With the Bruins’ series win over the Rangers now officially in the rear view, Adam Jones welcomed Mike Loftus of The Patriot Ledger to look ahead to the Eastern Conference finals against Pittsburgh.
With Andrew Ference now skating, and with several days still left before the series begins (likely on Saturday), will Claude Julien make the move to re-insert Ference into the lineup in place of Matt Bartkowski?
“It’s tough. It’s a really tough call,” Loftus said. “If you look at the way Claude has used his forward lines in the playoffs so far, there have been a couple that haven’t produced but he’s kept them together because the team has continued to win. I’m sure that that’s going to be a factor.
“If Ference is healthy and is ready to play, basically what his decision is going to come down to is, ‘Do I trust Matt Bartkowski, who had a great series but is very raw, do I trust that he can do the same job against a lineup like Pittsburgh’s?’ That’s a second defense pairing, so you’re either going against Sidney Crosby’s line or you’re going against Evgeni Malkin’s line. You’ve also gotta factor in Kris Letang.
“I kind of wonder if he may not go with the experience, but there’s always the chance he sees how the first game goes, too.”
As for the perceived slight by Jarome Iginla, who essentially rejected a trade to Boston in favor of going to Pittsburgh, Loftus said despite what players may say publicly, they definitely took it a little personally.
“I think they probably are a little bit,” Loftus said when asked if the Bruins would be motivated by Iginla. “They have met once since that trade, and Nathan Horton pretty much picked a fight with Iginla. There’s nothing to lose there but there can’t be that much of a history between Iginla and Nathan Horton, because they’ve played in different conferences all this time. I think it is on their mind. If you took them out for a beer or two, they might admit, ‘Yeah, OK, we’re a little offended.'”
Jones also asked Loftus if Tyler Seguin could be moved back up to the Patrice Bergeron line in place of Jaromir Jagr, who has zero goals this postseason and has scored just once in his last 22 games.
“I won’t be surprised if it happens,” Loftus siad. “From Patrice Bergeron before Game 5 to [Peter] Chiarelli [on Sunday] to Claude Julien [onMonday] have really gone out of their way to talk up Jagr’s play recently. And I do kind of buy it. … Jagr has had some great, great chances later in that series. Bergeron was saying it’s right there. I think they’ll give that a little bit more time to see how that works out, but if they have trouble scoring, that’s probably the easiest switch that Claude has to make.