|Brad Marchand feels Reilly Smith can thrive in Florida||10.28.15 at 8:15 pm ET|
Panthers games aren’t just Shawn Thornton reunion nights anymore for the Bruins. In addition to former B’s Thornton, Steven Kampfer and Jaromir Jagr, the B’s will see Reilly Smith Friday in the first meeting between the teams since Smith was traded to Florida in the offseason.
Smith’s two-year tenure with the Bruins had highs and lows that were exacerbated by a number of things. In addition to being part of the return for Tyler Seguin, Smith was extremely streaky. Because the Bruins were low on cap space last season, the B’s had to stick him with an underpayment of a $1.4 million one-year contract. Peter Chiarelli made it up to Smith by giving him a two-year extension worth $3.42 million a year, a contract that, despite not being much of an overpayment for Smith’s previous work, it was given during a 13-goal season. When the offseason came, new general manager Don Sweeney traded Smith to Florida for Jimmy Hayes and devoted the money saved towards Matt Beleskey’s contract in free agency.
The Bruins gave up a good player. At 24, Smith could very well end up having a better career than Hayes or Beleskey. With Smith off to a strong start (seven points in nine games), he’s been able to adjust well to a new team, just as he did when he began the 2013-14 season in impressive fashion with the Bruins. If there’s a silver lining for him with his departure, however, it’s that the pressure that was often on the self-effacing winger in Boston won’t be there in Florida.
“Yeah, he seems to stick to himself and be a little quiet,” former linemate Brad Marchand said of Smith. “Sometimes guys can thrive in those environments where there’s not as much pressure. Maybe that’s why he fits well down there right now. You don’t really have the choice of where you’re going to be a lot of the time, so you’ve got to be able to adapt and play in that situation.”
Marchand said he is not surprised that Smith is performing well. He noted that last season’s low output from Smith was a product of him missing a large portion of training camp because he hadn’t yet been given a contract.
“He’s a really good player. He’s very skilled,” Marchand said. “He’s going to get his points and goals in this league. He’s going to do well.”
When the points didn’t come for Smith in Boston, things seemed to snowball. When Smith got sick and lost weight during his first season with the Bruins, he had a hard time finding his game again before finally reigning it in the playoffs. Last season, with the Bruins fighting for a playoff spot down the stretch, Smith scored just one goal over his last 22 games and was made a healthy scratch on March 21 in Florida. His struggles while all eyes were on the B’s made him an easy target for fans and observers.
“It’s a town where you’re expected to do well and you’re expected to play to your ability. I think in Florida, in lesser hockey markets, it’s a little different. You can get away with that kind of stuff and hide in the weeds, but there’s a lot of media attention here and the fans are very into the stats and the games and they keep an eye on that stuff,” Marchand said. “So you can’t get away with it, you can’t hide. Same thing in the room. Guys expect a lot and expect you to carry your weight.”
Added Marchand: “I think you’ve got to be able to understand each guy on the team and find a way to work with him. I don’t know exactly what his [outlook is] and how he wants to deal with situations, but regardless, when we do have that pressure on us and we’re in a tough situation, we need everyone to step up. Regardless of if you like it or not, you’ve still got to be able to play your game.”
|Bruins trade Reilly Smith, Marc Savard contract to Panthers for Jimmy Hayes||07.01.15 at 6:11 pm ET|
The Bruins have traded Reilly Smith and Marc Savard‘s contract to the Panthers for the rights to restricted free agent Jimmy Hayes. The trade was first reported by ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.
The move swapped out Smith, a 24-year-old left shot right wing, for a right-shot right wing in the 25-year-old Hayes. It also freed up space for Boston to sign former Ducks left wing Matt Beleskey, which it did shortly after.
A native of Dorchester and product of Boston College, Hayes scored a career-high 19 goals for the Panthers last season, adding 16 assists for 35 points in 72 games. He is the brother of Rangers forward Kevin Hayes and the cousin of Bruins prospect Ryan Fitzgerald.
In acquiring Savard’s contract, the Panthers will be able to easily sit above the cap floor without having to spend a lot of money. Savard’s contract carries a $4.027 million cap hit for each of the next seasons, but his salary in those years is only $535,000.
Savard has not played since the 2010-11 season, as his playing days are done due to multiple concussions.
|5 things we learned as Bruins score 3 straight to beat Red Wings||04.02.15 at 10:15 pm ET|
Zach Trotman picked a perfect time for his first NHL goal, as he gathered the puck after his point shot was blocked and sent it past Petr Mrazek to cap the Bruins’ come-from-behind 3-2 victory over the Red Wings. The Bruins pulled out the victory by scoring three unanswered goals in the third period after the Red Wings built a 2-0 lead.
With the win, the Bruins pulled even with the Red Wings with 93 points for the third playoff spot in the Atlantic Division, though Detroit has five games remaining to Boston’s four. The teams are even in regulation and overtime wins (the first tiebreaker), but the Bruins now own the second tiebreaker after winning the season series against the Red Wings.
The Senators beat the Lightning in overtime later in the evening, keeping the Senators within three points of the B’s and Wings.
