Archive for August, 2010

Report: Savard still on trade block

Monday, August 30th, 2010

According to an ESPN report from James Murphy, the Bruins are “actively shopping” center Marc Savard despite this month’s news that his contract has been under investigation by the NHL.

“The investigation by the NHL definitely made teams back off from their interest in Savard, but the team is still open to trading him and trying to,” a source told Murphy.

The report adds that talks with teams have been “hampered” by a lack of cap space among teams throughout the league. Savard’s deal, a seven-year pact worth $28.5 million total, carries an annual cap hit of $4.007 million. The deal has been under investigation due to it’s being front-loaded salary-wise in an effort to water down the cap hit. Half of the deal’s money is paid out over the first two years, meaning extra years at less money make for more of a team-friendly deal.

The Bruins are just more than $3 million over the leagues $59.4 million salary cap, but will be given relief of $3.5 million as long as Marco Sturm is out. Once he returns, the team will need to make a move, and Savard as been viewed as a candidate to go.

The center hasn’t made any comments on the situation thus far to anyone around these parts, though he did tell the Ottawa Sun that he hasn’t liked the context in which his name has been brought up this summer.

“I was really focused on staying [in Boston] the rest of my career,” Savard told the paper. “To hear all this stuff this summer bothered me inside more than anything else.”

The cap situation and the arrival of second overall draft pick in center Tyler Seguin have been the primary perceived motivation factors for the team to move Savard, though one might question whether the league’s worst offense from a year ago can afford subtracting one of its best players.

In 41 games last season, Savard had 10 goals and 23 assists for 33 points. His regular season was cut short by a hit to the head from Penguins’ forward Matt Cooke on March 7.

B’s Town Hall meeting set for September 21

Monday, August 30th, 2010

The Bruins announced today that their annual “State of the Bruins” town hall meeting will take place September 21 at 7:00 p.m.

The meeting, which will take place at the TD Garden, will give season ticket holders (as well have half-season and 10 game package owners) a chance to address the franchise directly with Jeremy Jacobs, Charlie Jacobs, Cam Neely, Peter Chiarelli, Claude Julien, and players Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, and Mark Recchi. NESN’s Andy Brickley will be the meeting’s moderator.

X-Factors: Marco Sturm

Friday, August 27th, 2010

What can the Bruins out of Sturm when he returns? (AP)

What can the Bruins expect out of Sturm when he returns? (AP)

Each day this week, WEEI.com will be putting a player or position in the spotlight based on their “X-factor” status entering the season. So far, we’ve taken a look at Michael Ryder, Blake Wheeler, Nathan Horton, and the goaltending position. Rounding out the group is Marco Sturm, who may be the biggest case of them all given the uncertainty that surrounds both his eventual return from injury and what type of impact he can have.

Things have been a bit strange when it comes to Marco Sturm this offseason. He’s been celebrated by fans, but not for anything he’ll do on the ice. Instead, Bruins die-hards cheer up during salary cap discussions when they realize that the winger will save the team $3.5 million in cap space to begin the season thanks to his long-term injury status.

Sturm has now had season-ending major knee injuries in each of the past two seasons. In 2008, he tore the ACL in his left knee and was shut down after just 19 games. Last season, of course, he tore both the ACL and MCL in his right knee in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Flyers. Injuries have become a big part of the discussion with Sturm, but if the Bruins can get him back(and that’s a big “if”) they could have themselves an offensive sleeper for the 2010-11 season.

The team doesn’t expect to have Sturm ready to go until late November, but with such an injury, nothing can be counted on no matter how “successful” the surgery could have went. The thing is, with the big additions to the offense in Nathan Horton and Tyler Seguin, the Bruins will have a chance in the time Sturm’s away to see how this new offense will gel. Plus, they’ll be able to go over the cap by however much he earns. This is awfully convenient for the Bruins, who just happen to be over $3 million over the cap before subtracting Sturm’s $3.5 million. (more…)

X-Factors: Nathan Horton

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Horton is glad to be in Boston, where his numbers and chance at a Cup should go way up (John Vu photo)

Horton is glad to be in Boston, where his numbers and chance at a Cup should go way up (John Vu photo)

Each day this week, WEEI.com will be putting a player or position in the spotlight based on their “X-factor” status entering the season. So far, we’ve taken a look at Michael Ryder, Blake Wheeler, and the goaltending position. Up next is Nathan Horton, who is undoubtedly primed for a big season, but is there a point at which placing huge expectations on a top player can become detrimental?

