In a move that most Bruins fans have been calling for for a while now, it appears that coach Claude Julien has finally switched up his forward line combinations in an effort to spark his squad after dropping three of their last four games. The new trios were on display during practice at TD Garden today, with the most notable of the moves being Milan Lucic. The B’s struggling big man, who hasn’t scored in his last 15 games, now drops to the third line with Rich Peverley and Jordan Caron.
Most Bruins fans have probably become accustomed to their team taking points out of almost every game that they lead going into the third period, after posting an impressive 32-0-0 record when leading after two in 2011-12. Unfortunately, that streak has not carried over into 2013, and last night in Winnipeg was yet another example. The Jets rallied from a 1-0 third period deficit to score three unanswered goals in the final stanza at MTS Centre, including two goals within 57 seconds to quickly grab the lead. Former Bruin Blake Wheeler had two goals, and Ondrej Pavelec was sharp in goal for the Jets, who reclaimed the Southeast Division lead with the victory. The Bruins meanwhile have now lost two games in a row in regulation for the first time this season, slipping to a mediocre 5-4-1 in their last ten games.
Along with another loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins yesterday, Bruins fans had to deal with the possibility of being without center David Krejci for an extended period after he took a Johnny Boychuk slap shot to the top of the knee in the closing minutes of the game. Krejci would not return, and though he was seen walking afterwards and also traveled with the team to Winnipeg, there was no official word on his condition (you’ll remember Chris Kelly also traveled with the team to their next game before it was announced he had a broken tibia).
Day to Day, No Broken Bones
Luckily, coach Claude Julien had an update today, and it was relatively positive. ”He came in for treatment and he’s day-to-day. There’s no broken bones, the damage is from the shot, as you know. But, again, he’s getting treatment and we’re hoping he’ll be back soon. It’s nothing serious to the point where we’re talking about weeks.”
Julien added that they’ll check in again with him tomorrow and take it from there. Krejci didn’t skate today and likely will not play when the Bruins take on the Jets tomorrow night at the MTS IcePlex in Winnipeg. Many of the Bruins were already talking today about needing to step up in Krejci’s and Kelly’s absence, which will be important as the Jets are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games and have worked their way to the top of the Southeast Division.
The Bruins announced today that forward Ryan Spooner has been recalled from Providence on an emergency basis, likely meaning there is a good possibility that either Brad Marchand or David Krejci may not play against the Canadiens on Wednesday. Marchand crashed heavily into the end boards after a scoring chance against the Maple Leafs on Saturday, and did not return for the third period.
It’s been a little quiet around here lately, mostly because there hasn’t been much going on in the hockey world, and also because blogging about a bunch of billion- and millionaires fighting amongst each other didn’t really seem worth it in light of the other events of the past week.
But in an effort to get caught up, here goes…
- The big NHL news is obviously the NHLPA voting on whether or not to give the board of executives power to file a ‘disclaimer of interest‘. This is apparently similar to decertification that was discussed earlier this month, essentially dissolving the players’ union and opening the door for the players to file antitrust law suits against the league. This doesn’t mean the board will actually go this route, only that they will have the power to. With no meetings on the calendar, this seems like a more likely possibility.
- Reacting to this news, the NHL promptly filed it’s own charges in New York federal court, a historically league-biased playing field. They’re claiming bad faith bargaining on behalf of the union, along with a bunch of other garbage. The catch here? Should the union decertify/go the antitrust route, the league wants all contracts to be null and void. Meaning every single player is an unrestricted free agent. This is seen as a very slippery slope, as having success in this effort could lead to mass chaos and is likely to make a good number of teams unhappy. While it’s still a long way from actually coming to pass, these filings certainly bring this into the realm of reality.
- The latest rumor in terms of a drop dead date for the season is apparently ‘mid-January’ according to deputy commissioner Bill Daly, who also added that he thinks there still will be a season (as if he would say otherwise). He also added that there are more cancellations coming this week (surprise!). He’s of course still also not happy with how the union is choosing to negotiate, but I’m sure the union is saying the same about him.
- File this under troubling, but it seems as if even Canadians are losing interest in the NHL. According to the Montreal Gazette, a poll taken by NRG Research Group between December 11th and 16th found that 58% of those polled responded that they ‘did not care’ to the question ”Do you think the NHL lockout will be settled in the next couple of weeks; in the new year in time for a shortened season to be played; not until it’s too late for games to be played this season; or don’t you care?” Not good, even worse that the league and players still don’t seem too concerned.
- In terms of Bruins news, we start with a good, yet scary update on B’s defenseman Adam McQuaid. CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty reports that McQuaid underwent multiple surgeries back in October after developing a blood clot under his collarbone. Part of what’s called ‘thoracic outlet syndrome,’ Quaider had to have an entire rib and part of his neck muscle removed as part of the procedure, though all signs are positive so far and he’s on the road to recovery. He’s still got a ways to go, but luckily the issue is taken care of and the rugged blue liner can get back to working out.
- Next, the Bruins recently released its latest ‘Prospect Report,’ with extended write ups on Providence Bruin Ryan Spooner and London Knights forward Seth Griffith, drafted by the Bruins last year. Spooner is starting to kick into gear with 16 points in 23 games for the baby B’s, while Griffith is tearing up juniors with 58 points in 36 games, including 25 goals. A good read regarding the potential future of the team.
- Lastly, Haggs’ also has an article on forward Jordan Caron, who’s struggling mightily in Providence. Despite spending a significant portion of last season in Boston, Caron has a measly 7 points in 25 games, and is a flat out awful -9, tied for worst on the team. If his play continues on this pace it could make the competition for a winger spot in Boston interesting, assuming the season actually starts soon.