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1st Period Stanley Cup summary: Flyers-Hawks Gm 6

06.09.10 at 9:00 pm ET
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PHILADELPHIA — The Blackhawks played the opening 20 minutes like they wanted to end a 39-year championship drought.

The Chicagoans outshot the Flyers, 17-3, in the first 19 minutes and registered the first goal of the game on a very questionable high sticking call on Flyers defenseman and emotional leader Chris Pronger.

With Blair Betts on the ice with a broken stick, the Hawks took advantage of what essentially was a 5-on-3 when Dustin Byfuglien stuffed a shot past Michael Leighton at 16:49.

But it was evident the officials had some remorse for helping set up Chicago’s first goal as the Hawks were whistled for two penalties in the final three minutes of the period.

First, Brent Seabrook was called for elbowing with 3:01 left in the first. Then, just as the Hawks killed off that penalty, Brent Sopel was called for an interference penalty near his own blue line. Sensing the desperation, Danny Briere shot a puck from the left circle toward Scott Hartnell, who was just getting to his skates after getting shaken up. Hartnell collected the loose puck and put a backhander past Antti Niemi with just 26.5 seconds left in the period to tie the game.

The Flyers used the momentum to fire the last four shots of the period, getting outshot, 17-7, for the period.

Read More: Blackhawks, Flyers, NHL, Stanley Cup

Amidst additions, Bruins may lose a piece

06.09.10 at 6:00 pm ET
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The Bruins have retained a key player (Dennis Seidenberg), a fan-favorite (Shawn Thornton) and are just over two weeks away from adding someone who could instantly become their most talented forward (Tyler Seguin or Taylor Hall). While everyone is focused on who’s staying and who’s being added, the Bruins’ bench may be in store for a subtraction.

Craig Ramsay, who has served as Claude Julien‘s assistant coach since the offseason following the 2006-2007 season, is a serious contender to become the Atlanta Thrasher’s head coach. The former Sabers left wing has already met with Thrashers GM Rick Dudley about filling the coaching void created when the 35-34-13 Thrashers opted not to bring back John Anderson.

A final decision may be a few days away, as Blackhawks assistant coach John Torchetti is a candidate but will not be interviewed until the conclusion of the Stanley Cup finals. Dudley believes that interviewing a coach while his team is chasing a cup is unfair to the coach’s current team, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Ramsay, in addition to having experience as head coach of both the Sabers (on an interim basis in ’86-’87) and Flyers (interim in ’99-’00, hired back but lasted just 28 games), won a Stanley Cup in ’04 while coaching alongside John Tortarella in Tampa Bay. Dudley, then the GM, hired his former NHL teammate in Ramsay back then, which makes for an easy connection now.

“The truth is John Tortorella is a volatile guy,” Dudley told the Journal Constitution. “He needed an intelligent guy to come in and know what his role had to be. We didn’t need another volatile guy in there. Craig softened all the blows there. When John undressed somebody, he would go and make them feel good again. He knew that was his role and he did it really well.”

The other candidates according to Journal Constitution writer Chris Vivlamore are Chicago Wolves (AHL) coach and former third overall pick Don Lever and Rockford IceHogs (AHL) coach Bill Peters. Scott Arniel was also viewed as an option but took the same position with the Blue Jackets.

Read More: Craig Ramsay,

Spezza could doom Bruins in draft

06.08.10 at 3:20 pm ET
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With just over two weeks to go until the NHL Draft, it has become a logical line of thinking to believe the Bruins would be quite risky to assume Windsor Spitfires left wing Taylor Hall will be available with the second overall pick. While either Hall or Plymouth Whalers center Tyler Seguin would be a blessing to the offense, there is no doubt that the Bruins could use a well-rounded winger more than they could use a center. The Edmonton Oilers, who hold the top pick in the draft, have needs all over the ice and will ultimately do what what they feel upgrades their team the most.

The second pick in '01 could have a big impact on the second pick in '10

The second pick in '01, Jason Spezza could have a big impact on the second pick in '10. (AP)

Here’s where the irony hits: This draft features the best offensive 1-2 punch since 2001, a class that starred left wing Ilya Kovalchuk and center Jason Spezza. Kovalchuk went first to the Atlanta Thrashers, Spezza went second to the Senators and each embarked upon their careers as NHL All-Stars. If the parallels aren’t apparent yet, recent chatter suggests it could be one of the ’01 stars that messes things up for the Bruins this month.

