|Top line feels it’s still a work in progress||10.01.10 at 11:30 am ET|
BELFAST — The offensive lines, for all intents and purposes, seem to be just about set for when the Bruins begin the season next weekend against the Coyotes. Assuming nothing changes, the top line will be David Krejci between Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton, the second will feature Patrice Bergeron in the middle of Mark Recchi and Jordan Caron, Tyler Seguin will likely be in the middle of Michael Ryder and Blake Wheeler on the third line, and Gregory Campbell will center Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton, with Brian McGrattan likely the 13th forward.
Time is running out for these lines to hit their stride and for players to get comfortable with one another. In Seguin’s case, he’s still picking up the little things needed to round out his game in his own end, plus there’s the adjustment to a couple of new linemates in a new league.
Considering that each of the team’s four lines has a newcomer on it, the line that has impressed most thus far in training camp has been that top line of Krejci, Lucic, and Horton. The former Panther in Horton has picked up a pair of goals so far in the preseason, and Krejci seems ready to shine as a No. 1 center. Factor in Lucic’s aspirations to score at least 20 goals this season without losing his physical mentality, and the makings seem to be there for something special. Even with the promise shown, nobody is satisfied yet.
“I don’t think we click together very well yet,” Krejci said Friday. “I think we’ve had some good shifts, some good chemistry on some shifts, but I don’t think we’ve brought it every shift. I believe that there is something and we’re going to try to find it in each shift when we go out there.”
Horton agreed. Though Seguin and Caron might not have gigantic expectations because of their age, Horton, 25, is expected to put up career numbers in his first season in Boston.
“I think we’re getting better,” Horton said. “Obviously, we need to get better, but we’re just trying to work on things, getting used to each other’s games. It will come, I think. We’ve got two more games to get ready for the regular season.”
Asked if players can get by on talent alone in the preseason before having to show more cohesion with linemates when it counts, Krecji didn’t feel the difference between an exhibition and a regular season game was substantial enough.
“It’s not really much different than the [regular season] games,” Krejci said. “Everybody works so hard, does the same things, but you’ve got to know how to use experience and buy some time. That’s what happened when Horton scored that goal against Florida at home, so little things like that could help, and hopefully that’s going to help us tomorrow and the first exhibition game in Czech. Then, hopefully we can carry it into regular season games.”
|Second period summary: Capitals 2, Bruins 0||09.29.10 at 8:34 pm ET|
With the second period wrapped up at the Garden, a couple of things have stood out that may be worth keeping an eye on in the Bruins’ final period of regulation before they depart for Belfast.
One thing that could easily be counted was the number of power play opportunities the Bruins had. That was four. The team applied good pressure on Capitals goalie Braden Holtby and moved the puck well for the most part, though some of their scoring opportunities were broken up by either blocked shots or one too many passes.
The number that is difficult to pinpoint is just how many times the Bruins either seemed to have beaten/fooled Holtby, tied in with how many times the Capitals netminder was badly out of position and didn’t pay for it. The team’s best opportunity of the period came when Nathan Horton fired a hard wrist shot past Holtby only to see it clank off the post.
The Capitals added a tally in the second, a Nicklas Backstrom redirect past Tim Thomas for the Washington captain’s second of the night.
Blake Wheeler collided with Holtby late in the period and immediately left the ice and walked down the tunnel, though he turned around and returned to the bench.
|Horton impresses despite bad bounce||09.26.10 at 12:59 am ET|
Tyler Seguin wasn’t the only player to have a nice night offensively and still want a play or two back. Nathan Horton, who scored the Bruins’ second goal in the second period Saturday night, fell victim to a tricky bounce that eventually led to a Radek Dvorak goal that tied the game in the third period of the team’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Panthers.
Behind Tuukka Rask’s net, Horton turned the puck over to Marty Reasoner, who fed it Dvorak.
“I don’t know [what happened],” Horton said. “I was skating back and it kind of hopped over my stick and it was a bad bounce, but hopefully that won’t happen during the year,” Horton said before cracking a smile.
Horton, the centerpiece of June’s trade that sent Dennis Wideman, the 15th overall pick in the draft, and a 2011 third-rounder to Florida, may have been given a pass given the skills he put on display Saturday night. In addition to his obvious strength, his goal was more or less a PSA on not giving him space or time to shoot given how easily he beat Scott Clemmensen from the hash marks with ample time to pick his spot top shelf.
“I just had a little bit more time I guess and I just tried to get a better shot, a better angle,” he said. “Just luckily it went in.”
In facing his old teammates, Horton was on the ice for 19:12, starting on the team’s projected top line with Milan Lucic and David Krejci and seeing time both on the power play and penalty kill. All in all, Horton saw positives and negatives on the night, but nothing too extreme.
