|12.01.11 at 1:42 pm ET|
Newly extended Bruins center David Krejci‘s press conference just wrapped up at TD Garden. Here are a few quick notes, with more to come.
– Krejci’s deal, a three-year $15.75 million deal with a limited no-trade clause in the final two years, was actually signed prior to Wednesday’s game against the Maple Leafs. Peter Chiarelli joked that he likes to think it put Krejci in the right frame of mind to go out and rack up three points in the win over Toronto.
– Krejci said that he isn’t going to worry about whether he is judged by his contract. Considering he’s being paid like a first-line center, it seems that judgement will be pretty common over the length of the deal.
– Chiarelli spoke glowingly of Krejci as a two-way player.
“David’s biggest asset is his head,” Chiarelli said. “He sees the ice so well. He makes plays, he uses the players around him. He’s very competitive. He’s got a very well-rounded game.
“I think his game is underrated by its two-way component. He’s got a lot of really good offensive skills and instincts, but I think the two-way component of the game — I don’t want to harp on that — but it’s important if you want to win championships.”
“Logjam is probably not the proper word,” Chiarelli said. “I think it’s an excessive supply that I’m happy to have.”
– Chiarelli also scoffed at the notion that committing this money to Krejci might make it tougher to re-sign upcoming RFA’s Tuukka Rask (at the end of this season) and Tyler Seguin (at the end of next season).
– The GM said that these negotiations weren’t based on this season too much, as they had begun over the summer. He did note, however, that he didn’t consider the first month of the season in his long-term assessment of Krejci, saying that such thinking would be “shortsighted.”
|12.01.11 at 12:56 pm ET|
Goaltender Tim Thomas earned some national recognition for his no-loss November when he was named as the NHL’s First Star of the Month on Thursday. The two-time Vezina Trophy winner was 9-0-0 in November with a .941 save percentage and a 1.76 goals against average. Thomas recorded three shutouts in the month, the first of which came on Nov. 5 against the Maple Leafs while the other two came in back-to-back fashion against the Islanders on Nov. 19 and the Canadiens on Nov. 21.
Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews took home Second Star honors while the Maple Leafs’ Joffrey Lupul was the league’s Third Star. Toews finished the month with nine goals and nine assists via three multi-goal games and five multi-point games in the month. Chicago went 7-6-1 in November.
Lupul found his way onto the scoresheet in 12-of-14 games the Maple Leafs played in November. He started the month with a hat trick in a 5-3 win over the Devils and finished with a seven-game point-scoring streak. Toronto was 7-6-1 in November. This is the second time this season a Maple Leaf took home a monthly honor, as Phil Kessel finished as the league’s First Star in October.
|12.01.11 at 10:01 am ET|
The Bruins announced Thursday morning that they have signed center David Krejci to a three-year extension. According to TSN, Krejci, who would have been a restricted free agent at season’s end, will get $5.25 million a year with his new deal. The 25-year-old is in the final year of a deal that pays him $3.75 million a year.
The new deal also includes a limited no-trade clause, according to TSN. Krejci could block a trade to six teams.
Krejci’s signing takes care of what would have been the team’s biggest financial question mark at season’s end. The B’s also re-signed Rich Peverley in October to prevent him from reaching free agency, and with Krejci now signed, Tuukka Rask (restricted) and Chris Kelly (unrestricted) may be bumped up to the top of general manager Peter Chiarelli‘s to-do list. Gregory Campbell, Shawn Thornton, Daniel Paille, Joe Corvo and Johnny Boychuk are also set to become unrestricted free agents.
The new contract will also make Krejci the highest-paid forward on the Bruins, and the second-highest paid Bruin. Captain Zdeno Chara‘s deal has an annual cap hit of $6.916 cap hit.
