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Carl Soderberg in, Kaspars Daugavins out in Game 5 06.22.13 at 8:07 pm ET
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CHICAGO — Claude Julien wasn’t bluffing when he gave Carl Soderberg time on the fourth line in Game 5 preparations, as Soderberg is in the lineup making his postseason debut Saturday night at United Center.

Soderberg is in the lineup in place of Kaspars Daugavins and will play with Rich Peverley and Shawn Thornton on the fourth line. Daugavins had seen his ice time drop over the course of the Stanley Cup finals, playing just 5:57 in Game 4. The former Swedish Elite League star played just six games for the B’s during the regular season, the most recent of which was April 28 against the Senators, which was the Bruins’ last game of the regular season.

The Bruins’ lineup is as follows:

Lucic – Krecji – Horton
Marchand – Bergeron – Jagr
Paille – Kelly – Seguin
Soderberg – Peverley – Thornton

Chara – Seidenberg
Ference – Boychuk
Krug – McQuaid

Rask

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Bruins still deciding between Kaspars Daugavins and Carl Soderberg at 3:03 pm ET
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Carl Soderberg

CHICAGO – Kaspars Daugavins or Carl Soderberg?

The reaction to that should be “whichever guy isn’t Carl Soderberg” given how little Soderberg has played in the NHL, but Claude Julien is making it clear — whether for gamesmanship’s sake or because he’s actually considering it — that the fourth line left wing spot is up in the air as the Bruins approach Game 5.

The options, in a nut shell: Daugavins, a defensive guy who has been pretty bad so far, from not ending Game 1 in triple overtime when he had the chance, taking a bad penalty in Game 3 then putting himself offsides on an opportunity out of the box and everything in between, or Soderberg, a star in the Swedish Elite League who has played just six NHL games and didn’t look particularly impressive. Daugavins has the experience, Soderberg has the offense and both have Julien’s consideration.

[Of course, Jordan Caron, who has experience with this team and has played more recently than Soderberg, would figure to be a better option than both, but for some reason the B's say it's down to Daugavins and Soderberg. Why Caron isn't getting consideration is rather puzzling, but oh well.]

Daugavins and Soderberg took turns skating on the fourth line with Rich Peverley and Shawn Thornton in Saturday’s morning skate, a day after Soderberg donned a fourth-line jersey and Daugavins wore a green (healthy scratch) jersey. Julien was noncommittal regarding who would be in the lineup in Game 5, but said it would be one of the two.

“Why? Because I’m the coach and because I can,” he said. “You guys ask me why I make those changes. I didn’t spend three days thinking about that. It’s a situation that I can do. If I do that tonight, we’ll see where it goes. I may just go back to Daugavins, because again I’m tinkering between those two like I have from the beginning of the series.”

Well, he actually hasn’t been tinkering considering that Daugavins has been in the lineup the entire series, but sure. While Soderberg politely declined to talk to the media after morning skate, Daugavins said that he doesn’t know whether he’s in. He did say that it’s been an interesting series for him thus far whether or not he stays in the lineup, as he’s seen his ice time go down over the course of the series (from 15:09 to 8:28 to 6:30 to 5:57), which has meant sweating it out on the bench a lot more.

“It’s more nerve-racking sitting on the bench than being on the ice, because when you go out there, you go into game mode. You don’t even think about it. You just do it. Your instincts come into play,” he said. “When you sit on the bench and watch, you’re like a super fan. You cheer for the guys and you get nervous when the puck is close to your net, and you pull your hair when there’s a good scoring chance for somebody. It’s definitely more nerve-racking sitting on the bench than playing.”

Julien has mentioned multiple times that in today’s NHL, players communicate with the coach far more than they used to. If they’re not playing, they want to know why, and if they are playing, they want to know how they can be better. Daugavins says he hasn’t bugged Julien about his situation, just trusting that if he learns from each game, he’ll improve.

