|3rd-place Bruins say they’ve ‘surprised,’ ‘proved people wrong’||01.27.16 at 2:15 am ET|
The Bruins’ final game before the All-Star break didn’t go their way, a 6-2 loss to Anaheim that dropped the B’s home record to a lousy 11-13-2.
However, the players in the Boston dressing room seemed content with their lot in life as they packed up for a week’s furlough, a 26-18-5 season mark in tow that was holding them third place in the Atlantic Division with 33 games remaining on the season.
“We’ve surprised a lot of people,” said defenseman Torey Krug. “We’re not surprised in here where we [are]. We had a goal to be in the top three [of our division] before the All-Star break and we’re sitting right there.”
“At the beginning of the year there were a lot of people that probably thought that we wouldn’t be in the playoffs,” echoed forward Ryan Spooner. “You kind of heard that stuff, and that we would be a younger team. But we’ve shown that we can play with the top teams. We’ve proved a lot of people wrong and we just have to keep that up.”
The Bruins have indeed exceeded many preseason prognostications to this point. The team’s 21-10-2 record against the Eastern Conference shines bright, as does its 12-6-1 mark within the division. The latter includes a 4-0 performance against the two teams ahead of Boston in the Atlantic (Florida and Detroit).
That said, despite winning five of their last seven games, players also are willing to admit that their current playoff perch is a tenuous one.
|Torey Krug on fight with Chris Stewart: ‘I started it’||01.26.16 at 11:18 pm ET|
The Bruins lost Tuesday’s game because they were terrible for most of the opening 40 minutes, not because Torey Krug lost a fight.
During the 6-2 loss Krug took on the much bigger Chris Stewart (the former future Bruin has 5 inches and 45 pounds on Krug) and predictably lost. While fans during the game wanted Krug’s defeat avenged — and for all we know maybe Stewart was challenged at another point during the game — Krug and Claude Julien both took no issue with the fight after the game.
“I started it,” Krug said. “He didn’t want to fight me. It was a mismatch, but at the end of the day, I don’t know, I didn’t like what happened there and it got a little crazy.”
Said Julien: “Torey dropped the gloves against him. It’s disappointing to see that kind of fight, but when your player drops his gloves against you, what is he supposed to do? He defended himself, and some people might have done it a little differently, but it doesn’t matter. To me, Torey dropped the gloves like he wanted to fight, and I don’t think that took any juice out of our team. I think if anything it kind of gave a little bit more animosity to the rest of the game.”
|David Krejci week-to-week with upper-body injury||12.28.15 at 12:24 pm ET|
Krejci, whose 11 goals and 33 points in 35 games had him on pace for a career-high in both categories, suffered his injury in the second period of Sunday’s loss to the Senators. Claude Julien would not specify the nature of Krejci’s injury — he wouldn’t elaborate past calling it an upper-body injury and terming the player “week-to-week” — but Krejci was seen wearing a sling on his right arm after Monday’s practice.
In other injury news, Torey Krug is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Krug left Saturday night’s game after the first period and did not play on Sunday. Krug skated prior to Monday’s practice, as did recovering forward Joonas Kemppainen. Julien said that Monday was either the first or second day back on the ice for Kemppainen, who has not played since Dec. 7 due to an upper-body injury.
With Krejci out, Ryan Spooner was elevated to Boston’s second line to skate with Matt Beleskey and Loui Eriksson in Monday’s practice. Landon Ferraro moved up to take Spooner’s third-line spot. Boston’s lines in practice were as follows:
The absence of both Krejci and Krug also led to changes on Boston’s power play units, as Krejci and Krug man the points on the team’s first unit. The Bruins power play units in Monday’s practice were as follows:
Without Krejci, the Bruins have just 12 healthy forwards. David Pastrnak is currently in Finland for the World Junior Championships, but Julien said he feels the Bruins might be better off letting the player regain his timing and confidence in the tournament rather than hurrying him back to the NHL.
|Torey Krug ends 26-game goal drought, insists he wasn’t ‘too worried’ about it||11.14.15 at 11:41 pm ET|
On his 44th shot on goal of the season, Torey Krug finally scored his first goal. Dating back to last season, it was his first goal in 27 games, ending the longest drought of his young career.
If Krug were a forward, this would all be a pretty big deal. Given that he’s an offensive defensemen who has scored 26 goals over the last two season, it’s still at least noteworthy. Krug insists he wasn’t giving the drought much thought, though.
“I wasn’t really too worried about it, especially with a few more minutes being played,” Krug said. “My number one job is always defense and that’s been good so far. I can always improve, but it’s nice to get the first one.”
Krug is right, of course. Even if he is an offensive defenseman, he is still, first and foremost, a defenseman. In the past, it was easy to overlook that fact. Krug was often used in situations that catered to his strengths and shielded his question marks (he got a lot of offensive zone starts and faced mostly third and fourth lines), so his defensive game wasn’t exactly facing tough tests.
