|04.07.14 at 9:19 am ET|
Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs “leads the list of potential suitors” for the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, according to a report in The Buffalo News that cites highly placed sources.
Jacobs, who hails from Buffalo, is prohibited by NFL rules from owning teams in different cities, but there is speculation that his six children could head the purchase. Jacobs’ son Charlie Jacobs is a principal and alternate governor of the Bruins.
Jeremy Jacobs, chairman and CEO of Buffalo-based concession company Delaware North, is worth a reported $3.1 billion.
The Bills are owned by Mary Wilson following the death of her husband, Ralph Wilson, on March 25. The club was valued at $870 million in Forbes magazine’s most recent annual story on teams’ worth.
The Buffalo News report also listed as possible buyers real estate mogul Donald Trump, Sabres owner Terry Pugula and former Sabres owner Tom Golisano.
|04.05.14 at 4:46 pm ET|
Bruins coach Claude Julien said Saturday that he is not ruling out a rotation of defensemen going into the postseason.
Matt Bartkowski and Andrej Meszaros figure to be in the biggest positional battle for the left spot on the second pairing along Boychuk, and the two have taken turns playing that role in recent games. Bartkowski played with Boychuk in Saturday’s win over the Flyers, while Meszaros played with Torey Krug on the third pairing and struggled.
“It doesn’t have to be a set six,” Julien said. “It could be, and it could also be a rotation as long as everybody’s good enough to be in that rotation. So no, and I don’t see any rush for that decision to be made yet.”
The idea of a rotation is intriguing given that Bartkowski and Meszaros have both spent time in and out of the lineup this season and might be better prepared to avoid rust, though for consistency’s sake the B’s would be wise to nail down a steady second pairing that could continue the play they got from the Andrew Ference – Boychuk pairing of postseasons past.
Kevan Miller seems to have solidified a place in the postseason lineup, as he played 33 straight games for the B’s leading up to his day off Saturday. His competition would be a healthy Adam McQuaid, but Julien said prior to Saturday’s game that McQuaid, though getting better, still is not skating. McQuaid has been out since Jan. 19 with a quad strain that has plagued him throughout the season, as he has been limited to 30 games.
The anticipated postseason pairings at this point figure to be Zdeno Chara with Dougie Hamilton, Bartkowski with Boychuk and Krug with Miller, though that could change depending on who they end up facing.
|04.05.14 at 3:33 pm ET|
Johnny Boychuk broke a tie in the third period, while Milan Lucic and Chris Kelly provided insurance to give the Bruins a 5-2 victory over the Flyers Saturday. With the win, the B’s clinched the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.
The Bruins gave some regulars the day off, though the team didn’t term either one a healthy scratch. Jarome Iginla missed his second game of the season, with Loui Eriksson playing on Krejci’s line in his place. Kevan Miller missed his first game after playing in 33 straight contests.
Krejci scored at 15:56 of the first period, finding a loose puck in front after Eriksson put the initial shot on net. Krejci corralled the puck, took his time and lifted it over a sprawling Ray Emery.
The Flyers tied the game in the second period with a power play goal from Wayne Simmonds, but Lucic gave the Bruins the lead back just 19 seconds later with a blistering slap shot from the high slot off a feed from Krejci down low. Jay Rosehill answered that with his second goal of the season.
The Bruins finally separated for good in the third, with Boychuk firing a slap shot that went off Mark Streit on its way past Emery. Milan Lucic made it 4-2 with his second of the game. Kelly added an empty-netter with 20.7 seconds remaining.
Tuukka Rask picked up his 35th win of the season.
The B’s have four games remaining in the regular season. Up next is a two-game road trip to Minnesota and Winnipeg before they play their final home game against the Sabres and finish the season in New Jersey.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Claude Julien clearly is trying to see how well Eriksson can play the Rich Peverley role as a third-liner who fills in for top-six guys, and he looked good playing on the Krejci line Saturday. Eriksson also played on the Krejci line Wednesday and skated on Patrice Bergeron‘s line Thursday.
– After going nine straight games without a goal, Lucic has scored three goals in the last two games. He showed up in the playoffs big-time last season, so it’s good for the B’s to see some more offense out of him as the regular season winds down.
– With an assist on Boychuk’s goal, Bergeron now has points in 11 games.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- The Bruins have fallen victim to some pretty bad penalty calls the last few games, and it continued Saturday with a really weak interference call against Bergeron. With Reilly Smith skating the puck around Kimmo Timonen in the Flyers zone, Bergeron and Timonen made light contact, with Bergeron trying to get out of the way. Bergeron was still whistled for interference.
To make matter worse, Bergeron beat out a hybrid icing after getting out of the penalty box, but icing was still called. Saturday was a rough one for the officials.
– Torey Krug played with a broken stick on a second-period play, allowing the power play that led to Simmonds’ goal. After his stick broke on a giveaway, Krug held on a little too long as he tried to take down Jakub Voracek, and the call was rightfully made.
- In general the Andrej Meszaros-Krug pairing did not look good Saturday. Meszaros is looking more and more likely to be the healthy scratch on the back end when the postseason starts, but Julien isn’t ruling out a rotation. Matt Bartkowski, who figures to be Meszaros’ main competition, played on the second pairing with Boychuk Saturday.
|04.05.14 at 12:49 pm ET|
Bruins forward Gregory Campbell was named the Bruins’ nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. The Masterton is give to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
Campbell was selected as the Bruins’ nominee by the Boston chapter of the Pro Hockey Writers Association. The nomination comes after he returned from a broken leg suffered in Game 3 off the Eastern Conference finals against the Penguins. Campbell finished his shift on the penalty kill after blocking an Evgeni Malkin shot and, after missing the remainder of the postseason, has played in every game this season.
