Big Bad Blog
WEEI.com Blog Network

Bruins review: Carl Soderberg coming alive, Malcolm Subban fights

11.10.13 at 5:38 pm ET
By   |   Comments

Reviewing the week that was in Bruins land.

This week packed a punch. From Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley to Tim Thomas (kind of) and then Phil Kessel, it was reunion week at TD Garden. The Bruins won two of the three games and now stand at 10-5-1 with 21 points on the season. They trail the Lightning (24 points in 16 games) and will take them on Monday.

WHAT HAPPENED

Seguin came back to Boston. We spoke at length with Peter Chiarelli about Seguin’s time here and the trade
Loui Eriksson returned to the lineup, as did Johnny Boychuk
Peverley came back too, and he beat the Bruins in a shootout
People booed the bejesus out of Seguin. Why?
Claude Julien corrected record about Tim Thomas winning the Bruins a Stanley Cup
Brad Marchand finally scored as the Bruins beat the Panthers, who fired everyone after because the Panthers stink
Tuukka Rask admitted that the consequences of him not being at his best are greater with the B’s a work in progress defensively
The third line the Bruins had planned on having in the preseason finally got together and did well
Panthers forward Jesse Winchester left his feet to elbow Chris Kelly in the head and was suspended three games for it
Scott McLaughlin gave his argument against fighting in the NHL and noted hits like Winchester’s need to be a priority
The Bruins beat the Maple Leafs, but with far less drama than last time
Adam McQuaid was hurt in the win and is unlikely to play Monday
As such, the Bruins will likely have three mobile defensemen in their lineup against the Lightning

IT WAS A GOOD WEEK FOR’€¦

Carl Soderberg: The 28-year-old his playing the best hockey of his brief NHL career. It’s been a combination of him being more comfortable in the league and his ankle not bothering him as much as it did when he first returned. He has points in two of his last three games.

Jarome Iginla: The 36-year-old was a beast Saturday against the Maple Leafs and has been — to this point, at least — a regular-season upgrade over Nathan Horton.

Milan Lucic: The former 30-goal-scorer-turned-seven-goal-scorer tied his goal output of the lockout-shortened season when he notched his seventh goal of the season Tuesday against the Stars. It took him 46 games to get to that number last season.

Torey Krug: The undersized and over-talented blueliner still has his uh-oh moments defensively, and he’s going to have them. He’s also going to have weeks like this one, where he had goals in consecutive games.

IT WAS A BAD WEEK FOR’€¦

Brad Marchand: He isn’t out of the woods yet. Despite finally scoring his second goal of the season Thursday, he had a bad turnover in a following shift. He was also passive along the wall Saturday in allowing the Leafs to create a 2-on-1. Things are looking up, but it isn’t smooth sailing just yet.

Zdeno Chara (kind of): Only for Thursday. A bad line change with the Bruins holding a one-goal lead against the Stars against the Stars resulted in a Vernon Fiddler breakaway. Dennis Seidenberg had to hook him, resulting in a penalty shot on which Fiddler tied the game. The B’s lost in a shootout.

Gregory Campbell: The Merlot Line center has just one shot on goal over the last six games. His trio was also stuck in the Bruins’ zone for a while in the second period.

Claude Julien: He did fine as a coach, but he got Tyler Seguin and Tim Thomas questions all week. He seemed to get sick of them in a hurry.

MEANWHILE, IN PROVIDENCE’€¦

Matt Fraser had four goals Friday in an 8-5 win over Hartford that also featured a hat trick from Craig Cunningham. I wasn’t there and didn’t see it, but considering the lack of suspension, Fraser celebrated his goal differently than Joe Thornton would have.

Alexander Khokhlachev also scored in the game, giving him two goals in a three-game span after going without a goal in his first eight games of the season. With an assist Saturday and a goal Sunday, Khokhlachev seems to have found his rhythm after a quiet start.

