Bruins

Fifteen thoughts from Bruins BlackWhite scrimmage

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Fifteen thoughts from Bruins BlackWhite scrimmage

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs

PROVIDENCE - Here are ten thoughts from the first period of the BlackWhite scrimmage with the Black team holding a slim 1-0 lead after the first 20 minutes.

1) Alex Khokhlachev has been a little hit or miss as the youngest plauer in Bruins camp, but he showed exactly what makes him special in the first real game action. Koko took a pass from Dennis Seidenberg after the defenseman carried the puck into the corner, and clinked a sniper shot just under the cross bar for the game's first goal. While Khokhlachev still has work to do in order to become a finished product, he flashed early tonight.

2) Loudest ovations for Brad Marchand, Tim Thomas and Johnny Boychuk during the pregame introductions here in Providence. The certainly love their former P-Bruins here at the Dunkin Donuts Center.

3) Dougie Hamilton looked a little nervous early, but he settled down nicely as the first period moved on. Hamilton threw a nice hip check in front of the White bench that served notice he already knows how to use his 6-foot-5 frame.

4) Good effort and fore-checking from Max Sauve while skating on a kiddie line with Jared Knight and David Krejci. It's pretty clear Krejci is enjoying some of the young offensive weapons being trotted out during training camp.

5) No goals allowed and six saves by Tim Thomas in his first 20 minutes of hockey this season. He's clearly well on his way to another Vezina, Conn Smythe and Stanely Cup.

Here are five thoughts from the second period of the Bruins Black and White scrimmage at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence with the score tied up at 1-1 after 40 minutes.

1) Dont tell NHL graybeard Chris Clark that this is just a friendly scrimmage. Clark is playing like he wants a job and upped his intensity in the second period. Clark and Tyler Seguin banged around in the corner during one exchange with Seguin falling to the ice while losing puck possession and then slamming his stick to the boards after he made it back to the bench. Then Clark took a couple of wild two-handed chops at Colby Cohen in the closing seconds of the second period and was whistled off for slashing. Thats the kind of intensity that the feel-good Bruins camp can certainly use.

2) Ryan Spooner tucked a puck underneath Tim Thomas pads early in the second period, and simply continues to create offense whenever hes on the ice. The 19-year-old might end up headed back to junior hockey at the end of camp, but hes going to make the decision ultra-tough fro the Bs front office.

3) Brad Marchand and David Krejci opened the second period as a penalty killing unit and looked like it was man against boys as they played keep away with the Black Team on the man advantage. Thats a skilled, gritty combo to look at as regular PK partners that could really be lethal to teams trying to attack with a sloppy power play.

4) Heavy hitting by Matt Bartkowski on Jared Knight that knocked the 19-year-olds helmet off by the side boards. Bartkowski is a guy that needs to step up and be noticed this season at training camp, and thats a good way to have it happen after he appeared a little overmatched during his short NHL stints.

5) A too many men on the ice penalty for assistant coach Geoff Wards White Team at the end of the second period. Does that mean Claude Julien will make Ward skate a few Herbies at practice tomorrow?

Here are five thoughts from third period of the BlackWhite scrimmage with the Black Team taking the 4-1 victory at the Dunkin Donuts Center.

1) Two goals for Alex Khokhlachev tonight. He's showed the ability to finish and the willingness to attack the net as advertised. May not be much of a practice player at this point, but he showed up tonight.

2) A couple of assists for Colby Cohen, who looks like he could help the defensemen corps at some point with his good vision and creativity.

3) Looked like Milan Lucic and Rich Peverley were going at it a bit there in the third period after Looch was called for a boarding penalty. Might as well start getting their nasty up now.

4) Good look by Tyler Seguin on Lane MacDermid backdoor goal in the third period. Pretty one-sided for the Black Team throughout the game.

5) Anton Khudobin didn't have a ton of shots against, but he keeps stopping pucks just like the guy he's sometimes compared to: Tim Thomas.

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

Bruins get a needed boost from young players in win over Sharks

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Bruins get a needed boost from young players in win over Sharks

Here’s what we learned from the Bruins' 3-1 win over the San Jose Sharks at the SAP Center on Saturday night, which gave Boston four of a possible six points in its California road swing.
 
1) The kids stepped up at a great time for the Bruins. Boston needed some young players to step up and fill in for the injured veterans up front, and they got it on Saturday night. Jake DeBrusk was the main playmaker on both goals in the first period, and the Bruins got goals from rookies DeBrusk, Peter Cehlarik and Danton Heinen. It was Cehlarik’s first NHL goal and the 10th point of the season for Heinen, who continues to show signs that he is going to be a productive, reliable winger  even though he didn’t start the season at the NHL level. DeBrusk finished with a goal and an assist and twice used his speed and aggressiveness taking the puck to the net to create scoring chances: On the first goal it was Cehlarik who finished the loose puck after DeBrusk’s net drive created a rebound, and on the second it was DeBrusk simply beating reigning Norris Trophy winner Brent Burns to a race for the puck and then snapping it up and over San Jose backup goalie Aaron Dell. Cehlarik became the sixth Bruins rookie to score the first goal of his NHL career with Boston this season, and it all shows tangible results of the youth movement they were fully embracing this season. There will be peaks and valleys with so many young players in the lineup, but Saturday night turned out to be one of those high-water marks.

