Bruins

Ownership, management disappointed with first round exit

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Ownership, management disappointed with first round exit

Anybody that expected a fire and brimstone speech from Cam Neely about heads rolling after the Bruins first round exit from the playoff probably left TD Garden disappointed on Thursday afternoon.

Those that expected a Bs ownership group and management team to express a disappointment after a seven-game loss to the Washington Capitals and the teams first opening round playoff exit in four seasons got exactly what they were looking for. Bruins ownershipmanagement liaison Charlie Jacobs used the term disappointing in his first sentence to the assembled media at Legends Restaurant at TD Garden, and the man signing the checks didnt sound much happier.

Of course the younger Jacobs also mentioned the term parity in attempting to reconcile the reasons behind losing in the playoffs, and mentioned a level of pride still there with the team.

We did expect to get out of that first round this year. We were probably a little better than the team that won the Stanley Cup when you look at the skill level and the age of the players, said Bruins Principal owner Jeremy Jacobs. We wanted to do better, we expected to do better and we have every reason to believe wed do better.

Neely said a philosophical change might be in store for the power play after it once again let down the Black and Gold at the worst possible time, but there was no fist pounding on the table in fury one year removed from winning the Stanley Cup. Instead the Bruins President hoped his young nucleus of players learned from the mental and physical grind associated with attempting to repeat as Stanley Cup champs.

Its disappointing to lose out in the first round. We didnt have this at all last year. I dont like this at all and I dont think anybody in the organization likes it, said Neely. I used this saying a lot when I was a player and I was dealing with injuries and everything else: I said quite a few times that may rear view mirror is broken. I cant use it. We had a lot to celebrate last year and weve had a lot of things to learn from this past season.

We can learn from it, and I believe because of the character of our players were going to come back even more motivated at the start of training camp.

The displeasure with losing early in the playoffs was clear coming from the top on Causeway Street, and it appears that the Bruins have moved on organizationally while already putting an emphasis on next year. If another first round playoff exit follows this one, then that fire and brimstone might just make a cameo appearance at this time next year.

Khudobin can't save Bruins' goaltending situation

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Khudobin can't save Bruins' goaltending situation

The entire concept of Tuukka Rask getting pushed by one of his backups is based on the backup consistently performing at a high standard, and that wasn’t the case for Anton Khudobin over the weekend.

Just as it isn’t solely the fault of Rask when the Bruins lose, it wasn’t solely the fault of Khudobin that Boston squandered leads of 3-0 and 4-1 in an overtime loss to Buffalo on Saturday night. But Khudobin couldn’t step up and carry the B's when they clearly started losing their edge in the second half of the game, and that inconsistency will certainly make the Bruins pine for a sooner-rather-than-later return of a concussed Rask.

“Erratic,” said coach Bruce Cassidy when asked to describe Khudobin postgame. “He battles. We love that about him. He battled to the end. He certainly made his share of saves. We need to be better in front of him. But there were times that, there were fires that needed to be put out that shouldn’t have been necessary. But that happens sometimes.”

It was certainly too much to expect Khudobin to be perfect, but they just needed him to be good enough to pull them through while they were getting waylaid in the second half of the game. That proved to be a major challenge, given the players the Bruins are missing and the extremely rough night suffered by Torey Krug (minus-3 on Saturday night, and minus-8 for the season). Khudobin finished with 37 stops as a defense corps without Adam McQuaid and Kevan Miller wilted in the third period and the overtime, but he couldn’t make the clean saves for whistles when the team really needed them. Case in point was a Rasmus Ristolainen tester in overtime while the Bruins were in the midst of being outshot by a 6-0 margin in the extra session. Khudobin got a glove on it but couldn’t cleanly catch it for a badly needed stoppage in play at a time when Krug, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand had been caught on the ice for over two minutes.

"The start was great, and the game was great until we scored the fourth goal, and I think after that, we thought it was an easy game,” said Khudobin. “[The high volume of shots] wasn’t that much difficult, I like shots, like probably every other goalie, but they were crashing the net. They were going hard. There were a lot of deflections, a lot of rebounds, a lot of scrums in front of the net, which were . . .that’s the dangerous part, not just the shots.”

Khudobin, 31, has taken five of a possible six points in the games he's played this season and is off to a solid start with a 2-0-1 record, a 2.98 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage. He looks like he’s going to be a perfectly fine backup, enabling the Bruins to hold Rask to the 55-60 games they’ve forecasted for his peak performance this season.

But Saturday night was a major blow to any hopes that Rask would be pushed competitively by his backup, and that a Khudobin hot streak could spark a slow-starting, and now injured, Rask when he does return.

Instead the Bruins are left to hope they can survive while missing Rask along with a number of other key players, and that the goalie returns sooner than later to a team that can’t survive too many morale-crushing defeats like the choke job against the lowly Sabres.

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Morning Skate: 'After Hours'? Injured Jagr is open

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Morning Skate: 'After Hours'? Injured Jagr is open

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while wondering if it shouldn’t be more of an issue that potential Red Sox manager Alex Cora was good buddies with Dustin Pedroia when the two played together in Boston.

*Jaromir Jagr suffers a lower-body injury and then goes on Hockey Night in Canada’s “After Hours” program to show once again how wonderful it is to be “The Jagr.”

*The Ottawa Senators get Erik Karlsson back this week, but now they’ve lost power forward Bobby Ryan for a month with a broken finger.

*The Montreal Canadiens are getting exposed for the very flawed team that they are during a brutal start to the 2017-18 season.

*Keep an eye out on the Los Angeles Kings now that they’ve suffered an injury with Jeff Carter and do appear to be in the running for the playoffs this season.

*New Jersey Devils fans help a singer belt out the national anthem after there might have been a case of forgetting the words.

*Doug Gilmour might not have always enjoyed the prying eyes while playing in Toronto, a case that gives you an idea what it’s like to be a pro hockey player in a market like Toronto where everybody knows your name.

*For something completely different: There’s no doubting that Aaron Judge has brought life and energy back to the Yankees and that’s something that’s very good for baseball.