Defensive mishaps prove costly against Canes


Defensive mishaps prove costly against Canes

BOSTON -- It was just Tuesday night that everyone on the Bruins praised their defensemen for skating with the puck and creating clean breakouts, which led to several odd-man rushes and a 4-3 win over the Ottawa Senators.

Two nights later, the Bruins weren't necessarily blaming their defense after a 3-0 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes at the TD Garden. After all, the B's did put 47 shots on goal, which is usually enough to get something going offensively.

But on a night in which Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward seemed to be on his game, Boston needed their defensemen and goaltender to be on their game once again.

Instead, all three Carolina goals came on defensive mishaps, and it cost them on a night in which no pucks got past Ward.

The first defensive mishap came with 8:09 remaining in the first period, as Jiri Tlusty put a body-check on Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk in the corner. Boychuk went down with an injury on the hit, and Tlusty threw it out front through a flat-footed Bruins team and Eric Staal one-timed it home for the 1-0 lead.

"We just didnt play well. Just a really bad night for us," said Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara after the loss. "You know, I thought we had actually the start of the game and Johnny Boychuk seemed liked he got hurt and we all kind of stopped playing, including myself, and boom they zipped it past us and its past Tuukka Rask. Then we just, again, we didnt have a good second and, yeah, we couldnt get anything going tonight."

Even Bruins coach Claude Julien put some blame on the offense for not getting back hard enough and for not coming deep enough into their own zone for cleaner breakouts. But the second Carolina goal was simply the result of a defensive turnover on an aggressive Hurricanes forecheck.

That forecheck came from Brandon Sutter, as a Carolina dump off the glass in their own zone ended up bouncing over the head of Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference in the final minutes of the second period.

Ference was able to track it down and tried to backhand it over to defensive partner Adam McQuaid through his own high slot.

Turns out that was a bad decision, as Sutter was right on Ference's tail and intercepted the sloppy pass, where he then put a shot on net. Both McQuaid and Ference never re-gained their position after Sutter's shot, and Tuomo Ruutu swooped in for the rebound, made a nice move on Rask, and put it into the open net.

"They just chipped it in, and I think our D didn't know where it was landing," said Rask after the loss. "And then, I was yelling at them, and they caught it. And then the guy just squeezed through and got a shot and then a rebound.

"I was laying there, and McQuaid was laying there, and then he had pretty much the empty net."

Ference and McQuaid were on the ice for the last two Hurricane goals. But the first one was more their fault than the second.

"The result was frustrating," said Ference. "McQuaid and I just talked about it. I think the first goal we were on for was a little goofy play. The second one, we wouldn't change much. But I think our game, other than that, was fairly solid, just from a partner's point of view. But the result was pretty frustrating."

Ference called Carolina's second goal -- the first goal he was on the ice for -- a "loopy" one. But even though the puck was on edge by the time Ference tracked it down, it looked like nothing more than a defensive turnover in their own zone. Something that had to be limited on a night in which the offense couldn't finish.

"I literally couldn't even see it until it landed between us, and then I tried to whack it over to McQuaid's side," said Ference.. "I'm pretty sure it hit Sutter's stick and then hit his chest, and then he whacked at it. After that, I'm not sure what happened after it hit Tuukka. But, you know, it was kind of a crazy play."

Carolina's third and final goal -- the second goal that Ference and McQuaid were on the ice for -- wasn't exactly Ference and McQuaid's fault, but it was due to a defensive mishap.

Rask came behind the net and attempted to dump the puck up the left boards, but Andreas Nodl stopped the puck before it could even get to the half-wall and put it out to the top of the circle, where Sutter wristed it top-right for the 3-0 lead.

Take your pick. Blame the offense for not scoring. Blame the defensive mishaps for all three goals on a night in which the Bruins could not afford defensive mishaps.

Either way, the B's didn't do themselves any favors.

"I'm not trying to take anything away from them," said Bruins assistant captain Patrice Bergeron. "They're playing well, they're playing hard, they're a good team. But that being said, I think the goals they got, it's our own fault."

Cabot: Browns should trade 1st overall pick for Garoppolo if necessary

Cabot: Browns should trade 1st overall pick for Garoppolo if necessary

Mary Kay Cabot from joins Sports Tonight by phone and says that if there is a bidding war for Jimmy Garoppolo, the Cleveland Browns should give up the 1st overall pick.

