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Shawn Thornton on MFB: ‘[Boston] is still home and I love it here’

07.13.15 at 12:51 pm ET
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Former Bruin and current Panthers forward Shawn Thornton joined Middays with MFB on Monday from the Red Sox Foundation charity golf tournament at Belmont Country Club to discuss his time with the B’s and his opinion on the NHL‘s new rules on fighting. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Thornton discussed how the Bruins fan base motivated him and why he continues to call Boston home.

“I love the passion,” Thornton said. “I’ve always tried to self-motivate. If you’re a professional, you should show up to work either way. I didn’t miss the winter, I miss the fans, I miss the city and I’m back here for the summer. … This is still home and I love it here.”

When asked about the tendency of teams in the NHL to move toward smaller, skilled lineups as opposed to the roster construction of the Big Bad Bruins, Thornton maintained his faith in the success of physical teams.

“I don’t really pay attention to a lot of what’s said,” Thornton said, “but I saw, I think it was somebody in LA, the assistant GM or something, people were asking him sort of the same type of question, I think. … He said, ‘We take a step back and look, are we a team that made the playoffs this year or are we a team that’s contended in the last five years? And we’ve answered yourself as being closer to a team that’s contended in the last five years.’ They brought in [Milan Lucic], they kind of still play the big, bad — I mean, when you play against LA, you’re in one. It’s physical, they keep coming and coming and coming. And they went to the finals whatever, four times, however many times.

“Listen, we in Boston lost to Montreal and it was Armageddon, and people said, ‘You can’t win running people over anymore, you’ve got to be small and skilled.’ They forgot, LA won that year with the biggest, baddest team in the league. But it all got forgotten because we lost.”

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Bruins sign defenseman Matt Irwin to 1-year deal

07.10.15 at 10:54 am ET
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The Bruins have signed defenseman Matt Irwin to a one-year deal worth $800,000, the team announced Friday.

The 27-year-old Irwin has spent the last three seasons with the San Jose Sharks and registered eight goals and 11 assists in 53 games last year while playing 17:01 per game. Irwin, who is listed at 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, played two years of college hockey at UMass from 2008-2010.

The strength of Irwin’s game is his offense, as he likes to jump into the rush and has a good shot. He has generally been pretty sheltered in terms of usage and has seen his CorsiRel go from a stellar plus-3.9 in 2012-13 to a not-so-stellar minus-4.0 in 2013-14 before settling in the middle at an even 0.0 in 2014-15, according to

Irwin adds to a logjam of Bruins defensemen who would ideally be suited for a third-pairing role, but he probably won’t be the top-four solution they need unless the defensive side of his game really improves.

Still, he should be able to push for playing time, especially if the Bruins want someone who can bring more puck-moving and offensive skill than Adam McQuaid or Kevan Miller.

Jimmy Hayes on MFB: ‘Dream come true’ getting traded to Bruins

07.09.15 at 2:39 pm ET
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Jimmy Hayes was traded to the Bruins last week. (Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

Jimmy Hayes was traded to the Bruins last week. (Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

New Bruins winger Jimmy Hayes joined Middays with MFB on Thursday afternoon to talk about coming home to Boston and how he’ll fit in with the B’s. To hear the interview, go to the Middays with MFB audio on demand page.

Hayes was traded from the Panthers to the Bruins on July 1 as return for Reilly Smith and Marc Savard‘s contract. As a native of Dorchester, the trade and subsequent signing served as a kind of homecoming for the 25-year-old.

“I was down on Cape Cod with six of my best buddies,” he said. “It was pretty cool, I got a phone call and turned around and told them I got traded to Boston, everyone’s high-fiving. It was just a really cool feeling to be around friends and family, to get traded back to your hometown.”

One of those with him during the call was his brother, Kevin, who played alongside Jimmy at Boston College and now suits up for the Rangers. This past season marked the first time that the brothers ever played on opposing sides of the ice as they grew up playing with one another.

“He was laughing,” Jimmy said. “He didn’t see it coming … he’s in a great situation right now with New York, but it was just funny because we both dreamed of playing for the Bruins as kids, and now for me to finally be able to do it on a nightly basis is going to be incredible.”

Initially drafted by the Maple Leafs in Round 2 of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft prior to his first season at BC, Hayes was then traded to the Blackhawks in June of 2010 in exchange for a second-round pick in that year’s draft. In 2013, the 6-foot-6 forward was part of a deal sending him and defenseman Dylan Olsen to Florida for Kris Versteeg and Philippe Lefebvre. Now he’s back in Boston.

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Bruins announce development camp roster

07.08.15 at 7:58 pm ET
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The Bruins announced the roster for next week’€™s development camp on Wednesday. The group of prospects is headlined by the team’€™s trio of first-round picks from last month’€™s draft, as well as development camp mainstay Zane McIntyre.

The roster is as follows:

Forwards: Noel Acciari, Jack Becker, Anders Bjork, Anton Blidh, Colby Cave, Peter Cehlarik, Jake DeBrusk, Frank Dichiara, Ryan Donato, Ryan Fitzgerald, Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, Jesse Gabrielle, Colton Hargrove, Danton Heinen, Justin Hickman, Cameron Hughes, Alex Iafallo, Joonas Kemppainen, Sean Kuraly, Andrew Poturalski, Zachary Senyshyn, Brandon Tanev, Frank Vatrano, Mike Vecchione

Defensemen: Matt Benning, Brandon Carlo, Brien Diffley, Zach Frye, Mark Hamilton, Max Iafrate, Emil Johansson, Jeremy Lauzon, Rob O’€™Gara, Jakub Zboril

Goaltenders: Michael Garteig, Zane McIntyre, Daniel Vladar

Dichiara, Iafallo, Poturalski, Tanev, Vecchione, Diffley, Frye, Hamilton and Garteig will attend the camp on an invite basis.

