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Press Box Notes
STORYLINES: The Black and Gold wrap up their season opening five-game homestand this afternoon when they host the Colorado Avalanche. Now 2-2 on the year, the Bruins trailed 3-0 in the third period against the Islanders in their last game on Saturday, but rallied to claim a 4-3 shootout victory.
Defenseman Johnny Boychuk
is expected to make his 2009-10 debut for the B’s in place of Dennis Wideman who was injured in the third period of Saturday’s game and will not play today. Boychuk was originally drafted by the Avalanche in the third round (72nd overall) of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft. He was traded to Boston for Matt Hendricks on June 24, 2008.
“I’m just going to go in and try to play simple hockey,” said Boychuk before today’s game, “And hopefully score a couple goals maybe. Just do things simple. It’s my first game of the season so I just want to do my job and come out with a win.”
Hendricks is also expected to play today. Both he and Boychuk started the year on NHL rosters for their first times in their respective careers.
The Avalanche roll in to Boston in the midst of a seven-game road trip. This is the longest road trip the Denver organization has embarked on since moving to the Mile High City in 1995. They are 0-1-1 through the first two games, with a 3-2 loss at Nashville on Thursday and a 4-3 shootout loss at Chicago on Saturday.
The shootout against Chicago needed nine rounds to decide a winner.
The Avs have been paced in the early going by goaltender Craig Anderson, who has a 1.98 Goals Against Average and .942 Save Percentage through the first four games, and forward Wojteck Wolski, who has a team-high four goals.
Anderson was signed by the Avs as a free agent on July 1, 2009 was named the NHL’s Second Star of the Week for the opening week of the season.
The Avalanche have surrendered just 2.25 goals against per game through their first four, which currently ranks fifth best in the league.
FIRST OF 19: The Bruins will be playing the first of an NHL-high 19 matinee afternoon games today. The Pittsburgh Penguins have the second most in the league with 15.
STREAKS: For the Bruins, Marc Savard
enters today’s game with a three game point streak in progress with 2-3-5 totals during that span. For the Avs, forward Milan Hejduk and defenseman Kyle Quincey each have four-game point streaks in progress, as each player has 1-4-5 totals in the last four.
SAVARD, NEELY ON THE “GOLF DIGEST” LEADERBOARD: Golf Digest unveiled their list of the Top 150 Athlete-Golfers in their latest issue, and two Bruins made the cut. Center Marc Savard
came in at #11 with a .6 handicap. He is the highest ranked active hockey player, highest ranked Boston athlete and second highest hockey player overall (Brett Hull ranked tied for sixth with a .0 handicap).
Current VP Cam Neely checked in at #47, in a tie with former NFL quarterback Vinny Testaverde with a 3.7 handicap.
Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo topped the list with a +3.3 handicap.
The Bruins lines...
A decent guess at the Avs..
is in goal for Boston today. Craig Anderson will take the pipes for Colorado.
|Boychuk played for Colorado before shifting to Providence/Boston. |
Forced into this weekend's spotlight by injury and circumstance, Johnny Boychuk
maintains the same attitude he's held since he arrived in Boston.
“I’m just going to go in and try to play simple hockey,” he said, before he added, “and hopefully score a couple goals maybe."
“Just do things ‘simple,’” remains his mantra, he said. “It’s [my] first game of the season, so I just want to do my job and come out with a win.”
However, Boychuk did acknowledge a little bit of a "reminder" is probably in order for his former team – the Colorado Avalanche.
“Yeah, of course,” he said, with a [now trademark] chuckle. “I just want to go out there and show them what they’re missing and beat them, too.
“[But I'll] just play my game, what got me here, and just keep things simple.”
For those people who didn’t see his AHL all-star caliber play in Providence last season, Boychuk described his game.
“Yeah, I just move the puck around and get shots to the net,” he said. “Just play physical [hockey], getting shots through to the net and making [a good first] pass.”
Do you drop the gloves, John?
“Maybe once in a while,” he said with a grin.
Boychuk excused himself, quickly, but before he went to team meeting, he said that he had played with a few people in practice, so he didn’t know who his defense partner would be.
“I’m not too sure yet,” he said. “I practiced with [Hunwick] yesterday, but that could always change.”
Things have a tendency to do that, don’t they?
There was no morning skate for either club. The players are starting to arrive.
Yesterday afternoon, B's head coach Claude Julien was asked about the four players who sat out Sunday afternoon's workout: Begin, Ryder, Thornton and Wideman.
"[Wideman] is doubtful for [Monday]," he said. "And from that point on he should be day-to-day."
As for the others, "They should be good for tomorrow. Again, it's more of a maintenance situation -- minor injuries that don't require them missing games."
FYI: If you are looking for an early candidate for call-up -- should any of the B's forwards be unable to play -- Brad Marchand
has the AHL lead with five goals in four games for Providence. He also leads the team with 19 shots and is a +2.
Count Mark Recchi amongst those who might argue that 10-minutes might very well have turned a season around.
"Well, I mean it was a big win for us," said the NHL vet. "We weren’t playing very well up to that point and we battled hard, we didn’t quit and the guys found a way to win and that’s the important thing right now.
"I mean, now we’re giving ourselves the opportunity to go out and have an over .500 start to the season with a five game homestand [before] going on the road, and, hopefully, going out there and maybe taking a little pressure off."
Our talk shifted to the topic of conversation in the Bruins locker room between the second and third period on Saturday.
"Well, you don’t have to say much," he said. "There’s a lot of pride in this dressing room and it’s up to each individual to go out there and get ready to play and do the things.
"I mean the bottom line is each guy has to do their part and compete the right way and when you do that things are going to fall into place and the guys as a whole, the guys really stepped it up in the third and we did the things that were necessary to get us back in the game and had great a shootout."
Recchi said a lot of credit had to go to Tuukka Rask
, as well.
"He’s great," he said. "I’ve seen him, I didn’t see him at all last year and this year the guys talked about how good a goalie he is.
"He’s a terrific goalie, he’s very composed in there."
With last year's Vezina winner Tim Thomas
and Rask forming a tandem, Recchi imagines a pretty decent goaltending combo going forward.
"Our goaltending is wonderful," he said. "It’s great to have two guys like that that you can count on every night and give you an opportunity to win every night."
Finally, Recchi pointed to Monday and thanked the schedule makers for allowing the Bruins to bring whatever momentum that gained on Saturday into the new week.
"Yeah, this is nice. It’s nice. I mean, you get on a little bit of a roll, guys just want to get playing," he said. "I think our team just really enjoys getting on a roll and getting into a routine...as do most teams.
"But this early in the season, you don’t want those three or four day breaks. You don’t really need them and you want to just keep playing and get in the groove."