Lauzon making a strong case to stick around with the Bruins

Lauzon making a strong case to stick around with the Bruins

BOSTON – Jeremy Lauzon has been solid every time he’s been called up by the Bruins the past couple of seasons.

The 6-foot-1, 210-pound defenseman is never going to be flashy, but he’s shown an ability to play strong, physical defense around the Boston net while shutting down plays and helping keep pucks out of the back of the net. 

Still, the 22-year-old has also known the past few years that he’s also been ticketed to go back to Providence based on the sheer numbers on the NHL roster in Boston, where there has been quality depth on the back end.

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But there was also a feeling that things might be a little different these days for Lauzon when he was called up ahead of the 3-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights at TD Garden. He scored a goal and threw out four hits while keeping the puck out of the back of the net in 15-plus minutes of ice time, providing the hard-to-play-against minutes that weren’t prevalent enough on Boston’s back end a few days prior in Pittsburgh.

He was sent back down to Providence on Wednesday along with Karson Kuhlman and Dan Vladar to stay sharp over the 10-day All-Star break and bye week, but there’s a feeling that Lauzon could be back once the Bruins resume play. 

If Kevan Miller isn’t ready to practice and potentially play when the B’s get going and John Moore remains the inconsistent player he’s been since the B's signed him as a free agent, it may be Lauzon’s turn to show what he can do at least until Connor Clifton is ready to return in the middle of the next month.

Certainly, he was happy with the way he played in Boston after showing what he could do through a solid 48 games in the AHL, where he posted a goal, 14 points and a plus-18 rating. That he was able to do it on the right side when he’s a natural left shot makes it a plus for his versatility and it's what the B’s are looking for right now.

“I felt comfortable. I knew my confidence was high from how I’ve played recently in Providence,” said Lauzon. “Even if it was [four games in five nights] for me, I came in and my body felt great. I had a good night’s sleep last night, so I was just ready to show what I can do.

“I feel way more comfortable on the ice. So, I’m just trying to bring the game I was playing down in Providence up here and I think I did a good job of that. I close hard and I’m physical, so obviously Brandon [Carlo] is a role model.”

The Bruins bottom pairing D-men have been a weak spot since Clifton went down with Matt Grzelcyk getting picked on a bit.  That was less of an issue against the Golden Knights for the first time in a while. In essence, Lauzon gave the B’s what they were looking for after they blew a couple of three-goal leads within the same week.

“I thought [Lauzon] played hard, competed all over the ice. We’ve seen that before, so we expected that. [He] scores a goal — obviously, in a one-goal game, that matters. And [he] did it in the right way, didn’t overthink it. Just got it, got off the wall, make sure you pound it hard so it gets by the first layer. If it gets blocked closer to the net, at least it’s not going to be a quick transition,” said Bruce Cassidy. “We’ve been trying to instill that attitude in some of our other guys and Brandon [Carlo] gets one later and gets it through, so hopefully [that part of our game] kind of snowballs.

“But all-in-all, [we] had good composure and didn’t seem fazed by anything. We’ll always go back and look at it, there will be some details that we’ll talk about, but I liked his game. I thought he brought what we needed.”

Cassidy mentioned after the game that Lauzon, Anton Blidh and Kuhlman were all players specifically recalled to push some of the veterans on the Bruins roster, and that’s exactly what the Lauzon did in his season debut. One would expect we’ll be seeing more of Lauzon based on the way he provided the Bruins exactly what they need right now.


Zdeno Chara admits 'it's hard to look at' the NHL stoppage based on Bruins chances

Zdeno Chara admits 'it's hard to look at' the NHL stoppage based on Bruins chances

As the oldest player in the NHL, Bruins captain Zdeno Chara doesn't really know when his last chance to win another Stanley Cup will come.

It might have been last season when the 43-year-old Chara led the B’s to within a Game 7 of winning a Stanley Cup against the St. Louis Blues only to brutally come up just short. Then again, it looked like Chara and the Bruins had another solid chance this year while leading the entire NHL with 100 points with roughly a month left to go in the regular season.

