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

Czarnik 'playing bigger' while looking to secure job with Bruins

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Czarnik 'playing bigger' while looking to secure job with Bruins

It’s not difficult to see why Austin Czarnik might have been a little overlooked headed into this Bruins training camp when forecasting favorites among the forwards to win a roster spot on the big club. After all he’s only 5-foot-9 and 167-pounds coming off just one very solid season at the AHL level for the Providence Bruins, and there are bigger, stronger forwards candidates that maybe rank a bit higher on the prospect list than him.

But the 23-year-old Czarnik put together an excellent training camp last fall before finishing with 20 goals and 61 points for the P-Bruins last season, and now he’s doing the exact same thing again this time around.

“Yeah, I feel more comfortable. I think we could have been a lot better in a lot of areas. Overall I think everyone is just happy to be back on the ice,” said Czarnik, who along with Frank Vatrano was one of the real starts of camp last season. “You know that type of mentality and you know mistakes are going to happen, and you’ve just got to move forward from it so everyone’s happy to be back.”

The former Miami University star is clearly happy to be back, and it’s showing on the ice with each chance he gets to show his tenacity, withering fore-check and his willingness to crash the net despite his smallish stature.

Czarnik was one of the most dangerous forwards on the ice for the Black and Gold in their preseason opener, and collected a key assist on Boston’s first goal of the game when he pushed a puck through the neutral zone before setting up on odd man rush for Jimmy Hayes and Jake DeBrusk.

This time around Czarnik scored the game’s only goal on a nifty rush during four-on-four play through the offensive zone by Ryan Spooner, who drew in the defense and dished to Czarnik for a wide open tap-in chance.

So it’s a couple of big plays in each of the first two preseason games that led to goals, and a genuinely excellent level of play throughout both contests. It’s something the Bruins coaching staff has taken note of along with his skating speed and hardnosed mentality, and now they have to figure if it fits in with their other NHL pieces.

“We were just talking about it. Everybody has that same feeling. He’s playing well. He moves well. He’s on the puck. He competes, and that’s the thing you’re looking for really,” said Bruins assistant coach Joe Sacco. “Like right now, we know there’s going to be mistakes made by a lot of our players, especially the younger ones.

“We’re looking to see who’s got that competitive, you know, that competitive fire. [We’re looking for] who’s going to go out there and who can compete at a high level. I know he’s not big in stature, but he plays bigger than he is. He’s had two pretty good games so far.”

Czarnik had a couple of good games early in B’s camp last year before flat-lining a bit at the end when the NHL jobs were seriously on the line, and the 23-year-old wants that story to change endings this time around. It remains to be seen where he’s going to fit as yet another center among Boston’s group of training camp players this month, but Czarnik might just force the Bruins to make a tough decision if he keeps playing at his current high level.   

Talking Points: Veteran Red Wings torch Bruins

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Talking Points: Veteran Red Wings torch Bruins

GOLD STAR: Take your pick: Steve Ott, Drew Miller and Luke Glendening torched the Bruins with veteran savvy and toughness against a very young defensemen unit trying to survive in the second preseason game. Ott and Glendening each scored a goal and finished with three points, and Miller finished with a goal and two points while all three forwards had a plus-3 rating for the night. All of their goals came off winning battles, crashing the net and taking advantage of defensive miscues. The goals provided a good lesson to the young kids that have a ways to go before they’re NHL ready at this point in their careers. It certainly must have been a kick to the stones to many Bruins fans when “Brave” Steve Ott was named the No. 1 Star of the game after it was all over, but that was certainly appropriate.

BLACK EYE: Adam McQuaid was the most experienced defensemen out on the ice for the Bruins on Wednesday night, and it was a rough night for him with so many young guys around him on the back end. McQuaid finished a minus-2 in 17:41 with a couple of hits and got a little better as the game was going on, but was on ice for two of the first three goals allowed to Detroit in a really lackluster middle section of the game. In general, it was about more than just one player, though. There were blown assignments in the D-zone and some really noticeable lost battles leading to scoring chances for a Red Wings group that aggressively took it to the Bruins. This is a game that will leave the Bruins coaches with plenty of video material moving forward.

TURNING POINT: The real slippage came early in the game when the Bruins failed to score on some good power play chances for Peter Mueller and Matt Beleskey, and then allowed two goals within 19 seconds of each other in the first period. The first goal was a PP one for the Red Wings with Ryan Spooner whistled for a face-off infraction, and the second was simply the Bruins falling asleep at the wheel just seconds after the first goal was scored. Lost battles led to a bang-bang play in front with Steve Ott scoring as Malcolm Subban was turned around looking for the puck, and the B’s were reeling headed into the first intermission. Only a Subban shoulder save kept it from being 3-0 at the end of the first, and that was something the B’s never seemed to rebound from.

HONORABLE MENTION: Austin Czarnik scored the B’s only goal off a nice play from Ryan Spooner driving toward the net, and continues to put together another strong training camp after doing the same thing last season. Czarnik finished with the goal, three shots on net and six shot attempts in 17:38 of ice time, and battled back from a rough start to go 6-for-12 in the face-off circle while centering an extremely young line with Sean Kuraly and Zach Senyshyn. While Czarnik might not have been a big name when talking about an open roster spot with the Bruins a couple of weeks ago, he’s pushed toward making himself a part the conversation with his heart-filled, high effort energetic performances for the Black and Gold.

BY THE NUMBERS: 4-for-16 was the final tally for Ryan Spooner in the face-off circle as he continues to be a work-in-progress on the draw.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “Maybe I was a little bit shocked first going out there. The speed of the game is noticeably faster, but I think as time went on I got more comfortable out there. Hopefully I can build off that moving forward.” – Bruins rookie D-man Matt Grzelcyk on his first NHL preseason game being a bit of a big wakeup call.