Spezza, whose contract will see a no-trade clause kick in on July 1, has reportedly grown frustrated with the Ottawa and may want out. While talk that he may have requested a trade could be nothing more than speculation, many have begun guessing where the center could call home next season. Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal, who Bruins fans should have bookmarked by now for a Hall of Fame Edmonton writer’s take on this draft, sees a potential gameplan for the Oiler’s offseason that “might solve the Taylor vs. Tyler debate.”

“Draft winger Taylor Hall on June 25 with their No. 1 pick at the NHL entry draft, pass on centre Tyler Seguin and trade for Spezza later.

The Senators would almost assuredly take the same three players that were on the table for winger Dany Heatley last summer — Dustin Penner, Andrew Cogliano and Ladislav Smid — in exchange for Spezza, who would become the Oilers’ much-needed first-line centre.”

There you have it. Both teams could afford to due that trade, as Matheson stacks the cap numbers against one another and calls the deal a “virtual wash.” The Oilers would see offensive improvement and have a top line that would be among the best in the NHL, while the Bruins would be improved with Seguin, but would enter the 2010-2011 season without a 30-plus-goal-scoring winger — again.

So what should the Bruins do? If Oilers GM Steve Tambellini targets Spezza, an offer of Blake Wheeler and the second pick isn’t exactly going to change his mind. In fact, if Edmonton can get both Spezza and Hall, the Oilers might even prefer that combo to a deal that included the second and 15th overall picks, which the Bruins likely wouldn’t want to do anyway.

The Bruins may have their hands tied. There is no logic in a wing-deprived team trading a wing or a top pick to move up one spot and one can’t assume the Oilers would even be interested in what the Bruins have to say. SensChirp is reporting the Bruins have interest in Spezza themselves and that the second pick “could be in play” but I would take that with an entire mound of salt. The reality is the team may just have to do two things: Hope Spezza is dealt elsewhere so the Oilers have a bigger shot of taking Seguin and convince themselves that potentially landing the Plymouth center is better than giving up a king’s ransom to secure Hall. For now, all anyone else can do is wait.

Read More: 2010 NHL Draft, Jason Spezza, Taylor Hall, Tyler Seguin

Bruins say four more years to Seidenberg

06.05.10 at 12:58 pm ET
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Sabres Bruins Hockey

The Bruins re-signed defenseman Dennis Seidenberg to a four-year deal. (AP)

Just three weeks after their season ended, the Bruins may already have taken care of one of their most pressing offseason concerns. The team announced Saturday that it has signed potential unrestricted free agent defenseman Dennis Seidenberg to a four-year deal worth a reported $13 million with an annual cap hit of $3.25 million.

Seidenberg played in just 17 games for the B’s after being acquired in a trade deadline deal with Florida on March 3. But during his brief tenure with the team, the 6-foot-1, 210-pound defenseman showcased solid physical play and the ability to generate offense from the blueline.

Generally skating with Zdeno Chara on the B’s top defensive pairing, the 28-year-old Seidenberg contributed two goals and seven assists for the Bruins and an impressive plus-nine rating. He generated an additional 23 points (2 goals, 21 assists) with Florida. His 32 total points and 28 assists for the season was the best offensive showing of his seven-year career.

The Bruins were 9-7-1 with Seidenberg in the lineup before he suffered a season-ending lacerated tendon in his forearm during a contest at Toronto on April 6.

By signing Seidenberg before July 1, the team avoided losing a top end defenseman to free agency. Boston is now assured that Chara, Seidenberg, Dennis Wideman, Matt Hunwick and Andrew Ference are locked in for next season.

Johnny Boychuk remains a potential unrestricted free agent on July 1, but has indicated he wants to stay in Boston.

Seidenberg and Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli will conduct a media conference call at 3 p.m. Saturday. Check back for updates.

Read More: Dennis Seidenberg,

Chiarelli maintains Segiun and Hall are neck-and-neck

06.04.10 at 3:38 pm ET
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What you’re about to read may come as earth-shattering news, so you might want to sit down as you read this: The Boston Bruins like both Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin a lot and claim to not prefer one by a large margin. Deep breaths.

