Bruins roster watch: More moves coming

October, 1, 2014
Oct 1
6:35
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BOSTON -- With one week before puck drops on the 2014-2015 season, Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli and coach Claude Julien still have some difficult roster decisions to make ahead of the Oct. 8 opener against the Philadelphia Flyers at TD Garden.

A healthy internal competition has taken place during training camp, with some players making a statement to earn a spot, while others have fallen from grace.

[+] EnlargeClaude Julien
David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe/Getty ImagesClaude Julien and the Bruins are sifting through their personnel options as training camp winds down.
Offensively, the Bruins have four vacancies. Defensively, Boston's blue line is a virtual logjam, and it's only a matter of time before Chiarelli trades a defenseman.

With only two preseason games remaining before the Bruins head out on their annual team bonding trip after Saturday's exhibition game at home against the Detroit Red Wings, more cuts and a possible trade or two are coming.

Julien likes consistency in his lineup, which is something the Bruins have enjoyed a lot of in recent seasons. With the exception of a tweak or two, Julien knows what works best in order to achieve success. Nonetheless, there are more question marks entering this season than there have been in years.

Barring any trades, when the season opens a week from now, here's how the four lines and defensive pairings could shape up for Boston:

First line: Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Loui Eriksson

Second line: Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Reilly Smith

Third line: Matt Fraser-Carl Soderberg-Simon Gagne

Fourth line: Daniel Paille-Chris Kelly-Bobby Robins/Jordan Caron

Top defensive pairing: Zdeno Chara-Dougie Hamilton

Second defensive pairing: Dennis Seidenberg-Johnny Boychuk

Third defensive pairing: Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid/Kevan Miller

Goalies: Tuukka Rask, Niklas Svedberg

The top line remains a work in progress. Krejci and Lucic have been playing together for years. Eriksson would be the third right wing on that line in five seasons. Lucic is still rehabbing from offseason wrist surgery and it could take him a while to get up to speed. That line has always been built on power and strength, but with Eriksson in the mix, there's likely to be more finesse in the mix.

If Eriksson doesn't find chemistry on that line, perhaps the Bruins would be better off having him return to the third line, where he wouldn't be going up against opponents' top defensemen.

Another option on the top line could be Fraser. He's had an impressive camp, and even though he plays the left wing, he's comfortable playing the right side, too. He's big, strong and talented and could serve that line well, though Fraser will likely start on the third line, with Carl Soderberg at center and veteran forward Simon Gagne, who could possibly earn a spot on the right wing.

Now that Smith has signed a one-year deal, he will return to his normal spot on the right side with Bergeron and Marchand on the second line. While it will take Smith, who missed 11 days of training camp, a little bit of time to shake the rust, his linemates have been playing in midseason form. Chiarelli and Julien have both said they want this line to remain intact.

[+] EnlargeJordan Caron
AP Photo/Elise AmendolaJordan Caron is fighting for a spot on the Bruins' fourth line.
For years, Bruins fans were in love with the Bruins' energy line, also known as the "Merlot Line," with Paille, Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton. Campbell will miss the start of the season with a nagging mid-core injury, and Thornton now plays for the Florida Panthers. With Campbell sidelined, Kelly could serve as fourth-line center. Since Paille can play both wings, fellow forwards Jordan Caron and Bobby Robins could earn a spot on the fourth line.

Then again, Caron could be the odd man out and possibly end up getting traded. If sent down to Providence, he would have to clear waivers, which seems unlikely.

"You hope Gregory will be back soon," Julien said. "We don't know when. We hope to see him on the ice sooner than later. He's improving well, also. Again, we're going to have to make some decisions here with the season basically a week away. We're going to have some decisions to make on who's going to start here. And depending on the health of our team maybe some will start and won't be here all year. Those are things you have to do when you're put in that situation."

The other scenario in question is how to handle Boston's first-round draft pick, David Pastrnak. The 18-year-old forward suffered a left shoulder injury on the second day of training camp and has not been cleared to play in preseason games. Julien is hoping Pastrnak will be allowed to play in at least one of the remaining two exhibition games this weekend.

