Bruins

Jacobs to Bruins: I expect a deep playoff run

Jacobs to Bruins: I expect a deep playoff run

BRIGHTON -- Longtime Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs didn’t mince any words about expectations for his team after the B's the playoff cut in each of the last two seasons.

Jacobs, 76, said he expects the Bruins to be back in the playoffs this spring and that he wants them to go “on a deep run” in the Stanley Cup playoffs. They haven't gotten past the second round since their trip to the Cup Finals in 2013.

The B's have some promising young players but, clearly, they'll require patience; as a result, many feel they're still very much in a transition period. But Jacobs wasn’t having any of it.

“I share the expectations with everybody here that we’ll be in the playoffs,” said Jacobs when asked point blank Tuesday at Media Day what his expectations are for this group. “I expect that we’ll go deep into the playoffs. I think this is a very good mix of young and older, experienced players. I’m looking forward to their going into the playoff season.”

Should that be considered a mandate from ownership?

“[Yesterday] would be the timeline [for playoffs]. I think we’re so close to being a competitive playoff team, and a contender,” said a smiling, relaxed Jacobs. “Who saw San Jose [getting to the Cup Final] last year? I sure didn’t. So circumstances evolve, and we could well be a serious contender. Every day there’s a mandate [to win]. Whether or not they hear it is something else. No . . . our expectations are high and I talk to [team president Cam Neely] quite a bit. So I think we all share that [as our goal].”

Those are high expectations, stated in unfairly certain terms, and they also represent a gauntlet laid down to Neely and general manager Don Sweeney as they attempt to get the B’s back into their winning ways. If that doesn’t happen and the B’s once again waltz through an uneven, half-hearted season -- which could lower TV ratings, cost the team playoff gates, and increase fan displeasure -- then watch out below.

“I don’t want to talk about just making the playoffs because there’s a bigger goal for us here," said Neely. "Obviously to achieve that goal you have to get into the postseason, and that’s something we haven’t been happy with the last couple of years. We were close, but we didn’t make it and it’s a results-oriented business.

"The goal is to continue to build to a championship club, and the experience you build by just getting into the playoffs is huge, not only for the players that have played there but also the first-year players looking for an opportunity to experience playoff hockey.”

As everybody knows, close doesn’t cut it in the NHL, not when the expectation is to go deep into the postseason. The Bruins would be well off to heed the warnings of “postseason or else” after falling disastrously short in each of the last two frustration seasons.

With Zach Senyshyn out for four weeks, Bruins call up Trent Frederic

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File photo

With Zach Senyshyn out for four weeks, Bruins call up Trent Frederic

BRIGHTON, Mass. — The Bruins are again digging deeper into their forward reserves as Zach Senyshyn will be out at least four weeks with a suspected knee injury suffered in Tuesday night’s loss to the Florida Panthers.

The 22-year-old Senyshyn had actually played pretty well since his call-up, with two points in four games and had generated some third-line chemistry with Anders Bjork, but that was all wiped away when he was done for the game early in the second period against Florida. With Senyshyn done for at least a month and David Backes, Jake DeBrusk and Brett Ritchie also among the walking wounded up front, the B’s promoted 2016 first-round pick Trent Frederic to Boston for his first stint this season.

The 21-year-old Frederic is off to a bit of a slow start with the P-Bruins this season with five assists in 15 games along with a whopping 40 penalty minutes this year. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Frederic, who has played 15 career NHL games in Boston over the last few seasons, brings some needed size and muscle up front with both Backes and Ritchie currently missing from the lineup, and also gives the Bruins some versatility with his ability to play center or a power forward spot on the wing.

The injury news is par for the course right now for the Black and Gold as they prepare for an important Friday night game against the rival Maple Leafs in Toronto, and are missing some key components from their roster with an assortment of injuries a month into the season.

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Rask knows he 'can't be too satisfied' with the way his game his taken a slide

Rask knows he 'can't be too satisfied' with the way his game his taken a slide

BOSTON – There’s no denying the single biggest common thread through the Bruins' four-game losing streak.

The same Tuukka Rask that was brilliant in the first month of the season has hit a rough patch in November and that tough stretch continued as he coughed up four goals in the third period of a 5-4 shootout loss to the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night.

Rask is 1-2-1 with a 3.45 goals-against average and .886 save percentage in four November starts and played a starring role as a liability in losses to Montreal and Florida the past week. It was Rask who was beaten in the first minute of the third period on a long-distance Aaron Ekblad shot where the goaltender admitted he was too deep in the net and it was Rask who didn’t shut off the post on Florida’s third goal scored by Mike Hoffman as Florida was storming back in the final 20 minutes.

“I should have been sharper in that third period,” lamented Rask. “There were a couple of soft goals and I let [the Panthers] kind of get some momentum. It’s a 60-minute game and we’ve been on the other side of it.”

It wasn’t quite as bad as the three soft goals he gave up that all clanged off his glove hand last week in Montreal, but it was far from vintage Rask at a time when a few different things are going wrong for the Bruins. Rask is still top five with a 2.16 GAA and eighth in the league with a .926 save percentage, but it’s a far cry from the .951 save percentage he racked up in 10 games in a red-hot October.

Clearly, Rask is going through the same kind of tough stretch that used to greet him the first month of the season, but this time, it’s hitting him after a brief, dominant stretch out of the starting gate. Perhaps the Bruins coaching staff will get a quicker hook with Rask the next time he shows signs of trouble as in the losses against Montreal and Florida, or Jaroslav Halak will be used with a little more frequency until Rask works out the kinks in his game.

At least the B’s No. 1 goaltender isn’t under any illusions about the way he’s played the past few games.

“In Montreal, I sucked. In Detroit, I felt okay. Today, in the last period there were a couple of soft goals, so I can’t be too satisfied,” said Rask. “But, hey, there’s a lot of hockey left.”

While it’s refreshing to hear the kind of accountability  Rask is putting out there, the Bruins aren’t going to go very far if Rask is talking too much about sucking and giving up soft goals. The B’s better hope that their top goalie gets locked back in pretty quickly so both the team and Rask can leave their early-season mini-slumps behind in the rear-view mirror.

 

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