Bruins

Bruins guarding against 'complacency' and 'satisfaction' during long winning stretch

Bruins guarding against 'complacency' and 'satisfaction' during long winning stretch

BOSTON – The Bruins continued their winning ways with a solid 5-1 win over the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden on Wednesday that marked their season-high fifth win in a row. It was a game where the defense held strong to just a single goal allowed while keeping the Senators away from the front of the net, and where Tuukka Rask stood up to stop 25 shots including a couple of very good saves in the second period when the B’s defense softened a little bit.

The Bruins also never trailed during the entire 60-minute affair with secondary offense from Kevan Miller on the back end as well as a combined four goals from the B’s third line of Danton Heinen, Riley Nash and David Backes. It was a good example of the way the Bruins have engineered their current winning streak, and how they’ve won 14 of their last 18 games while rocketing up the Atlantic Division over the last six weeks.

MORE BRUINS

With the stretch of winning hockey and the cushion that the Bruins have built up for a playoff spot in those last six weeks, the confident Bruins players are focusing on each and every game rather than getting carried away with their current success level. 

“We just…we just need to keep playing the way we have. You know, I think that’s been resulting as wins. You don’t want to get complacent and just satisfied with [the way] things have been lately. I think you want to keep pushing yourself, and that’s what great teams do,” said Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask, who is 8-1-1 during the month of December after being named the NHL’s No. 1 Star for the month. “They always, they don’t take anything for granted. They always push each other, and I think that something, you know, to put some wins together we have to, you know, show that, show everybody that we’re capable of keeping that up for the rest of the season.” 

With good health and quality play over the last couple of months, the Bruins continue to raise their profile in the Eastern Conference this season as they ascend in the standings. At a certain time it becomes about more than a potential winning streak during the regular season, and morphs into a confident, well-rounded hockey team that’s poised to make some noise in a weaker Atlantic Division with teams like Ottawa, Florida and Buffalo, among others, struggling to put together a consistently competitive team on the ice this season.

“We know we have a good hockey team. We have good players, and you know, if we play a certain way in our strength, then we are an effective team. It’s something that you can be looking at the record, but I think that, you know, we want to look at every game as a challenge and motivation,” said Zdeno Chara. “Every opponent is a tough team to play against. There are no easy wins, and so we’ve just got to keep going. You know, it’s easy to get, you know, comfortable or complacent. You know, it’s just, it’s hard to gain that confidence and that kind of, you know, strong play every game we play and easy to lose it, so always we want to stay on top of that.”

Clearly the Bruins will need to keep vigilant against comfort or complacency for as long as their extended winning ways continue, but they’ve also done a good job of building up into a playoff hopeful while playing committed, two-way hockey on a regular basis. It’s the formula for Boston’s good NHL fortunes and the work ethic at the very heart of the Black and Gold success story that doesn’t appear headed for a slump anytime soon.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

For the Bruins, watching Olympic hockey "stings a bit"

germany_hockey_olympics.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Photo

For the Bruins, watching Olympic hockey "stings a bit"

TORONTO – It’s no secret that NHL players weren’t happy about being barred from participating in the Winter Olympics wrapping up in South Korea this week. 

Instead the NHL continued their regular season with business as usual while skipping the Olympics for the first time since 1998, and college hockey players, minor league players and players already playing overseas in Europe were utilized to comprise the teams for the US, Canada and others participating in the Olympic Men’s Hockey tournament. 

MORE BRUINS

The lack of NHL participation has made for a wide open tournament at this month’s Olympics, and led to the major upset of Canada actually losing to Germany on Friday in a match to play for the gold medal game this weekend. That was bad news for former Bruins forward Chris Kelly as the captain of Team Canada at the tail end of his hockey career, but great news for fellow former B’s forward Marco Sturm as the head coach of Team Germany. 

Naturally one couldn’t help but wonder what was going through the minds of players like Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, who certainly would have both been on Team Canada, watching Hockey Canada fall short of the gold medal game. 

“Obviously you cheer for your country and that’s what we were all doing. I got up early to catch a little of the game,” said Bergeron. “It’s too bad. I thought Germany played a really good game, and there’s a part of me that’s very happy for Marco [Sturm] since he’s a friend of mine. We played together for a long time.