“I watch my own tape and talk to a couple guys,” he said. “It’s a learning [experience] for me, obviously my first time in the finals, so I try to make the best of it. I’ve gotten a couple of scoring chances and should have scored. Maybe in the regular season you do, but in the finals you should bear down and you’re a little nervous, but things happen. If you get another [chance], you try to put it in. You just have to watch the tape and fix it instead of being pissed about it.”

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Shutting down secondary scoring remains priority for new bottom six 06.07.13 at 1:58 pm ET
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Chris Kelly

The Penguins are going to give their biggest push Friday, and after outplaying the Bruins in Game 3, that should make the fourth win — as it usually is anyway — the toughest one to get.

Yet also facing the Bruins is the fact that they’ll be sporting a revamped bottom six. Regardless of whether the bottom six that Claude Julien put out in morning skate (Daugavins – Peverley – Seguin, Paille – Kelly – Thornton) sticks, the Bruins will be dealing with two different lines than usual.

That could be an advantage for the Penguins, as they are already a deeper team offensively than the Bruins (though this series wouldn’t tell you that), so their bottom two lines could take advantage of those of the Bruins as they try to get their footing.

“I don’t think it’s unfamiliar roles,” Chris Kelly said after Friday’s morning skate. “I think everyone’s played with one another in certain aspects not only this year, but in years past. It’s just one of those things that you plug in guys and they go out there and do a job. There’s chemistry between all six of us that play, so I don’t see it being a problem.”

The Penguins still have just two goals in the Eastern Conference finals — one from Chris Kunitz and one from Brandon Sutter. THat means that Pittsburgh has gotten one goal out of its top two lines and one from it’s bottom two.

So for as much attention is being paid to the Bruins shutting down Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and friends, consider that the B’s — while not getting much secondary scoring themselves — have also kept the Penguins’ bottom two lines quiet.

“I think everyone wants to play their role and get their required job done,” Tyler Seguin, who has gone from a top-six guy to the bottom-six in this postseason, said. “I think it’s good D zone first with us, and it always has been. Whether it’s shutting down secondary scoring or whatnot, that’s what comes first. We’d obviously like to pop in a couple for ourselves if we can.”

Assuming the lines seen in morning skate are used Friday night, it will be interesting to see which one is used as a third line and which one is used as a fourth line. Kelly has no points the last 19 games, but his presence on the Merlot Line might mean more minutes than usual for what was once the Merlot Line.

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Andy Brickley on M&M: Kaspars Daugavins the right call to replace Gregory Campbell at 1:46 pm ET
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Andy Brickley

Andy Brickley, the color commentator for the Bruins on NESN, called into Mut & Merloni on Friday afternoon, and he wholeheartedly agreed with Claude Julien‘s apparent decision to play Kaspars Daugavins Friday night after Gregory Campbell broke his leg in Wednesday’s double-overtime win.

Daugavins skated as the third-line left winger during the Bruins morning skate and appears set to fill that role as the Bruins and Penguins face off at TD Garden Friday night.

“You have to look at it this way: What players are available in the absence of Gregory Campbell? And what are we losing in Gregory Campell?” Brickley said. “You’re losing an energy guy, a real good faceoff guy, a penalty-killer, reliable, accountable — all those things that you want in your role-playing centerman.”

Brickley said once Julien split up Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly to center the bottom two lines, Daugavins makes the most sense of the options, including Jay Pandolfo, Carl Soderberg and Jordan Caron.

“Which player has the most trust of the coaching staff, and which player gives your team the greater flexibility and versatility if you have to shorten the bench or you get into a special teams game?” Brickley asked. “Daugavins is probably your best bet.”

Brickley, like many, many others the last two days, lauded Campbell for sticking it out for the rest of his shift after breaking his leg while blocking a shot during Wednesday’s marathon Game 3. He said the effort exemplified “the [hockey] culture, how these guys grew up,” and Campbell finishing his shift was a high-risk, high-reward situation.

