Bruins

Still trying to get his game back, Savard turnover costly

Still trying to get his game back, Savard turnover costly

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- Marc Savard always has his equipment off by the time the media gets postgame locker-room access.

That wasn't the case on Saturday night.

Savard sat in his stall with his lower body still fully equipped. His night wasn't all that bad, until about 12 seconds left in overtime.

That's when Savard's turnover in the Philadelphia zone resulted in a Mike Richards goal with three seconds left in the extra period, giving the Flyers a 2-1 overtime win at the TD Garden.

"He was doing well there for most of the game, and it's unfortunate," said Bruins coach Claude Julien after the loss. "I don't know if he thought he had somebody behind there supporting, but it turned out to be a bad pass.

"This was a game of inches, and the smallest mistake would end up costing you. And I thought we made that mistake in the second period, on an odd-man rush a couple times . . . Right at the end, another ill-advised play, and it ended up in our net."

Instead of eating the puck in Philadelphia's corner, and going to a shootout, Savard made a no-look pass to the blue line, but because of the four-on-four overtime, nobody was there, and Richards picked up the loose puck, and skated down the right wing on a 2-on-1.

Richards faked a pass, inside the hash marks, and beat Tim Thomas with a quick snap shot for the win.

"I just threw it back to the point, and obviously it was my fault there," said Savard after the game. "Johnny Boychuk had gone down to the net, and I just thought Dennis Seidenberg was back there and was in the middle more, so I just made a bad play, that's all."

Savard isn't known for his bad plays. He's one of the league's top playmakers, when he's healthy.

Saturday night marked his fifth game of the season, after missing the first two months while dealing with post-concussion syndrome.

Nobody ever said that returning from post-concussion syndrome was an easy transition. Just ask Patrice Bergeron.

It's going to take time for Savard to get his timing and vision back to normal. When that happens, Savard won't make as many mistakes as he's made in his first five games this season.

And Saturday night was as bad as you get.

Savard finished the game with no points, and was a minus-two. He now only has one assist and is a minus-three in five games this year. That assist came on Thursday, after he knocked a faceoff into the slot, where Milan Lucic quickly snapped it home.

It wasn't a typical Savard-esque dish. But his decision making has been improving. His passes have been getting better. His timing is coming back to form.

And then Saturday night happens.

"I felt like I'm building on stuff, and then that happens, so it's tough," said Savard. "You've got to be strong. Obviously I've been through a lot, so I'll come out of it.

"My line created a lot of things, but unfortunately, I come out of it a minus-two," added Savard. "The game's weird sometimes, but I'm strong, I'll get through it."

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard

'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.