|Bruins players react to Morris, Seidenberg trades||03.03.10 at 1:37 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — A professional sports team is broken up into two parts: the front office who make the decisions and the players who actually do the competing. We have heard from the Bruins front office on Wednesday with the trade for Dennis Seidenberg and the departures of Derek Morris and Byron Bitz. For the players it is a different, more emotional type of day.
“There is still two-and-a-half hours left until the day is over,” Tim Thomas said. “But, it is meant to effect the team and hopefully it does so positively … I noticed [that there has been more nervousness in the locker room] a little bit. I noticed it yesterday, since yesterday was my first day back but I noticed it even a little bit before the break. I think there was some nervousness about it and you try your best not to think about it but that does not mean you do not think about it at all. It really does no good to think about it because no matter what way you think about it, it is not going to work out that way.”
Not many people would have suspected that the Bruins would ship out Morris and replace him with Seidenberg. Coupled with Bitz the Bruins have opened up some cap room to bring in a scoring forward later in the afternoon. There have been rumors of talks with the Blue Jackets about acquiring Raffi Torres but the cost might be a first round pick which would make it prohibitive for general manager Peter Chiarelli.
For the most part the Bruins players understand that the NHL is a business and that this team was probably looking at some type of shakeup at the deadline, but that does not mean they are numb to watching their teammates shipped out.
“Both the guys we lost were good teammates and good people,” Thomas said. “I had a lot in common with Derek and I had a lot in common with [Bitz]. They both played in the ECAC in hockey and are actually some of the only college graduates in here. It is sad to see them go but you just want to wish them the best wherever they end up being traded to.”
Defenseman Matt Hunwick learned a lot from Morris during his time in Boston.
“He was a big part, I think, in helping my game this year. I played with him in different stretches and he really added a calmness to my game. I think I really played my best hockey when I played with him and it is tough to lose a veteran defensemen that you look up to but things happen and you have to move on and remember the things that he told me and keep improving.”
As much as Morris has meant to Hunwick, the loss of Bitz touches a little closer considering that they were both first year professionals the same year with Providence and started their NHL careers with Boston last season.
“Well, it is tough,” Hunwick said. “Bitz is a great guy and someone who came up last year and helped this team and really earned his spot, that is for sure. It is always tough to see someone go especially us being first year pros together in Providence and being up last year. It is obviously tough to lose guys, especially guys who you have some history with.”
On the other end, the Bruins are acquiring a strong defenseman from the Panthers in Seidenberg who is comparable to Morris but plays a different game. Boston is familiar with Seidenberg as he was a top-four defensive pair with the Hurricanes during the playoffs last year.
“I thought he played excellent in the playoffs last year,” Thomas said. “Having said that I was focused on the puck most of the time. I was not focused so much on people … we brought him here, I am assuming, to make the team better so, I hope he can.”
Marco Sturm played with Seidenberg on the German Olympic team and knows him well.
“He is a good guy and a big strong guy, so, I think he will help us on the power play too,” Sturm said. “He has a pretty good shot, a heavy shot and blocks a lot of shots so I think he is a solid defenseman … I have known him a long time, we have played together on the national team.”
With the turnover today the Bruins have created some space under the cap. Chiarelli is still looking for a forward and for his part, Sturm does not think the Bruins are done dealing yet.
“I don’t think it was a surprise that [defensemen were traded], well, maybe a surprise that it was [Morris] but we still needed a defenseman,” Sturm said. “I still think we are not done yet.”
|Defenseman Seidenberg to Boston, Bitz out||at 12:20 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins and Panthers have worked out a deal that would send defenseman Dennis Seidenberg and the rights to Ohio State’s Matt Bartowski to Boston for forward Byron Bitz, Craig Weller and and a second round pick. the team confirmed the trade early Wednesday afternoon.
Following on the heels of the Bruins trade of Derek Morris, Boston has now sent two players on its NHL roster out of town.
Seidenberg is likely a rental for the Bruins at this point and comes at a cheaper price and what the they were paying for Morris as he has a 2009-10 cap hit of $2.25 million, about one million less than Morris. He is known as a puck moving defenseman who is good at blocking shots. He will become and unrestricted free agent this summer and turns 29-years-old on July 18.
Seidenberg signed a one year contract with the Panthers last summer and has played in 60 games for them this season with two goals, 21 assist, a plus/minus of -3 and 33 penalty minutes. He is likely to slot right into Morris’s spot in the defensive pairings, spending some time with Zdeno Chara though more likely on the second pair with Mark Stuart.
Bitz was a bit of surprise call-up for the Bruins last season and played well enough down the stretch to earn and NHL roster spot in training camp. But the former Cornell Big Red forward has not played well this year, posting a plus/minus of -9 with four goals and five assists in 45 games. If Chiarelli does not make another move that would effect the fourth line later today look for Vladimir Sobotka to get regular playing time while Steve Begin moves to his regular forward spot and Shawn Thornton stays on the ice.
