David Krejci

Bruins trying out center-heavy Spooner-Krejci-Backes line

DJ Bean
October 04, 2016 - 8:08 am
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BRIGHTON -- For the second straight day, the Bruins iced a line consisting of David Krejci between Ryan Spooner and David Backes in practice at Warrior Ice Arena. By the looks of it (and by what Claude Julien essentially confirmed), it figures to be a line used in Tuesday night's exhibition against the Canadiens when Krejci makes his return from hip surgery. Considering there are only three preseason games left, the idea that the B's would use that line at this point suggests they're actually taking it seriously. The Bruins figured to be loaded at center after signing Backes, but three centers on one line? "Obviously it's something new," Krejci said. "New linemates, but I'm pretty excited. We have three centermen. If I'm having a tough time on the draw, those two other guys can step in. Spoons is a lefty, so he can take some draws as well. I'm really excited. I've known Spoons for a long time. Backes, I've played against him for a really long time, so I know him as well. I know what he can do; hopefully we can click right away and who knows? Maybe stick together for some time." Though he didn't fully admit it, it's entirely possible that Julien got the idea for such a line while coaching at the World Cup of Hockey, where Team Canada had only two actual wingers (Brad Marchand and Corey Perry) on its roster. The rest of the forwards were centers, meaning every line was loaded with multiple pivots. Canada's first line had three-time Selke-winning center Patrice Bergeron playing right wing. "We had a lot of centers playing wing," Julien said. "It was great for faceoffs; one gets kicked out, the other goes in. They adapted well; it just gave us more flexibility. It's hard to replace a center; it's much easier to replace a winger." "We've got the opportunity to see what it's going to give us tonight," Julien said. "We want to see different things and see where it goes. It just makes our decisions a lot easier when we've had the chance see it vs. wondering what if we would have done this or that. We're trying everything right now. For sure, by the start of the season we'll certainly have a much clearer picture. That doesn't mean it's going to be set in stone, but at least we'll have some options." If the Bruins were to use such a line in the regular season, they'd still easily have the centers to fill out the rest of their lineup. Dominic Moore figures to center the fourth line, while Austin Czarnik's strong training camp could make him a candidate to center the third line. If that second part sounds like a stretch, look no further than another line that was used Tuesday morning: Beleskey-Czarnik-Hayes. Boston's lines Tuesday morning were as follows: Spooner-Krejci-Backes Beleskey-Czarnik-Hayes DeBrusk-Schaller-Randell Moore-Nash-Pastrnak