Bruins

Morning Skate 510: Don't Fall into the Trap

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Morning Skate 510: Don't Fall into the Trap

By JoeHaggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON While its true that goaltender Dwayne Roloson wasnt a part of the Tampa Bay Lightning when the Bruins built a 3-1 record against the Bolts this season, there is still information to be gleaned from the four times these two teams played each other this season.Much has been made of the 1-3-1 trap defensive system that innovative Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Guy Boucher employs with the Tampa team, and the way it clogs up the neutral zone while softening up the opposition for a counter-attack strategy. The trendy defensive system along with the long scar on his face makes him a perfect Bond villain with the intense French-Canadian accent all he needs is a monocle or a purring white kitten in his lap to cap it all off.All Dr. Evil references aside, however, the Tampa quick strike counter-attack is one of the big concerns for the Boston offense and defense.But its also about getting pressure on the Tampa Bay defense when theyll collecting pucks in the corner and inflicting a little punishment on them that should start to take a toll as the series rolls on.I dont think you want to certainly put your whole game plan around that, said Julien. The bottom line is youve got to find a way to get through that. What theyre very good at is when they force you to move the pucks in deep, they got a defenseman there that just grabs it and shoots it right back out. So its about us getting through that, and making sure that we give ourselves an opportunity to still have the puck in the offensive zone.But we dont want to put all our attention to that. Our game plan is not going to change a lot. Theres going to be some small adjustments here and there, but our game plan should be good enough. We should be confident enough with it that we know it can continue to bring us success. Youre going to see our team play a lot the same way it has. As far as their neutral zone, its very similar to Montreal and we were able to get through that one.There will certainly be some challenges along the way as Boucher and Co. have shown willingness to game plan and adapt within games depending on the Lightning and that will be something Julien will have to combat just as fiercely as the players attempting to bust through the vaunted Boucher trap.On to the links:Bizarre interview with Uptown Hockey agency representative Todd Reynolds, who sent out some obtuse tweets on Monday criticizing Sean Avery for his stance supporting Same Sex Marriages in New York.Underachieving Sharks center Patrick Marleau had little to fire back at Jeremy Roenick with after his former San Jose Sharks teammate deemed him "gutless" on a Versus postgame broadcast on Sunday night.National Post columnist Sean Fitz-Gerald caught up with Don Reynolds from Uptown Sports Management, Todds father and the President of the company, and he somehow equated same-sex marriage to a man marrying a horse. Okay then. Red Wings areconfident they can push to a Game Seven against the San Jose Sharks, and so am I.Flyers are still in shock over the thorough beating the Bruins slapped down on them in four straight games.Detroit is crediting goaltender Jim Howard with getting them to a Game Six in the series, and that shouldnt come as any surprise to Hockey East fans out there.A nice piece in the Toronto Sun on a Three Wise Men behind the Tampa Bay Lightning and the puck renaissance thats led them to the Eastern Conference Finals in one season of rebuilding.Nick Cotsonika of Yahoo! Sports has a great piece on Vancouvers Captain America, Ryan Kesler, and his romp through the Western Conference playoffs.Elliotte Friedman of CBC with his indispensable 30 thoughts for the week and one excellent assistant coach that deserves a shot at the big time head coaching ring in the NHL.Justin Bourne takes all of the NHL floppers to task in his typically entertaining and enlightening piece in The Hockey News.Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

'I definitely wasn't mad at our team,' Rask says of Vegas postgame comments

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'I definitely wasn't mad at our team,' Rask says of Vegas postgame comments

BRIGHTON, Mass – Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask was acting a bit out of character after the Sunday night loss to the Vegas Golden Knights when he said he wouldn’t be commenting on team performance outside of his own goaltending. 

Clearly, it was a tense atmosphere in the Bruins dressing room following an extremely bad road performance and it would seem very likely there’s probably been some friction in the past between Rask and positional players over his postgame candor.

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That was the backdrop for Rask keeping it laconic, and saying on Sunday night: “I just try to go out there and give us a chance to win every night. That’s what I’m focused on. I’m not going to comment anymore on team play that much. We can just talk about goaltending. That’s just the way it is. Sorry.”

It would seem that some fans and Bruins observers took that to mean Rask was pissed off at his Bruins teammates after a few breakdowns defensively, and a total non-performance at the offensive end of the ice.

Taking all that into account, Rask clarified his comments a bit after practice Tuesday at Warrior Ice Arena and said it’s all about focusing on his own performance rather than taking issues with any of his teammates.

“You lose games and you’re not happy with your performance. Somebody just told me that I guess it got spun the wrong way that it was me mad at my teammates or something. That’s definitely not the case,” said Rask, whom at 1-3-0 with a 3.30 goals-against average and .880 save percentage this season, is clearly in need of some improvement as well.

“You lose games and you definitely hold yourself accountable and you want to talk about your performance and what you need to do to get better," Rask said. "So, that’s where I was coming from. I definitely wasn’t mad at our team. I was more mad at myself, so that’s that.

“You always try to give a fair assessment about the game, but I think the biggest thing that I need to worry about, and what everybody else needs to worry about, is how they get better themselves. You start from that, so that’s where I was coming from.”

The prospect of getting Patrice Bergeron and David Backes back healthy would go a long way toward improving the Bruins play on the ice and stabilizing things defensively for Rask and the rest of the Black and Gold. That’s really what’s needed at this point to improve a situation where the B’s are 23rd in the NHL, averaging 3.6 goals allowed per game, and real, rather than figurative, fingers might start getting pointed all around if it doesn’t start looking better in short order.  

Morning Skate: Shawn Thornton brightening hospitalized kids' days

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Morning Skate: Shawn Thornton brightening hospitalized kids' days

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while back in the good, ol' Eastern Time Zone.
 
*Really nice piece from Shawn Thornton in the Players' Tribune about the inspiration provided by his “Nanny” and how he’s come to truly love the community service and hospital visits while involved with professional hockey. He’s always been one of those athletes that just stops by children’s hospitals for a visit without needing the attention for it, and that is a credit to his great generosity and empathy for those brave kids.

 *You want a Stanley Cup made out of bottle caps? Well, the world will certainly provide a Stanley Cup made out of bottle caps.

*Defenseman Connor Murphy hasn’t been the player that the Chicago Blackhawks expected him to be since arriving in the Windy City.
 
*The Colorado Avalanche are adding a fancy stats and video man to their management group as they seek to keep improving the NHL product.
 
*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Eddie Olczyk is returning to the NBC broadcast booth as his health will allow as he continues to battle cancer. Good to see you back, Edzo!

 *Erik Karlsson is finally set to debut for the Ottawa Senators after offseason foot surgery, and it will be a case of the strong getting stronger for a Sens team off to a pretty decent start.

 *For something completely different: Just in time for Halloween, Jennifer Tilly releases all of the behind-the-scenes secrets of working with Chucky.