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Bruins renew affiliation with South Carolina Stingrays

08.01.14 at 9:50 am ET
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The Bruins announced Thursday that they have renewed their affiliation with the South Carolina Stingrays, their ECHL affiliate.

The team will once again be able to send players in their development system to the South Carolina, which will serve as the organization’€™s ECHL affiliate for the third consecutive season.

The Stingrays served as the Capitals’€™ affiliate from 2004 to 2012. Since becoming the Bruins’€™ affiliate such Bruins prospects as Jared Knight and Adam Morrison have had stints in South Carolina.

Brad Marchand says he ‘hates’ Tomas Plekanec, but everyone already knew that

07.30.14 at 12:01 pm ET
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The biggest news surrounding Brad Marchand this offseason is that Peter Chiarelli said he wouldn’€™t trade him. The least surprising surrounding him came Tuesday night.

Speaking at the 2014 Phoenix House Champs for Change in his home town of Halifax, Nova Scotia, the Boston left wing answered a question about which player irritates him the most by pointing to Tomas Plekanec, Montreal’€™s well-rounded-but-not-so-well-liked-by-opponents center.

“€œThere’€™s a few guys who really irritate me,”€ Marchand initially answered, but then he went into detail.

“Tomas Plekanec from Montreal, I hate him. I can’€™t stand him. No, I probably shouldn’€™t say that. I dislike him very much.”

The answer prompted a mixed reaction from the crowd, with plenty of laughter throughout. Marchand then quipped, ‘€œSomeone’€™s going to call and get mad at me for saying that tomorrow.’€

The fact that Marchand and Plekanec don’€™t like each other is not news. Don’€™t forget that Marchand clocked Plekanec in the head before a faceoff in Game 7 of the second round of playoffs last season, a shot that went uncalled.

Below is video of Marchand’€™s comments.

Read More: Brad Marchand, Tomas Plekanec,

Endicott names hockey arena after Ray Bourque

07.29.14 at 4:31 pm ET
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Endicott College broke ground Tuesday on a new sports complex that will be named after Hall of Fame Bruins defenseman Ray Bourque.

Raymond J. Bourque Arena is expected to be ready in time for the 2015-16 academic year and will be the home of Endicott’€™s Division III hockey teams.

“When we began speaking with Ray about the naming of the arena in his honor, our thought was that we wanted to inspire our youth, our students, and our community to emulate the qualities that he has as an athlete and as a man,”€ Endicott president Dr. Richard E. Wylie said in a press release. “€œIn true Bourque fashion, he was most appreciative about being honored but far more interested about what impact this would have on the kids and the community.”

Read More: Ray Bourque,

Bruins seem comfortable with idea of Loui Eriksson on top line

07.25.14 at 2:56 pm ET
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Bruins fans should prepare for Loui Eriksson on the first line next season.

Speaking to the media for the first time this summer, Claude Julien reiterated on Thursday’€™s conference call what’€™s already been said by Peter Chiarelli this summer: The team is confident that Eriksson is a viable replacement for the departed Jarome Iginla to skate alongside David Krejci and Milan Lucic.

“We don’€™t feel like were in a real tough situation,”€ Julien said. “We’€™ve lost Jarome, but as you’€™ve probably heard, I think Loui Eriksson is a player that can be even better than he was last year. I think we started seeing that at the end of the year, and he could be a replacement for Jarome as a possibility.”

One issue with Eriksson playing on that line that has come up numerous times is the fact that he’€™s a left shot and that Krejci hasn’€™t had a left shot on the right wing in recent years, as Iginla, Nathan Horton, Rich Peverley and Tyler Seguin were all righties. Maybe that won’€™t be a problem for him at all, and maybe there will be some adjustment.

It is worth noting that Eriksson played on that line late in the regular season when the Bruins gave Iginla some time off to get him sharp for the playoffs. Amidst that stretch came Eriksson’€™s best offensive performance of the season, as he registered four assists (three of which were on goals by Lucic or Krejci) and had a season-high seven shots on goal.

In his time with Dallas, Eriksson was a first-liner, and the expectation when he came to Boston was that he would be the perfect second-line right wing to a team with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. Those three never formed chemistry, and the struggles of Marchand and the two concussions for Eriksson meant that trio wouldn’€™t stick. He returned from his second concussion as a third-liner and teamed wonderfully with Carl Soderberg to provide the Bruins with their strongest third line since the Peverley-Chris Kelly-Michael Ryder days of 2011.

If the roster remains the way it is now, the Bruins should absolutely weaken their third line and put Eriksson on the top line. The roster isn’€™t going to remain the way it is, however, as the team should trade at least one of what Chiarelli considers to be nine NHL defensemen.

Unless the defenseman traded is Johnny Boychuk, the Bruins probably won’€™t be getting a sure-fire first-line right wing back. If they trade a lesser commodity like David Warsofsky or Matt Bartkowski, it’€™s more realistic to expect a third-line candidate in return.

