Bruins

Bruins looking for more balance from their energy line

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Bruins looking for more balance from their energy line

BOSTON – While not even close to the top of the list of their priority list, the Bruins could use a little more consistency out of their fourth line this season. Rugged rookie winger Tyler Randell has three goals in 10 games and has provided a strong, physical presence on most nights while feeling his way through the NHL.

He’s only been a minus player twice in those 10 games and it was his strong play that, at least in part, has relegated Max Talbot to the AHL.

Zac Rinaldo is second on the NHL with 49 hits in 15 games this season while living up to his reputation as a player that will be aggressive and in-your-face, but has zero points in 15 games to go with his 27 penalty minutes. He has two shots on net in six games during the month of November, but is a minus-2 for the month.

Joonas Kemppainen has a goal and two points in 15 games, and replaced Ryan Spooner on the third line in the third period of Tuesday night’s loss to the San Jose Sharks.

But both of those points arrived in a road win over the New York Islanders, and have been part of a very quiet fourth line for an offensive perspective. The big Finn has gone nine games without a point, and is a minus-3 in November thus far.

They’re a combined minus-4 as a line this season as well, and Claude Julien said the B’s energy line needs to start by keeping the puck out of the back of the net. They’ve drawn a few penalties and both Kemppainen and Rinaldo are involved on the penalty kill, but as a unit they need to do more to maximize their handful of minutes on the ice.

“Randell has three goals in 10 games, but when you look at the defensive side of it they’re getting scored [on] too much,” said Claude Julien of his fourth line. “They need to have a better balance. With the fourth line the first thing is not to get scored on.

“Anytime they score it adds to your depth and is a great thing. But you need to end up on the positive side of the equation, and that’s what they’ve got to work on right now. They need to be a little more conscientious about what they need to do in the D-zone. They score a goal [against San Jose] that I thought was a nice goal, but they also gave up a goal…so it kind of events out.”

Julien was quick to point out that the combinations have changed with Chris Kelly and Talbot also part of the mix in the first month, so it wasn’t all about the three specific forwards on the line right now. But it also sounds like it would be in the fourth line’s best interest to start making a few more plays in the positive column before more changes start coming for that unit. 

Is Bruce Cassidy over the Stanley Cup loss? 'Nope, not really'

Is Bruce Cassidy over the Stanley Cup loss? 'Nope, not really'

The Boston Bruins went on the longest playoff run they possibly could have in 2019. But in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, they fell to the St. Louis Blues by a final score of 4-1. And that loss stung for a Bruins team that was widely expected to win the cup after a series of first-round upsets.

Now 10 weeks removed from the Stanley Cup loss, the Bruins faithful are still reeling from the defeat. That includes head coach Bruce Cassidy who confirmed that he isn't over losing the final.

"Nope, not really," Cassidy recently said, per Matt Porter of The Boston Globe. "Today I am. Tomorrow, depends if someone asks me a question that just happens to hit a nerve."

Cassidy would also go on to say that he might have a bit of difficulty seeing the Blues logo and having to watch them play, per Porter. 

"There might be a time on the road next year and we’re sitting there and I’m watching St. Louis play, because they’re playing Montreal and we play Montreal the next night, and I’ll be like, [expletive], you know? That’s the time you might start going backward."

Still, Cassidy is focusing his energy on preparing the Bruins for their season opener on Oct. 3 against the Dallas Stars. The Bruins are returning much of the same core that helped them win the Eastern Conference (minus Marcus Johansson and Noel Acciari) so they are expected to be contenders in the East again.

Of course, they still have to figure out a way to agree to deals with restricted free agents Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo while staying under the salary cap, but once they do that, they should be in good position to make another run.

And safe to say, Cassidy and the Bruins will be looking to prove themselves after a disappointing finish last season.

Report: B's, Cassidy discussing extension>>>

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Don Sweeney opens up about Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo contract talks

Don Sweeney opens up about Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo contract talks

It's been a quiet offseason for the Bruins, but the elephant in the room has been the contract situations of defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo.

Bruins president Cam Neely said earlier this month negotiations were "still status quo" with the two restricted free agents. It's been radio silence from both sides since then, but on Thursday general manager Don Sweeney provided another update on how things are coming along in a conversation with Michael Tolvo of BostonBruins.com.

“Not as fast as everybody would like,” Sweeney admitted. “But that’s just the nature of the business and every negotiation has its own timeline. We’ll find a finish line at some point and time, Brandon and Charlie will be a part of our organization for a long time. We think really highly of them as players on and off the ice, we just have to find a common ground and we’re working to get there.”

While it's unclear what kinds of deals McAvoy and Carlo will receive, Bruins fans can at least take solace in Sweeney's confidence in the duo donning the Black and Gold for years to come.

As for a move the B's have made this summer, they did manage to lock up one of their RFA's, Danton Heinen. Both Noel Acciari (Florida Panthers) and Marcus Johannson (Buffalo Sabres) left in free agency.

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