|David Krejci injury could change way Bruins deal with free agents to-be||02.24.15 at 10:29 am ET|
Peter Chiarelli likes to sign his pending unrestricted free agents before they go into their walk years. It’s a tactic that saved the Bruins a lot of money when he re-upped both Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron before they helped lead the Bruins to the Stanley Cup in 2010-11.
Yet with the news of David Krejci‘s partially torn MCL that will keep him out for 4-6 weeks, the Bruins are learning for the second straight year that waiting a bit to sign a player has its benefits too.
The Bruins gave Dennis Seidenberg, who was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after last season, a four-year, $16 million at the start of the 2013-14 season. At the time, the fourth year looked like it could potentially be a problem down the road, but given the reasonable $4 million cap hit for the trusty No. 2 defenseman, no one batted an eye.
Seidenberg tore his ACL in December of that season. He most likely would have still gotten even more money than he signed for had he hit free agency (here’s your daily reminder that Brooks Orpik, who is older than Seidenberg, got five years and $27.5 million, and he’s Brooks Orpik), but the fact that Seidenberg signed before the season showed his preference to stay with Boston. Had the Bruins waited to sign him, perhaps they would have gotten him on a better deal, or perhaps the Bruins would have chosen to try to sign Johnny Boychuk and let Seidenberg walk.
Now, Seidenberg’s deal is viewed as one of the worst contracts the Bruins have. His play has dropped significantly and he looks like he would be more at home on a third pairing. The Bruins could probably move him if they wanted to, but his contract – the very one that looked good at the time of its signing — could hurt his trade value.
It’s hard to imagine the Bruins experiencing the same thing with Krejci, but it’s fair to say his price tag would have been lower after the most injury-plagued season of his career. Krejci, who signed a pretty team-friendly six-year, $43.5 million contract before the start of the season, had already missed 20 games due to lower-body injuries this season prior to getting hurt again in Friday’s loss to the Blues.
No matter what happened with Krejci this season, he would have been the best free-agent center if he made it to free agency this summer. His only competition already signed in Jason Spezza, so even with the injuries, Krejci would have easily gotten six years and $43.5 million this summer. In fact, he probably still would have gotten a lot more than that.
Next season, Milan Lucic will be the Bruins’ biggest-name free-agent-to-be. The Bruins need to think long and hard before determining whether he’d be worth whatever money he would command, but it is a no-brainer to opt against signing him before the season. Lucic has not lived up to his $6 million cap hit this season and the team shouldn’t carelessly throw him into the group of players they perceive to be their core.
If they go into the season with Lucic playing for a contract, they can use the opening months of the season to further evaluate the player while potentially getting the elevated performance that often comes when players are looking for a pay day. At the very least, they would avoid signing a player just before they get hurt.
|5 things we learned as Bruins blow out Blackhawks to end losing streak||02.22.15 at 6:15 pm ET|
The Bruins finished a horrid five-game road trip with their only victory of the stretch, but at least it was a blowout.
Playing in their first game since David Krejci suffered an undisclosed injury Friday, the Bruins scored half a dozen goals — the fourth of which chased Corey Crawford — as they earned a 6-2 victory over the Blackhawks (box). The win gave the Bruins just four points of a possible 10 in the five-game trip (1-2-2). It also snapped a six-game losing streak (0-4-2).
Boston got goals from Patrice Bergeron, Loui Eriksson, Milan Lucic, Gregory Campbell, Dougie Hamilton and Reilly Smith. Bergeron’s first period goal put him in a tie with linemate Brad Marchand for the team lead.
The victory keeps the Bruins (28-21-9) three points ahead of the Panthers (26-20-12) for the second Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Here are four more things we learned Sunday.
BRUINS (FORCED TO) SHOW FAITH IN SPOONER
Julien skated Spooner with Krejci’s usual linemates in Milan Lucic and David Pastrnak and put him in Krejci’s place on Boston’s first power play unit. Spooner had a brutal turnover on a first-period power play when he entered the zone, pulled up and sent a pass intended for Torey Krug into the neutral zone that Versteeg took for a breakaway that Rask stopped. Spooner responded by facilitating a Loui Eriksson goal moments later and added an assist on Milan Lucic‘s second period goal for his first assist of the season.
|5 things we learned: David Krejci injured, Malcolm Subban pulled and Bruins could be toast||02.20.15 at 10:37 pm ET|
Both Malcolm Subban and David Krejci left Friday’s game in the second period. Subban’s night was disappointing. Krejci’s could end up being the final nail in the coffin for the 2014-15 Bruins.
