|Matt Bartkowski signs, but will he stick with Bruins?||07.15.14 at 3:51 pm ET|
The Matt Bartkowski story is simple, yet complicated: The Bruins somehow got him in the process of ripping off the Panthers in a trade for Dennis Seidenberg, he was the last cut on the team that won the Stanley Cup and since then he’s developed into a serviceable NHL defenseman.
And nobody ever knows whether he’s in or out, traded or kept.
As Bartkowski’s new one-year, $1.25 million deal was announced by the team Tuesday, those things still aren’t certain. The Bruins believe they have nine NHL defensemen right now. Zdeno Chara, Torey Krug, Seidenberg, Dougie Hamilton and Johnny Boychuk are locks for the lineup as long as they aren’t moved. From there, it’s Bartkowski, Kevan Miller, Adam McQuaid and David Warsofsky battling for one lineup spot and the extra D spot.
All of those guys can’t be here by the time the season starts. They simply can’t.
Training camp competition is one thing, but having a boatload of NHL-ready defensemen – especially when there are guys getting closer to ready at the AHL level in Zach Trotman and Joe Morrow — is impractical when some of them can be moved to fill other needs in the organization.
The fact that it’s public knowledge that the Bruins tried to trade him two seasons ago for Jarome Iginla makes Bartkowski a logical candidate to be moved in the right deal. Then again, if they move one of their pricier blueliners, Bartkowski is a pretty good bargain to keep for a million and a quarter.
“I think it’s only just a hindrance to worry about where you’re going to end up and all that,” Bartkowski said Tuesday. ‘You just prepare for what you can, and the team you’re on, and if something happens, it happens. It’s out of our hands, so like I said, there’s really no reason for me to worry about it. I just try to focus on my summer workouts and being as ready as I can for next season.”
If Bartkowski stays and the five aforementioned locks are in Boston and healthy, playing time will be tough to come by. Depending on whether lefties Seidenberg or Krug are tried on the right side, there might not be a spot in the lineup for the left-shooting Bartkowski.
That would be a tough blow for Bartkowski for multiple reasons. For one, he played 64 NHL games last season, so a big cutback in playing time would hurt his progression. He’ll also be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, so being an extra defenseman would hardly translate into a pay day.
Of course, things happen. Remember, a season ago, the Bruins were only occasionally rotating him into the lineup before an injury to Seidenberg catapulted him not only into the lineup, but onto the second pairing.
“When I say I expect to play, that’s what I expect out of myself,” Bartkowski said. “It starts from having a good summer and being in shape coming into camp. You have to expect it out of yourself. Otherwise, what’s your motivation? What are you playing for? You want to be able to help the team every way you can, and I think expecting that of yourself to be able to play and be able to play well, night in, night out, is the best thing you can do.”
So many times, Bartkowski has looked destined to be the odd man out. Yet he keeps finding a way to see the ice, making him both a valuable trade chip or a player they might want to keep around.
|Bruins sign David Pastrnak, Matt Bartkowski||at 10:34 am ET|
The Bruins announced Tuesday that they have signed right wing David Pastrnak to an entry level contract. They also officially announced the signing of Matt Bartkowski to a one-year, $1.25 million deal.
Pastrnak, the team’s first-round pick (25th overall) in last month’s draft, was expected to be inked by Tuesday, as the team would have to pay more money to Sweden’s hockey federation if they were to sign him after.
Bartkowski’s contract allows the two sides to avoid arbitration, something for which the defenseman had filed.
“It’s always good if you can come to an agreement before the hearing,” general manager Peter Chiarelli said. “I think it sends a positive message to Matt that we want to have him back. It was going to be a contract anyways, because he elected arb, but I’m okay with that. It’s just good to get it done. It doesn’t mean you do it and your compromise or work around the edges, it’s to get a good result, and you try and do it in the best interest of the player also.”
Pastrnak signing means he will be in training camp in September. His three-year deal won’t begin until he turns pro, and can play up to nine games in the NHL this season without burning a year off the contract.
Chiarelli sang his praises following last week’s development camp, and the fact that he is a skilled right-shot wing — something the Bruins don’t currently have on their NHL roster — has led to speculation that he could make the team.
