'No nerves' as Soderberg prepares for return

'No nerves' as Soderberg prepares for return
October 19, 2013, 1:15 pm
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TAMPA – It was an optional morning skate for the Bruins with Jarome Iginla, Tuukka Rask and head coach Claude Julien all sitting it out as the rest of the B’s went through their paces at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Saturday morning. Carl Soderberg was one of the many skaters out on the ice for morning skate after missing the first six games of the regular season, and all signs pointed toward the Big Swede being in the lineup vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning.

But Claude Julien was tight-lipped after revealing on Friday that Soderberg has been cleared to play. The Bruins could certainly use his sturdy 6-foot-3 frame in front of the net while they search for greater net-front presence out of their team, and get ready to battle against a hot goaltender in undefeated former University of Maine standout Ben Bishop.

Soderberg is happy to potentially be back in the lineup, and doesn’t expect much rust after showing up offensively in the preseason.

“It’s always tough to be sitting out,” said Soderberg, who said he would like to play with Chris Kelly upon returning while acknowledging ‘it’s the coach’s decision’. “There are no nerves. It’s just fun to be back. It was a good start for us, a few wins and a few losses. I played my game in the preseason, and I think I can just go back to that when I get back in there.

“[Net-front presence] is always important, especially on the power play. I scored a lot of goals in Sweden last year playing in front of the net last year on both the power play, and in five-on-five play. Hopefully I can score some goals here too.”

The Bruins coaching staff certainly has some interesting choices on their hands heading into Thursday night. One forward will have to be removed from the group to make way for Soderberg, and they could go in one of three conceivable ways: scratching Jordan Caron, Brad Marchand or Shawn Thornton.

Caron would probably be the easiest choice for the B’s coaching staff to make as he’s cooled off in his last few games after a hot start coming out of the preseason. Marchand has struggled to find his game with one point in the first six games of the year, and has been dropped to the third line in his last three games. The Nose Face Killah was no good in Boston’s win over the Panthers on Thursday night, and the next stop is either a fourth line demotion, or a healthy scratch.

The Bruins might not be ready to go there yet, however.

The last option would be scratching Thornton, who has dropped the gloves three times in six games with the B’s fourth line having their best game of the year Thursday in Florida. The Bruins have more depth than they have in recent years, and that could mean scratching Thornton for potentially better offensive options like Soderberg in order to spark more goals.

Whatever the case, Julien wasn’t revealing his plans on Saturday morning.

“I haven’t told anybody anything yet,” said Julien. “I haven’t made any decisions yet. It’s pretty obvious that it’s not an easy decision, but you have to make those decisions come game time, right?”

The Bruins coach also indicated that Adam McQuaid would be drawing back into the lineup against Tampa Bay, so that leaves another choice to be made about a healthy scratch among the defensemen corps.

Here are the line combinations and D-pairings based on the optional morning skate:
 
Lucic-Krejci-Iginla
Smith-Bergeron-Eriksson
Soderberg-Kelly-Marchand
Paille-Campbell-Thornton
 
Chara-Hamilton
Bartkowski-Seidenberg
Krug-McQuaid/Boychuk
 
Rask
Johnson