|Zdeno Chara returns to Bruins practice, Dougie Hamilton won’t travel||04.07.15 at 11:19 am ET|
WILMINGTON — Zdeno Chara took the ice early and participated in Tuesday’s practice with his teammates. The Bruins captain missed Monday’s skate due to an injury suffered blocking a shot with his left foot/ankle Saturday.
Claude Julien had said after Monday’s practice that Chara’s situation was “day-to-day.” The fact that Chara stayed out for practice and did not appear limited is an encouraging sign.
Dennis Seidenberg was the only player missing from Tuesday’s practice. Julien said Tuesday that Seidenberg was under the weather but would travel with the team for their upcoming three-game road trip. Dougie Hamilton, who skated by himself for the second straight day, will not travel. The possibility always exists that Hamilton could meet the team for one of the final couple games of the regular season if he is ready to return.
Joe Morrow, who was recalled Monday morning on an emergency basis, remains with the team.
The lineup in practice was as follows:
|Gregory Campbell ‘putting personal agendas aside’ after healthy scratch||04.06.15 at 12:54 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Long after his teammates had showered, fulfilled their media responsibilities, grabbed food in the team lounge and headed home, Gregory Campbell was still on the ice at Ristuccia Arena by himself.
A healthy scratch for the first time in his Bruins career Saturday, Campbell didn’t feel ready to leave following Monday’s approximately 40-minute practice (one for which he took the ice early). The image of him shooting pucks alone for approximately 55 minutes was fitting of his 2014-15 season: He wants to be better, but his spot in the lineup is questionable at best.
“I like being out here,” Campbell said as he got off the ice, adding: “I wanted to do some things.
“It’s uncharted,” he said of not playing. “I’ve never experience it before, but at this stage of the game, it’s about putting personal agendas aside and it’s about honoring the team and the decisions the coaches make. It is what it is. It’s about honoring the team.”
Saturday’s benching was perhaps overdue given the way Campbell and his fellow fourth-liners have fared this season.
After coming to Boston and centering the best fourth line in the league with Brad Marchand and Shawn Thornton, Campbell’s eventual line with Daniel Paille and Thornton routinely put opponents’ bottom-sixers on their heels, most notably helping change the momentum of Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup finals after Vancouver took it to Boston in the early shifts.
Yet those vintage Merlot Line days, which really lasted until Campbell broke his leg in the 2013 Eastern Conference finals, are long over. Thornton is gone, Paille has been a healthy scratch in Boston’s last six games, while Campbell at long last sat over the weekend.
That’s where the aforementioned personal agendas may come in. A free agent at season’s end who seems unlikely to return, Campbell has given a lot to this team. It can’t be easy to go from a fan favorite to a scapegoat in what’s been a trying season for both him and the Bruins.
|Dougie Hamilton begins skating||04.06.15 at 11:57 am ET|
WILMINGTON — Dougie Hamilton skated on his own prior to Monday’s practice, Claude Julien said after the skate.
Hamilton has been out with an upper-body injury suffered in the Bruins’ March 28 game against the Panthers. Following the injury, a source close to the situation told WEEI.com that Hamilton needed a few weeks to heal.
Julien said it is unclear whether Hamilton will travel for this week’s road trip. Excluding Hamilton and counting Zdeno Chara (day-to-day), the B’s currently have seven defensemen at their disposal for the trip.
|Bruins recall Joe Morrow on emergency basis; Zdeno Chara absent from practice||04.06.15 at 10:32 am ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins recalled defenseman Joe Morrow on an emergency basis Monday. Morrow was on the ice at the start of Monday’s practice, while Zdeno Chara was missing.
Chara was in pain after blocking a David Booth shot in the third period of Saturday night’s shootout win over the Maple Leafs. The shot hit Chara in the foot/ankle area, and while Chara was slow to get off the ice, he did not miss any time.
The play came as a result of a Reilly Smith turnover at the point during a power play. Chara had to race back and lay out to block Booth’s bid, hobbling him as he skated to the bench.
Claude Julien said after the practice that Chara’s absence was indeed related to the blocked shot, but Chara could be back on the ice for Tuesday’s practice. Julien termed Chara “day-to-day.”
