|Bruins lament failure of season||04.11.15 at 11:34 pm ET|
TAMPA, Fla. — The Bruins never gained traction this season and now it’s over. Though injuries and the team’s coaches/management will be blamed for the team’s demise, the team’s motor was seemingly busted all season.
“When you don’t make the playoffs, you’ve failed,” Claude Julien said after the Bruins finished ninth in the Eastern Conference.
For all the team’s inconsistency this season, the Bruins were in control of a playoff spot entering the final week of the season. Boston sat third in the Atlantic Division entering their season-ending three-game road trip, but regulation losses in Washington and Florida left the Bruins needing teams like the Senators and Penguins to lose in order for Boston to get in.
That didn’t happen and the Bruins got what was coming.
“I really don’t have an answer,” Chris Kelly said. “You’d think at the most critical time, we’d be playing our best hockey, and that wasn’t the case. It was in our hands and we let it get away. This is ultimately what happens.”
Kelly and other leaders called out the team at multiple points in an effort to return to the success of seasons past, but their efforts rarely took.
“I mean, you talk about it all the time. You talk about, ‘We need to have everybody going. We need to do this, we need to do that,’ and at the end of the day I just think a lot of it is mental,” Tuukka Rask said. “We never really got to that comfort zone. It seemed like we were nervous a lot of times out there and just couldn’t overcome that as a team. It’s frustrating, but I really don’t know why that happened.”
Now, the Bruins will not play postseason hockey for the first time since 2006-07.
“We could have been better. We could have been more consistent throughout the year,” Zdeno Chara said. “It’s been a tough year for us all around. I think everybody could have been better.”
|Chris Kelly on looming line choices: ‘We’ve got a great problem to have’||04.05.15 at 10:27 am ET|
Chris Kelly is hardly worried about the looming decisions that will have to be made to determine who will play and who won’t come playoff time.
Kelly moved from his left wing spot and centered a line Saturday that had Max Talbot on left wing and newcomer Brett Connolly on the right. This left out Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille. The way Kelly sees it, there are five players trying to make Claude Julien‘s job as difficult as possible with competition in the last week.
“Competition, that’s why we all play. Competition is good, and it makes everyone better, I think. We’ve got a great problem to have, good players that can play in the lineup, and I think every guy is trying to make it difficult on him to make those tough decisions,” Kelly said. “Ultimately, you want to go out there and play your best hockey and help the team.”
Connolly played in just his second game with the Bruins since returning from a broken finger in his second practice with the Bruins and was relieved to finally contribute. Kelly said he was happy from what he saw from his line during a 2-1 shootout win over the Maple Leafs Saturday.
“We had some pretty good chances,” Kelly said. “I think all three of us, our feet were moving, and we weren’t in our end too often, so it was good. A bounce here, a bounce there, maybe we would’ve been able to get one.”
Julien insisted after the game that what he’s trying to do is more about keeping everyone fresh than holding an audition for the fourth line in the final week. Read the rest of this entry »
|Antoine Vermette unsure of what trade deadline holds, but Chris Kelly wants him on Bruins||02.28.15 at 9:01 pm ET|
Antoine Vermette knows he just played his last game as an Arizona Coyote. It can’t be easy to not know what, or rather where, is next.
“I don’t know what I’m thinking,” he said after the Bruins beat the Coyotes Saturday. “It’s obviously a strange position, and it’s not a fun one. It’s not the way you see it. As a group here, it’s not the position you want to be in. It’s a little strange, to say the least.
“You’ve got to take it as a man, and it’s part of the game, unfortunately. It’s not easy.”
The veteran center is expected to be moved before Monday’s trade deadline, and though the asking price is high (reportedly a first-round pick), the Bruins are among the teams believed to be in on the 32-year-old free agent to be.
Vermette had no shots on goal and was a minus-1 on the day Saturday. He was matched up early against Patrice Bergeron‘s line and struggled.
Among the reasons why the B’s might be interested in Vermette is the Ottawa connection with Peter Chiarelli. Vermette played for the Senators from 2003-2009 and was a linemate of Chris Kelly‘s for three seasons.
Having been traded before, Kelly could understand Vermette’s postgame mood.
“Obviously it’s a difficult time. You guys love it, but it’s tough, especially for guys with families, to uproot midseason and things like that, but I played with Vermy for a few years in Ottawa and we’re still good friends,” Kelly said.
“He’s a great player. He plays every key position, he plays power play, kills penalties, last minute [whether] you’re up or down, he’s out there. Just a quality guy. He’s been around a long time, and any team that gets him, they’re going to be extremely happy with what they get.”
Asked whether he would like the Bruins to be that team, Kelly voiced his support for a potential Vermette acquisition.
“Yeah. Yeah, why not?” Kelly said. “I think if we have that opportunity and he comes, it would be great to see him and play with him again. We had a lot of great memories. We played together quite often in Ottawa and it was fun.”
|Chris Kelly nears return from upper-body injury||11.26.14 at 1:04 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Chris Kelly was back practicing with the Bruins Wednesday after missing the previous two games with an upper-body injury suffered in last Friday’s shootout win over the Blue Jackets.
Kelly said the injury was not related to last season’s back issues and was also not a head injury. When asked specifically what it was, he said “hurt feelings.”
The veteran center also noted that the injury did not occur on a specific play. He hopes to return to the lineup Friday against the Jets.
