Bruins

Patriots have varied plans for their time off

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Patriots have varied plans for their time off

FOXBORO -- With the bye week at hand, Patriots players have been afforded more time off than they've had all season. After today's practice, they won't have another until Tuesday of next week. For many, it's a chance to get away and decompress. For some others, it will be a chance to do extra work in preparation for the second half of the season.

Here are some of the things the Patriots have planned for their upcoming long weekend:

Tom Brady
Im not sure yet. I havent quite made any plans. Get a little rest, stay focused on what we have to do here and try to gear up for a really important next eight games of the year.

Stevan Ridley
I'll be down in Baton Rouge, watching the LSU-'Bama game, of course. I gotta get back and see my boys play and try to get this upset so I can come back and talk a little trash to Dont'a Hightower and Brandon Deaderick. I'll be right there in Baton Rouge . . . I'll probably be down on the sideline. Somewhere around. Not too far. I'm going down there to see my boys, man. I'm going back to see them and wish 'em luck. I'm with them out there on the field. I want them to get that win, like I said, so I can get back up here and talk a little bit . . . It's funny you get some time away and I'm going to another football game. I'm going back to my local high school game, then I'm gonna catch the LSU game, then I come on back. I'm leaving football to go to football. It's my life, man.

Steve Gregory
Right now getting healthy and being ready to play is the most important thing so I'll be around here . . . The season can be a grind. It's a long season. The bye week always comes, and it's good for guys to get away, get their mind off things a little bit. Even take a little trip, just get away from it for a little bit, but then get back, ready to play.

Tavon Wilson
I feel like a bye week is always good and I feel like ours came at the perfect time. Right in the middle of the season. I feel like it's perfect just to kind of relax, and kind of look at some things you've done wrong, some things you've done right and just try to build on those things . . . I'm definitely getting away. I'm gonna get away, relax a little bit and when I get back here next week then I'll be able to get ready for Buffalo.

Rob Ninkovich
I'm not going anywhere. I'm going to stay here, lay around, just kind of relax. Try and get myself back to feeling a little bit normal. Come next week, I'll be refreshed . . . You come in, get your lifts in, do the same things that you would do every other week. You just have a little bit more time to sleep in the morning so that you don't have to get up so early and so you don't have those long, 12-hour days . . . I'll probably sit down and watch some college games, the pro games as well. Obviously having the first chance to just kind of relax and watch a football game.

Brandon Spikes
Me personally, I'm still gonna be working. I wanna just be a professional. I wanna be the best at my position. I can't let a day get by. I'm definitely going to enjoy my family but at the same time, still trying to get the edge.

Bill Belichick
Well see how it goes. Right now were just trying to have a good day here today, take advantage of our day on the field with the players. We have some things that we definitely need to clean up after they leave going forward. Well just kind of take it day to day here and see how it goes.

'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.