Bruins

Szwarz next in line of Bruins' call-ups amid injuries

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Szwarz next in line of Bruins' call-ups amid injuries

BRIGHTON, Mass – With Kenny Agostino sent down after a five-game stint with the Bruins, the B’s will get a look at another one of their more experienced Providence forwards with the call-up of Jordan Szwarz.

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Szwarz, 26, leads the P-Bruins with five goals. He's totaled eight points and a plus-7 in six games with Providence after busting out with 22 goals and 54 points last season. The 5-foot-11, 200-pound Burlington, Ontario native has appeared in 35 career NHL games with the Arizona Coyotes, totaling four goals and 21 penalty minutes, and, perhaps more important, provides the B’s with a right-shot forward that can play center or right wing in David Backes’ absence.

“We’re running out of right shots,” admitted coach Bruce Cassidy. “He can play both center and right wing, and that’s where we’ll plug him in...where David [Backes] played essentially. He’s played well [in Providence] and he’s had some good chemistry with [Danton] Heinen at the American League level, so we may revisit that a little bit. We brought him in for depth reasons, and this is a good opportunity for him.”

Swarz is looking forward to another NHL opportunity.

“This is a very good opportunity and I want to make the most of it,” said Szwarz, who signed a two-way deal with the Bruins this season after playing on an AHL contract last year. “A guy like me is always kind of waiting for that opportunity, so now that it’s finally come the real work starts now. I have my work cut out now to try to open some eyes and hold onto a job for as long as I can.

“I’m a competitive guy. I’m going to go out there, play hard and finish my checks and do all the little things that you have to do to stay in the lineup.”

Szwarz will hope to do what Agostino couldn’t do after finishing with just one point and really making no tangible impact despite some power-play time and a chance to play the hero with a top-3 shootout spot in Monday night’s loss to the Blue Jackets. Agostino was sent down less than 24 hours later. Now, Szwarz is the next in the seemingly endless revolving door of injuries and AHL call-ups for the Black and Gold.

Zane McIntyre was also recalled from Providence on an emergency basis on Wednesday morning and could serve as Tuukka Rask’s backup as Anton Khudobin’s lower body injury “isn’t healing as quickly as [the Bruins] would have liked.” Khudobin wasn’t able to skate at practice Wednesday at Warrior Ice Arena after getting hurt Sunday prior to the shootout loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
 

Bruins still holding out on a goalie decision for Devils game

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Bruins still holding out on a goalie decision for Devils game

BRIGHTON -- Coming off a pair of back-to-back wins from backup goaltender Anton Khudobin, the Bruins are still undecided about what they’re going to do between the pipes Wednesday night against the New Jersey Devils.

On the one hand, the Bruins are very tempted to ride the hot goaltending hand with Khudobin a strong 5-0-2 record on the season and a .935 save percentage that currently leads all goaltenders across the league. There’s a school of thought that the B’s should simply keep plugging Khudobin into the lineup until he actually loses a game, and begins to cool down a little bit between the pipes after stopping 63-of-65 shots against LA and San Jose.

At the same time it will be over a week since Tuukka Rask has played in a game if the Bruins go with Khudobin on Wednesday night against the Devils, and Bruce Cassidy was clear to stress that Rask is still their No. 1 guy. So that’s the dilemma the Bruins are facing with Cassidy calling it “a good problem to have” based on Khudobin’s strong play from the backup spot.

That is a far cry from what the Bruins experienced a year ago with the same goalie, and a reason for optimism that their goaltending situation will be better off throughout a long season.

“Do you go with the hot hand and leave your No. 1 sitting where he’s beginning to wonder what the hell is going on? That’s the decision,” said Bruce Cassidy. “We need to keep them both in a good place, and not lose out on [Khudobin’s] good run while keeping Tuukka focused and confident in his game. That’s what we’re battling and I talk to Goalie Bob [Essensa] about it every day. We’ll make our decision [on Wednesday] and we hope it’s the right one.

“It’s a long year so no matter who we use there are a lot of starts. I don’t think Khudobin is going to go ice cold if he use Tuukka tomorrow, and I don’t think Tuukka is going to blow a gasket if we go with the hot hand. For me I don’t think it’s that big of a decision.”

Perhaps Rask blowing a gasket wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world given the way he’s played this season.

The one underlying concern for Rask beyond the .897 save percentage this season is that his game has really been in a different place for the last three seasons. While his .922 career save percentage mark is among the best in the NHL, he has been below that mark in each of the last three seasons while struggling to maintain consistently behind a changing roster that’s turning over to youth and inexperience.

It certainly seems like the Bruins feel it’s premature to label Rask as anything but their No. 1 goaltender, but the pause they’re giving on Wednesday night’s starter speaks volumes about their current confidence level in each of their puck-stoppers.

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Morning Skate: Not all smooth sailing for top picks

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Morning Skate: Not all smooth sailing for top picks

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while enjoying the return of Adolfo to Toucher and Rich this morning.

*Jack Eichel and Connor McDavid have received plenty of acclaim over the past couple of years as talented, young stars in the league, but Pro Hockey Talk’s James O’Brien details how things haven’t gone ideally for either of those youngsters, or their teams, this season. Clearly, it’s not at this level yet, but just think about the hype behind Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin when they were drafted 1-2 back in 2010, and what they have, and haven’t, been able to accomplish in the league since that time.

*Outstanding rookie Brock Boeser credits a conversation with Vancouver Canucks coach Travis Green for helping spark his game this season.

*Good video piece on the near miss of Wayne Gretzky almost playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs after dominating them in the playoffs.  

*Salivating for some hockey trades? The 10 potential NHL trade deadline targets around the league as we wait for players to become available for trade later in the season.  

*Hockeybuzz is asking what the NHL, and more specifically the Hockey Hall of Fame, has against goaltenders?

*For something completely different: A great piece from Drew Bledsoe on the tragic passing of former Patriots wide receiver Terry Glenn, and how his death came just as he seemed to be putting all the pieces of his life together.