|Bruins get a boost with return of Loui Eriksson||01.12.14 at 2:58 am ET|
Claude Julien‘s lineup is getting closer and closer to back to normal.
The loss of Dennis Seidenberg will be felt for the rest of the season, but the Bruins saw some familiar faces Saturday night as Loui Eriksson returned from a concussion and Shawn Thornton came off his 15-game suspension. Eriksson made an immediate impact, firing a shot from the high slot that bounced off Scott Hannan’s skate to Carl Soderberg in the third period of a scoreless game against the Sharks. Soderberg put it in for the game’s only goal, with Eriksson receiving the primary helper.
It’s obviously been a trying season for the Bruins, who have had seven different players miss at least seven of the team’s 45 games thus far due to injury in addition to Thornton’s suspension. Yet their roster is slowly taking shape again, as Chris Kelly (broken right fibula) is now the last available piece the team is waiting on. He’s expected back sometime this month, but it’s been a tougher recovery for Kelly than he expected.
[Johnny Boychuk also missed Saturday’s game, but it was due to a personal matter, so he can be expected to be back in the lineup in short order.]
It’s Kelly’s line that figures to provide the most intrigue once he is ready. With Reilly Smith remaining stable as a table on Patrice Bergeron‘s line, the Bruins elected to play Eriksson on the third line Saturday after Eriksson had played exclusively on Bergeron’s line when healthy this season.
Saturday’s third line consisted of Ryan Spooner between Eriksson and Soderberg. The Soderberg-Kelly-Smith line was very good for the Bruins when it played together, so the B’s can take the coming games to determine just what kind of look they want to get from their third line as they await Kelly’s return. Perhaps surprisingly, the amount of good options leaves them with far better third line prospects than they had a season ago.
The silver lining in this injury-plagued season for the Bruins is that Eriksson is the only top-six player to miss time with an injury this season. Milan Lucic missed Tuesday’s game in Anaheim due to food poisoning, but the top line of David Krejci between Lucic and Jarome Iginla has played together for every other game. Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Reilly Smith have yet to miss a game.
With Thornton back, the Bruins sent Justin Florek to Providence after three strong performances in his first taste of the NHL. Florek factored into Bruins goals in all three games he played, providing a screen for a Torey Krug goal against the Jets last Saturday, assisting Daniel Paille‘s second-period goal on Tuesday and scoring his first career NHL goal Thursday against the Kings. The big 23-year-old likely won’t have a job in Boston without injuries, but he definitely used the tail end of Thornton’s suspension (as well as a Jordan Caron back injury) to show that he can be an NHL fourth-liner.
As for why the Bruins elected to send Florek down rather than Caron, there’s no use in losing a player when you don’t have to. That’s the risk the B’s would have taken had they attempted to assign Caron to Providence, as he would have needed to clear waivers first. Considering the player that stays will be a healthy scratch anyway, it wouldn’t make much sense to lose Caron just so Florek could not play up in Boston.
Despite him surviving the cut this time, keep an eye on Caron going forward, as Spooner might have cemented a spot on the NHL roster by the time Kelly returns, and depending on how many defensemen the B’s have up, the Bruins might be forced to expose Caron to waivers once Kelly’s ready or perhaps sooner. The B’s invested a first-round pick in Caron in 2010, and though he his a strong defensive player who is a valuable penalty killer, his lack of an offensive game could eventually make him expendable.
From offense to defense to backup goaltender, there have been plenty of moving parts with this Bruins roster this season. Through it all they stand second in the Eastern Conference with 60 points, so despite it not always being pretty, they’ve been able to manage.
|Bruins activate Loui Eriksson, send Justin Florek to Providence||01.11.14 at 9:50 pm ET|
The Bruins activated Loui Eriksson from injured reserve and sent forward Justin Florek to Providence Saturday.
The move allows Eriksson to return to the lineup after missing the last 15 games with his second concussion of the season.
Florek, who was recalled last week to play in place of Jordan Caron, played very well on the fourth line for the B’s over the last three games. The 6-foot-4 winger provided a screen on a Torey Krug goal, assisted a Daniel Paille goal over the first two games of his callup and scored his first NHL goal Thursday against the Kings.
Florek will likely be replaced by Shawn Thornton against the Sharks as Thornton returns from a 15-game suspension.
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Loui Eriksson cleared for contact||01.08.14 at 9:19 pm ET|
Bruins forward Loui Eriksson has been cleared for contact, Bruins coach Claude Julien told reporters Wednesday. Eriksson took contact in Wednesday’s practice after returning to the ice last week.
Eriksson is recovering from his second concussion of the season, which he suffered on Dec. 7 against the Penguins. The veteran winger has missed a total of 19 games this season between his two concussions. Julien told reporters that Eriksson is not expected to play Thursday against the Kings.
Both Milan Lucic (illness) and Jordan Caron (back) were reportedly back on the ice for Wednesday’s practice after missing Tuesday’s game against the Ducks.
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Loui Eriksson named to Sweden’s Olympic team||01.07.14 at 12:18 pm ET|
Bruins forward Loui Eriksson was named to Sweden’s Olympic team Tuesday.
