|03.12.15 at 3:02 pm ET|
The Islanders have reportedly signed former Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk to a seven-year, $42 million extension. Boychuk tweeted that he re-signed, with Newsday’s Arthur Staple providing the financial details.
Yes! Yes! Yes! For seven more years!!
— Johnny B (@joboych) March 12, 2015
— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) March 12, 2015
Boychuk, 31, will carry a $6 million cap hit until he is 38.
The Bruins traded Boychuk to New York prior to the season due to cap constraints, receiving Philadelphia’s second-round pick in 2015 and the Islanders’ 2016 second-round as compensation. B’s general manager Peter Chiarelli said following the trade that the Bruins had not tried to negotiate a new contract with Boychuk before trading him.
In 59 games with the Islanders, Boychuk has established career highs in goals (seven), assists (25) and points (32).
|03.12.15 at 1:48 pm ET|
NBC Sports NHL analyst Pierre McGuire made his weekly appearance Thursday on Middays with MFB to discuss the Bruins’ recent hot stretch and to look ahead to possible playoff opponents. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
The Bruins have rattled off wins in five of their last six games, and it now seems more likely they will make the playoffs, as they currently sit in eighth place in the Eastern Conference, six points ahead of the Panthers. When it comes to possible playoff opponents, McGuire thinks the Bruins should actually want the Montreal Canadiens.
“I watched what happened with Henrik Lundqvist last year and there are a lot of similarities,” McGuire said. “I can’t believe nobody in the Boston media has brought this up. I watched Henrik Lundqvist go into Montreal and exorcised so many demons for him. The Rangers couldn’t win forever in Montreal, but Henrik Lundqvist found a way and they eventually won against the Canadiens in the Eastern Confercence Final last year.
“Yes, they didn’t have Carey Price on the Montreal side because of an injury after a collision with Chris Kreider, but Montreal because they are offensively challenged right now and they didn’t really address that at the trade deadline. I know they tried to, but they didn’t want to dismantle good portions of their roster to do that because they still think they are a team that is building for the future, which I agree with them on.
“I would prefer Montreal if I were Boston just because I saw what Lundqvist did last year. I think [Tuukka] Rask could do the same thing. I think quite frankly because they are offensively challenged Montreal would be a better matchup than the Rangers or Tampa.”
McGuire feels the most important player on the roster is goaltender Tuukka Rask.
“I think the most important thing is if Tuukka can hold it up,” he said. “If he can play like he did in Ottawa the other night, Boston will be a very, very difficult out as an eight seed. I would not want to be the No. 1 seed and play them in the first round.”
Overall, McGuire feels good about the Bruins because he feels they now have four lines, especially with the addition of Max Talbot at the trade deadline.
“I feel really good about the Bruins,” McGuire said. “I spent the weekend in Boston last weekend watching them come from behind and beat Philadelphia and then do a really good job, especially with their special teams, against Detroit on Sunday. The biggest thing to me is the coaching staff is sound. The leadership of the team is sound. Tuukka Rask played a tremendous game against Ottawa the other night. He was a big difference for why the team won. Sometimes you don’t have your best game. What I am impressed with is this team now has four lines. With the addition of Max Talbot this is a four line team again. Really important to their well-being moving forward.”
|03.12.15 at 1:39 pm ET|
In the shocker of all shockers, Bruins coach Claude Julien said Tuesday that he hopes three-on-three overtime play replaces the shootout.
Julien, who last week said shootouts “suck” expressed hope that next week’s general managers meetings in Toronto will further the move away from the shootout. It’s expected that the league will explore playing three-on-three in the event that the game isn’t settled in four-on-four overtime play.
“Personally I’m more of a team-oriented coach I guess, which I always believe that this is a team sport and should be decided by a team,” Julien said. “I never, never have been [in favor of the shootout] and I’m just being honest about it. I know it’s a great show and I know that we’re here for our fans. If the fans like it that much and they keep it in then I have no issues, I’ll move along with it. But if you ask me my personal opinion, I’d like to see it decided in a way that its more than just one player against a goaltender.
“Whether its four-on-four or three-on-three, it’s still a group. I think that’s the way games should be decided. I’m still one of those people that still believes that if you can’t decide it with four-on-four or three-on-three then a tie should still be good. For some reason we’ve decided that there needs to be a winner every game. Sometimes a lot of people can go home really happy having seen a game that was well played, that was tight at the end of it, was exciting to watch vs people going home feeling like they didn’t do a great job because they lost in the shootout. It really tarnishes the outcome of the whole game. That’s my personal opinion on it.”
Four-on-four followed by three-on-three and then a shootout is currently being used to settle overtime games in the AHL.
|03.12.15 at 11:11 am ET|
The Bruins have signed UMass forward Frank Vatrano, an undrafted free agent who will forego his final two years of college eligibility.
Vatrano, a native of East Longmeadow who turns 21 on Saturday, led the Minutemen with 18 goals in 36 games this season and added 10 assists as well. His biggest strength is his shot, which he doesn’t hesitate to use. His 5.39 shots on goal per game rank first in Hockey East and second nationally. Vatrano is listed at 5-foot-10 and 215 pounds. He’s a left shot and has played both wings at UMass.
UMass’ season ended Sunday night against Notre Dame in the opening round of the Hockey East tournament
‘ John Micheletto (@CoachMicheletto) March 12, 2015
— Frank Vatrano (@Frank_Vatrano) March 12, 2015
|03.11.15 at 2:30 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — A future Hall-of-Famer comes to a team, looks like he should have been there his whole career en route to a brilliant season and then disappears in the blink of a business decision. Sound familiar?