Before the injury, Pastrnak impressed with his ability during rookie development camp and the national rookie tournament. But he hasn't played against NHLers in a preseason game, which could affect his chances of earning a spot. If he doesn't, per his contract, Pastrnak will return to play in the Swedish Elite League.

Defensively, Julien has some options. Whether a trade happens or not, the coach is prepared.

"When that time comes, we'll have to deal with it, but right now, I have all those guys at my disposal and I have to think as a coach who's got those guys with him," Julien said. "But nothing's been done that says you may not have this guy or that guy yet. I'm playing with the guys that I have right now. I'm using them as if I'm going to have them.

During Tuesday's 5-3 preseason loss against the New York Islanders, numerous organizations were in attendance, with scouts focused on Boychuk and McQuaid. Chiarelli said this week he would rather not trade anyone, but he has no choice given the team's cap constraints. If he decides to keep Boychuk, who has one year remaining on his $3.36 million contract before he becomes an unrestricted free agent in July, Chiarelli could move McQuaid or Matt Bartkowski.

Defenseman David Warsofsky also remains in the mix on Boston's blue line.

The Bruins had the day off Wednesday, but management and the coaching staff held meetings. The team did announce that forwards Justin Florek, Ryan Spooner, Alex Khokhlachev and goaltender Jeremy Smith (subject to waivers) have been released from camp and sent to Providence.

A lot will happen in the next week, but once the dust settles the Bruins should start the season strong in hopes of once again emerging as a Stanley Cup contender.

Bruins send four players to Providence

October, 1, 2014
Oct 1
3:26
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BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins are off Wednesday, but the team announced four players have been released from training camp and sent to Providence of the AHL.

Forwards Justin Florek, Alex Khokhlachev and Ryan Spooner, along with goaltender Jeremy Smith (subject to waivers), have been assigned to the P-Bruins.

It has been a disappointing camp for Khokhlachev and Spooner, both of whom had an opportunity to earn one of the four open forward positions but failed to impress.

"I think we have to be honest here, there's some spots open. Some guys are taking advantage of it and really making a case for themselves and some others haven't," said coach Claude Julien after Tuesday's 5-3 preseason loss to the New York Islanders. "It's one of those kind of things, at the end of the day you've got to sit down and decide who you want to keep based on merit."

Forwards Matt Fraser, Bobby Robins, Jordan Caron and Simon Gagne remain in the mix.

Fitter Marchand plans to be even better

October, 1, 2014
Oct 1
12:45
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BOSTON -- In his words, Brad Marchand is on a mission to have a great season.

Talking and chirping is something he has turned into a craft. He's known and hated around the league for his mouth, but if the Bruins forward can make good on his promise to be a better all-around player, it will only bode well for Boston.

[+] EnlargeBrad Marchand
AP Photo/Elise AmendolaBruins agitator Brad Marchand is up to his usual tricks , but he's also in better shape and bringing more energy to the ice.
He entered camp motivated. He's practicing hard and it has translated into the preseason games. On Tuesday, during a 5-3 loss to the New York Islanders at TD Garden, Marchand was drawing penalties, getting penalties, scoring goals and assisting on them, too.

He was on the power play and logged 19:17 of ice time. It's also evident that he's having a blast on the ice. But we've seen all of this before, though it has come in spurts during his six previous pro seasons. Year 7, however, could be different.

"This is probably the first season where I've been the most excited to get back at it and come back and get going," Marchand said. "Since Day 1 I've loved coming to the rink, getting on the ice and being with the guys. It's a great feeling and I'm enjoying every second of it. It feels good to be playing better, too. When you're playing well it makes things a lot easier, so you just want to continue that and things will be fun."

Last season, Marchand scored 25 goals and added 28 assists for 53 points while posting a plus-36 rating, but the Bruins still considered it subpar, simply because Marchand could have done more. With the energy and success he's had during training camp and the exhibition games, his goal is to make that translate throughout the course of the entire 2014-15 season.

