|Kaspars Daugavins hopes to bark plenty for Bruins||04.05.13 at 6:48 pm ET|
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 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 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 (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 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 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 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.
|Jaromir Jagr wanted to sign with Canadiens in offseason||04.05.13 at 1:29 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Jaromir Jagr is a Bruin, but if he had it his way over the summer, he would be a Canadien.
The 41-year-old has been all smiles since being traded from Dallas to Boston this week, but the 12-time All-Star actually wanted to sign with Montreal in the offseason. The Habs were Jagr’s top choice after his one-year contract with the Flyers expired, but when the Canadiens didn’t reciprocate the interest, he took a one-year, $4.5 million contract with the Stars.
“I had never played in Canada, so I would like to try it,” Jagr said after Friday’s practice. “The [Canadiens] went in a different direction, so that’s OK. I feel like Canada lives more for hockey, so I wanted to try it at the end of my career, how it is to play in Canada.”
Jagr’s path has instead brought him to Boston, where he finds himself on the other side of the Bruins-Canadiens rivalry. He’ll get his first taste of it Saturday night in Montreal, where he figures to get a different reception than the ovation he got on his first shift Thursday. Canadiens fans, who are perhaps the most passionate in hockey, routinely boo other team’s star players, but Jagr said that at his age he shouldn’t even qualify for the type of treatment Zdeno Chara, among others, gets.
“Hey, I’m not a star anymore, so I don’t really care,” Jagr said with a laugh. “Zee is the best defenseman. He’s a star. It’s going to be a lot worse in Pittsburgh, trust me.”
The Bruins don’t play in Pittsburgh again this season, so the only way Jagr could revisit his old stomping grounds, which he eventually spurned when he signed with the Flyers upon returning to the NHL in 2011, is in the playoffs. He ties in quite interestingly to a budding rivalry between two of the East’s top teams, as the failed acquisition of Jarome Iginla in Boston (Iginla wouldn’t waive his no-trade clause for Boston, forcing the Flames to trade him to Pittsburgh) led to the Bruins swinging a deal for Jagr.
“I was reading it like everybody else,” Jagr said of the Iginla-to-Boston fiasco. “I went on the Internet and I saw the first headline was Iginla going to Boston. I didn’t follow it after that. The next day, I find out it didn’t [happen]. Sometimes, that’s what happens. Hey, you cannot trust anybody in this business. You never know. I learned that.”
For now, Jagr doesn’t need to worry about the Penguins — at least until April 19, when the B’s host Iginla’s squad at TD Garden. Even with experience on both sides of a great rivalry between the Penguins and Flyers, Jagr says he doesn’t know what to expect on being a part of the Boston-Montreal rivalry. What he does know is that the Bruins can take over first place in the Northeast Division with a win over the Habs, as Montreal has 53 points to Boston’s 52 with one more game played.
Jagr noted the intensity of Thursday’s 1-0 win over the Devils, as the Devils are pushing for a spot in the playoff picture. If he thought that was impressive, he should be floored by what he sees Saturday in Montreal.
“Every game is going to be like a playoff game. We found that out yesterday. Every point is so important, and it’s even more important for the teams who are fighting for the playoffs, for the eighth or seventh spot,” he said. “For us, we want to be in first place. It’s going to be a huge game, and you want to get ready for the playoffs with games like that.”
|Wade Redden joins Bruins at practice, Chris Kelly skates with third line||04.05.13 at 11:42 am ET|
WILMINGTON — Chris Kelly was wearing his familiar gray jersey as he took the ice Friday at Wilmington with the Bruins. Kelly has been out since March 11 with a broken tibia, but he is expected to return to the Bruins’ lineup in the coming days.
Friday marked Kelly’s second consecutive day skating with his teammates, though it was his first actual practice after taking part in Thursday’s morning skate. Following the practice, Claude Julien said that Kelly is still considered day-to-day, and that he wouldn’t yet say whether he’d be a game-time decision vs. the Canadiens for Saturday.
Depending on whether Kelly is ready to go, the color-coded lines were unchanged from Thursday’s 1-0 win over the Devils.
Friday’s practice lines:
Milan Lucic – David Krejci – Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand – Tyler Seguin – Jaromir Jagr
Jay Pandolfo – Rich Peverley – Chris Kelly – Kaspars Daugavins
Daniel Paille – Jordan Caron – Gregory Campbell ‘ Shawn Thornton
Caron appeared to be the spare part on the Merlot line.
All eight defensemen were also on the ice, including Wade Redden, who was skating with his new team for the first time since being acquired by the Blues prior to Tuesday’s trade deadline. Adam McQuaid (shoulder) skated with strength and conditioning coach John Whitesides before the practice.
|Bruins sign Dartmouth forward Matthew Lindblad to entry-level contract||04.05.13 at 11:29 am ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins announced Friday that they have signed Darmtmouth College forward Matthew Lindblad to an entry-level contract.
The 23-year-old Lindblad stands at 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds. In 30 games for Dartmouth this season, he scored 10 goals and added 18 assists for 28 points.
|Jaromir Jagr his own worst critic after Bruins debut||04.04.13 at 10:23 pm ET|
Jaromir Jagr scored the Bruins’ only goal in his debut with the team Thursday night, but after the game was surprisingly critical of his performance.
Jagr, 41, said he was “so tired” and that he struggled in a “tough” first showing for Boston. He skated on the second line with Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand, whom he said he apologized to for his performance (19:12 of ice time, an entire power play and five shots on goal and his 15th goal of the season).
“I told them I’ve got to get better. I felt bad for them that they have to play with me,” he said. “I’ve got to get better, that’s for sure.”
When asked to explain what he meant by tired — whether it was exhaustion in the game or being tired from the last two days since being traded from the Stars — Jagr said it was a combination of things and that he had difficulty sleeping Wednesday.
“I don’t know. Maybe the stress a little bit, and just surprised that I got traded and then I had to pack and get ready,” he said. “I didn’t sleep very well last night. I slept only two hours, I don’t know why. It just hits you. I have to go and sleep and it’s going to get better.”
Jagr scored the only goal of the game Thursday when he drove to the net and Marchand bounced a pass off Jagr’s left skate and past Martin Brodeur.
“I think that was the first time I scored with my leg,” Jagr said. “When I was 25, I wouldn’t like that goal. At 41, I’ll take anything right now.”
The veteran right wing did say that after his first day with the team, he is confident that he will be better and more comfortable as he gains more experience in the Bruins system and with his teammates.
“You guys have to understand, we had a morning skate,” he said. “This league is too good to just [show up and be comfortable]. This is not an All-Star [game in which] guys meet to just play one game. This is very tough. You’re playing against a team that’s fighting for the playoffs. It’s not easy to just go there. I don’t know these guys. They don’t know me, how I play. We had some chances, but I believe it’s just going to get better and better.”
|Jaromir Jagr scores as Tuukka Rask blanks Devils||04.04.13 at 9:27 pm ET|
Jaromir Jagr got plenty of attention, but it was Tuukka Rask who stole the show Thursday at TD Garden in a 1-0 Bruins win over the Devils.
Jagr, who was acquired by the B’s on Tuesday, scored the only goal in his Bruins debut, but it was Rask’s 40-save shutout performance that kept the Bruins in it. The win improved the Bruins to 24-8-4 on the season with 52 points through 36 games.
Up next for the Bruins is a meeting with the Canadiens in Montreal. Here’s what went for the B’s in the Thursday night win.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Well, Jagr was able to match Lane MacDermid‘s pace (MacDermid scored in his Stars debut Wednesday).
The 41-year-old definitely looked like he was still getting a feel for his linemates, as his goal actually came as the result of the second pass he failed to connect on with Brad Marchand. Jagr, perhaps mistaking the speedy Marchand for a very speedy Marchand, sent the puck just out of the left wing’s reach. Marchand caught up to and sent a centering pass in front, with the puck going off Jagr’s skate and in.
– Speaking of Jagr, the Bruins obviously brought him in with the idea that he’d help the power play, but how about this? Jagr played the entire two minutes of the Bruins’ second-period power play. Jagr played on both units, first with Tyler Seguin, Marchand and Nathan Horton up front with Zdeno Chara at the point, and then with David Krejci, Rich Peverley and Milan Lucic in front with Dougie Hamilton at the point. The B’s didn’t score on the man advantage, though it was a better showing with a few quality chances.
– Rask was definitely the Bruins’ top performer, as he turned in an exceptional performance behind some rather shaky defense. Rask’s finest work came in the first period, when he made a kick save on Alexei Ponikarovsky and followed it by stuffing David Clarkson on the rebound with his right pad.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– It wasn’t quite the 47 shots allowed Tuesday against the Senators, but the Bruins allowed 40 shots on goal Thursday. They’ve now given up 87 shots on goal over the last two games, though the opponents have combined for just two goals, both of which were scored by the Senators.
– Seguin, who centered the second line in Patrice Bergeron‘s absence, looked like a wing trying to get comfortable playing a different position. It’s too soon to say he isn’t a fit for the job, but Seguin rightfully looked like he was adjusting after spending the entire season to this point at right wing.
Seguin went 0-for-3 on draws in first period and 2-for-5 in the second, which certainly was a far cry from the standard Bergeron has set by leading the league in faceoff efficiency. Claude Julien had Rich Peverley take draws in the defensive zone for Seguin early on, though Seguin was trusted with the responsibility in the second period and won a draw. Seguin finished the night 3-for-12 on faceoffs.
|Chris Kelly days away from returning to Bruins lineup||04.04.13 at 12:40 pm ET|
Chris Kelly skated for the fourth consecutive day on Thursday as he nears a return from a broken tibia suffered on March 11 against the Senators, but Thursday marked the first time he skated with his teammates.
Kelly participated fully in the Bruins’ morning skate, and though he will not play Thursday against the Devils, Claude Julien said that his return to the lineup is right around the corner.
“I think it’s just a matter of probably days now vs. a week that hopefully he’ll be back,” Julien said.
The coach added that Kelly will travel with the team to Montreal this weekend for Saturday’s game, though it’s too early to tell whether Kelly will actually play vs. the Habs.
Though Kelly is itching to get back on the ice (this is the longest he’s been out with an injury in his NHL career), he isn’t getting too far ahead of himself when it comes to jumping back in the lineup.
“It’s just about how I feel. If I feel good, I do a little bit more the next day,” he said. “If I don’t feel as good, maybe don’t push it as much. One step at a time. Today was my first day with the guys, and it was just a morning skate. Maybe if we practice tomorrow, I’ll get to skate a little longer with them and maybe do a little more.”
Morning skates aren’t a very physical affair, as the half hour is used for skating, line rushes, and other work such as special teams and face-offs. The next step in Kelly’s recovery would appear to be adding the physical aspect.
“I’m hoping not to get hit, to be honest,” he said with a laugh. “If they want to hit me, I guess that will be the next step.”
As for what he’s looking to get out of the final days before he gets back into games, Kelly said that it’s a combination of getting over the injury and getting his strength back.
“I think it’s a little bit of both. Conditioning is definitely a big part of it,” he said. “You don’t want to be fatigued and put yourself in a vulnerable position for other injuries. The fatigue aspect is definitely there. I need to work on that and just feel comfortable with the injury as well.”
When he does return, his line could look different. When he was injured, he was skating with Rich Peverley and Jordan Caron on the third line, but since then the Bruins have added Kaspars Daugavins and Jaromir Jagr, both of whom could eventually be in the third line mix. The B’s have also used Jay Pandolfo more on the third line (Pandolfo and Daugavins played on Peverley’s wings in Thursday’s morning skate).
Kelly’s line struggled mightily before he went down, and the third line has continued to underachieve. He doesn’t view his eventual return as a chance to bounce back with a new linemate or two, focusing instead on just playing when he can.
“I just want to be back. Whoever I play with will be great,” he said. “I know adding [Jagr] was great, and Daugavins as well. There are a few new faces, but whoever I play with will be great with me.”