|With Bruins’ fourth line constantly changing, Craig Cunningham appears a safe bet to stay||01.13.15 at 12:39 pm ET|
The Bruins, injuries and a suspension aside, pretty much had one fourth line since midway through the 2010-11 season: Gregory Campbell between Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton. Just over halfway through this season, they’ve had 15 different fourth lines by our count (see below).
As Scott McLaughlin recently pointed out, these fourth lines have mostly been ineffective. Yet with Simon Gagne recently informing the Bruins he will not be returning this season, the team can at least have a better idea of who will make up their bottom trio. Specifically, you can count on Craig Cunningham to stick on Gregory Campbell’s right wing.
In a season that has seen the Bruins struggle to get any traction with their bottom trio(s), playing Cunningham has looked to be the right idea all along. He moves relatively well, brings an element of grit, and, when given the minutes, isn’t to throw the puck on net even if it isn’t the prettiest chance.
“Any time the goalie kicks out a rebound, no one really knows where it’s going and it’s a 50-50 puck,” Cunningham said Tuesday.
Claude Julien acknowledged Tuesday that the Bruins are giving Cunningham a real shot to become a permanent member of the line, but he doesn’t feel he’s won anything yet.
“No. I don’t think so,’ Cunningham said. “For me, I’m still trying to make an impact and show that I can play at this level every night. You live day-to-day up here. For me, you never want to get comfortable. I think every day is kind of like a tryout. They’re watching you and you’ve got to bring something every single day.”
Daniel Paille moved up from the line last week as he was promoted to a new-look top-six trio with Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic. Chris Kelly and Jordan Caron have manned his left wing spot since, but that could continue to change.
As long as Campbell is in Boston, he figures to be on that fourth line, and it seems Cunningham stands a better chance than any of Boston’s youngsters of sticking on the right side. The other wing may continue to be a revolving door, but in the meantime, Campbell and Cunningham, linemates for eight games entering Tuesday night, should seize the opportunity to prove they’re the men for the job as the Bruins look to re-establish the puck-possessing, energy-providing fourth line the Bruins once had.
“I guess I was lucky — we were lucky, in a sense — to have that stability for the last four years,” Campbell said. “You kind of take it for granted, because if you look around, it doesn’t happen often where a line’s together that long where you can create that chemistry and whatever. The thing is, our role doesn’t change. We just have to take pride in that. The guys that have been on the line are more than capable of doing the job and they’re good players. We’ll make it work. Sometimes it takes a little bit longer.”
THE MANY DIFFERENT FOURTH LINES
These aren’t groups that were just used for shifts at a time. From tracking the team’s lineups throughout the season, these are the lines that the B’s have used for a game or games at a time. Some have changed from mid-game line shakeups, but that has rarely been the case.
Paille-Cunningham-Robins: Games 1, 2, 3
Paille-Spooner-Caron: Game 4
Paille-Spooner-Gagne: Game 5
Paille-Campbell-Gagne: Games 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 25, 26, 27, 28
Paille-Campbell-Fraser: Game 7, 34, 35, 36
Paille-Campbell-Smith: Game 12
Kelly-Campbell-Paille: Game 15
Lindblad-Khokhlachev-Fraser: Game 22
Caron-Khokhlachev-Pastrnak: Game 23
Smith-Kelly-Griffith: Game 24
Paille-Campbell-Griffith: Games 29, 30, 31
Paille-Campbell-Cunningham: Game 32, 33, 38, 39, 40, 41
Lindblad-Cunningham-Griffith: Game 37
Caron-Campbell-Cunningham: Game 42
Kelly-Campbell-Cunningham: Game 43
|Bruins return Craig Cunningham to Providence||12.03.14 at 3:05 pm ET|
The Bruins returned forward Craig Cunningham to Providence Wednesday, according to the AHL transactions page.
Cunningham was recalled for the team’s current road trip but did not dress in either of the first two games. He skated on the fourth line for three games to begin the season while Gregory Campbell worked his way back from a core injury.
With Cunningham out, the Bruins still have 13 forwards with them. Both Cunningham and Seth Griffith were scratched against the Ducks and Kings.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Bruins place Jordan Caron, David Warsofsky and Craig Cunningham on waivers||10.04.14 at 1:29 pm ET|
The Bruins placed Jordan Caron, David Warsofsky and Craig Cunningham on waivers Saturday.
