Bruins

Bruins disagree with length of Paille suspension

Bruins disagree with length of Paille suspension

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com

WILMINGTON -- Daniel Paille thought it was a clean hit. Claude Julien thinks Raymond Sawada should have had his head up coming over the blue line. And Peter Chiarelli believes the four-game suspension that the NHL hit Paille with on Friday for Thursday's hit on Sawada, was a little too harsh.

"I thought it was a little stiff," said the Bruins' general manager after Friday's practice at Ristuccia Arena. "We felt that Paille tried to square up, and circle around Sawada. In fact, if you look at the footage, Sawada was at one point, two or three feet ahead of Paille, and circled back . . . thought it was a little stiff. I thought maybe one or two games.

"There should have been punishment, don't get me wrong," added Chiarelli, pointing out that the hit did take place in a blind spot on the ice, around the same area that Savard was hit last winter in Pittsburgh. "There should have been punishment on this. I thought it should have been less than four games."

As Sawada took the puck over the blue line from the left wing, he cut into the middle of the ice, and Paille came streaking from the right side, and came up high on the Stars' forward, causing the officials to eject Paille from the game.

Chiarelli sat in Friday morning's league hearing with Paille, and each side gave their view of the hit.

Having Marc Savard out of the lineup once again, mainly because of a brutal hit he took to the head from Matt Cooke last winter, Chiarelli and Julien both made it known on Friday that they fully support the league's stance on cutting down head shots.

"They're sending strong messages, and I'm not opposed to that," said Chiarelli. "This thing is a hot issue, and rightfully so. Part of me, deep down, thought that something like this might come down, and it did."

Both believe that there's no place in the game for "blind-sided hits," but both also believe that this one could have possibly been prevented, on Sawada's end.

"There's a lot of responsibility that's taken off the player that's getting hit, now," said Julien after Friday's practice, re-iterating his stance on Thursday night that Sawada had his head down. "So until the players themselves, in their minds, start thinking about stop putting themselves in vulnerable positions, whether it's playing with your head down, whether it's being by the boards and seeing that you're going to get hit and turning your back, or whatever the case may be, I think if the players start taking that responsibility, I think it's going to minimize a lot of these things.

"To me, I think that, until the players really take that upon themselves, you're still going to get those things happening. We can minimize that, if they do their part. That's my opinion.

"Once you're in the pros, you've been told for many, many years, not to play with your head down," said Julien. "So if he hasn't learned by now, he shouldn't be in the pros. Again, I'm stating my opinion."

Paille knows how sensitive the league's head-shot rule is, and he said he feels like he's being made an example of, because he thought his hit was clean.

"Obviously it was a fast-paced play, and I just recognized that Sawada was going on a breakaway, and I just went over there to back-check and get the puck, but he cut back through the middle," said Paille, who said he was expecting a two-game suspension, not a four-game. "If you look at the play, I'm ahead of him. When I hit him, I felt that I hit his shoulder at that moment. And looking at the replay, I felt that he kind of turned towards me, so I finished my check. I felt that I hit him in the shoulder.

Sawada suffered a broken nose and a sore shoulder on the hit, and Paille has yet to get in touch with him.

If he does get in touch with Sawada, Paille's message will be clear: there was no intent to injure, because he still feels it was a clean hit.

"I know that a lot of the guys on the team here know me and understand me, and agree with me," said Paille, even though Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference was quick to call it a "bad hit" after Thursday's game. "Just looking at the replay over and over, I feel that I see the shoulder hitting the shoulder."

--Marc Savard was scheduled to meet with team doctors on Friday. Chiarelli said there wouldn't be an update for a few days, as he is also scheduled to meet with Savard and his agent over the weekend.

--Call-up Zach Hamill will get a look on Saturday in the Bruins lineup against the San Jose Sharks. During Friday's practice, he centered a line with Blake Wheeler and Michael Ryder, while Tyler Seguin moved down to the wing with Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton.

Chiarelli said that as of right now, Hamill is just "getting a look" and that it could possibly end up being more than that.

--Thornton left practice early on Friday, but Julien said he'll be playing on Saturday against the Sharks.

"Let's put it this way, he wasn't 100 percent, and I told him to get off," said Julien. "There are banged up players at this time of year, but not banged up enough to miss a game, but certainly want to give him the best opportunity to be ready for Saturday."

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on his streaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from 9-10 a.m. on CSNNE.com.

Only five games into season, Bruins already sending off bad vibes

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Only five games into season, Bruins already sending off bad vibes

LAS VEGAS -- Even though it's only five games into a new regular season, it feels like the Bruins are in danger of going off the tracks.

They finished their three-game Western road swing Sunday with an aimless 3-1 loss to the expansion Golden Knights, which came on the heels of a wretched defeat in Colorado and a victory over the winless Coyotes. Sunday was particularly disheartening, as they never tested their ex-goalie, Malcolm Subban, putting only 21 mostly harmless shots on net against a player they gave away on waivers just a few weeks ago,

They may only have three losses in five games, but it sure feels like there's trouble starting to brew in Bruins land.

