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Reilly Smith has some job security for now: ‘Hopefully I can stay with this organization a while’ 03.06.15 at 10:20 pm ET
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After the obvious of getting a big pay raise, the best part of the two-year contract extension for Reilly Smith might be job security.

The Bruins right wing, like teammate Torey Krug, had to sit out the start of camp last summer because the Bruins were over the cap temporarily and couldn’t afford to sign them to new contracts until there was some roster manipulation and flexibility.

But there won’t be such worries this summer or the next as Smith agreed to a two-year extension through the 2016-17 season worth $3.425 million each season.

“It seems like through this whole thing, it’s always been me and Torey slotted together in this whole negotiation process,” Smith said. “It’s good and bad. It’s nice having someone with you through the whole negotiation process, especially in the summer when you’re sitting out camp when neither of us wanted to be. But it’s just good to have it behind us.”

Krug’s deal is worth $3.4 million, but is only good through next season. Still, having the piece of mind knowing that he’ll be in camp next summer is worth it to Smith.

“It was definitely tough. It was on my mind for a while,” Smith said. “It was a pretty stressful time in the summer, having to sit out camp for a while. I’m glad I don’t have to do that the next couple of years.”

The 23-year-old Smith was part of the package from Dallas along with Loui Eriksson, Joe Morrow and Matt Fraser for Tyler Seguin, Rich Peverley and Ryan Button before the 2013-14 season.

Smith, who has struggle to finish scoring chances all season like the rest of his teammates, doesn’t mind the pressure that comes with expectations. Smith, still only 23, has just 12 goals in 63 games this season. General manager Peter Chiarelli, during a Friday press conference to announce the signings, admitted Smith is being paid like a 20-goal scorer.

“I think I welcome it,” Smith said of the pressure factor. “There’s probably a little bit more pressure but as a hockey player and playing in this organization and at this level, you welcome that every day because people get better every day and just being able to cope with challenges and changes in this league, I think it’s something every player in this league dreams to be able to do. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Bruins, Reilly Smith, Torey Krug,
Claude Julien says ‘lack of finish is probably the biggest concern right now’ 03.06.15 at 8:50 am ET
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It’s been the one thing that has haunted these Bruins all season.

They can’t find a way to finish scoring opportunities in and around the net and wind up regretting it at the end of the game. Such was the case again Thursday night in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Calgary Flames. There were several chances for the Bruins to put some distance between themselves and Calgary in the early and middle parts of the game and they simply couldn’t find the finishing touch.

There was Daniel Paille with a wrister on Flames goalie Karri Ramo midway through the first period. There was a slap shot from Dougie Hamilton that was deflected away by a stick at the last moment. But there was no better example of Boston’s inability to find the scoring touch than when Loui Eriksson, on a 3-on-1 rush, had the puck on his stick and fired wide of an empty net midway through the third period.

Carl Soderberg, without a goal since Jan. 17 against Columbus, has now gone 17 games without a goal. He had two chances in the opening period and couldn’t find the back of the net.

“Again, the challenge of our lack of finish is probably the biggest concern right now,” coach Claude Julien said. “So I think we had the better of the game, five-on-five. There’€™s no doubt we played a lot more in their end then they did in ours.

“It’€™s a little bit of maybe confidence, and you squeeze your stick you’€™re trying so hard. There’€™s a lot of guys, use Carl Soderberg as an example. He’€™s really struggled the last little while scoring goals, and guys are putting pressure on themselves. There’€™s games where you like your team’€™s game, but your finish is what ends up killing you at the end.”

Julien realizes that the Bruins had chances leading 1-0 and 2-1 to really do damage and failed to seize on the opportunity because they simply couldn’t finish.
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Read More: Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, Carl Soderberg, Claude Julien
Zdeno Chara: ‘We need to turn this thing around really quickly’ 02.11.15 at 10:41 am ET
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The urgency was clearly marked in the first words Zdeno Chara spoke after the Bruins dropped a 5-3 decision to a Dallas Stars team not currently in the Western Conference playoff field.

“It was just a terrible effort,” the Bruins captain said. “It is something we need to get right and we don’€™t have much time. We need to turn this thing around really quickly. It is unacceptable to be getting scored on twice in one game [shorthanded] obviously in a crucial part of the game. We need to be better.”