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Then, things were put on pause due to a coronavirus outbreak that has brought the entire world to a standstill.

For aging players like Chara, 34-year-old Patrice Bergeron, 33-year-old David Krejci and 33-year-old Tuukka Rask, this season might be their last, best chance to win another Stanley Cup before the championship window perhaps begins to close on the Black and Gold.

Chara was asked how much that was on his mind as he sits in his Florida home with his wife and children while waiting out the coronavirus outbreak with no real knowledge as to when, or if, hockey will be back around the NHL this season.

Clearly his mind is on the seriousness of the situation, as the priority is on getting people through the next few weeks when the outbreak could be at its most intense in the US. But Chara also said the unknown of it all with this season is more than a little disconcerting.

“It is obviously one of those situations that you can’t really control. Right now we all have to look after each other and look after our families,” said Chara, on a Zoom webinar conference call with reporters organized by the NHL on Monday afternoon. “I know it’s kind of a cliché answer in these days, but hockey is really secondary. If you have to look at it that way then, yeah, it’s kind of hard to look at the pause on the league at the stage where we were at.

“With only a few games until the playoffs and so close to the playoffs with the team playing well and with confidence, we were obviously in a good place. But who knows? We can’t always wish for the perfect situation. These types of situations do happen once in a while. Hopefully we play again and we’ll see when that’s going to be.”

With places like California, New York City and Florida getting hit hardest by the coronavirus right now, even a conference call with hockey players was about thanking medical personnel, first responders and other people stepping into the breach right now.

“These are strange times. There are challenges we’re all facing right now. Most of us are away from the things we love to do. The things we don’t have to work, to play and to entertain people. Hopefully we get through this. A huge, big thank you has to go to the medical professionals, the people that are volunteering and the people that are delivering food,” said Chara. “It just takes time. We have to stay patient, and safe, and disciplined. There is no other way to do it, but to do it together.”

The words are inspiring for the longest-running captain in the NHL and one of the best leaders of his generation in all of pro sports. Hopefully, Chara and the Bruins get that chance to see good they can be in the playoffs over the next four months with an NHL that’s going to do everything they can to make sure there is a postseason conclusion to a 2019-20 regular season that had been almost entirely played out.

Bruins' Zdeno Chara spills the tea on Tuukka Rask's 'awful' farting issue

Bruins' Zdeno Chara spills the tea on Tuukka Rask's 'awful' farting issue

Zdeno Chara was probably not the Vegas favorite to give the funniest and most entertaining answer of an Atlantic Division Zoom conference call with NHL reporters, but that’s exactly what happened on Monday afternoon.

Chara, Dylan Larkin, John Tavares and Brady Tkachuk answered questions online for 30-plus minutes and the Bruins captain saved his best material when asked which teammate he’d least like to be quarantined with.

His choice was Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask and the reasons behind it were pungently amazing.

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Apparently, Rask has an issue in the fart department and it’s chronic enough that his longtime Bruins teammate would not want to be anywhere near him for the stinky aftermath of his beloved chicken wings.

“I have to say Tuukka Rask. The way he farts? The smell is awful,” said Chara. “He likes his chicken wings. And after the chicken wings I’ve had to sit behind him on the bus. I’ve got to tell you. I’ve got to control myself sometimes.” 

How this farting issue remained a well-kept secret within the Bruins locker room over the years is nothing short of amazing. 

Rask has been a regular at Buff’s Pub in Newton over the years while living in the suburban city, so none of this should be surprising information when it comes to Boston’s No. 1 goaltender.

On the other end of the spectrum, Chara singled out Charlie Coyle and Kevan Miller as teammates he enjoys spending time with and guys he wouldn’t mind being quarantined with if he had his choice.

On a more serious note, Chara, who mentioned during the call that he drove to Florida a couple of weeks ago with his family to live in their gated community property, mentioned several times that hockey is secondary right now while the entire world is going through the “strange times” of a global coronavirus outbreak, and thanked the medical personnel, first responders and food delivery people who continue to do their duty under very dangerous, trying conditions.