Bruins: Mark Stuart

Update: B's officially land Kaberle

February, 18, 2011
The Boston Bruins made a flurry of moves on Friday, the biggest acquiring veteran defenseman Tomas Kaberle from the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Bruins will send minor league forward Joe Colborne, a first-round pick in 2011 and another conditional second-round draft pick to Toronto.

The Bruins needed to clear cap space to absorb the remainder of Kaberle's $4.25 million salary this season, so they turned around and traded forward Blake Wheeler and defenseman Mark Stuart to the Atlanta Thrashers for center Rich Peverley and defenseman Boris Valabik.

Kaberle, 32, has spent his entire career in Toronto and has made four All-Star teams. This season Kaberle has three goals and 35 assists and is a minus-2 in 58 games. He will become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Click HERE for more. We'll have more updates throughout the day.

Boychuk a healthy scratch

February, 15, 2011
BOSTON -- Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk is a healthy scratch tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"I think his battle is still good and stuff like that," Bruins coach Claude Julien said after today's morning skate. "When it comes to puck decisions, he's had his fair share of challenges."

With Boychuk out, both Steven Kampfer and Mark Stuart are in the lineup tonight, joining fellow blueliners Zdeno Chara, Dennis Seidenberg, Andrew Ference and Adam McQuaid.

Boychuk has one goal and eight assists in 46 games this season. He also has a plus-8 rating.

A defensive battle

February, 15, 2011
BOSTON -- A week ago, Bruins coach Claude Julien said he wasn’t about to make any changes to his top six defensemen. Now he’s calling it a competition.

Julien inserted Mark Stuart back into the lineup Sunday at Detroit and decided to sit rookie blueliner Steven Kampfer.

“Right now it’s turned into a bit of a competition,” the coach said. “Lately our back end hasn’t been as consistent as it had been in the past.”

Stuart, who had been a healthy scratch for eight consecutive games, said he hoped he played well enough against the Red Wings to warrant another game and a chance to win back his spot on Boston’s blue line.

"Hopefully I did it well enough to keep a spot. We’ll see,” Stuart said.

Following Tuesday’s morning skate, it appeared Stuart could be another healthy scratch because Kampfer said Julien told him that he’s back in the lineup against the Toronto Maple Leafs. But Julien could put both Stuart and Kampfer in the lineup and sit someone else.

It can’t be easy for Stuart to be the odd-man out. He said he’s not focusing on the fact that he was a healthy scratch for eight games; he said he considers it as being out for more than two months. After missing 18 games due to a broken finger, Stuart returned to the lineup on Jan. 17 and played a total of three games before he was relegated to the press box.

He played well in his return on Sunday.

“I was just trying to play hard,” Stuart said. “It was my first game back and I was trying to control what I can control. I wanted to make sure I was playing physical.”

Julien agreed.

“He played well,” said the coach. “I thought he handled himself well. Obviously he was being a physical player and kept things simple. I like his game for someone who hadn’t played in a long time. I thought he handled himself very well.”

Kampfer, a native of Michigan and a product of the University of Michigan, was looking forward to playing in front of the hometown crowd in Detroit, but Julien felt it was best to make him a healthy scratch.

The coach told the rookie while Kampfer was out to dinner with his parents Saturday night, and the two spoke Sunday morning in the coach’s office at Joe Louis Arena.

“It was for a good reason,” Kampfer said. “I wasn’t happy with my game as well. It’ll help me out in the long run. Sitting out one game is not going to hurt. I got a good perspective watching the game.

“I don’t think [my game] was slipping. I don’t think I was doing things with a sense of urgency as much as I was in the beginning stages.”

Kampfer said he believes he was trying to force the big plays instead of keeping his game simple.

“I wouldn’t say I was getting comfortable,” he said. “I wasn’t helping this team as much, so to sit back and take a game and realize what I can do better for the long run will be very helpful for this team and for myself. More importantly, you want to learn because you want to help this team win.”

Julien and Kampfer spoke again prior to Tuesday’s morning skate.

“He really felt he got a lot from sitting and watching the game,” explained Julien. “It never hurts every once in a while for a young player to sit up there and see what’s going on.”

