasing Milan Lucic around the ice challenging him a fight on the Bell Centre ice, or the awful epoch in B’s-Habs history when Zdeno Chara clobbered Max Pacioretty with a dangerous, injury-inducing hit into the stanchion area.

Nobody is looking for players to get hurt on borderline plays when the two teams suit up on Saturday night, but something to introduce a new chapter into the Boston-Montreal rivalry would be a good thing for both teams, a good thing for the fans and a potentially great thing for an NHL that prides itself on good, old-fashioned rivalries.

“We need to make sure that we’re ready to play [on Saturday]. I like the way that we’ve played so far, and except for Toronto we’ve managed to compete with all of the teams that we’ve played against,” said Julien. “I don’t know if it’s going to stay that way, but I’m going to use the word that [the rivalry] has been more civilized for the last few years. There hasn’t been as much of the sideshow as there has been [in the past].

“I think there’s still a lot of hatred between the two organizations when they meet, but I think the way the game is trending, and how costly that penalties can be in a game, both teams are a little cautious in that way. I still think there is great intensity and both teams get up for the games, so hopefully that happens tomorrow, and the fans get to see a good game.”

One thing that should ensure a good, familiar showdown with plenty of hard-hitting and honest-to-goodness rivalry-like behavior: both the Canadiens and Bruins are off to strong starts at the top of the Atlantic Division in the first couple of weeks this season, and there are some new faces that are undoubtedly going to want to announce their presence for these Bruins-Habs tilts with authority.

Let’s hope this happens because last season’s Bruins-Habs games needed a pair of jumper cables and 1.21 jigowatts of electricity to shock them back into their elevated level of intensity, and that’s when hockey is served best after all. 

Friday, Oct. 21: Pee-wee push-ups draw coach’s punishment


Friday, Oct. 21: Pee-wee push-ups draw coach’s punishment

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while anxiously awaiting a Cleveland/Chicago Cubs World Series showdown with all of the Red Sox subplots that could be involved.

*A peewee hockey coach in Quebec has been given a season-long suspension for punishing his players with hundreds of push-ups.

*The NHL game has changed radically over the last 11 years as Henrik Lundqvist has been a fixture for the New York Rangers.

*A lot has changed since Jaromir Jagr scored his first goal in 1990 and this article is worth it for the Jagr mullet picture alone.

*PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough says that a healthy Brandon Sutter has been a difference-maker for the Canucks.

*Carey Price is back in net for the Montreal Canadiens, and that makes the Habs a new team as they prepare for the Bruins on Saturday.

*This is what it looks like when you’ve completely given up on just about everything else except for being a hockey fan. So very gross.

*For something completely different: The Doctor Strange cast is being forced into answering some tough questions at the premiere of what is essentially a comic book movie.