|09.12.16 at 4:29 pm ET|
BOLTON — Since we last heard from Brad Marchand, the only way he’s gotten richer is by making a $104.4 million friend in World Cup of Hockey linemate Sidney Crosby. The high-scoring Bruins winger is still waiting on his own payday, however.
Speaking at the Bruins’ golf tournament Monday, general manager Don Sweeney gave the latest in what’s been a series of vague comments regarding the free-agent-to-be. Marchand, 28, is the Bruins’ best scorer and is due for a sizable raise from his team-friendly $4.5 million cap hit.
“We’re working on it,” Sweeney said. “As I’ve said, we’re never going to comment publicly, but we look forward to hopefully finding traction and getting something done.”
Marchand said prior to leaving for the World Cup of Hockey that he would like to sign a new contract with the Bruins. His deal would figure to be a longterm pact in excess of $7 million annually given that his 37 goals last season made him one of just eight players in the NHL to score at least 35.
“This is an incredible organization and one that I think we’re all very fortunate to be part of,” Marchand said earlier this month. “It would be great to be able to be here my whole career, and you see how rare that is nowadays. It doesn’t happen often, so it would be an incredible thing, but a lot of things have to line up for that to happen, not only now but down the road, so we’ll play it year-by-year.”
|09.08.16 at 3:38 pm ET|
There are three generalizations made about sportswriters: They eat a lot, drink a lot and complain a lot. Like many generalizations, they often aren’t true, except for the last one. Sportswriters who don’t complain aren’t really sportswriters.
Twitter has only heightened this. Sportswriters send angry tweets to airlines about delayed flights as often as they send misguided tweets about Bruce Springsteen being one of the greats. With teams controlling more and more of the message, lack of availability has also become a common gripe from media members.
The plane thing is silly. If a plane can’t fly, it can’t fly. Adding any risk to your flight or someone else’s hardly sounds appetizing, so the flack writers catch for whining to airlines is well-deserved.
Yet the one complaint that is beyond mocking and completely warranted only applies to hockey writers, and it’s the “Stop telling me where to stand” complaint.
For those who don’t follow any hockey reporters on Twitter, many teams have giant logos in the middle of their dressing rooms, with the teams forbidding anyone from walking on them.
(Just to make sure you’re keeping up, “it” here means “the floor.” No walking on the floor. It’s like when kids call certain parts of the playground “lava,” only the hockey version is way more childish.)
When people accidentally step on The Sacred Part of the Floor, they’re often barked at by team employees, interns or the children of that team’s players. It is truly the most ridiculous part of a sport in which men chase each other around with sticks trying to hit one another in the penis (and then defend the guys who do it to them).
— Andrew Shaw (@shawz15er) July 10, 2013
The Bruins are among the teams with such logo placement and such rules. As newcomers to the room are scolded time and again, veterans of the beat are left to shake their heads and mutter, “If you don’t want people stepping on it, put it on the [expletive] ceiling.”
On Thursday, the Bruins answered the prayers of so many who had to pray over such a dumb thing. When the team opened the doors to its new practice facility at Warrior Ice Arena, the Bruins’ dressing room featured a magnificent three-dimensional logo with carefully placed lights to accentuate the eight-spoked B… on the [expletive] ceiling.
THE B IS ON THE CEILING THEY FINALLY LISTENED THANK GOD pic.twitter.com/dkKjQAdw94
— DJ Bean (@DJ_Bean) September 8, 2016
“I never liked to put the jersey on the floor; I don’t know why the logo was on the floor,” once-perceived-fledgling-team-president-but-now-actual-genius Cam Neely said. “The whole concern about people stepping on it, that seemed to take up a lot of energy. I just felt that it was time to move it.”
Now, Bruins devotees might note that this isn’t really a change at all. After all, the dressing room in their former practice facility (Ristuccia Arena) did not feature a logo on the floor; the real chaos has always happened at the Garden, where the team plays its games. One time, in fact, the son of a player barked at a veteran reporter over stepping on the B. The reporter shouted something not-so-nice back at the kid, making “Don’t step on the B!” an actual thing that yielded screaming matches between children and grown men.
That’s where the real good news comes in. In explaining his confusion over the don’t-step-on-the-B hubbub, Neely said that renovations to TD Garden will affect the Bruins’ dressing room, at which point that carpet has a good chance of going bye-bye.
“In the very near future, the side of the building that faces the empty lot right now is going to be bumped out, so when that happens, we’ll probably renovate our locker room place,” he said.
Asked specifically if the logo will be taken off the floor, Neely replied, “That will happen.”
This change won’t help the Bruins’ in the standings. It won’t show up in box scores, and even the most advanced of stats won’t detect any change that this small move will bring, but it will indeed matter. For so many people (and Justin Bieber), it will bring peace of mind.
He’s made his share of mistakes (check out WEEI.com for more on that), but with this move, Cam Neely made has made his case for being the smartest guy in hockey. It’s hard to have any argument against that right now.
|09.08.16 at 1:40 pm ET|
BRIGHTON — John Whitesides will no longer serve as the Bruins’ strength and conditioning coach, Cam Neely confirmed to WEEI.com Thursday. Whitesides, who has been with the Bruins for 15 years, will transition to a role that sees him head up a community fitness program through the Bruins, while Mike Macchioni will take over as Boston’s strength and conditioning coach.
Neely said that the shakeup was Whiteside’s decision, and that he asked to transition out of his longtime role and into the burgeoning “B Fit” program.
“John had approached us last year about an idea he had to get more involved in the community, getting out there in schools and maybe firehouses to show them the proper way to train and work out,” Neely told WEEI.com. “This summer, he had asked if there was an opportunity to transition to the community relations and foundation. It’s an area that he was looking forward to jumping into. We said, ‘If that’s what you want to do,’ we ended up creating this opportunity for him.”
Neely added the the team has also hired two additional physical therapists as they look to strengthen their overall program.
Prior to coming to the Bruins, Whitesides served as an assistant strength and conditioning coach for Boston College’s men’s hockey and women’s basketball. He became something of a fan favorite with Bruins fans in recent seasons, as he was frequently shown barking at his players with expletive-laced speeches on NESN’s “Behind the B.”
Macchioni has worked with the Bruins for a number of years, serving as the Providence Bruins’ strength and conditioning coach in recent seasons and also acting as an assistant strength and conditioning coach for the B’s. Prior to that, the Warwick, R.I. native was a strength and conditioning coach for Providence College. Macchioni was on hand for this summer’s development camp, as he had been in previous years.
“He’s always been helping out at development camp,” Neely said. “He’s worked with Providence, so our group knows him pretty well. He’s excited about the opportunity.”
|09.08.16 at 1:17 pm ET|
BRIGHTON — The Bruins finally unveiled Warrior Ice Arena, their new practice facility that could also be the location of the team’s morning skates.
|09.07.16 at 9:46 am ET|
Peter Mueller wants another shot at the NHL, and it appears the Bruins will at least entertain the idea.
According to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, the Bruins will have Mueller, the eighth overall pick in the 2006 draft, in camp on a professional tryout. The 28-year-old center has played the last three seasons overseas, spending last season with the Malmö Redhawks of the Swedish Hockey League.
Mueller spent five seasons in the NHL after playing his junior hockey with 2007 Bruins first-rounder Zach Hamill on the Everett Silvertips of the WHL. Selected by the Coyotes, Mueller spent parts of three seasons in Phoenix before being traded to the Avalanche during the 2009-10 season.
Concussions derailed Mueller’s career for a time, as he missed the entire 2010-11 season due to a head injury sustained during the preseason. Mueller would play one more season in Colorado and one in Florida before leaving North America to play in the Swiss National League.
After one season in Sweden, Mueller signed a one-year contract to return to the NHL with the Blues for the 2014-15 campaign, but the sides agreed to a mutual termination of his contract prior to the start of the season. Mueller then returned to Switzerland.
Not helping Mueller’s case is the fact that he had his best season in the NHL as a rookie, when he scored 22 goals and added 32 assists for 54 points in 2007-08. He failed to play 45 games in each of his final two seasons in the NHL (three if you count the one he missed altogether).
Last season, Mueller scored 13 goals and had 12 assists for 25 points in 43 games for Malmö.
It’s unclear where the Bruins could see Mueller fitting in on their NHL roster, if at all. The team is overflowing with bottom-six centers at this point, as they recently added Dominic Moore to a group that already included Ryan Spooner, Noel Acciari and potentially David Backes.
|09.07.16 at 8:38 am ET|
Colin Kaepernick is not playing in the World Cup of Hockey for a couple of reasons. For one, he doesn’t play hockey. For another, the World Cup of Hockey is a sporting event, and Kaepernick doesn’t participate in sporting events these days because Blaine freaking Gabbert took his job.
Still, Kaepernick was a popular topic at Team USA’s training camp, where both the coach and its players were asked about Kaepernick’s recent peaceful protests in which he sat and kneeled during the national anthem. While coach John Tortorella had a rather harsh response, saying he would bench any player who sat during the national anthem, Bruins forward David Backes was a bit more sensible.
“I think as athletes we have a great platform and to use it to influence social change is within our right,” Backes told USA Today. “Whether you should do that during the anthem, which stands for our country and salutes those who have given their lives for our country, allowing athletes to play, is a matter of debate. I have my opinions on that.”
Backes is a strong advocate of rescuing pets, something he displayed when he brought some of Sochi’s stray dogs back from the 2014 Winter Olympics. The veteran forward also heads up Athletes for Animals, a foundation that aims to control the pet population by finding homes for animals to getting them spayed and neutered.
On the subject of the anthem itself, the Minnesota native was respectful of Kaepernick but said that he personally would never sit.
“He is going to do his thing, but I salute those who have stood for our country, who have died and given limbs and lives for us,” Backes said. “I will salute that flag every time it is raised.”
|09.05.16 at 12:50 pm ET|
Zach Senyshyn was a notable absence from this summer’s development camp, and it now appears that the flashiest of Boston’s three 2015 first-round picks could miss training camp as well.
Senyshyn, who was held out of development camp due to mono, underwent an appendectomy on Sunday, the Bruins confirmed. Brad Coccimiglio of Sootoday.com wrote that Senyshyn will “likely miss much, if not all of the Bruins camp.” The B’s confirmed that Senyshyn will miss rookie camp which begins Sept. 15, but will attend the team’s main camp when it begins on Sept. 22. The team noted in Monday’s release that Senyshyn’s participation level is “undetermined at this time.”
The Bruins were highly criticized for selecting Senyshyn 15th overall last summer, as the right wing was projected to go in the second round. Senyshyn was expected to make a statistical leap after playing on lower lines in his drat year however, something he when he jumped from 26 goals in his draft year to 45 goals in 2015-16.
Though unfortunate, Senyshyn missing camp would not be particularly harmful to the 2016-17 Bruins, as Senyshyn would have been considered a major longshot to make the team. Because he is 19, Senyshyn would have to return to junior if he didn’t make the NHL anyway.