Boston Bruins

Bruins ready for 'measuring stick' vs. Canucks

Bruins ready for 'measuring stick' vs. Canucks

By JoeHaggerty
CSNNE.com
VANCOUVER The Bruins are finally at Rogers Arena to take on the Vancouver Canucks for their measuring stick game with all of their newly comprised pieces, and see how they stack up against the class of the Western Conference.The Canucks lead the entire NHL with 87 points through 62 games, and have risen to the top out West.The Bruins are 4-7-2 this season against the Western Conference teams and have struggled through the first few months, but it was a different more determined Bs bunch that took the ice earlier this week against the Calgary Flames. Conversely, the Canucks are 10-4-2 against the Eastern Conference this year, so clearly something has to give.The Bruins are hoping that same Black and Gold squad comes out to play against the Canucks on Saturday night.I thought we played a solid game against Calgary. Thats important on the road: a solid game, said Claude Julien. Defensively we were very good and offensively we capitalized on some plays when we had opportunities, and we made some good plays that way.You watch the Canucks play on TV and see how well theyre doing. The fact that you get a chance to measure yourself up against a team right now thats first is a good opportunity to seize. Its going to be a good game, a good challenge and after the game you have a pretty good idea of where you stand.Brad Marchand went through morning skate without a problem at Rogers Arena, and looked 100 percent fine for tonights game against Vancouver after taking a shot off the leg.
His leg seemed okay. I wasnt sure about his hands this morning, said Julien. I asked him that this morning: did you hurt your leg, or your hands? Hes totally fine and ready to go.Tim Thomas was the first goaltender off the ice and looks like hell be getting the start against the Canucks. Thomas is 12-4-3 in his last 19 starts and was one third period goal away from notching a career-best eighth shutout of the season against the Flames. Roberto Luongo was the first goalie off the ice for the Canucks and is having a solid season in Vancouver, though his last win came all the way back on Feb. 19 against the Dallas Stars.
Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Cassidy: Khudobin 'has a leg up' on backup competition in Bruins camp

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Cassidy: Khudobin 'has a leg up' on backup competition in Bruins camp

BOSTON – Fresh off a strong performance allowing just a single goal on 31 shots in his preseason debut, Tuukka Rask looked close to the top of his game and exactly where he needs to be with the regular season a couple of weeks away. Nearly as important as Rask’s state as the regular season nears, the Bruins coaching staff has been keeping a keen eye through camp on the all-important backup goaltender position as well. 

It’s important that the Bruins have a quality backup goalie in place as they hope to start Rask in just 55-60 games this season, and manage the slender puck-stopper in a way where they can get the best out of him from beginning to end. Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy indicated Anton Khudobin has the inside track on the backup job after finding his groove in the second half of last season, and it would appear he’s well on his way to retaining his job with a Malcolm Subban/Zane McIntyre tandem in Providence.

“Tuukka looks good, and looks good in practice and healthy. So that’s reassuring,” said Cassidy. “[Anton Khudobin] I thought played very well in his game. He had the one unfortunate goal, but I thought he was rock-solid the rest of the game. He’s in very good shape and he’s practiced well, so he’s got a leg up on the other [goalies] based on his experience.

“We know that going in, but he’s going to get pushed. Zane [McIntyre] was good in a game, and Malcolm let in a couple where he could have been more aggressive. But it was a first game, so right now they all look good. That’s a good problem to have if they all push each other, but to get direct to the point Anton has done nothing to lose that backup spot.”

At this point, it would likely be McIntyre rather than Subban that would challenge for the NHL backup job if Khudobin did stumble at all in training camp or early in the regular season as he did last year. There will be no backup controversy, however, if the 31-year-old plays like he did in stopping 20-of-22 shots in Tuesday night’s win vs. the Red Wings or as he did going 6-1-0 with a .922 save percentage after the All-Star break last season.  

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Morning Skate: Why NHL players hate analytics

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Morning Skate: Why NHL players hate analytics

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while already hating my fantasy football team just a couple of weeks into things.

*Interesting look at why NHL players hate analytics and why most of them don’t even care what Corsi is or how it’s tabulated.

*Interesting piece on the play-by-play for Bruins radio, where over 200 applicants threw their hat in the ring to replace Dave Goucher as the voice of the Bruins. FOH (Friend of Haggs) Ryan Johnston is one of the finalists and has great on the call on Tuesday night, so count me as rooting for him to wind up getting the gig he’s worked his whole life for.

*This is actually a fairly thoughtful and well-researched blog post on the Blackhawks logo and why it’s unfair to claim that it’s racist using the same arguments as for the Washington Redskins or the Cleveland Indians.

*It’s unfortunate, but an arena conflict between the Flames and the city of Calgary is the same kind of thing that’s forced franchises to move in other NHL cities.

*Good piece from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Craig Custance about Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Sheahan and the bond he has with one Michigan family and one special little boy.

*Count the Winnipeg Jets among the teams that are going to have former NHL referees stop by training camp to give them the lowdown on slashing and face-offs. I think everybody understands the slashing enforcement, but this face-off stuff is ridiculous.

*For something completely different: I’ve enjoyed “Billy on the Street” while it’s been on TruTV, but it looks like it’s finding a new home soon.