Marchand looks to spark Bruins in return

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Marchand looks to spark Bruins in return

TAMPA Brad Marchand is officially out of the NHL big house after serving his five-game suspension, and hell be back in the Bs lineup Thursday night against the New Jersey Devils.

While Marchand hopes to be back along the left wing with Patrice Bergeron and Tyler Seguin, hes hoping to give the Bs a jolt of energy and a shot of attitude after their recent struggles. The team is a long way from Claude Julien playfully chirping with Marchand after the Calgary Flames blowout, saying shows how much we need you to the Bs agitator in their home dressing room.

Now they really do need Marchand after dropping two of their first three games on their four-game road trip.

Its always tough to watch the team play. Its frustrating. But its nice the five games are over with and Ill just jump back in to help out any way I can, said Marchand. I wouldnt say were in a lull or a rough spot. A lot of guys are playing a lot of minutes and the schedule can be a little tough at times. But were ready to go tomorrow.

I just want to create energy like I try to do and continue to play my game. Hopefully I get the chemistry back with Bergeron and Seguin if Im playing with them tomorrow.

It was pretty clear Marchands skating speed and offensive production were missed to a greater degree as the suspension sentence ran its course. Marchand's absence was compounded by the fact that the Bs were without Rich Peverley during the last two road games in Florida.

While Marchand is a top line player and does have 16 goals on the season -- and both "Nose Face Killah" and Peverley are factors on special teams their teammates wanted to pump the brakes on the notion their return immediately would immediately push Boston out of their recent malaise.

You look at what they do," Julien said. "Peverley is a penalty kill and power play guy, and Marchand can be both as well. Theyre guys that can play a lot of minutes and you miss those guys. But at the same time everybody has those situations around the league. If anything youd like your team to play through those things.

Normally we would make it through, but were not playing the way we should. If everybody was and we were competing the way we should then missing PeverleyMarchand it wouldnt be an issue. There are a lot of times where its got to come from within. I cant lace up the skates. I cant compete. But I can make the players accountable and thats something that maybe I can do with a few guys returning to the lineup.

Sounds like the Bs coaching staff could be doling out a healthy scratch or too with a full complement of players at their disposal in New Jersey. That, along with the returns of Marchand and Peverley, could be just the boost the Bruins need.

Cassidy switches up Bruins lines tonight against Lightning

Cassidy switches up Bruins lines tonight against Lightning

BRIGHTON, Mass. – After his Bruins scored just two goals in each of the past two games with a distinct lack of finish around the net, Bruce Cassidy has made some slight tweaks up front with his wingers. 

Drew Stafford has been bumped up to the left wing with David Krejci and Matt Beleskey has been dropped to a new fourth line with Dominic Moore and Riley Nash.

The hope would be that Krejci and Pastrnak could help get Stafford going after he’s gone scoreless in his past three games, with just two shots on net, and been pretty quiet since a couple of strong games right after the trade.

After a couple of active games for Noel Acciari, the gritty Rhode Island kid was skating on the third line with Frank Vatrano and Ryan Spooner in an interesting combination of players. Tuukka Rask was the first goalie off the ice at Warrior Ice Arena on Thursday morning, so it looks like he’ll be starting his third game in four days tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning at a time of year when bubble teams can’t afford to rest anybody.  

Here are the projected Bruins line combos and D-pairings based on morning skate:

 
Marchand-Bergeron-Backes

Stafford-Krejci-Pastrnak

Vatrano-Spooner-Acciari

Beleskey-Moore-Nash

 
Chara-Carlo

Krug-McQuaid

C. Miller-K. Miller

 
Rask

According to Fortune, Theo's the greatest . . . in the world, not just baseball

According to Fortune, Theo's the greatest . . . in the world, not just baseball

Apparently, the Red Sox couldn’t hold onto the best leader in the world. And the best leader in the world has no idea how to housebreak his puppy.

Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein was given the top spot on a list of “The World’s 50 Greatest Leaders," published by Fortune on Thursday morning.

The potential for silly takeaways from Epstein’s placement on the list -- and his response to it in a text to ESPN’s Buster Olney -- are amusing, if not astounding.

Wait, Epstein doesn’t think baseball is the most important thing in the world?

"Um, I can't even get my dog to stop peeing in the house," Epstein told Olney. "That is ridiculous. The whole thing is patently ridiculous. It's baseball -- a pastime involving a lot of chance. If [Ben] Zobrist’s ball is three inches farther off the line, I'm on the hot seat for a failed five-year plan. And I'm not even the best leader in our organization; our players are."

Zobrist, of course, had the go-ahead hit in the 10th inning of Game 7 of the World Series against the Indians.

As Fortune described it, the list of leaders is meant to include those “transforming the world and inspiring others to do the same” across business, government, philanthropy and the arts.

Epstein certainly did help transform the baseball world.

“In the fall of 2016, as partisan distrust and division reached abysmal depths, fascination with the Chicago Cubs became that all-too-rare phenomenon that united America,” his blurb on the list begins.

That’s fair. But, if you scroll down the list: Pope Francis is No. 3. Angela Merkel is No. 10 and LeBron James is No. 11.