|Bruins should still make room for Joe Morrow||12.11.14 at 1:26 pm ET|
Joe Morrow should be playing in the NHL. He might even be a guy worth making room for if you’re the Bruins.
Yet with the B’s finally getting their biggest piece back on defense and that room not being made, this could be the beginning of a prolonged stay in the press box or even a return to Providence for the twice-traded-yet-somehow-not-neurotic blueliner.
Even before Zdeno Chara was ready to return, the Bruins began scratching Morrow last week when they, for whatever reason, sat him in the middle two games of their four-game West Coast trip. It doesn’t seem Morrow has done anything to get himself benched, however. Since being recalled in late October, the 22-year-old defenseman was everything but rocky, which was the biggest concern about him heading in given his offensive tendencies. Getting decent minutes (he averaged 16:41) against other teams’ bottom-sixers, Morrow provided stability that Matt Bartkowski couldn’t earlier in the season. His decision-making was sound and he didn’t have major issues in coverage.
Now, Morrow understands those minutes may be harder to come by.
“Every day, even up here there’s still healthy guys most of the time, so it was an ongoing process of possibly being in and out, so there’s really not much to it,” he said. “You’ve just got to go out and practice and see where you fit in and wait for another opportunity, whether it be here or whatever they decide to do. You never know.
“They keep you in the dark; they keep you out of everything and if you don’t let that get to you, you should be fine. Just stay positive and live every day.”
The level-headed Morrow is keeping surprisingly calm throughout the process. When the B’s took him out of the lineup, he didn’t become overly critical of himself or wondered what earned the benching, which is something young players experience frequently early in their careers.
“I guess at one point there’s a part where you’ve got to look at yourself and say, ‘Oh, well did I do something wrong or is it just kind of [they’ve] got to get some other guys in the lineup, switch things up a bit?'” Morrow said. “Personally, I didn’t take it to heart.”
The Bruins can still make room for Morrow. Zach Trotman remains in the lineup, with Claude Julien saying this week that he’s felt Trotman has been the team’s best defenseman on certain nights. He also likes that Trotman is a right shot, though the Bruins have lefties in Dennis Seidenberg and Torey Krug who can move over to allow another lefty, such as Morrow, to enter the lineup. The B’s also shouldn’t be above sitting Kevan Miller at points if need be.
“We’re going to have a healthier back end, which will allow us to out the best players in the lineup,” Julien said. “You hear us say it all the time – it’s almost a cliche now – but healthy competition, right? That’s what it ends up being.”
Though coaches feel he has been a better NHL player than an AHL player, the possibility exists that Morrow could eventually fall victim to the waiver process and be sent to Providence. The B’s can send guys like Morrow or Trotman up and down without exposing them to waivers, which is not the case for other defensemen such as Bartkowski. Morrow knows he could be sent back down, but he would be understanding of the numbers game if it happened.
“It’s in the back of your mind, you know it is [a possibility],” Morrow said. “It is a chess match. You know they’ve got to strategically do things to help this organization and to keep it intact. Whatever that may be, I know I’m a part of it and I’m here to help out, too, so if that’s the case that it does work out better that way, you can’t be mad or you can’t be disappointed about it. It’s just the way things are.”
|Injuries mean jobs: Bruins’ young defensemen should seize moment like those before them||11.20.14 at 3:14 pm ET|
Peter Chiarelli will probably never say how many NHL defensemen he thinks he has again.
Since saying that he felt he had nine this offseason, the number has been tested significantly. After trading one of them in Johnny Boychuk, Chiarelli has seen five of his defensemen get hurt in the first 20 games of the season. Of the nine NHL-caliber defensemen Chiarelli said he felt the Bruins possessed, the only three who haven’t suffered an injury this season have been Dennis Seidenberg, Dougie Hamilton and Matt Bartkowski.
That is rough, rough stuff for the Bruins, but it does allow that list of NHL defensemen to get longer. Games played as injury replacements have been the avenue to the NHL for many of Boston’s young defensemen, with Hamilton really the only one who was actually given a job to begin his NHL career.
