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Panthers trade for Roberto Luongo, making him teammates with Tim Thomas

03.04.14 at 4:41 pm ET
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According to Renaud Lavoie, the Canucks have traded Roberto Luongo to the Panthers.

 

Luongo played five seasons in Florida before going to Vancouver, but the best storyline here is that it means he and Tim Thomas are now teammates. The showdown between the two became the central storyline in the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs, when the two combined for four shutouts in the seven-game series.

Luongo, who was overly complimentary of Thomas prior to the series, criticized Thomas’ style of play after Game 5 of the series. When his criticism made waves, Luongo famously said he had been pumping Thomas’ tires, while Thomas hadn’t complimented him.

“As far as Luongo goes, actually, all that did was give me confidence that his head was in the wrong place, because I was focused on stopping the puck and he was thinking about my style,”€ Thomas told WEEI.com the following season.

“I realized that I had an advantage over him,’€ Thomas added. ‘€œ’€The challenge on my end was to keep that advantage.”€

Goalie Jacob Markstrom is reportedly part of the package headed to Vancouver in the trade.

Read More: Roberto Luongo, Tim Thomas,

Flyers trade for Andrew MacDonald

03.04.14 at 4:08 pm ET
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Andrew MacDonald, a left-shot defenseman who is seventh in the league in time on ice and would have been a potential fit with the Bruins, has been traded from the Islanders to the Flyers, a source confirmed Tuesday. The trade was first reported by Newsday’s Arthur Staple.

The Islanders had previously sought a first-round pick for MacDonald, a free agent to be, but Philadelphia got him without surrendering a first-round pick.

MacDonald becomes the first of the bigger name left shot defensemen to move. Dallas traded injured righty Stephane Robidas to Anaheim earlier in the day.

Zdeno Chara is in a pretty weird commercial

03.04.14 at 3:49 pm ET
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The Bruins are no strangers to being in weird commercials. This time, it’s Zdeno Chara‘s turn.

This one’s been out since late last month, but we didn’t come across it until it started making the rounds Tuesday.

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Report: Chris Phillips, Senators moving closer to new contract

03.04.14 at 3:22 pm ET
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According to the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch, the Senators and defenseman Chris Phillips are moving closer towards common ground on the length of a potential contract extension.

 

Phillips, 35, is in the final year of his contract and could be put on the trade market if he is not re-signed. The former first overall pick is acting as his own agent.

The Bruins are believed to be interested in his services, as he is a big and strong defenseman who could push Matt Bartkowski for his spot on the left side of Boston’s second pairing in the postseason, but he would likely only become available if the Senators feel they won’t be able to sign him before Wednesday’s trade deadline.

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Regardless of what trades bring, Bruins should hold on to Matt Bartkowski

03.04.14 at 12:44 pm ET
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Matt Bartkowski

Matt Bartkowski

The Bruins nearly traded Matt Bartkowski a season ago, and it’s a good thing they didn’t. This season, they shouldn’t come that close.

Boston’s biggest need at the trade deadline is obvious: a left-shot defenseman who could play top-4 minutes. While such a player would be valuable if the B’s want to lessen Zdeno Chara‘s workload in order to keep him fresh for the playoffs, the biggest reason why would be to have a more experienced and dependable option than Bartkowski. That doesn’t mean the B’s should be in a hurry to move Bartkowski for whoever they may acquire.

Right now, Bartkowski is in line to be Boston’s second-pairing left shot defenseman behind Chara. It’s a role that was previously occupied by Andrew Ference in the postseason and one that Dennis Seidenberg may have assumed had he not been lost for the season with a torn ACL.

If Bartkowski ends up playing that role, it won’t be anything new, as he’s been a top-4 guy since Seidenberg went down and he served in the role last postseason against the Rangers. Among the Bruins currently playing, Bartkowski is third on the team behind Chara and Johnny Boychuk with 19:20 of ice time per night, and he has played 22 minutes or more in four of the team’s last six games.

