|Loui Eriksson: First season with Bruins ‘tougher than I thought’||08.11.14 at 2:09 pm ET|
MIDDLETON – Loui Eriksson was among four current Bruins in attendance to support Panthers forward Shawn Thornton at his annual Putts and Punches for Parkinson’s golf tournament at Ferncroft Country Club
Eriksson, who was traded to Boston last summer in the Tyler Seguin megadeal, is set to enter next month’s training camp as Boston’s first-line right wing. This comes after an up-and-down debut season in Boston that saw the now-29-year-old forward struggle with concussions and adjustment to a new team. Eriksson eventually found very strong chemistry with Carl Soderberg and was dominant when teamed with David Krejci and Milan Lucic late in the regular season while the team rested Jarome Iginla.
The longtime Dallas Star told WEEI.com Monday that he didn’t anticipate such a rocky time adjusting to his new team last season, but then again nobody could have expected injuries hitting Eriksson, as he had played every game in all but one of the previous five seasons (three games missed in 2010-11).
The lack of offensive production (he finished the season with 10 goals and 27 assists for 37 points in 61 regular season games) led to some impatience from fans, but Eriksson, who scored 36 goals in the 2008-09 season and was an All Star in 2011, said the fans should have held him to a high standard.
“It was tougher than I thought, actually, but it was something I have to live with, too. Of course they should have high expectations,” Eriksson said. “It was kind of a tough beginning of my season to play for Boston with all the concussions and everything a new system. I thought I was getting into it more at the end of the season and into the playoffs.”
Check back later for more on Eriksson and what he expects from his second season in Boston. For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com/bruins.
|David Pastrnak scores twice vs. Canada||08.09.14 at 1:53 pm ET|
The Czech Republic handed Canada a 5-2 loss Friday at the world junior development camp, with the victory led by Bruins first-round pick David Pastrnak.
Pastrnak, a right wing selected 25th overall by the B’s in June, scored two goals for the Czech Republic and added an assist.
The Bruins liked what they saw out of the 18-year-old at last month’s development camp, with B’s general manager Peter Chiarelli not ruling out the possibility of him competing for a roster spot on the NHL team this season.
|Gregory Campbell cool with potential move to wing||08.06.14 at 8:19 pm ET|
LOWELL – Though he tossed the first pitch prior to Wednesday’s Spinner’s game, Gregory Campbell will not be a pitcher next season. From there, it gets tougher to narrow down which position he’ll play.
Campbell, who has centered Boston’s fourth line since the B’s acquired the former second-round pick in a trade with the Panthers prior to the 2010-11 season, is due to see plenty of change in the coming season. For starters, Shawn Thornton is gone. Daniel Paille may move up to replace Loui Eriksson on the third line. Plus, with Ryan Spooner and Alexander Khokhlachev knocking on the NHL‘s door, Campbell may be moved to wing. Peter Chiarelli said the possibility has been discussed and that the team feels he’d be able to handle it.
Discussing the possibility of the position switch for the first time, Campbell told WEEI.com he would put up no fight if moved to the wing.
“I’ve been a center for the last four years, but I’m not going to [demand anything]. I want to be in a spot where I can complement other guys,” Campbell said. “If they throw me with whoever it is and I have to play wing and we’re a successful line, then so be it. That’s where I want to be. I have played center for a long time, so it may take me a few games, but I’m sure I can do it.”
The position wouldn’t be completely new for Campbell. He played some wing over the course of his five-season tenure with the Panthers, and he’s confident he’d be able to swing it.
“I played wing in Florida for a while in different seasons,” he said. “I think the last season I was in Florida I was actually a winger, so I’m comfortable with doing that. Obviously I haven’t played wing in some time now, but it’s a position that I think is easy to adapt to. It’s not necessary an easy position to play, but the responsibilities are a little different and I’m used to those responsibilities and would welcome the challenge.”
The Bruins are no strangers to moving veteran centers to the wing. Just last season, Chris Kelly was moved to left wing to accommodate Carl Soderberg. In 2011, the B’s traded for Rich Peverley and made him a wing on Kelly’s line.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Bruins renew affiliation with South Carolina Stingrays||08.01.14 at 9:50 am ET|
The Bruins announced Thursday that they have renewed their affiliation with the South Carolina Stingrays, their ECHL affiliate.
The team will once again be able to send players in their development system to the South Carolina, which will serve as the organization’s ECHL affiliate for the third consecutive season.
The Stingrays served as the Capitals’ affiliate from 2004 to 2012. Since becoming the Bruins’ affiliate such Bruins prospects as Jared Knight and Adam Morrison have had stints in South Carolina.
|Brad Marchand says he ‘hates’ Tomas Plekanec, but everyone already knew that||07.30.14 at 12:01 pm ET|
The biggest news surrounding Brad Marchand this offseason is that Peter Chiarelli said he wouldn’t trade him. The least surprising surrounding him came Tuesday night.
