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

Sources: Bruins engaged in trade talks involving Ryan Spooner

Sources: Bruins engaged in trade talks involving Ryan Spooner

This probably won’t come as a complete shock to those watching the way things have played out with him this season, but the Bruins have engaged in discussions with multiple teams about a Ryan Spooner trade, per multiple sources with knowledge of the situation. 

The 23-year-old Spooner was mentioned casually a few months ago as possible fodder in a Jacob Trouba deal with the Winnipeg Jets, but that deal never really materialized prior to the Jets signing their young, frontline D-man to a two-year deal. The Carolina Hurricanes, New York Islanders and San Jose Sharks have all expressed interest in Spooner, per one hockey source, as it appears that things simply aren’t going to work out for him in Boston. 

It’s been a challenging year for Spooner with pedestrian numbers of three goals and eight points in 24 games, but there are plenty of mitigating circumstances behind the slow start. Spooner has been pushed into playing left wing for the bulk of the season rather than his natural, preferred center position, and he’s been dropped to the fourth line by Claude Julien over the last few weeks. At times he’s also been pulled from the Bruins power play where he racked up six goals and 17 points working off the half-wall last season.  

Julien talked about the former second round pick in frank terms after this week’s win over the Carolina Hurricanes, which featured a Spooner snipe to the top corner during a successful shootout for the Black and Gold. 

“I think at times that [David Krejci] line goes quiet, other times it’s better. We’ve tried different guys on the left side right now and one [Spooner] might give them speed but doesn’t win as many battles,” said Julien of his search for stability at left wing alongside Krejci and David Backes. “The other way [with Tim Schaller] guys are a little harder right now, and they spend more time in the O-zone. So we’re really trying hard to find the right balance there.”

Trade talks have increased the past few weeks because A) the situation has worsened recently with Spooner’s prolonged stint as a miscast fourth line winger and B) the speedy, skilled forward will most likely be a man without a spot when 22-year-old left winger Frank Vatrano returns sometime around the mid-December range. 

According to one source, the Bruins are asking for a “top six forward” in exchange for a package including Spooner, and it’s a lead pipe certainty they’re looking for some goal-scoring given their 24th ranked offense this season. That represents a bit of an organizational sea change after the Bruins searched low and high for a top-4 defenseman in trade over the summer. The emergence of 20-year-old Brandon Carlo, and the Boston defense’s performance across the board, has lowered the Black and Gold’s priority list need to trade for a D-man. 

The Bruins have scored two goals or fewer in 18 of their 25 games this season and badly need somebody that can put the puck in the net from one of the wing positions. Unfortunately for the Bruins, there aren’t a lot of top-6 forwards readily available that could make an immediate impact. It’s highly doubtful any team is going to fork one over for an asset like Spooner that’s been downgraded due to the way he’s been utilized by the Bruins this season. He hasn't played with the same creativity or confidence this season after posting 13 goals and 49 points as their third line center last season. 

So it remains to be seen what the Bruins will get for Spooner after they offered him and a draft pick to Buffalo for rental forward Chris Stewart a couple of years ago. That was a deal Sabres GM Tim Murray turned down before trading Stewart for considerably less at the trade deadline.

The bottom line: the Bruins are working the phones discussing possible Spooner deals, and it feels like there is some motivation from B’s management to move a player that doesn’t seem like he'll ever be a proper fit in Julien’s system. 

Sunday Dec. 4: Zacha adjusting to life in the NHL

Sunday Dec. 4: Zacha adjusting to life in the NHL

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while marveling at the Bruins setting a franchise record this season for fewest practices in a regular season. Thanks compacted schedule due to the World Cup!

*Pavel Zacha is adjusting to life as a rookie in the NHL with the New Jersey Devils, and things are getting better as they go along.

*Manitoba Moose players relive their favorite Star Wars moments prior to the team holding their Star Wars Night.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Elliotte Friedman sits down with new Florida Panthers head coach Tom Rowe to discuss the massive changes in that organization with the firing of Gerard Gallant.

*Good for Anders Nilson putting a rainbow decal on the back of his goalie to mask to support some gay friends that have faced public resistance in their lives.

*Bruce Garrioch has his weekly NHL notes with several players, including Flyers defenseman Andrew MacDonald, potentially on the trade block if anybody wants them.

*PHT writer Cam Tucker has Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson suffering a broken leg that will keep him out 6-8 weeks.

*There was no blood for the Vancouver Canucks fans, but there was still plenty of drama in a win over the Maple Leafs.

*For something completely different: The World Baseball Classic works for everybody except for Major League Baseball, and that would appear to be a problem.