Many of Boston's top players have underperformed this season. (Harry How/Getty Images)



The Bruins took a couple steps forward prior to the Christmas break. Then they returned and jumped a mile backwards.

The Bruins took a couple steps forward prior to the Christmas break. Then they returned and jumped a mile backwards.

A top-to-bottom lackluster showing from the B’€™s resulted in a 6-2 blowout loss to the Blue Jackets (box). The loss dropped them to 18-15-3.

The Bruins, who were coming off consecutive wins over the Sabres and Predators, have still won three games in a row just twice this season. Getting blown out just when it appeared they were finding traction served as a perfect microcosm of their 2014-15 season.

The Bruins will return to the Garden this week to host the Red Wings, Maple Leafs and Senators.

BERGERON LEAVES

Patrice Bergeron took only three shifts in the third period and did not play the final 13:14 of the game Saturday.

Bergeron, who in the first period scored his seventh goal of the season, left the bench midway through the third. Claude Julien said in his postgame NESN interview that he was being cautious with Bergeron and sent him to the room himself.

SVEDBERG YANKED, BUT HE WAS ALSO STARTED

For the first time in his Bruins career, Niklas Svedberg was pulled from a start. It was done for good reason. He was not good.

Svedberg was taken out in the second period after allowing his third goal of the game, but he had to be bailed out by David Krejci in the final seconds of the first period in a 1-1 game.

Facing a bad-angle shot from Matt Calvert off the rush, Svedberg kicked a big rebound to David Savard, who had half an open net to deal with. Fortunately for the Bruins, Krejci went down and blocked the shot with his leg to keep the game tied.

When Kevin Connauton’€™s second-period goal chased Svedberg, it marked the third time this season the B’€™s have made an in-game goalie change.

Claude Julien often accuses the media of second-guessing, so we’€™ll good on it here. The decision to start the backup Saturday was puzzling. Boston was coming off two straight wins in a season that has seen them struggle to string wins together, and Rask had been off the ice with the rest of his team for three days entering Saturday.

CLAUDE HATES THE CALLS

There’€™s no telling whether Claude Julien is more disappointed in his players this season or the NHL‘€™s officials. Julien’€™s on-bench reactions to penalties have been stronger than ever, and he has passive-aggressively vocalized his issues with officiating to the media on several occasions this season.

On Saturday, Julien appeared highly displeased with a slashing call against Brad Marchand. After Nick Foligno called on the ensuing power play, Julien could be seen on the bench muttering choice words.

BRUINS WASTE POWER PLAYS

The Bruins got a much-needed first power play when Savard was sent off for interference midway through the second period with Columbus holding a 4-1 lead. Boston squandered that power play, landing just one shot on goal.

The Bruins soon again had reason for hope, when Fedor Tyutin was called for slashing Patrice Bergeron, but the B’€™s again failed to score and spent the last quarter of the man advantage in their own zone.

Craig Cunningham tipped a Gregory Campbell shot past Curtis McElhinney on the next shift to finally bring the B’€™s within two, but Matt Calvert would increase Columbus’€™ lead to three again with a goal in the final minute of the second.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

According to multiple reports, Simon Gagne’€™s father died Friday after losing his battle with cancer. The news was first reported by Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports.

Simon Gagne is still away from the Bruins on leave. (Harry How/Getty Images)

Simon Gagne is still away from the Bruins on leave. (Harry How/Getty Images)

According to multiple reports, Simon Gagne’€™s father died Friday after losing his battle with cancer. The news was first reported by Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports.

Gagne had taken a leave of absence from the Bruins last month following his father’€™s diagnosis. He issued the following statement on Dec. 10.

“I have taken a personal leave of absence from the Boston Bruins in order to return home to Quebec to be with my father, who was recently diagnosed with liver cancer,” Gagne said in the statement. “The doctors — who have been great throughout this whole process — unfortunately informed us that his cancer is not curable.