“It was tough. You wanted to be out there and you wanted to be able to compete. It’s too bad that we didn’t have a say in it. That’s probably the biggest thing for me. That’s my biggest disappointment that we had no say in being a part of it. It was different. The last two Olympics I was in it, and now being able to watch it on TV it’s actually been a lot of fun to be able to watch different events at any time of the day.”

MORE BRUINS

While Bergeron has his two gold medals from each of the past two Olympic Games to go along with his memories, Marchand might have missed his one chance to be a part of Team Canada at the Olympics during the peak of his hockey career. Coming off last season’s stunning performance from Team Canada at the World Cup, Marchand would have been close to an automatic for the Olympic roster, but instead it’s an experience he may have simply missed the boat on given that he’ll be 33 years old the next time around. 

“Obviously you get over it, but it was more about it being an opportunity lost, I think,” said Marchand. “It was a potential opportunity lost, but it allows other guys to have opportunities. I couldn’t be any happier that a guy like Chris Kelly gets to be there. It’s a huge opportunity. A lost opportunity for us is a huge opportunity for other guys…but it would have been nice to be there and be a part of it. It’s the biggest stage in the world.  

“The biggest reason it stings is that I never thought I would even be potentially be looked at for a team like that. With how things have played out the last couple of years, I might have been able to crack that [Olympic] lineup. So I think it stings a little more for that reason…to have the rug pulled out from under you for no reason. It does sting a bit, but that’s how it goes.”

That stinging feeling from the league pulling out of the Olympics will no doubt be revisited the next time the NHL and NHLPA go to the bargaining table for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. But that’s a different story for a different day as the first Winter Olympics without NHL players in 20 years finally goes into the books this weekend.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

DeBrusk on being subject of trade rumors: "I love being a Bruin"

boston-bruins-jake-debrusk-100617.jpg
File Photo

DeBrusk on being subject of trade rumors: "I love being a Bruin"

TORONTO – Jake DeBrusk has heard about the trade rumors. Heck, the 21-year-old has actually been traded before in his hockey career as he was dealt in junior hockey from Swift Current to the Red Deer Rebels in his final season. It’s a little different, however, when DeBrusk hears his name involved in trade rumors with New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh, and reports indicate that DeBrusk is a name that Rangers GM Jeff Gorton wants included in any deal. 

MORE BRUINS

It makes perfect sense with DeBrusk off to a strong start to his NHL career with 11 goals and 29 points in 54 games while playing a top-6 role next to David Krejci, and just scratching the surface of how good he can be with the Bruins. Brandon Carlo has likewise been mentioned prominently as well as a young NHL player being sought after in trade talks. 

But the bottom line for all the Bruins youngsters is that they don’t want to go anywhere, and are doing their best to block everything out while preparing to go out and do their best. 

“I got traded in junior, so I know a little bit about it…but it’s a little different when it’s the magnitude of the NHL,” said DeBrusk. “We’re just focusing on getting wins, and doing everything I can do to help the team win. At the same you’re keeping an eye out and looking [at the rumors] secretly. But it is what it is. You can’t control it. You can only control your play, and do anything I can to help the team win now. You can only take it day by day. 

“I love being with these guys and we’re a pretty tight group. So whatever happens is going to happen, but at the same time whoever is on the ice we’ll go to battle with them.”

MORE BRUINS

Clearly DeBrusk wants to stick with the team that selected him 14th overall in the 2015 NHL Draft, and the Bruins would do well to keep a talented, likable and bright youngster that could be a meaningful member of the organization for a long, long time. But he’s also drawing whatever positive that he can out of the situation, and the biggest one is that other NHL teams are clearly taking notice of what he’s done this season as a rookie. 

Being the primary name mentioned in a deal for a player like the captain of the New York Rangers means you must be doing a lot of things right. 

“When you’re a rookie with your name being thrown around and the other guy has some pretty high stature in the league, it’s a compliment. But I don’t look too much into it,” said DeBrusk. “I love being a Bruin. I just want to continue to get better, continue to improve and I’ve got lots of room to grow. I’m just taking it shift-by-shift.”

That’s a smart kid with a good answer as he focuses on his game on the ice, and learns on the job to navigate through his first NHL experience that’s now included being at the heart of a juicy trade rumor for the Black and Gold.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE