COLUMBUS - The light atmosphere of NHL All-Star Weekend has lended itself to a more relaxed Patrice Bergeron.
After being the ninth selection of "Team Toews" during Friday night's NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft, Bergeron walked the red carpet prior to Saturday night's Skills Competition at Nationwide Arena.
The Bruins center hasn't ever been flashy and never will be, but he's been embracing these star-studded events, like the NHL Awards in Las Vegas last June.
"Yeah its definitely different, I don't think I could get used to those red carpets but it's fun to see the fans and how people are happy to be here and love hockey," Bergeron said, after pausing for a dozen interviews on the red carpet. "So far it's been great and just looking forward to the Skills Competition."
For five days, the talk around the League and the Bruins has turned from scoring, forechecking, turnovers, wins and losses, and 'turning their game around,' to all-stars, red carpets, fantasy drafts, shootout moves and topics that don't pertain the 2014-15 season.
Knowing that, Bergeron has embraced the weekend for what it is - a time to enjoy it and relax, while knowing that once Monday rolls around, the mindset will shift right back to much more important matters.
When we caught up with the alternate captain before the Skills Competition, he was enjoying himself and preparing for his duties for the night on Jonathan Toews' team (Columbus' Nick Foligno is serving as captain of the other squad).
COLUMBUS - Not many experiences are new for Patrice Bergeron, Stanley Cup winner and Olympic gold medalist.
But this weekend in Columbus serves up his first experience as an "NHL All-Star." His first bid for the All-Star Game took more than a decade to be handed out.
Bergeron, naturally, didn't find it that surprising that he hadn't yet been chosen to represent the Black and Gold and the League at the All-Star festivities.
"No, I think I was part of great teams and great teammates, so it wasn't really something where I'm necessarily surprised," Bergeron said to gathered reporters during Media Day on Friday at Nationwide Arena.
"I'm just happy to be here and trying to soak everything in. It's another thing I can say I was part of and I lived the experience and now I know how it's like and definitely something when I look back on my career, I'll be happy I've done it."
In the past year, Bergeron has received the Selke Trophy, the NHL's Foundation Award for community service, and was chosen to be the face of EA Sports NHL15 video game. Being named as an All-Star is yet another accolade for the never-flashy forward.
DENVER - Bruins' Hall of Famer John "Chief" Bucyk had a simple thought for Wednesday night's game in Colorado against the Avalanche that finished off a back-to-back and served as the team's final test before the NHL's All-Star break.
"A win tonight would make the trip home nice," Bucyk said with a slight smile, sitting in Chris Kelly's stall in the visiting team room at the Pepsi Center.
Twelve hours later, the Bruins were headed out of town to begin their break with a 3-2 shootout loss to the Avs.
They played a strong defensive game, with their textbook layers all over the ice. They were tasked with killing five penalties, including three in a row, with back-to-back 5-on-3 chances for Colorado. They killed them all, backed by another one of Tuukka Rask's sharp night between the pipes.
Brad Marchand returned after his two-game suspension and fired in his team-leading 13th goal of the season, off a slick setup on David Krejci's 400th NHL point, to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead in the third period.
DENVER - Brad Marchand should be raring to go on Wednesday night, as he slots back into the Bruins' lineup against the Colorado Avalanche following his NHL-imposed two-game suspension.
"Yeah, really excited to get back," Marchand said from the Pepsi Center on Wednesday morning. "Last game before the break — we obviously want to finish on a good note and very excited to be back with the guys."
Marchand received the suspension on Jan. 16 from the NHL's Department of Player Safety for slew-footing New York Rangers forward Derick Brassard during the teams' matchup at TD Garden on Jan. 15.
The Bruins dropped their next game 3-1 against Columbus in Boston, before earning a bounce-back 3-1 win in Dallas on Tuesday night to kick off their final two games before the five-day break for the NHL All-Star Game.
During his time out of the lineup, Marchand has been pulling extra hard for his teammates to pull out the wins.
"Yeah, definitely. I know anytime a guy is out of the lineup, it messes up the dynamics, and we’re such a good team when everyone’s in the lineup and we can roll four lines," said Marchand.
DALLAS - With the game knotted at 1-1 late in the second period of Tuesday night's tilt in Dallas, the Bruins had the Stars hemmed in their own zone.
But the Bruins had momentum, the Stars had twice turned the puck over and Gregory Campbell and his linemates decided to keep putting on the pressure. Craig Cunningham made a simple play, throwing the puck at the net from in front of the Bruins' bench.
Gregory Campbell went hard to the net, and pounced on the rebound. Fanning the puck on the shot from his knees, Campbell fooled Kari Lehtonen, and put the Bruins up 2-1 with 1:33 left in the second for the eventual game-winner in their 3-1 victory. It marked his fifth goal of the season. It marked Cunningham's first NHL assist.
The Stars had been left exhausted from the extended time in their defensive zone. Defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka was stuck on the ice for a whopping 2:19.
"Just from our whole team's perspective, I thought in the second period, especially with the tough changes, we did a good job of moving the puck up quick and putting it deep, so we were able to not give them too much," Head Coach Claude Julien said postgame from the American Airlines Center, before the Bruins jetted off to Denver to finish their back-to-back agains the Avalanche on Wednesday night.
DALLAS - The Bruins kick off a back-to-back in Dallas on Tuesday night, with just their two games against the Stars and Colorado Avalanche remaining before the All-Star Break.
