|10.10.13 at 11:50 am ET|
The Bruins held an optional skate Thursday morning, with Carl Soderberg joining his teammates on the ice for the first time since injuring his left ankle nearly two weeks ago.
Soderberg has been skating on his own since Monday but had not practiced. The morning skate was a good opportunity for the B’s to get him in a practice situation, as morning skates are less physically trying and do not involve contact. Claude Julien said that he Soderberg to practice Friday.
“I think it’s a start,” Julien said. “He’s skated enough the last [few days], so it was good to see him out there and doing at least some line rushes and stuff like that. He’s progressing well, but obviously not ready to play.”
|10.09.13 at 2:11 pm ET|
NESN’s Andy Brickley joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to talk about the Bruins’ hot start to the season.
Boston posted a pair of home victories last week. On Thursday, the Bruins beat the Lightning, 3-1, then they took down the Red Wings, 4-1.
One area Boston needed improving on following its Stanley Cup runner-up season is the power play. The Bruins ranked dead last in the NHL in power-play goals last season with 18. But they’ve already notched two man-advantage goals through two games.
“It’s still a work in progress, and will be for a while, they’ll continue to experiment, and continue to try [Zdeno] Chara at the front of the net with one power-play unit,” Brickley said. “You’ve got different weapons this year, [Jarome] Iginla’s a great finisher with the man advantage, [Loui] Eriksson’s a real good power-play guy.”
Aside from the power play, Boston also must fill the void left by playmakers Tyler Seguin, who was traded to Dallas, and Nathan Horton, signed as a free agent by Columbus.
The Bruins hope Eriksson, who came over from the Stars for Seguin, can fill that void. Eriksson has not entered the point column yet as a Bruin.
“He came in as the centerpiece of that deal, with Seguin going the other way down to Dallas, and I think the expectations are that he’s going to be a 70-point guy, and he’s off to a slow start as far as the offense is concerned,” Brickley said. “I think the reason why is he, too, is playing with a little bit of a conservative attitude, trying to fit in with the system.
“But he had a couple of really good scoring opportunities last game.”
|10.09.13 at 1:05 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — It’s just two games into the season, but it would appear that — barring an injury to a Bruins forward – Carl Soderberg won’t be getting into the Bruins’ lineup any time soon.
Soderberg skated for the third straight day Wednesday (he still hasn’t returned to practice), but with the third line of Chris Kelly between Jordan Caron and Reilly Smith clicking without him since his ankle injury allowed Caron to step into the lineup, there won’t be a job waiting for him when he’s healthy.
Such a scenario would seem a bit far away at this point, but should the Bruins not have a spot for Soderberg for a long stretch once he’s ready to play, they could send him to Providence for up to 14 days on a conditioning assignment without enduring the risk that comes with the waiver process. He would get paid the same amount of money and wouldn’t be subject to waivers, but the B’s could only do it once.
“We’re not there yet, to be honest with you,” Claude Julien said Wednesday.
Last season, the Bruins got busted trying it more than once when they sent defenseman Aaron Johnson on a second conditioning assignment. Upon being notified of it, they had to call Johnson back before he even got to Providence.
|10.09.13 at 10:21 am ET|
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning and discussed the heartbreak of last season’s Stanley Cup finals, the optimism he has for this year and his relationship with Red Sox players.
Boston began the regular season 2-0 with a pair of victories at home last week. The Bruins beat the Lightning 3-1 last Thursday, then the Red Wings 4-1 last Saturday.
“It’s only been two games, but you can tell the personalities in the room, that guys are built not to take a night off,” Thornton said. “We might not be at our best every night, but I think that guys get in there wanting to show up and play every night. That might sound like it’s easy to do and you should do it, but not everyone’s built like that. But I think that the guys we brought in, and the guys who were already here, and the guys we kept are definitely built that way.”
Looking back at last season’s Cup finals, the Bruins blew a 2-1 lead with just over a minute remaining in the third period of Game 6 vs. the Blackhawks on June 24, a loss that still stings for Thornton.
“No, it’ll never be over,” Thornton said when asked when the hangover from the postseason ends. “I’ll be thinking about it for years to come, but it’s more of a motivator than a hangover, you get that close and it stings.”
Less than three months removed from its gut-wrenching loss to Chicago, Boston made significant changes to its lineup. Forwards Tyler Seguin and Nathan Horton are gone, replaced by former Penguin Jerome Iginla and former Star Loui Eriksson, while youngsters Reilly Smith — acquired via trade from Dallas along with Erikkson this offseason — and Jordan Caron have taken on elevated roles.
“We’ve got a group of guys that have been around for seven or eight years, and we know how important that is to make people feel welcome. So, coming into our room, you’d probably have to ask them, but I’d like to think that it’s a fairly easy transition, you come in with open arms,” said Thornton.
The NHL implemented a new rule regarding fighting this season. Any player who removes his helmet before the start of a fight will receive a two-minute penalty in addition to the five-minute penalty for fighting.
“I’m not a fan, I’m really not,” said Thornton, Boston’s enforcer. “Obviously I’m a little biased, but it’s seven minutes for fighting now if a guy has a visor because everyone’s going to take their helmet off. And I think when you take the helmet off you take away from the player safety that everyone’s preaching, so I think it’s counterproductive.”
The Red Sox beat the Rays on Tuesday night and moved on to the ALCS where they’ll face either the Tigers or Athletics.
“We’re big supporters of the Sox, pretty much any local sports team I guess,” Thornton said. “You get to meet a lot of those guys when you’re out and about in town so there’s a lot of crossover, they support us, we support them. I’ve been here for seven years, kind of turned me from a Jays fan to a Sox fans, I’m not going to lie.”
|10.08.13 at 9:11 pm ET|
Matt Bartkowski isn’t the first to play the waiting game.
