|Reilly Smith is just trying to ‘keep the ball rolling’||11.23.13 at 8:22 pm ET|
Bruins coach Claude Julien looks on the ice and sees the skill of Reilly Smith. Then he has to remind himself and others that he is just 22 years of age.
On Saturday, he saw a sure-fire sign that Smith is fully capable of handling the load at the NHL level. With 6:29 left in the second period of a 1-1 game, Smith broke in on Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward and had the puck on his backhand. Earlier in the season, Smith’s eyes might have gotten too big and he might have felt the pressure to rush the shot. But not Saturday. He waited.
Smith took a pass from Carl Soderberg in the low slot between the circles, skated across the crease and flipped the puck just hard enough that Ward couldn’t control it, providing the go-ahead goal, already the fourth of the season with his new team.
“Kells [Chris Kelly] was tied up in front so he kind of set up a good pick, I didn't want to force it right through and I thought I might have a little more net going to my backhand,” Smith explained. “Cam [Ward] still almost had it so I was kind of lucky that it snuck through.”
Does Saturday’s patience on the goal show he’s getting more comfortable?
“Absolutely, just little things like that where probably a few weeks or a month ago I probably wouldn't have done that, I probably would have tried to get it on net right away,” Smith said. “With every day, you build confidence.
“Every day gets a little bit easier. When you stay with the same linemates, for a few weeks or a month, everyday gets easier, chemistry builds every day so just take it day by day but I think everything is going pretty well right now, just try to keep the ball rolling.”
With Kelly and Carl Soderberg on the third line, the young winger acquired along with Loui Eriksson from Dallas for Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley is looking more and more ready to fit in on a regular basis.
“They just feel better more and more about playing together,” Julien said. “They're reading off of each other extremely well; I said that earlier in an interview about how they're just reading off each other, they're anticipating, so they're always on top of the puck. We still have some lines right now that are kind of waiting to see what the puck carrier is going to do with it and you hope that with time we can get that same level as that third line is right now of anticipating well. They know exactly where they want to go and where they're going to put the puck so they're on top of it all the time and the last few games they've had a lot of chances and a lot of offensive zone time.
“Again, we're talking about a young player here. I keep saying it all the time, we always seem to overlook his age and he's a young player. And the way I think he's handled himself in pressure situations and handling the puck a little bit better and holding onto it. And at the same time, I thought tonight he shot the puck a little bit more; he had a little bit better of a nose for the net and before, looking to make plays versus shooting the puck. So he's really turned a corner and is really coming along well for a young player.”
It’s not just Julien either. Smith is winning over veteran teammates at the same time.
“I didn't know much about him before he got traded,” David Krejci said. “I know he's a great player, he's still young, but he's playing like a ten year vet [veteran]. It's good to see him doing well; hopefully he can keep it up.”
|Bruins review: Carl Soderberg coming alive, Malcolm Subban fights||11.10.13 at 5:38 pm ET|
Reviewing the week that was in Bruins land.
This week packed a punch. From Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley to Tim Thomas (kind of) and then Phil Kessel, it was reunion week at TD Garden. The Bruins won two of the three games and now stand at 10-5-1 with 21 points on the season. They trail the Lightning (24 points in 16 games) and will take them on Monday.
Seguin came back to Boston. We spoke at length with Peter Chiarelli about Seguin’s time here and the trade
Loui Eriksson returned to the lineup, as did Johnny Boychuk
Peverley came back too, and he beat the Bruins in a shootout
People booed the bejesus out of Seguin. Why?
Claude Julien corrected record about Tim Thomas winning the Bruins a Stanley Cup
Brad Marchand finally scored as the Bruins beat the Panthers, who fired everyone after because the Panthers stink
Tuukka Rask admitted that the consequences of him not being at his best are greater with the B’s a work in progress defensively
The third line the Bruins had planned on having in the preseason finally got together and did well
Panthers forward Jesse Winchester left his feet to elbow Chris Kelly in the head and was suspended three games for it
Scott McLaughlin gave his argument against fighting in the NHL and noted hits like Winchester’s need to be a priority
The Bruins beat the Maple Leafs, but with far less drama than last time
Adam McQuaid was hurt in the win and is unlikely to play Monday
As such, the Bruins will likely have three mobile defensemen in their lineup against the Lightning
IT WAS A GOOD WEEK FOR'¦
Carl Soderberg: The 28-year-old his playing the best hockey of his brief NHL career. It’s been a combination of him being more comfortable in the league and his ankle not bothering him as much as it did when he first returned. He has points in two of his last three games.
Jarome Iginla: The 36-year-old was a beast Saturday against the Maple Leafs and has been — to this point, at least — a regular-season upgrade over Nathan Horton.
Milan Lucic: The former 30-goal-scorer-turned-seven-goal-scorer tied his goal output of the lockout-shortened season when he notched his seventh goal of the season Tuesday against the Stars. It took him 46 games to get to that number last season.
Torey Krug: The undersized and over-talented blueliner still has his uh-oh moments defensively, and he’s going to have them. He’s also going to have weeks like this one, where he had goals in consecutive games.
IT WAS A BAD WEEK FOR'¦
Brad Marchand: He isn’t out of the woods yet. Despite finally scoring his second goal of the season Thursday, he had a bad turnover in a following shift. He was also passive along the wall Saturday in allowing the Leafs to create a 2-on-1. Things are looking up, but it isn’t smooth sailing just yet.
Zdeno Chara (kind of): Only for Thursday. A bad line change with the Bruins holding a one-goal lead against the Stars against the Stars resulted in a Vernon Fiddler breakaway. Dennis Seidenberg had to hook him, resulting in a penalty shot on which Fiddler tied the game. The B’s lost in a shootout.
Gregory Campbell: The Merlot Line center has just one shot on goal over the last six games. His trio was also stuck in the Bruins’ zone for a while in the second period.
Claude Julien: He did fine as a coach, but he got Tyler Seguin and Tim Thomas questions all week. He seemed to get sick of them in a hurry.
MEANWHILE, IN PROVIDENCE'¦
Matt Fraser had four goals Friday in an 8-5 win over Hartford that also featured a hat trick from Craig Cunningham. I wasn’t there and didn’t see it, but considering the lack of suspension, Fraser celebrated his goal differently than Joe Thornton would have.
Alexander Khokhlachev also scored in the game, giving him two goals in a three-game span after going without a goal in his first eight games of the season. With an assist Saturday and a goal Sunday, Khokhlachev seems to have found his rhythm after a quiet start.
Saturday’s 5-2 win over Worcester featured a pair of goals from Carter Camper, and last but not least, Malcolm Subban got in a fight in Sunday’s 6-0 Providence win over Hartford. Subban dropped the gloves against Hartford netminder Scott Stajcer for his first professional fight. His brother, P.K. Subban, has 11 career fights and a 12 in the preseason.
|Shawn Thornton on D&C: ‘We’re working our [butts] off, but we’re not working that smart’||11.06.13 at 10:29 am ET|
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday to discuss the team's shootout loss to the Stars on Tuesday, and their recent slump.
Dallas knocked off Boston, 3-2, at TD Garden thanks to the shootout heroics of a pair of former Bruins, Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley. Seguin scored the first shootout goal, and Peverley ensured the victory with the second, as the pair played Boston for the first time since being traded from the Bruins this summer.
'Losing sucks, period, right now, but we didn't put too much stock into the fact that [Peverley] and [Seguin] were on the other sideline, it was just the Dallas Stars,' Thornton said.
Seguin and Peverley were shipped to the Stars in exchange for Loui Eriksson and three Dallas prospects on July 4. Seguin has thrived in the new environment, scoring six goals and assisting on nine in the Stars’ first 15 games, while Peverley has chipped in with two goals and five assists.
'[Seguin] played pretty hard last night. He's at center, so when he was on the wing with us he had to win a lot of those war battles in our zone, and I think he'd probably say the same thing, I think he's more suited to use his speed in their system up the middle,' Thornton said.
The crucial play in Tuesday's game came with Boston leading 2-1 with less than three minutes remaining in the game. Stars forward Vernon Fiddler streaked unabated to the goal on a breakaway, and Bruins defender Dennis Seidenberg opted to hook Fiddler and bring him to the ground. The violation lead to a penalty shot, which Fiddler buried to tie the score at two and send the game into overtime.
