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Bruins break ground on Warrior Ice Arena as construction of practice facility begins

12.10.14 at 4:53 pm ET
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Rendering of Warrior Ice Arena from the Mass Pike. (Courtesy of Bruins)

Rendering of Warrior Ice Arena from the Mass Pike. (Courtesy of Bruins)

The Bruins broke ground on their new practice facility, which will be called Warrior Ice Arena, on Wednesday. Cam Neely, Charlie Jacobs, Peter Chiarelli, Mayor Marty Walsh and New Balance chairman Jim Davis were among those on hand for the event.

Warrior Ice Arena, which will be located in Brighton as part of New Balance’€™s Boston Landing project, is expected to open in September of 2016. The Bruins will continue to practice at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington until then.

That’€™s great news for the Bruins, eventually. Though both Neely and Jacobs thanked Ristuccia at every opportunity Wednesday, Ristuccia is not an NHL-caliber practice facility. Furthermore, its location is inconvenient to Boston.

The Bruins don’€™t have many things on which they can’€™t sell players. They’€™re a winning organization, they have a good coach, they spend to the cap annually and they have people in the front office who players throughout the league respect. Their practice facility, on paper, is really their only clear shortcoming when it comes to places to play for prospective free agents.

“I really think it means a lot to players. It means a lot to the organization and to the players,” Jacobs said. “What I mean by the players is if I’€™m one of them — Big Zee, Looch or Seth Griffith or whoever it is –€” you’€™re doing that grind of back and forth to the rink. Likewise, on an off day when the Celtics may be playing or there’€™s an event in the building, you’€™re out here. It means a lot to have a shorter commute.

“It makes life a lot easier, as we probably all are aware, but then you think about courting potential free agents. To be able to take them to not only the Garden and show them the work we’€™ve done there, but say, ‘€˜Hey, listen. Come check out our practice facility,’€™ that’€™s a big selling point for a lot of clubs. It should be one for Boston’€™s and it will be very soon.”

Both Neely and Jacobs said that the team’€™s priority was to build a new facility within Route 128, with Jacobs saying he was “œover the moon” with how things fell together with New Balance. Jacobs added that he feels the Bruins will “œset [an] industry standard in terms of amenities, technology and quality when it comes to this training facility.”

Read More: Cam Neely, Charlie Jacobs, Marty Walsh,

Simon Gagne leaves Bruins to be with family following father’s cancer diagnosis

12.10.14 at 4:00 pm ET
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Simon Gagne has taken a leave of absence to be with his family. (Harry How/Getty Images)

Simon Gagne has taken a leave of absence to be with his family. (Harry How/Getty Images)

Simon Gagne has left the Bruins for the time being to be with his family in wake of his father’€™s cancer diagnosis. Gagne has not been with the team the last two days, with Claude Julien saying earlier Wednesday that the 36-year-old had taken an “€œindefinite”€ leave of absence.

Gagne is still a member of the Bruins but has been put on the team’€™s non-roster list. The Bruins recalled forward Craig Cunningham from Providence Wednesday.

News of Gagne’€™s family situation was reported Wednesday by TVA’€™s Renaud Lavoie via Twitter. Gagne issued a statement through the Bruins later in the afternoon.

“I have taken a personal leave of absence from the Boston Bruins in order to return home to Quebec to be with my father, who was recently diagnosed with liver cancer,” Gagne said in the statement. “The doctors — who have been great throughout this whole process — unfortunately informed us that his cancer is not curable. I greatly appreciate the support and understanding that the Bruins organization and my teammates have given to me and my family since I let them know the news and I look forward to rejoining them when the time is appropriate. Until then, I would kindly ask everyone to respect my family and I’s privacy during this difficult time.”

The Bruins do not know how long Gagne will be away from the team, but Cam Neely said he and the organization felt it was important to grant him his leave.

€”œI can speak first-hand; it’€™s difficult when you’€™re thousands of miles away and your family — especially your parents –€” are going through something difficult,” Neely said. “It’€™s hard to keep focused on what you have to do, so it’€™s very important for the organization to not only understand it, but respect it and give a player the opportunity to do what they need to do.”

Gagne, who did not play last season, is on a one-year deal that he signed early in the season after spending training camp with the B’€™s on a tryout. In 23 games this season, Gagne has three goals and one assist for four points and an even rating.

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

Read More: Simon Gagne,

David Krejci wants to play Thursday, Simon Gagne’s leave of absence ‘indefinite’

12.10.14 at 12:29 pm ET
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Both Daniel Paille and Carl Soderberg were back practicing with the Bruins Wednesday at TD Garden after missing Monday’s skate with a virus.

David Krejci and Zdeno Chara practiced for the second straight day. Chara is optimistic about playing Thursday against the Blackhawks, while Krejci remains an unknown. Krejci was noncommittal about his chances of playing Thursday, though he said he feels “much better” and would like to play. He has been limited to just 11 games this season due to multiple lower-body injuries.

Simon Gagne remains away from the team on personal leave, with Claude Julien saying that his absence is “indefinite.” Gagne is not currently listed on the Bruins’ roster, though his stall and belongings are in the team’s dressing room.

The lines in practice were as follows:

Lucic – Krejci – Eriksson
Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
Kelly – Soderberg – Fraser
Paille – Campbell – Griffith

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

Read More: David Krejci, Simon Gagne,

Bruins send David Warsofsky to Providence

12.09.14 at 7:36 pm ET
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The Bruins returned defenseman David Warsofsky to Providence Tuesday, according to the AHL transactions page.

Warsofsky practiced with the Bruins Tuesday for the first time since suffering a groin strain on Nov. 6. He had been up with the NHL club playing in place of the then-injured Torey Krug.

The Bruins, who have suffered multiple injuries on their defense this season, could see the return of Zdeno Chara to the lineup as soon as Thursday.

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

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Simon Gagne on personal leave, Zdeno Chara could return Thursday for Bruins

12.09.14 at 12:23 pm ET
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Both Zdeno Chara and David Krejci practiced Tuesday as the Bruins returned to TD Garden. Chara could return to the lineup as soon as Thursday against the Blackhawks, while Claude Julien said Krejci is still a bit behind.

“Krejci hasn’€™t been cleared to play yet. They’€™ve both been cleared for practice,” Claude Julien said. “Right now, I can say I feel more optimistic about Zee right now, that he will. I don’€™t know about David.”

Simon Gagne is on a personal leave of absence, Julien said. Gagne was not at practice, with Julien saying the Bruins “don’€™t know” how long Gagne’€™s leave will be. Gagne’€™s skates and belongings were still in his stall during media availability following practice.

Carl Soderberg and Daniel Paille were also absent from practice due to a virus, while David Warsofsky practiced with the team for the first time since suffering a groin strain last month. According to Steve Conroy of the Boston Herald, Adam McQuaid skated prior to practice.

With so many players on offense missing, Loui Eriksson skated on Krejci’€™s line. Julien said afterwards that Eriksson’€™s placement in practice was strictly because of the lack of forwards.

“€œI had to just throw guys together because we were short today,”€ Julien said.

The lines and defensive pairings were as follows:

Lucic – Krejci – Eriksson
Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
Bottom-six: Campbell, Fraser, Kelly, Griffith

Chara – Hamilton
Seidenberg – Miller
Krug – Trotman
Warsofsky, Bartkowski, Morrow

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

Read More: Simon Gagne, Zdeno Chara,

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.

Read More: David Pastrnak,
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