Haggerty: Bruins playing like they want to stay

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Haggerty: Bruins playing like they want to stay

By JoeHaggerty
CSNNE.com

UNIONDALE, N.Y. Changes are coming for the Bruins, no matter how they feel about them.

Its a bit of a shame, because every member of the Bs through words or actions showed they didnt want to go anywhere else in a 6-3 thumping of the New York Islanders at the NHL rink that time forgot Nassau Coliseum on Thursday night.

But the NHL journey doesnt stop for any player, no matter how big or small, and a few players will likely be departing for other teams in the coming days while going out with their head held high.

Mark Stuart was a healthy scratch Thursday night despite playing some of his best hockey in the two previous games, and was nowhere to be found in the Bs locker room following the game. Its expected that the rugged defenseman is going to be shipped to the Chicago Blackhawks in the next day or two in exchange for a draft pick and some salary cap relief, and if he leaves Boston he does it with some things intact: his love for Boston and the Bruins that had him hoping he would stay despite the writing on the wall, and some very good final games in Black and Gold while he controlled the matters in his own hands.

In his final five games with the Bruins Stuart had a goal and two assists to go along with a plus-5 rating, and showed the toughness and flashes of offensive competence that have many around the NHL interested in his services as a 26-year-old defenseman.

So Stuart embodied the attitude that Claude Julien has been preaching to the rest of his team with less than two weeks to go until the NHL trade deadline has passed.

Youve got to deal with it professionally, and guys have to just go out there and play, said Julien. Its up to them whether to take that approach or not, but we emphasize the approach that were professionals and you need to act like professionals.

When you sign a contract at this level you have to understand that there might be trades involved that you have to deal with down the road, and thats all you can do. What Ive told players is that trades arent the end of the world. You might be going somewhere else, but youre still getting paid to play hockey. Thats not the end of the world at all.

Blake Wheeler and Tyler Seguin have also adopted that take no prisoners philosophy with their names tossed out there as possible fodder for trades or healthy scratches now that Chris Kelly is ready to join the fold.

Wheeler has a goal and four assists in his last seven games, and Seguin has three points in his last three games while both young forwards seem to be ramping things up while skating together on the same line. The 23-year-old Wheeler is obviously the name thats popping up in trade talks given his 2.2 million price tag, and its believed hes a necessity to move if Tomas Kaberle is coming to Boston.

Seguins situation is a lot more complication. The 19-year-old looks like he finally gets it, as Julien said, following one of his best games of the season against the Islanders, and the Bruins need that kind of offensive potential in the lineup.

Wheeler sees Seguins recent two-game hiatus in the press box as the prime reason why everyone is beginning to see a determined rookie ready to make plays and do some damage while battling on the ice.

I think the biggest thing you learn sitting up in the press box as a scratch is that you dont want to be sitting up there, said Wheeler. Your teammates are out there battling and doing a good job, and you come in and everybody is sweating and patting each other on the back. Thats tough to see all your teammates were off to war with each other and you werent a part of it.

I think you learn that you want to do whatever you can to stay on the ice, and stay involved.

Once Seguin got back on the ice, Wheeler knew it was only a matter of time before the two of them clicked offensively and only a matter of time before Seguin really starting becoming some kind of dominant force.

Since hes come back from being scratched youve seen a lot more determination, said Wheeler. Youve seen a little more determination and he creates a lot. I keep telling him all along that hes got another gear that we havent seen yet. Hes going to learn. Maybe not this year, but hes going to learn that hes a lot better than the guys that hes playing against.

Once he realizes that and he has that confidence, the sky is the limit for him. Hes so young, its tough to build confidence in this league especially if youre not used to playing the way that youre used to. But if he gets some confidence and starting believing in himself then youre really going to see him take off.

While Julien has to be pleased with the desperation and commitment evinced in the games of Wheeler and Seguin with Kelly on the way, hes already said that Kelly will jump into the lineup in Ottawa Friday night. Whether it means benching Wheeler, Seguin or Daniel Paille who has also played well since coming back from a four-game suspension somebody thats done nothing wrong on the ice is going to be sitting at the end of the cold, hard, unforgiving bench when the Bs suit against the Senators on Friday night.

The Bruins all showed that they deserve to be in the lineup after the way they performed on and off the ice on Thursday but rarely is anything in professional sports truly about what one individual or another deserves.

Its a lot more about what you get, and what you need.

