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Bruins roster projection: Reilly Smith early favorite for third line 09.18.13 at 7:11 pm ET
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With the first round of cuts done with, here’s something that we haven’t had to do in years with the Bruins: guess who makes the team.

Reilly Smith is the early favorite to win a third-line job. (AP)

Reilly Smith is the early favorite to win a third-line job. (AP)

Here’s the first projection:

FORWARDS

Milan Lucic – David Krejci – Jarome Iginla
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – Loui Eriksson
Carl Soderberg – Chris Kelly – Reilly Smith
Daniel Paille – Gregory Campbell – Shawn Thornton

Thirteenth forward: Jordan Caron

Smith makes it and the Bruins sport an all-lefty third line. Not to worry, as the young forward acquired in the Loui Eriksson trade has plenty of experience playing the off wing, so there won’t be an awkward adjustment period for him. Of the group competing for the job, Smith is clearly the most prepared for it given that he played the majority of last season for the Stars. The B’s really like his two way game and, as is needed in Boston, grit.

“He’s very smart,” Peter Chiarelli said Wednesday of Smith. “He makes good plays in small spaces. He’s got a real good shot. … Very good stick, so on the wrong side he picks pucks very well and is very good on the wall. He’s not the biggest guy, but I think he plays with an edge. He’s got a lot of the things that we like. We’ll have to look at him more closely, but he’s caught my eye a little bit.”

It should be noted that the left side wasn’t just handed to Carl Soderberg either. In fact, he’s only played center to this point in camp (in between Matt Fraser and Craig Cunningham), but he has looked good enough to show that he should be on the NHL roster and playing. The Bruins will need to see just how he fits on the left wing, but they see things in his game that they feel could make him a productive winger and even power-forward-like. Specifically, they like players that think to shoot, and that’s what he is.

The Caron thing remains something of a head-scratcher. On a one-year, one-way deal, Caron may simply be running out of time while the B’s might be running out of patience. He’s never gotten the prolonged stay at the NHL for him to show whether he can hack it, and he’s spent enough time in Providence. He could still seize a third-line job for this season, but it seems Caron will never have a safe spot in the lineup for as long as he’s in Boston.

DEFENSE

Zdeno Chara – Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg – Dougie Hamilton
Torey Krug – Adam McQuaid

Seventh defenseman: Matt Bartkowski

Really wanted to be (kind of) bold and toss Zach Trotman in Hamilton’s slot, but after Chiarelli’s words on Wednesday it would appear that Trotman still has a bit of work to do to convince him he’s a better NHL option right now than Hamilton.

Bartkowski, meanwhile, is a victim of being a left shot, just like Hamilton was a victim of being a right shot during the playoffs. The playoffs finally showed us that Bartkowski is legit, and he’d be a no-brainer to make the team were it not for Krug’s quick rise.

GOALIES

Tuukka Rask
Niklas Svedberg

This is very subject to change, as Chad Johnson was bad enough in the first few days and preseason game to give Svedberg the edge, but there is still plenty of camp and preseason to determine who is best suited to replace Anton Khudobin.

Read More: Carl Soderberg, Reilly Smith,
Barry Pederson on D&C: Bruins ‘are going to be a good team for a long time’ 06.25.13 at 10:05 am ET
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NESN analyst Barry Pederson, in an interview on the Dennis & Callahan show, identified a number of roster decisions that now face the Bruins following their elimination in a Game 6 loss to the Blackhawks. Still, Pederson suggested that the team’s long-term outlook remains excellent.

With a number of young, still-improving talents like Tyler Seguin, Matt Bartkowski and Dougie Hamilton, Pederson suggested that if Boston can re-sign restricted free agent Tuukka Rask and lock up Patrice Bergeron — who now has one year left in his contract — to an extension, the team has the core to continue to build upon its run of two Stanley Cup Finals and one championship in the last three years.

He emphasized the need for players like Tyler Seguin, Carl Soderberg and Jordan Caron to get stronger to help carry the Bruins through a 2013-14 season that starts in 13 weeks, but overall, Pederson pointed to a sunny outlook for a team that just endured a devastating defeat. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Barry Pederson, Carl Soderberg, Jordan Caron, Matt Bartkowski
Patrice Bergeron misses morning skate 06.24.13 at 10:45 am ET
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Patrice Bergeron was not present for the Bruins’ morning skate Monday at TD Garden as his status for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals remains up in the air.

