NHL All-Star game: 5 from the First

NHL All-Star game: 5 from the First

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.comRALEIGH, N.C. Here are five thoughts from the NHL All-Star game at the RBC Center in Raleigh with Team Staal and Team Lidstrom tied at a 4-4 score after the first 20 minutes in North Carolina.1)The team payroll of Team Lidstrom is 102,675,000 while the payroll of Team Staal is 102,231,700 after the NHL All-Star fantasy draft on Friday night. Amazing how even the two teams ended up, and even more amazing when NHL salary cap of 59.4 million is considered.2)Good to see Phil Kessel came into the game all fire and brimstone after being Mr. Irrelevant in the fantasy draft on Friday night. I dont think there is anything that will ever light a fire under No. 81 even in an exhibition atmosphere.3)Too much passing by Team Staal after they scored a bunch of goals early in the game. I think everybody would love to see one team just load up and drop eights goals on the other one to underscore the outlandish nature of the All-Star game.4)Matt Duchene is pretty nasty. That little leg kick fake on a breakaway against Cam Ward totally froze the Carolina goalie, and then he simply roofed a shot over the glove hand. Respect him all the more after the way he handled himself on twitter after the microphones overheard him joking how hung over he was on Saturday after drinking too much vodka.5)Good thing Tim Thomas is playing the third period for Team Lidstrom. They may need him, and he may get a shot at his third consecutive winning decision in an All-Star game.

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.