|Carl Soderberg cleared to play, could return Saturday vs. Lightning||10.18.13 at 4:46 pm ET|
Bruins coach Claude Julien told reporters after Friday’s practice that forward Carl Soderberg has been cleared to play after recovering from an ankle injury suffered in the preseason. That opens the possibility that he could play Saturday against the Lightning.
Soderberg skated on the third line in Friday’s practice, taking Jordan Caron‘s place on the third line with Chris Kelly and Brad Marchand. Caron did not practice Friday, with Julien telling reporters that the forward was given a maintenance day.
Following the injury to Soderberg, Caron stepped into the lineup in his place and turned in exceptional work through the first two games, making it seem as though Soderberg wouldn’t have a spot by the time he was ready to play. However, with the lines being somewhat shuffled (Reilly Smith was moved up and Marchand down) and Caron coming back to earth a bit, it would appear the B’s would be able to get Soderberg into a game with Kelly and Marchand as his linemates.
|Jarome Iginla on his slow start to season: ‘I’ve been here many times’||10.15.13 at 1:57 pm ET|
The numbers are not pretty for 36-year-old Jarome Iginla to start the Boston portion of his career.
No goals, one assist in five games on 19 shots.
The effort is there, like the rest of the team. But like the rest of the Bruins, the finishing touch has yet to be put on his work. After failing to get the right winger at the trade deadline last spring, the Bruins signed him to a one-year, $6 million deal in the summer with the hopes of successfully replacing Nathan Horton and giving another right wing – 22-year-old Jordan Caron – more time to mature.
Last season, he had one goal in his first 16 games before finishing with 14 between Calgary and Pittsburgh. In 2011-12, he opened with two goals in his first 10 games and four in his first 15. The year before? Two goals in his first 17 games, before breaking out with a hat trick in Game No. 18.
“Unfortunately, I’ve been here many times,” Iginla said Monday. “It’s all part of the game and you just try to work hard and keep going and keep getting the chances and always keep saying that the next one is going to go in.”
Iginla is getting his chances with David Krejci and Milan Lucic and the general consensus is that he looks more in tune with with his linemates in his first five games than fellow newcomer Loui Eriksson on the second line with Patrice Bergeron with Brad Marchand line.
“Krech and Looch have been playing great and working hard and I’m trying to work hard with them and like I’ve said I’ve had really good chances for a number of games,” Iginla said. “Whenever you win you never feel as bad, you just shrug it off and say next time. But whenever you lose by a goal it always feels a lot worse when you know that one of those could have made a difference. But keep going and like I said I’ve been here before and you just keep working through it and stay positive and keep trying to get open and like I say, keep believing the next one goes in.”
In an attempt to get Iginla some momentum, Claude Julien placed Iginla on Boston’s 5-on-3 power play unit. Good chances, a couple of missed shots but still no dice.
“I think I had a few of them but two were good ones, one I just missed probably by a couple inches the top right corner, one I missed by a mile and that was just trying to hard and too excited and just missed it,” Iginla said. “But I thought – when you’re feeling it those go in and unfortunately they didn’t. It was an important time of the game, it could have been a big difference. And you get out there in those situations and you definitely want to help the team and feel responsibility, all of us out there. So when you don’t score when you have a two minute one it stings but at the same time I think the guys did a great job and just keep going almost to that last second and really we almost found a way to get it to over time there.
|Andy Brickley on M&M: Bruins’ power play ‘a work in progress’||10.09.13 at 2:11 pm ET|
NESN’s Andy Brickley joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to talk about the Bruins’ hot start to the season.
Boston posted a pair of home victories last week. On Thursday, the Bruins beat the Lightning, 3-1, then they took down the Red Wings, 4-1.
One area Boston needed improving on following its Stanley Cup runner-up season is the power play. The Bruins ranked dead last in the NHL in power-play goals last season with 18. But they’ve already notched two man-advantage goals through two games.
“It’s still a work in progress, and will be for a while, they’ll continue to experiment, and continue to try [Zdeno] Chara at the front of the net with one power-play unit,” Brickley said. “You’ve got different weapons this year, [Jarome] Iginla’s a great finisher with the man advantage, [Loui] Eriksson’s a real good power-play guy.”