“He’€™s logging some pretty big minutes now and he continues to get better,” Claude Julien said Tuesday. “I like his poise with the puck, he’€™s been carrying a lot of pucks out of our own end which has facilitated our breakouts. You know, he’€™s defending better all the time, he’€™s getting that confidence as far as being able to battle I the corner and that’€™s just the young player getting more ice and more experience and feeling more comfortable with the whole situation.”

Even if the Bruins get someone to upgrade his spot, the Bruins would be wise to hold on to Bartkowski. They have a group of young defensemen (David Warsofsky would be a good trade candidate given that Torey Krug serves in the role that Warsofsky figures to play at the NHL level) and could move one of them while keeping Bartkowski.

After all, if it is depth that Peter Chiarelli seeks, a player like Bartkowksi who has proven himself capable of handling the big stage — his only NHL goal remains a rather big one in Game 7 against the Maple Leafs in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals last season — is worth keeping around.

“When you sit here today you understand how important it was for [Bartkowski and Krug] to play in that series in New York,” Julien said. “They handled the pressure, they handled the playoff pressure that comes with it very well. I thought they did a great job, they were poised. Torey played a big role in that series, scoring some big goals and Bart did the same thing. We had some young Ds that really excelled in that series and today you feel more comfortable going in to the playoffs with those guys because they’€™ve been through it.”

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Loui Eriksson out Tuesday vs. Panthers, but absence isn’t trade-related

03.04.14 at 11:48 am ET
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Loui Eriksson

Loui Eriksson

Loui Eriksson will not play in Tuesday’s game against the Panthers due to a “minor issue,” according to B’s coach Claude Julien. Eriksson and Adam McQuaid were the only players missing from the team’s morning skate.

Though the timing of Eriksson’s absence has led to speculation that the team could be trading the player, a team source indicated Tuesday that Eriksson’s absence doesn’t have anything to do with Wednesday’s trade deadline.

Julien would not specify whether Eriksson was injured, however, as he repeatedly said that Eriksson is out with an “issue” and that he will play on Thursday. With Eriksson out, Jordan Caron will play on the team’s third line with Carl Soderberg and Chris Kelly.

As for McQuaid, Julien said the team will make a decision by the end of the week as to whether they will have the player proceed with his rehab from a lower body injury or shut him down for the time being.

Tuesday’s game will be the 21st Eriksson has missed this season with the Bruins, with the other 20 absences due to a pair of concussions suffered. In his previous five seasons, Eriksson missed a total of three games with the Stars, all of which came in the 2010-11 season.

Eriksson is in his first season with the B’s after being the centerpiece of the package shipped to Boston in last July 4′s trade with Dallas. He has two more seasons on his contract after this season with a reasonable cap hit of $4.25 million a season.

In 40 games for Boston this season, Eriksson has six goals and 16 assists for 22 points and a plus-11 rating.

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

Read More: Adam McQuaid, Loui Eriksson,

Bruins determining plan for Adam McQuaid

03.03.14 at 9:40 am ET
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Adam McQuaid

Adam McQuaid

The Bruins are determining the proper course of action to take with injured defenseman Adam McQuaid, who was initially expected to play over the weekend before suffering a setback.

McQuaid has not played since Jan. 19 and has been able to dress in just half of Boston’s 60 games this season, missing 30 games due to a lower-body injury that has plagued him since initially sustaining the injury on Nov. 9. Bruins coach Claude Julien told reporters Saturday in New York that the team is deciding whether to shut him down for the time being or try to continue with his rehab.

“There’€™s going to be an answer soon,”€ Julien told reporters. “We’€™ve got to make a decision on whether to go forward or hold him back.”

With McQuaid out, Kevan Miller has established himself as a viable option as the right defenseman on Boston’s third pairing. McQuaid and Miller bring very similar attributes, with McQuaid taller and more experienced, while Miller is stronger.

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller,
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