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Simon Gagne on personal leave, Zdeno Chara could return Thursday for Bruins 12.09.14 at 12:23 pm ET
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Both Zdeno Chara and David Krejci practiced Tuesday as the Bruins returned to TD Garden. Chara could return to the lineup as soon as Thursday against the Blackhawks, while Claude Julien said Krejci is still a bit behind.

“Krejci hasn’€™t been cleared to play yet. They’€™ve both been cleared for practice,” Claude Julien said. “Right now, I can say I feel more optimistic about Zee right now, that he will. I don’€™t know about David.”

Simon Gagne is on a personal leave of absence, Julien said. Gagne was not at practice, with Julien saying the Bruins “don’€™t know” how long Gagne’€™s leave will be. Gagne’€™s skates and belongings were still in his stall during media availability following practice.

Carl Soderberg and Daniel Paille were also absent from practice due to a virus, while David Warsofsky practiced with the team for the first time since suffering a groin strain last month. According to Steve Conroy of the Boston Herald, Adam McQuaid skated prior to practice.

With so many players on offense missing, Loui Eriksson skated on Krejci’€™s line. Julien said afterwards that Eriksson’€™s placement in practice was strictly because of the lack of forwards.

“€œI had to just throw guys together because we were short today,”€ Julien said.

The lines and defensive pairings were as follows:

Lucic – Krejci – Eriksson
Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
Bottom-six: Campbell, Fraser, Kelly, Griffith

Chara – Hamilton
Seidenberg – Miller
Krug – Trotman
Warsofsky, Bartkowski, Morrow

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

Read More: Simon Gagne, Zdeno Chara,
NHL salary cap expected to increase to $73 million range 12.08.14 at 7:58 pm ET
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Carl Soderberg

Carl Soderberg

Commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters Monday at the Board of Governors meeting that the NHL‘€™s salary cap is expected to be around $73 million next season, assuming the Canadian dollar stays the same.

Such a cap ceiling would provide a $4 million bump from what it currently is and, while still not great for the Bruins, would be helpful as they try to keep their roster together.

The B’€™s currently have $49,897,857 committed against the cap to 10 players (excluding Marc Savard) for next season. Dougie Hamilton, Carl Soderberg, Torey Krug and Reilly Smith will all be due raises from what they currently make. Soderberg, who currently commands a $1.008 million cap hit, will likely hit free agency as the top available center should he not re-up with the Bruins before then.

Agent J.P. Barry, who represents both Hamilton and Soderberg, told WEEI.com last month that he and the B’€™s were waiting for clarity regarding the salary cap before beginning serious negotiations.

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

Read More: Carl Soderberg, Dougie Hamilton,
Bruins return David Pastrnak to Providence 12.07.14 at 8:37 pm ET
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David Pastrnak

David Pastrnak

The Bruins returned right wing David Pastrnak to Providence Sunday, according to the AHL transactions page.

Pastrnak has played five games in the NHL this season, registering an assist and posting an even rating. He played mostly on a line with Patrice Bergeron in addition to receiving power play time.

Providence has two games before the Bruins next play, as the NHL club is off until Thursday. It’s possible the Bruins could simply be looking to get Pastrnak, who was a healthy scratch Saturday, game action for the time being.

It’s also possible the Bruins are determining their plan of action with him for the rest of the season. The 18-year-old can play four more NHL games without burning off the first year of his three-year entry level contract. The contract slides to retain it€™s three years should he play less than 10 NHL games.

Should the B’€™s hold off on starting the three-year clock this season, they will in theory get better return on a low cap hit ($925,000) at the end of the deal. If the deal were to begin this season, Pastrnak would be 20 years old at at the end of it. If it begins next year, a more developed Pastrnak would be 21 years old and still be playing on his first contract. The Bruins waited a year on the nearly NHL-ready Dougie Hamilton in the 2011-12 season.

In 17 games for Providence this season, Pastrnak has five goals and 13 assists for 18 points. He was named the league’€™s top rookie for the month of October.

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

Read More: David Pastrnak,
5 things we learned as Bruins got blown out by Sharks for third straight loss 12.05.14 at 1:05 am ET
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The Bruins were desperately in search of goals and they found them. So did the Sharks.

Then the Sharks found some more. And some more.

In finally putting up something of an offensive effort, the Bruins got crushed in a mess of a pond hockey game Thursday night. Their four goals were a minor detail in a game marked by hanging Tuukka Rask out to dry in a 7-4 loss (box). Rask had never allowed seven goals in an NHL game before Thursday night.

The Bruins have now gone 0-3-0 in the first three games of their four-game West Coast trip. They’ll wrap it up Saturday against the Coyotes.

