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

Bruins coaches: Czarnik a ‘Belichick-type hockey player’

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Bruins coaches: Czarnik a ‘Belichick-type hockey player’

BOSTON – Austin Czarnik is off to a good start at Bruins training camp.

He’s got points in each of the first two exhibition games and just the fact that he’s cracked the B’s lineup in both games tells you that the coaching staff wants to get a long, good look at the undersized forward.

But the 5-foot-9, 167-pound Czarnik brings more than simply a touch of the Napoleon complex after always being told that he was too small to make it to the elite levels of hockey. The 23-year-old clearly can score after posting 20 goals and 61 points in his first pro season in the AHL in Providence last season. He plays with heart, energy and a dogged determination when he’s hunting pucks on the fore-check.

But former P-Bruins head coach and current B’s assistant coach Bruce Cassidy says that Czarnik also brings something a little extra that New England Patriots fans will certainly appreciate.

“As far as being a player goes, he would be, to me, that [Bill] Belichick-type player that you could use in a lot of different situations,” said Cassidy, in clear reference to intelligent utility guys Troy Brown, Danny Woodhead, Julian Edelman and others that all filled different roles in their time with New England.

“He’s got a very, very high IQ, he’s a quick learner and very coachable,” Cassidy said. “So, he’s a guy you can move around, and he can play with different players. He can play on the penalty kill, he’s good on the power play and especially on the point.

“So there are a lot of different things. I think from night-to-night if you wanted to, you could move him around in your lineup and he could be effective for you. I know he’s a center, but it would be interesting to see if he could play the wing and be effective. That’s something we haven’t really seen. Is that something we maybe attempt down the road? I don’t know. I don’t want to speak out of turn, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he could handle it. He even played for us 6-on-5 as a defenseman with the goalie out. He’s just a smart player, and he understands the game very, very well.”

So, Czarnik is off to a good start in training camp with the Bruins, but we also saw the same thing from him last year as a rookie to pro hockey. 

Now, it’s about seeing whether a smaller player can finish strong as the competition heightens deeper into the preseason, and perhaps he can bring that versatility and feistiness to the NHL level in Boston. 

 

 

Thursday, Sept. 29: Oilers right where they belong

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Thursday, Sept. 29: Oilers right where they belong

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while looking forward to watching the Luke Cage Netflix series.

*The Cult of Hockey has no issues with yours truly ranking the Edmonton Oilers 29th out of 30 teams in my first preseason NHL power rankings.

*An interesting piece about Brian McGrattan and his battle with alcohol in his career as an NHL tough guy. I can honestly say having covered him a bit when he was in the Bruins organization that he was one of the scariest dudes I’ve ever talked to in an NHL dressing room. A nice guy, but very intense and always looked like he definitely enjoyed his work on the ice.

*Dennis Seidenberg hopped on with the Hockey Central crew today to talk about his new contract with the New York Islanders.

*PHT writer and Friend of Haggs (FOH) Mike Halford has Guy Boucher with some serious Dion Phaneuf love going on in Ottawa.

*Jack Eichel is oozing confidence and swagger in his second NHL season with Buffalo looking to make a big step up this season.

*Scott Burnside said that the World Cup of Hockey could be coming to an end tonight and I think most predict that it will with a little bit of an anticlimactic thud due to the sheer awesomeness of Team Canada.

*For something completely different: “Aleppo Moment” sounds like a great name for a rock band. Not so much for a Presidential candidate.