Bruins

Haggerty: Bergeron finally getting recognition, results

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Haggerty: Bergeron finally getting recognition, results

NEWARK The NHL taped Bruins center Patrice Bergeron for one of their NHL 36 pieces precisely because hes one of the leagues most underrated superstars. It also doesnt hurt at all that hes the kind of model professional athlete the league wants representing them, and his "all access" video could be turned into a manual for professionalism in the NHL. It's the same manual that young players like Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand learn from on a daily basis.

On the show, Bergeron displayed -- with his typically tacit dignity -- exactly how important he is in helping hold a championship club together. The national TV spotlight and household namecachet bestowed upon him as a Stanley Cup champion might even be enough for Bergeron to finally break for All-Star berths and serious Selke Trophy consideration.

After all, so much of those things are built on reputation, and Bergeron keeps building his up by backing up the hype on the ice with hard work and productive results. Zdeno Chara and Tim Thomas would seem to be shoo-ins for the NHL All-Star game three weeks from now in Ottawa, and Bergeron would make a wholly appropriate third member of the Bs All-Star contingent. It's a natural leap for those that value little things like dominatingbig face-offs at a nearly 60 percent clip, playing their best in meaningful perfformances like Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals or being one of the unselfish leaders on the best team in hockey

Hes arguably the best two-way player in the game, said Shawn Thornton. Obviously the guys on our team think that more here than they do elsewhere. I dont want to take anything away from Tyler Seguin or Brad Marchand, but if you take him away there are a lot more mistakes that would happening out there.

You see the way he covers up for everybody. Any mistakes are made hes always in the right spot to make up for it. Hes been remarkable for us all year and Im very surprised that he hasnt been up for any NHL awards before now.

Bergeron gave a signature performance Wednesday night in Bostons 6-1 win over the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center, with two precision strikes that eventually led to a blowout victory sprinked into an efficient night's work.

Bergeron scored a pair of goals on an evening that featured offense from three of the four forward lines, and backboned the kind of rebound performance that banished all memories of a sagging loss to the Dallas Stars last weekend.

It was still a 2-1 game in the second period when Bergeron got involved offensively after clamping down defensively on Adam Henrique and Ilya Kovalchuk. The Bruins were in the final seconds of killing off a Nathan Horton holding penalty when Bergeron stepped into the shooting lane of New Jersey defenseman Adam Larsson at the right point.

Larsson got off a weak shot while attempting to maneuver free, Bergeron adeptly blocked the puck and then started what became an even-strength breakaway as Horton stepped out of the penalty box.

Bergeron pressed the issue all alone against Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur, and waited for the seasoned goalie to make the first move. Once Brodeur dropped low to block any potential shot, Bergeron simply tucked the puck past his glove and handed the Bs an important third goal in the second period.

Its the exact kind of defense into offense transition and attack that has made Bergeron one of the most well-respect and feared competitors in all three zones.

I was trying to be in the shooting lanes to block the shot and then get some speed going to separate from the D-man. Luckily I was able to do that, said Bergeron. Were doing a good job of finding ways to get that big goal. Tonight that third goal was a big one and showed we werent satisfied.

Its something thats important. Being on the penalty kill you want to play defense first, but if you get the change offensively you want to make them pay. I was fortunate to be able to do that.

Bergeron finished fourth in Selke Trophy voting last season, but the video of his blocked shot into breakaway should be required viewing for NHL Award voters this season when deciding Bergeron, Ryan Kesler or Jonathan Toews as the best defensive forward.

Bergeron added his ninth goal of the season early in the third period when Seguin and Marchand teamed to enter the zone with speed, and Marchand found Bergeron wide open for a one-timer after he wheeled behind the net. The nine goals and 30 points dont put Bergeron at the top of the scoring charts, but have him trending toward 20 goals and 70-plus points along with his elite defensive contributions.

There were a handful of faceoff wins and some key offensive players for New Jersey that looked awfully frustrated after finishing a game battling with Bergeron for pucks, but the flashy part of his evening was over. He had two goals on two shots on net, the one blocked Larsson shot that turned into a goal and the knowledge he got the result he wanted at both the individual and team level.

Its rare all of those things line up like a perfect constellation for the team-oriented Bergeron, and his teammates will take vocal notice of his contributions even if his own modesty wont allow it.

Thats what weve been talking about forever. I dont know if you saw the NHL 36 show tonight, but we didnt, said coach Claude Julien. But its what it was all about: being such an underrated two-way player. Hes probably one of the best in the league.

Hopefully he gets a little more recognition with the greater exposure because we know how good he is. I dont think everybody around the league does, but certainly what he did tonight is indicative of what Bergie gives us every single night.

The NHL All-Star starters will be announced on Thursday morning and its assumed Thomas is an automatic for his third berth. But it would be all the more special for All Things Black and Gold if Bergeron can parlay the Stanley Cup, the model behavior, the NHL 36 honors and a good, old-fashioned outstanding regular season into some national recognition for No. 37.

The dominant display against the Devils was certainly an unmistakable Bergeron push in that direction.

