|01.04.16 at 7:05 pm ET|
The story sounds familiar enough — a top pick of the Lightning has not become a star and figures to eventually be traded — but Brett Connolly can’t put himself in Jonathan Drouin’s shoes completely.
On Sunday, the Lightning sent Drouin, whom they drafted third overall in the 2013 draft, to Syracuse of the AHL. That led to agent Allan Walsh revealing that his client had requested a trade from Tampa in November, news that was still somewhat shocking despite ongoing murmurs that the 20-year-old left wing was not happy with how the team and coach Jon Cooper were using him.
Based on his own experience, Connolly — the Lightning’s first pick (sixth overall) in 2010 — hopes that Drouin doesn’t expect anything in the league to just come to him. He calls Drouin a “good kid” whom he feels can be a star wherever he ends up.
“He’s a good player. He’s got a lot of talent,” Connolly said of his former teammate. “Young guys come in the league and you realize really fast that it’s a tough league. You’ve got to find your game and you’ve got to work at it. It’s not going to be given to you no matter how high a draft pick you are.”
Connolly knows what it’s like to be drafted early by the Lightning and not ascend to stardom as quickly as planned. Like Drouin, Connolly returned to his junior team for another season after being drafted and then turned pro a season later. Both players spent their first pro season playing for Tampa given that the CHL/NHL transfer agreement required players under 20 to either stay with their junior teams or play for their NHL club. Most notably, neither one put up mesmerizing numbers in the NHL in the early going; Connolly had four goals in 68 games in his first NHL season, while Drouin had four goals in 70 games as a rookie.
Yet Connolly’s situation is different from Drouin’s in that he wouldn’t have had a problem staying in Tampa. The team traded him last season because they had a crowded forward group and couldn’t send him down without waivers. At least from the outside, a lack of patience from a still-developing player appears to be a big factor in Drouin’s case. Drouin has two goals in 19 games this season, giving him a total of six goals in 89 career NHL games.
|01.04.16 at 12:54 pm ET|
Twelve is an interesting number for Brad Marchand.
It’s the number of games he’s been suspended over four different punishments since becoming an NHL regular in 2010-11. It’s also the total number of games he’s missed otherwise.
So Marchand is used to playing, and half the time that he isn’t he’s still healthy. Marchand’s lack of injury history is significant enough to make any stretch out of the lineup uncommon. This is nearly the longest such stretch of his career.
Although Marchand was once suspended for five games back in January of 2012 for low-bridging Sami Salo, the timing of the Winter Classic has made it so his current three-game suspension is only one day shorter than the aforementioned five-gamer. Marchand’s 2012 ban kept him out of action for 11 days, while this one is 10 days long.
“I’m not going to lose anything. It’s been a long season and I’ve been playing a lot of minutes this year. I feel like my stamina’s up,” a sweaty Marchand said after putting in extra skating in Monday’s practice. “You work harder when you’re out than when you’re in anyway, so I’m going to work harder the next eight or nine days than I will if I’m playing.
“The main thing that I always find is that when you miss a few games, you come back hungrier and ready to go. Hopefully that’s the case and I come back and play well right away.”
Marchand should hope so. He is currently enjoying the best season of his career (15 goals, on pace for a career-high 34) and the Bruins have been hard-pressed for offense of late.
His suspension, handed out last week after a hit on Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki, has rubbed Marchand the wrong way for a couple reasons. Among them was that he had to sit in the press box during the Winter Classic rather than playing.
“It was definitely tough. Just frustrating,” Marchand said. “There’s nothing I could really do about it.”
Marchand has copped to foul play in the past, but he remains adamant that he wasn’t trying to hit Borowiecki, let alone low-bridge him. The Department of Player Safety factored in Marchand’s tendency for hitting players low when making their ruling.
“There’s a lot of difference between that hit and previous ones,” Marchand said. “I wasn’t even trying to make a hit there. It is what it is. It’s a hockey play and those things happen.”
Marchand will be available to return to the Bruins on Jan. 9 against the Senators. He’ll have to be on his best behavior.
|01.04.16 at 12:23 pm ET|
[UPDATE: 2:43 p.m.] The Bruins announced Monday afternoon that they have sent David Pastrnak to Providence. Pastrnak is returning from Finland, where he represented the Czech Republic in the World Junior Championships.
Pastrnak was not at Monday’s Bruins practice, but the team planned to have him examined after he suffered a minor finger injury in Finland. The Bruins did not believe the injury would affect his availability, so the demotion could be due to a numbers game.
