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

Off day for Tuukka Rask plays into rough loss for the Bruins

Off day for Tuukka Rask plays into rough loss for the Bruins

BOSTON – Many times this season Tuukka Rask has bailed out the Bruins when the team was at less than their best.

Monday afternoon was not one of those times as the Bruins goaltender was knocked out of the game after two periods on the way to a listless 4-0 shutout loss to the New York Islanders. Rask allowed three goals on 15 shots in the game’s opening 40 minutes, and was responsible for a very soft goal during the Isles’ three-score barrage in the second period.

After the game Rask wasn’t ducking responsibility for the subpar performance, and admitted he was simply beaten to the short side post on a bad angle shot from Islanders forward Josh Bailey for the soft-serve special.

“I was just late. I picked the wrong seal. It’s one of those [goals] that I should have stopped,” said Rask. “Claude [Julien] mentioned [not taking the Isles lightly] before the game, and the last game we played here they got us. It was a bit of a flat game again last time, and we just woke up too late today. We didn’t want to underestimate them. Any team in this league is good even though the standings might show otherwise. We just never got it going.”

Rask was being kind because the Bruins never actually woke up at all in the first B's shutout loss to the Islanders on home ice in franchise history, and that includes when the Finnish netminder was yanked after the second intermission.

Julien’s act of pulling Rask from a 3-0 game was clearly designed to spark the struggling hockey club, but it did nothing to breathe life into a dead hockey club that simply allowed another goal playing out the string in the third period.

“There are two things that can happen. No. 1, you hope you can spark your team because of the performance in front of him,” said Julien. “If it doesn’t spark your team, [at least] you’re not wasting your number one goaltender’s energy.”

One would expect that Rask will be back between the pipes on Wednesday night against the Red Wings in Detroit, and in hindsight perhaps this Monday matinee might have been a good time to see what Zane McIntyre has to offer as the backup. Instead it will go down as an “off” game for Rask and another inexcusable no-show on home ice for the Black and Gold. 

Bruins admit they 'just weren't ready' to play Isles in shutout loss

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Bruins admit they 'just weren't ready' to play Isles in shutout loss

BOSTON – The Bruins are starting to run out of adjectives and descriptors for these “no-show” performances on home ice.

The Bruins made it twice in two months that they’ve dropped a disappointing dud to one of the Eastern Conference’s worst teams when they came out flat, and never showed any signs of life in a 4-0 loss to the New York Islanders. The lack of effort and pitiful results were particularly disappointing coming off a solid five game stretch where they’d engineered high effort wins over Florida, St. Louis and Philadelphia.

Patrice Bergeron finished a minus-3 on the afternoon, and said in quasi-disgust that he knew five minutes into the game that his team didn’t have “it” on Monday.

“Something that we talked [headed into Monday was] about building from the last few weeks, and how good it felt around the room, I guess, with winning games basically,” said Bergeron. “[The shutout loss] just shows that you have to show up every night and not take things for granted. I think we did [take things for granted] this afternoon.

“It was about finding someone to get us a shift to get us going basically. We had a few good shifts there, and we sustained a little bit of pressure there. But then we just couldn’t keep that for the next lines after going, we couldn’t sustain that or build from that. It was really the whole team throughout the lineup that didn’t show up and, you know, it’s obviously inexcusable, unacceptable.”

Claude Julien mentioned the compacted schedule and potential fatigue playing into the Bruins looking “flat” on Monday against the Islanders, and perhaps that is partially to blame for an uncharacteristically lifeless performance from the Black and Gold. But the B’s essentially did nothing for 60 minutes after not having played for 48 hours dating back to a Saturday afternoon matinee win over the Flyers, so the fatigue excuse is difficult to swallow.

Instead it looked like a Bruins team that thought they were going to roll out the pucks and beat the worst team in the Metro Division that had lost four-of-five games. Instead a defensive zone breakdown led to a Nikolay Kulemin goal midway through the second period, and the Bruins collapsed after that. Josh Bailey tucked a short side goal past a late-reacting Tuukka Rask for a soft serve special allowed by Boston’s ace goaltender, and Kulemin scored again in the second period once the Bruins began cheating at the offensive end of the ice.

To make matters worse, the Bruins showed zero fight or willingness to scratch and claw their way back into the game in the third period. Instead it looked like they quit on two points that could end up being extremely important at the end of the season.

It also looked like the Bruins weren’t ready to play, and that they overlooked the downtrodden Islanders for the second time in as many months.

“Maybe we took them a little lightly, but we just weren’t ready [to play],” said Brad Marchand. “We have to look ourselves in the mirror and all be a little bit better. We all have to be prepared for every game. You can’t look at the guy besides us and think he’s going to do the job. We have to take a little onus on ourselves and all be a little bit better. As a team, again, we have to play the system together and we have to back each other up. We have to play as one unit and we didn’t do that.”

It’s long past the point where the words even matter that the Bruins are uttering after games like Monday afternoon. Instead it’s about results and nothing else, and the B’s were nothing short of putrid in that category against the Islanders with points at a premium this time of year.