Kelly's aquisition to shake up Bruins third line


Kelly's aquisition to shake up Bruins third line

By Danny Picard

WILMINGTON -- Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli made sure to mention Chris Kelly's versatility during Tuesday night's press conference. He also made it a point to acknowledge he wants Kelly centering the team's third line, and looks to move rookie Tyler Seguin back to the wing.

Since Boston's "third line" has, of late, consisted of Seguin centering Blake Wheeler and Michael Ryder, it would seem someone has to either be bumped to the fourth line, become a healthy scratch, or get traded.

The latter may eventually occur, but as of right now, coach Claude Julien has a decision to make with what his GM called the "third line."

But that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

"A coach doesn't mind having that extra player, because it just creates that competition and gets players out of their comfort zone," said Julien after Wednesday's practice at Ristuccia Arena. "That's never a bad thing."

Kelly -- a Canadian-born player coming from the Ottawa Senators -- was expected to have some minor visa issues, and was not present at Bruins practice on Wednesday, so the team's third line remained the same.

Afterwards, Wheeler said he had "no idea" when asked if he was preparing to play on a line with Kelly in the middle. His thinking was that that decision would be made on Thursday, prior to the Bruins' game in New York against the Islanders.

Knowing Kelly's versatility, Wheeler had no idea the decision to put the newly-acquired centerman in the middle of his line was already talked about.

"I know he's a really solid two-way player," said Wheeler. "Playing against him, he's a guy that, when he's on the ice, you know he's not going to be easy to get scoring chances against. He's very responsible defensively. At the same time, he's capable of producing offensively as well. So I think he's a guy that fits into what we try to do here extremely well, a guy that I think can be really valuable for us down the stretch."

Julien said he was unsure if Kelly's visa issues would prevent him from missing Thursday's game in New York, but did say that when he does arrive with the club, they'll keep him at his normal position, at center.

"The number one place you'd want to put him, would be at center," said Julien. "He's played there most of his career. And the versatility certainly helps. Right now, with Savard being out, and maybe looking for a little bit more experience down the middle, I think that's probably the area we're going to be looking at."

"It's a great addition," said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, who played with Kelly in Ottawa. "He's a hard-working player. He's a smart player. He always plays his role well, and for sure, he's going to give us more depth in the middle with the experience he has."

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on his streaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from 9-10 a.m. on

Bruins need to "find a way to start playing with a lead"

Bruins need to "find a way to start playing with a lead"

BOSTON -- There’s only so long that a team can hope to thrive, or even survive, in the NHL if they’re constantly chasing the game on the scoreboard, and chasing the puck after digging themselves a hole. The Bruins have been that team in the first couple of weeks during the regular season, and made it five times in five games that they’ve given up the game’s first goal in an eventual 4-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens at TD Garden.

It’s a pattern that is long past getting old to Bruins head coach Claude Julien, who can’t seem to play the front-runner this season despite three comebacks that have allowed for a 3-2-0 record overall this season.

“I hope it’s not a habit. It’s certainly not what we’re looking for, but there’s no doubt. I think it’s pretty obvious that with the amount of games we’ve played, five games, we haven’t scored first,” said Julien. “We talked about that this morning, trying to get that first goal, and it hasn’t happened yet.”

The start to the game wasn’t really the problem on Saturday night as it’s been a couple of times this season. Instead the Bruins enjoyed a handful of quality scoring chances in the opening 20 minutes against the Habs, but couldn’t come through and finish off those plays when it might have meant an early lead.

Instead it lead to what Julien termed a “terrible” second period that was flat, full of mistakes and ended with the B’s trailing Montreal by a couple of goals. The Bruins scratched and clawed their way to making it a one-goal game in the third period, but that was as close as the Black and Gold would get in losing their ninth straight home game to the arch-rival Canadiens.

“It’s kind of been a story about how things are going for us this far, we’ve got to find a way to start playing with a lead. If you don’t capitalize on your chances, you see what happens when you come out [flat] in the second period,” said Torey Krug, who finished a game-worst minus-3 in the loss for the Bruins. “We had another poor second period and you know it’s kind of… you got to make sure that we put our hand on that and it doesn’t become a thing for the team this year. You see that when you don’t capitalize on chances early, that’s what’s going to happen.”

It’s been a positive development that the Bruins have shown the willingness and backbone to fight back into games after early deficits, and they showed that quality once again on Saturday night by scoring a couple of goals in the third period to keep things close. But the Bruins would be best served if they can start lighting the lamp a little earlier in these games, and see how the other half lives by playing with a comfortable lead every once in a while.