The Bruins have extended their win streak to 5 games now, in another blowout victory. This time, the Bruins beat up on division rival Buffalo, winning 6-2. Tyler Seguin extended his point streak to 6 games now, scoring 2 goals and an assist in the game. Seguin has now matched his goal total from a year ago with 11. However, it’s only taken him 15 games to amas that total, whereas it took him 74 games last year. Seguin should easily reach 20 goals this season, and I think he will easily reach 30 goals as well. How much he’ll have at the end of the year, I don’t know, but I can tell you that it will be the most on the Bruins and tops in the league, if he can stay healthy. Andrew Ference missed the game, and is day-to-day with a lower body injury he suffered last game out against Edmonton.
Before any festivities could commence Saturday night, there was a very touching ceremony at center ice to honor the veterans. The puck was dropped by the mother and father of a National Guardsman over in Afghanistan. The Bruins surprised the parents though, having their son walk out of the Zamboni tunnel, being on leave from Afghanistan. It was a great moment for all, and must have been quite a moment for that family. On to the hockey game we go. Buffalo got things started, creating a chance off a face-off in the Boston zone. Cody McCormick took the puck off the draw, and skated right through the slot. Thomas with his aggressive style though was able to close the angle, and McCormick shot the puck wide. Boston took the puck down the ice into the attacking zone, where the puck was sent behind the Buffalo net. Johnny Boychuk went down to get the puck, and made a behind the back blind pass to the slot. It was picked off by Jason Pomenville, who passed ahead to Thomas Vanek. Vanek came up ice with speed, and skated into the far slot. He shot the puck off the goal apron, but it came right back to Vanek who was able to bank the puck into the net off of Tim Thomas’s skate. Vanek did this last year, bouncing a goal off of Thomas’s back. Buffalo was up 1-0 at 5:38. But the Sabers would go on the penalty kill just moments later, when Tyler Myers would be called for tripping at 6:56. The Boston powerplay couldn’t get the breaks it has been getting recently, and the B’s remained down 1-0. A bad break for Vanek minutes later, as the puck would take a funny bounce off his stick at the Boston point. Milan Lucic jumped up, and had a breakaway now. The puck was a bit out of his reach as he entered the attacking zone, and Ryan Miller came out to clear the puck. Lucic had built up speed down the ice, and he decided to absolutely destroy Miller, leveling him with the shoulder. The hit actually jarred the helmet off of Miller. 3 Sabers came over to say ‘hello’, but no one so much as challenged Lucic. Lucic received 2 minutes for charging at 13:12. The Bruins penalty killers were all over the ice, not allowing the Sabers to get a shot on net. The Sabers would then kill off their own penalty, when Drew Stafford was called for tripping at 14:50. So we had 23 seconds of 4-on-4 before the Bruins would get a powerplay to work with. Again though, the Bruins powerplay was ineffective. The Sabers would go right back on the penalty kill, when Ville Leino was called for hooking at 19:08. The 1st period came to a close with the Sabers up 1-0, and the Bruins would have powerplay time extend over to the 2nd period.
Boston had 1 minute of powerplay to open up the period. Tyler Seguin set up a great chance for Marchand far slot, but his pass was blocked by the Sabers defenders. The powerplay was over, with Boston only able to get 1 shot through the Sabers defense. Seguin created another chance for the Bruins, flying up ice with Bergeron. Seguin passed back to Bergeron, but his shot was blocked down. A Buffalo bounce led to a 2-on-1 coming back up ice, but Chara deflected a cross-ice pass with his stick. Rich Peverley intercepted a pass at center ice, and he tried making a cross ice pass to Campbell. The puck defelcted off Sabers defenseman Tyler Myers, and Peverly, following his pass, picked up the loose puck. Peverley was now behind the Buffalo defense, he skated through the slot, deked, and beat Miller 5-hole. Boston had tied the game at 1, at 7:40. Next up Marchand picked off a pass, and with Seguin charging late had a 2-on-1. Marchand had the entire near side to work with, and he methodically skated in. Seguin came into the slot, Marchand centered a pass for him, and Seguin buried it in the back of the net. Boston had taken the lead 2-1 at 13:29. Next in line was Nathan Horton, as he skated behind the Buffalo defense, and received a chip pass from Boychuk into the neutral zone. Horton cam up ice with David Kreci, and decided to rifle a shot high blocker side on Ryan Miller. The Bruins had just scored 2 goals in 16 seconds to take the 3-1 lead. That marks the 9th time this year the Bruins have scored 2 goals in less than 1 minute. Koleta tried bringing the fight back to Boston, as he hammered Adam McQuaid behind the Boston net. McQuaid didn’t like that, and started pushing and hitting Koleta back. Things were percolating in the TD Garden. Koleta would be called for charging, and McQuaid for roughing at 14:05. So they skated 4-on-4 for 2 minutes. The 4-on-4 went without any good chances, and McQuaid would go right back into the box after he got out. McQuaid was called for hooking at 18:01. The Bruins now had an important penalty to kill off at the end of the period. If the Sabers did not score, they would end up with 1 second of powerplay time to open up the 3rd period. Ville Leino would have a great chance late, as he rifled a one-timer from the near circle on Thomas. Thomas kicked out with his left pad to make the save, and a juicy rebound was kicked away by Seidenberg. The Bruins had a 3-1 lead heading into the 3rd and final period, and a 4 game win streak on the line.
Jonas Enroth was in-goal to start the 3rd period. An interesting move by Sabers coach Lindy Ruff. Unless the team felt Miller wasn’t in good enough physical condition to continue after the Lucic hit, then it makes no sense to me. The Sabers opened up the 3rd period with a powerplay, and it was over 1 second later. David Kreci was working magic behind the Buffalo net, and he found Milan Lucic who rang the crossbar. But Boston would make it count just moments later. Another bad pass by the Sabers defense, with Christian Ernhoff giving the puck up to Rich Peverley in the far circle. Peverley passed across ice to Chris Kelly, who sneaked the puck into the back of the net. Boston was suddenly up 4-1 now at 5:28. Then it was the Bergeron line creating chances again for Boston. Patrice Bergeron skated up ice with speed, and passed across ice to Brad Marchand. Marchand dropped the pass back off for Bergeron in the high slot, and he carried it to the near slot. He centered a pass for Tyler Seguin, and Seguin buried the puck in the back of the net. Boston was up 5-1, just 1:43 after the Chris Kelly goal. The Bergeron line wasn’t done their, as Brad Marchand came back with an amazing backhand goal in the near slot. Boston was up 6-1 now at 9:52. Kaleta was trying to cause more trouble, this time with Johnny Boychuk. Boychuk checked Koleta hard in the far corner in the Buffalo zone. Koleta then took a run at Boychuk as he went for a change. Zach Hamill, who is by no means a fighter, took a solid jab at Koleta. He would get 2 minutes for roughing at 11:50, but given the circumstances, it was a good penalty to take. A face-off win by Luke Adam was sent back to Ehrhoff. Ehrhoff passed across ice to Marc-Andre Gragnani at the near point, and he would rifle a shot that rang off the post and in. Buffalo was back on the board finally at 13:20. Boston would go back on the penalty kill at 14:22, when Nathan Horton was called for slashing. No goal this time for the Sabers, and Horton fresh out of the box was back with his linemates. Nathan Horton had an amazing chance in the near slot, as he deked out Enroth and passed back across ice to Milan Lucic. Lucic had a wide open net to shoot at, but the puck was in on his skates, and he couldn’t get a shot off. Koleta was again trying to mix it up with somebody, this time it was Shawn Thornton. Koleta checked Thornton at the penalty benches, and Thornton didn’t like the hit. Thronton gave Koleta a shove, Koleta shoved back, and the referees decided to send both players down the tunnel. Thornton and Koleta received offsetting minors for roughing at 18:20, as well as game misconducts. The final 1:40 would be played 4-on-4. The Bruins just kept clearing the puck and clearing the puck as the clock wound down. The Bruins had won their 5th straight game now, winning 6-2.
