Schaller continues to be a New Hampshire success story for B's


Schaller continues to be a New Hampshire success story for B's

BRIGHTON -- It continues to be a charmed existence for Bruins fourth liner Tim Schaller, who is living the dream as a New Hampshire kid playing for the hometown hockey team.

Schaller came into Bruins camp this fall with very little fanfare after a standout career at Providence College and a solid stint with the Buffalo Sabres organization over the last couple of years. Clearly there was some talent and some accomplishment at the pro level with a season of 14 goals, 43 points and 116 PIMs for the Rochester Americans giving a pretty good indication of his credentials for a bottom-6 role at the NHL level.

Clearly there was also strong motivation for Schaller to excel for the NHL team in front of his friends and family, and become teammates with guys like Patrice Bergeron that he grew up watching on TV as a hockey crazed NH kid. 

All that being said, Claude Julien wasn’t sure what he had with Schaller when he arrived in camp in mid-September.

“He’s one of those players that can certainly score. He’s got a good shot. You saw it against [Winnipeg] as an example,” said Julien. “He’s a good player. He plays hard, he grinds it out and he’s not afraid to go to the front of the net. So definitely he’s been a good player for us.

“Has he surprised me with the scoring? I can’t really tell you that because the few times he played us with Buffalo I can’t really tell you [a scouting report] and I don’t scout the American League. You kind of go with what you’re given and you make your own assessment, and by the time I got here for the World Cup I liked what I saw. He had a chance to come back [to the NHL team] and he’s played fairly well.”

The 26-year-old hadn’t done much at the NHL level in Buffalo in each of the last couple of seasons, but that’s changed this season for the Black and Gold. He was one of the last cuts in B’s training camp, but was quickly recalled prior to the start of the season when Patrice Bergeron suffered through his early year lower body woes.

The rest is pretty solid history for Schaller and a very good body of work for Boston’s rebuilt fourth line this season.

The former Friars hockey forward scored his third goal of the season in Boston’s 4-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets at TD Gardenon Saturday night, and now has three goals, five points and 13 penalty minutes in 15 games as a fourth line staple.

The score on Saturday night was a beauty as Schaller bombed down the left wing, took a long stretch pass from Torey Krug and launched a rocket off the rush that beat Michael Hutchinson high to his glove hand. The score showed some pretty good hands, a pretty good shot and some very good wheels that give Schaller plenty to work with at the NHL level, and he’s also already shown as well that he can handle himself if things get a little rough and tumble.

“I think I’ve been playing well. I’ve been moving my feet and I think that always creates good things, and I’ve been able to capitalize on some of the chances I’ve gotten,” said Schaller. “They’ve given me some pretty good opportunities here, and I think I’ve made the best of my chances. Hopefully I can keep it going. Hopefully I can keep my feet moving, and keep beating D-men wide.

“It’s helped me knowing what my role was coming in here, and I’ve focused on killing penalties, being good defensively and things like that. It’s good to know the role, and I’m playing well. I got a little time on the power play last night, and that was nice. I’m just building Claude’s trust and hopefully I can keep building it more.”

The only knock against Schaller was a stretch of  handful of games where he took some minor penalties, but the 6-foot-2, 219-pounder has also now gone eight games without taking any kind of penalty while still playing with some good energy. Making that kind of self-correction is one of the best ways to earn Julien’s trust, and just adds to the good things that the Merrimack, New Hampshire native has brought to the B’s table this season. 

Krug steps up as Bruins stars go down

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Krug steps up as Bruins stars go down

The Bruins have managed to take three of a possible six points since Zdeno Chara went down in the third period of last week's comeback win over the Carolina Hurricanes, and they've done it completely without their top pairing since Charlie McAvoy has also been out all this time.

There are a number of factors behind the ability to withstand the injuries, of course, and the entire defense corps was stellar at both ends in the shutout win over Tampa Bay last weekend.


But it's Torey Krug who's really stepped up his game. He had three assists and 15 shots on net in those three games, and was immense in the win over the Lightning.

Krug has surpassed the 50-point plateau for the second straight season, a major accomplishment for a defenseman who prides himself on his puck-moving and power-play work.

"You know, he has [stepped up]," coach Bruce Cassidy said of Krug, adding: "Torey is always going to get his numbers, but he's really added to it 5-on-5 . . . [It] was comforting to see that [without Chara and McAvoy] we shut out one of the best teams [in the NHL], at home, that was rested. You've got to take something out of that. It was one of 82 [games], but that was a real positive for our guys."

For Krug, the challenge of stepping up and being a leader in the team's time of need is the kind of thing he takes pride in responding to with an elevated level of play.

"I'm in the business of winning hockey games and helping my team win," said Krug. "It falls on my shoulders to produce some offense from the back end. And [when] we're missing a couple of guys from the back end that do that push the pace, then you've got to step up and make some plays. When you play with a lot of great players then you'll get your points, and you just need to worry about the defensive zone first.

"We're confident in everybody in this room. A lot of people think that the guys on our back end can't get the job done, so for us to step up [is a good thing]."


The biggest sign of Krug's increased responsibility? He topped 26 minutes of ice time in two of the three games since Chara was injured. Only once before, when he was on the ice for 27-plus minutes against the Rangers in early November, has he played more than that.

The loss of Chara and McAvoy has forced Krug to go above and beyond his normal range of duties and he's stepped up and embraced it. That's what good players on good teams do, and it's something Krug has consistently done in the big moments since arriving in Boston five years ago.


Erik Karlsson and wife Melinda mourn death of their son

File Photo

Erik Karlsson and wife Melinda mourn death of their son

The Ottawa Senators announced Tuesday that team captain Erik Karlsson and his wife Melinda lost their son one month before his due date.


"The collective thoughts and prayers of the Ottawa Senators organization, the city of Ottawa and entire hockey community rest with Erik and Melinda Karlsson following the loss of their son.

We ask that you respect the family's wishes for privacy during the grieving process."

The couple announced via Instagram in November that they were expecting, and the CBC reports the baby was due in April.

Sens head coach Guy Boucher spoke about the tragedy after Ottawa's game vs the Panthers on Tuesday (1:36 mark in video below).

Karlsson, a rumored Bruins target before the trade deadline, received heartfelt condolences from the hockey world on Twitter:

Our thoughts too go out to Erik and Melinda during this incredibly difficult time.