|Bruins at Sabres preview||12.15.10 at 12:14 am ET|
The Bruins will take on the Sabres for the third time this season as the two teams face off in Buffalo on Wednesday night. The Bruins have points in their last six games (4-0-2) and have taken both of their meetings with the Sabres. Their most recent win over Buffalo came last Tuesday when Mark Recchi tipped a Dennis Seidenberg shot past Ryan Miller to give the B’s a 3-2 win in overtime.
Tuukka Rask was first off the ice for the Bruins, an indication he’ll be between the pipes come game time.
WHERE IT’S AT
– The Sabres are a sub-.500 hockey team (12-14-4) because of their struggles at home. Nine of their 14 losses this season have come in Buffalo, as they’ve posted a 6-9-1 record at HSBC Arena. They are 3-3-0 in their last six home games.
– The Bruins remain a more dangerous team when playing away from TD Garden. They’ve posted a 9-3-1 road record. They took a shootout loss to the Maple Leafs in their last road game.
– Fighting majors aside, the Bruins have been avoiding the penalty box as of late. They had just one penalty in both Saturday’s game and last Tuesday’s Buffalo game, both of which contests went into overtime. The B’s are 15th in the league in penalty minutes per game (12.9), though that is helped by their 26 majors, a number that puts them fifth in the league despite tying seven teams for playing the least amount of games.
– Milan Lucic is on pace for 44 goals. Does anybody truly see him as a 40-goal-scorer? Variables such as empty netters and a couple softies have been on his side thus far, so while he may eventually slow down, he still figures the finish the season as the team’s top goal-scorer if he remains healthy.
– David Krejci has three points (all assists) against the Sabres this year. He’s only had three points against one other club, and he knocked that out in one game when he scored two goals and tallied an assist in the team’s 8-1 win over the Lightning. Krejci is also on a three-game point steak that began with his two assists last Saturday against the Sabres.
– Marc Savard and Tyler Seguin have combined for just two points — an assist apiece — since Savard made his return to the lineup on Dec. 2. One would have to assume the two will get going and that Seguin will eventually be big asset for Savard, but it simply hasn’t happened yet.
Savard’s ice time has generally been anywhere from 13:15 to 16:26, and he’s averaged 15:01 per night.
– Here’s a totally useless and hardly telling stat from the good ol’ WEEI.com stat truck: The Bruins have won the first game of a three-in-four stretch every time this year. In those games, they’ve grabbed wins in Buffalo (5-2 on Nov. 3), Pittsburgh (7-4 on Nov. 10), New York (3-2 over the Rangers on Nov. 17), and Philadelphia (3-0 on Dec. 1).
STORYLINES GOING IN
– Tim Thomas has started and won both of the team’s games against the Sabres thus far. It’s quite remarkable that Tuukka Rask is on pace for just 26 starts this season, but he’ll get his first crack at the Sabres Wednesday.
– Miller was dealing with a groin injury when the Bruins beat up on Jhonas Enroth and Patrick Lalime on Nov. 3, but he manned the pipes last Tuesday vs. the B’s. It wasn’t his best showing, as he allowed a bit of a softie to Lucic — letting a shot from a tough angle just sneak between his leg and the left post.
Miller is coming off a rough loss to the Penguins on Saturday. He allowed four goals on just 23 shots.
– It is up in the air whether the B’s will dress Tyler Seguin or Daniel Paille. Seguin didn’t play Saturday with what the team called flu-like symptoms, and Paille played well. Claude Julien told reporters that it would be a game-time decision.
– Adam McQuaid, who could have been badly injured on Jody Shelley‘s cheap shot Saturday, is also fine. Both players practiced Tuesday.
|Bruins lead Islanders, 1-0, after one||12.09.10 at 7:46 pm ET|
Milan Lucic scored his 14th goal of the season, a power play tally, and the Bruins lead the Islanders, 1-0, after a period.
It appeared that Lucic’s shot actually hit the right post, bounced of New York goalie Rick DiPietro and into the net. Marc Savard got the assist on the goal, registering his first point since his return from post-concussion symptoms.
The Bruins outshot the Islanders, 16-7, and Tuukka Rask didn’t really face much pressure. The Bruins are 1-for-2 on the power play, while the Islanders are 0-for-1. The Bruins will begin the second period on the man advatnage, as P.A. Parenteau went off for boarding with 10.2 seconds left in the period.
Adam McQuaid and Zenon Konopka squared off in the only fight of the period.
|What the return of Marc Savard really means to the Bruins||12.03.10 at 11:08 am ET|
Less than an hour after the Bruins croaked the Tampa Bay Lightning, 8-1, at TD Garden, Bruins coach Claude Julien was asked if the team was given an emotional boost by the return of Marc Savard after a bout of post-concussion syndrome.
“Boy, you’re giving him a lot of credit, aren’t you?” Julien quipped in his classically wry sense of humor. “It’s nice to have him back, obviously everybody’s happy to have him back, but you know, I think our players, as a whole, even yesterday when he wasn’t in the lineup, decided that they were going to play hard and play well and they did. So he just added to that, I guess, fuel for tonight.”