Joonas Kemppainen could return from an upper-body injury Tuesday against the Capitals. Kemppainen has not played since suffering an upper-body injury on Dec. 7.
“He’s day-to-day, meaning that he could be a possibility for tomorrow,” Julien said of Kemppainen.
If Kemppainen cannot play, the Bruins would need to either recall a forward from Providence or play seven defensemen. Kemppainen is currently on injured reserve, giving the Bruins 22 players including the suspended Brad Marchand. They will be able to activate Kemppainen without any corresponding moves, but Pastrnak’s eventual return would force the Bruins to demote a player in order to stay at the 23-man limit.
Patrice Bergeron returned to practice, giving the Bruins the following lines:
|01.03.16 at 1:08 pm ET|
The Bruins are not overly concerned about an injury for David Pastrnak that became apparent during the World Junior Championships.
While playing for the Czech Republic, Pastrnak was spotted with tape on his right index finger. The team referred to it as a “small injury that he was able to play through” at World Juniors. The Bruins do not expect the injury to affect Pastrnak’s availability, though he will be evaluated by Bruins doctors.
Pastrnak is expected to be available to the Bruins in the coming days and could be a possibility to play Tuesday against the Capitals. Same goes for Joonas Kemppainen, who has not played since Dec. 7 due to an upper-body injury.
“He’s close to being available,” Claude Julien said. “I haven’t been told that he’s in for sure, but pretty close.”
Patrice Bergeron did not practice Sunday, with Julien calling it a maintenance day. That led to some interesting lines in practice, with the suspended Brad Marchand centering Loui Eriksson and Brett Connolly.
On defense, Colin Miller is back after Saturday’s recall and was skating on Boston’s second pairing with Dennis Seidenberg. Zach Trotman, who has played in just one of the Bruins’ last 10 games, was skating on the top pair with Zdeno Chara while the Joe Morrow-Kevan Miller pairing that got torched in the Winter Classic appeared to be the extra pairing. lines and pairings in Sunday’s practice were as follows:
|01.02.16 at 12:23 pm ET|
The Bruins announced Saturday that they have sent forwards Seth Griffith and Alexander Khokhlachev to Providence and recalled defenseman Colin Miller.
The B’s had sent Miller to Providence on Thursday due to a roster imbalance created by Brad Marchand‘s suspension. Without Marchand, the B’s had 12 forwards and eight defensemen, so they brought up Khokhlachev in favor of Miller.
Khokhlachev played just 6:01 in Friday’s Winter Classic, attempting no shots in the game. Griffith began the game as Boston’s first-line right wing but was demoted midway through the second period.
Griffith and Khokhlachev will have the opportunity to play on Sunday for Providence against Rochester.
|01.01.16 at 6:39 pm ET|
FOXBORO — No excuses.
The Bruins managed just three shots in the opening 20 minutes of the biggest hockey spectacle in New England since the 2013 Stanley Cup finals.
They went a span of 15 minutes in the first period without a single shot.
The Bruins were without the suspended Brad Marchand and the injured David Krejci but still, Bruins players couldn’t come up with a reason for such a flat effort in a 5-1 loss to Montreal in the 2016 Winter Classic.
“We couldn’t generate any rhythm,” Patrice Bergeron said. “We weren’t first on pucks. We were second on every one of them, and you can’t get any pucks on net if you don’t have the puck, so that was basically the reason why.”
|01.01.16 at 6:25 pm ET|
Tuukka Rask had Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman and Stephen Gostkowski featured on his helmet. Claude Julien wore a Bill Belichick-esque hoodie behind the bench. But it was Canadiens goalie Mike Condon who came away from Friday’s Winter Classic feeling like he had snagged some of the Patriots’ winning mojo.
Condon, a Holliston native who grew up rooting for the Pats, also had a Patriots-themed mask, as his featured sketches of Brady and Belichick along with four Lombardi Trophies and the team’s famous “Do Your Job” motto.
The cherry on top was getting the helmet autographed by Brady and Belichick before the Pats took off for Miami for Sunday’s regular-season finale.
“I’m pretty sure anything that Tom Brady touches turns to gold,” Condon said. “So I was pretty happy. Hopefully got some mojo on my helmet there. I’m a huge fan of his, huge fan of this organization, and I’m just happy to pay respect to them on the ice.”
Condon didn’t really need to be gold on Friday, as his Canadiens held the Bruins to just three shots on goal in the first period and built up a 3-0 lead by the end of the second. But he was very good when he was tested. Read the rest of this entry »