The signing comes the morning after Krejci led the way in Boston’s 6-3 win over Toronto Wednesday. The first-line center had three points (1 G, 2 A) in the victory. The Bruins drafted Krejci in the second round of the 2004 draft. In his NHL career, he has 62 goals and 165 assists for 227 points. He led the postseason in scoring during last spring’s Stanley Cup run.
|11.30.11 at 9:39 pm ET|
The Bruins took over first place in the Northeast Division with a 6-3 win over the Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre Wednesday. The win wrapped up an impressive month of November in which they went 12-0-1.
The Leafs got on the board first with a power play goal from Mikhail Grabovski in the first period, but the B’s responded with a power play goal of their own thanks to Lucic’s ninth of the season. Krejci gave Boston its first lead of the night at 3:33 of the second period, but former Bruin Phil Kessel set up a Joffrey Lupul goal to tie it. The B’s then got goals from Chara and Pouliot to give them a 4-2 lead before Tim Thomas surrendered a soft goal to Matt Fratin. Lucic provided the B’s some insurance with his second goal of the night at 15:21. Brad Marchand sealed it with an empty-netter.
Thomas collected the win for the B’s, his 12th of the season. He made 34 saves in the victory.
The B’s have now collected 25 of a possible 26 points over the last 13 games and lead the division with 31 points. They will host the Leafs Saturday at TD Garden.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Chara remains red-hot. His two-point night put him at 15 points (5 G, 9 A) over his last 14 games. Points aren’t necessarily what make a defenseman great, but Chara is on pace for his best statistical season since his Norris Trophy-winning 2008-09 campaign.
Though he led the B’s with six shots on goal, it wasn’t a perfect night for Chara. Kessel blew past him in the neutral zone to give he and Lupul a 2-on-1 that led to Lupul’s goal.
– Good to see the first line producing like a first line. The Lucic-Krejci- Horton trio has generally been hit or miss this season, but all three brought it Wednesday night. Krejci’s goal was his first since Nov. 7 and just his fourth of the season, while Lucic’s goal, his ninth, was his first since Nov. 10. Horton had helpers on Krejci and Chara’s goals.
– As hard as it may be to believe, Pouliot has proven to be a statistically clutch player. Two of his three goals, including Wednesday’s, have been of the game-winning variety, and he also won the B’s last Wednesday’s game against Buffalo in the shootout.
– The Bruins once again allowed the first goal and went on to win. With Wednesday’s victory, the B’s are now 9-5-1 when allowing the first goal. They are 9-7-1 in games in which they trailed.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Adam McQuaid was a team-worst minus-2 on the night. He was the lone defenseman back on Kessel and Lupul’s 2-on-1 in the second period, and was also on the ice for Frattin’s goal.
– Speaking of Frattin’s goal, Thomas didn’t respect Frattin enough on the play, leaving the Leafs forward just enough space to beat him at a wretched angle from the corner to make it a one-goal game. Thomas was obviously expecting Frattin to dish the puck from such a bad angle, but the result was an uncharacteristically weak.
– Tyler Seguin picked up the primary helper on Lucic’s goal thanks to some sharp passing between he, Lucic and Chara, but the 19-year-old’s slowed goal-scoring pace continues. He now has just one goal in his last eight games after scoring seven in his previous four.
|11.30.11 at 7:01 pm ET|
|11.30.11 at 9:42 am ET|
NESN analyst Andy Brickley joined Dennis & Callahan for his weekly appearance to discuss the Bruins’ upcoming two-game series with the Maple Leafs that starts on Wednesday night in Toronto. The teams will square off in Boston in the second game on Saturday.
The Leafs lead the Northeast division with 30 points, while the Bruins are right on their heels with 29 points in second place. Boston is already 2-0 against the Leafs this season, though, winning the latest game on Nov. 5 in blowout fashion, 7-0. Brickley explained that the Bruins match up well with the Maple Leafs.
