BruinsCanucks: 5 from the First

BruinsCanucks: 5 from the First

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.comVANCOUVER Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Bruins trailing the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena after the first 20 minutes of action.1)The first period felt very much like a pair of heavyweight hockey teams feeling each other out rather than making a strong move. The shots were 8-7 in favor of the Canucks with a few hard hits thrown by the Canucks at the Bs for good measure. Jannik Hansen decked Mark Recchi right at the end of the first period, and that was a pretty good indicator of what went down for the majority of time.2)The only downside of Tomas Kaberles game with the Bruins was in evidence as the Vancouver Canucks pounced all over the front of the net for their only goal of the period. Tomas Kaberle was nowhere near the front of the net as rebounds were being battled for and both Raffi Torres and Manny Malhotra outnumbered Dennis Seidenberg in front of Tim Thomas. Kaberle tackling Torres after Malhotra had already put the puck in the net is a late on the draw, dont you think?3)Strange to Tomas Kaberle take a bevy of shots from the right point on Bostons power play early in the game. Scouting report is that he does the exact opposite most of the time, so not sure why they wouldnt work to get Zdeno Chara his one-timers. Stay turned to that one as Kaberle was badly off the mark with his shots.4)The Bruins had seven shots, but only one really good scoring chance on the PP. David Krejci and Milan Lucic used a little interior passing to get Nathan Horton a chance right by the left post, but Horton couldnt lift the puck over Roberto Luongos pads. Missing great chances like that can bite you against a good squad like the Canucks.5)A shot on net and a couple of hits for Johnny Boychuk in the first period. Id expect to see his game go up a notch or two now that Shane Hnidy is being thrown into the mix going forward. Love the signing of Hnidy, by the way: theres no downside to picking up a gritty blueliner with playoff experience and influence in the Boston dressing room and for roughly the league veteran minimum at that.

Bruins coaches: Czarnik a ‘Belichick-type hockey player’


Bruins coaches: Czarnik a ‘Belichick-type hockey player’

BOSTON – Austin Czarnik is off to a good start at Bruins training camp.

He’s got points in each of the first two exhibition games and just the fact that he’s cracked the B’s lineup in both games tells you that the coaching staff wants to get a long, good look at the undersized forward.

But the 5-foot-9, 167-pound Czarnik brings more than simply a touch of the Napoleon complex after always being told that he was too small to make it to the elite levels of hockey. The 23-year-old clearly can score after posting 20 goals and 61 points in his first pro season in the AHL in Providence last season. He plays with heart, energy and a dogged determination when he’s hunting pucks on the fore-check.

But former P-Bruins head coach and current B’s assistant coach Bruce Cassidy says that Czarnik also brings something a little extra that New England Patriots fans will certainly appreciate.

“As far as being a player goes, he would be, to me, that [Bill] Belichick-type player that you could use in a lot of different situations,” said Cassidy, in clear reference to intelligent utility guys Troy Brown, Danny Woodhead, Julian Edelman and others that all filled different roles in their time with New England.

“He’s got a very, very high IQ, he’s a quick learner and very coachable,” Cassidy said. “So, he’s a guy you can move around, and he can play with different players. He can play on the penalty kill, he’s good on the power play and especially on the point.

“So there are a lot of different things. I think from night-to-night if you wanted to, you could move him around in your lineup and he could be effective for you. I know he’s a center, but it would be interesting to see if he could play the wing and be effective. That’s something we haven’t really seen. Is that something we maybe attempt down the road? I don’t know. I don’t want to speak out of turn, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he could handle it. He even played for us 6-on-5 as a defenseman with the goalie out. He’s just a smart player, and he understands the game very, very well.”

So, Czarnik is off to a good start in training camp with the Bruins, but we also saw the same thing from him last year as a rookie to pro hockey. 

Now, it’s about seeing whether a smaller player can finish strong as the competition heightens deeper into the preseason, and perhaps he can bring that versatility and feistiness to the NHL level in Boston. 



Thursday, Sept. 29: Oilers right where they belong


Thursday, Sept. 29: Oilers right where they belong

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while looking forward to watching the Luke Cage Netflix series.

*The Cult of Hockey has no issues with yours truly ranking the Edmonton Oilers 29th out of 30 teams in my first preseason NHL power rankings.

*An interesting piece about Brian McGrattan and his battle with alcohol in his career as an NHL tough guy. I can honestly say having covered him a bit when he was in the Bruins organization that he was one of the scariest dudes I’ve ever talked to in an NHL dressing room. A nice guy, but very intense and always looked like he definitely enjoyed his work on the ice.

*Dennis Seidenberg hopped on with the Hockey Central crew today to talk about his new contract with the New York Islanders.

*PHT writer and Friend of Haggs (FOH) Mike Halford has Guy Boucher with some serious Dion Phaneuf love going on in Ottawa.

*Jack Eichel is oozing confidence and swagger in his second NHL season with Buffalo looking to make a big step up this season.

*Scott Burnside said that the World Cup of Hockey could be coming to an end tonight and I think most predict that it will with a little bit of an anticlimactic thud due to the sheer awesomeness of Team Canada.

*For something completely different: “Aleppo Moment” sounds like a great name for a rock band. Not so much for a Presidential candidate.