Notes: Bruins burned by penalties

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Notes: Bruins burned by penalties

By JoeHaggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON It was the question that nobody in the Bruins dressing room wanted to answer, but it was also biggest single factor in their 4-3 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres Thursday night at TD Garden.

The Sabres were handed seven power play chances including a huge 5-on-3 advantage in the third period that allowed Buffalo to climb back from a 3-2 deficit and push the game to the extra session before a winner from Brad Boyes.

I dont know. I mean theyre tough, tough to swallow; especially when youre down a man or two even, said a frustrated Adam McQuaid, trying his best not to be controversial. I dont know. Im not going to say too much.

Take your pick at the questionable referee call that the Bruins seemed to take serious exception toward after the fact: the Zdeno Chara boarding call, the Tomas Kaberle tripping call, the Brad Marchand tripping call or the Johnny Boychuk hooking call.

All were safely organized into the highly debatable category, and both Ian Walsh and Brad Watson were getting the hairy eyeball from Claude Julien all evening long. The Bs coach felt an honest nights worth of effort was wiped out by the chronic whistle-blowing going on throughout the game.

I think right now with what our team went through in the last couple of days, I like the way our guys reacted, said Julien. They came out, they played with a lot of passion and they worked hard.

Until those penalties happened, we were in control of the game. It was our game and we were the better team out there. So unfortunately those penalties happened and you have to live with those and you move on and you prepare for the next game. Youre wasting a lot of energy being frustrated with whats happened here tonight.

Tomas Kaberle has hit a little bit of a wall for the Bruins since arriving, and the All-Star defenseman has only a single assist in nine games with the Bruins and hasnt registered any points at all in his last six games for Boston.

Plenty of fight in the Bruins coming off a bad loss to the Canadiens, and the grudge match against the Sabres saw Gregory Campbell, Adam McQuaid and Milan Lucic all drop the gloves against Buffalo players. Campbells bout came early in the game during a scoreless tie, and was the centers way of grasping hold of the game.

It was a big game. The coaches all stressed how big the first ten minutes were going to be, so I just tried to get some energy, said Campbell. Obviously it wasnt that good of a fight, but thats going to happen. My intentions were there, and thats that.

The Bs center took a good shot or two from Buffalo tough guy Cody McCormick, but Milan Lucic later avenged his teammate by dropping the Buffalo winger twice with huge right hands to the face.

The only regular that didnt drop the gloves was Shawn Thornton, who was trying to engage through the game but couldnt find a dance partner.

Tuukka Rask turned 24 years old on Thursday, and spent the day in a backup goaltender role thats become very familiar for the Finnish youngster this season.

Shawn Thornton and his teammates will be shaving their heads for charity just in time for the playoffs on Thursday, April 7 as part of the 4th annual Cuts for a Cause event. Tickets to the event are on sale now and can be purchased for 20 by emailing tickets@985thesportshub.com. Fans will be able to bid on the opportunity to shave the Bs players heads beginning Monday, March 21 on 985thesportshub.com.

The Bs will pay tribute to Bruins legendary radio personality Bob Wilson on Saturday, March 26 during the BruinsRangers game at the TD Garden. At 11:30 a.m., the Bruins will dedicate their home radio broadcast booth to Wilson by renaming it the "Bob Wilson Radio Booth." The Bruins will also install a silver microphone encased in a black and gold frame on the TD Gardens level 9 faade beneath the home radio broadcast booth, which will be permanently displayed. Wilson recently celebrated his 82nd birthday on Wednesday, March 9.

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

Haggerty: Trouba deal is one Bruins need to get done

Haggerty: Trouba deal is one Bruins need to get done

Bruins management has been in a holding pattern waiting for something to “shake free” in the top-four defensemen department and that might have finally happened this weekend.

With the news on Saturday that Jacob Trouba won’t be reporting to training camp with the Winnipeg Jets and has asked for a trade, a player is becoming available that the Black and Gold have had their eyes on for months and months.

CSN was the first to report that the Bruins were putting together a plan for an offer sheet for the 22-year-old American-born defenseman back in June, but that never materialized. GM Don Sweeney eventually backed off that aggressive plan to nab a player they have tapped as a top-four, right-shot defenseman, but clearly there is still interest from a Boston team that literally did nothing to upgrade their back end over the summer.

Cam Neely admitted to CSN a couple of weeks ago that the Bruins were still positioned to make a move for a D-man if something opened up on the market.

“Basically from April to now everybody is talking about our back end, and not being able to land a top-four defenseman. We still have an opportunity as far as cap space goes if something shakes free, and I know Don [Sweeney] has been working hard trying to do something,” said Neely. “But I feel like as a group we can do better than we did last year.

“I think Tuukka [Rask] can play better than he did last year. If that happens we should be a better club. It’s going to be a challenge and it’s going to be competitive. But I feel like the changes we’ve made through the organization, and not just in player personnel, that there’s opportunity for our group to improve.”

Well, here’s a memo for the B’s brass on Causeway Street: things just opened up as high and wide as a vintage Rich Peverley shot off the high glass. The ninth overall pick in the 2012 draft is going to be made available and will undoubtedly be the best defenseman to move in trade between now and the start of the regular season.

