Bruins reward Ryder with more ice time, and he rewards them with a goal

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Bruins reward Ryder with more ice time, and he rewards them with a goal

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- Michael Ryder stood in the Bruins' locker room at the TD Garden after Monday's 3-0 win over the New Jersey Devils, in which he scored the first goal of the game, and was asked if his mindset had changed after being moved to a line with Gregory Campbell and Brad Marchand.

He looked up, smiled, and came back with a well thought-out answer.

"We have four lines on this team that can play, you know, and playing with Soup and Marchy was a little adjustment," said Ryder.

His response wasn't odd. It was the right thing to say. But approximately 15 minutes later, we found out he had no real reason to be upset with the line change.

He was just being rewarded.

Ryder wasn't ready to throw his former linemates under the bus. He wasn't about to call out Tyler Seguin and Daniel Paille. Because in reality, the swap of Ryder-for-Shawn Thornton was about nothing more than finding Ryder more ice time, something he began to see much less of while on the right wing with Seguin and Paille.

So after back-to-back losses in which the Bruins scored only one goal against Montreal and Ottawa, coach Claude Julien decided to shake things up, for reasons that weren't known until his postgame press conference, minutes after Ryder was peppered with postgame questions of his own.

"What you've got to remember, too, for Michael, is that playing with Seguin and whoever has been on the left wing, Paille and other guys; when you look at their ice time, it hasn't always been to maybe what Ryder has been deserving of," said Julien. "Some way, you try to find him some more ice time. And I think, the more ice time you get, the more you get involved in the game. And I think, putting him on that line, gave him that edge, and with the games we've lost lately, we have to find a little something, and try and tweak our lines here."

It says a lot about Seguin and Paille, who continue to see less and less ice time on a nightly basis. It also says a lot about the contributions that Campbell ("Soup") and Marchand ("Marchy") have made to the team.

But perhaps it says even more about Ryder, a guy who is constantly portrayed as being the first "overpaid" trading chip that should be shipped out of town when it comes time to create salary cap space for the impending returns of Marc Savard and Marco Sturm.

The 4 million winger scored his fifth goal of the season on Monday night. It gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead with 4:34 left in the first period. The Bruins are now a perfect 7-0-0 when scoring the first goal this season.

So needless to say, it was a big one.

"That was part of our game plan tonight, no doubt," said Julien. "The longer you let the other team in the game, the better chance they have of winning. And that's what teams, that come on the road, want to do. They want to stay in there as long as they can. So it was important for us to grab that lead. We seem to be a team that plays better with the lead, obviously, and seemed to build on it, and protect it well. So it was nice to see us get that first goal."

It was also nice to see Ryder get rewarded. And it didn't come while on his new line. He scored on the power play, a 5-on-3 power play, to be exact. He took a Patrice Bergeron pass to the left side of the net, and sniped, short side, from the goal line, on Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur.

"I was looking to pass pretty much the whole time," said Ryder. "I was trying to wait for the right spot, and then it kind of didn't open up, and I looked over and saw Brodeur cheating a little bit, so I just threw it short side on him, and I caught him moving to the left."

Ryder had gone four games without a goal prior to Monday night's win and it was thought Julien wanted more offense, especially in David Krejci's absence. Seeing Ryder's line change at Sunday's practice led to the belief Julien was trying to give Seguin and Paille an offensive boost by adding the energetic Thornton and subtracting Ryder.

It's just the natural reaction when one sees Ryder get bounced down to what was dubbed, unofficially at least, as the Bruins' "fourth line."

Wrong.

Julien has never put a number on one of his lines. So it shouldn't come as a surprise to see Ryder's move as an upgrade in Julien's eyes.

Seguin's line has seen its ice time take a hit. Julien wanted to play Ryder more. He feels he's deserved it.

"He's competing hard, and he comes to play every night," said the Bruins' coach after Monday's win. "He's scored some big goals for us. He's made some big plays, too. You look at some of the assists he's got. They've been some pretty good passes for goals.

"He's into it, there's no doubt," added Julien. "He's confident right now. I guess he's playing on, probably, more confidence than he did at this time last year."
Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comdannypicard

Haggerty: Jacobs may not be beloved, but he's Hall of Fame-worthy

Haggerty: Jacobs may not be beloved, but he's Hall of Fame-worthy

If it was based solely on his 42 years as owner of the Boston Bruins, it might be debatable as to whether Jeremy Jacobs would have been selected to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The Bruins have won one championship and been to a handful of Stanley Cup Finals during Jacobs' long stewardship, of course. They also enjoyed the longest running playoff streak (29 years) in NHL history, though it began before he purchased the franchise. Altogether, the B's have won one Cup, four conference championships, two Presidents' trophies, 15 division championships, and 35 Stanley Cup playoff berths during the Jacobs Era.

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But Jacobs didn't make the Hall of Fame solely on his accomplishments with the Bruins organization. He's being inducted in the "builder” category, which is defined as "coaching, managerial or executive ability, or ability in another significant off-ice role, sportsmanship, character and contributions to his or her organization or organizations and to the game of hockey in general.”  In addition to overseeing the Bruins over the last four-plus decades, he has been a power broker at the league level for just as long.