Boston dominated again on the ice Saturday night. They have now scored 6 goals in the last 3 games, and 30 in this 5 game win streak. The offense is hot, no doubt about it, but the defense is also playing solid hockey. It’s just like with any sport, when your offense is scoring at will, it allows you to play more comfortably on defense. Brad Marchand is starting to find the scoring touch again, scoring 3 goals, 2 assists, and +4 over the last 2 games. Lucic and Horton, whom I talked about last game out against Edmonton, continue to produce during this 5 game win streak. Lucic has 4 goals, 2 assists, for a +5 rating, and Horton has 3 goals, an assist, and a +2 rating. With the offense this hot, it will take a lot to beat the Bruins in the next week to 2 weeks. The Bruins play the New Jersey Devils Tuesday night, in what should be an easy win. The Devils are 8-6-1, 1 game better than the Bruins at 8-7-0. Which should put the Bruins 5 game win streak into perspective. Boston is on a hot streak, and are a much better team than the Devils. Unless they suddenly cool off, I expect another dominating performance.
Ryan Miller has been diagnosed as having suffered a concussion from the hit by Milan Lucic. This would explain why Miller did not return for the 3rd period of the game Saturday night. My question is, how was he able to continue play for 26:48 after the injury? There are a couple of answers to that; either A: Miller showed no signs of an injury until the 2nd period intermission, or B: Miller talked the training staff into letting him play/the training staff allowed him to play even though they knew he was hurt. If it was the later, then how negligent of that training staff. It’s their job to take care of their players, especially their superstar franchise goaltender. If Miller was showing any signs of a concussion, then he should have been sent to the quiet room for 15 minutes. Now, I don’t think this is what happened. In all likelihood, Miller just did not have any symptoms and felt fine until the 2nd intermission. But, it’s something to think about.
The Bruins now have a 4 game winning streak, after defeating the Edmonton Oilers Thursday night, 6-3. Tuukka Rask was back in net for the Bruins, starting back-to-back games for the 1st time this year. The Boston offense is officially tearing up the scoreboard, scoring 6, 7, 6, and 6 goals during their 4 game win streak. Devan Dubnyk was in net for the Oilers, in place of the NHL’s best goaltender thus far, Nikolai Khabibulin. The Bruins took advantage, as you can all tell by the final score. This game was also the epic showdown between the number 1 and 2 overall pick from a year ago. Taylor Hall of the Edmonton Oilers, and Tyler Seguin of your Boston Bruins. Seguin got the better of Hall, notching a goal and an assist with a 0 +/-, compared to Hall’s no goals, 1 assist, and -1 rating. Daniel Paille was out of action with the broken nose he suffered last game out against the New York Islanders.
The Bruins came out with a quick chance, set up by Milan Lucic. Lucic had the puck behind the Edmonton net, made a quick pass to the front where Horton, Kreci, and Corvo were jamming in front. Corvo found the puck, but his backhand went wide. A scare for Boston seconds later though, as a deflected pass at the point allowed for a semi-breakaway by Ryan Smyth. He took the puck far side, and just missed a goal as he hit the side of the net. Boston came right back though in this fast paced game with a chance by Bergeron. Patrice Bergeron picked up a rebound attempt far side, but his backhander went wide as well. The top line was clicking for Boston early, with Horton and Kreci having 2 great scoring chances in the slot, but Dubnyk stuffed them both. Tremendous work by the Bergeron line next, as a funny bounce sent the puck ricocheting up ice. Brad Marchand picked the puck up on the fly, and the Bruins had a 2-on-1 with McQuaid coming in late. Marchand tried to deke, but was stood up. Seguin picked up the loose puck, passed across ice to McQuaid, but somehow Dubnyk stopped the puck 5-hole going from post to post. The 1st line came out for Boston, and Kreci battled in the far corner hard with Ladislav Smid. He was knocked down, got back up and still maintained control of the puck. Horton backed him up, allowing Kreci to pass the puck to take the pressure off of himself. Horton passed back to Kreci, and Kreci found a wide open Johnny Boychuk at the near point. Boychuk sent a rocket on net with Lucic screening in front, and the puck found the back of the net. Boston was up 1-0 at 7:11. The Bruins kept the pressure on, with Zach Hamill taking over for the injured Paille. Hammil jumped up from the point to pick off a clearing attempt in the attacking zone. He skated into the near circle, and passed across ice to Jordan Caron. Caron took a wrist shot, but it was blocked Smid’s stick. However, the puck trickled to the far post, Dubnyk stretched out with his stick to stop it, but could not get enough of the puck as it snuck past the goal line. Boston was up 2-0 now just 1:44 after the Boychuk goal. Oilers head coach Tom Renney called his timeout, trying to wake his players up. Edmonton got the message, whatever it was. Ales Hemskey took the puck along the near boards, and passed to Theo Peckham at the near point. Peckham fired a shot, and it was tipped in front by Ryan Smyth, just going by the right skate of Rask and into the back of the net. Edmonton had cut the lead to 2-1 at 12:02. Then came a pair of number 1 overall picks working the puck up ice for Edmonton. This years number 1 overall pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins made a long pass up ice to last years number 1 overall pick Taylor Hall. Hall skated into the near circle, passed back to the high slot, where Nugent-Hopkins rifled a shot by Rask. The game was tied just 29 seconds later at 2. Zach Hamill then had a semi-breakaway, after skating behind the Oilers defense and receiving a chip pass by Siedenberg. Hamil skated near circle, and fired a shot on goal. Dubnyk made a great save with his blocker though. Hamill came right back off another rush attempt. He skated into the offensive zone, when he was hit hard and up high by Peckham. That would warrant him 2 minutes in the penalty box for roughing, at 18:17. The Bruins would have most of their powerplay to end this period, but it would extend into the 2nd as they did not score. A very exciting 1st period, with fiery play from both teams. The teams headed to the locker rooms, tied at 2.
The Bruins 17 seconds of powerplay was over quickly as the period started, and they were back to 5-on-5 hockey. Brad Marchand made dangerous play in the Bruins own zone, making a behind the back pass to the center slot. The pass was tipped by an Oiler, and the puck tumbled to the point to Tyler Seguin. Seguin chipped the puck along, and with a burst of speed had a breakaway. Jeff Petry took a hold of him though, and Seguin was separated from the puck. Petry would receive a hooking minor at 2:09. The Bruins powerplay was quick in moving the puck along, and creating chances on goal. Tyler Seguin had the puck down low, and passed up to Corvo at the point. Corvo skated to the far point and fired a shot on net. The puck was tipped in front by Brad Marchand, and found the back of the net. Boston was back on top 3-2 at 3:50, as Seguin and the Bruins powerplay continued their hot streaks. That’s now 4 straight games with a powerplay goal, and Seguin’s 5th game in a row with a point. Seguin would continue his streak further, off a bad change by the Oilers. Seguin came flying up with Marchand to create a 2-on-2. Seguin fired a shot from the near point with Marchand screening. The puck hit the near post, and bounced back and hit Dubnyk. The puck tumbled in the crease, and Dubnyk fell to the ice to knock it away with his stick, but it was Tom Gilbert who chipped the puck out of the crease. Seguin was waiting in the near slot. He picked up the loose puck, and easily roofed it over the prone goaltender. Boston had its 2nd 2 goal lead of the night, up 4-2 now at 6:24. Not to be outdone, Taylor Hall came flying into the Boston zone, trying to create a scoring chance. Johnny Boychuk had him lined him up for a hit, as Hall just sidestepped the hit. He was also being hooked from behind by Shawn Thornton, which made the move more impressive. So Thornton went to the penalty box at 9:29 for hooking. The Bruins penalty killers were very strong defending Rask, not allowing a shot to reach him. The penalty was over for Boston, but an exhausted Bruins line iced the puck. Claude Julien took this opportunity to call his timeout to give his team a breather. Tyler Seguin was creating more chances for the Bruins, as he, Marchand, and Bergeron came up ice in a 3-on-2. Seguin was stood up in the near circle, and had the puck go back behind the net. Jordan Eberle and Patrice Bergeron went down to the boards, where Eberle checked him before either of them touched the puck. That would get Eberle 2 minutes for interference at 16:48. The Boston powerplay had great movement, and a couple good chances that went wide, but overall the Bruins were not able to get a shot on net. The period would come to a close with the Bruins up 4-2.
