Morning Skate 210: Fight night aftermath for B's

Morning Skate 210: Fight night aftermath for B's

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.comWILMINGTON, Mass. There were plenty of strong opinions across the hockey spectrumabout the 13 fighting majors and 187 penalty minutes racked up by the Bruins and Canadiens in an old-fashioned ball of hockey hate at TD Garden on Wednesday night.There were clearlyplayers lurching over the edge and blurring the line between clean and dirty on both benches, but it appears in the aftermath that several players on the Bruins' side of things were being called out. "When you're in a fight, you're in a fight," said Gregory Campbell, channeling a little Yogi Berra after Thursday's practice. "You've got to protect yourself, and more often than not you're going to go on the offensive."It's a five-on-five brawl, and I've been on the flip side of that. You've got to protect yourself."'s Pierre Lebrun was highly critical of Shawn Thornton and Johnny Boychuk squaring off with Roman Hamrlik and Jaroslav Spacek respectively with 41 seconds to go in the third period a pair of bouts during a line brawl that featured every player throwing down in a wild fracas.Boychuk has one fighting major this year, and is not a fighter even though its something the Colorado Avalanche foolishly tried to turn him into during his time prior to arriving in Boston.
I completely respect Lebrun and his opinion, and it would seem a bit of overkill at that point to continue beating down a Canadiens team that was already seemingly down and out with less than a minue to go in the third. But every hockey writer knows there are threesides to any stories coming out after a brawl-filled game like Wednesday night: The Habs' side, the B's side and the truth somewhere in the middle.Lets not forget a couple of things: in their last game against each otherthe Habs scored two goals in less than three minutes to shock the Bruins and make them pay for not finishing out a game as strongly as they started out. The Bs were determined to not let that happen after losing eight of their last 9 games against Montreal and when playing against their nearest competition in the Northeast Division. Boston has gone 10-4 since their collapse in Montreal, and part of that is finishing strong right up until the final buzzer.Secondly, anything really goes in a rare NHLline brawl where players can sometimes get matched up against bigger, meanerand stronger opponents. How about Max Pacioretty attempting to find something on the ice to hide under when Zdeno Chara came looking for a little hockey justice after the Montreal rookie foolishly shoved Chara in the back after scoring the overtime game-winner at the Bell Centre?Or how about P.K. Subban refusing to drop the gloves with Nathan Horton a player that is absolutely in his fighter class when the Bs scorer was willing to drop them with a young player thats madeplenty of enemies in the Boston locker room?Players like Spacek and Hamrlik were paying a price for some of their impetuous young teammates that refuse to answer for their actions the honorable way: on the ice like men.
Then theres also the simple fact that Hamrlik popped Thornton in the face the action that effectively set off the final line brawl and brought the world of pain on both Hamrlik and Spacek. As they always say, don't poke the bear in the cage.With all that being said, on to the links:Stu Hackel wonders if there shouldnt be a review of the game tapes from last nights BruinsCanadiens game because Gregory Campbell used his elbow guard like a blackjack to cut up Tom Pyatts face.A good recap over at Kuklas Korner of where the Detroit Red Wings are as they arrive in Boston and it appears the Bruins could be walking into a hornets nest if theyre not too careful.A good breakdown of Mr. Underwoods trade to the Nashville Predatorsby Friend of Haggs (FOH) John Manasso and what it means to a Preds team that looks like theyll again make the playoffs. The Hockey News Adam Proteau weighs in on the BruinsHabs game and Matt Cookes four-game suspension. I can guarantee one thing: Boston people will feel strongly about Proteaus take.James Wisniewski returns to Long Island with a bruised and battered Canadiens team, but is grateful the Isles shipped him off to Montreal.Pierre Lebrun and Scott Burnsides weigh in on the BruinsHabs game as well at, and Lebrun says hes disappointed in Shawn Thornton and Johnny Boychuk.Quebec City is getting a new NHL-style rink, and opening the door for another NHL team to renew the Nordiques tradition at any time. How awesome would that be?

Thursday, Aug. 25: Nearly two decades later, the Whalers live on


Thursday, Aug. 25: Nearly two decades later, the Whalers live on

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while in disbelief mode that the summer is almost over.

*Good piece on the remainders of the Hartford Whalers organization in Connecticut trying to keep the dream alive for the Whale.

*Tyler Seguin sits down for a podcast this week that I freely admit I did not have the time to listen to. I wonder if Boston even rated a mention in the conversation?

