Bruins

Morning Skate 516: No calls for LucicHorton

Morning Skate 516: No calls for LucicHorton

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON It appears Bs forwards Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton are two of the first beneficiaries of the toughened up stance by Colin Campbell and the NHL Hockey Operations staff. There has been nary a hearing or a phone call to the Bs forwards after the brouhaha between the Bruins and Lightning at the end of Game One that resulted in a pair of punches thrown by the Bs linemates that dropped two Tampa skaters in non-hockey fight situations.In the closing minutes of Tampas solid win at the TD Garden, Dominic Moore cross-checked David Krejci and was then decked by Nathan Horton with a stiff right hand. That was followed by two of the biggest players on the ice Milan Lucic and Tampa defenseman Victor Hedman getting entangled during a scrum with Lucic dropping Hedman with a right-handed jab. The Horton hit looked as if it came with some pretty legitimate force, but the Lucic punch dropped a giant human being like Hedman a bit too easily.Both players were tagged with roughing minors and game misconducts for the infraction, and the NHLs silence is deafening when it comes to supplemental discipline in each case. It was simply boys will be boys type rough play that can escalate at the end of a playoff game. Its actually very similar to the punch Aaron Ward took to his face via Scott Walker during the middle of the HurricanesBruins series three years ago that similarly went unpunished. The Walker sucker punch on Ward was also a bit starker in nature, and that makes sense in it not leading up to any extended fanfare aside from a few Lightning torch-bearers in the media.Bruins coach Claude Julien had already moved on from the topic when it was broached with reporters.I dont know if the referees need to call those things; thats their call, said Julien. I think its part of frustration sometimes in games and liberties are taken. Same thing as usual, its always easy to look at the punch . . . just like that penalty Johnny Boychuk took. How we end up shorthanded is tough to see when Vincent Lecavalier jumps him after a clean hit. Those are things that happen in the game and we can whine and cry about things. We take care of our own business. We are moving on to the next game and we are not even thinking about that.On to the links:Derek Boogaards family decides to donate their late sons brain to the Boston University medical facility thats doing studies on the effect that concussions have on the human brain. Thats a truly selfless act and ray of hope from an utter tragedy.The New York Islanders blog, Lighthouse Hockey, laments the possible passing of the Nassau Coliseum. It is absolutely a dump, but it also honestly has some of the best sight lines from the press box at any NHL rink.It sounds like Jaromir Jagr is determined to remain in the KHL, but never say never when that mullet is involved.Newsdays Katie Strang has an amazing story about a Derek Boogaard punch that changed NHL tough guy Todd Fedoruks life and career forever.The Atlanta Journal Constitution asks if the other NHL owners could save the Atlanta Thrashers. Given that theyre already attempting to save the Phoenix Coyotes, it would appear that their collective plates are full.The Tampa Bay Lighting are outraged theres been literally no reaction by the NHL toward Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton. Maybe because there was no wrongdoing aside from what was penalized already during the game. Duh.Vancouver Province has a good look at Maxim Lapierre, Raffi Torres and Jannik Hansen forming a deadly cocktail of a checking line for the Canucks during the playoffs. Lapierre brings some deadly flopping to the mix.Nashville Predators players see their stocks rise and fall during a fun rush to the second round of the playoffs. Smashville never looked and sounded so good before.An excellent piece by the New York Posts Larry Brooks about the legacy left behind by Derek Boogaard following his untimely passing at the age of 28 years old.Another great piece in the Prince George Citizen about Boogaard including an interview with a former teammate he was set to live with in New York City. Boogaards concussion was still bad enough that his head would start spinning in the back of a taxi cab.

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.