2)  At their healthiest, the Bruins can be a fast-skating, skilled team that will be equal parts offense and defense in a hard-working style that features pace and creativity in the offensive zone. The Bruins aren't healthy right now, obviously, and aren’t going to find success that way as attested by the fact that they hadn’t won two games in a row this season until Saturday night in San Jose. With a number of players already out of the lineup, Torey Krug now injured as well and Tuukka Rask taking an extended rest in favor of a red-hot Anton Khudobin, the Bruins are actually playing a very different brand of hockey right now. With Rask not playing -- and not allowing the types of bad or soft goals he's given up so far this year -- they can play a little more conservatively and try to make a two- or three-goal output in a game actually stick as the game-winning margin. Just check the box score,  as the Bruins blocked a whopping 30 shots and conversely the Sharks blocked just 12. Zdeno Chara, Kevan Miller and Robbie O’Gara all had blocked shots in the final few minutes, and Brandon Carlo stepped in front of a wide-open chance for Burns in the third period off a clean offensive zone faceoff win for the Sharks. Those are all gritty, tough plays in the D-zone that you don’t always see, and it perhaps comes a little more naturally when the Bruins are making the clear choice to feature their defense and goaltending right now. It may not be sustainable once Anton Khudobin inevitably cools off a little bit, but for now it’s pretty darn effective.


 
3)  After watching him stop 36 of 37 shots for the win on Saturday night, the Bruins need to see this thing through with Khudobin until he loses a game. Khudobin is 5-0-2 with this season, with a .949 save percentage in three appearances in November. He's playing the best he's played in the last couple of years. Right now Khudobin is actually leading the NHL with a .935 save percentage for the season, and that really contrasts to Rask's .897 save percentage. Certainly part of it is about the Bruins selling out defensively in front of him and blocking 30 shots in the win while knowing they didn’t have to play again until Wednesday night. But it’s also about the Bruins backup goaltender playing himself into a position where the B’s should ride him until he cools down a little bit, and give Rask some more time to figure out what is slowing him down between the pipes right now.
 
PLUS
-- DeBrusk made a couple of big plays in the first period that led to goals for the Bruins, and he finished with a goal, two points, a plus-2 and a team-high four shots on net in 15:49 of ice time. He has a goal and three points in three games since being a healthy scratch last weekend against Toronto.
 
--Khudobin made 16 saves in the first period when the Bruins were outshot 17-5 and it certainly seemed like they were going to get run out of the building. Instead Khudobin stood tall.
 
-- Heinen finished with two goals and three points on the three-game trip and iced the game for the Bruins with a backdoor strike in the third period after Kevan Miller had dashed up the right side of the ice to create the chance. Heinen is pushing up near the Bruins team leaders in some offensive categories and looks like he belongs in the NHL this season.
 
MINUS
-- Burns was burnt on each of the Bruins' two first-period goals, he actually missed the net with 12 of his 16 shot attempts, and he had seven giveaways in a pretty sloppy game managing the puck. Burns hasn’t had a great season to date, and Saturday night was a good example of things not going well for him this year.
 
-- Paul Postma finished with just eight minutes of ice time in the win, and was part of the poor defensive coverage on the Sharks goal by Joonas Donskoi in the first period that ended up getting overturned on video review. Postma didn’t show much else after that only playing a handful of minutes over the remainder of the game, and based on his early performance looks like he’s only going to be a seventh defensemen in Boston.
 
-- Here’s a hearty boo to the 10:30 pm West Coast starts on Saturday night that only the diehards, or those getting paid, are going to closely watch on the weekend leading up to Thanksgiving. Congrats to you if you were one of the lucky ones that decided to stay up and watch a game that didn’t end until after 1 a.m. in the East.  

Morning Skate: Payroll mess at the heart of Bruins' problems

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Morning Skate: Payroll mess at the heart of Bruins' problems

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while battening down the hatches for Thanksgiving week.
 
-- When longtime Bruins follower Clark Booth opines about the Black and Gold, I tend to listen. And he's not happy with the Bruins' salary cap situation at this point in time. It should be noted that this was written before they won the last two games. But some of those truths still remain self-evident when it comes to the B’s.

-- Kevin Bieksa will never stop talking about former teammate Rick Rypien, or about the factors that ultimately led to his tragic passing.
 
-- Alex Ovechkin is truly living up to the “Russian Machine Never Breaks” mantra these days, which led to the creation of an entire blog about the Capitals.
 
-- This Saturday Night Live skit with Chance the Rapper playing a clueless hockey reporter was funny, even to people that have been covering the league for 20 years and still struggle to pronounce a name like Brady Skjei.
 
-- The good, the bad and the ugly courtesy of FOH (Friend of Haggs) Mitch Melnick from last night’s Montreal blowout loss to the Maple Leafs that probably could have just been called the ugly, the ugly and the ugly.
 
-- It’s 20 games into the season, and the Buffalo Sabres media are wondering what’s wrong with their team, and star Jack Eichel.
 
-- For something completely different: It sounds like some of the NFL rank-and-file players want to know why Roger Goodell deserves $50 million and a lifetime private plane.