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

Julien: 'A lot of problematic things' in Bruins loss to Avalanche

Julien: 'A lot of problematic things' in Bruins loss to Avalanche

BOSTON – The Bruins simply weren’t ready to play on Thursday night when the puck was dropped against the Colorado Avalanche at TD Garden. 

They fell down quickly by a 2-0 score, had a couple of completely inept power plays in the first period that sucked all the game’s momentum away from them and received some subpar goaltending from Anton Khudobin on the way to a 4-2 loss to the lowly Avs. About the only B’s person above reproach in this one was David Pastrnak after scoring a pair of goals in the second period to get Boston back into the game, but it all fell short in a very frustrating, lackadaisical loss to a Western Conference team that isn’t very good. 

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Needless to say B’s coach Claude Julien wasn’t too happy after a loss where the Bruins might have had more success with a smarter approach to holding the puck. 

“There were a lot of problematic things [in the loss]. No doubt that the power play could have helped us in the first period, and failed to do that. They’ve got to be better,” said Julien. “We needed some saves tonight, and we didn’t get them. [Anton Khudobin] has got to be better. 

“A lot of things here that we can be better at, and take responsibility [for]. But at the same time, you got to move on here.  It’s one of those nights that had we been smarter from the get go, we would have had a chance.”

Clearly it was about a lacking group effort when dissecting the loss, and the minus-3 for David Krejci on Thursday night marked back-to-back negative performances from the playmaking Czech center in big spots. The goaltending was shoddy with Anton Khudobin allowing four goals on 22 shots for Colorado, and unable to make plays on a couple of Colorado shots from outside the painted area that built up the Avs lead in the first place. 

But it was also very much about the inability of the Bruins to generate consistent offense outside of David Pastrnak’s offensive burst in the second period, and the complete breakdown of the Boston power play in the opening 20 minutes. The Bruins struggled to enter the zone in their first PP possession of the game, and then allowed a Nathan MacKinnon shorthanded goal after Torey Krug futilely dove at the blue line to try and keep the puck in the offensive zone. 

The Krug misplay at the offensive blue line gave MacKinnon a clear path the net, and he buried a wrist shot past Khudobin to get the one-sided loss rolling. Beyond the costly mistakes that ended up in the back of the net, the Bruins looked sloppy and slow-reacting in their breakouts and more than willing to settle for outside perimeter shots.

That doesn’t exactly make for a winning combo even when it comes against a flawed, underachieving team like Colorado, and especially when it comes less than 24 hours after a hard-fought road game in Washington DC. 

“I think we were still sleeping there early in the game and they were able to capitalize on their opportunities. We couldn’t claw our way back,” said Brad Marchand, who picked up an assist on David Pastrnak’s second goal of the night on a perfect dish for the one-timer. “I think it was definitely a mental [block]. You’re able to battle through that physical fatigue. It was more the mental mistakes and not being prepared right off the hop of the start of the game. Again, that’s kind of where we lost it.”

The sleepwalking Bruins lost Thursday night’s valuable two points as soon as the opening puck was dropped against the Avalanche, of course, and the Bruins never got out of lollygag mode at a time when intensity should have been automatic.