Morning Skate 211: Rising up for the Red Wings


Morning Skate 211: Rising up for the Red Wings

By Joe Haggerty

BOSTON It doesnt get much better than a weekend home-and-home series against the Detroit Red Wings that will end with a Sunday afternoon game at Joe Louis Arena, set to be televised nationally on NBC.Steve Kampfer and Tim Thomas will be playing against the team that they rooted wildly and passionately for as kids growing up in Michigan, and the rest of the Bruins players get another measuring stick weekend after slapping division rival Montreal across the face earlier this week. The Bs are 3-5-2 against Western Conference teams this season, and will certainly be looking to improve on that number. Its also their fourth and final home-and-home series of the NHL season with the Bs putting up a 2-1 record in the two previous home-and-home showdowns earlier this season.Its also the first Friday night home game for the Bruins at the Garden since the Bs hosted the Florida Panthers at TD Garden on Nov. 21, 2008 and it was quite a while before that game two seasons ago.With that on to the links: More on the Quebec City castle thats being built to woo a team back there, and how the community is willing to pay for it with their wallets. Great account by Friend of Haggs (FOH)Arpon Basu on the mountain being made out of a playful exchange between Hal Gill and P.K. Subban, and the unique issues with media groups speaking two different languages in Montreal. Matt Cooke always disappoints in his reactions to wrongdoing and on-ice treachery, and hes no different this time around after a four-game suspension. Would much rather just hear him say: Im a punk now, I have been a punk and I will always be a punk. Buyers and sellers at the NHL trade deadline from the Philly point of view, which I always appreciate. An interesting story on Anssi Salmela and his ability to turn things around with the Devils in New Jersey as the team is finally emerging for a late season push. Great job over at Wicked Good Sports to have some fun with the BostonMontreal epic fight night of two days ago, and one of my favorite Nintendo games growing up. Good job, gents and ladies. A great story out ofMinnesotaon the butterfly style, goalie injuries and the way of the world changing for the masked men between the pipes. I have talked to some prominent hip doctors and heard many of the same theoriesideas tossed around.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Haggerty: Subban looking more like a 1st-round bust than NHL goalie

Haggerty: Subban looking more like a 1st-round bust than NHL goalie

BOSTON, Mass – Malcolm Subban says that he believes that he can still be a No. 1 goaltender in the NHL.

While that’s admirable on some level for the sheer, brazen self-confidence involved in saying this after getting yanked from a 5-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild at TD Garden, pretty much all of the evidence points out the contrary. Nearly two years after getting pulled from his NHL debut in against the St. Louis Blues after giving up three goals on six shots, Subban was pulled from Tuesday night’s appearance after giving up three goals on eight second period shots with the Bruins desperately in need of a quality start in goal.

He maintained a defiantly confident tone after another humbling NHL effort against Minnesota, and that’s a testament to the maturity and mental toughness of the person behind the goalie mask.

“It sucks. Obviously, I’m just trying to finish the game, let alone win one. Obviously it sucks, but what can you do now, right?” said Subban, who has now allowed six goals on 22 career shots faced in two starts. “Obviously I want to be a number one goaltender in the league. I was a high pick for a reason. I have the potential, and I just have to show it. Obviously I haven’t done that so far yet, but I think I’m getting closer to it. Honestly, I think I can do it right now. I just got to show it. Obviously, I didn’t [do it] today, but tomorrow’s a new day.”

Given the stunningly bad quality of his two NHL starts combined with a thoroughly pedestrian body of work at the AHL level over the last three years, there is literally zero tangible evidence Subban is tracking to be a franchise goaltender. Instead he’s the emergency goaltender called on by the Bruins only after Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin have both been shelved by injuries, and he’s now flunked the two pop quizzes when the NHL team needed him to come through.

Meanwhile, a sizeable selection of goaltenders taken after him in the 2012 NHL Draft class have already proven their NHL worth and broken through at the elite level: Matt Murray, Frederik Anderson, Connor Hellebuyck and Joonas Korpisalo.

Subban was hoping all along to break through this season in Boston, but things went south on him quickly with a Bruins team not playing well in front of him. The first goal was a fluttering Charlie Coyle shot that trickled between his glove hand and the top of his leg pad. The third goal was a softie low and to the glove side, power play strike authored by Ryan Suter. It added up to poor goaltending and shoddy defense, but it also added up to a Bruins goaltender that didn’t even give his hockey club a chance to win.

“It could be a combination of both. There are some goals – I’m not going to lie – there are some goals that we thought our goaltenders should have had. But I’m not here to talk about a goaltender who’s in one of his first few games because he let in a couple of bad goals,” said Julien. “We were terrible in front of him and we weren’t any better, and that’s the big picture. That’s more important.

“I don’t care who’s in net. I think when you have some injuries you need to be better in those situations and we weren’t good enough tonight. It doesn’t matter if Tuukka [Rask] is in net and we had injuries up front, or we’re lacking players here or there. You’ve got to let the system take care of the game. If you play it the right way, you have a chance to win. When you don’t, you don’t. That’s what happened [against Minnesota].”

There’s no question the defense in front of Subban wasn’t nearly good enough, and Adam McQuaid and Torey Krug in particular struggled to lock things down in the defensive zone. The wide open shots from the slot - like the Chris Stewart score in the second period that arrived 12 seconds after Minnesota’s opening goal - are indicative of a hockey club that’s not sticking to the game plan once things start to get a little wonky.

But this is about a player in Subban that should be entering the NHL stage of his career after being a first round pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, and anybody would be hard-pressed to see him as an NHL goalie after failing in each of his first two NHL starts. Combine that with the lack of dominance at the AHL level over the last three years, and there’s a better chance that Subban will be a major first round bust for the Bruins rather than suddenly develop into a late-blooming No. 1 goaltender in Boston.

The scary part is that Subban and fellow young netminder Zane McIntyre are all the Bruins have for Wednesday night’s game at Madison Square Garden, and perhaps longer than that if Rask can’t make rapid progress with his lower body injury.

Maybe Subban can be a bit better than he’s shown thus far, and the four goals allowed to Minnesota were not all his fault. The bottom line, however, is that Subban should be up for doing this job right now. Tuesday was a big chance for the young goalie to make a statement that he was ready for it.

Instead he looked like the same goalie that’s been pulled from two of his first four AHL starts this season, and plays like a goaltender that’s never going to truly be ready for the call in Boston.