“I think we thought it was better to be on the cautious side of things,” Kelly said. “I think it’s exactly kind of what we thought. So I felt good today and and we’ll see how it feels tomorrow.”
Kelly took contact and centered a fourth line with a rotating cast of wingers in Seth Griffith, Reilly Smith and Matt Fraser on Wednesday.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Chris Kelly and David Krejci remain out, Bruins have multiple game-time decisions vs. Penguins||11.24.14 at 11:50 am ET|
David Krejci and Chris Kelly remain out for the Bruins as they face the Penguins Monday night. Both players were absence from morning skate, with Claude Julien saying afterwards that Krejci has taken a step backwards with his injury and that Kelly is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.
Brad Marchand is also a game-time decision for the Bruins, with Julien saying there are other forwards who could be in or out due to injury. Both David Pastrnak and Jordan Caron were present for the skate. The lines in morning skate were as follows:
Marchand/Fraser – Bergeron – Smith
Lucic – Soderberg – Eriksson
Paille – Campbell – Gagne
Caron – Khokhlachev – Pastrnak/Griffith
Krejci has dealt with multiple lower-body issues. He battled a hip injury earlier in the season and is believed to be nursing a different issue in the same area. Steve Conroy of the Boston Herald reported Monday that the current issue is a groin pull. Playing through one issue in that area creates strain on others, so it’s possible the current injury is a result of the previous one.
“Right now what I’ll tell you is we’ve taken a step back again,” Julien said. “It’s something that I can’t even go into. It’s been way more complicated… again as you know, these are not machines, these guys, and there’s certain things you try and fix and then you find out there’s a little bit more and nobody knows and nobody should know until you go from one stage to the next.
“The one thing I can tell you is that when he played he was one hundred percent, but we took him out because after that he wasn’t one hundred percent anymore. That’s where it’s tough. You say he’s one hundred percent, should you hold him back? I don’t believe in holding anybody back because if he’s ok the next day then we wasted a game with him, so we’re working on that. The only thing I would tell you is that everything I’m being told, it’s not something we’re going to have to manage all year and I know that’s a big issue in wondering what’s going on but it’s something that’s going to be fixed is what I’m being told. So don’t shoot the messenger.”
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Claude Julien says Chris Kelly suffered injury Friday||11.22.14 at 10:23 pm ET|
Kelly played throughout the three periods of Friday’s game, but did not play in overtime. Julien did not offer what the injury was or how long he would be out, saying that the medical staff would know more about the injury in the coming days.
“I really don’t know,” Julien said. “I could say day-to-day, but we don’t know, we don’t know right now. And our medical staff has not given me any indication of how long the injury is going to take. It’s one of those that I think they’ve got to feel as the days go by.”
Saturday was Kelly’s first missed game of the season. He has two goals and six assists for eight points and a plus-four rating.
With Kelly out, Matt Lindblad was recalled and inserted into the lineup as the Habs took a 2-0 victory over the Bruins.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|With wrist injury behind him, Carl Soderberg hopes to make bigger difference on faceoffs||10.31.14 at 4:33 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Carl Soderberg and Chris Kelly split center duties on Boston’s third line, but Soderberg showed Thursday night that he can win a key draw.
Kelly has taken most of Soderberg’s faceoffs this season, particularly in the defensive zone. On Friday, Soderberg and Claude Julien revealed that was partially due to a wrist injury that made it difficult for Soderberg to take draws. Additionally, Kelly, technically the line’s left wing, has done the center’s job of providing support down low in the defensive zone.
Yet with Julien juggling his lines for Thursday’s game against the Sabres, Soderberg had no such help and proved he didn’t need it on one play. With under six minutes to play and the Bruins trailing by a goal, Soderberg drew the puck back to Dennis Seidenberg to begin the sequence that resulted in Brad Marchand‘s game-tying goal.
“It felt pretty good,” Soderberg said Friday. “I like taking faceoffs.”
Through 12 games, Soderberg has taken just 53 draws, but over a fifth of them came Thursday night in his first game of the season without Kelly as his linemate. Soderberg went 5-for-11 at the dot (45 percent), but lost all three defensive zone draws he took.
That’s where Julien says the Bruins value having Kelly on Soderberg’s line. Kelly, who has taken 133 draws this season, is a better faceoff man than Soderberg anyway, but the B’s also like to have Kelly take defensive zone faceoffs because he’ll already be low in the zone in the event that he loses the draw.
“It is a luxury when Kells is on that line that they can have two guys taking draws,” Julien said. “Sometimes Kells will take them in the D zone just for the reason that if we don’t win the draw, he’s working down low. Kells is by the far the best, as far as working down low.”
It’s expected that Kelly will return to Soderberg’s line Saturday against the Senators after playing on Patrice Bergeron‘s line in Thursday’s win over the Sabres. With Soderberg saying his wrist is feeling better, perhaps there will be a more even split on faceoffs going forward. Julien highly values having two centers on the same line, something he had on the third line for years with Kelly and Rich Peverley.
Soderberg has said in the past that he doesn’t mind when Kelly takes faceoffs for him, but he said Friday that every center on the team should strive to become as good on draws as Patrice Bergeron, arguably the best faceoff man in the league.
Back in Sweden, Soderberg said he was good at the dot, generally winning 53 or 54 percent of his faceoffs.
“But people aren’t as good as here on faceoffs,” he added. “There’s more pride here to take them, so I’m going to do my very best get over 50 percent at the end of the season.”
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