Saturday’s 5-2 win over Worcester featured a pair of goals from Carter Camper, and last but not least, Malcolm Subban got in a fight in Sunday’s 6-0 Providence win over Hartford. Subban dropped the gloves against Hartford netminder Scott Stajcer for his first professional fight. His brother, P.K. Subban, has 11 career fights and a 12 in the preseason.

Fan videos of the fight can be seen here and here.

Read More: Carl Soderberg, Jarome Iginla, Malcolm Subban, Tyler Seguin

Offense taking over defense with Matt Bartkowski ready to step in for Adam McQuaid

11.10.13 at 1:36 pm ET
By   |   Comments

WILMINGTON – Claude Julien said at the beginning of the season that the Bruins wouldn’t let Matt Bartkowski sit for a month. It’s true — they didn’t — but they’ve hardly gotten him into the lineup regularly of late.

With Bartkowski set to step in Monday for the injured Adam McQuaid, he’ll be playing in just the second time in the last 11 games. Bartkowski last played last Saturday against the Islanders, when he posted a minus-1 in a 3-1 Bruins loss.

“It’s just like stepping in for another game,” Bartkowski said Sunday. “I just try and think about that, so it’s nothing new.”

Assuming Bartkowski is in, the Bruins will likely be looking at having one of their young, mobile defensemen on each of their three pairings. Bartkowski was paired with Johnny Boychuk in practice Sunday, while Hamilton skated with Zdeno Chara and Krug — playing on the right side — was with Dennis Seidenberg.

If the Bruins go with those pairings — which are different from the ones they had when McQuaid was scratched in favor of Bartkowski in Florida last month — a Bruins back end that has already become a lot more offensive-minded will take it a step further with half of the defensemen being mobile blueliners.

“We do bring a little bit different game, I guess, with the skating and everything,” Bartkowski said. “It seems like the league has a lot of those D, and it’s good that we can bring that to the team. The solid D core that they’ve had here for years has worked. They won a Cup with it and everything, so for us to be able to add a little bit, it definitely helps.”

On the season, Bartkowski has played in four games, registering one assist and posting a minus-3 rating.

Given that the Bruins entered the season with seven defensemen capable of being NHL regulars, it seemed likely that Bartkowski, the fourth left shot among the seven, would be the odd man out. Yet Julien vowed to get him in the lineup wherever he could rather than letting him collect cobwebs in the press box like many spare parts.

As such, Bartkowski played in three of the Bruins’ first six games. Yet due to steady play from Torey Krug and Dougie Hamilton and perhaps a desire on the Bruins’ part to get some consistency during a rough stretch of the season, Bartkowski played in only one of the next 10 contests.

“We all know that under other circumstances he’€™d probably be in the top-4 maybe even on some other teams when he’€™s on top of his game, so he’€™s a good defenseman,” Julien said. “It’€™s just right now we’€™ve got numbers. We’€™ve got veterans that are extremely good, that we’€™ve relied on in the past.

“We’€™ve got some good young players here. ‘€¦ How do you take Krug out of the lineup when he’€™s probably one of your most important guys on the power play? Hamilton is the same way. He’€™s on the power play but he’€™s also played extremely well, so it’€™s not easy to balance those things out. So you make decisions as you go along, you know with time it’€™ll even itself out but he’€™s a good player, he deserves and belongs in this league. It’€™s as simple as that.”

Read More: Adam McQuaid, Matt Bartkowski, Torey Krug,

Adam McQuaid doubtful for Monday

11.10.13 at 11:38 am ET
By   |   Comments

WILMINGTON — Adam McQuaid is doubtful for Monday’s game against the Lightning after missing Sunday’s practice. McQuaid appeared to suffer a lower-body injury on his second shift of Saturday’s game and was slow to get off the ice.

Claude Julien said after the practice that McQuaid is “still hurting.” With McQuaid is unlikely to play, Matt Bartkowski will probably make his return to the lineup.

Bartkowski has played just once in the Bruins’ last nine games (last Saturday against the Islanders), but was paired with Johnny Boychuk in Sunday’s practice.

