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Posted On Thursday, 01.12.2012 / 1:22 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Cammalleri clarifies Wednesday comments on Habs

BOSTON -- The day after Michael Cammalleri made some disparaging remarks about his team's attitude, the Montreal forward went into damage-control mode today after his team's morning skate at the TD Garden in preparation for tonight's game with the Boston Bruins.

After the Habs practiced Wednesday, Cammalleri told NHL.com and a reporter from Montreal newspaper La Presse that he was unhappy with his ice time before making a comparison between teams with a "winning mentality" and those with a "losing mentality," suggesting the Canadiens were currently a part of the latter group.

In the Garden dressing room, he expressed confusion over why a statement like that would cause a controversy.

"Yesterday was a little bit crazy. I'm obviously not happy," said Cammalleri. "It's an emotional game, we're sitting in 12th spot, so it's not fun to lose and you want to win. So you always want to do more. That's all. I made some comments after my interview yesterday that I thought were pretty PC comments with regards to the competitive advantage a winning team has and their mentality, and the lack thereof of a losing team. I didn't think it was ground-breaking news.

"We're in 12th spot, we're not in a winning position right now. So it was some pretty impressive journalism to make all that out of that. But that's what it was for me. This group in here knows that we've got to be better. It's no secret, like I said, [we're in] 12th spot."

Cammalleri, who has only produced nine goals and 22 points for the 16-19-7 Canadiens, would not confirm whether he addressed the comments with his teammates, head coach Randy Cunneyworth or general manager Pierre Gauthier. But several players said that Cammalleri did clarify what he said with them.

Cammalleri also responded to those translating his statements about the team's attitude, and additional ones about his diminished ice time, as a message saying he wanted out of Montreal.
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Posted On Thursday, 01.12.2012 / 12:28 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Julien hopes Horton keeps burying opportunities

BOSTON -- As they attempt to close out their four-game, Canadian-opponent homestand tonight at the TD Garden with a win over Montreal, the Bruins are hoping winger Nathan Horton is finally out of the woods in terms of a scoring slump.

In his last four games, Horton has posted 5-1-6 totals, including two goals in Tuesday night's win over Winnipeg. Previously, Horton had scored just once over a seven-game span. His 14 goals now tie him with Milan Lucic for third on the team, and he's well on pace to at least match last season's total of 26 goals.

Bruins coach Claude Julien has witnessed a resurgence in Horton's game.

"I'd have to say it's picked up. I mean, in the last week or so you've seen him, again, I always say when he's emotionally involved in a game, he brings a lot," Julien said after an optional morning skate at TD Garden. "He can be a physical player, he can be a strong player, he's in the right spots, he buries his opportunities, and to me, he started doing that. I'm seeing a guy turning a corner, and I hope he keeps building on what he's done in the last week because it makes a big difference to our hockey club."

The Bruins' lineup isn't expected to change tonight from Tuesday, although Julien now has an extra option among forwards with the recall of Jordan Caron from the Bruins' Providence (AHL) farm club.

Here are tonight's projected lineups:

CANADIENS
Max Pacioretty - David Desharnais - Erik Cole
Andrei Kostitsyn - Lars Eller - Travis Moen
Michael Cammalleri - Tomas Plekanec - Mike Blunden
Mathieu Darche - Petteri Nokelainen - Yannick Weber

Josh Gorges - P.K. Subban
Alexei Emelin - Hal Gill
Tomas Kaberle - Raphael Diaz

Carey Price
Peter Budaj

BRUINS
Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Nathan Horton
Benoit Pouliot - Patrice Bergeron - Tyler Seguin
Chris Kelly - Zach Hamill - Rich Peverley
Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara - Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg - Joe Corvo
Andrew Ference - Adam McQuaid

Tim Thomas
Tuukka Rask

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.10.2012 / 1:26 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Marchand says he got the message

BOSTON -- If Brad Marchand's five-game suspension for his clip on Vancouver's Sami Salo accomplishes anything positive, the Boston Bruins winger hopes it sets a precedent for similar plays by other players in the future.

"I expect if there's any more hits like this that they'll be penalized the same way. Otherwise, it will be a double standard," Marchand said after his team's morning skate at the TD Garden in preparation for a night game with Winnipeg. "But until we see more hits like this, we can't say that. So hopefully when hits like this arise from now on, they'll be penalized the same way."

Marchand, whose suspension will start tonight, used a similar check Canucks forward Mason Raymond executed on him last June in the Stanley Cup Final as part of his argument against discipline. Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli, in comments made Monday, also cited other hits, including ones by other Canucks, that were similar in nature to Marchand's hit on Salo.