Boston started fast again to open up the 3rd period, with the Bergeron line causing havoc. Patrice Bergeron skated into the high slot, deking around defenders, and fired a shot on net. The shot was blocked, and a juicy rebound was just cleared away from a streaking Seguin. Off the ensuing face-off, Dennis Seidenberg took a drive that went wide. The puck took a Boston bounce off the back boards, and that allowed Zach Hamill a chance on goal. He was planted into the near post and hit up high by Corey Potter, and the puck just trickled away. Potter would receive a 2 minute minor for high-sticking at 1:05. The Bruins would give it right back though, as Dennis Seidenberg was called for hooking at 2:08. So they skated 4-on-4 for 52 seconds before Edmonton would have a powerplay to work with. Edmonton would go on the powerplay, but it was virtually invisible. Edmonton couldn’t muster a shot on goal, and they were back to 5-on-5. Boston would go back on the penalty kill though, as Gregory Campbell was called for hooking at 6:15. Andrew Ference would receive an undisclosed injury, and was sent down the tunnel for the rest of the game during the commercial break. Back to hockey though, as the Oilers had a crucial powerplay to work with to try to get back into this game. Again though, the Boston penalty killers proved to be too much, not allowing a shot on Rask. Gregory Campbell was now out of the box, and Brad Marchand picked up a loose puck at center ice. Boston now had a 2-on-2 up ice. Marchand skated far side, faked a snap shot, and passed across ice to Campbell. But Dubnyk made a terrific save up high with the shoulder. Patrice Bergeron was next in line for the Bruins, when he lifted Jordan Eberle’s stick, and made contact with Eberle’s shield. That put Bergeron in the penalty box at 13:25 for high-sticking. A much more effective powerplay this time around for the Oilers. Edmonton took shot after shot on Rask, and even without any support from his penalty killers, Rask was able to stop everything. Finally though, Ryan Smyth broke through, tipping a cross-ice pass in the crease into the net. Edmonton had closed the gap to 4-3 at 15:18. The Bergeron line came out to keep the momentum in Boston’s favor, and they did just that. A great shift in the attacking zone when Tyler Seguin was knocked to the ice in front of the net by Cam Barker, while the puck was in the corner. It resulted in an interference minor at 16:56. Boston made quick work of the powerplay, with Joe Corvo making a ridiculous pass from the bottom of the near circle across ice to Milan Lucic. Lucic tipped the puck into the net, and Boston’s lead was back out to 2, up 5-3 at 17:13. Still, the Bruins did not let up. Brad Marchand came up ice with a 2-on-1, and just missed a shot wide far side. He came right back with another rush attempt, and this time he buried the puck into the back of the net. What was just a 1 goal game mere moments ago, was now a 6-3 lead for Boston just 44 seconds after the Lucic powerplay goal. Boston would go right back on the penalty kill, when Chris Kelly was called for holding at 18:42. So the final 1:18 would be a man down for the Bruins. Another poor powerplay from the Oilers, as this game drew to a close. Boston had now won their 4th straight game, 6-3 over the Edmonton Oilers.
Boston had another very impressive win, scoring 6 goals for the 3rd time on their 4 game win streak, totaling in 25 goals throughout the streak. Seguin has a 5 game point streak, and the powerplay has scored in all 4 games during this win streak. Everything is going right offensively. And you can see it paying off for the Bruins terrific netminders. Thomas allowed 2 and 0 goals in his 2 starts, and Tuukka Rask allowed 2 and 3 goals. So the one game a goalie wasn’t on his game, was this game when Rask allowed the 3 goals. But since his team was scoring in front of him, it didn’t matter. The Bruins goalies have not had to play other wordly to get a 1-0 or 2-1 win. Instead, they can go out and just play their game, and feel confident that their offense is going to score out in front of them. It’s kind of the opposite of what we’ve been seeing over the last few years, with the offense relying on the goaltenders to keep them in games. Except now, the goaltenders do not have to rely on the offense to score, because Thomas and Tuukka are both top 10 goaltenders in this league. It really is the best spot the Bruins can ever be in. If this offensive output continues with some consistency, look for the Bruins to be a force during the regular season, and be one of the top 5-10 teams in the league in scoring. The Bruins play their next game against division rival Buffalo. The Sabers have the Vezina trophy winner from 2 years ago, in Ryan Miller. So this offense will be put to the test. Boston had trouble with Buffalo last year, so they will need to fight hard, and grind this game out to secure a victory. I look for the Bruins to come out on top though, just based on how hot their offense has been.
The Bruins continued their win streak Monday night, beating down on the New York Islanders 6-2. This game saw Tyler Seguin notch his team leading 8th goal of the season, as well as Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton getting involved on the scoring parade. Tuukka Rask was in net for the Bruins, starting his 4th game of the season. He had lost his previous 3 games with just a 2.46 Goals Against Average, but the Bruins only scored 3 goals in front of him. Rask saw the Bruins score 6 goals in front of him in this game, and he was stellar as well. Rask allowed 2 goals on 26 shots, and was strong all night in net for the Bruins. Danielle Paille, who received a slapshot to the face Monday night, will be taken to a face specialist to examine the extent of his damage and what can be done to heal him. Reports are that the puck hit his nose, but nothing further has been released.
The Bruins got things started right away, with a turnover next to the Islander net. Caron picked off a bad pass, and threw the puck on net. Isle goaltender Evgeni Nabokov wasn’t expecting the shot, as he just stood there when the puck hit his skate and hung in the crease. Benoit Pouliot came streaking to the goal, and he stuffed in the puck 5-hole on the unsuspecting Nabokav. Boston was up 1-0 just 1:32 into the game. Off the ensuing face-off, Matt Martin decided to challenge McQuaid to a fight a center ice. McQuaid dominated the fight, using his size and strength to his advantage. Martin clearly wanted to spark his team after giving up a bad goal, and both players would receive 5 minute majors for fighting at 1:35. The Islanders brought the attack right back to the Bruins after the fight. Staos had the puck at the far point, and fired a shot on net. Matt Molsoun tipped it in front and there was nothing Rask could do to stop the puck. New York had tied the game at 1, 5:52 into the game. The Bruins came right back with a great shift by the Bergeron line. Seguin skated behind the Isle net to pick up a loose puck, centered a pass for Joe Corvo, but his one-timer was knocked down by Nabakov. A juicy rebound came out, but was picked up and cleared by the Isle. The Bergeron line was creating more trouble, with Seguin and Bergeron working the puck near circle. Screening in front of the net was Brad Marchand, who was pushed over by Travis Hamonic. That would result in a 2 minute minor for cross-checking at 12:11, and the suddenly hot Bruins powerplay had a chance to regain the lead. Seguin had a drive blocked down and away from Nabokov Marchand picked up the loose puck, and with his back facing the goal he just missed a backhand shot wide. After a face-off win, Kreci sent the puck around the net to Chara at the far point. His point shot was stopped by Nabakov, but the rebound came out to Horton in the far slot. Horton settled the puck, and beat Nabakov low glove side. Boston was back on top 2-1 after the powerplay goal at 13:38. Boston didn’t let up, as the Bergeron line came back out. Bergeron took the puck down the near boards, and sent it around the net. Marchand went to the far corner to pick the puck up, and kicked it to Bergeron behind the net. Bergeron centered a pass for Seguin in the center slot, and he roofed the puck into the back of the net. Boston was up 3-1 now, just 28 seconds after Horton’s powerplay goal. That was enough for Islander head coach Jack Capuono. He pulled goaltender Evgeni Nabakov for Al Montoya. The Islanders would have a great chance to get back into this game, when Chris Kelly would be called for slashing at 14:35. The Islanders managed just 2 shots on goal, as the Bruins killed off the penalty with ease. The Islanders stayed resilient, with a great interception by Garabner. Grabner deflected a pass by Johnny Boychuk out of midair, and passed the puck to John Tavarese. Traverse faked the shot, and passed back across ice to Grabner, who put the puck in the back of the net. It was a 3-2 game at 18:36. The 1st period would come to a close, with the Bruins up 3-2.
As the 2nd period started, Boston would dump the puck into the offensive zone. Al Montoya just caught an edge and hit the ice in his own crease. Seidenberg flew to the nearboards and fired a one-timer on the wide-open net. Somehow though, Montoya got his glove up and made the save laying on his side. The Bruins would get another chance moments later when Milan Lucic had 1-on-2 into the Islanders zone. Lucic set the edge, and barreled in far side protecting the puck from the defenders, but his backhand shot never made it on net. With the puck behind the net Lucic battled it out with . Lucic pushed over, and that would be enough for a roughing minor at 5:32. Again the Bruins penalty kill stifled the hot Islanders powerplay. They were back to 5-on-5 hockey, but the Bruins had to do something to get momentum back on their side. The Islanders were out shooting them 7-3 at the midway point. Marchand picked a pass off neutral zone, and had a semi-breakaway in between 2 defenders. He fired a shot high slot, and Montoya just got the glove on it. The puck deflected up and over him though, and he dove back to gather the puck. Marchand jumped up to jam the puck in, but came in and blocked off the far post, keeping the Bruins off the board. Marchand came back with a burst of speed off the rush. He drove up the near boards, centered a pass for Seguin far slot, and Seguin just missed a wide open net on the tip in off the side of the goal. The Islanders brought the puck back up the ice and into the Boston corner. Zdeno Chara got his stick around, and when he turned around he ran into the stick. It would be a hooking call against Chara at 14:28. The Islanders were very effective this time around on the powerplay, moving the puck around the Boston zone. Tuukka Rask was strong in net though, denying the Islanders a powerplay goal. Then the offenses started coming alive, as both teams had great scoring chances. But Montoya and Rask were very impressive in net, stopping chance after chance against them. The 2nd period would come to a close, and the Bruins maintained their slim 3-2 lead.
The 3rd period started with a bit of a scare for the Bruins, not on the scoreboard, but on their roster. Danielle Paille caught a slapshot up high on his face, and he hit the ice quickly. Play was stopped immediately, and Bruins trainer John Del Negro was on the ice to attend to him. Paille was taken to the dressing room, under his own power, but he was bleeding. The Bruins didn’t lose a step though, with Seidenberg making a good play defensively to get the puck out of the Boston zone. Horton and Lucic skated behind the Islanders defense, and had a de facto 2-on-0. Horton skated into the near slot, deked, and passed across to Milan Lucic who tipped the puck into the net. Boston had the important 2 goal lead, now up 4-2 at 4:34. The Bruins came back with a chance set up along the point. Milan Lucic battled along the sideboards, and won the puck back to Corvo, who fired a shot near point that Montoya stopped. The rebound came right to Nathan Horton though, who just jammed the puck in from the far slot. Boston was up now 5-2 just 49 seconds later. The Bergeron line followed that up with a chance of their own. Marchand and Seguin came flying up ice with a 2-on-2. Marchand made a cross-ice pass, but Seguin just missed another tip-in. With Lucic and Adam McDonald battling in the corner for a loose puck, Lucic would lose his edge and inadvertently trip down McDonald. That would put the Bruins back on the penalty kill at 13:05 for tripping. The Islanders again were moving the puck very well on the powerplay. But the Bruins skaters were in the right places at the right times, not allowing a shot to get through to Rask during the penalty kill. They were back to 5-on-5 with less than 5 minutes remaining in the game. The Islanders would make a daring move, deciding to pull their goaltender with under 3 minutes to play. David Kreci made sure it backfired on the Isle, as he buried an empty net goal at 17:12. The Bruins would skate off with their 3rd win in a row, and another convincing one at that, beating the New York Islanders 6-2.
What another great game by the Bruins. They dominated in every facet of this game, and it’s good to finally see guys like Horton and Lucic bury the puck in the net. Tyler Seguin continues his points streak, now scoring 6 points in the last 4 games. Seguin leads the team with 8 goals, is 3rd in assists with 7, and that gives him the most points on the team with 15. Seguin is really coming into his own early in this season, and as long as he can continue this superb play, he will be a rock on this Bruins franchise for years to come. Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton have also gotten of the snide as of late. With these 2 players contributing for the Bruins, you can obviously see that they have been scoring a lot more goals as a team in their last 3 games. If the Bruins are to have any success going forward, those 2 guys have to keep finding the back of the net. The 1 guy who is surprising me though is David Kreci. Besides his empty net goal in this game, he only has 3 goals and 4 assists for 7 points in 10 games, and is -2. This guy led the Bruins in scoring last year, so he will need to start making better decisions with the puck if the Bruins offense is going to keep up this kind of output with any consistency. The Bruins won’t play again until Thursday night, when they play the worst team in the league the last 2 years running, the Edmonton Oilers. If Boston can keep this offensive outburst going, I see them easily running away with this game. The Oilers have a very young, and very highly skilled offensive team. So the Bruins will have to be sharp on defense if they want to keep this short winning streak alive.
The Bruins had a hard time getting anything going all game, but they kept fighting. Boston was able to get the game tied at 2 early in the 3rd period, and seemingly had the momentum and the game in their hands. It was not meant to be in this game though, as the Bruins dropped their 5th game of the year 4-2 to the San Jose Sharks. Tyler Seguin continues his tear to start the season, now with 3 goal and 6 assists for 9 points in just 8 games on the season. Him and Lucic showed some real chemistry together, accounting for both of the Bruins goals, and nearly 2 more. I’m interested to see how those 2 play together as the season goes on, and what exactly Claude will do with these lines with the emergence of Seguin as top line centerman.
Boston made a turnover behind the net to start the game, and Joe Thornton had a point-blank shot just seconds into the game. Thomas made a spectacular diving save to keep. David Kreci then turned the puck over in the neutral zone, and Joe Thornton picked the puck up. He and Joe Pavelski had a 2-on-1 now into the Bruins zone. Thornton centered a pass for Pavelski in the high slot, and he buried the puck just under the crossbar for a goal. San Jose was up 1-0 just 1:12 into the game. On the ensuing shift, Desjardins hammered Gregory Campbell into the boards from behind, and would receive a boarding call at 2:08. So the Bruins had a great chance to get this game back even early. Boston’s powerplay was tremendous Thursday night, and were looking to build on that momentum. The powerplay started slow, but once they got control of the puck they were getting great chances to score. Marchand just missed a chance in the slot with the puck not settling for his shot. Tyler Seguin had a shot from the far circle deflected wide, and the rebound was shot too high by David Kreci in the near slot. The powerplay was over for Boston, but they appeared to have gained some momentum back. Tyler Seguin created more scoring chances for Boston, what else is new? Seguin cut his way through 2 Shark defenders, fired a snap-shot from the near slot, but he rang the crossbar and the puck stayed out. San Jose was taking the puck out of their own zone, when a puck passed up to Joe Thornton kicked off his skates. Chara ran over an unsuspecting Thornton, thinking he had the puck. Chara would be called for interference at 11:12, and the dangerous Sharks powerplay now had a chance to extend their lead. The Bruins penalty killers did a great job keeping the puck away from Thomas, and San Jose was not able to score. Boston broke out with a 2-on-1 up ice with Horton and Pouliot. Horton skated into the near slot, and snapped a shot off that Niemi blocked away. San Jose forced another turnover in the neutral zone, and forced the puck in on Thomas. He was able to cover up the puck, and the shoot McGinn came in and stood in his face. Chara came over and gave him a light push to try to get him away from his goaltender, and he refused to move. Chara then decided to use more force, and Milan Lucic also got involved as they shoved him away from their goaltender. McGinn didn’t like that, and gave a jab to the chest of Chara. The refs broke the scrum up quickly, but things were picking up late. Marchand laid a nice open ice hit to an off-balance Joe Thornton, knocking the big man to the ice. The intensity had picked up as the period came to a close, with the San Jose Sharks up 1-0.
