Morning Skate 224: A nice, little NHL breather

Morning Skate 224: A nice, little NHL breather

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.comVANCOUVER Another day in Vancouver for the Bruins to take a deep breath, inhale and then get ready for the final 22 games of the season.It seems that the Bs have moving at a pace somewhere between frenetic and break-neck for the entire season, and its only now with a bit less than two months in the regular season that the Bruins finally get to kick back and hit the pause button briefly.It seems there might not be a better place in Canada to do it either. The snow-capped mountains and Pacific Ocean make a picturesque backdrop, and literally everywhere you turn looks like a postcard background as you walk around British Columbias biggest and best city.The homecoming for Milan Lucic, Cam Neely and BC-born Mark Recchi is great for some very important individual pieces within the Bs organization, but this time to give the batteries another charge at the end of a historically difficult month of February is invaluable. Nobody will look back on these four days once the playoffs kick around, but this kind of recess from the NHL grind is exactly what a team needs while getting ready for the big ice battles that wait over the next three months. On to the links:Adam Proteau from the Hockey News wants to do away with the NHL divisions, and make the NHL regular season schedule make a bit more sense. At least he's not tweeting about "victim" Matt Cooke anymore.Brian Leetch and Don Mattingly talking about which teammates theyd want beside them in the ultimate Game 7 situation. Okay, Ill bite.Nik Zherdev clears waivers for the Flyers, and continues whats been a mistake from the very beginning in Philadelphia.A fan blog on the Atlanta Journal-Constitutions web site is calling for Atlanta Thrashers head coach Craig Ramsay to be fired. Would be a huge mistake to get rid of a great hockey mind like Ramsay in his first season with the team anybody notice what hes done with Dustin Byfuglien and its a little disconcerting that the AJC has given this yahoo a platform.CBC sideline reporter Elliotte Friedman gives his 30 thoughts including some very greedy ideas from the NHL owners to create some kind of outdoor series of games rather than the Winter Classic and Heritage Classic. They apparently are determined to kill the golden goose.FOH Friend of Haggs Yahoo! Sports hockey blogger Puck Daddy has a junior hockey announcer suspending himself after going all icky balookey in the announcers booth during a heated game against Topeka.BU alum and Miracle on Ice participant Mike Eruzione stopped by to talk about the 31st Anniversary of the win over the Russians that took place on Tuesday.A few more questions linger for USA Todays Kevin Allen has the NHL trade deadline looms.A good piece in the Province about Vancouver homeboy Milan Lucic getting a chance to bask in the glow of praise from his friends and family this week while being honored by his Vancouver Giants hockey club.

Friday, Dec. 2: Toews vs. Matthews

Friday, Dec. 2: Toews vs. Matthews

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading, while everybody in New England is in mourning over the latest Gronk booboo. 

*A pretty neat sharpshooting video with Jonathan Toews and that young whippersnapper Auston Matthews squaring off against each other. 

*Craig Custance looks a little deeper into the situation with the Florida Panthers and how things are stabilizing after the rough firing of Gerard Gallant last week. 

*Now. let’s get to the real important stuff: the San Jose Sharks website has put together their Movember rankings for the player’s mustaches. 

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Bruce Garrioch says that the plans for an outdoor game in Ottawa are again back on the NHL’s agenda. 

*Erik Erlendsson has put together a “Lightning Insider” website where you can find all the latest news about the Tampa Bay franchise. Check it out. 

*As guys such as Anton Khudobin prove when they’re thrust into the starting spot, backup goalies matter in today’s NHL. 

*For something completely different: a mash-up of Kylo Ren and “Girls” from the mad mind of Adam Driver is exactly just that. 


Chara ‘feels better’ as he closes in on return, but won’t play in Buffalo

Chara ‘feels better’ as he closes in on return, but won’t play in Buffalo

BRIGHTON, Mass. – Zdeno Chara said he is “feeling better” after going through a full practice with the Bruins, but the captain won’t be making the one game road trip to Buffalo for Saturday afternoon’s matinee game vs. the Sabres. 

Chara was going through line rushes and battle drills with the rest of his teammates while practicing for the second day in a row, but made it clear that his lower body injury hasn’t been cleared for game action yet. 

“It’s day-to-day. It feels better…yeah. But it’s still day-to-day,” said a rather laconic Chara when it came to questions about his injury. “It would feel much better [to play] than it feels [not playing].”

Claude Julien said his 39-year-old defenseman has moved into true “day-to-day” status as he nears a return after missing what will be his sixth game in a row on Saturday afternoon, but that he isn’t quite ready to go just yet.

“[Chara] and [Noel] Acciari won’t be on the trip,” said Julien. “I think [Chara] is getting pretty close. When you see him at practice things are going pretty well for him. I think that the term day-to-day is fitting for him right now. A lot of times when we say day-to-day we don’t know whether it’s going to be two days, three days or even a week. But in his case I would say that day-to-day is really day-to-day now with him.” 

One thing the Bruins can be heartened by is that they’ve managed to survive without Chara: the B’s have gone 2-2-1 and allowed just nine goals in the five games since their No. 1 defenseman went down. They have been able to continue collecting points in sometimes ugly, workmanlike fashion. 

That gives the Bruins the luxury of not rushing their D-man along before he’s ready and gives some of their other defensemen added confidence that they can effectively do the job with or without their 6-foot-9 stopper.