It already seems as though the Bruins acquired Brian Rolston and Mike Mottau from the Islanders eons ago. But in actuality, it’s been only five days since the trade deadline on February 27th. Today marked the first meeting of the two teams since the trading of players earlier in the week. To recap, Islanders received F Yannick Riendeau and D Marc Cantin, with both players being assigned to the Isles’ AHL affiliate Bridgeport Sound Tigers. In comparison, both Bruins acquisitions have played in games this week for Boston.
When players are traded, the emotional aspect can be called into question. For Mottau (a Massachusetts native) and Rolston (a former Bruin), playing for a playoff-contending team shouldn’t come as a bad thing, but a welcomed opportunity. The Islanders currently sit 14th in the Eastern Conference standings, while the Bruins hold the 2nd slot.
The momentum could have favored either team, as Boston was hoping to keep the ice ablaze after the 4-3 OT win against New Jersey on Thursday night, while the Islanders were looking for the cure to their Thursday night, 6-3 loss to Philadelphia.
The Bruins were skating hard and battling for the puck throughout the game, but some questionable calls ultimately left them with a loss.
Halfway through the second period, Tuukka Rask blocked a shot and went down favoring his knee. Despite the unfavorable circumstances, Tim Thomas skated between the posts. With a game to still play, the Bruins continued to fight for the puck but couldn’t seem to get past Evgeni Nabakov who continued to snipe the puck every chance he got.
With the Bruins heading out to New York tonight to face the Rangers tomorrow, the obvious question would be: who get’s the call in Providence to backup Thomas as the team hits the road? The answer, Mike Hutchinson, has had a fairly good season with the Bruins’ AHL affiliate in Providence. Rask isn’t the only player not hitting the road, Daniel Paille also suffered an injury during the game; with Lane McDermid also getting a call up on an emergency basis.
The journey to defend the Cup has been a challenging one, with the highest of highs in a near-perfect November and otherwise a season of lows, with injuries seeming to pile up every game. The Bruins have been plagued by injuries in recent weeks, with no break in sight, with the roster looking a little “light” on familiar names as of late. Horton, Peverley, Paille, Rask and Ference are all missing from the team during a crucial time in the season.
With a mix of must watch games, their is no denying the excitement of a match up with the New York Rangers. With equally matched goaltenders in Lundqvist (NYR) and Thomas (BOS) every time these two teams meet is a possible preview of a playoff series. A series that would have the potential to go towards a still all too familiar Game Seven decision.
The Bruins will travel to New York this evening to take on the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden for a 12:30pm game tomorrow (NBC). During the game broadcast, eight NHL Stars will appear in the launch video for the “You Can Play Project”; founded by Patrick Burke, Flyers Scout and son of Leafs GM Brian Burke. After losing his brother Brendan, an openly gay athlete two years ago; Burke has made it his mission to bring awareness and acceptance of gay athletes into the sports world. The project has been gaining a lot of chatter in recent weeks, with players from a variety of teams across the league participating.
A team that is bound to have participating players in the project video, the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Bruins will travel to Toronto to take on the Leafs Tuesday. Toronto’s game could prove to be an exciting one with the firing of Head Coach Ron Wilson and his replacement Randy Carlyle being fairly fresh on the bench. The Leafs have struggled as of late across the ice, a new coach could possibly be just what the doctor ordered to get this team back on track.
The Bruins are facing four games in six days with a multitude of injuries. All members of the team know that it’s important to give it their all despite the odds stacking against them. With nothing left to do but grab a skate by the blade, the team heads into the week determined to make the best of a less than ideal situation. Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said it best post game when acknowloging the clubs situation, simply said “It is what it is.”
Post Game Video featuring: Islanders Evgeni Nabokov and Bruins Boychuk, Seguin, Bergeron and Seidenberg