The Carolina Hurricanes have been playing better as their general health has improved, but they’ll be missing some pieces against the Boston Bruins this afternoon. Alexander Semin and Jay Harrison can’t play against Boston, according to Michael Smith of the team website.
Semin, 30, is dealing with an upper-body injury. It’s been a rough season for the Russian winger, although he was showing signs of improvement with a recent three-game assist streak. He’s often been labeled “injury prone,” so there’s the concern that this could be an issue that lingers.
Harrison, 32, is averaging 18:08 minutes per game this season, up from 16:38 per contest in 2013-14. He has three points in 13 games in 2014-15.
One positive note: rising young forward Elias Lindholm will be able to play, according to Smith. There was some concern that the 19-year-old might miss today’s action with a foot issue.
One can throw around a lot of different words to describe the Boston Bruins’ bumpy start to the season. CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty uses perhaps the most provocative one: soft.
The word appears in his column six different times.
Haggerty writes that “you can call the Bruins a mostly soft hockey team and you wouldn’t be wrong on most nights.” He calls out the play of specific combinations like the Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – Reilly Smith line and even has this to say about Boston’s defense:
Their defense is almost the Black and Gold version of a Twinkie: looks pretty good on the outside but has a soft, cream filling in the middle that’s pretty unhealthy.
Here’s video from Haggerty and CSNNE.com:
Many will point out that hits are a stat that aren’t always compiled consistently, yet it’s interesting to note that the Bruins have delivered 389 hits and received 443 so far this season, the eighth worst “hit percentage” so far in 2014-15. The Bruins were in the middle of the pack in this somewhat random stat in 2013-14.
That could be a troubling sign … or it could indicate that the Bruins have possessed the puck more often than not, opening the door to receive more hits (they’re ranked ninth in Fenwick stats, for what it’s worth).
Is this perceived drop in physicality something the Bruins should be concerned about? Milan Lucic told CSNNE.com that they could probably increase the intensity a bit.
“We’re a team that thrives on playing with emotion, and maybe we needed to play with a little more emotion, and a little more bang,” Lucic said. “It wasn’t there [against Montreal]. You can talk about scoring only two goals in two games, but the reason we’ve only scored two goals is because we’re not taking care of things in the defensive zone.”
The Bruins get a chance to assert themselves in a home game against the Carolina Hurricanes this afternoon.
Boston Bruins forward Matt Fraser was wobbly following a fight with Habs Nathan Beaulieu. Fraser appeared to hit his head on the ice and needed help getting the Bruins’ dressing room.
Fraser isn’t the first Bruin to be injured in a fight this season. Kevan Miller is still out after dislocating his shoulder in a fight on Oct. 18.
Beaulieu was also feeling the effects of the fight icing his right hand in the penalty box.
After stinking up the joint against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Boston Bruins are searching for answers. Even their official Twitter feed admits as much.
As much as the answers must come from within, perhaps a fresh face from the AHL might help? The team recalled forward Alexander Khokhlachev this morning, according to various sources including TVA’s Renaud Lavoie.
The 21-year-old seemed to land in quite a few trade rumors over the years, including seemingly being involved in the Jarome Iginla swap that didn’t happen.
He’s certainly been making a case for a look with the big club, at least if his numbers with the AHL’s Providence Bruins are any indication. The 40th pick of the 2011 NHL Draft has five goals and 11 points in 12 AHL games so far this season. He was productive in 2013-14 as well, scoring 57 points in 65 regular season games and 14 points in 12 AHL playoff games.
As far as who he might replace in the Bruins lineup considering the quick turnaround against Montreal tonight after that throttling via Toronto on Wednesday, CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty is disturbed by the array of choices:
It’s easy to see why the Bruins are frustrated with last night’s poor performance, yet they brought a five-game winning streak into Wednesday’s meltdown. They can prove that loss to the Maple Leafs was a mere hiccup by beating the hated Habs, and perhaps Khokhlachev could even contribute to that cause.
Here’s one guess regarding how he might fit in:
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
This “30 for 30 Short” on former Boston Bruins enforcer John Wensink and his taunt of the Minnesota North Stars’ bench is the best use of your 11-or-so minutes since “Too Many Cooks.” (Grantland)
A look back at the man behind the coach of the year trophy, Jack Adams. (Greatest Hockey Legends)
You just have to see Jaromir Jagr in marzipan statue form. (The Hockey News)
How Peter Forsberg changed the viewpoint on Swedish players. (Sportsnet)
This is apparently the 40th anniversary of Guy Lapointe’s lone hat trick. (Dave Stubbs’ Twitter feed)
Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $20,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Thursday night’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts Thursday at 7pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.
Milan Lucic passed 500 games played about a week ago. Here’s a look at the impact he’s made on the Bruins so far. (Stanley Cup of Chowder)
Ryan Miller as Luigi and Eddie Lack as Mario? You’d think it might have been the other way around (via Lack’s Instagram):