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Torey Krug not happy with his early-season play: ‘I have no consistency to my game at all’ 10.23.16 at 12:06 am ET
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krug_4-9-16

Torey Krug came down pretty hard on himself Saturday night. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

When there was talk before the season about the possibility of Chris Kelly’s old alternate captain’s letter being moved to a new jersey, one of the players consistently mentioned was Torey Krug, thanks in large part to his honesty and the way he holds himself accountable.

Krug hasn’t worn a letter yet and may not at any point this season, but it’s clear he’s going to set an example for his teammates regardless.

After Saturday night’s 4-2 loss to the Canadiens, a game in which Krug was a minus-3 and had a bad misplay lead to a shorthanded breakaway goal, the 25-year-old defenseman came down hard on himself in one of those interviews that makes you realize no one’s going to be more critical of his play than he is. But at the same time, he also sounded confident that he’ll figure things out.

“I have no consistency to my game at all,” Krug said. “I make a good play, then next shift a poor play. It’s something I’m not proud of at the moment. I’ll work through it. I always have. There’s always times throughout the season when you play poorly. You have to work through it. Unfortunately for me, it’s the start of the season. I’ll get back to a place where my teammates can count on me, where every time I jump over the boards they know what they’re going to get. It’s not there right now, but it will be.”

Reporters mentioned two possible mitigating factors to Krug — the fact that he’s been paired with young defense partners in Rob O’Gara and Joe Morrow, and the fact that he had offseason shoulder surgery and may not be 100 percent just yet — but he refused to take the bait.

“I was injured, but I had time to work and make sure I was ready for the season,” Krug said. “I’m not going to use that as an excuse. The doctors cleared me to play, so I’m ready to play. For whatever reason, I’m not there right now.” Read the rest of this entry »

Patrice Bergeron, Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller to miss Bruins’ opener 10.12.16 at 12:23 pm ET
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Patrice Bergeron

Patrice Bergeron

Adam McQuaid and Kevan Miller were already expected to miss the Bruins’ season-opener Thursday night, but general manager Don Sweeney announced on Wednesday that the team’s best player will be joining them on the sideline.

Patrice Bergeron will not travel with the team to Columbus after suffering a lower-body injury. He is considered day-to-day, according to Sweeney.

David Backes reportedly moved to Bergeron’s spot at center between Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak at Wednesday’s practice, while rookie Danton Heinen moved up to the second line with David Krejci and Ryan Spooner.

McQuaid is considered day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Miller, meanwhile, will miss approximately six weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a fracture in his left hand.

Sweeney also announced that the team has called up forward Tim Schaller, who will give the Bruins some depth at either center or wing.

Bruins lose Seth Griffith to waiver claim by Maple Leafs 10.11.16 at 12:43 pm ET
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Seth Griffith

Seth Griffith

Seth Griffith put up some impressive AHL numbers but never quite translated that into NHL success in Boston. Now his time with the team is done after the Maple Leafs claimed the 23-year-old forward off waivers Tuesday.

Griffith led the Providence Bruins with 77 points last season and also put up good numbers there in 2013-14 and 2014-15, but he managed just 11 points in 34 NHL games across two seasons while averaging just over one shot on goal per game.

Tyler Randell and Tim Schaller cleared waivers and are set to start the season in Providence. The Bruins need to get their roster down to 25 players by 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Why you shouldn’t get hung up on Torey Krug scoring just 4 goals last season 06.30.16 at 4:07 pm ET
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Torey Krug had a career high in shots on goal last season. (USA Today Sports)

Torey Krug had a career high in shots on goal last season. (USA Today Sports)

Some of those who want to criticize the Bruins’ four-year, $21 million deal for Torey Krug have already started pointing to the fact that he is an offensive defenseman who scored just four goals last season.

Krug did in fact score just four goals, but it is not something anyone should be worried about going forward. First off, Krug still had a career high in points last year with 44.

But more relevant to the goal discussion, Krug also had a career high in shot attempts (469) and shots on goal (244). He had the fourth-most shots on goal among all NHL defensemen, behind only Brent Burns, Erik Karlsson and Dustin Byfuglien.

Krug shot 1.6 percent last season. He previously shot 7.7 percent in 2013-14 and 5.9 percent in 2014-15. Of the top 30 defensemen in shots on goal last season, Krug was the only one who shot worse than 3 percent, never mind 2 percent. Most of those other 29 guys shot in the 5-8 percent range, the same place Krug was before last season.

Basically what we’re getting at is that Krug is going to score much more if he continues to shoot as much as he’s been shooting. Chances are he will never have a shooting percentage as low as 1.6 percent again. If he even shot 5 percent last season, he would’ve scored 12 goals. If he shot the 6.7 percent he averaged the previous two seasons, he would’ve scored 16.

Anyone who has watched Krug play knows he has a pretty good shot. He didn’t suddenly forget how to shoot last season. Sure, there are things he can do to make sure he does a better job finishing, but for the most part that 1.6 percent is just the product of rotten luck.

