Bruins

Mottau looking for a return to dream situation with Bruins

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Mottau looking for a return to dream situation with Bruins

It clearly wasnt the happy ending Massachusetts native Mike Mottau was looking for during his run with the Boston Bruins, but he still appreciated a taste of the hometown team experience.

For a kid with Black and Gold dreams growing up on the South Shore, donning the Bruins sweater for the last few playoff games this season was one of his career highlights.

Mottau still appreciated the experience after starring for Boston College and embarking on a journeymen NHL career through stops in New York, New Jersey, Calgary and Long Island among other places.

So a chance to play in front of family and friends was something to be cherished despite the bittersweet ending.

For me it was a great experience. It was a childhood dream fulfilled. The disappointed feeling is going to stay with me for awhile. You always want to have a positive impact. You want to be out there for the winning goal rather than the final goal against, said Mottau. But Ill always take these couple of months that Ive been here whether I come back or not and Ill always have that. It was pretty special. I always took a couple of extra seconds before I put the game jersey on. Ill always remember that.

The guys in the room were fantastic and just to be out there on the ice I cant speak enough about it.

Mottau always played the good solider and supportive teammate after arriving in February as a healthy scratch when every ounce of him wanted to be out on the ice. More importantly he was solid when called upon to perform with no signs of rust.

Sure, Mottau was on the ice for the game-winning Joel Ward overtime goal in Game 7. But that was much more about a feeble dump attempt by Benoit Pouliot at the offensive end than it was about the Bs defensemen pairing caught scrambling in an unwieldy line change.

At nearly every turn Mottau was solid, dependable and able to execute Claude Juliens system as a sixthseventh defensemen whenever called upon, and showed the kind of quick decision-making and hockey IQ to excel in the Bs system. Those kinds of veteran players are worth their weight in gold to a coach like Julien looking for stability, accountability and reliability in his reserve players.

Mottau knows he can still play in the NHL and will find work somewhere next season regardless of the NHL location. But Boston has the first spot in the priority rankings.

Id welcome it a lot more after being able to get into the lineup and know that I could have some success here. Its a good group of guys that work with each other. I know I could have success here because it plays to some of my strengths: hockey intellect and decision-making, said Mottau. I know I could be inserted into the lineup and play, and add value. I would totally welcome that.

Its really ultimately up to them to see where I fit within the organization. Well have a conversation and see where it takes us.

The 34-year-old Quincy native hopes its with the Bruins as a depth defensemen that can step up when needed, but also remain sharp if the Bs are going with six strong defensemen ahead of him. Inevitably defensemen go down with injuries during the year, and the Bruins need more than 20-somethings among their organizational depth when it does happen.

Its a spot the Bruins have searched long and hard for over the last couple of seasons. Shane Hnidy wasnt capable of playing big minutes while serving in that role two years ago, and young defensemen like Steve Kampfer, Matt Bartkowski, Andrew Bodnarchuk or Torey Krug arent going to be dependable in a reserve role.

Thats the exact kind of place Mottau could fit in with the Bruins at a very affordable price for the next season or two.

The former Eagles blueliner knows it would be difficult to move elsewhere after playing for the Bruins, and hes hoping it doesnt come to that.

As far as being a free agent, its par for the course. Hopefully you opened some eyes around the league if the Bruins arent interested, said Mottau. As a player you always want to play, but I know I could be ready when called upon to play well. Playing for the Bruins in a reserve capacity would definitely be a welcome option for me.

Just two seasons ago Mottau was playing 22 minutes a night for the New Jersey Devils and logged 79 games played for Lou Lamoriellos crew, so theres plenty of flexibility and upside if the prodigal son returns for a full season run.

A Mottau return is up to the Bruins brain-trust, but its an option that makes a whole lot of sense for a local kid beaming with pride at wearing the Black and Gold.

Morning Skate: No place for Gudas’ slash on Perreault

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Morning Skate: No place for Gudas’ slash on Perreault

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while enjoying the new Brown Sugar Cinnamon coffee flavor at Dunkin’ Donuts. It’s not Cookie Dough, but what is after all?

