Archive for February, 2012

Potential Bruins deadline options: David Jones

Friday, February 17th, 2012

When looking at the Bruins’ roster as it related to the trade deadline Wednesday, it seemed the B’s needed a forward — at the very least, they needed a depth guy, but adding a player who could handle top-six responsibilites would be a plus given the uncertainty of the concussed Nathan Horton‘s season.

Then Wednesday night happened. Rich Peverley‘s knee-to-knee collision with Hal Gill left the forward — who was already filling in for Horton on David Krejci‘s line — with a sprained MCL in his right knee. Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli announced Friday that Peverley will miss four to six weeks.

And because of that, it shouldn’t be Chiarelli’s only announcement in the next few days. The B’s went from needing a forward to needing a pair of forwards, and if Chiarelli could repeat his magic of a season ago (when he brought in Peverley and Chris Kelly in separate deals), the B’s would be in far better shape than they are now.

The issue is that unlike last year, the Bruins don’t have a couple of tradeable NHL players like Blake Wheeler and Mark Stuart. If they want to upgrade, they’ll need to use draft picks and/or prospects.

So who might fit the bill for the Bruins in their time of need? On Wednesday we took a look at Anaheim’s Teemu Selanne, who has 19 goals this season for the Ducks. He should remain an option for the B’s in the coming days, but he isn’t the only right wing they could land.

Take Colorado’s David Jones, for example. Like Peverley, Jones is a native of Guelph, Ontario. He isn’t a solution for the top line, but he would fit the bill as a depth guy to take minutes on the third line. He’s had a modest season thus far with 12 goals and 11 assists for 23 points, but last season’s 27-goal campaign showed that he could score more than people may have thought. Jones plays on Colorado’s top line with Paul Stastny and Milan Hejduk.

One thing to watch with Jones is his underwhelming shots on goal total. In 48 games, he has just 69 shots on goal, or 1.43 a night. That’s right around where the likes of Shawn Thornton (1.40 shots on goal per game) and Kelly (1.49) have been this season.

Jones is on a one-year deal with a $2.5 million cap hit, making him an affordable option as a rental should the B’s make a play for him. One thing that could hold up a deal is the fact that Colorado is five points out of a playoff spot in the Western conference.

Rich Peverley out 4-6 weeks with sprained MCL

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli announced Friday that forward Rich Peverley will miss four to six weeks with a third degree MCL sprain in his right knee. Peverley injured his knee in a collision with Canadiens defenseman Hal Gill Wednesday night and returned to Boston for testing Thursday.

Peverley had been filling in for the concussed Nathan Horton on the team’s top line. With Peverley out of the lineup, coach Claude Julien moved Benoit Pouliot from the third line to the top line in Friday’s morning skate. Daniel Paille moved from the fourth line to Pouliot’s spot on the third line, while Josh Hennessy will make his Bruins debut Friday against the Jets on the fourth line.

Andrew Ference on D&C: ‘I totally understand’ Habs fans’ cheering of Zdeno Chara’s injury

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference checked in with the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning and touched on the behavior of Canadiens fans after Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara was hit in the face Wednesday night by a clearing attempt by Tomas Plekanec. Habs fans cheered while Chara was down on the ice and bleeding.

The social media world soon blew up with tweets lecturing Montreal about showing class as a fan base, but Ference appeared less concerned.

“I wouldn’€™t say I was offended,” Ference said. “You don’€™t like it, but I know where they’re coming from. I don’t know if it’d be a very different story in a lot of arenas for whatever big rivalries happen no matter what sport it is. … It’s just the way it is. It’s not something you really like but, like I said, I totally understand it.”

Added Ference: “When people talk about it being it being a heated rivalry and people caring a lot about it, it’s true, it’s not just kind of empty words. They do care a lot about it. They’re passionate about hockey and so when one of your most hated rivals and the biggest guy on the team goes down like that, like I said, it’s not that surprising.”

Ference also discussed the domino effect of losing key players on the team and what kind of impact it’s had on other players and the way the Bruins have played night in and night out.

“It’s not easy, especially if you’ve been playing with a certain guy for a long time, it makes it more difficult. But that just comes down to something that if GMs are looking at players, they wonder how adaptable they are and how quickly they can either change their style of game or change the way they play with certain players, and that’s obviously a plus,” Ference said. “The more people you can have that can do that the better, and obviously some people are better at doing it than others. I think that over the past few years we’ve had pretty good success with injuries and dealing with them, and some pretty big guys. I think you just kind of cross your fingers and hope that guys will keep their game at a high level despite their linemates being out.”

