|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.
|Zach Trotman hopes to make up for loss of Dougie Hamilton||03.26.15 at 3:07 pm ET|
There is no positive to Dougie Hamilton being out of the lineup. He is too good and the Bruins’ situation is too dire. It could be the injury that finally does them in.
Yet with Hamilton out for a number of weeks (and most likely the rest of the regular season unless he’s rushed back from his upper-body injury), the Bruins must make one last push for a playoff spot with their back end depleted.
Injuries to Hamilton and Kevan Miller (out for the season after getting shoulder surgery last month) meant that Adam McQuaid was Boston’s only right-shot defenseman left. As such, the Bruins opted for the right-shooting Zach Trotman over the left-shooting Joe Morrow when they made the call to Providence for a replacement.
The call was familiar for Trotman, who had already played 17 games this season (Sunday’s loss to the Lightning made it 18). In fact, Trotman said that given all of Boston’s injuries this season, the feeling in Providence has been different from years past. To this point, the Bruins’ number of callups has hit the 30s.
“Going into weekends, you never know who’s going to be there when the weekend starts and who’s going to be there when the weekend ends,” Trotman said of the vibe around the Baby B’s.
While the margin for error is extremely slim during this recall, this situation isn’t completely new to Trotman. After all, he was in the Bruins’ lineup for the team’s 1-2-4 stretch in early December, so getting into games when wins are of the utmost importance shouldn’t be a major development.
“It’s a little familiar, but now it’s definitely a lot more into crunch time,” Trotman said Thursday. “It’s a lot more serious now. That’s really all there is to it.”
Trotman has been skating on a third pairing with Matt Bartkowski the last three days after seeing time mostly with Zdeno Chara against the Lightning. The Bartkowski-Trotman pairing means that usual No. 5/6 Torey Krug is being elevated to a second pairing.
Claude Julien hasn’t been afraid to tinker with his lineup this season, however, and with every game a must-win down the stretch, tinker he will. Whatever the number of shifts with whomever, Trotman thinks he’ll be able to handle it.
“I’ve played with Bart many times before,” he said. “I played with Seids quite a bit when I was up last time. Krug a little bit. I played with Zee some last game, and I’ve played with him in training camp before. I’m pretty comfortable with everyone right now.”
Trotman is big, strong and responsible, but he doesn’t bring the skill set that Hamilton brings. The team doesn’t expect him to replace Hamilton, who is easily Boston’s second-best defenseman and the team’s second leader in points in this season.
What they do expect is for him to be a serviceable third-pairing player on a back end that needs to be solid enough to get the Bruins into the playoffs.
“We realize we have to get things done now,” Trotman said. “It’s a backs-in-the-corner kind of deal. It’s a tougher situation than normal maybe to come up in, but I’m just trying to do my part, play my game, be simple, play hard and try to help the team win as many games as possible here.”
|Dougie Hamilton out vs. Lightning; Bruins recall Zach Trotman||03.22.15 at 11:57 am ET|
Dougie Hamilton will not play Sunday against the Lightning due to injury, according to a source. With Hamilton out, the Bruins recalled defenseman Zach Trotman from Providence on an emergency basis Sunday.
Hamilton will undergo further testing back in Boston on Monday. He did not play at all in the third period or overtime of Saturday night’s shootout loss to the Panthers, seemingly due to a second-period play in which he was hit by both Nick Bjugstad and Scottie Upshall.
The Bruins had only been carrying six defensemen. Trotman was recalled last weekend for Saturday’s game against the Penguins, but was returned to Providence without playing any games during the callup.
Trotman has played 17 games for the Bruins this season, registering four assists.
Sunday will mark the first game Hamilton has missed this season. He has played in every game this season, making him one of just three Bruins to play in each of the first 72 games for the Bruins.
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|Bruins assign Zach Trotman, Matt Lindblad to Providence||01.01.15 at 2:39 pm ET|
The Bruins returned Matt Lindblad and Zach Trotman to Providence Thursday.
Lindblad had been recalled prior to Monday’s game on an emergency basis after the B’s lost Matt Fraser on waivers to the Oilers. He skated on a line with Craig Cunningham and Seth Griffith in Boston’s win over Detroit, but served as a healthy scratch Wednesday when both Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron returned to the lineup.
In two NHL games this season, Lindblad has no points, three shots on goal and an average time on ice of 7:46.
Trotman has skated in 17 games for the Bruins, averaging 17:16 of ice time, but was a healthy scratch in Boston’s last six games. His assignment to Providence leaves the Bruins with seven defensemen and suggests Adam McQuaid (thumb) could be nearing a return.
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|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.
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