“It could be a lot of different things,” said Brad Marchand about the loss to Las Vegas. "We may not have been as mentally prepared for that game as we thought we were. They wanted it more than we did. They out-battled us in a lot of areas and they were the better team. We were making it hard on ourselves. We were trying to do too much with the puck, and not directing enough of the pucks toward the net. You can’t get rebound and you can’t get bodies there if the puck isn’t going there.”

That is a lot of different things. A lot of different problems:

-- They couldn’t fight to get to the front of the net against a rugged Vegas defensive group that was going to make them battle to get there.

-- Once again they had too many passengers along for the ride, with both Ryan Spooner and Frank Vatrano failing to even be a blip on the game’s radar screen. Spooner suffered a lower body injury midway through the game, but while he was out there he was a non-factor once again. 

-- It felt like there was no flow at all to Boston’s game, with breakouts dogged by sloppy passing and players who weren’t hard enough on the puck.

-- When they did get a chance to create something they either missed the net with their shot, or opted not to even take the shot in the first place. 

-- They lost 67 percent of the 57 draws taken during the game, and saw Spooner, Riley Nash and David Krejci and Ryan Spooner go a combined 8-for-29 in the face-off circle.

-- They chased the puck for long stretches and certainly didn’t ever put together anything approaching a consistent, driving pressure in the offensive zone.

Missing stalwart veterans like Patrice Bergeron and David Backes certainly isn’t helping. It makes the Bruins a much smaller group up front that can be pushed around by bigger, stronger defensive units.

But even so, there’s a sense the Bruins can’t consistently bring their 'A' game to the rink with them and don’t seem to have much fight when they fall down by a couple of goals. Trailing by just two goals going into the third period, the Bruins had four shots on net for most of the final period until a late flurry produced a score by David Pastrnak.

Perhaps of more concern, though, is the growing feeling that the Bruins aren’t all on the same page.

Marchand vaguely referenced that the Bruins weren’t prepared to play Sunday, and Tuukka Rask said he’ll no longer comment on anything except his own goaltending. Rask has always been candid and willing to be frank about any shortcomings after Bruins losses, but it appears that’s not something that is any longer welcome inside the B’s dressing room.

“I just try to go out there and give us a chance to win every night. That’s what I’m focused on,” said Rask. “I’m not going to comment anymore on team play that much. We can just talk about goaltending. That’s just the way it is. Sorry.”

Meanwhile, Krejci was similarly short in his postgame thoughts and started talking about avoiding pointing fingers after a frustrating loss.

“There’s no reason to point fingers," he said. "Yeah, we lost a game and it was a frustrating loss. But it’s just the fifth game of the season, so we don’t need to make a big deal out of it. We’re going to back to Boston, we’re going to work hard in practices and we’re going to get ready for the next game.”

Clearly, the fact this stuff is coming to the surface just five games into the season is a cause for concern. But it makes sense, given the way the Bruins are letting an easy portion of the season slip through their fingers.

In their first 10 games of the year, they're facing only one team that made the playoffs last season and they've got plenty of spaced-out stretches in the schedule to get off to a strong, healthy start. Instead they’re losing to subpar teams and highly unproven goalies, and doing so with a real lack of energy or purpose on the ice.

Certainly management would be smart to think about shipping underperforming players like Vatrano back to the AHL in place of Peter Cehlarik or Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson. And a few more games like Sunday’s snooze-fest could advance trade talks for a player like Matt Duchene.

But there aren’t going to be any easy answers. It comes down to hard work and hunkering down together as a team, and Sunday’s pitifully inept loss in a very winnable situation was yet another sign the Bruins aren't even close to being there yet.

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Spooner, McQuaid injured in Bruins' loss to Golden Knights

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Spooner, McQuaid injured in Bruins' loss to Golden Knights

LAS VEGAS -- The Bruins are already missing a handful of players to injuries, and they may have lost a couple more in Sunday’s loss to the Vegas Golden Knights.

Ryan Spooner was knocked out in the second period with a lower body injury, and Adam McQuaid was lost in the closing seconds of the third period when he was hit by a Colin Miller rocket from the point in his leg. McQuaid had to be helped to the dressing room after staying down on the ice for a few long moments, and the hope is that it’s the same kind of mostly harmless “dead leg” hit that allowed Kevan Miller to bounce back immediately from his Friday incident in practice.

McQuaid was spotted up and walking around in the visiting dressing room area postgame, so hopefully it’s nothing serious with one of the few Bruins giving everything he has on the ice each and every night.

Spooner finished with just eight shifts and 6:42 of ice time while failing to generate much offense, and went 1-for-4 in the face-off circle before getting shelved for the rest of the game. He just has a single point and is a minus-3 in four games this season and is once again has been pretty hard to notice on the ice during 5-on-5 play. It perhaps wasn’t a huge loss for the Bruins, given how much Spooner has been struggling to find baseline consistency, but the Bruins can’t continue to sustain injuries to their center men without those missing bodies beginning to take a toll.

The Bruins already have Paul Postma on hand if they take any injuries on the back end, but any more losses up front could mean the B’s dip into Providence where Peter Cehlarik, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and Kenny Agostino are all off to hot offensive starts.