Morning Skate 419: B's are upping the pressure

Morning Skate 419: B's are upping the pressure

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.comLAKE PLACID, New York Mike Cammalleri didnt want to speak too much about potential pressure heaped on the Habs if they couldnt take care of business at home against a desperate Bruins team.It was probably a wise choice.He didnt have his words used against him later in the series, and that turned out be both smart and pretty fortuitous at the same time. The Canadiens couldnt step on Bostons throat up 2-0 with a game in Montreal, and now the Bruins have new postseasonlife with momentum on their side.The Bruins were poopoo-ing the notion of momentum and pressure getting sent in the opposite direction after winning their first game of the series and instead wanted to simply get out and play Game Four after a couple of days resting and rechargingat Lake Placid's Olympic Center.We didnt play that much better last night. The start was better, but there were still turnovers that they didnt capitalize on this time around, said Andrew Ference. I think you could make the momentum argument either way. Theyre up, you know, so the pressure is always on both teams.Its on everybody to win, and thats always the way it is. The Lake Placid retreat also gives youngsters like Brad Marchand a chance to catch their breath after the first three games of the playoffs, and begin processing everything theyve experienced on and off the ice. Marchand said he was somethinglike a Super Ball bouncing off the dressing room walls between periods in Game Three while waiting to get out on the frozen sheet.Marchand was that geeked in the super-charged Bell Centre environment, and it showed on the ice.Theyre pretty crazy and right down the buzzer, said Marchand. The emotion involved is amazing. I think there was one point I couldnt even hear the coaches on the bench behind me because the crowd was so loud. You get such an adrenaline rush from the crowds in Montreal and Boston that you cant even settle down and relax. I went in the dressing room after one of the periods and I was just shaking because I could hear the fans going crazy. I just couldnt wait to get back out there. Its special.On to the links:A good piece by Bruce Arthur of the National Post about the boring, successful style employed by Jacques Martin and the Canadiens.Lou Lamoriello talks about the Zach Parise contract progress, and the desire to get something done before the New Jersey forward can start fielding offers from other teams.The big guys on San Jose are struggling right now in the postseason, and that should be a shock to absolutely nobody.The Days of YOrr boys break down the NHLs supplementary discipline decisions on a case-by-case basis.NBC, Comcast and Versus soon to be renamed announce a new 10-year deal with the NHL that is great news for the league, for the network and for, well, me.FOH (Friend of Haggs) Greg Wyshynski puts together a Jack Edwards Greatest Hits compilation from last nights Game 3 at the Bell Centre. Jack was in rare form with the action at a fever pitch, and his yelling Get up! at Roman Hamrlik becomes an instant classic.XM Home Ice sits down with Calder Trophy candidate and Carolina Hurricanes rookie Jeff Skinner, and doesnt call him the Justin Beiber of hockey even once. Good for them.Because Im in Lake Placid, it was pretty necessary to link to this video even though everybody and their mother has seen the five-year-old do the Herb Brooks speech before.FOH (Friend of Haggs) Sarah Baicker says that the Philadelphia defense is thriving and survivingwithout Chris Pronger, and is some kind of defensemen depth that the Flyers enjoy.

Grzelcyk happy to be back w/ B's and confident in his game


Grzelcyk happy to be back w/ B's and confident in his game

BRIGHTON, Mass – It had to be a bitter pill for Matt Grzelcyk to be sent back down to the AHL after playing solidly for the Bruins earlier this season. 

The 23-year-old Charlestown native was excellent playing in place of Torey Krug in Boston’s opening night win over the Nashville Predators, but his stay didn’t last very long. The former Boston University standout was back in the minor leagues shortly afterward once Krug returned from his fractured jaw a little earlier than expected. Now Krug is again banged up again with an upper body injury, and Grzelcyk has been called up to fill in for Krug during Wednesday night’s pre-Thanksgiving road game in New Jersey against the Devils.

