DJ Bean joins Middays with MFB to talk everything going on with the struggling Bruins

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The Bruins recalled goaltender Jeremy Smith from Providence on an emergency basis Friday.

Niklas Svedberg was reportedly the only goaltender at morning skate, with Claude Julien telling reporters after the skate that Tuukka Rask was sick.

Rask has not had a night off since Jan. 8. With Smith up, the Bruins have the options of sitting Rask and dressing Svedberg and Smith.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

David Krejci is on long-term injured reserve, a team source confirmed Thursday. The news was first reported by ESPN’€™s Joe McDonald.

Matt Bartkowski

Matt Bartkowski

When asked Thursday what he learned from last postseason, Matt Bartkowski brought up an expression that Providence coach Bruce Cassidy tells his players.

“If you don’€™t bring your A game,” Bartkowski said, “œyou’€™ve got to bring your B game.”€

That might not fit any player better than it does Bartkowski. Ups and downs and ins and outs are pretty much all he knows at the NHL level. Getting into the Bruins’€™ lineup has been tough, and when he’€™s played he’€™s been the ultimate trick-or-treat player. Now the Bruins might need him again.

Defense has arguably been the Bruins’€™ biggest need all season, and that was before the B’€™s lost Kevan Miller to season-ending shoulder surgery. After serving as a healthy scratch for a month and a half (17 straight games), Bartkowski was given a game against Calgary during the Bruins’€™ recent road trip and stuck in the lineup after Miller went down.

A trade (or a callup of Joe Morrow) could change things, but for now Bartkowski finds himself in a similar situation as last season. He could be in line to play a top-four role down the stretch, as he did last season when Dennis Seidenberg went down in late December and the Bruins couldn’€™t adequately replace him via trade. Perhaps because the Bruins would rather Torey Krug stay on the third pairing, Bartkowski is almost always used as a top-four player when he is in the lineup.

While an upgrade to Boston’€™s second pairing (Bartkowski-Seidenberg) is needed for the Bruins to make a deep run, Bartkowski’€™s last few games have suggested he’€™ll fare better in the spot than he did earlier in the season, when he and Seidenberg turned in some especially ugly games, including one in which Bartkowski’€™s positioning cost the B’€™s a game against the Avalanche in the final second on a Daniel Briere goal.

It’€™s odd that Bartkowski has looked fine after not playing for a month given that he was a disaster at the beginning of the season, when one would thing he would be physically sharper. Bartkowski himself finds it puzzling, but his priority is keeping his play where it is.b

“To start the year, I wasn’€™t playing well at all, and then when I got in right before the California swing, I started to play well, and then out again,”€ he said. “€œI don’€™t know. It just came around. I’€™m playing like myself again.”

Claude Julien said that while Bartkowski was out of the lineup, the team had him fine-tune things that have left him better equipped now than he was before. Asked what specifically, Julien replied ‘€œa lot of everything.’€

“A lot in all different areas. Sometimes you know you’€™re a natural skater, which I think he is, and you think you can get away with that,”€ Julien said.”But it takes a little bit more than that. You’€™ve got to be prepared as a player. Are you mentally prepared to make plays? Are you ready to put the time in? To be in good shape is one thing; to be in great shape is another.”€

Bartkowski’€™s experience in this role ended the wrong way last year. After Andrej Meszaros was brought in to challenge him, Bartkowski got sick and missed the beginning of the playoffs. When he came back, he was off his game. Meszaros wasn’€™t any better, and the Bruins were forced into a rotation of struggling defensemen playing important games.

“It was just more inconsistent in the playoffs,”€ he recalled. “There was like a good [game], a really bad one, a good one, a really bad one. That just can’€™t happen again.”

The next few days will say a lot about what Bartkowski’€™s role with the Bruins will be going forward, assuming he isn’€™t traded. Forcing their seventh defenseman to play big minutes hurt the team last season, but if it happens again, Bartkowski thinks that with health and improved play, he can handle the job.

“This year, I’€™m gonna hold my spot,” Bartkowski said. “I want to stay consistent. I don’€™t want to have any dips at all.”

That’€™s the right attitude to have, but it’€™s always been easier said than done with Bartkowski and the Bruins.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

David Krejci is on long-term injured reserve, a team source confirmed Thursday. The news was first reported by ESPN’€™s Joe McDonald.

Krejci is expected to miss four-to-six weeks with a partially torn MCL that was suffered last Friday against the Blues. The team presumably put him on LTIR Monday, as that is when he was first listed as being on injured reserve.

