Haggerty's Bruins-Senators preview


Haggerty's Bruins-Senators preview

KANATA, ON The Bruins made their statements about Thursday nights game when they left Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron and Tim Thomas back in Boston rather than place their key players in the final road game of the season. Boston has earned the right to fully prepare for the playoffs by capturing the No. 2 seed, and now theyre setting everything into motion.

The aim is to get everyone in a Black and Gold uniform well-rested and healthy for the seemingly inevitable first round matchup between Boston and Ottawa, and that includes making it through Thursday night healthy. Ottawa needs one more point to lock up the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference and they also will certainly be looking to make a statement against a Bruins team thats dominated while taking four out of five against them this season.

If we take the approach to the playoffs that teams will roll over then wed be in some big trouble," said Kelly. "The regular season is the regular season, and the playoffs are a whole different beast. Youve seen it in the past where a team has done extremely well against a team during the regular season, and then it goes the other way during the playoffs. The regular season gets thrown out the window after Saturday.

The Senators will be looking to ride the momentum of their last win, a tight 1-0 affair, over the Bruins at TD Garden, and harness the kind of effort and intensity they showed in the final period played at Scotiabank Place. Thats when Chris Neil trucked Johnny Boychuk with one of the hardest hockey hits seen anywhere this season, and Kyle Turris threw a very questionable hit at Joe Corvo.

It wouldnt shock or stun to see any of that coming from an underdog Sens team that wants to be taken seriously, or from a Bruins team thats just looking to get out of Ottawa with their roster entirely intact.

Its important to stay sharp. You dont want your intensity to drop because its tough to turn it on once its been shut off, said Mike Mottau. We want to play well structurally and play strong. Thats the best way to end the season feeling about where our game is going. You can send a message by simply imposing your will and playing with strength in a game like this.

PLAYER NEEDING HIS TIRED PUMPED: Apparently somebody needs to start doing some PR work for Mike Mottau so he can earn himself a proper spot in Bostons lineup headed into the playoffs. The local hockey standout has been rock-steady since arriving in Boston from the Islanders organization, and should have a place at the table for the playoffs with injuries beginning to erode Bostons defensemen depth. Mottau will get another chance to state his playoff case Thursday night against Ottawa, and has formed together with Greg Zanon nicely as a defensemen duo.

DRESSING ROOM MANTRA HEADED INTO THE GAME: Its not a playoff preview because theres nothing confirmed yet. The one thing I can tell you is that you dont win in this league by simply showing up. We dont talk about speculation. I wont get into it until its confirmed. Im not wasting my time worrying about that until its confirmed. Claude Julien didnt want to answer any questions about Thursday night as a potential playoff preview between the Bruins and Senators.

KEY MATCHUP: Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza have combined for 11 points in nine games against the Bruins this season, and will be the deadly offensive duo in any playoff series. Normally it would be Zdeno Charas job to shut down Ottawas top line, but now that will likely fall to Dennis Seidenberg and a defenseman to be named later. Watching Anton Khudobin face an NHL lineup for the first time in a couple of years should be enlightening when starting to formulate some postseason ideas.

STAT TO WATCH: 1 the number of NHL fights for Lane MacDermid after tangling with Mike Rupp of the New York Rangers earlier this season. Theres a good possibility Chris Neil could come calling tonight.

INJURIES: Tuukka Rask (groin strainabdomen strain) and Nathan Horton (mild concussion) are long term injuries for the Bruins, but Rask hit the ice Wednesday with an eye toward returning for the playoffs. Johnny Boychuk is out with a mildly sprained left knee. Adam McQuaid has missed three games with a left laceration, but skated in pregame warm-ups at Scotiabank Place. The Ottawa Senators appear relatively healthy at this point in time.