Here are four more things we learned Thursday night:

DOMINATED IN THE SECOND

It all began in the second period. After a strong first, the B’€™s were blown out of the water in the second by the Sharks, who put four pucks past Rask.

They scored after long stays in the offensive zone, scored on the power play (twice) and scored off the rush. San Jose outshot Boston, 24-7, in the second.

The period was a reflection of some pretty shoddy work by the B’€™s in both the neutral zone and their own zone. While they would gladly take a period in which they scored two goals given their offensive woes of late, the second period showed that pond hockey doesn’€™t suit the B’€™s well.

Through the first two periods alone, the Bruins gave up 61 shot attempts, which, as Nick Goss from NESN noted, was more than they’€™d allowed in a game all season.

REILLY SMITH IS BACK TO SCORING

It wasn’€™t just that Smith didn’€™t have any goals in his previous 10 games entering Thursday; he didn’€™t have any points. That changed 29 seconds into the game, as he finished off a play courtesy of slick passing from Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron. He would add a second goal shortly after a Sharks power play goal in the second period.

Speaking of Marchand and Bergeron, Smith was reunited with his longtime linemates Thursday after seeing David Pastrnak skate in his place the previous three games. Smith was put back on the line late in the second period Tuesday against the Kings and stuck there through the game Thursday.

With Smith back with Bergeron, Pastrnak was moved down to play with Chris Kelly and Matt Fraser. Seth Griffith was scratched for the third straight game. The lines were as follows:

Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
Lucic – Soderberg – Eriksson
Fraser – Kelly – Pastrnak
Paille – Campbell – Gagne

THREE-AND-ONE FAILS BRUINS

Dating back to some early-season shootout woes last season, in four-on-four play — particularly in overtime — Claude Julien has opted against skating two forwards and two defensemen and instead deployed a full forward line and one blueliner. That backfired Thursday night.

With Marchand and Tommy Wingels going off for matching roughing minors and the Bruins trailing by a goal, Julien sent Carl Soderberg’€™s line and Dougie Hamilton out. Joe Pavelski skated the puck around Hamilton and was going stride-for-stride to the net with Hamilton when Lucic, trying to break up the play, accidentally kicked the puck into the net as he tried to make a hard stop.

Given that there was less than 10 minutes to play in a one-goal game, there’s no issue here with Julien’€™s strategy as he looked for the equalizer. It just didn’€™t work.

PAILLE’€™S FLASHY ASSIST

Daniel Paille is known for being good at a lot of things and not-so-good at finishing. That doesn’€™t mean he can’€™t play a major part in a highlight reel goal.

Shortly after Smith had gotten the Bruins on the board early in the first period, Paille skated the puck through the neutral zone. With two men to beat as he went to the net, Paille spun around on his backhand and wheeled back forward to send a pass on his forehand to an oncoming Gregory Campbell, who promptly fired the puck into the net for his third goal of the season. Two of those goals have come against the Sharks.

Read More: Brad Marchand, Reilly Smith, Tuukka Rask,
Bruins return Craig Cunningham to Providence 12.03.14 at 3:05 pm ET
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The Bruins returned forward Craig Cunningham to Providence Wednesday, according to the AHL transactions page.

Cunningham was recalled for the team’€™s current road trip but did not dress in either of the first two games. He skated on the fourth line for three games to begin the season while Gregory Campbell worked his way back from a core injury.

With Cunningham out, the Bruins still have 13 forwards with them. Both Cunningham and Seth Griffith were scratched against the Ducks and Kings.

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

Read More: Craig Cunningham,
5 things we learned as Bruins don’t score, lose again 12.03.14 at 1:09 am ET
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The Bruins were shut out by the Kings Tuesday. (Harry How/Getty Images)

The Bruins were shut out by the Kings Tuesday. (Harry How/Getty Images)

The Bruins are good enough to play close games against good teams, but they aren’€™t good enough to score goals. That’s becoming a bit of a problem for them as they try to navigate through a tough part of their schedule.

In getting blanked by Jonathan Quick and the Kings in a 2-0 loss Tuesday at the Staples Center (box), the B’€™s were shut out for the third time this season.

If the shutouts were being sprinkled in with potent offensive efforts, things wouldn’t look so grim. That’s not the case, however, as their 2.35 goals per game on the season ranks 23rd in the NHL.

The Bruins have now gone five straight games without a three-goal showing and have failed to score three in nine of their last 10 games (4-5-1).

The Kings outshot the Bruins 35-31. Their second goal came in the form of a Tyler Toffoli empty-netter as the Bruins fell short in their comeback bid in the final minutes.