*Rating the top NHL contracts, according to the fancy stats hockey analysts, sounds like an interesting exercise.

*Tracey Myers has Duncan Keith bowing out of the World Cup of Hockey while recovering from an injury, and getting replaced by Jay Boumeester.

*The “Da Beauty” Hockey League has kept players like Dustin Byfuglien, Ryan McDonagh and David Backes in hockey shape this summer while slowly getting ready for the season.

*The Arizona Coyotes make a historic hire by naming Dawn Braid as skating coach, making her the first female coach in the NHL.

*For something completely different: FOH (Friend of Haggs) Rich Shirtenlieb guested on the #DORK podcast this week, and it sounds like he didn’t love “Stranger Things.” At the very least he liked “Preacher” better. I thought Preacher was entertaining, but I didn’t even think it was in the same stratosphere as Stranger Things. Rich also has me wanting to watch “It Follows” now, however, after his endorsement.


Bruins don't poll well in latest New England Sports survey

Bruins don't poll well in latest New England Sports survey

It’s no secret Bruins fans are getting fed up with a hockey team in decline, one that’s missed the playoffs each of the last two years. Now there are numbers to prove it.

Channel Media and Market Research, Inc. came out with its annual New England Sports survey,  tabulating responses from over 14,600 polled, and, according to the numbers, the Bruins are dropping in popularity, fan support and faith in the current management group.

The B’s are holding somewhat steady with 16 percent of voters listing them as their “favorite sports team” behind the Patriots (46 percent) and Red Sox (29 percent) while ahead of the Celtics and Revolution. Claude Julien also ranked ahead of John Farrell among the big four teams in the “coaches/manages most admired” category.

But after sitting at a relative high of ranking at 27 percent for “ownership performance” in 2014 -- they year after their trip to the Cup Finals against the Blackhawks -- the Bruins now rank dead last in that category at 2 percent, behind the Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics and even the Revolution. Ouch, babe.

Also sitting at a lowly 2 percent is Bruins president Cam Neely in the “leadership performance” category. In "management performance," Neely has dropped from a solid 49 percent in 2014 to just 16 percent in this summer’s survey.

So B’s fans are clearly upset with a team that traded away Tyler Seguin, Johnny Boychuk, Milan Lucic and Dougie Hamilton, and has featured a decimated defense corps for each of the last two seasons. But do the B’s fans think that things are getting any better with prospects coming down the pipeline?

Not really.

In the “which team has done the best job making its product better.” category, the Patriots (35 percent) and Red Sox (31 percent) were resting at the top, with the Celtics (27 percent) a respectable third. The Bruins limped in at just 4 percent with a fan base that very clearly sees that, on paper, this upcoming season’s club doesn’t appear to be much better than last year's.

On top of that, only 13 percent of those surveyed believe the Bruins have gotten better over the last year, and 52 percent believe they’ve just gotten worse. A lowly 3 percent of those surveyed think the Bruins have the best chance of the five teams to bring a world championship back to Boston; the Patriots (79 percent), Red Sox (11 percent) and Celtics (5 percent) all ranked higher.

Finally, Zdeno Chara, Tuukka Rask and Jimmy Hayes were at the top of the list of the Boston athletes “who did not meet expectations” last season. None of that is a surprise, given the state of Boston’s defense along with Hayes’ subpar season.

The good news for the Bruins: They still have a passionate fan base. But they need to start reversing course immediately before they do lasting damage to the B’s brand.

Wednesday, August 24: B's dealing with post-Vesey aftermath


Wednesday, August 24: B's dealing with post-Vesey aftermath

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading with the Olympics coming to a close . . .
-- FOH (Friend of Haggs) Kirk Luedeke sorts through the aftermath for the Bruins after losing out on Jimmy Vesey

-- Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland gave an interview where he said the Red Wings aren’t Stanley Cup contenders this season. 

-- Related to Holland’s comments, some of the media in Detroit aren’t taking the dose of reality all that well

-- It’s a big season for New Jersey Devils forward Kyle Palmieri, who will be starring for Team USA on the World Cup team. 

 -- PHT writer Cam Tucker says the Buffalo Sabres still have a strong group of forwards even without Jimmy Vesey.

-- Jamie Benn is giving everything to his Dallas Stars team, and that means that the World Cup of Hockey is taking a backseat
-- The Colorado Avalanche are nearing the end of their head coaching search as they look for their replacement for Patrick Roy.
-- For something completely different: NBC is making the argument that millenials watched the Olympics, but just not on the traditional formats