“I know there was some discussion whether he should’ve just lied down and writhed in pain in order to get the whistle — but I don’t think it would have come — so he did what he had to do,” Brickley said. “The impact that that can have if you survive that penalty-killing situation, but then get yourself to the bench, the message received by the players [about] how committed you are.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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Kaspars Daugavins appears to be in for Bruins at 11:57 am ET
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Kaspars Daugavins took line rushes with the third line in Friday’s morning skate, a sign that he could be in the lineup with Gregory Campbell (broken leg) done for the season.

After the skate, Claude Julien said his lineup could change before Game 4 against the Penguins, but the lineup in morning skate was follows:

Milan Lucic – David Krejci – Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – Jaromir Jagr
Kaspars Daugavins – Rich Peverley – Tyler Seguin
Daniel Paille – Chris Kelly – Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara – Dennis Seidenberg
Andrew Ference – Johnny Boychuk
Torey Krug – Adam McQuaid

Tuukka Rask

Daugavins killed penalties while playing for the Senators and has been in on penalty kill meetings since he came to the Bruins, making him a possibility to replace Campbell on the PK.

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Barry Pederson on D&C: Overaggressive Penguins ‘not making any plays’ at 10:25 am ET
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Andrew Ference and the Bruins have Sidney Crosby and the Penguins down and nearly out in the Eastern Conference finals heading into Friday's Game 4. (AP)

NESN Bruins analyst Barry Pederson joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning to preview Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals. The Bruins can wrap up the series Friday night after taking a 3-0 series lead with Wednesday’s 2-1 victory in double overtime.

“It’s going to be tough for Pittsburgh, I think, to kind of bounce back after that type of loss,” Pederson said. “It wasn’t only a loss, it was the way you lose it, in double overtime. I think they had poured their emotion — they had obviously played a lot better than they had in the previous two games. I don’t think the Bruins played as well as they did in the two previous. But I do think the second period was kind of the opportunity for Pittsburgh to climb back in that series. They had three straight power plays and were unsuccessful. For the Bruins to come out of there in that situation, I think it kind of carried over into the overtimes.”

Pederson said the Penguins should have more urgency in this game, but they need a different strategy if they’re going to succeed.

Said Pederson: “I think the biggest surprise to me is not how well the Bruins are playing, because I’ve been around this enough and Claude Julien and his system to know how many good players they have, but it’s how poorly the Pittsburgh Penguins are playing and how out of sync they are with their game, and how they continue to sit in this game plan of — for some reason they must have watched the Vancouver series and thought that the Bruins had out-physicalitied the Vancouver Canucks, and we’re not going to let that happen to us, we’re not going to be intimidated. And they’re just running around like chickens with their heads cut off physically, and they’re not making any plays.”

With Gregory Campbell out after breaking his leg blocking a shot in the second period of Game 3, Pederson looked at the Bruins’ options going forward.

“What I would expect them to probably try and do is maybe move [Daniel] Paille up to that third line with [Chris] Kelly and [Tyler] Seguin, probably bring in [Kaspars] Daugavins or [Jordan] Caron, but I think Daugavins because I think the coach has more trust in him defensively, and he plays more of a fourth-line type of role. That means you move [Rich] Peverly to center, I think the coach trusts him there defensively and on faceoffs, he takes enough big faceoffs that you know that you can trust him in his own end. And of course with Shawn Thornton.

“So, I think they’ll try and play it that way. It will probably be more of a three-line rotation, but you will probably see this fourth line obviously a lot more than you did in the last game after Soupy was unfortunately out of the game.”

Pederson said the loss of Campbell cannot be overlooked.

“It’s big,” Pederson said. “It’s big because, we talked about going into the playoffs, if you had a strength, would you rather have a power play or penalty-killing. By far and away, when you look at the last two winners of the Stanley Cup, the Bruins and LA, we remember how dreadful both power plays were. But their penalty-killing and goaltending were exceptional. That just doesn’t give an offensive team any life whatsoever. So, they’re really going to miss him there.

“They’re going to miss him as a character player. He’s one of those guys that, like Shawn Thornton, in the dressing room the teammates just admire and respect what they do on a regular basis. It’s one thing for people just to remember him as a great role player in the sense that he goes out, he kills penalties, he does the little things that the coach really needs, and you can trust him to go out there and not be scored against. But it’s those games throughout the regular season when it’s 3-1, the Bruins are down, you need some type of momentum change. Well, he and Shawn Thornton go out there and do what they have to do to try and engage somebody. A lot of times, we all know with Soupy, he’s going to grab someone bigger than him, and he takes one for the team. And the guys really appreciate that.”

To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page. For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.

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A look at every (realistic) scenario to replace Gregory Campbell in Bruins lineup 06.06.13 at 2:17 pm ET
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With Gregory Campbell done for the season with a broken right leg, the Bruins have some decisions to make as they go about addressing their lineup.

Jordan Caron is one of the Bruins' options to enter the lineup. (AP)

Of their four options — Kaspars Daugavins, Jordan Caron, Carl Soderberg and Jay Pandolfo — all but Soderberg present them with multiple moves that would need to be made to fill Campbell’s role at center. That means that either Rich Peverley or Chris Kelly could be looking at moving down to center the fourth line. It’s also worth noting that the B’s might want to consider someone who can take Campbell’s role on the penalty kill.

Soderberg is the only option of the four who can play center, while the other three can kill penalties. The guess here is that it will be Daugavins or Caron. And before we jump into the case for each player, don’t even think about Tyler Seguin moving to center. It’s not happening because he — at this point at least — can’t play the position in the NHL.

Here’s a look at Claude Julien‘s options and how the bottom six forwards look with them in:

KASPARS DAUGAVINS

Last game played: May 1

Why he would make sense: Can kill penalties, has played a game thus far in the postseason.

Why he wouldn’t make sense: Not a center. Hasn’t been overly impressive in his brief time in Boston’s lineup. More turnovers than you’d expect from a defensive-minded forward.

What the bottom six would look like with him:

Paille – Kelly – Seguin
Daugavins – Peverley – Thornton

OR

Daugavins – Kelly – Seguin
Paille – Peverley – Thornton

OR

Paille – Peverley – Seguin
Daugavins – Kelly – Thornton

OR

Daugavins – Peverley – Seguin
Paille – Kelly – Thornton

JORDAN CARON

Last game played: May 22 (for Providence)

Why he would make sense: He’s played the most recently of the Bruins’ options and doesn’t make mistakes. He also kills penalties.

Why he wouldn’t make sense: Putting him in would mean making multiple moves as far as shuffling the lineup goes.

What the bottom six would look like with him:

Paille – Kelly – Seguin
Caron – Peverley – Thornton

OR

Caron – Kelly – Seguin
Paille – Peverley – Thornton

OR

Paille – Peverley – Seguin
Caron – Kelly – Thornton

OR

Caron – Peverley – Seguin
Paille – Kelly – Thornton

CARL SODERBERG

Last game played: April 28

Why he would make sense: Of the options, he’s the only center. You could plug him into Campbell’s spot on the fourth line and not have to make any further changes to the 5-on-5 lineup.

Why he wouldn’t make sense: Lack of experience and the fact that he doesn’t kill penalties. He’s played just six career NHL games, and though he’s had lots of time to get used to the smaller ice in practice, having him figure out the NHL in the playoffs would be a bit risky.

What the bottom six would look like with him:

Peverley – Kelly – Seguin
Paille – Soderberg – Thornton

JAY PANDOLFO

Last game played: April 6

Why he would make sense: Has played 131 career playoff games, can kill penalties.

Why he wouldn’t make sense: Has been out of the lineup for a long, long time. Part of the reason the Bruins played Torey Krug over Aaron Johnson is because Johnson had been out of game action for so long.

What the bottom six would look like with him:

Paille – Kelly – Seguin
Pandolfo – Peverley – Thornton

OR

Paille – Peverley – Seguin
Pandolfo – Kelly – Thornton

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