Here are four other things we learned:

JULIEN MIXING THINGS UP

With the B’€™s still looking for their first goal late in the second period, Claude Julien shuffled three of his lines to reunite Reilly Smith with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron.

Boston’€™s lines began as such:

Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak
Lucic – Soderberg – Eriksson
Fraser – Kelly – Smith
Gagne – Campbell – Paille

By the end of the second, Julien used the following lines:

Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
Lucic – Soderberg – Pastrnak
Fraser – Kelly – Eriksson
Gagne – Campbell – Paille

In the third, Fraser got shifts with Lucic and Soderberg, while Pastrnak skated with Eriksson and Kelly. Seth Griffith was scratched for a second straight game. It will be interesting to see what Julien does with the lineup Thursday against the Sharks.

FAITH IN CAMPBELL LINE BACKFIRES

Claude Julien successfully used Campbell’€™s line against Ryan Getzlaf’€™s line Monday night in Anaheim without getting burned. That apparently gave the B’€™s confidence to play their fourth line against Anze Kopitar’€™s line at points Tuesday, and it cost them.

After Gagne blocked a shot late on the Campbell line’€™s third shift against Kopitar’€™s, Campbell couldn’€™t get the puck out of the zone. Kopitar gained possession and sent the puck low to Tanner Pearson, who beat Niklas Svedberg for what would prove to be the game-winning goal.

The Campbell line played six shifts against Kopitar’€™s line over the first two periods Tuesday.

MILLER RETURNS, MORROW SCRATCHED FOR FIRST TIME

For the first time since he entered the lineup on Oct. 30, Joe Morrow was scratched by the Bruins. The move allowed Kevan Miller to re-enter the lineup.

Morrow, who has by and large been very steady for the B’€™s in his 14-game NHL career, did not play the final 6:11 of Monday’€™s loss to the Ducks. Miller was scratched after Julien said he suffered a minor injury against the Jets last Friday.

Zach Trotman stayed in the lineup amidst the switch on defense, logging 16:34 of ice time.

BACK-TO-BACKS EQUAL LOSSES

In losing Tuesday, the Bruins fell to 0-5-0 in the second games of back-to-backs. Two of those games have been started by Svedberg, who deserved a better fate on Tuesday.

The B’€™s are 3-2-0 in the first games of back-backs. They’€™ll next have games on consecutive games on Dec. 16 and 17 in Nashville and Minnesota, respectively.

5 things we learned as Bruins fall to Ducks 12.02.14 at 12:33 am ET
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A loss is a loss, but all things considered, Monday night could have gone much worse for the Bruins.

Playing one of the NHL‘€™s biggest and best teams in the first game of a four-game western swing, the Bruins held their own against the Ducks with an especially strong first period, solid special teams work throughout and even a big night from the embattled Gregory Campbell line.

After falling behind, 3-1, five minutes into the third period the B’€™s pushed back hard with Simon Gagne’€™s second goal of the season, but were unable to find the equalizer en route to a 3-2 regulation loss.

The lack of points from the performance should undoubtedly leave the Bruins with a bad taste in their mouths, but Monday’s game showed that, without Zdeno Chara and David Krejci, the B’s can still measure up pretty well against one of the league’s top teams.

The Bruins will play the second leg of perhaps their toughest back-to-back of the season when they face the Kings Tuesday night in Los Angeles.

Tuukka Rask made 25 saves on 28 shots faced. The loss was Boston’€™s third in the last four games (1-2-1).

Here are four more things we learned Monday:

PASTRNAK GETS HIS FIRST POINT

David Pastrnak stayed on Patrice Bergeron‘€™s line and got power play time in his third NHL game. With it came his first career point, as his power play unit stayed in the offensive zone at the expiration of an Andrew Cogliano penalty and a Pastrnak threw a puck on net that yielded a rebound that Brad Marchand converted into the first goal of the game.

Zach Trotman got the secondary assist on the goal, as he manned the other point of the power play unit with Torey Krug.

Pastrnak had one shot on goal Monday, a far cry from his team-leading seven on Friday against the Jets.

BARTKOWSKI HELD UP

Matt Bartkowski has had plenty of reason to be frustrated when pucks have gone past him and in this season, but on Monday the frustration wasn’€™t with himself.

Devante Smith-Pelly held Bartkowski’€™s stick in front of Rask during a Ducks possession late in the second period. Despite Bartkowski signaling to the official that he couldn’€™t make a play, the obstruction went uncalled as Cam Fowler fired a shot that would go off Smith-Pelly and in.

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Read More: Brad Marchand, Simon Gagne,
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