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Claude Julien feels his Bruins have been ‘a lot more consistent’ of late 10.21.14 at 9:03 am ET
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WILMINGTON — As his team prepares to take on San Jose, the Islanders and Toronto this week, Claude Julien can finally sense things coming together after a sluggish start.

The Bruins started 1-2-0, including an ugly 4-0 loss to the Capitals on home ice and a brutal 2-1 loss to Colorado in the final second. After beating the Red Wings in a shootout, the Bruins were embarrassed again in Montreal, featuring the emotional meltdown of Milan Lucic.

But things finally seemed to click in Buffalo, where Niklas Svedberg earned his first career shutout in just his third NHL start. The 4-0 win seemed to give the Julien and the team something to build on. Two wins in three games doesn’t classify as red-hot, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction the way Julien sees it.

“I don’t know if it’s how far we’ve come or how far we have to go,” Julien said. “I think it’s just a matter of us continuing to get better as a team. I think it’s still early in the season and I think there are a lot of teams that are probably saying the same thing. It takes certain guys a while to get going. It takes others even longer. Some guys get off to a good start and then they slow down.

“We’re just looking at our team as a whole. I think what we’re looking for is consistency and we’re looking for an identity. And that’s what we’re starting to get right now, more of an identity. I think we’ve been a lot more consistent in the last three games.”

What is that identity?

“Same as it’s always been,” Julien said, referring to his team’s tough, rugged style that relies on good defense, a good forecheck, stellar goaltending and opportunistic play around the net.

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Gregory Campbell a game-time decision for Bruins Thursday 10.16.14 at 6:36 pm ET
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MONTREAL — Gregory Campbell is a game-time decision for Thursday night’s game against the Canadiens, Claude Julien said shortly before the game.

Campbell missed all of training camp and the Bruins’ first five games with a core injury. In his place, the Bruins used Craig Cunningham at center for the Bruins’ first three games and Ryan Spooner for the last two. The Bruins clearly haven’t been satisfy with their play in that spot, as Spooner was given just 4:22 of ice time in Wednesday’s game, which also featured a five-minute overtime.

According to Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe, Spooner will be sent to Providence to play wing once Campbell is ready to play.

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Gregory Campbell skating, doubtful to begin season 10.02.14 at 2:36 pm ET
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Bruins coach Claude Julien said Thursday that center Gregory Campbell is “doubtful”€ to begin the season as he recovers from a core injury.

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.

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Read More: Chris Kelly, Craig Cunningham, Gregory Campbell,
Claude Julien: David Pastrnak, Gregory Campbell ‘getting close’ 09.23.14 at 2:14 pm ET
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Neither David Pastrnak (bruised shoulder) nor Gregory Campbell (core) practiced Tuesday, and both will miss Tuesday night’€™s preseason game against the Canadiens. Linus Arnesson (groin) skated on his own Monday and is getting closer to rejoining practices.

Campbell has yet to participate in training camp practices.

“He’€™s getting better every day is what I’€™ve been told. He hasn’€™t skated yet, but he’€™s really feeling optimistic,’€ Claude Julien said before the team left for Montreal Tuesday. “From what I’€™m being told by our trainers, he’€™s getting closer and closer.”

Pastrnak left the first of two sessions Saturday with after getting hit into the boards. He has not taken the ice since.

The 2014 first-round pick spent his only full day of camp, Friday, on a line with David Krejci.

“Pastrnak is still day-to-day. He’€™s feeling better all the time as well,”€ Julien said. “€œI would put [him and Campbell] in the same boat,’€ he said. ‘€œTrainers haven’€™t told me that they’€™re ready to practice yet, but they’€™re getting close and that’€™s the report that I’€™m getting from our guys.”

Craig Cunningham, who was recently dealing with mono, joined training camp Tuesday.

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David Pastrnak, Gregory Campbell remain out for Bruins 09.22.14 at 2:05 pm ET
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David Pastrnak

David Pastrnak

WILMINGTON — The Bruins continued training camp with two practices at Ristuccia Arena Monday. The team was still split into two squads, though they were different from the two groups the B’€™s had used in the first two days of practices.

David Pastrnak (shoulder) did not practice Monday, while Gregory Campbell (core) and Linus Arnesson (groin) also were absent. Milan Lucic, who did not play in Sunday’€™s scrimmage as he continued his recovery from wrist surgery, did take part in Monday’€™s practice.

After the practice, Claude Julien gave a slight update on Pastrnak’s condition.

“To be honest with you, I’ve been told he’s day-to-day. What does that mean? Exactly what they’re saying,” he said. “It’s not a dislocated shoulder; it’s nothing like that. It’s some sort of a bruised shoulder, so we’ve got to wait and see how it heals.

