Bruins

Ex-Winnipeg defenseman Postma happy for fresh start with Bruins

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Ex-Winnipeg defenseman Postma happy for fresh start with Bruins

BRIGHTON, Mass – It turns out that the move to the Bruins organization is quite a monumental one for Paul Postma.

Postma, 28, has spent the past eight years as a member of the Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets organization before signing a one-year deal with the Bruins on the July 1 opening of NHL free agency. He's established himself as a steady, reliable D-man who ended up playing 65 games for the Jets last season and had his best performance to date with a goal and 14 assists along with a plus-3 rating.

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Still, Postma was blocked as a big-bodied right shot defenseman with Dustin Byfuglien and Jacob Trouba ahead of him on the depth chart and buried in an organization. They also had Tyler Myers, Toby Enstrom and Mark Stuart ahead of him in the pecking order. So, Postma is looking at signing with the Bruins as a “fresh start” of sorts where he can get a chance to really see what he can do at the NHL level.

“I was a little too comfortable with Winnipeg. I had been with that organization for 10 years, so coming into camp I knew where I fell in the depth chart,” said Postma, who has 10 goals and 34 points in 191 career NHL games. “I was stuck in a rut [in Winnipeg] where I wasn’t really developing at all, so it was time for a change for me.
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“This has been great for me so far. I’ve never really been traded like this or signed with a new team, so everything is new to me. But it’s been a great transition and I think I’m doing well with the systems and stuff, and even the business of city life. I’m starting to settle down and really enjoying it.”

The fractured jaw injury to Torey Krug may open exactly that kind of door for Postma in the first few games to start the regular season. Postma can play on both the left and right side and has already shown his big shot in scoring a preseason goal against the Red Wings, so now it’s about competing with younger, homegrown players Matt Grzelcyk and Rob O’Gara to see who will be in Boston’s top-six on opening night. 

“He’s interesting because he might be a little bit of a tweener where he’s a young veteran guy,” said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. “He’s a bit of a new guy to us, so he’s got to balance showing us his best side with also simply getting ready for the season. As a veteran, they’ve got their own checklist to get ready for the season. My guess is that he wants to show his teammates and the staff that he’s a good hockey player and that he deserves to be in there every night, and do that while also getting himself ready.

“There is definitely some competition there. That’s one of the things we talked about with him, specifically. We’ve got some young kids that are going to push him. Some of them are still here and some them are not. Grzelcyk and O’Gara are still here and had a little bit of action last year while [Jakub] Zboril and [Jeremy] Lauzon have gone to Providence. So, it’s whittling down, but there is still competition.”

It remains to be seen if it will Postma, playing the left side for the first time in a couple of seasons, or Grzelcyk, a very similar player to Krug in stature and skill level, who will step into the lineup in Krug’s place for the first few games of the regular season. It may even be O’Gara if he can do something in the final two few preseason games (tonight in Philly, Saturday in Chicago) to make the B’s evaluators stand up and take notice. Either way, it seems inevitable that Postma will get his chance to show what he can do in Boston this season and perhaps take advantage of the fresh start he’s getting with the Bruins. 

Talking Points: Bruins empty the tank but can't break through against Caps

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Talking Points: Bruins empty the tank but can't break through against Caps

GOLD STAR: Alex Chiasson really didn’t get going until about midway through the game, but he made a huge impact once he began making plays in the third period. It's worth mentioning he is a former Boston University Terrier so he made himself comfortable in TD Garden. He gave the Capitals a two-goal cushion in the third period when he followed his own shot and outmuscled Brandon Carlo for a bid right in front of the Bruins net. Then four minutes later, Chiasson blocked a Torey Krug shot on the penalty kill and raced down to finish off a breakaway for the game-winning goal. The former Terrier finished with two goals, a plus-2 rating, three shots on net, five takeaways and a couple of blocked shots in just 12:46 of ice time. Just add Chiasson to the long list of skilled big bodies for the Caps that have done damage to the B’s over the years.

 

BLACK EYE: Anders Bjork is going through a very quiet patch offensively since coming back from injury, and was benched for stretches of the game while totaling a team-low 6:47 of ice time for the Bruins. Bjork finished with a minus-1 rating and zero shots on net, and now has one point and just two shots on goal in six games since coming back from a concussion. It will be interesting to see what the Bruins do with Bjork, who may be a prime candidate to watch a game up in the press box with Ryan Spooner pushing to get back into the B’s lineup. Either way it looks like Bjork is going through one of those rookie valleys right now. Perhaps he simply needs more time to recover from his concussion.

 

TURNING POINT: The turning point came in the third period when the Capitals scored three goals on six shots and pulled away from the Bruins. The Black and Gold had been closely trailing the Caps until that point in the game. Washington was outshot 37-21 by Boston, but they proved to have more quality chances, scoring five goals despite a lower quantity of shots. The Bruins are now 1-9-1 when trailing after two periods, and can’t pull the same kind of comeback magic against a stronger team like the Capitals. It’s too bad because the Bruins had their chances in the game, but just couldn't get over the hump. 

 

HONORABLE MENTION: Patrice Bergeron was the best Bruins player, burying a couple of goals, finishing with nine shot attempts, a few hits, a blocked shot and 15-of-20 face-off wins. Patrice got both of his goals on the power play, but he also finished with a minus-2 rating. If Bergeron is a minus player, it doesn't bode well for this team. But he also deserves some credit for emptying the tank on a night when the Bruins got back in from Detroit at 3 a.m. and play one of the best teams in the conference on a back-to-back.

 

BY THE NUMBERS: 11 – the consecutive number of losses for the Bruins against the Washington Capitals in a woeful stretch of hockey that dates back to March of 2014.


QUOTE TO NOTE: "We shot a lot of pucks and it just didn't go our way. When the black cat cross your road, it's just a black cat crossing the road." –Anton Khudobin on the loss to the Capitals, where I think he’s referring to the B’s hitting three posts.  

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Caps have the Bruins number, win 11th straight against Boston

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Caps have the Bruins number, win 11th straight against Boston

BOSTON – The Bruins didn’t play badly against the Washington Capitals on Thursday night, but they certainly didn’t play well enough to beat the bully on their block.

The B's dropped a 5-3 decision to the Capitals for their 11th straight defeat, and haven’t won a game against Washington since March of 2014.

Washington scored first and never trailed in the game after a first period goal by Jakub Vrana. The Caps forward rushed in from the neutral zone and caught the Bruins out of sorts defensively. Vrana walked right around Matt Grzelcyk, and then beat Anton Khudobin with a slick move to capture the lead.

The Bruins tied it up on a power play strike from Patrice Bergeron in the second period, but then lost ground during a Washington powerplay. Nicklas Backstrom redirected a Evgeny Kuznetsov pass from the point to re-take the lead for the Capitals, and then they continued to build on that advantage in the third period.

Alex Chiasson followed his own shot beating Brandon Carlo in a physical battle in front of the net, and pushed the rebound past Khudobin for the insurance marker. Chiasson then doubled his pleasure and doubled his fun by scoring a second goal when he blocked a Torey Krug shot on the penalty kill. He skated home free down the ice and buried a breakaway bid. The B’s closed it back to two goals in the final minutes of the third when David Krejci redirected a Charlie McAvoy attempt from the point.

Alex Ovechkin cleared the puck on the next shift, banking it off the boards. Krejci looked like he was trying to sell an icing but the puck unexpectedly banked directly into the net. It looked like it was the final strike of the game, but Bergeron would add another seconds later. It was too late though, and Washington captured their 11th straight victory against the Bruins by a score of 5-3.

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