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."ESPN.com'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 ESPN.com, 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?

Hayes knows he's a good player, wants to silence the critics

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Hayes knows he's a good player, wants to silence the critics

BOSTON, Mass. – There’s a long way to go toward a complete resurrection from last season’s misdeeds, but Jimmy Hayes made a nice little statement that he’s learned some lessons in Boston’s preseason debut. The Bruins lost the game, 3-2, in the shootout to the Columbus Blue Jackets, but Hayes scored one of the two goals for the Black and Gold as one of the few veterans in a very youthful lineup for Boston.

The Hayes goal was a nice give-and-go with Jake DeBrusk at the end of a nice transition play in the second period, and was the highlight of a night playing on the right wing with DeBrusk and center Austin Czarnik. The score and a team-high four shots on net for Hayes represent a good start for what he hopes is a gigantic rebound season after last year’s disappointment.

Clearly Hayes heard some of the unflattering chatter about him on sports talk radio and otherwise last season, and may even understand how his difficult season in his home city of Boston -- whether he actively expressed it to him or not -- might have been a factor in his buddy Jimmy Vesey ultimately choosing New York over Boston.

It appears the former Boston College standout is looking to change the conversation in Boston. 

“Yeah, sure am. I’ve got a lot to come out here and…[there were] a lot of comments about myself, but I know I’m a good player. I got to this level for a reason,” said Hayes, who dropped from 19 goals and 35 points with the Panthers to 13 goals, 29 points and a career-worst minus-12 for the Bruins last season.

“To be able to play at the NHL level and continue to play at that level on a consistent basis is what I expect out of myself. I do it for myself and our teammates, and to help our team win. I’ll continue moving forward.

“It’s funny being the old guy on the line. It’s nice to see those young guys and see how excited they are, and how excited I am to get back out there. That’s what I said to the guys, they still have the jitters and they still have them for the first preseason game. It shows that these guys want it and it’s been a lot of fun skating with those guys. They’ve got a lot of speed and to keep pushing the pace. Trying to keep up with them has been a lot of fun.”

There is still a long way to go for the 26-year-old winger, and his willingness to stick around the danger areas on Monday night was a welcomed one for a Bruins team that needs his 6-foot-6 body in front of the net. Hayes paid the price with stitches and a fat lip after taking a Dalton Prout high-stick to the mouth in front of the Columbus net that went uncalled on a Bruins PP at the end of the second period.

That’s all part of the big man’s game on the ice, however. It’s also the kind of battle and determined fight that Hayes will need to show much more consistently in his second season with the hometown Bruins if he’s truly looking to bounce-back from last year’s mediocre performance. 

Carlo 'arguably the best' defenseman for Bruins in preseason opener

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Carlo 'arguably the best' defenseman for Bruins in preseason opener

BOSTON – On a night when many of Boston’s young players stepped up nicely, perhaps none did more so than 19-year-old defenseman Brandon Carlo. The youngster was in a top pair role with John-Michael Liles against a decent Columbus Blue Jackets lineup that included Sam Gagner, Alexander Wennberg, Seth Jones, Brandon Saad and Sonny Milano, and had almost no miscues in his 20:16 of ice time.

Better than that, Carlo notched an assist on the game-tying score in the third period when his right point shot made it through traffic for Danton Heinen to redirect it past Curtis McElhinney from the slot. That left Carlo with an assist, a plus-1 rating and three shots on net in 20:16 of ice time to go along with some heavy battling around the net whenever Blue Jackets players tried to get too close.

“Arguably our best D, if not our best D. [He showed] real good decision-making, and his gaps are good. I can really only think of one time in the third period he kind of threw a puck away in the middle of a change, and ended up on his wrong side,” said Bruins assistant coach Bruce Cassidy. “It wasn’t a bad turnover, but it was just one that he could have made a little bit of a better decision.

“He didn’t handle the puck much in the game, that’s pretty good. He jumped up the ice, got his shot through when it was there, matched up well with whoever he was put out there [against], pushed back in front of our net. [There were] a lot of good things.”

It’s a big training camp for Carlo, who is more than likely earmarked for Providence unless he can utilize a stellar training camp performance to push over one of the seven veteran Bruins D-men with NHL contracts. That means potentially displacing Joe Morrow as the seventh defensemen on the roster, or forcing the Bruins to possibly deal Adam McQuaid or Kevan Miller if the Bruins feel he is ready for the day-to-day NHL grind.

The preseason opener was a good start that the 2015 second round pick was excited about, but things will certainly get more challenging for Carlo as the Bruins get deeper into this training camp.

“I just want to keep the same mentality, same energy. Show a little bit more physicality. I felt like I did that, but definitely could close a little quicker in a few instances overall. I just want to keep building on every game,” said Carlo. “There are some very strong guys on the puck in this league and throughout this game they had those guys out there definitely. Overall, you just have to compete just as hard as them.

“You’re dealing with NHL guys out there. [The Blue Jackets] had some pretty good guys in their lineup tonight and everyone is competing for jobs on both sides…so the speed was phenomenal. I loved it.”

The Bruins loved what they saw of Carlo in a pretty big opportunity right out of the gate this preseason, and now the teenager has set the bar if he wants to keep pushing with a hockey club that needs to upgrade their defense with strong, young players.