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Quick reaction to the Johnny Boychuk extension 02.14.12 at 3:28 pm ET
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My initial reaction to the news that Johnny Boychuk got a three-year extension: semi-surprise.

My reaction to the news that Johnny Boychuk got a three-year deal with an annual cap hit of $3.36: lots of surprise. In what galaxy is Boychuk worth more than Dennis Seidenberg?

That’s a lot to pay your fourth-best defenseman, but the Bruins thought it was worth it for Boychuk. In the end, maybe it works out. Remember, once upon a time, people were blasting Peter Chiarelli for giving $2.25 million a year to Andrew Ference, and that deal has proven to be a heck of a bargain for the Bruins this year.

A common counterpoint to the idea that the B’s overpaid for Boychuk is that he would have made big bucks on the open market, and that’s true. With 10 points (three goals, seven assists) and a plus-23 rating that has been helped by playing with Zdeno Chara, Boychuk would have been the next pretty good defenseman to get paid like a very good defenseman. If Christian Ehrhoff can get a 10-year-deal, Boychuk probably could have gotten upwards of $4 million as a free agent.

But that’s the issue with the signing. The Bruins paid Boychuk too close to what a desperate overpaying team would have given him. The B’s should have been in the driver’s seat in negotiations. After all, they have Dougie Hamilton presumably coming along next season, and all they’d simply have to find a replacement for Joe Corvo (also a free agent) in order to have their six defensemen.

With all of these signings, the ultimate question is what it means for the rest of the players who are at or near the end of their contracts. Tuukka Rask and Chris Kelly are the team’s two biggest players with expiring deals, and Tyler Seguin, Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand and Nathan Horton are all up at the end of next season. Shawn Thornton, Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell are also unrestricted free agents at the end of the season.

If Boychuk can prove to be more than the guy who plays with Chara, this could end up being a good deal. If the money allocated to him gets in the way of the team keeping some of their better players, this could go down as one that Chiarelli regrets.

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Johnny Boychuk questionable, Andrew Ference and Daniel Paille may return 11.17.11 at 11:58 am ET
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The Bruins may be down a defenseman Thursday, but they might get one back quicker than they thought.

Johnny Boychuk is considered questionable for Thursday night’s game against the Blue Jackets after he missed the team’s morning skate with flu-like symptoms.

With Boychuk potentially out, Andrew Ference may make a quicker return to the lineup than initially expected. If Ference is unable to go, the Bruins would need to make a call-up in order to ice six defensemen.

“Right now [Ference] is fine, and unless that changes over the course of the next few hours, we don’t anticipate calling anybody up. He felt good this morning, and that was something that we had to look at with Johnny’s situation,” Claude Julien said. “Had he not been, we would have probably been more cautious and called somebody up.”

Forward Daniel Paille is also considered a game-time decision for Thursday night’s game. He has been practicing with the team and wearing a full cage due to the slapshot he took to the face last Monday against the Islanders.

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Bruins-Oilers Live Blog: Ryan Smyth has Oilers within one 11.10.11 at 6:57 pm ET
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Andy Brickley on D&C: ‘I expect moves to be made’ by Bruins 11.02.11 at 9:31 am ET
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Andy Brickley

Bruins color analyst Andy Brickley joined Dennis & Callahan Wednesday morning for his weekly appearance to discuss the Bruins’ 5-3 win over the Senators Tuesday night.

Boston broke a 3-3 deadlock in the third period with goals from Johnny Boychuk and Daniel Paille just 37 seconds apart. Brickley said that it is a big boost for a team when the fourth line is able to score.

“It’s huge. That fourth line isn’t necessarily a line you look for to score, even though they did last year,” Brickley said. “You look at the momentum changes, you already brought up the Thornton fight, that’s a significant contribution from those guys. Paille’s a really good penalty-killer, as is [Gregory] Campbell. Campbell wins faceoffs, Campbell gets in people’s faces. That’s the kind of thing you’re looking for. They may start a period, they may start a game, they may set a tempo, but when they’re actually putting pucks in the net, that’s huge for the entire locker room and the bench, everybody gets a really lift from that.”

Brickley was also impressed with the Bruins defensive play, despite the three goals allowed. Boston allowed just 26 shots on Tim Thomas, as opposed to the 41 shots the Bruins put on Senators goaltender Craig Anderson.

“I liked a lot of what they did, especially defensively getting back to the very foundation of what they are and trying to reestablish their identity,” Brickley said. “I thought they played pretty well against Toronto, but I thought from a defensive standpoint, that was probably their best effort last night.”

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Johnny Boychuk unleashes Johnny Rocket and Bruins are finally on target at 1:08 am ET
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Say this much for Johnny Boychuk – his timing couldn’t be better.