Marchand, it was revealed in a statement released by the Bruins after the announcement of the suspension, also had sought out clarification about hip checks as way to protect oneself at the beginning of this season. Now Marchand has even more clarification in the matter.

"I'm a small guy, I play low to the ice and that's a way that I've protected myself in the past, and I just felt that it was better to be safe than sorry. And I brought it up to him," Marchand said in regards to NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan. "And when I walked away from the conversation, he told me that when protecting myself, that's OK in that situation. So when that situation arose, I felt that I was protecting myself and I was allowed to do it, and that's why I did it.

"Well, I guess it's clear that I'm not allowed to do that and guys around the League aren't allowed to do that," Marchand continued. "They tried to make that clear and I'm going to do something else next time."

Marchand has carved out a career in the NHL both with his goal-scoring prowess and his ability to play on the edge in terms of physicality and trash talk. Last season he earned a two-game suspension for a hit to the head of Columbus' RJ Umberger, and this season he was fined for slew-footing Pittsburgh's Matt Niskanen.

In the past, Bruins coach Claude Julien has felt the need to chat with Marchand in order to rein in the rambunctious forward. But this time, Julien doesn't think there's need for such a talk.

"I think Brad heard enough -- [saw] enough. He said he's going to try and adjust his game," Julien said. "Give him credit, he's a young kid that keeps trying to improve his game and get better in that area. It's not like he's denying anything, he tries to get better and we helped him along that way, and I think that’s what I appreciate about Brad. He's not hiding behind the fact and saying, 'I don't do anything wrong.' He knows the referees will watch him closely and he knows he has to get better in that area. Not only does he get under teams' skin, but also the referees, and he knows that stuff. At the same time, we know that his playing on the edge makes him a good player. We got to work with him, not against him and got to help him make sure his game is fine-tuned to the point where those things happen less and less."

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.10.2012 / 12:46 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Bruins coming off loss, Marchand suspension

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins and Winnipeg Jets have already staged two tooth-and-nail matchup during their split season series so far in 2011-12.

The Bruins won their home game, 4-2, with an empty-netter sealing the deal, while the Jets hung on for a 2-1 victory in their building. Tonight at the TD Garden, the Jets might have to face a Bruins team with a bit more anger over both its loss to Vancouver on Saturday and the five-game suspension handed out to forward Brad Marchand.

"Well, we hope it's not a bad thing and they get mad at us," Winnipeg coach Claude Noel said after his team's morning skate. "They have a good team, they play well and they've got a lot of depth. And we've got enough to worry about with them as an opponent that we're going to have to get our emotional level up because they play hard, they're hard to play against, they don't give you much."

Noel said that forward Tim Stapleton, who missed Winnipeg's win in Buffalo on Saturday with the flu, might return tonight. But it's doubtful forward Alexander Burmistrov will play because of a lower-body injury that already cost him one game. Burmistrov said he felt better today than he did over the weekend after taking the morning skate.

With Marchand out, the Bruins should shift their lines around. Benoit Pouliot figures to move onto left wing next to Patrice Bergeron and Tyler Seguin, while Zach Hamill will get into the lineup and should center Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley.

The goaltending duos for both teams left the ice at the same time with their respective squads, so we won't know the official goaltending matchup until pregame warm-ups. Here are the projected lineups:

BRUINS
Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Nathan Horton
Benoit Pouliot - Patrice Bergeron - Tyler Seguin
Chris Kelly - Zach Hamill - Rich Peverley
Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara - Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg - Joe Corvo
Andrew Ference - Adam McQuaid

Tim Thomas
Tuukka Rask

JETS
Evander Kane - Bryan Little - Blake Wheeler
Andrew Ladd - Nik Antropov - Eric Fehr
Kyle Wellwood - Patrice Cormier - Antti Miettinen
Tanner Glass - Jim Slater - Chris Thorburn

Tobias Enstrom - Zach Bogosian
Johnny Oduya - Ron Hainsey
Mark Stuart - Randy Jones

Ondrej Pavelec
Chris Mason

 
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Posted On Saturday, 01.07.2012 / 12:16 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

No Luongo for Canucks, but Thomas starts for Bruins

BOSTON – While one of the starting goaltenders from the 2011 Stanley Cup Final won’t be in net today at TD Garden, the one who prevailed in the epic seven-game series will get the start.
               
Bruins coach Claude Julien confirmed this morning he will give Tim Thomas, last year’s Vezina and Conn Smythe Trophy winner, the nod. Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault announced Friday that New England native Cory Schneider would start instead of No. 1 goaltender Roberto Luongo.
               