Aside from the power play, Boston also must fill the void left by playmakers Tyler Seguin, who was traded to Dallas, and Nathan Horton, signed as a free agent by Columbus.
The Bruins hope Eriksson, who came over from the Stars for Seguin, can fill that void. Eriksson has not entered the point column yet as a Bruin.
“He came in as the centerpiece of that deal, with Seguin going the other way down to Dallas, and I think the expectations are that he’s going to be a 70-point guy, and he’s off to a slow start as far as the offense is concerned,” Brickley said. “I think the reason why is he, too, is playing with a little bit of a conservative attitude, trying to fit in with the system.
“But he had a couple of really good scoring opportunities last game.”
WILMINGTON — It’s just two games into the season, but it would appear that — barring an injury to a Bruins forward – Carl Soderberg won’t be getting into the Bruins’ lineup any time soon.
Soderberg skated for the third straight day Wednesday (he still hasn’t returned to practice), but with the third line of Chris Kelly between Jordan Caron and Reilly Smith clicking without him since his ankle injury allowed Caron to step into the lineup, there won’t be a job waiting for him when he’s healthy.
Such a scenario would seem a bit far away at this point, but should the Bruins not have a spot for Soderberg for a long stretch once he’s ready to play, they could send him to Providence for up to 14 days on a conditioning assignment without enduring the risk that comes with the waiver process. He would get paid the same amount of money and wouldn’t be subject to waivers, but the B’s could only do it once.
“We’re not there yet, to be honest with you,” Claude Julien said Wednesday.
Last season, the Bruins got busted trying it more than once when they sent defenseman Aaron Johnson on a second conditioning assignment. Upon being notified of it, they had to call Johnson back before he even got to Providence.
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning and discussed the heartbreak of last season’s Stanley Cup finals, the optimism he has for this year and his relationship with Red Sox players.
Boston began the regular season 2-0 with a pair of victories at home last week. The Bruins beat the Lightning 3-1 last Thursday, then the Red Wings 4-1 last Saturday.
“It’s only been two games, but you can tell the personalities in the room, that guys are built not to take a night off,” Thornton said. “We might not be at our best every night, but I think that guys get in there wanting to show up and play every night. That might sound like it’s easy to do and you should do it, but not everyone’s built like that. But I think that the guys we brought in, and the guys who were already here, and the guys we kept are definitely built that way.”
Looking back at last season’s Cup finals, the Bruins blew a 2-1 lead with just over a minute remaining in the third period of Game 6 vs. the Blackhawks on June 24, a loss that still stings for Thornton.
“No, it’ll never be over,” Thornton said when asked when the hangover from the postseason ends. “I’ll be thinking about it for years to come, but it’s more of a motivator than a hangover, you get that close and it stings.”
Less than three months removed from its gut-wrenching loss to Chicago, Boston made significant changes to its lineup. Forwards Tyler Seguin and Nathan Horton are gone, replaced by former Penguin Jerome Iginla and former Star Loui Eriksson, while youngsters Reilly Smith — acquired via trade from Dallas along with Erikkson this offseason — and Jordan Caron have taken on elevated roles.
“We’ve got a group of guys that have been around for seven or eight years, and we know how important that is to make people feel welcome. So, coming into our room, you’d probably have to ask them, but I’d like to think that it’s a fairly easy transition, you come in with open arms,” said Thornton.
The NHL implemented a new rule regarding fighting this season. Any player who removes his helmet before the start of a fight will receive a two-minute penalty in addition to the five-minute penalty for fighting.
“I’m not a fan, I’m really not,” said Thornton, Boston’s enforcer. “Obviously I’m a little biased, but it’s seven minutes for fighting now if a guy has a visor because everyone’s going to take their helmet off. And I think when you take the helmet off you take away from the player safety that everyone’s preaching, so I think it’s counterproductive.”
The Red Sox beat the Rays on Tuesday night and moved on to the ALCS where they’ll face either the Tigers or Athletics.
