On Max Pacioretty: The turnbuckle talks

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On Max Pacioretty: The turnbuckle talks

By The Bell Centre Turnbuckle
As told to Mary Paoletti
CSNNE.com

I haven't slept for two days.

I'm sick.

The pain isn't the problem; I've been hit before. It's the flashbacks I can't handle.

Everything moving so fast... Chara's hulking frame bearing down on Max... Max's head just... I don't know... it was like time stopped when we collided. To me, Max fell to the ice in slow motion. He looked like a dead leaf broken off of a Maple in October, floating down, discarded.

Why the hell do I even exist?

I'm "the only thing that keeps the boys from hurting each other on the bench."That's what they told me when I first got to Montreal. But what now?

A severe concussion. Fractured vertebrae.

Patches wouldn't be hurt if I wasn't there.

Maybe Zdeno Chara did want to put Max over the boards. I was there for that January 8 game and saw their little shoving match. Bruins v. Canadiens is one of the fiercest rivalries in sports and I expect that tempers will flare. But you can't tell me that Chara hoped Max's head would smack into of me

Oh, God.

I could change. I want to change.

Padding just isn't enough. I could get a makeover to look like Edmonton.

Or Detroit.

Things look a little different there, but it doesn't change the game. If anything, it helps. Guys have enough to worry about, flying around out there on the ice at 35-40 mph, without having me in the way. If guys want to break each other's faces on the bench, fine, that's a choice. But broken vertebrae? Nobody chose that outcome.

And the thing that really kills me? This has happened before.

Remember Ryan Smyth? I know everybody in Colorado, and when he got checked into the home turnbuckle by Jack Johnson, my buddy was distraught. He went through the same identity crisis that I'm dealing with. I tried to reach out on Tuesday night after the Bruins game, but he never responded. He totally shut down after Smyth got hurt.

That was two years ago.

I don't want to be like that. I don't want to hurt anybody else.

Nobody from either side is happy about what happened to Patches, because if the physicality of the game changes then we all lose. Wasting resources on a police investigation into Chara's hit is ridiculous. The guilty party is here; it's me. I'm coming forward and I want to get involved in the NHL's new initiatives to make the game we love safer for the guys who play it.

That's something we can all agree on, right?

Bruce Cassidy: Bruins 'have got to have a stronger mental capacity' in times of adversity

Bruce Cassidy: Bruins 'have got to have a stronger mental capacity' in times of adversity

BOSTON – While there were some warning signs over the last few weeks that the Bruins might be getting away from their game, it didn’t really hit home until Thursday night’s frustrating loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

The Bruins blew through three different one-goal leads in the second period in the 6-3 loss to the Bolts at TD Garden, and each time surrendered a tying goal to Tampa in less than two minutes after initially scoring. It was a clear indicator that the Bruins weren’t fully focused on the task at hand despite having already lost three games in a row, and that their ability to bounce back from adversity is going away from them again. 

That much was obvious when the bottom dropped out in the third period, and Jonathan Drouin and Nikita Kucherov turned into a two-man Lightning wrecking crew outscoring the Bruins by a 3-0 margin in the final 20 minutes. 

“I think the frustration is more in-game, where we’ve got to have a stronger mental capacity to handle those [challenging] situations in-game. Let’s face it, when you get on a bit of a losing streak, all those things creep in, whether it’s in October or whether it’s in March,” said Bruce Cassidy. “You have doubts, you start pressing, and again, it’s my job to alleviate the kind of attention in those situations.

“But, as I told you, we all have to be accountable and be responsible for ourselves, and that’s where we just need to have better focus and better discipline in those areas. It was there when it was 3-3 [on the scoreboard]. We’ve got to push back after they score, and that’s where I thought we started to come apart a little bit where we should’ve stuck together and stuck with the program. [We needed to] get ourselves slowly back into the game. We had 10 minutes to even the score, and we weren’t able to do it.”

Clearly this wasn’t just the coach alone in his pointed observations, however, as the lack of focus showed unfortunately in a rudderless second period for the Black and Gold where they couldn’t gain any separation from Tampa Bay despite scoring three goals. 

“[It’s] not being focused, not being sharp, and obviously at this time of the year it’s unacceptable, and it’s up on us to be better,” said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. “Those kinds of situations shouldn’t happen. So, for sure, we need to address those things and hold each other accountable.”

One thing is clear: The Bruins have a lot of work to do if they hope to avoid the same kind of late season tailspin that doomed them each of the last two seasons, and already seems to be happening over their last four losses to varying levels of hockey talent. 

Talking points: Tuukka Rask wasn't good enough vs. Lightning

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Talking points: Tuukka Rask wasn't good enough vs. Lightning

Here are the talking points from the Boston Bruins' 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.