Photo: NHL Bruins
It has been frequently talked about, thoroughly dissected and severely questioned, but a few months shy of the one-year anniversary of the Seguin trade, it’s clear that Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli once again, knew exactly what he was doing. Since taking the GM position in May of 2006, Chiarelli has brought notable faces to the franchise that has become a powerhouse in the east.
Under Chiarelli’s reign, Johnny Boychuk, Mark Recchi, Chris Kelly, Dennis Seidenberg, Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand, Tuukka Rask and Zdeno Chara all became Bruins. Leading up to the Seguin trade, was his acquisition, possibly one of the more well noted dealings on Chiarelli’s resume. In 2009 Phil Kessel was dealt to Toronto, in return the Bruins received the pick that later drafted Tyler Seguin — things come full circle. Seguin won the Stanley Cup with the Bruins in 2011 and became the face of the franchise, leaving Bostonians with Seguin fever.
Cue this past free agency, when beloved Seguin, paired with Rich Peverley were sent packing to the ‘Lone Star’ state. While many felt that the black and gold were left with the short end of the stick, as Seguin almost immediately found success in Dallas paired with captain Jamie Benn, emotions regarding the trade have slowly shifted throughout the season.
It’s been oh so swede for the Bruins third line as countrymen Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson have made their distinguished mark as of late. The Bruins 4-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night saw goals from Soderberg, Eriksson, Iginla, and Smith, two of the four making their way to Boston in the Seguin trade.
Both Eriksson and Smith with 5 points each through the last 10 games, but the newest spark through the past two, 23-year-old Matt Fraser, with two points in two contests. Those two points rival the two points earned through 14 regular season contests with the team in the NHL and 30 through the regular season with American Hockey League affiliate Providence Bruins, including 3 goals and 2 assists in their current Calder Cup run before his NHL recall.
While the statistics show an influence on the ice, scoring the Game 4 winning goal just 79 seconds into overtime on Thursday night and netting an assist in Game 5, off the ice, listening to the room and what advice they have to offer only helps elevate the play. The first goal of the game was a prime example of that mentality and earned Soderberg the player of the game jacket.
“I think this is just a hard working play,” said Fraser. “Like Carl [Soderberg] made a great play, like a strong play off the draw, and the puck popped there and it was pretty easy for me to get it back to the defensemen, and actually Chris Kelly this morning told us to bring it out the weak side, and so he came up to me after the game and was laughing and told me, “You should be the coach now.” But no, I mean, Loui made a great play to Carl and Carl made a great shot, and again, those guys work so well with each other. You just, you feed off them and just try and stay out of the way.”
Always room for improvement, the Swedish line seems to be greatly benefiting from a dose of Alberta in it’s native Fraser.
“Yeah, I think as a line you can always be better and always want to be better,” said Fraser. “Anytime you get satisfied is when you get stale I think, and it’s again, like it’s fun playing with those guys. They work well with each other, and I’m doing my best to try and complement them.”
Leading 3-2, the Bruins will look to close out the series on Monday night in enemy territory, a task that thus far has proven difficult. Game 5 was a clearer snapshot of the black and gold style of play that one hopes to see skating forward.
“I think everybody who knows and who has followed our team noticed that,” said Bruins Head Coach Julien. “I think it was more — we seemed more in control, we seemed to be putting pucks in the right areas, we seemed to be in sync, and I thought we were focused for the whole 60 minutes. It was a great effort on our part, and as I said earlier, there’s a lot tougher times coming and we’ve got to be ready for the next one.”
On to the next one.
From the room: