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.

Karson Kuhlman questionable for Leafs game after missing Bruins practice

Karson Kuhlman questionable for Leafs game after missing Bruins practice

BRIGHTON – The Bruins are getting a little banged up as they now get a little deeper into the regular season.

Bruins right winger Karson Kuhlman was missing from Monday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena after getting hit in the leg with a Jake DeBrusk shot during Saturday night’s overtime loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Kuhlman was limited to 9:19 of ice time in the overtime game and has gone scoreless in the first nine games of the season while playing mostly a top-6 role for the Black and Gold.

Likewise, David Krejci was missing from Monday’s practice and will again be out Tuesday night against the Maple Leafs that will make his third consecutive game missed since suffering an upper-body injury in last week’s win over Anaheim.

Both Joakim Nordstrom and Par Lindholm were wearing no-contact jerseys in Monday’s practice as well, and the Bruins had the bare minimum 12 forwards to practice with after a day off the ice completely on Sunday.

“Kuhlman is day-to-day and we’ll see how he responds [on Tuesday]. So that we’ll determine in the morning,” said Bruce Cassidy. “Lindholm looks good to go. Nordstrom probably not as far along as [Lindholm] as far as being good to go, but that’s a decision we’ll make tomorrow. Krejci won’t play [on Tuesday] and we’ll see how it works out for later in the week.”

Both Krejci and Nordstrom are out for the Leafs game and it looks like Lindholm is going to be able to play, so the health of Kuhlman is the one unknown headed into the B’s next game.

The good news for the Bruins is that they continue to stay healthy on the back end, and perhaps the injuries upfront will force the B’s to finally call up Anders Bjork from Providence as a reinforcement after a hot start for the P-Bruins. Here are the line combos and D-pairings from Monday’s practice ahead of the Tuesday night rematch between the Bruins and Leafs this time at TD Garden:

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

DeBrusk-Coyle-Ritchie

Heinen-Lindholm-Backes

Nordstrom-Kuraly-Wagner

 

Chara-McAvoy

Krug-Carlo

Grzelcyk-Clifton

 

Rask

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Brad Marchand puts opponent in headlock, opponent calls it 'a great play'

Brad Marchand puts opponent in headlock, opponent calls it 'a great play'

Lost in the big divisional games over the last few days for the Bruins against the Lightning and Maple Leafs was a small moment toward the end of Thursday’s shootout loss to the Bolts that could have meant an extra point for the B’s.

During the closing seconds of overtime, the Lightning had the Bruins scrambling in their own end and Brayden Point collected the puck along the sideboards after already putting up a couple of points in the game. Brad Marchand then opted to put Point in a headlock and lock down any chances of the Lightning ending the game ahead of the shootout with only a couple of seconds remaining in OT.

There was no penalty, and even if there had been there was really no downside to doing it since Marchand would have been free and clear to take part in the shootout, as he did, even if a minor penalty had been called on him. It was a smart hockey play from a smart hockey player that’s always looking for an edge and doesn’t mind going the outside-the-box route that includes throwing a headlock on the occasional opponent.

Obviously it didn’t work out as the Bruins ended up losing 4-3 to the Bolts in the shootout, but interestingly enough even Point was giving the habitually line-stepping Marchand credit for “a great play” after it was all over.

“I’m going for the puck, really it’s a great play,” said Point of Marchand, who has four goals and 12 points in eight games this season to go along with the one headlock. “There’s not much time, he breaks up a potential chance for us and he still gets to shoot in the shootout. There’s no real consequence for that, so really it’s a good play.”

With a pair of points earned in the last couple of games, the Bruins have a few more big games this week against the Maple Leafs and St. Louis Blues. It remains to be seen if No. 63 has any more “really good plays” in his bag of tricks after the savvy, on-brand headlock from Marchand during last week’s tangle with Tampa.

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