Boston Bruins

Turco comes to the 'end of the line' with Bruins

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Turco comes to the 'end of the line' with Bruins

Marty Turco called Tuesday night's game the end of the line as far as his time with the Bruins goes.

Turco wasnt at his best while giving up five goals on 27 shots in a 5-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins Tuesday night including a pair of goals allowed to Sidney Crosby.

The 36-year-old goalie was clearly disappointed he didnt go out on a winning note, but theres also little denying the veteran jumped in and helped stabilize the team over the last month.

After the loss to the Pens, Turco seemed to be kicking himself just a little bit for opportunities lost.

I think by the end of the night with the chances, the amount of chances, that we had you feel like you deserve to win a hockey game. Those power play goals really ended up costing us . . . with those calls. But theres a lot to be taken from this game, said Turco.

For me, its the end of the line as far as the regular season goes and these guys, you know, they battle to be down twice like that and even though we went down 5-2 in the third, there was no give up in this bunch.

I think thats a huge thing for these guys to build on. Theyve been a tremendous third period team, everyone knows that real well. But to see them pour it on at the end and give us a chance was also a good sign, too. But at the end of the day its disappointing to lose anytime, never mind against a team like that.

Turco finished the season with a 2-2 record along with a 3.28 goals against average and .865 save percentage. None of those numbers scream success, but Turco helped stabilize things and gave Tim Thomas a few games of rest at a key point in the season.

Turco said he still hoped to play hockey after this point and wasnt sure whether hed be with the team during their playoff run but the Bruins were appreciative for the emergency help he provided when Tuukka Rask went down with a groin injury.

The start against the Penguins probably could have gone to Anton Khudobin to get him ready for a potential job backing up Tim Thomas if Rask isnt ready to start the playoffs. But the Bruins wanted to give Turco a chance to start a game in front of the home crowd in Boston before giving Khudobin the start against the Ottawa Senators Thursday night and then sharpening Thomas with the regular season finale against the Buffalo Sabres this weekend.

It was a gesture Turco appreciated.

This building has always been pretty special to me. I have fond memories from the Frozen Four of 98, my first shutout here and anytime you play this group theyre always going to battle. So it was fun coming in here, said Turco. I never started in that end, so I had to rethink that a little bit. But it was special. This is really unique franchise, not just what they did last year.

But being an Original Six team and the tradition that they have and not many teams have this. Their fan base has been unreal over the years and particularly strong this year. To just to feel that energy inside the arena and get a chance to play, period, never mind at home. I do owe a big debt of gratitude. And even though losing, 5-3, I think tomorrow Ill wake up and realize that the majority of it was pretty fun.

Turco has made fast friends with a lot of his teammates, and it was pretty clear the impression he left behind even if hes now retiring the electric yellow Kool-Aid pads for the rest of the season.

It was unfortunate to see Tuukka Rask go down but it gives a chance for Marty to step in and give Timmy Thomas some much-needed rest. Hes obviously a veteran guy that has been around for a long time and a good team guy that has seen a lot, as well, said Milan Lucic. Weve been happy with what hes brought to this hockey team and this organization. He definitely played well for us.

While the numbers werent all that compelling, Turcos ability to come in and spell Thomas during the month of March will be one of the key factors if the soon-to-be 38-year-old Thomas is able to go on another strong playoff run.

Haggerty: Not many fans of face-off changes among Bruins

Haggerty: Not many fans of face-off changes among Bruins

BOSTON – It may just be that all of these slashing penalties and face-off violations will become a training camp fad of sorts and the preseason period of adjustment will give way to business as usual once the regular season opens.

The NHL can’t possibly hope to sell fans on games like the Bruins' 2-1 overtime win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night at TD Garden that included 16 penalties and 12 power plays that completely marred the normal game flow. Some of it was about the seven slashing penalties handed out by the officiating crew and the ensuing special teams flow that never allowed either team to truly find their 5-on-5 footing.

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Even more prominent, however, is the frustration that many players from both teams are feeling for the strict enforcement of the face-off rules and the impact it’s having on the flow of the game. Brad Marchand called it “an absolute joke” a couple of days ago after watching the first night of preseason hockey. He doubled down on his criticism after watching it play out in a game.

He said it was so bad that players from both teams were laughing at the sheer absurdity of the standstill face-off posture and just how much it’s taking away from the enjoyment, whether it’s fans, the media or even the officials, of a free-flowing NHL game.

“It’s really taking a lot away from the game. You can’t have a winger taking all the face-offs. I mean if you look at the percentages of how many times guys got kicked out tonight, and what it’s taking away from the teams, it’s not worth what’s coming with it,” said Marchand. “Literally both teams were laughing out there about how bad the rule is. It’s becoming a big joke, so there’s got to be something tweaked with it.