Bergeron left Game 5 with an undisclosed injury, but it is likely not the spleen injury that Sportsnet reported given that he was able to fly to Boston on Sunday. With Bergeron not at morning skate, Carl Soderberg centered Brad Marchand and Jaromir Jagr, with Kaspars Daugavins also taking a turn on the line.

Furthermore, Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg were back together after being split up in the third period of the Bruins’ Game 5 loss.

The lineup in morning skate was as follows:

Lucic – Krejci – Horton
Marchand – Soderberg – Jagr
Paille – Kelly – Seguin
Pandolfo/Caron – Peverley – Thornton

Chara – Seidenberg
Ference – Boychuk
Krug – McQuaid

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Carl Soderberg, Patrice Bergeron,
Carl Soderberg in, Kaspars Daugavins out in Game 5 06.22.13 at 8:07 pm ET
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CHICAGO — Claude Julien wasn’t bluffing when he gave Carl Soderberg time on the fourth line in Game 5 preparations, as Soderberg is in the lineup making his postseason debut Saturday night at United Center.

Soderberg is in the lineup in place of Kaspars Daugavins and will play with Rich Peverley and Shawn Thornton on the fourth line. Daugavins had seen his ice time drop over the course of the Stanley Cup finals, playing just 5:57 in Game 4. The former Swedish Elite League star played just six games for the B’s during the regular season, the most recent of which was April 28 against the Senators, which was the Bruins’ last game of the regular season.

The Bruins’ lineup is as follows:

Lucic – Krecji – Horton
Marchand – Bergeron – Jagr
Paille – Kelly – Seguin
Soderberg – Peverley – Thornton

Chara – Seidenberg
Ference – Boychuk
Krug – McQuaid

Rask

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Carl Soderberg, Kaspars Daugavins,
Bruins still deciding between Kaspars Daugavins and Carl Soderberg at 3:03 pm ET
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Carl Soderberg

CHICAGO – Kaspars Daugavins or Carl Soderberg?

The reaction to that should be “whichever guy isn’t Carl Soderberg” given how little Soderberg has played in the NHL, but Claude Julien is making it clear — whether for gamesmanship’s sake or because he’s actually considering it — that the fourth line left wing spot is up in the air as the Bruins approach Game 5.

The options, in a nut shell: Daugavins, a defensive guy who has been pretty bad so far, from not ending Game 1 in triple overtime when he had the chance, taking a bad penalty in Game 3 then putting himself offsides on an opportunity out of the box and everything in between, or Soderberg, a star in the Swedish Elite League who has played just six NHL games and didn’t look particularly impressive. Daugavins has the experience, Soderberg has the offense and both have Julien’s consideration.

[Of course, Jordan Caron, who has experience with this team and has played more recently than Soderberg, would figure to be a better option than both, but for some reason the B's say it's down to Daugavins and Soderberg. Why Caron isn't getting consideration is rather puzzling, but oh well.]

Daugavins and Soderberg took turns skating on the fourth line with Rich Peverley and Shawn Thornton in Saturday’s morning skate, a day after Soderberg donned a fourth-line jersey and Daugavins wore a green (healthy scratch) jersey. Julien was noncommittal regarding who would be in the lineup in Game 5, but said it would be one of the two.

“Why? Because I’m the coach and because I can,” he said. “You guys ask me why I make those changes. I didn’t spend three days thinking about that. It’s a situation that I can do. If I do that tonight, we’ll see where it goes. I may just go back to Daugavins, because again I’m tinkering between those two like I have from the beginning of the series.”

Well, he actually hasn’t been tinkering considering that Daugavins has been in the lineup the entire series, but sure. While Soderberg politely declined to talk to the media after morning skate, Daugavins said that he doesn’t know whether he’s in. He did say that it’s been an interesting series for him thus far whether or not he stays in the lineup, as he’s seen his ice time go down over the course of the series (from 15:09 to 8:28 to 6:30 to 5:57), which has meant sweating it out on the bench a lot more.

“It’s more nerve-racking sitting on the bench than being on the ice, because when you go out there, you go into game mode. You don’t even think about it. You just do it. Your instincts come into play,” he said. “When you sit on the bench and watch, you’re like a super fan. You cheer for the guys and you get nervous when the puck is close to your net, and you pull your hair when there’s a good scoring chance for somebody. It’s definitely more nerve-racking sitting on the bench than playing.”

