|Julien: Tyler Seguin, Blake Wheeler options at center||09.27.10 at 4:51 pm ET|
Speaking in Thursday’s conference call with the media, Bruins coach Claude Julien spoke about the current hole at center for the team’s third line. With Marc Savard out with post-concussion syndrome symptoms, it is expected that David Krejci will become the first line’s pivot, with Patrice Bergeron centering the second line.
“We’ve got a couple of different options here,” Julien said. “I think one of the things we want to see is that maybe Tyler Seguin needs to be looked at as a center as well. We can’t put him out of the equation. He’s a natural centerman and was drafted as that. He’s one of the guys we can look at.”
Julien also mentioned former first-rounders Zach Hamill and Joe Colborne, as well as Ryan Spooner, all of whom remain in camp with the team.
“To be honest with you, I’d still like to see Tyler Seguin [at center] again, seeing now that he’s got a few games under his belt. He handles it in the middle. I’d still like to see Blake Wheeler play center as well at some point and see if he can recapture his comfort zone that he had when he played that position when he was in school.”
The coach added that one thing that goes into the decision-making process will be the impact playing one guy at center will have on the rest of the roster.
“If we put one guy [at center], that means we may need another winger, so that may open up a spot for another winger. It really leaves the battle wide open.”
|Chiarelli: Marc Savard could begin season on LTIR||09.26.10 at 11:37 am ET|
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said on Sunday morning that the team is looking internally to replace star center Marc Savard, who is currently battling depression and other post-concussion syndrome symptoms. Savard admitted Saturday that returning to the team in the second round of the playoffs may not have been the best idea. As a result of everything, Chiarelli indicated that Savard could begin the season on long-term injured reserve.
“That could happen,” Chiarelli said. “It is a little too early to tell, but based on what he’s going through, the post-concussion symptoms … the time he hasn’t been doing anything, it’s tracking that way right now.”
LTIR requires a player miss 10 games and 24 days prior to returning. With Savard out, the team would temporarily save his cap hit and theoretically might actually begin the season more than $4 million under the cap. This would be possible by combining Savard’s $4.007 million cap hit with Marco Sturm‘s $3.5 million.
As for who will be the team’s third-line center with David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron likely serving as the top two pivots, Chiarelli said there is an open competition.
“That spot’s open. We’re going to have a look at [Blake Wheeler] in that spot, we’re going to have a look at Zach [Hamill] in that spot, and there are some other different combinations. You may see Tyler [Seguin] go back to that spot. There’s a hole there right now, and even [Ryan] Spooner, he’s making a case, too. He’s young and it’s his first pro camp, but each day, each game, he’s getting better and he’s such a smart player. He might be able to fill in, but we’re talking about a lot of different combinations.”
Chiarelli said that given the team’s upgrading of their wingers, he would like the other center to simply “distribute the puck and make plays.” As such, he is confident that making a trade wouldn’t be necessary for a team with great organizational depth at center.
“I’m looking internally right now because we have real promising and a good supply of players,” Chiarelli said, adding that in talking to other executives around the league can gauge that there’s “not a lot going on right now” regarding trade chatter. “Whether it’s NHL players to current pros or even soon-to-be rookies. … I’m not looking externally right now and I don’t anticipate that, but that may change.”
|Horton: Lucic ‘the ultimate hockey player’||09.26.10 at 2:06 am ET|
It’s pretty hard to imagine Cam Neely not loving the idea of Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton as the wingers on the Bruins’ top line. Both are big, strong, and can score goals, and those qualities were on display in Saturday night’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Panthers.
Though the first thing one might think of regarding either of the two on Saturday was Horton’s second-period goal, the chemistry that is forming between the two on the ice might be worth taking a closer look at. Take the first period for example. Triston Grant was looking for somebody to spar with. After getting a little chippy with Horton, he got his guy: Lucic.
The left-winger lost his helmet but won the fight as he and Grant — teammates for a game in 2004-05 on the Vancouver Giants — dropped the gloves with 2:38 to go in the first period. He cited both the game “lacking a little big of emotion” and Grant’s pestering Horton as reasons to show the fans at TD Garden a familiar sight. Horton wasn’t surprised to see his new teammate stick up for him early.
“Well, he’s the ultimate hockey player,” Horton said. “He can do everything. It’s pretty amazing just to watch him. He fights, he hits, he scores. He’s a pretty good players and, obviously, he’s a nice guy too.”
The two players bring a similar style of play as gritty goal-scorers. From what Lucic had to say, it seems he feels the two may need to work on complementing one another rather than always doing the same thing.
“Our job as wingers, we’ve got to take care of the boards and make good strong plays,” Lucic said. “When we do get into the offensive zone we’ve got to establish that forecheck and make strong plays down low. You know, we are both willing to do it, so we’ve got to step back and let the guy do his job. We’ve got to be smart about that, and get in to high slot there and get a good shot off so I think that is going to take a little bit of time to find that chemistry.”
|Horton impresses despite bad bounce||09.26.10 at 12:59 am ET|
Tyler Seguin wasn’t the only player to have a nice night offensively and still want a play or two back. Nathan Horton, who scored the Bruins’ second goal in the second period Saturday night, fell victim to a tricky bounce that eventually led to a Radek Dvorak goal that tied the game in the third period of the team’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Panthers.
