All the latest from the crease…
Boston facing questions in goal
Here’s the latest out of Bruins camp prior to tonight’s game against New Jersey: Tuukka Rask has fallen ill, head coach Claude Julien won’t say if backup Niklas Svedberg will get the start and, just a short while ago, the club made an emergency recall, bringing up Jeremy Smith from AHL Providence.
Smith, 25, got the call ahead of Malcolm Subban, the highly-touted prospect that struggled in his NHL debut against the Blues last week. A veteran of the American League circuit, Smith is 14-8-4 with Providence this year, posting a 2.08 GAA and .931 save percentage. He’s previously spent time in the Columbus and Nashville organizations, but has yet to make his NHL debut.
If we had to guess, Svedberg will get the start tonight — he was the only goalie present at this morning’s skate. For the Devils, Cory Schneider will be in goal.
Flames at Isles: Karri Ramo vs. Jaroslav Halak
Caps at ‘Canes: Braden Holtby vs. Anton Khudobin
‘Hawks at Bolts: (No word on a Chicago starter) vs. Ben Bishop
Avs at Stars: Semyon Varlamov vs. Kari Lehtonen
Kings at Ducks: (No word on a Kings starter) vs. John Gibson
There are rumors that Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien’s job being on the line this season, but he insists to CSNNE.com that those murmurs aren’t a problem.
“If they think I can do the job, that’s great. If they don’t think that the job has been done to the expectations of what should have been done, that’s their prerogative,” Julien said. “Those things don’t even faze me in the least bit. Trust me when I say that. I’m here, I’m happy and I’m doing my job working with players, and people around me, that I enjoy working with. When that doesn’t suffice anymore then you move on, and that’s the life of a coach.”
If nothing else, Julien boasts the sort of resume that would place him in high demand if his eight-season tenure with the Bruins does end. He’s won a Stanley Cup, made it two championship rounds, grabbed a Presidents’ Trophy and guided the B’s to a playoff berth in every season so far.
Heading into Thursday’s games, the Bruins have 67 points in 60 games played, good for the East’s final wild card spot. That lead is pretty slim, however, so Julien & Co. have to be feeling the heat a little bit.
That margin is even smaller with David Krejci on the mend. ESPN’s Joe McDonald reports that Krejci was placed on LTIR. While that doesn’t necessarily keep him out for the entire season, it’s another reminder that an offensively challenged Bruins team has its work cut out for it.
A 5-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens left Blues coach Ken Hitchcock fuming Tuesday night in St. Louis.
“What we’re doing is not paying any respect to checking,” he said, per the Post-Dispatch. “We’re not paying any respect to defense, to managing the puck, to managing the proper way to play. I don’t care what the shots on goal are. When you give up as many odd-man rushes as we gave up in the last two games, we’re showing no respect for what matters in the National Hockey League at this time.”
He wasn’t done there. Click the link for more.
For the Blues, it was their third loss in four home games. On top of that, their only win in that stretch was the one over Malcolm Subban and the Bruins, when St. Louis managed just 15 shots.
Hitchcock’s frustration is understandable given the playoffs are approaching and the Blues have lost their last three series under his watch, failing to advance past the first round the last two seasons. History suggests another postseason disappointment could mean his job.
It’s also worth noting that the Blues are on a first-round collision course with the Blackhawks, who could reportedly be without Patrick Kane for the beginning of the postseason.
The Blues begin a five-game road trip Thursday in Winnipeg.