Bruins

Gabrielle learning his NHL lessons, just like his idol Marchand

Gabrielle learning his NHL lessons, just like his idol Marchand

BOSTON – Jesse Gabrielle has drawn comparisons to Brad Marchand since the very day that the Bruins drafted him two years ago. On Thursday night, everybody got to see a few reasons behind those sentiments.

Gabrielle spent the first 50 minutes of the 2-1 overtime Bruins win aggravating, agitating and poking at the Flyers while coupling with Riley Nash and Noel Acciari to provide stout defense and even getting in a couple of generated odd-man rushes that unfortunately didn’t lead to actual goals. 

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The 20-year-old lost control in the final few minutes of the third period, however, in another homage to the early days of Marchand, and got booted from the victory over the Flyers with a 10-minute misconduct for grabbing an opponent’s stick while he was already on the bench.

Bruce Cassidy was understandably unimpressed with the actions that led to the misconduct penalty and two-minute minor for interference, but it’s also part of the Gabrielle learning where the line is for a trouble-maker in the NHL.

“I had guys coming up to me all game. It was a lot of fun. Another guy was on the ice and his stick came across the bench and he gave me a little stick tap. Instinctively, I grabbed for a second,” said Gabrielle. “Granted it should be a nothing play, but I got caught and it is what it is. Boys got the win and it’s not going to happen again.

“I just tried to explain that the guy stuck me first [with his stick] and I got caught and it’s not going to happen again. That’s something that can’t happen. I can’t let the boys down like that, especially when it’s a tie game. It’s just stuff you learn from and move past and learn from it.”

Prior to that incident, it had been a solid showing from Gabrielle in a game featuring many NHL players on both rosters. He set the tone early with a punishing hit on Travis Konecny that earned him his first interference penalty and he caught the attention of noted heavy hitter Radko Gudas as the two chirped back and forth throughout the contest.

It would have been an ideal start if he finished off a great 2-on-1 chance he enjoyed in the third period prior to the misconduct, but then came the misconduct and the words of support from his teammates afterward. Marchand gave him a pat on the back, having been in that position many times in the past, and that meant the world to a player that models his game after the Little Ball of Hate.

“I try to learn from [Marchand]. He’s my favorite player and I try to emulate my game after him. I just try to be a sponge around him. [It’s good] when you can watch him play and experience it and have him on the bench,” said Gabrielle. “Like I said, I’m just trying to be a sponge and learn from him. I went up to him after the game and talked to him about it and said you just got to find that line. He said you’re going to get caught sometimes, and you just got to learn from it.”

Marchand certainly enjoys having a mini-me around in Gabrielle and perhaps finally having a rabble-rousing troublemaker in the lineup that can take the pressure off him to push opponent’s buttons.  

“He’s a great kid. You know, you watch him out there tonight, getting everyone off their game out there. It was a lot of fun to watch, and, you know, it’s nice to have guys like that on a team,” said Marchand. “It’s fun when they’re on the team and, you know, you hate on the other team. I think they were just trying to control the game and make sure nothing bad happened out there. There were a lot of guys out there that were pretty mad at him.

“He didn’t do anything wrong. He’s a good player. He’s good at what he does. He reminds me a lot of myself when he’s out there. I just laugh at him. He’s a pretty funny kid. He’s fun to have on the team and he makes it exciting to watch. You tend to watch him when he’s out there on the ice.”

Now, just like Marchand, Gabrielle has to learn the rules of engagement at the pro hockey level as he makes the transition from junior hockey. His chances of making the NHL as a dark-horse candidate might have taken a hit with his mistake late in the third period of a tight game, but Gabrielle is showing that it might not be too long before his energy and brand of on-ice mischief will be welcomed in the NHL. 


 

Morning Skate: 'After Hours'? Injured Jagr is open

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Morning Skate: 'After Hours'? Injured Jagr is open

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while wondering if it shouldn’t be more of an issue that potential Red Sox manager Alex Cora was good buddies with Dustin Pedroia when the two played together in Boston.

*Jaromir Jagr suffers a lower-body injury and then goes on Hockey Night in Canada’s “After Hours” program to show once again how wonderful it is to be “The Jagr.”

*The Ottawa Senators get Erik Karlsson back this week, but now they’ve lost power forward Bobby Ryan for a month with a broken finger.

*The Montreal Canadiens are getting exposed for the very flawed team that they are during a brutal start to the 2017-18 season.

*Keep an eye out on the Los Angeles Kings now that they’ve suffered an injury with Jeff Carter and do appear to be in the running for the playoffs this season.

*New Jersey Devils fans help a singer belt out the national anthem after there might have been a case of forgetting the words.

*Doug Gilmour might not have always enjoyed the prying eyes while playing in Toronto, a case that gives you an idea what it’s like to be a pro hockey player in a market like Toronto where everybody knows your name.

