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NHL salary cap expected to increase to $73 million range

12.08.14 at 7:58 pm ET
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Carl Soderberg

Carl Soderberg

Commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters Monday at the Board of Governors meeting that the NHL‘€™s salary cap is expected to be around $73 million next season, assuming the Canadian dollar stays the same.

Such a cap ceiling would provide a $4 million bump from what it currently is and, while still not great for the Bruins, would be helpful as they try to keep their roster together.

The B’€™s currently have $49,897,857 committed against the cap to 10 players (excluding Marc Savard) for next season. Dougie Hamilton, Carl Soderberg, Torey Krug and Reilly Smith will all be due raises from what they currently make. Soderberg, who currently commands a $1.008 million cap hit, will likely hit free agency as the top available center should he not re-up with the Bruins before then.

Agent J.P. Barry, who represents both Hamilton and Soderberg, told WEEI.com last month that he and the B’€™s were waiting for clarity regarding the salary cap before beginning serious negotiations.

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Carl Soderberg, Dougie Hamilton,

Bruins return David Pastrnak to Providence

12.07.14 at 8:37 pm ET
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David Pastrnak

David Pastrnak

The Bruins returned right wing David Pastrnak to Providence Sunday, according to the AHL transactions page.

Pastrnak has played five games in the NHL this season, registering an assist and posting an even rating. He played mostly on a line with Patrice Bergeron in addition to receiving power play time.

Providence has two games before the Bruins next play, as the NHL club is off until Thursday. It’s possible the Bruins could simply be looking to get Pastrnak, who was a healthy scratch Saturday, game action for the time being.

It’s also possible the Bruins are determining their plan of action with him for the rest of the season. The 18-year-old can play four more NHL games without burning off the first year of his three-year entry level contract. The contract slides to retain it€™s three years should he play less than 10 NHL games.

Should the B’€™s hold off on starting the three-year clock this season, they will in theory get better return on a low cap hit ($925,000) at the end of the deal. If the deal were to begin this season, Pastrnak would be 20 years old at at the end of it. If it begins next year, a more developed Pastrnak would be 21 years old and still be playing on his first contract. The Bruins waited a year on the nearly NHL-ready Dougie Hamilton in the 2011-12 season.

In 17 games for Providence this season, Pastrnak has five goals and 13 assists for 18 points. He was named the league’€™s top rookie for the month of October.

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Bruins beat Coyotes to snap losing streak

12.06.14 at 10:36 pm ET
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The Bruins concluded their four-game West Coast road trip with 5-2 win over the Coyotes Saturday night to snap a three-game losing streak.

Leading the way offensively for Boston was Brad Marchand, whose two goal effort increased his team-leading goal total to eight. The Bruins also received goals from Kevan Miller, Simon Gagne and Loui Eriksson. The goal from Eriksson was his first since Nov. 6 and Boston’s first power play tally since Nov. 13.

Claude Julien tweaked his lineup for the game, putting Seth Griffith and Joe Morrow back in and scratching David Pastrnak and Matt Bartkowski.

The B’s will next play Thursday, when they host the Blackhawks at TD Garden.

For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com.

Read More: Brad Marchand,

5 things we learned as Bruins got blown out by Sharks for third straight loss

12.05.14 at 1:05 am ET
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The Bruins were desperately in search of goals and they found them. So did the Sharks.

Then the Sharks found some more. And some more.

In finally putting up something of an offensive effort, the Bruins got crushed in a mess of a pond hockey game Thursday night. Their four goals were a minor detail in a game marked by hanging Tuukka Rask out to dry in a 7-4 loss (box). Rask had never allowed seven goals in an NHL game before Thursday night.

The Bruins have now gone 0-3-0 in the first three games of their four-game West Coast trip. They’ll wrap it up Saturday against the Coyotes.

Here are four more things we learned Thursday night:

DOMINATED IN THE SECOND

It all began in the second period. After a strong first, the B’€™s were blown out of the water in the second by the Sharks, who put four pucks past Rask.

They scored after long stays in the offensive zone, scored on the power play (twice) and scored off the rush. San Jose outshot Boston, 24-7, in the second.

The period was a reflection of some pretty shoddy work by the B’€™s in both the neutral zone and their own zone. While they would gladly take a period in which they scored two goals given their offensive woes of late, the second period showed that pond hockey doesn’€™t suit the B’€™s well.

Through the first two periods alone, the Bruins gave up 61 shot attempts, which, as Nick Goss from NESN noted, was more than they’€™d allowed in a game all season.

