|06.19.14 at 12:55 pm ET|
Bruins assistant coach Geoff Ward has resigned and is leaving the NHL, the Bruins announced Thursday.
Ward, who was responsible for the team’s power play, is headed to Germany to become the head coach of the Mannheim Eagles of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga.
Ward had been with the Bruins for seven years, joining the team when Claude Julien was brought in. Despite the power play’s struggles over the years, Ward was responsible for a very productive Bruins group that finished with the third-best power play efficiency in the NHL.
If Ward’s new team sounds familiar to Bruins fans, it should. Dennis Seidenberg spent the 2012-13 playing for the Mannheim Eagles with his brother, Yannic.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|06.17.14 at 11:44 am ET|
Thornton, who will hit free agency this offseason, was informed by Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli Monday that the team will not pursue re-signing him after seven seasons in Boston.
“I’ve been around a long time. I assumed it would’ve been [Chiarelli] talking to my agent Monday afternoon instead of me walking in there,” Thornton said. “There’s always a chance of me walking in there to see if I’d be a good soldier, be the extra guy for the next year or two. But I pretty much knew it was coming.
“I talked about it on Sunday with some friends and family. I got the text on Saturday saying he wanted to meet Monday. I kind of put my head around it.”
Thornton wouldn’t cite specific reasons given by Chiarelli for his decision, but the enforcer was grateful for the opportunities given to him over the years.
“It’s just the business. I said it yesterday, I did a few interviews, I’m very, very fortunate that I got to be here for seven years,” Thornton said. “It doesn’t happen anymore. Guys don’t stay around in one market, being a fourth-line guy and being a tough guy. I think you get moved around a lot more than that nowadays. So to do it in this city for seven years, I’m really fortunate.
“I think there are guys in Providence who are just ready to play, and you got to see a few of them do it last year. They’ve got to make some room for these guys. I could understand that.
“But [Chiarelli] didn’t have to tell me early. He didn’t have to tell me face to face. Everything about this organization from Day 1 until yesterday was first class, and I appreciate it.”
|06.16.14 at 7:27 pm ET|
Shawn Thornton is holding no grudges after Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli told him Monday that the team would not be offering him a contract for next season.
Reflecting on his seven-year tenure with the Bruins, Thornton was more proud than anything else as he began to look ahead to the next and perhaps final stop of his NHL career.
“I was very lucky and very fortunate to be part of this city and organization for the last seven years,” Thornton said. “My first thought is I’m very appreciative of them keeping me around for seven years and [letting me] have the role that I’ve played here.
“They’ve been first-class from Day 1, when Cam [Neely] called me convincing me that this would be a good fit for me, to even today, Peter giving me a face-to-face meeting and a heads up before free agency that I wasn’t coming back. Everything in between was amazing. I’m very lucky and very thankful that I got treated so well when I was here.”
Thornton said he estimated his chances of being brought back as a ‘coin flip’ when Chiarelli told him at breakup day last month that he needed time to determine the team’s plan. The 36-year-old (he’ll be 37 next month) wants to play at least another season, and he’ll meet with teams to determine the best fit going forward.
Physically, Thornton said he feels better now than he did going into the season, as he dealt with some injuries that hindered his workouts last offseason.
As for the notion that the league is trending away from players like him, Thornton acknowledged that the Bruins have young forwards who are NHL-ready, but also said that fighting is far from extinct in the NHL.
“Obviously the league is trending away from it. You can tell. There’s no secret,” Thornton said. “It started when they put visors in and it’s just continuing on, but I think we’re all in agreement that the puck’s not going to drop next year on Oct. 7 and everyone’s going to be skating around with their gloves on all the time.
“I think it’ll probably start to be phased out eventually, but it’s around for the next couple of years at least. I see the point that’s being made, but I think it will still be here. On the other side, I think that one of the reasons I’ve had success and have been able to stick around as long as I have is that I bring more to the table than just the fighting. I think I can actually play hockey, too.”
|06.16.14 at 3:40 pm ET|
In a video posted on the team’s website, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli announced that the team will not be re-signing forward Shawn Thornton.