"Well, you want to build momentum and get your confidence up. If you can do that going into the season, you're confident making plays," he said. "The biggest thing is trying to get the work ethic. When the work ethic is there it's going to bump up the tempo, and when the season starts the big thing is to keep up with that level, so that's the biggest thing we're trying to do and if you can do that, we should be OK."

Marchand and longtime linemate Patrice Bergeron have been in midseason form since the start of camp. They're pushing each other to be better, and they're making plays with precision. Marchand almost wishes it was December instead of training camp.

[+] EnlargeBrad Marchand
AP Photo/Elise AmendolaBrad Marchand did a little bit of everything against the Islanders, including crashing into Matt Donovan.
"Yeah, sometimes," Marchand said with a laugh. "But [preseason games] are good for us. We're still where we want to be and I think we're getting there. The next couple of games are really going to help and build that confidence and get our legs under us a little bit more and getting in sync a little bit more. If we can do that, we should have some fun this year."

At the end of last season, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli and coach Claude Julien discussed with Marchand what his offseason goals should be and how they wanted him to arrive at camp. So far, he's made good on their requests.

"Just his conditioning and how he trained this summer to come to camp and be a better player is definitely one of them," Julien said. "Again, not to confuse the fact that he wasn't in great shape last year -- he was. I don't think he trained [last year] properly for hockey and his cardio wasn't the greatest and the whole year he just struggled with it. This year, he seems a lot better. He seems to have more endurance out there and his shifts are much better because of it."

With the team's power play personnel changing again this season, Julien is experimenting during training camp with Marchand on the PP.

"It's certainly a possibility," Julien said. "He's a better player this year already than he was all of last year."

Marchand welcomes the added ice time and responsibilities.

"Yeah I'm excited to be out there and be part of it," he said. "It's a big opportunity and you want to be in those situations and try and help the team. For the most part, I'm feeling pretty comfortable out there and just trying to make plays. The biggest thing is I can't really worry about the outcome and what their plans are. I just have to control what I can and that's my play on the ice."

Marchand has been in control of his game during training camp, but the real test is whether he can continue playing with this much energy and urgency for the entire 82-game season and beyond. That's when we'll see if he can live up to the great expectations he has set for himself.
BOSTON -- After the Boston Bruins dropped a 5-3 decision to the New York Islanders on Tuesday night at TD Garden, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli, coach Claude Julien and the majority of the hockey operations staff met in the coach's office to discuss the team's roster.

With one week until the season opener against the Philadelphia Flyers on Oct. 8 at TD Garden, the Bruins still have some tough roster decisions to make. On Tuesday, the locker room was closed to the media, and it took Julien over 30 minutes to emerge from his meetings with management.

[+] EnlargeEriksson
Winslow Townson/USA TODAY SportsLoui Eriksson is still trying to settle in on the Bruins' top line.
More cuts are coming, but Julien said he'll leave those decisions to upper management. The Bruins are off Wednesday, so the coaching staff and management will reconvene and dissect the roster a bit more.

"No, nothing tonight," Julien said of possible cuts. "We just met as a group there and discussed all the players as we often do evaluating. As we get closer, meetings get a little more sophisticated than the first ones."

There are four open forward positions available, and there still remains a battle for a couple of defensive spots, with Chiarelli possibly ready to trade one of the defensemen.

There are only two preseason games remaining -- Friday night against the Islanders in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and Saturday at TD Garden versus the Detroit Red Wings.

Top spot: Chiarelli and Julien remain hopeful that Loui Eriksson will fit on the top line, along with longtime linemates David Krejci and Milan Lucic. It's going to be tough to get an accurate assessment, however, since Lucic is still rehabbing from offseason wrist surgery and Eriksson hasn't had too much time in camp to adjust to his new spot. Tuesday's game was the first time that trio has played together in a preseason game, and it wasn't the best effort.

"I don't think that line as a whole had a great game," Julien said. "They were just OK. I don't think they were a dominant line tonight, so it's probably hard to assess as far as if that line will work or not. We definitely need to see them play a little bit better and hopefully as camp progresses that's going to happen."

