Bruins: Kaspars Daugavins

Soderberg active for Game 5

June, 22, 2013
After skating with the Bruins' fourth line at practice Friday, Carl Soderberg is in the lineup for Saturday's Game 5.

Soderberg replaces Kaspars Daugavins for the Bruins.

Game 5 will be Soderberg's first playoff appearance for the Bruins. He hasn't seen game action since April 28, and played just six regular-season games.

Julien still tinkering with fourth line

June, 22, 2013
CHICAGO -- Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien was noncommittal as to whether he would make a lineup change for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday at United Center.

Based on the Bruins' morning skate, it appears forward Kaspars Daugavins will remain in the lineup on the fourth line, which means Carl Soderberg would remain a healthy scratch. Julien raised some suspicion during Friday's practice when he had Soderberg playing on that line with Shawn Thornton and Rich Peverley.

The coach was asked after Saturday's morning skate why he's been tinkering with that line since the team lost Gregory Campbell due to a broken right fibula.

"Why? Because I'm the coach and because I can," Julien said with a smile. "You guys ask me why I make those changes. I didn't spend three days thinking about that. It's a situation that I can do. If I do that tonight, we'll see where it goes. I may just go back to Daugavins, because again I'm tinkering between those two like I have from the beginning of the series."

If Julien does decide to go with Soderberg, who played only six games for the Bruins during the regular season after he arrived in Boston at the conclusion of his season in Sweden, Julien hasn't seen enough of the forward to make an assessment on his play.

"I haven't seen him that much," Julien said. "He's only played a few games and that's probably the main reason he's hasn't played in the playoffs is we went with some experienced players. Injuries have forced us to kind of look elsewhere, and that's the injury to Gregory Campbell. So Daugavins, we've looked at Carl Soderberg, Jordan Caron and there's Jay Pandolfo. So there's situations there that we can look at. We're trying to find the best fit possible.

"I have to look at whether I feel comfortable staying with Daugavins, or it's been between Soderberg and Daugavins. But they're two different players. Size-wise they're different. One is obviously real gritty along the walls, and the other one is probably more of a playmaker. So, there's a difference there and that's where I have to make my decision what I feel I may need tonight."

That line played less than six minutes in Game 4. With the little amount he's played this series, Daugavins is happy with his game.

"I've played fine," he said. "I did the little things right, but maybe didn't create enough offense as I wanted to. Defensively, our game was pretty solid on our line. I was finishing my checks and shooting the puck on net. I was keeping it simple."

Being on the bench for the majority of the game also has its challenges.

"It's more nerve-racking sitting on the bench than being on the ice," Daugavins said. "When you go out there you go into game mode; you don't even think about it, you just do it. Your instincts come in and you play. When you sit on the bench and watch, you're a super fan. You cheer for the guys and you get nervous when the puck is close to your net and you pull your hair when there's a good scoring chance. It's definitely more nerve-racking sitting on the bench than playing."
BOSTON -- Kaspars Daugavins will get the call for the Bruins on Friday night in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals as he replaces the injured Gregory Campbell (broken leg) in the lineup.

Daugavins, who hasn’t played since Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against Toronto, was skating on a line with Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley at the game-day skate Friday morning. Normal third-line center Chris Kelly was between Shawn Thornton and Daniel Paille. Claude Julien has liked what he has seen from Daugavins and is confident he can come in and help the team as the Bruins try to sweep the Penguins and advance to the Stanley Cup finals.

“He's a gritty player. He's strong on the puck, strong as an individual, he can shoot the puck; got a lot of qualities,” Julien said of Daugavins, who has a goal and three assists in eight games with the Bruins. “We've always said we've got depth on this team. We showed it when injuries crept up on defense. Now we've got an injury up front. He's going to have to step in and do his job.”

Daugavins admitted some nervous anxiety Friday since he hasn’t played in more than a month, but he plans to draw on the experience he gained when he helped the Binghamton Senators win the Calder Cup in 2011 with 20 points in 23 playoff games.

“That was my first playoff experience in pro hockey and we won the whole thing and I learned from that,” Daugavins said Friday. “I can compare myself now to that because last year I only played one game in the playoffs so I can’t compare much there. But I learned from Binghamton and how you have to battle and grind it out. In regular season maybe you make some 50/50 plays, but now in playoffs you know you gotta make smarter decisions with the puck and step up your game.”