“Today I met with Shawn. We had a good meeting, and I informed him that we wouldn’t be re-signing him,” Chiarelli said in the video. “It was good in the sense that we talked about the time Shawn has spent here.
“I told him that he was one of the most significant acquisitions that we made — one, for the role that he played, and two, for the person that he is. It was nice to rehash his time. It was sad to tell him he wasn’t coming back.”
Thornton spent seven seasons in Boston, tallying 34 goals, 42 assists and 748 penalty minutes in 480 games. He added one goal, six assists and 62 penalty minutes in 86 playoff games and helped lead the Bruins to a Stanley Cup title in 2011.
|06.15.14 at 6:44 pm ET|
Though neither team reached the Stanley Cup finals this season, oddsmakers have the Blackhawks as favorites to win the Cup in 2015, with the Bruins the second favorites.
The Kings, who are days removed from winning the Cup for the second time in the last three years, sit behind the Blackhawks, Bruins and Penguins.
Here are the odds, per Bovada:
Chicago Blackhawks: 15/2
Boston Bruins: 8/1
Pittsburgh Penguins: 9/1
Los Angeles Kings: 10/1
St. Louis Blues: 10/1
Anaheim Ducks: 14/1
San Jose Sharks: 14/1
Colorado Avalanche: 18/1
Minnesota Wild: 18/1
New York Rangers: 18/1
Detroit Red Wings: 22/1
Montreal Canadiens: 25/1
Tampa Bay Lightning: 25/1
Vancouver Canucks: 25/1
Philadelphia Flyers: 28/1
Dallas Stars: 33/1
Toronto Maple Leafs: 33/1
Washington Capitals: 33/1
Columbus Blue Jackets: 40/1
New Jersey Devils: 40/1
Carolina Hurricanes: 50/1
Edmonton Oilers: 50/1
Ottawa Senators: 50/1
Phoenix Coyotes: 50/1
Winnipeg Jets: 50/1
Calgary Flames: 66/1
Florida Panthers: 66/1
Nashville Predators: 66/1
New York Islanders: 66/1
Buffalo Sabres: 75/1
|06.13.14 at 9:39 am ET|
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli told WEEI.com Friday morning that he has no plans to trade forward Brad Marchand. He also refuted a rumor from Thursday that the team was discussing a trade of the pesky forward for Sharks veteran Patrick Marleau.
“I have had no discussions for Marchand and I have no plans to trade him,” Chiarelli said. “I don’t make it a practice to respond to reports in the social media, but occasionally it is necessary.”
A veteran of four seasons, Marchand has three years left on a four-year, $18 million extension that contains a modified no-trade clause. His $4.5 million cap hit is fourth among Bruins forwards and sixth among Bruins players.
Marleau is not a logical fit for the Bruins given that they are looking to shed salary going forward rather than add it. In addition to Marleau being 34 years of age, his deal carries two more years of a $6.66 million cap hit and contains a no-movement clause.
The upside of adding a player like Marleau is that he is still productive at his age, as he had 33 goals for the Sharks last season, but making that expensive of a minor upgrade (Marchand had more goals than Marleau’s 17 in the 2013 season) in one spot on the top-six would make it even harder for the Bruins to re-sign Jarome Iginla, who is a free agent and led the Bruins in goals in both the regular season, when his 30 goals matched Patrice Bergeron‘s, and postseason.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|06.10.14 at 4:15 pm ET|
As the Stanley Cup finals take place, the fact that the Bruins didn’t even reach the Eastern Conference finals after winning the Presidents’ Trophy further accentuates the failure that was their 2013-14 season. Here are the individual grades:
Patrice Bergeron: A
Regular season: 80 GP, 30 G, 32 A, 62 PTS, plus-38
Postseason: 12 GP, 3 G, 6 A, 9 PTS, plus-1
Bergeron had the type of season that led Twitter to be insufferable over his candidacy for a video game cover, so that’s a good thing, I guess. This was Bergeron’s second career 30-goal season, and the fact that he scored 30 goals given that he never, ever cheats offensively, was pretty insane. He likely would have had more points than his 62 points had his linemates been more consistent early on.
