|10.03.16 at 10:44 am ET|
BRIGHTON — Christian Ehrhoff literally said hello to the Bruins on Monday, as the veteran defenseman could be seen introducing himself to Boston coaches on the ice at Warrior Ice Arena.
Monday was the 34-year-old Ehrhoff’s first practice with the B’s after accepting a professional tryout from the team over the weekend. Also making their training camp debuts Monday were World Cup of Hockey finalists Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.
The aforementioned four players were all part of the first of two groups to skate Monday, with players like Danton Heinen and John Michael-Liles among those saved for the second group. The forward lines for the first group were as follows:
|10.03.16 at 12:56 am ET|
When the Bruins traded Martin Jones’ rights to the Sharks last offseason, one asset they received ended up being a lot worse than expected. The first-round pick acquired in the deal, projected by many across the league to be in the top half of the order, ended up being 29th overall when the Sharks made a run to the Stanley Cup Final.
As for the other asset: Well, at least he’s here.
While the first-rounder was the centerpiece of the trade, the Bruins also received the rights to center Sean Kuraly, a fifth-round pick of the Sharks in the 2011 draft. Kuraly concluded his college career last season, after which he signed an entry level contract with the Bruins.
Given that he was drafted when he was and had played out his college career, Kuraly was a candidate to use article 8.6(c) of the CBA to his advantage the way Jimmy Vesey did and become a free agent. Considering the Bruins’ depth at center — established stars at the top and solid youngsters both in the NHL and on the way — Kuraly might have found an easier path to the NHL in a different organization. He ultimately chose against that path, however, deciding that the B’s trading for him told him all he needed to know.
“It really wasn’t much of a decision, really,” he said. “I think you want to be somewhere where they want you. Obviously in the trade that happened, that was expressed. I think it’s just something that me and my agent didn’t even think much about. We thought it was the right thing to do.”
A physical center with good size, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound Kuraly had a down year on a Miami of Ohio team that had a down year altogether. After posting back-to-back 29-point seasons, Kuraly saw his production drop off to 23 points. Most jarring was his goal total, which went from 19 as a junior to six as a senior.
The Ohio native says he’s starting to consider himself a forward rather than just a center, and that might help his case for an eventual future job. The B’s have used him at both center and left wing in preseason games.
“I’m obviously more comfortable in the middle of the ice, for the most part but I’ve played a little wing now and I’m getting used to it,” he said. “There’s still things I’m still getting used to, but I would say I’m just a forward. You grow up playing center, but a ton of guys grew up playing center. I think it’s more natural to go center to wing than wing to center.”
Kuraly has his work cut out for him if he wants to play in the NHL any time soon, especially as a pivot. Boston has Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Ryan Spooner and David Backes locking up top-nine spots, while Dominic Moore has seemingly jumped ahead of Noel Acciari as a favorite to center the fourth line. There’s also Kuraly’s former Miami teammate Austin Czarnik, who had a strong first professional season (61 points in 68 games) and has looked good in training camp. Down the road (literally) there’s Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, a 2015 second-round pick who put up 30 points in his freshman year at Boston University.
“There’s tons of competition, obviously,” Kuraly said. “At the end of the day, if you just put your best foot forward and do the best you can, I think you’ll find a way to get where you need to be. As long as you’re doing your best and you’re good enough, I think things have a way of working themselves out. You’re just doing the best you can every day and making sure you’re making the most of the situation you’re in.
“Competition is good. That’s not something we were trying to get away from. That’s something that was the situation, and you just deal with it and make the best of it.”
|10.02.16 at 7:43 pm ET|
The Bruins announced roster 23 cuts Sunday, perhaps the most notable of which was Peter Mueller being released from his professional tryout.
Among the other big names to be released from camp were 2015 draft picks Zach Senyshyn, Jakub Zboril and Jeremy Lauzon, though none of them were expected to contend for an NHL spot this season.
Here’s a breakdown of Sunday’s cuts:
Assigned to Providence: Anton Blidh, Colby Cave, Peter Cehlarik, Colton Hargrove, Justin Hickman, Linus Arnesson, Matt Grzelcyk, Zane McIntyre, Dan Vladar
Returned to junior: Jesse Gabrielle, Zach Senyshyn, Jeremy Lauzon, Jakub Zboril
Sent to Providence training camp: Mark Naclerio, A.J. White, Josh Atkinson, Chris Breen, Alex Roach, Matt Ginn
Placed on waivers for the purpose of reassignment: Chris Casto, Tommy Cross, Alex Grant
Released from professional tryout: Peter Mueller
|10.02.16 at 12:46 am ET|
David Backes and David Pastrnak had three points apiece as the Bruins picked up a 4-3 shootout win over the Flyers in preseason action Saturday night.
