|Kevan Miller won’t get complacent with new contract||01.23.14 at 1:36 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins showed during Kevan Miller‘s first call-up that they had faith in him when they played him in the final minute of a one-goal game against the Penguins.
They showed it again this week when they gave him a two-year, one-way contract extension worth $1.6 million.
“I mean, it’s obviously a good feeling,” Miller said Thursday of the deal he signed Tuesday. “You never want to get too comfortable; you always want to kind of be on your toes, but it’s a confidence-booster.”
Miller, 26, has played 16 games for the Bruins this season. The Los Angeles native and undrafted University of Vermont product has a goal and an assist for two points, an even rating and an average of 16:53 played per game. He’s been needed given the injuries the Bruins have had on their blue line to Adam McQuaid, Dougie Hamilton and Johnny Boychuk, and he’s used the time to show he’s capable of being an NHL player.
“He’s earned it,” Claude Julien said. “It’s pretty obvious he’s come in here and played some pretty solid hockey and he’s been rewarded for it. There’s no doubt, for a player, it certainly gives you that confidence and that security that you’re always looking for. But he’s still on a two-way this year, so he’s got to be careful.”
Miller was set to be a restricted free agent at season’s end. Last season, the Bruins re-upped then free agent-to-be Matt Bartkowski with a one-year deal, and though they tried to trade him afterward, Bartkowski said that it’s helpful for a player to know what’s ahead of them early in their NHL career.
“It’s pretty comforting in a sense that you kind of know where you’re going to be the next year,” Bartkowski said. “My situation was a little different, but it certainly gives you confidence, which brings a comfort level, I guess.”
The fact that Miller has two seasons ahead of him for low dollars would seemingly make him a more valuable commodity should any teams be interested in his services when talking trade with the Bruins. Bartkowski, who frequently pokes fun at teammates, said he hasn’t teased Miller with the idea that the team could try to trade Miller like they did with him.
Considering they’ve been defensive partners at both the AHL and NHL level for years now, Bartkowski certainly wouldn’t want that to happen, either.
“No, I don’t think they’re doing that,” Bartkowski said with a laugh. “I actually hadn’t even thought of that, so maybe I’ll bring that up next.”
|Bruins don’t believe in measuring-stick games||01.19.14 at 5:27 pm ET|
CHICAGO — Are there still measuring-stick games when a team has been the Stanley Cup finals twice in the last three seasons? If it’s against a team as talented and deep as the Blackhawks, probably.
The Bruins rose to the occasion in their 3-2 shootout loss to the Blackhawks Sunday, coming a Tuukka Rask miscue or one less Gregory Campbell whiff away from wrapping up a two-game road trip with four points. After the game, players agreed that the two teams brought their best in a rematch of the 2013 Stanley Cup finals, but not all of the Bruins felt they needed to learn how they measured up against Chicago.
“No,” David Krejci said. “We know what we can do, so it doesn’t matter who we play against. If we play our best game, then we can beat anybody. We’ve proven that so far in the last few years. As long as all four lines are going and all six D and goalie [play well], then we can beat anybody in the league.”
The Bruins had been treading water of late, as they were 4-5-0 in their previous five games, but their effort at United Center was one that would have likely earned them a win in any of those contests.
Claude Julien said the showing Sunday — which didn’t necessarily look promising early on — was simply a case of the B’s knowing they needed to play better than they had been.
“I think that we just kind of looked at ourselves here and told ourselves that we needed to be better and we knew we could be better,” Julien said. “That’s just about going out there and showing it. We don’t have to prove anything; we just have to show that we’re a good team night-in, night-out. It’s as simple as that.”
