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Oilers claim Matt Fraser off waivers from Bruins

12.29.14 at 12:36 pm ET
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Matt Fraser

Matt Fraser

Matt Fraser’s parents flew from Alberta to Boston Sunday to see their son play this week. They won’t get to do it in Boston, but at least they won’t have to travel as far to see him play in the future.

The Oilers claimed Fraser off waivers Monday, ending the left wing’s tenure with the Bruins.

Fraser, acquired in the 2013 trade between the Stars and Bruins that sent Tyler Seguin to Dallas, had five goals and no assists in 38 games over the last two seasons for Boston.

“I’€™m still kind of in the shock and awe of it,” Fraser said after learning his fate. “This is such a great team to be a part of, such great guys to be a part of. It’€™s tough leaving, but at the same time, hopefully there’€™s an opportunity for me in Edmonton. My family’€™s close.”

His most notable moment as a Bruin came last postseason when he was called up for Game 4 of the second round against the Canadiens and scored the overtime winner in a 1-0 Bruins victory. He played that game and the rest of the series on a broken foot.

Though equipped with a terrific snap shot, Fraser had struggled to nail down a spot in Boston’s lineup this season. He has been much more effective playing left wing, but unfortunately for him, left wing has been one of the only positions that has not been stricken by injuries this season. As such, the 24-year-old was most recently used as a fourth-line right wing. Throughout his time in Boston, Fraser struggled to make any sort of impact as a right wing.

“I’m never going to blame anybody else but myself,” Fraser said. “For me, I would have liked to have produced more, but maybe that opportunity wasn’t there as much. I just had a conversation with Claude [Julien] and he had kind of alluded to that, but at the same time, you’re in the NHL for a reason. You’ve got to find a reason to stay here.”

The Bruins exposed Fraser to waivers Sunday when they recalled Jordan Caron from Providence. Fraser, a prolific scorer at the AHL level (70 goals in the two AHL seasons prior to him being traded to Boston), will head to his home province of Alberta, as he hails from Red Deer.

Fraser has taken a difficult path to the NHL. An undrafted player out of the WHL, Fraser was brought into the Canucks’ training camp in 2010, but was not offered a contract. He then signed with the Stars, where he scored in bunches in the AHL before being traded to the Bruins. Fraser had wanted to become an impact player with the Bruins to show that he was more than just a throw-in, but he leaves Boston having fallen short of that goal.

Now, being given up on by the B’s is just another chip to add to Fraser’s shoulder. He hopes it can be the last.

“It would be nice one of those days if those things would start paying off,” Fraser said, just barely cracking a smile. “The way that this business works, there’s so many interchangeable parts, and that’s the tough part of being a player, a young guy trying to develop in this league and get into this league. It’s not an easy business.

“With my parents flying in yesterday, I think my mom was more upset than I was, just because she knows what I’ve gone through to get to where I am. It’s hard on her nerves to have it happen to her son.

“At the end of the day, I feel like I have the best job in the world. I really do, and every day I came to the rink I never took it for granted. With that being said, you kind of take the rest of the day and understand that you’re going back home and you’ve got to make the most of it.”

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

 

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Injuries cause Bruins to give first look to David Krejci-Reilly Smith duo

12.29.14 at 12:03 pm ET
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Reilly Smith

Reilly Smith

All season, David Krejci has wanted two things: health and a right wing.

On Monday, it would appear that he’€™ll finally skate with one logical right wing candidate who has been kept away from him to an almost fascinating extent: Reilly Smith.

The Bruins have never really tried Smith, a left-shot right wing who has spent most of his time with the Bruins as a top-six forward, with Krejci. He hasn’€™t been given time on Krejci’€™s line and, though both players are used on Boston’€™s power play, they’€™ve been played on different units.

Factoring in line changes, Krejci and Smith have been on the ice together this season for just 15:48 in all situations combined (five-on-five, power play, etc.). The only wingers on Boston’€™s roster with whom Krejci has played less this season have been Daniel Paille, Chris Kelly, Matt Fraser and Jordan Caron. Krejci and Smith have had the occasional shift together, but they’re usually in wonky situations such as a Nov. 6 in which Patrice Bergeron, Smith’s usual center, was killing a penalty and Krejci was deployed to center Smith and Brad Marchand on the next shift.