“These games are painful. I thought it was a bad rule before I played, but it’s even worse after going through it and actually seeing what it’s like. It’s basically an automatic [face-off] win for the other team. The only thing you’re worried about is not moving before the puck is shot.”

The choppiness resulted in some pretty bad nights in the face-off circle for the Bruins. Ryan Spooner lost 9 of 10 draws and Riley Nash 12 of 19 face-offs while Claude Giroux somehow won 20 of 25 draws despite the difficulty all around him. While Patrice Bergeron was a solidly respectable 9 of 18 in the face-off circle for the evening, the four-time Selke Trophy made no bones wondering aloud what exactly is the point of all this.

Bergeron is rarely critical of anything despite his standing as a prominent, respected player in the league, but he seemed to take major umbrage with rules that are totally messing with his considerable face-off skills. The Bruins top face-off man likened it to Pee Wee hockey when he was 12 where everybody would just stand perfectly still in the face-off circle until the puck was dropped. That little tweak wrings every last bit of competitiveness and 1-on-1 battle out of the ultimate hockey showdown and has left Bergeron with a bad taste in his mouth.

“I think that the face-off is definitely an adjustment. I think that the face-off is a skill and you work your whole career to develop that and you work on your hand-eye and timing and everything and try to take that away. You have to adapt I guess. It’s something that I’ll definitely do, but I don’t think I’m a huge fan,” said Bergeron. “I wonder what they’re really trying to get out of it. I understand that it’s feet above those lines and sticks and whatnot. That being said it also kind of sucks. Hockey is a fast game and they’re really slowing it down.

“Faceoff is a skill and you work on timing, you work on hand-eye, and you know when the linesman is going to drop the puck. And I was thinking more about him kicking me out than dropping the puck. That’s what makes you second guess. It just makes you hesitate and everyone is just standing there. There’s no battle right now. It’s like face-offs when I was 12 years old. Everyone is just standing still and no one is really moving.”

In an interesting wrinkle to the face-off debate, Bruins forward David Backes is a member of the NHL Competition Committee that came up with the stricter enforcement. 

“[Marchand] probably won’t like it, but I was on the competition committee that changed [the face-off enforcement]. I get to hear his gripes and it makes me chuckle a little bit. I think the intent was that all face-offs tended to be ‘scrum draws.’ It wasn’t win the draw. It was ‘don’t lose the draw’ and get the wingers in there, and everything looks like rugby where it’s bash each other together to figure it all out,” said Backes. “The intent was to have a cleanly won face-off whether it’s the second center in there that’s petrified to get a penalty, or it’s the first line center that’s got to be honest.

“The draws are won more cleanly [now] and you can watch it in the games. The puck is dropped and it’s not two guys colliding and banging heads like they’re football players. It’s certainly a skill that needs to be developed. [Bergeron] didn’t like it and he was 50 percent [in his first preseason game], but I bet you the next time he plays it will be 85 percent and it will be a great rule. Because he’s that good on draws and he’s smart enough, he’ll adjust. You’ve just got to be honest. We’ll all maybe have a hug, and life will go on.”

So, what’s the ultimate answer from an NHL that wasn’t tremendously forthcoming with these preseason tweaks and now has a stand-up, influential player like Bergeron kicking it around just like everybody else? It might be time for the league to revisit their face-off crackdown and perhaps get a little more advice from accomplished players like Bergeron for the next time around. But Bergeron, Marchand and others aren’t exactly holding their breath for any more changes. Instead, they simply hope that some of the referees apply a common-sense approach once the regular season begins. 
 

Belichick on CTE following Hernandez news: 'I'm not a doctor'

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Belichick on CTE following Hernandez news: 'I'm not a doctor'

FOXBORO -- In wake of Aaron Hernandez’ estate filing a federal lawsuit against the NFL and the Patriots over the late tight end’s head trauma, Bill Belichick was expectedly mum when asked Friday about CTE. 

Hernandez, who died in prison of an apparent suicide in April shortly after being acquitted of a 2012 double-murder, had “the most severe case” of chronic traumatic encephalopathy that researchers had ever seen in a 27-year-old, according to his lawyer. 

Belichick, who drafted Hernandez in 2010 and coached the player until his 2013 release, reiterated his September 2016 quote about not being a doctor on Friday. 

“That’s really, the whole medicals questions are ones that come outside my area,” he said Friday when asked what the team tells players about CTE. “Our medical department, our medical staff cover a lot of things on the medical end. It’s not just one specific thing. We cover a lot.” 

Asked if he feels the NFL does a good enough job of warning players about CTE, Belichick repeated his answer. 

“Again, I’m not a doctor. I’m not a trainer. I’m a coach,” he said. “The medical part, they handle the medical part of it. I don’t do that.”

Hernandez was listed as having one concussion during his NFL career.