“I mean, obviously, it’s still preseason, so it was pretty sloppy,” Horton said, “but we need to obviously work on things and get more comfortable with guys [we're] playing with. But I think every fame is going to get better from here on in and just keep pushing hard, keep working and I think things will come together pretty quickly.
|Lucic-Krejci-Horton line surfaces||09.24.10 at 12:45 pm ET|
The Bruins split up into two groups that featured members of both of this preseason’s squads. Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask both took the ice, which is encouraging as we keep an eye on just how many days off Thomas gets as he recovers from offseason hip surgery.
Though it’s still preseason and the team likely isn’t done trying things out, the top two lines on the ice friday were Lucic-Krejci-Horton and Seguin-Bergeron-Recchi. It’s very difficult to imagine those not being the top two lines on Oct. 9 when the team opens the season in Prague against the Coyotes.
The other lines out there on Friday morning consisted of Gregory Campbell, Jamie Arniel and Brian McGrattan, as well as Jordan Caron, Ryan Spooner, and Max Sauve.
|Training camp underway||09.17.10 at 10:14 am ET|
After a couple weeks of captain’s practices and three days of rookie skating in anticipation of Wednesday and Thursday’s victories over the Islanders youngsters, the Bruins officially open training camp on Friday morning at the Garden with fitness testing. Peter Chiarelli, Claude Julien, and the players will speak following the session, so keep it here for their comments and news as it comes.
The team has optional ice at 1:30 Friday, but that will be closed to the public and the media. For those interested in getting their first look at Nathan Horton in a Bruins uniform, camp will be open to the public on Saturday and Sunday.
Wednesday and Thursday will mark the team’s first two preseason games, when they play the Canadiens in Montreal and Panthers in Rochester. They have two home exhibitions, taking place on the 25th and 29th against the Panthers and Capitals, respectively.
|If you don’t know Nathan Horton’s face yet, you soon will||09.15.10 at 12:10 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The process of acclimation continues for Nathan Horton, who has been out there for each of the Bruins’ captains practice. Though he will technically be a newcomer come Friday’s opening of training camp, Horton, acquired in June from the Panthers, has been everywhere for the Bruins since arriving in town. In addition to his aforementioned attendance on the ice, he’s participated in charity events and has thrown out the first pitch at Fenway Park.
One of his more recent adventures around New England came Monday, when he and Milan Lucic delivered tickets to a season-ticket holder. Though his teammates are plenty familiar with the winger, Horton understands the fans may not quite have his mug memorized.
“We did surprise them. I’m not sure they knew somebody was coming, and then it was me and Milan,” Horton said. “[I don't think] they know my face real well, but they know him and they were pretty excited.”
Wednesday night Horton will try his luck in Marco Sturm‘s charity poker tournament. Though the getting-to-know-you process has been an enjoyable ride thus far, Horton’s ready to get down to business on Friday.
“It hasn’t started yet,” Horton said of his new job. “It’s been fun till now, but once Friday comes I think it will be a little more serious. It’s been fun though. I get to do a lot of stuff and see a lot of the things in Boston.”
|Cam Neely can offer perspective on Marc Savard trade rumors||09.13.10 at 2:41 pm ET|
BOLTON — Cam Neely and Nathan Horton could be seen talking and laughing prior to teeing off at The International for the Bruins’ annual golf tournament on Monday. For Horton, his Bruins career has consisted of throwing out a first pitch at Fenway, playing street hockey with kids, scrimmaging with no coaches, surprising season-ticket holders by delivering their tickets with Milan Lucic, and now golfing. Given his excitement to be in Boston and factoring in all the aforementioned perks, one might dare to suggest that nobody is more excited for the 2010-11 season than Horton.
Except Neely, of course.
At his formal introduction as team president this summer, Neely spoke with passion of how the fans deserved more. Now on the other side of the offseason, Neely reinforced his line of thinking that the team has “unfinished business to take care of” and noted that he feels Peter Chiarelli and co. have put together “a much better club this year.”
Though Neely praised the talents of Horton and Tyler Seguin, the offseason’s other prize, he offered a unique perspective when discussing the subject of trade talks with returning players. Names such as Michael Ryder, Tim Thomas, and most notably Marc Savard came up frequently through either reports or speculation.
“Speaking as a former player, you can’t worry about what’s out of your control. The way I looked at it when I was a player was, you hear about rumors and things that you can’t really control, you can’t worry about it.
“The only thing you can worry about are the stuff you can control, whether it’s in sports or in general. That’s how I approached it as a player and that’s how I would think most players would approach it. It’s always difficult if you hear your name mentioned in ways you don’t want it to be mentioned, but things you can’t control, you shouldn’t worry too much about.”
Neely knows a good amount about trades given the fact that he himself was dealt from the Canucks to the Bruins back in 1986. He can only hope that the team’s most recent trade for a big winger in Horton works out the way it did back then.