REILLY SMITH IS BACK TO SCORING

It wasn’€™t just that Smith didn’€™t have any goals in his previous 10 games entering Thursday; he didn’€™t have any points. That changed 29 seconds into the game, as he finished off a play courtesy of slick passing from Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron. He would add a second goal shortly after a Sharks power play goal in the second period.

Speaking of Marchand and Bergeron, Smith was reunited with his longtime linemates Thursday after seeing David Pastrnak skate in his place the previous three games. Smith was put back on the line late in the second period Tuesday against the Kings and stuck there through the game Thursday.

With Smith back with Bergeron, Pastrnak was moved down to play with Chris Kelly and Matt Fraser. Seth Griffith was scratched for the third straight game. The lines were as follows:

Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
Lucic – Soderberg – Eriksson
Fraser – Kelly – Pastrnak
Paille – Campbell – Gagne

THREE-AND-ONE FAILS BRUINS

Dating back to some early-season shootout woes last season, in four-on-four play — particularly in overtime — Claude Julien has opted against skating two forwards and two defensemen and instead deployed a full forward line and one blueliner. That backfired Thursday night.

With Marchand and Tommy Wingels going off for matching roughing minors and the Bruins trailing by a goal, Julien sent Carl Soderberg’€™s line and Dougie Hamilton out. Joe Pavelski skated the puck around Hamilton and was going stride-for-stride to the net with Hamilton when Lucic, trying to break up the play, accidentally kicked the puck into the net as he tried to make a hard stop.

Given that there was less than 10 minutes to play in a one-goal game, there’s no issue here with Julien’€™s strategy as he looked for the equalizer. It just didn’€™t work.

PAILLE’€™S FLASHY ASSIST

Daniel Paille is known for being good at a lot of things and not-so-good at finishing. That doesn’€™t mean he can’€™t play a major part in a highlight reel goal.

Shortly after Smith had gotten the Bruins on the board early in the first period, Paille skated the puck through the neutral zone. With two men to beat as he went to the net, Paille spun around on his backhand and wheeled back forward to send a pass on his forehand to an oncoming Gregory Campbell, who promptly fired the puck into the net for his third goal of the season. Two of those goals have come against the Sharks.

Read More: Brad Marchand, Reilly Smith, Tuukka Rask,

Pierre McGuire on MFB: Bruins being referred to as ‘sleeping giants in the league’

12.04.14 at 1:42 pm ET
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Pierre McGuire

Pierre McGuire

NBC Sports NHL analyst Pierre McGuire made his weekly appearance Thursday on Middays with MFB prior to the Bruins’€™ game against the Sharks Thursday night, as well as to discuss the recent struggles of the team. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Despite losing four of their last five games, including two straight on the West Coast, McGuire doesn’t feel like it is time to panic for the Bruins, especially with so many of their players out of the lineup with injuries. He was in Minnesota interviewing some Wild players earlier in the day, and they have a different thought of the struggling Bruins than many in Boston.

“It’s amazing how they perceive the Bruins compared to some of the people in Boston,” said McGuire. “They perceive the Bruins as a contender for the Cup. They know they are playing them in about 10 days, on the [17th] of December. That is one of the things they were talking about — one of the sleeping giants in the league right now is Boston. A lot of it is injury driven.”

Goal scoring has been an issue for the Bruins of late — scoring just six goals in their last five games. But, again, this is because of the injuries they are dealing with.

“It’s injury related,” McGuire said. “I did the St. Louis Blues-Chicago Blackhawks game last night. Everyone in the west is talking about those same things, and those are two of the upper-echelon teams in the west. When you have tiny injuries in the west you’re in trouble, when you have massive amounts of injuries you’re in huge trouble. Part of the problem for Boston more than anything else is they are going against real good teams. They are out west and they don’t have 100 percent of their lineup. I wouldn’t panic too much, this is part of the peaks and valleys that happen over the course of the course of an 82-game schedule.”

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Read More: Boston Bruins, Peter Chiarelli, Pierre McGuire, St. Louis Blues

Chat Bruins with DJ Bean at noon

12.03.14 at 7:59 pm ET
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Chat all things Bruins and whatever else with DJ Bean at noon. Bring your dancing shoes.

Live Blog WEEI.com Bruins Chat with DJ Bean
 

Bruins return Craig Cunningham to Providence

12.03.14 at 3:05 pm ET
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The Bruins returned forward Craig Cunningham to Providence Wednesday, according to the AHL transactions page.

Cunningham was recalled for the team’€™s current road trip but did not dress in either of the first two games. He skated on the fourth line for three games to begin the season while Gregory Campbell worked his way back from a core injury.

With Cunningham out, the Bruins still have 13 forwards with them. Both Cunningham and Seth Griffith were scratched against the Ducks and Kings.

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Craig Cunningham,
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