Vatrano after Bruins call-up: 'I think I'm ready to play'


Vatrano after Bruins call-up: 'I think I'm ready to play'

BRIGHTON, Mass – It’s been a long wait for Frank Vatrano to get back into the Bruins lineup, and Claude Julien wasn’t making any guarantees that the 22-year-old would be back in for the B’s against the New York Islanders on Tuesday at TD Garden.

It would be surprising if Vatrano, along with his lethal shot and release, wasn’t back in for the Bruins after getting a couple of conditioning games out of the way with Providence last weekend. But either way the winger knows his time is coming soon after getting cleared to play last week following September foot surgery, and scoring a couple of goals in two games with the P-Bruins had his confidence back where it needs to be.

Vatrano knows he still might not be perfect in the timing department after a three-month layoff, but he also has the offensive goods to help a hockey club currently ranked 26th in the NHL in offense.

“Sunday I felt like I had my pace up and my battle level was good,” said Vatrano of a P-Bruins game where he finished with six shots on net and an empty net goal in the third period. “I think I’m ready to play. Whether I’m in tomorrow or not, I think I’m ready.

“The biggest [adjustment] is all of the stuff that you can’t work on in practice, taking contact and all that kind of stuff. It was obviously eye-opening a bit, and that first shift I got hit pretty hard. That allowed me to get my legs underneath me, and get my timing down. Going into battles when you shouldn’t and picking up pucks when you should, those are the things that don’t come to you naturally when you take a little time off.”

Does Vatrano think he can help a team that he’s watched struggle offensively this season while playing 17 one-goal games within their current 33 games played?

“I want to help the team any way whether it’s scoring goals or doing anything else,” said Vatrano, who scored eight goals in 39 games with the Bruins last season. “[Scoring] is obviously something I do pretty well, so hopefully I can bring that to the team if I get back into the lineup.”

Claude Julien had Vatrano on the fourth line with Dominic Moore and Jimmy Hayes, along with Anton Blidh as a potential healthy scratch if Vatrano is in, and didn’t have No. 72 taking part in any of the power play practice on Monday morning. So he wasn’t tipping his hand during the off-day practice, and wouldn’t say whether Vatrano is back in after getting called to Boston ahead of Monday night’s midnight deadline for the NHL holiday roster freeze.

“There are two games he’s played: the first game there was a lot of rust in his game, but he managed to score in the third period. The [second] game there was an empty netter and his game is coming along,” said Julien. “Today he had the day off, so we brought him up to practice to keep him going here. We’ll see from there.”

Julien’s words certainly didn’t sound like an ironclad guarantee Vatrano will be back in Black and Gold on Tuesday night against the Isles. But the simple truth is that an offensively inept B’s group can’t afford to watch one of their skill players light it up anymore in Providence rather than Boston. 

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.


Morning Skate: Best all-time college hockey lineups

NBC Sports Boston Photo

Morning Skate: Best all-time college hockey lineups

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while welcoming in spring with open arms.


*Interesting exercise from ESPN putting together the best all-time lineups for a number of college hockey programs. We know about a lot of the powerhouse programs, but UVM could put together a pretty damn good lineup based on the players that have come out of the Catamounts program, including former and current Bruins Tim Thomas and Kevan Miller.


*Jack Eichel scoffs at the notion that his ankle injury should have caused the Sabres star to shut it down for the rest of the season.


*Nice work by Star Wars Rebels showrunner Dave Filoni to put together a Star Wars jersey again this season for the Wilkes Barre Scranton Penguins.


*Rob Rossi has got some major issues with ESPN the Magazine omitting Sidney Crosby from their Most Dominant Athletes of the last 20 years list. Yeah, I’d say that doesn’t make any sense. Not that anybody really cares about ESPN the Magazine or anything.


*Strange times with the CWHL as Cassie Campbell Pascal has resigned from her role as a CWHL Governor ahead of the league’s marquee weekend.


*The Golden Knights and Marc-Andre Fleury are both tied together in their rise toward the top of the NHL this season.


*For something completely different: Never before has a mustache been talked about as much as the CGI mustache for Henry Cavill in Justice League, and now it’s gone forever.