Lower-level defense is not the biggest of many worries for the Boston Bruins, yet it might be another in a series of headaches.
CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty points out that Joe Morrow has been placed on IR while AHL stalwart Tommy Cross was called up.
With a -3 rating and negligible offensive impact so far, few will really be missing Morrow (pictured). From the way Haggerty describes Cross, it’s a pretty cool story if he gets into the lineup:
Cross was named captain of the Providence Bruins this season, and actually had a strong training camp as the hard-hitting, tough stay-at-home defenseman he’s developed into during his five years in the B’s minor league system. The 2007 second round pick was a highly regarded potential puck-moving defenseman when he was drafted prior to his Boston College career, but a series of knee injuries negated some of his speed and puck-moving capabilities.
Granted, the Bruins would prefer a sure-thing improvement over a feel-good story right now, as this 0-3-0 start marks their worst beginning in some time.
Injuries have been an issue in general, too, with Zdeno Chara‘s slow start mixed with Dennis Seidenberg on the mend and Brad Marchand in limbo.
The Bruins’ next game comes against the Avalanche in Colorado. Maybe they’ll start to mend things on the ice?
It didn’t take long for the Boston Bruins trade speculation to begin.
From CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty:
According to separate hockey sources, there has been some level of recent trade discussion about veterans Zdeno Chara and Brad Marchand with other teams around the league, just to name a few B’s players. The talks haven’t been substantial but more exploratory in nature, as the team quietly gauges the market value of higher-priced veterans who may not fit in the long-term picture if the decision is made to tear down the current roster.
Chara, 38, is signed through 2017-18 for a cap hit of almost $7 million. Given his age, if the Bruins aren’t going to be contenders for the next few years, it may make sense to try and trade him.
Marchand, 27, is signed though 2016-17 for a cap hit of $4.5 million. He’ll be approaching 30 when his contract is up, and probably won’t be cheap to re-sign as an unrestricted free agent.
Of course, all this trade speculation assumes the Bruins don’t turn things around. It’s possible Chara will return to the lineup this afternoon at home versus Tampa Bay. If not, he’ll be back soon.
Marchand is out with a concussion, his return date unknown.
The B’s remain winless after two games, losing to the Jets and Canadiens by a combined score of 10-4. After today’s game, they play five of their next seven on the road.
“We just need to focus on getting better as a team, and there’s a lot of work to be done,” said coach Claude Julien. “We need everybody right now. There are a lot of people we need to get more of if we’re going to battle out of this. This is where we need players to step up.”
The Boston Bruins are already playing with a badly depleted defense, they just have to hope that they don’t start losing key forwards as well.
That’s a possibility though as Brad Marchand left Saturday’s contest early after inadvertently being elbowed in the head by Dale Weise, per CSN New England’s Joe Haggerty. Bruins coach Claude Julien couldn’t provide an update after the game, according to the team’s Twitter account.
Whatever happens there though, Boston already has a hole it needs to dig out of as Montreal handed the Bruins a 4-2 loss tonight.
Lars Eller and Alex Galchenyuk led the charge by scoring two goals and three assists respectively. Alexander Semin registered two assists after going scoreless in his debut with Montreal on Wednesday.
The Bruins are now 0-2-0 and have allowed 10 goals over that span. They have been playing without their top two defensemen in Zdeno Chara (upper body) and Dennis Seidenberg (back).
Boston’s task isn’t getting any easier as it will face the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday. Montreal, which is opening the season with a four-game road trip, is now 2-0-0 ahead of Sunday’s contest against Ottawa.
While much has been written about the Boston Bruins’ depleted defense, there’s also a good amount of intrigue about the forward group, which will look dramatically different tonight compared to last year’s season opener.
Here are the Bruins’ expected lines versus the Jets:
Brad Marchand–Patrice Bergeron–Loui Eriksson
Matt Beleskey–David Krejci–David Pastrnak
Jimmy Hayes–Ryan Spooner–Brett Connolly
Chris Kelly–Joonas Kemppainen–Zac Rinaldo
The line most under the microscope may be that second one. In today’s Boston Globe, there’s a lengthy story on Krejci. The 29-year-old center with the big contract only played 47 games last season due to injuries. He finished with just 31 points.
So, where is Krejci’s game now?
Then there’s free-agent addition Matt Beleskey, a.k.a. Milan Lucic‘s replacement. Prior to scoring 22 times last year for the Ducks, the 27-year-old Beleskey had never tallied more than 11 goals in a season.
So, is Beleskey a legitimate top-six forward?
On the other wing, it’s David Pastrnak, the 19-year-old who, somewhat surprisingly, emerged as one of the top rookies in the league last year.
So, can Pastrnak take another step forward?
“It’s been a good three plus weeks where we’ve been able to kind of work individually, as a group, as a line, with different players and different personalities,” said coach Claude Julien. “We’re pleased with it. We’re optimistic and we just have to let things work themselves out too.”
The Boston Bruins just have to hope their fortune changes quickly because luck certainly hasn’t been on their side thus far.
They announced this morning that captain Zdeno Chara won’t be available for tonight’s season opener against the Winnipeg Jets. That’s on top of missing Dennis Seidenberg (lower body) after their defense had already been weakened by trading Dougie Hamilton over the summer.
The result is that the Bruins are going into the season with some very unflattering defensive pairings:
None of the Bruins’ six blueliners averaged 20 minutes or more last season. Two of them (Zach Trotman and Joe Morrow) have less than 30 games worth of NHL experience while Kevan Miller has fewer than 100 games under his belt.
Boston is trying to bounce back after missing the playoffs last season and coach Claude Julien is seen as someone who is on the hot streak before Boston’s season even starts.