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5 things we learned as Bruins get David Krejci back and win 12.17.14 at 10:47 pm ET
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On Wednesday, the Bruins got three things Bruins fans thought they might never see again: three goals, a win and David Krejci.

After an up-and-down showing from the B’s in Minnesota, Loui Eriksson took a feed from Carl Soderberg and tucked it behind Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom to give the Bruins a 3-2 overtime win over the Wild (click here for the boxscore). The win was Boston’€™s first in four games.

Krejci returned to the lineup after missing the last 11 games. He had one shot on goal and had a minus-13, even-strength Corsi, which was worst among Bruins forwards.

Krejci played a part in Minnesota’€™s game-tying goal in the third period. A turnover from Krejci in the defensive zone led to a Ryan Suter point shot that Niklas Svedberg stopped with his blocker. Zach Trotman picked up the rebound, but Jason Pominville whacked it away from Trotman and into the net to tie the game at two goals apiece.

That said, Krejci’s return is mammoth for the Bruins, who have had their first-line center for just 12 games this season and fell out of a playoff spot without him.

Here are four more things we learned Thursday:

BRUINS STILL LIKE GRIFFITH WITH KREJCI

With Krejci returning to the top line, so too did Seth Griffith. The Bruins have played Griffith as their first-line right wing in every game Krejci has played this season, but they have generally used Griffith as a bottom-six player without Krejci.

It’€™s an odd choice on the Bruins’€™ part to not try other players with Krejci and Milan Lucic to determine how many potential in-house candidates the B’€™s have to fill their seemingly up-for-grabs first-line right wing job. The Bruins have still not tried Loui Eriksson with Krejci and Lucic this season.

The lines were as follows:

Lucic – Krejci – Griffith
Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
Kelly – Soderberg – Eriksson
Paille – Campbell – Cunningham

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Carl Soderberg, David Krejci, Loui Eriksson, Niklas Svedberg
Top to bottom: Bruins’ strange usage of Seth Griffith 12.15.14 at 4:29 pm ET
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Seth Griffith

Seth Griffith

When players get called up to the NHL, it’€™s typical for them to play in lesser roles before working their way up to higher lines. It’€™s been the opposite for Seth Griffith.

With only three goals through their first three games of the season, the Bruins recalled Griffith from Providence to play on their first line with David Krejci and Milan Lucic. Griffith, a second-year pro, has been Krejci’€™s right wing in all 11 of Krejci’€™s games this season.

Yet Krejci, who may be nearing a return to the lineup, has missed a lot of time due to injury and the Bruins haven’€™t been as confident in Griffith as a first-line player when No. 46 hasn’€™t been centering him.

The last two games, Griffith has been on Boston’€™s fourth line in place of the absent Simon Gagne. Griffith, who scored as many as 45 goals in a season in his junior days, is not a prototypical fourth-line grinder. Prototypical or not, however, he’s a fourth-liner.

“€œFor now,”€ Claude Julien said Monday. “€œWe don’€™t have any extra forwards and we’€™d still like to be able to see our fourth line be able to bring some offense, so that’€™s why we put him there. That line was actually pretty good with Simon Gagne, and Simon Gagne’€™s been a top-line player his whole career.”

With all due respect to Julien, that line was not pretty good. The trio of Gregory Campbell between Daniel Paille and Gagne struggled in much of its time together, though it turned a corner on this month’€™s California trip.

Going from a top-line to a bottom line can be quite the adjustment. For one, you have to deal with playing fewer minutes. In most cases, you’€™re also working with less skilled players around you and opposing different types of players. Elite scorers who skate on top lines can be easier to oppose when you have the puck, as many top-liners are there mostly on offensive merit. The bottom-six is a working man’€™s game.

Guys like Brad Marchand in 2010-11 had to hone their craft in such roles before graduating to higher lines.

“€œI think it’€™s just going to help me,”€ Griffith said. “It’€™s my first year in the league. You look at this whole lineup; everybody plays hard. It’€™s not like it’€™s really a fourth-line role. You’€™re playing the same.

“€œYou’€™re just trying to play hard every shift. If you want to be in this league a long time, you’€™ve got to learn to do little things like that. It’€™s just something that can help improve my game, if anything.”