Backes and Bergeron return to Bruins practice, may be back in action soon

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Backes and Bergeron return to Bruins practice, may be back in action soon

BRIGHTON -- It was good news when word first filtered out that David Backes had resumed skating last weekend while the Bruins were on the West Coast, and even better news Tuesday when he returned to practice. Backes skated without any restrictions in a spot on the third line with Riley Nash and Tim Schaller, and appeared to be recovering nicely from his bout of diverticulitis.

Backes was initially diagnosed with the inflammatory colon ailment in the first few days of October, with the team estimating a three- to four-week recovery period. If he'd needed surgery rather than the  prescribed rest and medication, he could have been facing a lot more missed games.

Patrice Bergeron was also back skating on Tuesday morning while centering Brad Marchand and Anders Bjork, still sporting a maroon no-contact jersey while taking some light contact during the practice session.

Backes and Bergeron look like they’ could be returning to the lineup soon.

But the injury news wasn't all good, as Ryan Spooner, Austin Czarnik, Danton Heinen and Adam McQuaid were all missing from practice.

Spooner (lower body) and McQuaid (lower body) were both injured in Sunday night’s loss to the Vegas Golden Knights, and Czarnik and/or Heinen might be ticketed back to Providence soon if the Bruins have to make roster space for Bergeron and/or Backes ahead of Thursday night’s home game against the Vancouver Canucks.

Here are the line combos and D-pairings from Tuesday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena with a whole different look to things with some of the different bodies taking part in the skate:

Marchand-Bergeron-Bjork
DeBrusk-Krejci-Pasta
Schaller-Nash-Backes
Beleskey-Kuraly-Vatrano
White

Chara-Carlo
Miller-McAvoy
Krug-Postma

Rask
Khudobin

Familiar faces get the best of the Bruins in Vegas

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Familiar faces get the best of the Bruins in Vegas

LAS VEGAS, Nevada – Perhaps part of the confused look from the Boston Bruins on the ice Sunday night in Las Vegas was a nagging feeling of déjà vu they never could shake. The Vegas Golden Knights took a 3-1 win over the Bruins for their fourth win in five tries this season, and handed the Bruins their third truly dreadful-looking defeat in five games played on the young hockey season.

It was tough to avoid the feeling that the Golden Knights were basically “Boston Bruins West”, and that was never too far away from notice as things played out on Sunday. Old friend and former Bruins play-by-play man Dave Goucher and ex-B's defenseman "Sheriff" Shane Hnidy are the friendly faces on the Vegas TV telecast, and were on the Jumbotron pregame in a skit with Carrot Top, of all people, to run down the arena's safety rules in a funny and well-produced video.

Former Bruins PR guru and Beverly native Eric Tosi is in charge of the media relations with the Golden Knights, and has been a busy, busy man along with the rest of the Vegas franchise getting the expansion club off the ground. He was even busier this past weekend, albeit with a relaxed smile on his face, as 20 members of the Tosi clan made the road trip out to Vegas to see the first NHL game between the two franchises.

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And there were the actual familiar faces on the ice with ex-Bruins Malcolm Subban and Colin Miller excelling against their old team. Subban only needed to stop 21 shots in the victory, but was able to finish his first NHL start and earn his first career NHL win against the Bruins franchise that left him unprotected on waivers just a couple of weeks ago.

The Bruins didn’t make the 23-year-old Subban sweat much during the game with pedestrian shots that hit the first-round pick squarely in the jersey crest, and pretty much zero attempts to beat his questionable glove hand.

"We know Malcolm well," said Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. "He's a good first-shot goaltender for the most part. We wanted to put some stress on him and make him uncomfortable on those second ones, and I don't think we did a good job on that."

But give Subban credit for calming down his mental approach and refining his technique enough to play solid positional goaltending against the Bruins, and gaining some sweet revenge in the process.

Subban wasn’t gloating about it or basking in any kind of vengeance against his former team, but instead just expressed happiness at doing the job after stepping in for the injured Marc-Andre Fleury. It remains to be seen if Subban is going to be able to hold down the fort against the teams that will inevitably test him more than the hapless Bruins did, but he gave his team a good chance to win on Sunday.

"It's a great feeling. I made a lot of friends [in Boston], played with a lot of great teammates and (had) a great coaching staff. I'm just happy to get the win. The biggest thing was just not thinking, staying focused, and staying in the moment. It feels really good to get the first win in your first game," said Subban, "My first shot I got good control on it and that got me in the game a lot. You never know how the game is going to go in the NHL. It’s really technical. Sometimes you don’t get a lot of shots, so you gotta stay focused, and I felt I did that tonight.

“I thought I played pretty good. The biggest thing was my depth and not getting too deep in the net. Give myself the better opportunity to make the save. I feel like I did that (Sunday). There weren’t too many high chances. [There were] a lot of textbook saves and just having good rebound control. I’m happy to get the win.”

Miller didn’t factor into the scoring for the Golden Knights against the Bruins, but he was extremely active with three shots on net and eight shot attempts in 18:25 of ice time. He got plenty of power play time, was a plus player and looks like he might get the chance to develop his game in Vegas that hadn’t quite played out over the previous couple of years in Boston.

The Bruins won’t return to Vegas until next season, but the hope has to be those same Golden Knights’ familiar faces won’t get the best of the B’s when they come for their one-and-only visit to TD Garden at the beginning of November.

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