Morning Skate 516: No calls for LucicHorton

Morning Skate 516: No calls for LucicHorton

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON It appears Bs forwards Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton are two of the first beneficiaries of the toughened up stance by Colin Campbell and the NHL Hockey Operations staff. There has been nary a hearing or a phone call to the Bs forwards after the brouhaha between the Bruins and Lightning at the end of Game One that resulted in a pair of punches thrown by the Bs linemates that dropped two Tampa skaters in non-hockey fight situations.In the closing minutes of Tampas solid win at the TD Garden, Dominic Moore cross-checked David Krejci and was then decked by Nathan Horton with a stiff right hand. That was followed by two of the biggest players on the ice Milan Lucic and Tampa defenseman Victor Hedman getting entangled during a scrum with Lucic dropping Hedman with a right-handed jab. The Horton hit looked as if it came with some pretty legitimate force, but the Lucic punch dropped a giant human being like Hedman a bit too easily.Both players were tagged with roughing minors and game misconducts for the infraction, and the NHLs silence is deafening when it comes to supplemental discipline in each case. It was simply boys will be boys type rough play that can escalate at the end of a playoff game. Its actually very similar to the punch Aaron Ward took to his face via Scott Walker during the middle of the HurricanesBruins series three years ago that similarly went unpunished. The Walker sucker punch on Ward was also a bit starker in nature, and that makes sense in it not leading up to any extended fanfare aside from a few Lightning torch-bearers in the media.Bruins coach Claude Julien had already moved on from the topic when it was broached with reporters.I dont know if the referees need to call those things; thats their call, said Julien. I think its part of frustration sometimes in games and liberties are taken. Same thing as usual, its always easy to look at the punch . . . just like that penalty Johnny Boychuk took. How we end up shorthanded is tough to see when Vincent Lecavalier jumps him after a clean hit. Those are things that happen in the game and we can whine and cry about things. We take care of our own business. We are moving on to the next game and we are not even thinking about that.On to the links:Derek Boogaards family decides to donate their late sons brain to the Boston University medical facility thats doing studies on the effect that concussions have on the human brain. Thats a truly selfless act and ray of hope from an utter tragedy.The New York Islanders blog, Lighthouse Hockey, laments the possible passing of the Nassau Coliseum. It is absolutely a dump, but it also honestly has some of the best sight lines from the press box at any NHL rink.It sounds like Jaromir Jagr is determined to remain in the KHL, but never say never when that mullet is involved.Newsdays Katie Strang has an amazing story about a Derek Boogaard punch that changed NHL tough guy Todd Fedoruks life and career forever.The Atlanta Journal Constitution asks if the other NHL owners could save the Atlanta Thrashers. Given that theyre already attempting to save the Phoenix Coyotes, it would appear that their collective plates are full.The Tampa Bay Lighting are outraged theres been literally no reaction by the NHL toward Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton. Maybe because there was no wrongdoing aside from what was penalized already during the game. Duh.Vancouver Province has a good look at Maxim Lapierre, Raffi Torres and Jannik Hansen forming a deadly cocktail of a checking line for the Canucks during the playoffs. Lapierre brings some deadly flopping to the mix.Nashville Predators players see their stocks rise and fall during a fun rush to the second round of the playoffs. Smashville never looked and sounded so good before.An excellent piece by the New York Posts Larry Brooks about the legacy left behind by Derek Boogaard following his untimely passing at the age of 28 years old.Another great piece in the Prince George Citizen about Boogaard including an interview with a former teammate he was set to live with in New York City. Boogaards concussion was still bad enough that his head would start spinning in the back of a taxi cab.

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.