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Andrej Meszaros hopes for fewer healthy scratches with Bruins

03.05.14 at 7:02 pm ET
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Recently acquired Bruins defenseman Andrej Meszaros is on his way to Boston and could be available to the Bruins as early as Thursday night. Speaking to a pool reporter, he expressed his excitement to become a Bruin as he moves on from his days with the Flyers.

Meszaros was teammates with Zdeno Chara and Chris Kelly in Ottawa and was also a junior teammate of Milan Lucic. The Slovakia native has also been Olympic teammates with Chara since 2006. He said he spoke to Boston’s captain following the trade and looks forward to being a Bruin.

“I’€™m really excited obviously,” Meszaros said. “It’€™s a great opportunity, a great team and a great organization that I am happy to be a part of. Obviously I really liked it here in Philadelphia. It was great — great guys great organization. But this year it wasn’€™t working out for me. I wasn’€™t playing much, I was in and out of the lineup so I am happy now that I have the opportunity now to play hopefully more consistently and I’€™m better. So I’€™m happy it will be a new, fresh start for me and I am really excited.”

In and out of the lineup, indeed. Meszaros was a healthy scratch in 24 games for the Flyers this season and averaged 17:22 of ice time in the games he did play. Once the Flyers traded for Andrew MacDonald, Meszaros became expendable. Now that he’s in Boston, Meszaros hopes the scratches don’t come as frequently.

“It’€™s tough for any player who is not playing regularly,” he said. “We have eight defensemen over here and they were rotating us in and out of the lineup. It’€™s never fun; you always want to play every game and I didn’€™t have the chance to do that here. Hopefully I can do it in Boston and as much as I really like it here. Everybody was so nice to me, all of the trainers and everybody, the guys, all the guys in the room. This is a new opportunity for me and I’€™m really excited. I put it behind me now and I am going to focus for Boston and play the best that I can.”

A left shot who can play both sides, Meszaros could either try to challenge Matt Bartkowski for a spot on the left side or Kevan Miller and (eventually) Adam McQuaid for a spot on the right side. At the very least, he provides the Bruins with depth.

There may be some on-ice growing pains with Meszaros as he leaves Philadelphia, however. Peter Chiarelli told him that it might take time for him to get acclimated to the Bruins’ system, as Philadelphia plays more man-to-man and the B’s play more of a zone. The 28-year-old defenseman doesn’t think adjusting will be too big an issue.

“I think every system is different and I don’€™t think it’€™s going to be hard for me to adjust to that,” he said. “I think I’€™m pretty easy; anything the coach will tell me to do I think I can pick it up really quickly. So I don’€™t think I should have any problem with that.”

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Loui Eriksson has heel infection, wasn’t part of trade talks

03.05.14 at 6:04 pm ET
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Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli confirmed following the trade deadline that forward Loui Eriksson‘s absence from the ice the last two days had nothing to do with trade talks, but rather a minor ailment. Chiarelli revealed that ailment to be a heel infection.

“Very minor heel injury,” Chiarelli said. “A little infection in the heel that got aggravated when he put his heel in the boot.

“So no, we weren’t trading him,” Chiarelli added with an expression that was half grinning and half annoyed. “‘€¦ He should be fine for tomorrow.”

Eriksson missed Tuesday’s game due to the infection. Claude Julien had said earlier Wednesday that Eriksson was expected to be on the ice for Thursday’s morning skate and play in Thursday night’s game against the Capitals.

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

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Adam McQuaid has quad strain, Bruins will shut him down for two to three weeks

03.05.14 at 5:43 pm ET
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The Bruins will shut Adam McQuaid down for two to three weeks as he recovers from what Peter Chiarelli finally revealed to be a quad strain. McQuaid has missed 31 games with what the team had previously only called a lower-body injury.

‘€œWe’€™re going to shut him down for two to three weeks,” Chiarelli said. “His injury, while it keeps healing, he has setbacks, so we’€™re going to give him rest two to three weeks and see where he is after that.”

McQuaid was close to returning to the lineup last week before suffering his latest setback. He hasn’t played since Jan. 19 against the Blackhawks.

“He’s got a quad strain. He was really close — you’ve heard Claude [Julien] say [he was] ready and ready to go and stuff, and he had good sessions over the break. He just reaggravated it.”

Chiarelli said that the team is not currently considering surgery. The Bruins GM compared McQuaid’s situation to that of Jared Knight a season ago. Knight dealt with a hamstring injury last season that limited him to just 12 games last season between the AHL and ECHL. The team ended up shutting down Knight for a two-week stretch after a reaggravation.

The Bruins acquired a pair of defensemen Wednesday in Andrej Meszaros and Corey Potter. Both can play the right side, though the team currently has Kevan Miller playing on the third pair in McQuaid’s place.

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

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Bruins teammates weigh in on Andrej Meszaros trade, Thomas Vanek to Canadiens trade

03.05.14 at 4:50 pm ET
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The trade deadline came and went Wednesday, with defenseman Andrej Meszaros the biggest name acquired by the B’s. After the trade deadline, a couple of his new Bruins teammates weighed in on the acquisition.

Chris Kelly knows Meszaros well, as the two were teammates in Ottawa. Kelly said that the 30-year-old Slovakia native uses his 6-foot-2, 220-pound body well.