GOALTENDING MATCH-UP: Anton Khudobin will be making his first NHL appearance with the Boston Bruins in his second season of duty with the Black and Gold. Khudobin is a 25-year-old native of Kazakhstan that has settled in as the No. 3 goaltender on the organizational depth chart, and many within the Bs organization feel hes a late-blooming, puck-stopping talent. He may be in line for the backup role for the playoffs if Tuukka Rask isnt ready to play. Ben Bishop will be getting the start for the Senators and the 6-foot-7 goaltender is hoping to show the Ottawa coaching staff that his lingering groin issues have abated just in time for the postseason.

Danny Ainge on Josh Jackson: 'He didn’t want to play for the Celtics'

Danny Ainge on Josh Jackson: 'He didn’t want to play for the Celtics'

BOSTON – There was no late-night workout in New York City between the Boston Celtics and Josh Jackson.

There was no conversation between Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations and the Kansas University star, either.

And that made the decision by Boston to select Duke’s Jayson Tatum with the No. 3 pick a lot easier than some might have thought.

Following Thursday night’s NBA draft, Ainge spoke to the media on several topics which included him explaining the interaction – or lack thereof – between the Celtics organization and Jackson who was selected with the No. 4 pick by the Phoenix Suns.

When asked about his level of communication with Jackson, Ainge said, “never talked to Josh. No one in our organization did. I know someone wrote something that was different.”

That’s because in New York City on Wednesday, Jackson told a group of reporters that he had spoken with head coach Brad Stevens and other assistant coaches, but had not had a chance to talk with Ainge.

Despite the lack of communication with the Celtics, Jackson said he was still open to playing for Boston.

“It would be great to play in Boston,” Jackson told reporters on Wednesday. “I see a lot of their players on their team are about the same things I’m about. Anybody who knows me, knows I love to win. I see that in a lot of the guys on their team. I would love to play in Boston.”

Those were his words.

But his actions told an entirely different story.

Jackson said he didn’t work out for Boston because he and his agent didn’t think the Celtics were interested in him when they had the number one overall pick.

Once Boston traded the No. 1 overall pick for Philadelphia’s pick (No. 3) and a future first-round pick, Jackson said there was more interest on Boston’s part but there was not enough time to schedule a workout.

Boston's attempt at working out Jackson went horribly wrong. 

“They canceled a workout on us,” Ainge said. “When we flew out to Sacramento, they decided to cancel it; as we flew, Brad and I and (assistant GM and team counsel) Mike Zarren flew cross country.”

Although it was never said explicitly, Ainge had a feel for what was happening.

"There was something that he didn’t want to play for the Celtics,” Ainge said.

Ainge, who played for the Sacramento Kings (1989-1990), acknowledged he wasn’t thrilled to make the long trip and not get to see Jackson workout.

“I was mad,” Ainge said. “Flew cross-country. . . there’s nothing to do in Sacramento.”

Despite not having had a chance to speak with Jackson or getting to work him out, Ainge said the Celtics still had not ruled out drafting him.

“In spite of that, we watched Josh for two years and we were fans,” Ainge said. “He’s a terrific kid and a good player.”

Thomas (hip) feeling better, but still no determination on surgery

Thomas (hip) feeling better, but still no determination on surgery

BOSTON –  Brad Stevens said Isaiah Thomas (hip) is feeling better, but no decision has been made on whether the two-time All-Star will have surgery.

“He’s doing some rehab work out there with his people in Seattle,” Stevens told a pool reporter during Thursday night’s NBA draft. “He’s getting ready to host his Zeke-end (basketball tournament), which is a big deal for him.”

Thomas, who led all players in the Eastern Conference with a 28.9 points per game average, suffered a right hip injury in Boston’s second-round series against Washington but continued to play through it.

However, the injury only worsened and ultimately led to him being unable to return in the second half of Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals against Cleveland which ended in five games.

Stevens said no decision has made yet as to whether Thomas will require surgery.

“He has his follow-up appointment here in a couple of weeks to determine next course of action,” Stevens said. “And nothing’s determined after that. He hasn’t done a lot, physically, and will be off his feet until that next appointment, or won’t be doing any basketball.”