Julien has mentioned multiple times that in today’s NHL, players communicate with the coach far more than they used to. If they’re not playing, they want to know why, and if they are playing, they want to know how they can be better. Daugavins says he hasn’t bugged Julien about his situation, just trusting that if he learns from each game, he’ll improve.

“I watch my own tape and talk to a couple guys,” he said. “It’s a learning [experience] for me, obviously my first time in the finals, so I try to make the best of it. I’ve gotten a couple of scoring chances and should have scored. Maybe in the regular season you do, but in the finals you should bear down and you’re a little nervous, but things happen. If you get another [chance], you try to put it in. You just have to watch the tape and fix it instead of being pissed about it.”

Read More: Carl Soderberg, Jordan Caron, Kaspars Daugavins,
Claude Julien on Carl Soderberg tinkering: ‘Because I’m the coach and because I can’ at 2:53 pm ET
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Carl Soderberg skates Saturday morning in Chicago before Game 5. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

CHICAGO — Maybe it was as innocent as Claude Julien showing his game face but when he was asked why he would bench Kaspars Daugavins and consider inserting Carl Soderberg into the lineup for his first playoff game in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals, he defended his turf in no uncertain terms.

“Why? Because I’m the coach and because I can,” Julien began. “You guys ask me why I make those changes. I didn’t spend three days thinking about that. It’s a situation that I can do. If I do that tonight, we’ll see where it goes. I may just go back to Daugavins, because again I’m tinkering between those two like I have from the beginning of the series.”

Julien admitted that he has only seen him play in six games toward the end of the season with the Bruins, which might factor into whether he plays in Game 5.

“Well, I haven’t seen him that much,” Julien said. “He’s only played a few games, and that’s probably the main reason he hasn’t played in the Playoffs is we went with some experienced players. Injuries have forced us to kind of look elsewhere, and that’s the injury to Gregory Campbell. So Daugavins, we’ve looked at Carl Soderberg, Jordan Caron, and there’s Jay Pandolfo. So there’s situations there that we can look at. We’re trying to find the best fit possible.

“I have to look at whether I feel comfortable staying with Daugavins, or as you know right now, it’s been between Soderberg and Daugavins. But they’re two different players. Size-wise they’re different. One is obviously real gritty along the walls, and the other one is probably more of a play maker. So, there’s a difference there, and that’s where I have to make my decision what I feel I may need for tonight.”

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Read More: 2013 Stanley Cup, Boston Bruins, Carl Soderberg, Chicago Blackhawks
Carl Soderberg on fourth line: ‘I’m a big guy and can protect the puck’ 06.21.13 at 2:37 pm ET
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Carl Soderberg speaks Friday before taking off with the Bruins for Game 5 Saturday night. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Carl Soderberg may or may not make his Stanley Cup playoff debut in one of the biggest games of the season Saturday night.

But one thing is for sure, he feels confident he will be ready if called on by coach Claude Julien.

The 27-year-old Soderberg skated Friday morning in practice with the fourth line of Shawn Thornton and Rich Peverley as Julien and the coaching staff wanted to get a feel for what that might look like if the Bruins decide to change out Kaspars Daugavins for the highly touted 6-foot-3, 200-pound forward out of Sweden.

“I was just trying something else here and I’ll make that decision [Saturday] but just getting a different look on what that would look like,” Julien said before hopping on a charter bus outside TD Garden Friday morning and heading off to Chicago for Game 5 Saturday night.

“Obviously, I was on that line today but I haven’t talked to coach so I don’t know what will happen [Saturday],” Soderberg said. “I’ve been practicing for a long time now so I feel ready. I’m a big guy and can protect the puck, and maybe can get it deep and go from there maybe.”

Soderberg, who was traded to the Bruins by St. Louis for Hannu Toivonen in July 2007, played in the last six regular season games for the Bruins, notching two assists and no goals. He was signed by the Bruins on April 9 to a three-year, one-way contract after he refused to play for the Swedish national team in the world championships.

“I’ve been here for 11 weeks now,” Soderberg said Friday. “I’m getting to know the system a lot. I haven’t played games in a while but if I’m playing [Saturday], I think it will go well. I know everything.

“It’s amazing to be here. I love being here in Boston. Of course, I want to play but I haven’t done it yet but hopefully [Saturday].”


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Read More: 2013 Stanley Cup, Boston Bruins, Carl Soderberg, Chicago Blackhawks
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