Marchand got things started to open up the 2nd period. He had a great burst of speed through center ice, and he gained outside position into the near circle. His shot was stopped by Niemi, a juicy rebound came far side, but there was no one to bury the puck. The Sharks would be called for too-many-men-on-the-ice at 2:48, and it gave the Bruins an early powerplay to try to tie the game. Boston wasn’t able to muster a shot on goal this time, and the powerplay was over for Boston. San Jose brought a great forecheck back to Boston. Havlak was battling behind the net for the puck, and had all 5 Bruins back there with him. The puck was kicked out and Couture was found all alone in the center slot, and he buried the puck in the back of the net. Boston was now down 2-0 to San Jose at 8:54. It was at that point the Shawn Thornton decided to get Boston back into the game by mixing things up with Jim Vandermeer. Thornton got some real good shots in on Vandermeer’s face during a strong bout. Both players received 5 minutes for fighting at 10:23. Thornton was trying to give some life to this Bruins team, but the Sharks brought the pressure right back. Nothing was going to come easy for Bosotn in this game. Late in the period Campbell made a long pass to Daniel Paille as he and Bergeron skated behind the Sharks defense. It was a 2-on-1, with Paille near side. Paille passed across to Bergeron, who passed back to Paille but his tip-in went well wide on a wide open net. Chara then had a one-timer from the near point that was tipped in front and went off the roof of the net. The Bruins exited the 2nd period down 2-0 now.
The 3rd period started with great passing by the Seguin line. Lucic centered a pass for Kelly, who dropped a pass back for Seguin. Seguin wristed a shot high glove side, but Neiemi made the save. Bergeron dumped the puck behind the Sharks net, and this is where things got interesting. Niemi went behind the net to stop the puck, but his clearing attempt was blocked by Chris Kelly behind the net. Kelly sent the puck towards net, and it kicked off the left skate of Niemi. The puck skidded through the crease, and Lucic jammed the puck into the back of the net. Boston was on the board at 2:43, down 2-1 now. Milan Lucic came right back, forcing a turnover in the neutral zone. Seguin was able to tip the puck to him at the far circle. He centered a pass for Tyler Seguin in the slot, who buried it into the back of the net. Boston had tied the game just 39 seconds later at 3:12, and now had all the momentum on their side. Nathan Horton came back centering a pass for Brad Marchand, but his shot went wide. Pouliot then created a chance, sending the puck up ice for David Kreci. Kreci skated through center ice, and made a cross-ice pass for Rich Peverley. But he could not get a shot off against the back-checking defense. The Sharks came back with hard work along the side boards in the Boston zone. Vandermeer tapped the puck along to McGinn, who took a point shot from the far side. Thomas came out to attack the shot, blocking it down. The puck rebound back in front, and was picked up and roofed by Benn Ferriero. San Jose was back on top 3-2 at 8:48. Lucic and Seguin came right back up ice, with Lucic centering a pass for Seguin. His tip-in was deflected away from the net though. Boston then had a 3-on-1 up ice, with Lucic far side, Seguin high slot, and Kelly near side. Lucic held the puck into the far slot, tried making a cross-ice pass that was knocked down. Seguin came back to get the puck, and passed across ice to Chris Kelly. Antti Niemi was spread-eagle going right to left, and he somehow made a glove save on Kelly. Time was ticking away, and Boston finally had to empty their net. Joe Corvo took a point shot that was knocked down in front, and picked up by Pavelski. He sent the puck ahead to Patrick Marleau, who would add the empty netter at 19:55 as San Jose had beaten the Boston Bruins 4-2.
Another tough early loss for the Bruins, who have stumbled to a 3-5-0 record to start the season. Boston played well in this game, but never really got things going. Niemi was good in net, but not great in this game. It felt like Boston just wasn’t able to finish on their scoring chances, while the Sharks did. Especially early in the game, the Bruins just did not have their skating legs and were making bad mistakes. Boston finally came to play in the 3rd period, already down 2 goals though. Great work by Tyler Seguin and Milan Lucic to tie the game for the Bruins, but it would not be enough to overcome their turnover woes from earlier. The Bruins now have 4 days off, before they welcome the Montreal Canadians to town. Thursday night the Bruins host their rival Canadians, who the Bruins knocked out of the postseason in 7 games last season. Montreal is off to a horrid start as well at 1-4-2 for 4 points, worst in the Eastern Conference and 2nd worst in the NHL. Boston has gotten to a slow start, but I expect having the Montreal Canadians in the Garden will wake up the sleeping giant. I look for a very hard-fought, tough game in Boston Thursday night, but I see the Bruins coming away with a win.
The Bruins dropped their 2nd game against the Carolina Hurricanes this season, losing 4-1. Boston had a tough time getting to Cam Ward again Tuesday night, and their frustration led to an outburst by the Bruins. Boston tried starting some trouble with the Hurricanes, and they would not punch back. Boston ended up taking 82 penalty minutes, and having 5 Bruins tossed from the game including coach Claude Julien. It was a very close game to start, with the Hurricanes having a 2-1 lead midway through the 3rd period. A couple of penalties later, and Boston was stuck killing off over 3 minutes of 5-on-3, and then they were down 3 goals and the game was virtually over. David Kreci was out for his 3rd straight game with a core injury, allowing Tyler Seguin to center the 1st line yet again. Adam McQuaid was also out, and he was again replaced by Matt Bartowski.
The Bruins came out flying to start the game, but Cam Ward was spectacular right from the get go. First Ward stuffed Rich Peverley on a chance in the crease, then he stopped a tip-in by Seguin from the near slot off a nice feed by Brad Marchand. The Bruins missed on their opportunities, and the Hurricanes brought the pressure right back. The Bruins defense was all over the place, not able to clear the puck in front of Rask. Anthony Stewart picked up the puck in the far slot, and roofed it into the back of the net. Carolina had an early lead, up 1-0 at 2:47. As usual the 1st line for Boston picked the pressure back up for the Bruins. Horton made a nice pass out of the defensive zone up to Milan Lucic. Lucic had the entire far side all to himself, with 3 Hurricanes clogging up the center. Lucic fired a shot towards goal, but he hit the apron of the net. Boychuck then found Nathan Horton in the near slot, but Ward again made the save. Daniel Pialle was up next, with a terrific shot from the far circle. Cam Ward though was standing on his head early, and kicked the puck away with his left pad. The Hurricanes dumped the puck back into the Bruins defensive zone, Brett Sutter got under and flipped Joe Corvo into the corner boards. A very scary hit, as Corvo laid on the ice for a minute. Corvo was able to get up and skate off under his own power, but would go back to the locker room. The Bruins would go on the powerplay, as Sutter was called for interference at 10:00. The Bruins powerplay was again futile, but the Bruins would come alive right after the penalty ended. Zdeno Chara made a nice pass up ice to Jordan Caron, who had wide open ice to work with. His shot rang the post near side though. Late in the period the Bruins would get a great chance from Rich Peverley in the high slot, but his shot went wide. Bergeron picked the puck up behind the net and tried a wraparound, but Ward held the near post. The 1st line of Boston came back with a 3-on-2 through center ice. Seguin took a slap-shot from the high slot that Ward stopped. Then Lucic and Horton tried jamming the rebound in, but Ward covered the puck up. The Bruins went into the 1st intermission down 1-0.