It's likely that line will remain together for the last two preseason games.

"Hopefully we can get something together quickly," Eriksson said. "It's kind of a tough game. Too many penalties, especially in the second there, so it was tough to get a good feeling out of it. Definitely we need some more games here maybe and get the connection going. Just work hard. We have a little bit of time to improve and get better and definitely we can work on some more stuff the next game."

Defense on display: Since Chiarelli has made it no secret he will likely trade a defenseman sooner than later, the internal competition has been evident in the preseason games. Other than Zdeno Chara, Dougie Hamilton, Dennis Seidenberg and Torey Krug, the likes of Johnny Boychuk, Matt Bartkowski, Adam McQuaid and Kevan Miller are all trying to earn a spot. There were plenty of organizations represented at Tuesday's game, with one scout saying most everyone is paying close attention to Boychuk and McQuaid.

Forward competition in focus: Of the four open forward positions, Bobby Robins is making a strong push to earn one of the roster spots. He would be perfect on the team's fourth line. He's relentless, loves to hit, skates hard and will drop the gloves at will. A career minor leaguer, Robins needs to prove he can make good decisions with the puck, get it deep when possible and get it out quick.

"I see a better player and he's certainly making a case for himself," Julien said. "When you see what he brings, how hard he works and the energy that he gives our team and everything else that we know about him, I'm certainly not ready to write him off, yet."

With former pugilist Shawn Thornton no longer a member of the Bruins and now playing for the Florida Panthers, his absence opens a spot for Robins if he can earn it.

"Dropping the gloves is something that he does and he's known for," Julien said. "He defends his teammates all the time and he's a good team player. Then you add his work ethic and his commitment to playing hard every shift he's out there; those are certainly things that gives him an opportunity to look at closely and he's going to make our decisions tough. We have to be honest here: There are some spots open and some guys are taking advantage of it and really making a case for themselves, and some others haven't. It's one of those kinds of things, at the end of the day you've got to sit down and decide who you're going to keep based on merit."

On Tuesday, Robins finished with 9:24 of ice time and registered a team-high seven hits.

Pastrnak's progress: Bruins first-round pick David Pastrnak, who has been dealing with a left shoulder injury, has not played in a preseason game. With only two preseason games remaining, the Bruins are hoping the 18-year-old forward will be cleared to play in at least one game, before a decision is made to keep him in Boston or send him back to Sweden, where he'll play in the Elite League.

"Our goal is to hopefully get him in a game," Julien said. "Today he practiced well and had more contact today, so certainly it's looking good. Again, until the trainers tell us he's ready for games, we're not going to play him. He's a young player we're not going to take a risk with. We would like, for our sake and his sake, he would like to at least get a game in and see how he fits in."

Pastrnak has been taking contact in practice the past two days.

Zdeno Chara knows how Tom Brady feels

September, 30, 2014
Sep 30
4:55
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BOSTON -- Tom Brady and Zdeno Chara are only seven months apart in age.

[+] EnlargeZdeno Chara predicts a bounce-back from fellow 30-something Tom Brady.
Barry Chin/The Boston Globe/Getty Images
Brady turned 37 last month and Chara will be 38 in March. The Patriots’ quarterback and the Bruins’ captain have met only once and don’t seem to have a lot in common on the surface, but both know how it feels to have some question whether their best days are behind them.

After posting dreadful numbers in New England’s 41-14 loss Monday to the Kansas City Chiefs, Brady found himself in the eye of a fan-and-media-driven panic storm.

“He’s going to be fine,” Chara said of Brady, who is currently ranked among the worst quarterbacks in the NFL in many statistical categories. “He’s talented and such a gifted athlete. He works really hard and I know that. I know he’s getting better results [from his workouts] than he was when he was younger. I have no doubt he’s going to be really effective still and he’s going to prove all those people wrong that are doubting him -- I know he will. You can just tell. I’m a big fan of his and I know he’s going to be fine.”

Chara would never compare himself to Brady, but it’s easy to see the similarities, given their age, career accomplishments and workout regimens.

