Bruins

Pouliot all ears through good and bad times

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Pouliot all ears through good and bad times

BOSTON -- Tell Benoit Pouliot he played well -- hell appreciate the compliment.

Tell him what he needs to work on -- hell embrace the constructive criticism just the same.

At 25 years old, Pouliot has developed a mature approach to his hockey career. Thats what fighting for playing time on three teams over the past six seasons will teach you.

On Tuesday night, Pouliot scored the game-winning goal (assisted by Joe Corvo and Rich Peverley) for the Boston Bruins with three minutes to go in the third period after sitting out four of the Bs previous six games. He was most recently a healthy scratch in Saturdays win over the Buffalo Sabres.

I think its more of a vocal thing, just hearing the guys, just hearing the coach talk to you, he told CSNNE.com following the Bruins 4-3 win over the New Jersey Devils. If I have a bad game or if I have a good game, Ill still get talked to and theyll tell me you did this good or you did that bad.

Its tough and its been like this throughout my career. Mentally, its not the easiest thing in the world but you cant put yourself down and you cant put too much pressure on yourself. When it goes bad, it goes bad and youve just got to keep your head up.

Pouliot came to the Bruins this season after nearly two with the Montreal Canadiens. One of the keys to adjusting to a new team -- and one with tight chemistry after winning a Stanley Cup championship -- has been communication.

That means putting his feelings aside and soaking in the feedback of his coaches and teammates, even if it isnt always the easiest thing to do.

When youre younger, its tough, he said. I think for any young guy its not easy. If they tell you, You played bad, you get down on yourself pretty hard. But Ive learned throughout the years. Ive had some bad years and I try not to think about it too much and just work on that.

Coach Claude Julien spoke with Pouliot about what he was looking for, and Pouliot responded.

Hes a smart player, Julien said. He doesnt have the speed of Daniel Paille, but he has the smarts, the grit, everything else. With Ben, we just felt that hes got experience in the league, and with that line, it just gave it, again, some speed. Peverley and him on each side and Chris Kelly, who I thought had a fantastic game tonight as well, it just gave us a really, to me, a pretty good third line tonight.

After listening to what his coaches and teammates have to say, Pouliot was a topic of conversation prior to the game.

Sometimes we talk before the game and a few guys had a good feeling about him, said Zdeno Chara. He works hard and its nice to get him that goal. He needs it and we all need him too, and hopefully thats going to boost his confidence and hes that kind of player that we need him to be.

And if there are any compliments or critiques along the way, Pouliot is willing to listen.

'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.