Joe Corvo was back on the ice to start the 2nd period, so he appears to not have been hurt too critically. The 2nd period started with a Hurricane getting knocked down by a Chara slap shot. Not the best place to be when your on the ice against the Bruins. Brandon Sutter created a turnover in the offensive zone, and came charging up the ice with a 2-on-1 for the Hurricanes, but he rang the post far side. Brad Marchand came into the offensive zone with speed off a Peverley pass, but had his shot stopped by Ward. Marchand would then attack the puck carrier Ruutu, flying into him and leaving his feet to bump him against the boards. Marchand would be called for charging at 3:55, and the Hurricanes had a chance on the powerplay to extend their lead. Carolina would muster just 1 shot on Tukkaa Rask, as the Bruins killed off Marchand’s penalty. As the Bruins brought the puck into the offensive zone, Skinner smacked Andrew Ference in the face with his stick. Skinner would be called for high-sticking at 6:32, and the Bruins now had a chance to get on the board on the powerplay. Nothing going for the Bruins powerplay, and they did not even get a shot on net. That’s 21 straight unsuccessful powerplays now for the Bruins. Boston would turn the puck over again in the offensive zone, with Rutuu taking the puck away at the near boards and passing to center ice to Joni Pitkanen. Pitkanen skated in with tremendous speed, and just fired a slap-shot from the far circle that beat Rask glove side. Carolina was up 2-0 now at 10:19. Seguin made a terrific feed to Horton, but his tip-in was blocked down. Boston picked the puck back up, and Chara took a shot from the point with Horton screening in front, but Ward made the save. There was a huge pileup at the net, centered around Horton pushing and shoving with Harrison. His teammates came to back him up, and Captain Zdeno Chara came in a smacked Harrison. The 2 squared off and Chara manhandled him, picking him up when he fell to the ice just to throw him some uppercuts. Chara even reached around the ref to get in some shots after he intervened. Cam Ward then skated over and bumped Chara, and those 2 started jawing. Lucic came over to help his Captain out by taking on 2 Hurricanes at once, and Tukkaa Rask skated all the way down to confront Ward. When all was said and done, Chara and Harrison received 5 minutes for fighting. Chara would also receive a 2 minute instigator penalty, and a 10 minute game misconduct. Horton received a roughing minor, and Milan Lucic would serve 2 minutes for Tukkaa Rask for an unsportsmanlike conduct for leaving the crease. So it was a 5-on-3 for 2 full minutes for the Hurricanes at 14:19. The Hurricanes could not even get a shot off as Boston had killed of the 5-on-3. But 7 seconds after the penalty ended, Dennis Seidenberg would be called for interference at 16:26. Andrew Ference was battling in the far corner with Ruutu, and Ference had his stick chopped out of his hands. Ruutu would be called for slashing at 18:01, so we had 25 seconds of 4-on-4 before the Bruins would get a powerplay to work with. The Bruins powerplay was getting shots on net, but not getting any good looks at Cam Ward. Joe Crovo created a great chance in the far circle, just stick handling to create some space. He wristed a shot over Cam Ward, but rang the post far side. The period would end with the Hurricanes up 2-0, and Boston would have 2 seconds of powerplay to start the 3rd.
The Bruins were lacking energy to open up the 3rd period. Marchand and Corvo both had good chances to shoot on net, but fanned on their shots. The Hurricanes were content to just pass the puck around, and in turn they started skating circles around the Bruins. Boston did not have their legs under them, and they could not posses the puck as the period went on. Lucic checked Gleason behind the Carolina net, and Gleason didn’t like that. He started shoving with Lucic, and then Allen came over and put Lucic in a headlock from his blind side. Lucic was furious, broke free dropped his glove and grabbed Allen, but Allen did not want to go. Then Chris Kelly and Sutter started going at it at center ice. Kelly had Sutter’s jersey over his head as the 2 fought. Sutter fought trough it, but Kelly landed a knockout right to the head of Sutter. The penalties shook out with Lucic, Allen, and Gleason getting roughing minors, and Sutter and Kelly with 5 minutes for fighting at 10:30. The Bruins had a powerplay to work with now. Corvo was creating more chances for the Bruins, when he made a cross ice pass to Peverley at the near point. Peverley roofed the puck with Marchand screening in front, and the Bruins were finally on the board with a powerplay goal nonetheless. The Bruins were now down 2-1 at 10:59. The Bruins brought the puck back into the offensive, when Horton checked Gleason behind the net. Gleason didn’t like that one either, and bumped Horton from behind. Horton turned around, shoved back, and then dropped his gloves. You could read his lips as he said let’s go. Gleason didn’t want to oblige, so Horton just tossed Gleason to the ice, and tried picking him back up to give him some shots, but the referee would not let him. Horton would receive a double minor for roughing served by Shawn Thornton, as Horton also received a 10 minute game misconduct at 11:30. Just seconds later, a terrible call by the officials would give Carolina a 5-on-3 advantage. Chara would receive a high-sticking minor at 11:48, but what happened is he just shoved Jeff Skinner to the ice and his stick followed through, but never touched Skinner. Brad Marchand would grab Skinner, and give him a straight jab as Chara pleaded his case to the officials. So Marchand would receive a game misconduct at 11:49. It was a 5-on-3 for Carolina now for 2 full minutes. As play went resumed, Carolina sent the puck behind the Boston net. Dennis Seidenberg gave a hard check to Jeff Skinner from behind, and would receive a boarding minor at 12:10. The Boston fans didn’t like this, combined with some booze, and you have fans throwing things onto the ice. The 5-on-3 would be extended for the remainder of the Horton double minor now. Eric Stall scored on the powerplay at 13:26 to stretch the lead back to 2 goals, now 3-1. Tuomo Ruutu then scored another powerplay goal at 14:58, and it was 4-1 Carolina. The Boston penalty kill would finally end. The Bruins went from being down by 1 goal, to having 2 players tossed and an extended 5-on-3 for the Hurricanes, who in turn extended their lead to 3 goals. Milian Lucic would receive at game misconduct at 16:16, when he skated up to Gleason. The 2 started jawing, and Lucic gave him a shove. The refs felt that was enough to toss him. Claude Julien was a bit to vocal on the bench about Lucic getting tossed, and would get himself a game misconduct served by Shawn Thornton. The game would come to a close with the Bruins losing 4-1, but the story of the night was about how many penalty minutes the Bruins accumulated compared to Carolina.
A very close and entertaining game in Boston, until the 11:30 mark of the 3rd period. After that, all hell broke loose. It was insane at the TD Garden. The Bruins were able to score a powerplay goal, so I can’t rant about how terrible the powerplay is. Although, they did go 21 straight powerplay without a goal before Rich Peverley scored in the 3rd. In what was now a 1 goal game, Horton tried mixing it up with Gleason and Gleason showed what a wuss he is. You can call it smart for goading Horton into the penalty, but when you are a hockey player and you refuse to a fight, unless you’re the best player on your team, then you’re nothing but a wimp. The Bruins penalty kill was smothering the Hurricanes powerplay. It took a 5-on-3 for the Hurricanes to finally score on the powerplay. They looked almost as bad as the Bruins did with the man advantage. Once the Hurricanes broke through, you could just feel the whole building collapse. That Eric Stall goal was so deflating, almost as much as being assessed all those penalties. Now while the Bruins did deserve their penalties, all those game misconducts were ridiculous. There is no excuse for the referees to toss 5 Bruins including the head coach, and not 1 Hurricane. I hope that the league takes a look at what the refs did in this game, and straightens out what is to be expected from the officiating when things start getting out of hand like this. As for the game, I think Cam Ward might be in the Bruins heads.