While Krejci is on LTIR, the Bruins can exceed the salary cap by his $5.25 million cap hit (as they also can with Kevan Miller’€™s $800,000 hit). The Bruins can use Krejci’€™s cap money else where for as long as he’€™s out, but the team must be cap compliant by the team he returns should he come back in the regular season.

There is no salary cap in the playoffs, so if the team uses Krejci’€™s cap hit elsewhere and Krejci doesn’€™t return until the postseason, the Bruins wouldn’€™t need to worry about being cap compliant.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean
Pierre McGuire of the NBC Sports Network joins the show to talk about the Bruins' continued struggles, and what the team needs to do to improve moving forward

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NBC Sports NHL analyst Pierre McGuire made his weekly appearance Thursday on Middays with MFB to talk about the Bruins and what moves he expects them to make at the trade deadline next week.

Pierre McGuire

Pierre McGuire

NBC Sports NHL analyst Pierre McGuire made his weekly appearance Thursday on Middays with MFB to talk about the Bruins and what moves he expects them to make at the trade deadline next week. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

With the Bruins still slumping and needing a boost, many expect them to make a move prior to the trade deadline on March 2. McGuire said the team is playing better, starting with their 6-2 win in Chicago on Sunday and played well despite losing to the Canucks on Tuesday.

With that being said, McGuire thinks general manager Peter Chiarelli needs to be aggressive at the deadline.

“I see some things that are starting to happen for them that are positive,” McGuire said. “I still think Peter Chiarelli is going to have to get aggressive here at the trade deadline, I think they will on the Boston side of things depending the price points for certain players. I think they are in a pretty good spot, I really do. I liked their compete on Sunday and I liked their compete in their last game against Vancouver.”

Even though overall the Bruins have lost seven of their last eight games, McGuire said it isn’t always about wins and losses.

“What I see is not just the results, but seeing what they are doing in games,” he said. “Not every game is going to be perfect. I think with this team they are competing, they’re not mailing it in. They deserved a better fate against Vancouver on Tuesday. That is a very difficult game to play against coming back after a very long road trip that didn’t go particularly well. If you watched their game against St. Louis, I know they got blown out, but Malcolm Subban didn’t play very well in that game. St. Louis took 15 shots on goals and [scored three goals in] 5-on-5 chances out of 15 shots. That’s pretty impressive hockey playing in St. Louis and playing that kind of hockey.

“I think being in the playoffs is like the lottery — you have to have a ticket to be in it to win it. If you get into the playoffs and you’re the Boston Bruins, you have a legitimate chance to do some serious damage, especially if they are aggressive at the trade deadline.”

With center David Krejci being out four to six weeks, the Bruins may be inclined to go after a center. McGuire discussed Antoine Vermette of the Coyotes as a possibility.

“Absolutely, I think there is something to that, no question,” said McGuire. “You have to remember too, Peter [Chiarelli] has a relationship with the player. He had him in Ottawa when he was there. He knows the character of the player and he knows the person really well. Antoine is one of the better guys — if you think Patrice Bergeron is a good guy, then you are going to like Antoine Vermette — they are very similar with how they handle themselves as players and as men.”

He also mentioned the Blue Jackets have a surplus of centers.

“I will just throw it out there. Columbus is a team that is three centers deep,” said McGuire. “Ryan Johansen, Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimo. I am not saying they are trading Ryan Johansen, but maybe they trade one of the other two guys. There are going to be some chips that are available to Peter going forward. I just don’t know how aggressive he wants to get in terms of price point on players and what kind of players he’s prepared to trade away to make his team better.”

Blog Author: 
WEEI

WILMINGTON — The Bruins skated the same lineup Thursday at Ristuccia Arena as the team prepared for a back-to-back that will see them play in New Jersey Friday and host the Coyotes Saturday.

The lines and defensive pairings were as follows:

Marchand-Bergeron-Smith
Lucic-Spooner-Pastrnak
Paille-Soderberg-Eriksson
Caron-Kelly-Ferlin

Chara-Hamilton
Bartkowski-Seidenberg
Krug-McQuaid

Tuukka Rask who has played in 18 straight games, should finally get a night off this weekend, but stranger things have happened. The last time Rask did not play in a game was on Jan. 8 against the very Devils the B’€™s will face Friday.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

Steep prices led to Andrej Sekera costing the Kings first-round pick and a prospect. (Harry How/Getty Images)The trade market is passing the Bruins by. That might not be such a bad thing.