Daugavins 'a little nervous', ready to bark for B's

Daugavins 'a little nervous', ready to bark for B's
June 7, 2013, 1:00 pm
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BOSTON – Kaspars Daugavins might be most well-known for his daring, creative shootout attempts and an awesome mustache grown during the AHL playoffs when he won a Calder Cup with the Binghamton Senators, but he’ll also be a member of the Bruins lineup for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The 25-year-old Latvian forward last appeared in Game 1 against the Toronto Maple Leafs back on May 1, and played 9:52 of largely unnoticeable hockey while registering two shots on net. But now the Daug Man will be thrust into the Bruins lineup with a season-ending right leg injury for Gregory Campbell, and he’ll be asked to suit up on the third line with Rich Peverley and Tyler Seguin.

Daugavins can kill some penalties and has a little offensive wiggle to his game as attested by his shootout derring-do, so it will be interesting to see what he can bring to talented offensive performers like Peverley and Seguin.

“He's a gritty player. He's strong on the puck, strong as an individual, he can shoot the puck. Got a lot of qualities,” said Claude Julien. “We've always said we've got depth on this team. We showed it when injuries crept up on defense. Now we've got an injury up front. He's going to have to step in and do his job.”

Carl Soderberg, Jay Pandolfo and Jordan Caron were all considered candidates for the position as well, but Daugavins is the only other forward aside from the starting 12 that’s previously suited up for the Black and Gold during this playoff run.

Now he’ll likely be a fixture for the rest of the ride.

“Today’s goal is just to win a game, and clinching comes along with it,” said Daugavins. “I just want to play my best game. We know if we play our game at 100 percent, then we match up well. As long as we’re ready, we’ll be fine.”

Is Daugavins ready with a grand total of two NHL playoff games of experience under his belt?

“I’m a little nervous, obviously. I haven’t played in a while, but I try to think about it less and less. I know how to play hockey,” said Daugavins. “I just have to go out there, not think about it and just enjoy it. How many times do you get to be in the playoffs, and play? You have to take a little bit of that joy out there.”

One help for the Daug Man: he put up 10 goals and 20 points in 23 games when Binghamton captured the Calder Cup in 2010-11, and was one of the key producers on that team. So playoff performance is there at the AHL level, and now the Daug Man just needs to translate that to the NHL level in Boston. The skill, the speed, and the grittiness are obviously there for him to be effective.

Does the Daug Man expect to bark on Friday night?

“I hope so,” said Daugavins, with a smile.

So do the other 19 Bruins players that will be suiting up alongside of him, and looking to eliminate the Pittsburgh Penguins from the Eastern Conference Finals in a stunning four game sweep.