Weather prevents Savard from getting back to Boston

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Weather prevents Savard from getting back to Boston

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com

BOSTON Wednesday's bad weather prevented Marc Savard from making it back to Boston, and coach Claude Julien said he hopes the veteran center will be back by Thursday.

There reports earlier in the week that Savard, who suffered his second concussion in 10 months in January and is again suffering from post-concussion syndrome, may be shut down for the season. Julien said he hasnt been involved in those discussions, but added no decision will be made until Savard is re-examined by the medical staff.

That will happen when he returns to Boston.

If you werent quite sure whether or not defenseman Mark Stuarts absence over the last four games was health-related, Julien clarified, on Wednesday afternoon at the TD Garden, that its not. Hes been a healthy scratch.

Right now, Stuart has lost his starting job due to injury. It doesnt have to do with his poor play. It has a whole lot more to do with the way others stepped up during his six-week absence, thanks to a broken hand he suffered in early December.

The play of Steven Kampfer has given him an everyday role in the Bruins lineup, and Andrew Ference (19) and Adam McQuaid (16) have the best plus-minus ratings on the team.

Also, take into account that the Bruins have been playing some pretty good hockey as of late, and Julien has a tough decision to make every game day. But certainly, thats a good problem to have, because it means you have depth.

For the longest time, Stuart was a key piece to that depth, as he was the teams iron man up until last season.

Now, another injury opened the door for a puck-moving defenseman like Kampfer, and even after having played in the first three games that he was cleared to play in, in mid-January, Stuart has been the healthy scratch for the last four games, a stretch in which the Bs have gone 3-1.

Julien talked about Stuarts current situation on Wednesday.

You dont want to be a healthy scratch, said Julien. At the same time, I think he understands what the situation is. Weve played well with our back end, the way it has been, during his absence. And sometimes its a matter of . . . players get hurt, and its unfortunate, but sometimes they kind of have to wait for their opportunities to step in there, and then make a difference when theyre called upon.

Thats why hes got to stay ready. That doesnt mean youre not going to see him in the lineup. That doesnt mean Im not going to move guys around. Im just saying that, what hes going through right now, is not easy. But as I mentioned yesterday, Stueys one of those guys thats a team-first guy. And if theres one thing you dont want to do, its disrupt the club, for his own sake.

Theres no doubt, hes not enjoying this, and I wouldnt expect him to enjoy it. Its just the way it is.

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on his streaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from 9-10 a.m. on CSNNE.com.

Julien reaches breaking point with struggling, inconsistent Bruins

Julien reaches breaking point with struggling, inconsistent Bruins

It sounds like Claude Julien has reached a breaking point with a fragile, inconsistent group of Bruins players who have lost four games in a row at a critical point in the season.

The Bruins dropped a 5-1 decision to the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena on Sunday afternoon, and completely fell apart in the final period after Tuukka Rask was lifted because of migraine issues in the middle of the game. It was a typical Bruins effort, in which there weren’t enough scoring chances despite 45 shots on net -- largely from the perimeter -- and the defense totally unraveled in the third period once the Penguins got their offense going.

After the loss, the embattled Julien challenged his players, saying they weren’t providing enough across the board . . . which has largely been the case for the last two months as the Bruins have stagnated as a team.

“If you look at some of the mistakes we made, it’s a team that just got unraveled there in the third period,” he told reporters after the game. “With the opportunities that we had, we don’t capitalize on them. You always give the goaltender on the other side some (Matt Murray) credit. He was good tonight but at the same time, if you’re going to win hockey games, you’ve got to find ways to get [shots] through to him.

"It’s frustrating. There are a lot of guys that, right now, aren’t giving us enough, and this is a team that I think needs all 20 guys going in order to win. We don’t have enough talent to think that we can get away with a mediocre game, so this is where it’s important for our guys to understand that and it’s important to have 20 guys that want to go. It’s okay to have talent, but you’ve got to compete. For others, you’ve got to get involved. You’ve got to be willing to do the things that are not fun to do but are going to help your hockey club. It’s too bad because I think the players we expect a lot out of every night are certainly battling every night, but we need more than that . . .

“When you’ve lost three, now four in a row, it sets in. We’ve got to find a way to turn this around and start going back to the drawing board with our guys respecting what they need to do and be patient enough to give it time to turn around. When I say patience I don’t mean we need to do it in the next week. We need to do it next game but we need to respect what we’ve done well and when we’re in our game and within our structure we’ve had success but in order to be within the structure, you’ve got to be willing to want to do those things. Right now, we don’t have everybody and it just takes one guy not to want to do his job and it throws everybody else off. We have to look at personnel that way, and say that if we need to replace some guys, and we need to be patient with others, I want guys that care and want guys that want to come in and give it their all every night. We need more of that, and we don’t have enough right now.”

It remains to be seen what, or who, Julien is referring to when he mentioned personnel during his postgame comments, but it’s clear he's well aware the effort hasn’t been consistently good enough over the last two months.
 
The Bruins have dropped to third in the Atlantic Division, with the Maple Leafs just a point behind them while holding a whopping six games in hand. Even struggling teams like the Panthers, Lightning and Hurricanes have caught up to the B’s in the playoff race, while holding games in hand.

The B’s are in big, big trouble at this point in the season, and it doesn’t get any easier with games against an improving Red Wings club and the dominant Penguins prior to a much-needed break recess for the All-Star break.