Notes: Bruins brought back to Earth by Red Wings

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Notes: Bruins brought back to Earth by Red Wings

By JoeHaggerty
CSNNE.com

DETROIT Its pretty clear that the Bruins have some work to do if anyone is going to believe theyre as good as the Detroit Red Wings team that swept them in a home-and-home series this weekend.

The Wings outscored the Bs by a 10-3 margin, outplayed them in five out of the six periods played between the two teams, and dropped Boston to 3-7-2 on the season against the Western Conference. Obviously Detroit can do that a lot of teams around the NHL, and the Bruins ran into the buzz saw of a Red Wings team smarting from a recent slump.

Bs leader, winger and assistant captain Mark Recchi took solace in the fact that it was a closer game on Sunday afternoon at Joe Louis Arena, and the Bs basically lost the game on a pair of mistakes by Brad Marchand and Tyler SeguinDennis Seidenberg that cost Boston two goals.

"It's a process still and we all know that, said Recchi. We had a really bad game on Friday night. We played a lot better today. We feel comfortable knowing we can play with these guys after the game today. We know that were a good team.

Still, the Bruins cant really consider themselves elite when they lost two straight to the Red Wings and get outshot 26-16 over the final two periods of play. Defensive mistakes were the order of the day, and there wasnt a lot of care given to the puck in their own zone. That is very un-Bruins-like and led to a lot of booboos all over the ice for the Black and Gold.

The biggest thing that sticks out for me is the type of mistakes we've made in the last two games, said coach Claude Julien. There's mistakes. This is a game of mistakes. But the type of mistakes that you make can make a difference. Bad pinches. We haven't given up two-on-ones like that in a long time. We gave those up. Ill-advised decisions.

Even their first goal, we gave them that one. We didn't help ourselves tonight. We had some chances when it was 3-2 to tie it up. We had a couple scoring chances. Had we scored, maybe that would have made a difference. But they come back and score on the two-on-one. That kind of put the nail in the coffin.

Chief among the players that couldnt get things going were the exact players expected to produce against an elite team like the Red Wings.

The Bs top line of David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton were muzzled all afternoon long, and Horton didnt squeeze off a single shot until the game was firmly out of grasp in the third period. Lucic wasnt able to get his physical game started either as Detroits subtle ability to interfere and get in the way without drawing penalties slowed down every change they had to attack.

As a line they finished with a minus-5 and five shots on net, and they were routinely burnt by the trio of Henrik Zetterberg, Todd Bertuzzi and Johan Franzen on the ice in key game matchups.

They played really tight in the defensive zone and the neutral zone. You really had to work hard for every offensive chance, and thats what has made them a good hockey club for a long time, said Lucic. Its unfortunate because we felt good about todays game and especially after the first period, but its too bad we couldnt get the job done.

It seems like theyre always getting in your way. Its not the guy that youre trying to hit, but its the guy coming from the side or the other defenseman that gets in your way or gives you that little bit of interference. Its the way they play and its what makes it so hard to get in there on the forecheck.

Milan Lucic said a Nicklas Kronwall shot he blocked with his right foot in the third period hit his funny bone, and it immediately went numb as he went down like a ton of bricks. Lucic walked it off and went down the runway briefly, but returned to finish out the game and said hed be fine after getting a scare.

It just hit in the funny bone, and it got me good, said Lucic. But I was okay. It was part of the game. You try to block shots and sometimes its going to hurt.

Adam McQuaid was also tagged in the right hand with a shot at the end of the second period, but appeared to be okay and finished out the game without any issue.

Zach Hamill and Steve Kampfer were the healthy scratches for the Bruins on Sunday afternoon, and Hamill was returned to the Providence Bruins following Sundays loss to the Red Wings. Hamill fared decently in the third games he played with the Bruins after his call from the AHL, and played his best game while notching an assist against the Montreal Canadiens.

The Bruins needed to make a roster move with Daniel Paille returning from his four-game suspension for his hit on Raymond Sawada, and it appears that the Bs chose Jordan Caron over Hamill. Caron took a big shot from Nicklas Kronwall at the end of the second period and didnt play the third, but he was on the bench and riding a bike after the game was over.

The Boston Bruins Foundation and the 2010-11 Bruins roster and coaching staff will host the first "Boston Bruins Casino Night" presented by TD Bank on Sunday, February 20 from 5:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. at The Westin Copley Hotel. Fans will have the opportunity to purchase tickets to play a variety of casino games with Bruins players and coaches. For more information visit bostonbruins.com.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Backes: 'Time will be the judge' on his long-term deal with Bruins

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Backes: 'Time will be the judge' on his long-term deal with Bruins

JAMAICA PLAIN – Newest Bruins forward David Backes has heard the trepidation from Bruins fans about the five-year term of his contract, and he’s probably also caught wind of St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong stating publicly that contract length was an area he was uncomfortable getting to on a theoretical extension with his outbound.

The prevailing wisdom is that the decade of rugged, physical play from the 32-year-old in St. Louis will cause him to start slowing down sooner rather than later, and the last couple of seasons won’t be as high quality as the first couple in Boston.

So what does the actual player think about any questions surrounding his five year, $30 million contract?

The 6-foot-3, 221-pound Backes confidently said that concerns about his age, or him slowing down demonstrably in the last few years of his new contract, are “a bunch of malarkey” to borrow a favorite phrase from Vice President Joe Biden.

