WILMINGTON — As his team prepares to take on San Jose, the Islanders and Toronto this week, Claude Julien can finally sense things coming together after a sluggish start.

The Bruins started 1-2-0, including an ugly 4-0 loss to the Capitals on home ice and a brutal 2-1 loss to Colorado in the final second. After beating the Red Wings in a shootout, the Bruins were embarrassed again in Montreal, featuring the emotional meltdown of Milan Lucic.

But things finally seemed to click in Buffalo, where Niklas Svedberg earned his first career shutout in just his third NHL start. The 4-0 win seemed to give the Julien and the team something to build on. Two wins in three games doesn’t classify as red-hot but it’s certainly a step in the right direction the way Julien sees it.

“I don’t know if it’s how far we’ve come or how far we have to go,” Julien said. “I think it’s just a matter of us continuing to get better as a team. I think it’s still early in the season and I think there are a lot of teams that are probably saying the same thing. It takes certain guys a while to get going. It takes others even longer. Some guys get off to a good start and then they slow down.

“We’re just looking at our team as a whole. I think what we’re looking for is consistency and we’re looking for an identity. And that’s what we’re starting to get right now, more of an identity. I think we’ve been a lot more consistent in the last three games.”

What is that identity?

“Same as it’s always been,” Julien said, referring to his team’s tough, rugged style that relies on good defense, a good forecheck, stellar goaltending and opportunistic play around the net.

Part of the Bruins getting back on track has to do with getting veteran players back on track, like Dennis Seidenberg and Chris Kelly. Both have to find their rhythm much in the same way Gregory Campbell did last season.

“I don’t think I can compare because everybody is different,” Julien said. “There’s Sides, there’s also Kelly in that boat as well that missed a lot of time. I think overall guys are working on finding their game. I think Sides has been getting a little bit better as the more we play, the better he’s getting. It’s about getting guys some time to find their games.”

That process continues against the Sharks Tuesday night at the Garden.

Meanwhile, Julien was asked Monday how different he feels his job is now with the salary cap becoming a bigger and bigger factor in the NHL roster-building process.

“You really like your players and you feel you have something going in the right direction and then all of sudden as a coach and even as a general manager, it’s hard to keep that team together because of that salary cap,” Julien said. “What you’ve built and done a good job at you’re not able to always keep together because of that. In the past, it didn’t matter. You found ways to keep your team together.”

Julien was also asked if today’s NHL economy makes it practically impossible for a team to become a dynasty, like the Canadiens of the late 70s, Islanders of the early 80s or Oilers of the late 80s.

“Well, it’s tough to have those dynasties,” Julien said. “You have to give credit to Chicago and L.A. who have won two Cups [each] there in a short span of time. I don’t know if we’ll see a team win five straight Stanley Cups again. If they do, it’ll be quite a feat.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
Matt Bartkowski

Matt Bartkowski

In the offseason, Peter Chiarelli said he felt the Bruins had nine NHL-caliber defensemen. A 10th, he would later say, was close in Zach Trotman. It was hard to disagree.

Then the B’€™s traded Johnny Boychuk. Then Kevan Miller dislocated his right shoulder in a fight Saturday night, leaving him out indefinitely.

You can bet that all the defensive depth you’€™ve heard about will be put to the test now.

The obvious replacement with Miller out of the lineup is Matt Bartkowski. The Bruins would take turns sitting guys to find ways to get him in the lineup last season before Dennis Seidenberg‘€™s knee injury gave him a full-time job. With a healthier group this season, Bartkowski has been limited to just one game.

After that, David Warsofsky is the only remaining blueliner from the summer’€™s advertised group not on the roster. The B’€™s had to put him on waivers in order to send him to Providence at the end of training camp, but nobody claimed him. In five AHL games this season, the 24-year-old Warsofsky has no points and a minus-5 rating.

The thing with both Bartkowski and Warsofsky is that they are both left shots, while Miller is a righty. The Bruins, as you’€™ve probably noticed by now, like to play with a lefty on the left and a righty on the right unless it’€™s a Zdeno Chara-Dennis Seidenberg (both lefties) type of pairing.

There have been other exceptions to the lefty-righty rule, as Torey Krug played a bit on the right side down the stretch last season and Seidenberg has played on the left when paired with Bartkowski. It’€™s worth noting that the Bartkowski-Seidenberg pairing has struggled when used in games dating back to last season before Seidenberg’€™s injury.

