Justin Florek will take any job he can get in Boston. (Getty Images)

Justin Florek did not spend the offseason teaching himself to shoot right-handed. Other than that shortcoming, he feels he has done his best to position himself for a spot in Boston this season.

Florek, the Bruins’€™ fifth-round pick in the 2010 draft, got into four regular season and six postseason games for the Bruins as he got his first taste of the NHL. It was almost immediately apparent when he got into the lineup during Shawn Thornton‘€™s suspension that the then-23-year-old was capable of handling fourth-line minutes in the NHL, but as he enters the upcoming training camp, he does as just one name on a list of players competing for a place with the B’s.

“It’€™s going to be a tough battle,” Florek said Thursday. “€œIt’€™s going to be a great camp, and I think the compete level is going to be the highest that I’€™ve ever seen. It’€™s going to be a lot of fun; it’€™s going to be a good challenge and all the guys that are fighting for that spot are really going to have to fight for it. It’€™s going to be good.”

Once Reilly Smith signs, the Bruins’€™ top two lines will be set in stone, but there are questions from there regarding who will play on the third line with Carl Soderberg (and presumably Chris Kelly), and which players will make up the fourth line.

The most glaring opening on Boston’€™s roster is on the third line right wing, but there’€™s also an open competition for other bottom-six spots, including the fourth line center position. Possibilities include Gregory Campbell being moved to wing and Daniel Paille being moved to the third line.

Amidst all the uncertainty, Florek just knows he wants to be in Boston. His chances might be better if he were a right shot. David Pastrnak and Seth Griffifth are right shots, but the Bruins’€™ young wingers with more experience, such as Florek, Jordan Caron and Matt Fraser, are left shots.

In his time in Boston last season, Florek played mostly left wing. He’€™s played on the right side, however, and he said that if he were to end up being needed on the right side on any line (perhaps replacing Shawn Thornton on the fourth line), he’€™d be able to do it.

“It is [different] but it also has it’€™s advantages, coming down, shooting one-timers off the off-side,”€ he said of playing his off wing. “It’€™s just going to take a lot of work along the wall in my own zone for breakouts, but that’€™s something I pride myself on. If I continue to work on it, I think I’€™ll get there.”

The most logical roles for Florek on the NHL roster would figure to be on one of the fourth line wings or as a 13th forward for now. The latter will become more possible if the Bruins are to find a trade for Caron.

Florek is a big boy at 6-foot-4 and 194 pounds, which would allow the Bruins to get younger on the fourth line while also remaining tough, and with two full years of AHL experience, using him as an extra forward wouldn’€™t hurt his development as much as it might hurt a less experienced player.

If it came down to being an extra forward in the NHL or playing regularly in the AHL, Florek’€™s preference is clear: Though he’€™s played only 10 games for the B’€™s, he doesn’€™t want to be anywhere else.

“My goal –€” everyone’€™s goal –€” is to make it to the NHL,” he said. “Whether I’€™m the 13th forward or I’€™m down in Providence, I’€™m going to work my hardest to get in that lineup and just contribute anywhere I can to help the B’€™s win.

“If it’€™s as a practice guy, I’€™m just going to help the guys compete every day and try to fight my [way] into the lineup. That’€™s kind of the way my whole career has been, is working my way up along the way. I’€™ll do whatever it takes, and from an organizational standpoint, I’€™ll do whatever they need me to do.”

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

WILMINGTON — The Bruins and other NHL players contributed their semi-formal practices Thursday at Ristuccia Arena. Milan Lucic skated on his own for the second straight day, and he joined the other skaters for the first 15 minutes of the session before leaving the ice.

Lucic, who is recovering from wrist surgery, was sporting a new look. The 26-year-old, who has long worn a helmet without a visor, was wearing a visor on Thursday.

Not present among players previously in attendance were Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, Loui Eriksson and Daniel Paille. Bergeron, Eriksson and Paille were all scheduled to be at a Ray Bourque‘s golf tournament. Shawn Thornton, who skated with the group Tuesday and Wednesday, was not present, though Devils goaltender Cory Schneider took his place as non-Bruins skating with the team.

 

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

David Krejci will be 35 when his contract expires. (Getty Images)The Bruins backed up the Brink’s truck for David Krejci. Why?



According to a league source, the Bruins and David Krejci have agreed to a six-year, $43.5 million contract.

According to a league source, the Bruins and David Krejci have agreed to a six-year, $43.5 million contract.

Krejci, 28, will carry a $7.25 million cap hit throughout the duration of the deal, which begins in the 2015-16 season. His salary breakdown will be $7.25 million for the first two years of the deal, $7.5 million for the next two and $7 million for the final two.

