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Once a long-term project, North Dakota’s Zane Gothberg now looks like a valuable asset for Bruins

04.09.14 at 6:02 pm ET
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PHILADELPHIA — It might be easy for Bruins fans to forget about Zane Gothberg. The team drafted him in the sixth round four years ago, and he’€™s been playing way out in North Dakota while fellow goaltending prospects Malcolm Subban and Niklas Svedberg are just a short drive away in Providence.

On top of that, there wasn’€™t much hype around Gothberg when the B’€™s drafted him. Sure, he had been named the top senior goalie in Minnesota high school hockey, but that was high school, and it was the highest level he had played at when the Bruins decided to take a chance on him. What stood out most back then was that his name was Zane and he was from a town called Thief River Falls. He was considered a long-term project, and if he didn’€™t pan out, then no big deal — it was only a sixth-round pick.

Well, it’€™s now been four years, and it’€™s become apparent that Gothberg is panning out nicely. Two years ago, he was named a co-recipient of the United States Hockey League’€™s Goaltender of the Year Award while playing for the Fargo Force. This year, as a sophomore at North Dakota, he won the starting job by early December and has backstopped the team to the Frozen Four, where it will meet archrival Minnesota in Thursday’€™s national semifinals.

“Zane all year long has pushed to get better,” said North Dakota senior captain Dillon Simpson. “It’€™s been pretty amazing to have a goalie like that. He’€™s a passionate, competitive guy, and he pushes everyone around him to be better. I don’€™t think I’€™ve met a goalie that doesn’€™t like to get scored on as much as Zane. I think that’€™s just part of his attitude and dedication to hockey.” Read the rest of this entry »

Bruins recall Ryan Spooner; Chris Kelly day-to-day

04.09.14 at 5:36 pm ET
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The Bruins recalled center Ryan Spooner from Providence on Wednesday, marking his second recall this month.

Spooner was brought up last week for a pair of games but did not play. His chances of playing this time around are better, as Chris Kelly played only one shift in the final 25 minutes of Tuesday’s game and is considered day-to-day by the team.

Spooner filled in for Kelly earlier in the season when Kelly had a broken fibula. In 22 games for Boston this season, the 22-year-old has no goals and 11 assists for 11 points.

The 2010 second-round pick has 11 goals and 34 assists for 45 points in 45 games for Providence this season.

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

Read More: Chris Kelly, Ryan Spooner,

Offensive output, defensive improvement make Bruins prospect Ryan Fitzgerald key member of BC’s Frozen Four team

04.09.14 at 4:56 pm ET
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PHILADELPHIA — With Boston College trailing 3-2 early in the third period of its regional final against UMass-Lowell, Ryan Fitzgerald took a pass in the neutral zone and split two Lowell defenders before finishing with a nice forehand-backhand move at the front of the net.

It’€™s a play that Fitzgerald, the Bruins’€™ fourth-round pick this past summer, has always been able to make. The difference now is that he knows when to go for it and when it might be better to be conservative and either dump the puck in or pull up and wait for help.

“He came in here as a really skilled 1-on-1 player, had great moves, great hands,” said linemate and BC captain Patrick Brown. “€œBut I think as the year has gone on, he’€™s developed his vision a lot. He’€™s learned that he can’€™t beat everyone 1-on-1. Sometimes he does, but sometimes he has to chip pucks in or make a read and decide whether it’€™s the right play to take that 1-on-1. He did a great job doing that against Lowell, had that great goal for us.”

Decision-making isn’€™t the only area in which Fitzgerald has improved during his freshman year at the Heights. It’€™s part of what has made him a better all-around player, but an even bigger part has been his defensive play. That’€™s a theme across college hockey, as most players come from leagues where defense isn’€™t emphasized as much or isn’€™t taught as well. Read the rest of this entry »

Andy Brickley on M&M: Dennis Seidenberg should not supplant Kevan Miller

04.09.14 at 1:30 pm ET
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NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley made his weekly appearance with Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to talk about Dennis Seidenberg, the injuries to Jarome Iginla and Kevan Miller, where Andrej Meszaros fits on the depth chart, the play of Matt Bartkowski and more. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

With momentum picking up on Seidenberg playing in the postseason at some point, fans have started to wonder where the defenseman would be on the depth chart. Brickley said he didn’t think that the 32-year-old should be slotted back on the top pairing at the expense of Miller, who’€™s played well in his absence.

“I just find it so difficult to put a guy that’€™s not a hundred percent, or depending on what percent he is, in front of say, Kevan Miller, who’€™s been getting the job done, who’€™s in top form, who’s game-ready and ready to go and proven that they have trust in this guy,” Brickley said.

Miller and Iginla both missed Tuesday’€™s matchup with Minnesota, despite making the trip. Brickley is confident both will be ready to go for the playoffs.