All other players were present for Monday’s practice, with Claude Julien changing his lineup for the skate. Julien has tinkered with his lines in practices and used different ones in games (as was the case with Saturday’s morning skate and game), so the following lineup used Monday should be taken with a grain of salt:
The B’s are entering their final three games of the season. They currently sit third in the Atlantic Division, as they are tied with the Red Wings with 95 points but hold the second tiebreaker thanks to their edge in the season series between the teams.
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|5 things we learned as Bruins beat Leafs in shootout||04.04.15 at 9:58 pm ET|
You know things are finally going the Bruins’ way when, after struggling to score against a team as bad as the Leafs, they win in a shootout.
Such was the case Saturday night as the Bruins extended their winning streak to five games — tied for their longest of the season — with a 2-1 win in the post-overtime talent show. Given that both Ottawa and Detroit won Saturday night, the B’s and Red Wings remain tied for the third spot in the Atlantic Division, while the Senators sit three points behind the Bruins. Both the Red Wings and Senators will play their games in hand on Sunday.
The Bruins put a season-high 47 shots on goal in regulation, but managed to get only a second-period Bergeron rebound chance past James Reimer. They finished with 50 shots on the night.
Here are four more things we learned Saturday:
For the first time in his Bruins career, Gregory Campbell was a healthy scratch.
Campbell took to the press box as Max Talbot re-entered the lineup after sitting Thursday in Tampa. Claude Julien‘s lines were different for the game than they were in Saturday’s morning skate. Boston used the following lineup Saturday:
SMITH MISCUES COSTLY
The goal that tied the game for the Leafs in the second period came on a funny bounce. It was a costly mistake that put Toronto in position to score the goal, however.
After a second-period Leafs possession, Adam McQuaid skated the puck into the neutral zone, looking to dump the puck in and potentially give the B’s an opportunity for a line change. He sent a hard pass up to Reilly Smith in hopes that Smith would get a stick on the puck on its way down the ice, but Smith missed the puck and the play turned into an icing on McQuaid.
Tyler Bozak beat Carl Soderberg on the ensuing faceoff in the Bruins’ end, drawing the puck to Jake Gardiner, who then set up a Morgan Reilly point shot. Reilly’s shot yielded a funny rebound. The puck appeared to go off Rask’s blocker and then his mask, with James van Riemsdyk knocking the bouncing puck toward the net. McQuaid attempted to whack the puck out of the net, but his attempt bounced off Rask’s leg and in.
Smith had a treacherous shift in the third period, turning the puck over at the point on the power play, forcing Zdeno Chara to lay out to break up a scoring bid for Toronto. Chara was hit in the skate by a David Booth shot and was in pain on the bench. Smith was penalized for holding Booth on the play.
Following that shift, Smith was replaced by Brett Connolly on Carl Soderberg’s line. Smith took only one shift the rest of the game.
BERGERON LINE GETS ON THE BOARD
The line’s luck changed that Saturday, as some nice passing from Krejci and Marchand set up a Bergeron and ensuing rebound that Bergeron would punch in to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead. The goal was Bergeron’s 22nd of the season, tying him with Marchand for the Bruins lead.
Marchand put the Bruins on the power play twice in the first period, as he was hooked by Andrew MacWilliam at 12:29 and drew interference from Nazem Kadri in neutral zone at 17:37 of the period.
THE KIDS GET CHANCES, CAN’T CONNECT
Ryan Spooner and David Pastrnak stayed on a line after all. They were unable to celebrate with a goal.
Both Spooner and Pastrak failed to cash in on good scoring chances off rebounds in the second period, with Spooner fanning on the doorstep earlier in the period and Pastrnak missing the net on a shot in the high slot following a Spooner shot later in the second.
Spooner had another great chance in the third when he took a feed all alone in the slot. He was denied by Reimer, as was Pastrnak with just over three minutes later when Lucic set up a backhand bid from the 18-year-old.
|Claude Julien embracing in-game lineup changes||04.04.15 at 1:00 pm ET|
Earlier in the season, Claude Julien did something he didn’t do too often in the past: He juggled his lines in-game.
On one shift, Seth Griffith would be on David Krejci‘s right wing. On the next, it would be Simon Gagne. (The fact that neither player is currently on Boston’s roster paints a pretty good picture of how this season has gone for the Bruins, but that’s neither here nor there.)