Speaking at the 2014 Phoenix House Champs for Change in his home town of Halifax, Nova Scotia, the Boston left wing answered a question about which player irritates him the most by pointing to Tomas Plekanec, Montreal’s well-rounded-but-not-so-well-liked-by-opponents center.
“There’s a few guys who really irritate me,” Marchand initially answered, but then he went into detail.
“Tomas Plekanec from Montreal, I hate him. I can’t stand him. No, I probably shouldn’t say that. I dislike him very much.”
The answer prompted a mixed reaction from the crowd, with plenty of laughter throughout. Marchand then quipped, ‘Someone’s going to call and get mad at me for saying that tomorrow.’
The fact that Marchand and Plekanec don’t like each other is not news. Don’t forget that Marchand clocked Plekanec in the head before a faceoff in Game 7 of the second round of playoffs last season, a shot that went uncalled.
Below is video of Marchand’s comments.
|Endicott names hockey arena after Ray Bourque||07.29.14 at 4:31 pm ET|
Endicott College broke ground Tuesday on a new sports complex that will be named after Hall of Fame Bruins defenseman Ray Bourque.
Raymond J. Bourque Arena is expected to be ready in time for the 2015-16 academic year and will be the home of Endicott’s Division III hockey teams.
“When we began speaking with Ray about the naming of the arena in his honor, our thought was that we wanted to inspire our youth, our students, and our community to emulate the qualities that he has as an athlete and as a man,” Endicott president Dr. Richard E. Wylie said in a press release. “In true Bourque fashion, he was most appreciative about being honored but far more interested about what impact this would have on the kids and the community.”
|Bruins seem comfortable with idea of Loui Eriksson on top line||07.25.14 at 2:56 pm ET|
Bruins fans should prepare for Loui Eriksson on the first line next season.
Speaking to the media for the first time this summer, Claude Julien reiterated on Thursday’s conference call what’s already been said by Peter Chiarelli this summer: The team is confident that Eriksson is a viable replacement for the departed Jarome Iginla to skate alongside David Krejci and Milan Lucic.
“We don’t feel like were in a real tough situation,” Julien said. “We’ve lost Jarome, but as you’ve probably heard, I think Loui Eriksson is a player that can be even better than he was last year. I think we started seeing that at the end of the year, and he could be a replacement for Jarome as a possibility.”
One issue with Eriksson playing on that line that has come up numerous times is the fact that he’s a left shot and that Krejci hasn’t had a left shot on the right wing in recent years, as Iginla, Nathan Horton, Rich Peverley and Tyler Seguin were all righties. Maybe that won’t be a problem for him at all, and maybe there will be some adjustment.
It is worth noting that Eriksson played on that line late in the regular season when the Bruins gave Iginla some time off to get him sharp for the playoffs. Amidst that stretch came Eriksson’s best offensive performance of the season, as he registered four assists (three of which were on goals by Lucic or Krejci) and had a season-high seven shots on goal.
In his time with Dallas, Eriksson was a first-liner, and the expectation when he came to Boston was that he would be the perfect second-line right wing to a team with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. Those three never formed chemistry, and the struggles of Marchand and the two concussions for Eriksson meant that trio wouldn’t stick. He returned from his second concussion as a third-liner and teamed wonderfully with Carl Soderberg to provide the Bruins with their strongest third line since the Peverley-Chris Kelly-Michael Ryder days of 2011.
If the roster remains the way it is now, the Bruins should absolutely weaken their third line and put Eriksson on the top line. The roster isn’t going to remain the way it is, however, as the team should trade at least one of what Chiarelli considers to be nine NHL defensemen.
Unless the defenseman traded is Johnny Boychuk, the Bruins probably won’t be getting a sure-fire first-line right wing back. If they trade a lesser commodity like David Warsofsky or Matt Bartkowski, it’s more realistic to expect a third-line candidate in return.
Barring a trade for a first-line right wing, that Krejci line will be different than years past no matter what. Since Krejci became the team’s first-line center in the 2010-11 season, he has had bookend power forwards on his line, with Lucic to his left and Horton or Iginla on his right. Eriksson is far from a power forward, and the Bruins don’t have anyone on their roster who can bring the sandpaper to the right wing the way Horton and Iginla did.
There are pros to having Eriksson there, however. He may not be as tiring to play against as Iginla, but he’s younger, faster and depends well. And it isn’t like he can’t score; last season was the first time in a full season that he hasn’t scored at least 26 goals since 2007-08. He was a 36-goal scorer once upon a time, hitting that mark in the 2008-09 season.
Last offseason, Eriksson’s place in the Bruins’ lineup seemed obvious, but that changed. Perhaps the expectations held now can change as well, but for now it appears that Eriksson is a good bet to be a first-liner.
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