After proving himself capable of being a top-four NHL defenseman last postseason, Bartkowski has been the victim of a numbers game. With all of Boston’s blueliners healthy, it’s essentially down to Bartkowski and Torey Krug for the team’s third-pairing left defenseman. Krug is too valuable to the power play to sit, so for the first two games, Bartkowski’s worn a suit rather than a uniform.
Adam McQuaid knows exactly what that’s like.
McQuaid had played 19 games for in the 2009-10 season (Bartkowski played 11 last year) before playing nine games in the postseason (Bartkowski got in five games this past spring), but when the B’s began the 2010-11 season as the team’s seventh defenseman. To keep sane amidst the his time out of game action, the then-23-turned-24-year-old picked the brain of Johnny Boychuk, who had been through it before. As such, he hopes he can be of help to Bartkowski.
“I know what it’s like to be in that position,” McQuaid said. “When I went through it, I talked to Johnny Boychuk about it, and there’s always that kind of progression where the next guy can talk to you. If I’m lucky enough to be in a position where guys are comfortable [enough] to talk to me, and want to talk to me about different stuff, I’m happy to do so.”
As it turned out, it took an injury to Boychuk for McQuaid to get his chance. A Boychuk arm injury in late October allowed McQuaid to get into 10 games. Later in the season, McQuaid made enough of a case for himself while Mark Stuart was out with a hand injury that the B’s opted to keep McQuaid in the lineup and trade Stuart in the Rich Peverley deal.
The lesson? Don’t get down just because you’re not playing. Injuries happen and everyone gets their shot. The Bruins already have a case of it this year with Jordan Caron, who has in all likelihood turned Carl Soderberg into the team’s extra forward once Soderberg returns from his ankle injury.
“You never know what can happen,” McQuaid said. “The tough thing about it is that a lot of times it’s an injury and you don’t want to see a teammate and a friend get injured in order for yourself to get an opportunity. You just have to stay prepared. Practicing hard, and when you’re at the games, paying attention. Just being ready when you have the opportunity because you definitely want to make the most of it.”
McQuaid sat for the first six games in the 2010-11 season before Boychuk’s injury opened the door for him. Claude Julien has said that the wait won’t be too long for Bartkowski. Whether Krug, Dougie Hamilton or someone else sits, the B’s are going to get him into a game.
“I’ll be very honest — he’s not going to sit up there for a month,” Julien said Tuesday. “That’s not going to happen. We’ve got some good players that need to play. Especially early in the year, you’ve got to give those guys opportunities to play. When that’s going to happen, I’m not sure yet, but certainly don’t expect to see him in the stands for a whole month.”
|10.08.13 at 12:48 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Carl Soderberg skated for the second straight day on Tuesday, but he did not participate in practice as he remains out with an ankle injury.
Soderberg won’t get into a game without practicing first, though there doesn’t appear to be a roster spot for him at the moment anyway with Jordan Caron having claimed the left wing job on the third line for the time being.
Given that, the B’s should be in no rush to bring Soderberg back. The fact that he’s skating is encouraging, and he could be seen walking through the team’s dressing room the last two days without a limp.
“Day to day is the best I can say right now,” Claude Julien said of Soderberg. “He’s skating, and when I say day-to-day, he’s getting closer to practicing with us. Once he practices with us and I get the OK from our medical staff, we’ll move forward. Day-to-day doesn’t necessarily mean tomorrow, but he is progressing extremely well.”
|10.07.13 at 9:21 pm ET|
It’s only been two games, but with a four-day break between games for the Bruins, there couldn’t be a better time for the first of what should be about 600 “How is Loui Eriksson fitting in?” posts.
The new second line of Patrice Bergeron between Brad Marchand and Eriksson has tried to gain chemistry while also handling some mighty tall tasks in matching up against Steven Stamkos‘ line Thursday and Pavel Datsyuk‘s line Saturday. The three kept Stamkos and Martin St. Louis’ trio off the board in season-opener and swapped goals with Datsyuk’s line in the Bruins’ win over the Red Wings.
Yet with Eriksson coming in to do more than defend, one couldn’t blame Bruins fans for being eager to see how the three will fare offensively. That’s a work in progress, as Eriksson admitted Monday that he’s still trying to shake some old habits.
“Sometimes it feels like I’m trying to play like I did in Dallas a little bit,” he admitted. “I’m just trying to learn to … stay more on my side. I get a tendency to go on the other side. I think that’s a pretty simple thing to adjust to.”
Indeed, a first-period opportunity Saturday fell apart when Eriksson, a left-shot right wing, and Marchand didn’t seem to be on the same page on a play in which they were on the opposite wings. It wasn’t a matter of where they were on the ice, as that happens all the time, but Eriksson seemed to want to get back on their respective sides while Marchand appeared eager to continue as is. Marchand, waiting at the blue line, tried to stay the course and remain on the right side, while Eriksson seemed to be getting back over to the right side as he brought the puck through the neutral zone.
The good news is that there wasn’t any confusion the next period, when Marchand flew down the right wing and, with Bergeron driving the net, fired a shot past Jimmy Howard for his first goal of the season.
“You just need to read each other,” Eriksson said. “I think we’re getting better at that.”
The three players seemed to get more comfortable with one another as the game went on, and though it’s surprisingly been the third line that has perhaps clicked the most on the early season, Julien sees enough progress that he likes the direction in which perhaps his most important line is headed.
“I think you see it in practice, too. Games, practice. It’s a matter of time,” Julien said. “You can’t judge or expect miracles in the first few games of a season. You give them a good month to get to know each other and play together, and you hope that in that month it progresses. So far I’ve seen that from training camp to now.”
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