The Blackhawks are second in the NHL with 75 points this season, while the B’s lead the Atlantic Division and are second in the Eastern Conference with 62 points. The Bruins will have another game against an elite Western Conference team Monday when they host the Kings at TD Garden.
|Milan Lucic has replayed shocking end to Stanley Cup finals ‘100 times’ in his mind||01.18.14 at 5:10 pm ET|
CHICAGO — The Bruins are back in Chicago for the first time in Stanley Cup finals, and though the series ended at TD Garden, returning to the Windy City brings back plenty of memories.
“I don’t think it’s weird; it’s nice to be back,” Claude Julien said after the team practiced at Johnny’s Ice House. “Last year, although when you don’t win, it’s a bittersweet situation. If anything when you take time to look back it was some really good hockey played, great games, overtime in a lot of them and everything else. I thought it was a well-played battle. Hopefully for the betterment of the game you hope it was appreciated.”
Of course the Bruins wish the results could have been different. The banged-up B’s limped to the finish line as they blew a one-goal lead in allowing the Blackhawks to score two goals in 17 seconds and end the series in shocking fashion.
“The last minute, minute and 15, I’ve replayed in my mind 100 times since that moment,” Lucic said. “Obviously there are a lot of questions. [The game-winner] goes right off the post and right back to [Dave] Bolland‘s stick. You always think ‘What could you have done?’
“And it’s not just Game 6. You look at Game 1, we’re up 3-1 with eight minutes left and they were able to tie it and win it. Then we were up 2-1 in the series and we don’t take care of business in Game 4. Those are the things that haunt you in the summertime and replay it over in your mind. It sucks thinking about it and you want to do everything you can to move past it. Obviously, we’ve done our best to play well this year and move past it.’
To a man — and along the lines of what they said during the series — Sunday’s meeting between the Bruins and Blackhawks won’t be anything like the two meetings the Bruins and Canucks have had since the 2011 finals. Where the Bruins and Canucks hated — and clearly still hate — each other, the B’s and Blackhawks turned in a great six games of hockey, with perhaps the most disappointing part of the series the fact that it didn’t go to seven.
“I would definitely say it’s different [than with the Canucks],” Lucic said. “There was so much more I guess you say chippiness in the Vancouver series where bad blood, still, as you saw in the last game, carried over. There isn’t as much talk heading into this game tomorrow, but we both know what’s on the line.
‘”I wouldn’t say there was any other series [like last year’s] where there was that mutual respect. I’m sure once the puck drops and we get going, that emotional level will be back at it pretty quick.”
Julien agrees, saying he wouldn’t expect to see cheap shots from the players in this rematch like there have been in the rematches with the Canucks. Patrice Bergeron, who wouldn’t have even been able to play in a Game 7 given his injuries suffered in the series, says the respect between the two teams is too great.
“I’ve also talked with a couple guys that played on the team as well and that’s what we basically said, it was a great series, a hard fought series but still lots of respect on both sides,” Bergeron said. “I thought it was for fans, I thought it was a great series to watch also.”
For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Torey Krug breaks out of midseason slide with career night against Jets||01.04.14 at 5:46 pm ET|
After bursting onto the scene by scoring four goals in his first five playoff games during the Bruins’ memorable Stanley Cup run last season, the 5-foot-9, 180-pound blueliner picked up right where he left off, recording 15 points over the team’s first 24 games this year.
While the Michigan State product impressed many with his dynamic offensive skill set, he could not keep his great production going, eventually falling into a midseason slump. Prior to Saturday afternoon’s tilt with the Jets, Krug had not scored a goal since Dec. 8 and had just two goals over a 26-game stretch.
Luckily for the Bruins, Krug was able to break out of his recent skid with a three-point effort (two goals, one assist) against Winnipeg on Saturday at the TD Garden. It was the rookie defenseman’s third multi-point game this season and first-career three-point game.
“He played well,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien after the game. “When he’s on top of his game offensively, he makes things happen. … He got the shots on net, was good and again, just a few times, it’s about him making safe plays at times, and that’s a part of his game that he’s working on right now, but I liked his game a lot tonight.”
