We’re just two games into the Bruins’ campaign, but you would have to stretch to find things to fault Boston for so far. They’ve won their first two contests by comfortable margins and most of their major players have gotten their first point. One notable exception to that is forward Loui Eriksson.
That’s nothing to stress over and it’s also not terribly surprising to Bruins coach Claude Julien.
“You can’t judge or expect miracles in the first few games of the season,” Julien told CSN New England. “You give them a good month to get to know each other and play together, and you hope in that month it progresses. I’ve seen that so far from training camp until right now.”
Eriksson is used to playing an “overload” style where players tend to keep close to each other while carrying the puck through the neutral zone, but the Bruins don’t share that philosophy. So far, Eriksson has had some difficulty breaking those habits.
“I usually adjust to systems pretty well, but just the one thing I did in all my years in Dallas was cutting through the middle and supporting the other winger,” Eriksson said, according to the Boston Herald. “But we’ve been practicing it every day and we’ll get better at it.”
It might be a bit before Eriksson finds his groove in Boston, but he’s still a great forward and Julien seems content to let this transition run its course. That’s certainly easier to do when the team is winning anyways.
Could Raphael Diaz be on his way back to Switzerland?
We’ll know in a month.
Diaz, who lost out on the Rangers’ final blueline spot in training camp, has reported to the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford but doesn’t seem pleased with his current situation, per the Post:
The 29-year-old Diaz, who cleared waivers last Saturday after the Blueshirts opted to keep rookie Dylan McIlrath as the club’s seventh on the blue line, is interested in the European option if he is not in the NHL.
The Blueshirts have told Diaz they will revisit the situation at the end of October, but have not promised to release him or assign him to a European team at that point.
If Diaz, a Swiss native who represented Switzerland in the 2014 Olympics, does play in Europe during the season, he would have to go through waivers in order to return to the NHL.
Diaz’s agent, Ritch Winter, told the Post that Diaz signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Rangers “to play with the Rangers.”
And it’s understandable if Diaz — a journeyman offensive defenseman — isn’t happy with this situation.
While some believe McIlrath earned his roster spot on merit, some think it’s because of his contract status. McIlrath, who’s only 23 and a former first-round pick, would’ve needed to clear waivers to go back to Hartford, and it’s believed he would’ve been claimed by another club.
Bit of uncertainty out of Vancouver regarding the health of backup goalie Jacob Markstrom.
Markstrom, a late drop from the Canucks’ 5-1 opening-night win over Calgary, has suffered a hamstring injury that will keep him sidelined for another week, the club announced on Thursday.
With Markstrom out, backup duties will stay with AHL call-up Richard Bachman, who served as Ryan Miller‘s No. 2 on Wednesday.
Now, the focus turns to how long Bachman keeps those duties.
Per a Sportsnet report, Markstrom could miss up to three weeks of action with his injury. If that’s the case, Bachman will almost certainly be called into action; the Canucks will play eight games in 17 nights starting with Saturday’s home-opener against the Flames, which includes back-to-backs in Los Angeles and Anaheim on Oct. 12 and 13.
It would be asking a lot of the No. 1, 35-year-old Ryan Miller, to shoulder that entire load.
Bachman does have some NHL experience, with nearly 50 games to his credit. That includes a 3-2-0 record with the Oilers last year, in which he posted a 2.84 GAA and .911 save percentage.