Tuukka Rask is expected to start against the Canucks Thursday at TD Garden, but the team still has some things to clear up regarding the rest of its lineup.

Matt Bartkowski

Matt Bartkowski

Matt Bartkowski assumed that after years of being in and out of the lineup, his time with the Bruins was done when his contract expired at the end of last season. Even after the team traded Dougie Hamilton at the draft ahead of free agency, Bartkowski considered himself a goner, set to find a new home where he could play consistently.

That didn’€™t make the change easy for him, however. Unless your last name is Drouin, it’€™s common for players to want to become a full-time player with the team that develops them. Bartkowski has become a full-time player, but it’€™s with the Vancouver Canucks after signing a one-year deal with the team in July.

“I have a lot of good memories here. I developed here as a player,” Bartkowski, who has played in 46 of Vancouver’€™s 47 games entering Thursday’€™s game against the Bruins, said after the team’€™s morning skate. “Now it’€™s good to I guess have that piece of mind [to be a lineup regular].”

The Bruins didn’€™t draft Bartkowski, but after acquiring his rights from the Panthers in the 2010 Dennis Seidenberg trade, they were the team with whom he went pro and the team that brought him up to the NHL. After being one of the final cuts in the preseason of their Stanley Cup-winning 2010-11 season, Bartkowski spent the next four seasons up and down and in and out of Boston’€™s lineup.

The most games Bartkowski played with the Bruins was 64 in the 2013-14, an opportunity created by Seidenberg’€™s season-ending knee injury at the time. Yet between a numbers game on defense and occasional struggles with confidence when he was in the lineup, Bartkowski was never able to hold down a full-time job in the Bruins’€™ lineup.

Asked about the Hamilton trade, Bartkowski said that the move didn’€™t re-open door to explore staying with the Bruins. That makes sense given that the B’€™s still had a number of young defensemen pushing for jobs, a group that they added to with the Milan Lucic trade that netted them Colin Miller.

“I kind of knew that I was going to go somewhere else,’€ Bartkowski said. “In terms of trading Dougie, that was definitely a shock. It’€™s not every day you get a defenseman like that.”

Bartkowski also went to bat for his former teammate. Hamilton not being the most popular guy in the Bruins’€™ dressing room ‘€” an issue clearly not big enough to be a major concern given that the team still wanted to sign him ‘€” made its way into the news following the Bruins’€™ trade with the Flames, but Bartkowski spoke highly of Hamilton’€™s character.

“I like Dougie,” Bartkowski said. “I heard about all that. I don’€™t know where that was really coming from. Yeah, he’€™s a quiet kid, but he’€™s a nice kid. If you get to know him a little bit, you’€™ll find that out.”

Bartkowski would probably love to accentuate his return to the Garden with a goal, something he never did in 131 regular-season games with the Bruins (his lone goal came in the playoffs in Game 7 against the Maple Leafs). By comparison, he’s an offensive dynamo this season, as he’s scored twice for the Canucks.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

Tuukka Rask is expected to start against the Canucks Thursday at TD Garden, but the team still has some things to clear up regarding the rest of its lineup.

Both David Krejci and Landon Ferraro took part in an optional morning skate Thursday. Krejci looks ready to return to the lineup, but the team would need to make a roster move to accommodate his activation from injured reserve.

One such move would be to put Ferraro, who missed Tuesday’s game with a lower-body injury, on IR retroactive to last Sunday. Asked of his plans, Claude Julien didn’t offer much.

“Those will all be discussions today as we move on here,” Julien said. “They’re both on the ice this morning, so we’ll have to make some decisions.

“When I say day-to-day, it could be today. It could be the next few days. Who knows? Some of those decisions will be made this afternoon.”

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

According to sources, Loui Eriksson seeks a contract with an average annual value between the high $5 million range and the high $6 million range, depending on term, while the Bruins will explore trading him if they feel they won’€™t be able to sign him.

According to sources, Loui Eriksson seeks a contract with an average annual value between the high $5 million range and the high $6 million range, depending on term, while the Bruins will explore trading him if they feel they won’€™t be able to sign him.

The B’€™s don’€™t feel they have to sign the free-agent-to-be before Feb. 29’€™s trade deadline, but if they feel there isn’€™t enough common ground to revisit later on, they will shop the 30-year-old right wing.

Eriksson enters Thursday’s game second on the Bruins with 38 points this season.

For more on Eriksson and his future, click here to read Wednesday’€™s story with comments from Eriksson.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

Loui Eriksson could be traded if the Bruins can't sign him. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)Loui Eriksson is exactly what he thought he’d be in Boston.



Based on Wednesday’€™s practice, the Bruins can probably expect the return of David Krejci in either Thursday’€™s game against the Canucks or Saturday’€™s meeting with the Blue Jackets.

Based on Wednesday’€™s practice, the Bruins can probably expect the return of David Krejci in either Thursday’€™s game against the Canucks or Saturday’€™s meeting with the Blue Jackets.

Krejci was one of four forwards skating on Boston’€™s second line, joining Ryan Spooner, Loui Eriksson and Matt Beleskey. Perhaps most telling was the fact that he returned to his spot on Boston’€™s top power play unit on the point with Torey Krug.

The Bruins will need to make a roster move in order to activate Krejci from injured reserve, as the team is currently at the 23-man roster limit. One possible move would be to put Landon Ferraro, whom the team says is day-to-day with a lower-body injury, on injured reserve. Because Ferraro last played on Saturday, the team could put him on IR retroactive to Sunday and he would only have to miss the next two games before being eligible to return on Monday against the Flyers.

With Krejci back in practice, the forward lines looked as follows:

Marchand-Bergeron-Connolly
Beleskey-Krejci/Spooner-Eriksson
Vatrano-Kemppainen-Hayes
Rinaldo-Talbot-Pastrnak-Randell

Colin Miller skated on the point of Boston’€™s second power play unit, suggesting he could possibly return Thursday after being a healthy scratch in Boston’€™s last two games.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean
DJ Bean and Ken Laird discuss the final regular season meeting between Boston and Montreal this year, a 4-1 Bruins win on Tuesday night at the Bell Center. Loui Eriksson contract rumors are also discussed.

[0:00:46] ... two games. Well. Yeah of course that when a classic get the totally forgot neither but they'll tell ice was a little bit little bizarre was it a rocky start up oral wildwood anyway. They get the Max Talbot go on a breakaway and on kind of a busted play. And then the second period Montreal seemed until the ice and out of nowhere Patrice Bergeron is the wraparound goal. I mean bullying. By any way I care so they have scored about eight minutes into the second ...



Patrice Bergeron made an important point in his career count for a lot more Tuesday.