|Here come Pavel Datsyuk and the Red Wings||10.04.13 at 2:01 pm ET|
No matter how you slice it, it should be tougher for the Bruins to win their division this season. The Red Wings are a big part of that.
With realignment bringing Detroit over to the Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division, the B’s now have four meetings with a team that has made the playoffs in 22 consecutive seasons, and they’ll have to worry about them (as well as the Canadiens and Maple Leafs) if they want to be atop the standings when all is said and done.
The first of the regular-season meetings will come Saturday night, when Mike Babcock‘s 1-0-0 squad comes to TD Garden.
“I think they’re an elite team,” Claude Julien said Friday. “They always have been, and you have to look at, for example, their third line. When you’ve got a guy like [Daniel] Cleary and [Todd] Bertuzzi on a third line, you know you’ve got some pretty good depth. They’re a good, experienced team.
“They’re a smart team, they play a good, smart game. That will certainly bring an even bigger challenge for all the teams in our conference right now to add them in them. It’s not like it’s a new franchise coming in and breaking the bottom, but it’s a team that’s at the top of the league almost every year. I think it’s good for our game. I think it’s good for our fans to see those teams a little bit more, and an Original Six team is always welcome in the cities that have seen those teams for years.”
While the Red Wings’ presence in the division certainly doesn’t make things easier for the Bruins, the best part about it from a hockey standpoint might be the fact that it also brings two members of the Selke fraternity against one another in Pavel Datsyuk and Patrice Bergeron in what should be some fascinating hockey to watch.
“Obviously he’s a very smart player and tough to play against,” Bergeron said of Datsyuk. “I think it’s going to be a good challenge to play Detroit and a good challenge to play him and his line.”
Datsyuk is a three-time winner of the award, which is given to the best two-way forward in the league annually. Bergeron won it in 2011-12 and just narrowly lost out on winning it again last season.
When Zdeno Chara had the first pick in the All-Star Game fantasy draft two seasons ago, he chose Datsyuk, saying, “I just really admire, personally, the way he plays.”
Datsyuk scored this goal against the B’s earlier that season, and he played a big part in the Red Wings’ 8-2 preseason drubbing of the B’s a couple weeks ago with Bergeron still out of the lineup.
“Two great two-way players,” Julien said of Datsyuk and Bergeron. “You saw Datsyuk in action here the one night when we didn’t have Patrice in the lineup, and you could see the type of damage that he could do. There’s no doubt that he’s an elite player, but we’re fortunate to have Patrice, who we feel is an elite player as well.”
|Bruins thrilled to see Andrew Ference named captain of Oilers||09.29.13 at 12:32 pm ET|
While the Bruins haven’t yet revealed who will wear Andrew Ference‘s ‘A’, the hockey world learned Sunday which letter the veteran defenseman will wear in Edmonton: ‘C’.
Ference, who signed a four-year, $13 million dollar with the Oilers on the first day of free agency this summer after not being brought back by the B’s, was named captain of the team on Sunday. There, the 34-year-old will a team with such young stars as Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov.
The folks around TD Garden were delighted to hear the news.
“Captain?! Really?! I didn’t know that,” an animated Patrice Bergeron said upon being told. “That’s awesome! It’s well-deserved. It’s not really surprising to me, to be honest with you, but like I’ve said before, I’m going to miss him because he’s a great guy that I was really close to. I’m really happy for him and I think he’s going to do a great job.”
In his time with the Bruins, Ference’s leadership and value to the community was constantly on display. He came up with various things in to unify the team, from the ‘Darth Quaider’ t-shirt and the old nylon jacket in the 2010-11 season, to the chain the following season, to the short-lived rooster shirt last year and the Army Ranger jacket following the Boston Marathon bombing.
“I just sent him a text to congratulate him,” Claude Julien said. “I think he’s deserving. Everybody that knows him here knows what kind of a person he was and what kind of a leader he was on and off the ice.
“They’ve got a young team over there, and the minute he signed there, in the back of my mind I thought he had an opportunity to become the captain there. I think they made a great choice. He’s very deserving because of what he is and what he represents and what he does for a hockey team.”
|Gregory Campbell: Playing Thursday a ‘realistic possibility’||09.18.13 at 12:52 pm ET|
Good news on the Gregory Campbell front, as the veteran center didn’t seemed bothered at all Wednesday in a training camp session packed with battle drills. Asked how he felt after the contact-heavy skate, Campbell said he is continuing to improve “day by day.”
It would appear that Campbell is both in game shape and physically capable to play in games after returning from a broken leg suffered in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Penguins. With the Red Wings in town Thursday, Campbell said that the idea of him making his preseason debut in the game is a “realistic possibility.”
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|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.
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|Patrice Bergeron still has ‘lingering issues’ from his injuries||09.11.13 at 5:19 pm ET|
No one could’ve expected Patrice Bergeron to be back at 100 percent so soon.