Stuart continues to be a healthy scratch

February, 3, 2011
BOSTON -- For the fifth consecutive game, Bruins defenseman Mark Stuart will be a healthy scratch. He’ll be watching Thursday’s game against the Dallas Stars from level 9 at TD Garden.

During Stuart’s 18-game hiatus due to a broken finger, his fellow defensemen Zdeno Chara, Johnny Boychuk, Andrew Ference, Dennis Seidenberg, Adam McQuaid and Steven Kampfer played well together. Stuart knew once he was healthy and given medical clearance to play that his job wouldn’t just be handed back to him. In the three games he has played since his return, Stuart posted a goal and an assist and applied his usual physical presence.

But, he’s been the odd-man out of late.

“I was out for a while and guys built chemistry when I was gone and played well together,” Stuart said. “That’s the way it goes. The team that has the best chance of winning will be put on the ice."
[+] EnlargeMark Stuart
Geoff Burke/US Presswire"I'm trying to stay positive. If I'm walking around the locker room with a negative attitude it doesn't help the guys out," says Mark Stuart of his diminished playing time.

Bruins coach Claude Julien admitted following Thursday’s morning skate that he’s not about to change his defensive core. Then he added he wasn’t about to punish a player who is playing well by not having him in the lineup.

“I’m not going to mix anything up right now,” he said.

“You hope the player doesn’t get comfortable, which he won’t. I’m talking about comfortable with the situation, saying ‘That’s OK.’ Because it’s not OK and you don’t want to be a healthy scratch, but at the same time I think he understands what the situation is. We’ve played well with our back end the way it has been during his absence.”

When Stuart was injured, Kampfer and McQuaid took full advantage of their opportunities. Stuart said he's happy for their success, and the team’s, too. But he would rather be playing than watch from press level.

It’s a tough role for any player to handle.

“It definitely is because you want to play the game,” Stuart said. “That’s what you love to do and that’s what you get paid for, so when you’re not doing that it seems like you're not doing your job.”

Of course, there’s been speculation that the Bruins could be in trade talks with other teams that involve Stuart, but nothing has been confirmed.

“I’m trying to stay positive. If I’m walking around the locker room with a negative attitude it doesn’t help the guys out,” he said. “The No. 1 thing is that the team is winning. You can be selfish and think you should be in there, but at the end of the day you’re part of a team. We all play a role and right now my role is to be the extra guy. I’m just trying to do that the best I can.”

While Julien said he’s happy with the defensive core right now, he won’t be afraid to make changes when needed, and that’s why Stuart needs to stay ready.

“What he’s going through right now is not easy, but [Stuart] is one of those guys who puts the team first,” Julien said. “If there’s one thing he won’t do is disrupt the club for his own sake. There’s no doubt he’s not enjoying this, and I wouldn’t expect him to enjoy it, it’s just the way it is.”

Stuart will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, and it’s a safe bet numerous teams will be interested in his services. In the meantime, he said he’ll do whatever is asked of him in Boston.

“I’m just trying to work hard and stay ready,” Stuart said.

Stuart will be a game-time decision

January, 26, 2011
BOSTON -- Bruins defenseman Mark Stuart has been a healthy scratch the last two games. Coach Claude Julien said it’ll be a game-time decision whether or not Stuart will play against the Florida Panthers on Wednesday night.

Stuart missed a total of 18 games with a broken finger and has played only three games since he returned on Jan. 17. Meanwhile, Adam McQuaid has been playing well on Boston’s blue line.

“[Stuart] was out for quite a while and those six guys did a pretty good job, did a really good job, actually,” said Julien, speaking of McQuaid, Zdeno Chara, Andrew Ference, Steven Kampfer, Dennis Seidenberg and Johnny Boychuk. “You’ve got to make sure you don’t penalize those guys just because Stuey comes back.

“At the same time, Stuey’s a good player for us and we gotta hopefully keep him going as well, so we’re going to try to balance that out.”