“I like the match-ups. I think Boston matches up pretty good against Toronto,” Brickley said. “It’ll be a little bit more difficult here in Toronto because of the change situation so you’ll see a little bit of chess match tonight trying to get [Zdeno] Chara basically and his partner out there tonight against Phil Kessel and his line. I think that if you’re able to keep that line, especially Phil Kessel off the scoreboard, and then you match up the three forward lines against each other’s D-pairings, it favors Boston. That’s generally the way it goes and I think Boston has a huge advantage in goal.”
As Brickley pointed out, the Bruins will need to contain Kessel, who leads the NHL in both points (31) and goals (16). The former Bruin has flourished in Toronto since being traded from Boston in 2009, while the B’s drafted Tyler Seguin with one of the picks they received from the Leafs. Brickley said that Kessel had maturity issues during his team in Boston and that he wanted more money than the Bruins were willing to pay.
“I think he was just a really immature kid,” Brickley said. “He had some baggage, personal baggage when the Bruins first drafted him and they were well aware of that. The immaturity factor, expectation level, not only by the Bruins organization but from Phil himself. I don’t think he was prepared for that. Could not handle criticism. Could not handle you have to earn your ice time.
“When you add a breakout year when he scored a bunch of goals, you saw how much money everybody was making across the league. Based on those numbers, and he wanted that money right then and there, and the Bruins weren’t prepared to pay him.”
|11.29.11 at 7:37 pm ET|
Every time the Bruins play the Maple Leafs, there will always be talk of the forwards the teams have swapped, but beginning Wednesday, that conversation will be about more than just Phil Kessel and Tyler Seguin.
Center Joe Colborne, the Bruins’ first-round pick (16th overall) in 2008 draft and the centerpiece of the package the B’s sent to Leafs in February for Tomas Kaberle, has played the last five games in the NHL and is already producing.
The 21-year-old Colborne has been skating on the third line for the Leafs, and has registered four points (1 G, 3 A) in his five NHL games this season. Now that he’s facing the B’s, he’s got plenty of motivation to prove them wrong.
‘Anybody, who says they don’t want to do well against your old team would be lying,’ Colborne told the Toronto Star Tuesday. ‘I hope I can show what I can and contribute to the Leafs.’
Colborne was in his first AHL season when he was shipped to Toronto, but said that he was in the organization long enough to know what the Bruins were all about.
‘I understand the hard work they went through to win the Stanley Cup ‘ after getting rid of me,’ he jokingly told reporters. ‘It’s going to be interesting. I’m looking forward to it.’
While playing for Providence, Colborne had 12 goals and 14 assists for 26 goals in 55 games. The 6-foot-5, 213-pound forward added eight points and eight assists for the Toronto Marlies of the AHL last season following the trade. Count Claude Julien among those happy to see him in the NHL and playing well.
“I think it would have been a matter of time, probably with us as well,” Julien said Tuesday of Colborne playing in the NHL. I liked him. I liked his skill level. Obviously his size, [he’s] a big strong centerman and stuff like that.
“I don’t think anybody wishes him not to do well. I’m one of those guys that really liked him personally. He’s a great individual, and to see him get an opportunity to play in the NHL is always nice. Unfortunately you can’t always be with the same team, but at least the guys that deserve it get to play in the NHL. He’s certainly one of those players that I think deserves it.”
While the Kessel trade will never be in question from Boston’s end because it landed the B’s Seguin, Dougie Hamilton and Jared Knight, the Kaberle trade is somewhat of a different case. In addition to Colborne, the B’s sent their 2011 first-round pick and a 2012 second-rounder to Toronto in exchange for the defenseman, who had a generally dreadful stay in Boston. Still, it all ended with him hoisting the Stanley Cup, so it’s hard to criticize the trade, regardless of the fact that the Maple Leafs will likely have gotten the better players, and for far more service time (Kaberle was not re-signed following his four-month stint with the Bruins).
The B’s are happy to see Colborne doing well, but now that they’ll be seeing a lot of him for a long time, that may soon change.