“I made that play and as soon as I spun, they hit me pretty good there,” Brown said. “Just maybe a whiplash or something.”
Brown sat out the third period and missed the next game against Columbus last Saturday.
“I felt a little bit left out of the rest of that game,” he said. “But we took the necessary precautions and all the tests and everything and now I feel fine. So, good to go.”
Brown returned to the ice Monday against the Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. he was next to Mike Reilly in the third pairing. In a way, his first game as a Bruin felt like a soft opening.
“I guess that’s a tough way to end a debut,” Brown said. “I thought Riles and I were playing pretty well up to that point as well. The game was going very well for the team. Obviously it was a tough way to finish it, but I had a couple of good days of practice with the guys and I’m starting to get more comfortable with the systems and everything. So just business as usual now.”
Brown impressed early, fighting with the Devils defenseman. Mason Geertsen.
“That wasn’t planned or anything,” he said. “But the opportunity presented itself, so I thought, yeah, it was probably a good way to introduce myself to my teammates and also to the fan base. So yeah, it worked out pretty well, I think.”
bruin coach bruce cassidy he wanted to see more of Brown before his debut was cut short.
“What we want to see from him is a good defender who fits into our system, is good at the front of the net in terms of boxing and a good first pass,” Cassidy said. “I know he’s not a guy who’s going to be on the ice like [Hampus] lindholm It has been since we got here. He is more of a stay at home guy. Then obviously the stick and positioning of him in the PK”.
The arrivals of Brown and Lindholm at the trade deadline created competition among the Bruins’ D-men, with eight players fighting for six spots.
Since Cassidy has mixed and matched pairs, the players who contributed throughout the season, including Reilly and Connor Clifton I had to sit while Cassidy took a look at some of the new faces.
“No one is happy when it comes out, right?” Cassidy said. “Everybody probably feels like they deserve to be on a regular basis. I have no problem with that kind of mentality. When you walk in and you have to prove it, that’s the part where you have to back that up.
“But they are all good teammates. They are all good Bruins. So they agreed that we’re going to go through this process of finding some guys for our third pair and that’s the way it is. They were told that, they were explained that the day Brown was traded here, and Lindholm, there would be some mix and match until we see what we want to see at the end of the day and make the final decision.”
Brown saw the competition as healthy, adding that everyone wants to stay. Brown and Reilly have a certain familiarity from their short time together last season in Ottawa.
“First of all, we’re all teammates, we all support each other,” Brown said. “But obviously there is a bit of competition at the rear at the moment. So I think you should have your A game every night, whether it’s talking to your partner more or just trying to be on the same page.”
With 13 games remaining in the season, Cassidy said the competition for the third pair could last until the last day of the season.
“I think he could push himself to the limit with health and other things,” Cassidy said. “We think our top four is set. That could change too, I suppose. But those guys have been pretty consistent with us over the years and again this year, so we’re okay with that.”
Good feelings in goal
jeremy swayman and Linus Ulmark didn’t have the history Rask Tuukka built for himself for 15 seasons, but Cassidy was confident that both would start the year.
His performance has validated it.
The Bruins are the only team in the league to have two goalies with 20 wins. They are one of only eight teams with two goals in the top 30 in goals-against average.
“We feel good about both of us starting the year,” said Cassidy, “Tuukka was the unknown, to be honest with you. It didn’t work out for Tuukka, but the other two guys played like we thought they would.”
What remains uncertain is how either of them will hold up in the postseason. While Rask had 104 playoff games under his belt, the postseason experience between Ullmark and Swayman is limited to 6:34 p.m. Swayman spelled Rask in Game 5 of the Bruins’ second-round series last year against the Islanders.
“At the end of the day someone will come in who hasn’t played in the playoffs,” Cassidy said. “We are fully aware of that. And the way they will be judged is who is at the top of their game. And they’re both racing hard and doing a good job at the moment.”
Colón coach erases protocol
columbus coach brad larsen he returned to the bench on Monday after approving the COVID protocol. Larsen entered protocol on March 29 and missed three games. Assistant steve maccarthy remained in the protocol. . . The Bruins went 6-1-1 in the first straight game this season and 4-4-0 in the second. After Tuesday’s game in Detroit, they have two straight games left.
Julian Benbow can be reached at [email protected]
Julian Benbow can be reached at [email protected]