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Dennis Seidenberg to have surgery on back

09.23.15 at 9:16 am ET
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Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg will have surgery on his back and is expected to be out eight weeks, the team announced Wednesday morning.

Seidenberg is scheduled to undergo a lumbar microdiscectomy on Thursday to repair a lumbar spine disc herniation. Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said the 34-year-old defenseman came to team doctors last Monday complaining about nerve aggravation. The team obviously didn’t think the injury was too serious, as Seidenberg took the ice at captains’ practice the next day, though he did not participate when his teammates began scrimmaging.

Sweeney said the B’s recommended rest, but that when the issue did not subside, surgery became the obvious path. The surgery will be performed by Dr. Louis Jenis at Massachusetts General Hospital.

His absence makes it possible that the Bruins may carry eight defensemen to begin the season: Zdeno Chara, Torey Krug, Adam McQuaid, Zach Trotman, Matt Irwin, Joe Morrow, Colin Miller and Kevan Miller.

 

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Malcolm Subban off to good start on road to redemption

09.22.15 at 11:18 pm ET
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Malcolm Subban

Malcolm Subban

Malcolm Subban had just one opportunity to make a National Hockey League impression last season, and the resulting impression was not a good one.

After stopping all 17 pucks he faced on Tuesday night at TD Garden, Subban improved his chances at getting some redemption opportunities in 2015-2016.

It was only half of a pre-season game, of course, but it’€™s a start.

“It felt pretty good,”€ the Boston goaltending prospect said of his 29:43 of ice time in a Bruins 2-1 overtime victory against the Washington Capitals. “To be honest, [I was] maybe a little nervous at the start because from the start of [training] camp up until this game I didn’€™t feel at my best in practice. I didn’€™t feel too good like I was tracking the puck [well] but thankfully it all came together tonight and I thought I played pretty well.”

Subban, 21, looked focused throughout his period-and-a-half of action, with perhaps his best save coming on a second period penalty-kill deflection and ensuing skirmish in front.

“I thought Malcolm was really good at times there where he was flooded with some shots,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “He made a couple of big saves.”

Boston’€™s first-round selection (24th overall) of the 2012 draft, Subban made his NHL debut last year on February 20 at Scottrade Center in St. Louis and gave up goals on three straight shots in the second period before being pulled. It sent Subban back to the drawing board this offseason, with the help of goaltending coach Bob Essensa.

“In that game, I felt all the goals I was way too deep on,” Subban said. “€œEven though some of them might have been a tip or a screen, I felt I was too deep and didn’€™t give myself a chance to make the save. It wasn’€™t just that game, it was in the AHL, too. I felt the goals that were scored I was too deep. I’€™ve worked on that with Bob. That’€™s the biggest thing I need to work on, using my speed a bit more.”

Subban’€™s athleticism has always been one of his biggest assets, and he’€™s learning when to unleash it.

“€œI felt I could have played the puck a lot better,” Subban said of his Tuesday performance, admitting that he tends to be critical of himself after games. “I was challenging too early, so by the time they started to rim the puck I was way too far out and couldn’€™t get to it. [But] I felt I had pretty good rebound control. One squirted out in the first but other than that I was putting them into the mesh or the corner, or smothering them, so not too much was going on in front which helps the ‘€˜D’€™ out a lot. It helps us get the puck out and not be trapped in our zone.”

The battle for Tuukka Rask‘€™s backup will continue throughout the next few weeks of Bruins’€™ camp, with Jeremy Smith, Zane McIntyre and Jonas Gustavsson his competition. Although Subban is aware of the job that is up for grabs, he’€™s trying to stay focused on himself.

“You look around too much, you forget you’€™ve got to do the same job,”€ Subban said. “€œI’€™m trying to play my game. Obviously it’€™s a great competition for the guys to push you, knowing that these guys are competing for the same job, but at the same time we’€™re all trying to help each other.”

And if he wins the job, he’€™s ready for the redemption story to begin.

“€œIt’€™s the mentality you’€™ve got to have, whether it comes or not,” said Subban. “You’€™ve got to be ready. I felt I had that chance last year and wasn’€™t ready so, I’€™m looking forward to this year and made the necessary adjustments and hopefully I can make a better opportunity.”

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Claude Julien likes 3-on-3 (because he hates the shootout)

09.22.15 at 10:30 pm ET
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The Bruins didn’€™t get to practice 3-on-3 for long Tuesday night, as David Pastrnak ended the preseason overtime session just 12 seconds in.

Lack of experience aside, Claude Julien doesn’€™t need to see much to know he’€™s going to like the new overtime system more than he liked the old one. With the NHL moving to 3-on-3 for five minutes followed by a shootout, the chances are far greater that the game will be settled in overtime than in the shootout. In the old system of 4-on-4 followed by a shootout, the overtime session often did nothing but give way to the shootout. Julien wasn’€™t a fan of that, as one could say he hates the shootout.