Teams will now have 24 hours to claim the players. The Bruins noted in a press release that Warsofsky was waived with the intention of being sent to Providence.
The most notable name of the bunch is Jordan Caron, the team’s first-round pick in 2009. In 123 regular-season games, Caron has 12 goals and 16 assists for 28 points. He also has played in nine postseason games, with one goal.
Warsofsky, a native of Marshfield who played college hockey at Boston University, is a decent candidate to be claimed by another team, as he is an NHL-ready defenseman whose offensive play makes him a valuable power play asset. He told WEEI.com this week that though he wants to remain in the Bruins’ organization, his goal is to be an NHL player.
“If I’m going to be in the AHL, I’d rather be in Providence than any other city,” Warsofsky said. “I’m comfortable down there with the coaching staff, the organization and the way they play. It’s a great city to be in if I am in the AHL, but obviously my goal is to play in the NHL, so the first opportunity, I want it to be here, but if it is somewhere else, it’s part of the business.”
Cunningham was vying for a job as a fourth-line center or 13th forward after playing the last three seasons in Providence.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Gregory Campbell skating, doubtful to begin season||10.02.14 at 2:36 pm ET|
Campbell has missed all of training camp thus far, but began skating Thursday when he took the ice by himself at TD Garden.
“I don’t know where he stands. He’s skating now, he just started skating on his own,” Julien said. “I think it’ll be doubtful to start the season because starting to skate and get full practices and contact, getting in game shape, it’s going to be tough for him to do that in this short span. The good thing is he’s skating and hopefully he progresses in the right direction.”
With Campbell out, either Chris Kelly or Craig Cunningham could center the fourth line to begin the season.
Julien also said that players who have already been cut are possibilities to play in Friday night’s game against the Islanders. Justin Florek, Ryan Spooner and Alexander Khokhlachev were among four cuts made Wednesday. Linus Arnesson never skated in training camp due to a groin injury and was never listed in the team’s cuts, but Julien said Wednesday that the defenseman was no longer in camp.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Bruins recall Alexander Khokhlachev, Craig Cunningham, Justin Florek and Matt Lindblad||04.13.14 at 12:55 pm ET|
The Bruins recalled four forwards from Providence on an emergency basis Sunday morning. Alexander Khokhlachev, Craig Cunningham, Justin Florek and Matt Lindblad will all join the team in New Jersey and be available for the team’s regular-season finale against the Devils.
Khokhlachev is the only one of the four who has yet to play an NHL game, and as such, the 2011 second-round pick will in all likelihood make his NHL debut. He has 21 goals and 36 assists for a team-leading 57 points in 63 games for Providence this season.
Florek played very well for the Bruins in a three-game stint with the team in January, scoring a goal and adding an assist for two points while subbing on the team’s fourth line. Cunningham and Lindblad each played one game apiece.
The forwards will be used both due to injuries (Daniel Paille and Patrice Bergeron both left Saturday’s game, while Chris Kelly has missed the last two and won’t play Sunday) and perhaps for the sake of rest of other players. According to the Boston Globe, Bergeron, Paille, Kelly, Zdeno Chara, David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla did not travel to New Jersey.
For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Bruins call up forwards Craig Cunningham, Alexander Khokhlachev||02.20.14 at 12:46 pm ET|
The Bruins announced Thursday that they have called up forwards Craig Cunningham and Alexander Khokhlachev from the team’s AHL affiliate in Providence.
In 53 games with the P-Bruins, Cunningham has a team-high 19 goals with 15 assists. Khokhlachev has 13 goals and 21 assists in 43 Providence games.
Cunningham and Khokhlachev are expected to provide depth in practice as the Bruins give their Olympians some time to readjust before the NHL starts up again next week.
|Bruins cut Craig Cunningham, David Warsofsky, Mike Moore||09.23.13 at 11:53 pm ET|
The Bruins made three cuts from camp Monday night, sending Craig Cunningham and David Warsofsky to Providence and placing Mike Moore on the waivers for the purpose of assignment to Providence.
None of the three cuts were surprises, as these were relatively minor moves. With two preseason games left and 28 healthy players, expect bigger cuts in the coming days leading up to next Thursday’s regular season opener.
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