Bruins too much for Tampa Bay, 8-1

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Bruins too much for Tampa Bay, 8-1

By Danny Picardand Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- It's not hard to figure out that David Krejci had a better night than Tampa Bay goaltender Mike Smith in Boston's 8-1 win on Thursday at the TD Garden.

Smith made two costly errors on harmless Bruins dump-ins during the second period, which led to two goals. Meanwhile, Krejci scored two goals of his own, with his second giving the Bruins a 5-1 lead just 34 seconds into the third period and knocking Smith out of the game, long after he probably should have been pulled.

Bruins forward Marc Savard got a standing ovation in the first period, in his first game since last year's Eastern Conference Semifinals, but the ovation for Smith may have been louder, as his pair of blunders told the story of two completely different teams on Thursday night.After Krejci gave the B's a 1-0 lead midway through the first, Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg made it 2-0 on a harmless dump-in from the neutral zone that just so happened to be put on net. Smith reacted as if Seidenberg was preparing for a dump-in along the right boards, and skated behind the net to retrieve a puck that wasn't there, and instead, was on its way into an empty net.

Milan Lucic made it 3-0 in the second period. Nearly 10 minutes later, Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman scored Tampa Bay's only goal of the game, with 4:46 left in the second period, to cut Boston's lead to 3-1.

But Smith made his second blunder of the game minutes later, after he misplayed a Brad Marchand dump-in down into the left corner. Marchand's fluttering puck bounced off the boards in the left corner and out front, over the stick of Smith, who was to the side of the net, trying to retrieve it. The puck came out to the goal line, and Hedman couldn't get it out before Shawn Thornton hustled in and knocked it into the net for the 4-1 lead.

Krejci knocked Smith out of the game just 34 seconds into the third after he skated down the right wing and snapped a shot top-right, which deflected off the blade of Randy Jones' stick before it beat Smith.

Michael Ryder, Mark Recchi, and Blake Wheeler each scored in the third for the 8-1 final.
GOLD STAR: It was Marc Savard's return to the Garden amid ovations and a warm welcome, but David Krejci was the center who showed why he's become the No. 1 pivot in Boston. Krejci scored a pair of goals in his strongest game yet since coming back from a concussion, and led a revival of the B's top line, which finished with six points and a plus-11 in the blowout victory. Krejci finished with a team-high three points, two goals and won 12-of-15 face-offs in a dominant performance. BLACK EYE: Mike Smith. Avert your eyes from that kind of goaltending because it's grotesque. Twice Smith was caught wandering around his net, and was completely faked out on a dump-in attempt by Dennis Seidenberg for a big goal in the second period that pushed Boston's advantage. Smith was finally, mercifully yanked in the third period in favor of Dan Ellis, but the rout was on by that point. Tampa Bay GM Steve Yzerman may come to regret not making a push for Tim Thomas when he could have had him over the summer. TURNING POINT: The Lightning took advantage of a broken Johnny Boychuk stick to break in the other direction with the puck, and Victor Hedman scored a goal that made it a 3-1 game in the second period. The Bruins answered right back two minutes later when Smith and Hedman fumbled away an exchange, and a hustling Shawn Thornton managed to push the puck in for his fifth goal of the season. BY THE NUMBERS: 15:45 the ice time for Marc Savard, who admitted he was a bit fatigued toward the end of some 45-second shifts. Savard showed flashes throughout the game, however, and there was one shift when Savard and Tyler Seguin together showed some of the creativity and offensive potential they might hold together. Savard said that Seguin's speed and shooting ability could give him a Phil Kessel-like dynamic to pair with, and that's all the clever playmaker needs to start piling up the points. QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's not above my pay-grade because we make more than the coaches, but trades are not my area. I have no idea what's going on. All I know is that everybody in here likes and supports Marco." Tim Thomas when asked what he knew about the Marco Sturm tradeno-trade situation. INJURY UPDATE: Brad Marchand took a hard hit from Mattias Ohlund in the corner that shook up the little sparkplug winger, and he was hunched over as he skated toward the bench in the second period. But Marchand didn't appear any worse for the wear after the game.
Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs
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Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comdannypicard

Thursday, Aug. 25: Nearly two decades later, the Whalers live on

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Thursday, Aug. 25: Nearly two decades later, the Whalers live on

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while in disbelief mode that the summer is almost over.

*Good piece on the remainders of the Hartford Whalers organization in Connecticut trying to keep the dream alive for the Whale.

*Tyler Seguin sits down for a podcast this week that I freely admit I did not have the time to listen to. I wonder if Boston even rated a mention in the conversation?