Krejci left the ice and needed help down the tunnel after colliding with Alexander Steen at the blue line in the second period. He did not return to the game. His injury appeared to be of the lower-body variety.
The injury came amidst a three-goal stretch for St. Louis to open the period and chase Subban, who was making his NHL debut, from the game. Subban was brought back into the game in the final minutes of the third period with the Blues holding a 5-1 lead, which would stand as the game’s final score (box).
Should Krejci’s injury cost him significant time, this season is toast for the Bruins. If it costs him any time, Boston’s chances of piecing things together and holding down a playoff spot (they have just a one-point lead over the Panthers for the last Wild Card spot; Florida has a game in hand) still take a big hit.
In losing Friday’s game, the Bruins have lost the first four games of their current road trip. They have lost six straight games (0-2-4).
Here are four more things we learned Friday.
SUBBAN’S GLOVE DOESN’T CUT IT
Subban faced only three shots in the first period. He let the next three in.
Whether as a result of rookie jitters, the fact that he was a 21-year-old goalie playing in an NHL game or anything else, Subban struggled mightily with his glove. Petteri Lindbohm’s slapshot in the first minute of the second period went off Subban’s glove and in, while Alex Pietrangelo’s shot from the left circle snuck under the netminder’s glove. T.J. Oshie beat Subban glove-side high from a tough angle less than a minute after Pietrangelo’s goal, giving the Blue three goals on three shots in 4:21.
Subban was not happy as he left the game, slamming his stick down as he reached the bench.
NO REST FOR RASK
Tuukka Rask didn’t look much happier as he got ready to take the ice following St. Louis’ third goal. Rask tossed a chair down the tunnel, looking more dejected than angry as he did so.
With Friday’s game, Rask has now played in 16 straight games and 25 of the Bruins’ last 26. He allowed a pair of goals, the first of which was on a St. Louis power play and the second of which came on a 2-on-1.
This is not good for the Bruins. It would be one thing if the Bruins had to ride Rask to victories while they worked things out solidified their postseason position. Yet by playing Rask and playing as poorly in front of him as they have, they’re both wearing down their No. 1 goalie and making the possibility of missing the playoffs very realistic.
FIRST PERIOD NOT ENOUGH
The Bruins played a strong first period, which despite their struggles this season shouldn’t have come as a huge surprise given that they’ve played well against the Blues in recent seasons.
Part of that was probably the fact that Subban was in net. When a team knows that it doesn’t have a sure thing like Rask behind them, it naturally tends to tighten up and limit chances. That was the case when they held St. Louis without a shot until 12:14 into the period. The B’s took a 1-0 lead into the intermission thanks to a Brad Marchand goal, but things unraveled quickly.
CHARA BACK TO POINT
The Bruins only got one power play in Wednesday’s loss and they scored on it. A new-look first unit played about a minute and a half and scored, so the second unit was not revealed.
That finally happened Friday, and the changes included Zdeno Chara moving back to the point after playing in front of the net since the beginning of last season. Chara and Reilly Smith manned the points on the second unit, with Milan Lucic, David Pastrnak and Carl Soderberg up front.
The first unit remained Torey Krug, Dougie Hamilton, Patrice Bergeron, Krejci and Loui Eriksson.
|Source: Bruins’ Kevan Miller to have season-ending shoulder surgery||02.20.15 at 5:16 pm ET|
Kevan Miller will undergo season-ending shoulder surgery, a source confirmed to WEEI.com Friday. The news was first reported by Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe.
Miller re-injured his right shoulder in Monday’s loss to the Flames. The shoulder was originally injured in a fight against Sabres forward Nicolas Deslauriers on Oct. 18. He missed 13 games before returning on Nov. 21.
Earlier this month, Miller admitted that he had been advised against fighting again this season by doctors. He also said he expected to have surgery in the offseason.
