Morning Skate: Lady Gaga getting in B's way

Morning Skate: Lady Gaga getting in B's way

By JoeHaggerty

BOSTON If things go awry this week for the Bruins, the only place to slap some blame will be in the direction ofandrogynous Madonna wannabee, Lady Gaga. Not only is she liberally lifting sheet music from Madonnas Express Yourself to create her own new brand of pop music, but she also brought her overwrought theatrics toMontreals Bell Centre on Monday night.On its own that would be no sweat, but its problematic when coupled with the fact it forced Game 6 to Tuesday night at the Bell Centre --and creates a potential back-to-back situation for Game 7 on Wednesday night at TD Garden.It would appear given the schedule of Rush and Lady Gaga concerts at the Habs'barnthat perhaps Montreal Canadiens ownership banked on getting home ice for the first round of the playoffs when booking dates, and hence the scheduling snafu. Either way it doesnt appear Bs fans will be joyfully warblingBad Romance or Alejandro if the Bruins get into a Game 7 situation with tired legs or weary minds."Blame it on Gaga" will become the order of the day but at least theres a Game 6 for the Bs to take care of business and renderthe situation moot. Either way the Bruins appear to be prepared for whatever scenario comes their way.I guess as a team right now, were not thinking about Game 7, said coach Claude Julien. Were thinking about Game 6. That is what is on our mind. That is what should be on our mind.We realize how important it is to come and play probably our best game of the series. Thats basically where our focus is right now. And just to talk about something else right now I dont think is the right approach. Its also a waste of energy and time. We have to focus on the moment. You hear a lot of coaches and you hear a lot of players talking about the moment, and thats what he have to focus on is the moment. The moment is tomorrow, us being ready to play game six.Its certainly not about letting Lady Gaga and her poker face get in the way.On to the links: The Globe and Mail has a rundown on Vancouver native Tom Gagliardi, the prospective new owner of the Dallas Stars. A nice job by home girl Mary Paoletti on Tim Thomas and the job he did to exorcise some postseason demons in Game 5 for the Bruins. It looks like the Penn State hockey program has found its ace-in-the-hole coach, and its a good hire. Habs and Bruins bloggers are getting together for some wagers on the series for charity, and its something everybody can still get involved in. Adrian Dater was ahead of the curve on starting Cory Schneider over Roberto Luongo in the Vancouver playoff run, and it makes plenty of sense. Hockey News scribe Ken Campbell takes on a few subjects: crazy playoff comebacks and the ageless Teemu Selanne continuing to shine in the playoffs. Unfortunately the Nashville Predators were just a little brighter. Heres the Predlines blog with a History Will Be Made commercial featuring the Nashville Predators. Ill admit it wasnt something I thought Id ever see unless it featured Barry Trotz and his amazing twitching eyebrows. Elliotte Friedman has 30 brilliant thoughts on his CBC blog, and breaks down the Roberto Luongo in the thoughtful manner he does just about everything. SI.coms Stu Hackel says that its about time people starting taking the Nashville Predators and Smashville a little more seriously. Fear the Puck blog has the short history of where the term Black Aces originated. I was in as soon as I read Eddie Shores name.Joe Haggerty can be reached at Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

No hesitation from Chara in scoring after scary incident in Montreal

No hesitation from Chara in scoring after scary incident in Montreal

BOSTON – Less than 48 hours after one of his legendarily hard slap shots put a Montreal Canadiens forward in the hospital after striking him in the head, Zdeno Chara didn’t hesitate when given the chance to wind up and blast away on Monday afternoon.

It was the 40-year-old Chara that rocketed a slapper past Kari Lehtonen at the end of the second period, and in doing so energized the Bruins while getting them on the scoreboard. The Chara goal helped earn the Black and Gold a point in overtime before eventually falling to the Dallas Stars by a 3-2 score at TD Garden on Monday afternoon.

The Bruins captain had been texting with the felled Montreal winger on Monday, and was fully aware that Phillip Danault was out of the hospital and doing well aside from understandable concussion symptoms after a puck to the head. Perhaps that eased Chara’s mind just a little when it came time to lean into another wind-up slapper on Monday, but it was also certainly aided by the lack of brave bodies willing to front one of his heavy, hard point blasts.

“I obviously spoke to Phillip a number of times. I talked to him right after the game and wanted to make sure he was okay, and he texted me back that he’s doing fine. He’s been released [from the hospital] and that’s very positive, good news,” said Chara. “It’s obviously very unfortunate that it’s something that happens quite often, but it’s something you never want to see with somebody getting hit and hurt. I’m very happy he’s going to recover fully and hopefully he’s back on the ice and playing hockey [soon] like we all do.”

Was there any hesitation to Chara winding up and stepping into a 100-mph slap shot so quickly after the ugly incident in Montreal?