Barring a trade for a first-line right wing, that Krejci line will be different than years past no matter what. Since Krejci became the team’€™s first-line center in the 2010-11 season, he has had bookend power forwards on his line, with Lucic to his left and Horton or Iginla on his right. Eriksson is far from a power forward, and the Bruins don’€™t have anyone on their roster who can bring the sandpaper to the right wing the way Horton and Iginla did.

There are pros to having Eriksson there, however. He may not be as tiring to play against as Iginla, but he’€™s younger, faster and depends well. And it isn’€™t like he can’€™t score; last season was the first time in a full season that he hasn’€™t scored at least 26 goals since 2007-08. He was a 36-goal scorer once upon a time, hitting that mark in the 2008-09 season.

Last offseason, Eriksson’€™s place in the Bruins’€™ lineup seemed obvious, but that changed. Perhaps the expectations held now can change as well, but for now it appears that Eriksson is a good bet to be a first-liner.

Read More: David Krejci, Jarome Iginla, Loui Eriksson,

Bruins sign David Warsofsky to 1-year deal

07.24.14 at 12:30 pm ET
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The Bruins announced Thursday that they have signed defenseman David Warsofsky to a one-year, two-way contract.

Warsofsky’€™s contract will pay him $600,000 should he play at the NHL level. He has spent the vast majority of his Bruins career in Providence since being acquired in a trade with the Blues in 2010.

He did play in six games for the B’€™s last season, serving time on the power play and scoring a goal on Dec. 28 against the Senators.

The Marshfield native and Boston University product is a highly skilled puck-moving blueliner, which presents an organizational redundancy given the presence of Torey Krug on Boston’€™s back end. General manager Peter Chiarelli has said this offseason that he feels the team has nine NHL defensemen, a group that includes Warsofsky, and that he may trade one or multiple blueliners.

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

Read More: David Warsofsky,

Bruins hire Joe Sacco as assistant coach

07.24.14 at 10:52 am ET
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The Bruins on Thursday announced the hire of Medford native Joe Sacco as an assistant coach.

Sacco, who was the head coach of the Avalanche from 2009-13, will replace Geoff Ward, who departed the B’€™s this offseason for a head coaching job in Germany.

Last season Sacco served as an assistant coach for the Sabres but was let go after the season. As Avalanche head coach, he was a Jack Adams finalist in the 2009-10 season.

Prior to his NHL coaching career, Sacco coached in the AHL as an assistant for the Lowell Lock Monsters and Albany River Rats before serving as the head coach of the Lake Erie Monsters from 2007-09.

Sacco played 738 games in the NHL after being a fourth-round pick of the Maple Leafs in the 1987 draft. He played his college hockey at Boston University and went on to spend 13 seasons in the NHL between the Leafs, Mighty Ducks, Islanders, Capitals and Flyers.

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

Read More: Geoff Ward, Joe Sacco,

Bruins get 17 nationally televised games

07.22.14 at 11:02 am ET
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The NHL announced the national television schedule for the 2014-15 season on Tuesday, with the Bruins set to receive plenty of national attention.

The B’€™s will be featured on 17 nationally televised games, at least least 13 of which will air on NBC Sports Network, beginning with their opener on October 8 against the Flyers at TD Garden.

In addition to the aforementioned 13 NBCSN games, four Bruins games will be treated as flex games, meaning they will be on either NBC or NBCSN. All four of those games are weekend games.

The schedules as they relate to the Bruins are as follows:

NBC Sports Network (all times Eastern)

Wednesday, Oct. 8, vs. Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 15, at Detroit, 8 p.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 28, vs. Minnesota, 7 p.m. (non-exclusive)
Wednesday, Nov. 12, at Toronto, 8 p.m.
Monday, Nov. 24, vs. Pittsburgh, 7 p.m. (non-exclusive)
Wednesday, Dec. 17, at Minnesota, 8 p.m.
Monday, Dec. 29, vs. Detroit, 7 p.m. (non-exclusive)
Wednesday, Jan. 7, at Pittsburgh, 8 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 4, at New York Rangers, 8 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 8, vs. Montreal, 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, March 17, vs. Buffalo, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 2, at Detroit, 7:30 p.m. (non-exclusive)
Wednesday, April 8, at Washington, 8 p.m.

Flex Games on NBC or NBCSN (all times Eastern)

Sunday, Feb. 22, at Chicago, 12:30 p.m./3 p.m. (NBC)
Sunday, March 8, vs. Detroit, 12:30 p.m./7:30 p.m. (NBC/NBCSN)
Sunday, March 15, at Washington, 12:30 p.m./7:30 p.m. (NBC/NBCSN)
Saturday, April 11, at Tampa Bay, 3 p.m./7:30 p.m. (non-exclusive, NBC/NBCSN)

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