Adam McQuaid filled in for an injured Mark Stuart and took his job in 2011. Torey Krug and Matt Bartkowski earned their sweaters in the 2013 postseason. Kevan Miller and Zach Trotman got their feet wet a season ago with injuries to various blueliners, while Joe Morrow initially came up to replace the struggling Bartkowski this season but will remain in the lineup in part because of Boston’s ailing back end.
Krug thinks that’s a respectable way to become an NHL player. He feels jumping in to replace a hurt player leaves less room for thinking, which is a good way to avoid mistakes for a young player.
“It doesn’t leave you time to think about what could happen or what could go wrong, because you’re the only option,” he said. “They’re putting you in the game and you’ve just got to go out and do your thing. All the guys that have gone out and done so so far have taken the right mindset.
“That’s the only reason I’m here right now, is because there was an opportunity with a couple guys hurt in the playoffs, and I [made] the best of it. I think these guys are doing a good job of taking these opportunities and running with it. It’s fun when you earn things like that.”
McQuaid had gotten off to a very encouraging start to this season coming off an injury-plagued 2013-14 campaign that saw him dress in only 30 games. With a broken thumb putting his season on hold for 6-8 weeks, the Bruins have to go back to their group of young defensemen for bigger and tougher minutes.
That won’t be easy, but given the job that Miller did replacing him last season and the play they’ve gotten from other young blueliners, the Bruins are confident they can handle the loss.
“Is it a silver lining? It is in a way because we really felt we had some good depth on the back end,” Claude Julien said. “I think it’s showing now. Whoever we bring up seems to be doing a decent job. A lot of guys that are here now are going to make it difficult for us when it’s all said and done. There’s a pretty good competition going again on our back end.”
Morrow, a 2011 first-round pick, has proven to be a better NHL player than he was an AHL player. Trotman, meanwhile, was replaced by Bartkowski on Saturday and eventually sent to Providence, but now he’s back with the NHL club. Neither player was on Chiarelli’s unofficial list of nine this summer, but they can add their names to it with strong performances.
Given their injuries, the Bruins’ list of NHL-caliber defensemen isn’t anything like what it was in the offseason, but as players return to the lineup, the B’s could eventually find themselves at a point where they have more guys capable of handling NHL minutes than they did immediately after trading Boychuk.
“I think that number’s grown,” Krug said. “You’re witnessing Joe come in and do a great job, and Trots is getting the experience and he’s doing well. I think that number’s getting higher and higher. Hopefully at some point, we have that many guys that the coaching staff has to make a decision who to play.”
|Bruins sign Jordan Caron, Tommy Cross, Craig Cunningham, Tyler Randell, Zach Trotman and Justin Florek||07.18.14 at 2:11 pm ET|
The Bruins announced new contracts for Jordan Caron, Tommy Cross, Craig Cunningham, Tyler Randell, Zach Trotman and Justin Florek on Friday. All but Florek’s deals have been signed.
As was reported Thursday, Caron’s contract is a one-year, one-way deal for $600,000. The rest of the deals are two-way contracts, though Trotman’s contract is two-way in the first year and one-way in the second year. Trotman will make $650,000 in the second year of his deal.
Cross received a one-year, two-way contract worth $600,000 at the NHL level and $72,500 at the AHL level. Cunningham’s contract is a one-year, two-way deal worth $600,000 at the NHL level and $85,000 at the AHL level.
Florek received a one-year, two-way deal worth $600,000 at the NHL level and $90,000 at the AHL level. Randell’s deal is a one-year, two-way contract worth $575,000 at the NHL level and $70,000 at the AHL level.
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Bruins send Ryan Spooner, Zach Trotman to Providence||01.28.14 at 3:47 pm ET|
The Bruins sent center Ryan Spooner and defenseman Zach Trotman to Providence Tuesday.