“I’m 32, not 52. Time will tell, but I feel really good and I take care of my body. I lay it all on the line, but when I’m not at the rink I’m resting and recovering for the next time I have to pour it all into a game,” said Backes, who logged 727 hard-hitting games all with the St. Louis Blues organization over the last 10 seasons. “Time will be the judge, but I feel like [after] five years I’ll even have a couple more [seasons] after that.

“I don’t think this is going to be end. That’s my plan. I’m still going to get better over the next five years, and hopefully have a couple of opportunities to hoist that big trophy I’ve been chasing around for the last 10 years.”

One area of concern from last season: the 21 goals and 45 points in 79 games for the Blues were Backes’ lowest totals over a full season since his first few years in the league. It might be the first signs of decline in a player that’s logged some heavy miles, or it could be a simple down season for a player that’s always focused on setting the physical tone, and defense, just as much as his offensive output at the other end of the ice.

As Backes himself said, “time will be judge” of just how well the five year contract turns out for a natural leader that will undoubtedly give the Bruins a boost as a hard-nosed, top-6 forward as he moves into the Boston phase of his NHL career.

Thursday, July 28: Will the Bruins end up with Jimmy Vesey?

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Thursday, July 28: Will the Bruins end up with Jimmy Vesey?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading after a pretty amazing, on-point succession of speeches by Joe Biden, Michael Bloomberg and Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention last night. It was quite a contrast to the absolute circus sideshow that went on in Cleveland last week.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Greg Wyshynksi chronicles the Jimmy Vesey Sweepstakes, and the late entry of the Chicago Blackhawks as a suitor. Wysh still feels, as I do, that the Bruins end up getting this talented player at the end of the day.

*The details of the charges levied against Evander Kane paint an ugly picture of a hockey player doing a lot of the wrong things.

*PHT writer Mike Halford says that the Carolina Hurricanes might be ready to snap their playoff drought after extending head coach Bill Peters.

*John Tavares tells the Toronto media not to count on him ever pulling over a Maple Leafs jersey amid post-Stamkos speculation.

*Well, would you look at this? The Nashville Predators are providing salary cap and contract info on their own team website. What a concept!

*The Edmonton Oilers say they will have a new captain in place by opening night, and it will be interesting to see if they go the Connor McDavid route.

*Brian Elliott is thrilled at the opportunity to be “the man” between the pipes for the Calgary Flames this season after splitting time in St. Louis.

*For something completely different: a great feature on Howard Stern, and his transformation from shock jock to master interviewer.

Joe Haggerty can be followed on Twitter: @HacksWithHaggs

Bergeron and Marchand convinced Backes to join Bruins

Bergeron and Marchand convinced Backes to join Bruins

JAMAICA PLAIN -- For those excited about the idea of an intense, hard-hitting David Backes in a Bruins uniform for the next five years, you have Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand to partially thank.

Backes, 32, didn’t know either of them all that well prior to this summer, aside from his experiences on ice against them. But Bergeron and Marchand called Backes multiple times while recruiting him to Boston, and it was a major factor in the former Blues captain signing a five-year, $30 million deal with the B's.

“Being an outsider, we need to have a little bit of confession here that Marchand is the kind of guy that gets under everybody’s skin. I was no different,” said the 6-foot-3, 221-pound Backes, who has 206 goals and 460 points in 727 career NHL games, all with St. Louis. “But then talking to him a little bit in the interview process prior to July 1, I hung up the phone and had to take a deep breath and say to myself, ‘That little disturber, he’s actually a pretty good guy.’ Those guys end up being the best teammates.

“A guy like Bergeron, when you play against him [he's] always in the right spot, and is never making mistakes. Those types of guys, again, are guys you want on your team, and guys you want to go to war with. They’re All-World players, Bergeron is an All-World player. But he’s also a down-to-earth guy that puts his work boots on, takes his lunch pail and plays his butt off. He’s nice to the young kids, and he’s nurturing in helping them come along. I think you’ve seen in the NHL that you need a few guys on entry-level deals, or a few guys to outperform their contracts, in order to have success in the salary-cap era. That nurturing and mentorship can really foster those kinds of performances.”

While Backes went on to mention Zdeno Chara as another highly respected, formidable opponent with whom he’ll now share a dressing room, it was interesting to note that players who currently have letters on their sweaters, like Chara and David Krejci, didn’t play a part in the recruiting process. Instead it was the next captain of the team (Bergeron) and a player (Marchand) currently in the middle of negotiations entering the last year of his contract.

“I talked to both Bergeron and Marchand twice before July 1," said Backes. "Just the way that they spoke about their team mentality, and teaming up together and sharing the load of hard minutes that need to be played, and also sharing the load of the offensive necessities that a team has . . . those things just rang true to my beliefs of a team.

“You’re all equals whether you’re the top-paid guy, or the top-minute guy, or the low-minute guy, or the guy that’s playing every other game because you’re the healthy scratch in the other games.

“We all needed to be treated equal, and do whatever we can to support the next guy. When the next guy has success, we have to be just as happy as if we scored the goal. That’s the type of thing where, when you get that from the full 20 guys on the ice, it’s so tough to be beat. Those are the teams that win championships.”

It will be interesting to see just how much involvement Backes has with the Bergeron and Marchand combination. He could very easily be a right-wing fit with those two dynamic forwards next season, or he could be a third-line center behind Bergeron and Krejci and give the Bruins elite depth down the middle of the ice.

True to his team-oriented nature, Backes said he’ll be happy to play at either position and do whatever Claude Julien feels is best.