|Tyler Randell’s push to NHL could push Max Talbot off Bruins roster||10.06.15 at 2:36 pm ET|
Tyler Randell’s good news was Max Talbot’s bad news this week. Now both players await more clarity on their respective situations.
Having gone unclaimed on waivers on waivers, the 31-year-old Talbot is still with the Bruins, having practiced on Tuesday with the team before learning that another team hadn’t picked him up. With Talbot still on Boston’s roster, the B’s have the maximum of 23 players ahead of Tuesday’s 5 p.m. deadline, though he could be removed from the roster once Zdeno Chara is ready to play. That means that Randell, an enforcer who scored 11 goals for Providence last season, appears to have made Boston’s roster for the time being.
It isn’t clear when Chara will be ready and it’s not clear whether Talbot will be sent to Providence. Talbot said that he’ll do whatever the Bruins ask him to — including play in the AHL — but for now he is staying positive as he waits for answers.
“As people know me, I’ve always got the glass half-full type of mentality and I’m not going to change,” Talbot said after practicing with the Bruins Tuesday. “I’ve still got a beautiful wife, a healthy kid at home and expecting a second one. I’m playing hockey here for a living, so I’ve got that going for me. That’s pretty important in life.
“As for the situation, I’m here. It’s about having a good attitude, coming here and being a good teammate. That’s what I’m planning on doing.”
Talbot entered camp as one of many players pushing for a fourth-line job. The emergence of Joonas Kemppainen, who could very well be the team’s fourth-line center, hurt his chances. It appears the Bruins are set to play Zac Rinaldo or Randell on Kemppainen’s right, with Chris Kelly serving as the fourth-line left wing.
“You don’t come into camp thinking about [losing a job], but as the camp got going and you saw guys playing well — Kemppainen and Randell and Zac coming in here — you’re no fool,” Talbot said. ‘You look around and you know the situation and what’s going on. Like I said, it’s not something I was planning on, obviously, but it’s in the situation I’m in right now.”
|Zdeno Chara takes light contact, still not taking slap shots||10.06.15 at 1:18 pm ET|
Zdeno Chara is not quite his normal self, and it showed during his first practice back with the Bruins on Tuesday.
Typically, when it isn’t Chara’s turn in 3-on-3 battle drills, the captain spends his breathers taking slap shots the length of the ice. On Tuesday, Chara took light contact in the drills and instead spent his breaks stickhandling and flinging the occasional wrist shot. It was progress as Chara continued to work his way back from an upper-body injury suffered on Sept. 24, but it was a sign that he remains a work in progress.
“His first day, it would be normal that it was light contact,” Claude Julien said after the practice. “He got into traffic, he got into different things, but he wasn’t going to be out there throwing his weight around. That’s his first day, when he’s told to be that way. The last thing we need right now is a setback.”
The Bruins will practice again Wednesday in their final tuneup before Thursday night’s season-opener against the Jets. Chara, who skated on a pairing with Colin Miller in Tuesday’s practice, would not discuss his chances of playing Thursday, instead taking a Belichickian approach.
“I’m not looking at Thursday. I’m looking at tomorrow,” Chara said. “It’s day-to-day and I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s practice. My goal is to be better than I was today.”
If Chara were unable to play early in the season, the Bruins would be looking at Torey Krug and Adam McQuaid as the team’s first pair, something that could be helped by the fact that Boston has last change at home, but it would be far from ideal. Then again, if Chara rushes back and gets hurt again, having Boston’s potentially shaky defense go a long time without his services would be much worse.
“We need everybody. It’s not just one guy,” Chara said. “Obviously, I’m going to do whatever I can to be out there and playing, but I think that right now, at this point of the season when we have so many guys available, it’s a big plus that you have so many varieties and options that you can use.”
Chara remains on injured reserve, which is retroactive to the date he was injured. The Bruins can take him off and play him at any point, but keeping him on IR allows the team to carry the group it has. Including Max Talbot and not counting Jeremy Smith, Boston’s roster is currently at the maximum of 23 players. The B’s could send Talbot to Providence once they activate Chara.
The Bruins lines in practice Tuesday were as follows:
|Max Talbot and Jeremy Smith go unclaimed on waivers||10.06.15 at 12:33 pm ET|
Bruins goaltender Jeremy Smith and forward Max Talbot both cleared waivers on Tuesday, meaning both players can now be assigned to Providence of the AHL.
Though both players were on waivers until noon, Talbot took part in Boston’s 10:30 a.m. practice and Smith did not. Though Smith was at TD Garden earlier in the day, his locker was cleared out by the team media was let into Boston’s dressing room.
Talbot is still awaiting word on Boston’s plan for him.
“There’s no more confusion,” Talbot said of learning that he was unclaimed. “It’s something I guess that’s part of the game, part of the business, part of the job. I’m just going to come back here to work every day. I came here to camp with the idea of helping my teammates.
“Right now, I’m not sure yet what’s going to happen to me, meaning if they’re going to send me down or keep me here, but I’m going to have a good attitude and whatever they ask me to do, I’ll do.”
|Bruins place Max Talbot and Jeremy Smith on waivers, Zdeno Chara on IR||10.05.15 at 12:52 pm ET|
According to Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports and Bob McKenzie of TSN, the Bruins placed forward Max Talbot and goaltender Jeremy Smith on waivers on Monday. If Talbot and Smith go unclaimed over the next 24 hours, they can be assigned to Providence.
While the writing was on the wall for Smith when the Bruins signed Jonas Gustavsson to be their backup goalie on Sunday, waiving Talbot comes as something of a surprise. The Bruins got the Avalanche to retain salary on Talbot when they traded for him last season, meaning the veteran fourth-liner only costs $900,000 against the cap. Still, the emergence of potential fourth-liners Joonas Kemppainen and Tyler Randell in training camp likely made Talbot expendable in the eyes of new general manager Don Sweeney.
