|Jarome Iginla signing a smart move for Bruins amidst turnover||07.05.13 at 9:52 pm ET|
This has to feel weird for some Bruins fans, but it isn’t.
The Jarome Iginla-to-not-the-Bruins-to-the-Penguins-then-to-the-Bruins is like LeBron James requesting a trade to the Cavaliers. It’s like Macklemore deciding now to sign with a major label. It’s like Jason going back out with Jessica after dumping her for Alex M.
Yet at the end of the day, it shouldn’t be a major shock. The Bruins obviously like Iginla (duh, they traded for him) and Iginla clearly wants to win a Cup (he chose what appeared to be the best team at the trade deadline). Factor in that the Penguins had less than $700,000 in cap space late in the day Friday and the Bruins had quite a bit of it, and the two sides are actually a logical fit.
Iginla makes all the sense in the world on Boston’s top line to replace the departed Nathan Horton. Remember, when it seemed like the Bruins had him at the deadline, we were all assuming that he would take the right wing spot on David Krejci‘s line and bump Horton down to the third line. When Horton told the B’s he wasn’t coming back and the Bruins saw the right wing market vanish over the course of the day, replacing Horton with another power forward for much less money (his deal is incentive-heavy and will only count for $1.8 million against the cap) it was a no-brainer.
Now, after a crazy two days that saw the Bruins lose six players from last year’s roster (it will likely become seven once Jaromir Jagr finds his next destination) and add two or three, the question is whether the Bruins are in shape to be better or worse than they were last season.
The Bruins went from this offense:
Lucic – Krejci – Horton
Marchand – Bergeron – Jagr
Peverley – Kelly – Seguin
Paille – Campbell – Thornton
to a projected 2013-14 offense of:
Lucic – Krejci – Iginla
Marchand ‘ Bergeron ‘ Eriksson
[Any combination of Kelly, Soderberg, Caron, Knight, Fraser or somebody else]
Paille – Campbell ‘ Thornton
Two things stand out about the differences between the lineups. Most notably, they have some things to figure out as far as the third line goes, unless they add another player. Secondly, this is now a lineup that, without guys like Horton, Seguin and Peverley, demands to be the scorer-by-committee club the Bruins were two years ago.
You’d have to imagine Eriksson, Lucic or Marchand will lead the team in goals, but the B’s ‘ perhaps outside of Eriksson ‘ don’t have that super dangerous threat. Basically, they don’t have the player Tyler Seguin was supposed to be.
That’s OK as long as not too many guys have down years. The B’s didn’t have a 30-goal scorer two years ago, yet they still finished tied for second in the league with 3.17 goals per game. They had six 20-goal scorers that season, and all six of Boston’s projected top-six forwards can pop in 20 if they stay healthy. It’s the third line that still looks to be a work in progress.
For what the situation was ‘ the cap coming down and dealing with a couple of bad contracts in Seguin and Rich Peverley ‘ Peter Chiarelli has done well with it so far. So it’s a matter of what kind of deal he gets Tuukka Rask to sign and whether he’s able to add another guy to the bottom six.
Say this, though: the 2013-14 Bruins are going to be different than last year’s team. There’s nothing that says that better than seeing Jarome Iginla.
|Bruins sign Jarome Iginla||at 7:50 pm ET|
The Bruins have signed free agent right wing Jarome Iginla to a one-year, $6 million deal that is heavily incentive-based.
The deal carries a $1.8 million base salary, with $4.2 million in potential bonuses. ESPN reports that $3.7 million is in a games played bonus, with the other $500,000 depending on goal-scoring and team playoff performance.
The 36-year-old spurned the Bruins at the trade deadline when he used his no-trade clause to reject a deal that would have sent him to Boston, asking instead to be traded to the Penguins. Iginla went without a point in four games against the B’s in Boston’s sweep of the Eastern Conference finals.
