'Tough call' for Bruins to cut Chris Clark


'Tough call' for Bruins to cut Chris Clark

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins InsiderFollow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON -- Things didnt work out for Chris Clark with the Bruins, but that doesnt mean the 35-year-old veterans NHL career is kaput.

Quite the contrary, in fact, it would appear the former captain of the Washington Capitals impressed his short-term teammates with his straightforward approach to the game of hockey, his no-nonsense work ethic and the commitment it took to break his nose in a fight with Michael Haley during the Bs final preseason game against the New York Islanders.

The fight and busted-up nose showed just how tough a customer Clarkstill is a fact that longtime puckacquaintances like Andrew Ference and Shawn Thornton already knew to be true and he also made plenty of offensive plays in his handful of exhibition games, including a game-winning goal against the Canadiens in Bell Centre.

Despite all that and despite the Bruins inviting him to their two-day team-bonding trip in Maine Clark was released from his training camp tryout by the Bruins organization. The transaction was lost in the shuffle of everything else going on over the last couple of days, but it's clear the Bruins felt that the future is now with 2008 first round pickJordan Caron.

It seemed like it might have been a tough choice, but Bostons organizational depth didnt really allow for an outside veteran influence given a series of Bs prospects ready to break through from the AHL level.

It was a tough call," said coach Claude Julien. "I was one of the guys standing up here saying hes got good experience and good leadership qualities, and at the end of the day -- as a whole group -- a tough decision was made. It was a decision not so much for the present, but maybe for the future with what we feel we have as depth.

Anybody can ask me the question right now and Ill answer without hesitation: Chris Clark can still play in the NHL. Thats not a question. We just had too much depth. I think it would have been tough for him to fit in our top 12, and its a lot easier to show the leadership qualities when youre in the mix of regular players. Its hard to go in there and try to be a leader when youre not really fitting into the top 12. There are a lot of things that went into our thoughts, but the one thing I do hope is that he hooks up with some NHL team . . . because hes still an NHL caliber player.

Its difficult timing for Clark right at the start of the regular season, but anything can happen once injuries start popping up and NHL teams comes searching for a veteran bottom-six forward capable of providing a little grit and offense. Thats the kind of job Clark could still master at his advanced NHL age, and proved he was ready for during training camp.

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

Heinen looking to show his offense in his shot on Krejci line

Heinen looking to show his offense in his shot on Krejci line

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins mixed things up with their roster a bit on Saturday after dropping a couple of games in a row to Washington and Colorado. 

Fourth-line energy winger Noel Acciari and playmaking forward Danton Heinen were called up from Providence and will be in the lineup against the Toronto Maple Leafs at TD Garden on Saturday night. 
Acciari went to Providence the past couple of days to get some game action in after missing the past month with a lower body injury, but clearly showed he’s ready to go. 

So, Acciari is back to provide the same hard-hitting and energy he showed before he was hurt and Heinen is looking to show off a little more offense than in his first stint with the Black and Gold this season. He’ll be featured in a top role as left wing with David Krejci and David Backes and with marching orders to shoot the puck like he never shot it in his previous stint in Boston. 

For the Bruins, it’s about getting another look at a candidate to play left wing beside Krejci with both Ryan Spooner and Tim Schaller, with limitations to their respective games, unable to fully grasp that same opportunity. 

“My hope is that Heinen can come in and give us some good hockey. He’s a skill player and he’s been down there for a while, and he’s back up again because he’s been playing well,” said Claude Julien of the Bruins rookie, who had four goals and seven points in his past five games with Providence. “Hopefully he can play well here also. It’s about getting some confidence. When he went down to [the AHL] the pace of his game had to get a little bit better, and in the battles coming up with the puck along the walls. Those are the kinds of things we thought he could work on down in Providence.”

Heinen knows he needs to shoot the puck a bit more to show off his offense after a seven-game stint with the Bruins where he went scoreless, was a minus-2 and had just six shots on net.

“Being hard on the walls, playing fast and shooting the puck, those were all things I was working on [in Providence],” said Heinen, who has seven goals and 13 points in 13 games for the P-Bruins after being assigned to Providence. “I was doing what they told me to do [in Providence] and that’s shoot the puck. They were going in, and I was getting some good opportunities on the power play. It’s seriously tough to get chances [at the NHL level], so you can’t pass them up when you have chances. That was kind of my focus down there.”

Fellow fourth-line energy winger Anton Blidh has been shipped to Providence after three solid games with the Black and Gold. 

Julien said Blidh goes back to Providence having adequately shown that he can play in the NHL. He clearly showed the Bruins that he understands his role as a player that stirs things up a bit and gets his nose dirty on a regular basis.

“[Blidh] was fine. No issues there. He does his job. He plays with lots of energy and obviously he’s getting more experience. He’s a lot better at understanding his positioning within the game and what he has to do,” said Julien. “I thought he helped us out for the time that he was here.”

With Heinen and Acciari both in the lineup and Blidh back in Providence, that means Jimmy Hayes will be scratched after dressing for three of the past four games for Boston.

Saturday, Dec. 10: Vegas, scoring on NHL governors' minds

Saturday, Dec. 10: Vegas, scoring on NHL governors' minds

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while doing some early Christmas shopping ahead of the late rush. 

*Mike Zeisberger sits down with a quartet of NHL governors and discusses a number of hot topics including the Vegas franchise and scoring around the league. 

*Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos has been removed from the NHL Board of Governor’s Executive Committee amid rumors that the Canes might be a prime candidate for relocation. 

*Pierre McGuire weighs in on Connor McDavid’s war of words on the ice and Carey Price losing his mind in the crease against the New Jersey Devils. To that end, Wayne Gretzky liked seeing McDavid get a little combative at such a young age. 

*The New York Islanders signed Cal Clutterbuck to a five year contract extension, and some are skeptical it will turn out well for the Isles.

*David Pastrnak is a premier scoring threat in the league, and Scott Cullen has some details behind that. I will say this: his stock falling in the draft had less to do with his size or heaviness, and more to do with him being concussed for a long stretch of time during the year leading up to the draft. 

*The Florida Panthers are really struggling to stay positive with a 1-5-0 record since the ownership group and management decided to fire Gerard Gallant. 

*For something completely different: Baywatch stars then and now.