Savard skated 21 shifts in 15 minutes and 45 seconds, taking one shot while winning 5-of-10 face-offs on the night. But his impact was felt early when he got into the fray early with a fore-check. He played on several combo lines and everyone thought he didn’t miss a beat.
“I mean, he brought a lot of offense today,” two-goal scorer David Krejci said. “He wasn’t on the score sheet but he had a lot of last minute chances. We have big depth now with him and all four lines can score goals and it’s hard for their top defensemen to defend our top guys. So, it’s good to have him back and it’s good to see him and hopefully we will keep doing the same thing we did tonight.”
And that can only help this Bruins offense. It certainly appeared that way Thursday night.
“I think that’s the first eight goals the team has scored that I haven’t had anything on it, but I kept telling Claude I was a presence tonight,” Savard said BEFORE Julien’s post-game observation. “I felt good, obviously had some shifts where I felt a little tired and as the battles wore on, I just stood in front of Timmy [Thomas], so hopefully he can stop it. It was great to be back. The fans were fantastic. I got a little emotional there. It was a little tough to go out on that shift there, but it was special.”
Tim Thomas set the tone for the night, stepping aside before leading the team on the ice for pre-game warm-ups. Instead, Savard had that honor against Tampa Bay.
“I didn’t know what he was doing there. I didn’t even realize. I just thought he was stepping aside, that’s maybe what he does now. I just kept skating, then I looked over and no one was there, so it was kind of nice of the guys, I think they did that on purpose, but it was funny.”
Still, for skating in a game for the first time since May, it was quite the adjustment for Savard.
“I mean, it’s been six months, so it’s been a long time,” Savard said. “Shaking off a bit of rust, but you know, I felt I made some good plays. I felt there’s some stuff I can build off of, some things I can work on still, obviously. Battles I had a little trouble as the shift wore on in our zone a couple times, but I felt good, I felt strong. I got in there a couple times, tried to bang around, didn’t really move anybody, but it was a lot of fun.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Looking back on a busy day of Marco Sturm comings and non-goings||12.02.10 at 11:11 pm ET|
The Bruins came right out and said it on Thursday night: Marco Sturm is not a member of the Los Angeles Kings. The same day that he reportedly waived his no-trade clause to facilitate a deal to LA, health issues held up the trade and kept him in Boston for the time being.
Amidst all the uncertainty, the Bruins went out on Thursday night and gave the Lightning a thorough beating, running up the score on Mike Smith and Dan Ellis to the tune of an 8-1 victory. It was a long day for the Bruins, and they end it with a big win in hand and Sturm still on the roster. Here’s a look back at the day:
Noon hour: Darren Dreger of TSN reports via twitter that a deal was struck between the B’s and Kings that would send Sturm to LA. The deal seemingly would end the team’s salary cap woes, as Sturm, who is in the final year of his contract, has a $3.5 million cap hit.
1 p.m. hour: ESPN.com reports the Bruins would receive a conditional fifth-round pick for Sturm.
7 p.m. hour: After crickets from the Bruins regarding an announcement, TSN’s Bob McKenzie tweets that “medical issues” had complicated the deal and that there was “uncertainty” as to whether it could get done.
9:43 p.m.: Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli issues the following statement on Sturm:
“I am aware of the various media reports today regarding Marco Sturm. I can confirm that I spoke to Marco about waiving his no trade clause and have had discussions regarding Marco with other teams. I can also confirm that there is no trade in place with Marco. At this time, Marco is a member of the Boston Bruins and will continue to train with our team.”
11:20 p.m.: McKenzie tweets the following:
“Final word on aborted Sturm deal: LAK were furnished with player’s medical records. They had concerns with what they saw.”
POSTGAME: Teammates acknowledge an odd day in which they thought Sturm was gone, only to learn he would stick around.
“It was a little different, that’s for sure,” Savard said. “Especially a good friend like that.”
Savard, who made his season debut on Thursday night, had done much of his on-ice rehabbing with Sturm, as the two would take the ice together before they were cleared to practice with teammates.
“We’ve had a tough run together, that’s for sure,” Savard said. “We’ve supported each other along the way, so when the news came that he was getting traded, it was tough for both of us, because we’re good friends, obviously. I’m going to see him tomorrow, and be happy he’s still there.”
Shawn Thornton noted that until Sturm is a member of another team, he is going to continue to embrace him as a teammate.
“I really don’t know what’s going on, except that he’s still part of our team,” Thornton said. “He’s a good friend of mine. Our families get along really well. As far as I’m concerned, he’s still here, so I’m going to continue to treat it as such.”
|Bruins lead Lightning, 2-0, after one||at 7:46 pm ET|
It may be Marc Savard‘s season debut, but after a period, the Bruins have another center and a wacky play to thank for their 2-0 lead over the Lightning.
David Krejci took a pass from Milan Lucic at the blue line, flew past a defender and fired a wrist shot past Lightning goaltender Mike Smith at 10:52. It was his third goal of the season and first since Oct. 30. Dennis Seidenberg puked up first goal tally of the season thanks to a lazy shot gone awry from center ice. Smith misplayed the puck to allow the odd goal with 20 seconds left in the period.
