Haggerty: B's need more out of 'Passenger Line'


Haggerty: B's need more out of 'Passenger Line'

By JoeHaggerty

LOS ANGELES Looking for a catchy name for the newly minted line of Blake Wheeler, Tyler Seguin and Nathan Horton that ended Monday nights game together per design of the Bruins coaching staff?How about the "Passenger Line?"Thats a little harsh to be sure, but its about time for some players to rise to the forefront and begin carrying their weight after the Bruins dropped a 2-0 decision to the Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center characterized by its lifeless play and paucity of production.I think right now we need some guys to step up and start scoring some goals for us, said Claude Julien. Not always rely on the same people all of the time. At one point you can get away with it, but there are some guys that have been dry for a while. We need them to step up.The dry players: Horton has one goal in his last 19 games for the Bruins and is now on a pace for 20 goals and 47 points this season after starting so promisingly. Tyler Seguin is an 18-year-old working through the NHL for the first time, so he gets some slack while putting up nothing but zeroes over his last seven games. Similarly, Wheeler was one goal in his last 13 games and has drifted away from the physicality and net front presence that had him popping in goals regularly at the beginning of the month.All three forwards look like theyll have to look toward each other for offensive answers in the final game before the NHL All-Star break. Theres simply no reason to break up three other lines that have worked together intermittently through the season, and hold out hope that theyll produce again soon.The Bruins wont be getting four goal explosions from Patrice Bergerons line each and every night, and its clear that David Krejci and Milan Lucic have some work to do before they get their mojo going together.So it came down to Horton finally deciding to tell his Bruins teammates to hop on his back with Marc Savard down and out, and that really didnt even come close to happening as he instead faded to 15:24 of ice time and pretty much no presence 5-on-5 or on the power play.The Bruins had 34 shots on net when it ended against a defensive-minded Kings bunch, but its doubtful there were more than four Grade A scoring chances through the entire 60 minute effort. Michael Ryder had a couple of very good chances in the first period, Zdeno Chara hit the outside of the right post on a perfectly set one-timer during a second period power play, and Jonathan Quick managed to cover up a Lucic bomb from the slot as stampeded toward the net.I dont think as forwards we did a good enough job of getting in front of Quick, said Thornton. They were painted in our crease all night, and we didnt a great job of using their defensemen to force pucks in there. Some guys were going, and I think some guys were a few steps behind. But that was about it, and Claude Julien has enough of his team to know there is much more there whether Savard is in the lineup or back in Boston nursing the fourth concussion of his career. Chara called it being emotionally detached after the game, and it was clear that started with three forwards that the Bs desperately needed in the second part of a strange two-game West Coast road swing.I think some guys were involved and some guys werent, said Thornton pretty flatly.Its time for the Passenger Line to stop settling for zeros and starting finding answers with Savard down and out for an indefinite period of time, and everybody among the Boston forwards responsible for pulling their own weight.
Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Spooner responds positively to healthy scratch


Spooner responds positively to healthy scratch

BOSTON -- It wasn’t perfect by any means, but Saturday night represented a step in a positive direction for Ryan Spooner.

The 24-year-old speedy forward was scratched for the home opener against New Jersey in classic message-sending fashion by Bruins coach Claude Julien, and deserved it based on a passive lack of production combined with some costly mistakes as well. So he stayed quiet, put in the work and then returned to the lineup Saturday vs. the Montreal Canadiens where he scored a power play goal in the 4-2 loss to the Habs at TD Garden.

“He was better,” agreed Claude Julien. “He was better tonight.”

Spooner could have had even more as he got a couple of great scoring chances in the first period vs. Montreal, but Carey Price was able to turn away a couple of free looks at the Montreal net. So the Bruins forward felt he possibly left points on the ice after it was all said and done, but also clearly played his best game of the young season after going from the press box back to the lineup.

“Yeah, I had like maybe four or five [chances] that I could have scored on,” said Spooner. “I’ve just got to bear down on those [scoring opportunities], and a lot [of them] in the first period. It’s good that I’m getting those looks, but I have to score on them.

“I’m just going to go out there and just try to play. I can’t really think about [fighting to hold a spot]. I’ve just got to go out there and try to play, I guess, the game I can and try to use the speed that I have.”

The Spooner power play strike was a nifty one with the shifty forward and David Backes connecting on a pass across the front of the net, and the young B’s forward showing the necessary assertiveness cutting to the net from his half-wall position.

Spooner had five shot attempts overall in the game, and was one of the few Bruins players really getting the chances they wanted against a pretty effective Montreal defensive group. Now it’s a matter of Spooner, along with linemates Backes and David Krejci, scoring during 5-on-5 play and giving the Bruins a little more offensive balance after riding Boston’s top line very hard during the regular season’s first couple of weeks. 

Sunday, Oct. 23: Hall fitting in with Devils


Sunday, Oct. 23: Hall fitting in with Devils

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while waiting to find out which Walking Dead character got brained by Lucille in last season’s cliffhanger. I’m going with Abraham.

*The SI roundtable talks about the future of Jacob Trouba, and where he’ll end up going when his current situation resolves itself.

*P.K. Subban is apparently getting very comfortable in Nashville, and enjoying life in a city with NFL football.

*Fun conversation between Yahoo’s Josh Cooper and Brad Marchand about a whole range of random topics.

*A cool father-son story where they became the goaltending tandem for the Ontario Reign through a series of dominoes falling after Jonathan Quick went down with injury for the Los Angeles Kings.

*Pro Hockey Talk has Taylor Hall serving as exactly what the New Jersey Devils have needed for the last couple of years.

*For something completely different: FOH (Friend of Haggs) Dan Shaughnessy says that the MLB playoffs couldn’t have played out any worse for the Boston Red Sox.