So, complain about Krug’s contract if you want. Criticize his defense, say he’s undersized, say he’s not a legitimate top-four defenseman. We can have legitimate debates about all that. Just don’t get worked up over him scoring four goals last season, because he’s going to score more than that — probably a lot more — going forward.

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NHL gone wild: Canadiens trade P.K. Subban for Shea Weber, Oilers trade Taylor Hall to Devils, Steven Stamkos staying in Tampa 06.29.16 at 4:14 pm ET
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The NHL has lost its mind. In a pair of blockbuster, shocking deals, the Canadiens have traded defenseman P.K. Subban to the Predators for defenseman Shea Weber, and the Oilers have traded left wing Taylor Hall to the Devils for defenseman Adam Larsson.

In slightly less surprising but still huge news, center Steven Stamkos is reportedly staying with the Lightning, putting a quick end to rumors about the Maple Leafs, Red Wings, Bruins and others. According to Bob McKenzie, his new deal is for eight years with an average annual value of $8.5 million.

On the surface, both massive trades look pretty lopsided. Subban, age 27, is in his prime and is one of the best defensemen in the NHL, while Weber, age 30, has been in decline for a few years now and is really no longer one of the best blueliners in the league.

Meanwhile, Hall is one of the best left wingers in the league and is only 24. Larsson is also young (23), but has yet to prove he’s truly a top-pairing defenseman. Peter Chiarelli, former Bruins general manager and current Oilers GM, has now traded both of the top two picks from the 2010 Taylor/Tyler draft for underwhelming returns.

Bruins blame pie: Patrice Bergeron says it’s ‘definitely not on’ Claude Julien 04.09.16 at 7:13 pm ET
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Debate over whether Claude Julien should be fired has already begun. (USA Today Sports)

Debate over whether Claude Julien should be fired already has begun. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

The “Should Claude Julien be fired” talk had already begun even before Saturday, but with the Bruins missing the playoffs for a second straight year and getting absolutely embarrassed on home ice in their season finale, it’s only going to pick up.

Most Bruins players weren’t willing to make any sort of comment on the possibility of Julien being fired after Saturday’s 6-1 loss to the Senators given that, at the time, the B’s still had an outside shot of making the playoffs (the Flyers’ win over the Penguins later Saturday officially sealed their fate). But the team’s best and most important player came to the defense of Julien.

“I’ve said a million times that Claude has been the best coach I’ve had,” said Patrice Bergeron. “It’s definitely not on him. It should be on us. His system is there, the game plan is there. It’s about us executing, and we didn’t do that. So it should fall back on the players.”

In the case of Saturday and other games down the stretch that saw the Bruins lose to non-playoff teams, Bergeron is right that the players deserve a good chunk of the blame. There’s no excuse for making the kinds of defensive mistakes that led to Ottawa’s goals on Saturday. There’s no excuse for a top-five offense struggling to score against three non-playoff teams over the last two weeks of the season. Regardless of who the coach is or whether his message is getting through, those are things for which the players need to take responsibility.

But there is plenty of blame to go around, and yes, Julien deserves some of it. A coach should be able to do more to ensure that his team isn’t making as many mistakes as the Bruins made Saturday, whether it was getting beat wide, leaving guys uncovered in front or making bad breakout passes that were easily intercepted. Those things are coachable, and the fact that they happened this late in the season doesn’t reflect well on the coach.

The group that deserves the most blame, however, is the front office. Don Sweeney and company are the ones who built a team that had one legitimate top-four defenseman — and that one, Zdeno Chara, is 39 years old. It’s fitting that defense was the Bruins’ biggest issue on their disastrous last day, because it was their biggest issue all season, and it will remain their biggest issue going forward unless they bring in multiple defensemen who are significant upgrades over what they have now.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Bruins sign BU defenseman Matt Grzelcyk to entry-level contract 04.01.16 at 5:06 pm ET
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Matt Grzelcyk served as a captain at BU for the last two years. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Matt Grzelcyk served as a captain at BU for the last two years. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The Bruins have signed Boston University defenseman Matt Grzelcyk to a two-year entry-level contract, the team announced Friday. The Charlestown native was a third-round pick of the B’s in 2012 and could have become a free agent in August had he not signed with Boston.

Grzelcyk recently wrapped up his senior season at BU, where he served as team captain each of the last two seasons. He had 10 goals and 13 assists in 27 games (he missed 12 games earlier in the season due to injury), putting him fourth nationally among defensemen in points per game. He was named a Hockey East First Team All-Star for the second year in a row.

Grzelcyk will report to the Providence Bruins for the remainder of this season before his two-year deal kicks in next season.

Grzelcyk is listed at 5-foot-10 and 176 pounds. The strengths of his game are transition and offense, as he’s a very good skater who often times led rushes for the Terriers and got involved deep in the offensive zone. He also played an integral role on an effective power play that finished the season at 21.1 percent. Grzelcyk worked to dramatically improve his shot over the last two years, resulting in a jump from six goals over his first two years at BU to 20 over the last two.

Grzelcyk’s connection to the Bruins runs deep, as his father, John, has worked on the Garden’s “Bull Gang” for more than 40 years.

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