Julien's early game timeout got the B's on the right track

565136.jpg

Julien's early game timeout got the B's on the right track

It isnt usually in Claude Juliens bag of coaching tricks, but he called the rare early game timeout Saturday night to great effect.

The Bs coach watched his heavy-legged team fall down to the Winnipeg Jets by a 20 score after some uncharacteristic defensive breakdowns, and Julien didnt hesitate to stop the momentum with a timeout after Dustin Byfugliens goal gave the Jets a two-goal lead. Julien didnt rant or rave to his veteran, Cup-winning bunch, but instead tried to instill a little calm back into a group that was running around well out of position.

I think it was just about obviously slowing the game down a little bit, but more so I just felt that we weren't skating very well at that point. We were getting the puck and then we were looking instead of moving. Our neutral zone speed just wasn't there at all, said Julien. We were basically standing still a lot and that wasn't the way we need to play. So I just felt that at that time, we needed to kind of refocus and slow things down a bit.

We had to find the elements of our game that make us successful, again. I just tried to refocus the team on doing those simple, little things and see where it would take us.

The timeout was followed by Zdeno Chara cranking in a power play goal from the right point to cut things to a 21 deficit in the first period, which eventually paved the way for Boston to overcome Winnipeg. At the end of the day the victory was about Charas power play prowess, Chris Kellys miraculous second period scoring outburst and the marvelous third period goaltending of Tim Thomas.

But theres also something to be said for a head hockey coach injecting himself into the game when things aren't going well early, and thats something Julien hasnt done enough to appease his critics at times.

It was the perfect call at the perfect time for the stumbling Black and Gold before they met during the first intermission and really cleaned up the other sloppy aspects to their game.

I think it helped a lot for guys to settle down a bit. Maybe you realized that you are working too hard or you are not, said Daniel Paille. I think it kind of gets you thinking a bit on what you need to improve on. I think it helped a lot.

When a team is rolling like the Bruins are in November, everything seems to happen at exactly the right moment and the puck always seems to bounce helpfully. That good stretch also surely extends to the coaches, who seem to make all of the right roster calls and timeout choices when a team is winning with consistency and regularity.

The time-honored timeout was just that right call for Claude Julien and the rest of the Bruins bench in their gritty weekend victory.

Talking Points from the Bruins OT winner

bruins-ryan-spooner.jpg

Talking Points from the Bruins OT winner

GOLD STAR: Solid night’s work from Ryan Spooner, who finished with the OT game-winning strike and was solid throughout the game as the de facto No. 1 center. He had four shots on net, six generated shot attempts and won 12-of-19 face offs as he continues to improve in that area while training camp rolls along. Spooner is trying to hold onto the No. 3 center spot in the lineup despite the addition of David Backes via free agency, and Friday night’s big boy performance with speed, playmaking and skill showed exactly what his potential can be when he puts it all together. It was also a nice little bounce-back from an up-and-down game on Wednesday night against the same Detroit team when he struggled in the face off circle and was part of a team-wide malaise.

BLACK EYE: It wasn’t necessarily a bad night for Brian Ferlin, but it was more of the invisible variety with just a registered hit and one face-off taken in 13 minutes of ice time. The forward earned some NHL time with the Bruins a couple of years, has battled concussion woes over the last year plus and is trying to push his way back into the crowded forward picture during this training camp. While he certainly showed some toughness and skill around the net a couple of years and didn’t seem shy about going there on Friday night, the results just weren’t there and Ferlin didn’t have much of a presence in the game. In general it was a pretty decent performance for the Bruins, so Ferlin’s game was quiet more than problematic.

TURNING POINT: Credit the Bruins coaching staff for switching up the lines in the third period, and that sparked the offense a bit after zero goals through the first 40 minutes against Detroit. Zach Senyshyn was moved with Danton Heinen and Riley Nash, and they became a threat in the third period before Heinen broke through for the game-tying goal from his knees. That score allowed the B’s to push things into overtime, and then Spooner made it a quick extra session by snapping home a shot from the slot after a good effort from Joe Morrow down low. It all was made possible by the adjustment to the lines that took place between the second and the third periods.

HONORABLE MENTION: Joe Morrow is battling to hold onto his NHL roster spot with the Bruins, and that is absolutely underscored by the news that Christian Ehrhoff is being brought to Boston on a PTO. So it was expected that the young D-man would come out with something a little extra after a mediocre performance in his preseason debut, and the left shot D-man was an impact player in the win for the Black and Gold. Morrow dropped the gloves with young tough guy Givani Smith in the second period as part of a B’s group that played with a little bit of an edge on Friday night, and then he won a battle down low in overtime to set up the Ryan Spooner game-winner. Morrow had two hits, two shot attempts, the assist and the fight in 19:48 of ice time, and showed that he’s ready to battle in camp to hold onto his spot.

BY THE NUMBERS: 2 – the number of goals in two preseason games thus far for Danton Heinen, who scored important game-tying goals in both instances in the shootout loss to the Blue Jackets and Friday night’s overtime win against the Wings.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “The compete level, especially when he got down 4-0 [on Wednesday night], I don’t think it was high enough. So we talked about it, and we expect a better effort for sure.” –Ryan Spooner on Friday morning prior to going out and snatching the win away from the Red Wings in Detroit with an OT game-winner. 

Ehrhoff signs a PTO with the B's after World Cup

bruins-christian-ehrhoff.jpg

Ehrhoff signs a PTO with the B's after World Cup

The Bruins will add another veteran defenseman to their training camp group fresh off the World Cup of Hockey as German D-man Christian Ehrhoff is headed to Boston on a PTO (professional tryout agreement). CSN has confirmed that Ehrhoff has indeed agreed to a PTO with the Bruins, and he'll report to the team sometime this weekend.

The 34-year-old Ehrhoff had three assists in six World Cup games for Team Europe, and had two goals and 10 points in 48 games for the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks last season while clearly starting to slow down a bit. He’s clearly no longer the player that averaged 14 goals and 47 points for the Vancouver Canucks from 2009-2011, and is another left-shot defenseman to add to a team that already has Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug.

But it behooved the Bruins to bring in at least one “name” veteran D-man on a tryout basis during this training camp with so many needs for upgrades on the back end, and with a host of young players that might not be ready for prime time. This might also be a warning sign for young veteran Joe Morrow, a left shot D-man that has struggled a bit in training camp after coming off an erratic first full season at the NHL level.

Clearly the Bruins need more than Ehrhoff, however, even if he’s somehow re-energized with the Bruins after playing pretty well in the World Cup. The Kings were down enough on his game to put him through waivers last season, but he was a top-4 defenseman for the previous eight seasons for San Jose, Vancouver, Buffalo and Pittsburgh prior to getting bounced around between the Kings and Blackhawks last season.

The added bonus with taking a look at Ehrhoff is that there’s no risk associated with a PTO, and the Bruins can simply walk away with no cost if the B’s coaching staff decides he’s not a good fit for the group in Boston. On the other hand, bringing in a Kris Russell-type would cost a great deal in terms of money and term in a free agent contract, and it might not benefit the Black and Gold club in the end result.