Blakely: On surface Bogut makes sense for Celtics, but it comes down to chemistry

Blakely: On surface Bogut makes sense for Celtics, but it comes down to chemistry

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics got their butts kicked (again) on the boards Monday night by the Atlanta Hawks who defeated them 114-98.

The Celtics get their butts kicked most nights on the boards, and yet still find a way to win more often than not.

That’s why the possibility of adding Andrew Bogut who was bought out by Philadelphia is so intriguing.

Once he clears waivers on Wednesday, he’ll officially be a man in high demand with teams trying to show him love as if he was Kevin Durant or LeBron James.

But as much as the 31-year-old center on paper seems like a good addition to the Celtics roster because of his rebounding prowess and rim protection on defense, here’s what you have to keep in mind with Bogut or any other player Danny Ainge and the C's front-office brass decides to bring through that door.

Whatever team a new guy joins, he’ll look to play decent minutes and showcase his skills with unrestricted free agency around the corner this summer.

As far as Bogut is concerned, he's one of the more underrated members of Golden State's title squad in 2016.

Draymond Green's all-around game, Steph Curry’s 3-point bombs and Klay Thompson’s two-way talent were all key to the Warriors winning a title two years ago. But lost in their success among fans was Bogut’s defense which covered up for a lot of mistakes, miscues and blown assignments.

Whatever team Bogut signs with, ideally he would be looking to provide that same interior presence.

But here’s another issue.

Adding Bogut means waiving a player, most likely a young player that the Celtics will have essentially decided to give up on.

Since Bogut is a big, the logical target of being waived is Jordan Mickey.

The second-round pick from 2015 has shown improvement, but not nearly enough to garner steady minutes or even sporadic time on this roster.

Amir Johnson and Al Horford are the starters, with Kelly Olynyk and Jonas Jerebko rounding out their four-man big rotation so they're not going anywhere.

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens typically plays those four bigs every night, so the idea of adding a fifth to the regular rotation doesn’t make sense.

Will one of those four be cool with not playing some nights or having their minutes severely carved up?

Would Bogut be cool with sometimes playing in games, or sometimes playing the role of waving a towel supporting his team from the bench?

And how does his presence affect chemistry which is a major deal for this team and its success this season.

Boston’s bigs in terms of rebounding, have not been good all season.

We can all agree on that.

And yet despite those struggles, they have the second-best record in the East (38-22) along with being a top-5 or top-6 team record-wise in the NBA.

They’re able to win because they have solid talent and Teflon-strong bonds to where they don't just play with each other, but for each other every night. 

We have seen stretches this season when the minutes have been cut or wiped out altogether for rotation players like Terry Rozier, Jonas Jerebko and Jaylen Brown.

And yet during the time when they are not playing as much, you never hear any public grumbling or private bickering among themselves or to the media.

There is a high level of accountability with Brad Stevens-coached teams that if you’re doing your job well, you’ll play. If not, your minutes might go to a teammate.

The best example of this came earlier this season when Gerald Green was essentially a practice player until Christmas Day when he came up big in Boston’s win over the New York Knicks.

Green saw more minutes going forward, but soon found himself struggling to get on the floor afterwards on some nights and the man whose minutes he took – Rozier – was back in the playing mix. 

During those times when Rozier wasn't playing, he said Green was a fixture in his ear, offering words of encouragement regardless of whether he was playing a lot or not at all. 

“Gerald’s always encouraging me, encouraging the young guys to just keep working, be patient and when your time comes, run with it,” Rozier recently told “He’s been a great vet for us young guys.”

And while Bogut wouldn’t come in looking to mess with the team’s chemistry, that doesn’t matter.

Anytime a new guy is added to the mix, it has the potential to be a really good pick-up or a potentially catastrophic equation of subtraction by addition.

In talking with a league executive who Bogut played for earlier in his career, he said Bogut would be a good addition to the Celtics roster from a basketball standpoint.

“But you never know about how they fit outside of that,” the executive told “As we’ve seen, sometimes it’s just as important that guys click off the court as it is that they can play together on it. I don’t think that would be an issue, but with new guys and not knowing how that locker room works and its dynamics, you just never really know how it’ll play out.

The executive added, “But if they can get him after the Philly buyout, do it. He can help them. His strength is their weakness; it makes a lot of sense for both sides honestly.”