Weller, a fifth round choice in 2000 (167th overall) was acquired by the Bruins from the Wild in the Chuck Kobasew trade and is switching teams once again to join the Panthers organization.
No word yet on exactly which second round picks have been traded in the Morris and Seidenberg trades and will update when we have the information.
|Bruins breakdown: Riding shotgun||02.23.10 at 12:33 pm ET|
On Monday we took a closer look at the Bruins centers, Tuesday is time for the men riding shotgun — the right wingmen.
This group of forwards includes Blake Wheeler, Mark Recchi, Michael Ryder, Miroslav Satan and Byron Bitz. Note that for the sake of breakdown this group is demarcated by official roster designation, not where the player always plays on the ice. For instance, when Wheeler and Ryder are on the same line, as they often are, it will usually be Wheeler who jumps to the left side.
So, let’s take a look at what is cooking on the right side of the aisle. On Wednesday we will look at their left wing counterparts.
Ryder — Is there any other player on the Bruins roster (outside of Tim Thomas currently) who is more persona non grata than Ryder? He was a productive player in Montreal but ended up in Guy Carbonneau’s doghouse and his production suffered. He then came to Boston to reunite with Claude Julien with the hope of regaining his spark. It is not the first time that a player has jumped from Hab to Hub (or vice versa) but, really, two Original Six teams with rabid, unforgiving fan bases one right after the other? No pressure there.
There are a few factors that are always sure to set fans off regarding particular players. One is being a high paid player who does not produce. Another is being a top six forward who in a scoring slump. The third, and most pertinent in this case, is not living up to expectations.
|Bears looking for their bite||01.26.10 at 12:43 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins had a workout day at Ristuccia Arena on Tuesday, and the only players to take the ice were those returning from injury — Marc Savard, Byron Bitz and Steve Begin. The three were put through drills by assistant coach Doug Houda that included precision passing and shooting exercises, while the rest of the team went through “dry land” conditioning with meetings that coach Claude Julien said included watching some video.
“We did some other things besides for dry land. You make sure that your days are constructive. We’ve played quite a few games and had a good practice yesterday,” Julien said. “Today was about working in a different direction and kind of build up towards the weekend.”
Part of what has been lacking in the Bruins game during during the month of January has been the physical spark that has spurred previous Bruins teams. Bitz, one of the bigger bodies on the team, was not sure how that aspect of the Bruins game went missing.
“There are a lot of things in our game, including that physical aspect, that we have gotten away from, the staples of what makes us a good team,” Bitz said. “I don’t know why. It is a good question and there is no easy answer. If we knew we would remedy it as quick as we can. It is something we are addressing and we know we have to be better at and we will.”
Part of the lack of physicality has been the lack of the presence of Milan Lucic. The hulking forward has only suited up for 19 games this year and is still looking for his timing in what will be his 10th game back from injury in Buffalo on Friday.
“There is no doubt that when your timing is off, you are getting there a little late or not at all,” Julien said of Lucic. “It is part of his game that you have to be patient with as a coach, because he has hardly played this year. I have said that before, when a guy doesn’t really start the season and comes in halfway though it is a big hurdle to jump over and catch the rest of the players in the league.”
Lucic did pick a fight last Thursday against Columbus forward Jared Boll, but overall, there has not been a lot of bite to these bears of late.
The Bruins need a significant moment soon, or the rest of the season will be lost to the fog in which they currently find themselves. Whether it be a big fight (or series of fights), a big performance or just a night when they break out of their goal-scoring funk and light the lamp with regularity. To this point in the season it has not happened and Bitz said the team might not realize it at the time when (if) it does.
“You know, I guess at the end of the year we will be able to look back and say that ‘Yeah, that game was a defining moment,’ but right now, I guess you never know when that moment is going to come,” Bitz said. “I think you will just have a role and job on the team and I think individually you have to worry about doing that and everything will take care of itself.”
|Bruins hit practice with help on the way||01.25.10 at 2:01 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — A Bruins fan taped a sign to the bleachers at the Bruins practice facility at Ristuccia Arena Monday morning that read: “Success is how high you bounce when you hit rock bottom,” — General George Patton. Monday’s practice was spirited from the get-go, with coach Claude Julien running full ice drills early as he tries to keep his team focused through this extended slump during which time Boston has dropped from the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference to the ninth.
The B’s hope that when they take to the ice for Friday’s game in Buffalo that the team will have a couple of key forwards back in the fold. With three more full practices before then, the Bruins have some housekeeping to take care of as they try to bounce back from this horrendous stretch of losses.
“Today was just things you have to do, things that you have to work on,” defenseman Derek Morris said. “It is going to be a long week of practice. We have to forget about those ones behind us and worry about the ones coming up. Win three, four, five games in a row and we are back up there in fifth moving our way back up. Everybody is kind of counting us out. We are not out yet and we are getting some guys back, we are getting healthy and we just have to worry about the next one.”
