Archive for September, 2010

Prague prep: Jet lag tips and a geography lesson from Dennis Seidenberg

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

With the Bruins gearing up for their preseason-concluding and season-opening trip to Europe, the anticipation throughout the locker room is rather apparent. Though some may know the respective areas of Belfast and the Czech Republic better than others, all seem to be genuinely excited for the trip.

Count Dennis Seidenberg among those players, but factor in that when he speaks of heading overseas to open the regular season, he speaks from experience. Last season, he, Gregory Campbell, Nathan Horton, and the rest of the Panthers made the trek to Finland for a couple of preseason games and two regular season matchups with the Blackhawks, the latter a series in which the Panthers split with the eventual Stanley Cup champions.

As much as Seidenberg, a native of Germany, enjoyed the trip, he found the travel of the preseason to be a bit much, and it would be hard to blame him based on the team’s preseason schedule: at Novia Scotia, at Ottawa, at Montreal, at Edmonton, at Calgary, at Dallas, home at Florida, and finally to Finland. Given that the Bruins’ travel this preseason has consisted of Montreal, New York, and DC as its road games, Seidenberg isn’t concerned the side effects that accompany a hectic schedule will be factor this time around.

“This year we definitely didn’t have all the traveling we had with the Panthers. We had a couple of road games, but they were pretty close, so traveling wasn’t a problem at all,” Seidenberg said. “I think we’ll get in there a little more rested, a little better prepared and it should be a good experience for everybody.”

The Panthers took the first game in a shootout. That was the good. The bad was the lesson that a hockey player’s schedule and jet lag don’t exactly fit together well. The Panthers played all four of their European games in the span of six days, while the Bruins arrive Thursday morning and will play their four games over an eight-day span (Oct. 2-10).

“The tough part was the time change, because every day around noon or three or four, you just wanted to go to sleep and sleep for the rest of the night,” Seidenberg said. “You just can’t do that. It takes a few days to get used to it, but that’s why we’re going over there a little earlier.”

Belfast is five hours ahead of EST, while Prague is six hours ahead. Seidenberg added that dealing with each countries quirks — whether they be food or anything else — does make the experience “a little bit different” but that “you get used to it pretty quick.”

Though nobody on the squad is actually from Prague and David Krejci hasn’t been there in several years, Seidenberg is among the players expecting family at the games. Hailing from Villingen-Schwenningen, West Germany, Seidenberg’s family will make the six-hour drive to Prague. The team’s final preseason game will be played in Liberec, which is about an hour north of Prague. With Villingen-Schenningen near the Swiss border and Liberec right around the Poland border, Seidenberg doesn’t expect his family to make that trip.

Video: Tim Thomas hopes to see game action Wednesday

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Claude Julien said on Tuesday that Tim Thomas, recovering from offseason hip surgery, could see game action on Wednesday at TD Garden against the Capitals. It will be the team’s final North American preseason game before the Bruins (and the Big Bad Blog — keep it tuned) head to Belfast and Prague, where they will play two exhibitions and open the regular season with two tilts with the Coyotes.

“There’s a good possibility that we’ll see him play tomorrow,” Julien said. “You know, again, I say good possibility. It depends on how today goes and then there’s tomorrow. If everything goes well, I think we’d like to see him in out lineup.”

Tuukka Rask and Nolan Schaefer are the goalies on the roster for Tuesday night’s game in Washington. Here’s the video of Thomas speaking after taking the ice:

Bruins release Spooner, Arniel from camp

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

The Bruins have certainly reached a point where the cuts are getting tougher to make, and Claude Julien admitted as much on Tuesday. About an hour later, the team announced that Ryan Spooner would be sent back to juniors and that Jamie Arniel was headed for Providence.

Spooner, the 45th overall pick in June’s draft, had been extremely impressive in camp, earning high praise from coaches and veteran players alike. He will return to the Peterborough Petes of the OHL, a team for which he has scored 49 goals over the last two seasons.

VIDEO: Blake Wheeler talks about playing center

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Here’s some video of Blake Wheeler talking about the possibility of playing center, a position he hasn’t played since college. With Marc Savard out and David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron centering the top two lines respectively, Claude Julien has suggested playing Wheeler as a pivot.

