Thornton looking like a go vs Isles


Thornton looking like a go vs Isles

By JoeHaggerty

BOSTON It appears that Shawn Thornton will be back in the lineup Wednesday night after getting the 40 stitches removed from the forehead area above the right eye and just in time for a game against infamous New York Islanders goon Trevor Gillies.Thornton has missed three games with the slice above his right eye caused by Fernando Pisanis skate blade, but had the stitches removed Tuesday and now has a long snake-like healing scar above his eye.While the Bs enforcer said he wasnt sure whether he would be playing or not, Bruins coach Claude Julien indicated Thornton was likely to be in the lineup after gaining medical clearance.Obviously if I get hit there its going to hurt, but as far as I know Im ready to go, said Thornton. Im preparing to play. I feel great. Its not that big a story anymore. Its been over a week, guys.Thornton wont play with a half-shield after ditching it on Monday morning while skating at Madison Square Garden, and it will be interesting to see who Julien opts to scratch. Rookie center Tyler Seguin seems like the most likely option after getting his ice time scaled back to eight minutes and being removed from the second power play unit against the Rangers.Thornton should be in the lineup, and well have a couple of other decisions to make before game time, said Julien.Seguin, Michael Ryder, Patrice Bergeron, Thornton and Chris Kelly were the five forwards that took part in an optional morning skate for the Bruins at TD Garden, and it doesnt seem like Ryder or Daniel Paille would be the scratches for a Bruins team looking to fine tune things before the playoffs.Julien is a conservative hockey coach in many regards, and it certainly manifests itself when it comes to young players and playoff lineups a situation that cropped up four years ago with a very different young player in Phil Kessel.Kessel was memorably benched to start the series against the Montreal Canadiens, and responded with a big rest of the series against the Habs in the seven-game series loss to top-seeded Montreal. He finished with three goals and an assist in four playoff games against the Habs once the Bs decided to scratch Jeremy Reich in favor of Kessel, and responded in a big way on the ice.But it also permanently wrecked the relationship between coach and player, and was one of the big reasons Kessel was looking for a way out as soon as restricted free agency time hit with the Bruins.Everybody knows that the 19-year-old Seguin isnt Kessel, and is outgoing, diligent and conscientious with his teammates in a way that the introverted Maple Leafs sniper never was.But Seguin still appeared unhappy about potentially being a scratch against the Islanders, and was well aware of comments made by Bs general manager Peter Chiarelli on 98.5 the Sports Hub Wednesday morning that a Seguin playoff scratch is the way it looks to be trending, but the competition isnt over yet.Seguin wasnt very happy chatting briefly after Wednesdays skate on the Garden ice, and said he wanted to play.Im sure Ill talk to coaches about and theyll tell me why if Im scratched, said Seguin. Of course I want to be in there playing.Seguin does have only one goal in his last 16 games, and hasnt enjoyed an offensive windfall despite a raised battle level over the last month of the season. But its undeniable that Seguin has played better, faster and stronger down the stretch, and tasting the playoffs is something beneficial to his development.The problems: Michael Ryder has nine goals and 18 points in 24 Stanley Cup playoff games with the Bruins over the last two seasons, and Daniel Paille is playing his best hockey of the season over the last two weeks. Both of those players could potentially serve in a fourth line capacity while Seguin is probably best-suited to be skating with Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly as he was over the last few weeks leading into tonights game against the Isles.Tim Thomas was the first goaltender off the ice and it appears hell get the start for the Bruins against the Islanders as hes looking to rebound from a couple of uncharacteristic goals surrendered to the New York Rangers. Thomas is still holding onto the highest save percentage total in NHL single-season history with a .9376 amount just above the .9366 totaled by Dominik Hasek in the 1998-99 season. One or two more good performances should leave him with the record and two of the top three best single-season save percentage totals in NHL history.Julien said he wasnt panicking after one ugly loss to the Rangers that featured a third period collapse and one of those bothersome 3-0 leads that crumbled into nothingness.I think it depends on how you look at it, said Julien. "Everybody is looking for perfection and every little thing that doesnt go well is going to be scrutinized and criticized. But you have to look around the league. I mean Vancouver has lost two games now to Edmonton. Is there panic there? Philadelphia is having a tough time. I think once the playoffs start, the good teams are going to be ready to go. We plan on being one of those. Joe Haggerty can be reached at Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Injuries have created a muddled picture with Bruins goaltenders

Injuries have created a muddled picture with Bruins goaltenders

It’s hard to believe that it’s already come to this, but it might just be Malcolm Subban between the pipes for the Bruins on Tuesday night against the Minnesota Wild, and perhaps again on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.

The 22-year-old Subban has been pulled from two ineffective starts for the P-Bruins in four AHL starts this season (.846 save percentage and a 4.50 goals against average in four games) while coming back from last year’s fractured larynx injury. He's also a player the organization was uncertain enough about that they signed veteran backup Anton Khudobin to a two-year deal on the July 1 open of NHL free agency.

Subban attributed his start to a slow opening few weeks with a new P-Bruins roster of players, but that hasn’t stopped fellow P-Bruins goalie Zane McIntyre from putting up excellent numbers between the pipes in the early going.

But Khudobin went down with an injury mere minutes into Monday morning’s Bruins practice at Warrior Ice Arena, and Tuukka Rask been battling a nagging leg injury since the season opening win against the Blue Jackets.

