Morning Skate 322: Where does all this leave Savard?

Morning Skate 322: Where does all this leave Savard?

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.comBOSTON It was a fleeting question during the second annual Peter Chiarelli conference call with Bruins season ticket holders, but it takes on greater significance given everything going on around Matt Cooke and the NHL.Chiarelli was asked about Marc Savards current condition two months after he suffered another concussion after a collision with Matt Hunwick at Pepsi Arena in Denver against the Avalanche. It was Cookes act of hockey violence against Savard with a cheap shot elbow to his chin a little over a year ago thats inexorably changed the Bs centers life for the worse and made him more susceptible to the concussion he suffered again this season.Chiarelli said that Savard has daily symptoms of concussion, but isnt suffering from the same depression that really bothered him last summer. The Bruins general manager called it a slow and delicate matter for Savard to continue fighting the concussion symptoms and get on the road to wellness, but its eye-opening that the crafty pivot still has symptoms two months later with little to no physical exertion during his down time.It continues to look as if Savards career is permanently altered due to Cookes reckless on-ice actions, and its only a shame that it took the NHL an additional year to finally slap Pittsburghs rat around with the NHL rule book.Somewhere Savard is nodding in agreement with the decision to ostensibly end Cookes season after his elbow to the head of Ryan McDonagh but also certainly wondering if fiery hot intensity why that justice never arrived for him when he was unconscious on the ice at the Igloo last spring.On to the links:An photo gallery of NHL players that have had their careers shortened by multiple concussions over the last few decades. This should be required viewing for "Cookie."Good work by Rob Rossi to get some comments from Matt Cooke on Monday night where the Pittsburgh punk finally says I need to change. No crap there, Sherlock!Elliotte Friedmans 30 thoughts on the NHL are always a must-read and theres no reason why this week would be any different. Several thoughts about Matt Cooke and his suspension within the piece.Puck Daddy radio makes its debut on the morning skate, and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Greg Wyshynski actually creates a new nickname for Milan Lucic when he calls him Cheech. He also gets Looch to admit his favorite American beer is Budweiser.My CSNNE compatriot Mike Felger tells us the Bruins arent as bad as their current losing streak and werent as good as their road winning streak last month. Good call there, Captain Obvious.The Predators fans are throwing catfish on the ice. This is much better than waffles.A good breakdown of the Matt Cooke decision and how difficult its going to be to take the Pittsburgh hatchet man back if he doesnt change his ways.FOH (Friend of Haggs) Matt Kalman of comes up with the nit-picking blog entry of the year by saying the Bruins current losing stretch is much worse than other elite teams because they picked up two less points through a seven-game stretch this season. Thats not contrived at all. No!Good debut column for FOH (Friend of Haggs) Steve Lepore, who writes about whether the NBC national stage played into the heavy suspension for Matt Cooke. Good to have you in the ComcastVersusNBC family, Steve.Don Cherry talks to WEEI about the recent Bs slide and also calls Matt Cooke a rat while recounting the run-in he had with the Pittsburgh cheap shot artist a couple of years ago in the hallways of an NHL rink.ESPNs Pierre Lebrun and Scott Burnside discuss the amazing story of the Penguins, and their ability to keep winning despite the absence of Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. Its a nice story, but theres no way they sustain that during the playoffs with a lunch-bucket crew.XM Home Ice chats with Anaheim enforcer George Parros about his mustache and the Cooke suspension. Parros says that Cooke needs to smarten up a bit about the way hes playing, and potentially hurting fellow players.

Haggerty: Good, but not good enough, again the story for Bruins

Haggerty: Good, but not good enough, again the story for Bruins

BOSTON – The all-important results continue to elude the Bruins at the time when they need them most.

The Black and Gold lost their third game in a row, 1-0, to the Chicago Blackhawks at TD Garden Friday night when they allowed the game-winning goal with less than 90 seconds remaining in regulation. It was a simple defensive breakdown and some great tic-tac-toe passing with Marian Hossa finishing things off, but it also felt like a game where the Blackhawks coasted against a wounded Bruins team for 58 minutes before turning it on when it was winning time.

The winning goal was a cross-ice pass from Tanner Kero to Hossa, with the puck sliding right between the legs of Adam McQuaid in the slot, and Hossa picking a corner while giving Tuukka Rask zero time to react side to side.

“We had a game plan in place and our guys executed well, they were ready to play,” said Claude Julien. “One little mistake and it’s in our net, and you lose yourself a pretty important hockey game.”

So, now the Bruins have taken only one point in their past three games, have dropped behind the Ottawa Senators in the Atlantic Division standings and continue to skate around like they’re wearing the weight of the entire organization on their shoulders.