'I know [Seidenberg] was coming on the ice and tried his best to get there and do what he could to negate a goal and unfortunately there was a penalty shot called,' Thornton said. 'But that's just one play that ended up in a goal, the whole game doesn't come down to that. '¦ I think there's a lot of stuff that went wrong during that game that we're going to have to work on.'
The Bruins entered Tuesday's bout with Dallas desperate for a win after losing three of their last four games. The overtime loss dropped them to a tie for four place in the Atlantic Division with Montreal.
'Sometimes it's not the effort maybe, but the way we're working, too,' Thornton said. 'I can speak for our line I guess that we're working our [butts] off, but we're not working that smart, we're not reading off of each other properly. It's almost like you get frustrated and you want to do too much, and that's counterproductive sometimes.'
|Tyler Seguin says ‘in the end, you want to play where you’re wanted’||11.05.13 at 11:28 pm ET|
Tyler Seguin made it clear after Tuesday night’s 3-2 shootout win over his former Bruins team that he is very happy in Dallas and doesn’t regret leaving Boston.
“If I got a contract or trade or asked, I don’t think I’d come back,” Seguin said. “I think, in the end, you want to play where you’re wanted. I have great relationships with our coach and our GM here and I know how much they want me. I know how much they want me and it feels great to play here. That’s all I have to say on that.”
“Pretty intense. I went into the game with the mentality, I know they’re not going to try and talk to me so I’m not going to. I’ve been in that dressing room when Joe Thornton has come to town or Phil Kessel, it’s a hockey game out there, not friends,” Seguin said. “I had a few guys, Johnny being his funny self, grabbing me, and Tuukka getting in my way one time when there was a mini-line [scrum] when nobody dropped their gloves. Besides that, it was just a hockey game.”
It was a weird feeling and a tense night on the ice. He scored the tying goal in the shootout and watched as another former Bruins teammate, Rich Peverley scored to give the Stars a 3-2 shootout win. Seguin finished with two shots and was a plus-1.
“Glad it’s over,” Seguin said. “I didn’t know what to expect. It was just weird. It was weird being out there, especially first period. It felt more comfortable as things went on but for our team, that’s a huge win for us.”
Seguin lost 13-of-14 face-offs Sunday in Ottawa and was called out by his coach Lindy Ruff, despite a 4-3 Stars win.
“I kind of got called out by my coach a little bit there last game in Ottawa,” Seguin said. “I wanted to be better on face-offs, be a better centerman out there. I thought I played pretty solid. Obviously, nothing offensively but our line was plus tonight against a pretty good hockey team and great face-off men and we’ll take it from there.”
The Bruins did pay tribute to Seguin, showing two pictures of him holding up the 2011 Stanley Cup after the Game 7 win in Vancouver.
“It was nice,” Seguin said. “Definitely a very classy organization.”
Claude Julien was in a foul mood to begin with. His team had just blown a 2-1 lead late in the third period and then blown the extra point by losing in a shootout when not only Tyler Seguin but Rich Peverley both scored against their former Boston teammates to give Dallas a 3-2 win.
But then the Bruins coach was asked if losing to Seguin was extra painful.
“I don’t care about that. Give it a break,” Julien responded sharply. “I’m mad because we lost. Next.”
Julien did explain what he felt was the problem with his team in the last two games, losses to the Islanders and Stars.
“When you play that way, you find ways to lose hockey games and that’s what we’re doing right now, we’re finding ways to lose,” Julien said. “Bad change on the tying goal, real bad change. So, it’s not just the young guys, it’s good players, it’s everybody right now. We’re not playing well right now. We’re finding ways to lose versus finding ways to win.”
NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Tuesday afternoon to discuss Tyler Seguin‘s return to Boston on Tuesday night with the Stars and the the Bruins’ start to the season.
The Bruins’ tilt with Dallas will be the first time that Seguin will have the opportunity to play against his former team after being traded on July 4 in a deal that sent Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith, Matt Fraser and Joe Morrow to Boston and Seguin, Rich Peverley and Ryan Button to Texas.