This season has been different, though. Krug hasn’t been nearly as sheltered as he has been in the past. Given the lack of true top-four defensemen on the Boston blue line, Krug has had to play a bigger role. According to war-on-ice.com, Krug has an offensive zone start percentage of 53.25 percent this year vs. 59.97 percent last year, and only Zdeno Chara has faced tougher quality of competition among Bruins defensemen. Oh, and Krug is second on the B’s in average time on ice (again behind only Chara).
Krug said he has embraced the challenge and pointed out that playing against first and second lines might actually suit his game in a way people wouldn’t necessarily notice.
“You go out there and play hockey that is more suitable to my type of game,” Krug said. “Playing against top-two line guys, they think the same way that I think. How hockey should be played — it’s more fun to play that.”
|David Pastrnak, Torey Krug miss Bruins practice||11.10.15 at 12:22 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — David Pastrnak and Torey Krug were both missing from the ice as the Bruins returned to practice Tuesday at Ristuccia Arena.
Pastrnak has missed the last four games with a bruised foot. With Pastrnak still out, Frank Vatrano skated on David Krejci‘s line with Loui Eriksson. Claude Julien said after the practice that Krug was given a maintenance day, but that Pastrnak’s status remains up in the air.
“He’s still not ready to go, obviously,” Julien said. “I don’t know. I haven’t heard much from our training staff, but they told me he’s not available, so it doesn’t look good I guess as we speak because of that. I was expecting him to be back today. We’ll see what comes out of that.”
All other players were on the ice Tuesday. The forward lines were as follows:
The Bruins are in the middle of a three-day stretch of no game action. They had Monday off and will practice again on Wednesday before hosting the Avalanche in the first game of a five-game homestand.
|Bruins’ first home win ‘a pride thing’||10.27.15 at 11:57 pm ET|
If they’d lost on Tuesday, the Bruins would have been in Original Six territory.
As in the 1951-52 Original Six Bruins, the last version of the B’s to start a season winless on home ice for more than four games; that season Milt Schmidt’s boys went 0-5-4 out of the gate en route to a fourth-place finish.
Instead of Original Six, the 2015-16 Bruins went Additional Six on Tuesday night with a 6-0 shutout of the Coyotes to snap their 0-3-1 homely open to the year.
“It was nice to finally get a home win and get that out of the way,” Bruins winger Loui Eriksson said with a satisfied sigh.
Instead of the Bronx cheers that were heard sprinkled in at TD Garden during losses to Winnipeg, Montreal, Tampa Bay and Philadelphia, Tuesday night’s win ended with a standing ovation of approval raining down from the local faithful who stayed to the final horn.
“We felt like we kind of owed them a little bit. We owed them the win,” David Krejci said on a night when he added two more goals to his growing personal collection of seven markers on the year. “Big for the standings and our fans as well. Obviously, you like to get the first one at home. We were close the last couple times, but it was big to get the first one finally. The way we played today, we got the fans on our side.”
Bruins coach Claude Julien didn’t want to go so far as saying the poor home start was weighing on his team, but he certainly acknowledged that home success is important. After all, just two years ago Boston’s 31-7-3 mark on home ice buoyed the team to a 117-point season and the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
“I think the fact that we were playing better the last four games [overall] — we had the one overtime loss — I think our guys felt if they kept playing the way they could it was just a matter of time,” Julien said. “I think it’s more about a pride thing. Our home building has to be something that doesn’t bode well for teams coming in here. And right now we’ve made too many teams feel comfortable. That’s what we’re trying to change.”
|With great paycheck comes great responsibility for Adam McQuaid||09.18.15 at 4:32 pm ET|
When asked Friday if the Bruins’ new emphasis on defensemen supporting the attack would boost his offensive numbers, defenseman Adam McQuaid smirked and replied, “There’s only room for improvement there.”
Then, as McQuaid got more serious, he added, “I never put numbers on things.”
Fairly or unfairly, a number has been put on him, and it’s a high one — 2.75 million, to be exact. That’s McQuaid’s cap hit for the next four seasons, a substantial raise from the $1.566 million he averaged over the course of his previous contract.
McQuaid’s four-year, $11 million contract has widely been viewed as an overpayment on the part of the B’s. An intangibles player who comes with as mean a streak as any defenseman in the NHL, McQuaid is a player any team would love to have on its third pairing. With the way he’s being paid however, coupled with the fact that frequent partner Torey Krug makes $3.4 million for his offensive contributions, the risk that the Bruins run is that McQuaid will either be overpaid for a third-pairing defenseman or potentially out of place as a top-four defenseman.
Though the news of his contract came out after the Bruins traded Dougie Hamilton, McQuaid actually had agreed hours before the trade was made. So, in a matter of hours, the 28-year-old went from returning to the same defense group he knew to potentially picking up bigger minutes. McQuaid wants to be a key piece of the defense, but he doesn’t want his contract to dictate his role.
“I think you have to earn those things, obviously,” he said Friday. “I’d like to play a bigger role, but it’s got to be something that you earn and you show that you’re able to do. I think you can tell that we have a lot of depth on the blue line this year. It’s going to be competitive and every day you’re going to need to show your worth or there’s going to be somebody else who can step in and do it.
“At this point in my career, I’d like to continue to improve and get better and play a bigger role, but I’ve got to prove I can do that and work towards that.”