Julien's line changes good for a spark, not goals

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Julien's line changes good for a spark, not goals

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- It's not every day that out-shooting a team 27-15 through two periods calls for a changing of the lines.

But that's exactly what Bruins coach Claude Julien thought was necessary after the first 40 minutes of Monday night's 3-0 loss to the Anaheim Ducks at the TD Garden. Julien moved wingers Nathan Horton, Blake Wheeler, and Tyler Seguin to different lines, in an attempt to get something going, offensively.

Even though the B's had 27 shots through the first two periods, they trailed 3-0 entering the third, and the Bruins' coach wasn't pleased with his team's lack of emotion.

Things had gone stale, and moves were made.

"We needed to move some guys around," said Julien after the loss. "We didn't have everybody going tonight, and it's unfortunate. Milan Lucic was by far our best forward tonight. But we needed more than Lucic going.

"I'm disappointed," added Julien. "I'm really disappointed in our effort tonight. It's not something that we should be proud of."

Julien moved Wheeler to the right wing, with David Krejci and Lucic. In return, he moved Horton -- who has been a mainstay on the right wing with Krejci and Lucic this season -- to the right wing with Marc Savard and Michael Ryder. Seguin was then moved to the wing with Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi, the same line that saw some good production in the preseason.

"I think the intensity level was lacking tonight on a lot of us, and coach switched the lines there for the third," said Savard. "We seemed to have some more jump, just to try and get some energy on the team, because like I said, we were getting stale there a little bit.

"It seems like one line has a good night, and then the other three aren't really picking up the pieces . . . Maybe that's why a couple changes were made," added Savard. "But like I said, at the end of the day, when you come in that door, you want to get results to help your team. And it starts right from our top guys, and we've got to start getting results here."

Changes to the lines were made, and the Bruins put 18 shots on net, with those new lines. It seemed to have given the Bruins a spark, and the scoring chances were beginning to pile up.

But Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller didn't let anything past him, and finished the game with 45 saves, marking the most shots the Bruins have taken in a game this season.

"You need to bury those chances, and you need to be harder on the puck," said Julien on his team's inability to score in the third, even with the added pressure after the line changes. "Those little things, those little details that we're talking about, make a big difference in the game."

Julien pointed out that the B's failed to sustain their forecheck on Monday night. And when you sustain the forecheck, you create turnovers, leading to scoring chances.

But even after mixing up the lines, those increased scoring chances didn't lead to goals.

"Whatever scoring opportunities we had, we have to show a little bit more hunger in the finishing department," said Julien. "Because we had some chances, and maybe if we finished on a few of those, you've got a different game."

As to whether or not Julien will keep these new lines together, or go back to the old ones, remains to be seen.

"Claude is trying to get things going, and trying to find ways to score," said Ryder. "And I think he just wanted to mix it up and see if it would help. Sometimes it does."

On Monday night, it helped in the intensity department. But it didn't help in the finishing department.

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.You can listen to Danny on his streaming radio show I'mJust Sayin' Monday-Friday from 9-10 a.m. on CSNNE.com.@font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; a:link, span.MsoHyperlink color: blue; text-decoration: underline; a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed color: purple; text-decoration: underline; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1;

Sweeney: 'Helpless feeling' hoping World Cup players return healthy

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Sweeney: 'Helpless feeling' hoping World Cup players return healthy

BRIGHTON, Mass. – It’s a bit of a helpless feeling for an NHL general manager watching their star players participate in an intense hockey tournament like the World Cup of Hockey that doesn’t directly benefit their respective teams.

Not helpless because of the tournament’s outcome, obviously, but helpless because players could return from Toronto dinged up, or even worse significantly injured.

Aaron Ekblad had to shut it down for Team North American with what many speculated was a concussion, and Pittsburgh goalie Matt Murray is out a month, or more, with a broken hand sustained playing for the same young guns team.

So, it certainly must have been an uneasy few moments for Don Sweeney when Brad Marchand was pulled from Team Canada’s last game for the concussion protocol after a nasty-looking collision with Team Europe forward Marian Hossa.

Marchand went through the testing, and ended up returning to the game no worse for the wear. But it could have been a lot worse for a Bruins team that can’t afford to be missing Marchand, Patrice Bergeron or Zdeno Chara, who are still playing for teams alive in the semifinal round of the tourney.

“I would expect all of us to have been in a similar situation. For everybody - any general manager, coaches, staff, you're concerned about [injuries],” said Sweeney, talking about the World Cup and Marchand’s close call. “I mean, especially when you realize the stakes are going to go up as the tournament goes along. The pride involved - it's a risk. There's no question, it's a risk.

“But you also want to see them play their best hockey and they're not going to hold back. Yeah, it's a definite concern. You've got your fingers and toes crossed.”

David Pastrnak and Tuukka Rask have already returned to Boston fully healthy. David Backes should be joining the team anytime now after Team USA’s rude dismissal from the tournament. But Sweeney and the Bruins still have their sensors out for the three B’s players taking part that aren’t quite out of the woods yet before returning to B’s camp in one piece. 

 

Bruins lose Vatrano for three months after foot surgery

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Bruins lose Vatrano for three months after foot surgery

BRIGHTON, Mass. – The first bad break of Bruins camp arrived on Saturday with the news that scoring winger Frank Vatrano will be out three months after tearing a couple of ligaments in his left foot.

The 21-year-old winger from UMass and East Longmeadow, Mass., sustained the injury training just prior to the B’s fitness testing for camp and will have surgery on Monday at Mass General Hospital with Dr. George Theodore.

Vatrano had missed the first two days of camp after participating in captain’s practice just about right until the start of main training camp, so the injury must have happened just prior to Thursday’s off-ice testing.

“He had an injury just prior to testing, and it took a couple of days to make sure he had the proper evaluation. He saw a specialist yesterday and he’s scheduled for surgery on Monday,” said Bruins GM Don Sweeney. “One or two of the ligaments were torn when he was doing some running, so he’s out.”

The injury is a big blow for a Bruins team that clearly had plans on Vatrano filling out a top-six role and leaves the door wide open for a young players Danton Heinen, Jake DeBrusk, Zach Senyshyn or Peter Cehlarik to win an NHL job out of camp. Perhaps a veteran such as camp invite Peter Mueller could secure a job when it didn’t appear to be any room on the NHL roster just a few days ago.

Either way it’s damaging to a Bruins team that was relying on goal-scoring and explosive forward play from a guy who topped 40 goals combined in the NHL and AHL last season.

“Obviously it’s a blow. Frankie looked at as an opportunity to [win a top-6 spot]. We all did. How that was going to play out remained to be seen, but he was going to be afforded a position to see if he could grab hold of it,” said Sweeney. “So obviously, he’s disappointed, and we are as well. You look at as with all injuries…it’s a setback. But the doctors feel very good that three months from now he’ll be able to play and move forward.”

It’s not officially NHL training camp until a major injury strikes, so now the Bruins are in the middle of it after learning they’ll lose Vatrano until Christmastime. 

Here's Vatrano's "Countdown to camp" profile