|Michael Ryder explains why he didn’t take Bruins’ offer in free agency||10.26.13 at 1:01 pm ET|
The Bruins’ big splash on the first day of free agency was Jarome Iginla, but that came after a player they had targeted signed with the Devils. That player was former Canadien, Bruin, Star and Canadien (again) Michael Ryder, whose decision reportedly came down to offers from the Bruins and Devils.
“We had a couple conversations back and forth with my agent, but I decided to end up coming to Jersey,” Ryder, who is in town with his new team, said Saturday. “It just seemed like a good fit for me. Lou [Lamoriello] and them were really excited and told me the opportunity I’d get here. I just thought it was the best fit.”
That isn’t the only reason. Ryder, who spent three seasons with the Bruins from 2008-2011 and was third on the B’s with eight playoff goals during their 2011 Stanley Cup run, wasn’t thrilled with the way things ended between he and the Bruins.
After the B’s won the Stanley Cup, Ryder was interested in returning, but was told by the B’s to test free agency and see what he could get. He did just that and took a two-year, $7 million deal with the Stars.
“I think if they wanted to keep me, they probably would have tried to sign me [after the 2010-11 season],” Ryder said last season when he was in town with the Habs.
The 33-year-old forward reiterated that Saturday, saying that the Bruins had the chance to sign him years ago and didn’t.
“Once I left here, after we won the Cup, I thought I might have a shot of coming back then, but it didn’t really happen,” he said. “We didn’t really talk.”
As such, Ryder said he was “definitely” surprised to hear from the Bruins this summer. He didn’t say he was less inclined to sign with the Bruins because of how things had ended after 2010-11, but he did say that he had put the B’s in his past.
“You move on, and it’s part of the business,” he said. “That’s just the way it is. I ended up in Dallas, which was great, and then last year I ended up getting traded back to Montreal. This year, I’m here in Jersey. It’s part of the game, and the way the hockey world works I guess.”
Another interesting fact about Michael Ryder and the Bruins? He was a linemate of both Tyler Seguin and Loui Eriksson, who were traded for one another this summer. Ryder assisted Seguin’s first NHL goal and was his linemate for much of Seguin’s rookie season before teaming up with Eriksson and the Stars.
Ryder said he was surprised to see the Bruins move on from Seguin after three seasons with the team, acknowledging, as many have, that Seguin and the B’s may not have been the best fit for one another.
“He was their first pick, and it’s always surprising to see someone go,” Ryder said. “Tyler’s still a young kid and [with the fit] here, I guess they decided that it was time to move on. I played with Loui also in Dallas. The two of those are great players, and maybe it’s good for Tyler to get a good start somewhere. He’s doing well so far and he’s going to do well. He’s that type of player.
“He’s got a lot of speed and can shoot the puck and stuff,” Ryder added of Seguin. “He’s going to be a star in this league, and it’s just about when he got the opportunity. I guess they thought it wasn’t a good fit for him here. Hopefully in Dallas it works out for him.”
|Bruins win overshadowed by John Scott cheap shot on Loui Eriksson||10.23.13 at 10:37 pm ET|
Milan Lucic and Torey Krug each had a pair of goals Wednesday as the Bruins beat the Sabres, 5-2, at First Niagara Center. The night was a mix of good and bad, however, as a cheap shot from John Scott in the third period knocked Loui Eriksson out of the game.
A Jarome Iginla shot from the high slot bounced off Lucic’s leg and past Ryan Miller at 11:01 of the first period to make it 1-0, with Lucic scoring his second of the night early in the second. Cody Hodgson got the Sabres on the board, but Dougie Hamilton‘s second goal of the season made it 3-1 before Nikita Zadorov beat Chad Johnson on a soft goal to bring the Sabres within one.
The teams headed into the period at 3-2, but Krug widened Boston’s lead with a pair of goals, the second of which came on the power play following Scott’s late hit to the head of Eriksson. Scott was given a game misconduct, while Eriksson spent the night at the team hotel in Buffalo, with Peter Chiarelli saying he was expected to return to Boston Thursday.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- The Bruins’ first line of David Krejci between Lucic and Jarome Iginla was very strong Wednesday. Iginla played a major role in both of Lucic’s goals, as he fired a shot from the high slot that went off Lucic and past Miller in the first (he was initially credited with the goal) and then set up Lucic’s second goal just 40 seconds into the second period. Iginla still has no goals on the season, but you have to like the complete package of what he’s brought so far.