Cam Ward was spectacular from the very 1st puck drop. In his 2 games again the Bruins, Ward has allowed just 3 goals on 62 shots for a .952 save percentage. Boston’s offense has struggled mightily finding the back of the net early in this season. It seems that the Bruins are missing most of their shots on net, which is terrible for the type of game the Bruins want to play. The Bruins are a team built on strength, and they score goals by getting to the dirty areas and putting in rebounds off the net. But if they’re not even getting pucks on net, then there’s no rebounds to shoot at, and that limits the way the Bruins can score goals. The Bruins need to fix their shooting problems quick, because they are about to go on a stretch of games that they can not afford to lose. They open up on Thursday night at the Garden against Phil Kessel and the Maple Leafs. The Maple Leafs are not a good team. They have started hot, but this happened last year as well and the Leafs finished as one of the worst teams in the league. I don’t see them making a turn around in 1 year. This is a game the Bruins have to win, they have to. If Boston drops this game, they will be 2-5 with a home game against the San Jose Sharks and a home-and-home with Montreal. Sweeping those 3 games would be the only possible outcome to get the team back to .500 in this early season. I think the Bruins should win Thursday night, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they lose based on the way this season has started.
Anyone who read my last post knows exactly how I feel about the Red Sox ownership and their recent turmoil. Monday afternoon, former Red Sox great Curt Schilling decided that there wasn’t enough fuel in this fire, so he added more. Curt Schilling appeared on 98.5 the Sports Hub, and the now infamous Felger & Massarotti afternoon segment when he said, “…he’s [John Henry] full of ****.” Strong words to say the least from the former Sox, but not uncharted waters for Schilling. Almost a week ago now on October 12, Schilling, while on national TV on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight, said, “These [owners] are some bad people.” That is a very big accusation to make, not just about the organization, but about the character of the owners. Schilling is saying that the 3 owners, Tom Werner, Larry Lucchino, and John Henry, are not good human beings; that there is something morally wrong with them. Could this just be the ramblings of a bitter man, after arguing with the Sox when he hurt his shoulder in 2008 after signing a 1 year $8 million contract? Perhaps. Yet again, Schilling would know exactly how the Red Sox organization operates after spending 4 years there and winning 2 World Series. This brings us to Monday afternoon.
Schilling was a special guest on the Felger & Massarotti show Monday afternoon, and he was asked to provide some insight into the team. “It’s a ton of mudslinging and finger-pointing, and at the end of the day the 2 guys most responsible for bringing 2 world championships here and turning this organization around are gone.” Schilling said. When asked what he thinks about John Henry saying that ownership was not involved in the recent release of private information about Terry Francona and the Sox clubhouse Schilling said, “I think he’s full of ****… and I think he’s disingenuous at best. I think there’s been a lot of that, and I think when Terry comes out and says, very candidly, in the press conference… I didn’t feel like the ownership of this team had my back. That is such a much more powerful statement then the words being used. And then to have someone follow that up with… I was confused by that when he said that… That’s not true. You know this is a group of people who would love everybody to believe that they just sit back and watch baseball ops run the team, it’s not true, they’ve been involved, they’re always involved. When asked if Schilling had even been involved with anything like this Schilling said, “Oh absolutely. Absolutely, I got to see it… I’m not speculating. I got to see it, and experience it and watch it happen.” Schilling added one last jab at ownership when asked about what the perception of the Red Sox organization is he said, “When things like this information, Tito’s marriage stuff, and the medical stuff, and the pills and stuff; when that stuff starts coming from a ‘source’ in the organization, that’s people with an agenda, and people with power in an organization because those things don’t come out, they can’t come out from people other than that. The amount of people that can know enough about that information to make it to be a source is very, very small.”
While Schilling was putting the blame on ownership for the leaking of information, he still maintained that close friend Terry Francona and some of his former teammates were very much responsible for the collapse. When asked if Francona was totally blameless for the collapse Schilling said, “No, absolutely not! … He’s one of the few guys to have the wherewithal, the integrity, to stand up and say this is my fault I couldn’t reach the players… ” Schilling then explored what is the root of all this sludge, an idea that I personally explored in a post right after the collapse, which is the players quitting on this team.
Schilling said he was caught off guard by some of the comments Jon Lester had made earlier in the day, with Lester acknowledging that Francona had lost a voice in the clubhouse. “You’ve got a bunch of grown man admitting that they no longer felt like they listen to the guy in charge, and I don’t understand that.” Schilling said. “… you have a player basically telling you exactly what happened… which means, again I go back to the fact that these players quit. They quit on each other, they quit on the manager, they quit on the organization, they quit on the fans. I think that much is clear.” he added. The comments he’s referring to can be found in the article below.
Schilling has always been known for speaking his mind, and he leveled into ownership and the players during his interview. We all know that Francona lost the clubhouse, and personally I think that we all can accept that fact. From everything that’s come out, it is clear that it was not Francona’s fault for the collapse. It was not ownerships fault for the collapse either, it is all on the players. Yes ownership is completely at fault for leaking information to the public. The information that has come out these past few days should confirm that. But there comes a point when what’s going on in the clubhouse doesn’t matter to you or me. I am very concerned about what’s going on in that clubhouse, and I will continue to voice myself on that. The releasing of information is ridiculous, and the owners deserve to be called out on that. But the players are where the root of all this sludge comes from. That’s where there needs to be a change. If these players decided that they didn’t need to listen to their manager, and they could go and eat fried chicken and have a couple of beers (there’s no way it was just 1 Jon Lester, sorry, but that’s a lie for PR), then something has to be done to re-emphasize that these players are adults making millions of dollars a year to play a game. Jon Lester basically said that these players need a babysitter, that they can’t be trusted to do their jobs. That is just pathetic, when you think about a grown man acting like he is 10 years old. These players want to be able to do whatever they want, as long as that means they don’t have to go to work or be held accountable for their mistakes. They had that chance with Francona, as he would defend his players and their performance on the field ever day he was the manager of the Red Sox. Now that Francona’s gone, you are seeing exactly what the Red Sox didn’t want us to see. The players and the front office did not expect to have this type of information come out, and without Francona to defend his players you are seeing upper management throwing their once great manager under the bus to protect their players. The time for action is now. The owners of this team should stop protecting their players, and start holding those players accountable for their shameful performance on the field. If the owners had simply done this from the beginning, then you wouldn’t have seen the information about Francona come out. Red Sox nation does not care nor want to know about all of these goings ons in the clubhouse or with Francona, we just want to see results. If this information was not released, and the Red Sox were to get rid of Francona for reasons I’ve stated earlier, and then Lackey, Beckett, and Varitek to try to clear up this clique, and the Sox went out and won a World Series, no one would have a bad thing to say about the Sox. The PR games need to stop at Fenway if they want to see a playoff game at Fenway.
The Boston Red Sox are not having a good offseason. The Red Sox have fired their manager, Terry Francona, there are rumors that Theo Epstein is going to the Chicago Cubs for money and/or prospects, there has been a series of reports about a clique (including Josh Beckett, John Lester, and John Lackey) drinking beer, playing video games, and eating fried chicken in the clubhouse while the Sox were playing, and the latest splurge of demeaning information came on October 12, when Bob Hohler published a story in the Boston Globe absolutely smearing Terry Francona and the players. The article can be found below:
In this article, Hohler explores why Terry Francona may have lost the clubhouse. Hohler says, “Team sources said Francona, who has acknowledged losing influence with some former team leaders, appeared distracted during the season by issues related to his troubled marriage and to his health.”
