Coach and Front Office Wasting No Time Lineup Adjustments
Like most coaches in the NHL do, Claude Julien has taken a beating during his time in Boston from Bruins fans who think they know better than the veteran headmaster (and I’ll admit, I’ve been guilty of it too). Everything from his systems, his ability to motivate, to how he handles young players has been called into question especially in recent seasons, which is a little strange given the Bruins’ success. Perhaps one of the biggest pain points for fans has been how the team has handled underperforming players, as during prior seasons the coach and front office has generally continued to trust said players while they worked through whatever issue they may be facing. But as the Black and Gold roll past the ten game mark of the 2013-14 season with a relatively average record, one thing is becoming abundantly clear: those days are quickly drawing to a close.
Before 2013-14 training camps kick off in September, a number of current and soon-to-be NHLers will be heading to orientation camps for their respective countries for the chance to participate in the 2014 Sochi Olympic Hockey Tournament. Reps for most qualifying teams announced their invitees today and the Bruins were relatively well represented, in Canada at least.
Obviously the Bruins were (appropriately) an afterthought given the events that took place yesterday in the city of Boston. My thoughts and prayers continue to be with all those directly affected and all those who call Boston home.
While we search for answers and start the healing process, the Bruins will press on and take to the ice for the first time since the bombings, hosting the Buffalo Sabres tomorrow night at the Garden (7:30 pm puck drop – NBC Sports Network). I for one am very much looking forward to what is sure to be a special rendition of the National Anthem before the game from Rene Rancourt.
Monday’s scheduled game against the Senators, which had been postponed, was rescheduled today to Sunday, April 28th at 7 pm. That will be the final game of the NHL regular season.
The black and gold held a spirited practice today and there were a few items of note:
Claude Julien termed Patrice Bergeron ‘highly probable‘ to return against the Sabres. He still has to be cleared by doctors before the game, but he appears ready to go.
Jordan Caron has been reassigned to Providence, mostly to make room for Bergeron’s return but also ahead of Carl Soderberg’s arrival, which is expected tomorrow. He could be on the ice for morning skate, but likely will not dress against the Sabres.
Brad Marchand was cleared for contact before today’s practice, but he wasn’t assigned a line so it’s unlikely that he will dress against the Sabres. If his recovery continues to go well, he could return Friday against Pittsburgh.
“We represent the city of Boston and we want to make sure we represent them well. All you can do is go out there and give it all you’ve got. Whether it gives a little bit of joy, or excitement to some people, it’s going to take a while to heal from this, and we don’t expect tomorrow to be the day that everything’s going to be OK, but you’ve got to start somewhere and tomorrow’s a great time for us to go out there and play our hearts out for all the right reasons.”
There were many displays of support across the league last night, with moments of silence in Chicago, Montreal, Phoenix and other arenas. The National Anthem in Chicago was particularly moving:
Phoenix Coyotes defenseman and Boston native Keith Yandle showed his support with a message on his skates:
Regardless of the outcome of tomorrow night’s game, it will be a big first step towards moving forward and a great opportunity for the people of Boston and all Bruins fans to come together and get their minds off of yesterday’s events for a few hours. Go Bruins!
Coming off a disappointing performance against the Montreal Canadiens and with just over 36 hours until their next game against the Carolina Hurricanes, the Boston Bruins were back at practice this morning and once again sported some new line combinations in an effort to find a much needed spark.
The new lines are…well…interesting to say the least. Have a look:
While most of the other teams in the NHL are struggling through back-to-back games and hectic travel schedules, the Bruins seem to have had a much easier trip through the first month and a half of this lockout shortened season. In the month of February the Black and Gold have had three day breaks between games three times, the last of which is this week ahead of their matchup with the Lightning on Thursday.
There’s no question this relatively easy schedule has contributed to their 9-2-2 start that has the team fighting near the top of the Eastern Conference, even with the least games played of any team in the league. They’ve had the ability to stay fresh (some would even argue the layoffs were too long), address injuries, and get some good practice time in.
Yesterday, the Bruins used their current break for a different reason. Coach Claude Julien joined players Adam McQuaid, Dan Paille, Rich Peverley, Tyler Seguin, Dougie Hamilton, Andrew Ference and Chris Bourque in a trip to Newtown, CT, where the terrible events at the Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14th are still on everyone’s minds. The group joined students of Sandy Hook and their families at the Newtown Youth Academy for a day of games, photos, autographs, and most importantly support.