“It’s something that doesn’t happen very often where you have that clean [shooting] path to the net where you can settle the puck, take a look and take a full slapper,” said Chara. “Usually teams play so well structurally that there’s already somebody fronting it, and you’ve got to get it through him with bodies in front. It does happen, but it’s nice that you have that time to put everything on it.”

That’s exactly what the 6-foot-9 defenseman did in sparking the Bruins to come back from a 2-0 deficit and push for the overtime point while extending their point streak to a season-best 13 games and counting.


Overtime heroics a reminder of what Bruins gave up in Seguin


Overtime heroics a reminder of what Bruins gave up in Seguin

BOSTON – The Tyler Seguin trade from the Bruins is pretty much ancient history at this point.

It was almost five years ago, all of the good-but-not-great players Boston received in the deal from Dallas are long gone. The Bruins general manager that engineered the big trade is now dealing with totally different brush fires while running a star-crossed Edmonton Oilers group.

But the one Stars visit per season to Boston usually serves as a reminder of what the B’s dealt away in the Fourth of July trade, and for perhaps the first time ever Seguin looked like a legit, all-around No. 1 center in the Stars 3-2 overtime win over the B’s at TD Garden. Seguin made the highlight reel with an overtime game-winner after dangling through the entire Bruins group on the ice, and watching bemusement as Bruins kept diving at him trying to stop him.

The gassed trio of Ryan Spooner, David Pastrnak and Matt Grzelcyk were on the ice hemmed into the D-zone for a long time, and simply couldn’t get the puck away from the Stars once a delayed penalty was called on Grzelcyk.

“I felt like everyone was just sliding at me, and the whole time I wanted to pass, so I was just kind of looking for the right play and just kept holding it,” said Seguin, who is on pace for 39 goals and 75 points this season with the Stars. “I just kind of shot it and luckily it went in.”

It was more than luck as Anton Khudobin had already dropped into a crazed double-pad stacked save attempt while Seguin was still holding patiently onto the puck.

“That’s really tough, to be honest. He has the puck there, and all the way, all the way, going, going, going, going and I mean, guys were laying down and trying to block the shot,” said Khudobin. “He had a lot of patience and I think it went between my legs or something like that and it’s just tough. Good goal by him.'

“Nothing is impossible. You know, [Seguin] is a good player and he scored a pretty good goal. But at the same time I can stop that. But I didn’t this time and overtime is not really easy because it’s 3-on-3.”

But all the overtime heroics aside, Seguin was solid throughout the game. It was almost enough to make Bruins fans go through the entire gamut of emotions again at one of a number of trades where the organization cut bait on a talented player at a very young juncture of their career.

“I think he’s through testing. I think he has made himself to be a very good player, and he’s accountable in every situation. He’s really matured. I think he’s a guy that we don’t even worry about anymore,” said Dallas head coach Ken Hitchcock. “Everyone talked about, ‘Can you make him a one?’ Well, quite frankly, he’s a [No. 1 center], and he’s playing like a one. He’s played six games in a row like this, and this is what you want in a number one center. He’s doing the job.

“He’s killing penalties, he’s out there taking key face-offs, he’s quarterbacking the power play, and he’s playing against the other team’s best player. To me, that’s what a [No. 1 center] does, and that’s exactly what he’s doing.”

Mostly matched up against the Perfection Line that he used to be a part of, Seguin managed a 12-for-21 performance in the face-off circle while holding Bergeron, Marchand and Pastrnak off the board offensively. Even better for Seguin and Dallas, he was on the ice for the second Stars goal against the Bergeron trio for only the second even strength goal they’ve given up all season.

Seguin killed penalties, he finished with four shot attempts, had a couple of takeaways and played the kind of mature, 200-foot game that most wondered if he’d ever be capable of in his NHL career.

So credit where it’s due for Seguin showing all of that while clearly still in a headspace where coming to Boston is special for him.

“It’s special and it’s weird playing here still. You know, I enjoy the anthem, and looking up and seeing the banner for the team that I was a part of. It’s always going to be special, you know, playing here and having old teammates on the team,” said Seguin. “I’ve been thinking a lot more of defense, a lot more of face-offs, and a lot more of, you know, the little things. I’ve been judging my performances based on those things more than goals and assists. That’s been the biggest change for me, trying to put the work in, and [against the Bruins] it worked out for me.”

The Bruins have long since chalked up dealing a horse (Seguin) for ponies (Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith, Matt Fraser and Joe Morrow) as a big fat loss considering it never got them any closer to another Stanley Cup, and it didn’t give them any players still of use to the organization less than five years later.

But Monday afternoon’s overtime loss to Seguin and the Stars was a different kind of frustrating while watching a more mature, seemingly changed Seguin that would have fit in very nicely with the direction that the Bruins are headed these days.