Lucic now has five goals on the season through eight games this season. Remember, he scored just seven in 46 games last season.
- Hamilton has two goals in the last three games since being re-inserted into the lineup. The B’s sat Hamilton for two games in a row last week, and though he was rather sloppy defensively in his first game back against the Panthers, he’s been able to provide the B’s with some offensive punch from the back end. Hamilton had multiple scoring opportunities Wednesday, as he ran out of room on a first-period partial break before scoring later on a 2-on-1.
- One of the few questions regarding Krug is his size, but he was playing like a much taller man Wednesday. He was physical in dealing with guys in front in the Bruins zone, while he outbattled Drew Stafford in front on his first goal of the night.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- Scott’s place in the league has long frustrated hockey fans, and the very tall and barely talented enforcer showed why when he took a cheap shot at Eriksson in the neutral zone in the third period. After Eriksson had dumped the puck in at center ice, Scott hit him in the head, not quite getting him with the elbow but following through with the hit. He had to answer to Adam McQuaid afterward.
- Johnson wasn’t spectacular after a long wait to get some regular-season game action. He kept the Sabres off the board in a first period in which he wasn’t challenged much, but the Sabres’ second goal was a softy. Krug did a fine job of taking the forward in front of the net out of the play, so Zadorov had Johnson’s undivided attention with the angle cut down and still beat him.
|Reilly Smith making quick progress with Bruins||10.16.13 at 6:02 pm ET|
SUNRISE, Fla. — When the Bruins made their blockbuster trade with the Stars on July 4, Loui Eriksson appeared to be the only top-six forward they were getting in return. Five games into the season, Reilly Smith would beg to differ.
While the move is probably viewed more as a Brad Marchand demotion than a Smith promotion, Claude Julien has moved Marchand to the third line and Smith up to Patrice Bergeron‘s line in the third period Saturday against Columbus, giving the 22-year-old a lot more responsibility in the process. Julien has trusted Smith with some important minutes the last two games, most notably when Smith and Bergeron’s line played against Pavel Datsyuk‘s line on Monday. The lines were unchanged Wednesday, meaning you can expect Smith to stick on the second line for at least another game.
“He’s a young player, and what I see in this player is he seems to be getting better all the time with confidence,” Julien said Wednesday of Smith. “You see his skill level is pretty good. His hockey sense and his vision is also pretty good. I think we’re going to discover that this guy’s only going to get better as he progresses and gets more experience.
“I think he’s got the ability to possibly be a guy that can move up there, whether it’s permanently or at times. He’s got that skill level. No matter what, he’s a good player and I like the way he plays. He’s conscientious and very reliable for a player that has more or less limited experience in this league.”
The move also reunites Smith with Eriksson, with whom he played last season in Dallas, as the two were linemates for a couple of weeks last season. In fact, Eriksson assisted Smith’s first career goal. Smith returned the favor Saturday in Columbus, when, in his first period playing with him this season, he assisted Eriksson’s first goal as a Bruin.
Smith recalls his time as Eriksson’s linemate last season fondly, saying that Eriksson’s a very easy linemate to have. It hasn’t been perfect so far — Smith should have broken up Datsyuk’s pass to Henrik Zetterberg on Detroit’s first goal Saturday, but the offensive results have been, as Eriksson has scored in both games. Though the Bruins probably don’t have long-term designs of Marchand being a third-line player, the Smith-Eriksson combo is at least something they know can work for them.
“They know each other well,” Julien said. “It’s obvious that they’ve been together before and that they know each other a little bit better than we know them.”
|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.
|New guys help Bruins top Blue Jackets||10.12.13 at 4:39 pm ET|
The Bruins’ two biggest offseason additions made the difference Saturday as Jarome Iginla and Loui Eriksson helped the B’s past the Blue Jackets, 3-1, in Columbus. Eriksson scored his first goal as a Bruin in the third period, which proved to be the game-winner.
The Blue Jackets got on the board late in the first period, when Jack Johnson fired a slap shot past Tuukka Rask with Patrice Bergeron in the box for holding. It was Columbus’ third shot on goal of the game, as the Blue Jackets mustered only four shots on goal in the first period and one in the first 17:05.