Backes, who centered Pastrnak and Danton Heinen, had three assists in regulation, while Pastrnak had two goals and an assist. Heinen had one goal, bringing his preseason total to three in three games, and also scored in the shootout. Jake DeBrusk also scored for Boston in the shootout, while Malcolm Subban stopped two of three shots after making 29 saves on 32 shots during the course of play.
A first year pro, Heinen is a strong candidate to start the season in the NHL given that the Bruins are expected to be without Frank Vatrano until late December. The left-shot wing, who was drafted by the B’s in the fourth round of the 2014 draft and signed after his sophomore year at the University of Denver, will play in Providence if he doesn’t make Boston’s roster.
The Bruins are expected to announce roster cuts shortly. Their next preseason game will be played Tuesday against the Canadiens in Quebec City.
|10.01.16 at 1:45 pm ET|
BRIGHTON — Claude Julien’s management of his players’ ice time is not limited to games. Recent years have seen Julien emphasize rest, as he began cancelling morning skates regularly last season and has given more in-season days off to players like Patrice Bergeron.
As such, it’s no surprise to see how Julien is handling players returning from the World Cup of Hockey Final. Bergeron, Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara and camp invitee Christian Ehrhoff, all of whom concluded the tournament Thursday night in Toronto, have been given the weekend off and will not show up to practice until Monday.
“They need some rest. I think they’re going to get it and [they] will because they’re not showing up here until Monday morning,” Julien said. “They will get probably some other days off this week as well, but I think the goal in talking with them and looking at our situation is, they didn’t feel comfortable taking too many days off straight. They don’t want to lose that edge, so they got an opportunity to rest and get back on the ice sooner than later [then] rest again. I think that’s probably the best approach right now for our group.”
For players who had shorter stints in the World Cup of Hockey, the preseason experience has been wonkier than the schedules to which they’ve grown accustomed. David Backes played only two games for Team USA and has not skated in a game since Sept. 20. He will make his Bruins preseason debut Saturday night.
“Truthfully, it’s feeling like it’s getting a little bit long to be here for maybe eight days now and having not played a meaningful game [for a while],” Backes said. “I’ve got to get back into the swing of the things. It’s kind of nice that there’s a little bit of time here now with Claude back and we’ll start getting Marchy and Bergy and Chara back so we can all get the group together a little bit more, start cutting this down to what the team’s going to be like and start to really find our identity.”
|10.01.16 at 1:33 pm ET|
BRIGHTON — With Providence Bruins camp opening Monday, the big club is preparing to give them some more players.
Speaking after Saturday’s practice, Claude Julien said he expects the Bruins to make cuts following Saturday night’s preseason game against the Flyers.
“I think we’ve got to start cutting down numbers,” Julien said. “Probably after tonight.”
Many of the players cut from main camp will be sent to the AHL, while junior players who will be under 20 years old on Dec. 31 will have to return to their junior clubs for another season.
Saturday’s game will be the fourth of Boston’s preseason schedule. Julien said he monitored the performances of his players while at the World Cup of Hockey, watching all of the team’s exhibition games.
|10.01.16 at 11:07 am ET|
BRIGHTON — Coming off a 2-1 overtime win in Friday’s exhibition against the Red Wings, the Bruins will continue their preseason schedule Saturday night in Philadelphia. Claude Julien was on the ice with the team Saturday morning at Warrior Ice Arena after returning from the World Cup of Hockey.
The Bruins had the following lines in morning skate, though some of the players will not travel to Philadelphia in Zac Rinaldo, Tim Schaller, Colton Hargrove and Mark Nacliero. Riley Nash, Seth Griffith, Danton Heinen and Colby Cave will be in the lineup.
There are a couple of things to watch with those lines, assuming they aren’t changed too drastically. Austin Czarnik’s line sees him reunited with Jake DeBrusk and Jimmy Hayes, which was a line that played well together in Monday’s preseason opener. Also, it would appear that Peter Mueller will move to the left wing after being used exclusively at right wing early in the preseason.
Defensemen set to play Saturday night are Chris Casto, Tommy Cross, Colin Miller, Kevan Miller, Rob O’Gara and Jakub Zboril.