” ‘€œMez skates extremely well, he’€™s got a great shot and he’€™s a big body,” Kelly said. “He’€™s a left-handed shot. I think that’€™s what Peter [Chiarelli] was saying, you guys were telling me, that they wanted some depth on the back end and I think he fills that.”

Added Kelly: “He’€™s a big, big guy. You’€™ll see. He’€™s a big strong guy. You know all those Slovaks, they’€™re big men.”€

Kelly added that Meszaros will fit in well with the team, saying that the Bruins have had “more difficult guys come into our room in the past.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Canadiens trade for Bruins-killer Thomas Vanek

03.05.14 at 3:37 pm ET
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While the Bruins’ top competition in the East had a relatively quiet trade deadline, it was the Canadiens who made the biggest splash Wednesday, reportedly acquiring Bruins-killer Thomas Vanek from the Islanders.

According to multiple reports, the Canadiens parted with a second-round pick and a prospect in exchange for Vanek, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound winger with 61 points (30 goals, 31 assists) in 53 career games against the B’s. The 30-year-old, who had played his entire career for the Sabres prior to being moved to the Islanders earlier in the season, has 21 goals and 32 assists this season for 53 points.

Earlier in the day, the Penguins traded a pair of draft picks to Florida for center Marcel Goc. Pittsburgh leads the Eastern Conference with 86 points, while the Atlantic-leading Bruins are second in the East with 83 points. Montreal has 75 points and sits second in the Atlantic Division, though the Habs have played 63 games to Boston’s 61.

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

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Bruins trade conditional pick to Flyers for Andrej Meszaros

03.05.14 at 2:57 pm ET
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The Bruins have acquired defenseman Andrej Meszaros from the Flyers, according to a league source. Meszaros, 28, is in the final year of his contract and has spent numerous games as a healthy scratch this season.

The Bruins will send a conditional third-round pick in the 2014 draft to Philadelphia. If the team reaches the Eastern Conference finals and Meszaros plays in at least two-thirds of Boston’s games in the postseason, the pick will become a 2014 second-rounder. It would also become a 2014 second-rounder if the team re-signs him prior to the draft. If neither of those conditions are met and the team signs him after the draft, a fourth-round pick in the 2015 draft goes to Philadelphia.

With Meszaros, the Bruins get a 6-foot-2, 223-pound defenseman blueliner with a left shot who has ample experience playing on both sides. The Bruins were in need of depth on the left side of their defense after the season-ending ACL injury suffered by Dennis Seidenberg. Meszaros has five goals and 12 assists for 17 points and a plus-1 rating for Philadelphia this season.

Meszaros has averaged 17:22 of ice time per game this season for the Flyers, though he averaged 20 minutes or more a night in six seasons prior to the lockout-shortened 2013 season. He became expendable after the Flyers traded for defenseman Andrew MacDonald Tuesday.

For the sake of comparison, Matt Bartkowski, Boston’s second-pairing left defenseman, has averaged 19:24 of ice time this season.

Meszaros’ biggest connection to the Bruins, literally, is Zdeno Chara. The two were teammates in Ottawa and have been Olympic teammates for Slovakia since 2006 in Turin.

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

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Andy Brickley on M&M: Adding a defenseman ‘a definite must for the Bruins’

03.05.14 at 2:40 pm ET
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NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley made his weekly appearance with Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to talk about which defensemen the Bruins could add before Wednesday’s trade deadline, the possibility of adding a veteran forward and more. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

With rumors swirling that the Blue Jackets and Bruins could be trade partners, Brickley provided information on Columbus defensemen Jack Johnson and Niktia Nikitin.

“Jack Johnson more of an offensive guy,” Brickley said. “€œLikes to have the puck, likes to jump into the play, wants to be in on every power-play opportunity. Has some wrist to his game, he is highly skilled. But when the U.S. was putting its team together for the Olympics, he’€™s not inside the top eight, which tells you maybe his game has gone in the wrong direction.”

Added Brickley: “Nikitin may be more of the type of player the Bruins were looking at. Big body, allows the system to be your friend, do your job, be a hard, physical, punishing guy in your own zone, make the simple play. Maybe he’€™s more of a fit based on the fact that you don’€™t want to subtract much from your roster in order to go get what you think you need. And I think Nikitin is really probably higher on the want list even though Jack Johnson is the more of a talent player.”

Brickley said the Bruins should add depth to their defense, knowing that injuries have clouded the depth chart.

“€œIf you look at their D, you know [Zdeno] Chara, [Dougie] Hamilton, [Matt] Bartkowski, [Johnny] Boychuck, [Torey] Krug, [Kevan] Miller, and now you don’€™t know what [Adam] McQuaid‘€™s situation is. You obviously don’€™t have [Dennis] Seidenberg.”

Added Brickley: “€œDoes that give you enough? The Bruins went through nine defensemen last year, the Chicago Blackhawks really only played six, I think their seventh defensemen played one, so they stayed healthier, but the Bruins went through nine D. And the guy that played the least was Wade Redden, and I think he played somewhere around five games, so you need as many defensemen, healthy defensemen, experienced defensemen, versatile defensemen and the right attitude defensemen if you think you’€™re going to have a long playoff run. So I think that is a definite must for the Bruins.”

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Read More: Columbus Blue Jackets, Jack Johnson, Niktia Nikitin,
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