Tim Thomas kept up the impressive play that shut out the Flyers a night earlier, as he stopped all 15 of the Lightning’s shots in the first period. He did allow Tampa Bay an opportunity on a big rebound when he was out of position, but Steven Stamkos‘ line was unable to capitalize on it.
Savard got a standing ovation when he took his first shift of the night, and was once again recognized on the jumbotron during a timeout.
Both teams are 0-for-1 on the power play. The Lightning are outshooting the B’s, 15-9.
|Quick reaction to the Marco Sturm trade||at 1:23 pm ET|
With Thursday’s news that the Bruins have traded Marco Sturm to the Kings [UPDATE: Multiple outlets are reporting the deal is off for the time being due to health concerns], things may seem to be a bit up in the air for the Bruins. The reality is that they are just the opposite, and that things are finally calm in what was once an endless sea of questions about the team’s salary cap situation.
The Bruins first shed salary when they sent Matt Hunwick to the Avalanche on Tuesday, relinquishing the B’s of Hunwick’s $1.45 million cap hit and allowing them to activate Marc Savard when appropriate. Still, the Bruins weren’t kidding themselves by suggesting their selling off of assets was done, considering that Sturm’s $3.5 million would be back on the books once his knee was fully healed.
‘We have another move to make, and we’ll leave it at that,’ Peter Chiarelli said after the Hunwick trade.
It had to be a big move, and after months of speculation regarding what it may be, it’s finally been made, and the team doesn’t need to worry about the cap anymore. According to Cap Geek, the B’s are now $46,128 under the $59.4 million threshold. Here’s some quick points regarding Sturm’s dealing.
– After all the speculation that Michael Ryder would be the odd man out when Savard and Sturm returned, Ryder is sticking around. It seemed a logical line of thinking that given his $4 million price tag, a trade or demotion to the AHL for Ryder might be the cleanest move for the Bruins, as it would solve their cap woes without too many pieces having to move around.
Quite frankly, Ryder deserved to stay, and the Bruins are better off for having chosen to keep him over Sturm. He’s third on the team in goals with six, and more importantly, he has perhaps been — surprisingly or not — the best asset for Tyler Seguin. The latest case of their work together was on display Wednesday night when Ryder set up Seguin’s first-period goal on a 2-on-1.
While it may seem a bit odd to think the Bruins, who struggled so mightily to score goals a season ago, would be wise to get rid of the guy who led them in goals in 2009-10, Sturm is too big an unknown at this point. From all indications, he’s still a few weeks from being able to play in games, and the Bruins have gotten enough out of guys like Ryder and Blake Wheeler that of the three, that Sturm was the most expendable. It will be interesting to see how his knees hold up, as he’s had major surgery on each of them.
– Put the kibosh on all of that Seguin World Juniors Championships talk. The team could have temporarily been given some cap relief with Seguin spending Dec. 26 through Jan. 5 in Buffalo, but there’s no longer a need for that. With Sturm gone, they would benefit in exactly zero ways from letting Seguin play in the WJC.
– There goes the proof of the Joe Thornton trade happening (well, based on the initial members of the deal, at least). Sturm was the last player remaining of the package the Bruins received from the Sharks in exchange for Thornton. The Bruins also got Brad Stuart and Wayne Primeau in the deal for the center and former B’s captain.
|Marc Savard to meet with Claude Julien, Peter Chiarelli to determine status vs. Lightning||at 12:24 pm ET|
Bruins center Marc Savard will meet with general manager Peter Chiarelli and coach Claude Julien Thursday afternoon to determine the Savard’s status for the team’s game against the Lightning on Thursday night.
“I don’t want to get too far ahead with predicting anything before I have an answer,” Julien said following the team’s off-ice work on Thursday. Savard was one of five players to skate Thursday morning, as he took the ice with Marco Sturm, Daniel Paille, Tuukka Rask, and Jordan Caron.
Julien did indicate that Savard has reached a point at which he is no longer adjusting or catching up in practice and workouts, and that his only remaining step in his return from post-concussion symptoms is to play.
“I think we’ve gotten as much as we can out him,” Julien said. “‘¦ He’s at that stage where he’s pretty close to have reached his max with conditioning.”
Savard, meanwhile, said he’s unsure of whether the team even considers him a game-time decision against the Lightning.
“I don’t even know if it’s that,” Savard said. “I just know that I’m meeting with them later on. ‘¦ We’ll see what happens.”
The center has missed all of the season thus far after encountering symptoms of post-concussion syndrome late in the summer. The team shut him down and kept him out of training camp to avoid worsening the condition. He has since returned to workout and taking the ice, and has been taking and receiving physical contact on the ice since last Wednesday.
Savard admitted that all of the work has seemed familiar as he’s gone through the motions over and over again, but he sees a light at the end of the tunnel.
“I think at the end of the day, skating every day and after practice and stuff, it gets long and gets a little monotonous, because you’re doing the same thing,” Savard said. “When I am able to play, I can’t wait. It’s going to be an exciting time.”