Bruins set roster for Tuesday night; Thomas could play Wednesday

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

The Bruins announced their roster for Tuesday night’s preseason game in Washington, recalling Jeff LoVecchio from Providence and making Jeremy Reich and Wyatt Smith available to play in the process.

Forwards: Gregory Campbell, Joe Colborne, Zach Hamill, Jeff LoVecchio, Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand, Daniel Paille, Jeremy Reich, Michael Ryder, Wyatt Smith, Shawn Thornton, Blake Wheeler

Defensemen: Matt Bartkowski, Johnny Boychuk, Matt Hunwick, Steven Kampfer, Adam McQuaid, Mark Stuart

Goaltenders: Tuukka Rask, Nolan Schaefer

Tim Thomas skated with the second group on Tuesday, with coach Claude Julien saying there is a chance he could play in Wednesday’s game against the Capitals at TD Garden. Thomas, who had offseason hip surgery, has been brought along with caution in the preseason and has yet to see game action. He and the team are aiming for him to be ready for the season when it opens Oct. 9 in Prague.

Julien: Tyler Seguin, Blake Wheeler options at center

Monday, September 27th, 2010

Speaking in Thursday’s conference call with the media, Bruins coach Claude Julien spoke about the current hole at center for the team’s third line. With Marc Savard out with post-concussion syndrome symptoms, it is expected that David Krejci will become the first line’s pivot, with Patrice Bergeron centering the second line.

“We’ve got a couple of different options here,” Julien said. “I think one of the things we want to see is that maybe Tyler Seguin needs to be looked at as a center as well. We can’t put him out of the equation. He’s a natural centerman and was drafted as that. He’s one of the guys we can look at.”

Julien also mentioned former first-rounders Zach Hamill and Joe Colborne, as well as Ryan Spooner, all of whom remain in camp with the team.

“To be honest with you, I’d still like to see Tyler Seguin [at center] again, seeing now that he’s got a few games under his belt. He handles it in the middle. I’d still like to see Blake Wheeler play center as well at some point and see if he can recapture his comfort zone that he had when he played that position when he was in school.”

The coach added that one thing that goes into the decision-making process will be the impact playing one guy at center will have on the rest of the roster.

“If we put one guy [at center], that means we may need another winger, so that may open up a spot for another winger. It really leaves the battle wide open.”

Chiarelli: Marc Savard could begin season on LTIR

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said on Sunday morning that the team is looking internally to replace star center Marc Savard, who is currently battling depression and other post-concussion syndrome symptoms. Savard admitted Saturday that returning to the team in the second round of the playoffs may not have been the best idea. As a result of everything, Chiarelli indicated that Savard could begin the season on long-term injured reserve.

“That could happen,” Chiarelli said. “It is a little too early to tell, but based on what he’s going through, the post-concussion symptoms ‘€¦ the time he hasn’t been doing anything, it’s tracking that way right now.”

LTIR requires a player miss 10 games and 24 days prior to returning. With Savard out, the team would temporarily save his cap hit and theoretically might actually begin the season more than $4 million under the cap. This would be possible by combining Savard’s $4.007 million cap hit with Marco Sturm‘s $3.5 million.

As for who will be the team’s third-line center with David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron likely serving as the top two pivots, Chiarelli said there is an open competition.

“That spot’s open. We’re going to have a look at [Blake Wheeler] in that spot, we’re going to have a look at Zach [Hamill] in that spot, and there are some other different combinations. You may see Tyler [Seguin] go back to that spot. There’s a hole there right now, and even [Ryan] Spooner, he’s making a case, too. He’s young and it’s his first pro camp, but each day, each game, he’s getting better and he’s such a smart player. He might be able to fill in, but we’re talking about a lot of different combinations.”

Chiarelli said that given the team’s upgrading of their wingers, he would like the other center to simply “distribute the puck and make plays.” As such, he is confident that making a trade wouldn’t be necessary for a team with great organizational depth at center.

“I’m looking internally right now because we have real promising and a good supply of players,” Chiarelli said, adding that in talking to other executives around the league can gauge that there’s “not a lot going on right now” regarding trade chatter. “Whether it’s NHL players to current pros or even soon-to-be rookies. … I’m not looking externally right now and I don’t anticipate that, but that may change.”