“I guess I’m very thankful for the recognition of what it takes to come back from an injury,” Campbell said Saturday morning. “It’s not an easy thing and it’s something that we all sign up for when we play hockey is the risk of having an injury. But having said that, when I look at the list of past and present nominees and winners, there’s been a lot of inspiring and courageous people that have been nominated and won this award.
“I feel like there’s been far greater challenges that these guys have overcome, so a broken leg to me isn’t much. So, I guess in that sense, I don’t think I’m really deserving of the award. I’m very grateful for the nomination, like I said, there’s a whole long list of people that have shown a lot of courage over the years. I’ll take it and move on.”
Campbell has seven goals and 12 assists this season for 19 points and a plus-1 rating.
|04.04.14 at 1:47 pm ET|
The Bruins returned center Ryan Spooner to Providence Friday. Spooner was recalled on Tuesday on an emergency basis.
Though regular players saw time out of the lineup this week (Jarome Iginla sat Wednesday against Detroit, while Carl Soderberg didn’t play in Toronto as he returned to Boston to be with his wife in anticipation of the birth of a child), Spooner did not play in either contest.
The Bruins did not practice Friday. They will return to action Saturday against the Flyers at TD Garden.
For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com/bruins.
|04.04.14 at 1:43 pm ET|
NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to discuss the Bruins’ mindset heading into the postseason. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
Since the Bruins clinched a playoff spot on March 21, they have gone 4-3 with two consecutive losses to the Red Wings and the Maple Leafs this week.
“They understand it,” McGuire said of the team’s focus heading into the postseason. “They’ve been to the finals in 2011 and had to win three Game 7s — they had to beat Montreal in Game 7, they had to beat Tampa in Game 7 and they had to beat Vancouver on the road in a Game 7. That takes a lot of focus and determination and good portions of that team are back, so they understand that commitment.
“They also lost a heartbreaking Game 6 last year — everybody in Boston, with about three minutes to go, everybody thought there was going to be a Game 7. Obviously there wasn’t because of the offensive explosion of the Blackhawks. I think Boston learned from that.”
The Bruins spent the majority of March on a 12-game winning streak.
“I don’t think there are a lot of hockey lessons that these guys have to learn,” McGuire said. “I’m not that concerned about them, and, again, I throw this out because of the experience I had — I went through this twice in Pittsburgh where we had real good teams and we clinched early — we never had a problem keeping our guys focused and taking them in and out of the lineup. I see Claude [Julien] doing that, and I think he’s doing some really good things with that group.”
|04.04.14 at 1:39 am ET|
The Bruins haven’t won either of their last two games and it doesn’t matter. What a hilarious stretch run.
They care, of course, but the team has reached a point in its schedule that most other teams don’t get to have: the time for not only rest, but mixing and matching in preparation for anything the B’s might encounter when the injuries inevitably come in the postseason.
The most obvious case of this has been Loui Eriksson. The last two games have seen Eriksson used on both David Krejci‘s line (in place of a resting – er, lower-body injury suffering – Jarome Iginla Wednesday) and Patrice Bergeron‘s line (Claude Julien flipped Eriksson and Reilly Smith starting in the second period Thursday).
Giving Eriksson some time on both of the top two lines is a wise move for the B’s late in the season. Should a top-six winger suffer an injury in the postseason, Eriksson would be the most likely option to move up in the lineup, so getting him some level of comfort with those players provides a good insurance policy. When he gets back in the lineup, the Bruins would be wise to use Carl Soderberg at center on one of the top two lines with that line’s center resting.
Rich Peverley used to serve in that role for the B’s, as he got used to playing with pretty much every other forward despite usually serving as a winger on the third line when everyone was healthy. The most notable case of this came in the 2011 Stanley Cup finals, when Peverley played on the right wing of Krejci’s line after Nathan Horton suffered a series-ending concussion.
Of course, Eriksson already has experience playing with Brad Marchand and Bergeron from earlier in the season, but he hadn’t played on that line since Dec. 7, as Reilly Smith seized the second-line right wing job while Eriksson was recovering from his second concussion of the season. Eriksson had not played with the Krejci line this season, as the only other game prior to Wednesday that did not feature the Milan Lucic - Krejci – Iginla trio was when Soderberg and Daniel Paille filled in for a sick Lucic in Anaheim.
Eriksson playing on the Bergeron line Wednesday could also be a case of Julien weighing options given that Smith has just one goal in his last 25 games. However, Julien said earlier this week that he’s reluctant to change his lines prior to the postseason.
“Right now, there’s no doubt that you could always move guys around, but when you look at our third line, it’s been so productive,” Julien said. “You look at all our lines. Even if [Smith]‘s not producing, Bergy’s been producing really well, so our lines are producing right now.”
Meanwhile, the different looks on the back end have continued. Julien has yet to make clear his intentions for his six postseason defensemen, though the assumption is that the biggest spot up for grabs is the second-pairing left side job currently held down by Matt Bartkowski. He and Andrej Meszaros are both battling for that job, and the last two games have seen one of them play on the second pairing with Johnny Boychuk while the other was scratched.
Neither one has dazzled thus far this week. Meszaros, who scored Sunday against the Flyers, was a minus-2 Wednesday against the Red Wings, and was part of an odd Red Wings goal that came after the puck was caught in his pants. Bartkowski was also the victim of some bad luck, as the puck was lost in his skates on a first period play before Paul Ranger got the puck and sent it past Chad Johnson.
Though Bartkowski has over 500 games less of NHL experience than Meszaros, he is more experienced in the Bruins system and has already served as a top-4 defenseman for the B’s in the playoffs, which he did in the second round last season against the Rangers.
Julien has five games left to see different looks and weigh his options.
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