He scored his first goal of the 2011-12 season Tuesday night with a slap shot from the right point, putting the Bruins ahead 4-3 midway through the third, as the Bruins earned a much-needed 5-3 win over the Senators at TD Garden.

Boychuk didn’t score his first goal last season until Jan. 18, his 36th game of the season. Boychuk only needed 11 games this time around. Was he relieved?

“Yeah,” Boychuk said. “There were a couple where I just barely missed the net and I finally got one through.

“Obviously it feels a lot better. Getting that first one by you and now you don’t have to worry about it. I think last year it took me until January, so I feel a little bit better.”
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Johnny Boychuk, Daniel Paille play unlikely heroes as B’s get back to winning 11.01.11 at 9:44 pm ET
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The Bruins needed some different results after starting the season 3-7-0, and they got them Tuesday from some different faces in a 5-3 win over the Senators at TD Garden.

Johnny Boychuk and Daniel Paille scored their first goals of the season 37 seconds apart in the third period to break a 3-3 tie and send the B’s on the way to their first win in four games. The victory also snapped the Senators’ six-game winning streak.

Ottawa got three ugly goals from the likes of Nick Foligno, Stephane Da Costa and Jared Cowen. Milan Lucic had a power play goal in the first period for the Bruins, with Patrice Bergeron and Chris Kelly providing tallies in the second period. Tim Thomas picked up his fourth victory of the season.

There were two fights in the game, as Shawn Thornton dropped the gloves with Zenon Konopka in the first period and Gregory Campbell fought Zack Smith in the third.

The Bruins will next play Saturday, when they travel to Toronto to face the Maple Leafs.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

- Good to see the fourth line get back to providing a little offense, which they did more than anyone expected a season ago. Paille’s goal marked the line’s first score of the season, with Thornton and Gregory Campbell getting assists and notching their first points of the 2011-12 campaign. It was Paille’s second tally of the season. Benoit Pouliot is now the only skater on the team without a point.

- Bergeron is on a five-game point streak, with three goals and two assists over the Bruins’ last five contests. With Bergeron’s second-period goal, Brad Marchand‘s five-game pointless streak was snapped thanks to a secondary helper.

- The Bruins put a ton of shots (41) on Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson, and one would have guessed entering the night that it would be their plan. They were facing a team that’s given up more goals per game than any other team in the league, so when the scoreboard read five for Boston by the end of the night, it wasn’t ultimately surprising. The Bruins’ five goals were the second-most they’ve had this season, behind only the six they had on Oct. 20 in their win over Toronto.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

- The Bruins are back to their old tricks when it comes to allowing the first goal. Foligno’s first-period goal made it the eighth game this season in which the B’s opponent has scored first. Unlike the majority of those other contests, the Bruins got two points out of the night.

- It’s still unknown whether Pouliot sat Tuesday as a healthy scratch or due to illness, but Jordan Caron had a rough start before picking up an assist on Boychuk’s goal. Caron was on the ice for the Senators’ first two goals and played sparingly.

- Tyler Seguin set up Bergeron’s second-period goal by taking the puck down the right wing and hitting his center in the high slot, but the youngster had some frustrating moments as well. The second-year player whiffed on a one-timer, causing the puck to leave the zone on a power play in the first period, and also sent a puck off a rebound over the net with tons of space. The most puzzling moment, however, was when Seguin beat Ottawa’s defense at the blueline to give himself a breakaway. Rather than shooting, Seguin tried a drop-pass, which was intercepted for an easy turnover.

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B’s set to play on Garden ice for first time since Game 6 09.23.11 at 12:09 pm ET
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The Bruins last played a game at the Garden on June 13. (AP)

It won’t be as hectic an environment on Oct. 6′s season-opener, but on Friday the Bruins will play in front of their home crowd for the first time since June 13. That was the day of Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals, a day B’s fans will forever remember, and a day Roberto Luongo would love to forget.

Over three months and one Cup later, there’s no doubt that those on hand will greet the defending champs with cheers of both support and gratitude. Even if the game doesn’t mean anything in the grand scheme of things, the B’s hope their energy can match that of the fans.

“It’s always nice to be playing at home, in front of our fans,” captain Zdeno Chara said after Friday’s practice. “I’m sure they’re very excited, so we just need to have a good performance.”

Added defenseman Johnny Boychuk: “We’ve had a lot of support throughout the summer since we won, and I don’t expect it to die down at all.”

It will be interesting to see how one of the newcomers in Benoit Pouliot is received. The former Canadien in the lineup for Friday and will play in front of the Garden crowd for the first time as a Bruin.

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