Morning Skate 520: 'Evil' Boucher gets agitated

Morning Skate 520: 'Evil' Boucher gets agitated

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com
TAMPA Lightning head coach Guy Boucher has certainly made an impression on the national hockey media during his time coaching the Tampa Bay Lightning in the playoffs.His explosive reaction to the Marc-Andre Bergeron elbowing call in last nights first period of Game Three is already Internet legend, and has thousands in Boston casting him as the next villainous heavy in a great hockey action picture.Theres plenty of fun to be had with the notion he looks like a James Bond villain or a henchmen from a Die Hard film given the giant scar on his cheek, the focused intensity in his voice and the exotic French-Canadian accent he speaks with. Boucher has certainly enjoyed the mileage hes received from his bench presence in the past while working his way through junior hockey and the minor leagues, but the Lightning coach appeared subdued for the first time in the Eastern Conference Finals series Friday morning after a difficult Game Three setback.There was one flicker from Boucher, though, as he flogged his team for being unwilling to pay the price against the Bruins.Boucher was asked if he was a bit agitated following the Bergeron call on David Krejci that both sides have called a good hockey hit, and he couldnt help but react to that line of questioning.A bit agitated? It's just in the heat of the moment, said Boucher. I felt the previous game that there were a lot of penalties we didn't deserve. I was probably carrying that over to that game and probably wanted to make sure that we felt strongly about that one like we did the previous game where I stayed a bit calmer.Sometimes you stay calm and it helps. Sometimes you don't stay calm and it also helps. Sometimes it doesn't help at all. So I think it's important that I act according to what I feel. It was a short burst. And it stayed a short burst. And when you look at the replay, I think I was right on. I felt it was a clean check. But I thought the referees did a very good job yesterday. It was three power plays on each side. I thought they kept the game under total control.The Lightning need a lot more than a short burst on Saturday afternoon if theyre hoping to get off the mat against the Bruins.On to the links:Tampa Bay GM Steve Yzerman likes the evolution of Lightning troublemaker Steve Downie, but there is still evidence of his wayward ways.Kirk Luedeke with a look at Tim Thomas and how his story is a clue at drafting goaltenders in the modern era of hockey.The Atlanta Journal Constitution has the Thrashers end of the relocation story to Winnipeg, and you cant help but feel bad for the diehard hockey fans in Atlanta that actually exist.Yahoo! Sports Nick Cotsonika has more on the Atlanta-to-Winnipeg move that seems just about a fait accompli for the NHL.Joe Yerdon has five morning after thoughts on Pro Hockey Talk including some theories and ruminations on the Bruins and Lightning.A look behind the curtain at the Alexander Radulov deal with the KHL, and the hurdles keeping him from coming back to the Nashville Predators.A Winnipeg web site has the top five names that wont fly for the new hockey team if they cant call themselves the Jets.A.J. Perez takes a look at the Derek Boogaard passing, and the drugs and alcohol mixture that led to his accidental death. Such a tragedy for a guy that was uniformly well-liked.SI.coms Stu Hackel takes a look at both playoff series, and correctly determines that the soft Tampa interior defense is beginning to become a problem.

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

Backes: Bruins were ‘wounded’ after ugly Detroit loss

Backes: Bruins were ‘wounded’ after ugly Detroit loss

BRIGHTON, Mass – It certainly sounded like there were some things that made the Wednesday night loss in Detroit a little different for the Bruins.

The Bruins media corps conducted postgame interviews in the hallway rather than in the visiting dressing room after what must have been a combustible atmosphere immediately following the shootout defeat. 

There was also evidence of anger in the visitor’s dressing room at Joe Louis Arena, according to reports, with a door off its hinges when the media was able to get a look inside the dressing room area.

David Backes confirmed something was different about the loss after blowing a pair of three-goal leads, and failing to follow up their dreadful no-show vs. the Islanders with a winning performance against another bad team in Detroit. The B’s forward said the plane ride home from Detroit was solemn and quiet, and that it was clear the Bruins team was “wounded” after a crushing loss.

“Both [losses] can be great lessons if we learn from it, and neither was very enjoyable. That was probably the quietest I think our guys were all year on that plane ride home from Detroit,” said Backes. “To me, that’s a great sign that it hit us in the heart, and it hit us where it really mattered. We’re thinking about how we can turn the tide and thinking about we can be victorious the next time out.

“We had the lead, and in a lot of instances you’re expecting, as you should, to come out of there with two points. We’re at the time in the season where wins need to be garnered and taken home.

“There were a lot of aspects where we should have grabbed the game back. When you feel like you’ve had a lot of opportunities to take the game and you don’t do it, it’s not a good feeling. I was reflecting on that during a very quiet team plane ride back from Detroit, and it seemed pretty clear that the whole team was feeling wounded. I think it’s a good sign that guys were feeling that way, and that means they’re going to do everything in their power to not have that feeling again.”

The words are encouraging from a 32-year-old natural leader in Backes, who has seen good times and bad as captain of the St. Louis Blues in his 10-year NHL career. But the proof is ultimately on the ice where the Bruins have games against the Blackhawks and Penguins coming up and face some very stiff tests coming off a couple of losses against the worst teams in the East that exposed Black and Gold fragility at this point in the season. 


 

After knee injury, Beleskey set to return for Bruins vs. Blackhawks

After knee injury, Beleskey set to return for Bruins vs. Blackhawks

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins, looking for a spark after terrible, back-to-back losses to the New York Islanders and Detroit Red Wings, are hoping the return of Matt Beleskey from a knee injury can help provide the inspiration. 

The blue-collar left winger has missed the past 23 games with a torn MCL in his right knee suffered in early December against the Buffalo Sabres, but now he’s easing back into the lineup on the fourth line in Friday night’s showdown with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Beleskey was skating with Dominic Moore and Austin Czarnik on the fourth line at morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena and should be expected to throw a few hard hits and play with some intensity in his return.

“I’m ready to go and excited to get back out there,” said Beleskey, who has been skating with the team for roughly a week after giving the knee sufficient time to heal. “I’ve just got to keep it simple and do what I do well: Be hard on pucks, take the body and just try and find your groove. You don’t want to expect too much in your first game back, but you just want to be able to contribute.

“’I’ve been saving [the pent-up energy] for a while, so I’m ready to get back out there and hopefully provide a spark for us.”

The Beleskey return also provides the player with a bit of a reset button after a slow start to the season that saw him with two goals and five points along with a minus-6 rating in 24 games played for the Black and Gold prior to his injury. Here are the projected line combos and D-pairs against the Blackhawks based on morning skate today:

Marchand-Bergeron-Vatrano

Schaller-Krejci-Pastrnak

Spooner-Nash-Backes/Hayes

Beleskey/Blidh-Moore-Czarnik

 

Chara-Carlo

Krug-McQuaid

Morrow-Liles

 

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