As it turns out, Bergeron himself admitted Wednesday that he’s still dealing with some aches and pains from the multitude of injuries he sustained in order to help the Bruins try to win the Stanley Cup in late June.
He was back in front of his locker Wednesday for the start of training camp and even passed the conditioning test that allows him to take part in full practices with his team.
To recap, Bergeron suffered a separated shoulder, broken rib, torn rib cage cartilage and, most serious of all, a punctured lung between Games 5 and 6 of the Stanley Cup finals against the Blackhawks.
To see him back on Wednesday for the start of training camp was a great sign but as Claude Julien cautioned later, he still hasn’t been cleared for preseason games.
“If I feel fine in the first couple of practices, and I feel like I can bang around and play physical in the 1-on-1 stuff on the ice, I’ll pretty much feel like I’ll be ready to get going and move forward,” Bergeron said, before acknowledging that he still has to be cautious early on in camp. “I guess the next couple of days will really tell me where I stand with the lingering issues.”
This summer, Bergeron spent most of his time rehabbing instead of traditional training.
“Honestly, I’ve been able to do most of my workouts,” Bergeron said. “It just took me more time to start that and get that going. So, I was doing a lot of rehab early on and after that it was more issues with core and reaching out on my sides too much so I’m not doing too many core exercises and stay away from that as much as possible but otherwise, I was able to do pretty much everything.”
And when he wasn’t rehabbing, he was busy getting married to his longtime girlfriend Stephanie Bertrand.
“It went well,” Bergeron said. “It was a fun day and everything went well.”
Bergeron and Gregory Campbell became icons for Boston sports in the spring when both played through remarkable pain to help the Bruins in the playoffs. Bergeron heard a lot of praise over the summer and offered perspective on it on Wednesday.
“I’ve been told that a few times and to be honest, I’ve talked to Soupy a couple of times already about it,” Bergeron said. “We don’t feel like it was anything special, anything extraordinary to be honest with you. We felt like we were just trying to do our job. Same thing for me, I was just trying to be out there and help the team as much as possible on the ice. I’m 100 percent positive that all the guys would’ve done the same thing, especially late in the season in the finals like that. You want to be out there, helping your teammates out.”
|Claude Julien: Patrice Bergeron and Gregory Campbell ‘cleared’ for practice, not games yet||at 1:02 pm ET|
On the first day of training camp, Bruins coach Claude Julien announced what would likely be considered good news by all Bruins followers.
Patrice Bergeron and Gregory Campbell both passed their conditioning drills and have been cleared for full practice with the team. Bergeron suffered a punctured lung, a broken rib, a separated shoulder and damaged cartilage at the end of the Stanley Cup finals in late June. Campbell suffered a broken right leg blocking a slap shot from Evgeni Malkin in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals.
“They’re going to practice with us, they’re going to be on the ice,” Julien announced Wednesday afternoon during his first full press conference of camp. “When it comes time to play those exhibition games, it’ll be obviously a conversation again with our trainers, making sure that if they’re going to play, there’s not a risk factor.”
The Bruins open their seven-game preseason next Monday night in Montreal against the Canadiens, and it’s unlikely either player would be ready to play, though Julien did leave some wiggle room on Wednesday.
“Right now, I would tell you that they would not be cleared to play a game if we started today but that might chance in the upcoming day or in a week from now,” Julien said. “They can practice with the team. It’s just about playing in an exhibition game.”
Julien also confirmed that everyone who took the conditioning test on Wednesday passed. Julien said he took the excellent conditioning of his team as a sign of where they’re at as a group.
“I don’t think I’m going to need time in camp to assess [conditioning or mentality],” Julien said. “I feel it right now. I think our group is in the right place. I like the feeling of our hockey club right now. These tests today just kind of solidified what I thought. Guys are in great shape. It would’ve been easy guys, after finishing so late, to just kind of shut ‘er down for the summer. But they’ve kept themselves in great and they look excited to get off to a new start here.”
|Patrice Bergeron expects to be ‘good for the season’||09.09.13 at 10:04 pm ET|
Bruins center Patrice Bergeron said Monday prior to the team’s annual golf tournament that he expects to be ready for the start of the regular season.
Bergeron skated with teammates for the first time Sunday after an offseason that saw him recover from a number of injuries late in the Stanley Cup finals. The 2012 Selke winner spent three days in the hospital after the Blackhawks took the Cup, with a broken rib, torn cartilage, a separated shoulder a punctured lung ailing him. Bergeron said that he wasn’t able to train at all in the first month-plus of the postseason while his lung healed, but that gave his shoulder plenty of time to heal as well.
As for lingering pain, Bergeron admitted that there is still some discomfort in the rib area, something he said was due to either the cartilage or the rib still healing.
‘I’m still feeling some tenderness in the rib area but it’s been pretty good,” Bergeron said. “I’ve been able to do most of my workouts and I’ve gone on the ice the last few weeks and felt good. I feel pretty confident I’ll be good for the start of camp and good for the season.’
Bruins camp begins Wednesday.
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