“We’re big supporters of the Sox, pretty much any local sports team I guess,” Thornton said. “You get to meet a lot of those guys when you’re out and about in town so there’s a lot of crossover, they support us, we support them. I’ve been here for seven years, kind of turned me from a Jays fan to a Sox fans, I’m not going to lie.”
|Carl Soderberg (ankle) remains out for Bruins||10.04.13 at 12:53 pm ET|
Carl Soderberg was once again absent as the Bruins practiced Friday in anticipation of the Red Wings. Soderberg has been out since last week with a left ankle injury.
Claude Julien said following the practice that the team isn’t sure when he’ll be back on the ice, but that it will be “soon.”
“It’s a hard injury to come in and say ‘Listen, he’s going to be in on Sunday or Monday,’” Julien said. “It’s really hard to really pinpoint with that type of injury, but he is definitely getting better every day, and I really think he is getting closer. Hopefully if there’s no setbacks, he should be on the ice soon.”
With Soderberg likely out Saturday against Detroit, the Bruins will be able to get another look at the Jordan Caron – Chris Kelly – Reilly Smith line that was so good in Thursday’s season-opener.
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|Aggressive Jordan Caron looks the part in season-opener||10.03.13 at 11:39 pm ET|
Jordan Caron wouldn’t have played Thursday were it not for Carl Soderberg being hurt, but the 22-year-old gave the B’s a lot to think about even if Soderberg’s ankle is feeling better for Saturday’s game.
Caron, who for the past three seasons has had more stops and starts than something that stops and starts a lot, was excellent in the Bruins’ season-opening 3-1 win over Lightning. The player known for being wise beyond his years defensively but offensively sheepish was the most aggressive he’s ever been at the NHL level, using his thick frame to battle along the wall and taking pucks to the net throughout the night. At one point, it even looked like he might’ve dropped the gloves.
Caron was skating in Soderberg’s place on the third line with Chris Kelly and Reilly Smith. Kelly turned in a standout performance of his own, winning 12 of 17 faceoffs, scoring on a shorthanded penalty shot and playing a big role on the penalty kill on a night in which the Bruins kept Steven Stamkos and friends 0-for-5 on the man advantage.
Caron’s highlight of the night came in the second period, when he hustled down the left wing entering the zone to beat a Lightning player to the puck and stormed the net, putting the puck on Anders Lindback and persistently jabbing at the rebounds until it went in. It was everything the Bruins had been wanting to see from their 2009 first-round pick for years, and it was a good moment for Caron as evidenced by his celebration. After seeing his hustle rewarded, the mild-mannered Caron authoritatively pointed at the puck in the back of the net.
“Yeah, I got pretty jacked up when I saw it go in,” Caron admitted after the game.
Then he heard the whistle. Then he saw the ref.
The goal had been waved off, as an official with a bad angle thought Lindback had stopped and covered up the puck. Caron was cost what should have been a hard-earned goal, but the good thing was that it wasn’t his only chance of the night. In the first period he blocked a clearing attempt by the Lightning and drove to the net (his shot was blocked), and he and his line had multiple other scoring chances that included a nice 3-on-2 with Kelly and Smith.
The line at the end of the night read zero goals and zero assists and a modest two-shots on goal, but Caron’s two takeaways on the night better illustrated his game. He was aggressive and he was engaged. Never the best skater, he was moving well. Late in the first period, Caron got into a bit of a shoving match with Pierre-Cedric Labrie, who has about 30 pounds on him and would fight Shawn Thornton the following shift. It was as well-rounded a game as he’d played in the NHL, and in a career that’s been littered with bright spots followed by relative darkness, Caron started off his fourth professional campaign on a very encouraging note with the net-drive the B’s had longed to see.
“I think that’s my game, bringing the puck to the net,” Caron said. “I think that’s what I did tonight.”
It remains to be seen what will happen with Soderberg, who is on injured reserve at the moment but is eligible to come off it in time for Saturday’s game against the Red Wings should he be healthy. If he’s good to go for Saturday, the B’s will have an interesting decision to make due to the performance they got out of Caron in the season-opener.
“I think right now he’s grasping the opportunity here and I thought he had a good game,” Claude Julien said. “That line was pretty good for us tonight. Kelly was arguably our best player tonight. Jordan and Smith, they really worked hard in the forecheck and made things happen so they were a good line for us tonight. Jordan, I was extremely happy with his game.”
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