It does to the Bruins, who can undoubtedly relate to the Patriots’ pain as Darrelle Revis makes his way back to the Jets. Just last season, it seemed like a sure thing that the Bruins and Jarome Iginla would find a way to overcome the looming cap crunch and keep the 30-goal-scorer in Boston past his one-year contract. Any optimism there faded when it became clear that Iginla could not in good conscience go year-to-year on one-year deals with bonuses, as he instead opted for the security of a traditional deal with the Avalanche for three years and $16 million.
In both cases, the teams enjoyed the player’s contributions while knowing a potential departure could be looming. Milan Lucic, as knowledgable a Patriots fan as any and a now former linemate of Iginla, can see the similarities between the unfortunate departures.
“You’re definitely thinking and you’re definitely hoping that at the end of the day, something would work out for both parties and they would remain together,” Lucic said. “When it falls apart, as a teammate, it’s out of your control and sometimes it can get frustrating, but at the end of the day you understand that it’s a business and you have to move forward with the teammates that you have.
“You definitely miss [Iginla] for what he brought to the team and what he brought to this dressing room and who he was as a person and as a player, but at the end of the day you have to move on and do what’s best for the team and help the team win.”
There are obvious differences between the two situations aside from the fact that one union resulted in a championship and the other did. Financially, the biggest difference was that it was the initial signing of Iginla that made him so difficult to retain. The B’s used the bonus cushion that teams can use with 35-and-over players, paying him a $1.8 million salary (which stood as his cap hit) but giving him $4.2 million in easily attained bonuses. The bonus money applied to this year’s cap in the form of an overage penalty, giving the Bruins no flexibility.
“You would have liked to see him stay, especially as a fan of the Patriots,” Lucic said. “What he was able to bring to the defensive game of that team — I think it was [Devin] McCourty that said it: That defense was able to do so much more because he was able to shut down the guy, the top receiver, to two-to-three receptions a game versus [the] eight-to-nine that they usually get.
“You would have loved to have seen them maybe pick up that option and have him for another year, but at the end of the day, how could you blame the guy? The guy got 70 million bucks over [five] years, so it’s hard for him to say no to something like that, and obviously having 40 million guaranteed on top of that. At the end of the day, he came here and helped the team win the Super Bowl, so as a fan you’re thankful for what he brought to the team, but on the other end you wish that he could have spent some more time and maybe brought another championship here.”
Neither the Bruins nor Iginla have benefited on the ice from their parting. The B’s tried multiple experiments trying to replace him before settling on 18-year-old David Pastrnak, who, while promising for future seasons, can’t be seen as a sure thing in the Stanley Cup playoffs next month. Iginla’s goals per game are down in Colorado, where he is on pace for 26 goals as the Avalanche sit 11th in the Western Conference.
|03.11.15 at 1:54 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — David Krejci skated prior to Wednesday’s practice at Ristuccia Arena, with Claude Julien saying after the practice that it was Krejci’s second time on the ice since partially tearing his MCL on Feb. 20.
“It’s part of the healing process,” Julien said. “He’s been on the ice. It’s a good sign, but he’s not ready.”
Krejci has missed eight games as part of what’s expected to be four-to-six weeks out of the lineup. He is currently on long-term injured reserve and is not eligible to return until March 17 against the Sabres at the earliest.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|03.10.15 at 10:06 pm ET|
Ryan Spooner had to go home to have the most productive game of his NHL career.
The Kanata, Ontario, native netted two goals as the Bruins enjoyed a 3-1 win over the Senators on Tuesday in Ottawa. Spooner picked up his second career goal with a second-period power play tally and added an even strength goal by finishing off a Milan Lucic net drive later in the period.
The 23-year-old center now has eight points (three goals, five assists) in the eight games since he was called up following David Krejci‘s knee injury. Spooner is also riding a six-game point streak (three goals, four assists).
The game should be a confidence-booster for Spooner, as his production had recently been accompanied by some five-on-five struggles for his line in a weekend that saw his group stuck in the defensive zone too much for Claude Julien‘s liking.
Here are four more things we learned Tuesday:
BRUINS KEEP SENATORS AWAY
With the win, the Bruins created some distance between themselves and an Ottawa team that was pushing for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
The B’s now sit seven points ahead of the Sens through 66 games, though Ottawa has one game in hand. The Panthers (72 points in 66 games) sit between the two teams.
RASK TURNS 28, NEARLY TURNS IN A SHUTOUT
Though Tuesday was Tuukka Rask‘s birthday, it was the netminder who gave a gift to his teammates with a solid performance that kept the Bruins with a bigger lead than they may have deserved.
Rask survived a 21-shot barrage in the second period from Ottawa, though he was helped out by three hit posts. The Senators finally broke up his shutout when Matt Puempel took a puck off the end boards from a wide Patrick Wiercioch point shot and tapped it into the net.
The reigning Vezina-winner finished the night with 39 saves on 40 shots faced.
Perhaps David Pastrnak and linemates Lucic and Spooner spent so much time stuck in their own zone last weekend that they forgot what to do in the offensive zone.
Pastrnak, who entered Tuesday with just two penalties in 29 career games, took two penalties — both in the offensive zone — in the first 10 minutes of Tuesday’s game. The 18-year-old tripped Eric Gryba on his first shift of the game and, about six minutes after leaving the penalty box for that infraction, smothered the puck behind the net for a delay of game call.
ERIKSSON FLASHES SKILL
Loui Eriksson continued what figures to be a relatively quiet 20-plus goal campaign with a sensational play that got him to 17 goals on the season.
With the Senators not getting the puck deep on a line change in the second period, Dougie Hamilton threw the puck off the boards up the ice from his own end with Eriksson giving chase. Eriksson beat Cody Ceci to the puck in the offensive zone and made a brilliant one-hand pass to himself through the defenseman before beating Craig Anderson to make it 2-0.
(Vine courtesy of Pete Blackburn)
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