Bruins

Bruins notes: Hnidy makes debut

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Bruins notes: Hnidy makes debut

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON Shane Hnidy wasnt sure if the day would come when hed suit up for an NHL game this season, and thats not even counting the chance to get involved in some playoff hockey.

The 35-year-old defenseman made his 2010-11 NHL debut with only five games remaining in the season, and it was an active days work for Hnidy in his second go-round with the Boston Bruins. Hnidy received 13:53 of ice time and fired three shots on net while also taking a delay-of-game penalty when he fired a puck into the TD Garden stands during Bostons 3-2 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers that clinched them the Northeast Division title.

A couple of Hnidys shots actually came dangerously close to goals as he fired them in from the point through heavy traffic in front of the net, but Ondrej Pavelec was somehow able to divert the pucks away from the danger area.

Hnidy was verbally pinching himself for being so lucky to be back playing in the NHL and back playing for the Bruins after the rotator cuff surgery on his should back in September during a tryout bid with the Phoenix Coyotes.

It was a big win. For me, it was, when you sit out that long and you kind of wonder if youre ever going to get back . . . It was pretty special to come back and play tonight. To be back in the league was a good feeling.

Rookies Steve Kampfer and Adam McQuaid both served as the healthy scratches for the Saturday afternoon matinee against the Thrashers, and that allowed Hnidy to get into the action. Coach Claude Julien wouldnt commit to how many games hell give Hnidy before the playoffs begin, but the safe bet is that hell play in the majority of the four games remaining in the regular season.

There were certainly times when the game sped up on Hnidy, but the Bs coach liked his composure and his role is more about leadership, depth and defensemen insurance when the playoff bell rings.

Early in the game I was kind of keeping an eye on him and he was determined to keep it simple, but efficient, said Julien. The one thing he does have is experience in this league, so hes smart enough to handle the situation the right way.

Coming into his first game and at the end of the season like that, its you know, its never easy. Everybodys been playing 70, close to 80, games and hes got a lot of catching up to do. But I think he was good tonight for us. I like the way he handled himself.

Hnidy said hed be ready to go along with whatever the coaches decide leading up to the postseason.

I cant control what they do, I just control my job and helping guys here that we got to really push ourselves, said Hnidy. This is what hockey is all about. This is the time of year we got to finish strong, play hard. Its fun to come to the rink everyday, especially when Ive been home as long as I was. Its great to come and be with the boys and enjoy this experience.

Tuukka Rask was fighting the puck early in the game after Dustin Byfugliens skipping, floating point blast snuck through, and a fluky second goal was tagged on Patrice Bergerons line as they were running around in the defensive zone. But Rask made 15 saves in the third period to protect the one-goal lead and was awarded the 1980s Starter-style Bruins warm-up jacket thats become a Player of the Game style item handed from player to player after each victory.

Mark Recchi was the last to wear it in Philadelphia on Sunday night, and he handed it off to Rask following the victory.

The Finnish netminder made a great game-saving stop on Chris Stewart at the doorstep early in the third period to keep it a tied hockey game, and opened the door for Michael Ryder to finally bust things open with his penalty shot with 7:29 remaining in the game.

That first goal kind of went off his stick and went up in the air and took kind of a bit of a bad bounce there for him, said Julien. But other than that he made some big saves. You saw him slide over and make some big saves at the right times.

He was big for us tonight. Thats what you want out of Tuukka Rask right now. It gives us a lot of confidence every time he plays. Its nice to see that you have two good goaltenders that you can rely on no matter which goalie is in net.

Blake Wheeler and Mark Stuart made their returns to the TD Garden for the first time since their trade to the Atlanta Thrashers, and it was the tale of two different greetings for the two former Bruins. Wheeler was greeted with half-hearted applause and a smattering of boos after a frustrating career as a member of the Bs, and Stuart was showered with big applause when his career was mentioned on the TD Garden jumbotron.

Stuart really mixed it up during the game as well, and belted both Ryder and Tomas Kaberle with hard, physical shots in open ice. He also got into a shoving match with Brad Marchand after the Bs pest threw a shoulder at him following a whistle in the offensive zone.

I knew it was going to be a fun atmosphere and a fun game, said Wheeler. Would have loved to have come in here and beat these guys, but they are a good team and they have a real shot this year.

I wasnt expecting it to be weird, but youre skating on the other end and you see the black jerseys. It brought back a lot of good memories. I have a lot of good friends on that team. I will certainly be rooting for them.

Bruins enforcer Shawn Thornton missed his second straight game since needing 40 stitches to close a gash in his forehead. The swelling had traveled from Thorntons forehead and settled into a bruise around his right eye on Friday, and hell be considered day-to-day until the swelling has calmed down.

Dustin Byfuglien made the rare accomplishment of hitting the TD Garden jumbotron in the third period high above the ice while flipping a puck up and trying to clear the defensive zone. Thats not something you see very often.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Morning Skate: Golden Knights happy to get Malcolm Subban back

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Morning Skate: Golden Knights happy to get Malcolm Subban back

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while watching old Super Friends episodes with my 4-year-old on a Saturday morning.

*Has anybody ever been as excited to get a healthy Malcolm Subban back in the lineup as the Vegas Golden Knights are this weekend? Pro Hockey Talk is asking the question, and I think I can honestly answer with a resounding “No.” We’ll see if he’s actually worth all the excitement, but obviously, he’s better than what the injury-plagued Golden Knights had in the interim.

*The Buffalo Sabres continue to get very little return for any of the investments they’ve made in the team over the last couple of years.

*Ryan Suter knows what it takes to remain among the NHL defenseman workhorses in the NHL, and he is consistently there year in and year out.

*Dustin Brown has been a resurgent performer for the Los Angeles Kings this season and is one of the big storylines behind their turnaround.

*The Detroit Red Wings are beginning to more openly adopt Jeff Blashill’s speed game, but the question is how much that will pay dividends for them.

*For something completely different: Good piece in the Boston Globe about Danny Ainge’s relationship with recently passed Red Sox great Bobby Doerr.

 

Morning Skate: No place for Gudas’ slash on Perreault

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Morning Skate: No place for Gudas’ slash on Perreault

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while enjoying the new Brown Sugar Cinnamon coffee flavor at Dunkin’ Donuts. It’s not Cookie Dough, but what is after all?

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) and PHT writer James O’Brien has the details on Radko Gudas getting ejected for an ugly, reckless and dangerous slash to Mathieu Perreault’s head last night. Gudas should be facing a long suspension for a play that has no place in the NHL. It’s time for Flyers fans to stop making excuses for a player who’s no better than a cheap-shot artist and hatchet man. He has to face the music for consistently trying to hurt his fellow players.  

*Frank Seravalli has some of the details for a historic GM meeting in Montreal where NHL hockey was born in the first place.

*You always need to link to a service dog being part of the pregame face-off ceremonies. That’s like a rule here at the morning skate?

*Cam Atkinson and the Columbus Blue Jackets have agreed to a seven-year contract extension, according to reports from the Athletic.

*It’s been quite an eventful year for Arizona Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet and some of it has been to the extreme both good and bad just a month into his first year as bench boss.

*For something completely different: Chris Mannix is all-in on the Celtics being the front-runners in the Eastern Conference after their big win over the Golden State Warriors.

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