“I greatly appreciate the support and understanding that the Bruins organization and my teammates have given to me and my family since I let them know the news and I look forward to rejoining them when the time is appropriate. Until then, I would kindly ask everyone to respect my family and I’€™s privacy during this difficult time.”

It is not known when Gagne will return to the Bruins. In 23 games this season, the 34-year-old wing has three goals and one assist for four points.

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

Peter Chiarelli wants to trade for a forward. (Getty Images) There is not a “magic deal” that will fix the Bruins’ problems. 



Dec. 23 never fails.

Dec. 23 never fails.

Even a season as icky as the Bruins’€™ 2014-15 campaign wasn’€™t enough to change the fact that the Bruins are heading into Christmas on a positive note. With a 5-3 win over the Predators Tuesday (box), the B’€™s have now won their last six Dec. 23 games dating back to 2008.

It wasn’t the smoothest game, as Boston blew two leads in the game and let Nashville cut into a two-goal lead with Taylor Beck’€™s goal at 6:48 of the third period.

Here are four more things we learned Tuesday night:

THE BRUINS HAVE A 10-GOAL-SCORER

Along the lines of the Dec. 23 thing, that’€™s also been a good date for Brad Marchand, as he had two goals Tuesday night and a hat trick against the Panthers on Dec. 23, 2011.

Also, oddly enough, the Bruins have had a player score two goals in their last four Dec. 23 games. Shawn Thornton had two against the Thrashers in 2010, Marchand had the aforementioned hat trick in 2011 and Jarome Iginla scored two against the Predators last season.

LOUI ERIKSSON IS… SCORING GOALS?

Eriksson scored twice Tuesday night (one was an empty-netter) and now has three goals in the last two games and six in the last eight. Entering December, Eriksson had never scored more than three goals in a month since joining the Bruins. He now has six this month.

POWER PLAY SCORES AGAIN

The Bruins got a goal from their second power-play unit Sunday against the Sabres, and Tuesday provided a reminder of what the team’€™s first power-play unit can do when people are healthy.

With Zdeno Chara setting up shop in front of the net, Torey Krug fed David Krejci, who blasted a one-timer that appeared to go off Chara on its way into the net. The goal was Krejci’€™s first power-play goal of the season and fourth goal overall in his injury-riddled campaign.

BRUINS GIVE UP TWO ON FOUR SHOTS

Exactly one year ago, Predators goalie Carter Hutton started against the Bruins and allowed two goals on the first four shots he faced. On Tuesday, Tuukka Rask did that against the Predators.

The first tally came as a result of some shoddy defense from Krug and Kevan Miller, with James Neal going around Krug at the blue line and feeding Colin Wilson, who protected the puck well as he went to the net and finished with a backhander past Rask.

While that first goal was pretty for the Predators, their second wasn’€™t pretty for anyone. Calle Jarnkrok took a wrist shot that slipped under Rask’€™s right arm to tie the game. Rask appeared to be in position to make the save and, whether he was screened by Dennis Seidenberg or not, should have had it.

Scott McLaughlin contributed to this article.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean
The Bruins were in a similar position in 2010 to where they are now. (Elsa/Getty Images)

The Bruins were in a similar position in 2010 to where they are now. (Elsa/Getty Images)

It’€™s been a while since the Bruins approached the Christmas break as a fringe playoff team. The last time it happened, however, they won the Stanley Cup.

Dec. 23, 2010 was a critical day in that ultimately successful season. The Bruins, coming off a postseason collapse against the Flyers the previous spring, were struggling.

Offseason acquisition Nathan Horton, who was in the midst of what would be a nine-game slump with no goals and one assist, was looking like a very talented non-factor who appeared to be bringing Milan Lucic down with him.

The team was going through the motions and it was taking them nowhere. It led to the Bruins losing four of five games, punctuated by a troubling no-show in a 3-0 shutout loss to the Ducks on Garden ice. Claude Julien, who historically is a set-it-and-forget-it guy with his lines, pulled Horton off the top line and replaced him with Blake Wheeler in that game.