Brad Marchand, who missed a win Thursday night against Calgary with the flu, is classified as a game-time decision by Boston.
               
Here are the projected lineups for both teams:

BRUINS

Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Tyler Seguin
Benoit Pouliot - Chris Kelly - Rich Peverley
Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara - Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg - Joe Corvo
Andrew Ference - Adam McQuaid

Tim Thomas
Tuukka Rask

CANUCKS

Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Alex Burrows
Chris Higgins - Ryan Kesler - Mason Raymond
Andrew Ebbett - Cody Hodgson - Jannik Hansen
Manny Malhotra - Maxim Lapierre - Dale Weise

Dan Hamhuis - Kevin Bieksa
Alex Edler - Sami Salo
Andrew Alberts - Keith Ballard

Cory Schneider
Roberto Luongo
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Posted On Thursday, 01.05.2012 / 12:50 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected Calgary lineup for Thursday's game

BOSTON – The chance to complete their seven-game road trip with a .500 record lies in the balance tonight.

So the Calgary Flames needed to regroup in the midst of their morning skate after things started to get sloppy.

Head coach Brent Sutter interrupted his team’s skate at the TD Garden, where they’ll face the Boston Bruins on Thursday night, for a lengthy team chat, before allowing his players to resume their activities. It’s rare for any coach to insert his speech in the middle of a skate.

“We have a game to play tonight. So that’s what it’s about,” said Sutter, whose team is 2-3-1 on its current trip. “We don’t want to be missing because we’re not at the standards we need to be.”

Calgary center Rene Bourque begins his five-game suspension Thursday night, so Raitis Ivanans is scheduled to get into the lineup. Leland Irving was the first Flames goaltender off the ice, which indicates he’ll probably get the start.

Here are the Flames’ projected forward lines and D pairs as per the morning skate:

Forwards

Curtis Glencross-Olli Jokinen-Jarome Iginla
Blake Comeau-Mikael Backlund-Lee Stempniak
Paul Byron-Roman Horak-Tim Jackman
Tom Kostopoulos-Brendan Morrison-Raitis Ivanans

Defenseman

Chris Butler-Jay Bouwmeester
Scott Hannan-Anton Babchuk
T.J. Brodie-Cory Sarich

Goalies

Leland Irving
Miikka Kiprusoff
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Posted On Thursday, 01.05.2012 / 12:29 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Fatigue not expected to be an issue for Bruins

BOSTON – The Bruins will play the second half of a back-to-back set of games tonight at TD Garden.
               
But weariness shouldn’t be an issue against Calgary because coach Claude Julien was able to spread out his team’s ice time in a 6-1 victory at New Jersey on Wednesday night.

No Bruins forward played more than the 17:20 logged by Rich Peverley, and Dennis Seidenberg led the defense corps in ice time with just 22:33.
               
“I think that was one of the things I tried to do in the third period when we scored that fourth goal and seemed to have control of the game, I really tried to spread out the ice time and keep us as fresh as possible for tonight,” said Julien, who gave his players this morning off. “That’s the reality of things. You’ve got a team waiting for you at home and you’ve got to play a back-to-back game. We’ve done it before. It’s throughout the whole league, every team plays back-to-back games. And you’ve just got to look at the situation and make the best of it. And we’re fortunate that we had a good enough cushion last night that we were able to do it.”

After Tim Thomas made 30 saves against the Devils, expect Tuukka Rask to get the start against Calgary.
               
Here is the projected lineup for tonight:

Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Tyler Seguin
Benoit Pouliot - Chris Kelly - Rich Peverley
Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara - Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg - Joe Corvo
Andrew Ference - Adam McQuaid

Tuukka Rask
Tim Thomas
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Posted On Friday, 12.23.2011 / 6:25 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Weiss likely to sit Tuesday as well

BOSTON -- Florida coach Kevin Dineen said Friday night that No. 1 center Stephen Weiss would probably miss the team's next game Dec. 27 at home vs. Toronto in addition to tonight's game at Boston.

Weiss suffered an upper-body injury Thursday night in the first period in Ottawa and did not return.

The Panthers had hoped to recall center Mark Cullen from the AHL San Antonio Rampage for Friday's game, but travel issues prohibited that transaction. Instead, Dineen expected to dress seven defensemen with his team now short seven forwards due to injury.

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Posted On Friday, 12.23.2011 / 12:06 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Bruins get Lucic back, but Peverley to sit

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins will get one forward back for tonight's game against Florida, while another will sit the game out at the TD Garden.

