Julien mulling over the Big Swede and Daug Man

Julien mulling over the Big Swede and Daug Man
June 22, 2013, 2:45 pm
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CHICAGO – Both Kaspars Daugavins and Carl Soderberg took turns at left wing on the Bruins fourth line during Saturday’s morning skate at the United Center prior to Game 5, and Claude Julien said he still hadn’t made a final decision hours ahead of puck drop for the Stanley Cup Final game.

Daugavins has played in the first four games with Rich Peverley and Shawn Thornton, and hasn’t been particularly good while taking boneheaded penalties and missing on a couple of key offensive chances. After getting off three shots in Game 1 vs. Chicago, the “Daug Man” is a minus-1 with only two shots on net in the last three games, and took a needless elbowing penalty in the opening minutes of Game 3 in Boston.

Meanwhile the 27-year-old Soderberg hasn’t played since April 28, and was a pair of assists and a minus-2 rating in six NHL games after signing with the Bruins in early April. He didn’t appear close to ready for playoff action during the regular season, but the hope would be Soderberg can bring some instant offense to a fourth line that’s more glitz than grit these days.

The Big Swede had a pair of assists in his brief stint with the Bruins, but the full extent of his playmaking abilities was never really seen on the ice at the NHL level.

“I haven't seen him that much [of Soderberg]. He's only played a few games, and that's probably the main reason he hasn't played in the playoffs. We went with some experienced players,” said Claude Julien. “Injuries have forced us to kind of look elsewhere, and that's the injury to Gregory Campbell.  So there’s Daugavins, and we've looked at Carl Soderberg, Jordan Caron, and there's Jay Pandolfo.

“There are situations there that we can look at.  We're trying to find the best fit possible. I have to look at whether I feel comfortable staying with Daugavins. Right now it's been between Soderberg and Daugavins, but they're two different players. Size-wise they're different. One is obviously real gritty along the walls, and the other one is probably more of a play maker. There's a difference there. That's where I have to make my decision what I feel I may need for tonight.”

Julien clearly seems to be grappling with the decision, and there are some easily seen ways that Soderberg would be a better match with the speedy, offensive-minded Peverley coming off his best game of the playoffs. But it’s a pretty safe bet that Julien will always opt for the more comfortable, grittier, more defensive-minded player in a playoff situation, so the smart money says that Daug Man will be suiting up for his fifth straight playoff game on Saturday night.