Bruins

BruinsRed Wings: 5 from the First

BruinsRed Wings: 5 from the First

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.comDETROIT Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Bruins leading the Red Wings by a 2-1 score at Joe Louis Arena after the first 20 minutes of play in Motor City.1)Theres a response by Tyler Seguin. The 19-year-old puck wunderkind has shown the ability to respond and do it with flair when a little pressure has been applied to his game, and he did exactly that in the opening minutes of Sundays game. Seguin worked with Blake Wheeler to create a scoring chance in front, and should get credit for a goal that he pounced on in front of the net when Jimmy Howard couldnt control a wraparound backhand from Wheeler. If Seguin gets the goal itll be his second point in the last 2 games while Wheeler will snap a 13-game goal-scoring drought if its his goal. Views of replays after the first period credited Seguin with the goal.2)Tough play by Brad Marchand when he threw a blind backhand clear attempt in front of the net when he was left all alone in the defensive end on a line change, and it immediately turned into a Red Wings goal. Todd Bertuzzi was pressuring Marchand and simply stripped the puck before throwing a couple of shots at Tim Thomas. He finally beat Thomas up high when he was all alone in front for the Wings first goal. Marchand responded by scoring a power play goal later in the period to give Boston the lead again, and show why hes become a tough player to go up against. His resiliency is the real deal. Tough spot for Marchand to be on for the goal: if he throws the puck up the boards he earns the team a too many men penalty while theyre changing up.3)Much more competitive first period for the Bruins today than at anytime on Friday. Theyre playing physical even Seguin is getting his nose dirty, which is a big indicator and making things more difficult for Detroit skaters looking to just play shinny. If the Bs can sustain this for two more periods they should be in very good shape when the final buzzer sounds.4)Its tough to watch Steve Kampfer sit in the stands when he had 50 family and friends in the stands, but itll end up being a tough learning tool for the 22-year-old. Claude Julien is absolutely right that his game slipped over the last handful of games, and this time was coming with his ice time dropping over the last few games. Its not youth hockey, and sometimes the lessons learned at the NHL level are tough ones. Its pretty clear Claude Julien wanted the Bruins to be much grittier and more physically engaging today, and that played right into the decision to play Mark Stuart.5)First time Tim Thomas has played an NHL game in front of his parents at Joe Louis Arena, and hes looking properly inspired. Hes been active with the poke checks to get himself out of trouble on several occasions, and he bears no responsibility for that first one after Marchand coughed up the puck. Nine saves for Thomas in the first period.

Heinen beginning to look like a keeper for Bruins

ap_17300000189894.jpg

Heinen beginning to look like a keeper for Bruins

BRIGHTON, Mass – While it’s still early in the careers of all the young Bruins rookies making their way this season, it sure looks like 22-year-old Danton Heinen is among the B’s youngsters that are here to stay. The former University of Denver standout didn’t make the cut at the end of training camp this season and he failed early last year when it was clear he wasn’t ready during an eight-game audition with the big club.

But Heinen continued to look ready while scoring a pair of goals and three points in the three games on a pivotal road trip through California last week, and is now tied for fifth on the Bruins in points despite missing four games in the AHL. In all, Heinen has four goals and 10 points along with a plus-4 rating in 15 games this season, and is on pace for a really strong 21 goals and 52 points in his first full year.

This has been a really nice step forward for Heinen after being a point-per-game player for Providence during their playoff run last spring.

MORE:

“Last year’s playoff did a lot for him. When I saw him playing there, he was a different player than when he’d left [Boston],” said Bruce Cassidy. “There was a willingness to stay in the battle and his growth when it comes to winning pucks…you’ve seen it here. A lot of the things he’s down well are his second and third efforts on the puck where last year I thought he was pushed off the puck pretty easily [at the NHL level].”

There could be a period when his offense slows down or some other part of his game drags his minutes down, but right now he looks like he’s well on his way to establishing himself in a key role with the Black and Gold. The difference has been Heinen increasing his speed and also adding a little more tenacity to the skill and offense package that he was always bringing to the table.  

“I don’t want to say that because when we get our guys healthy then we’ll see where we’re at,” said Bruce Cassidy, when asked if Heinen was a keeper at the NHL level at this point. “But I think he’s certainly shown he’s a much more consistent player than he was last year. He’s probably a bit ahead of the other younger guys because he has gone through a bit of it [at the pro level]. The fact that he’s been able to play in a lot of different situations, play left or right wing, and moved up in the lineup while being very effective with [Sean] Kuraly and [Tim] Schaller down in the lineup, as a coach it’s to have a guy like that who can move around and fit in a lot of different places.

“So he’s certainly helped himself [to stay in the NHL]. I think it’s too early to say if he’s here for good, but I don’t envision him leaving [Boston] anytime soon with the way that he’s played.”

Only time and consistently good play will allow the playmaking Heinen to truly lock up his spot on the NHL roster, but it’s increasingly difficult to envision any scenario where the fifth-round pick isn’t playing an increasingly important role for the Bruins. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Bruins' Backes returns to ice after surgery for diverticulitis

bruins_david_backes_031517.jpg

Bruins' Backes returns to ice after surgery for diverticulitis

BRIGHTON -- In a development that was certainly much sooner than originally anticipated, David Backes has returned to the ice just a matter of weeks after having 10 inches of colon removed during surgery for diverticulitis. It remains to be seen how gradual a process it will be for the 33-year-old to actually return to game action given his original timetable for recovery was eight weeks following the early November procedure, but it seems like it might end up being ahead of the two months Backes was initially expected to be sidelined. 

For his part, Backes was happy to be back skating with his teammates and pushing his recovering body after feeling pretty sluggish for the first few days following surgery. He confirmed he’d been skating for a couple of days while the team was on the West Coast, but Monday was his first team doing anything post-surgery with the rest of the team. 

“It’s good to be back with the guys and to be around the room, and to have seen the kind of resiliency that these guys showed on the road trip. The back half of the road trip was impressive,” said Backes, who has an assist in five games with the Bruins before succumbing to the surgery. “To be on the ice and moving around after sitting around doing nothing for too long where you don’t think you’re going to see the light at the end of the tunnel, it feels good. 

“The doc’s advice is that if it doesn’t hurt then I can keep moving forward and add more of a workload on, so that’s the update for today. It’s still non-contact, but we’ll keep moving along and hopefully I’ll be back doing what I love to do on a regular basis. I haven’t been notified that the timeline has changed at all, so I’m just going to keep putting in the work. The more I seem to do the work the better it is, and I seem to be able to do a little more each day. So those are all positive signs.”

For the Bruins it’s clearly a morale booster to see the big power forward back doing regular hockey activities, and serving notice that he’ll be bringing his size, strength, leadership and physicality back to a B’s team that definitely needs him. Clearly the return of another high-end forward would also immensely help a Bruins team that’s still very undermanned up front, but it would appear there will be some other B’s forwards getting back prior to Backes. 

Brad Marchand and Ryan Spooner appear poised to return to full practice on Tuesday with a possible return to the lineup not too far beyond that after all three injured forwards took part in Monday’s optional skate at Warrior Ice Arena. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE