Morning Skate 519: Julien sick of 'mind games'

191545.jpg

Morning Skate 519: Julien sick of 'mind games'

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Guy Boucher told reporters Thursday morning that the Bolts underestimated the speed of Tyler Seguin, and based on that the calculated Boucher decided the 19-year-old rookie would receive the verbal bouquets that the Tampa coach had been saving for Tim Thomas during the balance of the series. Heres the Boucher quote about Seguin, which Claude Julien took umbrage with as mind games when he was apprised of the comments later on at his portion of the press conference: The first two games it's clear," Boucher said. "I think the players and everybody underestimated his speed. That's the main thing. His speed is obviously a weapon for him and for his team. Being a young guy, having success right away certainly takes a lot of nervousness away. For us we know that he's going to be on the ice and we have to be able to keep on him.Julien has heard Boucher call Thomas an enigma and now wax poetic about Seguins skating speed, and the peeved Bs coach said its about time for the Tampa coach to start complimenting his own talented bunch of skaters.Tampa has been very good at complimenting our team," Julien said. "They do a really good job of that. I think Tampa has got some pretty good speed themselves, St. Louis and those kinds of guys Stamkos. They've got the same kind of players. So my answer to that would be I think they're pretty well served on their side. I don't think they're worried so much about Tyler more than they want to flatter him. We know that there are the mind games that teams play, and right now we're just focusing on what we have to do here. If anything, I would be more tempted if I were Boucher to compliment my own players such as St. Louis and those guys that are just as good as Seguin when it comes to speed. The Sports Hub 98.5 sports talkers Gresh and Zo wonder why there are so many complaints about a Bruins coach that has his hockey team within three wins of the Stanley Cup Finals. A great Inside Hockey piece by CBCs Elliotte Friedman on the University of Vermont connection between Tim Thomas and Marty St. Louis. The shots of Thomas and St. Louis as collegians are fun to watch. Toronto Star columnist Damien Cox chats with Hall of FameBruins goaltender Gerry Cheevers after heart bypass surgery administered after a routine check-up for a knee procedure. Barstool Sports puts a hammering on the Bruins market department for pulling a group of clever signs around TD Garden that poked fun at Tampa Bay Lightning hockey fans. Ive heard the back story on this and understand why the Bruins opted to go that route. Lets just say the Tampa radio personality and his listeners set a new standard for the dregs of society. Chris Botte has a good take on what the New York Islanders should do with Evgeni Nabokov as the player and team sit at a standstill with no easy solution. Bruins legend Terry OReilly chats with XM Home Ice about the BruinsLightning series, playing for Don Cherry and what it was like watching the 1972 Stanley Cup team as one of their Black Aces in the stands. Justin Bourne weights in on Ben Eager losing his mind against the Vancouver Canucks in the Western Conference Finals, and what it all means. Bourne, as usual, thinks it out beautifully. FOH (Friend of Haggs) and Yahoo! Sports hockey blogger Puck Daddy has the story of how Tyler Seguin saved the bacon of sports gear company Under Armour during the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs.

Bruins sign Kevan Miller to four-year, $10 million deal

felger_miller0523161464117692429_3450k_1280x720_691977283816.jpg

Bruins sign Kevan Miller to four-year, $10 million deal

BOSTON -- The Bruins locked up a piece to a blue line that was godawful last season in announcing they’d signed Kevan Miller to a four-year, $10 million contract.

They also retained one of their own young restricted free agents, center Seth Griffith, by reaching agreement on a one-year, two-way deal with an NHL value of $625,000 per season.

Miller, 28, played in a career-high 71 games last season -- his third with the Bruins -- and established career highs in goals (5), assists (13), points (18) and penalty minutes (53). He also posted the second-best plus/minus rating on the team (plus-15) and generally seemed to be playing his best hockey down the stretch.

The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Miller was also forced into playing 19:04 of ice time per night while oftentimes serving as a top-pair D-man alongside Zdeno Chara. That resulted in a high number of mistakes and turnovers at critical times against the opposition’s best offensive players.

The rugged, hardnosed Miller obviously isn’t going to be judged solely by the numbers. He's also evaluated by the big hits, blocked shots and air of intimidation in the defensive zone. That said, a four-year contract is a bit of a head-scratcher, given that Miller wasn’t expected to command that kind of deal as an unrestricted free agent on the open market.

That four-year deal, which carries a yearly cap hit of $2.5 million, would also seem to hint at the impending exodus of Adam McQuaid or Dennis Seidenberg, or both, given the number of limited stay-at-home defensemen on the roster now making decent NHL money.  

The bottom line: Miller’s contract will be a good one if he can settle into a steady, top-four role. But it will be another overpay if he winds up being the bottom-pairing D-man many see him as at the NHL level.

Griffith had 24 goals and 53 assists for 77 points in 57 games for the Providence Bruins last season, and also had an assist in four games for Boston. He'll get another chance this year to compete for one of the winger jobs at the NHL level with plenty of competition.

Morning Skate: Following Bruins prospect DeBrusk and former All-Star Thornton

cp-morning-skate.jpg

Morning Skate: Following Bruins prospect DeBrusk and former All-Star Thornton

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while thoroughly enjoying “Chewbacca Mom.”

*Good piece on Bruins first round pick Jake DeBrusk, and his solid performance during Memorial Cup play.

*A couple of my friends over at NHL.com have attempted to put together a World Cup of Hockey roster for North America.

*Good piece by FOH (Friend of Haggs) Craig Custance on Jumbo Joe Thornton, and what those who know him best say about him.

*Speaking of the Sharks/Blues conference finals, Vladimir Tarasenko is scoreless through the first five games of the series. That doesn’t bode well for the Blues.

*Actor Will Arnett proves that nobody is better at predicting the outcome of Stanley Cup playoff games than him.

*Longtime Director of Player Personnel Scott Luce is out with the Florida Panthers as their restructuring continues in this spring and summer.

*Gustav Nyquist is disappointing with his scoring numbers from last season, and is looking for a bump up next year.

*For something completely different: Chewbacca Mom visited with James Corden on late night television, and the results were both funny and kind of heartwarming.