After that 3-0 loss, the eighth-place Bruins had two days off before they would host the Thrashers in their final game before the holiday break. Those two days were the height of “Fire Claude Mania.”

In his weekly interview with CBS radio, President Cam Neely was asked if they were going to fire the coach. Neely said the Bruins weren’€™t, but did say, “€œI can understand why the fans are frustrated and may be calling for a coaching change.”€

Dennis Seidenberg doesn’€™t remember too many specifics about the mood of the team at that point, only saying Tuesday that “€œit was really dead.”

Then, on Dec. 23, the Bruins came out and absolutely ran over the Thrashers. Shawn Thornton fought Eric Boulton off the faceoff and spent the next five minutes in the penalty box devising a plan to score two goals in the game. Patrice Bergeron had a shorty. Michael Ryder had a power play goal. Lucic sucker-punched Freddy Meyer and somehow didn’€™t get suspended.

Ference fought. Horton fought. Marc freaking Savard fought. The game was an explosion of emotions and every bit the coming out party that the team had forgotten to have earlier in the season.

“I think that was definitely a defining game for us,” Brad Marchand said Tuesday. “We turned it on and really didn’€™t look back.”

The point of all this nostalgic crap is that teams have been here before and they’€™ve gotten out of it. Rarely do they in the fashion that they B’€™s did in 2010-11, but the similarities –€” even down to leaving the goaltender out to dry — are there between this season and that one.

‘€œWhen I look back to that year, that was my first year [in Boston] and there were a lot of new faces as well, so I guess you could see the parallels between that team and this team,” Gregory Campbell said. “It just seemed like it took a while for us to jell, to mesh as a team.

“I think what we’€™re trying to get to here is –€” we’€™ve done a lot in the last four seasons and they’€™ve all produced different outcomes,”€ Campbell said. “Winning the Presidents’€™ Trophy, we lost in the second round. We had some uncertainty in 2010-11 where it wasn’€™t the best regular season and we ended up winning the Stanley Cup. I think we’€™re just trying to get to a level of consistency here where, hopefully we find that. Maybe it does take a game like that Atlanta game.”

The Bruins can only hope that amidst all their turmoil this season, they can find a way to turn it around, but they’€™d be kidding themselves if they were to think they could do it the same way as they did back then.

Thornton is in Florida and Adam McQuaid is hurt. It’€™s less likely the Bruins will run over a team simply by beating them up the way they did with Atlanta, but they could –€” and just spitballing here — have more than two lines show up. Campbell’€™s line, which owned that Atlanta game, could do something for the third or fourth time all season.

The point is they can be better, and doing so now could pay big dividends.

“I mean, it doesn’€™t happen in one game, but one game, when it’€™s a full team effort, the shift in energy is incredible, what it can do for a team,” Campbell said. “Especially with a three-day break following, you sit on that game. It certainly gets you excited to come back. Not to say that three days is a long time, but if you end on a good note, you can go and regroup and really be excited for the second half of the season.”

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean
Adam McQuaid

Adam McQuaid

Adam McQuaid joined the Bruins for Tuesday’€™s morning skate prior to Boston’€™s last game before the Christmas break.

McQuaid, who has not played since breaking his thumb on Nov. 18, is not yet ready to return to the lineup but has been skating since earlier this month. Claude Julien said after the team’s morning skate that McQuaid’s rehab is “on track.”

The Bruins will keep the same lineup that they used for the second half of Sunday’€™s game as they look to head into the holiday with a win over the Predators.

The lineup in morning skate was as follows:

Lucic – Krejci – Cunningham
Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
Kelly – Soderberg – Eriksson
Paille – Campbell – Griffith – Fraser

Chara – Hamilton
Bartkowski – Seidenberg
Krug – Miller

Rask

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean