|09.20.16 at 12:51 pm ET|
BRIGHTON — Peter Mueller wants to resurrect his NHL career. He feels repairing his reputation is part of that.
A 28-year-old skilled forward whom the Coyotes chose eighth overall in 2008, Mueller has spent the last three seasons playing in Europe. After injuries derailed his NHL career, he planned to play the 2013-14 season in Switzerland before returning to the NHL for the 2014-15 season. A one-year deal with the Blues was the Minnesota native’s ticket back to North America, but he ended up going back to Switzerland after he and the team mutually agreed to terminate the deal at the end of the preseason. He’s been playing in Europe since, spending one more season with the Kloten Flyers in Switzerland and then last season with the Malmö Redhawks of the Swedish Elite League.
Mueller still harbors ill feelings over his brief St. Louis experience, but his disappointment is directed more at himself than the Blues. After management told him of their intentions to send him to the AHL, Mueller said he wanted out, a move he feels has left him with a reputation.
“It didn’t work out in my favor, and I could be a little immature, and a little, on my behalf, not fully committed to the organization, which was tough for me,” Mueller said Tuesday after captain’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena.
“A lot of things happened when that happened. [Two] years have gone past, and I’ve matured a lot more. I’ve got a family. It’s amazing what a child will do to your life and how committed you are. It was a tough situation for me at that point in time, but that’s all behind me and I’m hoping to prove to everyone in North America that this is no joke and this is for real this time.”
To that point, Mueller said Tuesday that he would sign in the AHL if he did not make an NHL team this season. He felt it was important to make that clarification to teams, as the St. Louis ordeal might have left clubs thinking bringing him to camp would be a waste of time.
“I think I have to prove to everyone that I’m here to stay and I want to stay here,” he said. “Whatever Boston has in store for me, I’m ready to accept.
“I think it’s always curious to a lot of people on what happened there. To be honest, I don’t blame them because it was a weird situation for everybody. I’ve talked to people that showed interest and told them whatever happened happened. People understood my situation, but also it’s a tough situation to walk away from. It’s unfortunate that I did, but I’m just trying to make up for it now.”
Drafted as a center back in the day, Mueller said that his recent years in Europe have been spent mostly at left and right wing. That’s good for his chances of making a B’s team that is overflowing with centers in David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron, Ryan Spooner, David Backes, Dominic Moore, Noel Acciari and Riley Nash.
Last season, Mueller had 13 goals and 12 assists for 25 points in 43 games for Malmö. His best season overseas came in 2013-14, when he scored 24 goals and had 22 helpers for 46 points in 49 games with Kloten.
|09.20.16 at 11:19 am ET|
BRIGHTON — Zach Senyshyn was kept out of the Bruins’ rookie tournament in Buffalo due to an appendectomy performed in early September, but the team didn’t rule out the possibility of him taking the ice at some point during training camp. That now looks like a good bet, as the 19-year-old right wing joined a large group of Bruins at captain’s practice Tuesday at Warrior Ice Arena.
Senyhsyn, who also missed the team’s development camp this summer due to mononucleosis, did not appear to be limited in Tuesday’s skate. He is a longshot to make the Bruins this season, as it’s expected the 15th overall pick in the 2015 draft will return to the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds for a third full season in the OHL. Last season, Senyshyn scored 45 goals in 66 games for the Greyhounds.
In other health news, Torey Krug took a good number of one-timers on Tuesday, something he couldn’t do earlier in the month due to his rehabbing shoulder. Krug is pushing to be ready in time for the team’s Oct. 13 season-opener.
|09.18.16 at 9:39 am ET|
The World Cup of Hockey isn’t going well for the United States, but local hockey fans have other players to follow in the tournament.
Hours after Team USA was upset in a shutout loss to Team Europe, tournament favorite Team Canada trounced the Czech Republic with a 6-0 victory. Two players had three-point nights for Canada. One of them was Sidney Crosby (as you might expect) and the other was his linemate, Brad Marchand. All three of Marchand’s points came in the first period.
Marchand got a helper on the game’s first goal (scored by Crosby), scored a goal of his own by tipping a Brent Burns point shot late in the period and then assisted linemate Patrice Bergeron’s last-second goa. Bergeron’s goal came when Marchand jumped on a puck off a Czech turnover by Crosby and then fed a trailing Bergeron.
Team Canada will play Team USA on Tuesday. The States won when the two teams played in a pre-tournament exhibition, but Saturday’s performances (including some questionable moves by USA coach John Tortorella) present the likelihood that Team USA could be a 3-and-out for the tournament. The top two teams from each group advance, and an 0-2 start would essentially seal the States’ fate.
|09.15.16 at 5:52 pm ET|
The Bruins announced a number of changes to their hockey operations staff, including adding Providence general manager to director of player personnel John Ferguson’s duties and parting with assistant athletic trainer Derek Repucci.
From Thursday’s press release:
Executive Director of Player Personnel John Ferguson will also serve as General Manager of the Providence Bruins, Sean Jordan has been hired as Head Physical Therapist, Ansel Garvey has been hired as Assistant Athletic Trainer, former Strength and Conditioning Coach John Whitesides has transitioned to a new role of Director of Health, Fitness and Wellness, Kenneth Pitts and Mike Macchioni have been hired as Sports Performance Coaches, Ryan Hardy has been hired as a U.S. Amateur Scout, Victor Nybladh has been hired as a European Amateur Scout, Matt Lindblad has been hired as a Professional Scout, and Brett Harkins has been hired as a Part-time Collegiate Scout. In addition, Assistant Athletic Trainer Derek Repucci has been relieved of his duties.
While Thursday’s announcements confirm what Cam Neely told WEEI.com last week about the training staff, it also indicates that Lindblad, a former B’s prospect, has retired from playing at age 26. The Bruins signed Lindblad as an undrafted free agent out of Dartmouth College in 2013, with the Illinois native playing two season. Injury limited Lindblad to just eight games in the New York organization, all of which came with the Hartford Wolf Pack of the AHL.
|09.15.16 at 3:14 pm ET|
BRIGHTON — The Bruins’ top two priorities this offseason were “IMPROVE THE DEFENSE” and “DON’T FORGET TO IMPROVE THE DEFENSE.” They went 0-for-2.
So what do you get when you don’t fix a blue line that was the worst it’s been in years? A room full of prospects smiling ear-to-ear on the first day of rookie camp because they think they’ve got a shot at playing in the NHL this season.
Boston has seven defensemen signed to one-way contracts, but the team will be better off if younger players show they have more to offer than one (or more) of those seven. It helps that there’s maybe only two top-four defensemen on the roster right now (Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug), so the opportunity is there to push someone out.
“I told them today, the best players will play,” Don Sweeney said. “If they [outperform] the guys that are here, the incumbents that are here, then they’ll have that opportunity [to make the team]. There’s no blockers from this standpoint. We’re in a situation where we need to get better. I’m adamant in saying that, and if that player’s better, he’ll play.”
The Bruins’ rookies will spend the coming days playing in a prospect tournament against the Sabres and Devils in Buffalo. While Boston’s rookies include some high-ceiling defenders such as Jeremy Lauzon, players like he and Jakub Zboril might need more junior seasoning before legitimately pushing for an NHL job.
One player who could be pushed out is Adam McQuaid. The Bruins opting to sign Kevan Miller (a similar player making less money) made that a possibility anyway, and the Bruins are high enough on Brandon Carlo that it wouldn’t come as a major shock to anyone if the 2015 second-round pick ended up going straight to the NHL in his first NHL season. Plus, being that McQuaid is a legitimate NHL defenseman whom other teams would conceivably want, the B’s could probably get something for him.
While the 6-foot-5, right-shooting Carlo might have the best chance of Boston’s current rookie camp players to make the NHL out of main camp, the rest of the defenders are taking the possibility just as seriously.
“There’s an opportunity and the guys realize that,” first-year pro Rob O’Gara said. “Everyone’s working their tails off to make the most of it and see if they can make an impact because they need guys to make an impact. From the top to the bottom, everyone has that pressure on them to perform. It’s very exciting and you can feel it in there. The guys are ready to go.”
|09.14.16 at 8:45 pm ET|
The Bruins revealed their rookie camp roster Wednesday evening, a group that as expected does not include right wing Zach Senyshyn. The 2015 15th overall pick is recovering from an appendectomy performed on Sept. 4.
