|03.05.14 at 2:40 pm ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley made his weekly appearance with Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to talk about which defensemen the Bruins could add before Wednesday’s trade deadline, the possibility of adding a veteran forward and more. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
With rumors swirling that the Blue Jackets and Bruins could be trade partners, Brickley provided information on Columbus defensemen Jack Johnson and Niktia Nikitin.
“Jack Johnson more of an offensive guy,” Brickley said. “Likes to have the puck, likes to jump into the play, wants to be in on every power-play opportunity. Has some wrist to his game, he is highly skilled. But when the U.S. was putting its team together for the Olympics, he’s not inside the top eight, which tells you maybe his game has gone in the wrong direction.”
Added Brickley: “Nikitin may be more of the type of player the Bruins were looking at. Big body, allows the system to be your friend, do your job, be a hard, physical, punishing guy in your own zone, make the simple play. Maybe he’s more of a fit based on the fact that you don’t want to subtract much from your roster in order to go get what you think you need. And I think Nikitin is really probably higher on the want list even though Jack Johnson is the more of a talent player.”
Brickley said the Bruins should add depth to their defense, knowing that injuries have clouded the depth chart.
“If you look at their D, you know [Zdeno] Chara, [Dougie] Hamilton, [Matt] Bartkowski, [Johnny] Boychuck, [Torey] Krug, [Kevan] Miller, and now you don’t know what [Adam] McQuaid‘s situation is. You obviously don’t have [Dennis] Seidenberg.”
Added Brickley: “Does that give you enough? The Bruins went through nine defensemen last year, the Chicago Blackhawks really only played six, I think their seventh defensemen played one, so they stayed healthier, but the Bruins went through nine D. And the guy that played the least was Wade Redden, and I think he played somewhere around five games, so you need as many defensemen, healthy defensemen, experienced defensemen, versatile defensemen and the right attitude defensemen if you think you’re going to have a long playoff run. So I think that is a definite must for the Bruins.”
|03.05.14 at 2:30 pm ET|
Luongo responded to the trade on twitter in predictably hilarious fashion.
— Strombone (@strombone1) March 5, 2014
The Bruins also lost another potential defense option in the final hour before the deadline, as Columbus swung a deal with Edmonton for defenseman Nick Schultz.
|03.05.14 at 12:19 pm ET|
The Bruins have claimed defenseman Corey Potter off waivers from the Oilers, according to multiple reports. Potter is a 30-year-old, 6-foot-3 right shot who could serve as a depth option on the blue line. He is an unrestricted free agent after this season.
Potter had appeared in 16 games for the Oilers this season, picking up five assists and 21 penalty minutes while playing 14:47 per game. He was used in extremely low-leverage situations, ranking last among Edmonton’s nine qualified defensemen in ice time and quality of competition. Even in those sheltered situations, he struggled, posting the worst CorsiRel (shot attempts for/against relative to his teammates) on the team.
|03.05.14 at 12:03 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Loui Eriksson and Adam McQuaid were the only Bruins not on the ice for Wednesday’s practice.
Eriksson missed Tuesday’s game with a “minor issue,” according to Claude Julien, and is expected to be back in the lineup Thursday against the Capitals. Though his absence has led to speculation with the trade deadline coming at 3 p.m. Wednesday, a Bruins source said Tuesday that Eriksson’s absence has nothing to do with a potential trade.
Eriksson was at the practice, however, with Julien saying that he will skate and play Thursday.
Furthermore, Bruins forward Jordan Caron revealed — perhaps accidentally — after Tuesday’s game that Eriksson’s absence was due to a “little incident,” which would be consistent with him having a minor issue.
“I think Loui had a little incident there, so he couldn’t go tonight,” Caron said.
The team has yet to make a decision on what they will do with McQuaid, who has been out since Jan. 19 with a lower-body injury. The B’s are deciding whether to shut him down for the time being or have him proceed with his rehab.
For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com/bruins.
|03.05.14 at 11:40 am ET|
The Lightning have traded Martin St. Louis to the Rangers in exchange for Ryan Callahan, a 2015 first-round pick and a 2014 second-round pick, according to multiple reports. TSN’s Bob McKenzie was the first to report the deal.
St. Louis ranks eighth in the NHL with 61 points in 62 games this season, while Callahan has 25 points in 45 games. St. Louis has another year left on his deal, but recently requested a trade after a falling-out with general manager Steve Yzerman, believed to be the result of Yzerman leaving St. Louis off his initial Team Canada roster. Callahan is an unrestricted free agent after this season. Interestingly enough, St. Louis and Callahan were both captains of their previous teams.
The 2015 first-round pick that Tampa acquired could prove to be extremely valuable, as that draft class is considered one of the best in years.
