|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.”
|Shawn Thornton on D&C: ‘Guys are built not to take a night off’||10.09.13 at 10:21 am ET|
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.’
|Loui Eriksson kicking old habits as he gets familiar with Bruins||10.07.13 at 9:21 pm ET|
It’s only been two games, but with a four-day break between games for the Bruins, there couldn’t be a better time for the first of what should be about 600 “How is Loui Eriksson fitting in?” posts.
The new second line of Patrice Bergeron between Brad Marchand and Eriksson has tried to gain chemistry while also handling some mighty tall tasks in matching up against Steven Stamkos‘ line Thursday and Pavel Datsyuk‘s line Saturday. The three kept Stamkos and Martin St. Louis’ trio off the board in season-opener and swapped goals with Datsyuk’s line in the Bruins’ win over the Red Wings.
Yet with Eriksson coming in to do more than defend, one couldn’t blame Bruins fans for being eager to see how the three will fare offensively. That’s a work in progress, as Eriksson admitted Monday that he’s still trying to shake some old habits.
“Sometimes it feels like I’m trying to play like I did in Dallas a little bit,” he admitted. “I’m just trying to learn to ‘¦ stay more on my side. I get a tendency to go on the other side. I think that’s a pretty simple thing to adjust to.”
Indeed, a first-period opportunity Saturday fell apart when Eriksson, a left-shot right wing, and Marchand didn’t seem to be on the same page on a play in which they were on the opposite wings. It wasn’t a matter of where they were on the ice, as that happens all the time, but Eriksson seemed to want to get back on their respective sides while Marchand appeared eager to continue as is. Marchand, waiting at the blue line, tried to stay the course and remain on the right side, while Eriksson seemed to be getting back over to the right side as he brought the puck through the neutral zone.
The good news is that there wasn’t any confusion the next period, when Marchand flew down the right wing and, with Bergeron driving the net, fired a shot past Jimmy Howard for his first goal of the season.
“You just need to read each other,” Eriksson said. “I think we’re getting better at that.”
The three players seemed to get more comfortable with one another as the game went on, and though it’s surprisingly been the third line that has perhaps clicked the most on the early season, Julien sees enough progress that he likes the direction in which perhaps his most important line is headed.
“I think you see it in practice, too. Games, practice. It’s a matter of time,” Julien said. “You can’t judge or expect miracles in the first few games of a season. You give them a good month to get to know each other and play together, and you hope that in that month it progresses. So far I’ve seen that from training camp to now.”
|Jarome Iginla looking forward to not getting booed||10.03.13 at 12:42 pm ET|
For most of the Bruins, Thursday night marks their first step in a process in settling unfinished business from last June. For three Bruins, it marks the start of a new chapter in their careers.
Jarome Iginla, Loui Eriksson and Reilly Smith will all make their Bruins debuts when the team opens the 2013-14 season against the Lightning at TD Garden. Though the three have a training camp and some preseason games under their belts, they know that nothing they’ve experienced in Boston will compare to the first one that matters.
For Eriksson and Smith, the experience should be extra eye-opening. Eriksson spent the first seven years of his NHL career playing in Dallas, while Smith is entering his second season. Though the Stars drew relatively well last season, coming to Boston from Dallas marks a big change as far as hockey atmospheres go.
“I’ve seen in these weeks that I’ve been here, there are a lot of fans around here,” Eriksson said. “Everyone talks hockey in this town, and it’s nice to be in an environment like that. I’m looking forward to it.”
As for Iginla, his debut in Boston is coming months after initially expected. Iginla infamously chose not to come to the Bruins prior to the trade deadline last season, asking the Flames to instead deal him to the red hot Penguins. After expressing interest in the B’s after the season and signing with them on the first day of free agency, Iginla is happy to be in Boston and is looking forward to not getting booed, as he was around these parts following the trade.
“I’m hoping not,” he said with a laugh. “I hope it’s positive and I want to make a good first impression. My family and I are thrilled to be here, and it’s been a great first month being acclimated and feeling more at home. It’s a great building to play in and a tough building to play in and we want to keep it that way.”
Iginla said he’s been noticed around Boston since coming to the Bruins and that he’s been well-received. He should be, as the longtime Flames captain is one of the better guys in the league.
“It happens a little bit. There are a lot of Bruins fans,” he said. “‘¦ People just wishing you well and saying they’re excited for the year. You can definitely tell it’s a hockey city and people are into it and looking forward to getting things rolling.”
Smith gets to fly under the radar a bit more. All eyes will be on Iginla and Eriksson because of the players they are replacing, but Smith noted he’s still feeling plenty of pressure as he makes his debut. After all, he’s not ready to assume his job is safe given all the competition he has, so he’s approaching Thursday with both nerves and excitement.