Spooner’s demotion comes with Chris Kelly being activated from injured reserve as he is set to return from a broken fibula suffered on Dec. 7. Spooner had been centering the third line in Kelly’s place up until the past two games. Carl Soderberg centered the third line Saturday with Spooner out with the flu and stayed there as the Bruins made Spooner a healthy scratch Monday.
In 22 games for the Bruins this season, Spooner has no goals and 11 assists for 11 points. He has five goals and 18 assists for 23 points in 21 games for Providence this season.
The Bruins chose Spooner with the 45th overall pick in the 2010 draft. In his first professional season, Spooner put up 17 goals and 40 assists for 57 points in 59 games for Providence last season. He had an encouraging training camp, but the lack of center jobs available and the team’s intentions of keeping him at center forced him back to Providence.
Spooner said in Dallas this month that he hoped to stay in Boston once Kelly returned, even if it meant he wouldn’t be playing.
‘I think for me right now, being here and kind of being in the environment and just watching some of the centermen here would be good for me,” Spooner said, “but I’m not really focused on that right now.’
Trotman was recalled last week but did not play during his two-game recall.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Chris Kelly, Dougie Hamilton practice with Bruins; Adam McQuaid absent||01.23.14 at 11:22 am ET|
WILMINGTON — Both Chris Kelly and Dougie Hamilton returned to practice Thursday at Ristuccia Arena. Adam McQuaid, who is out with a leg injury, was the only player missing from practice.
Kelly has been out since Dec. 7 with a broken fibula, while Hamilton has missed the last four games with a concussion. Kelly was wearing a grey (third line) jersey along with Carl Soderberg, Loui Eriksson and Ryan Spooner. With Kelly out of the lineup, Spooner has centered the third line.
“I was excited to come today,” Kelly said after the practice. “It’s been a little bit longer than I would have liked, but it’s all part of the process of getting better, and today was a good step in the right direction.”
Kelly said he isn’t sure when he will return to the lineup, but Claude Julien said that he will travel to Philadelphia for Saturday’s game and could be in the lineup within a week. The veteran center added that he “pushed it pretty good” in Thursday’s practice and felt good.
“I think I’ve done everything I need to do,” Kelly said. “Conditioning, I felt great. Obviously you can never simulate the physical aspect of the game, but I felt good out there today.”
Julien said it is unclear whether Hamilton will travel, as he hasn’t been cleared to take heavy contact yet.
Also on the ice for the B’s was Zach Trotman, who was recalled Thursday morning on an emergency basis. Trotman had been returned to Providence Tuesday after playing Monday’s game against the Kings. Though the Bruins were off Tuesday and Wednesday, Trotman was able to get a practice in with Providence on Wednesday.
For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Bruins recall Zach Trotman||at 9:31 am ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins have recalled defenseman Zach Trotman from Providence on an emergency basis. The team had recalled him for Monday’s game against the Kings and then sent him back.
Trotman’s recall comes with the Bruins still banged up on the right side of their blue line. Dougie Hamilton has missed the last four games with a concussion, while Adam McQuaid left Sunday’s game in Chicago and did not play Monday due to a leg injury. If neither are ready for Saturday’s game in Philadelphia, Trotman will see NHL action for the third time this season.
This is Trotman’s third recall of the season. In two games with the Bruins this season, Trotman has an even rating and is averaging 15:00 of ice time per game.
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Bruins make four cuts, send Zach Trotman to AHL||09.22.13 at 6:30 pm ET|
The Bruins made four cuts from camp Sunday, the most notable of which was defenseman Zach Trotman. Other players released from camp were Malcolm Subban, Carter Camper and Justin Florek.
The 23-year-old Trotman had a standout performance in rookie camp and was something of a darkhorse to potentially win a job as an extra defenseman in Boston. With Trotman cut, it’s nearly a certainty that Torey Krug, Matt Bartkowski and Dougie Hamilton will be on the roster when the season begins next month.
Camper was also a darkhorse candidate to make the team, as he appeared to be a viable option as a potential third-line right wing. At this point, it appears that Reilly Smith, who was acquired from the Stars this offseason in the Loui Eriksson deal, should win the job.
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