Bruins

Miller out of Bruins lineup tonight in Montreal

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Miller out of Bruins lineup tonight in Montreal

MONTREAL – Defenseman Kevan Miller joined the team in Montreal on Friday but won’t be in Bruins lineup on Saturday night against the Canadiens at the Bell Centre and will miss his third game in a row after being “under the weather” earlier this week. 

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Miller’s absence has allowed Adam McQuaid to step back into the lineup and play with an impressive lack of rust. McQuaid’s gritty, hungry performance in the past two games combined with the lack of a practice day of Friday led to Bruce Cassidy’s decision to hold Miller out for at least one more game.

Clearly, it’s going to be a tough decision when Cassidy has to make out the lineup card Tuesday night against the New Jersey Devils, assuming that all goes well in their final showdown with the Habs in the last of their three meetings in an eight-day stretch.

“[Miller] is feeling better, but we’re going to stick with the lineup for the last two games,” said Cassidy. “[McQuaid] has been very steady. Good on the kill, making the simple plays defends well and plays hard. He’s actually added an offensive dimension from the O-zone blue line, and clearly, he’s been working on it during his time out. It shows, so good for him.

“It’s difficult, but I talked to Kevan about it. He hasn’t really had a full practice. We’re going well. I don’t think it will be a long-term thing, but I make no promises with our lineup about what it’s going to look like on Tuesday. He understands. Adam went through it. It’s a little bit of that competition thing up and down our lineup, and it’s also the benefit of giving him a couple more days [to recover] as well.”

One thing that could happen, perhaps, is a healthy scratch for 20-year-old Brandon Carlo, who has been up-and-down in his second NHL season. He’s got five assists and a plus-9 in 44 games for the Bruins as a stay-at-home partner with Torey Krug. Carlo as appeared tentative at times at both ends of the ice after playing with a really confident air last season.

That being said, his performance certainly hasn’t been bad considering his job is to hold things together defensively while on ice with a high-risk player in Krug. It’s going to be a tough decision for Cassidy, who will probably be second-guessed no matter what he does.

Here are the projected line combos and D-pairings vs. the Canadiens based on the Saturday morning skate at the Bell Centre:

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

DeBrusk-Krejci-Spooner

Heinen-Nash-Backes

Schaller-Kuraly-Acciari

 
Chara-McAvoy

Krug-Carlo

Grzelcyk-McQuaid

 
Rask   
 

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Bruins' Bjork out for season after undergoing shoulder surgery

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Bruins' Bjork out for season after undergoing shoulder surgery

TORONTO -- Anders Bjork's up-and-down rookie season has come to an end, as the Bruins' left wing underwent left shoulder surgery this week that’s expected to keep him sidelined for the next six months. 

Bjork was knocked out of a Jan. 30 loss to the Anaheim Ducks when Francois Beauchemin caught him with a cross-check to the left arm, but it’s unclear whether he was already playing through some level of shoulder injury prior to that collision. According to the B’s release, the 21-year-old winger “underwent successful left shoulder arthroscopy and labral repair on Tuesday” at Mass General Hospital. Bjork had been spotted around the Garden in recent weeks wearing his left arm in a sling, but it was difficult to guess the severity of the injury based on what looked like a fairly run-of-the-mill hit from Beauchemin. 

The injury and season-ending surgery ends a bit of a lost year for Bjork, who cracked the Opening Night roster and finished with 4r goals and 12 points in 30 games.

He showed the speed and skill required to be a top-6 forward at the NHL level, but also appeared to need more development time when it comes to battle level and adjusting to the physicality level in the pro game. The former Notre Dame star never seemed to fully bounce back from getting steamrolled in the neutral zone by Matt Martin in the middle of November, and ended up spending time in Providence as well prior to his season-ending injury. 

Bjork’s injury certainly doesn’t rule him out completely as a trade asset ahead of Monday afternoon’s trade deadline, but it probably makes him less attractive to NHL teams looking for young, NHL-ready talent that can step into their lineups right now. With Bjork headed for the long-term injured list and Frank Vatrano traded to the Florida Panthers for a third-round pick, that certainly opens the door for both a) a deal to bring on a veteran rental winger ahead of the trade deadline and B) a spot to be opened up in the Bruins organization for Ryan Donato when the Harvard University star, currently at the Olympics, is ready to sign.

Those are both very good things despite the downer news about Bjork, who watched fellow rookies Jake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen live up to the expectations many had for him.

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Bruins trade Vatrano to Florida for third-round pick

Bruins trade Vatrano to Florida for third-round pick

TORONTO – The Bruins are making more moves well ahead of the Monday trade deadline as they shipped injured winger Frank Vatrano to the Florida Panthers in exchange for a 2018 third-round pick. 

The trade somewhat eases a crowded roster, essentially gives the B’s a replacement for the third-rounder they sent to the New York Rangers for Nick Holden earlier this week and gives them a solid return on an undrafted college hockey free agent that had fallen a bit this season on the B’s organizational depth chart.

Vatrano had two goals and a minus-3 rating in 25 games with the Bruins this season, but had typically been either a healthy scratch or strictly a bottom-six winger when he had been in the lineup this season. Vatrano, the East Longmeadow, Mass., native who turns 24 next month, had fallen behind Anders Bjork, Jake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen on the depth chart as two of the aforementioned three had locked down top-nine roles.

In that respect, it wasn’t much of a surprise to hear Vatrano getting moved as he’d hit a wall in his development with the Bruins after scoring 20 goals in his first 108 career NHL games and lighting up the AHL as a goal-per-game player. Now, Vatrano will get a chance to rekindle that goal-scoring ability with the Panthers and prove that he’s more than the one-dimensional player he appeared to be in three seasons with the B’s.

There was some thinking Vatrano might have served as a trade asset to be utilized in one of the potential deals that the Bruins have cooking for a rental wingers Patrick Maroon, Michael Grabner, Rick Nash or Thomas Vanek. Instead, general manager Don Sweeney scoops up a solid draft pick asset for a player that was sitting on the bench for the Black and Gold. That's a solid piece of asset management in a trade deadline period that so far is going very well for the GM.

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