Haggerty: Time for Bruins to move on

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Haggerty: Time for Bruins to move on

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins InsiderFollow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON -- Friday is the first day of the rest of the Bruins lives, a day when they have to realize that one of the greatestparties in their lives isover.

The Bs hosted one final, grand Stanley Cup shindig on Thursday night when they raised the 2010-11Cup championship banner with coaches, players, ownership, former Bruins Mark Recchi and Shane Hnidy, and distinguished alumni like beautifulBobby Orr and the agelessMilt Schmidt.

It was more than a half-hour of festivities that included each Bs player triumphantlyraising the Cup over their heads on the TD Garden ice, and Recchi getting presented with the Starter Bruins jacket that had passed from player to player as a symbolic "performer of the game" award last year.

Tim Thomas said it was an otherworldly experience that would take multiple lifetimes to forget, but, really, who would want to? Thomas certainly doesn't.

That was a special moment. It was another one to add to the memory bank that youll remember forever, said Thomas. While it was happening I was picturing myself coming back and visiting for a game 30 years from now and looking and that banner and saying, 'We helped raised that banner.'

It was a great piece of closure for a magical 25-game postseason run that ended with an exhilarating celebration on the Rogers Arena ice in Vancouver, and allowed the Bruins to finally bathe in celebration in their own building. Another golden banner was hoisted into the TD Garden ceiling, and the crowd basked in the joy of a celebration held with just the the right amounts of nostalgia, energy and chest-thumpingemotion.

It was great, it was outstanding and it was well done, said coach Claude Julien. I was doing my best to keep my mind on doing my job, and the game. It was emotional, to say the least.

When you see the highlights and when you see your players going around the ice with the Cup, I felt proud for them. Emotionally, it was tough for me I kind of walked away for a while and came back and, you know, it just goes to show you the emotions that go into those kinds of things. Even seeing Mark Recchi and Hnidy when they were here you know, guys that really played big parts in different ways in helping us succeed. To see them with the group, to know it was their last opportunity to be with the team . . . those kinds of things kind of hit home.The players -- both old and young -- knew this final Garden party would be it for their Cup fulfillment, and so they let their emotions run wild one last time despite the knowledge that a regular season game awaited them.It was special. The whole package that we got to do all summer in this city was quite an experience, said Ference. To be on the ice with 1972 Bruins team that everybody knows quite a bit and to be in their company and put a banner up beside them was a very special thing. We were all very honored by the ceremony."

But then the Bruins went out and executeda pancakeflat performance in a 2-1 loss to the Flyers that demonstrated its equally important they nowmove onto the remaining 81 games, which wont include commemorative banner patches on their jerseys. Thursday was the best kind of closure, but that's exactly what it will amount when looking back on this current season of Bruins hockey.

Most guys were prepared for it and knew they had to switch modes really quickly, and I think they did," said Ference. "We just got frustrated when we didnt capitalize on some of our chances.

With a fun allusion to partying late into the night and draining the champagne bottle, the Bs coach said in no uncertain terms that its time to move on. And when Julien says the party is truly over, then its time to turn out the lights and say good night.

"When people are partying and you stay out until 4 a.m. for couple of days, you get tired of it, right? said Julien.

The champagne bottle is empty and its time to go home. We had great time with the Cup. Weve had great experiences, but we need to turn the page.

Its time for Milan Lucic to once again become the locomotive physical presence even when his offense isnt coming quite as easily, and for so many members of the Bs to sharpen up on their defensive gap control. It's time for Zdeno Chara to put a hurting on Claude Giroux when he dances through the offensive en route to beating Tim Thomas without much of a challenge.

It's time for David Krejci, Lucic and Nathan Horton to show more offensive punch than they showed in the first two periods when they went without a single shot on net, which didn't win any party favors from Julien afterward. It's time for Joe Corvo to show the promise he flashed during the training camp.

It's time for the lapses --the aforementioned Giroux was able to dance much too freely into the offensive zone while turning aroundthe entire Bruins' defensefor the Flyers first goal, and an unforgivable breakdown in concentration allowed Philly to add on a Jakob Voracek goal seconds later -- to stop.

It was a banner night figuratively and literally, but it didnt have a happy ending in the short term with a loss to the rival Flyers in a one-goal game Thursday night. Now the team must summon the resolve and grit that was so prevalent in 2010-11 to truly get the new season under way.

The Bruins need to turn the page, close the book or use whatever literary metaphor they want to prove that last year is now officiallyover.

