Jarome Iginla

Baffled Bruins recall Khokhlachev

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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:

Roy preaches patience, bumps MacKinnon to Avs’ third line

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There are a lot of words that come to mind when you think about Colorado Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy. “Patient” probably isn’t high on that list.

Still, the beleaguered head coach took that approach on Thursday morning, telling the Denver Post’s Adrian Dater that “it’s a process.”

Sometimes that process involves tweaking line combinations, and in this latest instance, the most interesting change drops Nathan MacKinnon out of Colorado’s top two trios. Dater reports that John Mitchell will take MacKinnon’s spot between Gabriel Landeskog and Jarome Iginla while Alex Tanguay will play right wing with Matt Duchene and Ryan O’Reilly. MacKinnon, meanwhile, will center a line with Jamie McGinn and Daniel Briere (replacing Dennis Everberg in the lineup).

Increasing depth?

On face value, moving the rising 19-year-old off the top two lines seems like a clear case of lost patience, but there are some reasons to defend the decision.

For one thing, MacKinnon’s offense dried up recently; the sophomore only has an assist in four games after a mini-burst in which he collected six points in three games from Oct. 30 to Nov. 2.

Beyond that, when you look at Colorado’s top three combinations under this amalgamation, it could conceivably be a varied attack. Much of that would depend upon Mitchell playing at the level of a second-line center, though, of course.

Sending a message

Lines change a lot in the modern NHL, so maybe this sends a message more than anything else.

While Roy’s patience seems like a breath of fresh air, his ultimate pleading remains the same: work harder.

“We’ve got to realize that it doesn’t have to be a perfect goal to count,” Roy said. “It can go off your butt, or your leg or your arm. Maybe if we can get a couple of ugly ones, it will loosen everything up.”

“But you have to work hard at going to the net to make those kinds of goals happen.”

We’ll see if the Avalanche can start turning things around tonight, as they face the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

Despite healthy scratches, Briere won’t be ‘that miserable old guy’

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Daniel Briere has been a healthy scratch in each of Colorado’s last six contests, but he isn’t letting the situation frustrate him.

“I’m trying to take it all in,” Briere explained, per the Delaware County Daily Times. “I don’t want to be that miserable old guy that comes to the rink every day just complaining about everything.

“I try to have fun with it, have fun with the guys and enjoy as much as I can while I still have the chance.”

At 37, it’s clear time has caught up with Briere. He’s struggled through three consecutive down years in three different cities — Philadelphia, Montreal and Colorado — and suffered setbacks in each market: Philly bought him out, Montreal traded him after banishment to the press box and the Avs are now parking him in favor of the likes of Dennis Everberg and Marc-Andre Cliche.

That said, he is trying to fill the role Colorado envisioned for him — even if it’s not on the ice. Briere, along with Jarome Iginla and Brad Stuart, is a veteran presence brought aboard to help one of the NHL’s youngest teams adapt to life with expectations after last year’s breakout campaign. In that regard, Briere isn’t just fulfilling his duties with the Avs — he’s relishing them.

“I’m staying ready for whenever they need me,” he explained. “We have some extra (players) and I just have to bide my time in a little bit of a different role. But I embrace it.

“I don’t know how much time I have left but I don’t want to come to the rink and be miserable and not enjoying what’s going on. Right now all I can do is stay ready.”

Video: Iginla drops the gloves with Brayden Schenn

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Just a typical defensive/offensive zone faceoff and then, suddenly, the gloves came off.

Colorado Avalanche Jarome Iginla, 37 years old, fought 23-year-old Philadelphia Flyers forward Brayden Schenn right off a faceoff in the second period of Saturday’s game, which the Flyers held on to win despite once possessing a four-goal lead. Not sure exactly what sparked the scrap though one can’t help but notice the age gap between the two combatants.

Earlier in the game, Avalanche star forward Nathan MacKinnon was given a boarding major for a hit from behind on Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn late in the first period.

Roy says Avs ‘need more consistency’ from forwards

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The Colorado Avalanche lost again last night, falling 3-2 to the Ducks at home. The defeat dropped the Avs’ record to 3-5-5. So far this season, only five teams have gained a lower percentage of points from their games than the 2013-14 Central Division champs.

While head coach Patrick Roy has largely kept his cool and stayed positive during the Avs’ tough start, that doesn’t mean he’s happy.

“We have to find ways to play 60 minutes,” he said (video).

“We’re going to need more consistency, especially from our forwards. Everybody’s talking a lot about our D, but I think we have some forwards that are capable of giving a little more to the team.”

Roy singled out the play of veteran Jarome Iginla — “Jarome lost his position, he lost his D” — on the Ducks’ third goal, scored by defenseman Cam Fowler.

Reason for optimism?

On Tuesday, the Avs host the Canucks, a team Colorado dominated on Oct. 24.

The caveat in saying that?

Vancouver won’t be playing the second game of a back-to-back this time.

“It doesn’t have to be always pretty,” said Roy. “Sometimes, it’s just good game management, be smarter in our decisions, and keep it more simple. … Things are not always going to go our way. And it’s when things are not going our way that we try to force plays, push plays, and this is where we get into trouble.”