The Bruins’ defensive pairings in practice were Chara – Hamilton, Seidenberg – Krug, Bartkowski – Boychuk.

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

Read More: Adam McQuaid,

Dougie Hamilton steps up against Toronto, adding to his second-year improvement

11.09.13 at 11:58 pm ET
By   |   Comments

Dougie Hamilton saw his three-game point streak come to an end Saturday night. He couldn’€™t get off the ice during a two-and-a-half-minute shift in the second period. And he said after the game that he didn’€™t know where the phrase ‘€œJekyll and Hyde’€ came from.

There you go. Those are all the things that went wrong for Hamilton in the Bruins’€™ 3-1 win over Toronto. The list of things that went right is much, much longer, as the 20-year-old defenseman played arguably his best game of the season, and maybe the best of his young career.

With Adam McQuaid playing just 44 seconds before leaving the game with an injury, the rest of the Bruins’€™ defense corps had to pick up his minutes. But it was Hamilton who saw the biggest spike in playing time. He wound up playing 24:43, a career high for a 60-minute game and a full five minutes more than his season average entering Saturday.

“His first part of the year he was in and out a little bit. But he’€™s played really solid for us,” Claude Julien said after the game. “Offensively he continues to make good decisions, good plays, very aggressive. Defensively he’€™s becoming better and better all the time. So he’€™s a young player — he’€™s a 20-year-old — but with experience, he’€™s starting to flourish and he just has to keep going that way.”

Hamilton would’€™ve picked up a couple extra minutes no matter what, but the way he played warranted even more than that. He created a number of scoring chances in the offensive zone, including one in the first where he made a nice move around Nikolai Kulemin at the blue line before zipping a pass over to David Krejci, only to have Krejci flip the shot off the side of the net. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Adam McQuaid, Dougie Hamilton, Tuukka Rask,

Bruins await word on Adam McQuaid

11.09.13 at 10:54 pm ET
By   |   Comments

Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid left Saturday night’s win over the Maple Leafs with a lower-body injury in the third period and did not return to the game. Following the game, Claude Julien had little to share on his status.

“It’s hard to give you a real good assessment after the game,” Julien said. “He didn’t come back because he couldn’t. We’ll probably give you more tomorrow when it’s a little bit clearer.”

McQuaid went down in his second shift of the game and first shift following a fight with Frazer McLaren. He was spotted by the Patriot-Ledger’s Mike Loftus walking out of the Garden under his own power following the game without crutches, but struggling to an extent.

If McQuaid is unable to go Monday against the Lightning, Matt Bartkowski could return to the lineup after being a healthy scratch in nine of the Bruins’ last 10 games.

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

 

Read More: Adam McQuaid, Claude Julien, Frazer McLaren, Matt Bartkowski

Bruins beat Maple Leafs in less dramatic fashion

11.09.13 at 9:51 pm ET
By   |   Comments

The Bruins squeaked by the Maple Leafs Saturday, but they didn’t need as much drama as last time.

With a 3-1 win over Toronto, the B’s were able to pick up their second victory in a row and improve their record to 10-5-1 on the season.

The Bruins got on the board in the first period with Zdeno Chara’s third power-play goal of the season, with Patrice Bergeron breaking a 1-1 tie in the third by burying a rebound off a Carl Soderberg shot past James Reimer. Bergeron made it 3-1 with an empty-netter with 21.7 seconds remaining.

For the second straight game, Tuukka Rask allowed just one goal. The Leafs’ lone tally came in the form of a snipe of a wrist shot from Joffrey Lupul in the second period.

The Bruins will next play Monday, when they host the conference-leading Lightning.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

- Jarome Iginla was all over the place for the B’s. He created his own scoring opportunity early on when he took the puck out of a scrum in the corner and pretty much walked through Nazem Kadri to get to the net, but it was on the power play that he picked up his own rebound and fed Chara for a Bruins goal. His fight with David Clarkson in the second period brought him a goal away from a Gordie Howe hat trick. He would have had it had Reimer not robbed him in the slot off a pass from Malan Lucic three and a half minutes into the third.

