Campbell: Complaining about refs is a tactic

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Campbell: Complaining about refs is a tactic

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

BEDFORD There has been plenty of yammering over the last 48 hours about lopsided referees, biases against certain teams, makeup calls and the normal subterfuge that can go down in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Referee Eric Furlatt was the center of attention after Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher singled him out as the reason more than 20 penalties had been called against the Lightning in Bruins games officiated by that referee. The Lightning had received half as many power plays.

I was asked, and people put numbers in front of me," Boucher said. "Those were the facts and the numbers.

"If youre asking me, said Boucher as he whipped out a box score following Wednesdays Game 6 win and began ticking off the penalty calls, "the power plays are 5-4 for them today, and they were 3-0 for them to start the game in the first period. It was 4-1 for them before we got our other power play, so I dont know who had the advantage today? We had less power plays than them.

Its true that the Lightning had only four power plays to Bostons five power play chances in Game 6, but they obviously scored three power play goals and are actively hoping to participate in playoff games against the Bruins that tilt toward more special teams play.

Bruins forward Gregory Campbell is in a pretty unique position with a father thats in charge of NHL Hockey Operations, and a long history watching hockey when coaches began their histrionics about the referees.

Campbell thought it was a ploy on one level, but also felt like it was a faade to take some of the pressure away from many Lightning players going through a deep playoff run for the first time.

Obviously its a tactic used by many players, coaches and GMs," Campbell said. "Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesnt. Thats not our job to worry about it as players. Were just going out there and playing. There are things that go on inside the game all the time.

Sometimes it could work . . . I dont know. Im not a referee and Im not the guy thats in charge of the referees. I think theyre professional enough to call the game as it is to be honest with you. Sometimes its done for other reasons. To take the pressure off the Lighting when theyre down 3-2 and present something. Coaches in the playoffs tend to know what theyre doing, and its our job as players to go out and ignore that stuff.

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

Spooner working on his draws to help become a more complete center

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Spooner working on his draws to help become a more complete center

BRIGHTON, Mass. – Ryan Spooner quickly ticked off face-offs as one big area that needed improvement headed into his second full NHL season with the Bruins and the speedy young center has most definitely put in the work thus far in camp.

Still, it didn’t translate in Spooner’s first preseason game in Wednesday night’s lopsided loss to the Red Wings as he finished 4-for-16 on the draw, and to add insult to injury: he also served a two-minute minor penalty for a face-off violation that led to a power-play goal. 

The skilled center made up for it at the other end by setting up a score for fellow speed-demon center Austin Czarnik as Boston’s only goal, but he was again back out on the Warrior Ice Arena sheet working on his draws again Thursday.

“I wasn’t great on my face-offs [against Detroit] trying to cheat a little bit too much. I think I just need to maybe just bear down a little bit more,” said Spooner, who finished at a very lackluster 42.8 percent success rate on face-offs last season. “[I need to] not try to win them clean, maybe just tie them up a little bit more. I was just trying to cheat on those [face-offs], and it didn’t work.”

Clearly, the draws were a contributing part of the problem in the rough loss to the Red Wings and it’s something Spooner will need to iron out before he’s fully trusted by the coaching in the nitty-gritty situations late in games. That was obvious at times last season. It’s something Spooner wants to change this season when there’s so much competition at the center spot, with Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, David Backes, Dominic Moore, Noel Acciari, Riley Nash and Czarnik all considered natural centers.

“When you start with the puck then the game is so much easier,” said B’s assistant coach Bruce Cassidy. “For Spooner [face offs] are important. I don’t want to speak for Claude [Julien], but he does have the luxury now of playing Spooner with guys that can take draws in his place if he wants to go down that road.

“At some point he’s going to have to improve [on the draw]. I think he wants to [improve on the draw] and he’s working at it, but the numbers aren’t where they need to be for him obviously. That’s the challenge Claude has going forward, but I think he can still get out on the ice and help you, even if he’s deficient in the face-off circle, and if he has some wingers that can help him.”

Spooner has employed veteran center Moore to give him some pointers while the two have worked out together in training camp and, in theory, it should be a big help for the young third-line center. Moore is one of those trusted veterans that is used in key face off situations with positive results, and is a left-shot player who can show the 24-year-old the exact techniques to help him.

Spooner said that getting face-off tips from Bergeron or Krejci had a limit to its helpfulness because those are right-handed centers doing the absolute reverse technique that a left-shot center would employ. Moore downplayed his role as a bit of a face off mentor, but the statistics, and his reputation on the draw would indicate he’s got plenty of knowledge to offer a second-year player.

“There are a lot of little things in the game, face-offs being one of them, that you learn through experience, and you want to try to pass it along to help make the team better,” said Moore. “[Spooner] is eager to try and improve a little bit every day. Part of face-offs is trying to get an edge any way that you can because they’re such a hotly contested thing.

“It’s definitely not easy, but if you have the right mentality then you try and build it up. You just have to approach it on a daily basis, commit to it and try to improve as best you can.”

Like so many things in life it would seem face-off ability is about putting in the work as much as it’s about natural-born skill and Spooner is putting in the hours to be a more complete center and trusted part of the team.

 

Bruins set roster for tonight’s preseason game in Detroit

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Bruins set roster for tonight’s preseason game in Detroit

The Bruins' lineup for Friday night’s preseason game in Detroit at Joe Louis Arena against the Red Wings will include players from both practice groups filling into a more veteran-laden B’s lineup in Motown.

The Matt Grzelcyk-Adam McQuaid pairing that wasn’t great on Wednesday night will get right back into it, and the John-Michael Liles-Brandon Carlo pairing that was so good on Monday night will get another look as well. Matt Beleskey, Jimmy Hayes, Anton Khudobin, Dominic Moore, Joe Morrow, Riley Nash and Ryan Spooner will be the established NHL veterans along with McQuaid and Liles suiting up for Boston’s first road exhibition of the preseason.

Here’s the entire lineup, with Boston now serving as one of the last NHL teams that is yet to make any cuts from their camp roster: Matt Beleskey, Anton Blidh, Brandon Carlo, Colby Cave, Peter Cehlarik, Brian Ferlin, Alex Grant, Seth Griffith, Matt Grzelcyk, Jimmy Hayes, Danton Heinen, Anton Khudobin, Jeremy Lauzon, John-Michael Liles, Zane McIntyre, Adam McQuaid, Dominic Moore, Joe Morrow, Riley Nash, Zach Senyshyn, Ryan Spooner.

The Bruins will be traveling to Philadelphia for another preseason game on Saturday and that may perhaps be the first time B’s fans get to see returning World Cup veteran players David Backes, David Pastrnak and Tuukka Rask after they began practicing with the camp group on Thursday morning at Warrior Ice Arena.