Bruins

Bruins stay quiet on first day of free agency

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Bruins stay quiet on first day of free agency

WILMINGTON, Mass. As expected, it was a comfortably quiet day first day of free agency for the Boston Bruins.

Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli officially re-signed two of his own players and locked up a Russian prospect for three years, but also said he wasnt moved to strike out on any of the 40-plus players inked to new deals by virtually every other NHL club.

The Bruins GM doesnt anticipate making any moves today, and said that depth signings will be the likely additions to a Bruins team thats loaded for the regular season at nearly every position.

We delved into a couple of things that never really got going anywhere. Im not going to say any positions specifically up front, but they were forwards, said Chiarelli. I dont anticipate anything happening today based on whats happened to this point.

Ive said this prior to going into today. Im not actively looking for anything. If something can improve our team then well look at it. Whether its the secondary market in free agency or the secondary market in trades, well continue to look at that stuff. But were not actively looking.

While there were some longer free-agent deals signed by players like Brandon Prust and P.A. Parenteau to the Canadiens and Colorado Avalanche, respectively, there are still plenty of quality depth forwards on the free agent market. Some of the bigger names like Ray Whitney and Shane Doan wont be an option in Boston, but other potential third-line depth forwards like Jay McClement, Jason Arnott and Daniel Winnik could all be available should the Bruins strike in free agency.

But it appears Chiarelli is ready to move forward with 21-year-old Jordan Caron on the inside track for a starting left wing job with fellow youngsters like Chris Bourque, Ryan Spooner and Jared Knight ready to potentially battle for a spot in training camp. The Bs general manager originally hoped for a Recchi-type veteran to be added to the mix, but that may no longer be in the cards for the Black and Gold.

In past years weve had not too often but weve had one or two players that we actively wanted to add to our team. Wed go after them, and that applied to a guy like Michael Ryder. This year we didnt have a player there that we thought we could get right off the hop.

So that speaks to how I feel about our team. There are a couple of guys that you want to test the waters with, and check in with them. See what they want, see where they are and see what their plans are. Besides that weve had some meetings about some depth guys, but its been relatively quiet.

As the total of open spots dwindle for a large mass of free agents looking for NHL homes, there may be some intriguing possibilities for the Bruins. They could potentially upgrade from the kiddie corps currently earmarked for the third line alongside Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley, or they may wait until they can move Tim Thomas' 5 million cap hit toward the end of the summer.

It sounds like the Bruins will be simply content to return with the 19 players that logged minutes and games with last years team, and instead hope for a better result than the first round playoff exit to the Washington Capitals.

Grzelcyk happy to be back w/ B's and confident in his game

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Grzelcyk happy to be back w/ B's and confident in his game

BRIGHTON, Mass – It had to be a bitter pill for Matt Grzelcyk to be sent back down to the AHL after playing solidly for the Bruins earlier this season. 

The 23-year-old Charlestown native was excellent playing in place of Torey Krug in Boston’s opening night win over the Nashville Predators, but his stay didn’t last very long. The former Boston University standout was back in the minor leagues shortly afterward once Krug returned from his fractured jaw a little earlier than expected. Now Krug is again banged up again with an upper body injury, and Grzelcyk has been called up to fill in for Krug during Wednesday night’s pre-Thanksgiving road game in New Jersey against the Devils.

Once again it will be about a focus on puck-moving and power play for Grzelcyk, who is the closest thing that the Bruins have to the smaller, skilled Krug in their minor-league system. 

“I was happy with how things went before I got sent to Providence, so I’m just going to try to do the things that I was doing well before I got sent down. Mentally knowing that I can play at the NHL level [is huge], and just going through the experience was positive,” said Grzelcyk. “Mentally my first year I think I was a little too nervous and tentatively with my play, and that’s not me at all when I’m at my best. I’m confident with the puck, and confident with my speed and ability. It was just about going out and doing it on the ice.”

Grzelcyk was okay down in Providence with four assists and a plus-4 rating in 14 games, but he’s been patiently waiting for another NHL call since logging 12:11 of solid puck-moving ice time in his lone appearance for Boston this season. Now he’ll get it in a likely pairing with Kevan Miller against the New Jersey Devils

“He’s a puck-mover. He’s quick. He can get up the ice and support the rush, and he’s a good distributor,” said Cassidy of Grzelcyk. “There are a lot of natural similarities to Torey [Krug] because of their physical makeup, but they are similar [players] with Torey at this level being a bit more significant offensive player. Whether it’s in [Grzelcyk] or not time will tell, but we believe it is and we just need to get it out of him.”

Grzelcyk will get a chance to show that offensive wrinkle and more when he suits up against the New Jersey Devils for his second game of the season after paying his dues with the P-Bruins overt the last month. 

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Bruins still holding out on a goalie decision for Devils game

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Bruins still holding out on a goalie decision for Devils game

BRIGHTON -- Coming off a pair of back-to-back wins from backup goaltender Anton Khudobin, the Bruins are still undecided about what they’re going to do between the pipes Wednesday night against the New Jersey Devils.

On the one hand, the Bruins are very tempted to ride the hot goaltending hand with Khudobin a strong 5-0-2 record on the season and a .935 save percentage that currently leads all goaltenders across the league. There’s a school of thought that the B’s should simply keep plugging Khudobin into the lineup until he actually loses a game, and begins to cool down a little bit between the pipes after stopping 63-of-65 shots against LA and San Jose.

At the same time it will be over a week since Tuukka Rask has played in a game if the Bruins go with Khudobin on Wednesday night against the Devils, and Bruce Cassidy was clear to stress that Rask is still their No. 1 guy. So that’s the dilemma the Bruins are facing with Cassidy calling it “a good problem to have” based on Khudobin’s strong play from the backup spot.

That is a far cry from what the Bruins experienced a year ago with the same goalie, and a reason for optimism that their goaltending situation will be better off throughout a long season.

“Do you go with the hot hand and leave your No. 1 sitting where he’s beginning to wonder what the hell is going on? That’s the decision,” said Bruce Cassidy. “We need to keep them both in a good place, and not lose out on [Khudobin’s] good run while keeping Tuukka focused and confident in his game. That’s what we’re battling and I talk to Goalie Bob [Essensa] about it every day. We’ll make our decision [on Wednesday] and we hope it’s the right one.

“It’s a long year so no matter who we use there are a lot of starts. I don’t think Khudobin is going to go ice cold if he use Tuukka tomorrow, and I don’t think Tuukka is going to blow a gasket if we go with the hot hand. For me I don’t think it’s that big of a decision.”

Perhaps Rask blowing a gasket wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world given the way he’s played this season.

The one underlying concern for Rask beyond the .897 save percentage this season is that his game has really been in a different place for the last three seasons. While his .922 career save percentage mark is among the best in the NHL, he has been below that mark in each of the last three seasons while struggling to maintain consistently behind a changing roster that’s turning over to youth and inexperience.

It certainly seems like the Bruins feel it’s premature to label Rask as anything but their No. 1 goaltender, but the pause they’re giving on Wednesday night’s starter speaks volumes about their current confidence level in each of their puck-stoppers.

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