Thomas expected to start tonight for Bruins; other notes from the morning skate


Thomas expected to start tonight for Bruins; other notes from the morning skate

By Danny Picard

BOSTON -- Tim Thomas was the first Bruins goaltender off the ice during Monday's morning skate and will probably get the start tonight when the B's host the New Jersey Devils at the TD Garden.

Both David Krejci and Johnny Boychuk skated with the team again, and Marc Savard and Marco Sturm hit the ice prior to the team's skate.

Krejci said he is looking forward to some more testing this afternoon. Coach Claude Julien said after the morning skate that Krejci is "doing much better, quicker" than Patrice Bergeron and Savard in the weeks following their concussions, and that right now he's symptom free.

"As long as we're telling you that we're moving forward with him, it's because those symptoms have slowly gone away, and he's passed the different exertion tests, and so on and so forth," said Julien. "So he's heading in that direction, and I think he mentioned to some of you guys anyways that he'll be seeing a doctor again today, and hopefully taking another step forward."

Boychuk had his hard cast removed from his broken left forearm yesterday, and has replaced it with a stiff removable cast. He still wears it under his glove, while on the ice, and said that it's "the same as having a cast" except it can be removed.

Needless to say, he still needs a few more days of practice until he can return to the lineup.

"I feel good enough, but I still have to practice with the team a couple more times," said Boychuk after Monday's morning skate. "Whenever the doctor lets me play, then I'll get to play."

Boychuck's presence with the team makes for seven defensemen on the ice. Adam McQuaid has filled in since his injury, and with Boychuk returning soon, somebody is going to have to be the healthy scratch.

Julien dropped a slight hint on Monday, not about McQuaid's toughness, but also about him being the only right-handed defenseman on the Bruins, until Boychuk comes back. That could mean someone like Matt Hunwick, who hasn't looked good as of late, could be the temporary odd-man out.

"When we make that decision, we've got to kind of balance everything, and what we need in our lineup," said Julien. "And again, it's not like we've got a ton of right-handed shots, either. That certainly will come into play at some point. We know Seidenberg can play the right side very comfortably, but I think this is where the competition part comes in, and who's playing well, and who should be in and who shouldn't. But those decisions will come when they come."

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comdannypicard

Bruins hope to keep cooking with a winning recipe


Bruins hope to keep cooking with a winning recipe

The Bruins seemed to discover a winning formula on the West Coast. Now the challenge is to keep it going.

It took them more than a month of play in the regular season, but they finally won two games in a row. Anton Khudobin and the B's played strong defense and finally built leads against the Kings and Sharks, and they avoided the kind of soft goal or defensive mistake that has been at the heart of so many of their losses.

Clearly that kind of tight, defensive game is how they're going have to play until they get their full lineup back, and they need plenty of wins. They're currently stuck in 13th place in the Eastern Conference, three points out of a playoff spot.

"It's always nice to get a couple of wins, especially against tough teams," said David Krejci, who is scoreless but averaging almost 17 minutes of ice time  in the two games since returning from a back injury. "We knew we had some areas of our game that we had to improve, and we still do after the start to the game we had against San Jose. It's nice to get two in a row, and we're focusing on three in [New Jersey]. We're building toward something, and we're on the right track. It's a big game [against the Devils].

"Playing with a lead, playing good defensively and having a good, structured game with everybody buying in . . . when you have a young team and you're playing strong clubs like LA and San Jose, it really says a lot about what we're trying to do here when you can get the job done."

The good news is the Bruins are going to make it through the Thanksgiving marker within shouting distance of a playoff spot, but they're still just scratching the surface of what they need to do to stay relevant in the East. They're hoping that finally reeling off a couple of consecutive wins can start a run of good hockey at a time when they desperately need it.

"I think we've played as a five-man unit" said Kevan Miller. "Forwards are getting back to help the 'D', and defensemen are stepping up to help the forwards. When you play like that and everybody is on the same page, it makes it that much easier. I think everybody, whether you're coming from Providence or you're up here, has played the same systems, but it can be a little bit of a struggle to get everybody on the same page.

"We've done a pretty good job of that, but doing it for 60 minutes has been a bit of an issue. We're trying to work on that."


Grzelcyk happy to be back w/ B's and confident in his game


Grzelcyk happy to be back w/ B's and confident in his game

BRIGHTON, Mass – It had to be a bitter pill for Matt Grzelcyk to be sent back down to the AHL after playing solidly for the Bruins earlier this season. 

The 23-year-old Charlestown native was excellent playing in place of Torey Krug in Boston’s opening night win over the Nashville Predators, but his stay didn’t last very long. The former Boston University standout was back in the minor leagues shortly afterward once Krug returned from his fractured jaw a little earlier than expected. Now Krug is again banged up again with an upper body injury, and Grzelcyk has been called up to fill in for Krug during Wednesday night’s pre-Thanksgiving road game in New Jersey against the Devils.

Once again it will be about a focus on puck-moving and power play for Grzelcyk, who is the closest thing that the Bruins have to the smaller, skilled Krug in their minor-league system. 

“I was happy with how things went before I got sent to Providence, so I’m just going to try to do the things that I was doing well before I got sent down. Mentally knowing that I can play at the NHL level [is huge], and just going through the experience was positive,” said Grzelcyk. “Mentally my first year I think I was a little too nervous and tentatively with my play, and that’s not me at all when I’m at my best. I’m confident with the puck, and confident with my speed and ability. It was just about going out and doing it on the ice.”

Grzelcyk was okay down in Providence with four assists and a plus-4 rating in 14 games, but he’s been patiently waiting for another NHL call since logging 12:11 of solid puck-moving ice time in his lone appearance for Boston this season. Now he’ll get it in a likely pairing with Kevan Miller against the New Jersey Devils

“He’s a puck-mover. He’s quick. He can get up the ice and support the rush, and he’s a good distributor,” said Cassidy of Grzelcyk. “There are a lot of natural similarities to Torey [Krug] because of their physical makeup, but they are similar [players] with Torey at this level being a bit more significant offensive player. Whether it’s in [Grzelcyk] or not time will tell, but we believe it is and we just need to get it out of him.”

Grzelcyk will get a chance to show that offensive wrinkle and more when he suits up against the New Jersey Devils for his second game of the season after paying his dues with the P-Bruins overt the last month.