The Bruins tied it up in the second period when Iginla made the most of his time on the penalty kill. Right after a Chris Kelly penalty expired, Iginla fed Kelly in the neutral zone and saw the veteran center enter the offensive zone and fire a slap shot that beat Sergei Bobrovsky five-hole. Eriksson then gave the B’s in the third period with a 2-on-1 goal assisted by Patrice Bergeron. The B’s got an empty-netter from Milan Lucic, putting he and Kelly in a tie for the team lead with two goals this season.
Matt Bartkowski made his season debut Saturday, playing on the second pairing with Dennis Seidenberg, while Dougie Hamilton was a healthy scratch. Brad Marchand was pulled off the second line in the third period, as he and Reilly Smith were flip-flopped. Smith picked up the secondary assist on Eriksson’s goal.
The Bruins will return to Boston to host the Red Wings Monday at TD Garden.
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Loui Eriksson confused over ‘stupid call’ for embellishment||10.10.13 at 10:25 pm ET|
Loui Eriksson has one more embellishment penalty than he has points through three games, and he isn’t happy about the first figure.
Eriksson was called for a dive in the third period of the Bruins’ 2-0 loss to the Avalanche Thursday night when he was hooked along the boards by P.A. Parenteau with 8:40 left in regulation. Following the game, Eriksson expressed confusion over the penalty.
“I don’t know why he called me on it. He was holding me and I couldn’t do anything,” Eriksson said of his fall. “It was kind of a stupid call by him.”
The call negated a Boston power play, but the B’s got a 4-on-3 36 seconds later when Gabriel Landeskog was sent off for hooking. The Bruins finished 0-for-3 on the man advantage in their first loss of the season.
With the 2013-14 NHL season in its second week, NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Thursday afternoon to discuss the Bruins’ new additions, as well as other news from around the NHL.
McGuire praised the Bruins’ two biggest offseason additions, wingers Jarome Iginla and Loui Eriksson, and indicated he thought the Bruins won the July 4 trade with the Stars that sent shipped budding star Tyler Seguin to Dallas.
“[Jarome will fit] fantastically well,” McGuire said. “Jarome is awesome, he will fit in perfectly in Boston, I’m really happy for him. Didn’t work out for him the way he wanted to last year [in Pittsburgh], but I’m glad that Boston, especially Cam [Neely] and Peter [Chiarelli], were wise enough to give him a chance, because he definitely fills the void that Nathan Horton created by departing to go to Columbus.
“Courageous trade by Peter Chiarelli and the Boston Bruins, because Tyler will be a superstar in the league, especially if he can just clean up a little bit of his behavior. … That being said, the trade is excellent for Boston. … [Eriksson] is the legitimate deal. He’s a very solid two-way player, he’s capable of playing with big-time superstars, he can play deep in your lineup, he’ll never pout, he’ll never complain, and all he’ll do is produce. The other guy that came in that trade, Reilly Smith, way underrated player. … I really like the trade for both teams, but in particular, I think it’s weighted a little bit towards Boston, just because of the consistency the two players they got in Loui Eriksson and Reilly Smith.”
McGuire also touched on the new NHL rule that specifies players will be penalized for an additional two minutes, for a total of seven minutes total, if they take off their helmets before a fight.
“I hate to say this, because I’m all for player safety, I really am. I’ve seen too many horrific incidents going to even this year in the regular season with George Parros. … I’ve got to tell you, I don’t want to see anyone take their hat off, I don’t see the hats come off. I just don’t think that it’s appropriate,” he said. “There’s got to be a balance, there’s got to be a way. I don’t know what the way is, but I know one thing, there are a lot of people in the hockey community talking about it. I know it’s a big, big, point of emphasis for a lot of people that make big decisions in this league.”
McGuire gave a brief preview of the Bruins’ opponent Thursday night in the 3-0 Avalanche, who are mostly comprised of young and talented players.
“The fact of the matter is you’re going to see Nathan MacKinnon tonight, you’re going to see [Matt] Duchene tonight, you’re going to see what could be arguably one of the top third lines in the league right with Jamie McGinn, who’s played so well with Nathan MacKinnon and P.A. Parenteau. That line’s a ton of fun to watch.”
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