Bruins

Cup hangover weighing on Bruins

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Cup hangover weighing on Bruins

CHICAGO The Bruins will probably be doing a little more chirping than usual on the ice Saturday night when they take on the Chicago Blackhawks.

But theyll actually be on a fact-finding mission rather than the usual insults hurled all over the ice.

While the Bruins have issues with the Stanley Cup hangover phrase itself, the Bs players also cant deny that something has been missing from the mental, physical and emotional preparation for the first four games this season.

The Bruins played a solid, satisfactory game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, but the other three have been to be kind subpar and fairly uninspired.

The Blackhawks know what the Bruins are going through because they had every possible manner of adversity hit them last season after bringing the Cup back to the Windy City.

The team was torn apart with salary cap constraints serving as the main culprit, injuries chipped away at the depth throughout the season and the consistency just wasnt there all season aside from a stupendously excellent season from Captain Serious, Jonathan Toews.

I can't speak to what's going on over there, but what we went through was more of a season-long thing than a quick hangover in October, said Chicago forward Patrick Sharp. It took us a while to build (roster) chemistry. It was not so much in the room but on the ice with line combinations. We had a lot of injuries, too.

So the Blackhawks know the challenges presented by every team saving their best shot for the champs, and just how difficult it can be to dig deep into the emotionalphysical reservoir coming off a nine month hockey season of more than 100 hockey games.

But the Hawks also know that things were very different for them with only nine regular roster players that returned from their Stanley Cup roster for the following season.

By comparison the Bruins had 18 players (16 skaters and both goaltenders) return from last years Cup winning squad, and essentially get another crack at it this season. Thats a big distinction to a guy like Patrick Kane that saw his Cup-winning hockey club dismantled in a salary cap chop shop before it was their turn to defend the belt.

The Bruins are a great team. People talk about hangovers, but we lost 9, 10 guys from our team last year, said Kane. They haven't lost many and it seems they've made some improvements with guys like Joe Corvo coming over.

If anything they're just as good as last year, especially with guys like Tim Thomas and Zdeno Chara and their core guys they seem to be in pretty good shape. It will be a good test for sure.

Its expected that a hotly contested game against the Blackhawks at a packed United Center would bring out of the best in the Bruins, but the key for them is approaching Saturday as they would a random Wednesday night game in Winnipeg. The Blackhawks got off to an 8-9-2 start last season through mid-November and werent in the Western Conference playoff mix at that point, but managed to scrape and claw their way into the eighth and final playoff position when the regular season ended.

They're a proud bunch and they don't want to get too far in the hole, said Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville of the Bruins. Our start put us in a tough spot early (last year). We left valuable points on the table. We know it's a dangerous game for us again. Its a different situation in this instance, but we know the value of where we're at and the value of home ice as well.

The Bruins are off to the 1-3 start and have already frittered away potentially important points to Colorado and Carolina in the early going, but they need to start reversing their seasonal fortune if they hope to avoid repeating Chicagos bumpy season after the Stanley Cup.

Morning Skate: Not all smooth sailing for top picks

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Morning Skate: Not all smooth sailing for top picks

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while enjoying the return of Adolfo to Toucher and Rich this morning.

*Jack Eichel and Connor McDavid have received plenty of acclaim over the past couple of years as talented, young stars in the league, but Pro Hockey Talk’s James O’Brien details how things haven’t gone ideally for either of those youngsters, or their teams, this season. Clearly, it’s not at this level yet, but just think about the hype behind Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin when they were drafted 1-2 back in 2010, and what they have, and haven’t, been able to accomplish in the league since that time.

*Outstanding rookie Brock Boeser credits a conversation with Vancouver Canucks coach Travis Green for helping spark his game this season.

*Good video piece on the near miss of Wayne Gretzky almost playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs after dominating them in the playoffs.  

*Salivating for some hockey trades? The 10 potential NHL trade deadline targets around the league as we wait for players to become available for trade later in the season.  

*Hockeybuzz is asking what the NHL, and more specifically the Hockey Hall of Fame, has against goaltenders?

*For something completely different: A great piece from Drew Bledsoe on the tragic passing of former Patriots wide receiver Terry Glenn, and how his death came just as he seemed to be putting all the pieces of his life together.

 

Marchand, Krug and Backes all practice, won't play vs. Devils

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Marchand, Krug and Backes all practice, won't play vs. Devils

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins are getting closer to a healthier lineup, but it won’t be in time for the Thanksgiving Eve road tilt against the upstart New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center.

Brad Marchand (upper body), Torey Krug (upper body) and David Backes (colon surgery) all skated in red no-contact jerseys at practice Tuesday at Warrior Ice Arena, so none of those three banged-up B’s will be making the trip to Jersey. Anders Bjork (upper body) didn’t practice and is obviously out vs. the Devils as well, but Ryan Spooner might be a possibility after making it through his first full practice since tearing his groin almost six weeks ago.

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If he can make it through Wednesday's morning skate without any problems, Spooner will likely be a game-time decision against the Devils after missing the past 14 games.  

The Bruins have continued to indicate that Marchand is in the concussion protocol, though it appears the Bruins agitator is dealing with both upper body and lower body issues. Marchand was encouraged by the progress he’s making while returning to practice, so perhaps the B’s could get back one of their leading scorers sooner rather than later.

“I feel pretty good. It’s good to be back with the guys and feel like you’re a part of the team,” said Marchand, who has missed five of the past seven games after returning for the home-and-home against the Maple Leafs. “It’s frustrating whenever you miss games and you miss time away from the team, but they had a great road trip and they’re playing well. It would be nice to be back in the lineup consistently and be back with the team...it’ll come.”

Here are the projected Bruins line combos and D-pairings vs. the Devils based on practice Tuesday:

Heinen-Bergeron-Pastrnak

DeBrusk-Krejci-Cehlarik

Vatrano-Spooner-Nash/Szwarz

Schaller-Kuraly-Acciari

Beleskey-Marchand-Backes

 
Chara-McAvoy

O’Gara/Postma-Carlo

Grzelcyk-Miller

 
Rask

Khudobin