Bruins

Brett Ritchie, Par Lindholm ready to compete for top spot with Bruins

Brett Ritchie, Par Lindholm ready to compete for top spot with Bruins

Brett Ritchie and Par Lindholm probably aren't names you've heard before, but they're ready to make a splash for the Boston Bruins this coming season.

Both Ritchie and Lindholm were able to meet their new teammates this week as they joined the Bruins for the team's annual charity golf tournament at The International. Among other things, the pair noted they're excited for a new opportunity in a city where hockey is idolized.

"It's a team that you look at and say, 'Wow, that would be cool to play with them,'" Ritchie told BostonBruins.com's Eric Russo. "I think it was an easy decision for me."

Although the league is moving towards a faster, more skilled game, the 26-year-old noted that a physical presence is still needed to succeed in the NHL. With the departure of tough-guy Noel Acciari to the Flordia Panthers, Ritchie's physical presence will be relied on more heavily in the coming months.

While Ritchie is a big-bodied physical player, Lindholm stressed that his defensive game is what sets him apart from other players when describing his on-ice presence. If you know the Bruins, you know that they heavily rely on their forwards to contribute to the defensive side of the game as much as they produce offensively.

"Solid, especially defensively," said Lindholm. "I think I have a lot of offense in me too. I haven't shown that the last year, but I think it's there and hopefully I make things happen this year."

Like fellow newbie Ritchie, Lindholm is also excited for a fresh start with an original six franchise.

"A winning team, a team that went to the Finals last year. It's a good team," said Lindholm. "A lot of players who have been around for a long time and know what they need to do to make things happen. I'm excited to be on this team."

Lindholm spent last season (his first full NHL season) split between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Wininpeg Jets, where he notched 13 points (one goal, 12 assists) through 65 games. Ritchie spent the past five seasons with the Dallas Stars organization, where he tallied 54 points (33 goals, 21 assists) in 241 games played. Both were acquired by Bruins general manager Don Sweeney the day NHL free agency opened on July 1.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Plenty of encouraging developments for Bruins in OT loss to Maple Leafs

Plenty of encouraging developments for Bruins in OT loss to Maple Leafs

TORONTO – The Bruins ended up on the losing side of Saturday night’s Atlantic Division showdown even if they picked up the overtime point.

There’s some consolation they didn’t come away empty-handed in a showdown with the Maple Leafs and have come away with points in each of the last two games against Toronto and Tampa Bay though they haven’t won either of them.

But it’s also a clear indicator the Bruins have some things to work on that may have been masked a bit by their 5-1-0 start to the regular season when they didn’t face anybody of consequence outside of a road game in Las Vegas. The scoring imbalance, the looseness defensively and the inconsistency in focus, execution and effort from period to period have been problematic at times even as the B’s have jumped out to a pretty good start.

The good news in all of this is that they are starting to trend in the right direction. After mulling AHL call-ups and going through a six-game stretch where nobody outside of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak scored for the Bruins, the B’s finally received some secondary scoring outside of their Perfection Line.

Pastrnak still came up with the big goal late in the third period that pushed things to OT against Toronto in the 4-3 loss, and we could spend an entire column on the right-winger currently being on pace for 93 goals and 154 points this season.

But the Bruins also got goals from a couple of young forwards they need more from offensively in Jake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen, and that’s a development that will make the B’s a far better hockey club in the long run.

“It was nice. You don’t want to rely on the top guys every night. Obviously they’ve been on fire, but we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to chip in,” admitted Heinen, who scored his second goal of the season and his first since opening night in Dallas. “It was nice, but it would have been even better if it would have been a win.”

Even better, Charlie Coyle, Chris Wagner and Brett Ritchie dented the score sheet for the Black and Gold as well and the B’s got offense from second and third lines that have been MIA this season.

“We definitely had more focus in those aspects,” said DeBrusk, of getting secondary scoring, improving their second-period play and getting more quality five-on-five play against Toronto. “It was talked about and everything wanted to pitch in. I think we put over 40 shots on them, so give their goaltender credit. He gave them a chance to win, but I definitely thought it was a better 5-on-5 game from our side compared to Tampa Bay.”

Other notable players like Charlie McAvoy and Karson Kuhlman still haven’t caught fire, and the B’s fourth line really struggled on Saturday night, but the hope is that things will turn for them as they did for DeBrusk against the Leafs.

The signs of offensive life will quell the talk of making a trade or promoting red-hot Anders Bjork at least in the short term, but it’s a trend that’s going to need to continue with the Bruins.

Another piece of encouragement from the overtime loss?

The Bruins played arguably their best second period on the young season after struggling for the middle 20 minutes for much of the year. The Bruins outshot the Leafs 15-3, controlled play and missed on two separate, wide-open scoring chances on the backdoor when both DeBrusk and Bergeron simply missed the net.

That essentially turned out to be the difference in a one-goal loss in overtime, but the improvement in an area that’s dogged them all year was pretty notable.

“I didn’t like that stretch [in the first period] where we just weren’t competitive enough,” admitted Cassidy. “We were trading chances a bit and it wasn’t going our way, so we need to be harder on the puck. In the O-zone I thought we were one and done, but then as the game went along in the second and third period I thought we were harder on it. It started with Coyle’s play [setting up the DeBrusk goal] where he controlled possession.”

On its face, the Bruins have lost two games in a row and come up a wee bit short in their measuring stick games against their immediate divisional rivals.

But there are arguably more things to be encouraged about in Saturday night’s loss to the Maple Leafs than during many of the empty calorie wins that the Bruins piled up in the season’s first couple of weeks against some of the NHL’s tomato cans.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Zdeno Chara blows up Brad Marchand with hilarious Instagram chirp

Zdeno Chara blows up Brad Marchand with hilarious Instagram chirp

Brad Marchand and Torey Krug have famously developed a chirpy relationship on social media over the last couple of years, but it looks like another Bruins player is getting into the act when it comes to poking fun at their small sizes.

After the official Boston Bruins social media accounts sent out a picture of Bruins captain Zdeno Chara donning a No. 88 Bruins T-shirt with Pastrnak’s name on the back during Saturday’s trip to Toronto, Brad Marchand took umbrage with Chara’s shirt choice and took to Instagram to discuss it with his towering captain.

First of all, it makes all the sense in the world for all the Bruins players to wear David Pastrnak gear as he leads the NHL with nine goals scored after potting the game-tying strike in Boston’s eventual 4-3 overtime loss to the Leafs on Saturday night.

But it was Chara’s response to the Marchand comment that was sudden, swift and “sweep the leg” vicious with the 6-foot-9 Bruins defenseman stating that the diminutive winger’s shirts “only come in S and M sizes.”

Chara has developed a following on Instagram with his interesting social media posts that give fans a glimpse into his personal life and the legendary workouts that allow him to still remain in the NHL at 42 years old. But this is Chara’s first foray into having a little fun with Marchand, the most notorious social media poster on the Bruins roster, and hopefully not the last.

There’s nothing wrong with some good-natured chirps between Bruins teammates that clearly get along off the ice.

Talking Points: Marner still a thorn in the Bruins side>>>

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.