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Source: Nathan Horton dealing with chronic shoulder injury||06.13.13 at 7:15 pm ET|
CHICAGO — According to a source with direct knowledge of the situation, Nathan Horton has been dealing with chronic left shoulder subluxation, which caused him to leave Wednesday’s Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals during the first overtime. The injury was originally suffered when Horton fought Penguins forward Jarome Iginla on April 20, with Horton missing the final five games of the regular season before returning for the playoffs.
Horton has received shots prior to each game to deal with the pain, and though his shoulder has popped out of its socket at points during the playoffs, Wednesday’s occurrence, when he bumped into Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson in front of the Chicago net on a Bruins power play, was the most painful thus far. His shoulder was popped back in after he left the ice, but he was in too much pain to return to the game.
The injury will not require surgery until the offseason, when he is likely to receive a procedure to tighten the socket so the shoulder stops popping out. It is unknown whether Horton will play in Game 2 on Saturday, with the team labeling him “day-to-day,” though he would not have been able to play had the Bruins had a game on Thursday.
Horton is second among all skaters with 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists) this postseason and will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end. His agent offered no comment on the situation.
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
Mike Petraglia contributed to this report.
|Phil Bourque on D&C: Bruins-Penguins will go back to Pittsburgh||06.07.13 at 10:24 am ET|
Penguins radio analyst Phil Bourque, a Chelmsford native, joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning, and while much of the talk was about why the Penguins have played so poorly in the series, he made no jokes about what he expects to happen next in the Eastern Conference finals.
“I believe we’re going back to Pittsburgh for Game 5,” Bourque said, echoing the thoughts of coach Dan Bylsma. “I believe you’re going to see the best out of the Pittsburgh Penguins. I think it’ll be another low-scoring, tight game, one-goal game, and it’s all about the breaks right now. It’s about who’s going to get the bounces, who’s going to get the breaks, who’s best players are going to step up and help the rest.”
“I fully believe we’re going back to Pittsburgh for five ‘ and then it’s game on. Then anything can happen. The seeds are planted.”
Bourque referenced two other series that could give the Penguins some encouragement: the Bruins-Flyers conference semifinals in 2010, during which Boston took a 3-0 lead before completely collapsing, as well as the AHL Eastern Conference semifinal series between the Providence Bruins and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
Like in the NHL version, the P-Bruins jumped out to a 3-0 lead. But then, without Torey Krug and Matt Bartkowski, who were called up to Boston, Providence lost the next four games.
“In our eyes, the seeds are planted [if Pittsburgh wins Game 4]. You have a lot of players still here from 2010 for what happened with the Flyers, and we’re going to beat the drum of what happened with the Providence Bruins and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Baby Penguins,” Bourque said. “When games are very tight, we’ve hit some posts. And I know the Bruins have hit some posts, too, but one or two of those go in in a tight playoff series, tight playoff game, that can change a lot.”
The Penguins will need to fix what has plagued them the first three games ‘ namely, their defensive lapses and not trying to rush or force things in their offensive zone ‘ and their big-name players will need to play the way they are capable of.
“I’m not sure what it is, but we have not played even close to Penguin hockey yet this series,” Bourque said. “The Penguins stars have not shown up in this series yet. I think they’ve gotten pretty good goaltending for the most part, given them a chance. But defensively, that’s my biggest concern, our defensive lapses.”
Bourque credited the Bruins for playing “perfect road hockey” in the first two games in Pittsburgh and doing what they had to to squeak out a Game 3 win. Pittsburgh’s deficit is a combination of the Pens’ poor play and Bruins’ strong play, and Pittsburgh has yet to truly test goalie Tuukka Rask.
Bourque, who played eight seasons for the Penguins in the 1980s and early 90s, acknowledged that heads may roll in Pittsburgh, particularly if the Pens get swept, but he isn’t so sure coach Bylsma’s job is in danger either way.
Still, he expects the Penguins to make some noise before it’s all said and done. Jarome Iginla, who has nearly been invisible all series, could play a role in that.
“I’m at a loss of words,” Bourque said of the midseason acquisition. “I can’t believe that he hasn’t been a major factor in this series. Maybe we’ll see it [Friday] night. But he’s been uncharacteristically quiet. He had a couple of big hits in Game 3 when you thought he was going to really be the Jarome Iginla that everybody feared when they played against him. He’s been really, really quiet.
“On the Boston side I’m thinking, ‘Well, maybe this guy’s going to wake up tonight.’ ”
|Pierre McGuire on M&M: Pittsburgh ‘has an answer for the Bruins’ fourth line’||05.29.13 at 1:00 pm ET|
NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to preview the Bruins-Penguins Eastern Conference finals.
Boston’s fourth line of Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton came up big for the Bruins against the Rangers, playing key roles in Games 3 and 5. McGuire said Pittsburgh’s depth will negate that advantage.
“There was no answer from the Rangers for Boston’s fourth line. ‘¦ Pittsburgh, I can tell you, has an answer for the Bruins’ fourth line,” McGuire said. ” Paille, Campbell and Thornton aren’t going to run around and dominate the way they did the Rangers. Because guys like Jussi Jokinen, guys like Joe Vitale, who played at Northeastern University, a kid out of St. Louis, guys like Craig Adams, who played at Harvard. You’re going to see, these guys can make a mess and they can put you through the boards as much as Thornton can, as much as Paille can, they can fight as much as Campbell can. That’s going to be the X factor that really helped the Bruins last series, it won’t be as much of an impact this series.”
Andrew Ference, who missed the entire Rangers series with what the Bruins called a lower-body injury, skated with his teammates at Tuesday’s practice. That’s let to discussion about which young defenseman the B’s might sit if the team wants to make room for the veteran. McGuire suggested the B’s might want to give Ference more time to recover fully.
“He’s walking around with a walking boot on, so clearly there’s a problem with the lower part of his foot or ankle,” McGuire said. “It’s not easy to come back from something like that at this time of the year. So, I don’t think they’re in a rush. And Andrew would probably be the first person to tell you: You know what, when a team’s playing as well as Boston’s playing, especially those players, you probably don’t take them out of the lineup.”
Another topic of discussion around the Bruins is whether the team should move Tyler Seguin back up to the second line in place of Jaromir Jagr.
“We saw what Jaromir could do in confined areas against the Rangers, and there were points in that series where he really wanted to take the puck over but he was overextending his shifts and you could see he was breaking down a little bit,” McGuire said. “Tyler, you could see, and I talked to Tyler a couple of times during the series, he was fighting it in terms of getting pucks in, but he was still making plays. I know he turned the puck over a couple of times. That’s going to happen with offensive players, you’re going to turn the puck over because they’re trying to make stuff happen with the puck. It’s the checkers that you can’t afford having them turn it over. Because they don’t do much with it. They chip it in and chip it out, and they usually don’t score a lot.
“Tyler will probably get augmented minutes. I’ve got to believe the coaching staff is seeing what we’re seeing, and that is that here’s a kid that’s got a chance to be a difference-maker, and his speed is going to be huge.”
|Claude Julien: Proving Jarome Iginla wrong not Bruins’ priority vs. Penguins||05.27.13 at 1:20 pm ET|
Jarome Iginla chose the Penguins over the Bruins, and now they have a chance to make that decision look wrong.
The Bruins and Flames agreed to a deal prior to the trade deadline that would have sent Matt Bartkowski, Alexander Khokhlachev and a first-round pick to Calgary in exchange for Iginla. The veteran right wing had said he would waive his no-trade clause for the Bruins, Penguins, Kings or Blackhawks, but upon the agreement of the trade informed the Flames that he would only go to the Penguins. The Flames then negotiated a deal with Pittsburgh to accommodate him.
