|Brad Marchand feels Reilly Smith can thrive in Florida||10.28.15 at 8:15 pm ET|
Panthers games aren’t just Shawn Thornton reunion nights anymore for the Bruins. In addition to former B’s Thornton, Steven Kampfer and Jaromir Jagr, the B’s will see Reilly Smith Friday in the first meeting between the teams since Smith was traded to Florida in the offseason.
Smith’s two-year tenure with the Bruins had highs and lows that were exacerbated by a number of things. In addition to being part of the return for Tyler Seguin, Smith was extremely streaky. Because the Bruins were low on cap space last season, the B’s had to stick him with an underpayment of a $1.4 million one-year contract. Peter Chiarelli made it up to Smith by giving him a two-year extension worth $3.42 million a year, a contract that, despite not being much of an overpayment for Smith’s previous work, it was given during a 13-goal season. When the offseason came, new general manager Don Sweeney traded Smith to Florida for Jimmy Hayes and devoted the money saved towards Matt Beleskey’s contract in free agency.
The Bruins gave up a good player. At 24, Smith could very well end up having a better career than Hayes or Beleskey. With Smith off to a strong start (seven points in nine games), he’s been able to adjust well to a new team, just as he did when he began the 2013-14 season in impressive fashion with the Bruins. If there’s a silver lining for him with his departure, however, it’s that the pressure that was often on the self-effacing winger in Boston won’t be there in Florida.
“Yeah, he seems to stick to himself and be a little quiet,” former linemate Brad Marchand said of Smith. “Sometimes guys can thrive in those environments where there’s not as much pressure. Maybe that’s why he fits well down there right now. You don’t really have the choice of where you’re going to be a lot of the time, so you’ve got to be able to adapt and play in that situation.”
Marchand said he is not surprised that Smith is performing well. He noted that last season’s low output from Smith was a product of him missing a large portion of training camp because he hadn’t yet been given a contract.
“He’s a really good player. He’s very skilled,” Marchand said. “He’s going to get his points and goals in this league. He’s going to do well.”
When the points didn’t come for Smith in Boston, things seemed to snowball. When Smith got sick and lost weight during his first season with the Bruins, he had a hard time finding his game again before finally reigning it in the playoffs. Last season, with the Bruins fighting for a playoff spot down the stretch, Smith scored just one goal over his last 22 games and was made a healthy scratch on March 21 in Florida. His struggles while all eyes were on the B’s made him an easy target for fans and observers.
“It’s a town where you’re expected to do well and you’re expected to play to your ability. I think in Florida, in lesser hockey markets, it’s a little different. You can get away with that kind of stuff and hide in the weeds, but there’s a lot of media attention here and the fans are very into the stats and the games and they keep an eye on that stuff,” Marchand said. “So you can’t get away with it, you can’t hide. Same thing in the room. Guys expect a lot and expect you to carry your weight.”
Added Marchand: “I think you’ve got to be able to understand each guy on the team and find a way to work with him. I don’t know exactly what his [outlook is] and how he wants to deal with situations, but regardless, when we do have that pressure on us and we’re in a tough situation, we need everyone to step up. Regardless of if you like it or not, you’ve still got to be able to play your game.”
|Brad Marchand given maintenance day, Matt Beleskey feeling better||10.24.15 at 1:46 pm ET|
Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand were both absent as the Bruins practiced Saturday at Agganis Arena. Bergeron is still on semi-paternity leave (he’s played the last two games but has been given practices and morning skates off), while Marchand was given a maintenance day.
With Bergeron and Marchand absent, the B’s had some wonky lines in practice. Most notably, the gold jerseys usually designated for Bergeron’s line were worn by Joonas Kemppainen, Max Talbot and Tyler Randell. The lines in practice were as follows:
Matt Beleskey, who has missed the last two games with an upper-body injury, said after the practice that he is feeling better. He didn’t provide much to clarify how his injury was suffered, as it wasn’t suffered in a practice or a game and Claude Julien recently quipped that Beleskey had gotten up on the “wrong side of the bed.” Beleskey noted that he first realized the injury upon waking up Wednesday.
“Pretty much,” he said. “It was nothing I can really remember, but it’s getting better. It’s getting better every day and I felt pretty good out there.”
Dennis Seidenberg skated again prior to the practice. Seidenberg, who is working his way back from back surgery, has been skating since Monday.
|Brad Marchand to travel with Bruins, Joe Morrow battling flu||10.13.15 at 10:30 am ET|
WILMINGTON — In a season that hasn’t had many positives, Tuesday morning provided a bit of surprisingly optimistic news for the Bruins.
Brad Marchand, who suffered a concussion Saturday and sat out Monday’s game, took part in Tuesday’s practice. Prior to the skate, he was on the ice working with healthy scratches Zach Trotman and Tyler Randell. The three took the ice with goaltending coach Bob Essensa and goalies Tuukka Rask and Jonas Gustavsson.
Marchand will travel with the team to Colorado and Arizona as the B’s look for their first win of the season.
Marchand suffered his concussion in the third period of Saturday’s loss to the Canadiens, crashing into Dale Weise and taking an inadvertent elbow to the head. Tuesday’s practice saw him don a green jersey, signifying that he would not be taking contact.
Adam McQuaid, who blocked a Steven Stamkos shot and missed time in the second period of Monday’s game, was present for practice. The only player missing Tuesday was Joe Morrow, who is currently battling the flu. It is not known whether the team will recall a defenseman, but Matt Irwin would be an obvious choice after being assigned to Providence on Monday.
The lineup in practice was as follows:
|Brad Marchand out with concussion; Matt Irwin placed on waivers||10.11.15 at 11:20 am ET|
Marchand, who crashed into Dale Weise and was woozy as he left the ice in third period, leaves a hole in Boston’s top six. It appears Claude Julien will try to kill two birds with one stone by taking Brett Connolly off Ryan Spooner’s line to play with Patrice Bergeron, with Chris Kelly moving to Spooner’s line to add defensive responsibility that has been glaringly absent in the first two games of the season.
Julien put no timetable on Marchand’s return, saying that the team will follow the league’s concussion protocol and monitor his status accordingly.
Zdeno Chara was among seven defensemen who practiced with Irwin out. Julien said Chara is “questionable” for Monday’s game against the Lightning. As for Irwin, the team will learn at noon Monday whether or not the 27-year-old defenseman was claimed. If he clears waivers, the B’s can assign him to Providence.
The lines and pairings in practice were as follows:
|5 things we learned: Brad Marchand injury scare overshadows loss to Habs||10.10.15 at 9:59 pm ET|
The Bruins were having a bad enough night Saturday night. They were headed for what would become a 4-2 loss the Canadiens at the Garden, and one of the few things they had to show for it was a lack of injuries.
Then Brad Marchand collided with Dale Weise late in the game, falling to the ice and getting up extremely slowly. Marchand sluggishly found his way back toward the bench, with Colin Miller essentially needing to pull him onto the bench.
Marchand left the game and did not return. Claude Julien had no update on the player following the game.
As Boston’s leading goal-scorer in two of the last three seasons, he would be a major piece for Boston to lose for any period of time.
Here are five things we learned Saturday:
PK D GETS AN F
The Bruins were never shorthanded in the season-opener, so one of their biggest issues was not exposed. With Chara and Dennis Seidenberg out, the Bruins are without the only two left defensemen to average even 30 seconds on the penalty kill last season.
That meant that when Matt Beleskey took an illegal check to the head penalty 1:14 into the game, it was offensive defenseman Joe Morrow who was sent out kill the penalty with Kevan Miller. The B’s were extremely soft in front as Montreal began its power play, resulting in David Desharnais — all 5-foot-7 and 174 pounds of him – being able to whack away at his own rebound in front of Tuukka Rask uncontested and score 11 seconds into the power play. It was the only power play goal Boston allowed Saturday, but it was a biggie.
Even once Chara returns, the Bruins will be extremely undermanned on the penalty kill. Right now, it’s beyond worrisome.
Here are four more things we learned:
JULIEN LOSES CHALLENGE
Given his tendency to disagree with referees, it seemed that Claude Julien and the new coach’s challenge would be a match made in heaven. The two got off to a rocky start on Saturday night, however.
Trailing by a 2-0 score at the time, Loui Eriksson appeared to get the Bruins on the board after Loui Eriksson backhanded an errant puck past Price. Eriksson got to the puck after Joe Morrow had broken his stick on the shot, and while the play appeared to give Boston its first goal of the night, the play was called no-goal because Patrice Bergeron had made incidental contact with Carey Price.
Julien challenged the call, and though replays showed that Bergeron was pushed by Alexei Emelin and that the contact really wasn’t significant at all, the play held up. As fate would have it in this rivalry, the Canadiens scored 1:17 later to take a 3-0 lead.
Milan Lucic isn’t around to get tossed from Bruins-Canadiens games anymore. The guy who did get ejected Saturday night was rather surprising.
Ryan Spooner, who had eight penalty minutes in 57 career games entering Saturday night, was called for boarding Brian Flynn 3:30 into the third period. While the hit did not appear egregious, Spooner was handed a five-minute major and a game misconduct.
The call was met with confusion by those observing the game, but as pointed out by WEEI.com’s Scott McLaughlin, Rule 41.5 states that a boarding penalty that results in a head or face injury comes with an automatic game misconduct. Flynn was bleeding on the play, which likely made the officials’ decision for them.