After winning eight of their final 10 games in January to creep up within four points of first place Montreal in the Atlantic Division, the Bruins have suddenly stumbled in February. They have lost three of four to open the month, and the one game they won (against the Islanders) they admittedly were fortunate to come out on top. They now lead the Florida Panthers by just four points (63-59) for the second and final wild card playoff spot in the East.

How does Chara explain bad habits creeping back in?

“It is something that we have sort it out,” Chara said. “We know that we have been better the last little while but again the last two, three games again, we started to have mental breakdowns and started drifting away from the game plan. That is something we can’€™t go back to again.

“I think it is a combination of maybe a number of things like you said. It is hard to really point at one thing. We know that when we play a certain way we are pretty effective and when we are not we start doing something different and that is how we get into trouble. A lot of times we need better effort, we need better urgency, we need better mental focus. It is just a combination of all of those things.”

Now the Bruins have to find their way through a five-game trip that begins Friday night in Vancouver, and includes trips to Calgary, Edmonton, St. Louis and Chicago.

“It is disappointing. We know that it was our last game for a while at home and now we have a long road trip and for sure we wanted to finish with a way better effort and result than we did. So for sure that is disappointing.”

Read More: Boston Bruins, Zdeno Chara,
Claude Julien growing tired of ‘carelessness’ and ‘poor work ethic’ 02.11.15 at 7:27 am ET
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As bad as the Bruins power play was Tuesday night in a 5-3 loss to the Stars, Claude Julien sees a bigger problem. His team is getting sloppy and careless when it matters most.

One example came when the Bruins had tied the game in the second period, 3-3. They get a power play and a chance to take their first lead. Instead, they allow their second short-handed goal of the night. They couldn’t recover.

“I think carelessness is one [issue],” Julien said. “[Just] poor work ethic on the power play. When you looked at even the second goal, you know, our coming back and our two guys back there are just flat-footed and just kind of lackadaisical and very soft and real disappointing that our power play was like that tonight. We talk about the lack of power plays we get, and tonight we get some and we don’€™t do anything with it so we only have ourselves to look at and blame ourselves for this, not only the power play but this loss.

“I thought when we tied it 3-3, the start of our second period, even in our second period, I think we had at least seven good scoring chances. But a lot like last game, too, we had some great opportunities right in front of the net and we’re not burying those. Same thing with Montreal, in the first period we could have had the lead 1-0 with Price out of the net and they’ve got guys in the crease and we didn’t bury those, so again it’s a challenge of burying your chances, and what it ends up doing is giving them the opportunity to take a lead.

“And our power play wasn’t good, but at the same time we had lots of opportunities to score goals tonight throughout the whole night. We had lots of shots, lots of loose pucks in front, and because you don’t bury those you end up on the losing side of things, and that’s one of the reasons, besides not having enough guys playing at their capabilities.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Bruins, Claude Julien, Niklas Svedberg,
David Krejci admits Bruins power play ‘just sucks’ right now 02.10.15 at 11:07 pm ET
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Give David Krejci credit for this much: He’s not sugar-coating the Bruins’ power-play effort of late.

After not only failing to score Tuesday night, the Bruins allowed their first two shorthanded goals of the season at a horrible time, and fell to the Stars, 5-3, at TD Garden.

The first shorthanded marker by Dallas came directly as a result of a sloppy, lazy pass from Krejci that never got to Torey Krug along the Dallas blue line. It was picked off by Vernon Fiddler, who beat Niklas Svedberg up top for a 1-0 Dallas lead. After the Bruins battled back to tie the game, 3-3, it was another shorthanded goal that was Boston’s undoing, as Trevor Daley skated past a standing Krejci and beat Tuukka Rask. The Bruins entered the game as the only team in the NHL not to allow a goal while on the power play.

The Bruins, who scored a shorthanded goal of their own from Patrice Bergeron, did manage nine shots on the man advantage in four chances but no goals. What gives?

“Just sucks, that’s the only word I’ve got,” Krejci said. “We’ve been working on it in practices but it’€™s no good, so that’€™s where we’€™re at right now.”

Krejci had no disagreement with Claude Julien‘s assessment that the Bruins were plain sloppy on the power play at critical times.

“One hundred percent. I mean, it’s not just a goal against us, there’€™s more things to it,” Krejci said. “We’re just not playing well on the power play, we have to practice way more. Maybe we have to change something, but that’s up to the coaches. We just have to find a way to be better, and it has to start in practices.”
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Read More: Boston Bruins, Dallas Stars, David Krejci,
Zdeno Chara says ‘my bad’ for running into Dougie Hamilton and giving Montreal game-winning goal 02.09.15 at 9:40 am ET
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For as much as Bruins fans might be frustrated with the unfinished chances that Daniel Paille continues to generate, no play summarizes Boston’s frustration this season with the Canadiens than the one in the opening minute of the third period Sunday night.