Following the team’s optional skate Thursday, Daugavins said he sees similarities between the Calder Cup-winning team he was on and the Bruins.

“This team reminds me a lot of three years ago when I played in the Calder Cup and we won it,” he said. “We were so close to each other and we knew we always had our backs. We are confident because of that. And we’re also having fun every day. That’s what makes us push through being tired. We’re having fun and love playing for each other. Working hard and having fun, and that’s what it’s about.”

The Latvian-born forward praised the Bruins' organization for creating such an atmosphere and winning attitude.

“This organization, the coaching staff and all the guys, they’re great because you work hard for 60 minutes and you know you get rewarded with some rest,” Daugavins said. “That’s rewarding, and because of that, you focus on little things and work harder. And with their system, you’re not nervous because we always have each other’s backs and we’re there for each other. If you do make a mistake, there’s always someone there and you can just move on and not worry and be better. We’re all in it together and on same page, so that helps a lot.”

Now he has his chance to really be part of that system and make an impact when it really counts, and he couldn’t be more excited.

“It’s going to be exciting to play again,” Daugavins said. “It’s been a while, it’s been a month since I played, and obviously you want to be out there instead of in the press box. As much fun as we get being with the team and everything, we want to be out on the ice and not in the press box. If I get a chance to play, I have to make sure I go hard and focus on little things like getting pucks deep and playing good defense and then creating offense too if I can.”

BOSTON -- For the past two days, the Boston Bruins insisted their late-season funk was in the rearview mirror. There would be no more blown leads in the third period and no more lackluster starts. The skilled and physical Bruins would return.

Well, the Bruins kept their promises as they overcame an early Toronto Maple Leafs power-play goal and scored the next four goals, dominating the Leafs 4-1 in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.

David Krejci had a goal and two assists, Wade Redden had a goal and an assist and Nathan Horton and Johnny Boychuk both lit the lamp for the Bruins. Tuukka Rask looked solid between the pipes, making 19 saves, with James van Riemsdyk’s power-play goal in the opening period the only shot that beat him.

For the Leafs, James Reimer was under siege all night as the Bruins poured 40 shots on him.

Lucic-Krejci-Horton line clicks again: One of the big question marks heading into this series was whether Milan Lucic, Krejci and Horton could find their magic again. If Game 1 is any indication, the band is back together and the magic is there. In addition to Krejci’s three-point performance and Horton lighting the lamp, Lucic had two helpers and continued to look more like the Lucic who used a combination of grit, size and skating to earn two straight seasons of 20-plus goals. The chemistry was back as Horton and Lucic got to open spaces to benefit from Krejci’s playmaking skills, and Krejci looked a lot like the player who was a candidate for the 2011 Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.

Bruins defense provides offensive boost: Prior to Game 1, coach Claude Julien lauded Redden for his recent play and puck-moving skills. Redden continued to impress with his goal and an assist, but the Bruins' entire defense did a great job of moving the puck and creating offense in Game 1. In addition to Boychuk's goal, Bruins defensemen helped in peppering Reimer and controlling neutral zone play.

Power play looks better: While the Bruins’ power play (1-for-5) can certainly still be better, it did convert once and moved the puck a lot better. The passes were crisp, and there was less hesitation. If that continues, the scoring production will increase.

Suspension coming for Ference? Andrew Ference could very well be sitting out a game or more after elbowing Leafs forward Mikhail Grabovski in the head in the first period. No penalty was called, but the replay clearly shows an elbow to the head.

Bruins have two goals called back: Things could have been even worse for the Leafs if not for two Bruins goals being called back. The referees and replay officials got it right in calling back a Tyler Seguin shot that clearly rang off the post 1:10 into the second period. But Patrice Bergeron’s no-goal was a bit questionable as the referees claimed the whistle was blown before Bergeron pushed it into the net. But even if the refs were wrong, the rule states if they intended to blow it and didn’t do it in time, then it’s still not a goal.

Bad blood boils at end: In addition to Ference’s questionable hit to the head of Grabovski, there was plenty of hard hitting throughout the game. As time wound down in the third period and it was clear the Bruins would win, the Leafs decided to let the Bruins know they were still there, taking plenty of extra hits after the whistle and then stirring things up at the final buzzer. The result was a Chris Kelly-Leo Komarov fight. It should be a physical Game 2.

