Boston Bruins

Krecji's injury forces shuffle of top line

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Krecji's injury forces shuffle of top line

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

WILMINGTON The Bs top line of Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Nathan Horton heard the faint calls for something fresher after three straight stale performances to start the season.

But the Bruins forwards are preaching patience and more importantly so is the coaching staff after a Columbus Day wakeup call against the Colorado Avalanche.

Coach Claude Julien was perplexed enough that he hinted there might be a breakup of the underperforming line after they were shut down once again this time against an Avs bunch that scored their only goal while Lucic, Krejci and Horton were all out on the ice.

Krejci's knee injury, suffered Tuesday in practice, will force the shuffle that Julien talked about; Tyler Seguin will move up to the No. 1 center slot. But before Krejci was hurt, he and Lucic and Horton were on the ice early Tuesday morning at Ristuccia Arena, trying to regain that feel they lost somewhere along the way.

Still, felt like more patience should be showed to a group of forwards that led the Bruins to the Stanley Cup Finals before Horton was lost to a Game 3 concussion.

I think its too early. Obviously if things keep dragging on then its time to make a change, said Lucic, who has six shots on net and six registered hits in the first three games this season. But right now we have to bring the right mindset to our game and the rest will take care of itself.

We dont want to have any excuses. We just went out there to pass the puck around, shoot it and have some fun. We kind of wanted to get the fun back into it and enjoy it again. Thats all we were trying to establish. We just want to enjoy being back out there, get the frustration out and play exactly the way that we want to play.

In his talk with media Tuesday, Julien backed off his edgier comments about Lucic and Co. that he made Monday in the immediate aftermath of the 1-0 loss to the Avs. He hoped pride would kick in a little bit.

Its a line that isnt clicking on all cylinders, but were just three games into the season, said Julien. Its getting better, but theyre a work in progress. If we start panicking three games into the season then were really in trouble.

Theyre going to be good players for us and theyll find their game. Theyve been good for us and theres no reason to think they wont be good players for us again.

With Seguin now temporarily filling in for Krejci at the top pivot position, its even more incumbent upon Lucic and Horton to elevate their game with a new guy skating in between them.

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

Bruins have just as good a chance as the Celtics do this season (which is small)

Bruins have just as good a chance as the Celtics do this season (which is small)

Dan Shaughnessy ran a piece this week calling the Bruins the No. 4 team in town these days. He wasn’t wrong. They are. 

Of course, the claim isn’t really a discussion about the Patriots or Red Sox, as they’ll always be the two most popular teams in town. It’s about the Bruins being behind the Celtics, which again, they are. 

Yet while the general premise of the story was correct, there was an issue to be taken with the piece. Shaughnessy wrote that, “In terms of overall interest and championship hopes, [the Bruins] are a distant fourth.”

That’s where he’s wrong. Nobody would argue against the Celtics garnering more interest (even if the Bruins might have a stronger fanbase), but championship hopes? The teams are deadlocked. 

The Celtics are one of the top teams in a league in which only one team (the Warriors) has a chance. The Bruins are a middle-of-the-pack team in a league in which the literal last team in the playoffs (the No. 16 seed Predators) went to the Stanley Cup Final last season. 
 
This isn’t about which team is better, because that’s not close. The Celtics have three All-Stars in their starting five and the third overall picks from each of the last two drafts. They’ve also got one of the best coaches in the league. 

It’s also not about who will likely go farther. The Celtics will at the very least reach the Eastern Conference finals. The issue is that they’ll then either be eliminated by the Cavaliers or earn the opportunity to perhaps get swept by the Warriors in the Finals. 

That leaves the Celtics with a certainty of a very good season, but also close to an impossibility of a championship season. 

As for the Bruins, they probably won’t be much better than they were last season, if at all. This season was always the one to watch in the Sweeney era, as it will see the biggest implementation of the young players drafted. There should be at least four Sweeney draft picks on the team this year (Brandon Carlo, Charlie McAvoy, Jake DeBrusk and Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson), plus youngsters from the Chiarelli era still pushing for jobs. 

The biggest change figures to be on the back end, where the Bruins should have the best top-four they’ve had since Sweeney dealt Dougie Hamilton. A lot of that rides on McAvoy, but there remains hope on the back end in future seasons with Jeremy Lauzon and Jakub Zboril trying to eventually break in. 

Will the Bruins rule their division the way the Celtics will? Most likely not. The guess here is that Tampa and Montreal will finish ahead of teams like Boston, Ottawa and Toronto. 

Yet there isn’t a Cleveland or a Golden State waiting to swallow up whoever does emerge throughout the playoffs, and that’s what leaves the Bruins and Celtics with equal chances at a title. The Penguins have won back-to-back titles, but the Bruins have gone 4-1-1 against them in the regular season the last two years. They’re hardly the unstoppable force that exists in Golden State. 

So in terms of buzz, offseason moves and anticipation for a new season? Sure, the Celtics have it all over the B’s. I’m certainly way more excited for basketball season. When it comes to championship hopes, however, the B’s and C’s are no different. 

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