PITTSBURGH - There's been a shift in attitude taking place in the Bruins' locker room this week.
A disappointing season has seen frustration snowball from game to game, and even practice to practice. That frustration breeds negativity within and around the team. Their shootout loss in Carolina on Sunday added further frustration to the mix.
On Tuesday, newly named CEO Charlie Jacobs made forthcoming statements regarding the current state of the team, 40 games into the season and out of a playoff spot.
"For us to be a team that’s out of the playoffs is absolutely unacceptable," Jacobs said. "Everybody in the executive offices is fully aware how I feel and they feel the same way, which brings us to this evaluation process and it’s fluid right now. I can’t say at any moment we have a final decision other than to say that it’s been an utter disappointment and a failure, complete failure."
The words weren't taken lightly by the team. They know their current level of play is unacceptable.
But continuing down the path of disappointment and anger isn't going to lead them in the right direction.
PITTSBURGH - David Pastrnak can play four more NHL games before the Bruins have a decision to make.
Once he suits up in Game No. 10, his entry-level contract would kick in for the 2014-15 season. He's already played in five games, against Pittsburgh, Winnipeg, Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Jose.
While the Bruins' brass can evaluate his play in Providence this season and at the World Junior Championship, the evaluation time at the NHL level is limited.
With two games in two nights on tap for the Bruins on Wednesday in Pittsburgh against the Penguins, and then on Thursday in Boston against the New Jersey Devils, the organization has opted to not burn two of his games with the back-to-back.
"He's not going to go tonight [against Pittsburgh]," Head Coach Claude Julien said on Wednesday morning following his team's pregame skate at the CONSOL Energy Center.
"He'll be going tomorrow [against New Jersey], as the organization has decided to obviously evaluate him with four games before they make that big decision on his contract status."
BostonBruins.com - David Pastrnak traveled with the Bruins to Pittsburgh on Tuesday after being recalled from the Providence Bruins.
It marks Pastrnak's second recall to the big club this season after he made his NHL debut on November 24 against the Penguins at TD Garden. He has five NHL games under his belt, with his first career assist coming on December 1, when he assisted on Brad Marchand's tally against Anaheim.
"It's exciting to be here and I have a second shot to be here with the guys," Pastrnak said after practicing with Boston on Tuesday.
"I had the one practice with David and it was - you know, he's a great player, so but everybody here is good and I'm happy for every minute I be on the ice," said Pastrnak.
While he's on the road trip with the big club, the plan for him moving forward is still yet to be known. With five NHL games, Pastrnak can play four more with Boston before his entry-level contract would kick in.
BostonBruins.com - On Tuesday morning, Charlie Jacobs was named Chief Executive Officer of Delaware North's Boston Holdings, which includes the Bruins and TD Garden.
Jacobs was named to the position by Delaware North Chairman Jeremy Jacobs. It also places him as CEO of the company's strategic real estate endeavors and ownership stake in NESN.
While the crossover has been an ongoing 18-month process, and 14 years in the works since Charlie moved his family from California to Massachusetts, it falls at a time when the Bruins are midway through a season in which they are barely treading water in ninth place in the Eastern Conference and a point out of a playoff position.
Still, the announcement provided an opportunity for the new CEO to give his thoughts on the current state of the 2014-15 Boston Bruins.
"I’d say, without question, this has been a very disappointing year," Jacobs stated in a press conference at TD Garden on Tuesday. "It’s unacceptable the way this team has performed given the amount of time, money and effort that’s been spent on this team. To see it deliver the way it has is unacceptable."
"For us to be a team that’s out of the playoffs is absolutely unacceptable," he reiterated later in the presser. "Everybody in the executive offices is fully aware how I feel and they feel the same way, which brings us to this evaluation process and it’s fluid right now."
WILMINGTON, Mass. - Patrice Bergeron was the only Bruin missing from practice on Monday morning at Ristuccia Arena.
"It was a maintenance day," Head Coach Claude Julien told reporters following the skate.
In Bergeron's absence, the lines were switched around a bit. Seth Griffith had originally hit the ice in a white jersey with Milan Lucic and David Krejci, and Craig Cunningham in the burgundy jersey with Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell. Both Griffith and Cunningham switched into gold jerseys to skate with Brad Marchand in Bergeron's absence.
Smith could be reunited with Bergeron when the center returns, or he could stick with Krejci, as in Sunday's game against the Carolina Hurricanes.
"He had some chances. We had some good chances there on that line and he hit the post there late in the third," Julien said of putting Smith with Lucic and Krejci. "But you make changes when you feel you have to, so I thought that was a change that would maybe work. Again, I thought that line had a few chances, some pretty good chances to score."