Behind Tuukka Rask’s net, Horton turned the puck over to Marty Reasoner, who fed it Dvorak.
“I don’t know [what happened],” Horton said. “I was skating back and it kind of hopped over my stick and it was a bad bounce, but hopefully that won’t happen during the year,” Horton said before cracking a smile.
Horton, the centerpiece of June’s trade that sent Dennis Wideman, the 15th overall pick in the draft, and a 2011 third-rounder to Florida, may have been given a pass given the skills he put on display Saturday night. In addition to his obvious strength, his goal was more or less a PSA on not giving him space or time to shoot given how easily he beat Scott Clemmensen from the hash marks with ample time to pick his spot top shelf.
“I just had a little bit more time I guess and I just tried to get a better shot, a better angle,” he said. “Just luckily it went in.”
In facing his old teammates, Horton was on the ice for 19:12, starting on the team’s projected top line with Milan Lucic and David Krejci and seeing time both on the power play and penalty kill. All in all, Horton saw positives and negatives on the night, but nothing too extreme.
“I mean, obviously, it’s still preseason, so it was pretty sloppy,” Horton said, “but we need to obviously work on things and get more comfortable with guys [we're] playing with. But I think every fame is going to get better from here on in and just keep pushing hard, keep working and I think things will come together pretty quickly.
|Seguin takes the good with the bad||09.25.10 at 10:59 pm ET|
Saturday night was a big night for Tyler Seguin. It definitely wasn’t the first time he heard a crowd go crazy after he scored, and it certainly wasn’t the first time Boston fans lost their voices cheering for him each time his name was announced. It was, however, the first time the two occurrences coincided, as he netted his first goal of the preseason and scored for the first time at TD Garden.
Seguin scored the Bruins’ first goal of the night, one that was followed by a tally from another newcomer in Nathan Horton. Though he was glad to “finally” score as a member of the Bruins (if one scoreless game in which he had an assist against the Canadiens qualifies in Seguin’s mind as a scoring drought, the Bruins are in great shape), Seguin may have been more concerned with the one that got away than his first preseason goal. With the Panthers holding a 2-1 advantage in the shootout, Seguin was stopped by Florida netminder and former Boston College great Scott Clemmensen to end the game.
“There was a lot of pressure there,” Seguin said when asked of the moments leading up to his turn in the shootout. “When I went in, I heard Bergeron [who scored the first goal of the shootout] say the goalie was back in his net, so I wanted to go up high there, but I ended up going low. I kind of whiffed on it a bit, but what can you do?”
Last season’s OHL MVP, Seguin admitted that he could get away with more in his days in juniors than now. He pointed to his play in his own end as an area where he feel he still needs to improve.
“Back in the OHL, you can probably make a couple more errors. Here, if you make those errors, they’re going to cost you,” Seguin said, adding that there are also bits and pieces of his game as a winger that have been developing with more practice.
As for being called on in a shootout again, Seguin said that though he isn’t too experienced with them, he feels comfortable in the setting. He added that he would embrace being used in such a scenario again.
“You know, we didn’t have a lot [of shootouts] on the Whalers, but I’ve always been good at shootouts,” Seguin said. “I’m just going to keep working on it and hopefully I get the opportunity more this year.”
|Bruins assign Sauve and Alexandrov to Providence||09.25.10 at 10:31 pm ET|
Before writers could rush to their computers to write that Claude Julien said a couple more cuts were coming, the Bruins announced Saturday night that they have assigned defenseman Yury Alexandrov and forward Max Sauve to Providence. With the move, the team’s roster currently stands at 33 players.
Julien said prior to the move that the team had “unfortunately tough and quick decisions to make before we go to Prague.” The team leaves for Belfast on Wednesday night and will head to Prague a week from Sunday. Shameless plug — WEEI.com will be there.
|Panthers win it in shootout||09.25.10 at 10:25 pm ET|
Cory Stillman notched the game-winner against Tuukka Rask in a shootout as the Bruins took a 3-2 loss in third preseason game, their first at TD Garden. After Patrice Bergeron netted the team the first shootout goal, Ryan Spooner and Tyler Seguin failed to convert on their attempts.
In regulation, both teams went scoreless in the first period with each with the Bruins scoring twice in the second and the Panthers picking up two of their own in the third. Seguin and Nathan Horton provided the offense for the B’s, with both of the high-profile newcomers beating Scott Clemmensen in the second. Seguin’s tally was the first of his preseason, while Horton had already potted one against the Canadiens on Wednesday night.
Radek Dvorak slid a Rask at 2:20 of the third period to make it a 2-1 game. The goal broke up a shutout bid by Rask in which the Panthers otherwise failed to capitalize on rebounds. Later in the period, a Horton turnover behind his own net led to Marty Reasoner setting up Nathan McArdle for the game-tying goal.
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