Milan Lucic will be back from his one-game suspension, which he served Monday against Montreal. Rich Peverley, who's nursing an undisclosed injury, will miss the game. Coach Claude Julien said the Bruins are hoping having a full week off (Peverley hasn’t skated since Monday's game) will allow Peverley to be ready for the team's next game Wednesday in Phoenix.

Lucic, who was suspended for his hit from behind on Philadelphia's Zac Rinaldo, should provide the Bruins with a boost of offensive support and physicality. Despite the suspension, he plans to play the game the way he usually does.

"I can't change my game," he said. "I play with a lot of emotion and I do everything I can to keep it safe and follow the guidelines of the new hitting protocol and all that type of stuff. So obviously, a big part of my game is being physical and creating emotion. And I can't lose that, that's for sure."

The Panthers didn't have a skate today after getting in late last night in the aftermath of their overtime loss in Ottawa. Kevin Dineen will update on his team's injury status, including that of star forward Stephen Weiss, prior to game time. Florida is expected to call up Mark Cullen to replace Weiss in the lineup

Here are the projected lineups for both teams:

BRUINS
Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Tyler Seguin
Benoit Pouliot - Chris Kelly - Zach Hamill
Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara - Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg - Joe Corvo
Andrew Ference - Adam McQuaid

Tim Thomas
Tuukka Rask

PANTHERS
Tomas Fleischmann - Tomas Kopecky - Kris Versteeg
Shawn Matthias - Mike Santorelli - Matt Bradley
Tim Kennedy - Bill Thomas - Evgenii Dadonov
Krystofer Barch - Mark Cullen - Michal Repik

Dmitry Kulikov - Mike Weaver
Brian Campbell - Jason Garrison
Keaton Ellerby - Ed Jovanovski

Jose Theodore
Scott Clemmensen

 

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Posted On Monday, 12.19.2011 / 6:55 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Lucic hopes reputation won't take a hit

BOSTON – Although he's accepted his one-game suspension with the utmost humility, Boston Bruins forward Milan Lucic hopes this punishment for his hit from behind on Philadelphia's Zac Rinaldo and the decision by NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan don't tarnish the reputation the left winger has worked his career to build.

Shanahan said in his explanation of his decision Monday that Lucic's past, which included a phone hearing for his hit on Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller earlier this season, factored into the suspension.

"As far as my history is concerned, obviously I think you look at the five years I've been here, I’ve led the team in hits for all those years. And this is the first time that I've ever had a hearing or a suspension when it comes down to a hit. Take aside the hit on the goalie, I'm talking about a hit on the players. I do everything in my power to keep it clean out there," said Lucic, whose one prior NHL suspension came during the 2009 playoffs after a high hit in a scrum.

"I remember even earlier this year, one of the Boston reporters came up to me and asked me 'Is the reason why you're not playing as physical as the years before because of the new rules and the clarity of it?' And I answered the question, 'Yes.' Obviously he put out some pretty clear videos of what is a suspension and what isn't, and I try my full-on best to follow those rules."

Lucic, whose history also includes a $3,500 fine last December for a punch after the linesman had intervened in an altercation, said he explained to Shanahan that he tried to make sure the hit wasn't from behind. Rinaldo was also quoted as saying he didn't think the hit warranted a ban.

“Obviously I support the League's attempt at addressing player safety," Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said. "And I think Milan might have explained to you … if you look at it closely, I feel that he … did change his game, so to speak, on that check. I thought he stopped skating. If you looked at his left arm going in, I thought he tried to lever him so that he could hit him in the crest, and I don't think he hit him as hard as he normally does. Milan's a guy whose led our team in hits, I think, since he's been here, and he's very rarely been penalized with boarding, hit from behind – the roughing stuff. He's a clean player, and that's what the law is now, so we'll abide by it."

Lucic expressed disappointment about not being able to face Montreal tonight at the TD Garden. But overall, he's been impressed by Shanahan and the League's effort to get dangerous checks out of the game.

"I think it's good that it's in the back of players' minds now, that the NHL is not a place just to be running around recklessly anymore," he said. "And I think that's a good thing. And it's good to see they're aware to keep the game safer and to try to take head injuries ultimately out of the game because you don't want to see anyone, your teammate or an opponent, go through any troubles with concussion problems or anything like that."
 

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I downplayed the first one because I thought it's just a hockey game. We just want to win the game; it's against our rival and we want the two points. I downplayed it, but now having gone through the first one I look back and say, 'Geez, that was really cool.' I think as I've grown a bit older I've got a lot more appreciation for what we're allowed to do every day.

— Capitals forward Brooks Laich on the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, the second one of his career after 2011 in Pittsburgh