Changes coming to Bruins’ defense?


Claude Julien wasn’t showing his cards this morning, but after three straight losses — including Saturday’s defeat in Vancouver that featured two “mind-boggling” mistakes, one from Dougie Hamilton and another from Dennis Seidenberg — the Bruins’ coach didn’t rule out the possibility of changing his defense tonight in Calgary.

Julien said any changes would be a game-time decision. The Bruins have seven defenseman on their active roster. That includes Matt Bartkowski, who hasn’t played since Dec. 31.

Though Julien insisted the two mistakes in the Vancouver game were entirely the responsibility of the two individuals who made them, Hamilton suggested the Bruins need to play better collectively if they’re going to have success.

“The D aren’t really working with the forwards, the forwards aren’t working with the D,” he said, per the Boston Globe. “We’re kind of two separate units, not working as a five-man unit. There’s a lot of gaps in the neutral zone. Everything. We don’t come up as a unit, don’t support each other in anything. Obviously, it makes it tougher. There’s guys on islands and it just makes the game a lot tougher.”

Related: Bruins’ pair of Seidenberg-McQuaid is an issue

Sabres’ Hodgson a healthy scratch vs. the Islanders


Cody Hodgson will be a healthy scratch this evening when the Buffalo Sabres play host to the New York Islanders.

“It’s the same thing, we’ve got to get more out of him and right now it’s not working, so we’ll let him watch,” said Sabres coach, Ted Nolan. “I don’t think anybody is a lost cause, it’s just not working for whatever reason and when you go through it you’ve got to do your own soul searching and find out what makes you work and fit in.”

Marcus Foligno, who has missed 19 games with a hand injury will take Hodgson’s spot in the lineup.

Its not the first time Hodgson has been a healthy scratch this season. He missed the Sabres’ game in Vancouver on Jan. 30.

The 24-year-old was also a healthy scratch on Dec. 11 against the Calgary Flames.

Foligno has been out of the Sabres lineup since a Dec. 21 fight with Bruins’ defenseman Matt Bartkowski.

Foligno has five goals and nine points in 28 games this season.

Buffalo picked up a 4-3 shootout win on Dec. 27 in the only other meeting between the two clubs this season.

Related: Isles place Grabner on IR, recall McDonald and Zolnierczyk

Canucks’ Desjardins: ‘We were still in the break mode’ against Ducks


Seven shots on goal through 40 minutes of hockey. That’s simply not good enough, and that’s what the Vancouver Canucks managed in an uninspired 4-0 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday.

The following day, they held a team meeting to discuss this recent run of play, which has seen the Canucks lose their last two games, and go 5-5 in their last 10 games. They precariously hold a playoff spot, sitting third in the Pacific Division, but only three points ahead of the L.A. Kings.

“I think we came off the break, and we were still in the break mode when we played,” said head coach Willie Desjardins on Wednesday.

“We weren’t at the level we needed to compete the way we needed to compete. That one’s gone and it can’t happen again. We’ve had a few of those at home and we know that and we have to react accordingly.”

The coach reiterated the message he had from the night before, when he admitted he might have to change his mind when it comes to his belief his Canucks can compete with top teams, like the Ducks.

Meanwhile, trade rumors involving the Canucks are swirling, especially now with Kevin Bieksa out of the lineup after hand surgery. Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Bartkowski has been mentioned in the most recent round of speculation involving the Canucks.

Welcome Matt Bartkowski to the trade rumor mill


Though he’s struggled to get games in Boston this season, Matt Bartkowski’s name has surfaced as a potential target for the Mar. 2 trade deadline.

Per The Province, two Bruins scouts were in attendance for last night’s Canucks-Ducks game, and also notes that Vancouver’s VP of Player Personnel, Jon Weisbrod, is a former Bruins collegiate scout that “followed Bartkowski closely” a few seasons ago. (The 26-year-old spent two years at Ohio State.)

Then there’s this, from TSN’s Insider Trading:

“We’ll keep an eye on the Vancouver Canucks obviously with Bieksa out for a long period of time (6-8 weeks after hand surgery). They’re reaching out to teams and looking for help defensively.

“They’ve connected with the Boston Bruins with some interest in Bartkowski, but if they’re going to make that move the Bruins are going to likely have to add a d-man themselves.”

Bartkowski has only appeared in 20 of Boston’s 48 games this year and has routinely been parked in the press box as a healthy scratch. It’s been a major regression, especially on the heels of a 2013-14 campaign in which he played in 64 games, averaged 19:32 TOI per night and finished tied with Dougie Hamilton for third among Bruins d-men in assists, with 18.

Bartkowski is also a UFA at season’s end, and Boston has two key blueliners it needs to re-up with this summer: Hamilton and Torey Krug, both of whom are RFAs.

Blue Jackets’ Atkinson (upper-body) leaves game against Bruins

The Columbus Blue Jackets will be without winger Cam Atkinson for the remainder of Saturday’s game against the Boston Bruins.

According to Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch, Atkinson suffered an upper-body injury and will not return to the game. The injury appeared to occur on a harmless looking hit along the boards from defenseman Matt Bartkowski early in the opening period.

The 25-year-old Atkinson has eight goals and 14 points in 32 games this season.