Morning Skate 29: Lots of hate for Matt Cooke

Morning Skate 29: Lots of hate for Matt Cooke

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON Perhaps its the French-speaking media that converges on the TD Garden, or perhaps its the fact that Montreal and Boston is the best rivalry in the NHL.But theres a certain energy and jump in Boston when Les Habitants come to the Hub, and its even doubly so when the Canadiens have taken all three meetings between the two squads thus far this season.The last loss was an overtime defeat at the hands of Montreal in which the Habs overcame a 2-0 deficit with three minutes to go in the game before finally winning it in overtime. The game ended with Zdeno Chara and Hal Gill getting into it after Max Pacioretty shoved Chara after scoring the OT goal for Montreal, and its clear there are hard feelings spilling over tonight.It doesnt matter who were playing, I think were a better team when were emotionally engaged and physical, said Shawn Thornton. This is more about having a little bit of a bur and a little bit of an edge, and having everybody be physical. Not just some guys. When were like that were really good, and weve been good lately. Its a big rivalry. Its one of the biggest ones in sports, and I like that. I like that people are hatin on both sides of it. At least I hope so. I hope there are guys over in Montreal room that cant stand me. Thats the way it should be.With the hate brewing in Boston, here are the links: A well-done piece by the Vancouver Sun that compares Ray Emerys comeback in the NHL to the unsuccessful attempts by Bo Jackson to return to the NFL after the same hip surgery. An interesting look from Stu Hackel at the future of the NHL with the TV rights up for negotiation after this season. I have my fingers crossed that NBC and Comcast are big players in this, but have no inside info to share. Adam Proteau was again looking out for the victim Matt Cooke last night on his Twitter account, and this time compared him to a pit bull terrier bred for violence. Please. Reports out of Canada say that Proteau is rocking and curled up in the fetal position after hearing his "victim" was suspended four games for his evil hit from behind against the Columbus Blue Jackets. An interesting piece written by a Canucks blogger who loved Matt Cooke before he joined the dark side with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Jeremy Roenick calls Matt Cooke chicken-bleep for his flying hit from behind on Fedor Tyutin and says that Cooke deserves a 20-game suspension. Apparently the Montreal media contingent ran rampant with a story about Hal Gill swearing at P.K. Subban for leaving his jersey on the floor of the dressing room. Arpon Basu clears the whole thing up. A good, comprehensive look by Pro Hockey Talk at Matt Cooke and why he should have the supplemental discipline book thrown at him by Colin Campbell after his latest round of dastardly acts on the ice. Are they waiting for him to kill somebody?

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Off day for Tuukka Rask plays into rough loss for the Bruins

Off day for Tuukka Rask plays into rough loss for the Bruins

BOSTON – Many times this season Tuukka Rask has bailed out the Bruins when the team was at less than their best.

Monday afternoon was not one of those times as the Bruins goaltender was knocked out of the game after two periods on the way to a listless 4-0 shutout loss to the New York Islanders. Rask allowed three goals on 15 shots in the game’s opening 40 minutes, and was responsible for a very soft goal during the Isles’ three-score barrage in the second period.

After the game Rask wasn’t ducking responsibility for the subpar performance, and admitted he was simply beaten to the short side post on a bad angle shot from Islanders forward Josh Bailey for the soft-serve special.

“I was just late. I picked the wrong seal. It’s one of those [goals] that I should have stopped,” said Rask. “Claude [Julien] mentioned [not taking the Isles lightly] before the game, and the last game we played here they got us. It was a bit of a flat game again last time, and we just woke up too late today. We didn’t want to underestimate them. Any team in this league is good even though the standings might show otherwise. We just never got it going.”

Rask was being kind because the Bruins never actually woke up at all in the first B's shutout loss to the Islanders on home ice in franchise history, and that includes when the Finnish netminder was yanked after the second intermission.

Julien’s act of pulling Rask from a 3-0 game was clearly designed to spark the struggling hockey club, but it did nothing to breathe life into a dead hockey club that simply allowed another goal playing out the string in the third period.

“There are two things that can happen. No. 1, you hope you can spark your team because of the performance in front of him,” said Julien. “If it doesn’t spark your team, [at least] you’re not wasting your number one goaltender’s energy.”

One would expect that Rask will be back between the pipes on Wednesday night against the Red Wings in Detroit, and in hindsight perhaps this Monday matinee might have been a good time to see what Zane McIntyre has to offer as the backup. Instead it will go down as an “off” game for Rask and another inexcusable no-show on home ice for the Black and Gold. 

Bruins admit they 'just weren't ready' to play Isles in shutout loss

bruins_claude_julien_011617.jpg

Bruins admit they 'just weren't ready' to play Isles in shutout loss

BOSTON – The Bruins are starting to run out of adjectives and descriptors for these “no-show” performances on home ice.

The Bruins made it twice in two months that they’ve dropped a disappointing dud to one of the Eastern Conference’s worst teams when they came out flat, and never showed any signs of life in a 4-0 loss to the New York Islanders. The lack of effort and pitiful results were particularly disappointing coming off a solid five game stretch where they’d engineered high effort wins over Florida, St. Louis and Philadelphia.

Patrice Bergeron finished a minus-3 on the afternoon, and said in quasi-disgust that he knew five minutes into the game that his team didn’t have “it” on Monday.

“Something that we talked [headed into Monday was] about building from the last few weeks, and how good it felt around the room, I guess, with winning games basically,” said Bergeron. “[The shutout loss] just shows that you have to show up every night and not take things for granted. I think we did [take things for granted] this afternoon.

“It was about finding someone to get us a shift to get us going basically. We had a few good shifts there, and we sustained a little bit of pressure there. But then we just couldn’t keep that for the next lines after going, we couldn’t sustain that or build from that. It was really the whole team throughout the lineup that didn’t show up and, you know, it’s obviously inexcusable, unacceptable.”

Claude Julien mentioned the compacted schedule and potential fatigue playing into the Bruins looking “flat” on Monday against the Islanders, and perhaps that is partially to blame for an uncharacteristically lifeless performance from the Black and Gold. But the B’s essentially did nothing for 60 minutes after not having played for 48 hours dating back to a Saturday afternoon matinee win over the Flyers, so the fatigue excuse is difficult to swallow.

Instead it looked like a Bruins team that thought they were going to roll out the pucks and beat the worst team in the Metro Division that had lost four-of-five games. Instead a defensive zone breakdown led to a Nikolay Kulemin goal midway through the second period, and the Bruins collapsed after that. Josh Bailey tucked a short side goal past a late-reacting Tuukka Rask for a soft serve special allowed by Boston’s ace goaltender, and Kulemin scored again in the second period once the Bruins began cheating at the offensive end of the ice.

To make matters worse, the Bruins showed zero fight or willingness to scratch and claw their way back into the game in the third period. Instead it looked like they quit on two points that could end up being extremely important at the end of the season.

It also looked like the Bruins weren’t ready to play, and that they overlooked the downtrodden Islanders for the second time in as many months.

“Maybe we took them a little lightly, but we just weren’t ready [to play],” said Brad Marchand. “We have to look ourselves in the mirror and all be a little bit better. We all have to be prepared for every game. You can’t look at the guy besides us and think he’s going to do the job. We have to take a little onus on ourselves and all be a little bit better. As a team, again, we have to play the system together and we have to back each other up. We have to play as one unit and we didn’t do that.”

It’s long past the point where the words even matter that the Bruins are uttering after games like Monday afternoon. Instead it’s about results and nothing else, and the B’s were nothing short of putrid in that category against the Islanders with points at a premium this time of year.