Is Loui Eriksson starting to get it together?

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Boston Bruins forward Loui Eriksson probably has the right attitude about the inevitable Tyler Seguin comparisons: he told CSNNE.com that there’s not much he can do about the rising star’s work in Dallas.

The key, then, is just to play as well as he can. So far, that really hasn’t worked out so well in Boston, but that might be changing.

Bruins head coach Claude Julien seems to notice a difference lately.

“Like all players in this league when they get on a roll, they feel good about themselves,” Julien said. “To me, he’s showing the kind of player we’ve always thought he was. He’s scoring some goals, he’s making some plays and he’s killing penalties. He’s a guy that you can use in all kinds of situations, so right now I think we’re seeing some of his best hockey.”

The 29-year-old’s really been finding his scoring touch lately.

Eriksson scored two goals in Boston’s crucial win against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday. He has four goals and two assists for six points in his last four contests.

While his possession stats were subtly good last season, they remain respectable enough so far in 2014-15, so there’s reason to believe that he can be the two-way player Boston was expecting when they made that pivotal trade.

Will he ever be able to silence those who can only compare him to the superstar the Bruins parted with? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean that the Swede can’t help Boston win games. It seems like he’s finally making that evident in recent games.

Sabres aren’t happy with league’s decision regarding Bartkowski

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The Buffalo Sabres have to move on from the league’s decision not to suspend Matt Bartkowski for his hit on Brian Gionta, but that doesn’t mean they have to like it.

The team vented to the Buffalo News regarding the lack of supplemental discipline for the Boston Bruins defenseman.

“It’s never a good thing to see,” Sabres blueliner Josh Gorges said. “You never want to see anybody get hurt, and hopefully he’s not out too long. I’m not really sure how that’s handled. It was a five-minute penalty, major and a game. I thought it was supposed to be an automatic hearing and review. But they make their decisions and we live with it.”

Sabres head coach Ted Nolan almost seems to wonder if there’s something wrong with the culture of the sport.

“Sometimes, unfortunately, some of your players put themselves in vulnerable positions,” Nolan said. “Does that give you the green light to hit them in that position? Sometimes the sportsmanship should come out but, once in a while, that doesn’t seem to be the fact anymore.”

Here’s video of the hit:

Bartkowski received a game misconduct for his actions. The Sabres told the Buffalo News that Gionta has an upper-body injury, yet they don’t believe that it’s a concussion.

Goalie nods: Varlamov returns after six-game absence

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All the latest from the blue paint…

Varly’s back

Semyon Varlamov will play for the first time since Dec. 5 when the Avs take on the Blues in Colorado tonight.

Varlamov, last year’s Vezina runner up, has been out for the last two weeks with a re-aggravated groin injury. Rookie Calvin Pickard has performed extremely well in Varlamov’s absence — going 3-0-2 over his last five games with a .952 save percentage — and, correspondingly, Colorado has inched up the standings and now sits just nine points back of Los Angeles for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference.

On the year, Varlamov’s 4-6-5 with a 3.21 GAA and .909 save percentage. He’ll be going up against Jake Allen in the Blues net.

Elsewhere…

Preds at Bruins: Tuukka Rask likely for Boston, no word on a Nashville starter.

Leafs at Stars: Jonathan Bernier for Toronto, Kari Lehtonen likely for Dallas.

Flyers at Wild: Ray Emery vs. Niklas Backstrom

Caps at Rangers: Henrik Lundqvist for New York, no word on a Washington starter.

Habs at Isles: Carey Price vs. Chad Johnson

‘Canes at Devils: Anton Khudobin vs. Cory Schneider

Sabres at Red Wings: Michal Neuvirth vs. Petr Mrazek

Pens at Bolts: Andrei Vasilevskiy likely for Tampa Bay, no word on a Pittsburgh starter.

Coyotes at Oilers: Devan Dubnyk vs. Ben Scrivens

Jets at ‘Hawks: Michael Hutchinson vs. Corey Crawford.

Krejci on criticism: ‘I just try to stay away from the Internet’

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Whether it’s been injuries or inconsistent production, this has been a rough start to the season for Boston Bruins forward David Krejci.

Things haven’t exactly been going smoothly for the Bruins, either, so the criticisms have likely been harsh at times for Krejci. From the sound of things, the 28-year-old’s trying to take an “ignorance is bliss” approach to the situation, as he told CSNNE.com.

“Not many people watch the game. A lot of people just open up the Internet and look at the score sheet,” Krejci said. “They see my name, and I get zero [points]. They see that I make lots of money, and that I don’t produce. No one cares if I play well, or not. It is what it is. I just have to stay positive. I know that the coaches and upper management … they watch the games, so I just try to stay away from the Internet and try to stay away from what’s happening.”

“Stay away” probably isn’t the worst advice for any athlete or person whose work can be scrutinized on a public level. Of course, ignoring what’s being said about you is also easier said than done.

If nothing else, it sounds like Krejci is making progress along with Milan Lucic (who’s also suffered through a sluggish start that might be in some part related to health limitations).

“I think we just have to bear down and execute when we’re making plays,” Lucic said. “I think [against Buffalo] out of all the games since Krech [David Krejci] has been back for the most part we’ve played in the o-zone. It’s just about creating those opportunities in the o-zone. We’re creating scoring chances and scoring chances off the rush, and things that we’ve been really good at in the past.”

Krejci & Co. get a chance to build some momentum against the Nashville Predators, who will wrap up a back-to-back set on Tuesday.

Dougie Hamilton, a.k.a. ‘the future’ of the Bruins, earns praise from Julien

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Sunday morning, a testy Claude Julien met with reporters prior to the Bruins’ home game with the Sabres. Among other things, Julien called defenseman Dougie Hamilton the “future of our team.”

Later on that day, Hamilton scored two goals, including the late tying marker, and added an assist in a 4-3 overtime win for the B’s.

Not surprisingly, this brought more encouraging words from the coach.

“Tonight, he was aggressive at the right time and he played a real solid game tonight,” said Julien, per Boston.com. “There’s times where he’s aggressive and the decisions aren’t the right one, so it’s learning as you go along here for a young player. He’s 21 years old. I think we’re getting a lot out of a 21 year-old defenseman right now. Even if he has bad games, he’s been pretty good overall.”

We’ve written extensively about Hamilton’s importance to the Bruins. Zdeno Chara is 37 years old now, the seventh-oldest defenseman in the NHL. On paper, Hamilton is the franchise’s next cornerstone blue-liner, which has certainly enjoyed its fair share of great blue-liners throughout the years.

But how great the 21-year-old can be, if he can be great at all, remains to be seen. Does he have the right mentality? From Tyler Myers to Luke Schenn to Michael Del Zotto, we’ve seen how fragile confidence can be for promising young defensemen.

At the very least, Hamilton is lucky to have a pretty good role model.

“It is hard to be facing every night the best lines,” Chara said in November. “A player has to be always willing to do whatever you need, and sacrifice maybe some of his personal agenda. Your No. 1 job is to shut down the top line, and if you can contribute offensively, then good. … But to do it for 70-80 games, facing the best players in the world, that is challenging; you have to be mentally ready to do that. Dougie hasn’t been that long with us, but he has shown the potential for having a great future with his improvement so far.”

Hamilton’s 20 points currently rank him in a tie for 15th among NHL d-men. In what’s been a frustrating season for the Bruins, he’s been a bright spot, to be sure.

Related: The Atlantic Division race is going to be fascinating