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Bruins’ defense shuffle led to rare move from Claude Julien in recent games 11.12.15 at 12:56 pm ET
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Kevan Miller

Kevan Miller

Claude Julien has been trying some new things with his lineup this season. He’s even separated Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, the Bruins’€™ current equivalent of Hall & Oates (assuming you’€™re smart and don’€™t underrate John Oates).

On defense, Julien’€™s experimenting has led to an unusual occurrence recently: a righty playing the left side. That’€™s very uncommon in the NHL, but when Julien opted to take left Joe Morrow out of the lineup for righty Zach Trotman, the result was a righty (Kevan Miller) having to play his off-side. That will change once Dennis Seidenberg returns to the lineup (as early as Thursday evening).

The reasoning behind why righties typically don’€™t play the left side is simple: They never really learned to do it because they’€™ve never had to. With left-shot D outnumbering them, it’€™s so rare that a team would have more righties than lefties. As such, it’€™s common for lefties to have experience playing the right side — Dennis Seidenberg and Torey Krug play both sides well — but very uncommon for a righty to be comfortable over on the left.

“To me, it would be common if some of those guys really felt comfortable on those sides,’€ Julien said this week. “We’€™ve seen Dennis Seidenberg in the past play the right side and it doesn’€™t bother him to play his off-side. Some players are capable of doing that. Some others aren’€™t that comfortable because they’€™ve never done it before. We’€™re having to make some decisions here. There’€™s guys that are saying, ‘€˜I haven’€™t really done it but I’€™m willing to give it a shot,’€™ and I think we’€™ve seen enough from some of those guys to let them go there and do that job.”

Miller, one of four righties in Boston’€™s seven-man group, played the left side at times in college and in Providence due to lefties being injured at various points. Though he noted he’€™s had the odd even-strength shift here and there on the left side over the last few years — never many at a time — he said it took adjusting when playing the last couple games.

“There’€™s advantages and disadvantages,” he said. “Obviously on offensive zone faceoffs, you have certain one-timers out there and then you see different plays better sometimes, but obviously worse with others. You kind of just have to manage your game.”

Seidenberg appears close to returning, with Julien saying he’€™s a game-time decision for Thursday’€™s game against the Avalanche. Should both Seidenberg and Krug (also a game-time decision after taking Tuesday’€™s and Wednesday’€™s practices off) play, Miller will be free to return to the right side, assuming he stays in the lineup. Thursday’s morning skate saw Miller play on the right side of a pairing with Krug.

While he’€™s obviously more comfortable on the right side, he hopes the Bruins won’€™t hesitate to use him on the left if need be in the future.

“I feel like everybody would probably prefer to be on their strong side, but anything you can do to help the team, you’€™re going to do it,’€ he said. ‘€œIf they ask me to do it, then I’€™m happy to do it.”

Read More: Dennis Seidenberg, Joe Morrow, Kevan Miller, Zach Trotman
Bruins activate Joe Morrow from IR, send Seth Griffith to Providence 10.23.15 at 3:49 pm ET
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Joseph Morrow

Joseph Morrow

The Bruins activated defenseman Joe Morrow from injured reserve Friday and sent forward Seth Griffith to Providence.

Morrow missed the last three games due to a flu bug that cost him to lose weight. The Bruins sent Tommy Cross, who had played three games in his place, back to Providence on Thursday. The 22-year-old defenseman skated in Boston’s first three games of the season, averaging 19:38 of ice time per game. Should he play Friday against the Islanders, it’s likely that he will be paired with either Kevan Miller or Colin Miller.

Griffith, who played 30 games for the B’s last season, sprained his left MCL during the preseason. Though he has remained on the NHL roster, he has been skating with the Providence Bruins recently.

With Friday’s moves, the Bruins are back at the 23-man roster limit.

Read More: Joe Morrow, Seth Griffith,
Joe Morrow working way back from flu 10.20.15 at 2:32 pm ET
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Bruins defenseman Joe Morrow remains on injured reserve, but participated when the B’€™s returned to practice Tuesday at Ristuccia Arena.

Put on IR due to the flu last Tuesday, Morrow told reporters at Ristuccia Tuesday (via the Boston Globe’€™s Amalie Benjamin) that he lost nearly 10 pounds due to his illness. Morrow was one of eight defensemen to practice Tuesday and reportedly was on the team’€™s extra pairing with Zach Trotman. Tommy Cross has been in the lineup in place of Morrow.

Having been on IR for a week, Morrow could be activated for Wednesday’€™s game if he is ready to play. The B’€™s will host the Flyers Wednesday at TD Garden.

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Bruins’ worst fears realized as inexperienced defense struggles mightily in loss to Jets 10.08.15 at 11:51 pm ET
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Matt Irwin was a minus-3 Thursday night. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Matt Irwin was a minus-3 Thursday night. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

If you were worried about the Bruins defense being a disaster with Dougie Hamilton gone and Zdeno Chara banged up, your worst fears were realized in Thursday night’s season-opening loss against the Jets.

The game actually didn’t start off too badly at all. The Bruins were on the attack most of the first period and the defense didn’t really give the Jets any good looks on the few occasions they did get into the Bruins’ zone.