If the Bruins want to keep their defense the way it’€™s been, with Zdeno Chara and Dougie Hamilton on the top pairing and Seidenberg-McQuaid rounding out the top-4, they could look to Trotman, a 6-foot-3, 219-pound right-shooting defenseman to play alongside Krug. Trotman, who played a pair of games for Boston last season, has a pair of assists and a minus-4 rating thus far in five games for Providence.

After those guys, the Bruins have more young defensemen stewing in Providence. With no disrespect intended towards the others, Chris Casto was quite possibly the only impressive defensemen in August’€™s rookie tournament between prospects from the Bruins, Lightning, Panthers and Predators.

Chris Breen is a slightly older player (25 years old) signed in the offseason. Joe Morrow, the Penguins‘€™ first-round pick in the 2011 draft, is in his second season with Providence after being traded to the Stars for Brenden Morrow and then to the B’€™s in the Tyler Seguin trade.

Before the Boychuk trade, it was known that not all of these guys would be here, but the assumption wasn’€™t always that it would be Boychuk who was moved. Chiarelli hinted throughout the offseason that he might move a defenseman and then said close to definitively at the rookie tournament that he would.

Given that Torey Krug is a more experienced version of Warsofsky, it seemed Warsofsky could be a possibility to be moved. Same went for Bartkowski, who was fine for the Bruins last regular season before missing time with an illness early in the postseason and struggling against the Canadiens. Adam McQuaid needed to play games before a trade value could be established.

Remember, a big part of last season’s demise was that the team didn’t end up being able to patch up their back end with young blueliners as successfully as they thought they could. Those players are a season older and a season more experienced. Experience might be the most important factor in a young player’s development.

All that depth sounded nice because it didn’€™t seem set in stone that the Bruins would actually have to find out whether it really existed. The jury is still out on Boston’€™s young defensemen, and the Boychuk trade and Miller’€™s injury mean the team will start finding out on these guys soon enough.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

WILMINGTON — In the midst of a whirlwind week, Seth Griffith is just trying to soak everything in.

The 21-year-old, 5-foot-9 winger had the chance to skate on the first line of Milan Lucic and David Krejci on Monday. He was recalled Monday after scoring his second goal of the season in three games for AHL Providence on Sunday against Portland. Just two days earlier, he nearly scored against Montreal. He’s been up and down twice in the span of five days.

Griffith, along with Ryan Spooner, Matt Fraser and Craig Cunningham, is part of the Bruins’ great early-season experiment to try and find a replacement for Jarome Iginla on the top line. Saturday night in Buffalo, it was Simon Gagne slotted in with Lucic and Krejci. But on Monday in practice it was Griffith, who has nine shots in three games with Providence but only four in three games with Boston.

“It’s pretty crazy how much faster and stronger it is in the NHL,” Griffith said. “Coming from the AHL just [Sunday] night, you can tell there’s a huge difference so hopefully, I got a little confidence [Sunday] night, come back here and try and bear down on one and hopefully, I get one.

“It’s an adjustment coming from the AHL up here. There’s bigger, faster, stronger guys so just little things along the wall, puck protection skills like that go a long way. You learn a lot from them. It’s not everyday guys get to come in and work with guys like this. You learn a lot of things, just in drills, little tricks you can do in the corners, stuff along the wall. It helps a lot.”

Coach Claude Julien admitted Monday after practice that he is forced into a situation of playing a young player like Griffith at the NHL level because of a lack of veteran bodies due to salary cap restrictions. Griffith is trying to take advantage of that chance by watching and listening to Lucic and Krejci during practice.

“There’s tons of little things, puck protection and they work hard every shift,” said the 190-pound Griffith. “It just shows why they’re up here and why they succeed up here. I think everybody in training camp learned a lot from these guys and I know guys in Providence still talk about the work ethic up here. It just goes to show how hard-working the work ethic is in this organization.

“Being a smaller guy, I feel like you have to work on that every day. I felt better with every game I played. Hopefully, I can just keep improving from that and go from there.”

Griffith, who had two shots against Montreal last Thursday, is still looking for that first NHL goal. He could get that chance Tuesday night against San Jose, if Julien decides to play him on the first line.

“I tried shooting a lot more,” he said. “I had a couple of chances in Montreal and hopefully, I can just bury one soon. It’s kind of what you have to do. You can’t think too much or your nerves will get the best of you so I’m just trying to play my game and do my best.

“I think after I get one, I might settle down a little bit. Until then, I’ll definitely be nervous. I think that’s a good thing, keep me on my toes a little bit.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

We’ve seen a video game version of Brad Marchand play guitar, and now we get to see real life Tuukka Rask play drums.