So Subban was the last goalie standing on Monday as an emergency recall from Providence, and could be in line to play Tuesday night against the Wild if the Bruins medical staff can’t perform some Mr. Miyagi-style healing techniques on Rask or Khudobin.

“Khudobin got injured and couldn’t practice with us, but I haven’t heard anything yet [on an update],” said Julien following practice. “This is hockey. We deal with it on daily basis with the injuries. We wait for the news and then it’s about doing your job as it’s required. If we have to make some adjustments and have to have some different personnel, then we’ll deal with it when we have more of an update. Tuukka is still day-to-day, so nothing is changed there.

“We’re in a situation here where we’ll see what happens, and if [Subban] needs to go in goal then he’ll go in goal. It’s as simple as that. As a coach, there’s one thing that worries me and that’s ‘stop the puck.’ I’m not a goalie coach, so I’m just demanding on making the saves.”

Subban, of course, hasn’t been making the saves down in Providence early in the going there this season, and is entering the stage of his career where he needs to begin showing signs of being a potential No. 1 guy at the NHL level.

Fellow goalies from the 2012 NHL draft class like Andrei Vasilevskiy, Joonas Korpisalo, Matt Murray, Connor Hellebuyck and Frederik Andersen have all begun making their mark in the league, and Subban was selected higher than all of them except for Tampa’s Vasilevskiy. So in the final year of his entry level deal it’s high time for the 22-year-old to begin showing signs he can play in the league, whether it’s in Boston or elsewhere.

He admitted on Monday he might have been putting too much pressure on himself down in Providence while watching the injury issues play out with Tuukka Rask in Boston.

Subban was worried about the big picture of stringing together saves so he was the guy called up if the Bruins needed a goalie, and instead should have been focusing more on the present opponents at the AHL level.

“I put a lot of pressure on myself. I think anybody that knows me well knows that. I don’t like to let in goals no matter what happens, whether it’s breakdowns or not it’s my job [to stop the puck]. If there were no breakdowns then you wouldn’t need a goaltender,” said Subban. “I want to make every save and get a shutout every game. I think the biggest thing is just relaxing and playing, and knowing that it’s okay to let a goal in every once in a while.

“So I think in my position right now I’m supposed to be playing really well down there, and I think that go in my head a little bit. I was trying to get a shutout every game rather than going game-by-game and shot-by-shot. I was overthinking it too much. But collectively as a team we’re a new team and we were trying to get the chemistry together, and once we do that the D-zone will be better and the offensive zone game will come.”

If Subban does indeed get the emergency start on Tuesday night against the Wild, the Bruins just have to hope that it’s a better outing than getting pulled in his NHL debut against the Blues two seasons ago after allowing three goals on three straight shots to start the second period. They also have to hope that Rask or Khudobin get well quick given Boston’s shaky situation on defense in front of the goaltender, and the stretch they’re in of playing six straight opponents that qualified for last spring’s Stanley Cup playoffs.

If not then watch out below because every hockey person knows there’s no quicker way for a hockey club to really begin imploding than if the goaltending starts to become a major problem whether it’s because of injury, inconsistent performance or simply because of being a straight-up sieve.

McQuaid cleared to play, nearing return to Bruins lineup


McQuaid cleared to play, nearing return to Bruins lineup

BRIGHTON, Mass. -- It was a bitter pill for Adam McQuaid to sit out the first five games of this season, but it looks like the veteran Bruins stay-at-home defenseman is nearing a return to the lineup. McQuaid was cleared to potentially play in Saturday’s loss to the Montreal Canadiens after an upper body injury kept him shelved for the team’s first four games, and could be approaching a return in the next few days as Claude Julien mulls a number of possible lineup changes.

“It was obviously frustrating, but I’m where I’m at now and trying to move on from it. Looking forward to getting back into the lineup hopefully as soon as possible here,” said the 30-year-old McQuaid, who had a goal and nine points in 64 games for the Black and Gold last season. “The excitement level is high for me, and it is for everybody after a loss when you’re looking forward to getting back out there.

“It would have been nice to have started the season with the guys, but you can’t change that now. I’ve had some good practices, and I’m just trying to my game as simple as possible, and take it as it comes. Obviously guys have played some games and it’s been a couple of weeks for me, so I’ll just have to keep my game simple.”

The B’s bench boss indicated it was only a matter of time before McQuaid makes his 2016-17 regular season debut, but that he’s got plenty of things to decide prior to dropping the puck against the Wild.

“[McQuaid] was cleared last game. I haven’t made any decisions based for [Tuesday night vs. Minnesota]. There’s a lot of things that are up in the air, and I’ve just go to juggle those things,” said Julien. “Who knows? Hopefully tomorrow morning I’ve got a better picture [of injury situation], and if not then it will be game-time decisions. I wish I could have a better answer [on if McQuaid will play], but I’ve got no answers right now.”

With Colin Miller (minus-4), Joe Morrow, Torey Krug (a rough minus-3 against Montreal) and John-Michael Liles all minus players after the first five games of the season, there are ample options for Julien on which potential blueliner to bump up to the press box. McQuaid is just happy he’s getting closer to a return while skating with 23-year-old Rob O’Gara at practice, and he can get back to helping a B’s team that’s smack dab in the middle (ranked 15th allowing 3.0 goals per game) of the NHL for team defense this season.