|Bruins could consider AHL conditioning assignment for Carl Soderberg||10.09.13 at 1:05 pm ET|
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.”
|Bruins send Ryan Spooner, Niklas Svedberg, Matt Fraser, Matt Lindblad to Providence||09.28.13 at 10:09 am ET|
The Bruins made four cuts from camp Saturday morning, with Ryan Spooner and Niklas Svedberg the two most notable. With Svedberg cut, Chad Johnson has won the backup goaltending job. Also sent to Providence were Matt Fraser and Matt Lindblad.
Prior to the announcement of the cuts, Spooner gave word of his assignment on Twitter.
‘ Ryan Spooner (@RSpooner2376) September 28, 2013
Spooner impressed in camp, but with all four center positions locked up there was no feasible spot for him. He has never played wing competitively and the team is not interested in moving him from center, where his smarts and playmaking ability should make him a top-six player at the NHL level down the road.
With Spooner sent down, it would appear the team’s extra forward spot is down to Nick Johnson and Jordan Caron. Both could make the team if the B’s elect to keep 14 forwards. Since Spooner is on his entry level deal, he can be sent to Providence without being subject to waivers, whereas the B’s would risk losing Johnson or Caron to waivers by sending them down.
As for Svedberg, the Bruins were able to save $400,000 off the cap by sending him to Providence rather than Johnson. Svedberg has a $1 million NHL cap hit to Johnson’s $600,000, while Svedberg being on a two-way deal means he’ll be paid $70,000 at the AHL level. Johnson, who is a on a one-way deal, would be paid $600,000 either way.
Neither goalie was necessarily better than the other in camp, making it more sensible to keep Johnson over Svedberg.
With these moves having been made, there are two left to be made. Bobby Robins (out with a knee injury) and Kevan Miller figure to go back to Providence, while the team will also make a decision to move Johnson or Caron down (or out) or keep both.
|Takeaways from Bruins’ 3-2 win over Capitals: Power play strong again; Ryan Spooner impresses||09.23.13 at 9:55 pm ET|
Chris Kelly scored in overtime to give the Bruins a 3-2 win over the Capitals in their final home game of the preseason Monday night at TD Garden.
They’ll finish out the preseason later this week with a pair of games against the Jets before opening up the regular season at home next Thursday against the Lightning.
The Bruins iced the following lineup:
Lucic – Krejci – Iginla
Soderberg – Kelly – Smith
Caron – Spooner – Johnson
Paille – Lindblad – Thornton
Chara – Boychuk
Bartkowski – McQuaid
Seidenber – Miller
Here are some takeaways from the game:
– The Bruins got a power-play goal with who else but Zdeno Chara in front. Chara tipped a Dennis Seidenberg shot from from the point past Braden Holtby in the second period to tie the game at one. This is the power play the Bruins used and had been working on in practice earlier in the day:
Krejci – Seidenberg
Iginla – Lucic
– There were quite a few fights, with Kevan Miller squaring off with Aaron Colpatti, Lucic and Johnny Boychuk dropping the gloves with Joel Rechlicz in separate fights. Additionally, Adam McQuaid and Dane Byers fought at the same time as Nick Johnson and Michal Cajkovsky in the third period.
Players can and do work on their technique in practice without having to land punches, so there isn’t much of a point in risking injury (or suspension if things get out of hand like they did in Toronto on Sunday night) during the preseason. Lots of fights = lots of unnecessary risk.
– Ryan Spooner was one of the best players on the ice for the B’s as he continues to try to force the team to make a tough decision. The team isn’t interested in making him a wing, and they probably shouldn’t be given that Reilly Smith has had a strong camp, but Spooner could at the very least push to be the team’s extra forward. At the very least, Spooner is outperforming Jordan Caron, who entered camp as a favorite to earn the 13th forward spot.
– Smith looked good in the first period and was kind of underwhelming the rest of the way. He came out flying on his first shift and made a fool out of Connor Carrick in the offensive zone as he cycled the puck to himself, and in general the former Star seems to be everything that Caron is supposed to be. He’s good in his own end and tough to out-muscle, which is strange because he’s two inches shorter and more than 35 pounds lighter than Caron. Either way, Smith plays bigger than his body and is making a good case to keep that third-line right wing job. Smith was on the ice for both of Washington’s goals, however, with the first goal coming on Smith’s first PK shift of the night.
– The Bruins allowed just seven shots on goal through the first 53-plus minutes of the game, but two of them went past Tuukka Rask. The Caps could have scored on what would have been their eighth shot following a Krejci turnover in the third period, but Miller was able to break up the 2-on-1 bid before the Caps could get a shot on goal. The B’s outshot the Capitals, 37-12, in regulation.
– Speaking of Krejci and turnovers, he made some in the offensive zone in what certainly wasn’t his prettiest game. He’s also gotten rather drop-pass happy.
|Jordan Caron aiming to earn (and keep) a spot with Bruins||09.13.13 at 9:26 am ET|
You can’t blame Jordan Caron for blocking out the past.
“I don’t want to talk about the last two or three years anymore,” the 22-year-old said following his first on-ice sessions in training camp. “I just want to look forward and put my foot down and not look back.”
It’s been a frustrating few years for Caron, who made the Bruins out of training camp in 2010-11 but has spent the last three seasons up and down between Boston and Providence, struggling to earn a full-time spot at the NHL level.
Last season, injuries, the lockout and the failed Chris Bourque experiment limited to Caron to just 17 games.
The Bruins traded for the former Capitals second-round pick and gave him the chance Caron thought he’d been close to earning. Caron was hurt during the lockout, so Bourque got the job when the season started and the B’s stuck with him through a woeful 18-game stint, which lasted past when Caron was ready to return in mid-February.
“It was pretty frustrating,” Caron admitted, “but it’s over now. I think we shouldn’t be talking about that anymore.”
Now on a one-year, one-way contract and with the Bruins having at least one bottom-six job available, the opportunity is there for Caron to become an NHL regular. Among the things that stand in his way are a group of other young wingers – Jared Knight, Reilly Smith, Matt Fraser and Carter Camper among them, not to mention young center Ryan Spooner — and the fact that for a two-way player he hasn’t been much of a two-way player but rather a player who has only excelled in the defensive zone.
“He’s big, he’s strong,” Claude Julien said. “He’s got to be strong along the walls, he’s got to be sure that he gets in there quick enough on the forecheck, and then when we do get the puck in the offensive zone he should be strong along the walls, but at the same time he’s a guy that can take pucks to the net and go to the net and bring some offense to his game, as far as wanting to be on the side of scoring opportunities.
“We don’t want him to just think about not getting scored on. We want him to think about being a good two-way player, because he’s capable of doing that.”
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