The Bruins’€™ attempts at changing their fourth line from the Merlot Line days have been unsuccessful so far, and Griffith has been unsuccessful without Krejci so far. The 21-year-old has five points (three goals, two assists) when Krejci’€™s been in the lineup and two points (both goals) in 11 games without Krejci.

The Bruins have used Krejci on a couple different lines in practice over the last week, but Griffith hasn’€™t been a part of them. His return could either return Griffith to the first line or move him out of the lineup altogether (Craig Cunningham is more of a prototypical fourth-liner), but for now, Griffith will take whatever minutes he can get.

“Griff is a pretty smart player,” Julien said. “It’€™s not the same definition as what we had before –€” bang and crash and that kind of stuff –€” but that’€™s where he fits right now.”

Read More: David Krejci, Seth Griffith,
David Krejci to travel with Bruins, return date unknown at 1:23 pm ET
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David Krejci will travel with the Bruins for their three-game road trip this week, Claude Julien said after Monday’€™s practice.

Julien did not indicate whether Krejci would play. The B’€™s have three games in the next four days beginning with Tuesday’€™s contest against the Predators.

“I hope so. I can’€™t guarantee that, though,” Julien said of Krejci playing. “I hope so.”

Krejci has missed the last 10 games and has been limited to just 11 games this season due to lower-body injuries. He skated on a four-man line with Milan Lucic, Chris Kelly and Craig Cunningham Monday.

The lines were as follows:

Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
Fraser – Soderberg – Eriksson
Lucic – Kelly – Krejci – Cunningham
Paille – Campbell – Griffith

When Krejci has been in the lineup, he has been productive and the Bruins have been successful. Krejci has three goals and seven assists for 10 points in 11 games, with the B’s going 7-4-0. The Bruins have gone 8-9-2 when Krejci has not been in the lineup.

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

Read More: David Krejci,
Zdeno Chara expected to return vs. Blackhawks, Bruins not counting on David Krejci 12.11.14 at 11:36 am ET
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Zdeno Chara is expected to return to the lineup for the Bruins Thursday against the Blackhawks, while it appears David Krejci will not.

Chara, who has not played since tearing his PCL on Oct. 23, left Thursday’€™s morning skate with the rest of the regulars, while Krejci stayed out extra with anticipated healthy scratches Joe Morrow and Matt Bartkowski.

Chara was taken off injured reserve Thursday, while Krejci remained on it as of early Thursday afternoon.

“Not officially, but I’€™m counting on [Chara],” Claude Julien said. “Krejci, nobody’€™s told me anything yet, so unless somebody tells me something after this morning skate, I’€™m not going to count on him. If they tell me he’€™s ready to go, then he’€™ll be in.”

Craig Cunningham was on the ice for Thursday’€™s skate after being recalled Wednesday. Assuming Krejci does not play, the Bruins will not have any extra forwards, meaning Cunningham would be in the lineup.

Tuukka Rask was the first goaltender off the ice in morning skate, indicating he will start in goal against Chicago.

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

Read More: David Krejci, Zdeno Chara,
David Krejci wants to play Thursday, Simon Gagne’s leave of absence ‘indefinite’ 12.10.14 at 12:29 pm ET
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Both Daniel Paille and Carl Soderberg were back practicing with the Bruins Wednesday at TD Garden after missing Monday’s skate with a virus.

David Krejci and Zdeno Chara practiced for the second straight day. Chara is optimistic about playing Thursday against the Blackhawks, while Krejci remains an unknown. Krejci was noncommittal about his chances of playing Thursday, though he said he feels “much better” and would like to play. He has been limited to just 11 games this season due to multiple lower-body injuries.

Simon Gagne remains away from the team on personal leave, with Claude Julien saying that his absence is “indefinite.” Gagne is not currently listed on the Bruins’ roster, though his stall and belongings are in the team’s dressing room.

The lines in practice were as follows:

Lucic – Krejci – Eriksson
Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
Kelly – Soderberg – Fraser
Paille – Campbell – Griffith

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

Read More: David Krejci, Simon Gagne,
Chris Kelly and David Krejci remain out, Bruins have multiple game-time decisions vs. Penguins 11.24.14 at 11:50 am ET
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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.”