With Bergeron and Milan Lucic both out for Monday’€™s game against the Red Wings, it appears Smith and Krejci will finally be linemates. It’€™s hard to tell what they’€™d bring given that we haven’€™t seen them together.

“Neither have I,” Claude Julien said after Monday’€™s morning skate.

Smith is intrigued by the idea of playing with Krejci after watching his shifts from the bench in his two seasons with the Bruins (“I don’€™t even think we’€™ve played a four-on-four shift together,” he admitted).

“I think I’€™ve played with probably every other forward except Krej,” Smith said with a grin. “He’€™s a talented player and he creates a lot of space, so it should be fun.”

Since taking over as Boston’€™s first-line center, Krejci has historically had right-shot right wings on the other side of Milan Lucic. Righties Nathan Horton, Rich Peverley, Tyler Seguin, Jarome Iginla, Seth Griffith and Craig Cunningham have served in that role, with Loui Eriksson (and very briefly Jaromir Jagr) really the only lefty tried there. The Bruins are more comfortable playing Eriksson on their third line with Carl Soderberg and Kelly.

So the Smith experiment, though it may only last a game (or less), is an interesting one to finally see tried.

“We’€™ll see tonight,” Julien said when asked what to expect from the duo. “I don’€™t have that answer, to be honest. Those are things we’€™ll all discover together.”

Milan Lucic, Patrice Bergeron out vs. Red Wings

12.29.14 at 10:57 am ET
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Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron will are both out for Monday’s game against the Red Wings due to undisclosed injuries. Lucic and Bergeron were the only Bruins absent from Monday’€™s morning skate .

Claude Julien maintained after the morning skate that he still considers both players day-to-day. Monday will mark the first time either player has missed a game this season.

Julien would not answer when asked whether Lucic suffered his injury in Saturday night’s fight against Dalton Prout, only repeating “day-to-day.”

Matt Fraser, who was placed on waivers Sunday and has until noon Monday to be claimed by other teams, did participate in the skate.

With Lucic and Bergeron absent, the lines and defensive pairings in morning skate were as follows:

Marchand – Krejci – Smith
Kelly – Soderberg – Eriksson
Caron – Campbell – Paille
Fraser – Cunningham – Griffith

Chara – Hamilton
Bartkowski – Seidenberg
Krug – Miller

Rask

Claude Julien admits Bruins aren’t as motivated as in years past

12.28.14 at 8:00 pm ET
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Claude Julien admitted Sunday what a lot of people have been able to tell for a long time: This year’s team is a tough group to motivate.

Dougie Hamilton pretty much said as much a week ago when he said players weren’t following the coach’s game plan, but to hear it from Julien himself is big. It brings to light an issue with the team’s character.

“We’ve been a lot livelier in the past,” Julien said. “Sometimes tough things that you go through kind of take the wind out of you, but that’s not an excuse. You have to have enough character to bring it every night, every day and there’s no doubt I think that if we can get our work ethic and our compete level up and make good decisions, we’re going to start winning games, we’re going to have fun again and the energy level’s going to be where we want it to be.

“That’s our job to create that. We have to create it as a coaching staff, as players and as a team. It’s as simple as that.”

The Bruins lost leaders this season with the departures of Shawn Thornton, Johnny Boychuk and Jarome Iginla. What Thornton lacked in on-ice effectiveness late in his Bruins tenure he more than made up for in character. Boychuk, a bit of a goofball who kept things loose, took great pride in being a Bruin. Iginla’s experience and leadership called for an received the respect of his teammates.

Despite those losses, the Bruins still have players wearing letters on their sweaters in captain Zdeno Chara and alternate captains Patrice Bergeron, Chris Kelly and David Krejci. When Chara and Krejci were hurt, Milan Lucic and Dennis Seidenberg took turns wearing an A.

All of the aforementioned Bruins have seen much better days with the Bruins and know how dominant they can be. It’s their job just as much as it is Julien’s to have themselves and their teammates motivated.

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Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron day-to-day for Bruins

12.28.14 at 1:49 pm ET
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Both Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic were absent from Sunday’s practice, with coach Claude Julien saying after the skate that he considers both players day-to-day with undisclosed injuries.