Saturday’s contest did not start out well for Krug, as he turned the puck over around halfway through the opening period, creating a Jets rush that eventually resulted in a goal from Dustin Byfuglien, giving Winnipeg a 1-0 lead.
“Yeah, it’s frustrating. … It’s all about forgetting and putting it in the past and making plays moving forward, and that’s what we did tonight,” Krug said.
Krug would make up for his defensive miscue just a little over four minutes later, as he executed a beautiful cross-ice to right wing Daniel Paille, who sent it past Jets netminder Ondrej Pavelec to tie the game at 14:06 in the first period.
Said Krug: “I was going to shoot it, but at the last second I saw [Paille] popped back up, and it was nice that it worked out and he put it in the net.”
Krug finally found the back of the net a little over three minutes into the second period. The blueliner fired a shot from the left point that got past Pavelec, who was being screened in front by Bruins left wing Justin Florek, playing in his first NHL game.
“When you’re not contributing it’s tough, but it is a good feeling when you get the first one,”Krug said .”Actually, I was hoping [Florek] got his first NHL goal, I was hoping he tipped it, but it was nice.”
Krug would notch his second goal of the afternoon just four minutes later, as the rookie fired a shot from the top of the left circle that went through the legs of Jets wing Eric Tangradi and was deflected into the net.
With his three-point effort, Krug now has 23 points on the year, including 10 goals, which tie him with Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson and Nashville’s Shea Weber for the league lead in goals amongst defensemen.
The Bruins will now head back out on the road, as they will face off against the Ducks, Kings and Sharks over the next week. While Boston faces a tough task in playing against some of the top talent in the Western Conference, Krug made note of the fact that finishing strong on their three-game homestand at the TD Garden was of the utmost importance for the Black and Gold.
“Yeah, it was important. There’s three teams, I think Claude mentioned they lost collectively six games at home between three teams,” Krug said. “So for us, we know it’s going to be tough getting points in there, and we wanted to finish our little homestand on a high note.”
|Claude Julien watches his Bruins implode due to ‘self-inflicted’ sloppiness||01.01.14 at 1:26 am ET|
There were bad bounces Tuesday night. There were highly questionable calls that went against them in the second and third periods.
But in the end, the real reason the Bruins blew a 3-1 lead to the bottom-feeding Islanders on Tuesday evening was a lack of discipline. The Bruins took penalty after penalty, and on Tuesday night, their penalty kill couldn’t erase the mistakes. They allowed four power play goals in eight New York chances in a 5-3 loss to the Islanders at TD Garden.
“I think when we took the 3-1 lead [in second period] we kind of relaxed and they came back hard and they kind of got the momentum back and we couldn’t regain it,” Claude Julien said. “They made their own breaks and they made their breaks by getting some good bounces and got themselves back in the game but in the third period, they were the better team, again. We lost because I think it was, like you said, probably self-inflicted. We took a lot of ill-advised penalties that at one point caught up to us and I didn’t think our penalty kill obviously was very good tonight.
“A lot of things I didn’t like tonight. Obviously our penalty kill wasn’t very good, some of the decision making, even again, we talked about our forecheck ‘ we were late, we weren’t winning battles, they dominated the battle area ‘ and when you start losing those kind of things, to our team it’s certainly not a good sign.”
What did he see from the penalty kill that made it so ineffective?
“Sloppiness,” Julien said. “You guys got your answer.
Then the subject turned to Tuukka Rask, the victim of shoddy penalty-killing Tuesday. Rask, it was pointed out to Julien, has allowed eight goals in his last two games.
“I don’t evaluate players just to ‘ you guys can evaluate him the way you want,” a curt Julien said. “All I know is that he’s been a real great goaltender for us and players sometimes have good games, they have so-so games, and I’m certainly not going to throw him under the bus with everything he’s done for us so I’ll leave it at that.