After a three-season tenure with the Bruins in which Seguin, the second overall pick in the 2010 draft, excited fans with his potential but also disappointed with issues regarding his maturity, many are wondering what kind of reception the 21-year-old center will receive from the TD Garden crowd.
“[The fans will be] probably pretty rough on [Seguin],” McGuire said. “I don’t think as rough on Rich Peverley, obviously. But the Bruins fans need to know that was a pretty good acquisition for both teams. At the end of the day, I know Loui Eriksson is an injured player right now, but he’s going to be a very important part of the Bruins’ future, and Reilly Smith has been tremendous for the Bruins since coming over, so I think it will be a rough ride for Tyler tonight.
“But I hope Bruins fans remember that magical run in 2011, because it was something special and he was a big part of it.”
Seguin has adjusted well to his new team in Dallas, as he has recorded six goals and nine assists in just 14 games. The Ontario native is on pace to have an 88-point season, 21 points more than his career high (67 in 2011-12).
“[Seguin's reception in Dallas has been] very strong, very good, very positive. I think sometimes young players … need to be scared straight, and one of the ways of scaring them straight is by trading them earlier in their careers,” McGuire said. “Chris Pronger is exhibit A. He went from being a decent player who should’ve been a superstar to being the MVP of the league after he got traded out of Hartford/Carolina to St. Louis, and he needed that. He needed to get his attention that it wasn’t going to be easy.
“I think the same thing is going to happen with Tyler Seguin. There’s a guy running the Boston Bruins right now, Cam Neely, he didn’t do much when he was a member of the Vancouver Canucks, but when he got traded to the Boston Bruins, he became a cult icon. So sometimes young players just need a little wakeup call, and I think maybe this was a wakeup call that Tyler Seguin needed.”
|Rich Peverley reflects on a strange few months, says he’s ‘really proud’ of Tyler Seguin||11.04.13 at 5:36 pm ET|
Rich Peverley knew at the start of the offseason that he wasn’t going to be back in Boston.
He had two years remaining on a three-year, $9.75 million deal he had signed the previous season, but Peter Chiarelli informed him at the exit meetings that the B’s were going to have to trade him to free up cap space.
Now Peverley finds himself in Dallas, having been shipped with Tyler Seguin to the Stars in the July 4 blockbuster.
“No hard feelings,” Peverley said. “It’s a business. You wish them the best, but now I’m focused on being in Dallas.”
Peverley admits that the time between breakup day and the trade was strange. He knew he wasn’t going to be with the Bruins, but he wasn’t a free agent and he didn’t know where he was going. It was strange.
“It definitely was,” he said. “I knew it was coming, but it is what it is. I just kind of got away a little bit. It was a long season, having the lockout and going to Europe and coming back and [playing] all the way to July, it was a long season. I was just trying to clear my mind, but having that in the back of your mind, not knowing where you were going to go was a little bit stressful.”
The veteran forward says he doesn’t regret signing his deal with the Bruins. It was inked the season after he was traded to the Bruins and had won the Cup, so he wanted to stay. The fact that he was moved doesn’t mean he regrets trying to stay as long as he could.
“I don’t have regrets at all,” he said. “I thought I’d be here for those three years, but things change quickly. I don’t know if I would have gotten traded if the salary cap hadn’t gone down, but things happen and you have no control over it. That’s why there are trades in the NHL.”
That brief time between the end of the season and the trade wasn’t the only strange thing Peverley’s encountered the last few months. He missed all of training camp and the first game of the season due to an irregular heartbeat that required a procedure to correct it, and in 13 games he has two goals and five assists for seven points and a plus-3 rating.
Of course, Peverley wasn’t the biggest name that went to Dallas in that trade, and his exit from Boston was certainly less noteworthy than Seguin’s.
Seguin was shipped amidst character concerns after a postseason in which he underperformed on the ice and had a little too much fun off the ice, but Peverley sees a change in Seguin’s attitude and dedication. He would know better than anybody the difference between what Seguin was like in Boston vs. what he’s like in Dallas.
“I’ve been really proud of him, to be honest,” Peverley said. “He’s kind of put it in the back of his mind, and he’s being really professional about it.”