|Justin Florek determined to win job with Bruins||09.04.14 at 11:44 pm ET|
Justin Florek did not spend the offseason teaching himself to shoot right-handed. Other than that shortcoming, he feels he has done his best to position himself for a spot in Boston this season.
Florek, the Bruins’ fifth-round pick in the 2010 draft, got into four regular-season and six postseason games for the Bruins as he got his first taste of the NHL. It was almost immediately apparent when he got into the lineup during Shawn Thornton‘s suspension that the then-23-year-old was capable of handling fourth-line minutes in the NHL, but as he enters the upcoming training camp, he does as just one name on a list of players competing for a place with the B’s.
“It’s going to be a tough battle,” Florek said Thursday. “It’s going to be a great camp, and I think the compete level is going to be the highest that I’ve ever seen. It’s going to be a lot of fun; it’s going to be a good challenge, and all the guys that are fighting for that spot are really going to have to fight for it. It’s going to be good.”
Once Reilly Smith signs, the Bruins’ top two lines will be set in stone, but there are questions from there regarding who will play on the third line with Carl Soderberg (and presumably Chris Kelly), and which players will make up the fourth line.
The most glaring opening on Boston’s roster is on the third-line right wing, but there’s also an open competition for other bottom-six spots, including the fourth-line center position. Possibilities include Gregory Campbell being moved to wing and Daniel Paille being moved to the third line.
Amidst all the uncertainty, Florek just knows he wants to be in Boston. His chances might be better if he were a right shot. David Pastrnak and Seth Griffifth are right shots, but the Bruins’ young wingers with more experience, such as Florek, Jordan Caron and Matt Fraser, are left shots.
|Bruins sign Jordan Caron, Tommy Cross, Craig Cunningham, Tyler Randell, Zach Trotman and Justin Florek||07.18.14 at 2:11 pm ET|
The Bruins announced new contracts for Jordan Caron, Tommy Cross, Craig Cunningham, Tyler Randell, Zach Trotman and Justin Florek on Friday. All but Florek’s deals have been signed.
As was reported Thursday, Caron’s contract is a one-year, one-way deal for $600,000. The rest of the deals are two-way contracts, though Trotman’s contract is two-way in the first year and one-way in the second year. Trotman will make $650,000 in the second year of his deal.
Cross received a one-year, two-way contract worth $600,000 at the NHL level and $72,500 at the AHL level. Cunningham’s contract is a one-year, two-way deal worth $600,000 at the NHL level and $85,000 at the AHL level.
Florek received a one-year, two-way deal worth $600,000 at the NHL level and $90,000 at the AHL level. Randell’s deal is a one-year, two-way contract worth $575,000 at the NHL level and $70,000 at the AHL level.
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|Bruins call up Matt Fraser, demote Justin Florek||05.08.14 at 8:07 am ET|
The Bruins announced Thursday that they have recalled forward Matt Fraser and returned Justin Florek to Providence on Thursday.
Fraser, 23, scored two goals for the Bruins in 14 games this season and had 20 goals for Providence in 44 games. The B’s acquired Fraser last July 4 in their trade with the Stars.
The young scorer’s biggest asset is his shot, and it will be interesting to see where Claude Julien plays him in the lineup if at all. Fraser played on a line with Carl Soderberg in 12 of his 14 NHL games this season. Soderberg is currently centering the third line with Daniel Paille and Loui Eriksson.
Florek played the entire first round against the Red Wings in Boston’s lineup but was a healthy scratch in Games 2 and 3 against Montreal. Paille’s return to the lineup for Game 1 of the series made Jordan Caron a scratch while Florek stayed in the lineup, but the B’s opted for Caron over Florek after that.
The Bruins resume their series with the Canadiens on Thursday night with Game 4 in Montreal.
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|Matt Bartkowski, Justin Florek scratches for Bruins in Game 2 vs. Canadiens||05.03.14 at 11:32 am ET|
Matt Bartkowski was made a healthy scratch for Game 2 of the second round against the Canadiens after taking a pair of penalties in Game 1, both of which led to P.K. Subban power play goals. Andrej Meszaros is back in the lineup after missing the last three games as a healthy scratch.
Daniel Paille, who returned from a head injury in Game 1, looks to be skating on the third line, with Jordan Caron back playing on the left wing of Gregory Campbell‘s line. That makes Justin Florek the healthy scratch, while Caron returns to a line on which he played well in the first round.
Canadiens coach Michel Therrien also made a lineup change Saturday morning and also shared some interesting thoughts on one of the best players in his lineup.
Therrien said that Michael Bournival would be in the lineup in place of Travis Moen for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Bruins. Bournival played each game of the first round for the Canadiens, contributing an assist in Game 4 as they swept the Lightning but sat in Game 1 as the team opted for Moen’s size and experience.
Asked about Thomas Vanek, who was awfully quiet in Game 1 and was demoted to the fourth line, Therrien said that his players need to be passionate.
‘Work ethic is not negotiable, attitude is not negotiable and competing is not negotiable,” Therrien said.
Though he said he was not talking about one player in particular, you can put two and two together given that it was in response to a question about Vanek.
