Big Bad Blog
WEEI.com Blog Network
Brendan Smith reflects on Tyler Seguin trade, why Reilly Smith has been good fit with Bruins 04.18.14 at 12:49 pm ET
By   |  No Comments
Brendan Smith is on Detroit's top defense pairing. (AP)

Brendan Smith is on Detroit’s top defense pairing. (AP)

Brendan Smith is a bit more vocal than Reilly Smith.

Reilly, more of the shy type with the media, is extremely self-effacing. When things are going well, he’d rather somebody else get the credit. When things aren’t, he’s a little harder on himself.

So it was interesting Friday to talk to his brother, a defenseman for the Red Wings, about some of the major storylines that have surrounded Reilly’s young career.

Reilly was a big part of the package the Bruins received in the trade that sent Tyler Seguin to Dallas. Brendan recalls the day the trade went down, as he was hanging out with Reilly that July 4.

“The thing was, the first time we saw it was on Twitter. We were just on the couch and [see] ‘Reilly Smith is traded for Seguin with Loui Eriksson,’ and the whole deal,” Brendan said Friday. “We were kind of thrown off, and then when we thought about it, we thought it was a great fit for him. He could earn his position and go in and play hard.

“I knew going up, he worked really hard in the offseason. I wouldn’t say he was nervous, but he was really adamant [about] going into camp in really good shape and trying to earn a good spot on the team. Look what he’s done. He’s done a great job, and you’ve seen him. He’s a mature kid for his age, so it’s a been a testament to him. I have to give him a lot of credit.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Brendan Smith, Reilly Smith, Tyler Seguin,
Andrej Meszaros ready to step in if Matt Bartkowski unable to go for Bruins 04.18.14 at 11:44 am ET
By   |  No Comments
Andrej Meszaros played 14 games for the Bruins in the regular season. (AP)

Andrej Meszaros played 14 games for the Bruins in the regular season. (AP)

Matt Bartkowski was once again not on the ice Friday for the Bruins’ morning skate, meaning he has not skated at all this week. Bartkowski, who was spotted in the Bruins’ dressing room Friday after showering, may have been one of the Bruins battling the flu this week.

With Bartkowski’s status for Game 1 against the Red Wings in question (Claude Julien is not giving updates on his players), Andrej Meszaros could be called upon to play Friday night to play on the second pairing alongside Johnny Boychuk. If he is, he says he’s ready.

“Yeah, if I play, I’m ready to go,” Meszaros said Friday morning. “I can’t wait actually to start the playoffs. It should be fun.”

The Bruins acquired Meszaros, a left shot defenseman who can play both sides, at the trade deadline from the Flyers for a conditional draft pick. Assuming everyone on Boston’s back end is healthy, Meszaros would likely serve as an extra defenseman.

The fact that the Bruins’ opponent is Detroit makes the situation all the more interesting, as Meszaros had one of his worst games as a Bruin in Boston’s 3-2 loss to the Red Wings on April 2. Meszaros, who was paired with Boychuk for that contest, was a minus-2 in the game and was exposed by Detroit’s speed.

In particular, Darren Helm flew by him in the neutral zone with the B’s on the power play in the second period before Tuukka Rask stopped the shorthanded bid. He was also on the ice for Tomas Jurco’s game-tying goal in the third period.

“They’re a really, really good team,” Meszaros said. “They have a lot of skill and a lot of speed. We have to be ready for that and match their intensity. It’s going to be a fast game.

“We should have won that game, but obviously we didn’t,” he added. “We had a lot of chances. [Jimmy] Howard played way too good. You have to put pucks on net and get traffic in font and get as much traffic as we can. When you go to the net, you’ve got score goals.”

Meszaros was rotated in and out of the Bruins’ lineup down the stretch and has played 14 games with two goals and there assists for five points with the B’s. He admitted there was an adjustment when he came over, but says he’s all caught up now.

“I understand everything. Everything is fine now,” Meszaros said. “I know the system, so it’s just about execution and playing hard and playing the right way that they want me to play.”

Read More: Andrej Meszaros, Johnny Boychuk, Matt Bartkowski,
Daniel Paille skates, ‘no updates’ on injured Bruins 04.18.14 at 10:21 am ET
By   |  No Comments

Bruins forward Daniel Paille skated with defenseman Adam McQuaid prior to Friday’s morning skate, which might suggest he will not be in the lineup for Game 1 of the first round of the playoffs against the Red Wings. Paille has been out since last Saturday with what appeared to be a head injury.

The morning skate was optional, with Chris Kelly and Matt Bartkowski — neither of whom have practiced this week — among the missing. That group of absent players also included Zdeno Chara, Tuukka Rask, Jarome Iginla, Milan Lucic, Kevan Miller and David Krejci.

Following the skate, Claude Julien said there were “no updates” to offer on the status of his players.

Before you rule out Paille, here’s a quick conspiracy theory: Considering morning skates are non-contact, perhaps the B’s just had Paille do his work before to throw folks off the scent as to his availability. However, his skating beforehand should be taken as a sign he won’t play.

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Daniel Paille,
Chris Kelly, Daniel Paille, Matt Bartkowski miss Bruins practice again; Dennis Seidenberg increases workload 04.17.14 at 1:04 pm ET
By   |  No Comments

Chris Kelly, Daniel Paille and Matt Bartkowski were all absent from Thursday’s practice, which puts their availability for the start of their series against the Red Wings in question. Kevan Miller, who had not practiced Tuesday or Wednesday, did return to practice.

Following the practice, Claude Julien wouldn’t rule any of the three out.

Paille has not played since leaving the team’s win over the Sabres last Saturday with what appeared to be a head injury, while Kelly sat out the last three games of the season with back spasms. Neither have practiced this week, while Bartkowski, who didn’t have any injury-related absences from games this season, has been off the ice as well. He may be dealing with the flu, as several Bruins had been sick earlier in the week.

“I don’t know that it’s official yet on any of that stuff,” Julien said. “Today was another day where we had another player, so we’ll see what tomorrow brings. It’s hard for me to start giving you my lineup when I don’t know what’s going to happen day to day. Hopefully it continues to improve, which it has this week, and we’ll go from there.”

Dennis Seidenberg skated again prior to practice Thursday, which marked at least the fourth consecutive day in which he took the ice. Seidenberg did the same routine that he had done in recent days (big laps, smaller circles in the neutral zones, shooting and moving laterally across the blueline), but added a drill in which he skated out to a cone and took a tight turn before catching a pass and turning. Tighter turns would suggest further progress as he tests what his surgically repaired right knee can handle. Video of that drill is below.

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Chris Kelly, Dennis Seidenberg,
My NHL awards ballot 04.16.14 at 10:30 pm ET
By   |  No Comments

In the interest of transparency, following is my ballot for the 2013-14 NHL awards.

Sidney Crosby might be one of the all-time greats, but his disappointing performance in the conference finals against the Bruins didn't do anything to help his image. (AP)

Sidney Crosby is our Hart Trophy selection. (AP)

Before I jump into it, I will freely admit that the votes that you see here are the ones I had in the final hours before they were due Wednesday at 7 p.m. and I changed my mind on some of them several times leading up to the deadline.

I also didn’t arrive at my votes totally by myself –€“ nobody does –€“ but through discussions with other writers. In particular, I discussed the various awards with two non-voters in WEEI.com’€™s Scott McLaughlin — one of the premier advanced stats nerds and a major help to geezers like me who see a place in the world for some of the crazy numbers out there but can’€™t always understand them — and the MetroWest Daily News’€™ Dan Cagen. The Pro Hockey Writers’€™ Association cut the number of voters this season down to 150, with Cagen being Exhibit A of the baby being thrown out with the bath water.

At the end of the day, any votes here you don’€™t like are still my fault. Also, the PHWA doesn’t vote for the Vezina Trophy or the Jack Adams, as those are determined by NHL general managers and broadcasters, respectively.

[Also, in the interest of transparency, I will admit that the first explanation I wrote was for Hart and was way too long. Given that I had other work to get to, I decided to only write out explanations for the heavy hitters (Hart, Norris and Selke). If you have any questions about any of the votes, you can find me on Twitter @DJ_Bean.]

HART TROPHY
(“To the player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team”)

1. Sidney Crosby
2. Ryan Getzlaf
3. Patrice Bergeron
4. Tyler Seguin
5. Joe Pavelski

The Penguins led the NHL in man games lost due to injury with 429. While that was happening, Sidney Crosby was doing everything, and he finished with an NHL-best 104 points en route to leading the Penguins to the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. Points-wise, it wasn’€™t even close, as nobody else had 100, or even 90. Getzlaf was second with 87. Plus, it wasn’€™t like achieved his numbers by being surrounded by Pittsburgh’€™s star forwards. His third most-common linemate was Lee Stempniak.

Bergeron was a real toughie, because I believe in the eye test over stats when appropriate. I gave Jonathan Quick a Hart vote the year they won the Cup for that reason even though other players had better numbers. Yet when determining a middle-of-the pack Hart candidate who didn’€™t have the traditional numbers, it’€™s difficult to figure out where they fall. For example, I had him ahead of Seguin despite not having similar numbers, so why wouldn’t I have him ahead of Getzlaf?

Read the rest of this entry »

Daniel Paille, Chris Kelly, Matt Bartkowski, Kevan Miller miss Bruins practice; Dennis Seidenberg skates again 04.16.14 at 11:12 am ET
By   |  No Comments

WILMINGTON – Daniel Paille and Chris Kelly both missed Wednesday’s practice. Both players missed the team’s final game of the regular season, with Kelly sitting out the last three with back spasms and Paille suffering what appeared to be a head injury in the team’s second to last game.

Also missing from practice were defensemen Matt Bartkowski and Kevan Miller. Claude Julien had said numerous Bruins were battling the flu Tuesday, but Patrice Bergeron, Andrej Meszaros and Loui Eriksson were all back at practice Wednesday as missing Tuesday’s skate.

The Bruins’ lines in practice were as follows:

Lucic – Krejci – Iginla
Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
Florek – Soderberg – Eriksson
Caron – Campbell – Thornton

Dennis Seidenberg skated again Wednesday, marking at least his third straight day on the ice. Seidenberg was on the ice for about 25 minutes and did the same thing as Tuesday, working with strength and conditioning coach John Whitesides as he did big circles, then smaller circles, shot and practiced taking pucks on the blue line and moving across it.

Adam McQuaid was not on the ice Wednesday and did not skate Tuesday.

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Chris Kelly, Daniel Paille, Kevan Miller, Matt Bartkowski
Multiple Bruins dealing with flu; no update on Daniel Paille 04.15.14 at 1:02 pm ET
By   |  No Comments

Multiple Bruins are dealing with the flu, Bruins coach Claude Julien said after Tuesday’s practice. Missing from the practice were Chris Kelly, Daniel Paille, Patrice Bergeron, Loui Eriksson, Matt Bartkowski, Andrej Meszaros and Kevan Miller.

Julien would not specify which Bruins have the flu and which were battling other ailments, but Kelly, Paille, Bergeron and Miller all missed time late in the season.

Asked specifically about Paille, who did not play in Sunday’s regular season finale after leaving Saturday’s game with what looked to be a head injury, Julien declined comment. Paille had two concussions earlier in the season,

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

Bruins Box Score
Bruins Schedule
Bruins Headlines
NHL Headlines