Bruins

Knight takes up boxing, gives up Twitter

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Knight takes up boxing, gives up Twitter

Jared Knight must be pretty serious about getting ready for his first legitimate shot at an NHL job.

The 2010 second round pick is likely slotted for a job with the Providence Bruins no matter what, but hell be in the mix for a third line winger spot with Jordan Caron, Ryan Spooner and Chris Bourque among others. So hes worked diligently all summer after giving himself a few weeks to heal from a sprained ankle that dogged him through Bruins Development Camp.

Knight has taken up boxing lessons for the first time in his career, perhaps knowing that hell be expected to scrap a little bit more in professional hockey. But the workouts also serve as a rare physicalcardio workout that can simulate some of what happens on the ice. The Bs prospect laughed if he was ready to spar with Shawn Thornton once he makes it to Boston in September, but said the workouts have benefited him.

Yeah, maybe I shouldnt jump right into Thornton. I just took up boxing at the start of the summer. Ive become a big boxing fan and I love the fights, said Knight, who skated with Kevan Miller in Lansing for much of the summer.

It also works out for me because its a pretty fun way to train, and Ive gotten pretty good. You hit the bag and hit the mitts. Its pretty good.

So Ive been doing boxing four days a week. Its been busy. I dont know whats going on with the lockout, so I might have another month to work out before we end up reporting to Boston. If thats the case then Ill be coming into camp in really good shape.

Of course Knight is known more for his goal-scoring prowess, physicality and quick release that allowed him to score 87 goals over the last three seasons for the London Knights. But it sounds like Knight is also embracing the Black and Gold team toughness mantra as he joins the organization.

Thats a very good thing.

Whats another improvement for Knight 2.0 heading into the fall?

Knight has decommissioned his twitter account (@JKnight97) after he got a little too attached to it over the last couple of years. Its one less thing to worry about as he puts all of his focus into the game of hockey, and winning himself an actual job after building up a resume as one of Bostons top prospects over the last three seasons.

I might get back into it because a lot of the other guys are into the loop on it, but I was spending way too much time on there. I thought Id give it a break and focus on training rather than how many followers I had, said Knight. The first thing Id do in the morning was pick up the phone and scroll through my Twitter feed. It was Twitter and training, so I had to give myself a break.

The biggest question left for Knight is when hell report. The rookies are expected to arrive in mid-September if the NHL and NHLPA come to an agreement on a new CBA, but will report to Providence on Sept. 28 if the NHL season doesnt get moving on schedule.

The one certainty is that the rookie games set for mid-September in a Florida Panthers-hosted preseason tournament have been cancelled, and all of the young players were disappointed about that.

We dont know when were reporting. It will either be Sept. 15 or Sept. 28 depending on what happens, said Knight, who took part in the NHLPA Rookie Showcase in Toronto over the last two days along with Ryan Spooner, Dougie Hamilton and 26 other NHL hopefuls. Were just on our toes waiting for the call to report to camp. If its the 15th Ill be ready and if its the 28th Ill be ready. I would love to go to the NHL camp, but Im not really following it closely.

I remember the first rookie games in Boston and last year in New York. This year they would have been in Florida and the weather would have been pretty nice. But its really disappointing for the guys that have just been drafted because its a really good experience for them. That stuff happens, though.

Knight is hoping that stuff doesnt happen to the NHL this year, but hell be ready either way.

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.