Haggerty: Five keys for a Bruins comeback


Haggerty: Five keys for a Bruins comeback

By JoeHaggerty

BOSTON The first Eastern Conference Finals involving the Bruins since the 1991-92 season certainly didnt start out the way Boston had envisioned, but as the Bs found out while coming back from 0-2 against the Montreal Canadiens there is still plenty of time to jump back into the series.

The Bruins are down 0-1 after a brutal first period that featured some notable brain cramps and an inability match what the Tampa Bay Lightning are bringing to the playoff table. Here are five adjustments that the Bruins need to make after the Game One loss in order to get back into the series:

1) Play Tyler Seguin more, and put him on the power play. Every playoff series has its own matchup issues and strengths and weaknesses, and its pretty clear that the Tampa Bay Lightning have speed and offense skill in great abundance. Its certainly not going to turn into a grinding grudge match, and thats exactly the kind of rapid, high-flying style of play that can favor a gifted youngster like Seguin. The Bs rookie showed off just how comfortable he feels against the Bolts in Game One when he collected two points, and enjoyed a lot of success stretching Tampas defense by virtue of his great speed. The two shifts and 1:51 of ice time in the second period was a woeful mistake by the Bs coaching staff, and his elevation to a line with Brad Marchand and Chris Kelly in the third period seemed to be a sign of admiration from another GM. Theres really no reason Mark Recchi finished with 20:02 against the speed merchant Lightning and Seguin couldnt even top 10 minutes of ice time.

2) The Bruins coaching staff needs to be ready for anything. Claude Julien and Bruins answered all kinds of questions about the 1-3-1 trap employed in the neutral zone by Tampa coach Guy Boucher but thats the exact opposite of what Boucher and the Lightning started the series with. Boucher opened the game with a pair of fore-checkers wreaking havoc deep in the Boston end, and that aggressive style led to two of Tampas three goals in the first period. Thomas Kaberle looked woefully unprepared for a heavy fore-check when he coughed up the puck to Teddy Purcell to make it 3-0 Tampa. Given that Boucher pulled something out of his hat for Game One with the fore-checking strategy and has confused the Boston coaching staff with different fore-checks with the same game this season. Boucher and Co. did well forcing the action on Julien in the series opening game, and now Boucher is forcing the tempo on the Celtics rather than the other one.

3) Lucic, Krejci and Horton get involved The Bs top line didnt see a defensemen corps imposing enough to defeat then, and the Boston trio are getting all kinds of juicy chances around the net. Erick Brewer and Matthias Ohlund arent exactly Hal Gill and P.K. Subban, and wont adequately hold down the Bs trio in their efforts to feel more comfortable attacking the net.

4) Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton were both held off the scoreboard and lost it against the Canadiens on behalf of the Bruins when the team announced that theyll be hanging out in Prison. Its important that they keep at it offensively -- as Bruins gained some traction while attacking Tampa over the first few games.

5) The Bruins have to do whatever they can to help speed up the healing process and get Patrice Bergeron returned to the ice this week. Whispers were circulated after Saturday nights Game 1 loss that some of the Bergerons teammates feel hell be back for action in Game Two at TD Garden on Tuesday night. Bergeron had no points in four regular season games against the Lightning this season and managed a minus-1 for his efforts. Brad Marchand and Mark Recchi were both unremarkable on the wings without Bergeron in the middle in Game One, and the Tampa goalie really looked every shape on a couple of minutes. Thats not even mentioning David Krejci winning only three out of 18 face-offs, and the whole team struggling against the Tampa Bay centers.

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

Saturday, Oct. 1: Vesey's New York state of mind


Saturday, Oct. 1: Vesey's New York state of mind

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while gearing up for Big Papi weekend.

*A “behind-the-scenes” look as Jimmy Vesey was sold on the New York Rangers, but there’s not too much detail about the pitches from the other teams. Feels pretty apparent at this point that Vesey wanted to live, and work, in New York City.

*Damien Cox says that the World Cup of Hockey better get it right the next time, or else…or else what, Damien? You’re going to block them on Twitter?

*PHT writer Joey Alfieri has Patrick Kane, Erik Karlsson and P.K. Subban making their preseason debuts on Saturday. David Backes and David Pastrnak will play their first preseason games for the Bruins as well.  

*It’s a complicated, strange story with Vladimir Sobotka, the KHL and the contract he seemingly can’t get out of to again play for the St. Louis Blues.

*Oliver Ekman-Larsson is ready to get back to work with the Arizona Coyotes after his World Cup experience.

*San Jose Sharks prospect Timo Meier is out for the next month with mono, which is definitely worse timing than Zach Senyshyn getting hit with the mononucleosis bomb over the summer.

*A quick look at the Philadelphia Flyers in advance of their preseason meeting with the Black and Gold tonight, which won’t be televised.

*For something completely different: there will be some pretty funky stuff happening on The Walking Dead this season.



Claude Julien on David Ortiz: 'Finishing in style, you don't see that very often'

Claude Julien on David Ortiz: 'Finishing in style, you don't see that very often'

BRIGHTON, Mass. – It hasn’t been difficult to spot Claude Julien randomly at Fenway Park on a nice summer night in Boston over the past ten years. The Bruins coach doesn’t hide his affection for the Old Towne Team. 

So, Julien didn’t waste much time before sharing his thoughts on the final season for David Ortiz and the celebration of his Hall of Fame-worthy career that’s going on at the Fens this weekend.

It might have been a chore when the rest of the Team Canada coaching staff was watching the Toronto Blue Jackets during the World Cup of Hockey, but Julien never strayed too far away from his Red Stockings.

“He’s finishing in style, and you don’t see that very often,” said Claude Julien of Big Papi, who was sitting with numbers of .316 with 38 home runs and 127 RBI that border on the ridiculous at 40 years old. 

“A lot of times when people retire the game has caught up to them big time. Not him. He doesn’t seem to have missed a beat here. I’m pretty impressed with how he’s handled this year, and what he’s done. If I’m correct he just hit the home run last night for the game-winner.

“But as you know I was in Blue Jays land for about two weeks, so I had to keep a low profile. They were watching the Blue Jays and I’m Canadian too...but I was watching the Red Sox. So, it was healthy competition for our [World Cup] coaching staff.”

The most intriguing part about all is that the best is still yet to come for Ortiz in his farewell tour as he gets one more chance to clutch up in the postseason. It'll give Julien more to marvel at over the next few weeks while showing again why Big Papi will go down as the greatest clutch hitter in the history of Major League Baseball.