Speaking of getting healthy, Marc Savard was slotted into a line with Miroslav Satan and Daniel Paille. It was the first time since he sustained his injury that he has participated in full practice activities with linemates. He is still wearing a brace on his injured knee but says that he does not think about it much.
“It was a good test for it, got a little tired towards the end, but other than that, it felt strong,” Savard said. “Did everything, did the battle drills toward the end, felt good skating, hands felt good. Hopefully this time around I can be more of a presence when I get back.”
Savard said it definitely has been frustrating to watch his teammates and not be able to help out. At the same time, he is making sure that when he does come back that he will be an effective member of the team.
“It seems like when it rains, it pours. It is an old saying, but it seems that is what is happening right now,” Savard said. “Perhaps we just have to get the first goal in a game. We have a good week of preparation this week and we will keep on working until Friday.”
Byron Bitz rejoined practice for the first time since the Bruins came back from their three-game California trip.
“Feel good, full practice today. Stayed out the whole time. Hopefully it keeps progressing,” Bitz said. Bitz now has skated three days in a row and is shooting for Friday as his return date. “Third day in a row now on the ice, [the stamina] is coming back. Only had a week off so you don’t lose too much in that time, and we have three more practices to recover.”
Marco Sturm and Steve Begin, both who have been listed as day-to-day for the last week, did not skate and continue to be on the watch list. Julien does not know when to expect them on the ice and says that he can only go off what the training staff tells him.
“Just to clarify things, we have had players who we were saying were day-to-day, and those guys were day-to-day,” Julien said. “Sometimes day-to-day becomes a week situation. If I had known they would have been out for a week, I would have told you. Right now, Marco is still day-to-day but the hope is that he is going to start skating this week. That is all I can tell you right now.”
Here is the list of participation by sweater color:
Grey — Michael Ryder, David Krejci, Blake Wheeler.
Yellow — Patrice Bergeron, Mark Recchi, Milan Lucic.
White – Satan, Savard, Paille.
Red — Shawn Thornton (left early), Vladimir Sobotka, Bitz.
Bright Red — Drew Larman, Trent Whitfield.
Defense — Zdeno Chara, Morris, Matt Hunwick, Dennis Wideman, Johnny Boychuck, Mark Stuart, Adam McQuaid.
Goaltenders – Tim Thomas, Tuukka Rask.
|Lehtonen returned to Providence||11.06.09 at 6:21 pm ET|
As expected, Bruins forward Mikko Lehtonen was returned to the Providence Bruins on Friday afternoon after filling in for the B’s Thursday night in their 2-1 shootout loss to the Canadiens. Lehtonen was held scoreless in 7:08 of ice time Thursday night, and will head back to the P-Bruins to build on his 10 points (3 goals, 7 assists) and 25 penalty minutes in 11 AHL games.
Lehtonen was recalled on an emergency basis on Wednesday night, but was expected to return to Providence once Byron Bitz made it through Friday’s practice without aggravating his groin injury. Bitz thought he’d be ready to go for Saturday’s game against the Northeast Division-leading Sabres, who have allowed the fewest goals (24) in the NHL this season. Bitz skated with Trent Whitfield and Shawn Thornton
“I feel pretty good. It’s one of those things where one day it feels better and hopefully I’m turning the corner here,” said Bitz. “It feels pretty good. Hopefully it holds up. It’s always tough to watch, but it’s out of your control. If you’re injured, you’re injured. You just hope to heal as quickly as you can so you can get back out there.”
Bitz also has the distinction of being David Krejci’s roommate on road trips, and the Cornell alum was admittedly a bit concerned that he might also come down with the H1N1 virus after staying in the same hotel room with the center in Detroit. But he hasn’t started exhibiting any of the telltale symptoms, and hopes he’s out of the woods.
“I thought about that a little bit when I first heard about, but I’ve been feeling fine, knock on wood,” said Bitz. “Everybody is so careful about washing their hands and trying not to spread any kind of a flu bug. I just saw it online that [Krejci] had the swine flu, and I was surprised. He didn’t say anything about feeling under the weather to me.”
|How The Bruins Broke The Slump||10.11.09 at 12:42 am ET|
There is a formula for success that works for just about every facet of life you can imagine: K.I.S.S – Keep It Simple, stupid.
This principle is especially pertinent in hockey. If players start pushing too hard, gripping their sticks and getting cute with the offense then there is a good probability that their team will not score. That was essentially the problem with the Bruins for the first 52 minutes in tonight’s 4-3 come-from-behind shoot-out victory over the New York Islanders.
The Bruins ended up with a respectable 30 shots but it took a flurry at the end to get to that point. As of 9:50 in the third period the Bruins had 17 shots with only three in the period. Not a good combination for a team looking to overcome a 3-0 deficit. Until that point the Bruins were flat, had problems controlling the puck and thus sustaining momentum against one of the lesser-skilled teams in the NHL. Read the rest of this entry »
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