Haggerty: B's need more out of 'Passenger Line'

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Haggerty: B's need more out of 'Passenger Line'

By JoeHaggerty
CSNNE.com

LOS ANGELES Looking for a catchy name for the newly minted line of Blake Wheeler, Tyler Seguin and Nathan Horton that ended Monday nights game together per design of the Bruins coaching staff?How about the "Passenger Line?"Thats a little harsh to be sure, but its about time for some players to rise to the forefront and begin carrying their weight after the Bruins dropped a 2-0 decision to the Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center characterized by its lifeless play and paucity of production.I think right now we need some guys to step up and start scoring some goals for us, said Claude Julien. Not always rely on the same people all of the time. At one point you can get away with it, but there are some guys that have been dry for a while. We need them to step up.The dry players: Horton has one goal in his last 19 games for the Bruins and is now on a pace for 20 goals and 47 points this season after starting so promisingly. Tyler Seguin is an 18-year-old working through the NHL for the first time, so he gets some slack while putting up nothing but zeroes over his last seven games. Similarly, Wheeler was one goal in his last 13 games and has drifted away from the physicality and net front presence that had him popping in goals regularly at the beginning of the month.All three forwards look like theyll have to look toward each other for offensive answers in the final game before the NHL All-Star break. Theres simply no reason to break up three other lines that have worked together intermittently through the season, and hold out hope that theyll produce again soon.The Bruins wont be getting four goal explosions from Patrice Bergerons line each and every night, and its clear that David Krejci and Milan Lucic have some work to do before they get their mojo going together.So it came down to Horton finally deciding to tell his Bruins teammates to hop on his back with Marc Savard down and out, and that really didnt even come close to happening as he instead faded to 15:24 of ice time and pretty much no presence 5-on-5 or on the power play.The Bruins had 34 shots on net when it ended against a defensive-minded Kings bunch, but its doubtful there were more than four Grade A scoring chances through the entire 60 minute effort. Michael Ryder had a couple of very good chances in the first period, Zdeno Chara hit the outside of the right post on a perfectly set one-timer during a second period power play, and Jonathan Quick managed to cover up a Lucic bomb from the slot as stampeded toward the net.I dont think as forwards we did a good enough job of getting in front of Quick, said Thornton. They were painted in our crease all night, and we didnt a great job of using their defensemen to force pucks in there. Some guys were going, and I think some guys were a few steps behind. But that was about it, and Claude Julien has enough of his team to know there is much more there whether Savard is in the lineup or back in Boston nursing the fourth concussion of his career. Chara called it being emotionally detached after the game, and it was clear that started with three forwards that the Bs desperately needed in the second part of a strange two-game West Coast road swing.I think some guys were involved and some guys werent, said Thornton pretty flatly.Its time for the Passenger Line to stop settling for zeros and starting finding answers with Savard down and out for an indefinite period of time, and everybody among the Boston forwards responsible for pulling their own weight.
Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Bruins go for a defensive project late with Daniel Bukac

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Bruins go for a defensive project late with Daniel Bukac

CHICAGO – The Bruins finished up their 2017 NHL Draft class with a bit of a project, but a 6-foot-5 defenseman with some great skating wheels is a pretty good way to go with a seventh round pick. The B’s nabbed Brandon Wheat Kings defenseman Daniel Bukac with the 204th pick in the draft, and admitted afterward that he’s an ultra-big bodied player that could take some time in the development process.

Bruins assistant GM Scott Bradley said Boston is more than happy to be patient with Bukac given the tools that he’s working with as an 18-year-old prospect. Bukac had two goals and 17 points to go along with 38 penalty minutes in his first season in North America after coming over from the Czech Republic, and Bradley said that B’s scouts noted that he continued to improve and get comfortable as the season wore on.

"He's raw. He's a project. [He’s a] kid from the Czech Republic that played in the Western Hockey League,” said Bradley. “At the start of the year - he's come leaps and bounds with his development. Talking to the people - the coaches, the management, and the GM in Brandon, they're very excited about him coming back to Brandon. They're expecting big things from him. We look forward to seeing him in camp."

Bukac is starting to garner some good international experience after playing for the Czechs in the Under-18’s and the Ivan Hinkla Tournament, but this weekend it was all about his addition to the talented group of Bruins prospects in the hockey world.

"I'm so excited to be drafted by the Boston Bruins," said Bukac, who described himself as a solid two-way defenseman with a good first pass. "It's an awesome feeling. I'm so glad that I was drafted by Boston."

Bruins take a flier on skilled Victor Berglund in 7th round

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Bruins take a flier on skilled Victor Berglund in 7th round

CHICAGO – While the Bruins went strong two-way defenseman early in the 2017 NHL Draft, they took a shot at a more offensive-minded Swedish defenseman late with seventh-round pick of Victor Berglund.

The six-foot, 165-pound Berglund clearly has a way to go in physical development and will need to get much bigger and stronger before he’s potentially ready for the North American pro ranks, but B’s assistant GM Scott Bradley raved about the Swedish defenseman’s skill set and potential. He also noted that Boston’s entire European scouting contingent, including former B’s forward PJ Axelsson, were fully on board with taking a flier on a talented player that simply needs to develop in the Swedish hockey system.

“Our Swedish guys were on top of Berglund. They think he’s a mobile D, he’s ultra-skilled and he skates well. He’s a six-footer, but [PJ Axelsson, Svenake Svensson and Victor Nybladh] were all pounding the table for him,” said Bradley. “We went along with it and I think we might have something there. Talking to his strength coach after the fact he’s working on putting some muscle and weight on, so we look forward to seeing him at development camp.”

In 62 games at three different levels, Berglund posted five goals and 18 points last season and displayed the kind of speed, creativity and play-making that one needs from their defensemen in today’s NHL.

"I'm an offensive defenseman, who likes to play with the puck, with a great short pass," said Berglund. "I like to follow the rush up ice and want the puck."

It will be a matter of building size and strength and for Berglund to continue developing his game in Sweden for the time being, but the Bruins are certainly happy with him at the 195th pick in Saturday’s second day of the draft.