Morning Skate: Saturday, September 24


Morning Skate: Saturday, September 24

By Joe Haggerty Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
James Mirtle gets in the spirit of Moneyball with the movie being released this weekend, and tracks down the Bill James of the NHL and his growing influence on the game behind the game.

Dion Phaneuf makes his living from blowing up skaters with big hits and playing over the edge at times, and the Toronto defenseman tells the Toronto Star he's mighty confused about the new boardinghead shot rules.

The Igloo is set to be destroyed in Pittsburgh, and there's at least one member of the Bruins organization who won't be sad to see it go. The Igloo is effectively where Marc Savard's NHL career was forever changed for the worse after Matt Cooke's flying blindside elbow.

Former University of Maine goaltender Jimmy Howard has painted a tribute to the Lokomotiv plane crash victims on the back his goaltender's mask this season.

It's make or break time for prospective NHL hopefuls in camps across the NHL, and that goes double in Winnipeg.

Steve Stamkos is looking to carve out a bigger leadership role with the Tampa Bay Lightning this season, and that seems to be the natural progression for the gifted scorer and playmaker.

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

Julien sidesteps job security question with "shock journalism" comment

Julien sidesteps job security question with "shock journalism" comment

BOSTON -- With three crushing losses in a row at a time when results are really all that matters, the Boston Bruins are reeling at the wrong time during the regular season. The B’s tried their best to win a game 0-0 with strong defense against a sleepy Chicago Blackhawks bunch on Friday night, but ultimately coughed up a Marian Hossa goal in the final minutes for a 1-0 regulation loss at TD Garden.

The defeat continued a swirl downward for the Black and Gold over the last week, and was a second straight shutout loss on home ice for the first time in almost 15 years. The losing stretch has also kicked up the chatter that Claude Julien is in trouble as head coach of the Bruins, and the hockey club’s underperformance up and down the lineup is ultimately going to cost the NHL’s longest tenured bench boss his job.

The Ottawa Senators have passed the Bruins in the Atlantic Division, and it’s only a matter of time before the Toronto Maple Leafs move by them as well with both Toronto and Ottawa holding six games in hand on Boston. Combine all of this with the B’s having missed the playoffs in each of the previous two seasons leading into this one, and it shouldn’t be at all surprising that Julien is squarely on the coaching hot seat.

The B’s bench boss was asked about his job security after the Chicago loss, and clearly didn’t appreciate the tough, but appropriate question.

“Well, I’m not into shock-journalism,” said Julien in a prideful tone. “So I’ll stay away from that question if you don’t mind.”

The Bruins posted their Saturday schedule shortly after Julien and the B’s players had addressed the media following the loss, and sure enough the embattled coach is scheduled to address the media post-practice as part of the regular practice day routine. So it doesn’t seem that a move with Julien is imminent this weekend despite another loss, but both the coach and the players know something is going to happen to shake things up with this team if they continue to struggle.

“Right now it’s a results based situation, so if you’re going to keep losing games then probably something’s going to happen,” said Torey Krug. “But right now we’re just pretty down emotionally after this game, so I don’t want to look at the big picture. I just [want to] focus on what’s going on in this room, and hopefully we can come back with a good effort the next game.”

A good effort might help Julien’s standing with the Bruins in the short term, but it’s impossible to imagine the B’s bench boss making it through the rest of the Bruins regular season given all of things working against him right now.