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Kaspars Daugavins hopes to bark plenty for Bruins

WILMINGTON — Kaspars Daugavins raised plenty of eyebrows with his one-part skill, three-parts goofy shootout attempt on March 11 against the Bruins. As it turns out, that shootout attempt might not have been the strangest behavior Daugavins has exhibited against the team for which he now plays.

On March 21, after beating Anton Khudobin to give the Senators a 1-0 lead in the second period, Daugavins — who, remember, is an adult person — began to bark like a dog on the ice.

“Oh yeah,” Daugavins said Friday. “That was the thing in the Calder Cup run in Binghamton. Guys told me every time I score, I have to bark like a dog.”

The celebration, of course, comes from his name. The Latvian-born Daugavins (pronounced KAS-pars DOG-a-vans) has been called “Dog Man” by his teammates since he came to North America to play for the Toronto St. Michael’s Majors of the OHL in 2006. Daugavins, who has a lab and a smaller dog back home, clearly embraces the nickname — perhaps excessively.

That was Daugavins’ only goal of the season in 19 games for the Senators this season before being waived by Ottawa and picked up by Boston. While his sense of humor, affinity for behaving like a dog in celebration and his signature shootout move may have given him more attention than anything else in his NHL [1] career to this point, what he actually offers is different than what meets the eye.

For example, Daugavins hasn’t been a shootout star in his time in the league, as he’s 1-for-4 in his career at the NHL [2] level. Though he once scored 40 goals in the OHL, you probably shouldn’t expect to hear the 24-year-old barking too much in the NHL [1] (he had five goals in 65 games for the Senators last season).

The 6-foot-0, 205 Daugavins actually provides the Bruins with a strong body that, with the exception of a bad turnover in the third period of his Bruins debut Thursday, plays a defensively sound game first and foremost. It’s for that reason that he thinks Boston is a good fit.

“I work hard, and the same with this team,” he said. “Every guy battles for every inch of the ice, and I do the same thing. Hopefully I’ll be able to help here.

“I was doing the same role in the American League [3] and in Ottawa. I feel confident playing a defensive role, getting some pucks in their end and starting cycles and get some offense going, too.”

Daugavins is one of two former Senators added to the Bruins this season, with Wade Redden being the other. Peter Chiarelli was still with the Senators in the season prior to his selection in the third round of the 2006 draft, so he might have some familiarity with having scouted the player.

With Jordan Caron skating as the fourth forward on the Merlot Line in Friday’s practice, Daugavins remains in the third line mix for the B’s after playing with Rich Peverley [4] and Jay Pandolfo Thursday, though that line was essentially used as a fourth line (Daugavin’s 9:21 of ice time was the second-lowest on the Bruins). The return of Chris Kelly [5] could push Daugavins out of the lineup in the coming days, but in a season in which offensive depth is important given the frequency of injuries, the Dog Man might be the right breed for the B’s.