“He’ll get the experience of a training camp, and he’ll get some [preseason] games,” Chiarelli said Tuesday of Pastrnak. “He had a terrific development camp, and I know everyone’s talking about him. He’s a good young player, he’s just 18 years old and he’s a player ‘ it’s well-documented that we’re looking for skill and speed and he fits that bill, but let’s not put the cart before the horse with David. I think we’re fortunate to get him where we got him and he had a terrific camp, and we’ll see where it goes from there.”
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Matt Bartkowski files for salary arbitration||07.05.14 at 5:40 pm ET|
The NHL Players’ Association has announced the 20 players that have elected salary arbitration. Among them is Bruins defenseman Matt Bartkowski, who was the only Bruin to file.
Bartkowski, who is a restricted free agent, can still reach a new agreement with the Bruins leading up until hearings are held from July 20 to Aug. 14. If a deal isn’t struck by then, a hearing will be held with an independent arbitrator, who will then determine the amount of money the player will be paid by the team.
Should Bartkowski be deemed worth more than $3,500,000 by the arbitrator (which is very unlikely), the Bruins would have the option of walking away and letting Bartkowski sign elsewhere as an unrestricted free agent.
The 2013-14 season marked Bartkowski’s first full season in the NHL. He skated in 64 regular season games and eight playoff games, contributing 18 points (all assists) in the regular season and one assist in the postseason. Bartkowski, who scored in Game 7 against the Maple Leafs two seasons ago, has yet to score a regular-season goal in 84 games in the NHL thus far.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Matt Bartkowski: ‘I know when I play well; I know when I play bad’||05.10.14 at 12:22 am ET|
If the Bruins advance past this round, the chatter about Dennis Seidenberg will inevitably grow louder and louder. Until Seidenberg does come back — if that ever happens this postseason — the Bruins will make due with either Matt Bartkowski or Andrej Meszaros in their lineup. Both have been given their shot at points this postseason, and both have struggled to establish a stranglehold on the position.
All things considered, Bartkowski is a superior player to Meszaros. He skates better and he’s stronger, but he’s struggled since returning to the lineup after missing the first two games of the first round with the flu.
Bartkowski had rough showings in Games 4 and 5 of that series, and a Game 1 performance against the Canadiens that saw him take two penalties (the first of which was on a Dale Weise dive, the second of which was a penalty he took in double overtime), Claude Julien opted to play Meszaros over him in Games 2 and 3. Meszaros predictably struggled and saw a blocked shot of his end up going the other way for the game-winning goal in Game 3, so Bartkowski was put back in for Thursday’s Game 4.
Back and forth, in and out, and still looking to regain the form he had before he was sick. Despite being the class clown of Boston’s blueline when it comes to his sense of humor, Bartkowski is generally pretty blunt when it comes to assessing his work. As such, he doesn’t fret about whether he’ll be in the lineup from game to game.
“I mean, I kind of know if I’m going to be in or not,” Bartkowski said. “I know when I play well; I know when I play bad.”
So what did he think of Game 1?
“I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t even remember, to be honest.”
Earlier in the week, Peter Chiarelli suggested that Bartkowski had “got out of sync a little bit” after returning from the flu, but the player says he doesn’t want to use his early postseason illness as an excuse for his play of late. Since he’s been in, Bartowski said, he’s been fine physically.
“I just wasn’t playing to my potential,” he said of his play.
If he’s OK physically, he still needs to bring a sharper game to the ice. He’s been caught out of position and he’s struggled to knock guys off of pucks. At points, Bartkowski’s been more prone to taking himself out of the play than the player he’s defending.
Though neither he nor Meszaros are slam-dunks, it’s worth remembering that Bartkowski was a hesitant player early on in his NHL career because he didn’t want to make mistakes in his brief NHL stints. Knowing a bad performance means a trip to the press box might add some of those jitters Bartkowski used to face. Then again, it’s been three seasons since he’s gotten his first taste of the NHL and he has since established himself as someone who would be a regular NHL blueliner on most teams, so there’s a good enough chance he’s outgrown all of that.