“I’ve been quoted as saying they’re really close and I’ll contnue to say that because that’s what they are for us,” Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said Friday in a conference call with the media. “They were both very good interviews up in Toronto [at the NHL Scouting Combine] and I had a good meeting with the Seguins in Brampton and I certainly would anticipate the same with the Halls in Kingston.”

Chiarelli is planning to visit Hall’s parents in the next two weeks, but a source told WEEI.com this week that Hall will be with the Bruins this weekend meeting with Chiarelli and other front office members. Seguin will also visit Boston, a place he spoke highly of recently with WEEI.com, though it is unknown when he will make the trip.

The Bruins, who also choose 15th overall and have two selections in the second round, have been putting in more work than simply getting caught up in the Taylor/Tyler craze. There are plenty of players, whether they be Hall’s Windsor teammates in defenseman Cam Fowler and forward Austin Watson or whomever, who could fill serious needs with Boston.

“The fact that we have four picks in the first round and a half, you know, we always pay attention to these things but you’ve really got to focus in on your target guys and the guys that you want and where they should be slotted,” Chiarelli said.

“This is a deep draft, and I know you may hear that on a yearly basis but I’m more in touch with it this year because we have so many high picks. We’ll continue to bring some kids in and we’ll probably finish doing that halfway through next week.”

As for the Big Bad Board (had to make it less football-sounding somehow), are the Bruins set in stone on who they want with the second, or even 15th or 32nd picks for that matter? In a word, no.

“You tweak a little bit,” Chiarelli said. “You put the list up, you generate the list and then you reserve the right to change it based on testing interviews and then your smaller group gets together  and you talk about the issues on certain players. It’s not firm until the morning of.”

Read More: Peter Chiarelli, Taylor Hall, Tyler Seguin,

Thornton: ‘I wanted to be a Bruin as long as possible’

06.04.10 at 2:37 pm ET
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Speaking with the media Friday afternoon in a conference call, newly re-upped Bruins forward Shawn Thornton and general manager Peter Chiarelli hit on what led to the tough winger’s two-year extension.

“I wanted to be a Bruin as long as possible,” Thornton said. I love the city, I love being here and I’m still here so I’m really happy to be back and I’m glad we could make it happen.”

With the team just three weeks away from adding a wunderkind prospect in the NHL draft, Chiarelli spoke of what it means to retain a key veteran when seeing an influx of youth.

“It’s important to have any good veteran to help out with the younger guys,” Chiarelli said. “Shawn’s career path has not been the easiest and he commands a level of respect for that reason. … He’s put in his time and he’s put in his work and he’s been rewarded for it.”

Chiarelli also spoke of the team’s ongoing plan of adding players that are “tough to play against.” He once again mentioned the trade market as a means for continuing to build such a squad but also maintained that Thornton, who he referred to as “a terrific soldier” who is “always among the leaders in fisticuffs,” fits the bill.
When asked whether the disappointing second-round exit in seven games to the Flyers has added any determination entering next season, Thornton was a bit slow to answer, almost confused by the notion.
“I like to think I’m always kind of starving,” Thornton said. “[The series] left a bad taste in my mouth but I try to come in and prepare the same way every year.”
Thornton finished fifth in the NHL this past season with 21 fighting majors. He was set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and Chiarelli and the Bruins felt confident all along that a deal would be reached before he could hit the market.
“It was something that we wanted to do and we’ve talked about it for a while with Shawn and his group,” Chiarelli said, later adding, “We knew we would get it done beforehand.

“It was a good decision that we made, it was a relatively easy decision that we made and we’re happy to have him back.”

Read More: Peter Chiarelli, Shawn Thornton,

Thornton gets two-year extension

06.04.10 at 10:49 am ET
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The Bruins have signed winger Shawn Thornton, set to become a free agent on July 1, to a two-year extension that will run through 2012, according to a Bruins press release.

Thornton has racked up 338 regular season penalty minutes in his three years as a Bruin, with 141 of them coming last season. He has totaled 28 regular season points in his tenure in Boston. The 2009-2010 season saw him record a career-high nine assists while finishing fifth in the NHL with 21 fighting majors.

While financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed, the Boston Globe is reporting that the deal is worth $1.625 million. Thornton and GM Peter Chiarelli will speak with the media this afternoon, so check back here throughout the day.

Read More: Shawn Thornton,
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