Now that Julien finally has a healthy group of forwards, making such adjustments is nothing new. He’s done it of late and will continue to do it.
On Thursday night, Julien had to jumble his forwards throughout the night. After opening the game with David Krejci at center, adjustments had to be made as a result of a Patrice Bergeron injury. Due to David Pastrnak and Carl Soderberg, further changes were made. By the end of the game, all four lines looked different from how they started the night.
Julien has long been preferred to keep things the same. If something isn’t broken, he doesn’t fix it. If it might be broken, he lets it heal rather than changing it. This season has forced Julien to change his ways.
“We’re a team this year that’s had more fluctuation in our line combinations than ever,” Julien said.
His work isn’t done. Though the Bruins’ lines on Saturday might be the same as they were to finish Thursday’s win over the Red Wings, they could change in-game once again. Krejci isn’t going to play right wing forever, but his presence with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron gives Boston a particularly loaded first line.
Playing Brett Connolly in place of David Pastrnak with Ryan Spooner and Milan Lucic makes Spooner’s line a little bigger and more experienced. Teams tend to pick on Pastrnak when they want to, but they won’t be able to do that to Connolly. As such, Julien might be willing to play Spooner’s line more than he has.
“He’s been in the league for all of last year, and he’s a big guy and he’s skilled, too, and he’s fast,” Spooner said of Connolly. “He’ll be a good guy to play with, too. I think it will just add some age to our line and all that kind of stuff, and some experience.”
Julien’s adjustments in Thursday’s game meant that Soderberg went back to center. He played with Loui Eriksson and Reilly Smith, his linemates for the previous four games.
Soderberg benefitted from having Chris Kelly on his left wing earlier in the season, as Kelly is an experienced center whose responsibility in his own end and ability to win faceoffs supplemented Soderberg’s contributions.
Playing Smith on the line and usually having Eriksson on the left wing now (both players are left shots) does not give Soderberg that safety net, but Smith brings more to the table offensively. The line connected for the game-tying goal in Detroit as Eriksson scored his 21st goal of the season.
All of the lines will be worth watching, but the bottom of the lineup is where it might get most interesting. Daniel Paille has been scratched the last five games and Max Talbot joined him on Thursday. Both players figure to sit again Saturday, as Julien goes with a line of Gregory Campbell between Kelly and Pastrnak.
All that could change and the players know it. A Talbot/Paille-Spooner-Pastrnak line would be an ideal fourth group going forward, but it won’t happen as long as Krejci is playing right wing. Changes figure to happen and, with the exception of the Campbell situation, Julien doesn’t seem to be afraid of making them.
“Now I have decisions to make and when you have decisions to make and you have tough ones it creates accountability amongst players,” Julien said. “If you want to be in the lineup or whatever the case is, there’s a lot more accountability and that’s one of the things that the coaches have left to manage their team, is having those extra players and good players.
“Having good players have to sit out for different reasons — and sometimes it’s just rotation, sometimes it’s poor play — but no matter what, to me I’d rather be in this position right now than be in the position I was a month ago. This is what I have.”
|David Pastrnak skates wtih fourth line as Bruins prepare for Leafs||04.04.15 at 11:47 am ET|
Claude Julien warned after Saturday’s morning skate that he’s prepared to keep mixing and matching, but his lines in the session suggested he’ll stick with what won the B’s Thursday night’s game.
Brett Connolly remained with Milan Lucic and Ryan Spooner, while Krejci was on the right wing of Patrice Bergeron‘s line. He started Thursday’s game at center but moved back to right wing, where he has now played five straight games. David Pastrnak is on the fourth line with Gregory Campbell and Chris Kelly.
By the looks of morning skate, following is the lineup for Saturday’s game against the Leafs:
The Bruins enter Saturday leading the Senators by three points for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, though Ottawa has five games remaining to Boston’s four. The Senators will face the Capitals Saturday night in Ottawa and will play their game in hand Sunday when they play the Leafs in Toronto.
The B’s are also even with the Red Wings for the third spot in the Atlantic Division, with Detroit also holding a game in hand. The Red Wings will play the Wild Saturday and the Capitals Sunday.
Dougie Hamilton is still not skating. Saturday marks two weeks since he suffered his upper-body injury against the Panthers.