At the time, the Bruins said they took no issue with Iginla’s decision, but the Iginla-Boston storyline will certainly get attention during the Conference finals. Claude Julien understands that, but he sees bigger motivation to beat the Penguins than simply proving Iginla wrong.
“I would say that moving to the Stanley Cup Finals is way more important than that situation,” Julien said. “That’s where our focus has to be.”
|Jarome Iginla helps Penguins past Bruins||04.20.13 at 3:16 pm ET|
It was bad enough that Jarome Iginla didn’t want to play for the Bruins, but on Saturday he helped the Penguins defeated the B’s, 3-2, at TD Garden.
With Brad Marchand in the box for roughing, Iginla scored on a slapshot from the point 4:43 into the third period to break a 1-1 tie. The puck went through traffic before zipping past Tuukka Rask’s five-hole. Kris Letang scored on a wrist shot at 8:29 of the third to make it 3-1. Tyler Seguin scored with 2.6 seconds left to make it a one-goal late, but it was too little, too late.
The win was Pittsburgh’s sixth straight and it allowed the Penguins (66 points) to sew up the top seed in the Eastern Conference for the season. The Bruins (57 points), meanwhile, are two points behind the Canadiens (59 points) with five games to play. The Canadiens will play the Capitals Saturday night and will have played 45 games to Boston’s 44 by the end of the day.
Brad Marchand opened the game’s scoring with a power-play goal on a wrist shot that went off Tomas Vokoun and in, but Jussi Jokinen tied the game in the second period by backhanding a rebound past Rask.
The Bruins suffered a pair of injuries in the game, as Nathan Horton was lost for the game after fighting Iginla in the first period and Adam McQuaid was hurt following a second-period hit from Matt Cooke.
The Bruins will host the Panthers Sunday at 12:30 p.m.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Horton was lost for the game after fighting Jarome Iginla in the first period. The fight was very short-lived, with the two power forwards essentially wrestling one another down, but Horton was spotted favoring his left wrist as he left the ice.
– McQuaid left the game and returned, but his situation is still one to keep an eye on. The defenseman jumped up a bit as Cooke went to deliver a clean hip-check and it left McQuaid down on the ice by the Bruins’ bench as he inched his way off. McQuaid was helped down the tunnel by teammates, but he was back on the bench shortly after and returned to the game. He didn’t look like he was 100 percent, however. McQuaid challenged Cooke in the third period and was declined.
– Both of the Penguins’ third-period goals came on the power play. They allowed the Hurricanes to go 2-for-3 on the power play last Saturday and the Sabres were 4-of-6 on the man advantage Wednesday, making Saturday’s contest the third straight game in which the B’s have allowed two power play goals.
– Carl Soderberg didn’t have the strongest showing in his NHL debut, which was to be expected given that he has played on the bigger ice surfaces in Europe for his entire professional career. Soderberg finished the game with a minus-1 rating (he was on the ice for Jokinen’s goal) and no shots on goal. Soderberg did get some power play time, though nothing came of it as he was not on the unit that yielded Marchand’s goal).
– Zdeno Chara ended up in the box again for coming to the aid of a teammate, as he was called for roughing when he went after Cooke following the hit on McQuaid. Considering Cooke’s hit was clean, an answer wasn’t necessary. Of course, one can’t blame Chara for seeing his teammate down after a hit from someone with Cooke’s reputation and thinking otherwise.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– With the lines in flux (Milan Lucic was a healthy scratch as Claude Julien continues to tinker with the lineup), the familiar line of Patrice Bergeron between Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin was as once again strong. Bergeron had a superb showing at the faceoff dot, winning 18 of 26 draws, while the line landed 16 shots on net (six for Seguin and four apiece for Bergeron and Marchand).
– With Horton out, Rich Peverley took his place on Krejci’s line, as he has in the last two seasons. The trio of Krejci between Gregory Campbell and Peverley had a strong second period and generated multiple scoring opportunities on a mid-second period shift.
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