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Bruins beat Habs in shootout

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Tyler Seguin scored the only goal in a shootout as the Bruins defeated the Canadiens, 4-3, Wednesday night at Bell Centre.

The Bruins blew a two-goal lead in the third period, surrendering goals to Max Pacioretty and Erik Cole to tie the game after the B’s had led, 3-1. They had only two shots on goal in the second period, but bounced back with a strong effort in overtime before Tim Thomas blanked the Habs in the shootout. Thomas is now a perfect 5-0 in shootouts this season.

The Bruins first got on the board with Andrew Ference’s fifth goal of the season, which set a new career high for the veteran defenseman. Mathieu Darche tied the game for the Habs with a shorthanded goal early in the second period, but masterful work from Benoit Pouliot on Chris Campoli gave the B’s the lead back. Patrice Bergeron added to the lead with a power-play goal.

Brad Marchand could be getting a call from NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan, as the 23-year-old winger clipped Habs defenseman Alexei Emelin at the end of the second period. Marchand was suspended for five games last month for clipping Canucks defenseman Sami Salo.

Marchand almost ended the game in overtime, beating Carey Price with a wrist shot that rang off the crossbar and into the stands with 2:19 remaining.

There were a whopping four goaltender interference penalties called in the first two periods. Pacioretty went off in the first period for contact with Tim Thomas, and the second period featured matching goaltender interference calls on Louis Leblanc and Daniel Paille. Forty-seven seconds later, Cole was called for the same infraction, leading to Bergeron’s power-play goal.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

- Ference set a new career high with his fifth goal of the season, though with 21 points at this point, he still has a ways to go to match his career best points total of 31, which he registered in the 2005-06 season with the Flames.

Ference nearly added his sixth of the season with just over five minutes left in regulation, but his shot rang off the post. With Bruins’ defensemen’s contracts coming into focus given the extension the B’s gave to Johnny Boychuk Tuesday, Ference sure is a bargain at $2.25 million a year.

- Tyler Seguin picked up the primary helper on Bergeron’s tough-angle goal, giving Seguin his first point in his last four games, and second point in his last eight games. Seguin had four shots on goal for the B’s, though he had a bad turnover in the second period on which Tim Thomas bailed him out. The B’s are obviously looking for more production from the second-year player, though it may have been unrealistic to expect him to maintain the torrid pace on which he began the season.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

- The Bell Centre crowd was pretty classless in the seconds that followed a pretty scary play for the Bruins. With just seconds remaining in the first period, Tomas Plekanec tried clearing the puck out of the Habs’ zone but hit Zdeno Chara in the face with the puck. The Bruins’ captain fell to the ice, bloodied, before heading straight off and down the tunnel. Though Plekanec immediately went to check on Chara, while the Bell Centre crowd cheered. Luckily for the Bruins, Chara was alright after getting stitches and returned at the start of the second period.

- Speaking of Chara, the Bruins’ captain was on the ice for all three of the Canadiens’ goals. He committed an especially uncharacteristic turnover prior to the Habs’ third goal, as a lazy pass in the Bruins’ zone was intercepted by Cole, who beat Thomas to tie the game.

- Wednesday’s game marked Thomas’s fourth consecutive game in which he allowed three or more goals. That matches Thomas’ longest such streak from last season. The current rough stretch for Thomas dates back to last Wednesday, when he allowed three goals in relief of Tuukka Rask in Buffalo.

- Rich Peverley left the game late and did not return. If he is injured, Peter Chiarelli’s job just got a little tougher.

- Darche’s shorthanded goal was the first that the Bruins had allowed this season. Until the second-period goal, the B’s were the only team left in the NHL that had not allowed a shorthanded tally.

Potential Bruins deadline options: Teemu Selanne

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

On Tuesday night, Peter Chiarelli said he is approaching the trade

deadline as though he will have Nathan Horton again this season. While that’s good news for the Bruins, it isn’t overly reassuring. Given the uncertainty of concussions and the fact that Horton had a setback last week when he tried skating, who’s to say that Horton won’t face more roadbumps as he attempts to return to the lineup? What if he gets hit again, a la Marc Savard, when he does come back?

These are questions Chiarelli, one of the best GMs in the game, must be considering. That’s why, if possible, he would be wise to add a right winger who can provide not only depth, but some serious scoring.