Bergeron took only tree shifts in the third period Saturday in Columbus before leaving the game with what Julien told reporters was a minor injury. Lucic’s ailment is not known.

Adam McQuaid (thumb) practiced with the team, but Julien said that to his knowledge McQuaid is not ready to return to game action.

The lines in practice were as follows:

Marchand – Griffith – Smith
Fraser – Krejci – Cunningham
Kelly – Soderberg – Eriksson
Paille – Campbell – Caron

All right defensemen, including McQuaid, were on the ice.

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Bruins recall Jordan Caron, place Matt Fraser on waivers

12.28.14 at 12:35 pm ET
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Matt Fraser

Matt Fraser

The Bruins have placed forward Matt Fraser on waivers, presumably with the intention of assigning him to Providence.

Fraser participated fully in the team’s practice Sunday, skating in Milan Lucic‘s place with David Krejci and Craig Cunningham.

The 24-year-old has dressed in 24 games for Boston this season, scoring three goals with no assists.

Earlier in the season, Boston successfully put Jordan Caron, Cunningham and David Warsofsky through waivers, with al three players going unclaimed.

The B’s also recalled Caron Sunday. He was present for practice, skating on Boston’s fourth line with Danielle Paille and Gregory Campbell.

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

5 things we learned as Bruins take step backwards vs. Blue Jackets

12.27.14 at 9:40 pm ET
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The Bruins took a couple steps forward prior to the Christmas break. Then they returned and jumped a mile backwards.

A top-to-bottom lackluster showing from the B’€™s resulted in a 6-2 blowout loss to the Blue Jackets (box). The loss dropped them to 18-15-3.

The Bruins, who were coming off consecutive wins over the Sabres and Predators, have still won three games in a row just twice this season. Getting blown out just when it appeared they were finding traction served as a perfect microcosm of their 2014-15 season.

The Bruins will return to the Garden this week to host the Red Wings, Maple Leafs and Senators.

BERGERON LEAVES

Patrice Bergeron took only three shifts in the third period and did not play the final 13:14 of the game Saturday.

Bergeron, who in the first period scored his seventh goal of the season, left the bench midway through the third. Claude Julien said in his postgame NESN interview that he was being cautious with Bergeron and sent him to the room himself.

SVEDBERG YANKED, BUT HE WAS ALSO STARTED

For the first time in his Bruins career, Niklas Svedberg was pulled from a start. It was done for good reason. He was not good.

Svedberg was taken out in the second period after allowing his third goal of the game, but he had to be bailed out by David Krejci in the final seconds of the first period in a 1-1 game.

Facing a bad-angle shot from Matt Calvert off the rush, Svedberg kicked a big rebound to David Savard, who had half an open net to deal with. Fortunately for the Bruins, Krejci went down and blocked the shot with his leg to keep the game tied.

When Kevin Connauton’€™s second-period goal chased Svedberg, it marked the third time this season the B’€™s have made an in-game goalie change.

Claude Julien often accuses the media of second-guessing, so we’€™ll good on it here. The decision to start the backup Saturday was puzzling. Boston was coming off two straight wins in a season that has seen them struggle to string wins together, and Rask had been off the ice with the rest of his team for three days entering Saturday.

CLAUDE HATES THE CALLS

There’€™s no telling whether Claude Julien is more disappointed in his players this season or the NHL‘€™s officials. Julien’€™s on-bench reactions to penalties have been stronger than ever, and he has passive-aggressively vocalized his issues with officiating to the media on several occasions this season.

On Saturday, Julien appeared highly displeased with a slashing call against Brad Marchand. After Nick Foligno called on the ensuing power play, Julien could be seen on the bench muttering choice words.

BRUINS WASTE POWER PLAYS

The Bruins got a much-needed first power play when Savard was sent off for interference midway through the second period with Columbus holding a 4-1 lead. Boston squandered that power play, landing just one shot on goal.

The Bruins soon again had reason for hope, when Fedor Tyutin was called for slashing Patrice Bergeron, but the B’€™s again failed to score and spent the last quarter of the man advantage in their own zone.

Craig Cunningham tipped a Gregory Campbell shot past Curtis McElhinney on the next shift to finally bring the B’€™s within two, but Matt Calvert would increase Columbus’€™ lead to three again with a goal in the final minute of the second.

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