Lucic, Stuart return in fine fashion

January, 17, 2011
BOSTON -- Both Milan Lucic and Mark Stuart returned to the Bruins’ lineup on Monday against the Carolina Hurricanes, and both made significant contributions.

Stuart, who missed 18 games with a broken finger, scored the Bruins’ first goal, and his first of the season, to help Boston to a 7-0 victory.

“He was very good, especially for being out for a while,” Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas said. “He didn’t have the shakiness that sometimes can happen when you haven’t played in a while. He was very calm with the puck. He made some good plays and he was strong.”

Stuart said he felt good and that he was wearing a brace on his right hand to protect the finger.

“I was a little nervous beforehand because you don’t know what to expect,” Stuart said. “I was fortunate to get that goal early and it kind of helped me relax.”

Lucic missed the previous three games with an upper-body injury. Even though he had a goal taken away because of a late delayed-penalty call, Lucic added an assist and said he felt good despite his recent hiatus.

“Having Stew and Looch back is always great to see,” assistant captain Patrice Bergeron said.

Stuart activated; Savard, Kampfer look good

January, 16, 2011
WILMINGTON, Mass. -- The Bruins got some good news on the injury front early Sunday evening as the team announced that defenseman Mark Stuart had been activated from injury reserve and will suit up for Monday's matinee with the Carolina Hurricanes at TD Garden.

Stuart hasn't played since Dec. 7 because of a broken finger.

To make room on the roster for Stuart, fellow blueliner Matt Bartkowski was sent back to Providence (AHL).

The Bruins got more good news earlier in the day as center Marc Savard and defenseman Steven Kampfer, both banged up in Saturday's 3-2 loss to the Penguins, should be ready to go Monday.

Kampfer suffered a broken nose in the first period Saturday and Savard banged his head on the boards after a hard hit by Penguins defenseman Deryk Engelland in the third period. Savard having already missed the first 23 games with post-concussion syndrome said after the game he felt “woozy” and expressed concern over another possible concussion, while Kampfer was at the hospital getting his nose worked on.

But both players were on the ice Sunday at practice and should be able to play Monday.

“I had all night to rest and you know I was a little worried if things might act up overnight but everything felt great, just a little bit of a stiff neck,” Savard said. “I didn’t need any tests, there was no concussion. The doctor did the tests after the game and there were no symptoms.”

Savard also had time to watch a replay of the hit.

“I think he was just trying to take the body hard and I was going so fast and looking back to make a play he just got all of my head,” Savard said. “It looks like a solid, clean hit along the boards -- maybe if the ref saw it again, maybe a bit of an elbow -- but I think it was a good hit.”

Kampfer skated through practice sporting a full shield that he will use in games until his nose has healed. The University of Michigan product said he felt like he was back playing college hockey.

“Just trying to get used to the full shield again,” said Kampfer, who was having some issues breathing during and after practice Sunday. “It's my first broken nose and it’s not a fun feeling, I can tell you that much.”

Defenseman Andrew Ference, who missed Saturday's game with an upper-body injury, skated with strength and conditioning coach Johnny Whitesides prior to practice but is doubtful for Monday.

Lucic, Stuart on ice at Sunday practice

January, 16, 2011
WILMINGTON, Mass. -- The Bruins had an optional practice scheduled for Sunday but decided to go full out and shake out the cobwebs from a tough 3-2 loss to Pittsburgh Saturday afternoon. Marc Savard who took a hard hit to the head Saturday, was on the ice with his team as was defenseman Mark Stuart (broken finger) and forward Milan Lucic (undisclosed injury). Defenseman Andrew Ference, who suffered an undisclosed injury in the 7-5 win over the Flyers on Thursday and missed the game Saturday skated before practice with strength and conditioning coach Johnny Whitesides but did not practice.

Steven Kampfer, who suffered a broken nose against the Penguins, is skating with a full cage.

The Bruins host the Carolina Hurricanes tomorrow at TD Garden in another 1 p.m. matinee and then head south to play the Canes again in the tail end of the home-and-home.

Stuart getting closer to return

January, 13, 2011
BOSTON -- Bruins defenseman Mark Stuart participated in the team’s game-day skate Thursday morning at TD Garden.

