Boston Bruins

PHT Morning Skate: The former Bruins enforcer who taunted an entire bench

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):


Julien: ‘We just stunk the joint’


On Wednesday morning while trying to avoid questions about Thursday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens, Bruins coach Claude Julien said, “I don’t think tonight’s a real emotional game”.

On Wednesday night, his team’s game lacked emotion.

The second period wasn’t four minutes old and Boston was in the hole 4-0, starting goaltender Tuukka Rask pulled, presumably to rest for the more emotional tilt Thursday against the Canadiens.

Toronto added two more extending its’ win streak to three games with a 6-1 win. The Leafs also improved to 5-1-1 since an embarrassing 4-1 home ice loss to the Bruins on Oct. 25.

Boston saw its’ five game win streak come to an end and lost for just the second time since losing captain Zdeno Chara to a knee injury.

“We just stunk the joint and right now, it’s a matter of moving on, getting ready for tomorrow because there’s nothing great to talk about today,” Julien said post-game.

Former Bruins first round pick, Phil Kessel, who entered the game with just three goals in 27 career games against Boston, opened the scoring with his ninth of the season at 6:46 of the first period. Kessel added the game-winner 18 seconds into the second period.

“I haven’t scored many goals on him,” Kessel said of Rask. “Tonight I was a little fortunate to get a couple past him.”

Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly and forward Tyler Bozak scored less than two minutes apart forcing Julien to make a goaltending change. Rask, who was 10-2-0 in his previous 12 games against the Leafs, allowed four goals on 16 shots.

“I take a lot of blame for getting scored on three times in three minutes,” said Rask. “It’s never good. I’m there for keeping it tight. It wasn’t my night”

James van Riemsdyk and Peter Holland rounded out the scoring for the Leafs.

“Tonight I felt was one of our best starts of the year,” said Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle. “We were on the puck and we were skating, we were directing pucks at the net. Phil’s (Kessel’s) goal was a big goal early. Then we started out the second period the same way.”

Dennis Seidenberg scored the lone Bruins goal while Niklas Svedberg made 15 saves in relief.

Jonathan Bernier made 25 saves in the win.

Career-ending surgery possible for Jackets’ Horton


Nathan Horton’s attempt to recover from a degenerative back condition and resume his playing career isn’t going as planned.

Speaking for the first time on his condition, Horton said he can’t even do simple things.

“I can’t stand up like a normal person; I can’t bend over,” Horton told The Columbus Dispatch. “I can’t run. I can’t play with my kids. To get in and out of the car, I’m like a 75-year-old man … so slow and stiff. I can’t sleep at night. I try to lay down and my back seizes up and I can’t move, so sleeping is out. I’m like a zombie in the daytime.”

Horton, 29, hasn’t played since April of last season. There is a solution to Horton’s back problems, but it would end his hockey career.

According to Aaron Portzline, surgery would include a three- or four-level spinal fusion with a titanium rod.

“I don’t want to have surgery, because of what that means,” Horton said. “I don’t want to live with this pain, but I don’t want to make that decision. It’s hard for me to say that, at 29 years old, I’m done. I mean, really? Done at 29?”

The former Panthers’ first-round pick (3rd overall in 2003) scored four goals and 18 points in 35 games last season, his first in Columbus after signing a seven-year, $37 million contract as a free agent.

“I’ve tried everything,” Horton said. “I’ve seen so many doctors. So many people think they can fix me and they’re so optimistic, and then I get optimistic, but then … nothing changes. It’s so frustrating. I’ve seen so many people with back issues play through this, and it’s a different thing, the pain. It controls everything.”

There are five vertebrae in the lumbar region. According to Horton, he would need to have at least three fused with a titanium rod.The titanium provides stability and support and a relatively pain-free existence.

“At some point soon, we’ve got to make the call,” he said of the surgical procedure.

In 626 career games with the Panthers, Bruins and Jackets, Horton has 202 goals and 420 points. He won a Stanley Cup with Boston in 2011.

Video: Leafs chase Rask with three second period goals


On Wednesday morning Leafs coach Randy Carlyle was trying to remind his players of Toronto’s 4-1 loss to the Boston Bruins on Oct. 25.

“We’ve tried to stimulate our memory about how embarrassed we were in the performance we put forth in that game,” Carlyle said.

It appears the old pre-scout is paying off tonight for the Leafs.

After taking a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes, Toronto scored three times on four shots in a 3:14 span of the second period to take a commanding 4-0 lead.

Phil Kessel, who entered the game with just three career goals in 27 games against his former team, now has two tonight. Morgan Rielly picked up his second of the season and Tyler Bozak scored his sixth.

Tuukka Rask, who was dealt by the Leafs in a trade to acquire Andrew Raycroft, came into the game with a 10-2-0 record and a .945 save percentage in his previous 12 meetings with Toronto. He allowed allowed four goals on 16 shots before being replaced by Niklas Svedberg.

With his assist on Bozak’s goal, James van Riemsdyk extended his point streak to a career-best six games.

Video: Kessel scores rare goal against his former team


Toronto Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel opened the scoring tonight against the Boston Bruins with his ninth goal of the season.

He may have gotten a lucky bounce on the play as the puck appeared to go off a player on the Toronto bench prior to Kessel picking it up.

It was Kessel’s fourth career goal in 28 games against the Bruins – the team, which selected him fifth overall at the 2006 NHL Draft.

Leafs defenseman Cody Franson picked up an assist on the goal stretching his point streak to a career-best five games. Franson has one goal and five assists during the streak.