Milan Lucic shouldered some of the responsibility for Horton’s sputtering open to the season, and felt that both he and his center could do a better job setting up their powerful right wing with improved opportunities. But the B’s power forward said he checks in with good friend Horton on a regular basis to see how he’s feeling, and any downturn in production has nothing to do with residual effects from last year.
By Joe Haggerty
WILMINGTON – Nathan Horton is feeling just fine. His unimpressive start to the season has nothing to do with clearing cobwebs or being tentative after suffering a concussion last June at the hands of an Aaron Rome headshot.
The Bruins right winger has struggled out of the gate this season and seemingly looked out of synch since training camp, and has completely disappeared in the first three games of the season. Horton has totaled a single shot on net and zero hits in three games for the Bruins, and hasn’t been a physical presence or offensive threat thus far this year.
Horton, of course, showed himself to be a very streaky player during his first season in Boston, and the good stretches came at just the right time with a couple of Game 7 winners during the playoffs.
“In my eyes [Horton] has always played really well. Personally I feel like we haven’t found him enough or passed the puck to him in areas where he’s most dangerous,” said Lucic. “As a linemate that’s what me and our centermen need to do better so that we can make him more dangerous.
“I talk with him a lot about [coming back from the concussion] to see how he’s feeling, and he’s feeling good. He’s going out there and trying, and I think from a line standpoint we need to step it up a little, play with a little more feistiness and bang, and that becomes contagious.”
Claude Julien mentioned potentially breaking up Boston’s No. 1 line after Monday’s shutout loss to the Colorado Avalanche given the sluggish season opening, but it’s thought the coach’s words were meant more as a spark for Horton and Milan Lucic.
The B’s coach was instead preaching patience with his big bookend wingers prior to Wednesday night’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes.
“It’s a work in progress and some guys find their games more quickly than other to start the season,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “It’s a work in progress.”
With David Krejci injuring his knee during Tuesday’s practice, however, it appears the Bruins will be making some changes to the top line out of necessity rather than shake things up.
It remains to be seen how Horton and Co. respond if Tyler Seguin is given the promotion to centering the top line between the big bookend wingers. But it can’t be much worse than the last three games from Horton now can it?
Joe Haggerty can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HackswithHaggs
Tags: Boston Bruins
, Tyler Seguin
, Nathan Horton