The Bruins had been using Miller as a third-pairing defenseman, and his loss further weakens a blue line that has seen Zdeno Chara return from a torn PCL injury and Dennis Seidenberg struggle in top-four minutes.
In 41 games this season, Miller had two goals and five assists for seven points and a team-leading plus-20 rating.
The Bruins have not recalled a defenseman and currently have six healthy blueliners. Zach Trotman is the most likely candidate to replace Miller given that he is a right shot, but Joe Morrow, currently working his way back from a knee injury, could be brought up when healthy if the B’s play their versatile left-shot defensemen (Seidenberg, Torey Krug) on the right side.
Miller’s injury could also accelerate a potential trade for a defenseman. The trade deadline is March 2.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Malcolm Subban, Brian Ferlin to make NHL debuts, Daniel Paille to sit amidst Bruins’ lineup shuffle||02.20.15 at 1:27 pm ET|
Malcolm Subban reportedly was the first goaltender off the ice in Friday’s morning skate, indicating the 2012 first-round pick will make his NHL debut against the Blues. Right wing Brian Ferlin also will make his NHL debut.
Subban, who is in his second recall of the season, spent a four-game stretch with the B’s earlier this month but did not play. He was recalled again this week, with the B’s opting against starting him Wednesday against the Oilers. Despite starting Tuukka Rask in the game, the B’s still lost to Edmonton in a shootout.
Should Subban play the entire game Friday, it will break up a stretch of 15 straight games played for Rask, who has also played in 24 of the Bruins’ last 25 games.
Bruins coach Claude Julien told reporters that both Ferlin and Jordan Caron will play Friday. Both players took line rushes with Gregory Campbell on the fourth line in morning skate, according to the Boston Herald. As such, Daniel Paille and Craig Cunningham will be healthy scratches.
According to Steve Conroy of the Boston Herald, the lines in morning skate were as follows:
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Bruins place Kevan Miller on IR, recall Brian Ferlin from Providence||02.19.15 at 6:54 pm ET|
The Bruins recalled forward forward Brian Ferlin from Providence and placed defenseman Kevan Miller on injured reserve.
The news of Miller being on injured reserve should come as no surprise, as the team said this week that he would not play the rest of the Bruins’ current road trip after re-injuring his right shoulder on Monday night. The Bruins’ next game after the road trip is Tuesday against Vancouver, so if Miller is healthy by then he would be eligible to come off IR, which lasts a minimum of seven days from the injury.
Though he began the season technically on the roster so the Bruins could maximize potential cap space going forward, this is the first actual recall of Ferlin’s career. A two-way forward from Jacksonville who played his college hockey at Cornell, the 22-year-old has nine goals and seven assists for 16 points in 46 games this season.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|5 things we learned as Bruins play Tuukka Rask over Malcolm Subban, still lose to Oilers in shootout||02.19.15 at 1:09 am ET|
The Bruins opted against starting Malcolm Subban Wednesday night, further underscoring the importance placed on getting two points against the second-worst team in the NHL.
They still lost.
After coming back from a 3-1 deficit in the second period, the Bruins held even with the Oilers through the third period and overtime before losing in a 12-round shootout that saw Boston fail to score once. Tuukka Rask finally surrendered the shootout’s only goal to Martin Marincin on the 24th overall attempt.
The loss was Boston’s fifth straight (0-3-2) and sixth in the last seven games (1-4-2). The Bruins have two more games on their current road trip, as they’ll play the Blues Friday and the Blackhawks Sunday. Rask has now played in 24 of the Bruins’ last 25 games, so the Bruins, entering must-win mode each night, may face more tough decisions regarding whether to risk burning out their best player.
Here are four more things we learned Wednesday night:
REVAMPED POWER PLAY SCORES
Claude Julien hasn’t been afraid to tinker with his forward lines, and on Wednesday that extended to the power play.
When Andrew Ference went off for tripping Brad Marchand late in the first period, Julien sent out a unit that featured Dougie Hamilton and Torey Krug at the points, with David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron up front and Loui Eriksson in front of the net. The group stayed out there for all 91 seconds of the power play until Eriksson tipped a Hamilton shot past Ben Scrivens. The goal was the group’s sixth shot on goal of the power play.
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