*Rating the top NHL contracts, according to the fancy stats hockey analysts, sounds like an interesting exercise.

*Tracey Myers has Duncan Keith bowing out of the World Cup of Hockey while recovering from an injury, and getting replaced by Jay Boumeester.

*The “Da Beauty” Hockey League has kept players like Dustin Byfuglien, Ryan McDonagh and David Backes in hockey shape this summer while slowly getting ready for the season.

*The Arizona Coyotes make a historic hire by naming Dawn Braid as skating coach, making her the first female coach in the NHL.

*For something completely different: FOH (Friend of Haggs) Rich Shirtenlieb guested on the #DORK podcast this week, and it sounds like he didn’t love “Stranger Things.” At the very least he liked “Preacher” better. I thought Preacher was entertaining, but I didn’t even think it was in the same stratosphere as Stranger Things. Rich also has me wanting to watch “It Follows” now, however, after his endorsement.

 

Bruins don't poll well in latest New England Sports survey

Bruins don't poll well in latest New England Sports survey

It’s no secret Bruins fans are getting fed up with a hockey team in decline, one that’s missed the playoffs each of the last two years. Now there are numbers to prove it.

Channel Media and Market Research, Inc. came out with its annual New England Sports survey,  tabulating responses from over 14,600 polled, and, according to the numbers, the Bruins are dropping in popularity, fan support and faith in the current management group.

The B’s are holding somewhat steady with 16 percent of voters listing them as their “favorite sports team” behind the Patriots (46 percent) and Red Sox (29 percent) while ahead of the Celtics and Revolution. Claude Julien also ranked ahead of John Farrell among the big four teams in the “coaches/manages most admired” category.

But after sitting at a relative high of ranking at 27 percent for “ownership performance” in 2014 -- they year after their trip to the Cup Finals against the Blackhawks -- the Bruins now rank dead last in that category at 2 percent, behind the Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics and even the Revolution. Ouch, babe.

Also sitting at a lowly 2 percent is Bruins president Cam Neely in the “leadership performance” category. In "management performance," Neely has dropped from a solid 49 percent in 2014 to just 16 percent in this summer’s survey.

So B’s fans are clearly upset with a team that traded away Tyler Seguin, Johnny Boychuk, Milan Lucic and Dougie Hamilton, and has featured a decimated defense corps for each of the last two seasons. But do the B’s fans think that things are getting any better with prospects coming down the pipeline?

Not really.

In the “which team has done the best job making its product better.” category, the Patriots (35 percent) and Red Sox (31 percent) were resting at the top, with the Celtics (27 percent) a respectable third. The Bruins limped in at just 4 percent with a fan base that very clearly sees that, on paper, this upcoming season’s club doesn’t appear to be much better than last year's.

On top of that, only 13 percent of those surveyed believe the Bruins have gotten better over the last year, and 52 percent believe they’ve just gotten worse. A lowly 3 percent of those surveyed think the Bruins have the best chance of the five teams to bring a world championship back to Boston; the Patriots (79 percent), Red Sox (11 percent) and Celtics (5 percent) all ranked higher.

Finally, Zdeno Chara, Tuukka Rask and Jimmy Hayes were at the top of the list of the Boston athletes “who did not meet expectations” last season. None of that is a surprise, given the state of Boston’s defense along with Hayes’ subpar season.

The good news for the Bruins: They still have a passionate fan base. But they need to start reversing course immediately before they do lasting damage to the B’s brand.

Wednesday, August 24: B's dealing with post-Vesey aftermath

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Wednesday, August 24: B's dealing with post-Vesey aftermath

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading with the Olympics coming to a close . . .
 
-- FOH (Friend of Haggs) Kirk Luedeke sorts through the aftermath for the Bruins after losing out on Jimmy Vesey

-- Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland gave an interview where he said the Red Wings aren’t Stanley Cup contenders this season. 

-- Related to Holland’s comments, some of the media in Detroit aren’t taking the dose of reality all that well

-- It’s a big season for New Jersey Devils forward Kyle Palmieri, who will be starring for Team USA on the World Cup team. 

 -- PHT writer Cam Tucker says the Buffalo Sabres still have a strong group of forwards even without Jimmy Vesey.

-- Jamie Benn is giving everything to his Dallas Stars team, and that means that the World Cup of Hockey is taking a backseat
 
-- The Colorado Avalanche are nearing the end of their head coaching search as they look for their replacement for Patrick Roy.
 
-- For something completely different: NBC is making the argument that millenials watched the Olympics, but just not on the traditional formats