According to the Buffalo News, Rask and a few teammates went to a show at the Allentown music venue in Buffalo on Friday night while they were in town for Saturday night’s game against the Sabres, a 4-0 Bruins win.

Rask asked local band The Mustn’ts if he could play drums for a song, and they let him sit in for a cover of Phish’s “Back on the Train.”

Here’s video of the performance:

Blog Author: 
Scott McLaughlin

Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller is out indefinitely with a dislocated right shoulder, general manager Peter Chiarelli announced Monday. Miller suffered the injury in a fight with Buffalo’s Nicolas Deslaurier on Saturday night.

Kevan Miller

Kevan Miller

Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller is out indefinitely with a dislocated right shoulder, general manager Peter Chiarelli announced Monday. Miller suffered the injury in a fight with Buffalo’s Nicolas Deslaurier on Saturday night.

Miller had played in six of seven games for the Bruins, posting zero points and a plus-4 rating. He also has a plus-10.48 Corsi per 60 minutes and plus-0.2 CorsiRel, according to behindthenet.ca.

In Miller’s absence, Matt Bartkowski is likely to see more playing time.

Blog Author: 
Scott McLaughlin

WILMINGTON — Bruins coach Claude Julien said Monday after practice that defenseman Kevan Miller is being examined for what the team termed an upper body injury following a fight Saturday in the 4-0 win in Buffalo.

Kevan Miller

Kevan Miller

WILMINGTON — Bruins coach Claude Julien said Monday after practice that defenseman Kevan Miller is being examined for what the team termed an upper body injury following a fight Saturday in the 4-0 win in Buffalo.

“He’s just being looked at by our doctors,” Julien said. “We will probably have more [Tuesday].”

Julien also said he likes the way Seth Griffith has looked early in the season and would probably benefit from playing with the top line of David Krejci and Milan Lucic, as was the case Monday in practice.

“I think anytime a player can play with some experienced players, it gives you a little bit more confidence,” Julien said. “Guys are pretty good with helping guys through and giving them the opportunity to get accustomed to our team, get accustomed to his line so it certainly helps. I think that’s what Seth has been doing right now, trying to soak up as much as he can.”

The key right now to allowing Griffith to gain some experience at the NHL level is Simon Gagne. The 34-year-old veteran played with Lucic and Krejci on Saturday night in Buffalo. He also has skated on the fourth line in games, as was the case again in practice Monday. Julien said he liked what he saw from Gagne on Saturday night.

“He was OK. What you saw today is probably what you’ve been seeing all along, a little bit of moving around,” Julien said. “He can play on that line, he play on the fourth line. I think he’s made the fourth line a pretty good line. If Seth is going to play, he needs to play on one of those lines right now. If he’s going to gain some experience, I think it’s with those guys. We can alternate Simon in those positions and that’s what we’ve been doing so far.”

All of this, naturally, results from the fact that the Bruins are still searching for an answer at right wing on their top line and Julien is trying to find the right combination early in the season while still being patient with young players like Griffith, Ryan Spooner, Matt Fraser and Craig Cunningham.

“You have to be a little bit patient,” Julien said “Fortunately, today for the players, you have to be able to bring some young guys in. There was a time when they really had to pay their dues and learn the game in the minors before they even got a shot. But in today’s game, you have to bring some young guys in for reasons like the cap and everything else. So you have to be able to live with some of the learning curves they have to go through and, at the same time, as a coach you try to minimize those so it doesn’t cost your team. That’s the balance you have to have in letting a young guy gain some experience and get better.”

It’s homecoming week against the Bruins as they host Joe Thornton and the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night at the Garden. On Thursday, Johnny Boychuk makes his first return to Boston since being traded to the Islanders in the preseason.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
Seth Griffith

Seth Griffith

WILMINGTON — Seth Griffith was recalled Monday and was immediately placed on the top line in practice with David Krejci and Milan Lucic.

Other notables from Monday included Matt Fraser and Simon Gagne taking turns on the Merlot line featuring Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille.

The second and third lines remained in tact, with Patrice Bergeron centering Brad Marchand and Reilly Smith while Carl Soderberg centered Chris Kelly and Loui Eriksson.

The defense pairings consisted of Zdeno Chara and Dougie Hamilton, Dennis Seidenberg and Matt Bartkowski and Torey Krug and Adam McQuaid.

The Bruins dressed just six defensemen in practice as Kevan Miller was absent. He left Saturday’s game following a fight and did not return with what the team termed an upper-body injury.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

The Bruins recalled right wing Seth Griffith from Providence Monday, a day after sending him down.