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5 things we learned: Bruins start strong doesn’t last in loss to Avalanche

11.12.15 at 9:44 pm ET
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Half a period does not a game make. Speaking of which, the Bruins lost.

With goals from Zdeno Chara and Ryan Spooner in the first 5:51 of the night Thursday, the Bruins appeared well on their way to blowing out the struggling Avalanche at TD Garden. That would prove to be the extent of their scoring on the night, however, and Colorado’€™s pushback was enough to net them the game’€™s next three goals and a 3-2 victory over the B’€™s.

The Bruins’€™ biggest blown opportunity of the night came in the second period, when the Bruins had a three-minute power play as a result of a Colorado major penalty and Boston minor penalty. Spooner’€™s first-period goal came on the power play, extending the B’€™s streak of games with a power play goal to eight games.

The Bruins have now lost three of their last four games and are 7-7-1 on the season. They’€™ll continue their five-game homestand when they host the Red Wings on Saturday at the Garden.

Here are four more things we learned Thursday.

LANDESKOG TOSSED FOR CHEAP SHOT ON MARCHAND

How Brad Marchand was able to get up (albeit slowly) and then go punch Gabriel Landeskog in the face after the hit he took in the second period will forever be a mystery.

After releasing a shot from above the right circle, Marchand was trucked by Landeskog, who came from a mile away and delivered a hit to the head. Marchand fell to the ice in ugly fashion and, upon getting up, skated to the scrum and punched the Colorado captain in the face.

While Landeskog hit Marchand with his shoulder rather than his elbow, the play was still dirty and easily avoidable. Landeskog was given a match penalty (therefore tossed from the game) on the play for an illegal hit to the head.

Marchand, meanwhile, stayed in the game after serving a roughing minor for his retaliatory punch to Landeskog. The Bruins dodged a bullet there, as Marchand missed two games in October due to a concussion suffered in the second game of the season.

SEIDENBERG MAKES RETURN

Thursday marked Dennis Seidenberg‘€™s first game since April 11, as he missed all of training camp and the first 14 games of the season recovering from back surgery.

Seidenberg was paired with Colin Miller for the game, with Zach Trotman and Joe Morrow serving as healthy scratches on defense.

Any plans of Seidenberg easing his way back in physically were dashed in the first period when he took a big hit in the defensive zone by Avalanche forward Cody McLeod. Tyler Randell reacted swiftly, fighting McLeod and earning a takedown in the game’€™s only fight.

Seidenberg also delivered a huge hit on former teammate Carl Soderberg in the second period, drawing large cheers from the Garden crowd.

MCQUAID ICING, KEVAN MILLER TURNOVER COSTLY

Tuukka Rask was more a victim of bad luck than anything else on Colorado’€™s second goal of the game. A funny bounce caused him to miss the puck, but then again the Avalanche shouldn’€™t have even been in Boston’€™s zone.

Adam McQuaid unnecessarily iced the puck in the final minute of the period, resulting in an offensive zone faceoff for Colorado. After Matt Duchene won the draw against David Krejci, a point shot from Francois Beauchemin went off Joonas Kemppainen, changing both speed and direction as it went past Rask, who was reacting to the shot’€™s initial speed and therefore swung and missed at the puck with his glove hand.

The goal itself was ugly, but tough to pin on Rask. It was easy to pin on McQuaid.

That wasn’€™t the extent of Boston’€™s flubs on defense Thursday. Kevan Miller coughed up the puck to Mikhail Grigorenko on a third period play, with Grigorenko setting up a Matt Duchene goal to break a 2-2 tie.

SODERBERG’€™S REVENGE

Soderberg tried to explain a 24-game goal-less stretch last season by saying he was ‘€œnot a sniper.’€ Perhaps that was all an elaborate ruse to trick the Bruins into letting him score on them Thursday night.

Soderberg, who inked a very generous five-year contract with the Avs worth $4.75 million in June, scored his second goal of the season when he took a pass from Blake Comeau and fired a wrist shot from the right circle past Tuukka Rask.

It wasn’€™t all good news for Soderberg. He received a big hit from Torey Krug in the first period and was absolutely crushed by Seidenberg on the aforementioned second-period hit.

Bruins sign Jake DeBrusk, Zachary Senyshyn, Jeremy Lauzon to entry-level contracts

11.12.15 at 6:33 pm ET
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Jake DeBrusk

Jake DeBrusk

The Bruins announced Thursday that they have signed 2015 draft picks Jake DeBrusk, Zachary Senyshyn and Jeremy Lauzon to entry-level contracts.

With Jakub Zboril and Brandon Carlo having already inked their entry-level deals, the Bruins have now signed five of their six picks over the first two rounds from June’€™s draft. The only player not to sign yet is second-round pick Jakob Forsbacka, who is currently playing college hockey at Boston University and would forfeit his NCAA eligibility if he signed an NHL contract.