By taking Talbot off the roster, however, some clarity is provided to the team’s fourth-line situation. With Boston’s third line set to consist of Ryan Spooner between Jimmy Hayes and Brett Connolly, the B’s were overflowing with fourth-line options, the vast majority of which were left shots in Chris Kelly, Kemppainen, Zac Rinaldo and Talbot. The right-shooting Randell could now push to see time as Boston’s fourth-line right wing, though a Kelly-Kemppainen-Rinaldo line also makes sense.
Either way, Talbot’s subtraction figures to lock in Boston’s 13 forwards to begin the season, with Kelly, Kemppainen, Rinaldo and Randell rounding out the group.
Smith, a second-round pick of the Predators in 2007, built a strong case to be Tuukka Rask‘s backup with a .933 save percentage in 39 games for Providence last season. Though he has yet to play an NHL game, he seemed a likely candidate to make Boston’s team after re-signing with Boston in the offseason on a one-year, two-way deal worth $600,000 at the NHL level. The Bruins already have Malcolm Subban and Zane McIntyre in Providence, so it will be interesting to see what the B’s do with Smith if he goes unclaimed.
Update (6:20 p.m.): In another minor roster move, Zdeno Chara is now listed as being on injured reserve. Given that players must be kept out for seven days after being put on IR, Chara’s potential status for Thursday’s season-opener is not impacted by this move. His placement on IR is likely retroactive to Sept. 24 (the day he suffered his upper-body injury), meaning the Bruins could activate him whenever they want.
|Bruins sign Jonas Gustavsson to 1-year deal||10.04.15 at 5:43 pm ET|
The Bruins announced Sunday that they have signed goaltender Jonas Gustavsson to a one-year, one-way deal worth $700,000.
The signing comes as something of a surprise, as 26-year-old Jeremy Smith entered camp as the projected backup for Tuukka Rask. Smith, a former Predators second-round pick who split time with Malcolm Subban in Providence last season, was signed to a one-year, two-way deal worth $600,000 at the NHL level this summer. He would have to clear waivers to be sent to Providence, where Subban and Zane McIntyre are already assigned.
Gustavsson played in two games for the Bruins this preseason, stopping 42 of 45 shots he faced for a .933 save percentage. Injuries (most notably a separated shoulder0 limited the 30-year-old to seven NHL games last season, his third season with the Red Wings after playing the first three seasons of his NHL career with the Maple Leafs.
With his status uncertain late last week, Gustavsson said that he believed that even if he didn’t get a contract with Boston, he felt that he’d answered any questions in his mind as to whether he could bounce back from an injury-plagued season.
“Last year was different,” he said last week. “I had a big injury, so I missed a lot of time there and didn’t play that many games, but the last three months I was on the ice and I worked hard and practiced. I felt like my game was back to where it was before the injury.”
Teams have until 5 p.m. to set their 23-man rosters.
|Video: Zdeno Chara (upper-body injury) still skating, not taking contact||10.04.15 at 1:41 pm ET|
‘ DJ Bean (@DJ_Bean) October 4, 2015
The intrigue as Zdeno Chara stepped onto the ice midway through the Bruins’ practice Sunday was short-lived. Though Chara skated lightly on one end of the ice while the B’s worked on 2-on-2 battle drills on the other, Chara was forced to the bench when the team needed the full sheet of ice after about five minutes.
His work would resume later in the day, however, as the 38-year-old defenseman returned to the ice to skate with assistant coach Doug Houda for over 40 minutes following the Bruins’ practice. Chara, who was limited to just three shifts this preseason due to an upper-body injury suffered on Sept. 24, could be a close call for Thursday’s season-opener given that he still has not taken contact and does not yet appear able to take slap shots. While the latter wouldn’t necessarily stop him from playing, he would likely need to participate in some battle drills after 10 days without contact.
‘ DJ Bean (@DJ_Bean) October 4, 2015
Though it’s worth noting that the Bruins are off on Monday, Claude Julien said that Chara is close to being able to fully participate in practice.
“In his situation, we said day-to-day because his injury was not one that we could say ‘it’s going to be a week,’ which it’s been right now,” Julien said following Sunday’s practice. “We didn’t know, so you can’t go out there and say he’s out for a week and then all of a sudden, three day’s later, he’s in.
“So he’s still day-to-day. I think he’s inching closer and I think he’s getting very close to practicing with our team. Because it’s day-to-day, I don’t know if he’s going to be in tomorrow, the day after, whatever. We’re hoping that’s the case. It’s looking like it’s heading in that direction, but there’s no guarantees.
“So we don’t know. He’s still day-to-day and we look forward to having him back as soon as possible, but he’s skating, he’s feeling better every day. That’s the positive thing about Zdeno’s situation.”
If Chara is unable to play Thursday against the Jets, Adam McQuaid will be the only top-four defenseman from opening night last season to play in this season’s opener, as Dougie Hamilton is in Calgary and Dennis Seidenberg remains out as he recovers from back surgery.
|Bruins finish preseason with shootout loss||10.03.15 at 12:24 am ET|
The Bruins concluded their preseason schedule with a 2-1 shootout loss to the Capitals Friday night at the Verizon Center.
Loui Eriksson’s first-period tally was the game’s only goal until Alexander Ovechkin tied the contest with less than three minutes to play in regulation. Ovechkin’s goal came against Jeremy Smith, who spelled Tuukka Rask in the third period.
Rask played the first two periods of the game, stopping all 15 shots he faced. Smith stopped 13 of the 14 shots he saw before letting in both shots he faced in the shootout.
The Bruins will open the regular season Thursday when they host the Jets at TD Garden.