A more mature Mueller says his PTO with Bruins "is no joke"


A more mature Mueller says his PTO with Bruins "is no joke"

BRIGHTON -- Peter Mueller says he’s matured a bit playing the last three years in Europe, and is just happy to be back in North America with a PTO in hand to try out for a winger spot on the Boston Bruins. The former eighth overall pick in the 2006 NHL Draft has had a bit a rocky road since a couple of pretty good seasons to start out his NHL career with the Coyotes, but found himself unable to secure NHL work following the lockout season with Florida in 2012-13.

“This has been going on since Jan. 1, but to be honest I was always checking the scores and the box scores to see what was going on in North America,” said the Minnesota-born Mueller, who had 22 goals and 54 points in his rookie season with the Coyotes back in 2007-08. “I was always following up with the guys, and I was very focused on making a push back [to the NHL] this year. I was very fortunate that Boston reached out with a PTO, and I gladly accepted. It’s a good chance for me to prove my worth.”

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The 28-year-old Mueller played the last three seasons in European leagues in Switzerland and Sweden, and posted a pretty decent 13 goals and 25 points in 43 games for Malmo last season. But he also perhaps burned some NHL bridges in 2014 when he turned down an offer from the St. Louis Blues to place him in the AHL once he didn’t make the NHL club following a similar PTO situation. Instead Mueller returned to Switzerland once he was put on waivers by the Blues, and played one season apiece in Kloten and Malmo.

Mueller said he hadn’t had many NHL offers since that situation unfolded with St. Louis, and that he was grateful the Black and Gold would give him another shot.

“I’m assuming that things happen, and people already consider me a ‘Europe player’ since I’ve been over there for three years,” said Mueller, who said he hasn’t experienced any concussion issues in the last five years since his days with the Colorado Avalanche. “[St. Louis] was a good experience, but at the end of the day it didn’t work out in my favor. I could be a little immature and a little bit on my behalf not committing to the organization, which was tough for me. A lot of things happened when that happened.

“Three years have gone past, and I’ve matured a lot more. I’ve got a family now, and it’s amazing what a child will do to your life and how committed you are. So it was a tough situation for me at that point in time, but it’s all behind me. I’m hoping to prove to everybody in North America that this is no joke, and it’s for real this time.”

Mueller admitted he would have done things a little differently if he’d had a chance to re-do the situation with the Blues a couple of years ago. The 6-foot-2, 204-pounder also said he could play either wing position in addition to center, and clearly he’ll be a veteran option for a top-9 wing spot with youngsters like Danton Heinen and Jake DeBrusk also in the mix entering main training camp on Thursday.

The veteran forward was saying all the right things after skating with the Bruins at captain’s practice over the last couple of weeks, and starting Thursday Mueller gets to show it on the ice as the Bruins hold an all-out competition for a couple of NHL roster spots perhaps up for grabs.

Bruins resiliency on full display in third-period comeback vs Stars

AP Photo

Bruins resiliency on full display in third-period comeback vs Stars

GOLD STAR: Every once in a while Brad Marchand wills the Bruins to a win that they probably wouldn’t have otherwise had, and that happened again on Friday night with a three-point explosion for No. 63 in the final 20 minutes. Marchand finished with a goal and three points in 19:57 of ice time along with a plus-2 rating, and played a key role in the three-goal outburst that allowed the B’s to vanquish a 2-0 deficit. It was Marchand that opted not to shoot from the face-off dot with a look at the net in the closing seconds, and instead dropped it down low to David Pastrnak as he curled around the net and pushed a puck past Kari Lehtonen for the game-winner. Marchand finished with two shots on net, eight total shot attempts and a number of big plays in the third period redirecting pucks in close, kicking off shorthanded scoring plays and then setting up clutch game-winners in the final 15 seconds of the game. It’s the kind of night where Marchand played like an MVP even if he isn’t going to get much of a sniff at the Hart Trophy. 