“Bad PK tonight. I’m not going to start analyzing the game here guys. You guys can do that. I have enough of that to do on my own.”
What caused the high amount of penalties?
“Well I mean if we’re going to talk penalties here you’re going to have to be specific. What I mean is that, some of them I thought were really bad penalties on our part. Other ones, I don’t agree with the [Milan] Lucic penalty at the end.
“To me that’s a battle, to me that’s a battle and that’s what I mean. We can discuss that. To me, I don’t agree with those calls. They were made but there were some that, again, Lucic’s penalty at center ice and [Brad] Marchand‘s, some of those penalties are penalties that ended up hurting us a lot on the road so we have to take ownership of that.”
|Bruins score 3 power-play goals, pull away from Predators late||12.23.13 at 10:35 pm ET|
The Bruins scored a season-high three power-play goals Monday night as they beat the Predators, 6-2, in their final game before breaking for Christmas.
Jarome Iginla redirected a Zdeno Chara shot past Carter Hutton just 1:16 into the game, with Matt Fraser scoring his first goal as a Bruin shortly after off a rebound that was bad enough for the Predators to replace Hutton with Marek Mazanek. The B’s made it 3-0 on Reilly Smith‘s second power-play goal in as many games.
The Predators got on the board in the second period with a Craig Smith power-play goal and made it a one-goal game on Smith’s second of the game at 3:25 of the third, but the Bruins got two goals out of a 5-on-3 and subsequent 5-on-4 from Iginla and Carl Soderberg, respectively. Brad Marchand made it 6-2 off a feed from Smith late in the third.
The Bruins will break for Christmas and return to action Friday against the Senators.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
— Both power-play units have been very good, and the B’s weren’t so bad on the 5-on-3 either. With Chara back at the point on a third-period two-man advantage, the Bruins got a goal from David Krejci‘s unit and then got Soderberg’s goal with Paul Gaustad still in the box. The goals came within 50 seconds.
— For the second straight game, the Bruins got a power-play goal out of Soderberg feeding Smith from the goal line. It was the fourth time the B’s have scored on that play, but perhaps the biggest takeaway with that goal is that the second power-play unit of Smith, Soderberg, Spooner, Patrice Bergeron and David Warsofsky has moved the puck extremely well the last two games.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
— With a second-period hooking penalty, Bergeron now has 15 penalty minutes in the last four games.
– It was nice to see Adam McQuaid back, but he ended up missing most of the first period after a fight on his second shift. McQuaid returned to the game late in the period, but maybe fighting isn’t the smartest thing for a player who should be easing his way back.
With McQuaid returning to the lineup, the Bruins elected to make Matt Bartkowski a healthy scratch and keep Warsofsky in the lineup. Bartkowski hadn’t looked great playing on a pairing with Dennis Seidenberg, while Warsofsky’s work on the second power-play unit probably was reason enough for the Bruins to keep him in.
|Claude Julien: Loui Eriksson ‘feeling better’||12.22.13 at 1:18 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The updates on concussed Bruins forward Loui Eriksson have been minimal, but the 28-year-old was at Ristuccia Arena again Sunday as the Bruins practiced.
Eriksson has not been skating, and though Claude Julien didn’t share too much regarding what type of activity (if any) Eriksson can endure, the B’s coach did say that Eriksson is feeling better.
“I don’t know exactly what he’s doing. I think the fact is he’s feeling better,” Julien said. “He doesn’t mind being around right now. That’s a step in the right direction. At one point, he just couldn’t tolerate too much noise or too much activity around him. It’s a step in right direction here. I don’t know exactly where he is in rehab, but it’s a good sign to see him here.”
Eriksson has missed the last seven games after suffering a concussion on a hit from Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik on Dec. 7. It’s the second concussion of the season for Eriksson, as he missed five games earlier in the season following a hit from John Scott on Oct. 30 in Buffalo.
The two concussions Eriksson has suffered this season are the first two of his career.
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.