Bergeron had nine points (three goals, six assists) over the first eight games of the playoffs, but he failed to register a point in the last four games against the Canadiens.
Jarome Iginla: A-
Regular season: 78 GP, 30 G, 31 A, 61 PTS, plus-34
Postseason: 12 GP, 5 G, 2 A, 7 PTS, even rating
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He hit 30 goals in the regular season, and while that thrilled Bruins fans, that’s what they should have expected from him. It took him a bit to start scoring regularly, but once he hit his stride, the Bruins’ first line had perhaps its most consistent regular season since David Krejci became the team’s No. 1 center. The Bruins will want to bring him back, but there’s no telling whether Iginla is willing to go year-to-year given that it’s the only way the Bruins can capitalize cap-wise on his status as a player over 35 years old.
Carl Soderberg: A-
Regular season: 73 GP, 16 G, 32 A, 48 P, plus-4
Postseason: 12 GP, 1 G, 5 A, 6 PTS, plus-4
It’s probably too early take positives from the season and apply them going forward, but Soderberg showed he can be one of the league’s better third-liners since he was moved to center. Considering Bergeron and David Krejci aren’t going anywhere, that’s where Soderberg will remain. He has one year left on his deal with a $1.083 million cap hit. If the 28-year-old takes another step forward in his second full NHL season, he’ll be due a sizable raise.
Reilly Smith: A-
Regular season: 82 GP, 20 G, 31 A, 51 PTS, plus-28
Postseason: 12 GP, 4 G, 1 A, 5 PTS, plus-5
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Don’t confuse his midseason slump with a complete collapse; Smith was one of the Bruins’ best players in the postseason. With even a little consistency down the stretch in the regular season, this would be an A+.
The Bruins coveted Smith when it came time to talk trade with the Stars, and they planned on him being a steady third-liner for them this season, but he claimed the second-line right wing job and raced out to a team-leading 18 goals in his first 52 games. Of course, scoring just two goals over the final 30 games wasn’t exactly top-six material. How much of that can be attributed to his midseason illness that caused him to lose weight is unknown, but with more consistency Smith can expect to push for 30 goals going forward.
Milan Lucic: B-
Regular season: 80 GP, 24 G, 35 A, 59 PTS, plus-30
Postseason: 12 GP, 4 G, 3 A, 7 PTS, plus-3
Lucic hit a goal-scoring rut in the middle of the season and he hit some of his opponents in the you-know-whats late in the season. That scoring slump saw Lucic score one goal over an 18-game stretch from Dec. 5 to Jan. 14, and without such a stretch Lucic could have pushed for 30 goals.
Daniel Paille: B-/C+
Regular season: 72 GP, 9 G, 9 A, 18 PTS, plus-9
Postseason: 7 GP, 1 G, 0 A, 1 PT, minus-1
He had three concussions this season, but he still played in 72 regular-season games. Paille’s the type of player who could figure to stick around if the Bruins decide to revamp their fourth line, as he has the speed that’s allowed the B’s to move him up in the lineup at points in addition to his penalty-killing duties.
Gregory Campbell: C
Regular season: 82 GP, 8 G, 13 S, 21 PTS, plus-1
Postseason: 12 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 0 PTS, even rating
The Bruins’ bottom-six – particularly their fourth line — is supposed to be better than that of other teams, and it was a bad year for the Merlot Line. Campbell was a minus-3 in the Montreal series, with his line on the ice for the disastrous shift against Montreal’s fourth line in Game 7 that resulted in Dale Weise‘s first-period goal. The positive is that Campbell played all 82 games and 12 postseason games coming off a broken leg that ended last season in the Eastern Conference finals for him. Read the rest of this entry »
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