|03.03.10 at 11:54 am ET|
The wheeling and dealing continued for the Bruins hours before the 3 p.m. trading deadline as they have reportedly acquired veteran defenseman Dennis Seidenberg and the rights to Ohio State defenseman Matt Bartkowski in exchange for right wing Byron Bitz, Craig Weller and a second-round pick, according to TSN in Canada.
|03.03.10 at 10:53 am ET|
The Bruins confirmed late Wednesday morning they have traded defenseman Derek Morris to the Phoenix Coyotes for a conditional pick [reportedly fourth round] in 2011. The NHL trade deadline is at 3 p.m. ET.
The Bruins signed the 31-year-old Morris as a free agent before this season. He played in 58 games for the Bruins, scoring three goals and recording 22 assists with 26 penalty minutes.
He would be returning to Phoenix, where he played from 2003-09. He actually played 83 games in an 82-game season in 03-04 when he played the first 69 games with Colorado before a trade landed him in Phoenix for the final 14 games of the Coyotes’ season.
He would be heading to a team destined for the playoffs as Phoenix is fourth in the Western Conference with 79 points. Morris has appeared in the postseason just twice in his 12 NHL seasons, with Colorado in 2009 and last year with the New York Rangers.
|03.03.10 at 10:14 am ET|
The big day has finally arrived.
Wednesday is the NHL trade deadline with all moves to be completed by 3 p.m. this afternoon. Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli will hold a press conference at 4 p.m. at TD Garden to discuss the moves the Bruins did, or did not, make to improve the team down the stretch looking for a third consecutive playoff birth.
All the blood that has been squeezed from the Chiarelli stone this past week has been “we are looking for a top-nine forward with a scoring bent” with the caveat that market prices are prohibitive at this point. Outside of the upper echelon teams (Chicago, Washington, San Jose) the rest of the league is tightly packed making this year a sellers market as there are a plethora of buyers. The six through 12 seeds in each conference are separated by nine points heading after Tuesday’s games.
With 65 points, the Bruins currently have a tenuous hold on the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference (tied in points with the Rangers, one behind the Canadiens, four behind the Flyers). Injuries and inconsistency have been the name of the game in Boston. Chiarelli and coach Claude Julien have been holding onto the fact that several Bruins have not performed to expectations this year and that a turnaround by them (David Krejci, Blake Wheeler, Milan Lucic, Michael Ryder, Dennis Wideman to name the primary candidates) will do a lot to turn the team around.
Yet, here we are, 61 games in with 65 points to show for it. To expect a sudden turnaround by all these players would be foolish at best, damning to the front office’s reputation at worst. Some of them may go on a hot streak down the stretch but of those five names, two, maybe three can realistically rise to their expectations. The question then becomes; what tact do the Bruins take at the deadline and is the price really worth it?
The smart money at this point says that Chiarelli will not make a major move. By major, a top-nine forward along the lines of Raffi Torres, Teemu Selanne, Ray Whitney, Keith Tkachuk or Paul Kariya (to name a few on the rumor mill). Do not expect to see Marian Hossa or Ilya Kovalchuk or their ilk walk through the door. If those type of players were on the market, which they are not, it is doubtful that Chiarelli would spend what it would take to bring them in anyway. So far he has been guarding his horde of draft picks, either waiting for the best deal to come along or to really restock the Providence Bruins and Reading Royals for years to come. Protecting the first round picks is understandable, laudable even, considering the Bruins have two each in the next two drafts. Yet, with five second round picks between 2010 and 2011, it is hard to argue that Chiarelli could not flip one of them relatively painlessly for Whitney or Torres. That would be a high price but the sellers control the market.
At the same time, the Bruins have to worry about money. So far, Chiarelli has been penny wise and pound foolish. The pennies have been spent in the last couple of days reorganizing the minor league system with the Steve Kampfer and Cody Wild trades. Do not expect to see either of them in Boston soon, if ever. The pounds that Chiarelli spent were mostly last summer, giving Tim Thomas his four-year $20 million contract looks like a big mistake and the extensions to Krejci and Lucic may have been premature. It all adds up to next to nothing for the Bruins to spend under the cap so a contract from the NHL roster would have to go the other way or players like Vladimir Sobotka, Johnny Boychuk would have to be stowed in Providence to free up their nominal salaries.
In the realm of sanity (a small bubble at any trade deadline), Chiarelli probably knows that no matter what he does at the deadline, the Bruins are probably not going to jump any higher than the sixth seed in the conference. Thus, why rush to make a transaction now when the market is so prohibitive to making a value deal? Chiarelli could happily sit on his picks, wait for the season to end and the draft to come and make a splash in the summer. The ways the Bruins are currently constructed, he is going to have to rock the boat eventually.
Whether he decides to do that before 3 p.m. today remains to be seen. Chiarelli is set to hold a press conference at TD Garden at 4 p.m. to discuss the decisions he made and the moves he did or did not make.
|03.02.10 at 10:45 pm ET|
For 40 minutes, it looked like Zdeno Chara and the Bruins had the Canadiens right where they wanted them.
They were playing solid defense, Tuukka Rask had turned away all 18 shots and run his shutout streak to 127 minutes, 15 seconds and they even converted a chance in front of the opposing goalie on the power play for a 1-0 lead.