*For something completely different: There’s no doubting that Aaron Judge has brought life and energy back to the Yankees and that’s something that’s very good for baseball.

 

Brutal loss shows Bruins reaching their limit for injuries

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Brutal loss shows Bruins reaching their limit for injuries

BOSTON – It feels like the Bruins might finally be hitting their critical mass with all of the injuries in the first few weeks of the season.

The B’s were down Tuukka Rask, Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller and David Krejci as the new injuries Saturday night and clearly missed those players, along with the others currently out with injuries in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres at TD Garden. The Bruins had a three-goal lead in the second period and a two-goal lead in the third but frittered away both while allowing the hapless Sabres to outshoot them 21-6 in the third and overtime.

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Anton Khudobin battled his rebound control for most of the game while facing 42 shots on net but it was the absence of Miller and McQuaid in the D-zone that made it a little too easy for Buffalo to push Boston when it mattered late.

Torey Krug was on the ice for the last three of Buffalo’s goals and was out penalty killing late in the third period in a spot where he would never have been in if the B’s were healthy on the back end.

“That’s where the appreciation comes in for the Kevan Miller’s and the Adam McQuaid’s of the world. They’re not always flashy, but in those instances, they’re money. They get it done. And that’s why they are paid to get it done,” said Bruce Cassidy. “So yes, we miss them. But, last week we missed other players. So the guys that are out there, it’s up to them to get it done, right?

“It didn’t happen tonight, and hopefully we learned from it and can be hungrier the next time. There’s not much else to analyze that. That was it. Someone had to play in that situation. We pick guys who we figure would get the job done, and it didn’t work out for us. Next time, we’ll keep working at it.”

As part of the injury factor, there are also players that are banged-up and back in who are also clearly not back to full strength. Patrice Bergeron (lower body) and David Backes (diverticulitis) are both back from their early-season issues and Krug continues to play with a healing fractured jaw, but all three key players combined for just a single assist and three shots on net in a game that featured nine goals.

Krug was the most noticeable weak link in the loss as he was overwhelmed in the D-zone on the game-tying goal when an Evander Kane shot bounced on him on its way into the goal. Krug was down on his stomach after losing his balance while battling in front of the net. Krug then was out for an extended period in OT before bumping a Sabres player around the crease who fell into Khudobin just as Ryan O’Reilly was pushing the game-winning goal past him.

Krug spoke on Saturday morning about feeling like things were starting to come together for him but he finished a minus-3 against the Sabres with his big, bad teammates out with injuries. He's a startling minus-8 after the first two weeks of the season.

“Obviously we have to do a better job tonight. Two-goal lead in your own building, it’s got to be the hardest place for the opposing team to come in and overcome that. We’ve got to be better,” said Krug. “I thought I had an opportunity to win a battle in the corner on that loose puck. Just trying to swat away and all of a sudden it comes out the other side, and we just couldn’t overcome. That’s survival mode. “Especially when they were able to make changes like they were. We just got to stay calm, composed, and make sure we’re not getting beat one-on-one. We obviously managed it for a while, but we just couldn’t get the puck back.”

It was also clearly about Khudobin, who had a big chance to put the Bruins team on his back with Rask out with a concussion. The Russian netminder made 37 saves and at times looked energetic and ready to battle between the pipes but at other times couldn’t make the clean save that the Bruins needed in order to get a whistle and calm things down. In OT, Khudobin couldn’t make a clean glove save on a Rasmus Ristolainen tester from the high slot that would have allowed the Bruins to get some tired players off the ice in the 3-on-3 OT.

Instead, Krug, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak were out on the ice for 2 minutes, 15 seconds and eventually got beaten on O’Reilly’s play that took the puck straight to the Boston net. Cassidy called it an “erratic” night for Khudobin when they needed calmer, more poised play from their goaltender and that was clearly a reflection of the Black and Gold missing Rask.

“[Khudobin] was erratic. He battles. We love that about him. He battled to the end. [He] certainly made his share of saves. We need to be better in front of him,” said Cassidy. “But there were times that, there were fires that needed to be put out [on plays] that shouldn’t have been necessary. But that happens sometimes.

“[There were instances] in the third period, plus overtime, where we needed to calm the game down. Whether it’s a face-off, even right before the overtime goal, we had opportunities to get possession out of that pile. They came out with it. And that’s what I said. They were hungrier than us. Late, they won more pucks. If we win that puck out of that pile, we might not be talking about losing. Maybe we get out of trouble and it goes our way. We’ll never know.”

Maybe things would have gone the Bruins way if they had more of their walking wounded back and contributing. Instead, it feels as if the B’s are being tested with new, damaging injuries with each passing day. A number of those had a direct impact on a brutal loss to the Sabres on Saturday night. One has to wonder if there are more of those coming until the Bruins can start stabilizing their medical situation.