Things with the Bruins lineup have been so dull of late that a debate as to who coach Claude Julien will play on the team’s fourth line is their “hot question” coming into tonight’s Game 5.
Julien told reporters today he’s deciding between Kaspars Daugavins and Carl Soderberg to play alongside Rich Peverley and Shawn Thornton and we won’t find out who he’s going with til tonight. When asked why he was tinkering with things, he was pretty direct.
“Why? Because I’m the coach and because I can,” he said. “You guys ask me why I make those changes. I didn’t spend three days thinking about that. It’s a situation that I can do.”
As for whether Soderberg will indeed make his Stanley Cup Final (and playoffs) debut tonight, it sounded like Julien was hedging his bets.
“Well, I haven’t seen (Soderberg) that much. He’s only played a few games, and that’s probably the main reason he hasn’t played in the Playoffs is we went with some experienced players,” Julien said.
“I have to look at whether I feel comfortable staying with Daugavins, or as you know right now, it’s been between Soderberg and Daugavins. But they’re two different players. Size-wise they’re different. One is obviously real gritty along the walls, and the other one is probably more of a play maker.
“So there’s a difference there, and that’s where I have to make my decision what I feel I may need for tonight.”
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.