As the Red Wings dominated the first two periods, Tuukka Rask kept the game within reach for the B’s. His efforts were eventually rewarded when, after Detroit made it 2-0 with a Stephen Weiss power-play goal, Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson scored 31 seconds apart. Reilly Smith earned the primary assist on both goals.
Trotman made it 3-2 with 3:08 remaining, and a too-many-men penalty for Detroit with 47.2 while trying to play 6-on-5 sealed Boston’s fourth straight win.
Brett Connolly, who made his Bruins debut, assisted both Trotman’s game-winner and Carl Soderberg’s power-play goal in the third for a two-point night.
Here are four more things we learned Thursday:
BERGERON LEAVES, RETURNS
Patrice Bergeron played only one shift in the second period, and he appeared to get injured on it following a faceoff against Luke Glendening. During a battle for the puck, Justin Abdelkader’s stick appeared to get Bergeron somewhere in the face.
Bergeron would return to the game for the start of the third period wearing a full shield. He tripped Glendening 58 seconds into the period, setting a new career high in penalty minutes with 44 on the season.
|Bruins need a productive and confident Reilly Smith||03.24.15 at 10:23 pm ET|
If Brett Connolly hadn’t broken his finger, rendering him a non-factor down the stretch before he ever played a game for the Bruins, maybe the Reilly Smith problem wouldn’t matter as much as it does.
If Connolly were healthy and in the lineup, he would provide the B’s with a viable option to take Smith’s minutes and, with any hope, do more with them than Smith has.
Connolly isn’t there, however, and the Bruins’ playoff chances are slipping away while Smith’s confidence is seemingly nowhere to be found. On a team loaded with players who can run hot and cold, Smith has been at his coldest at the worst time imaginable.
The Bruins need the Smith of early last season and last postseason. The current Smith — the one who has no goals in his last 13 games and only 12 this season despite playing most of the year with one of the best centers in the world in Patrice Bergeron — needs to access the smarts and mindset that have previously made him a good top-sixer. It’s anyone’s guess as to whether that happens down the stretch, including him.
“I think you try to build it every day,” Smith said when asked if his confidence is where it needs to be. “Obviously when the team’s struggling and things aren’t working out, your confidence isn’t going to be as high as it usually is, but it’s something you’ve got to kind of work around.”
Smith missed the first game of his two-year Bruins career on Saturday when he was made a healthy scratch against the Panthers. Uninspired play — most notably a dreadful showing against the Senators last Thursday in which he had two turnovers that led to goals and was given just one shift over the final 28:03 — led to the benching, but he was back in the lineup the next day. Smith picked up an assist on Zdeno Chara‘s third-period power play goal against the Lightning, good for just his first point in seven games.
Tuesday’s practice saw Smith skate with Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson, while David Krejci held Smith’s usual spot to the right of Patrice Bergeron. Krejci playing with Marchand and Bergeron makes for a loaded first line, but the Bruins have historically had success with balance throughout their top three lines, if not all four.
That means that Smith needs to start producing regardless of where he plays. Even when Connolly returns, the prospects of him contributing are worse than they were prior to the injury, as finger injuries can still keep players off their games for a while after they return to action.
Four goals in 12 games. That’s what Smith brought to the table last postseason. It wasn’t anything remarkable, but it was consistent with his role. He’s been too quiet for too long this season, and he needs to find the aforementioned production to avoid being an easy scapegoat in a lost season.
“I think I can, and that’s obviously the goal, I think for everyone on this team,” Smith said. “These are a very important nine games coming up here at the end and we’re going to need our best effort coming from everyone. Anything you can do and anything extra is definitely going to go a long way in this stretch here.”
|Peter Chiarelli explains why he decided to extend Torey Krug, Reilly Smith: ‘Gives us comfort’||03.07.15 at 1:06 am ET|
For about 10 minutes Friday, after the team practice on TD Garden ice, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli attempted to explain why he committed nearly $11 million of salary and cap space for Torey Krug and Reilly Smith.
“Torey on one year at 3.4 million, Reilly three years at 3.425 [million],” Chiarelli said. “Obviously there’s the contract in the past – beginning of the year. These are players we always liked and have a bright future for us. Term was important. It’s shorter term and gives us more flexibility and it gives them more flexibility as far as performing on a short term platform and becoming more of a fixture of us going forward.
“The one and two year terms were important to us. These were deals that came about, the ideas and the philosophies came out a little bit more after we signed the one year deals. Later in the winter and early spring we started’not spring but January and February we talked more. They worked very hard to bring together and these are two good, young players and two good young people.”
And they’re good people who won’t have to endure the frustration of sitting out of camp this summer because the team didn’t have enough cap space to sign them to contracts. Both Krug and Smith recalled Friday that uncomfortable feeling. Read the rest of this entry »
|Reilly Smith has some job security for now: ‘Hopefully I can stay with this organization a while’||03.06.15 at 10:20 pm ET|
After the obvious of getting a big pay raise, the best part of the two-year contract extension for Reilly Smith might be job security.