The annual prospect camp, now in its ninth year, will begin Tuesday at Ristuccia Arena.

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New Bruins Matt Beleskey, Jimmy Hayes arrive in Boston

07.07.15 at 5:32 pm ET
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Jimmy Hayes says being a Bruin is a "dream come true." (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Jimmy Hayes says being a Bruin is a “dream come true.”                  (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

New Bruins Matt Beleskey and Jimmy Hayes met with the press at TD Garden Tuesday. Both players come to Boston with the pressure of improving an offense that struggled last season, but the duo embrace the idea of playing in Boston.

For Hayes, it’€™s a return home. The Dorchester native is on his fourth organization at just 25 years of age, but it’€™s the organization he’€™s long wanted to call his employer.

“This has been a dream come true for me,” Hayes said. “To be able to come home to my hometown and my family and be able to have this opportunity to win another championship for this city is a dream come true.”

The 6-foot-6 right wing is coming off a 2014-15 season in which he scored a career-high 19 goals for the Panthers. Upon being traded to the B’€™s last week for Reilly Smith, Hayes inked a three-year contract extension with a $2.3 million average annual value.

Even richer is Beleskey, who took a five-year contract worth $19 million (an AAV of $3.8 million) on the first day of free agency. The trade of Smith and Marc Savard‘€™s contract for Hayes’€™ rights gave the B’€™s financial flexibility to sign the player with some breathing room against the salary cap’€™s $71.4 million upper limit.

Beleskey is the most notable player the B’€™s have added in an offseason that has seen Dougie Hamilton (Flames) and Milan Lucic (Kings) depart. Beleskey figures to replace Lucic on David Krejci‘€™s left wing, but he says he’€™ll play wherever coach Claude Julien feels is appropriate.

“I’€™m going to play my same game: be a power forward, get in on the forecheck and go to the net hard,” Beleskey said. “That’€™s what I’€™m going to do, and if he sees me play wherever, it doesn’€™t really matter. I’€™m going to do what he needs me to do, and he’€™ll put me where he thinks I belong.”

The 27-year-old Beleskey hopes to build on the first 20-goal season of his career. Asked whether the vacancy in Boston’€™s top six (and thus opportunity to skate with Krejci or Patrice Bergeron) made the B’€™s an attractive destination, he said Boston would be an ideal landing spot regardless of the roster.

“It’€™s the Boston Bruins. It’€™s an extremely attractive place to be,” he said. “I looked at their team, and I talked with my agent, my family, and it’€™s always been a place I’€™ve liked.”

One pressure that Beleskey won’€™t face is that of playing in his hometown. The Windsor, Ontario native is far from home, whereas Hayes now has the opportunity ‘€” and potential burden ‘€” of playing in front of friends and family.

Hayes says he hasn’€™t gotten ticket requests just yet, but given that his father is a ticket broker, that might work out well for his family.

“I’€™ll leave that one for my dad,” Hayes said with a grin. “Keep his ticket business going in a little bit.”

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Bruins sign Jimmy Hayes to 3-year deal, Brett Connolly to 1-year deal

07.06.15 at 2:34 pm ET
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The Bruins have signed right wings Jimmy Hayes and Brett Connolly to new contracts, the team announced Monday.

Hayes’€™ contract is a three-year deal with an average annual value of $2.3 million, while Connolly has agreed to a one-year contract with an AAV of $1.025 million.

With Hayes and Connolly signed, the Bruins have approximately ($66,410,667) committed to 20 players for next season.

While the Bruins owned both players’€™ rights as restricted free agents, both players will look to make a name for themselves in Boston next season after playing the bulk of their NHL careers elsewhere.

Connolly, acquired at the trade deadline from Tampa for a pair of second-round picks last season, played just five games for the Bruins after returning from a hand injury suffered in his first practice with the team. The 23-year-old had no goals, two assists and 10 penalty minutes in his late-season stint in Boston’€™s lineup.

The sixth overall pick in the 2010 draft, Connolly had 12 goals in 50 games for the Lightning last season before being moved to the B’€™s due to a surplus of right wings in Tampa.

Hayes, 25, was acquired last Wednesday in a deal that sent Reilly Smith and Marc Savard‘€™s contract to the Panthers. The Dorchester native was a second-round pick of the Maple Leafs in 2008 before being traded to Chicago in 2010. He played parts of three seasons for Chicago prior to a trade to the Panthers in November of 2013. The Boston College product enjoyed the best season of his career last season for Florida, scoring 19 goals and adding 16 assists for 35 points in 72 games.

The team also signed forward Brandon DeFazio to a two-way contract.

Chris Breen signs 1-year, 2-way deal with Bruins

07.02.15 at 3:49 pm ET
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The Bruins signed defenseman Chris Breen to a one-year, two-way contract worth a potential $600,000 at the NHL level on Thursday.

Breen, a 26-year-old left shot blueliner, spent all of last season with the Providence Bruins. It was his first season in the Bruins organization after playing the first four years of his professional career with the Flames organization.

The 6-foot-7, 224-pound defenseman will have his work cut out for him if he seeks a spot in Boston, as the B’€™s have a number of blueliners contending for a spot in an offseason that has seen the departure of Dougie Hamilton and the addition of Colin Miller.

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