Eriksson, who is in his first season with the Bruins, is currently working his way back from his second concussion of the season. He has missed a total of 18 games from his concussions, but has been skating with teammates for over a week.
Sweden’s roster is as follows:
Goalie: Jhonas Enroth, Jonas Gustavsson, Henrik Lundqvist
Defense: Alexander Edler, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Jonathan Ericsson, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Erik Karlsson, Niklas Kronwall, Johnny Oduya, Henrik Tallinder
Forward: Daniel Alfredsson, Nicklas BÃ¤ckstrÃ¶m, Patrik Berglund, Jimmie Ericsson, Loui Eriksson, Johan FranzÃ©n, Carl Hagelin, Marcus KrÃ¼ger, Gabriel Landeskog, Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, Jakob Silfverberg, Alexander Steen, Henrik Zetterberg
For more Bruins coverage visit weei.com/bruins.
|Maintenance day for Torey Krug; questionable for Saturday’s game||01.03.14 at 1:35 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Torey Krug was missing from Friday’s practice at Ristuccia Arena on what Claude Julien called a maintenance day for the defenseman.
Krug did not play the last five minutes of Thursday’s overtime win over the Predators, as his last shift ended at 15:47 of the third period and he was not used in overtime. Julien said that was due to some sort of ailment and was the reason he was given Friday off. The defenseman appeared to be walking without a limp following the game.
Krug, who has struggled in recent weeks and has just two goals in the last 26 games, is the only defenseman from the team’s opening night lineup to not miss a game this season. That could be jeopardy if he is kept out of the lineup Saturday against the Jets.
“We’ll see how he is tomorrow,” Julien said. “If he’s good to go, he’ll go.”
Loui Eriksson took a small step forward in the skate, as he took part in 3-on-3 drills, which included some light contact in front of the net. Julien clarified following the practice that Eriksson is still not cleared for contact. The coach said Wednesday that Eriksson is still “a ways away” from returning to the lineup.
Eriksson has missed the Bruins’ last 11 games due to a concussion sustained in the Bruins’ Dec. 7 win over the Penguins. In total, Eriksson has missed a total of 17 games this season due to concussions. He had not suffered a concussion in his NHL career prior to
For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Shawn Thornton on D&C: ‘Now I go back to playing the way I played the last 600 games’||01.02.14 at 10:04 am ET|
Shawn Thornton joined Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning for the first time since receiving a 15-game suspension last month, and the Bruins enforcer acknowledged he “messed up” and is eagerly awaiting his return to the team on Jan. 11. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Thornton was punished for grabbing Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik, pulling him down and punching him during a game on Dec. 7. Orpik was knocked out and had to miss eight games while recovering from the concussion.
It was the first suspension of Thornton’s career, and he hopes it won’t affect his reputation.
“I messed up. I know that,” Thornton said. “I talked about it the other day: I’m not going to let it define me. It’s a mistake I made after 600 games playing right on the line. To be completely honest, doing my job is not an easy one, as far as riding the line.
“It’s tough to talk about because I know I messed up, but I plan on playing a couple more years and playing within the rules. The outcome wasn’t was expected, either. A very unfortunate set of circumstances, why I messed up, it can happen. Yeah, the money sucks, the games really suck. But I’m going to put it behind me now and move on.”
Thornton said he was limited in how much he can discuss the appeal process, but he made it clear he still believes the suspension that league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan handed out — and commissioner Gary Bettman backed upon appeal — was too long.
“It’s tough for me to talk about, because we’re legally not allowed. There’s a provision in our CBA that I can’t really bad-mouth the decision,” Thornton said. “But I definitely thought that 15 was a little excessive. How many games? I don’t know. It’s not my job. And I know it’s not an easy job to assess those things. But I thought that being the lengthiest suspension he’s ever handed out was a little bit much for my first-time offense, I guess.”
|Dougie Hamilton and Carl Soderberg near return, Loui Eriksson still not close||01.01.14 at 1:15 pm ET|
Both Dougie Hamilton and Carl Soderberg are possibilities for Thursday’s game against the Predators. As such, the Bruins sent forward Nick Johnson back to Providence on Wednesday.
Hamilton, who has not played since Dec. 8 due to a lower-body injury, has been given the “full go” by the team’s medical staff and is “certainly a possibility” for Thursday’s game, according to B’s head coach Claude Julien.
Julien added that Soderberg has also been cleared and “should be in the lineup” against Nashville. The 28-year-old practiced Wednesday wearing a third-line jersey. Soderberg has missed the last two games with concussion symptoms but said Wednesday that he did not have a concussion.
‘No, it was not a concussion,” Soderberg said. “I was fine. Yeah, I’m all set to go.’
Loui Eriksson was also on the ice for Wednesday’s practice, but he wore a green jersey (which are usually only used designate extra players) and did not take contact. Julien said that Eriksson, who is working his way back from his second concussion of the season, is “still a ways away” from returning to Boston’s lineup.
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.