Horton looking to pick it up after slow start

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Horton looking to pick it up after slow start

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

WILMINGTON Nathan Horton is feeling just fine. His unimpressive start to the season has nothing to do with clearing cobwebs or being tentative after suffering a concussion last June at the hands of an Aaron Rome headshot.

The Bruins right winger has struggled out of the gate this season and seemingly looked out of synch since training camp, and has completely disappeared in the first three games of the season. Horton has totaled a single shot on net and zero hits in three games for the Bruins, and hasnt been a physical presence or offensive threat thus far this year.

Horton, of course, showed himself to be a very streaky player during his first season in Boston, and the good stretches came at just the right time with a couple of Game 7 winners during the playoffs.

Milan Lucic shouldered some of the responsibility for Hortons sputtering open to the season, and felt that both he and his center could do a better job setting up their powerful right wing with improved opportunities. But the Bs power forward said he checks in with good friend Horton on a regular basis to see how hes feeling, and any downturn in production has nothing to do with residual effects from last year.

In my eyes Horton has always played really well. Personally I feel like we havent found him enough or passed the puck to him in areas where hes most dangerous, said Lucic. As a linemate thats what me and our centermen need to do better so that we can make him more dangerous.

I talk with him a lot about coming back from the concussion to see how hes feeling, and hes feeling good. Hes going out there and trying, and I think from a line standpoint we need to step it up a little, play with a little more feistiness and bang, and that becomes contagious.

Claude Julien mentioned potentially breaking up Bostons No. 1 line after Mondays shutout loss to the Colorado Avalanche given the sluggish season opening, but its thought the coachs words were meant more as a spark for Horton and Milan Lucic.

The Bs coach was instead preaching patience with his big bookend wingers prior to Wednesday nights game against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Its a work in progress and some guys find their games more quickly than other to start the season, said Bruins coach Claude Julien. Its a work in progress.

With David Krejci injuring his knee during Tuesdays practice, however, it appears the Bruins will be making some changes to the top line out of necessity rather than shake things up.

It remains to be seen how Horton and Co. respond if Tyler Seguin is given the promotion to centering the top line between the big bookend wingers. But it cant be much worse than the last three games from Horton now can it?

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Morning Skate: Tempered expectations for Bolts' rookie Sergachev

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Morning Skate: Tempered expectations for Bolts' rookie Sergachev

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while simply shaking my head at David Price. What a typically soft, boorish ballplayer not meant for a big market where more is expected of those wearing the Red Sox uniform.

*There are tempered expectations for rookie defenseman Mikhail Sergachev as he gets things going with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

*Keith Yandle believes that Dale Tallon being back in charge of the Florida Panthers is going to bring unity and solidarity to the Panthers once again.

*Kevin Shattenkirk believes that the New York Rangers are right on the cusp of challenging for a Stanley Cup title.

*Here 20 thoughts from the just-concluded Chicago Blackhawks prospect camp, where there’s some pretty strong, young talent.

*Even as the highest-paid player in the NHL, Connor McDavid is underpaid for what he brings to the table, says Ron MacLean.

*Interesting look at the Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog situation in Colorado, where both players have watched their performance fall off a bit. This is why I’d be very nervous about giving up the farm to trade for either of these players if I’m the Bruins. The jury is out on whether they’re in decline as players, or if it’s simply the mess in Colorado getting them down.  

*For something completely different: What a sweet interaction between "Wonder Woman" Gal Gadot and a young, emotional fan all decked out in WW gear.  

 

Spooner, Bruins nearly $2 million apart in arbitration figures

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Spooner, Bruins nearly $2 million apart in arbitration figures

The figures and briefs are in for the Bruins and Ryan Spooner for their arbitration hearing Wednesday, but both sides are still hoping that a deal can be reached prior to it. The Bruins have submitted a one-year contract offer for $2 million. Spooner’s camp countered with $3.85 million, creating a sizeable gap of almost $2 million between the two.

Spooner, 25, has averaged 12 goals and 44 points the past two seasons with the B’s, including 35 power-play points while working the half-wall for a Boston PP that’s been ranked seventh overall two seasons in a row.

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Spooner is coming off a two-year contract worth $1.95 million and his is a complicated situation for the Black and Gold. Spooner holds significant value as a trade piece and has been an important part of a very effective power play, but he also finished the playoffs as a healthy scratch after going quietly the past few months of the season.

Spooner was one of the major pieces discussed in trade talks with the Minnesota Wild around the draft prior to the Wild shipping Marco Scandella to the Buffalo Sabres and he's been involved in trade discussions with several teams the past couple of years.

The Bruins have prospect Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson waiting in the wings if/when the B’s decided to spin Spooner to another team, but they also enjoy his speed and playmaking when he’s on his game. There’s clearly a scenario where the Bruins start the season with Spooner installed as their third-line center and perhaps explore more trade discussions while seeing if a full season under Bruce Cassidy can unlock his significant offensive potential.

If that's still in the plan, they’d be wise to come to an agreement and avoid the hearing Wednesday where they’d ostensibly be bad-mouthing a player they’d want back on their team. The Bruins have the right to walk away from Spooner should he be awarded the full $3.85 million by the arbiter. Still, it’s hard to believe they’d do that given that he’s a homegrown asset with trade value.

The feeling at this address is that there’s a deal to be made between the two sides for something around the $3 million mark. That’s something that would be worthwhile for the Bruins if they have any designs on continuing on with Spooner.