BruinsIslanders: 5 from the First

BruinsIslanders: 5 from the First

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.comUNIONDALE, N.Y. Here are five thoughts from the first period of BruinsIslanders at Nassau Coliseum with the Bs leading the Isles by a 3-0 score.1)Mark Stuart was a healthy scratch tonight after playing pretty well in the last two games for the Bruins. Have to think that hes being held back because the Bruins are close to working out a deal with the Chicago Blackhawks for the Bs defenseman. Likely that Stuart would only net the Bs a draft pick in return, but its been clear for a while that the Blackhawks have been looking for a solid stay-at-home, penalty-killing defenseman, and Stuart fits that bill.2)Adam McQuaid played exactly 39 seconds of ice time in the first period and appeared to catch a punch right to the eye from Zenon Konopka that immediately swelled his eye up as he headed to the penalty box. McQuaid wasnt seen again on the ice after the fight, and there appears to be some question as to whether hell return in the game.3)Bruins outshooting the Islanders by a 15-4 margin, and it appears that the game plan against rookie goalie Nathan Lawson was to simply throw as many pucks as possible at the first-year goalie. Weird bounces and lots of real estate in the net to work with for a young goalie thats scrambling all over the crease, and the Bs are taking full advantage.4)Really good energy early in this game from Blake Wheeler, who managed to convert a Tyler Seguin pass for his 11th goal of the season and has showed some signs of putting things together again for the Bruins. Just in time to pump up Wheelers trade value a little bit as the Bs look to shed some salary.5)Good bounce back effort from the Bruins tonight with goals from three different lines (Paille, Wheeler, Recchi) and a rare strong team offensive performance from the Bruins with Tuukka Rask in between the pipes. There have been too few times Rask has been able to relax and simply stop the puck with a comfortable lead, but this looks like one of those nights.

Morning Skate: Issues with gambling and Vegas Golden Knights?


Morning Skate: Issues with gambling and Vegas Golden Knights?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while still in disbelief at what happened to Gordon Hayward last night.

*Interesting piece on the connection between gambling and the NHL in Las Vegas where they’ve just kicked their new expansion franchise, the Vegas Golden Knights.

*Would you like a Providence Bruins game-worn jersey and give to a great cause at the same time? Here are the Pink the Rink Bruins jerseys up for auction on eBay with the money earmarked for cancer research and treatment.

*Some interesting stuff from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Elliotte Friedman in his 30 Thoughts about the start that Malcolm Subban is off to with the Vegas Golden Knights and whether that’s in any way a reflection on the way goalies are being developed with the Bruins.

*So, the Ottawa Senators clearly didn’t miss Erik Karlsson given the start that they got off to, but there’s no doubt hockey fans did as he makes his return from offseason surgery.

*Nikita Kucherov just keeps on improving for the Tampa Bay Lightning after a Hart Trophy-level season last year.

*For something completely different: I don’t understand why there’s anything controversial about somebody saying In ‘N Out Burger is overrated. While it’s a perfectly fine West Coast fast food chain, it is absolutely overrated at this point. The fries are average at best, and the burgers are merely okay compared to all of the other burger joints out there.  



Inconsistent Bruins hope to settle in at home


Inconsistent Bruins hope to settle in at home

BRIGHTON -- The Bruins' actual 2-3-0 won-loss record isn’t particularly terrible, especially when you consider they were without Patrice Bergeron and David Backes.

But they've been wildly inconsistent within those first five games, playing a couple of very good games against the Predators and Coyotes while suffering three ugly, non-competitive losses to Colorado and Vegas. The Bruins are 20th in goals scored (2.8 goals per game) and 22nd in goals allowed (3.6), and their special teams have been average at best in a soft part of the schedule that should have allowed them to get off to a good start.

The Bruins have looked sloppy much of the time with chaotic breakouts, far too many breakdowns in defensive coverage, and goaltending has been average at best.

As a result they're scuffling in the Atlantic Division as the Lightning and Maple Leafs have sprinted out to strong starts. Clearly it’s still early -- nearly the entire season is in front of them -- but there’s also no illusion about the need for a quick turnaround in what’s going to be a competitive division.

That's why the next four games, all at TD Garden, are so important.

“We’ve been inconsistent in our game. We’ve been good and we’ve been not good, so hopefully being home will allow us to get back into form,” said coach Bruce Cassidy. “We knew going in with a youth movement that we’d had some ups and downs. We’ve had both. We’ve had some really strong games and we’ve had some other games where there’s a learning curve.

“As good as [our] prospects are, it falls on the core group to be solid and consistent every night. Then you lose a bit of your core group [to injuries] and you need your support players that aren’t your core group -- but aren’t kids, either -- to contribute. So we’re battling through all of that, and it’s up to us to put in a game plan that gets us through it. We haven’t achieved the level we’d like. We aren’t hiding behind that. We’d like to be better than we are right now, and we’re facing it head on every day.”

Clearly there are plenty of players in the “support player” category referenced by Cassidy who haven’t performed to date, and that also explains some of the Bruins consistency issues. Matt Beleskey, Ryan Spooner, Frank Vatrano and Riley Nash have a combined two assists and a combined minus-5 rating through those first five games, and are among the players that need to step up and perform if the Bruins are going to start achieving the consistency that Cassidy is actively seeking right now.