It’s the first time he’s been on the ice with the team since he fractured his right ring finger on Dec. 7 against the Buffalo Sabres. He’s missed a total of 17 games, including tonight’s contest against the Philadelphia Flyers.

“Everything is feeling good,” Stuart said. “Physically I feel great.”

During his brief time on the ice this morning he didn't shoot the puck much, but he said he believes he’s in great shape and he’s hoping to return to the lineup soon.

“He’s progressing normally, I guess,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “As far as how close he is, I’m not sure yet. I don’t know if anybody can predict that. I could say a week to 10 days, or it could be a little bit earlier, or a bit more. It's one of those hand injuries that you have to make sure heals properly.”

Stuart is expected to get another X-ray taken tonight. Meanwhile, he’s been wearing a brace to protect his hand and expects he’ll need to wear it once he returns to game action.

Unfortunately for the Bruins, Stuart has been limited to 82 games over the past season and a half due to various injuries. He suffered a broken sternum in December of 2009, snapping a streak of 214 consecutive games played. When he returned late last season, bad luck followed him and his finger became infected and needed surgery. He missed the first round of the playoffs against the Sabres.

He had played 26 games this season before suffering his latest injury.

“Well, it definitely doesn’t get easier,” Stuart said. “I don’t care who you are, you always want to be playing and in the lineup. It’s never fun being on the outside, but having experience with it helps mentally.”

During his rehab, Stuart has been working closely with the team’s strength and conditioning coach, John Whitesides, and Stuart joked that the two are getting sick of each other.

“He’s really helped me through it and has kept me in shape,” admitted Stuart.

“The irony of that is for the longest time he was like an ironman,” Julien said. “He never got hurt and last year he had those situations happen and it just seems like it all comes in bunches. It’s part of the game, unfortunately, and you’ve got to bite the bullet, fight through it and work your way back into the lineup when you’re healed.”

Because the Bruins’ defensive core of Zdeno Chara, Johnny Boychuk, Andrew Ference, Adam McQuaid, Steven Kampfer and Dennis Seidenberg has been playing well, it’ll be a challenge for Stuart to get back into the lineup.

Actually, he’s OK with that.

“It’s get healthy and make sure I can play and then it’s up to the coaches,” he said. “It’s not like I get a free pass back in the lineup. You have to earn it.

“I obviously want the guys to play well. This is the best position to be in and it’s only going to make me work harder to get back, and to play well when I get back. You definitely have to earn your way back, I don’t care who you are. The guys have played well.”

Bruins recall D Matt Bartkowski

January, 9, 2011
The Bruins have recalled defenseman Matt Bartkowski from Providence of the AHL on an emergency basis and have placed Mark Stuart on injured reserve. The procedural move means Stuart can't play for at least seven days.

Bartkowski, 22, will join the Bruins on Monday in Pittsburgh. He has played in 34 games for the P-Bruins this season with four goals and eight assists.

Stuart sustained a fractured right finger on Dec. 7 and initially was expected to miss 4-6 weeks. He's played in 26 games this season.

Stuart continues to progress

January, 5, 2011
WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Boston Bruins defenseman Mark Stuart continues his rehab and has been skating. He's missed 12 games with a fractured right ring finger.

"We don't know how far away he is, but at least he's skating," said Bruins coach Claude Julien.

Stuart has two assists with a plus-3 rating and 23 penalty minutes in 26 games this season.

B's glad to have Fehr in new union role

December, 20, 2010
Former Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Donald Fehr was formally introduced as the new executive director of the NHLPA on Saturday as the players voted overwhelmingly to appoint him to take over a position that has been officially vacant since October 2009, after Paul Kelly was dismissed in a controversial move by the players and interim director Ian Penny resigned a month after Kelly's dismissal. The NHLPA has been consulting with Fehr over the last six months as it tries to right what many like to describe as a "rudderless ship."

The hope amongst players across the league and here in Boston is that Fehr is the right man for the job after 33 years in the same position with the MLBPA.