Game time is set for 8:30 p.m. ET (7:30 local) at the American Airlines Center.
Boston took a step back in their 3-1 loss to Columbus on Saturday at TD Garden, lamenting the way they were outbattled by the Blue Jackets all over the ice.
The approach is as simple as going back to what made them successful during their five-game win streak before the recent loss.
"We've got to come out with the same mindset we had in those five games," Reilly Smith said following Tuesday morning's pregame skate. "I think we had a good work ethic and a good start in those games and that kind of pushed the pace the following two periods."
"So if we can get back to that , especially in the first 5-10 minutes tonight, then that will be a good start, and we'll push them back on their heels."
BOSTON - The Bruins could have been on their longest win streak of the season after Saturday night's matchup with the Columbus Blue Jackets at TD Garden.
While they were riding five wins and a nine-game point streak, their opponent came in on a four-game losing streak.
But the Black and Gold weren't prepared to battle, and after 60 minutes, they ended up with a 3-1 loss to Columbus and their winning ways halted.
The game remained 1-1 until 3:03 was left in the third period. Blue Jackets forward Matt Calvert fought to the front of the net and jammed home a rebound and then added an empty-netter with 37.3 on the clock for the 3-1 win.
"I am disappointed. I’m gonna be honest here, I’m disappointed," Head Coach Claude Julien said during his postgame press conference. "I don’t care, six wins in a row, whatever, we just can’t afford to have those kind of outings."
"Disappointed that we didn’t come to play harder than we did and we wanted to take the easy way out. When we do that, we’re not successful," added Julien. "We’re a North-South type of team, we backcheck hard, we forecheck hard, and we make things happen by taking pucks to the net."
"We weren’t willing to do that. When we got into the battle, you could tell they wanted it more than us. We’ve gotta accept the blame and the responsibility. We weren’t good enough tonight and we shouldn’t accept that."
BostonBruins.com - For 25 years, when Bruins' fans turned on their radios in anticipation of puck drop, they knew the deep, recognizable voice of Bob Wilson that would welcome them.
On Thursday afternoon, the Bruins' legendary radio personality passed away at 85 from lung cancer.
"On behalf of the Boston Bruins organization, we are saddened to learn of the passing of Bob Wilson," said Bruins President Cam Neely. "For a generation of New England hockey fans, Bob's legendary voice was synonymous with the Bruins and he will always be a part of our club's history. Our thoughts are with Nancy and their children during this difficult time."
Every Bruins' game night, play by play, Wilson's voice would be heard all over New England and beyond, in homes and in cars, when parents would drive their youth hockey players back and forth to their games.
"There was that voice, every night," said Dave Goucher, current play-by-play announcer for the Bruins, who spent many of those nights as a child on his way to games, tuning in. "For me, he was the gold standard."
"That voice. I still have that voice in my head, you know. His ability to convey through his voice the game and the urgency of the game and the big moments in games. He was kind of the 'voice of winter' in New England."
The Bruins' legendary radio personality passed away Thursday afternoon at 85 from lung cancer.
After serving as the voice of the Bruins for 25 years, he retired in 1995 and spent the rest of years in New Hampshire, enjoying time with his family and his wife Nancy, with whom he was married for 64 years.
"He was as smooth as they come," said Goucher, whose seven-year-old self spent many nights enraptured by that voice booming over the radio. "He was in control, but when the big moment was there, he was able to deliver it. And I think that's what all of us try to do, but not nearly as good as he could do it, that's for sure."
BOSTON - When Tuukka Rask and the Bruins' defensive play are in sync, there's no panic to their game.
That was on display Thursday night at TD Garden, as Rask led the Black and Gold to a 3-0 shutout of the New York Rangers for their fifth straight win.
"He was really good for us," said Head Coach Claude Julien, of his netminder who stopped all 30 shots he faced for his second shutout of the season and the 25th of his career.
"[The Rangers have] a lot of speed, and we acknowledged that before the game," said Julien. "They certainly displayed it at times and when there was the odd breakdown and they had opportunities to score, Tuukka was up to the task there and made some big saves for us."
"No doubt, in my mind, he was our best player tonight."
A minute and a half later, Rask made a stop on Rick Nash flying down the left wing. He made it look like any other routine save. Nash went into the night tied for first atop the League with 26 goals. He fired four shots on Rask throughout the game.
BOSTON - David Pastrnak is remaining with Boston beyond his ninth NHL game.
General Manager Peter Chiarelli made the announcement during the first intermission of Thursday night's 3-0 shutout of the New York Rangers at TD Garden. The game marked the ninth of Pastrnak's young NHL career.
When he suits up in game No. 10, his entry-level contract will kick in for the 2014-15 season.
"We’re going to commit to him to play up here," Chiarelli said in his opening address to reporters crammed around him in the press box. "I feel that he’s done very well in his apprenticeship in Providence, which I think has been the most important progressive step in his development."
"He went down there and he did what we told him to do, which was play without the puck, play heavier, play on the wall, the defensive wall, offensive battles and then he came up here and played in the West coast trip and I think he got his feet wet a little bit, went back down and dominated down there again."
Pastrnak's strength has always been the most frequented topic when discussing whether or not he would be ready to plain the NHL. He's gained weight since joining the organization. He's now 172 pounds. But his smarts have made him able to adjust and focus on not putting himself in vulnerable positions.
"In making this decision, we really scrutinized his play in Providence and we felt that he was able to play and excel at that level with the proper physicality for him and against the proper physicality," Chiarelli said.