The contract will make Krejci the highest-paid player on the team cap-figure-wise when the pact begins in the 2015-16 season. Sitting behind him are Tuukka Rask ($7 million cap hit), Zdeno Chara ($6.916 million) and Patrice Bergeron ($6.5 million)

Krejci is entering the final year of a three-year, $15.75 million contract that he signed in December of 2011. His last contract was signed during a contract year before what would have been restricted free agency. In getting this contract wrapped up now, Krejci joins the likes of Chara and Bergeron (twice) as key unrestricted-free-agents-to-be that Chiarelli got signed before their contract years.

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

WILIMINGTON –€” Earlier in Adam McQuaid’€™s NHL career, the book on him fairly apparent: He was a tough-as-nails right shot defensemen whose responsible style made him a good fit on a third pairing, but he couldn’€™t be counted on for 82 games. That, and he could fight like a maniac.

McQuaid suffered smaller injuries here and there as he missed two playoff games in Boston’€™s 2011 Cup run, 10 games in 2011-12 (and then all seven playoff games with a concussion), then missed 16 games in the lockout-shortened 2013 season.

Last season, however, was a different animal. A quad injury hindered him through multiple attempts to return to the lineup, and when all was said and done McQuaid got into only 30 games, the last of which was Jan. 19. When it became clear that the quad had ended his season, the decision was made for him to get ankle surgery to heal another issue that had been bothering him.

Now, with the Bruins and other local skaters taking the ice in preparation for the season, McQuaid is at full health and trying to find his feet again. The biggest physical hurdle remaining for him is conditioning, as it’€™s tough to be in optimal game shape when you’€™ve been off the ice for seven-plus months.

“Just getting strength and endurance,”€ McQuaid said of where he stands in his comeback. “€œIt’s been a bit of a layoff, so getting back into situations, making plays and reading plays and understanding your position on the ice, which probably everyone will have a bit of an adjustment but it’ll be a little more for me. So just need to make those areas that I focus on.”

Injuries aside, McQuaid’€™s biggest problem might be that he is returning to a Bruins defensive picture that is much different than the one that he left. When McQuaid initially suffered his injury on Nov. 13, he was locked in as Boston’€™s third-pairing right defenseman, playing regular minutes alongside Torey Krug.

When he went out, Matt Bartkowski got more NHL experience, while Kevan Miller emerged in McQuaid’€™s spot on the third pair. Now, the 27-year-old McQuaid is just one of nine NHL blue liners trying to get on the ice for the B’€™s.

“I guess it’s a good situation to have for the team,”€ McQuaid said. “€œLuckily, we’ve put ourselves in this position as an organization. I think everyone, just same old saying: control what you can control. I want to come out and give out my best effort. Hopefully that’s enough. We’ll see how things go. Just focus on your job and the other decisions will be left to the people that make those decisions.”

When Miller initially established himself and then signed a team-friendly two-year contract with an annual cap hit of just $800,000, it looked like McQuaid could become expendable. Trading McQuaid now would be unwise for the Bruins, however, as the more logical move would be to let McQuaid re-establish himself with an extended stretch of healthy playing time and then re-assess where the team’€™s back end stands.

“You just focus on your job and at the end of the day, you don’t make those decisions,” McQuaid said. “Other people do. You try to put yourself in the best position to succeed and that’s really all you can do.”

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

WILMINGTON –€” Milan Lucic and Zdeno Chara were the two notable additions to the group at Wednesday’€™s semi-formal (called informal, but super-organized) practice at Ristuccia Arena.

WILMINTON –€” Milan Lucic and Zdeno Chara were the two notable additions to the group at Wednesday’€™s semi-formal (called informal, but super-organized) practice at Ristuccia Arena. Lucic, who is coming off wrist surgery, skated by himself beforehand and did not join the others, while Chara took part in the full skate.

After the session, both Adam McQuaid and Chris Kelly briefed the media on their respective injury situations. McQuaid, who is coming off ankle surgery and a quad injury, is at full health but is a bit behind on his conditioning. He hopes to be in playing shape during training camp.

Kelly, meanwhile, was instructed to not do any sort of exercise for six weeks following surgery to repair a herniated disc in his back. Since then, he has been working out and skating plenty. Kelly said he now feels no limitations.

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

WILMINGTON — The Bruins began their informal captains practices Tuesday, and there was a strong turnout from current Bruins, future Boston hopefuls, ex-Bruins and plain old local NHLers.

First-round pick David Pastrak could push for an NHL job this season. (Getty Images)WILMINGTON —- In years past, Bruins prospects who have yet to turn pro have not participated in captains practice, instead waiting until rookie camp to get on the ice with teammates in the fall.