|Bruins leaders question work ethic, Claude Julien says he’ll reevaluate lineup amidst early skid||10.11.14 at 11:10 pm ET|
Complain about Chris Kelly‘s cap hit all you want, but he’s the guy who’s going to hold the Bruins accountable when they play as poorly as they have the last two games.
“It’s tough to put into words,” Kelly said after the Bruins were shut out by the Capitals for their second straight loss. “I think we were outworked, outbattled, and obviously outplayed over the course of 120 minutes, not just 60. I think the only positive I can think of is, it’s game three. Other than that, it’s two poor, poor efforts.”
The Bruins barely had the puck in their 2-1 loss to the Red Wings Thursday, with Kelly saying after Saturday’s blanking that guys haven’t been working hard enough. Zdeno Chara said the B’s were “embarrassed” Saturday and that their play is ‘not acceptable.’
The Bruins’ roster is obviously not at full strength. David Krejci is eligible to come off injured reserve and potentially return to the lineup Monday, but it’s no sure thing that he does. Milan Lucic is coming off wrist surgery and is clearly not functioning at full capacity.
The fourth line has been more detrimental than it’s been a source of energy. That’s been made worse by the fact that the line playing above it (Lucic with Ryan Spooner and Matt Fraser) have done nothing. Bobby Robins and Ryan Spooner have put themselves in tough positions if they want to stay in the lineup. Fraser has also been a non-factor, but deserves to get a look on a line without Spooner, as he has the best shot among Bruins forwards and has shown promise when playing away from his former Providence linemate.
Asked if the weakened roster has to do with the team’s struggles so far, Kelly said he didn’t care who was playing where or with whom.
“It’s a team-wide thing, it’s not just a few guys. You guys can see it just as much as we can,” Kelly said. “It’s not a passing thing or a positioning thing, it’s a working thing. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing with. You could play with two total strangers, and all you have to do is go out and work hard.”
If Krejci is able to return for Monday, the Bruins might be wise to keep Lucic and Fraser together and have Krejci replace Spooner, who could either move to the fourth line as a center or wing or serve as an extra forward. They could also consider playing Jordan Caron on the fourth line right wing, a job currently held by Robins.
Asked after the game whether he feels he needs to make lineup changes, Julien hinted at the possibility.
“You certainly have to reevaluate,” Julien said. “There’s no doubt there, and guys are given chances, and so on and so forth. When you play two games like that, you have to reevaluate, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
|Bobby Robins’ NHL career off to rough start||at 10:32 pm ET|
Robins has been one third of a fourth line that has struggled for the Bruins, but his difficulty thus far hasn’t just been limited to poor shifts. The longtime AHL fighter has gotten into two scraps this season, both of which were the result of hits for which he was penalized.
In Wednesday’s season-opener, Robins took a minor penalty for charging that led to a fight with Luke Schenn. On Saturday, he took a kneeing penalty for a hit on Matt Niskanen in the offensive zone and then fought Michael Latta. The Capitals scored eight seconds into their power play for what would prove to be the game-winning goal in Washington’s 4-0 shutout win.
Robins is a fourth-line player. His job is to be an energy player in the low minutes he receives. He has two minor penalties in three games this season. By comparison, Shawn Thornton, the man who held his job a season ago, had seven minor penalties all regular season (64 games).
“That’s definitely not what I’m looking for,” Robins said after Saturday’s loss. “Refs call it pretty tight in this league, and that’s something that I’m going to have to evolve my game and learn from and grow. That’s something I’m working on.”
Robins said he understands that he needs to make changes “right away,” but his spot in the lineup could be in jeopardy for now. Without a doubt, Robins is a good piece to put in and out of your lineup depending on the opponent, but his play thus far and the Bruins’ struggles to find offense could hurt his chances of staying in the lineup even if David Krejci doesn’t return to the lineup.
Robins isn’t alone in putting his spot in jeopardy for now. Ryan Spooner and Matt Fraser have been non-factors so far, though Fraser deserves a longer look, perhaps away from Spooner. The last two seasons have seen the two struggle together at the NHL level, though Fraser looked good on various lines in the preseason.
It took nine years of playing in various lesser leagues across multiple continents for Robins to reach the NHL, so it’s hard to think a few bad games will get him down. Still, this should be a learning experience on which Robins should improve if he keeps his spot.
“This league is better, stronger, faster. It’s quick.” Robins said. “It’s a quick league. Mistakes are magnified. When you’re playing at the NHL level, you have to be really good every night. You have to be consistent and that’s something I’m working on and trying to take pride in being consistently good out there.”
|David Pastrnak sent to AHL, Matt Fraser, Ryan Spooner, Bobby Robins make Bruins for now||10.07.14 at 1:09 pm ET|
Though Peter Chiarelli said that there is still some “roster manipulation” to be done on the part of the Bruins between now and the start of the season for the purposes of maximizing cap space, the Bruins’ roster became more clear leading up to Tuesday’s 5 p.m. deadline.
Right wing David Pastrnak has been sent to Providence of the AHL for the time being. The 2014 first-round pick is there in order to further acclimate himself with the North American game while the Bruins continue to evaluate him. Pastrnak suffered a shoulder injury in his second practice of training camp and missed all but two games of the preseason.
Chiarelli said that the B’s will likely take “two to three weeks” to assess what they have in Pastrnak at the AHL level. The B’s can play him in the NHL for up to nine games before burning a year off his entry level contract. If Pastrnak plays the season in the AHL, his contract will slide to the next season, meaning that his first NHL season will count as the first of three seasons on his entry level deal.
Matt Fraser, Ryan Spooner and Bobby Robins have made the team for now. Fraser seems like a sure thing to earn a full-time spot, while Spooner’s play late in the preseason helped his case to begin the season in Boston.
David Krejci missed Tuesday’s practice and is questionable for Wednesday’s season-opener against the Flyers.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Bobby Robins out ‘at least two weeks’ with knee injury||09.19.13 at 1:31 pm ET|
The absence of enforcer Bobby Robins at training camp the last two days was explained by coach Claude Julien Thursday, with Julien sharing that Robins suffered a knee injury in Tuesday’s exhibition game against the Capitals and will miss “at least two weeks.”
Robins, 31, spent the last two seasons playing for Providence, where he has gotten in a whopping 59 fights. He was signed to a two-year, two-way contract in the offseason and could eventually take on a role similar to Shawn Thornton‘s once Thornton calls it a career. Thornton is in the final year of his contract but figures to play another season or two after that.
Click here for a feature we recently did on Robins trying to become the next Thornton.