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

Rask missing from Bruins practice after Sunday exit

Rask missing from Bruins practice after Sunday exit

BRIGHTON, Mass. -- A day after exiting a 5-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins with complications from migraines, Tuukka Rask was missing from a full Bruins team practice at Warrior Ice Arena prior to Tuesday night’s home date against the Detroit Red Wings.

Rask pulled himself out of the game midway through the second period with his team trailing after he’d stopped 20-of-22 shots, and was motioning toward his eyes as he exited for the Bruins dressing room. The Bruins goalie confirmed to reporters following the deflating loss that he indeed was suffering from ocular issues consistent with migraines, the same issue that knocked him out of a home loss to the Rangers a couple of years ago.

The Bruins brought in an emergency goalie to practice with the team on Monday along with backup netminder Zane McIntyre, who allowed three goals in the third period on the way to the Bruins imploding in Pittsburgh.

Both Colin Miller and Kevan Miller returned to practice on Monday morning, and the Bruins coaches shook up the forward lines after they were only able to cobble together one goal on 45 shots on Sunday afternoon. Torey Krug was also missing from practice along with Rask.

Here are the line combos and D-pairings based on Monday morning’s practice that started roughly an hour late due to the team doing some video work together:

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

Vatrano-Krejci-Backes

Schaller-Nash-Beleskey

Spooner-Moore-Czarnik/Hayes

Chara-Carlo

Liles-McQuaid

K. Miller-C. Miller

Morrow

McIntyre 
 

Julien reaches breaking point with struggling, inconsistent Bruins

Julien reaches breaking point with struggling, inconsistent Bruins

It sounds like Claude Julien has reached a breaking point with a fragile, inconsistent group of Bruins players who have lost four games in a row at a critical point in the season.

The Bruins dropped a 5-1 decision to the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena on Sunday afternoon, and completely fell apart in the final period after Tuukka Rask was lifted because of migraine issues in the middle of the game. It was a typical Bruins effort, in which there weren’t enough scoring chances despite 45 shots on net -- largely from the perimeter -- and the defense totally unraveled in the third period once the Penguins got their offense going.

After the loss, the embattled Julien challenged his players, saying they weren’t providing enough across the board . . . which has largely been the case for the last two months as the Bruins have stagnated as a team.

“If you look at some of the mistakes we made, it’s a team that just got unraveled there in the third period,” he told reporters after the game. “With the opportunities that we had, we don’t capitalize on them. You always give the goaltender on the other side some (Matt Murray) credit. He was good tonight but at the same time, if you’re going to win hockey games, you’ve got to find ways to get [shots] through to him.

"It’s frustrating. There are a lot of guys that, right now, aren’t giving us enough, and this is a team that I think needs all 20 guys going in order to win. We don’t have enough talent to think that we can get away with a mediocre game, so this is where it’s important for our guys to understand that and it’s important to have 20 guys that want to go. It’s okay to have talent, but you’ve got to compete. For others, you’ve got to get involved. You’ve got to be willing to do the things that are not fun to do but are going to help your hockey club. It’s too bad because I think the players we expect a lot out of every night are certainly battling every night, but we need more than that . . .

“When you’ve lost three, now four in a row, it sets in. We’ve got to find a way to turn this around and start going back to the drawing board with our guys respecting what they need to do and be patient enough to give it time to turn around. When I say patience I don’t mean we need to do it in the next week. We need to do it next game but we need to respect what we’ve done well and when we’re in our game and within our structure we’ve had success but in order to be within the structure, you’ve got to be willing to want to do those things. Right now, we don’t have everybody and it just takes one guy not to want to do his job and it throws everybody else off. We have to look at personnel that way, and say that if we need to replace some guys, and we need to be patient with others, I want guys that care and want guys that want to come in and give it their all every night. We need more of that, and we don’t have enough right now.”

It remains to be seen what, or who, Julien is referring to when he mentioned personnel during his postgame comments, but it’s clear he's well aware the effort hasn’t been consistently good enough over the last two months.
 
The Bruins have dropped to third in the Atlantic Division, with the Maple Leafs just a point behind them while holding a whopping six games in hand. Even struggling teams like the Panthers, Lightning and Hurricanes have caught up to the B’s in the playoff race, while holding games in hand.

The B’s are in big, big trouble at this point in the season, and it doesn’t get any easier with games against an improving Red Wings club and the dominant Penguins prior to a much-needed break recess for the All-Star break.