He’d also go a long way toward providing the B’s with the kind of bridge D-man that could improve markedly in the present, and allow the back end to be much closer to good until young defenesmen Charlie McAvoy, Jakub Zboril, Jeremy Lauzon and Brandon Carlo are ready for prime time.

This Saturday night statement from agent Kurt Overhardt explains the situation succinctly, but basically Trouba doesn’t want wind his career away stuck behind Dustin Byfuglien and Tyler Myers on the right side of Winnipeg’s defense.

“Our client, Jacob Trouba, will not be attending the Winnipeg Jets NHL training camp. Since May, we have been working with the Jets management in an effort to facilitate a trade of Jacob’s rights. Both parties continue to work on this matter,” said Overhardt in the statement. “There has been no negotiation regarding the terms of a contract between our client and the Jets over the course of the last several months. The situation is not about money; it is solely about our client having the opportunity to realize his potential as a right shot NHL defenseman.

“To the Jets credit, the club has two outstanding right shot veteran defensemen and our client simply wants the opportunity to have a greater role. As a consequence of the Jets depth on the right side, we believe it is in both parties’ best interest to facilitate a mutually advantageous trade.

Our client has nothing but respect for the people and City of Winnipeg, the Winnipeg Jets, its fans, management and ownership - our desire to get him moved has everything to do with opportunity. We will continue to work with the Jets in good faith to achieve this end.”

Clearly, Trouba will draw big interest around the league: he’s a 6-foot-1, 200-pound, right-shot defenseman who posted 10 goals and 29 points in his rookie season as a teenager and has averaged more than 22 minutes of ice time per game since entering the league. 

This is yet another chance for Sweeney and Co. to close a deal on a defenseman and finally start to address some of the damage done while shipping away Johnny Boychuk and Dougie Hamilton in successive years. It will undoubtedly cost a pretty penny in terms of assets, but there has to be a reason why Sweeney has been stockpiling centers headed into training camp.

A package of Ryan Spooner, Joe Morrow and a first-round pick would be considerable, but it also might not be enough to get a deal done for a high-demand talent in Trouba. Undoubtedly the Jets would also for a blue chip D-man prospect such as Carlo, or perhaps they’d be more interested in  veteran right-shot option Adam McQuaid, who could immediately replace Trouba in the Winnipeg lineup.

The worst-case scenario is Kevin Cheveldayoff taking a page from the Kevin Shattenkirk trade talks, and both starting and ending any conversations with David Pastrnak as the main trade chip. The Bruins have made it clear they’re done “sprinkling their talent around the rest of the league” as one B’s front office exec made clear to CSN.   

The bottom line: it’s not going to be easy, but this is exactly the kind of situation where Sweeney needs to become a closer rather than a lamenter who starts an explanation with “price are high” or “it takes two to tango.”

It takes a good manager to close a deal his team desperately needs. This Trouba situation is shaping up to provide the B’s with that opportunity. 
 

Rask: Last season 'something to rebound from' personally

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Rask: Last season 'something to rebound from' personally

BRIGHTON, Mass. – While David Pastrnak, Tuukka Rask and David Backes are back from competing in the World Cup of Hockey in Toronto, that doesn’t mean you’ll see those players on the ice over the next couple of days. Perhaps the trio will practice on Monday in the fourth on-ice session at main training camp, but Bruins GM Don Sweeney confirmed that none of those returning players will suit up against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the B’s preseason debut at TD Garden on Monday night.

“Yeah…absolutely,” said Sweeney when asked if those three players have been ruled out for Monday night. “They’re going to get through the weekend here. Next week, we’ll evaluate [them] when they get on the ice. But, all those guys will not be on the ice until next week.

“It might be case-by-case for each guy. Those guys have been playing for a while at a high level. It’s unique for David Backes coming into the organization, so he’d like to integrate himself. I talked yesterday with all three of them just to get a read of where they’re at. But, sometime first of next week, they’ll be on [the ice].”

Both Pastrnak and Rask have checked in with the Bruins media over the last couple of days after returning from Toronto, and the Bruins goaltender, in particular, has plenty of motivation coming off a down statistical season. The 2.56 goals against average and .915 save percentage were well below his career numbers, and people like B’s President Cam Neely have pointed to Rask as somebody that needs to have a better season for Boston to rebound back into the playoffs this year.

“There were a couple of years where the standards pretty high, so obviously when they go down there’s something to rebound from. You kind of know where you can be. That’s where I try to be every year and I’m working on being there this year, and taking us to the playoffs and moving forward,” said Rask. “But every year is a new year where you’ve got to work hard, and set your goals to be at your best. More often than not you hope [being at your best] is going to happen, and I hope this year is going to be a great year for us.”

Clearly Rask wasn’t alone in his struggles last season behind a mistake-prone defense that allowed plenty of Grade chances, and that could be a repeating phenomenon again this season for the Bruins unless the defense is substantially upgraded along the way.

As far as the other three B’s players still taking part in the World Cup, it could be a while for Patrice and Brad Marchand as Team Canada has advanced to the final best-of-three series that could also feature Zdeno Chara if Team Europe is victorious.