BELESKEY GETS HIS FIRST, COLIN MILLER MAKES HIS DEBUT
Matt Beleskey didn’t have a particularly impressive Bruins debut Thursday and he was called for an early penalty Saturday to set up a Montreal power play goal. He did pick up his first goal as a Bruin in the second period, even if it was an ugly one.
Looking to feed the puck in front for Pastrnak, Beleskey’s pass went off Jeff Petry and past Price to get the B’s on the board.
Through two games, members of David Krejci‘s line have scored three of Boston’s four goals, with Krejci, Beleskey and David Pastrnak each having a goal apiece.
Another first for the B’s Saturday: Colin Miller made his NHL debut by playing in place of the scratched Zach Trotman. Joonas Kemppainen also sat in favor of Max Talbot.
Miller’s skating and passing were as advertised. The former King also took a cross-checking penalty midway through the third period.
BERGERON TARGETED AGAIN
The 30-year-old center was the target of an attempted low bridge from Alexei Emelin, which earned the Habs defenseman an interference penalty. The play came just a game after Bergeron took an elbow to the head from Jets forward Alexander Burmistrov.
Fortunately for the Bruins, Bergeron hasn’t been injured yet as the result of either play. Bergeron ended up scoring his first goal of the season by beating Price with 30.1 seconds left in regulation.
|Observations from Bruins’ preseason loss to Red Wings||09.28.15 at 9:28 pm ET|
Jimmy Howard lost his shutout bid in the final minute of Monday night’s preseason contest as the Red Wings earned a 3-1 win over the Bruins at TD Garden. Here are some quick observations from the preseason contest:
— Tuukka Rask made his first start of the preseason. After coming up with an impressive kick save on Drew Miller and stopping him again point blank in the second period, Miller finally cashed in on one of his chances when he fired a shot from the right circle past Rask at 7:11 of the second.
Rask didn’t get much help from the guys in front of him on Detroit’s second goal. After getting burned by Tomas Jurco, Linus Arnesson took a hack at Jurco but did not deter the Red Wings forward from scoring on the delayed penalty call. The Wings went up 3-0 in the third on a Andreas Athanosiou wrist shot from the point.
Rask finished the game with 21 saves on 23 shots.
— Loui Eriksson scored Boston’s only goal, with Loui Eriksson picking up a rebound in front off a Torey Krug point shot during 6-on-5 play and jamming it past Howard. It was a good finish to the game for his line with Patrice Bergeron and Marchand after the trio struggled to stay onside early in the contest.
— The B’s survived an injury scare late in the second period. After leaving the ice slowly and in pain, Brad Marchand could be seen grabbing his right thigh area as he remained on the bench for the final 5:38 of the period. Fortunately for the Bruins, Marchand was back on the ice to start the third period.
— David Pastrnak may have taken an uncalled stick to the face late in the third period. Pastrnak dropped his stick and left the ice holding his mouth after Brian Lashoff’s stick apparently got him with a little more than four minutes remaining.
– David Krejci was not in Monday’s lineup, Matt Beleskey and Pastrnak were centered by Austin Czarnik. The line wasn’t anything special, though it did draw a pair of penalties.
Pastrnak sprung Beleskey for a breakaway, but the puck was just out of his reach and Jimmy came out of his net to minimize the threat.
|Why Claude Julien and the Bruins still consider new OT a work in progress||09.25.15 at 12:22 pm ET|
You can safely assume when on-ice officials are explaining what happens to a head coach in the middle of a play, there is still some uncertainty about the rules.
Such is the case with the reformatted overtime in the NHL. On Thursday night, Bruins defenseman Matt Irwin took a hooking penalty 1:25 into the extra period. Instead of the Bruins going down a man, the Rangers went up a man.
The NHL is introducing the 3-on-3 overtime this season. To avoid a 3-on-2 situation that would be more like a pre-game warmup rush, the NHL decided to go with a modified power play that would be identical to overtimes of the past. But while that was difficult enough to get used to, what happened next was even a little more peculiar.
The Rangers, getting mixed up with the extra man line changes of the new overtime, took a too many men on the ice when they wound up with the puck and six skaters on the ice. Veteran referee Eric Furlatt went over to Claude Julien to explain that the Bruins would not gain an extra man and go 4-on-4 but rather the Rangers would lose their additional man on the ice.
Then the Bruins would have their own 4-on-3 once Irwin’s penalty expired. Neither team scored and the Bruins would win the preseason game, 4-3, in seven rounds of a shootout. Still, the experience was much more helpful than Tuesday night’s encounter with the Capitals, a game that featured 3-on-3 for all of 12 seconds before David Pastrnak scored.