Remember, it was just a year ago that Bartkowski had scored in Game 7 of the first round and went on to perform well in the second round against the Rangers with Boston’s blue line banged up. Bartkowski has shown in the past that he can play in the postseason, but the Bruins could use a reminder.
|Pierre McGuire on M&M: ‘Bruins really played a methodical, smart, surgical kind of game last night’||05.09.14 at 1:35 pm ET|
NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to discuss the Bruins’ Game 4 overtime win against Montreal. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
Matt Fraser, who played in his first playoff game on Thursday, became an unlikely hero when he scored 1:19 into overtime to give the Bruins a 1-0 win in Game 4.
“You could almost sense it coming from that line, to be perfectly honest,” McGuire said. “I made that point a lot during the broadcast. I thought both [Carl] Soderberg wanted it off the crossbar, [Loui] Eriksson was really pushing the pace and obviously Fraser fit in really well with them. Peter Chiarelli and the scouting staff of the Bruins and Bruce Cassidy out in Providence deserve a lot of credit.
“This is a kid who was an undrafted player coming out of the Western Hockey League, and he’s part of a big trade last summer with Rich Peverley going the other way and Tyler Seguin going the other way. He fits in so well. It was just a ping-pong play off the back board.
“I thought the Bruins really played a methodical, smart, surgical kind of game last night.”
The Bruins have had just two penalties during the past two games of the series.
“I just think they’re worried about taking penalties,” McGuire said. “The Bruins win that double-overtime game in Game 1, they become more of a beast, more physical, but they went down 0-1 in the series. They knew they couldn’t go down 0-2, they had to scramble to win Game 2, they lose Game 3 and now they’re saying, ‘Uh-oh, we cannot allow these guys to get man advantages,’ so they changed a little bit of their dynamic. I also think heading into tomorrow’s game, now that it’s 2-2 and heading back to Boston, I truly believe we’ll see a more physical Bruins team, more like the Bruins team the fans in Boston are used to seeing.”
“Just for whatever reason, David Krejci looks a little fatigued to me,” McGuire said. “I think today maybe he gets a day off and he goes into the game tomorrow energized and he plays a little bit better, but he wasn’t managing the puck well during that game, especially during the power play. They need to be better, and I think they will be better. I think the biggest part of it was Krejci with the Olympics, with all the games he played last year, the fact that he’s not an overly large guy. I think there’s a fatigue factor with him.”
|Matt Bartkowski, Matt Fraser in Bruins lineup for Game 4 vs. Canadiens||05.08.14 at 7:27 pm ET|
MONTREAL – Matt Bartkowski is back in the lineup for Game 4 of the second round against the Canadiens. Andrej Meszaros was made a healthy scratch after he played in place of Bartkowski in Games 2 and 3.
Matt Fraser also entered the lineup after being recalled Wednesday night. He skated on the third line in warmups, with Daniel Paille moving back to the Merlot Line. Jordan Caron is a healthy scratch. The anticipated lineup is as follows:
Lucic – Krejci – Iginla
Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
Fraser – Soderberg – Eriksson
Paille – Campbell – Thornton
Chara – Hamilton
Bartkowski – Boychuk
Krug – Miller
For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Matt Bartkowski, Justin Florek scratches for Bruins in Game 2 vs. Canadiens||05.03.14 at 11:32 am ET|
Matt Bartkowski was made a healthy scratch for Game 2 of the second round against the Canadiens after taking a pair of penalties in Game 1, both of which led to P.K. Subban power play goals. Andrej Meszaros is back in the lineup after missing the last three games as a healthy scratch.
Daniel Paille, who returned from a head injury in Game 1, looks to be skating on the third line, with Jordan Caron back playing on the left wing of Gregory Campbell‘s line. That makes Justin Florek the healthy scratch, while Caron returns to a line on which he played well in the first round.
Canadiens coach Michel Therrien also made a lineup change Saturday morning and also shared some interesting thoughts on one of the best players in his lineup.
Therrien said that Michael Bournival would be in the lineup in place of Travis Moen for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Bruins. Bournival played each game of the first round for the Canadiens, contributing an assist in Game 4 as they swept the Lightning but sat in Game 1 as the team opted for Moen’s size and experience.
Asked about Thomas Vanek, who was awfully quiet in Game 1 and was demoted to the fourth line, Therrien said that his players need to be passionate.
‘Work ethic is not negotiable, attitude is not negotiable and competing is not negotiable,” Therrien said.
Though he said he was not talking about one player in particular, you can put two and two together given that it was in response to a question about Vanek.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
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