Kaspars Daugavins is nicknamed “Doggy” or “Dog Man” but he’s built like a hydrant.
It’s his build and his ability to play numerous roles more than his different monikers that made him appealing to Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli on the waiver wire last week.
The 6-foot, 205-pound Daugavins made his Bruins debut Thursday night in the win against New Jersey at TD Garden. He was again on a line with Rich Peverley and Jay Pandolfo during his first Bruins practice Friday at Ristuccia Arena.
While he only produced one goal in 19 games with Ottawa this season, Daugavins is hoping to provide Boston with more than just intangibles from the third line or wherever coach Claude Julien puts the native of Latvia.
“I played before in my career in any other situations. In junior, I scored 40 goals. So I know how to play some offense,” said Daugavins, who produced 19-35-54 totals with AHL Binghamton when the Sens won the Calder Cup. “As long as you have trust in me and get some confidence you can do it too. In Binghamton, in the Calder Cup run, I played on top two lines, so like you had to do some damage on offense too to win the Cup. I know how to do it, it’s just a matter of what coach wants me to do. If he wants me to play a defensive role, I’m going to do that. If there’s going to be a chance to play more offense, I’ll try to do that too. You never forget about defense though.”
Daugavins was just getting his feet wet Thursday and getting into the groove when he made a turnover in the third period that could’ve cost Boston. The Bruins extinguished New Jersey’s threat en route to a 1-0 victory, but Daugavins was hard on himself after the play and even the next day.
“Obviously, I turned it over on the far blue line. I didn’t see the guy jump out of the bench,” he explained. “Like I got by the first guy and I thought I was going to have some open ice to skate in. All of a sudden there’s another guy there. And it’s five, six minutes left in the period, you’re up 1-0, you don’t want to make any turnovers, especially trying to do first impression about yourself. So obviously I made a mistake, tried to get it back and try to get better every day, you know?”
Daugavins is good friends with countryman and former Bruins farmhand Martins Karsums, whose claim to fame in Boston lore was being part of the package that brought Mark Recchi from Tampa Bay in a trade. Karsums and Daugavins played together with Riga of the KHL during the lockout.
While Karsums is famous for being dealt out of Boston, Daugavins is hoping to make his name in the Hub. Hopefully, he lights the lamp a few times so he can unleash his trademark bark, which started when “Dog Man” was on his way to winning the Calder Cup in Binghamton. He even barked after his lone goal this season, which was against the Bruins.
An owner of two dogs back home, including a lab, Daugavins is hoping he’ll be off the leash in Boston and able to make the Bruins into top dogs.
“For sure, it was a little tough there [in Ottawa], you play a few good games and then right away after that you’re scratched. So it was tough mentally but you just have to keep working and maybe some good breaks happen for you,” he said. “That’s what happened. Boston picked me up and hopefully I get a chance to prove that I can play in this league and do some help here.”