DeBrusk, the 14th overall pick of the draft, played 14 games for Swift Current of the WHL before suffering a lower-body injury that currently has him sidelined. The left wing has six goals and 14 assists on the season.

Senyhsyn, a right wing who was a surprise pick at No. 15 overall, has 10 goals and four assists for 14 points through 18 games for Saul Ste. Marie of the OHL.

Lauzon, a defenseman for Rouyn-Noranda of the QMJHL, was drafted 52nd overall in June. He has three goals and 22 assists for 25 points through 18 games this season.

Read More: Jake DeBrusk, Jeremy Lauzon, Zachary Senyshyn,

Bruins’ defense shuffle led to rare move from Claude Julien in recent games

11.12.15 at 12:56 pm ET
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Kevan Miller

Kevan Miller

Claude Julien has been trying some new things with his lineup this season. He’s even separated Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, the Bruins’€™ current equivalent of Hall & Oates (assuming you’€™re smart and don’€™t underrate John Oates).

On defense, Julien’€™s experimenting has led to an unusual occurrence recently: a righty playing the left side. That’€™s very uncommon in the NHL, but when Julien opted to take left Joe Morrow out of the lineup for righty Zach Trotman, the result was a righty (Kevan Miller) having to play his off-side. That will change once Dennis Seidenberg returns to the lineup (as early as Thursday evening).

The reasoning behind why righties typically don’€™t play the left side is simple: They never really learned to do it because they’€™ve never had to. With left-shot D outnumbering them, it’€™s so rare that a team would have more righties than lefties. As such, it’€™s common for lefties to have experience playing the right side — Dennis Seidenberg and Torey Krug play both sides well — but very uncommon for a righty to be comfortable over on the left.

“To me, it would be common if some of those guys really felt comfortable on those sides,’€ Julien said this week. “We’€™ve seen Dennis Seidenberg in the past play the right side and it doesn’€™t bother him to play his off-side. Some players are capable of doing that. Some others aren’€™t that comfortable because they’€™ve never done it before. We’€™re having to make some decisions here. There’€™s guys that are saying, ‘€˜I haven’€™t really done it but I’€™m willing to give it a shot,’€™ and I think we’€™ve seen enough from some of those guys to let them go there and do that job.”

Miller, one of four righties in Boston’€™s seven-man group, played the left side at times in college and in Providence due to lefties being injured at various points. Though he noted he’€™s had the odd even-strength shift here and there on the left side over the last few years — never many at a time — he said it took adjusting when playing the last couple games.

“There’€™s advantages and disadvantages,” he said. “Obviously on offensive zone faceoffs, you have certain one-timers out there and then you see different plays better sometimes, but obviously worse with others. You kind of just have to manage your game.”

Seidenberg appears close to returning, with Julien saying he’€™s a game-time decision for Thursday’€™s game against the Avalanche. Should both Seidenberg and Krug (also a game-time decision after taking Tuesday’€™s and Wednesday’€™s practices off) play, Miller will be free to return to the right side, assuming he stays in the lineup. Thursday’s morning skate saw Miller play on the right side of a pairing with Krug.

While he’€™s obviously more comfortable on the right side, he hopes the Bruins won’€™t hesitate to use him on the left if need be in the future.

“I feel like everybody would probably prefer to be on their strong side, but anything you can do to help the team, you’€™re going to do it,’€ he said. ‘€œIf they ask me to do it, then I’€™m happy to do it.”

Read More: Dennis Seidenberg, Joe Morrow, Kevan Miller, Zach Trotman

Torey Krug, Dennis Seidenberg game-time decisions for Bruins Thursday

11.12.15 at 10:41 am ET
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Torey Krug

Torey Krug

Torey Krug was back skating with his teammates at Thursday’€™s morning skate after spending the last three days off the ice. The Bruins will host the Avalanche Thursday in the first game of a five-game homestand.

Krug’€™s return, in addition to Dennis Seidenberg‘€™s progress, gave the Bruins four defensive pairings in the morning skate, with Seidenberg taking rushes with Adam McQuaid. Seidenberg had back surgery seven weeks ago, and though his recovery was expected to take eight weeks, it appears he’€™s close to getting into games. Claude Julien said that both Seidenberg and Krug are game-time decisions for Thursday night.

The Bruins’€™ lineup in morning skate was as follows:

Beleskey-Bergeron-Connolly
Vatrano-Krejci-Eriksson
Marchand-Spooner-Hayes
Rinaldo-Kemppainen-Randell

Chara-Colin Miller
Seidenberg-McQuaid
Krug-Kevan Miller
Morrow-Trotman

Rask

The Bruins currently have 22 players on their roster not counting Seidenberg, so they would not need to make any additional roster moves if they were to activate him.

Dennis Seidenberg ‘getting close’ to returning to Bruins’ lineup

11.11.15 at 3:23 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — While the Bruins shared some bad injury news regarding their forwards, they seem pretty close to getting some help on defense.