The Lightning, who found out Steven Stamkos has been cleared to return earlier on Wednesday, are currently third in the Atlantic Division and fourth in the Eastern Conference. The Rangers are third in the Metropolitan Division and seventh in the conference.
|03.05.14 at 11:01 am ET|
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton talked with Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday about the NHL trade deadline, his 100th fight and more. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
With the NHL trade deadline looming, Thornton said that there hasn’t been as much discussion in the locker room because of the Olympic break.
“We haven’t really talked about it much this year,” Thornton said. “I think because there hasn’t been a lot of chatter with the Olympics, it took a lot of focus away from the deadline. Usually there’s a two-week buildup to it, to be completely honest. This year you came out of the Olympics six days later. So there hasn’t been a lot of talk.”
Thornton likes the team and is fine with the way it is, but he knows there could be players traded by Wednesday’s 3 p.m. deadline.
“We’re a pretty good team, but I know that Peter [Chiarelli] is always looking to improve,” Thornton said. “And you can always get better, so we’ll see what happens by 3 today.”
Added Thornton: “We all really like each other, we like the group we have. We’re a pretty tight-knit group. We’re still winning some hockey games this year, so I’m OK with it.”
During Tuesday night’s 4-1 victory over the Panthers, Thornton got into his 100th career fight. The fight with Krys Barch was initiated to spark the team and stick up for Milan Lucic, who fought Barch in the first period.
“We were kind of flat in the second period,” Thornton said. “Looch can handle himself, obviously, but I didn’t like that he went after Looch in the first shift. Krys Barch is a, he’s a really good guy. I played with him. … I actually kind of taught him how to fight 11 years ago in the minors.”
The Bruins’ top line of David Krejci, Jarome Iginla and Lucic performed very well on Tuesday with Krejci recording a hat trick and Iginla scoring the fourth goal. Thornton noted that the trio is unlike any other in the NHL.
“We rely heavily on those guys and they consistently perform,” Thornton said. “And it’s funny because if there’s one game where they don’t get a point it’s like the sky’s falling. Everyone’s chirping. They’ve been unbelievable for us all year. … They bring things to the table that other teams don’t have. You don’t have two power forwards that are that tough and score.”
|03.04.14 at 11:59 pm ET|
Tim Thomas couldn’t resist.
The opportunity to make a joke about the goaltender who was the butt of all Boston jokes in 2011 fell right in his lap when Roberto Luongo was traded from Vancouver to Florida on Tuesday, hours before the Wednesday 3 p.m. ET trade deadline.
“I did have one good line that probably somebody else has already thought of: It looked like [Panthers GM] Dale [Tallon] went kicking some tires and found one that needed pumping,” Thomas laughed.
Thomas, of course, was referring to an infamous comment Luongo made during the 2011 Stanley Cup finals.
Asked about how Thomas was carrying the Bruins on his back during the Bruins’ Cup run, Luongo famously said, “I’ve been pumping his tires ever since the series started and I haven’t heard one nice thing he had to say about me.”
Thomas replied, “I didn’t realize it was my job to pump his tires.”
Now, the two goalies are teammates thanks to a surprising deal in which the Panthers acquired Luongo in a trade with the Vancouver Canucks Tuesday afternoon. That wasn’t the only storyline of the trade as Luongo returns to the organization where he played from 2000-06.
For the record, Panthers GM Dale Tallon said he intends on keeping both goalies in Florida and rebuilding the franchise around them.
“It’ll be interesting, but you know what, I don’t know how things are going to work out, but assuming I’m staying in Florida, it’ll be interesting,” Thomas said. “I’m looking forward to it. It’ll be fun.”
Thomas insisted there are no hard feelings with Luongo.
“No, not at all,” Thomas said. “I wasn’t an enemy with him even [in 2011]. I was so focused on playing and doing my job and that’s the way I was looking at it. So, yeah, we’re both pros, both been in the league a long time. I have a few more years on him, obviously, but we both have a lot of experience to bring to the team.
“Surprised, obviously, at first just like probably a lot of people who were caught off guard and didn’t see that one coming,” Thomas said. “But then I had to get ready to play the game against obviously a difficult team.”
Thomas, on a one-year deal with the Panthers, said he can get along with Luongo.
“Yeah, of course,” Thomas said. “He’s a good goalie and from everything I’ve heard about him he’s got good character. I don’t know what their plans are. I don’t really know anything at this point. I can’t say too much.”
While Tallon did say he plans on keeping both, that didn’t stop speculation that Florida would eventually trade Thomas before the deadline to a contender. Thomas was asked if he would like to be traded to a contender now that Luongo is in Florida.
“Yeah, but now I’ve got to see the situation and see what they’re thinking. I’d like to check in with Dale before I comment on anything,” Thomas said.
What does Claude Julien think of all of this from afar?
“We’ll see if that’s still the case [Wednesday}," Julien said with a wide grin. "Maybe I can comment on it [Wednesday] after the deadline. Fair enough? I know it’s a lot of tire pumping.”
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