Bruins still deciding between Kaspars Daugavins and Carl Soderberg
|06.22.13 at 3:03 pm ET|
CHICAGO — Kaspars Daugavins or Carl Soderberg?
The reaction to that should be “whichever guy isn’t Carl Soderberg” given how little Soderberg has played in the NHL, but Claude Julien is making it clear — whether for gamesmanship’s sake or because he’s actually considering it — that the fourth line left wing spot is up in the air as the Bruins approach Game 5.
The options, in a nut shell: Daugavins, a defensive guy who has been pretty bad so far, from not ending Game 1 in triple overtime when he had the chance, taking a bad penalty in Game 3 then putting himself offsides on an opportunity out of the box and everything in between, or Soderberg, a star in the Swedish Elite League who has played just six NHL games and didn’t look particularly impressive. Daugavins has the experience, Soderberg has the offense and both have Julien’s consideration.
[Of course, Jordan Caron, who has experience with this team and has played more recently than Soderberg, would figure to be a better option than both, but for some reason the B’s say it’s down to Daugavins and Soderberg. Why Caron isn’t getting consideration is rather puzzling, but oh well.]
Daugavins and Soderberg took turns skating on the fourth line with Rich Peverley and Shawn Thornton in Saturday’s morning skate, a day after Soderberg donned a fourth-line jersey and Daugavins wore a green (healthy scratch) jersey. Julien was noncommittal regarding who would be in the lineup in Game 5, but said it would be one of the two.
“Why? Because I’m the coach and because I can,” he said. “You guys ask me why I make those changes. I didn’t spend three days thinking about that. It’s a situation that I can do. If I do that tonight, we’ll see where it goes. I may just go back to Daugavins, because again I’m tinkering between those two like I have from the beginning of the series.”
Well, he actually hasn’t been tinkering considering that Daugavins has been in the lineup the entire series, but sure. While Soderberg politely declined to talk to the media after morning skate, Daugavins said that he doesn’t know whether he’s in. He did say that it’s been an interesting series for him thus far whether or not he stays in the lineup, as he’s seen his ice time go down over the course of the series (from 15:09 to 8:28 to 6:30 to 5:57), which has meant sweating it out on the bench a lot more.
“It’s more nerve-racking sitting on the bench than being on the ice, because when you go out there, you go into game mode. You don’t even think about it. You just do it. Your instincts come into play,” he said. “When you sit on the bench and watch, you’re like a super fan. You cheer for the guys and you get nervous when the puck is close to your net, and you pull your hair when there’s a good scoring chance for somebody. It’s definitely more nerve-racking sitting on the bench than playing.”
Julien has mentioned multiple times that in today’s NHL, players communicate with the coach far more than they used to. If they’re not playing, they want to know why, and if they are playing, they want to know how they can be better. Daugavins says he hasn’t bugged Julien about his situation, just trusting that if he learns from each game, he’ll improve.
“I watch my own tape and talk to a couple guys,” he said. “It’s a learning [experience] for me, obviously my first time in the finals, so I try to make the best of it. I’ve gotten a couple of scoring chances and should have scored. Maybe in the regular season you do, but in the finals you should bear down and you’re a little nervous, but things happen. If you get another [chance], you try to put it in. You just have to watch the tape and fix it instead of being pissed about it.”