|A look at how Bruins prospects are doing in the OHL this season||10.12.11 at 2:47 pm ET|
It’s early on in the OHL season, but here’s a look at how some of the Bruins’ top prospects are doing in juniors. Included below are defenseman Dougie Hamilton (1st round, 2011), and forwards Alexander Khokhlachev (2nd round, 2011), Jared Knight (2nd round, 2010), Ryan Spooner (2nd round, 2010) and Anthony Camara (3rd round, 2011).
Alexander Khokhlachev (Windsor) 7 GP 4 G 8 A 12 PTS
Dougie Hamilton (Niagara) 6 GP 2 G 9 A 11 PTS
Jared Knight (London) 5 GP 4 G 3 A 7 PTS
Anthony Camara (Saginaw) 8 GP 0 G 5 A 5 PTS
Ryan Spooner (Kingston) 7 GP 1 G 2 A 3 PTS
Check out the video below for highlights of Khokhlachev’s four-point night Saturday.
|David Krejci day-to-day with core injury, Tyler Seguin to center first line||10.12.11 at 2:13 pm ET|
When the Bruins face the Hurricanes Wednesday, they will be doing so with Tyler Seguin on the first line.
Coach Claude Julien said Wednesday in Carolina that David Krejci did not suffer a knee injury, but rather a core injury in Tuesday’s practice. Krejci will not play Wednesday but is considered day-to-day.
“He’s day to day and it’s an injury in the core area. We can certainly eliminate the knee injury that’s been speculated,” Julien said. “‘¦ We’ll see how he does and whether he joins us in Chicago or not.”
With Krejci out, Seguin will become the team’s first-line center and play in the middle of Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton. Seguin is tied for the team lead with three points through three games. He has played on the third line with Chris Kelly and Benoit Pouliot/Jordan Caron. With Seguin jumping up to the top line, both Pouliot and Caron will play.
“We knew that down the road we needed him to step up in that area,” Julien said. “‘¦ Moving Tyler there is certainly one of our options there and the one we’re probably going to start with.”
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|Struggles aside, Bruins remember Tomas Kaberle fondly||10.11.11 at 11:40 pm ET|
When the Bruins play the Hurricanes Wednesday night in Carolina, they will play against a member of the 2010-11 champions for the first time, and perhaps no one fell victim to the harsh Boston spotlight more Tomas Kaberle.
Kaberle, for whom the Bruins traded former 16th overall pick Joe Colborne, a first-round pick and a second-rounder to the Maple Leafs, came to the Bruins on Feb. 18 of last season with big expectations. The veteran blueliner was popular amongst his teammates, but struggled in his stint with the Bruins, failing to improve a wretched power play, hesitating to shoot and proving to be a liability in his own zone. When his contract expired the Bruins told him to test the waters, and he ended up taking a three-year deal worth $12.75 million with the Hurricanes.
“I don’t know if the pressure bothered him. I mean, he played in Toronto, where there’s tons of pressure,” Dennis Seidenberg said. “He felt like it was the best situation for him to go to Carolina, and he got a good deal, so it’s good for him.”
Kaberle had averaged upwards of 22 minutes per night in his career with the Maple Leafs, but he saw his ice time with the Bruins cut down significantly as time went on. Things looked their worst in the Eastern Conference finals, when he committed costly turnovers and ended up playing what at the time was a career-low (injuries excluded) of 11:35 in Game 4 against the Lightning. He played better in the Stanley Cup finals, but in Game 7 set a new career-low with 9:14 of ice time.
“It’s never good if you see a player that’s been so successful in the past to struggle a little bit, but he was really good,” Seidenberg said. “He knew how to handle himself, and you would never knew how he was doing on the ice with the way he acted in the locker room with us. He’s just a great guy.”
Though he will be on the other team Wednesday, Seidenberg admitted Tuesday that the members of last season’s historic Bruins team will always remember one another fondly.
“I think even if we didn’t win the Cup, Tomas is just a really nice guy, and good to hang out with and a great team guy,” Seidenberg said. “Winning the Cup with him definitely makes it a little more special. Down the road, it’s going to be nice to exchange stories and talk about.”
