WILMINGTON, MA - Before the Bruins hit the road for Buffalo, General Manager Peter Chiarelli spoke with media following the Bruins' practice at Ristuccia Arena on Wednesday and announced transactions that the team had planned.
"We sent down Craig Cunningham and we’re sending down Kevan Miller," said Chiarelli. "We’re sending down Kevan – he’s coming onto his tenth game and we don’t want to risk losing him to waivers. We’re calling up David Warsofsky so he’ll be joining us [on the trip to Buffalo]."
Miller is being assigned to Providence after suiting up in his first nine NHL games with Boston. Once he plays in game No. 10, he's subject to waivers, and the Bruins want the defenseman in their organization. The steady play he's shown in those nine games, has proven he's an NHL-caliber player.
"Ten games - once you play your tenth game, you’re exposed to waivers if you send the player down. So we felt that Kevan would probably be a waiver pickup by somebody," Chiarelli added. "We didn’t want to risk it, so I spoke to Kevan beforehand and told him. He understood and I told him I felt good about his play up here and probably the next time we bring him up, will be for good."
It wasn't an easy decision for Chiarelli and the Bruins' brass to make, given Miller's solid play on the blueline, stepping in with injuries.
BOSTON, MA - With the amount of injuries and players out of the Bruins' lineup, you might think there would be more bumps along the way.
But, as the Bruins flooded the ice for their postgame celebration following a 2-0 shutout of the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night, it marked their sixth straight win at home, and gave them a 5-1-0 record in their past six games.
It was all the Bruins needed.
Following the game, the spotlight was on "Big Zee" and his burgeoning role on the man-advantage this season. Six of his nine goals (which tie him with Ottawa's Erik Karlsson for the league lead among defensemen) have come on the power play.
"Well I think you saw tonight – you said he was a huge man – but he’s also got a huge reach. He finds those pucks," said Head Coach Claude Julien, who has talked many times before about the defenseman being more than just a 6-foot-9 frame. He's agile and has good hands around the net.
"But he’s also been pretty good at reading off the guys who have the puck and sometimes it’s not about being a screen; sometimes it’s about being an outlet. So he’s reading off guys pretty well. So it’s been an adjustment for him going from the back end to the front end but he seems to be getting more and more comfortable."
"I’m just trying to work hard and be there for loose pucks and create traffic and finding some openings," said Chara. "So really the main thing is to just work extremely hard."
But it's really not like The Captain to want to talk about himself, even if he did score both goals, and could have made a bid for the second hat trick of his career.
His first goal came off a slap pass from Krejci in the second period, following a nice, simple feed from Iginla down low. Chara's second tally in the third came off a rebound after a one-timed blast from Iginla. The movement on their power play allows them to switch positions and support each other.
"We’re just trying to work on it in practice, to read off each other. Wherever the puck is, you just need to fill the spots and positions and that doesn’t always necessarily mean that I have to be in front," said Chara.
"We can rotate; the other game in Calgary David was in front, was able to tip the puck and score. Iggy, or whoever is in that closest position, is going to need to fill that spot so we are now able to read off of each other much better than we were early on. That’s a much easier play than always running back to our spots and always maybe being out of position."
For the past week, the Bruins had been constantly "finding ways to win" amidst a tough road trip, with injuries, sickness and players missing from the lineup.
On Tuesday night, aside from needing to put their road legs behind them after a subpar first period, the Bruins stayed in control for most of the game.
"Tuuks did play great all game, but I thought in the first period he gave us a chance to come out of a period that we weren’t quite as good in and be 0-0," said Iginla. "Then I thought we got going and I thought we could have had more goals. I thought the chances that we had, especially in the second, we could have had more than a one goal lead."
The Bruins outshot the Flames 15-4 in that middle frame.
"So, it felt like a pretty consistent game and it felt good because sometimes these are, for whatever reason, hard games to play coming off a trip. So, it was a good win."
Rask only faced 21 shots, but he made the saves, and - as they say - gave his team a chance to win.
"He’s been solid for us all year long and he’s having another great year," said Julien. "So I can’t say enough of how well he’s played."
"It wasn’t pretty all the time, it was kind of just pucks bouncing all over the place but we got the goals and power plays, stepped up, and Zee got those goals we needed and killed a couple of penalties too there," said Rask.
"It wasn’t pretty but it was a good effort from everybody and we need that."
BOSTON, MA - Bruins winger Jarome Iginla will be in the lineup tonight when Boston hosts his former longtime team, the Calgary Flames, at TD Garden.
Iginla didn't join in Monday's practice at Ristuccia Arena, as he was being evaluated by team doctors after dislocating his finger in a fight with Ryan Kesler Saturday night in Vancouver.
But, all checked out with the X-Rays. Nothing broken. Just a dislocated finger that was put back into place.
"When I first looked at it, I would have thought it was for sure [broken]; I had never seen anything like – I had never been through it," Iginla said on Tuesday morning, after taking part in the team's pregame skate.
"So I was thrilled and relieved that it wasn’t and they put it back and just made sure that it was stable enough and good to go, and yesterday, I came back and saw our doctors and put a splint on, I’ll be good to go."
Just like that. Good to go.
On Saturday night, immediately after the fight in the first period, Iginla skated off the ice went to the room. Photos (taken from the feed on NESN) of the dislocated finger had floated around Twitter and social media.
WILMINGTON, MA - Bruins forward Daniel Paille flew back to Boston with an undisclosed upper-body injury last week, leaving the team in Calgary amidst their road trip through Canada.
Following the Bruins' skate at their practice rink, Ristuccia Arena, on Monday, Head Coach Claude Julien gave an update on the forward, who was again missing from the ice.