"I am flattered to be included in with this great group of 2017 inductees, and I am humbled to be included with the legends of hockey that went before me,” said Jacobs. "Owning the Boston Bruins for 42 years has been one of the most rewarding honors of my life. I am indebted to our team's leaders and players, but most of all, to our fans, for giving me a broad and deeply appreciative perspective of the game."

The 2011 Stanley Cup victory was the overriding on-ice moment in his stewardship of the team, and the Jacobs family has had a major, altruistic impact in Boston. No one should overlook the Boston Bruins Foundation, which has touched so many lives with the $28 million that's been awarded to those in need since its inception in 1993.

Unfortunately, Jacobs will always have a reputation with a large portion of the Bruins fan base that his ownership wasn't willing to spend enough for truly competitive teams. At times he was viewed as an absentee owner living in Buffalo, overseeing the team from afar while Harry Sinden ran the operation. Those fans hold that grudge even today, despite the Bruins consistently spending to the salary cap ceiling while fielding competitive teams. They view Monday's Hall of Fame announcement as something akin to Montgomery Burns being inducted into the Springfield Hall of Fame.

Cam Neely disagrees.

"As a player, I knew of Mr. Jacobs' passion for the Bruins,” said Neely, who has served as Bruins president for nearly a decade after a Hall of Fame playing career highlighted by his years in Boston. "Over the past decade while in the front office, I have seen firsthand his dedication to winning, by consistently providing the Bruins the resources that we need to compete for Stanley Cup Championships and also his unmatched commitment to growing the game of hockey."

That commitment to hockey is a key factor in Jacobs' Hall of Fame selection.

Jacobs was unanimously voted in as chairman of the NHL Board of Governors in 2007, and he's been a major driving force in each of the last couple of oft-contentious CBA negotiations. While Jacobs clearly had a hand in the cancellation of the entire 2004-05 season due to a labor dispute, and in the lockout-shortened season of 2013, those CBA negotiations ultimately led to the imposition of a salary cap and a pathway for small-market NHL teams to survive as the cost of doing hockey business continues to go up.

Without Jacobs as an often hawkish, hard-line owner, there's a chance that a team like the Western Conference champion Nashville Predators might not have been able to survive in the NHL, and it's highly doubtful they'd be able to be as competitive as they are now if teams like Toronto, New York and Chicago could outspend everybody else. So there's no denying the seismic impact that Jacobs made at the league-wide level with his leadership and commitment to growing the game, and that the NHL is better off for the battles waged in collective bargaining while he's been in a position of power.

If you polled every single Bruins fan on the street, it's unlikely he'd be a populist choice for the Hall of Fame. The lean budgetary years durinhg the playing days of Neely, Ray Bourque and others will always be part of the Spoked B history. Some will hold those grudges forever, which is part of makes us who we are as a fan base.

But faithful, rabid fans continue to stream into TD Garden, continue to spend money to support their favorite hockey team, and continue to provide the kind of support that's led to a 338-game home sellout streak. It's a sign Jacobs and Bruins ownership continue to do things very right, even if we shouldn't be scheduling any popularity contests anytime soon.

Bruins don't extend qualifying offer to Joe Morrow

Bruins don't extend qualifying offer to Joe Morrow

With free agency just around the corner, the Bruins have officially cut ties with former first-round pick and last bastion of the Tyler Seguin trade, Joe Morrow.

The 24-year-old Edmonton native arrived in Boston along with Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith and Matt Fraser in exchange for Seguin when he was shipped to Dallas, and now all of those players have moved on from Boston as well. Boston does still carry Jimmy Hayes on their roster, a player traded from Florida in exchange for Smith, as a last remnant of the Seguin deal, but it isn't expected to be too long before Hayes moves on from Boston as well.  

The B’s announced on Monday afternoon that they hadn’t extended a qualifying offer to Morrow, as well as P-Bruins power forward Colton Hargrove, as a restricted free agent, and that both B’s youngsters were now free to sign with any of the 30 NHL teams as free agents.

The Bruins extended qualifying offers to restricted free agents in Noel Acciari, Linus Arnesson, Austin Czarnik, Zane McIntyre, David Pastrnak, Tim Schaller, Ryan Spooner and Malcolm Subban, and will retain the associated team rights with all of those players. Negotiations are ongoing between the Bruins and Pastrnak continue over a long term deal that would put him in the same $6 million plus per season level as teammate Brad Marchand, but one source with knowledge of the negotiations indicated it’s “not close” to being a done deal.

Some RFA’s like Spooner and Subban might not necessarily fit into the long term plan for the Black and Gold, but they need to maintain their rights if they hope to trade them as valued assets down the line.

Morrow never put together the talent that made him a former first-round pick while he was in Boston, and totaled just one assist in 17 games for the B’s before playing well in five playoff games after getting pushed into duty due to injuries. In all Morrow finished with two goals and nine points along with a minus-8 rating in 65 games over three seasons in Boston, but could never string together an extended run of consistent play at the NHL level.

With the Bruins in the market to bring on another left-shot defenseman into the Boston fold this summer, it was pretty clear that the time had come to move on from Morrow while allowing him to potentially develop as an NHL D-man elsewhere.