"I'm excited," Bruins defenseman and player rep Mark Stuart said when asked about Fehr taking over. "I think he's the right man for the job and everybody is excited to have him onboard. He's helped us out a lot the past half-year. He's done a great job and league-wide guys are excited about it."

With the current Collective Bargaining Agreement set to expire at the end of the 2012 season and the threat of another work stoppage out there, the Players Association felt it was imperative to get the right man for the job and to do so now, so that that person would have time to prepare for negotiations on the next CBA. The Players Association also wanted a leader who would educate the players on what needs to change.

"That was the biggest thing, just having somebody in that position," said Stuart. "And to have him is even better. Nobody in the world knows more about the labor business in sports. He did a great job in baseball, and I think we're lucky to have him on our side. He can definitely educate us. I think that's the biggest thing is just educating the members about what's going to happen and what we're up against. I don't think there's any better person to do that than him. Experience goes a long way, and nobody has more experience than him. He's been around the business and his knowledge is pretty impressive. You can't buy that experience."

Goalie Tim Thomas, who has spent much of his free time in the past year on the phone with a NHLPA constitution review committee, pointed to Fehr's experience being the major factor in voting him in as well.

"I think he was a good choice," Thomas said. "He's got the type of experience that really nobody else in the world has at what he does. Sports unions are different than other unions so you can have been heavily involved in other unions but really it's not really comparable to being part of a sports union and he's been part of a sports union for most of his adult life. Having met him and worked with him, he's very experienced, very smart and I think he's the right guy at the right time for us."

Thomas, though tired and wishing he had more time with his family, said he is glad he could help start the fixing process for the NHLPA. As he pointed out, there's plenty of work to be done, but he said he believes the NHLPA is headed in the right direction.

"It needed to be done," Thomas said of committees figuring out what is wrong with the NHLPA and how to fix it. "We're getting things ironed out now. Last year, I spent many, many hours on the phone. You know, I had the Olympics and then the injury and the constitutional committee, and my oldest daughter was complaining I was on the phone so much and that was because of the constitutional committee. It's hard to do stuff during the season but it had to be done. We tried to get it right as much as possible but there is still plenty of work to be done. This isn't going to happen overnight. But we seem to at least be going in the right direction and make it sustainable."

Stuart: Injury happened in Lightning game

December, 9, 2010
Mark Stuart confirmed Thursday that he suffered the injury to his hand last Thursday in the Bruins’ 8-1 win over the Lightning while blocking a shot. Stuart tried to tough it out over the last two games but the pain just got worse and he had to succumb to it after the first period of the 3-2 win over the Sabres Tuesday night.

"It was sore," Stuart told the media Thursday when recounting when he injured the hand and finger. "We took X-rays after Thursday's game and they were negative. So we just decided to see how it felt, then look at it in a couple days. It was sore, so I taped it up for Toronto and it wasn't feeling good. So we actually planned to get X-rays again after the game on Tuesday. My third shift, all I did was make a pass and it just caved in. It was just hanging on by a thread, I think."

Stuart, who was sporting a cast on the injured hand is still expected to be out 4-6 weeks. However, Stuart said he believes he can still skate and practice with the injury.

Stuart out 4-6 weeks with broken hand

December, 8, 2010
Boston Bruins defenseman Mark Stuart suffered a broken hand in the first period of the Bruins' 3-2 overtime win over the Sabres Tuesday night and will be out 4-6 weeks, the team said Wednesday evening.

"Mark sustained a fracture to the fourth metacarpal of his right hand [ring finger] and dislocated his fourth metacarpal phlangeal joint," general manager Peter Chiarelli said in a statement. "He was evaluated by Dr. Matt Leibman at Newton-Wellesley Hospital and is expected to miss approximately 4-6 weeks."

In Stuart's place during Wednesday' practice was rookie Steven Kampfer, who was called up from Providence on emergency basis earlier in the day. Kampfer was paired with Dennis Seidenberg.

The Bruins are hoping Kampfer can bring some speed and puck mobility from the back end.

“He’s a good puck-handler, he moves the puck well,” coach Claude Julien said of the former Michigan Wolverine, who impressed him and the team brass in training camp. “He’s got some mobility.

