Morning Skate 59: Eastern Confernce schedule fun

191545.jpg

Morning Skate 59: Eastern Confernce schedule fun

By JoeHaggerty
CSNNE.com

WILMINGTON Its become the biggest guessing game in Boston.When is the Eastern Conference Final between the Bruins and the Tampa Bay Lightning going to get started?The NHL mandates that the Eastern Conference Finals cant get started until the Western Conference has been decided, and its going to be a bit of a squeeze looking at the schedule for the two buildings. The Bruins are moving forward with the idea that Game 1 against the Tampa Bay Lightning will commence on either Thursday or Saturday, but wont know for certain until the Detroit Red Wings and San Jose Sharks tangle at Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday night.Meanwhile in Tampa, Disney on Ice has the St. Pete Times Forum from May 19-22 and is going to make scheduling a playoff games for those dates in Tampa next to impossible, which means the Lightning will have to get their two games in prior to Thursday, May 19 a crunch that could mean back-to-back games in either Boston or Tampa Bay before its all said and done. Toy Story 3 taking the ice in Tampa means that Buzz Lightyear and Woody will be elbowing the NHL right out of the building, and throwing a serious Pixar twist into the playoff scheduling.Obviously the extra rest time means Adam McQuaid should be fully healed from his sprained neck by the time games get going, and any additional time is a good thing for Patrice Bergerons healing process. But the Bruins would rather get started sooner rather than later, and are moving ahead with the information they have in hand with the West still remaining to be won.We had a real good meeting about that this morning with the coaches. We explained to them that we dont know if it is Thursday, or if it is going to be Saturday. I think right now as we speak Thursday would probably be the earliest because of what happened on the weekend, said Julien. But we have to be prepared for both scenarios. I have kind of prepared for Thursday and the Saturday scenario, and we are hoping to maybe get it clarified by tomorrow night after the DetroitSan Jose game. If we get that then at least Wednesday you will be heading in the right direction, and we will make that decision hopefully Tuesday night when we find out more information.No quotes from Julien about To Infinity and Beyond! as a rallying cry for the Black and Gold in this series.On to the links: CBC has some documented cases of NHL teams ignoring the concussion protocol for their players a phenomenon that seems to be happening in the playoffs with some dinged players avoiding the Quiet Room.Dandy Don Cherry on Coachs Corner giving more love to Nathan Horton and the way hes playing at a dominant level for the Bruins while looking more like the junior hockey phenom than the player that faded a bit in Florida with the moribund Panthers.Preds forward Mike Fisher gives his thoughts on the Green Men bringing a Carrie Underwood cardboard cutout to the penalty box with them in Nashville, and his reaction is priceless.Five thoughts from Joe Yerdon on Sunday nights action including Jeremy Roenick with some serious disdain for former teammate Patrick Marleau a level that even went so far as calling him gutless multiple times in the Versus postgame show. Yerdon also explains why he thinks Roenick wasnt wrong-headed in his blunt and frank assessment of Marleau'scareer as anunderachiever in the playoffs.Buzzing the Net, Yahoo! Sports' junior hockey blog explores the curious case of Ethan Werek as a cautionary tale in hockey.The second round of the playoffs means the ice surface in balmy Nashville at the Bridgestone Arena is going further than its ever gone before, and things could get bumpy in Music City as it's warming up for the summer.Mike Brophy has his top five picks for Conn Smythe, and his last for the last two weeks doesnt include Tim Thomas or Patrice Bergeron. Im going to give Brophy a mulligan and assume he hasnt actually, you know, watched a Bruins playoff game yet in this postseason. Otherwise he aint got no alibi. On the other side of the coin, TSN's Dave Hodge writes in his mailbag that Tim Thomas is the most dependable goaltender left in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Monday, Jan. 15: Matthews jersey sells for big money

Monday, Jan. 15: Matthews jersey sells for big money

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while wondering what Claude Julien would do if one of the Bruins players was running Facebook Live during his postgame comments.
 
*Auston Matthews is obviously making a huge impression in Toronto as his Centennial Classic jersey sold for over $11,000 at a charity auction.
 
*Clark Booth knows it’s time to talk about the NFL, but instead he wants to talk about Milt Schmidt. I agree with Clark.

*Sabres goalie Robin Lehner says that his Buffalo teammates need to start doing their job as the season circles down the drain.

*Pierre McGuire talks with TSN sports radio about the Ottawa Senators, and the tough road trip coming up for them.
 
*PHT writer Cam Tucker has more bad news for the Tampa Bay Lightning as Ryan Callahan is going to be out for another four weeks with a lower body injury.
 
*As the Detroit Red Wings continue to round up the bottom in the Atlantic Division, Thomas Vanek may become trade bait.
 
*Peter Budaj is giving the Kings the saves that they need with Jonathan Quick out long term with injury.
 
*For something completely different: Tom E. Curran points out some togetherness issues with the Pittsburgh Steelers based on Antonio Brown’s Facebook post.
 

B's determined to 'keep it going' during good offensive run

B's determined to 'keep it going' during good offensive run

BRIGHTON, Mass. -- The Bruins are going through a nice, little bountiful stretch of offense right now after a half-season of struggle.

The Bruins are averaging more than three goals per game in their last 12 contests, and have scored a whopping 22 goals in their last six games including dropping six scores on the Flyers Saturday afternoon at TD Garden. Combine that with the 7-for-25 performance on the power play during the month of January, and things are finally starting to catch up with a Bruins team that was all shoot/no score for months of frustrating hockey this season.

“If you want sustained success then you have to be good defensively, but you also have to score some goals. That’s definitely part of it and we have to keep it going,” said Patrice Bergeron, who has four goals and eight points in his last nine games after struggling out of the starting gate. “You’re not going to get rewarded every night like we did [against the Flyers], but you have to find that consistency where you’re close to having that every night.”

One thing nobody should expect out of the B’s, however, is to get outside of what they do well now that they’ve started slapping some numbers up on the board. Instead the Bruins are intent on their bedrock of disciplined defense and sensational goaltending with the added offense just making it much tougher to beat them these days.

“I don’t know if we can stand here and say we’re going to sustain that we’re scoring lots of goals. I think what we need to sustain here is winning more games than we lose,” said Claude Julien. “That’s what we’ve got to sustain. Whether it’s a 1-0 or 2-1 game, or it’s a 5-2 or 5-3 game it doesn’t really matter. It’s about winning hockey games much more than it’s about how much you scored, and how much you don’t score.

“Overall when I look at the scoring chances we’re giving up per game, that doesn’t seem to have changed. Goals allowed may have changed a little bit lately, but overall I think we’ve been very steady in that area [of defense].”

So now the Bruins will again be looking for that ideal balance of offense/defense when they take the ice against the Islanders on Monday afternoon for their second straight matinee at TD Garden.