The definition of “X-factor” could be called into question here given that Horton is expected to be a first-line winger and potentially the team’s top scorer. That certainly doesn’t sound like a qualifying case for this series, but the truth is that there are so many variables that come into play with Horton that it would be unwise to take anything as being a given. After all, huge expectations that were outside what Horton could do in the Panthers’ offense were what plagued his career in Florida.

For starters, it seemed quite clear when Horton first came to Boston that this is the environment in which he wanted to be. In fact, he appeared rather nervous when he was introduced alongside Tyler Seguin. So why is this good? Because Horton has appeared throughout his young career (he’s still 25) that he is ready to explode in the right situation. It seems he has that here with the Bruins, and it’s apparent that he’s excited to finally have the chance.

If Horton blossoms into the 40-goal scorer that many think he will become when placed to the right of Marc Savard, he will actually double his goals from last season. Whether or not such a feat is actually attainable remains to be seen, but playing on a team with what he called “stability” that the Panthers lacked could go a long way. A long way, yes, but far enough to make him one of the top scorers in the league?

The Bruins haven’t had a player rack up 40 goals in a season since the 2002-03 campaign, when Glen Murray finished fifth in the league with 44 (Joe Thornton wasn’t far behind with 36). How Horton gels with Savard will go a long way in determining whether he’s the next (it’s hard not to imagine Seguin getting to there within a few seasons) to do so. Horton’s spent his career with either with centers below Savard’s skillet or playing the position himself. Finally having someone who can set him up and also needs to be accounted for means big things should be in store, and that maybe those projections aren’t too crazy. (more…)

Report: Fehr to become head of NHLPA

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

According to a report from Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal, former MLBPA executive Donald Fehr is set to take on the same role with the NHL player’s association.

Fehr had served the NHLPA as an advisor last year after leaving the MLBPA following 13 years as its director. The 62-year-old is known for once netting players $280 million due to owners’ collusion and for leading the players association during the baseball strike of 1994-95.

Though the report has not been confirmed by Fehr or the NHLPA, Mullen writes that other people in contention for the job have been notified that the search is done.

Providence Bruins schedule released

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

On the same day that the NHL released its television schedule, the AHL released its regular season schedule, meaning anyone with an interest in seeing some of the Bruins top prospects not named Tyler Seguin should get out their calendars.

The team opens up the season at home, where they will take on the Springfield Falcons, the minor league team of the Columbus Blue Jackets (and formerly of the Pheonix Coyotes — thanks to reader “Malt”). The two will square off at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on Friday, October 8. Checking out the farm could be a great way to kick off the season for fans who won’t be in Prague the next day for the big club’s opener.

To see the rest of the schedule, click here.

TV schedule released, very little NBC for B’s

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

It looks like anyone who fancies watching Sunday hockey on NBC will have to stick to the Rangers. The NHL has released its television schedule for the coming season and the hometown team isn’t exactly well-represented by the network. Here’s where you can find the Bruins in 2010-11 when they’re not on NESN.

VS. (all teams EST)

October 9 vs. Phoenix (Prague, Czech Republic), 6:00 p.m.
October 19 at Washington, 7:30 p.m.
November 17 at New York Rangers, 7:00 p.m.
November 22 at Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m.
December 7 vs. Buffalo, 7:30 p.m.
December 20 vs. Anaheim, 7:30 p.m.
December 28 at Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m.
January 10 at Pittsburgh, 7:30 p.m.
February 9, vs. Montreal, 7:00 p.m.
March 29 vs. Chicago, 7:30 p.m.
April 4 at New York Rangers, 7:30 p.m.

The following two games are NBC “flex” games that the network will have the option of airing:

February 13 at Detroit, TBD
April 10 at New Jersey, TBD