“He’s had a good year. I think it’s an opportunity for him to step in and show us he’s a good puck-moving defenseman and something that we need. We liked his training camp, we liked the way he handled himself under pressure and hopefully we'll see more of that in the next little while.”

Thrashers 4, B's 1: Five from afar

November, 28, 2010

The Bruins suffered their second straight loss after another rough start, allowing three first-period goals in a 4-1 loss to the Thrashers. Boston seems to be lacking emotion at the beginning of games and it won’t get any easier as the Bruins face the Flyers on Wednesday and Tampa Bay on Thursday. Here are five thoughts from afar on what went wrong in Atlanta:

Bad start -- again: Once again, the Bruins came out flat and this time they found themselves down 3-0 after one period. The B's appeared to be skating in quicksand as they couldn’t carry the puck out of their zone with any success and committed numerous turnovers, two of which led to first-period Atlanta goals.

The Bruins have now allowed the first goal in five straight games and in 10 of their last 11 contests. They were outshot 12-10 in the first period, and while they came alive halfway through the second, scoring a goal and outshooting the Thrashers 17-8 in the middle period, they allowed a goal with 12 seconds left and trailed 4-1 headed to the third.

[+] EnlargeBruins V. Thrashers
Scott Cunningham/NHLI/Getty ImagesA boarding penalty by Daniel Paille caused a stir on the ice, led to an Atlanta goal and may have sealed Paille's ticket out of Boston.
Boston outshot Atlanta 41-26 overall but this pattern of slow starts needs to stop. With goals hard to come by, the Bruins can’t afford to constantly play from behind.

Stuart-Seidenberg pairing struggles: Defensemen Mark Stuart and Dennis Seidenberg had particularly tough starts as they were on the ice for the first three Atlanta goals. Stuart finished the game at minus-2 and Seidenberg was minus-3. Both are going to need to be better in their own zone, especially Seidenberg, who is being counted on as a No. 2-caliber defenseman after reupping with the Bruins for four seasons and $3.2 million per. Coach Claude Julien mixed up the defensive pairings for the remainder of the game, but both Stuart and Seidenberg need to be better.

Lack of chemistry hurts: By no means is this an excuse for the Bruins' poor performance, but there was a clear lack of chemistry on the forward lines. With Jordan Caron and David Krejci out with the flu, Claude Julien was forced to shuffle his lines, inserting rookie Jamie Arniel into the lineup for his first NHL game. Blake Wheeler and Michael Ryder showed some of the chemistry they shared during the 2008-09 season but they clearly missed Krejci in the middle. Arniel finished a minus-1 in 12:26 with three shots on goal.

Also lacking was chemistry on the power play as the Bruins went 0-for-4. The power play has been anemic all season and won’t be corrected until the Bruins start shooting more on the man-advantage. They really need to find a quarterback on the power play. When Marc Savard gets back, he may fill that role, but the team really needs a solid, puck-moving defenseman.

Paille on the outs? Daniel Paille proved to be a great pickup by general manager Peter Chiarelli early last season as he was a versatile, strong defensive forward who thrived on the Bruins' successful penalty kill. But this season, rookies Brad Marchand and Caron bounced Paille up to the press box as a frequent healthy scratch. When he has played, Paille hasn’t delivered the strong defensive presence he did last season.

On Sunday he also lacked discipline when he hit rookie forward Alexander Burmistrov from behind, leading to a Thrashers power-play goal that put Atlanta back up by three headed to the final period. With Chiarelli having to clear $1.1 million in cap space for Savard’s pending return, it may be time to either trade or waive Paille and his $1 million hit.

Atlanta is for real: Although hardly anyone is noticing them, even in their own city, the Atlanta Thrashers are for real. They made that painfully clear to the Bruins and are making it known around the league, winning five straight and leap-frogging the Bruins into the seventh slot in the Eastern Conference standings.

Former Bruins assistant coach Craig Ramsay is an early candidate for the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year, and defenseman Dustin Byfuglien (four points Sunday) is an early Norris Trophy candidate for best defenseman, despite being used as a forward in Chicago.