- With his goal, Bergeron picked up his first point in five games. Furthermore, it was the first power-play goal by a Bruins full-time forward this season.

- Carl Soderberg continues to produce for the B’s, as it was his rebound on the power play that Bergeron fired into the net to give the Bruins the lead. Soderberg now has points in two of his last three games, but he also forced the Tomas Fleischmann turnover in the third period of Thursday’s game to create Reilly Smith’s goal.

The B’s could have done without Soderberg’s holding the stick penalty late in the third, as killing a penally in the final five minutes isn’t what you want to be doing with a one-goal lead.

- Speaking of Smith, he’s keeping up his pace as well, as he got the secondary helper on Bergeron’s goal. Smith’s 11 points (two goals, nine assists) are third on the Bruins. Not bad for a guy who’s spent half of the season on the third line.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

- For as much as the Bruins dominated the first period, the Leafs returned the factor in the second period. The Bruins’ fourth line was stuck out there for a lengthy possession by the Leafs in the Bruins zone and couldn’t get the puck out for about a minute in a half. It wasn’t much later that Lupul’s goal came, which also came against the Merlot Line.

- Brad Marchand broke his goal drought Thursday against the Panthers, but his game continues to struggle. No. 63 attempted no shots over the first two periods, and some passive work from him along the wall in the offensive zone in the second period allowed the Leafs to get the puck out with ease on a shift that led to a 2-on-1 on which Rask had to come up with a big save on Jake Gardiner. Marchand also missed the net on a rush off a pass from Loui Eriksson in the third period.

Marchand does derisive credit for sticking with the play late in David Krejci’s third-period penalty, as he lost the puck deep in the Toronto zone on a shorthanded bid but came back around to fire a shot on Reimer from the circle. He also picked up an assist on Bergeron’s empty-netter.

- With no shots on goal (and none attempted) on Saturday, Gregory Campbell has use one shot on goal over the last six games.

- The Bruins had to play the majority of the game without Adam McQuaid, who left in the first period with a lower body injury and did not return.

Bruins hold optional morning skate in anticipation of Maple Leafs

11.09.13 at 11:38 am ET
By   |   Comments

The Bruins held an optional morning skate Saturday in anticipation of their first meeting of the season with the Maple Leafs. Toronto, who played Friday against the Devils, did not have a morning skate.

The B’s find themselves looking up at the Leafs in the standings, as the Leafs, who have played 16 games to Boston’s 15, are tied atop the Atlantic division with the Lightning. They’re also tied with the Penguins for the most points in the Eastern conference. The B’s have 19 points on the season.

James Reimer is expected to be in net for the Leafs. Reimer was the man between the pipes last May when the Bruins came back from a 4-1 deficit in the third period of Game 7 and won in overtime to win their Eastern Conference quarterfinals series.

Following the season, the Leafs went out and traded for Jonathan Bernier, with Bernier having started nine games thus far this season to Reimer’s seven.

While being back in net at the Garden might bring up bad memories for Reimer, Claude Julien was quick to provide a reminder that Reimer, who allowed one goal in both Games 5 and 6 as the Leafs came back in the series, was solid for Toronto.

“He was good,” Julien said. “We could look at one little part of one game of his series or we could look at the whole picture. He was good. He’s a good goaltender. It’s unfortunate that sometimes you have to live with those things. We had to live with collapsing against Philadelphia years ago when we had a 3-0 lead, but at the same time it’s important that you look at the positives and what it did it for our team, and what it’s going to do for him in the future.

“I think they’ve got a real good duo right now as far as goaltending is concerned. They’re able to utilize both of those guys, and that’s always key to a team as well.”

Read More: Claude Julien, James Reimer,
Bruins Box Score
Bruins Schedule
Bruins Headlines
NHL Headlines