Bruins notebook

Julien wants to put a cap on looking ahead

By Fluto Shinzawa
Globe Staff / November 13, 2010

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WILMINGTON — Perhaps within a month or two, when both Marc Savard and Marco Sturm return to the lineup, the Bruins will need to whack some dollars from their payroll to fit the forwards under the salary cap.

Until then, cautions Claude Julien, there is no need to act, especially with the Bruins missing David Krejci and not carrying any spare forwards.

“Right now, I don’t think there’s any need for me to talk about who and what,’’ said the coach. “It’s a matter of [management] making some tough decisions along the way. But we’re not there yet, either. We just talked about Marc Savard. He has to go through a lot of other things. I don’t think Sturmy is anywhere closer than Marc. Maybe Marc is closer than Sturmy, to be honest with you.’’

When the time comes, however, for general manager Peter Chiarelli to pull the trigger, Michael Ryder could be atop the list of candidates to be moved.

Ryder, on the books for $4 million, will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, and is not expected to be re-signed. Youngsters such as Tyler Seguin and Joe Colborne could replace Ryder at right wing.

“It’s Peter’s decision,’’ said Ryder of the inevitable cap-clearing. “It’s pretty much out of everybody’s hands. It’s what they want to do. For me, it’s just trying to play. Whatever happens, happens.’’

Trouble is, Ryder is producing. The 30-year-old is the team’s third-leading scorer, with four goals and six assists in 13 games. Ryder has scored two goals on the power play, where he’s currently the goal-line guy on the No. 2 unit. Most recently, Ryder has been skating with Seguin and Daniel Paille in even-strength situations.

Teams such as the Islanders (2.25 goals per game, 28th in the NHL before last night’s games) and Nashville (2.36 GPG, 26th), both with cap space, could benefit from a shoot-first wing. But they are also teams with budgets that prevent them from approaching the cap.

Conversely, New Jersey has the NHL’s worst offense (1.81 GPG) but does not have cap space to bring on a veteran sniper. The Bruins cannot assume additional salaries in any trade. Therefore, an AHL assignment could be in play for Ryder. The Bruins would have to move additional players to fit Savard and Sturm under the cap.

“As a coach, I would answer, why bring Michael’s name up? Why is he the one being pointed at right now?’’ questioned Julien. “You’re going to say salary and everything else. There’s no reason right now in the world to even look at anybody. For me, Michael’s had a real good start.’’

Boychuk progressing
Johnny Boychuk, out with a broken left arm since Oct. 23, joined Savard and Sturm for on-ice work yesterday with Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask. Yesterday marked the first time Boychuk took shots on a goalie. He has been skating on his own.

“It feels great,’’ Boychuk said. “I’ve been shooting, and not shooting lightly. Everything’s been going well.’’

Boychuk, who is still wearing a cast, was initially told he would miss four weeks. It’s possible he could play next weekend, which would be the four-week mark. Boychuk wasn’t sure whether he could be cleared to play with the cast. He said he feels some pain in certain situations.

“I haven’t really tried everything,’’ Boychuk said. “I haven’t tried battle drills or normal practice. I’ve just been shooting on the ice with the three of us.’’

A little payback?
Ottawa strongman Chris Neil, who violated The Code by picking a late-game fight with relative peacenik Dennis Seidenberg during the last Bruins-Senators game, might have to stand up for his actions tonight. Former Ottawa teammate Brian McGrattan spoke out against Neil’s spot-picking prior to his AHL demotion. But with McGrattan not in the picture, Shawn Thornton will most likely address the matter early tonight. “That seems to be the word around town,’’ said Thornton. “But I can’t really talk about it.’’ . . . Krejci exercised yesterday for the first time since suffering a moderate concussion last Saturday against St. Louis when he was leveled by TJ Oshie. According to Julien, Krejci rode the stationary bike. If Krejci responds well to the ride, he will continue working out off the ice . . . Instead of practicing yesterday, the Bruins went through off-ice workouts. After beating Pittsburgh on the road Wednesday, they looked gassed late in Thursday’s home loss to Montreal. “We just played two in two,’’ Julien said. “We’ve got 11 games in 19 days starting with the Pittsburgh game. So it’s a heavy schedule. I just felt that [Thursday] night in the third period, we really looked tired. Somehow you’ve got to put the odds on your side and give those guys a chance to recover.’’ . . . Thomas should earn the start tonight . . . The Bruins reacted swiftly and humorously to a video of a female fan kicking a hole in a column in a TD Garden bathroom. In a “Bruins Hockey Rules’’ commercial, the big bear does some patchwork to repair the hole. TD Garden officials are trying to locate the vandal.

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