Dennis Seidenberg, who missed all of training camp after having back surgery on Sept. 24, is closing in on a return. Nearly seven weeks into an anticipated eight-week recovery (Thursday will mark seven weeks), Seidenberg is taking contact and participating in battle drills with teammates.

“It’€™s getting close. Closer,” Seidenberg said after taking part in 3-on-3 battle drills in Wednesday’€™s practice. “It’€™s tough to say, but I’€™m feeling better on the ice. I’€™m feeling strong in the battles. It’€™s about being more comfortable skating, and that’€™s getting better.”

Seidenberg has insisted that pain is not an issue, nor is his back. He says that he’€™s comfortable taking contact but is still monitoring how his lower-body strength is coming along since being back on the ice.

“The physical part is not the thing I have to worry about. It’€™s all about the lower leg and the strength and being able to sustain whatever challenge I have out there,” he said. “That’€™s the main thing I have to look at.”

Claude Julien said that Seidenberg is ‘€œbeing evaluated every day because he is getting closer’€ to returning to Boston’€™s lineup. It seems unlikely he would play on Thursday against the Avalanche, but it’€™s safe to say the team expects him to play at some point during the team’€™s upcoming homestand.

While the Bruins will welcome Seidenberg’€™s return if and when it comes, they’€™re also managing their expectations in the early going. Seidenberg struggled last season in his first campaign back from a torn ACL, and though he came into informal practices in the summer eager to bounce back, the fact that he hasn’€™t seen game action for roughly seven months suggests it could take time for him to hit his stride.

“When a guy hasn’€™t had a training camp and hasn’€™t had a game this year, you can’€™t expect him to come back and all of a sudden be firing on all cylinders,” Julien said. “When he does come back, we realize that we may have to monitor his ice time and who he plays against, and so on and so forth. Those are things that we’€™re prepared for the minute he’€™s good to go.”

Read More: Dennis Seidenberg,

Alexander Khokhlachev out 4-6 weeks after finger surgery

11.11.15 at 1:04 pm ET
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Alex Khokhlachev

Alex Khokhlachev

WILMINGTON — David Pastrnak isn’€™t the only young Bruins forward who has received bad injury news this week, as B’€™s general manager Don Sweeney said Wednesday said that Providence forward Alexander Khokhlachev will miss approximately four to six weeks with a finger injury.

After jumping out to lead the AHL in points through 10 games, Khokhlachev was called up for a two-game stint with the B’€™s last week. He suffered his injury in his first game back with Providence on Saturday, requiring surgery.

“He went up to Utica and fell on his hand, and he had a fracture, a small crack in his little finger, so he had surgery to put a pin in and stabilize that,” Sweeney said. “His timeframe — everybody’€™s different, but it’€™s probably four to six.”

This marks an undoubtedly frustrating development for a player who has been open with his frustrations with his role in the Bruins organization. Khokhlachev, 22, vented in the preseason about the Bruins not giving him the chance to be an NHL player. With this injury, he’€™ll have to wait even longer.

Khokhlachev, a second-round pick of the Bruins in the 2011 draft, is in the final year of his entry-level contract. He has led Providence in points in each of the last two seasons.

Read More: Alexander Khokhlachev,

David Pastrnak has non-displaced fracture in foot

11.11.15 at 11:37 am ET
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David Pastrnak

David Pastrnak

WILMINGTON — Bruins general manager Don Sweeney provided an update on right winger David Pastrnak on Wednesday, revealing that the second-year pro has a small non-displaced fracture in his left foot.

Pastrnak, who suffered the injury when he was hit in the foot by a shot on Oct. 27 against the Coyotes, played two games with what the team initially thought was a bruised foot before he missed the next four games.

“With David’s case, things changed a little bit,” Sweeney said. “The initial X-rays we had were normal. We waited for swelling to go down [and] the symptoms were still persisting, so we went to have a more definitive CT scan and it did reveal a small non-displaced crack in an awkward location, so we have to give him some time. The course of action doesn’t change for him except he just needs [some] more rest.”

The injury has left Pastrnak wearing a boot. Sweeney said that there is no timetable for his return, but that the team doesn’t expect surgery to be required.

Torey Krug also missed practice on Wednesday, marking the third straight day he’s been off the ice. The Bruins have called each of Krug’s absences this week maintenance days.

Wednesday’s practice also saw Dennis Seidenberg participate in three-on-three battle drills, with Seidenberg saying after practice that he had taken contact previously in his recovery. Thursday will mark seven weeks since the surgery, which initially was expected to keep the veteran defenseman out for eight weeks.

The lines in practice were as follows:

Beleskey-Bergeron-Connolly
Vatrano-Krejci-Eriksson
Marchand-Spooner-Hayes
Rinaldo-Kemppainen-Randell

Read More: David Pastrnak,
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