“I hate the shootout,” Julien said Tuesday, confirming the aforementioned suspicion.

Julien didn’€™t hate what he saw Tuesday night. With Boston’€™s preseason game against the Capitals tied at the end of regulation, the game went to overtime (it would have no matter what the score, as the NHL is having teams practice the new format three times this preseason).

Julien sent David Krejci, Pastrnak and Torey Krug out to begin the session. Krejci won the faceoff, with Krug chasing the puck into over the Boston blueline. Krug threw the puck up to Krejci, who fed Pastrnak on a 2-on-1 to set up the game-winner.

Because he hates the shootout (see above) Julien spent the majority of the last two seasons sending three forwards and one defenseman out for 4-on-4. Tuesday’€™s deployment of Krejci, Pastrnak and Krug gives the Bruins both offensive creativity and skating, two things that come in handy in next-goal-wins scenarios. Yet Julien is willing to go even farther this season in 3-on-3, as the team has practiced 3-on-3 with three forwards and no defensemen. Julien says he intends to use three forwards at times in overtime.

“For me, when you’€™re playing in the overtime, you’€™re going for the win,” he said. “I mean, you’€™ve got the point, you want to get that second one, so why sit back? You know, let’€™s go for it. That’€™s my approach.”

The 3-on-3 will be a learning experience for all teams in the early months of the season, as pretty much any mistake (or line change) can end the game. Having gone 7-16 the last two seasons in shootouts, the Bruins should probably like their odds in overtime better than they like them in a shootout. With players like Pastrnak, Krejci, Krug, Ryan Spooner and others at their disposal, it pretty much has to work out better for the B’€™s than the old way.

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Observations from Bruins’ preseason win over Capitals

09.22.15 at 9:40 pm ET
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David Pastrnak

David Pastrnak

Here are some notes from the Bruins’€™ 2-1 overtime win over the Capitals Tuesday night:

– Tuesday’€™s game was going to go to overtime no matter what the score was at the end of regulation, as the league is having every team practice 3-on-3 three times this preseason. As fate would have it, the game was tied anyway.

Claude Julien went with two forwards (David Krejci and David Pastrnak) and a defenseman (Torey Krug). The group ended the game immediately, with Krejci feeding Pastrnak for the game-winner 12 seconds into the extra period. Pastrnak also scored the Bruins’€™ only goal of regulation.

– The game featured the first glimpse of David Krejci skating between free agent signing Matt Beleskey and second-year David Pastrnak right wing in a game. The three played on a line and served on the same power play unit with Torey Krug and Alexander Khokhlachev.

The Krejci line was unremarkable for most of the game, but Pastrnak scored on a backhander down low that snuck behind Washington goalie Philipp Grubauer during a third-period 4-on-4 .

Over the first two periods, the line didn’€™t generate much offensively and was caught offsides multiple times. Krejci also struggled on draws.

– Malcolm Subban got the start for the Bruins, stopping all 17 shots he faced before giving way to Zane McIntyre. The first-year pro gave up the first goal allowed by the Bruins all preseason, with a shot from the point during a Capitals power play getting through traffic and past him shortly after the B’€™s had taken the lead.

– Tuesday brought the first fight of Boston’€™s preseason, as right wing Justin Hickman fought Washington defenseman Tyler Lewington in the second period.

– Khokhlachev, who does not want to play in Providence again, drew a penalty in the third period. Boston’€™s power play wouldn’€™t last, however, as Brian Ferlin took a holding penalty 21 seconds in Boston’€™s man advantage. That set up the 4-on-4 play in which Pastrnak scored.

– The line of Chris Kelly between Anton Blidh and Hickman was interesting to watch. Blidh drew a first-period interference penalty and was a presence in scrums, while Hickman fed Kelly in the third period for a great scoring opportunity that went denied by Grubauer.

The lineup for the game was as follows:

Beleskey-Krejci-Pastrnak
Vatrando-Czarnik-Ferlin
Blidh-Kelly-Hickman
DeFazio-Khokhlachev-Senyshyn

Krug-McQuaid
Morrow-Casto
Arnesson- Kevin Miller

Subban
McIntyre

Zac Rinaldo: ‘The way I piss people off is the way I play’

09.22.15 at 1:58 pm ET
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Zac Rinaldo is entering his first season as a Bruin. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Zac Rinaldo is entering his first season as a Bruin. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

There was no surprise more pleasant in Sunday night’€™s preseason opener than Zac Rinaldo drawing a pair of penalties, neither of which came after the whistle and both of which led to Matt Irwin goals.

Speaking to Rinaldo about it Tuesday, he wasn’€™t very surprised. The oft-suspended fourth-liner said that he feels he can draw penalties during the course of play rather than after the whistle.

“With me, the way I piss people off is the way I play. I play hard, I play physical. Me doing that alone, I don’€™t even got to talk and guys hate me,” Rinaldo said. “I can hit everyone and just play hard and be physical on the puck. Guys don’€™t like that and they’€™ll get frustrated and take it out on me.

