Sweden natives Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson have given the B's a strong third line. (AP)In the 2011 postseason, the Bruins had a great third line. Not only did it help get them out of the first round, but it helped them win the Stanley Cup. Last postseason, put plainly, they did not have a good third line. 



We preview Red Wings-Bruins with the great Jack Edwards of NESN.

Brendan Smith is playing on Detroit's top pairing. (AP)The season was about halfway over when Reilly Smith began to put two and two together: His team was really good, and his brother was playing for a good team that had injuries. Months later, the pieces fell into place to set up a Bruins-Red Wings meeting in the first round and the brothers Smith will square off in the Stanley Cup playoffs. 



Chris Kelly, Daniel Paille and Matt Bartkowski were all absent from Thursday’s practice, which puts their availability for the start of their series against the Red Wings in question. Kevan Miller, who had not practiced Tuesday or Wednesday, did return to practice.

Chris Kelly, Daniel Paille and Matt Bartkowski were all absent from Thursday’s practice, which puts their availability for the start of their series against the Red Wings in question. Kevan Miller, who had not practiced Tuesday or Wednesday, did return to practice.

Following the practice, Claude Julien wouldn’t rule any of the three out.

Paille has not played since leaving the team’s win over the Sabres last Saturday with what appeared to be a head injury, while Kelly sat out the last three games of the season with back spasms. Neither have practiced this week, while Bartkowski, who didn’t have any injury-related absences from games this season, has been off the ice as well. He may be dealing with the flu, as several Bruins had been sick earlier in the week.

“I don’t know that it’s official yet on any of that stuff,” Julien said. “Today was another day where we had another player, so we’ll see what tomorrow brings. It’s hard for me to start giving you my lineup when I don’t know what’s going to happen day to day. Hopefully it continues to improve, which it has this week, and we’ll go from there.”

Dennis Seidenberg skated again prior to practice Thursday, which marked at least the fourth consecutive day in which he took the ice. Seidenberg did the same routine that he had done in recent days (big laps, smaller circles in the neutral zones, shooting and moving laterally across the blueline), but added a drill in which he skated out to a cone and took a tight turn before catching a pass and turning. Tighter turns would suggest further progress as he tests what his surgically repaired right knee can handle. Video of that drill is below.

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

Torey Krug scored four goals in his first five NHL playoff games. (AP)Torey Krug was a veteran of three NHL games and was headed to Wilkes-Barre with his Providence teammates for Game 3 of the second round last season. 



We preview Red Wings-Bruins with the great Jack Edwards of NESN.

[0:03:08] ... -- work. Craig Morgan. Our foxsports.com writes the red wings behind coach Mike Babcock Babcock brilliant. Well probably surprise Boston just that they did last season with Anaheim and Chicago. But this is dole won the ...
[0:03:49] ... times that they can in a game and in this series and Mike Babcock gonna do that but if you look at the Bruins. And you know. Hockey does not necessarily lend itself to statistics but ...
[0:17:32] ... about music and which appear on music is what it. It's a Pat Metheny actually. I jazz fusion -- -- yeah he's he's today Iran and -- just an. -- irony -- epic genius composer guitarist. ...





In the interest of transparency, following is my ballot for the 2013-14 NHL awards.

Before I jump into it, I will freely admit that the votes that you see here are the ones I had in the final hours before they were due Wednesday at 7 p.m. and I changed my mind on some of them several times leading up to the deadline.

I also didn’€™t arrive at my votes totally by myself –€“ nobody does –€“ but through discussions with other writers. In particular, I discussed the various awards with two non-voters in WEEI.com’€™s Scott McLaughlin — one of the premier advanced stats nerds and a major help to geezers like me who see a place in the world for some of the crazy numbers out there but can’€™t always understand them — and the MetroWest Daily News’€™ Dan Cagen. The Pro Hockey Writers’€™ Association cut the number of voters this season down to 150, with Cagen being Exhibit A of the baby being thrown out with the bath water.

At the end of the day, any votes here you don’€™t like are still my fault. Also, the PHWA doesn’t vote for the Vezina Trophy or the Jack Adams, as those are determined by NHL general managers and broadcasters, respectively.

[Also, in the interest of transparency, I will admit that the first explanation I wrote was for Hart and was way too long. Given that I had other work to get to, I decided to only write out explanations for the heavy hitters (Hart, Norris and Selke). If you have any questions about any of the votes, you can find me on Twitter @DJ_Bean.]

HART TROPHY
(“to the player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team”)

1. Sidney Crosby
2. Ryan Getzlaf
3. Patrice Bergeron
4. Tyler Seguin
5. Joe Pavelski

The Penguins led the NHL in man games lost due to injury with 429. While that was happening, Sidney Crosby was doing everything, and he finished with an NHL-best 104 points en route to leading the Penguins to the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. Points-wise, it wasn’€™t even close, as nobody else had 100, or even 90. Getzlaf was second with 87. Plus, it wasn’€™t like achieved his numbers by being surrounded by Pittsburgh’€™s star forwards. His third most-common linemate was Lee Stempniak.