The Bruins right wing, like teammate Torey Krug, had to sit out the start of camp last summer because the Bruins were over the cap temporarily and couldn’t afford to sign them to new contracts until there was some roster manipulation and flexibility.
But there won’t be such worries this summer or the next as Smith agreed to a two-year extension through the 2016-17 season worth $3.425 million each season.
“It seems like through this whole thing, it’s always been me and Torey slotted together in this whole negotiation process,” Smith said. “It’s good and bad. It’s nice having someone with you through the whole negotiation process, especially in the summer when you’re sitting out camp when neither of us wanted to be. But it’s just good to have it behind us.”
Krug’s deal is worth $3.4 million, but is only good through next season. Still, having the piece of mind knowing that he’ll be in camp next summer is worth it to Smith.
“It was definitely tough. It was on my mind for a while,” Smith said. “It was a pretty stressful time in the summer, having to sit out camp for a while. I’m glad I don’t have to do that the next couple of years.”
Smith, who has struggle to finish scoring chances all season like the rest of his teammates, doesn’t mind the pressure that comes with expectations. Smith, still only 23, has just 12 goals in 63 games this season. General manager Peter Chiarelli, during a Friday press conference to announce the signings, admitted Smith is being paid like a 20-goal scorer.
“I think I welcome it,” Smith said of the pressure factor. “There’s probably a little bit more pressure but as a hockey player and playing in this organization and at this level, you welcome that every day because people get better every day and just being able to cope with challenges and changes in this league, I think it’s something every player in this league dreams to be able to do. Read the rest of this entry »
|5 things we learned as Bruins got blown out by Sharks for third straight loss||12.05.14 at 1:05 am ET|
The Bruins were desperately in search of goals and they found them. So did the Sharks.
Then the Sharks found some more. And some more.
In finally putting up something of an offensive effort, the Bruins got crushed in a mess of a pond hockey game Thursday night. Their four goals were a minor detail in a game marked by hanging Tuukka Rask out to dry in a 7-4 loss (box). Rask had never allowed seven goals in an NHL game before Thursday night.
The Bruins have now gone 0-3-0 in the first three games of their four-game West Coast trip. They’ll wrap it up Saturday against the Coyotes.
Here are four more things we learned Thursday night:
DOMINATED IN THE SECOND
It all began in the second period. After a strong first, the B’s were blown out of the water in the second by the Sharks, who put four pucks past Rask.
They scored after long stays in the offensive zone, scored on the power play (twice) and scored off the rush. San Jose outshot Boston, 24-7, in the second.
The period was a reflection of some pretty shoddy work by the B’s in both the neutral zone and their own zone. While they would gladly take a period in which they scored two goals given their offensive woes of late, the second period showed that pond hockey doesn’t suit the B’s well.
Through the first two periods alone, the Bruins gave up 61 shot attempts, which, as Nick Goss from NESN noted, was more than they’d allowed in a game all season.
REILLY SMITH IS BACK TO SCORING
It wasn’t just that Smith didn’t have any goals in his previous 10 games entering Thursday; he didn’t have any points. That changed 29 seconds into the game, as he finished off a play courtesy of slick passing from Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron. He would add a second goal shortly after a Sharks power play goal in the second period.
Speaking of Marchand and Bergeron, Smith was reunited with his longtime linemates Thursday after seeing David Pastrnak skate in his place the previous three games. Smith was put back on the line late in the second period Tuesday against the Kings and stuck there through the game Thursday.
With Smith back with Bergeron, Pastrnak was moved down to play with Chris Kelly and Matt Fraser. Seth Griffith was scratched for the third straight game. The lines were as follows:
Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
Lucic – Soderberg – Eriksson
Fraser – Kelly – Pastrnak
Paille – Campbell – Gagne
THREE-AND-ONE FAILS BRUINS
Dating back to some early-season shootout woes last season, in four-on-four play — particularly in overtime — Claude Julien has opted against skating two forwards and two defensemen and instead deployed a full forward line and one blueliner. That backfired Thursday night.
With Marchand and Tommy Wingels going off for matching roughing minors and the Bruins trailing by a goal, Julien sent Carl Soderberg’s line and Dougie Hamilton out. Joe Pavelski skated the puck around Hamilton and was going stride-for-stride to the net with Hamilton when Lucic, trying to break up the play, accidentally kicked the puck into the net as he tried to make a hard stop.
Given that there was less than 10 minutes to play in a one-goal game, there’s no issue here with Julien’s strategy as he looked for the equalizer. It just didn’t work.
PAILLE’S FLASHY ASSIST
Daniel Paille is known for being good at a lot of things and not-so-good at finishing. That doesn’t mean he can’t play a major part in a highlight reel goal.
Shortly after Smith had gotten the Bruins on the board early in the first period, Paille skated the puck through the neutral zone. With two men to beat as he went to the net, Paille spun around on his backhand and wheeled back forward to send a pass on his forehand to an oncoming Gregory Campbell, who promptly fired the puck into the net for his third goal of the season. Two of those goals have come against the Sharks.