But then the second period happened. The Jets’ first goal came off a combination of all three Bruins forwards getting caught up ice and Joe Morrow not putting enough on his pass into the neutral zone, leading to an easy interception for Dustin Byfuglien and an odd-man rush the other way.

The second came off a brutal turnover by Matt Irwin behind the Bruins’ net, as Andrew Ladd picked his pocket clean before setting up former Bruin Blake Wheeler right in front. The third resulted from another tough sequence for Irwin and defensive partner Zach Trotman. Trotman couldn’t get his stick on a pass through the slot that went right by him, and then Irwin compounded that by completely losing track of his man and allowing Drew Stafford an easy finish on the doorstep.

Things didn’t get any better in the third. After the Bruins cut the deficit to 3-2, Irwin got caught pinching in the offensive zone (as you’ve probably gathered by now, the UMass product did not have a good night) and David Krejci, who was the closest to being able to cover for Irwin, could not keep up with Chris Thorburn on the rush the other way. The Jets then made it 5-2 when Torey Krug couldn’t clear out 5-foot-9 Nicolas Petan and watched a centering pass bounce off Petan’s skate and in.

“I think the examples are pretty clear of where we made those mistakes and where it cost us goals,” Claude Julien said after the game. “It was clear right from the get-go there, so it’s going to be easy to show those kinds of things. We’re early in the season, you’ve got to show those kinds of things. We’ve got to work and rectify those things as soon as possible.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Joe Morrow, Matt Irwin, Zach Trotman, Zdeno Chara
Bruins return Joe Morrow to Providence 04.11.15 at 11:23 am ET
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Joseph Morrow

Joe Morrow

TAMPA, Fla. — To the surprise of no one, Zdeno Chara will play Saturday night as the Bruins make their final and unlikely bid to reach the postseason.

That much was made official Saturday morning when the team announced it had sent defenseman Joe Morrow to Providence.

Morrow had been recalled earlier in the week as Chara dealt with an injury in the left foot area. Chara missed Monday’s practice after blocking a shot with the foot a week ago against the Leafs, and he was hit again on the other side of the foot by a Joel Ward shot Wednesday in Washington. Neither he nor the Bruins have elaborated on his condition.

With Morrow no longer on the roster, Boston has only six defensemen: Chara, Adam McQuaid, Zach Trotman, Dennis Seidenberg, Torey Krug and Matt Bartkowski. Dougie Hamilton did not make the trip and will not play.

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Read More: Joe Morrow, Zdeno Chara,
Bruins recall Joe Morrow on emergency basis; Zdeno Chara absent from practice 04.06.15 at 10:32 am ET
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WILMINGTON — The Bruins recalled defenseman Joe Morrow on an emergency basis Monday. Morrow was on the ice at the start of Monday’s practice, while Zdeno Chara was missing.

Chara was in pain after blocking a David Booth shot in the third period of Saturday night’s shootout win over the Maple Leafs. The shot hit Chara in the foot/ankle area, and while Chara was slow to get off the ice, he did not miss any time.

The play came as a result of a Reilly Smith turnover at the point during a power play. Chara had to race back and lay out to block Booth’s bid, hobbling him as he skated to the bench.

Claude Julien said after the practice that Chara’s absence was indeed related to the blocked shot, but Chara could be back on the ice for Tuesday’s practice. Julien termed Chara “day-to-day.”

All other players were present for Monday’s practice, with Claude Julien changing his lineup for the skate. Julien has tinkered with his lines in practices and used different ones in games (as was the case with Saturday’s morning skate and game), so the following lineup used Monday should be taken with a grain of salt:



The B’s are entering their final three games of the season. They currently sit third in the Atlantic Division, as they are tied with the Red Wings with 95 points but hold the second tiebreaker thanks to their edge in the season series between the teams.

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Read More: Joe Morrow, Zdeno Chara,
Bruins recall Joe Morrow on emergency basis 04.02.15 at 11:16 am ET
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Joseph Morrow

Joe Morrow

The Bruins recalled Joe Morrow from Providence on an emergency basis Thursday.

Morrow will be available for Thursday night’€™s game against the Red Wings. The team had been carrying only six defensemen, so a callup was required to have an extra blueliner in the event that a defenseman was not available for a game.

The callup was made due to Torey Krug’s potential unavailability for Thursday. Claude Julien told reporters in Detroit that Krug was sick but was “probable” to play vs. the Wings.

It has been an interesting season for Morrow, who had played 15 games for Boston due to injuries on the back end earlier in the season. Both he and coaches observed that he performed better in the NHL than he had at the AHL level, but Morrow was eventually returned to Providence when the Bruins got players back from injury.

Since then, Morrow has been the victim of a couple of bad hits in the AHL, resulting in an upper-body injury and later a knee injury. He has been back playing for the P-Bruins since Feb. 27.

Morrow played mostly with Adam McQuaid when with the B’€™s earlier this season. He skated seven games with McQuaid, six with Dougie Hamilton and one game each with Torey Krug and Kevan Miller. He had one goal and no assists over his 15 NHL games, the first of his career.

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