Chara has played 1,273 games in the NHL, including postseason games. He averages nearly 25 minutes per game and that ice time has remained consistent during his career.

Brady has played 197 games during his career and has been one of the top-rated quarterbacks of his generations. He’s struggling right now, as is the team around him, but Chara believes Brady and the Patriots will bounce back.

“They’re facing some adversity and there are seasons when you will have a tough start, but you can actually get stronger from that,” Chara said. “We’ve seen it happen in different sports, with different organizations, so I can see it coming that they’re going to bounce back.”

Chara’s been on the receiving end of fans and media questioning his performances, wondering how much longer he can play and remain effective. Each season he’s shown no lingering effects of the difficult NHL schedule, especially with the Bruins having reached the playoffs in seven of the eight seasons he’s been in Boston.

Chara has experienced the criticism Brady is facing, and says it has served as motivation.

“It does,” Chara said. “It’s something that you can’t really hang your head and just feel sorry for yourself. Those things will happen. It’s sports and you can’t always win, can’t always dominate, you’re going to hit bumps along the road but that’s when teams are going to be stronger.”

At the end of last season, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli and coach Claude Julien scoffed at the idea that Chara was slowing down.

“Well, he continues to dominate,” Julien said. “In the fitness testing every year, he wants to be the best and continues to be the best, so just saying that is pretty impressive of an athlete his size.”

At the start of every training camp, everyone is interested in the pull-up testing. Chara has dominated that category every year. Last season, fellow defenseman Kevan Miller tied Chara with 31. This season, Chara beat Miller, 35-33.

That’s just a small sample of Chara’s physical capacity and his determination to be in better shape than everyone else each season. Chara has four years remaining on his current contract and he’ll be 41 when it expires. He wants to play as long as he can and the Bruins believe their captain will continue to be effective, despite his age.

“There’s no doubt,” Julien said. “I think every athlete wants that. Every athlete tries to play as long as they can and he’s doing the right things to be able to continue playing as long as he can. You’ve seen other athletes not do that and they can fade pretty quickly. No doubt he’s doing the right things right now and he continues to impress us with his conditioning.”

What Chara does off the ice is the reason why he’s able to accomplish so much on the ice. His goal each season is to maintain his physique and puts in all the extra efforts to accomplish that. On a typical game night when he average nearly 25 minutes of ice time, he still rides the stationary bike afterwards.

“It’s something I’ve always put a lot of emphasis on to be in top, physical shape, because then you don’t feel tired, or feel fatigue. When you feel strong and fast then all the decision-making on the ice becomes easier. When you do get tired, you don’t make decisions as sharp, or quick. It goes way beyond being physically ready, or physically being in top shape; it carries over into the mental stage of the game, too.”

As he ages, Chara tweaks his offseason workouts to adjust to his goals. He doesn’t make them easier. He makes it harder on his body.

“For me, it’s never been easy, no matter if I was 25 or 35. I always work really hard in the summer. It’s never reached a point where I thought, ‘Oh, this is easy.’ It’s always hard and training is supposed to be hard, it’s supposed to be challenging,” he said.

Chara laughs at the notion that he can be compared to Brady, as far as popularity or accomplishments. But like Brady, Chara is confident in his ability now and in the foreseeable future no matter how old he is.

Chara asked, “How many championships does he have? Three. I’ll get there.”

He has two more to go.

Bruins search for right mix at right wing 

September, 30, 2014
Sep 30
10:07
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Boston BruinsEric Canha/CSM/AP ImagesSimon Gagne, center, is hopeful that he can slot in to a top-six role for Boston in 2014-15.
It started with a conversation this summer between Patrice Bergeron and Simon Gagne. The two played in a charity game together, and Bergeron liked what he saw from Gagne. He saw the smarts and some of the speed that led to 288 regular-season goals in nearly 800 games.

Sure, it was only an exhibition, but it was enough to spark an idea.

“I’d seen him a few times over the summer. We’re from the same town. On the ice, he looked the same to me,” Bergeron said. “It’s hard to tell sometimes in the summer.”