“€œIf this was playoff hockey right now, I’€™m convinced both would be able to play,”€ Brickley said. “€œIt’€™s all about maintenance, it’€™s all about rest, it’€™s all about precautionary, those are the terms you’€™re going to hear right now. Because the Bruins put themselves in this position, they have the options to really focus on the middle of April and not so much on the results and having guys play right now.”

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Read More: Andrej Meszaros, Boston Bruins, Dennis Seidenberg, Jarome Iginla

Report: Dennis Seidenberg, Adam McQuaid begin skating for Bruins

04.09.14 at 12:12 pm ET
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According to the Boston Herald, Bruins defensemen Dennis Seidenberg and Adam McQuaid skated Tuesday at Ristuccia Arena.

Seidenberg was ruled out for the season after tearing his ACL/MCL on Dec. 27 against the Senators, but he is well ahead in his recovery from surgery and the possibility exists that he could return late in the playoffs.

Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli had told the Boston Globe last month that Seidenberg might begin skating later in the postseason, but Steve Conroy of the Herald reported that the veteran defenseman skated for 15 minutes and that “it’€™s not known just how well his knee held up.” It is also unclear when he will skate again.

“My guess is, if we go deep, he’€™€™ll start skating at some point and we’€™€™ll just see how he is,’€ Chiarelli told the Globe on March 21. ‘€œWe’€™€™ve been very cautious in the past with the injuries and coming back.’€

McQuaid, meanwhile, has been out since Jan. 19 with a quad strain. The team decided to shut him down in early March after he suffered a setback in his attempted return. Conroy reported there is no timetable for either player’s return to the lineup.

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Adam McQuaid, Dennis Seidenberg,

Bruins chat at 2 p.m.

04.09.14 at 9:35 am ET
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Are the Bruins the best team in the NHL? Who do you want to face in the first round? Which defenseman sits in the playoffs? Does Loui Eriksson belong in the top six? Chat all things Bruins with DJ Bean at 2 p.m.

 

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Bruins blow lead late, lose to Wild in shootout

04.08.14 at 10:57 pm ET
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The Bruins continued resting players but blew a late lead before falling, 4-3, in a shootout to the Wild on Tuesday night.

Ryan Suter tied the game with 1:05 remaining and Ilya Bryzgalov held on in the shootout as the Wild clinched a playoff spot.

The B’s and Wild traded a pair of goals apiece in the first period, with Jason Pominville beating Tuukka Rask with a one-timer on a power play 1:05 into the game. Reilly Smith answered with a power-play goal of his own at 3:00 of the first, with the goal serving as his second in the last 27 games.

Patrice Bergeron gave the Bruins the lead by sending a loose puck in front past Bryzgalov to extend his point streak to 12 games (10 goals, six assists). Pominville tied the game 28 seconds later and the teams played tied late into the second period before Gregory Campbell scored a power-play goal.

In addition to Jarome Iginla and Kevan Miller both missing the game with minor injuries, the Bruins sat David Krejci for the night as a healthy scratch. With both Krejci and Iginla out, Carl Soderberg centered a line with Milan Lucic and Loui Eriksson. The absence of two regular forwards also meant the team had only 11 forwards, so Torey Krug played left wing on Campbell’s line while Daniel Paille moved up to play with Chris Kelly and Jordan Caron. Kelly left the game in the third period and did not return, with Claude Julien saying after the game that the team was being “cautious.”

The Bruins, who have already clinched the first seed in the Eastern Conference, gained separation from the Blues for the Presidents’ Trophy. St. Louis lost to Washington, leaving Boston with a three-point lead over the Blues with three games left to play for each team.

The Bruins will play the Jets Thursday in Winnipeg before hosting the Sabres Saturday and finishing the season Sunday in New Jersey.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

– The Bruins have allowed a pair of goals while holding a one-goal lead in the final minute of games recently. In addition to Suter’s goal, Vincent Lecavalier got the equalizer with the goalie pulled when the B’s and Flyers played on March 30.

– Plus-minus isn’t everything, but Caron was the only player on either team to finish with a minus-2 rating, as he was on the ice for both Pominville’s second goal and Suter’s game-tying goal.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

– Rask was sensational in overtime, as the Wild had several good chances in 4-on-4 play and outshot Boston, 6-2. Given that overtime in the postseason has one more guy on the ice per side, it would be a stretch to say the extra five minutes did anything to prepare Rask for the postseason, but he at the very least provided a reminder of his dominance when games are on the line.

– Bergeron’s goal brought him up to 29 on the season. With three games left to play and putting up numbers like crazy of late, he has a great chance of recording 30 goals for just the second time in his career and the first time since 2005-06.

– Speaking of goal plateaus, Smith finally reached the 20-goal plateau after racing out to 18 goals early in the season.

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