Morning Skate 520: 'Evil' Boucher gets agitated

Morning Skate 520: 'Evil' Boucher gets agitated

By Joe Haggerty
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 Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Injuries have created a muddled picture with Bruins goaltenders

Injuries have created a muddled picture with Bruins goaltenders

It’s hard to believe that it’s already come to this, but it might just be Malcolm Subban between the pipes for the Bruins on Tuesday night against the Minnesota Wild, and perhaps again on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.

The 22-year-old Subban has been pulled from two ineffective starts for the P-Bruins in four AHL starts this season (.846 save percentage and a 4.50 goals against average in four games) while coming back from last year’s fractured larynx injury. He's also a player the organization was uncertain enough about that they signed veteran backup Anton Khudobin to a two-year deal on the July 1 open of NHL free agency.

Subban attributed his start to a slow opening few weeks with a new P-Bruins roster of players, but that hasn’t stopped fellow P-Bruins goalie Zane McIntyre from putting up excellent numbers between the pipes in the early going.

But Khudobin went down with an injury mere minutes into Monday morning’s Bruins practice at Warrior Ice Arena, and Tuukka Rask been battling a nagging leg injury since the season opening win against the Blue Jackets.

So Subban was the last goalie standing on Monday as an emergency recall from Providence, and could be in line to play Tuesday night against the Wild if the Bruins medical staff can’t perform some Mr. Miyagi-style healing techniques on Rask or Khudobin.

“Khudobin got injured and couldn’t practice with us, but I haven’t heard anything yet [on an update],” said Julien following practice. “This is hockey. We deal with it on daily basis with the injuries. We wait for the news and then it’s about doing your job as it’s required. If we have to make some adjustments and have to have some different personnel, then we’ll deal with it when we have more of an update. Tuukka is still day-to-day, so nothing is changed there.

“We’re in a situation here where we’ll see what happens, and if [Subban] needs to go in goal then he’ll go in goal. It’s as simple as that. As a coach, there’s one thing that worries me and that’s ‘stop the puck.’ I’m not a goalie coach, so I’m just demanding on making the saves.”

Subban, of course, hasn’t been making the saves down in Providence early in the going there this season, and is entering the stage of his career where he needs to begin showing signs of being a potential No. 1 guy at the NHL level.

Fellow goalies from the 2012 NHL draft class like Andrei Vasilevskiy, Joonas Korpisalo, Matt Murray, Connor Hellebuyck and Frederik Andersen have all begun making their mark in the league, and Subban was selected higher than all of them except for Tampa’s Vasilevskiy. So in the final year of his entry level deal it’s high time for the 22-year-old to begin showing signs he can play in the league, whether it’s in Boston or elsewhere.

He admitted on Monday he might have been putting too much pressure on himself down in Providence while watching the injury issues play out with Tuukka Rask in Boston.

Subban was worried about the big picture of stringing together saves so he was the guy called up if the Bruins needed a goalie, and instead should have been focusing more on the present opponents at the AHL level.

“I put a lot of pressure on myself. I think anybody that knows me well knows that. I don’t like to let in goals no matter what happens, whether it’s breakdowns or not it’s my job [to stop the puck]. If there were no breakdowns then you wouldn’t need a goaltender,” said Subban. “I want to make every save and get a shutout every game. I think the biggest thing is just relaxing and playing, and knowing that it’s okay to let a goal in every once in a while.

“So I think in my position right now I’m supposed to be playing really well down there, and I think that go in my head a little bit. I was trying to get a shutout every game rather than going game-by-game and shot-by-shot. I was overthinking it too much. But collectively as a team we’re a new team and we were trying to get the chemistry together, and once we do that the D-zone will be better and the offensive zone game will come.”

If Subban does indeed get the emergency start on Tuesday night against the Wild, the Bruins just have to hope that it’s a better outing than getting pulled in his NHL debut against the Blues two seasons ago after allowing three goals on three straight shots to start the second period. They also have to hope that Rask or Khudobin get well quick given Boston’s shaky situation on defense in front of the goaltender, and the stretch they’re in of playing six straight opponents that qualified for last spring’s Stanley Cup playoffs.

If not then watch out below because every hockey person knows there’s no quicker way for a hockey club to really begin imploding than if the goaltending starts to become a major problem whether it’s because of injury, inconsistent performance or simply because of being a straight-up sieve.

McQuaid cleared to play, nearing return to Bruins lineup


McQuaid cleared to play, nearing return to Bruins lineup

BRIGHTON, Mass. -- It was a bitter pill for Adam McQuaid to sit out the first five games of this season, but it looks like the veteran Bruins stay-at-home defenseman is nearing a return to the lineup. McQuaid was cleared to potentially play in Saturday’s loss to the Montreal Canadiens after an upper body injury kept him shelved for the team’s first four games, and could be approaching a return in the next few days as Claude Julien mulls a number of possible lineup changes.

“It was obviously frustrating, but I’m where I’m at now and trying to move on from it. Looking forward to getting back into the lineup hopefully as soon as possible here,” said the 30-year-old McQuaid, who had a goal and nine points in 64 games for the Black and Gold last season. “The excitement level is high for me, and it is for everybody after a loss when you’re looking forward to getting back out there.

“It would have been nice to have started the season with the guys, but you can’t change that now. I’ve had some good practices, and I’m just trying to my game as simple as possible, and take it as it comes. Obviously guys have played some games and it’s been a couple of weeks for me, so I’ll just have to keep my game simple.”

The B’s bench boss indicated it was only a matter of time before McQuaid makes his 2016-17 regular season debut, but that he’s got plenty of things to decide prior to dropping the puck against the Wild.

“[McQuaid] was cleared last game. I haven’t made any decisions based for [Tuesday night vs. Minnesota]. There’s a lot of things that are up in the air, and I’ve just go to juggle those things,” said Julien. “Who knows? Hopefully tomorrow morning I’ve got a better picture [of injury situation], and if not then it will be game-time decisions. I wish I could have a better answer [on if McQuaid will play], but I’ve got no answers right now.”

With Colin Miller (minus-4), Joe Morrow, Torey Krug (a rough minus-3 against Montreal) and John-Michael Liles all minus players after the first five games of the season, there are ample options for Julien on which potential blueliner to bump up to the press box. McQuaid is just happy he’s getting closer to a return while skating with 23-year-old Rob O’Gara at practice, and he can get back to helping a B’s team that’s smack dab in the middle (ranked 15th allowing 3.0 goals per game) of the NHL for team defense this season.