Dougie Hamilton had the puck in the high slot and appeared ready to take aim on the impenetrable Carey Price, with the Canadiens leading, 1-0. But Zdeno Chara, reading David Krejci circling around the net, collided with Hamilton. The back-check of his own teammate gave Dale Weise the puck. Weise found a sprinting Max Pacioretty at center ice and Pacioretty beat Tuukka Rask between the pads for a 2-0 Canadiens lead.

“That was my bad,” Chara said. “I saw David going around the net and I moved in and that’€™s something that I shouldn’€™t probably – usually you have the crossing defenseman moving in. I may have misread it and it ended up costing us. I’€™m taking blame for that because that’€™s something I should be more patient with and maybe take a look. Dougie [Hamilton] was in the right spot, David made the right play and, I don’€™t know, I just thought that I would have a chance to move in but that’€™s not the way we play.”

“I saw him last second,” Hamilton said of Chara. “I don’€™t know, I haven’€™t really seen it yet. I don’€™t know, just a bad bounce, miscommunication, and it results in a goal.”

Claude Julien did see it very clearly and left no doubt that he felt badly for Rask. It was his goalie who saved Chara in the first period when he lost a puck at the blue line and turned away a chance from Jacob De La Rose. In total, Rask stopped 31 of 33 shots but fell to 3-13-3 all time in the regular season against Montreal. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Bruins, Claude Julien, Montreal Canadiens, Tuukka Rask
Carey Price is pretty sure Canadiens will see Bruins ‘again’ in playoffs 02.09.15 at 9:12 am ET
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Sooner or later, the Bruins will have to find a way to solve Carey Price.

On Sunday night, the league’s top goalie stonewalled the Bruins for a fourth time this season, stopping 34 of 35 shots in a 3-1 win over the Bruins that gave Montreal a clean sweep of the four-game season series. What does it mean to Price?

“That’€™s what they are. They’€™re a really good team, well-structured,” Price said. “They work hard. They’€™ve got all the characteristics of a good playoff team, and I don’€™t doubt that if we want to get to our ultimate goal, we’€™ll see them again.”

In those four games, Price has allowed just six goals, turning aside 113 of the 119 shots he’s faced. On Sunday, he admitted he was a little bit lucky to go along with being very good. The best example of that was in the second period when Loui Eriksson fired a shot on goal from the left circle after he left his crease. The puck hit his stick and popped straight up in the air and into his glove.

Then came his two saves in the same period on the tough-luck Daniel Paille. One was a kick save on Paille, who was right on the doorstep and took a pass from Torey Krug but could not finish. The other was a stick save on a shot from Paille from the right circle.

“Lucky. I don’€™t even think it was going in, to be honest,” Price said of the second Paille chance.

In the first period, Craig Cunningham had a chance in the low slot with Price again scrambling in the crease. But there was Michael Bournival there to get a piece of it before Price could get back in position.

“Absolutely, yeah. We had some guys bailing me out,” Price said. “That’€™s what it’€™s all about. We’€™re a committed team to blocking shots, and battling in that blue paint, and tonight it paid off in a close one.”

The flip side of this is alarming to the Bruins, especially coach Claude Julien.

“I don’€™t think we made Carey Price‘€™s night real hard,” Julien said. “He didn’€™t have to move much. He just stood there, stopped the shots, so those are areas that weren’€™t good enough, and in order to beat this team that really gets up for us our best players have to be our best players and we didn’€™t have that tonight.”

How do the Bruins go about making things tougher?

“Traffic,” captain Zdeno Chara said. “It’€™s pretty obvious I think. I don’€™t think there’€™s any goalie in the league that likes to have traffic in front of him. We didn’€™t do that probably consistently for the whole night.”

“Like every goalie you have to get in front,” added fellow blue liner Dennis Seidenberg. “If the goalie doesn’€™t see the puck he can’€™t stop them or he can’€™t make a save. There are going to loose pucks and we just have to get there in front of him and then get those second chance opportunities and that has been missing in the past.”

The Bruins have two months to find what’s been missing against Price.

Read More: Boston Bruins, Carey Price, Claude Julien, Daniel Paille
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