VANCOUVER Johnny Boychuk has certainly struggled a bit in the playoffs, and those defensive lapses have been more pronounced over the last few games.Zdeno Chara made the wrong read on the play that eventually won Game 1 for the Vancouver Canucks, and there was little support from anyone else in the vicinity, but theres no question Boychuks aggressive movement toward Ryan Kesler was the wrong decision at the wrong time.With 18 seconds left in the game Boychuk lunged at Vancouvers playmaking center and lost a puck battle, giving Vancouver an odd-man rush with Jannik Hansen and Raffi Torres once Kesler zipped a pass to Hansen. Torres finished the play with the game's only goal, meaning Boychuk has been on the ice for each of Bostons last seven goals allowed, dating back to Game 5 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.Boychuk has certainly had his ups and downs in the playoffs, but Wednesday night's last-second mistake was unfortunate given that he otherwise played a solid 20-plus minutes in his first career Stanley Cup Final game.
Boychuk wasnt made available to the media on Thursday afternoon, but coach Claude Julien wasnt going to throw his player under the bus.Julien did, however, admit that the affable Boychuk would probably like to have that final play back, or at least have the chance to alter his decision-making process.
Let's put it this way," said Julien. "At this time of the year I'm not going to come in here and criticize my players. I'm not going to answer that question about Boychuk as far as we're going to deal with it internally. I think what we have to do here is regroup as a team and play better. Right now I'm not going to stand here and start answering questions about people criticizing individuals. I'm going to stay with the team concept. I think if you ask him, he knows he probably could have played that last goal a lot better. We all know that, but we all need to move on right now.Boychuk has six points and is averaging 21 minutes per game in 19 postseason games during this run at a plus-4 rating, but its clear that its time for the defenseman to rein in some parts of his decision-making process.
Joe Haggerty can be reached at email@example.com.Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while knowing that “Saturdays are for the boys” no longer exists once you are married with kids…except during glorious bachelor party weekends, which are few and far between.
*Congrats to Patrick Williams, who was named the Ellery Award winner for his great coverage of all things at the AHL level. Well deserved, Pat!
*A really moving, heartbreaking and also life-affirming tribute from Bobby Ryan to his recently-passed mother after his childhood experience really forged a bond.
*The Tyson Barrie/Colorado Avalanche arbitration case has a chance to get messy, and that may be a very good thing for teams hoping a D-man suddenly becomes available.
*Some great stories about the hockey movies made over the last 30 years including Sudden Death, Mystery Alaska and Slap Shot.
*Kudos to Gabriel Landeskog, who has joined an organization attempting to advise athletes on recovery from concussions after his scary experiences.
*The focus of P.K. Subban’s philanthropy is on the kids, a thing made abundantly clear by his generous pledge to raise $10 million from a Montreal children’s hospital.
*Good piece by FOH (Friend of Haggs) Josh Cooper over at Yahoo! Sports on Murray Craven as a bit of an “Everything Man” for the new Las Vegas expansion franchise.
*For something completely different: what a great American and Patriot looks like, even if the Republicans and Trump don’t seem to think so.
Here are the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while using “malarkey” in my day-to-day vocabulary as much as possible.
-- Dale Tallon was promoted with the Florida Panthers to accentuate his strengths as a talent evaluator, but maintains that he still has final say on hockey decisions.
-- PHT writer Cam Tucker has another young D-man off the board with the Wild’s Matthew Dumba signing a two year, $5.1 million deal with Minnesota.
-- In the interest of self-promotion, here’s my take on the negotiations between Brad Marchand and the Bruins: There’s a couple of good signs at the outset of negotiations.
-- The Arizona Coyotes are stressing the defensive side of things in a big, big way, and it appears to be part of John Chayka’s master plan.
-- Alex Pietrangelo would be a natural selection to replace David Backes as the next captain of the St. Louis Blues.
-- A moving letter from Sens forward Bobby Ryan to his recently passed mother is up at the Players Tribune website.
-- Chris Kreider has re-signed with the New York Rangers, and plans to get out of his head and onto the score sheet more often.
-- For something completely different: Jerod Mayo will bring a new voice to Tom E. Curran’s Quick Slants program on our very own CSN network.