All the Bruins had to do was keep it up for 20 more minutes and not only would they finally win at home, they would run their winning streak to five games and put some distance between themselves and the final spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
But as was the case before the break, the Bruins – especially on defense – picked a bad time to start skating backwards. And as a result – four unanswered Canadiens goals in the third – the Bruins had endured their 10th straight home loss.
“We know we have to be better, especially at home, especially at this time of year going into the end of the season and pushing to play in the playoffs. We know we need to be better. We have to take advantage of being at home, for sure,” Chara said.
Counting Thursday’s home match against Toronto before a seven-game road trip, the Bruins have just nine home games remaining.
“Those games we have left, we have to find a way. We have to make sure we win most of them,” Chara added.
|03.02.10 at 9:31 pm ET|
Summary — The Bruins and Canadiens got the stretch run started in earnest Tuesday night at TD Garden with a three period tango that Montreal won 4-1. Tuukka Rask got a career-high seventh consecutive start for Boston and but lost for the first time in five games with 29 saves. Carey Price was the goaltender of record for the Canadiens and stopped 23 pucks for the win. The Bruins have now lost 10 straight at home (0-7-3) with their last victory in Boston coming at Fenway Park for the Winter Classic Jan.1.
The Bruins entered the third period with a 1-0 advantage before Montreal came back with two goals to take the lead and seal the victory. The game-winner was scored by Maxim LaPierre on a rebound that he swept up in the crease to beat Rask.
Boston opened the scoring in the first period on the power play when Zdeno Chara hit a blast from the point that got tangled in the crease with Marco Sturm, Price and Habs defenseman Josh Gorges. As Gorges pushed Sturm over Price, Sturm dislodged the puck and swept it into the goal to send the Bruins into the second period with a 1-0 lead.
The Habs came at the Bruins with some momentum midway through the second period but Rask was able to put the clamps down on any Montreal scoring chances including two point-blank chances by Maxim LaPierre to preserve the shutout going into the third period.
The Bruins had shutout the Canadiens for 129:55 of gameplay before former Bruin Geln Metropolit tied the game up when he beat Rask with a wrist shot from the slot on the rush at 2:40 in the third period. Metropolit has haunted his former team with four goals in five games against Boston this year.
Bruins’ center Patrice Bergeron did not play with a groin strain and will be day-to-day.
Three Stars —
Carey Price — The much maligned Montreal goaltender started the Candiens’ stretch run off on a good foot by holding the Bruins to one goal to pick up his 13th win of the year.
Maxim LaPierre — The Canadiens’ center is rumored to be on the trading block and played a spirited game. He was rewarded with his sixth goal of the year in the third period that (proved to be the game winner) (put Montreal uo 2-1).
Marco Sturm — The German Olympic team may not have made a splash but Sturm continues to make waves for the Bruins. His first period power play goal was his 19th of the year which leads the team.
Turning Point — Michael Ryder took a holding penalty at 4:10 in the third that gave the Canadiens momentum to score the go-ahead goal by LaPierre at 7:24. Rask killed the penalty for the Bruins with a series of solid saves but could not hold them all back as he bobbled a shot by Travis Moen at the baseline that LaPierre cleaned up in the crease.
Key Play — Boston’s Marc Savard had a break away in the second period and attempted to dance in on Price but was harried by LaPierre from behind enough that Savard could not get a shot away. LaPierre was called for a slashing penalty that put the Bruins on the man-advantage but the Canadiens killed it and the Bruins would not threaten again. Hence, a smart penalty by LaPierre gave the Canadiens a chance to come back and win the game.
|03.02.10 at 8:40 pm ET|
The game settled into a back and forth with each team just missing on golden opportunities in close as the Bruins maintain their 1-0 lead after 40 minutes.
Price also came up big late in the second when Marc Savard came down the slot and was able to get a point-blank shot off despite being hooked from behind by Maxim Lapierre. The Bruins had two power plays in the second period and did not look quite as sharp as they did in capitalizing in the first period.
The Bruins outshot the Habs, 10-8, in the period and trail 18-17 for the game.
Tuukka Rask finished the second with a shutout streak of 127 minutes, 15 seconds and hasn’t seen much rubber in the game so far. Fortunately he didn’t see a shot from Andrei Kostitsyn with 30 seconds remaining as Kostitsyn, wide open with an open net, couldn’t get his stick on a cross-slot pass.
The Bruins are 1-for-3 on the power play while Montreal is 0-for-1.
The Bruins are 20 minutes away from snapping a nine-game home losing streak, having lost every contest on their own ice since beating Philadelphia at Fenway Park on New Year’s Day.
|03.02.10 at 7:43 pm ET|
The first period of the first game back from the Olympic break for the Bruins featured solid goaltending, high energy skating and low-and-behold hard work in front of the net that paid off in a goal and a 1-0 Bruins lead after one.
With Montreal center Dominic Moore in the box for interference, Zdeno Chara let fly a shot from the high slot that caught Habs goalie Carey Price in the midsection. Price couldn’t control the rebound and Sturm fell over Price and one-handed the puck into the net behind Price.
Sturm leads the Bruins with 19 goals.
Tuukka Rask started in net and stopped all 10 Montreal shots on net, including a nice glove save on Roman Hamrlik midway through.
The Bruins had only seven shots on goal and ended the period on the penalty kill. Montreal will begin the second period with a 69-second power play after a slash on Vladimir Sobotka.
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