Charlie Coyle earning raves as 'by far the best player' in Bruins training camp

Charlie Coyle earning raves as 'by far the best player' in Bruins training camp

BRIGHTON, Mass. — It would have been fair to wonder if third line center Charlie Coyle would be able to keep building on the dominant level he was playing at last spring when the Bruins ran it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final.

Coyle will obviously need to keep it up once the regular season gets going, but the 27-year-old Weymouth kid has been pretty awesome thus far in his first training camp as a member of the Boston Bruins. He’s been physically dominant in drills, he’s shown up when his number has been called in the preseason and he gives off hope to the Bruins that their third line is going to be source of strength this season. All of these things will be required if he needs to move up in the lineup with second line center David Krejci now nursing a lower body injury, but Coyle has shown the size, strength, powerful skating speed and 200-foot game that always translates well with the B's.

Coyle subbed in for Patrice Bergeron in Monday night’s preseason home opener vs. the Flyers while centering Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak, and the two wingers came away impressed with the big-bodied center.

“He’s a great player. He’s dialed in this year,” said Marchand of Coyle, who was one of Boston’s best in the postseason with nine goals and 16 points in 24 games while his third line constantly won their matchups during the playoffs. “He’s been incredible from the first day of camp until now. He’s been by far the best player [in camp]. He’s just dominating in every area right now. He was fun to play with.

“We have dominant players in the middle with their abilities to control pucks and suck people into the middle, and then distribute wide to open up space. They all have different ways they can do it. [Kuraly] does it with speed. [Coyle] is just so dynamic the way he can cut it back and he’s so fast with some really good hands. [Krejci] slows it down and can dangle through anybody, and [Patrice] Bergeron does a little bit of everything. It’s just dynamic all the way through the middle.”

Only Marchand, Pastrnak and Connor Clifton topped Coyle’s 21:36 of ice time in the home preseason opener vs. Philly, but the big center’s most notable play was going wide left with a missed shot after a perfect Marchand set up to him in the slot. Clearly the offensive finish and ability to make plays will be the ultimate marker for Coyle’s effectiveness, and that’s why his productive postseason was so encouraging. But it was the puck possession, the face-off wins and the steady all-around game that stood out for Coyle and should be a major asset on the third line where the Bruins should be able to exploit mismatches.

For now it’s about figuring out which linemates Coyle will wind up with on the third line to start the season, but it’s also about continuing the good vibes from training camp right on into the regular season.

“It’s nice. But it’s also just preseason. I want to keep building my game,” said Coyle, when apprised of Marchand’s compliments. “Even if it was true, it’s one thing to be the best player now and it’s another one to do it in the middle of the season. If that’s what he thinks, then ‘Thanks, Marchy.’ But I know there’s a lot more ground I can cover to be better for this team.”

One big area to improve is the modest two goals and six points in 21 regular-season games played for the Bruins after joining Boston from Minnesota at the trade deadline. Coyle showed a different comfort level and more impactful style of play during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the early returns in camp show that he might just carry last spring’s upgrades into a massive contract season with free agency around the corner.

The Bruins will certainly have to pay more than the $3.2 million Coyle is currently on the books for, but they’ll gladly do it as long as he can live up to the 20-goal, 50-point player that he can surely be when he’s at his best.

When Bergeron intends on returning to lineup>>>>>

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Julian Edelman has dinner with David Pastrnak, Sean Kuraly, Charlie McAvoy

Julian Edelman has dinner with David Pastrnak, Sean Kuraly, Charlie McAvoy

It looks like Julian Edelman is enjoying his offseason by hanging out with a few of his friends from the black and gold. 

David Pastrnak, Sean Kuraly, and Charlie McAvoy joined Edelman for dinner at Monica's Trattoria in the North End before their matchup with the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday.

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Oh, and did we mention some members of the Golden Knights were there ahead of their Tuesday night clash with the Bruins? Talk about a popular restaurant.

It's always nice to see members of the Boston teams intermingle, especially when it brings guys like Edelman and Pastrnak together. We just have one question, though... did Pastrnak order the pasta?

Haggerty: These blown leads are concerning


Positive news for Kevan Miller as he skates on his own for first time

Positive news for Kevan Miller as he skates on his own for first time

The Bruins got some encouraging health news this week as injured B’s defenseman Kevan Miller was able to skate on his own for 15 minutes Sunday at Warrior Ice Arena while the rest of the team was in Pittsburgh.

The 32-year-old Miller has been out all season while trying to return from two different kneecap injuries suffered last season that kept him out of the entire postseason and limited him to just three games since the beginning of March. Miller underwent a procedure to assist in the healing process last month when he underwent a setback while trying to return earlier this season, so Sunday’s twirl was his first chance to get back on the ice and skate.

For a player that hasn’t played in almost a year now like Miller, any news is good news.

“That’s step one,” said Bruce Cassidy. “That’s a positive.”

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Certainly, it’s good news, but it’s also the very beginning of a recovery process that Miller has already experienced setbacks to a couple of times. Given the normal timetable for players just returning to the ice from an injury, it would be at least 7-10 days before Miller would be anywhere close to returning to game action.

The Bruins will have their All-Star break and bye week over the next 10 days, so it would be at least a few weeks before Miller would be ready to return barring the kind of setbacks that have plagued him since suffering the kneecap injuries.

It remains very much an uphill battle for the rugged D-man in the last year of his contract with the Bruins, but he’s also a tough-minded player that the B’s have absolutely missed during last year’s playoff run and this season. Some of the perceived ability to push these Bruins players around on the ice is because they don’t have the hardnosed 6-foot-2, 210-pound Miller out there to protect his teammates.

Given Zdeno Chara’s age and Charlie McAvoy’s inconsistency this season, Brandon Carlo has ably carried a very heavy load for the Bruins as a big-bodied shutdown defenseman that’s playing big minutes and in all situations for the Black and Gold. Adding Miller to the Bruins group would Carlo some company in the tough guy category and would also limit the amount of ice time they have to give to John Moore, who has been inconsistent for the Black and Gold since returning from shoulder surgery last month.

Haggerty: B's blown leads are concerning