Tuukka Rask was the first Bruins goalie off the ice Monday, indicating he will be in net against the Penguins.

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Chris Kelly, David Krejci,
Adam McQuaid on David Krejci’s in-and-out season: ‘I can definitely relate’ 11.18.14 at 12:33 pm ET
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Adam McQuaid hopes David Krejci can return to the Bruins' lineup for good. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Adam McQuaid hopes David Krejci can return to the Bruins’ lineup for good. (Elsa/Getty Images)

David Krejci‘€™s in-and-out-of-the-lineup season hasn’€™t been easy on him or the Bruins, but one teammate doesn’€™t have to look too far back to remember what it’€™s like.

“I can definitely relate,” Adam McQuaid said Tuesday. “It’€™s not easy.”

Krejci has missed a total of nine games this season due to what is believed to be a hip injury-turned-somewhere-else-in-the-lower-body injury. He missed the first three games of the season, returned for nine, sat two, played one and sat the last four. He is nearing his latest return to the lineup and is a possibility to play Tuesday against the Blues.

Though the injuries may not be the same, the frustration of coming back into the lineup only to leave it again is similar. McQuaid suffered a lower-body injury in the 15th game of last season and went on to miss eight games before returning to play 15 more. He came up lame again on Jan. 19 against the Blackhawks and, despite thinking at times that he was nearing a return, did not play another game the rest of the season. The team said they were shutting him down for 2-3 weeks in March due to a quad strain, but the setbacks he had piled up and eventually led to him being shut down for the year and given surgery on another area that needing cleaning up in his ankle.

As McQuaid looks back on his 2013-14 and how he can relate to Krejci, he says the frustrating part is thinking you’€™re ready to go only to find out that you aren’€™t.

“When I went through it, you’€™re trying to gauge where you’€™re at, and you take the proper steps and it’€™s like, ‘€˜OK, I feel good.’€™ Then you try the next thing,” McQuaid said. “Until you try the next thing, you don’€™t know. Sometimes it doesn’€™t go as planned, and then the competitive [aspect] — wanting to push yourself to get back a little bit quicker than you should at times –€” probably doesn’€™t help. It takes a little time.”

This season, McQuaid hasn’€™t had to worry about such uncertainty. He’€™s played in all 19 games for the Bruins thus far ‘€” the longest stretch of consecutive games he’€™s had since the lockout-shortened season ‘€” and has been an important part of a blue line that has lost Johnny Boychuk to a trade and has also lost Zdeno Chara, Kevan Miller and Torey Krug to various injuries at points.

There was a time while McQuaid was out last season that it appeared he would ultimately be expendable on Boston’€™s back end, but it has become the opposite. McQuaid, who has played 19:55 a night this season, has taken on the opposition’€™s top-six forwards regularly after serving as a third-pairing guy for the vast majority of his first four seasons when in the lineup.

“It’€™s great to be back and a part of things here and being with the guys on a daily basis and being in the same routine,” he said. “When you’€™re not practicing and playing and traveling, you’€™re still at the rink and you still see the guys and stuff, but it’€™s not quite the same. I’€™m really enjoying that part, being back in and being on the ice. Feeling like you’€™re a part of wins is nicer than anything.”

McQuaid can only hope that the similarities between his 2013-14 season and Krejci’€™s 2014-15 season end now. Krejci is the Bruins’€™ best offensive player and has been a point-a-game player with 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in his 10 games played this season.

Once Krejci returns, McQuaid has his fingers crossed that everything will be back to normal and that Krejci won’€™t have to experience what McQuaid did a season ago.

“That’€™s the hope,” he said. “I haven’€™t gone into great detail with him about how he’€™s getting along. I mean, we’€™ve talked a little here and there, but again, now is the time if you need the extra time, to take it. At the same time, it’€™s hard. If you’€™re feeling good, you’€™re going to go. If you’€™re feeling good, you’€™re not going to take extra time if you don’€™t feel like you need it. Hopefully when he’€™s back, he’€™s back and back to stay.”

Read More: Adam McQuaid, David Krejci,
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