Bruins notes: James van Riemsdyk a bargain so far

Just what the Bruins could expect from James van Riemsdyk was anyone’s guess.

The 34-year-old Van Riemsdyk, a seven-time 20-goal scorer, was coming off an injury-marred season in Philadelphia in which he was held to 12-17-29 totals in 61 games. That, combined with a depressed NHL economy last summer, allowed the B’s to sign him to a low-risk one-year, $1 million contract.

So far, it’s looking like quite a bargain. Van Riemsdyk is third on the B’s in scoring with 3-2-5 and is one third of the only line that has become a relative constant in the B’s forward group.

Aided by the fast start, the former UNH standout is starting to feel at home in Black and Gold.

“My experience so far has been great, the way I’ve been treated by the coaching staff, management and the guys in the room. It’s been a great group. It’s been a lot of fun to be a part of it so far,” said van Riemsdyk after Thursday’s morning skate. “I’m trying to find a way to fit in game by game and feel more comfortable. I think coming in to a new team, you’re always trying to do whatever you can to get off to a good start and put your best foot forward right off the hop and I think that makes the transition a little bit easier when you feel good about your game and it tends to make you feel more comfortable in general and then you can keep building off that.”

Van Riemsdyk has been part of the 650-pound line with Charlie Coyle and Trent Frederic that is starting to forge a hard-to-play-against identity that is a handful when the puck gets to the net.

“I think we’ve been able to read off each other well. We all play a pretty direct game,”

said van Riemsdyk. “I think the strength of the three of us is when we get in the offensive zone and support each other well, filling in the right spots and just getting the puck to the net and ultimately making plays off of that. That’s when we’ve been at our best doing that. I think we’ve also been pretty solid defensively, going out there for those D-zone draws and making sure we advance the puck up the ice. It’s been fun playing with those guys and hopefully we continue to chip in offensively and continue to build our game.”….

So far, the power play has been a drag the B’s offensive momentum. It was just three for 22 going into Thursday game against the Ducks. The units maintained the same personnel in the morning skate. Both Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak, PP stalwarts for years, have had their issues with their puck-handling and decision-making in some games.

Where does coach Jim Montgomery see the malfunctioning?

“Puck movement and creating slot shots. We’re just not moving the puck quickly and efficiently enough to beat the sticks on the PK,” said Montgomery.

Montgomery said that the more Marchand and Pastrnak play with center Pavel Zacha at 5-on-5 that chemistry will build and roll over into the PP – “theoretically at least,” he said.

“I guess we’ll just have to wait and see,” said Montgomery. “Our guys on the elbows (Marchand and Pastrnak) have had all kinds of success, I think it’s just a matter of time before the power play clicks …generating more momentum within the game for us.”

Marchand said one of the problems is that off-the-mark passing will snowball on them.

“If you give a bad pass to one guy, it usually starts the (penalty kill’s) pressure and that’s when it’s tough to get control again. Then it’s one bad pass into another bad pass and you throw it around the wall. That puts the PK in a much better position,” said Marchand. “I think at times, we’re forcing it a little bit. But the last time we played Anaheim, we had a really good game on the power play. We didn’t score but we had a lot of control, our breakouts were really good, a lot of things you can build off. But you look at the opportunities that we had and you get a little frustrating that you’re not capitalizing. I think we just need to continue to put pucks to the net and get there. Where we’ve always been good is on opportunities where you recover a puck and make a play. So a little bit more of that, where we get an initial shot and get them running around and you recover a puck. So maybe a little bit closer support on recoveries can help us out a little bit. But just simplifying. We don’t need to force things through the box at times, which I in particular do. So just getting away from that and being simple.”….

Montgomery, a former UMaine star, opened his morning presser by giving his sympathies to the people of Lewiston in the wake of the horrific mass shootings.

“I personally spent four wonderful years at the University of Maine and I know how great the culture is in that state and I know how great the people are. My heartfelt sympathies to everybody that’s affected,” said Montgomery….

Montgomery said that Milan Lucic, who took a shot off the foot in Los Angeles, will be out for a couple of weeks and that Jakub Lauko, who sustained a gash when he caught a skate blade in Chicago, also suffered a fracture and will be out at least a week.

Meanwhile, defenseman Ian Mitchell cleared waivers, which would allow the B’s to send him to Providence. With Lauko and Lucic out, the B’s called up forwards Patrick Brown and Jesper Boqvist prior to Thursday’s game against the Ducks.

Danton Heinen, meanwhile, remains with the team on an extended tryout.




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