Bruins coach Claude Julien on Sunday morning could barely come up with an answer, let alone a good one, for the recent demotion of defenseman Joe Morrow to Providence of the American Hockey League.
“I guess right now they felt that we needed to send some guys down. We’ve already, we’ve been young on our back end, so certain guys have to clear waivers and others don’t,” Julien said. “You deal with those kind of things. But that’s management moves as well. They want him to play. I think that’s best suited for him.”
Morrow had one goal in 15 games with a plus-3 rating. Although Julien scratched Morrow for seven of the past eight games, the coach was impressed.
“He’s played well. But guys, you know, his play dropped a little bit at the end. And it showed,” Julien said. “So not a big deal. A lot of players have bad games, so it’s not about picking on him. But again, going back to the minors just gives him an opportunity to play here and find his game again. I think I’ve seen enough from him that I would have no issues seeing him called back up.”
If Morrow’s game slipped a little bit and that was cause to send him to the press box and then to the minors, I wonder what the Bruins are going to do to Matt Bartkowski because his game has slipped a lot for 2 1/2 years. But alas, Bartkowski will probably be in the lineup again against Buffalo on Sunday. The Bruins need players, regardless of age and experience, that can move the puck and try to crank up the offense. Morrow seemed to fit the mold. At least the Providence Bruins are getting the help.
Julien was asked a lot about his offense, which ranks 24th in the NHL in goals per game. There are a few ways he could shake things up. He could move Loui Eriksson to a line with Milan Lucic and David Krejci rather than having Seth Griffith skate with Lucic and Krejci. He could really shake things up and see what Reilly Smith looks like on the top line. But right now Julien sounds shy about breaking up Eriksson, Chris Kelly and Carl Soderberg.
“As I mentioned, when we don’t win we get second guessed and we understand that. But right now Soderberg’s line is the only line that’s really scoring for us,” Julien said. “So you guys really want me to break that up so that we get no more scoring? You know you pick your poison, and as much as we’d like to do that and we try a different line, which I did last game, the few times I put them out there, it’s hard to really see when it’s only in spurts. But at the same time, I’m trying to win a hockey game here. So that’s the bottom line.”
Everything is relative. That’s why all the scoring seems like it’s coming from Soderberg’s line. Soderberg has one goal in the past 17 games. Kelly has gone 22 games without a goal. Eriksson has three goals in the past six games, but one was on the power play. And this is the Bruins’ hottest line? Well, yes it is. And that pretty much sums up where the Bruins are right now.