BLACK EYE: Jamie Benn scored a shorthanded goal for the Dallas Stars, but he also jumped up in the air and clobbered Brad Marchand from behind with a completely unnecessary hit in the third period that went without a penalty being called. Instead it seemed to incense Marchand, who never gave up in the final sequence and ultimately fed a pass to David Pastrnak down low for the game-winner with just 11.1 seconds remaining in the game. Benn finished a minus-2 for Dallas while being on the ice for a pair of goals against, had a brutal 1-for-7 performance in the face-off dot and really acted like a punk on the play with Marchand in the third period. Benn is a better player than that and shouldn’t be resorting that level on a fellow star player like Marchand. 

TURNING POINT: Once again the Bruins really turned things around in the third period while outscoring the Stars by a 3-0 margin, and really flooding the Dallas net with 10 of their 36 shots on net for the night. It all started with a relentless shift from Boston’s top line where Riley Nash made a pass from his knees before taking a big hit, and then Brad Marchand redirected a David Pastrnak shot from the slot off his leg and into the net for Boston’s first goal. That first score finally allowed the Bruins to begin building some momentum, score each of the next two goals as the game slipped away from Dallas and once again proved themselves as a hockey club that one doesn’t ever doubt in the third period. 

HONORABLE MENTION: Tuukka Rask had a career-high 40 saves and turned away some really good looks from the Dallas offense while showing exactly what the Bruins can be capable of when their goaltending is on point. The only goals that beat Rask were a first period score with droves of traffic in front of the net, and a second period shorthanded score for Jamie Benn where he pulled one of those unconventional finishing moves on Rask at the very end. Rask made 11 saves on the Dallas power play alone during a trio of PP chances, and made a crucial leg pad save on Antoine Roussel in the third period that helped open things up for the goal-scoring outburst late in the game. Hopefully the strong, resounding performance from Rask answers some of the questions about some of his recent so-so performances between the pipes.   

BY THE NUMBERS: 29 – the number of goals this season for David Pastrnak as he readies to become only the ninth Bruins player to hit the 30-goal plateau in back-to-back seasons over the last 35 years of franchise history. 

QUOTE TO NOTE: “Resiliency. We didn’t want to go quietly for sure. We can live with the end result as long as we play the right way. The end result went our way again in the end, and I think that’s a credit to the guys.” –Bruce Cassidy to NESN about another comeback win for the Black and Gold.

Pastrnak scores with 12 seconds left to lift Bruins over Stars, 3-2

AP Photo

Pastrnak scores with 12 seconds left to lift Bruins over Stars, 3-2

DALLAS - David Pastrnak broke a tie with 12 seconds left and the Boston Bruins scored three straight goals in the third period to rally past the fading Dallas Stars 3-2 on Friday night.

A scramble followed a faceoff in the Dallas end, and Brad Marchand passed to Pastrnak in front. While falling down, he put the puck past Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen.

TALKING POINTS: B's resiliency on full display vs Stars

Tuukka Rask made a season-high 40 saves for the Bruins. Marchand scored Boston's first goal and also assisted on a short-handed goal by Tim Schaller that tied it midway through the third period.

The second-place Bruins won for the first time in three games (1-0-2) to move within four points of Atlantic Division leader Tampa Bay. Boston has already clinched a playoff berth.

The Stars are winless in their last seven games (0-5-2). They remained four points behind Colorado for the second Western Conference wild card.

Dallas led 2-0 on a first-period goal by Esa Lindell and Jamie Benn's short-handed score late in the second.

In the third, Marchand tipped in a shot by Pastrnak before Schaller scored on a 2-on-1 with Marchand.

Lehtonen finished with 33 saves.

Lindell scored 2:26 into the game. Jason Dickinson tried to deflect a shot from the right point into the net but the puck went wide right. Curtis McKenzie picked it up behind the goal line and passed to Lindell high in the left faceoff circle. His wrist shot went in off Rask's right arm.

Benn missed two good scoring opportunities early in the second period, but connected at 19:22. He took a pass from Tyler Seguin at the Dallas blue line and had a breakaway when Matt Grzelcyk fell down. Benn slid a backhand under Rask.