This season, Kaberle is playing on the Hurricanes’ top power play unit. He has no points and is a minus-3 for the Hurricanes, who are 0-2-1 through three games.
|Bruins can go on road and focus on wins rather than ceremonies now||10.11.11 at 10:37 pm ET|
For all that’s been said about the “Stanley Cup hangover,” it’s hard to imagine it being any easier with the team parading the trophy around every chance it gets. That isn’t a criticism, but a mere stating of facts. It’s the most coveted trophy in sports, and when a team gets it, that team has every right to have as many celebrations and put it on display as it wants. The Bruins earned it.
But it’s three games into the season, and the Bruins have as many Gillette Stadium appearances as they do victories. After opening the season with three games at home (1-2-0) the Bruins are finally on the road as they get set to play the Hurricanes Wednesday and the Blackhawks Saturday. The Bruins have no problem with all the hoopla they’ve experienced at home, but now it’s time to win hockey games.
“It will be nice to get away for a bit and just kind of be by ourselves. We can get back to being a team, working on our chemistry a bit and get away from trying to put a show on for all our fans and all the Cup ceremonies and whatnot,” forward Brad Marchand said Tuesday. “Hopefully we’ll just be able to go away, get back to focusing on playing hockey and hopefully get a couple wins.”
Defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, who started the last two season with teams playng in the Premier Games in Europe, admitted Tuesday that the open to this season has been unlike any he’d experience before given all of the celebrations and ceremonies. Those are in the past now, which he and his teammates should embrace.
“The whole celebration with the first game, and the second game we got introduced again, that’s a little different,” Seidenberg said. “I guess it’s nice, but you just want to play your game and focus on the task at hand. That’s what we can do now.”
|Vote: With David Krejci out, should Tyler Seguin or Patrice Bergeron center top line?||10.11.11 at 6:47 pm ET|
Claude Julien will have an interesting choice to make without his first-line center Wednesday in Carolina, and you can help him make it (not really).
The Bruins announced late Tuesday that Krejci, who was injured in Tuesday’s practice, did not travel to Carolina and will not play Wednesday night. The B’s aren’t strangers to seeing the Milan Lucic – Krejci – Nathan Horton trio disrupted by an injury to Krejci, as the top line center missed time early on last year with a concussion. When Krejci went down, Patrice Bergeron stepped in to center the line, but he isn’t the only option this time around.
Tyler Seguin is a very viable and intriguing candidate. The second-year player looks drastically different from his timid self of a season ago, as he is stronger and playing with far more confidence than he did in his 11-goal, 11-assist rookie campaign. He’s holding onto the puck longer (he was quick to get rid of it a season ago), and hasn’t slowed up when chasing a puck in the corners. Through three games, Seguin is tied with Brad Marchand for the team lead with three points. One drawback with Seguin is that, though he is a natural center, he has been playing right wing this season.
|Is three games too soon to panic over Bruins’ first line woes? Yes||10.11.11 at 5:35 pm ET|
While information is awaited on the status of David Krejci (who did not get on the plane to Carolina but could possibly join the team Wednesday), it’s hard to tell what the Bruins’ first line will look like Wednesday against the Hurricanes. At this point, the Bruins feel that injury is the only thing that will cause them to break up the trip if Krejci, Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton at this point.
Krejci, Lucic and Horton went onto the ice early Tuesday, beginning their day 20 minutes before their teammates as a way to “get the frustration out and get back to playing how we know we can play,” according to Lucic. They stayed out in their first-line white sweaters for Tuesday’s skate until Krejci left with an undisclosed injury, the severity of which is unknown.
Through three games, the line has only one goal, a Krejci tally, and all three members of the line have a team-worst minus-2 rating. It hasn’t been smooth sailing, but the left wing feels that shaking things up three games into the season would be premature.
“Obviously, it keeps dragging on, changes have to be made,” Lucic said, “but right now, I think we just have [bring the right mindset] to the game and things will take care of themselves.”
The worst of the three has been Nathan Horton, who aside from penalties in each of the first two games and a 2-on-1 with Lucic in Monday’s loss to the Avalanche has been invisible thus far. He has just one shot on goal and has yet to register a hit.
“Personally, I feel like we haven’t found him enough and passed him the puck in areas where he’s most dangerous,” Lucic said of Horton. “As a linemate, that’s what I and our centerman need to do for him and give him more opportunities where he can be more dangerous.”
What doesn’t help from a pressure standpoint is the fact that this is the same line that, aside from struggles from an injured Lucic, had big success in the playoffs. Horton was arguably the team’s most clutch player, with three game-winning goals, two of which came in Game 7s. Krejci led all players in postseason goals and points.
“Sometimes when you’re just thinking about producing and scoring, that’s when it becomes the hardest. Maybe we just need to focus on something else and the rest will take care of itself.”
With the top trio struggling, the team’s second line of Patrice Bergeron centering Brad Marchand and Rich Peverley has been the team’s best line. Marchand is tied with Tyler Seguin for the team lead with three points, while Peverley’s two goals lead the defending champs. The success of the second line and the struggles of the first line have led to some speculation that switching up the lines could be an option, but Marchand has no interest in hearing any of that.
“I think people are overreacting right now,” Marchand said frankly on Tuesday. “It’s three games into the season. It was a short but long summer, very busy and very busy times right now. I think people have to settle down and realize that it’s only three games into the year. It’s not that big of a deal. Guys are still getting back into things. They’re three of the top guys into league. They’re going to bounce back. We’re not worrying about it, so they’ll be fine.”
|With Rich Peverley extended, who’s next?||10.11.11 at 4:48 pm ET|
Call this a generalization, but one could argue that in the Peter Chiarelli regime, if the Bruins like a player and want to keep them, they won’t let the player go to unrestricted free agency. It’s happened with Andrew Ference, Marc Savard, Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron and now Rich Peverley. In some cases, the Bruins don’t even let the player enter their deal’s last season before extending them, and with Peverley, they extended the extended the speedy winger just three games into the last season of his two-year deal.
That’s why the signing of Peverley brings up the obvious question of who’s next, because the B’s have a very long list of players set to become unrestricted free agents at season’s. Third-line center and alternate captain Chris Kelly will see his deal expire at the end of the season, as will all three members of the fourth line in Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton. On the blue line, Johnny Boychuk‘s deal will be up, as will that of newcomer Joe Corvo.
And those are just the unrestricted guys. The biggest money the B’s will have to dole out next summer (if not earlier) will go to first-line center David Krejci and goaltender Tuukka Rask, both of whom will be restricted free agents.
Chiarelli was asked Tuesday whether he was in talks with any of the other players and declined comment, but he figures to be a very busy man. It’s hard to imagine the Bruins would put a letter on Kelly’s sweater without the intention of keeping him around, and the team’s fourth line played an integral part in the Bruins’ Stanley Cup run last season, with its shining moment coming with a shift in Game 7 that gave the Bruins momentum after a sluggish start.
Yes, the Bruins have around $2.6 million in cap space and can have about $6.6 million in space if they put Savard on long term injured reserve, but going forward the Bruins have a lot of budgeting and planning to do as far as who comes back. With all of the aforementioned deals expiring (including Krejci and Rask) and Benoit Pouliot also being restricted, the Bruins could have about $17.5 million* ($21.5 million if they go the LTIR route with Savard) to work with. While that’s a big number, it probably isn’t going to be enough for them to be comfortable chasing other team’s high-priced free agents. That’s because next season sees some huge names expiring for the Bruins. Milan Lucic (restricted), Brad Marchand (restricted), Tyler Seguin (restricted) and Nathan Horton (unrestricted) will be up, with Tim Thomas‘ $5 million cap hit coming off the books.
Long story short, the Bruins are going have to spend a lot of money in the next couple of years to make sure the core group that won them the Stanley Cup will stick around in Boston. Whether that means the B’s will announce more extensions in the coming days, weeks or months remains to be seen, but expect Chiarelli and the front office to be busy managing it all.
*Salary cap calculations done with numbers from CapGeek.com, future salary caps subject to change.