Julien downplayed that missing time could ruin Pastrnak’s chances of making the team. Even if Pastrnak misses some time in training camp, the B’s can keep him for nine games of the regular season before they have to make a decision on beginning his entry-level contract or returning him to his team in Sweden.

“As far as I’m concerned, he’s day-to-day,” Julien said. “We’ve still got some time before the regular-season. I can’t control [when he returns], but we’ll see when he’s ready to come back.”

With Reilly Smith and Torey Krug still without contracts, Seth Griffith remained on Patrice Bergeron‘€™s line in place of Smith, with Brad Marchand in his usual spot on the other wing. Matt Fraser and Loui Eriksson flanked David Krejci. Pastrnak had been on Krejci’s right wing until he suffered his shoulder injury in the first of two sessions for his group on Saturday.

The Bruins have a busy week of preseason games ahead of them, as they will play four games this week beginning with an exhibition against the Canadiens Tuesday night in Montreal.

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Alexander Khokhlachev hungry for any spot with Bruins 09.18.14 at 10:56 pm ET
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Alexander Khokhachev

Alexander Khokhlachev

Peter Chiarelli said Thursday that there are four forward spots open this training camp, though he wouldn’€™t specify which. In reality, there’€™s uncertainty in more places than that on Boston’s forward lines.

Jarome Iginla’€™s old spot on David Krejci‘€™s line is the only top-six position up for grabs. On the bottom two lines, however, Carl Soderberg centering the third line looks to be the only certainty. A gaggle of forwards are competing for the wing spots, while the fourth line is one big question mark with numerous potential answers.

That’€™s where Alexander Khokhlachev comes in.

Gregory Campbell has centered the fourth line for the last four seasons, but that may change. The Bruins have a pair of NHL centers knocking on the NHL‘€™s door, and the team has considered moving Campbell to wing if either one wins the fourth-line center.

One of those player is Ryan Spooner. The other is Khokhlachev, who was chosen in the second round in 2011, a year after Spooner. Both players stand at 5-foot-11, but Khokhlachev is thicker, having bulked up to 189 pounds this offseason (Spooner is listed at 181 pounds).

Spooner has more AHL experience, but Khokhlachev hopes that after putting up 57 points (21 goals, 36 assists) in 65 games last season in his first full campaign with Providence, he’€™s ready for the NHL.

There are two questions with the left-shooting 21-year-old. One is whether he could play wing if need be ‘€” he did at points of a 26-game stint in the KHL during the lockout ‘€” and the other is whether he would make sense as a fourth-liner at either position.

“œSure, why not? I’€™m not just a skill guy,”€ Khokhlachev said Thursday. “€œFor sure, I like to score goals and get points and help my team win, but if this year they put me on the fourth line and want me [play a different role], I’€™m still a young guy and I develop my game pretty much every day, so I don’€™t care where they put me. It doesn’€™t matter for me. I will be happy.”

Campbell is out with a mid-core injury to begin training camp, so the Bruins will be able to get longer looks at Khokhlachev and Spooner, something that Chiarelli sees as a silver lining to having players missing.

“Those guys both tested well and ran well, and they both had real good seasons last year,”€ Chiarelli said of Spooner and Khokhlachev. “€œYou’ll probably see some of the guys higher up on the depth chart for centers, and you might see them on the wing at some point.”

Khokhlachev said he didn’€™t do anything differently this offseason to prepare for being a wing, but he’€™s more than willing to play the position if that’€™s the opportunity given to him. His priority is being in the NHL.

“€œIt doesn’€™t matter where they put me. Coaches, management, they know better,” he said. “For now, I don’€™t really care. I just want to make the team. Wherever they put me, I’€™ll be happy with that and enjoy it.”

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Milan Lucic, Gregory Campbell, Linus Arnesson limited to begin Bruins training camp at 1:32 pm ET
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General manager Peter Chiarelli said Thursday that three players are limited and/or out to start training camp for the Bruins: Milan Lucic, Gregory Campbell and Linus Arnesson.

Lucic is recovering from wrist surgery and had said earlier this week that he would be taking it slow in training camp. Chiarelli confirmed as much, saying that Lucic is ‘€œa little slow’€ to begin camp.

Campbell will not be on the ice when practices begin Friday due to what Chiarelli called ‘€œsome minor mid-core stuff.’€

Arnesson, meanwhile, was given Monday’€™s rookie practice off before leaving Tuesday’€™s rookie game with a tweaked groin. Chiarelli said Thursday that Arnesson ‘€œwon’€™t be skating for a little bit.’€

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