“My speed, too. My speed down low. They can’€™t handle me down low sometimes and they have to hold me up. You saw it in the preseason game. They [took] two penalties on me just because of my speed alone. I didn’€™t even get a couple hits to piss [them] off.”

Rinaldo said he intentionally stayed out of scrums Sunday against the Devils. Asked if he likes going into scrums with the objective of getting the opponent to take a penalty, Rinaldo was borderline offended.

“I’€™m not going to fake a fall-down or do something just to antagonize a guy, to draw a penalty,” he said. “That’€™s not me. I don’€™t fake the game like that.

Added Rinaldo: “I don’€™t fake. I’€™m a straight-up guy on the ice. I’€™m not going to fake an injury or pretend I’€™m hurt just to draw a penalty. I’€™m not like that and I hate guys who do that.”

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Slide to the left: Chris Kelly ready for another season of mixing and matching

09.22.15 at 1:25 pm ET
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When Chris Kelly was given the chance to become an NHL regular back in 2005, he told a fib.

“I didn’€™t play center until I got to the NHL,” the veteran forward said. “They ask, ‘€˜Can you play center?’€™ and you say, ‘€˜Absolutely.’€™”

Kelly, who was drafted as a left wing, was moved to center because he was on a line of three wingers: himself, Brian McGrattan and Vaclav Varada.

Ten years later, Kelly’€™s situation has been reversed: He’€™s a longtime center who has spent ample time at wing on a line full of pivots. Entering this season, he figures to find himself on a line with at least one other center again. Where he plays, however, is up in the air.

Kelly says he has never played a traditional left wing in the NHL. When he was moved back to left wing in Ottawa, he was playing with a very similar player in Antoine Vermette. The two shared center responsibilities, something that came in handy when Kelly was given a similar task with Carl Soderberg. Though Soderberg was the de facto center on his line with Kelly and Loui Eriksson, Kelly often helped out with draws and took on the center’€™s responsibilities in the defensive zone.

Prior to playing with Soderberg in Boston, Kelly was teamed with yet another center in Rich Peverley. That gave Claude Julien a left-shot center and a right-shot center on one line.

So far in training camp, Kelly has gotten reps at both left wing and center. If the B’€™s use him as a left wing, he could be an option for Ryan Spooner’€™s line, which would allow him to aid Spooner the way he did with Soderberg. So far, however, Spooner has played exclusively with Jimmy Hayes on the left and Brett Connolly on the right. It’s the one line that has gone unchanged thus far in training camp.

Kelly could also center the fourth line, something he did down the stretch last season. Such a scenario could see another center moved to wing in Max Talbot.  Julien enjoys playing Kelly with other centers and Kelly likes skating with other pivots, whether it’€™s helping them with defensive responsibilities or giving his line another option on faceoffs.

“It’€™s a lot easier to go from center to wing than from wing to center,” Kelly said. “It’€™s a different game and I think, at the end of the day, if things can be made easier for everyone, that’€™s what you want to do. The less working you have to do out there and thinking and just reacting, I think it makes everyone that much better.”

Because Kelly’€™s $3 million cap hit is high for a forward who doesn’€™t score many goals (he had seven in 80 games last season), he’€™s an easy target for casual hockey observers. Even if he winds up being a fourth-liner this season, Julien knows what he’€™s getting no matter where Kelly lines up.

“Yes, he’€™s not that top-line player that scores goals and everything, but [for] a team to succeed, [it] needs a little bit of everything,” Julien said. “He’€™s certainly got some versatility, where he can play either position.”

With Kelly set to turn 35 in November, he’s seen plenty in his time in the NHL. As far as mixing and matching positions goes, this coming season could be more of the same.

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Matt Beleskey, David Krejci among Bruins to make preseason debut Tuesday

09.22.15 at 11:36 am ET
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Folks will get their first look at a potential line of David Krejci between Matt Beleskey and David Pastrnak when the Bruins host the Capitals in a preseason game at TD Garden Tuesday night. Based on Tuesday’s first practice, Zane McIntyre is expected to get the start.

Alexander Khokhlachev and Brandon DeFazio are the only players in Tuesday’s lineup that played in Sunday’s preseason opener. The lineup for Tuesday is as follows:

Beleskey-Krejci-Pastrnak
Vatrano-Czarnik-Ferlin
Blidh-Kelly-Hickman
DeFazio-Khokhlachev-Senyshyn

Krug-McQuaid
Morrow-Casto
Arnesson-Miller

McIntyre
Subban

——-

Some other observations from Tuesday:

– Loui Eriksson practiced as the right wing on Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand‘s line. Eriksson has been moved around Boston’s lineup a bit in camp, playing mostly with either David Krejci or Bergeron. He skated with Bergeron and Marchand on Saturday.

Dennis Seidenberg did not practice Tuesday. He remains out with an upper-body injury.

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