Think about that for a second. Terry Francona may not have been able to manage the Red Sox because he was dealing with a bad marriage and health problems. Does this seem like the sort of thing you should know? If Terry Francona is having marital problems, I leave that to him and the walls in his house. If it affected his managerial skills, then it’s the Red Sox job to let him go so that both parties can take care of their separate situations. But I do not want to or need to know that he is having that problem, and it is outrages that this information got out! Furthermore, if Francona is addicted to painkillers why should that be disclosed. Hohler says, “Team sources also expressed concern that Francona’s performance may have been affected by his use of pain medication, which he also vehemently denied. Francona said he has taken pain medicine for many years, particularly after multiple knee surgeries. He said he used painkillers after knee surgery last October and used them during the season to relieve the discomfort of doctors draining blood from his knee at least five times.”
I do not care about Francona’s possible drug addiction, except for the fact that I wish him the best of luck in overcoming any possible demons. If he does have a problem, again, that’s his business and the Red Sox were right to get rid of him. As if that wasn’t enough, the Red Sox source adds insult to injury by saying, “While Francona coped with his marital and health issues, he also worried privately about the safety of his son, Nick, and son-in-law, Michael Rice, both of whom are Marine officers serving in Afghanistan.” Yea, maybe Francona couldn’t win a couple of games because he’s busy thinking about he’s son and son-in-law dying over in Afghanistan! Let’s look at the big picture here, it’s time to forget about baseball when human lives are at stake.
The players don’t get off easy either. As I stated earlier, Hohler discusses the player clique of Beckett, Lester, and Lackey. He also shows how lost the clubhouse was even when they were winning. The Red Sox were leading the division in late August, but that appears to just be an illusion of togetherness. The team was just as dysfunctional and distant from each other, management, and upper management at that time.
Hohler explores saying, “As Hurricane Irene barreled toward Boston in late August, management proposed moving up the Sunday finale of a weekend series against Oakland so the teams could play a day-night doubleheader either Friday, Aug. 26, or Saturday, Aug. 27. The reasoning seemed sound: the teams would avoid a Sunday rain out and the dilemma of finding a mutual makeup date for teams separated by 2,700 miles. But numerous Sox players angrily protested. They returned early that Friday from Texas after a demanding stretch in which they had played 14 of 17 games on the road, with additional stops in Minneapolis, Seattle, and Kansas City. The players accused management of caring more about making money than winning, which marked the first time the team’s top executives sensed serious trouble brewing in the clubhouse.”
While it might be true that ownership cares more about making money than they do their players, the players come off as cry babies about a simple doubleheader. News flash, you get paid to play a sport! It’s not like these guys have to go into consecutive brain surgeries, they just have to go out and have fun playing baseball. By the way, the Red Sox swept that doubleheader. They were so tired that they went out and won both games. Regardless of how bad the players or Terry Francona might look in this article, I still have one question.
Why is this information being leaked? That can not be answered without first figuring out who leaked the information. “Red Sox sources” is all that is given during the article. So someone or someones within the Red Sox organization leaked personal information about their former manager, their players, and the overall clubhouse environment. To figure out who within the organization may have done this, you must read into the article a little bit more. Think again for a moment; Terry Francona, Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, John Lackey, and the entire clubhouse are brought to the guillotine and slaughtered by this article. Who’s remaining in the Red Sox organization?
There in lies the secret to the source of all this Red Sox information, and it makes perfect sense. The Red Sox’s front office was receiving heat for not resigning Terry Francona, especially when Francona came out and said he didn’t feel ownership had his back during the year. So the people in upper management, consisting of GM Theo Epstein, Chairmen Tom Werner, President and CEO Larry Lucchino, and Principle Owner John Henry, decided to let the public know that Francona shouldn’t have been brought back because of all these problems he has. They then showed the players as being selfish, arrogant, whiny, spoiled brats, just to get the point across for how hard they had to try to get these players to actually work together as a team. Upper management wanted you to feel bad for all the problems they faced when trying to construct a winning team. And you know what, they’re right! I totally agree with what they did, and I feel very bad for what they had to go through. Dealing with all these prima donna players is ridiculous, and having a manager that is clearly distracted didn’t help. But to then go out, and reveal that information to a reporter so that he can tell the world so that you come off as the good guy, is pathetic. The hero does the right thing even when no one is looking. It shouldn’t matter to those guys in the front office what people think of them, as long as they win. If the Red Sox went on to win the World Series next year, and none of this information was leaked out, then everyone would be talking about what a great job ownership did handling Tito and the collapse. They would be revered for completely changing the atmosphere in the clubhouse, and everyone in Boston, including me, would love what they have done for this city. They decided that wasn’t good enough, so they went and released all this sensitive information to the people. If you’re not convinced it was upper management leaking the information, then consider this. Who would even know of such personal information in the Red Sox organization? Even John Henry admitted, “Not that many I would think.”
John Henry apparently heard Mike Felger of 98.5 the Sports Hub ranting about how ownership was smearing Tito, and he took an exception to it. In a spur of the moment interview, John Henry decided to join the Sports Hub’s Felger & Massarotti October 14, to put all of these rumors to rest. I’ve heard this interview, and I can personally say he wasn’t very convincing. Henry was all over the place, and at some points couldn’t even give a coherent response. According to Henry, Red Sox sources leaked the information, not Tom, Larry, or himself. If that is true, that it was just some ant worker who leaked the information, then what kind of state is the front office in? Not only can John Henry not control his baseball team, but now he can’t even control his own employees that work right under him! John states this, but then says, “When it comes to who’s giving person info from the Red Sox, you can’t really go on a witch hunt and start accusing people,”.
So Henry wants us to believe that someone in the Red Sox organization leaked information not named Larry, Tom, or John, and then he wants us to believe that he can’t go out and find the person responsible because it’s not nice to go witch hunting. He owns the team, he can do whatever he wants! He could just get rid of his whole staff if he wanted to and hire any number of unemployed and capable people just to show that revealing information like this is unacceptable! If you still chose to believe that Henry and ownership did not release the information, then consider this. Why didn’t this information come out sooner? If someone wanted to give out sensitive information such as this, why would they wait until a 2 weeks after the season ended and not 2 days? You gain nothing by waiting, so why not just let it all out when they lose the final game of the year to miss the postseason for a 2nd straight year?
Then the last bit of information that seals the deal, is this. Henry said that he and his companies could not possibly be the ones responsible for leaking the information, because the writer of the article, Bob Hohler, has already said that it was a Red Sox source and not the owners. Henry says this in the first 3:30 of his interview on 98.5, which can be heard below.
Monday morning though, the morning show on 98.5 the Sports Hub of Toucher & Rich revisited this idea. It culminated in an email from Toucher & Rich to Hohler, asking if he had indeed stated that the owners of the Red Sox were not his leads. Hohler emailed back saying, and I’m paraphrasing here, that he has not made any statements since the article was published, and he will leave it a that. That’s it. This one statement via email throws everything that John Henry has been arguing into question. So this leaves 2 possible answers. Either Henry is being fed misinformation, or he’s a liar. I’m gonna go on record saying it was most likely the latter. If Henry’s very first statement during his interview is that Hohler had already stated that the front office was not his lead, and this statement is false, then how much else did Henry say that is not true? Based on everything I have seen, there is virtually no case that the Red Sox’s front office, ownership in-particular, is not responsible for the leaking of personal information about their ex-manager, players, and clubhouse. Through all of this, I agree with ownerships decision to get rid of Terry Francona, and I will most likely agree with any changes they make to the roster. But dragging their players, their ex-manager, into all this sludge, is in the words of John Henry, ” It’s reprehensible.”