With fourteen players signed, and nine million dollars left under the cap, the Bruins are probably done tweaking their defense prior to the season. It’s highly unlikely whomever they draft at number two will fail to make the squad, and that will be a two or three million dollar cap hit by itself. Marco Sturm is unlikely to return to the ice before December with his second season ending knee injury in a row and a six month recovery time. I can’t imagine the Bruins rushing him back into the lineup. If he’s on the LTIR for sixty days that will save the Bruins roughly $1,129,032 in cap space, which is just slightly more than the paid Recchi last year.

Assuming the forward lines look roughly like this:

Lucic – Savard – Horton

Hall/Seguin – Bergeron – Recchi

Wheeler – Krejci – Ryder

Paille – Sobotka – Thornton

You’re left with Sturm on IR, and Suave, Colbourne, Hamill as the likely candidates for 13th forward.

Defense assuming the Boychuck & Stuart are resigned will probably be:

Chara – Seidenberg

Stuart – Boychuck

Ference – Hunwick

Both top pairings can do 25-28 minutes a night. The 6-9 spot is the complicated part. McQuaid played a handful of regular season games, and nine playoff games but looked unsteady in the post season. Hunwick looked good with some defense partners and is the best skater of everyone who played defense in Boston last year. Ference is oft injured, like Hunwick on the small side, and some might say overpaid. Penner played a bare two, and while Alexandrov led his KHL teams defense in TOI he’s yet to play even a single AHL game and like Penner, Ference, and Hunwick is well under 200lbs.

I suspect we will see one more move made at forward to free enough cap space to resign and carry players. At a rough guess, Stuart and Boychuck will come in at a total near six million as a high, and just over four million as a low. If we go with the lower number and assume Hall or Sequin’s cap hit is 3 million, that leaves only 2 million to play with. Two million in cap space with five roster spots left to fill is not going to work.  If Savard is moved that gives the Bruins much more latitude to both sign players before the season, and potentially bring back a solid player immediately but will most likely mean a salary coming back. Krejci going might mean a pick and a prospect coming back without a salary, and gives some wiggle room in the cap.

The Bruins entered the game looking to integrate Dennis Seidenberg into their defense in his second game since the trade. He performed with a quiet efficiency that is very different from the quiet efficiency that Morris displayed. They are different players and do things with distinct flair.

Michael Ryder’s hit on Blake Comeau was unfortunate, not a good play but also not malicious. I expect there will be a suspension over it as it clearly was a hit from behind into the boards, but when you look at the hit and compare it to the Jones hit on Bergeron and other similar hits, there was no extension of the arms, the hit began well away from the  boards with contact coming at about the goal line. Both Comeau and Ryder were braced for contact.

Pretty solid game for the Bruins through the first twenty five to thirty five minutes. Savard’s goal, and his footwork to get it make me think he should do a season of Dancing with the Stars. We’ve seen some other athletes do it, but no NHL players. Lucic had a goal that was the work of all five skaters, Thonrton and Begin looked the best they have since the Olympic break. Krejci’s goal made him look much more like last years David Krejci.

Bruins Player of the Game:

Tim Thomas: He simply ate pucks for lunch including a twenty one save second period on his way to a thirty seven save day.

Best Forward:

Patrice Bergeron, ran Tavares over several times, took over a third of the Bruins faceoffs and won 69%.

Best Defenseman:

Mark Stuart, not usually an offensive force he ended the game the only player who was a +2 on the day, had several solid defense, and a couple shots on goal, and logged quite a bit of short handed time.

And the man living in the struggle for today was:

Johnny Boychuck: he fought the puck all day with a ton of issues handling the puck in close to his body, and he had the key turnover that led directly to the second Islanders goal.

I think without the Ryder major, the Bruins might have been able to stuff this one in the bag early, but five straight minutes of penalty killing had the Bruins cycling through all their most impactful players. Next game is another day game against the Penguins.