“At the end of the night it is another loss and that’s the biggest thing. Did your team play fairly well? I think so. I think we competed hard, but then again you’re dealing with some growing pains. We had an icing late in the game so that’s not necessary, but the winning goal that goes through three of our guys and in our net with a minute-and- a-half left,” said Julien. “We have to stand there again, and take the responsibility for our own actions. It’s unfortunate because that minute-and-a-half that was left in the game kind of tarnished everything we had done for the first 58 minutes.

“I thought we played pretty well against a good team. We had contained the guys that we needed to contain. We didn’t score any goals – I don’t think we did a good enough job there - we had some chances but again you got to find ways to score goals. That’s where we are at.”

Clearly, the Bruins didn’t give up a ton defensively and Rask had been solid for the first two-plus periods, but there was also a sense Chicago didn’t bring its best game either when Boston outshot the Blackhawks 17-6 in the opening period. It was also clear that, aside from a couple of good, early chances from Tim Schaller and Brad Marchand, along with a Joe Morrow breakaway chance, the Bruins offense wasn’t doing enough work to get closer to the Chicago net for any sustained pressure.

So, instead of a solid result with dark clouds swirling over Causeway Street that a big change is needed to jolt a stagnant team, the Bruins hang up another loss where they outshot their opponent and end up with nothing to show for it.

These are the kinds of losses that test morale and togetherness and could either be taken as a sign of things tightening up for the Bruins or of things continuing to spiral away from a team that just needs wins at this point.

“I’m sure everybody’s feeling down right now because we lost, but you can’t start pouting too much. You’ve got to move on,” said Rask, who allowed one goal on 22 shots in the loss. “[There’s a] big game coming up Sunday, and next week, so it’s a loss and we have to move on. [We have to] get ready for the next one. I’m sure guys are pissed today, but tomorrow’s a new day.”

Tomorrow is a new day for everybody on the Black and Gold including Julien, who is scheduled to still run practice on Saturday as the B’s bench boss before speaking to the media prior to the team leaving for Pittsburgh. So, it’s business as usual after another loss on Friday night in a classic Original Six matchup that’s clearly most of the luster from where it was at four years ago, but one can only sit and wonder how much longer business as usual cuts it for a hockey club that continues to flounder. 

Julien sidesteps job security question with "shock journalism" comment

Julien sidesteps job security question with "shock journalism" comment

BOSTON -- With three crushing losses in a row at a time when results are really all that matters, the Boston Bruins are reeling at the wrong time during the regular season. The B’s tried their best to win a game 0-0 with strong defense against a sleepy Chicago Blackhawks bunch on Friday night, but ultimately coughed up a Marian Hossa goal in the final minutes for a 1-0 regulation loss at TD Garden.

The defeat continued a swirl downward for the Black and Gold over the last week, and was a second straight shutout loss on home ice for the first time in almost 15 years. The losing stretch has also kicked up the chatter that Claude Julien is in trouble as head coach of the Bruins, and the hockey club’s underperformance up and down the lineup is ultimately going to cost the NHL’s longest tenured bench boss his job.

The Ottawa Senators have passed the Bruins in the Atlantic Division, and it’s only a matter of time before the Toronto Maple Leafs move by them as well with both Toronto and Ottawa holding six games in hand on Boston. Combine all of this with the B’s having missed the playoffs in each of the previous two seasons leading into this one, and it shouldn’t be at all surprising that Julien is squarely on the coaching hot seat.

The B’s bench boss was asked about his job security after the Chicago loss, and clearly didn’t appreciate the tough, but appropriate question.

“Well, I’m not into shock-journalism,” said Julien in a prideful tone. “So I’ll stay away from that question if you don’t mind.”

The Bruins posted their Saturday schedule shortly after Julien and the B’s players had addressed the media following the loss, and sure enough the embattled coach is scheduled to address the media post-practice as part of the regular practice day routine. So it doesn’t seem that a move with Julien is imminent this weekend despite another loss, but both the coach and the players know something is going to happen to shake things up with this team if they continue to struggle.

“Right now it’s a results based situation, so if you’re going to keep losing games then probably something’s going to happen,” said Torey Krug. “But right now we’re just pretty down emotionally after this game, so I don’t want to look at the big picture. I just [want to] focus on what’s going on in this room, and hopefully we can come back with a good effort the next game.”

A good effort might help Julien’s standing with the Bruins in the short term, but it’s impossible to imagine the B’s bench boss making it through the rest of the Bruins regular season given all of things working against him right now.