Trade deadline fast approaches
Blue line help the likely target
Nearly one year ago, the Bruins added one of the final pieces to their Stanley Cup-winning roster.
On Feb. 18, three days after landing Chris Kelly from Ottawa, the Bruins acquired the blue line piece from Toronto that they had pursued for almost two years. For Joe Colborne, a 2011 first-round pick, and a 2012 second-rounder, the Bruins welcomed Tomas Kaberle to their defensive six-pack.
“It was more or less adjusting to a new player, not him adjusting to us,’’ recalled Boston defenseman Dennis Seidenberg. “There’s always a little bit of change in terms of systems and the way you play. It’s also for the team. Once it happens, it’s like, ‘Oh, OK. It’s starting.’
“The trade deadline is always kind of a turning point for everybody to kick it up and try to raise the intensity level.’’
The Bruins will be in a similar position prior to this year’s Feb. 27 trade deadline. They aren’t necessarily looking for a puck-moving defenseman, but they’d like to add a left-shot D-man without giving up a roster player. They’d also prefer to introduce fresh blood either before or during a six-game road swing that kicks off in Montreal Feb. 15.
Last night, one of their likely acquisition targets was on the ice, albeit in the wrong uniform.
Carolina defenseman Tim Gleason, who would have been an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, signed a four-year, $16 million extension with the Hurricanes this week.
The Bruins, along with most of their competitors, would have been interested in adding the hard-nosed Gleason to their roster.
Other possibilities include Montreal’s Hal Gill, Carolina’s Bryan Allen, Tampa Bay’s Brett Clark, and the Islanders’ Mike Mottau.
While there might be a bidding war for Gill, prices for any of the experienced defensemen shouldn’t be extravagant. They would all fit the profile of what the Bruins are seeking: a veteran character player who can provide depth for the stretch run and postseason.
By bringing in a defenseman before the deadline, it will give the Bruins almost two months before the start of the playoffs to adjust to a new player.
Reflecting on last year, Adam McQuaid said, “It was a tough time with losing [Mark Stuart] and [Blake Wheeler]. At the same time, it was very exciting to bring in a guy like Kabby.
“We went on that nice winning streak right from the get-go. It’s a little give-and-take. But we saw right off the bat that he brought a different element - patience, slowing the play down.
“It was an exciting time to bring in someone like that to our team.’’
Horton out again
Nathan Horton sat out his third straight game last night because of concussion symptoms, which include headaches.
According to coach Claude Julien, Horton has yet to resume physical activities since suffering the concussion Jan. 22 when he was hit by Philadelphia’s Tom Sestito.
Once Horton’s symptoms wane, he would have to start riding the stationary bike. Then he would start skating, most likely in a noncontact situation. Horton would then have to take contact in practice before being cleared to play.
For the third straight game, Rich Peverley replaced Horton alongside Milan Lucic and David Krejci on the No. 1 line. Peverley had three shots in 15:41 of ice time.
Johnny Boychuk missed half of the first period after getting the wind knocked out of him seconds before Carolina’s first goal. As Boychuk skated toward the boards to retrieve a rebound, Tuomo Ruutu thumped him from behind. The force of Ruutu’s check caused Boychuk’s stick to catch him in the sternum. Boychuk, with help from trainer Don DelNegro, retreated to the dressing room at 11:51. He missed the rest of the first, but returned at the start of the second. Boychuk had two shots and four blocks in 17:52 of action.
Andrew Ference returned to the lineup after serving his three-game suspension for boarding the Rangers’ Ryan McDonagh. “He’s been a pretty stable force back there for us,’’ Julien said. “I’ve liked his game this year. He’s been a real healthy player. I think that’s what’s held him back in the past as far as people appreciating him for what he really is. Every time he’d come back, he’d have to find his game again. But he’s been real consistent. Real reliable. I think he’s had a great year.’’ Ference skated 25 shifts for 17:19 of ice time. He was on the ice for two of Carolina’s three goals . . . Ruutu is Carolina’s leading goal scorer, notching his 16th last night. The gritty left wing will be atop the wish lists of many teams, including the Bruins, as the trade deadline approaches. Ruutu will reach UFA status at the end of the season . . . Patrice Bergeron won 14 of 18 faceoffs . . . McQuaid was in the lineup after missing Wednesday’s practice because of a lower-body injury suffered in Tuesday’s 4-3 win over Ottawa . . . Steven Kampfer was the healthy scratch.