So, they chatted. Bergeron asked Gagne how he felt. He asked him what his plans were, if he definitely wanted to play, if he had any other offers. He was gathering information, information he’d eventually pass on to Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli.

Bergeron, as it turns out, is a good guy to know.

“I don’t do that often, but Peter is the kind of guy who is open; if it can help, why not?” Bergeron said. “I just kind of mentioned that he was skating, looked good, kept in shape and was looking for something.”

As were the Bruins.

Boston remains the team to beat in the Eastern Conference, but it’s not without question marks, most notably down the right side of its forward group. A little more clarity came on Monday when the team released Ville Leino from his tryout, and convinced Reilly Smith to take a one-year deal below market value to squeeze under the salary cap.

Signing Smith and Torey Krug at such reasonable numbers means the Bruins don’t necessarily have to trade Johnny Boychuk, a player who might have netted help at right wing in a deal, if they don’t want to.

It means the most likely course of action is that those currently in camp will fill the opening at right wing, created by the departures of Jarome Iginla and Shawn Thornton.

How contenders overcome flaws

September, 30, 2014
Sep 30
9:06
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After another exciting edition of the NHL playoffs in the spring, a new season is fast approaching, and the heavyweights of the league have refurbished their rosters for another run at the Stanley Cup.

What follows are the five teams with the best odds to win the Cup, per the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook; unsurprisingly, these teams are responsible for seven of the past eight Cup wins.

While any one of them could win the silver chalice this season, each has a weakness -- an Achilles' heel -- that could mean the difference between winning the Cup and playing golf in May.

Here are the key weaknesses, and possible solutions, for each of the top contenders:

Note: All advanced stats are courtesy of Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com and Behindthenet.ca.


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A win for both sides

September, 29, 2014
Sep 29
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[+] EnlargeReilly Smith and Torey Krug
Brian Babineau/NHLI/Getty Images"Me and Torey were bouncing ideas off each other the whole time because we just wanted to get to camp," said Reilly Smith.

BOSTON -- When Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli inked forward David Krejci to a six-year contract extension worth $43.5 million earlier this month, it sent a message to the players that this organization is committed to building a winning culture. They had captain Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron and Tuukka Rask already locked up, and the team is a legitimate Stanley Cup contender for the foreseeable future.

Chiarelli spent the summer repeating that sales pitch to entry-level free agents Torey Krug and Reilly Smith.

The GM explained to the players that the Bruins were dealing with certain salary-cap constraints and that it would be beneficial for the organization if both players, who were not arbitration eligible, would accept one-year bridge deals.


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Reilly: 'Glad it's all over with'

September, 29, 2014
Sep 29
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Forward Reilly Smith, who signed a one-year contract with the Bruins on Monday after a long stalemate, said he had hoped to reach a deal over the summer and admitted to some anxious moments, but that he understands the team's salary-cap constraints.
[+] EnlargeTorey Krug
Cal Sport Media/AP ImagesTorey Krug ended his stalemate with Boston, signing a one-year deal on Monday.

BOSTON -- With the 2014-15 season set to open next week, the cap-challenged Boston Bruins finally got their remaining two entry-level free agents under contract.

The Bruins announced Monday morning that they signed defenseman Torey Krug and forward Reilly Smith to one-year contracts with cap hits worth $1.4 million each.

The signings end lengthy contract stalemates for both players.

"I think at some point you've just got to get in here and make sure you're prepared for the upcoming season and it got to be that time," Krug said. "We've talked to Peter [Chiarelli] a lot over the last few days and we decided to come to the deal that we reached and we're very happy to be here. I was very excited to walk in the room and see all the guys and be back in this great city. I'm very happy with the way things worked out."

Said Smith: "It was definitely tough. At times, you think you're fighting a three-way battle. You've got your own ideas, your agent is advising how he probably should and they've been in the business a long time and that's probably the advice you should take. The Bruins also have their ideas and ideologies of how they want the whole situation to go, so you're kind of bouncing ideas with everyone. Me and Torey were bouncing ideas off each other the whole time, because we just wanted to get to camp. It seems like it all worked out."

The St. Louis Blues


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Campbell's status for opener up in air

September, 28, 2014
Sep 28
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BOSTON -- Bruins forward Gregory Campbell’s status remains questionable for the season opener against the Philadelphia Flyers on Oct. 8.

Campbell has not skated due to a mid-core injury.

“I’d say, right now it’s questionable,” Julien said of Campbell’s status for the start of the regular season. “I don’t know if he’ll be ready at all for the opener. From what I’m hearing, there’s a possibility he could be skating this week and that will be determined by how he progresses in the next few days.”

Campbell, 30, had eight goals and 13 assists for 21 points in 82 games last season.

Pastrnak skates, but not cleared for contact

September, 28, 2014
Sep 28
4:47
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BOSTON -- Bruins No. 1 pick David Pastrnak skated with the team Sunday for the first time since suffering an injury to his left shoulder a week ago, but hasn’t been cleared for contact.

The 18-year-old forward began skating on his own late last week and is progressing, according to coach Claude Julien.

“He skated today, shooting pucks and all that stuff, so he’s heading in the right direction,” Julien said.

Pastrnak injured his shoulder when he fell awkwardly into the boards after colliding with defenseman Matt Bartkowski.

Pastrnak impressed during the rookie development camp in July, and again during the national rookie tournament earlier this month. Pastrnak has missed the first four preseason games, but Julien hopes the rookie will be given clearance to play in at least one of the remaining three exhibition games.

“We’d like to -- no doubt,” Julien said. “If it’s possible, we’d like to see him play.”

The Bruins have four forward roster positions available, and at the start of camp Pastrnak was considered a contender. The more time he misses, the less chance Pastrnak will have to prove his worth against NHL-caliber players.

“I guess we’ll see,” Julien said. “We’ve got to see how he fares this week and we’ll have to make a decision, whether we remain patient or whether we go the other way with him, I don’t know. It will come from upper management, which direction they want to take with him. I’m open to anything right now with him. I’ve seen his skill level and I know what he’s capable of doing.”

If Pastrnak does not make the team, he will return to the Swedish Elite League based on the terms of his contract.

Bruins send 10 to Providence

September, 28, 2014
Sep 28
2:02
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BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins made their second round of cuts Sunday, sending 10 players to Providence of the AHL, and releasing one outright.

The Bruins assigned Chris Casto, Alex Fallstrom, Brian Ferlin, Seth Griffith, Jared Knight, Matt Lindblad, Joe Morrow, Tyler Randell (subject to clearing waivers), Ben Sexton and Zach Trotman to Providence.

Bracken Kearns has been released from his tryout agreement with the Bruins.

The P-Bruins begin training camp on Monday.

Caron's career at a crossroads?

September, 26, 2014
Sep 26
6:55
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WILMINGTON, Mass. -- This is probably Jordan Caron's last chance to earn a roster spot with the Boston Bruins.

The 23-year-old forward is entering his fifth pro season, and the former first-round (No. 25 overall) pick in the 2009 NHL entry draft hasn't built a solid resume at this level.

[+] EnlargeJordan Caron
Eric Canha/CSM/AP ImagesJordan Caron is "feeling confident" and hopes he can finally carve out a role with the Bruins.
Instead, he has spent most of his time in Providence of the AHL during his pro career. In 2013-14, he finally spent an entire season with the Bruins, but he played only 35 regular-season games and seven postseason games.

The Bruins signed Caron this summer to a one-year, one-way deal worth $600,000, which is $40,000 less than what he earned the season before. A week into training camp, the Bruins have four open forward positions, and Caron is considered a candidate for one of them. He has been playing on a line with Carl Soderberg and Daniel Paille.

"Every year he seems to have to come in here and battle for a spot and that's what he's doing again this year and he knows that," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "He's fared well [in camp]. I see a guy who has worked hard to come to camp in the best shape ever. He's in tremendous shape and he's working hard. He's really focusing on skating, creating things. Just like everybody else we've talked about so far, we've got to allow him to play in some preseason games, evaluate him and make those decisions before the season starts."