After undergoing off-ice testing on Thursday, Boston’s prospects will head to Buffalo to play in a rookie tournament against prospects of the Sabres and Devils. The roster is as follows:
Forwards: Anton Blidh, Colby Cave, Peter Cehlarik, Domenic Commisso, Jake DeBrusk, Jesse Gabrielle, Colton Hargrove, Danton Heinen, Justin Hickman, Sean Kuraly, Matt Mistele, Mark Naclerio, Drake Rymsha, Simon Stransky, A.J. White
Defensemen: Linus Arnesson, Josh Atkinson, Brandon Carlo, Matt Grzelcyk, Jeremy Lauzon, Rob O’Gara, Bailey Webster, Jakub Zboril
Goaltenders: Zane McIntyre, Dan Vladar
|09.14.16 at 3:06 pm ET|
BRIGHTON — When the Bruins added the forwards they did this summer, there were ample questions about what it would mean for incumbents in Boston’s bottom-six. They’d signed David Backes, Riley Nash and Dominic Moore and invited Peter Mueller to camp, but what about Ryan Spooner? What abut Noel Acciari? Isn’t Seth Griffith still a thing?
Nobody asked about Zac Rinaldo. Maybe that’s because they already knew the answer and it’s awkward, but Rinaldo is still here, with one year on his contract with a team that decided they were better off without him last season. He’s also got a five-game suspension waiting for him if and when he ever makes it back to the NHL.
“I guess ultimately you could speculate to what might happen — there’s a number of different scenarios that could unfold — but any time that I’ve spoken to B’s management, it’s been, ‘We expect him to be here. Have a good summer, come back in here and be an important part of this club,’” Rinaldo’s agent, Todd Reynolds, told WEEI.com Wednesday. “That’s why they acquired him, for those reasons. It didn’t end great last year, obviously, but their hope is that that’s just a moment in time.”
Last summer, the Bruins traded a 2017 third-round pick to Philadelphia for Rinaldo, whom nearly every statistic alleged did not belong in the league. Hockey is a sport where decision-makers believe that numbers can lie, however, so the Bruins took on the speedy forward despite him having more games suspended than goals scored in his career.
It didn’t take long to see why the Bruins liked Rinaldo, because the B’s care more about personality than they probably should. For all of the dangerous plays he’d committed in his career, Rinaldo was quickly recognized as a high-character guy by teammates and his desire to strive for the relatively unglamorous role of fourth-liner and penalty-killer was respectable. Fans often (unwisely and inaccurately) gauge their liking of a player on their own perception of the player’s commitment, something that should have curried favor for Rinaldo with the locals more than it did. Never at any point, however, did it seem that trading what they did for him was a smart move.
One might argue here that was just a third-round pick (and a future one at that) and that it’s not worth lamenting the loss of such a selection. It is when you lose one for something worth much less, as Rinaldo was a sixth-rounder himself and had not dramatically improved his stock since coming into the league. No, the Bruins didn’t trade a top pick for the player, but elite players can be had in the middle rounds and the best way to get one of them is to pick as often as possible. If the Bruins traded a seventh-round pick for Rinaldo, it likely would have yielded a shake of the head and everyone would have moved on. It was harder to do because the Bruins made the stakes (and thus immediately unrealistic expectations) higher.
We all know how things turned out. The Bruins pulled the plug prior to the trade deadline, waiving Rinaldo with the intention of sending him to Providence if he went unclaimed. He did just that (meaning they spent a third-round pick on a player no other team would take for free), but, in playing one last NHL game that night while on waivers, committed a hit on Cedric Paquette that earned him a five-game NHL suspension. He was sent to Providence before he could serve it, but earned a five-game AHL suspension in his first game for the Baby B’s for a hit on Kane Lafranchise of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Rinaldo was never brought back up to Boston, finishing the season in Providence after having not played in the AHL since the lockout. Rinaldo has declined to speak with the media since arriving for captain’s practices last week, but players say he’s dealing with his situation well.
“I didn’t really get to know him that well [last season], but here, now, he’s a great guy,” Acciari said. “Very friendly, very vocal; he’s a locker room guy. Even when I went down to Providence [at the end of the season], he had hurt his ankle but he was always vocal in the playoffs down there and just a good locker room guy. He was great to be around.”
The Bruins showed by waiving Rinaldo last season that they don’t feel beholden to the player just because they traded a decent commodity for him. As such, the only way Rinaldo will end up on Boston’s roster this season is on merit. That’s an uphill climb for him given the number of bodies the Bruins have up front, but his teammates aren’t counting him out.
“He’s phenomenal,” Acciari said. “He’s a good player and a great person. Good things will happen for him.”