Morning Skate 419: B's are upping the pressure

Morning Skate 419: B's are upping the pressure

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.comLAKE PLACID, New York Mike Cammalleri didnt want to speak too much about potential pressure heaped on the Habs if they couldnt take care of business at home against a desperate Bruins team.It was probably a wise choice.He didnt have his words used against him later in the series, and that turned out be both smart and pretty fortuitous at the same time. The Canadiens couldnt step on Bostons throat up 2-0 with a game in Montreal, and now the Bruins have new postseasonlife with momentum on their side.The Bruins were poopoo-ing the notion of momentum and pressure getting sent in the opposite direction after winning their first game of the series and instead wanted to simply get out and play Game Four after a couple of days resting and rechargingat Lake Placid's Olympic Center.We didnt play that much better last night. The start was better, but there were still turnovers that they didnt capitalize on this time around, said Andrew Ference. I think you could make the momentum argument either way. Theyre up, you know, so the pressure is always on both teams.Its on everybody to win, and thats always the way it is. The Lake Placid retreat also gives youngsters like Brad Marchand a chance to catch their breath after the first three games of the playoffs, and begin processing everything theyve experienced on and off the ice. Marchand said he was somethinglike a Super Ball bouncing off the dressing room walls between periods in Game Three while waiting to get out on the frozen sheet.Marchand was that geeked in the super-charged Bell Centre environment, and it showed on the ice.Theyre pretty crazy and right down the buzzer, said Marchand. The emotion involved is amazing. I think there was one point I couldnt even hear the coaches on the bench behind me because the crowd was so loud. You get such an adrenaline rush from the crowds in Montreal and Boston that you cant even settle down and relax. I went in the dressing room after one of the periods and I was just shaking because I could hear the fans going crazy. I just couldnt wait to get back out there. Its special.On to the links:A good piece by Bruce Arthur of the National Post about the boring, successful style employed by Jacques Martin and the Canadiens.Lou Lamoriello talks about the Zach Parise contract progress, and the desire to get something done before the New Jersey forward can start fielding offers from other teams.The big guys on San Jose are struggling right now in the postseason, and that should be a shock to absolutely nobody.The Days of YOrr boys break down the NHLs supplementary discipline decisions on a case-by-case basis.NBC, Comcast and Versus soon to be renamed announce a new 10-year deal with the NHL that is great news for the league, for the network and for, well, me.FOH (Friend of Haggs) Greg Wyshynski puts together a Jack Edwards Greatest Hits compilation from last nights Game 3 at the Bell Centre. Jack was in rare form with the action at a fever pitch, and his yelling Get up! at Roman Hamrlik becomes an instant classic.XM Home Ice sits down with Calder Trophy candidate and Carolina Hurricanes rookie Jeff Skinner, and doesnt call him the Justin Beiber of hockey even once. Good for them.Because Im in Lake Placid, it was pretty necessary to link to this video even though everybody and their mother has seen the five-year-old do the Herb Brooks speech before.FOH (Friend of Haggs) Sarah Baicker says that the Philadelphia defense is thriving and survivingwithout Chris Pronger, and is some kind of defensemen depth that the Flyers enjoy.

Thursday, Aug. 25: Nearly two decades later, the Whalers live on

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Thursday, Aug. 25: Nearly two decades later, the Whalers live on

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while in disbelief mode that the summer is almost over.

*Good piece on the remainders of the Hartford Whalers organization in Connecticut trying to keep the dream alive for the Whale.

*Tyler Seguin sits down for a podcast this week that I freely admit I did not have the time to listen to. I wonder if Boston even rated a mention in the conversation?

*Rating the top NHL contracts, according to the fancy stats hockey analysts, sounds like an interesting exercise.

*Tracey Myers has Duncan Keith bowing out of the World Cup of Hockey while recovering from an injury, and getting replaced by Jay Boumeester.

*The “Da Beauty” Hockey League has kept players like Dustin Byfuglien, Ryan McDonagh and David Backes in hockey shape this summer while slowly getting ready for the season.

*The Arizona Coyotes make a historic hire by naming Dawn Braid as skating coach, making her the first female coach in the NHL.

*For something completely different: FOH (Friend of Haggs) Rich Shirtenlieb guested on the #DORK podcast this week, and it sounds like he didn’t love “Stranger Things.” At the very least he liked “Preacher” better. I thought Preacher was entertaining, but I didn’t even think it was in the same stratosphere as Stranger Things. Rich also has me wanting to watch “It Follows” now, however, after his endorsement.

 

Bruins don't poll well in latest New England Sports survey

Bruins don't poll well in latest New England Sports survey

It’s no secret Bruins fans are getting fed up with a hockey team in decline, one that’s missed the playoffs each of the last two years. Now there are numbers to prove it.

Channel Media and Market Research, Inc. came out with its annual New England Sports survey,  tabulating responses from over 14,600 polled, and, according to the numbers, the Bruins are dropping in popularity, fan support and faith in the current management group.

The B’s are holding somewhat steady with 16 percent of voters listing them as their “favorite sports team” behind the Patriots (46 percent) and Red Sox (29 percent) while ahead of the Celtics and Revolution. Claude Julien also ranked ahead of John Farrell among the big four teams in the “coaches/manages most admired” category.

But after sitting at a relative high of ranking at 27 percent for “ownership performance” in 2014 -- they year after their trip to the Cup Finals against the Blackhawks -- the Bruins now rank dead last in that category at 2 percent, behind the Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics and even the Revolution. Ouch, babe.

Also sitting at a lowly 2 percent is Bruins president Cam Neely in the “leadership performance” category. In "management performance," Neely has dropped from a solid 49 percent in 2014 to just 16 percent in this summer’s survey.

So B’s fans are clearly upset with a team that traded away Tyler Seguin, Johnny Boychuk, Milan Lucic and Dougie Hamilton, and has featured a decimated defense corps for each of the last two seasons. But do the B’s fans think that things are getting any better with prospects coming down the pipeline?

Not really.

In the “which team has done the best job making its product better.” category, the Patriots (35 percent) and Red Sox (31 percent) were resting at the top, with the Celtics (27 percent) a respectable third. The Bruins limped in at just 4 percent with a fan base that very clearly sees that, on paper, this upcoming season’s club doesn’t appear to be much better than last year's.

On top of that, only 13 percent of those surveyed believe the Bruins have gotten better over the last year, and 52 percent believe they’ve just gotten worse. A lowly 3 percent of those surveyed think the Bruins have the best chance of the five teams to bring a world championship back to Boston; the Patriots (79 percent), Red Sox (11 percent) and Celtics (5 percent) all ranked higher.

Finally, Zdeno Chara, Tuukka Rask and Jimmy Hayes were at the top of the list of the Boston athletes “who did not meet expectations” last season. None of that is a surprise, given the state of Boston’s defense along with Hayes’ subpar season.

The good news for the Bruins: They still have a passionate fan base. But they need to start reversing course immediately before they do lasting damage to the B’s brand.