Hamilton and Peverley sit: Not surprisingly, Julien kept Dougie Hamilton in the press box as a healthy scratch. The defenseman struggled in his last few games of the regular season, and Julien seems to have opted to take the learning-from-up-top route he took with Seguin as a rookie to start the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs. While Rich Peverley might have had an off season, one would think Julien would prefer playoff and Cup experience in the lineup instead of an inexperienced Kaspars Daugavins. But it was Daugavins playing with Kelly and Jaromir Jagr for Game 1.

Here’s what the rest of the lineup looked like:

Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand-Bergeron-Tyler Seguin
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara-Dennis Seidenberg
Redden-Adam McQuaid

Anton Khudobin
BOSTON -- He’s known as ‘Dogman’ or ‘Doggie,’ but on Thursday following his first skate with the Bruins, Kaspars Daugavins -- who was picked up by the Bruins on waivers from the Senators last week -- made it clear he is not here to be a dog on the ice. He is here to work hard and fit in with what he views as one of the hardest-working teams in the NHL.

“It’s a good group and hard-working guys so I think it’s going to be fine,” Daugavins said after the Bruins’ game-day skate in advance of their tilt with the Devils at TD garden tonight. “I’m going to try and help this team as much as I can.”

The Bruins have pretty much owned the Senators for the last four seasons, and while he was around for only the six games against Boston last season and three this season, he acknowledged that the Bruins are one of the most frustrating teams to play against.

“Definitely was really hard to play against these guys,” Daugavins said. “Big size; all the D-men are big and all the forwards work hard. So it was always a 60-minute game. They never get tired and they never stop playing. It’s like a good team effort. They never quit and no matter what the score is they all keep going and going.”

It was hard and we knew it was going to be 60-minute game," he added. "It was like two minutes where we kind of fell apart and then they scored and punished us. Every game seemed like it was a shootout or they score in the last few minutes and it was frustrating. But that’s why these guys are so good, because they never quit.”

On Thursday, Bruins head coach Claude Julien had Daugavins on a line with Rich Peverley and Jay Pandolfo. Daugavins likes to play both ends of the ice and can be successful in the offensive zone, as witnessed when the Bruins beat the Senators 2-1 in a shootout on March 21. Daugavins had a goal and four shots on net in that game, which turned out to be his last as a Senator. But the winger knows that on his new team and on his new line, he will be depended on mainly for defense.

“I’m going to play with Rich and ‘Pando’ [Pandolfo], so obviously we’ll try to get some energy going and try to score some goals too,” said Daugavins, who has one goal and two assists in 19 games this season. “Mainly a defensive role probably.”

But in his morning press briefing, Julien also pointed toward Daugavin’s grit and penalty-killing skills that will help the Bruins.

“I think he’s a big, solid individual. He’s strong on his skates, he’s an above-average skater, one of those guys that will give us some grit,” Julien said. “You know, I don’t know if we’re going to see him penalty killing tonight, but he’s a guy that can penalty kill. Right now, our penalty kill is going well, I think we need to allow him an opportunity to look at it and see what guys do. But you may see him there down the road. He can shoot the puck, certainly, like I said, he’s a solid individual, so he’s going to give us the grit that we need.”

Fans might recall that Daugavins made league-wide headlines in that March 21 game when he tried to send the shootout to another round with a unique and fancy shootout attempt but was denied by Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask. Daugavins joked on Thursday that he is still going to try and beat Rask in practice.

“Maybe. Maybe I have some other crazy moves,” he said.

Daugavins still not with Bruins

April, 2, 2013
BOSTON -- Newly acquired Boston Bruins forward Kaspars Daugavins remains a non-roster player because he’s still waiting for approval of his U.S. work visa.

The Bruins claimed the 24-year-old forward off waivers from the Ottawa Senators on March 27, but due to Good Friday and Easter, Daugavins could not obtain permission to work in the states. According to Bruins coach Claude Julien, Daugavins is scheduled to arrive in Boston today, but it’s unclear if he would be available to play against his former team tonight at TD Garden.

“I doubt it,” Julien said. “I’m not going to say ‘no’ and if he shows up, and we feel we need him, but I haven’t talked to upper management about that situation, more than right now they’re trying to get his visa status resolved more than worrying about anything else right now.”

In 19 games for the Senators this season, he had one goal (against Boston) and two assists for three points, including a minus-7 rating.

“I don’t know when he’s going to play his first game, but I’m obviously excited to see a new member of the team and I’m looking forward to meet him,” said Bruins forward David Krejci.