Once again it will be about a focus on puck-moving and power play for Grzelcyk, who is the closest thing that the Bruins have to the smaller, skilled Krug in their minor-league system. 

“I was happy with how things went before I got sent to Providence, so I’m just going to try to do the things that I was doing well before I got sent down. Mentally knowing that I can play at the NHL level [is huge], and just going through the experience was positive,” said Grzelcyk. “Mentally my first year I think I was a little too nervous and tentatively with my play, and that’s not me at all when I’m at my best. I’m confident with the puck, and confident with my speed and ability. It was just about going out and doing it on the ice.”

Grzelcyk was okay down in Providence with four assists and a plus-4 rating in 14 games, but he’s been patiently waiting for another NHL call since logging 12:11 of solid puck-moving ice time in his lone appearance for Boston this season. Now he’ll get it in a likely pairing with Kevan Miller against the New Jersey Devils

“He’s a puck-mover. He’s quick. He can get up the ice and support the rush, and he’s a good distributor,” said Cassidy of Grzelcyk. “There are a lot of natural similarities to Torey [Krug] because of their physical makeup, but they are similar [players] with Torey at this level being a bit more significant offensive player. Whether it’s in [Grzelcyk] or not time will tell, but we believe it is and we just need to get it out of him.”

Grzelcyk will get a chance to show that offensive wrinkle and more when he suits up against the New Jersey Devils for his second game of the season after paying his dues with the P-Bruins overt the last month. 


Bruins still holding out on a goalie decision for Devils game


Bruins still holding out on a goalie decision for Devils game

BRIGHTON -- Coming off a pair of back-to-back wins from backup goaltender Anton Khudobin, the Bruins are still undecided about what they’re going to do between the pipes Wednesday night against the New Jersey Devils.

On the one hand, the Bruins are very tempted to ride the hot goaltending hand with Khudobin a strong 5-0-2 record on the season and a .935 save percentage that currently leads all goaltenders across the league. There’s a school of thought that the B’s should simply keep plugging Khudobin into the lineup until he actually loses a game, and begins to cool down a little bit between the pipes after stopping 63-of-65 shots against LA and San Jose.

At the same time it will be over a week since Tuukka Rask has played in a game if the Bruins go with Khudobin on Wednesday night against the Devils, and Bruce Cassidy was clear to stress that Rask is still their No. 1 guy. So that’s the dilemma the Bruins are facing with Cassidy calling it “a good problem to have” based on Khudobin’s strong play from the backup spot.

That is a far cry from what the Bruins experienced a year ago with the same goalie, and a reason for optimism that their goaltending situation will be better off throughout a long season.

“Do you go with the hot hand and leave your No. 1 sitting where he’s beginning to wonder what the hell is going on? That’s the decision,” said Bruce Cassidy. “We need to keep them both in a good place, and not lose out on [Khudobin’s] good run while keeping Tuukka focused and confident in his game. That’s what we’re battling and I talk to Goalie Bob [Essensa] about it every day. We’ll make our decision [on Wednesday] and we hope it’s the right one.

“It’s a long year so no matter who we use there are a lot of starts. I don’t think Khudobin is going to go ice cold if he use Tuukka tomorrow, and I don’t think Tuukka is going to blow a gasket if we go with the hot hand. For me I don’t think it’s that big of a decision.”

Perhaps Rask blowing a gasket wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world given the way he’s played this season.

The one underlying concern for Rask beyond the .897 save percentage this season is that his game has really been in a different place for the last three seasons. While his .922 career save percentage mark is among the best in the NHL, he has been below that mark in each of the last three seasons while struggling to maintain consistently behind a changing roster that’s turning over to youth and inexperience.

It certainly seems like the Bruins feel it’s premature to label Rask as anything but their No. 1 goaltender, but the pause they’re giving on Wednesday night’s starter speaks volumes about their current confidence level in each of their puck-stoppers.