Caron, Ryan Spooner, Matt Fraser, Seth Griffith, Alex Khokhlachev, Justin Florek, Ville Leino and Simon Gagne are all in the mix. If Caron doesn't impress, it's likely that Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli could deal Caron before the regular season begins.

In four seasons, Caron has played only 123 games for the Bruins, posting 12 goals and 16 assists for 38 points. His limited opportunities aren't how he imagined his NHL career would begin.

He has squandered some of his chances and the Bruins are still waiting to see his full potential. If Chiarelli and Julien don't see it, Caron's career in Boston could be over.

When asked to describe his career with the Bruins, Caron said: "It's been tough. There have been some good times, and some tougher ones. It's tough. It's hard not to have a spot you can play a certain role and know if you make a mistake you're still going to have that shot the next game. It's been hard, but it's part of the process. I'm not a young guy coming in and now it's time for me to establish myself and prove I belong here and that I can play on a regular basis in the NHL."

Caron has played two of the team's three preseason games and he's confident in his play.

"It's pretty good so far," Caron said. "I had a good game in Montreal and it was the first real test. I felt pretty good. I felt like I was moving well and if I could've scored a couple of goals during the game it would've been better. But I'm feeling confident."

Back in June around draft time, Chiarelli began receiving calls from other GMs inquiring about Caron's services. Chiarelli decided to take a wait-and-see approach. Caron admitted it was a difficult time, hearing and reading all the speculation.

"I was a bit, not nervous, but I was wondering what was going to happen at the draft," he said. "I was trying not to look too much at it and not put pressure on myself. It was out of my control. I was just waiting, like everyone else."

During the 2011-2012 season, Caron played a career-high 48 games and was given the opportunity to prove his worth. He now believes if he earns more playing time on a consistent basis, he'll produce more.

"A couple of years ago, I had a few games on the top two lines and I was playing pretty good, probably my best moment in the NHL," Caron said. "I was able to get my legs going every shift and played a lot more in the offensive zone. For this year, you never know. I want to start on the third or fourth line and see what happens after."

Bruins top-line center David Krejci says he believes Caron has the ability to produce at the NHL level, saying it's mostly a matter of him making the commitment on and off the ice.

"He's a good player, but he's in a tough spot," Krejci said. "We can see what he can do in practices, so we know he can play and he can play in all situations -- PK, power play -- so he has some skills. When he gets into games he's trying to stay in the lineup. It's not easy for him, it's a tough situation, but he's stuck with it for so many years and this year is his biggest opportunity to crack the lineup for good."

Even his teammates don't understand Caron's full potential, because he hasn't shown it yet.

"It's hard to say. It could be sky's the limit, but you never know," Krejci said. "He does have something special in him. He was a first-rounder and you're not a first-rounder for nothing. He had a great career in juniors, so once he gets in the lineup and gets comfortable, more confidence then he could do some pretty good things."

Caron's tenure with the Bruins could be coming to an end. Or perhaps his career in Boston is just beginning. Whether he continues to wear his No. 38 Bruins sweater will be determined largely by his performance.

"Everything happens for a reason," he said. "I've been lucky to be a part of this organization for four years now. I've been a part of a great group of guys and I wouldn't change that for anything. It's a great city with great fans and I have great teammates, so I wouldn't change it for anything. We'll see what's going to happen in the future. I can't change the past."

Lucic (wrist) might play Saturday in Detroit

September, 26, 2014
Sep 26
2:56
PM ET
WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Bruins forward Milan Lucic is traveling with the team this weekend, but he will not play Friday night in Washington.

Julien said after Friday’s practice there’s a possibility Lucic is in the lineup for Saturday’s game against the Red Wings at Detroit. Lucic had offseason wrist surgery and continues to rehab. He hasn’t been too limited during training camp and said he’s looking forward to game action.

“We’ve just got to wait and see what the whole crew here decides, with doctors, medical staff and everybody else,” Julien said. “We’ve just got to make sure he’s in good enough shape and feels good enough to get in there, so there are some last-minute decisions to be made.”

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