Morning Skate 56: B's ready to 'do some damage'


Morning Skate 56: B's ready to 'do some damage'

By Joe Haggerty

BOSTON So heres an interesting tweet from the NHL that really explains how important closing things out is for the Bruins: @NHL: Did you know? Bruins are 1 "W" away from their 1st conf. final since '92. Only other teams who haven't made final 4 since: Phx CBJ Nas Atl.Thats right. Only the orphan Coyotes' franchise in Glendale, the small-market, NHL version of the Minnesota Twins (Nashville), and the downtrodden hockey franchises in Columbus and Atlanta have been held out of the conference finals since 1992 . . . along with the Original Six Black and Gold.If the Bs want to make a statement, then its time to borrow a few pop culture phrases: the always favored Sweep the Leg from the Karate Kid and Finish Him! command from the classic Mortal Kombat video game. The Bruins have the Philadelphia Flyers reeling, doubting themselves and severely regretting their decision to solve their goaltending issues on the cheap for this season. Theres also the statement that the Bruins know they can make by stepping on the Broad Street Bullies while the team is down, and in doing so fully vanquishing the questions about last years debacle against Philly in Games 4-7.
Brad Marchand is one of the new guys that never got on the ice last playoffs when he was scratched in favor of veteran Trent Whitfield during the postseason, and the smallest guy on the ice is ready to make the biggest difference in a closeout game.Its always a tough battle, but we have the home-ice advantage, said Marchand. You have to keep the collapse in the back of your mind just in case you need to use it whether youre up or down. We have a different team and I think over the half of the guys are new on the team this year.Its a new mentality. We have a great crew here and we know we can do some damage. If were focused and playing hard then were going to put ourselves in a good position. Theres a ton of pressure on us. Everybody is going to be looking at us to see if were going to fold. We have to make sure we keep that stuff away from our team and stay prepared for the game.On to the links: The Edmonton Journal explores how possible it is that the Oilers could end up leaving Edmonton for another city looking for a hockey team. Yahoo! Sports catches with Jaromir Jagr to talk about a possible return to the NHL, concussions and life in the KHL as a veritable hockey deity on Russia. The Globe and Mail has a good piece on a player from a different generation that shows hockey players did get concussions in the Old Time Hockey days and are trying to help pave the way for research. TSNs Scott Cullen has a look at Vancouvers Ryan Kesler, who plunged a dagger into the Nashville Predators on Thursday night in their series and has the Canucks poised for the kill. Damien Cox is catching the Smashville fever while watching the Predators go through the postseason, and win or lose they are a hockey success story in a non-hockey market. Jaspers Rink has a good look at Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau, and the vultures flying around his office in the Nations capital after another early playoff exit. The Green Men have taken over the NHL and were in Nashville last night amusing Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban as they took in the PredatorsCanucks tilt at Bridgestone Arena. Good stuff from NHL draft guru Kirk Luedeke asking if the Memorial Cup and championship-level junior teams produce better hockey prospects than other comparative teams around junior hockey.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Thursday, Aug. 25: Nearly two decades later, the Whalers live on


Thursday, Aug. 25: Nearly two decades later, the Whalers live on

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while in disbelief mode that the summer is almost over.

*Good piece on the remainders of the Hartford Whalers organization in Connecticut trying to keep the dream alive for the Whale.

*Tyler Seguin sits down for a podcast this week that I freely admit I did not have the time to listen to. I wonder if Boston even rated a mention in the conversation?

*Rating the top NHL contracts, according to the fancy stats hockey analysts, sounds like an interesting exercise.

*Tracey Myers has Duncan Keith bowing out of the World Cup of Hockey while recovering from an injury, and getting replaced by Jay Boumeester.

*The “Da Beauty” Hockey League has kept players like Dustin Byfuglien, Ryan McDonagh and David Backes in hockey shape this summer while slowly getting ready for the season.

*The Arizona Coyotes make a historic hire by naming Dawn Braid as skating coach, making her the first female coach in the NHL.

