|Bruins’ preseason third line finally takes shape||11.05.13 at 1:02 pm ET|
While it’s probably the 50th thing of the list of interesting things about Tuesday night’s Bruins-Stars game, the Bruins will use the third line they were expecting to have when the season began.
In the last week of training camp, the Bruins began using a line of Chris Kelly between Carl Soderberg and Reilly Smith in anticipation of using the trio as their third line when the season began. However, an ankle injury to Soderberg forced him to miss the start of the season, and though Soderberg has played the last seven games, different circumstances have kept the trio from playing together.
The B’s opened the season with a third line of Kelly between Jordan Caron and Smith, with Smith being promoted to the second line for the third period of the fourth game of the season and stayed their the last nine games.
The recent recall of Ryan Spooner also gave the third line a different look, and through 13 games, the Bruins have used five different third lines: Kelly between Caron and Smith, Kelly between Brad Marchand and Caron, Kelly between Soderberg and Marchand, Kelly between Soderberg and Caron and Spooner between Kelly and Soderberg.
Now, with Loui Eriksson set to return from his concussion and Marchand remaining on the second line, the B’s will finally use what they had initially believed to be their third line.
“You’re trying to get some stability with your lines — a little bit of it anyways,” Claude Julien said. “That’s not always easy ‘ you need guys to play well in their positions and their spots. So that line was good for us I thought in the preseason and it gave us some hope that our third line would be a little bit more productive than it had been the year before. So we’ll see where that takes us and reuniting those three guys.”
|David Krejci to wear Andrew Ference’s ‘A’ for Bruins||10.01.13 at 3:45 pm ET|
Krejci gets the share of the distinction after Andrew Ference split it with Chris Kelly for the last two seasons. Ference was not brought back by the Bruins in the offseason, and he has since been named captain of the Oilers.
Originally taken by the B’s in the second round of the 2004 draft, Krejci has been the team’s first-line center for three seasons and has twice led the entire postseason in scoring. He did so in 2011 with 23 points and last postseason with 26 points.
In 424 career regular-season games, Krejci has 91 goals and 218 assists for 309 points. He is entering the second season of a three-year, $5.25 million contract.
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|Takeaways from Bruins’ 3-2 win over Capitals: Power play strong again; Ryan Spooner impresses||09.23.13 at 9:55 pm ET|
Chris Kelly scored in overtime to give the Bruins a 3-2 win over the Capitals in their final home game of the preseason Monday night at TD Garden.
They’ll finish out the preseason later this week with a pair of games against the Jets before opening up the regular season at home next Thursday against the Lightning.
The Bruins iced the following lineup:
Lucic – Krejci – Iginla
Soderberg – Kelly – Smith
Caron – Spooner – Johnson
Paille – Lindblad – Thornton
Chara – Boychuk
Bartkowski – McQuaid
Seidenber – Miller
Here are some takeaways from the game:
- The Bruins got a power-play goal with who else but Zdeno Chara in front. Chara tipped a Dennis Seidenberg shot from from the point past Braden Holtby in the second period to tie the game at one. This is the power play the Bruins used and had been working on in practice earlier in the day:
Krejci – Seidenberg
Iginla – Lucic
- There were quite a few fights, with Kevan Miller squaring off with Aaron Colpatti, Lucic and Johnny Boychuk dropping the gloves with Joel Rechlicz in separate fights. Additionally, Adam McQuaid and Dane Byers fought at the same time as Nick Johnson and Michal Cajkovsky in the third period.
Players can and do work on their technique in practice without having to land punches, so there isn’t much of a point in risking injury (or suspension if things get out of hand like they did in Toronto on Sunday night) during the preseason. Lots of fights = lots of unnecessary risk.
- Ryan Spooner was one of the best players on the ice for the B’s as he continues to try to force the team to make a tough decision. The team isn’t interested in making him a wing, and they probably shouldn’t be given that Reilly Smith has had a strong camp, but Spooner could at the very least push to be the team’s extra forward. At the very least, Spooner is outperforming Jordan Caron, who entered camp as a favorite to earn the 13th forward spot.
- Smith looked good in the first period and was kind of underwhelming the rest of the way. He came out flying on his first shift and made a fool out of Connor Carrick in the offensive zone as he cycled the puck to himself, and in general the former Star seems to be everything that Caron is supposed to be. He’s good in his own end and tough to out-muscle, which is strange because he’s two inches shorter and more than 35 pounds lighter than Caron. Either way, Smith plays bigger than his body and is making a good case to keep that third-line right wing job. Smith was on the ice for both of Washington’s goals, however, with the first goal coming on Smith’s first PK shift of the night.
- The Bruins allowed just seven shots on goal through the first 53-plus minutes of the game, but two of them went past Tuukka Rask. The Caps could have scored on what would have been their eighth shot following a Krejci turnover in the third period, but Miller was able to break up the 2-on-1 bid before the Caps could get a shot on goal. The B’s outshot the Capitals, 37-12, in regulation.
- Speaking of Krejci and turnovers, he made some in the offensive zone in what certainly wasn’t his prettiest game. He’s also gotten rather drop-pass happy.
|Claude Julien would be all right with third line being all left||09.13.13 at 6:39 pm ET|
The biggest question for the Bruins entering training camp is what their third line will look like, but it figures to be three members of a pretty big group.
Yet of those nine players, only two — Knight and Camper — are right shots.
All three of the Bruins’ other three lines (assuming Paille stays with the Merlot Line) features a mix of shots, and the idea of having three lefties on one line might not be super appetizing.
