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Former Bruin Dan LaCouture pleads not guilty after weekend arrest for assaulting woman on Cape Cod

06.01.16 at 9:19 am ET
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Dan LaCouture

Dan LaCouture

Former Bruins forward Dan LaCouture pleaded not guilty Tuesday after being arrested over the weekend and charged with assaulting a woman outside her Cape Cod home, according to the Cape Cod Times.

LaCouture, 39, allegedly hid under the woman’s vehicle Saturday while his friend had a discussion with her in her driveway, then emerged and struck the woman in the collarbone. The victim later discovered that the windows on her GMC Yukon were smashed, and a large rock was on the driver’s seat.

Police were called to the Centerville home just after 6 p.m., and they met with LaCouture and the woman. LaCouture was arrested and charged with one count of assault and battery and two counts of vandalizing property.

LaCouture is due back in Barnstable court July 15 for a pretrial hearing.

LaCouture played in the NHL from 1998 until 2009, including a 55-game stint with the Bruins during the 2005-06 season. He is one of six former players who filed a class-action lawsuit accusing the NHL of exploiting players by encouraging violence and failing to warn the players about the risks of head injuries. According to federal court documents, LaCouture participated in 52 fights and had about 20 concussions, and he now has symptoms consistent with chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

A former Natick High School star who played one season at Boston University, LaCouture was a first-round draft pick of the Islanders in 1996. He recorded 20 goals, 25 assists and 348 penalty minutes in 337 career games with the Oilers, Penguins, Rangers, Bruins, Devils and Hurricanes.

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Bruins announce preseason schedule, details of training camp

05.31.16 at 3:24 pm ET
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The Bruins announced their preseason schedule Tuesday, also revealing details about rookie camp and the team’s general training camp.

Rookie camp will open on Sept. 15, while main camp will kick off on Sept. 22. The Bruins’ preseason games will begin on Sept. 26 when the B’s host the Blue Jackets at TD Garden. Included in the preseason schedule is the previously announced game between the B’s and Canadiens in Quebec City on Oct. 4.

The full schedule of preseason games is as follows:

Sept. 26 vs. Blue Jackets
Sept. 28 vs. Red Wings
Sept. 30 at Red Wings
Oct. 1 at Flyers
Oct. 4 at Canadiens (played at Videotron Center in Quebec City)
Oct. 6 at Blue Jackets
Oct. 8 vs. Flyers

Report: Alexander Khokhlachev to sign in KHL

05.31.16 at 2:34 pm ET
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According to a report out of Russia (non-Russian-speakers: Hit the translate button on your browser), Bruins 2011 second-round pick Alexander Khokhlachev will sign with SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL next month.

Khokhlachev, who is still 22 and had 70 points (23 goals, 47 assists) in 63 games for Providence last season, vented his frustrations with the Bruins organization during training camp prior to this season. The Russian center has played in just nine NHL games, registering no points. The B’s will retain his rights until he’s 27 in the event that Khokhlachev returns to the NHL.

Khokhlachev is the second player to leave the Bruins’ organization for the KHL this offseason, as center Joonas Kemppainen signed with Sibiu Novosibirsk earlier this month.

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A dumb takes scorecard for the Stanley Cup Final

05.30.16 at 9:18 pm ET
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Martin Jones is better than Tuukka Rask, according to someone, probably. (Aaron Doster/USA Today Sports)

Martin Jones is better than Tuukka Rask, according to someone, probably. (Aaron Doster/USA Today Sports)

This probably should have been written before the series started, but I didn’t think of it until now. As such, I started writing it during the national anthem of Game 1 and here it is.

These days, advanced metrics, GIFs, line-matching data and more are available to help inform the opinions of sports fans, media and even coaches.

Yet because a lot of people grew up without these things, it’s still relatively common for them to go ignored out of either laziness or one’s desire to share a very forced opinion, or what the internet unflatteringly calls a “hot take.”

You hear takes every day, many of which are horrifyingly dumb: Shea Weber deserves a Norris because he’s never won one, one-time 20-goal-scorer Matt Beleskey is better than two-time 30-goal-scorer Loui Eriksson, the Blues lost because of Vladimir Tarasenko, John Farrell moving Jackie Bradley Jr. up in the lineup killed his hit streak, etc.

Many Bruins followers are torn as to whom they should root for in the Stanley Cup Final between the Sharks and Penguins. Either way, they’ll see a big-name former Bruin who receives a laughable lack of credit for their career end up winning. From there, it’s tougher to decide, so it’s worth it to consider which scenario will bring about the dumbest takes and pick against that one. Here are some of them:


— Firing the coach is the way to go. Always fire the coach. Call it “parting ways” if need be, but get him out of there. And get the “C” off whoever the hell your captain is. These are proven ways of winning the Stanley Cup.

— Martin Jones is better than Tuukka Rask, the latter of whom hasn’t done anything since getting a big contract (except win the Vezina).

[By the way, as of the first period, Jones had allowed as many goals in one period as Rask did in 14 periods against the Penguins in the 2013 Eastern Conference finals. Jones obviously had a better year, albeit with a far better team and against far fewer high-danger chances.]

— It is technically true that Joe Thornton did not thrive under Claude Julien during his time in Boston, and now he’s off winning the Stanley Cup. Just another reason as to why Julien should be canned.

— Logan Couture (presumably) led the playoffs in scoring. Do the Bruins really have a guy who can do that?  Read the rest of this entry »

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Brad Marchand named to Team Canada’s World Cup of Hockey roster

05.27.16 at 7:23 pm ET
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Brad Marchand

Brad Marchand

Eight Bruins were selected to preliminary rosters for this fall’s World Cup of Hockey, none more notable than left wing Brad Marchand.

Marchand will join Bruins linemate Patrice Bergeron in representing Team Canada. His selection comes after he followed years of stout production as a first-liner and penalty killer with a career-best 36 goals.

Other Bruins who will play in the Toronto-hosted tournament are goaltender Tuukka Rask (Finland), defensemen Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg (Team Europe), David Krejci and David Pastrnak (Czech Republic) and winger Loui Eriksson (Sweden).

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Looking into the ‘low mileage’ claim with Kevan Miller

05.26.16 at 3:19 pm ET
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Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 3.13.16 PMPart of the Bruins’ justification of re-signing Kevan Miller to a four-year, $10 million contract is that Miller has what Don Sweeney calls “relative low mileage.”

On paper, they’re in that maybe-kind-of-technically-correct area. Miller has still only played 180 NHL games, and Hall of Fame defenseman Denis Potvin’s theory is that it takes 300 games in the NHL before a defenseman’s development is complete.

“For a defenseman, you come into the NHL and I think the first 100 games are a freebie,” Potvin explained to back in 2014. “Guys around the league are seeing you develop; they’ve heard about you, there’s talk about first-round draft picks, that kind of thing. So you kind of get a freebie the first hundred games.

“The next hundred games, you’re starting to realize that they’re aware of you, and you’re starting to deal with the glove in the face and a little bit of backtalk, a little bit more hitting and a little more of them trying to get to you.

“The next hundred games are spent adjusting to life in the big leagues. By the time you get to 300 games, you’ve got a pretty good feel of where you belong, how you can play this game, how you fit with your own team. I think it takes that long, and we’re talking a good three years, four years before a guy can really reach his maximum.”

Here’s the thing, though: Miller, who will turn 29 in the second month of next season, is no spring chicken. And as for the mileage, it’s not like he wasn’t playing hockey while he was working his way to the NHL (163 AHL games). Furthermore, he’s spent enough seasons in the NHL (three) to suggest that staying healthy is a challenge. Best-case, he’ll hit that 300-game mark during the second year of his new contract. To say he likely won’t get worse is a safe enough assumption, but the Bruins say he’s still getting better. Common logic would suggest a player of Miller’s age might not a whole lot of untapped potential.

Miller’s contract will take up his age 29, 30, 31 and 32 seasons, years that should be considered rather harmless as far as depreciation goes. A University of British Columbia study published in 2014 found that defensemen typically perform “within 90 percent of their peak” from ages 24 to 34 years old, which is two years longer than the study found to be the case for forwards. IPOD (Incredible Pal of Deej) Ryan Lambert also took a diligent look at this, and found 32 to be the age where uh-oh time typically begins for defensemen.  Read the rest of this entry »

Don Sweeney lists center as an area Bruins might look to upgrade

05.25.16 at 12:06 pm ET
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This is just a picture of Steven Stamkos. Relax. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

This is just a picture of Steven Stamkos. Relax. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Here’s an interesting tidbit from Wednesday’s conference call with Bruins general manager Don Sweeney and coach Claude Julien: When asked what he wanted to fix, Sweeney listed center as a position he’d like to address via free agency or trade.

At least at the NHL level, center is the one position where the Bruins seem completely set. The team has Patrice Bergeron signed through 2021-22, David Krejci signed through 2020-21, Ryan Spooner signed for another year and Noel Acciari still on his entry level contract.

“We’ve got areas that we want to address in the depth of our organization, more likely in the forward position, either on the right wing or the center and again on the back end,” Sweeney said. “But we’re exploring a bunch of different things trade-wise. It’s difficult in this league, but I think that we’re in a position with two first-round picks to either be selecting really good players or to be in the marketplace.”

In terms of organizational depth, the B’s probably could use bodies in the middle, as Providence first-liner Alexander Khokhlachev is expected to leave North America to play in the KHL. Or, if Bruins fans want, they can take Sweeney’s answer as a “saying there’s a chance” quote to attach to pipe dreams of Steven Stamkos coming to Boston. Whichever.

Some other quick takeaways from the conference call:

– Sweeney said the Bruins still hope to sign Loui Eriksson.

– New assistant coaches Bruce Cassidy and Jay Pandolfo will have specific roles. Cassidy will be on the bench, running the defense. Pandolfo, who will officially be a coach for the first time after spending the last two seasons in player development, will be the team’s “eye in the sky,” meaning he’ll work from the press level.

– The Bruins have had discussions with restricted free agent Torey Krug and intend to sign him. That shouldn’t come as breaking news, but then again the Dougie Hamilton fiasco told us that good RFA defensemen and this team are no sure thing.

– On the impact of Kevan Miller’s new contract, Sweeney answered a question about possibly trading Adam McQuaid or Dennis Seidenberg by saying that he will explore anything and everything. A non-committal answer, yes, but he certainly doesn’t sound married to the idea of keeping the defensemen he has under contract.

– Providence assistant Kevin Dean will be among the candidates Sweeney will interview for the AHL head coaching gig.

– Sweeney has not told any of the Bruins’ free agents — restricted or unrestricted — that they won’t be back yet. The GM said he might have those discussions this week.

Read More: Don Sweeney, Loui Eriksson, Steven Stamkos,
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