“It will be really exciting, for sure,” he said. “There will be a couple butterflies before the game, but it should be a lot of fun, but I’m looking forward to it.
|Bruins season preview: Forward projections||10.01.13 at 8:23 am ET|
It isn’t the opening week of the NHL season without people incorrectly guessing what’s going to happen (not to brag, but what has two thumbs and totally called that Johnny Boychuk would score five goals in 2011-12? Yeah, that’s the extent to which these predictions have been right).
Here’s a look at the predictions for the offense. As you can probably tell by the goal totals, the thought here is that the B’s will see some bigger individual performances than in years past. Part of that is the fact that the top two lines will be very good and part of it is the smaller goalie pads.
Note: It’s silly to predict injuries, so all players’ projections will assume they play somewhere in the 75-82-game range. Extra forwards/defensemen aren’t shown given the uncertainty of whether (and where) they’ll play.
David Krejci: 23 goals, 52 assists, 75 points
Playing with two heavily motivated power forwards, Krejci sets a career high in points. Then again, he’s probably going to put up 75 points in a single playoff run one of these years.
Jarome Iginla: 35 goals, 29 assists, 64 points
Thirty-five goals for the aging Iginla — sounds crazy, right? It shouldn’t. That’s just half a goal less than what Iginla has averaged in the last four full seasons. The argument against this happening is that he’s 36 years old now, but he hasn’t appeared to have lost a step and certainly hasn’t worn down. He’s missed a grand total of zero games due to injury since January of 2007.
Milan Lucic: 31 goals, 30 assists, 61 points
Two 30-goal-scorers for the Bruins in the same season? That hasn’t happened since the 2002-03 season, but B’s came three goals away from it in 2011-12. Lucic won’t slump this season like he did last year; Iginla will demand more of him.
Patrice Bergeron: 22 goals, 49 assists, 71 points
Also look for Bergeron to be among the league-leaders in plus-minus. With the addition of Loui Eriksson to his line, the bump in offense will mean he remains a Selke favorite.
Brad Marchand: 31 goals, 26 assists, 57 points
I’m actually predicting that every player in the NHL will have 30 goals this season, including goalies. All kidding aside, there is no reason why Marchand’s numbers shouldn’t go up this season, as he’s stepping one year further into his prime and he’s playing on the best line he’s been a part of in his NHL career.
Loui Eriksson: 28 goals, 37 assists, 65 points
These numbers might not jump off the page, but we’ll go with a more conservative prediction for Eriksson as we learn more about him. Among the questions: Will he be better or worse now that he’s got people paying attention?
Chris Kelly: 12 goals, 20 assists, 32 points
Kelly doesn’t have it in him to have two bad seasons in a row, but there are definitely questions about what this line will produce.
Carl Soderberg: 14 goals, 17 assists, 31 points
At long last, Carl Soderberg is an honest-to-goodness NHLer. He’s had his training camp, he’s used to the ice and he played in two Stanley Cup finals games for good measure. We’ll see how he holds up at wing.
Reilly Smith: 10 goals, 17 assists, 27 points
After winning the job, Smith now has the challenge of keeping it. He looked good in camp, so expect him to stick.
Gregory Campbell: 10 goals, 12 assists, 22 points
He’s healthy and ready to do something ‘ anything ‘ to make people forget about his leg.
Daniel Paille: 13 goals, 10 assists, 23 points
Just a reminder: Paille scored 10 goals in the 48-game season last year. He’s a serviceable third-liner playing on the fourth line.
Shawn Thornton: 6 goals, 7 assists, 13 points
This is the last year of his current contract, but Thornton doesn’t want it to be his last in Boston.
|Loui Eriksson opens training camp with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand; Jarome Iginla with Milan Lucic and David Krejci||09.12.13 at 1:00 pm ET|
Claude Julien has wasted no time in trying out what could be one of the best two-way lines in the league, as Julien used Loui Eriksson on the right wing with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron in line drills on the day on the ice of training camp. The second group featured Jarome Iginla in Nathan Horton‘s familiar spot with Milan Lucic and David Krejci.
Eriksson, who was the centerpiece of the trade that sent Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley to Dallas, is considered an elite two-way player. The 28-year-old has had seasons of 36, 29 and 27 goals in his career, and he figures to replace Seguin’s offense while adding a more complete game.
“Definitely no disrespect to Segs — he’s a phenomenal player and we clicked very well; we had a couple great years together — but Loui’s a bit of a different player,” Marchand said. “He’s still a very good goal-scorer, a very good playmaker, and he plays hard in our end. I’m sure he’ll complement us very well and hopefully we’ll all be able to play well together.”
Iginla was signed in the offseason after Horton elected not to return to the B’s after three seasons in Boston.
Another line that was used quite a bit in the first group was Chris Kelly between Jordan Caron and Reilly Smith. Both Smith and Caron are competing for third-line minutes this season.
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
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