Bergeron was a real toughie, because I believe in the eye test over stats when appropriate. I gave Jonathan Quick a Hart vote the year they won the Cup for that reason even though other players had better numbers. Yet when determining a middle-of-the pack Hart candidate who didn’€™t have the traditional numbers, it’€™s difficult to figure out where they fall. For example, I had him ahead of Seguin despite not having similar numbers, so why wouldn’€™t I have him ahead of Getzlaf?

At the end of the day, Getzlaf edged out Bergeron in the consistency department. Bergeron was steadier there defensively, as he was only a minus player in 14 games (sorry for using plus-minus to prove a point) with only one minus-2 game, while Getzlaf had 22 minus-performances with four games of minus-2 or worse.

Getzlaf however, produced far more consistently than Bergeron. People forget that Bergeron had a slow start to the season, as he was coming off injuries and his most productive linemate in Brad Marchand really struggled early. When all was said and done, Bergeron had 35 games without a point, while Getzlaf, who played in three less games than Bergeron, only had 22 performances in which he didn’€™t pick up points.

Bergeron definitely deserved a vote, however, as he was terrific down the stretch, scored 30 goals and led the league with 1015 faceoffs won.

Speaking of faceoffs, Seguin was terrible on them but got the Stars to the postseason. This was a tough call because his linemate Jamie Benn should also be given a lot of credit for Dallas’€™ turnaround. Seguin gets the nod on the eye-test/stats combo: He was brought in to make a terrifying line with Benn and get the Stars back to the playoffs and he did. Seguin’€™s 84 points at season’€™s end were fourth-best in the NHL and his 37 goals were fifth.

The most notable omission here is Claude Giroux. Though he was a big reason as to why the Flyers got back in the playoff picture, he was way too streaky, and that’€™s when his value to the team really showed, but in a bad way. Giroux had three streaks of five or more games without a goal. The results for Philly in those games: 4-10-1, 2-3-2, 1-2-2. Long story short, he was prone to being unproductive and the Flyers lost when it happened. Though their point totals were similar (Giroux had 86 to Pavelski’€™s 79), Pavelski was more important to San Jose’€™s penalty kill and was a superior faceoff man.

NORRIS TROPHY
(“to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position”) 

1. Zdeno Chara
2. Drew Doughty
3. Shea Weber
4. Mark Giordano
5. Alex Pietrangelo

I tried until the end to keep Duncan Keith – who I’€™m guessing will win –€“ on my ballot, but he fell off when McLaughlin talked me into Pietrangelo.

The reason Keith isn’€™t on here is because of the fact that he isn’€™t used in a shutdown role ‘€“ something he has done in years past, but no longer does as Joel Quenneville has employed Niklas Hjalmarsson and Claude Julien favorite Johnny Oduya as the team’€™s shutdown pairing. That means easier minutes for Keith, who still ended up leading his team in time on ice.

The reason I think Keith will win is because people will look at the numbers he’€™s put up against lesser competition (61 points; second among NHL defensemen) and put it to video from 2010 when he was playing against the other teams’€™ best players.

As for Chara, McLaughlin basically did all of the voters’€™ research for them when he took a hard statistical look at this year’€™s Norris race. That extensive research found Chara to be one of only four defensemen in the NHL who played over 23 minutes per game, had 25 points or more, started most of his shifts outside the offensive zone, had a positive CorsiRel (meaning he helped his team in possessing the puck when he was on the ice rather than hurting it) and faced a quality of competition of 1.00 or higher. Chara’€™s 1.58 quality of competition means this season has been the most difficult competition he’€™s faced since 2007 (information for previous seasons are not available).

CALDER TROPHY
(“to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition”)

1. Nathan MacKinnon
2. Ondrej Palat
3. Tyler Johnson
4. Jacob Trouba
5. Olli Maatta

LADY BYNG TROPHY

(“to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability”)

1. Ryan O’€™Reilly
2. Martin St. Louis
3. Tyler Seguin
4. Nick Leddy
5. Jordan Eberle

SELKE TROPHY
(“to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game”)

1. Patrice Bergeron
2. Anze Kopitar
3. Jonathan Toews
4. Joe Pavelski
5. David Backes

Bergeron’€™s primary competition here is Kopitar, and Kopitar could end up giving him a real run for his money.

The Kings finished 26th in the NHL with 2.42 goals per game and Kopitar still finished fourth in the league with a plsu-34 rating. Plus-minus isn’€™t the most important stat, but it’€™s telling when a player on a team that doesn’€™t score is still able to be on the ice for 34 more goals for than goals against in 5-on-5 play.

Kopitar also had more points than Bergeron, but Bergeron’€™s faceoff numbers were far superior. Bergeron led the league in Corsi and was second in CorsiRel (first among forwards), while Kopitar was third in Corsi (second among forwards) and 26th in CorsiRel.