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|Justin Florek could play himself into permanent job in Boston||04.22.14 at 1:43 pm ET|
DETROIT — Last year the Bruins saw one Michigan native play his way into a job during the postseason in Torey Krug. Might they be in the process of seeing another?
Well, that depends on the definition of “job.” Justin Florek has filled in for Chris Kelly admirably in the first two games of the postseason, scoring a fluke goal but also playing very well five-on-five and killing penalties. While Florek won’t be stealing Kelly’s job any time soon, it’s entirely possible that his play could make him the team’s 13th forward over Jordan Caron, if that isn’t already the case.
With both Kelly and Daniel Paille out, Florek has played in place of Kelly on Carl Soderberg‘s line, while Caron has played on Gregory Campbell‘s line in place of Paille. Though Caron was with the Bruins throughout the season and Florek spent much of the year in Providence, it would appear that Florek has become a better option to play in different roles. For what it’s worth, both Caron and Florek are restricted free agents at season’s end.
Florek, who is in his second full professional season, is just happy to be playing playoff hockey. If what he does now sets him up for more of an opportunity going forward, that’s gravy.
“I don’t think about it at all really,” Florek said of playing his way into an NHL role. “I just go out there and play my role. I just do what I can to help my team win and whatever happens happens. It’s just kind of the way I’ve approached my career the way long. I’m just going to continue to play that way.”
The Bruins brought up Florek prior to the playoffs on an emergency basis. However, the terms of that recall will not present an issue for the Bruins once Paille or Kelly is ready to return, as teams are permitted three regular recalls at the start of the postseason.
Florek, like Caron, has had to play in different roles with the B’s this season. Florek played well on the fourth line earlier in the season, picking up a goal and an assist in a three-game sting in January, and he’s also looked good on a more skilled line with Soderberg and Loui Eriksson.
“I feel comfortable playing both roles. At the same time, I just go out and play my game,” Florek said. “[Regardless] of who I’m playing with, I’ve just got to play my game and not get outside of it or do too much. Playing with those guys is great. No matter what line I’m on, I feel comfortable with [them]. Hopefully I can continue to play that way.”
|Justin Florek celebrates his ‘good present’ with his mom||04.20.14 at 8:29 pm ET|
A couple of odd things happened Sunday for Justin Florek.
His mom was in attendance for just the second time to watch him play in an NHL game and he scored a goal that was essentially an gift wrapped in an Easter basket from Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard.
With just five minutes gone in the game and the Bruins controlling the play but unable to get a shot on goal, Howard came out to play the puck about 30 feet from his goal, as he did often on Friday night in Game 1. But this time, Howard tried to play the puck to his defenseman Brendan Smith but Smith couldn’t control it and it hit off the near boards too close to the Bruins left winger.
Florek spun and fired it past a scrambling Howard, who couldn’t get back in net in time for a 1-0 Bruins lead, their first of the series.
“Yeah, it was a good present there,” Florek said. “It was good to get the team going, I think that was the biggest thing, get some momentum in the building. So that was a big start for us.”
Could Florek believe his good luck?
“No I couldn’t, but it was nice so I don’t regret it at all. It was awesome,” Florek beamed. “I thought [Howard] kind of was and I just tried to read him. So it was a lucky bounce, I think it hit the defenseman and right to my stick, so just the right spot at the right time I guess.”
“It felt great, you know, just great to get the fans into it and get everyone going, especially the team,” Florek said. “So I think it was a good start for us, and hopefully, you know carry that out through the rest of the series.
“It’s great to get confidence and everything, and to get that goal was pretty cool. But it was just great to get the team going, you know, to put up a couple of goals like that is a good win for our team.”
Florek, moments after a big hit from Kevan Miller on Daniel Alfredsson, finally made all the hard work from the Bruins in the opening minutes pay off.
“I think we came out with the kind of attitude we wanted to play with, and I think it carried throughout the whole game,” Florek said. “I mean that’s part of the game, you’ve got to always be ready. So you’re sitting on the bench you’ve just got to keep your legs loose and everything, and when you get the chance you’ve just got to be ready, so that was a big part of it.
“It was back and forth a couple of penalties to start the game there, trying to get the flow back into the game so it was good to get that goal and get everyone going.”
|Bruins recall Alexander Khokhlachev, Craig Cunningham, Justin Florek and Matt Lindblad||04.13.14 at 12:55 pm ET|
The Bruins recalled four forwards from Providence on an emergency basis Sunday morning. Alexander Khokhlachev, Craig Cunningham, Justin Florek and Matt Lindblad will all join the team in New Jersey and be available for the team’s regular-season finale against the Devils.
Khokhlachev is the only one of the four who has yet to play an NHL game, and as such, the 2011 second-round pick will in all likelihood make his NHL debut. He has 21 goals and 36 assists for a team-leading 57 points in 63 games for Providence this season.
Florek played very well for the Bruins in a three-game stint with the team in January, scoring a goal and adding an assist for two points while subbing on the team’s fourth line. Cunningham and Lindblad each played one game apiece.
The forwards will be used both due to injuries (Daniel Paille and Patrice Bergeron both left Saturday’s game, while Chris Kelly has missed the last two and won’t play Sunday) and perhaps for the sake of rest of other players. According to the Boston Globe, Bergeron, Paille, Kelly, Zdeno Chara, David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla did not travel to New Jersey.
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