|11.12.15 at 12:56 pm ET|
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. ‘If they ask me to do it, then I’m happy to do it.”
|11.12.15 at 10:41 am ET|
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:
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.
|11.11.15 at 3:23 pm ET|
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 ‘being 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.”
|11.11.15 at 1:04 pm ET|
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.
|11.11.15 at 11:37 am ET|
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:
|11.10.15 at 12:22 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — David Pastrnak and Torey Krug were both missing from the ice as the Bruins returned to practice Tuesday at Ristuccia Arena.
Pastrnak has missed the last four games with a bruised foot. With Pastrnak still out, Frank Vatrano skated on David Krejci‘s line with Loui Eriksson. Claude Julien said after the practice that Krug was given a maintenance day, but that Pastrnak’s status remains up in the air.
“He’s still not ready to go, obviously,” Julien said. “I don’t know. I haven’t heard much from our training staff, but they told me he’s not available, so it doesn’t look good I guess as we speak because of that. I was expecting him to be back today. We’ll see what comes out of that.”
All other players were on the ice Tuesday. The forward lines were as follows:
The Bruins are in the middle of a three-day stretch of no game action. They had Monday off and will practice again on Wednesday before hosting the Avalanche in the first game of a five-game homestand.
|11.09.15 at 7:38 pm ET|
The Bruins sent Max Talbot to Providence on Monday evening, marking the second time this season they’ve assigned the veteran forward to the AHL.
The demotion comes after last week’s recall, which saw Talbot play three games for the B’s following Chris Kelly‘s regular-season-ending femur fracture. Talbot skated on Boston’s fourth line and killed penalties, never reaching 10 minutes of ice time in a game.
Prior to Talbot’s recall, he had played three games for Providence and recorded four assists. He was waived prior to the start of the season, which allowed the B’s to send to him to Providence on Oct. 27.
The demotion of Talbot presents good news for Frank Vatrano, who appears to be safe on Boston’s roster for the time being. The East Longmeadow native was recalled on Friday to play in place of David Pastrnak, who has missed the last four games with a bruised foot. Vatrano scored in his NHL debut Saturday night against the Canadiens.