"Dan came to us the first time in Calgary and started talking about not feeling well and once he got evaluated by our trainers, it looked like concussion symptoms so we sent him back home to get evaluated by our doctors," said Julien.
"It was an unfortunate thing; it was a thing we found out at the last minute and so we scrambled there to get another player back, but the first we did was send him home and made sure he was well taken care of."
WILMINGTON, MA - Defenseman Adam McQuaid joined the Bruins on the ice for practice Monday at Ristuccia Arena for the first time, as he progresses in his recovery from a nagging lower-body injury.
He had skated on his own for four days, first hitting the ice on December 11 in Edmonton at Rexall Place.
He originally suffered the injury on November 9 early in the Bruins' game against Toronto, and has missed 14 games so far this season due to the off-and-on injury. The last time he suited up in game action was on November 30 against Columbus.
With McQuaid joining practice, it also meant it was the first time he spoke with media since re-aggravating the injury.
"It’s always nice to get back somewhat into your normal routine of practicing and getting back into some of those game-like situations," said McQuaid. "It’s just fun to get back out there and pass the puck around and shoot on the goalie."
For the past four days, the blueliner has been shooting on empty nets, taking turns and essentially skating in circles by himself.
WILMINGTON, MA - When the Bruins hit the ice for practice at Ristuccia Arena on Monday morning, Jarome Iginla was absent, as he was being evaluated by team doctors.
"He’s going to see our doctors today," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said following the team's skate. "We’re hoping that it’s all good and hopefully we get him back [against the Flames] but we won’t know until later today."
The winger injured his finger in a fight early in the game against Vancouver on Saturday, and went to the room for the rest of the first period. When the puck dropped on the second period, he was out there for the opening faceoff, and finished out the game.
"He's fine," Julien had said postgame in Vancouver. "He injured that finger but, again, it's just the kind of toughness that Iggy has. As as far as that’s concerned, he wasn’t going to be denied the opportunity to come back and he made that decision, [for] his team, to be okay."
VANCOUVER, BC - When the Bruins entered Rogers Arena this morning, it was the first time the team had returned since June 15, 2011.
For the players, staff and coaches, they may not all admit it, but it brought back emotions. It's only natural.
Let's get nostalgic for a minute.
"Obviously, it does bring back a lot of memories just being in the locker room and out on the ice also," said alternate captain Patrice Bergeron, as he spoke with reporters in the visiting team room following the Bruins' morning skate.
What is most memorable about being back?
"I think the locker room," said Bergeron, as he flashed a quick smile and looked around the room, as his teammates unlaced their skates and went through their pregame routines.
"Just celebrating after with all the guys and it all happened here in this room. It does bring a lot of memories and I think obviously the final buzzer when you go jump on the goalie and you all celebrate together so there’s too many things to talk about but it is obviously a special thing."
EDMONTON, AB - The Oilers kept pushing, and pushing, with the Bruins holding on to a 3-2 lead late in the third period at Rexall Place on Thursday night.
"They’re a highly skilled team and you have to respect them," said defenseman Johnny Boychuk.
But the Bruins would hang on, with Jarome Iginla driving in the empty-netter from long-range to seal the 4-2 win, for Boston's fourth straight victory. They're undefeated on the road trip.
Boston had jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period, thanks to a Dennis Seidenberg point-shot, a laser from Iginla, and a shorthanded two-on-one tally from Brad Marchand, off a slick setup rom Patrice Bergeron.
Edmonton would go on to outshoot the Bruins 27-13 in the final 40 minutes, and 13-3 in the third period.
"That’s the most important thing, we had a one-goal lead going into the third period and we found a way to win," said Iginla, who notched two goals against his hometown team, with plenty of support from his family contingent, and plenty of Black & Gold in the stands.
EDMONTON, AB - The Bruins have garnered three straight wins, even with injury woes, as they prepare to continue their Western Canada road swing in Edmonton tonight against the Oilers.
They've found ways to win, but are still looking for a more consistent game.
"Not that easy," cautioned Head Coach Claude Julien, when it was suggested by a reporter that they keep rolling along.
"I don’t know if we’re playing well; we’re winning hockey games but they are struggles…Sometimes the experience of our team and the guys that we have that are healthy certainly helps."
"We know that we can be much better and sometimes you have to be honest and you look at the standings and be realistic with the assessment of your team and it’s maybe not the same. We’re happy to be where we are, but we know we should and have to be a lot better."
EDMONTON, AB - As the team bus pulled into Rexall Place on Wednesday afternoon, and the Bruins started unloading their hockey bags from the equipment truck, they were greeted by a familiar face.
Andrew Ference, former longtime Bruin and current Oilers captain, clad in his blue and orange workout gear, gave a succession of hugs to his close friends. The reunion brought out smiles from the group and huddles of conversations catching up.
"It was great. Obviously looking forward to the guys coming in," Ference said on Thursday morning. "Got to see them quickly at the rink and caught up for a bit yesterday and reminisce a little bit, get caught up in what’s going on with everybody’s lives."
"Just a good group of buddies coming in for a visit, and then today, we have to go to work."
There is, of course, a game to be played on Thursday night in Edmonton, with Ference on the opposing side.
But the occasion also offers an opportunity to reflect on why the reunion between him and his teammates was such an easy, heartfelt one.
Through Ference's seven seasons in Black & Gold, he was there for the rebuild, from the beginning with General Manager Peter Chiarelli in 2007, to the Cup and two Final appearances. The lower cap prevented a re-signing in the 2013 offseason for the unrestricted free agent, but it was a respectful, classy departure for the defenseman.