Bruins

Bruce Cassidy on Bruins' loss to Calgary: 'They didn't break a sweat, some of them'

Bruce Cassidy on Bruins' loss to Calgary: 'They didn't break a sweat, some of them'

BOSTON – Sometimes a team plays with renewed energy and vigor in the first game with new players added after the NHL trade deadline.

And sometimes a team lays an egg despite the addition of new trade pieces as everybody searches for the right fit while moving on from the players dealt away ahead of the very same deadline. 

The Bruins were much more the former when they played a flat, “sleepy” game that ended with a 5-2 loss to the Calgary Flames Tuesday night at TD Garden.

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It was the second loss in a row for a team that on Saturday night provided very little resistance in a rudderless, 9-3 blowout at the hands of the Canucks and left their coach wholly unimpressed after the loss to the Flames.

“[It was] clearly not good enough. I thought some guys came to play and some guys didn’t. [Some guys] didn’t break a sweat, some of them it looked like,” said Bruce Cassidy, right out of the gate after a game where the Bruins never held the lead. “I’m sure there was effort [and that] they were trying. They were just in-between, couldn’t execute or whatever. At the end of the day, it wasn’t good enough.”

Certainly, those direct words from Cassidy aren’t meant to be a pretty pointed message to the passengers on a  Bruins team that had just watched Danton Heinen get shipped off 24 hours prior to the Calgary game.

The Bruins coach could have pointed out plenty of things that were lacking, whether it was the rare, poor overall game from the Perfection Line aside from Brad Marchand’s shorthanded goal, or the lack of resistance from too many good players when Calgary scored the back-breaking fourth goal in the third period. 

On that one, David Krejci didn’t do enough on the back-check, Tuukka Rask left the five-hole wide open for Mikael Backlund and David Pastrnak never really got things going as the NHL’s leading scorer.

Surely, the just-concluded trip to Western Canada could be used as a travel-weary excuse by the Black and Gold, but those excuses should be pushed by the wayside for a team with big-time Stanley Cup playoff aspirations.

“We weren’t at our best for sure. We didn’t have it all the way through the game. We were a little sleepy, I guess, at times,” said Marchand, whose shorthanded tally tied it in at 1 in the second period before two more second-period Flames goals allowed Calgary to pull away. “It wasn’t our normal, upbeat, high-energy game, but it’s going to happen during an 82-game schedule. You’re not going to be perfect and unfortunately, we didn’t get this one.”

The Bruins will quickly dust off that performance, be happy that the Tampa Bay Lightning also lost so they stay five points behind Boston in the Atlantic Division and instead focus on getting the intensity back against the Dallas Stars on Thursday night.


 

Phil Esposito set impressive Bruins goal scoring record on this day in 1971

Phil Esposito set impressive Bruins goal scoring record on this day in 1971

March 31 is a special day in the history books of the Boston Bruins franchise.

Hall of Fame forward Phil Esposito scored his 70th goal (an NHL record at the time) of the 1970-71 season on this day, becoming the first Bruins player to hit that goal-scoring milestone.

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Check out the graphic below for more information:

Esposito's 76 goals in the 1970-71 season still stand as a Bruins record for a single campaign.

Bruins right winger David Pastrnak was making a run at 60 goals earlier this season. The 23-year-old star currently sits at 48 goals with the season suspended due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. Pastrnak is tied for the league lead with Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin.

If the 2019-20 season doesn't resume or the league decides to go straight to the Stanley Cup Playoffs upon returning, Pastrnak would be the first Bruins player to win or share the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy as the league's leading goal scorer since Esposito in 1974-75.

Tuukka Rask 'hasn't made any decisions' on his long-term Bruins future

Tuukka Rask 'hasn't made any decisions' on his long-term Bruins future

Tuukka Rask finally addressed an interview he gave weeks ago where he mused about retiring at the end of his current contract following next season, and brought a little more clarity to the situation.

The 33-year-old Bruins goaltender was on the Greg Hill Show on WEEI on Tuesday morning and made it clear no decisions have been about his future beyond the 2020-21 season that he’s still signed for in Boston. Rask was on track for a Vezina Trophy-level season this year when things were put on pause due to the coronavirus outbreak and was leading the NHL with a 2.12 goals against average while ranking second in the league with a .929 save percentage.

So it’s clear that Rask has still got more than one or two good years left if he wanted to keep on playing in Boston beyond his current deal.

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“Listen, I remember the interview if you can even call it an interview. This [Boston Globe] reporter asked me some questions right after practice when I was packing my bag, and all I said was my contract’s up (in 2021) so every option is on the table,” said Rask. “I haven’t made any decisions on any direction yet, obviously we’re not even playing hockey right now, so that’ll be in the future. But it’s definitely not in my mind right now, just trying to take care of the family now and go back to hockey whenever that happens and then go from there.

“I’m sure we’re going to have good conversations with (Don Sweeney) after this season and go from there. But I’m only 34, so it’s not too old, might play another year or two and go from there. I don’t want to promise anything either way because you never know what’s going to happen.”

Given the high level that Rask is currently playing at, his current $7 million per season contract wouldn’t be an outrageous ask without knowing how the current coronavirus work stoppage is going to impact the overall salary cap picture.

Clearly nothing is set in stone and perhaps the retirement talk is as much about contract leverage the next time around as anything else. But it still puts the Bruins in a tough position following this season if they don’t have any certainty when it comes to the future with Rask. They could re-sign Jaroslav Halak to an extension following this season and continue to hope to ride things out with a great goaltending duo while shelling out nearly $10 million for both goalies.

But the Bruins may also need to quickly groom a new No. 1 goalie if Rask is a question mark for the long-term future in Boston. Halak certainly doesn’t feel that guy at this point in his NHL career while in his mid-30s as well.

That may push the Bruins to install Dan Vladar, Jeremy Swayman or Kyle Keyser as Rask’s backup for next season to evaluate exactly what they currently have inside the organization should things change drastically.

Obviously, there are a lot of moving parts when it comes to Rask’s future in Boston. But even with his mild assurances that nothing is set in stone, the Bruins will have to be prepared that it’s not a lock the No. 1 goalie will remain with the Bruins beyond his current contract.