Morning Skate 331: Bruins did have Da Costa interest

Morning Skate 331: Bruins did have Da Costa interest

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.comA Bruins source confirmed that the team had interest in Merrimack College hockey standout Stephane Da Costa as he enters the NHL via free agency as an undrafted prospect from France, but they were never front runners in the Da Costa sweepstakes.The same team source termed their chances as slim on Wednesday, and that became none on Thursday morning as the puck prospect signed a two-year deal with the Ottawa Senators.Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli was spotted at Merrimack watching Da Costa on several occasions, so the organization did their due diligence in attempting to lure the hot prospect to Boston.People close to Da Costas situation indicated he wanted to go to an NHL team where he could play right away, and that was never going to materialize with a Bruins team locked and loaded for the playoffs. The Florida Panthers and Minnesota Wild were other teams strongly in contention for the highly-skilled college prospect that helped turn around a Merrimack hockey program, and get them into the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1988.Hes definitely got some of the European flair and creativity to his game along with the soft edges that can infuriate some hockey coaches, but theres little doubting Da Costa can add something to a power play unit with his NHL caliber hands and passing vision.The 21-year-old posted 90 points in 67 games against solid Hockey East competition, and had NHL scouts tracking his every move this season and letting out groans when a knee injury sidelined him for a portion of the season.Lawrence Eagle-Tribune Merrimack beat reporter Mike McMahon reported that Da Costa will play for the Senators Saturday night against the Maple Leafs, and will finish out the season with the rest of a young and hungry Senators bunch. The Hockey East standout will also swing through the TD Garden with the Senators on April 9 for a Saturday matinee, so everybody can fix their eyes on another local college hockey player thats done very well for himself. On to the links:Speaking of Da Costa and Hockey East, heres former University of New Hampshire player and current Ottawa Senators Bobby Butler talking about his former Merrimack adversary turned teammate.A nice piece by New Yorks SB Nation hockey entry on 21-year-old Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh after he survived his brush with the NHL punk formerly known as Matt Cooke.Bruins defenseman, and Thomas the Tank Engine twin, Tomas Kaberle is one of the bigger names in a list of 10 players that Puck Daddy would love to see win a Stanley Cup this season.Excellent story by ESPNBoston.coms Joe McDonald about the connection between Johnny Bower and Tim Thomas. A must read for Bruins fans.NBC Pro Hockey Talk delves into the murky waters inhabited by NHL fan bases in Phoenix and Winnipeg that arent exactly best friends right now.A Classic high school studentvideo created in the TD Garden balcony with a flip cam during a Bruins game that concluded with a very heartwarming and happy ending.Speaking of Hockey East alums, Nathan Gerbe has established himself in Buffalo as the Sabres make a run at the playoffs in the second half of the season. Not bad for a 5-foot-5 gnat on skates.Rob Rossi provides a transcription following Sidney Crosbys first non-contact practice with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Seems like hes ramping up for a playoff return, doesnt it?

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.