Then again, some of the left-shooting wingers have experience playing right wing. Smith was a left-shot right wing in college and split last season between right and left wing, while Caron has played a decent amount of his off wing in the NHL. Julien said Friday that he would indeed consider having a line of three players of the same handedness.
“You work with what you got,” Julien said. “It’s not the end of the world and you have to make due with what you have and in way, what is the best scenario. I know Jordan’s played a lot of the right side, he played that in Juniors, I know he’s played that in Providence as well, we’ve used him there a few times, so it’s not like Jordan’s not capable of playing on the right side.
“Then there’s Smith, another guy that we got from Dallas that is having a really good camp. And on the left side, Fraser is one of those guys that we can’t over look either. And that’s why I think down the road with some of those other guys from Providence, we’re going to have some tough decisions to make.”
|All eyes on the ice (conditions) for Game 6||06.24.13 at 2:39 pm ET|
High humidity and temperatures in the 90s outside for a second straight day are hardly the ideal conditions for good ice for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals.
But that’s what both the Bruins and Blackhawks will be dealing with Monday night in front of a loud and fired-up Garden crowd, whose energy will only add to the heat.
“Well, obviously with some fans in the building tonight, it’ll get obviously warmer,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “I thought the ice this morning was in pretty good shape, and they’ve done a good job. Walking in here yesterday with 90-plus degrees it was nice and cool in the arena.
“But those doors are going to open I would imagine and some of the heat will come in. But those are conditions that you have to play with at this time of year. Everybody has been through it, and two teams are going through the same conditions. Both teams are going to tell you the same truth; keep the game simple and try and avoid those mistakes from overhandling pucks in those kind of ice conditions.”
Chris Kelly, who was outspoken about the patchy ice conditions after the Bruins won Game 3, provided the best perspective.
“It’s June, late June,” he said. “You expect it. I think even up in Canada it’d still be warm. If the ice is going to be bad, it’s going to be bad for both sides. You expect that. I think the pretty plays might not always be there because of the ice conditions.”
What’s the most important thing the Bruins can do tonight to handle the ice and the Blackhawks?
“I think managing the puck, putting it in a better situation so we can get it,” Kelly said. “Just making better plays. I think our puck management can still be a bit better.”
|Pierre McGuire on M&M: Bruins ‘a very, very difficult team to play against’||06.18.13 at 1:14 pm ET|
NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire checked in with Mut & Merloni on Tuesday to dissect the Bruins’ 2-0 victory in Monday’s Game 3.
The B’s frustrated the Blackhawks by limiting Chicago’s scoring opportunities.
“First of all, [the Bruins] were really doing a good job controlling the puck and controlling the neutral zone and dictating the terms of the game, that’s No. 1 and 2,” McGuire said. “I think the third thing they did, obviously, is they were able to get last change, so they had the matchups they wanted. Not having Marian Hossa in the lineup for Chicago really hurt them in terms of manufacturing offense. ‘¦ That’s a big loss for Chicago; that’s not Boston’s fault.
“And then for both teams, the ice conditions. Tuukka Rask alluded to it when I interviewed him, and Dennis Seidenberg and I talked about it after the game. The ice conditions were not good. I could tell in the morning they weren’t going to be good because of the humidity in the city of Boston yesterday. There’s not a building in the league that would have had good ice yesterday, just because of the humidity. You’ve got to hope it cools off.
“But Boston’s doing exactly what they did to Pittsburgh: They’re killing the stars. Look at the hits on Jonathan Toews. They’re just crushing him. Hey, that’s all fair game in hockey. That’s part of the sport.”
McGuire also praised the Bruins defense and noted: “You add in the Patrice Bergeron factor and the faceoff-winning factor for the Bruins, and they’re a very, very difficult team to play against.”
McGuire noted that the Blackhawks’ comeback in Game 1 might have come at a cost.
“The one thing I’ll you that I don’t think is getting talked about enough: The wear and tear of Game 1, the three overtimes, I think it took a lot more out of Chicago, even though they won, compared to what it took out of Boston. I really do,” he said.
|Shawn Thornton on D&C: No excuse for Bruins’ slow start in Game 2, ‘can’t let it happen again’||06.17.13 at 9:50 am ET|
The Bruins were outshot 19-4 in the first period of Saturday night’s Game 2, but some inspiring words in the locker room got the B’s motivated and they responded with a 2-1 overtime win. Thornton wouldn’t reveal which players led the talk, but he said the feeling in the room was mutual.
“We knew we were not good enough,” he said. “But we also brought up the fact that even though we were terrible, that was probably as good as they were going to be be, and maybe as bad as we were going to be, that Tuukka [Rask] gave us a chance to only be down 1-0. If we could regroup, then we could get things going.”
Thornton said while the Bruins started slow, the Blackhawks deserve some credit for dominating the opening 20 minutes.
“I don’t have a reasoning for [the slow start]. All I can say is it wasn’t good enough, and we can’t let it happen again,” Thornton said. “Give them credit, though. They came out flying. They were ready from the drop of the puck. They really pushed the pace. We’re fortunate to have [Rask] in there backstopping. If it wasn’t for him, it would have been a lot different.”
Pressed as to why the Bruins came out so flat, Thornton said: “I have no idea. My only thought is maybe it took 20 minutes for guys to get their legs underneath them after the long game [Wednesday]. But I don’t want to sound like excuses, because there isn’t. I have no idea why everyone wasn’t ready to go right from the drop of the puck. There’s no excuse for it.”
Thornton said he expects a stronger start in Game 3.
“It better be,” he said. “We’re at home, we should be able to feed off our crowd and be ready to go for the drop of the puck. The good news is it’s an 8 o’clock game [the first two games started at 7 p.m. Chicago time]. Last time we didn’t show up ’til 8.”
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