Bruins

Czarnik trying not to be 'the forgotten man' in Bruins camp

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Czarnik trying not to be 'the forgotten man' in Bruins camp

BOSTON – With all of the talk about young forward prospects Anders Bjork and Jake DeBrusk, it would seem that Austin Czarnik wants to serve a reminder that he can play a little hockey too.

For the second year in a row, the 24-year-old diminutive forward is putting together a strong start to his training camp with a multi-point performance in a 4-2 exhibition victory over the Detroit Red Wings Tuesday night at TD Garden.

Czarnik finished with a penalty-shot goal, two points and tied for the team-lead with four shots on net while playing with the energy, skating aggressiveness and in-your-face attitude that he’s going to need for NHL success. He also made his point that there are more than just a couple of young forwards in camp who can potentially help in Boston this winter.

“He was very good. I think the forgotten man, maybe, he was thinking [a bit] because we’ve talked about a lot of young guys. He’s still a young guy, and wants to make his mark and push for a job on the team,” coach Bruce Cassidy said of Czarnik, who posted five goals and 13 points in 49 games for the Bruins last season. “I thought he looked real good tonight. He won a lot of pucks. He’s always going to make plays in space, that’s his game. He won a lot of pucks and did a lot of little things well.”

It was Czarnik who really helped put the game away in the second period when he sped past a pair of defenders and forced them into hauling him down for a penalty shot with the B’s already up, 2-0. Czarnik patiently slowed his penalty-shot attempt before ripping one past Petr Mrazek’s glove hand in what ended up being the game-winning goal. Czarnik was in the middle of things again in the third on the insurance marker as he engineered a 3-on-1 rush before expertly feeding to Teddy Purcell for the sizzled one-timer.

Czarnik was downplaying the idea that he’s been overlooked in camp but show there was a strong need to remind the B’s organization how he can potentially help them as a fast, aggressive, pesky little center that can also make some plays.

“I’m not going to worry about [getting overlooked]. It’s part of life, you know it’s happened a lot? I’m not going to worry about that,” said Czarnik, who similarly won a job with the Bruins after a strong initial training camp last season. I’m just going to worry about myself and just try to do the right thing every single time and show them what I can do.

“I need to be an energy guy. There’s a lot of young talent now, you know, on the power play and everything now, so I need to try to create energy on the penalty kill and the fore-check. So that’s what my main focus is going to be.”

The energy really is the key to Czarnik’s long-term hopes with the Bruins and, consequently, the rest of the NHL. If he can play with the same skating legs, high energy and rapid pace that he’s consistently shown in preseasons, then there’s no reason to think he can’t help the Bruins. But there were far too many lulls in Czarnik’s rookie NHL season where the skating game wasn’t good enough, there wasn’t enough bite to his fore-check and there just weren’t enough plays being made on the ice.

Clearly, Czarnik is trying to change that impression in this camp with the B’s, but that could prove to be a much more difficult task with so many more quality forwards now battling for a few jobs on the roster in Boston. 

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Postma "ready and excited" to make his Bruins debut

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Postma "ready and excited" to make his Bruins debut

BRIGHTON, Mass – It took seven games into the regular season, but it looks like Paul Postma will be making his Bruins debut on Saturday night after signing on in Boston as a free agent last summer. The 28-year-old Postma is getting into the Bruins lineup after a couple of blocked shots knocked Adam McQuaid out of the Bruins lineup with a broken leg, but it’s a moment he’s been prepared for since the end of NHL training camp.

“Those things happen. I obviously wish him the best and we’re going to miss him a lot, but it’s up to the other guys to step up and I’m going to get a chance to play now. [I’m going to] make the most of it,” said Postma, who finished with a goal and 14 points along with a plus-3 rating in 64 games for the Winnipeg Jets last season in his eighth and final year with the organization that dated back to their days as the Atlanta Thrashers. “It was a long summer and I obviously play this game because I want to get into the lineup. I’m ready and excited, and I’m excited to just play my first game as a Boston Bruin.”

Postma has pretty good size at 6-foot-3, 190-pounds, but he’s more of a puck-mover and offensive catalyst with a strong, accurate shot from the point than he would be considered a defensive stopper-type. Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy has to keep that in mind while building the defensemen pairs, and adjusting to also potentially being without fellow stay-at-home defenseman Kevan Miller on Saturday night as well.

The book on Postma, according to sources within the Winnipeg Jets organization, was that he could impress with the talent and skills within his game, but that he could never consistently put it together on a consistent basis. With injuries piling up for the Bruins, Postma will now get a new, fresh chance with the Bruins after serving as the seventh defenseman for the first few weeks of the season. 

“He’s working diligently to close a little quicker and understand what his assignment is. We’re more zone oriented in terms of layers [than Winnipeg] and we’re not going to chase people away from our net, so he’s had to get used to that,” said Postma, of his adjustment from the Jets system to the one that the Bruins play. “The puck-moving department will always be there. That’s one of his strengths and we’re going to expect that from him. He’s got a big shot, so he’ll definitely add some offensive blue line presence.”  

The nice part for Postma is that all of the talk and theory about how he’ll look in a Bruins uniform will be over at puck drop on Saturday night, and it will be about impressing a team full of new people where he’s looking for a permanent role.  

Morning Skate: Two sports writing legends talk Bruins

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Morning Skate: Two sports writing legends talk Bruins

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while shaking my head that’s going to be close to 80 degrees in late October today in New England. Summer clearly isn’t over around here.

*A couple of Boston sports writing legends shoot the breeze about the Bruins and hockey as Bob Ryan hosts FOH (Friend of Haggs) Kevin Paul Dupont on his podcast.

*Auston Matthews is happy to share his stick-collecting stories as a hockey-loving kid growing up in Arizona that’s now living the dream.

*The Los Angeles Kings are off to the best start in franchise history, which really seems strange given the Cup-winning pedigree that this organization has built up over the last five-plus seasons.

*The NHL has admitted that they completely botched a coach’s challenge for offside that cost the Avalanche a very important goal. This is the Pandora’s Box that you open up once you start making replay a big part of the game.

*Kailer Yamamoto is making a late push to stick around with the Edmonton Oilers for the entire season rather than be returned to junior hockey. Again, it should be mentioned that Yamamoto was Edmonton’s first-round pick this summer while the Finnish defenseman that the Bruins tapped wasn’t even a training camp invite.

*Claude Lemieux enjoys his son’s NHL debut in Winnipeg long after the notorious forward wound up his own event-filled NHL career.

*For something completely different: I think we all enjoyed Patrick Beverley taking Lonzo Ball to school in his first NBA game this week.