|Johnny Boychuk skates before Bruins practice||02.29.12 at 1:36 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk skated prior to Wednesday’s practice at Ristuccia Arena, marking the first time he has taken the ice since suffering a concussion Saturday night against the Senators.
Coach Claude Julien said after the practice that he had yet to hear any feedback on how well Boychuk handled his return to the ice, but that the team will soon know how he is feeling.
“He skated this morning, and those are more [situations in which] we find out the next day if everything’s good, then we move forward here,” Julien said. “Again, it’s a day-by-day situation, and we saw what happened with [Nathan Horton, who skated and suffered a setback earlier in the month], so we’ve just got to keep our fingers crossed.”
With Boyhcuk still out, the Bruins had seven defenseman at practice, as Greg Zanon joined the team for the first time since being acquired at Monday’s trade deadline.
|Johnny Boychuk has concussion, Bruins not sure when Nathan Horton will return||02.27.12 at 6:02 pm ET|
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said Monday at TD Garden that defenseman Johnny Boychuk has a mild concussion after taking a hard hit from Senators forward Chris Neil Saturday.
The Bruins added two defenseman at Monday’s trade deadline in Greg Zanon and Mike Mottau, and when Boychuk is healthy, the B’s will have eight blueliners.
As for Nathan Horton, who is still out with a concussion, Chiarelli said that he expects the forward back before the end of the regular season, but that he isn’t certain.
“I expect him back, but with these things, I don’t know,” he said.
Chiarelli said that he would have liked to add two forwards at the deadline, but that the deals weren’t there to be made.
With the NHL trade deadline just hours away, NESN Bruins studio analyst Barry Pederson joined Mut & Merloni Monday afternoon to talk about what the Bruins need to improve and what kind of moves they should make, if any.
Very few major moves have been made by any teams, but Pederson said that he would be more surprised if the Bruins made no move than if they made a major trade.
“I think they need some depth, especially when Andrew Ference went down, that really showed me that you needed another left-handed defenseman,” Pederson said. “I would look for them to try to add that because I know that Dennis Seidenberg can play the right side, he showed that and then some in the playoffs what he could do when he’s with [Zdeno] Chara, and I think they’ll want to do that come playoff time again.
“I think you want to get some depth up front for the reasons we just talked about — you’re not sure what’s going to happen with Nathan [Horton], you’re hoping he can come back, and Rich Peverley with that knee injury, you never know what they’re going to be like.”
That being said, Pederson noted that the Bruins would be wise to not jeopardize the promising future that they have with their current roster.
“They’re still in great, great shape,” Pederson said. “They’ve got a great core, they’re well-positioned salary cap-wise, they’re young, they’re talented, they’re physical, they’re packing the building over here.
“The Bruins fans are excited not only because of last year’s win, but if you look ahead and you go, ‘You know what? Barring any major injuries, this organization is built to be good for a number of years to come.’ ”
Part of the reason the Bruins should be weary of a major trade, to Pederson, is that trades often come with a wide array of variables and can often backfire.
“The difficult part with that, and it’s the same thing I’m sure the Rangers are kind of talking about and Pittsburgh with [Sidney] Crosby, is you have concussions and you also have great chemistry, and that’s something that you can’t take for granted,” Pederson said. “One of the major reasons for the Bruins to be so successful in that Cup run last year was they had each other’s back.
“It was an all-for-one, one-for-all type of mentality. The Rangers, I think, have that right now, I think Pittsburgh’s getting that. That, to me, is so important.”
|Quick reaction to the Johnny Boychuk extension||02.14.12 at 3:28 pm ET|
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.
|Johnny Boychuk questionable, Andrew Ference and Daniel Paille may return||11.17.11 at 11:58 am ET|
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.
|Bruins-Oilers Live Blog: Ryan Smyth has Oilers within one||11.10.11 at 6:57 pm ET|
|Andy Brickley on D&C: ‘I expect moves to be made’ by Bruins||11.02.11 at 9:31 am ET|
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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