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

Bruins lose third straight with 4-1 loss to Leafs

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Bruins lose third straight with 4-1 loss to Leafs

BOSTON -- The Bruins’ season has gone in extreme swings both up and down thus far through the first couple of months, and that was the case as they lost their third game in a row to the Maple Leafs on Saturday night.

The Bruins couldn’t only scratch for one goal despite outshooting the Maple Leafs by a 32-20 margin, and fell by a disappointing 4-1 score to the young and talented Toronto club at TD Garden.

The Bruins never enjoyed a lead in the game against the Leafs, and were flirting with danger after failing to score in the first period despite out-shooting Toronto by an 11-2 margin in the game’s opening 20 minutes. Instead it was a David Pastrnak neutral zone turnover in the second period that was picked off by William Nylander, and ended with Auston Matthews firing a rocket over Tuukka Rask for his 12th goal of the season.

Toronto extended the lead with five minutes to go in the period when Zach Hyman tipped a wobbly Jake Gardiner point shot past Rask, and made it three games in a row that the Bruins have dug themselves a considerable hole. Brad Marchand got one goal back at the end of the second period on a nice hustle play as he sealed off Frederik Anderson’s clearing attempt and then stuffed the puck past the Leafs goalie on a second chance bid.

That’s the way the score remained until the third period when the Bruins couldn’t convert on a couple of offensive chances -- included a bang-bang shorthanded bid for Austin Czarnik in front of the net -- and then James van Riemsdyk scored in front as a Toronto power play expired. That was the backbreaker for a Black and Gold bunch that continues to scrap for goals, and has now scored two goals or less in 20 of their 20 games this season.

Connor Brown added an empty netter in the final two minutes of the game to truly put it out of reach for the Bruins. 

Heinen looking to show his offense in his shot on Krejci line

Heinen looking to show his offense in his shot on Krejci line

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins mixed things up with their roster a bit on Saturday after dropping a couple of games in a row to Washington and Colorado. 

Fourth-line energy winger Noel Acciari and playmaking forward Danton Heinen were called up from Providence and will be in the lineup against the Toronto Maple Leafs at TD Garden on Saturday night. 
Acciari went to Providence the past couple of days to get some game action in after missing the past month with a lower body injury, but clearly showed he’s ready to go. 

So, Acciari is back to provide the same hard-hitting and energy he showed before he was hurt and Heinen is looking to show off a little more offense than in his first stint with the Black and Gold this season. He’ll be featured in a top role as left wing with David Krejci and David Backes and with marching orders to shoot the puck like he never shot it in his previous stint in Boston. 

For the Bruins, it’s about getting another look at a candidate to play left wing beside Krejci with both Ryan Spooner and Tim Schaller, with limitations to their respective games, unable to fully grasp that same opportunity. 

“My hope is that Heinen can come in and give us some good hockey. He’s a skill player and he’s been down there for a while, and he’s back up again because he’s been playing well,” said Claude Julien of the Bruins rookie, who had four goals and seven points in his past five games with Providence. “Hopefully he can play well here also. It’s about getting some confidence. When he went down to [the AHL] the pace of his game had to get a little bit better, and in the battles coming up with the puck along the walls. Those are the kinds of things we thought he could work on down in Providence.”

Heinen knows he needs to shoot the puck a bit more to show off his offense after a seven-game stint with the Bruins where he went scoreless, was a minus-2 and had just six shots on net.

“Being hard on the walls, playing fast and shooting the puck, those were all things I was working on [in Providence],” said Heinen, who has seven goals and 13 points in 13 games for the P-Bruins after being assigned to Providence. “I was doing what they told me to do [in Providence] and that’s shoot the puck. They were going in, and I was getting some good opportunities on the power play. It’s seriously tough to get chances [at the NHL level], so you can’t pass them up when you have chances. That was kind of my focus down there.”

Fellow fourth-line energy winger Anton Blidh has been shipped to Providence after three solid games with the Black and Gold. 

Julien said Blidh goes back to Providence having adequately shown that he can play in the NHL. He clearly showed the Bruins that he understands his role as a player that stirs things up a bit and gets his nose dirty on a regular basis.

“[Blidh] was fine. No issues there. He does his job. He plays with lots of energy and obviously he’s getting more experience. He’s a lot better at understanding his positioning within the game and what he has to do,” said Julien. “I thought he helped us out for the time that he was here.”

With Heinen and Acciari both in the lineup and Blidh back in Providence, that means Jimmy Hayes will be scratched after dressing for three of the past four games for Boston.