Pouliot all ears through good and bad times

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Pouliot all ears through good and bad times

BOSTON -- Tell Benoit Pouliot he played well -- hell appreciate the compliment.

Tell him what he needs to work on -- hell embrace the constructive criticism just the same.

At 25 years old, Pouliot has developed a mature approach to his hockey career. Thats what fighting for playing time on three teams over the past six seasons will teach you.

On Tuesday night, Pouliot scored the game-winning goal (assisted by Joe Corvo and Rich Peverley) for the Boston Bruins with three minutes to go in the third period after sitting out four of the Bs previous six games. He was most recently a healthy scratch in Saturdays win over the Buffalo Sabres.

I think its more of a vocal thing, just hearing the guys, just hearing the coach talk to you, he told CSNNE.com following the Bruins 4-3 win over the New Jersey Devils. If I have a bad game or if I have a good game, Ill still get talked to and theyll tell me you did this good or you did that bad.

Its tough and its been like this throughout my career. Mentally, its not the easiest thing in the world but you cant put yourself down and you cant put too much pressure on yourself. When it goes bad, it goes bad and youve just got to keep your head up.

Pouliot came to the Bruins this season after nearly two with the Montreal Canadiens. One of the keys to adjusting to a new team -- and one with tight chemistry after winning a Stanley Cup championship -- has been communication.

That means putting his feelings aside and soaking in the feedback of his coaches and teammates, even if it isnt always the easiest thing to do.

When youre younger, its tough, he said. I think for any young guy its not easy. If they tell you, You played bad, you get down on yourself pretty hard. But Ive learned throughout the years. Ive had some bad years and I try not to think about it too much and just work on that.

Coach Claude Julien spoke with Pouliot about what he was looking for, and Pouliot responded.

Hes a smart player, Julien said. He doesnt have the speed of Daniel Paille, but he has the smarts, the grit, everything else. With Ben, we just felt that hes got experience in the league, and with that line, it just gave it, again, some speed. Peverley and him on each side and Chris Kelly, who I thought had a fantastic game tonight as well, it just gave us a really, to me, a pretty good third line tonight.

After listening to what his coaches and teammates have to say, Pouliot was a topic of conversation prior to the game.

Sometimes we talk before the game and a few guys had a good feeling about him, said Zdeno Chara. He works hard and its nice to get him that goal. He needs it and we all need him too, and hopefully thats going to boost his confidence and hes that kind of player that we need him to be.

And if there are any compliments or critiques along the way, Pouliot is willing to listen.

Bruins coaches: Czarnik a ‘Belichick-type hockey player’

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Bruins coaches: Czarnik a ‘Belichick-type hockey player’

BOSTON – Austin Czarnik is off to a good start at Bruins training camp.

He’s got points in each of the first two exhibition games and just the fact that he’s cracked the B’s lineup in both games tells you that the coaching staff wants to get a long, good look at the undersized forward.

But the 5-foot-9, 167-pound Czarnik brings more than simply a touch of the Napoleon complex after always being told that he was too small to make it to the elite levels of hockey. The 23-year-old clearly can score after posting 20 goals and 61 points in his first pro season in the AHL in Providence last season. He plays with heart, energy and a dogged determination when he’s hunting pucks on the fore-check.

But former P-Bruins head coach and current B’s assistant coach Bruce Cassidy says that Czarnik also brings something a little extra that New England Patriots fans will certainly appreciate.

“As far as being a player goes, he would be, to me, that [Bill] Belichick-type player that you could use in a lot of different situations,” said Cassidy, in clear reference to intelligent utility guys Troy Brown, Danny Woodhead, Julian Edelman and others that all filled different roles in their time with New England.

“He’s got a very, very high IQ, he’s a quick learner and very coachable,” Cassidy said. “So, he’s a guy you can move around, and he can play with different players. He can play on the penalty kill, he’s good on the power play and especially on the point.

“So there are a lot of different things. I think from night-to-night if you wanted to, you could move him around in your lineup and he could be effective for you. I know he’s a center, but it would be interesting to see if he could play the wing and be effective. That’s something we haven’t really seen. Is that something we maybe attempt down the road? I don’t know. I don’t want to speak out of turn, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he could handle it. He even played for us 6-on-5 as a defenseman with the goalie out. He’s just a smart player, and he understands the game very, very well.”

So, Czarnik is off to a good start in training camp with the Bruins, but we also saw the same thing from him last year as a rookie to pro hockey. 

Now, it’s about seeing whether a smaller player can finish strong as the competition heightens deeper into the preseason, and perhaps he can bring that versatility and feistiness to the NHL level in Boston. 

 

 

Thursday, Sept. 29: Oilers right where they belong

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Thursday, Sept. 29: Oilers right where they belong

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while looking forward to watching the Luke Cage Netflix series.

*The Cult of Hockey has no issues with yours truly ranking the Edmonton Oilers 29th out of 30 teams in my first preseason NHL power rankings.

*An interesting piece about Brian McGrattan and his battle with alcohol in his career as an NHL tough guy. I can honestly say having covered him a bit when he was in the Bruins organization that he was one of the scariest dudes I’ve ever talked to in an NHL dressing room. A nice guy, but very intense and always looked like he definitely enjoyed his work on the ice.

*Dennis Seidenberg hopped on with the Hockey Central crew today to talk about his new contract with the New York Islanders.

*PHT writer and Friend of Haggs (FOH) Mike Halford has Guy Boucher with some serious Dion Phaneuf love going on in Ottawa.

*Jack Eichel is oozing confidence and swagger in his second NHL season with Buffalo looking to make a big step up this season.

*Scott Burnside said that the World Cup of Hockey could be coming to an end tonight and I think most predict that it will with a little bit of an anticlimactic thud due to the sheer awesomeness of Team Canada.

*For something completely different: “Aleppo Moment” sounds like a great name for a rock band. Not so much for a Presidential candidate.