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) and PHT writer James O’Brien has the details on Radko Gudas getting ejected for an ugly, reckless and dangerous slash to Mathieu Perreault’s head last night. Gudas should be facing a long suspension for a play that has no place in the NHL. It’s time for Flyers fans to stop making excuses for a player who’s no better than a cheap-shot artist and hatchet man. He has to face the music for consistently trying to hurt his fellow players.  

*Frank Seravalli has some of the details for a historic GM meeting in Montreal where NHL hockey was born in the first place.

*You always need to link to a service dog being part of the pregame face-off ceremonies. That’s like a rule here at the morning skate?

*Cam Atkinson and the Columbus Blue Jackets have agreed to a seven-year contract extension, according to reports from the Athletic.

*It’s been quite an eventful year for Arizona Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet and some of it has been to the extreme both good and bad just a month into his first year as bench boss.

*For something completely different: Chris Mannix is all-in on the Celtics being the front-runners in the Eastern Conference after their big win over the Golden State Warriors.


 

Haggerty: For now, Bruins need to ride Khudobin’s hot hand over Rask

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Haggerty: For now, Bruins need to ride Khudobin’s hot hand over Rask

These are desperate times for the Bruins even after pulling out a solid, blue-collar 2-1 win over a sputtering Los Angeles Kings team on Thursday night.

The victory ended a four-game losing streak and gave the Bruins just their second road win of the season in eight tries. It was also the fourth win of the season for backup netminder Anton Khudobin, who is a sterling 4-0-2 and has given them everything they could possibly hope for out of the backup spot. The Bruins have a grand total of 18 points on the season and Khudobin miraculously has more than half of those (10 to be exact).

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It’s clearly a far cry from last season for Khudobin, of course, when it took until February for the goalie’s season to get in gear.

But Thursday night’s 27-save effort from Khudobin was also a stunning contrast to what Tuukka Rask has been able to produce this season. Khudobin has a .928 save percentage and 2.35 goals-against average. Rask has a dreadful .897 save percentage while giving them average play between the pipes at best.  

Khudobin is tied for seventh in the NHL with reigning Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky in save percentage and Rask is chilling in the NHL goalie statistical basement with retreads Steve Mason and James Reimer.

Quite simply, Khudobin has been way better than Rask and the Bruins have, for whatever reason, played better hockey in front of their backup goalie. Some of it might also be about Khudobin’s more adaptable game behind a Boston defense that can make things unpredictable for their goaltender, but Rask is being paid $7 million a season to be better and figure it out. It would be amazing if this trend continued for the entire season and it would certainly merit more examination from management as to why the rest of the Bruins and Rask can’t seem to combine for an effective, winning product on the ice.

For now, the Bruins need to simply win by whatever means necessary and that amounts to riding Khudobin’s hot streak for as long as it lasts. It should begin with the backup goalie getting a second consecutive start against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night and seeing where it goes from there. Perhaps the extra rest gets Rask additional time to get his game together, or serves as the kind of motivation to get the Finnish netminder into a mode where he can steal games for an undermanned, out-gunned team that needs that right now.

“We’re going to look at it,” said Bruce Cassidy, when asked postgame by reporters in L.A. about his goalie for Saturday night. “He played very well against San Jose last time. They’re a heavy team. He seems to do well in these kinds of games with a lot of traffic around the net. But we’ll look at that decision [Friday].”

Khudobin has stopped 57 of 61 shots in his two games in November, so perhaps that level of hot goaltending could also allow the Bruins to survive a month that otherwise might absolutely bury their playoff hopes. Maybe Khudobin finally loses on Saturday night and the goaltending conversation, not controversy, ends as quickly as his point streak. For now, riding the hot goalie is the right call for a team that needs something good to hang onto.

The Bruins are in desperation mode until they get a number of their injured players back. There certainly might not be more of a desperate option than setting their beleaguered sights on a goalie they sent to the minors as recently as last season. But it’s a new season, Khudobin has been excellent and he’s earned a chance to carry this team for a little bit until they can get things back in order.

Calling Khudobin’s number is the right call right now for the Bruins and, quite frankly, shouldn’t be that difficult a choice given what we’ve seen so far this season.