NHL ALL-STAR TEAM

CENTER — Sidney Crosby, Ryan Getzlaf, Patrice Bergeron
RIGHT WING – Corey Perry, Phil Kessel, Jaromir Jagr
LEFT WING — Jamie Benn, Max Pacioretty, Taylor Hall
DEFENSE –€“ Zdeno Chara, Drew Doughty, Shea Weber, Mark Giordano, Alex Pietrangelo, Duncan Keith
GOALTENDER – Tuukka Rask, Semyon Varlamov, Ben Bishop

NHL ALL-ROOKIE TEAM

FORWARD –€“ Nathan MacKinnon, Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson
DEFENSE –€“ Jacob Trouba, Olli Maatta
GOAL — Frederik Andersen

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean
Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo! Sports joins DJ to break down the first-round matchup between the Bruins and Red Wings. Also discussed is Zdeno Chara's Norris candidacy, transparency with voting for the NHL awards and whether the Canadiens will get out of the first round.

[0:02:41] ... -- possession with them the UC bigger. Deeper offensive team you see Zdeno Chara UC -- -- getting to its that the things that worry you if you're facing a Bruins. Are far more intimidating and the things that were future facing the red rulings. For sure and ended it. You've got up the seat for the technicality here that the Bruins bring the table and and the red wings -- Mike Babcock street here and there have been you know -- -- -- -- response that level of brutality. Mean outside of both nick was -- all strong want to settle at check in again. So there's a lot is the bruins' advantage -- you know I think depth one of those things that -- currently has really not been able to get fired. With the cast of characters that would. Sort of eight children prison. It's beautiful credit Mike Babcock shepherding that squad into the playoffs. -- the depth of the Bruins then you're -- -- that the spiritual well people that ...
[0:06:57] ... they've had in years past I'm hesitant to say that but 'cause Nathan Horton in the post season at least really. Exclusively he in the post season with a dominant player and he and instituted to ...
[0:08:43] ... I guess when people look at the Bruins. Is their defense beyond Zdeno Chara and I think that it's a somewhat valid point IE. A president of the Matt Marko ski fan club but I see ...
[0:09:12] ... the EU Bradley's young. If not greater except they don't have a Zdeno Chara so I mean how do you see the defense that picture playing -- where. I think that Brendan Smith is just as ...






Andy Brickley

Andy Brickley

NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley made his weekly appearance with Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to talk about Dennis Seidenberg and the upcoming playoff series against the Red Wings. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

When Seidenberg tore his ACL last December, most assumed he was done for the season. But with Seidenberg back on the practice rink, some have speculated that he could be back at some point, including Peter Chiarelli. Brickley said if Seidenberg is going to come back, he has to come back at full strength.

“He’€™s just such an incredibly strong athlete that if he can look like he’€™s able to play and actually get up to speed and be a productive player then that would be a tough decision, but a good decision to have to make,” Brickley said. “That being said, I’€™m still in the camp that I just totally don’€™t expect it.”

Added Brickley: “€œI think if he’€™s back he’€™s going to play regular minutes. And I don’€™t think they want him in a 10-15-minute range. … If he’€™s in the lineup and he’€™s playing, he needs to be able to handle similar minutes.”

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock was the coach of the Canadian team for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, with Claude Julien his assistant. While the two shared coaching ideas and strategies during that time, Brickley doesn’t see it as an advantage for either coach.

“I don’t think we’re at any point of the season now where there are any secrets, with all the video pre-scouting that you do, with all the actual scouts that represent Detroit that have been following the Bruins over the last month or two,”€ Brickley said. “Everybody is well aware of how the Bruins play and everybody is well aware of how Detroit defends as well. Usually Claude Julien gets the checkmark when it comes to who’s got the better coaching when you’€™re comparing two teams, but this one is a pretty even matchup when it comes down to that.”

One of the highlighted aspects of the upcoming series is Detroit’s speed vs. Boston’€™s aggressiveness. Brickley sees the Bruins being OK if they manage the puck well and don’€™t give Detroit any easy chances.

“The speed [of Detroit] only hurts you when you turn the puck over in transition,” Brickley said. “€œThat’€™s the only time that the speed can really beat you when you talk about Detroit if you think that’s an issue. So that means puck management for Boston. Not only coming out of their own zone but center ice. Center ice becomes an obvious key in this series. You can’t be turning pucks over there to Detroit because their turnaround speed is real good.

“So you need to own center ice, you need to own the middle of the ice, you need to establish your forecheck and make Detroit have to go 200 feet. Don’t allow them to stretch the neutral zone when they do have puck possession on your forecheck, on their control breakout or anything that comes back to the neutral zone on the regroup. Don’t let them get in behind you. Don’t allow those easy breakaway chances or the quick two-on-ones on the counter. So it becomes puck management, it becomes the neutral zone.”

Blog Author: 
Arjuna Ramgopal