The right winger missed an open net, hitting the post off a backdoor feed from Krejci.
BOSTON - The Bruins kick off their seventh set of back-to-back games on Saturday against the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden, before traveling to face the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday.
Game time is set for 1:00 p.m. ET (NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub).
It can't be understated how important it is for the Bruins to start to find a rhythm in their play. Four points in less than 48 hours could quickly put them back in the playoff picture, depending on the play of the Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers and Florida Panthers.
That's the type of scoreboard watching the Bruins would have liked to avoid heading into the 2014-15 season.
But here they sit, 39 games into the season, with a 19-15-4 record and 42 points. Florida has 43 points with two games in hand, New York has 44 points with three games in hand on the Bruins, and Toronto is claiming the first Wild Card spot with 45 points after picking up a 4-3 shootout win over Boston on New Year's Eve.
"Every point right now, we need to capitalize on," Brad Marchand said pregame from TD Garden. "We can’t give up games and points at this point in the season."
"We’re trying to climb back in the standings. Every point’s important, and they will be from here on out, so we have to come prepared for every game and make sure we give ourselves the best opportunity to win every game."
BOSTON - Milan Lucic walked up to his stall in the Bruins' locker room at TD Garden on New Year's Eve following a 4-3 shootout loss to Toronto.
The winger had just finished his postgame workout, still huffing and puffing, with sweat drenched on his face.
"Well, it wasn't," Lucic began, before graciously cutting off a reporter attempting to ask the first question of his media session.
"I'll start off," he gestured towards the reporters with a smile.
"It wasn't a good 2014," he asserted. "I'm happy it's over. Looking forward to 2015."
"So hopefully we can turn things around. Not much good has happened in 2014 for myself and for the team and just looking forward to 2105 and turning things around, and hopefully it will be better than this year."
The Bruins end the 2014 part of the 2014-15 season with a 19-15-4 record through 28 games.
Before dropping the final game of 2014 to the Leafs in the fifth round of the shootout, the Bruins dominated in overtime and a third period that saw them allow just two shots from Toronto. They outshot the Leafs 9-2 in the third and 4-0 in the extra frame.
Both forwards missed Monday's matchup with Detroit due to day-to-day situations.
Based on pregame warmups, Jordan Caron appears to be the scratch up front, with Zach Trotman the scratch on the back end. Matt Lindblad did not take warmups. He had been recalled for Monday's game with Lucic and Bergeron both out.
As the Bruins prepare to face the Leafs, they're looking to carry over the 60-minute effort from their 5-2 win over the Wings on Monday.
"We’re expected to play like that every night, no matter who we have in the lineup," Head Coach Claude Julien said pregame. "We had two key players out of our lineup [against Detroit], it didn’t stop us from playing against a pretty good hockey club that way."
"We understand too that if we want to climb up in the standings, that’s how we have to play. Again, it’s not that complicated, I think it’s all about your mindset and willing to put on the line every night. I thought we did that last game, so it’s an opportunity tonight to do the same thing."
BOSTON - Thirty-seven games into the 2014-15 season, but the Bruins put forth a performance that warranted all-around praise from their bench boss.
It came following a 5-2 win over Detroit on Monday night at TD Garden.
"That's the way we expect ourselves to play, and [against Detroit] was probably the closest we've come to playing to our expectations," Head Coach Claude Julien said following the team's practice on Tuesday.
Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron, both nursing day-to-day situations that caused them to miss Monday's game, were back on the ice for the skate. It has not yet been determined if either will be ready to suit up against Toronto on Wednesday night.
Whether or not the pair of forwards will be in the lineup for the next game, the Bruins showed how they are capable of playing.
"The ability to play that way is there, no matter who we have in the lineup," said Julien. "Now it's a matter of getting some consistency and seeing more of that in a game-to-game basis."
The Black and Gold are in unfamiliar territory for the past few seasons, sitting out of the playoff picture mid-season. With 41 points, they sit just two points back of the Maple Leafs (43) and a point ahead of the Florida Panthers (40) in the Atlantic Division.
"The urgency was there," defenseman Dennis Seidenebrg said of the effort against the Red Wings. "You saw we were playing physical, we were forechecking hard and that's when we play our best hockey, so the urgency has to be there every game, and if we do that, we'll be fine."
Bergeron and Lucic had been dealing with "day-to-day" situations.
The last time the forwards skated with the team was in Saturday's game against Columbus. They missed Sunday's practice, Monday's pregame skate and did not suit up against Detroit.
The Bruins next host the Toronto Maple Leafs at TD Garden on Wednesday night.