Haggerty: Five thoughts from Bruins-Senators

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Haggerty: Five thoughts from Bruins-Senators

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON -- Here are five lingering thoughts from Thursday nights 2-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden where the Bruins really dominated play for at least 23 of the game.

1) Great to see Adam McQuaid wearing the A as an alternate captain for Thursdays game, along with normal letter carriers in Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara.
Clearly the Bruins are searching for another alternate captain with the retirement of Mark Recchi, and theyve handed the 'A' off to Andrew Ference and Chris Kelly, among others. McQuaid isnt the loudest guy in the room and hes certainly among the younger group of players, but there isnt a harder worker or a more conscientious kid than the strapping 6-foot-5 defenseman. Hes a great lead by example kind of player. Claude Julien may decided to simply rotate the second A among several of the players in his dressing room this season, and that might be the best way to go given the large group of leaders within the team.

2) Tim Thomas looked better in losing to the Senators than he did in his first preseason game against the Islanders, but the 37-year-old still doesnt look quite Vezina ready.
Thomas really wasnt challenged all that much in the first two periods while facing only 10 shots, but he got a little more action in the third. There were some solid stops within those Senators shots, but its not inaccurate to say Tuukka Rask has outplayed his goaltender partner to this point in the preseason. Thomas will get the nod again on Saturday against the Islanders in Bridgeport for a final season tune-up, and should be opening night starter barring anything unforeseen. But as everyone remembers Rask was the opening night starter last season, and that didnt last for very long.

3) Rich Peverley has been a difference-maker on the power play during the preseason and looks like hell be seeing much more specials team play this season.
He finished with four shots on net and over four minutes of power-play ice time, and his combination of puck creativity and skating speed allows the Bs to sustain possession in the offensive zone. Peverley really didnt factor much into anything toward the end of last years regular season once he arrived, but he looks like a legitimate difference-maker this season as a top-six forward.

4) It sounds like Tyler Seguin is going to be getting a lot more power-play ice time this season working off the half wall.
Seguin was one of the Bs regulars that sat out Thursday nights game against the Senators, but Claude Julien indicated that the supremely skilled 19-year-old was one of Bostons choices to help upgrade the man advantage this season. If Seguin gets consistent power play time the chances are pretty good that his offensive stats are going to rise considerably this season flashing shooting and passing off the half wall. I think that half board is a pretty important position and you know, Tyler's Seguin a guy that we're looking at right now that can hopefully step in and do that job, said Julien.

5) Its looking like there may be room for both Jordan Caron and Chris Clark on the Bruins roster to break training camp.
Claude Julien confirmed hes had discussions with GM Peter Chiarelli about carrying a roster of 23 players to start the regular season, which would allow for 14 forwards including a pair of extras and seven defensemen along with the two goaltenders. Both Caron and Clark again played strong games on Thursday night against the Ottawa Senators despite no point production from either player. Caron piled up shots and hits while camping out in front of the Ottawa net and Clark freed up Daniel Paille for a breakaway with a smart stretch pass through the neutral zone. Its beginning to look like a Bs team built on depth last season could be even deeper this year.

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

Backes: Bruins were ‘wounded’ after ugly Detroit loss

Backes: Bruins were ‘wounded’ after ugly Detroit loss

BRIGHTON, Mass – It certainly sounded like there were some things that made the Wednesday night loss in Detroit a little different for the Bruins.

The Bruins media corps conducted postgame interviews in the hallway rather than in the visiting dressing room after what must have been a combustible atmosphere immediately following the shootout defeat. 

There was also evidence of anger in the visitor’s dressing room at Joe Louis Arena, according to reports, with a door off its hinges when the media was able to get a look inside the dressing room area.

David Backes confirmed something was different about the loss after blowing a pair of three-goal leads, and failing to follow up their dreadful no-show vs. the Islanders with a winning performance against another bad team in Detroit. The B’s forward said the plane ride home from Detroit was solemn and quiet, and that it was clear the Bruins team was “wounded” after a crushing loss.

“Both [losses] can be great lessons if we learn from it, and neither was very enjoyable. That was probably the quietest I think our guys were all year on that plane ride home from Detroit,” said Backes. “To me, that’s a great sign that it hit us in the heart, and it hit us where it really mattered. We’re thinking about how we can turn the tide and thinking about we can be victorious the next time out.

“We had the lead, and in a lot of instances you’re expecting, as you should, to come out of there with two points. We’re at the time in the season where wins need to be garnered and taken home.

“There were a lot of aspects where we should have grabbed the game back. When you feel like you’ve had a lot of opportunities to take the game and you don’t do it, it’s not a good feeling. I was reflecting on that during a very quiet team plane ride back from Detroit, and it seemed pretty clear that the whole team was feeling wounded. I think it’s a good sign that guys were feeling that way, and that means they’re going to do everything in their power to not have that feeling again.”

The words are encouraging from a 32-year-old natural leader in Backes, who has seen good times and bad as captain of the St. Louis Blues in his 10-year NHL career. But the proof is ultimately on the ice where the Bruins have games against the Blackhawks and Penguins coming up and face some very stiff tests coming off a couple of losses against the worst teams in the East that exposed Black and Gold fragility at this point in the season. 


 

After knee injury, Beleskey set to return for Bruins vs. Blackhawks

After knee injury, Beleskey set to return for Bruins vs. Blackhawks

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins, looking for a spark after terrible, back-to-back losses to the New York Islanders and Detroit Red Wings, are hoping the return of Matt Beleskey from a knee injury can help provide the inspiration. 

The blue-collar left winger has missed the past 23 games with a torn MCL in his right knee suffered in early December against the Buffalo Sabres, but now he’s easing back into the lineup on the fourth line in Friday night’s showdown with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Beleskey was skating with Dominic Moore and Austin Czarnik on the fourth line at morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena and should be expected to throw a few hard hits and play with some intensity in his return.

“I’m ready to go and excited to get back out there,” said Beleskey, who has been skating with the team for roughly a week after giving the knee sufficient time to heal. “I’ve just got to keep it simple and do what I do well: Be hard on pucks, take the body and just try and find your groove. You don’t want to expect too much in your first game back, but you just want to be able to contribute.

“’I’ve been saving [the pent-up energy] for a while, so I’m ready to get back out there and hopefully provide a spark for us.”

The Beleskey return also provides the player with a bit of a reset button after a slow start to the season that saw him with two goals and five points along with a minus-6 rating in 24 games played for the Black and Gold prior to his injury. Here are the projected line combos and D-pairs against the Blackhawks based on morning skate today:

Marchand-Bergeron-Vatrano

Schaller-Krejci-Pastrnak

Spooner-Nash-Backes/Hayes

Beleskey/Blidh-Moore-Czarnik

 

Chara-Carlo

Krug-McQuaid

Morrow-Liles

 

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