*For something completely different: FOH (Friend of Haggs) Rich Shirtenlieb guested on the #DORK podcast this week, and it sounds like he didn’t love “Stranger Things.” At the very least he liked “Preacher” better. I thought Preacher was entertaining, but I didn’t even think it was in the same stratosphere as Stranger Things. Rich also has me wanting to watch “It Follows” now, however, after his endorsement.


Bruins don't poll well in latest New England Sports survey

Bruins don't poll well in latest New England Sports survey

It’s no secret Bruins fans are getting fed up with a hockey team in decline, one that’s missed the playoffs each of the last two years. Now there are numbers to prove it.

Channel Media and Market Research, Inc. came out with its annual New England Sports survey,  tabulating responses from over 14,600 polled, and, according to the numbers, the Bruins are dropping in popularity, fan support and faith in the current management group.

The B’s are holding somewhat steady with 16 percent of voters listing them as their “favorite sports team” behind the Patriots (46 percent) and Red Sox (29 percent) while ahead of the Celtics and Revolution. Claude Julien also ranked ahead of John Farrell among the big four teams in the “coaches/manages most admired” category.

But after sitting at a relative high of ranking at 27 percent for “ownership performance” in 2014 -- they year after their trip to the Cup Finals against the Blackhawks -- the Bruins now rank dead last in that category at 2 percent, behind the Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics and even the Revolution. Ouch, babe.

Also sitting at a lowly 2 percent is Bruins president Cam Neely in the “leadership performance” category. In "management performance," Neely has dropped from a solid 49 percent in 2014 to just 16 percent in this summer’s survey.

So B’s fans are clearly upset with a team that traded away Tyler Seguin, Johnny Boychuk, Milan Lucic and Dougie Hamilton, and has featured a decimated defense corps for each of the last two seasons. But do the B’s fans think that things are getting any better with prospects coming down the pipeline?

Not really.

In the “which team has done the best job making its product better.” category, the Patriots (35 percent) and Red Sox (31 percent) were resting at the top, with the Celtics (27 percent) a respectable third. The Bruins limped in at just 4 percent with a fan base that very clearly sees that, on paper, this upcoming season’s club doesn’t appear to be much better than last year's.

On top of that, only 13 percent of those surveyed believe the Bruins have gotten better over the last year, and 52 percent believe they’ve just gotten worse. A lowly 3 percent of those surveyed think the Bruins have the best chance of the five teams to bring a world championship back to Boston; the Patriots (79 percent), Red Sox (11 percent) and Celtics (5 percent) all ranked higher.

Finally, Zdeno Chara, Tuukka Rask and Jimmy Hayes were at the top of the list of the Boston athletes “who did not meet expectations” last season. None of that is a surprise, given the state of Boston’s defense along with Hayes’ subpar season.

The good news for the Bruins: They still have a passionate fan base. But they need to start reversing course immediately before they do lasting damage to the B’s brand.

Wednesday, August 24: B's dealing with post-Vesey aftermath


Wednesday, August 24: B's dealing with post-Vesey aftermath

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading with the Olympics coming to a close . . .
-- FOH (Friend of Haggs) Kirk Luedeke sorts through the aftermath for the Bruins after losing out on Jimmy Vesey

-- Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland gave an interview where he said the Red Wings aren’t Stanley Cup contenders this season. 

-- Related to Holland’s comments, some of the media in Detroit aren’t taking the dose of reality all that well

-- It’s a big season for New Jersey Devils forward Kyle Palmieri, who will be starring for Team USA on the World Cup team. 

 -- PHT writer Cam Tucker says the Buffalo Sabres still have a strong group of forwards even without Jimmy Vesey.

-- Jamie Benn is giving everything to his Dallas Stars team, and that means that the World Cup of Hockey is taking a backseat
-- The Colorado Avalanche are nearing the end of their head coaching search as they look for their replacement for Patrick Roy.
-- For something completely different: NBC is making the argument that millenials watched the Olympics, but just not on the traditional formats