That player might be 41-year-old Ducks forward Teemu Selanne. He isn’t the same player he was when he scored 76 goals for the Jets in the 1992-93 season, but he is still a capable scorer, having totaled 18 goals and 33 assists for 51 points this season. Yes, he’s played two more games than the B’s, but those 51 points are four more than Patrice Bergeron, who leads the Bruins with 47.

If the Bruins were to get Selanne, they could either play him on the top line with Milan Lucic and David Krejci until Horton returned, or they could leave Peverley with Lucic and Krejci and stick Selanne on Chris Kelly’s line. Things would get interesting once Horton returned, as they could put both Peverley and Selanne on the third line, with one player having to play their off wing. That would mean bad news for Benoit Pouliot, but it would mean a significant upgrade.

Getting both Selanne and the Ducks to sign off on a deal may be tricky, as the alternate captain has a no-trade cklause that he could use to block any deal should the destination not strike his fancy. From Anaheim’s standpoint, there may be sentimental value tied to Selanne, meaning it might take a little more to get them to ship him out. A Ducks legend, Selanne was on the team that won the Cup in 2007 (Shawn Thornton played on that squad as well), and in two seperate multi-season stints with the club has put up some of the best years of his career. Recent play has also put the Ducks eight points out of a playoff spot, and if they want to take a risk and go for it, they’d want to do so with Selanne.

Those issues aside, Selanne doesn’t have much more ahead of him, and coming to Boston would give him as good a chance at winning the Cup again as he could possibly get. Last season we saw Mark Recchi stick around another year with the B’s so he could hoist the Cup once more. Could a trade to Boston do the same thing for Selanne?

Henrik Lundqvist blanks Bruins

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Like many teams this season, the Bruins were reminded of just how good Henrik Lundvist is, as the New York goaltender blanked the B’s, 3-0, Tuesday at TD Garden.

The Bruins fell behind in the first period on a Ryan Callahan power-play goal, and were seconds away from heading into the first intermission down by just one before Ryan McDonagh threw a puck off Zdeno Chara and past Tim Thomas with 12 seconds remaining. The teams skated to a scoreless second period that was mostly dominated by the Bruins, but they couldn’t get anything past Lundqvist. Artem Anisimov made it 3-0 in the third period.

The Bruins thought they had a goal in the third period on a Dennis Seidenberg shot from the point, but replays showed that it missed and went in through the side of the net.

With the loss, the Bruins are now 8-8-1 over their last 17 games.

The Bruins will now leave for a six-game road trip that will begin Wednesday against the Canadiens in Montreal.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

- The Rangers’ second goal was a rather flukey one, as McDonagh threw the puck in front from the half wall, and it went off Chara and in. The timing of the goal was also hard on the Bruins, as it came with just 12 seconds left in the first period. Goals allowed late in periods can be discouraging, and there’s a big difference betewen trailing the Rangers by one and trailing them by two.

- For the second time this season, the B’s, who lead the NHL in goals per game, couldn’t beat Lundqvist. He allowed two goals in the team’s overtime win over the B’s last month, and didn’t give them anything to work with Tuesday. If you’re wondering who will be this year’s Vezina winner, look no further than Lundqvist.

It’s performances like Tuesday’s that should have hockey fans hoping for a Bruins-Rangers Eastern conference finals. Putting two brick walls against one another would make for a very tight and highly entertaining series.

- Speaking of goaltending, Thomas has now allowed three goals in three consecutive games. It’s the second time he’s done that this season after only having one such stretch last season (though that one lasted four games).

- Slumpwatch: Tyler Seguin. No 19 has just one point (a goal) over his last seven games.

- Through the first 15 minutes of the third period, the Rangers had only one shot on goal. Unfortunately for the Bruins, it went in.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

- The second period has plagued the B’s in recent games, but they came out Tuesday with a far stronger effort in the second. THe B’s dominated the period, outshooting the Rangers by a 14-6 margin but Lundqvist proved to be the difference. The best opportunity came when

Lundqvist and other bodies were down with action in front, but the puck never crossed the goal line.

- Not necessarily something right, but an important note. Claude Julien went back to his usual lines for Tuesday night’s game, returning David Krejci to the top line between Milan Lucic and Rich Peverley. Chris Kelly went back to centering Jordan Caron and Benoit Pouliot.

Bruins-Rangers Live Blog: B’s trail, 3-0, in third

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Bruins-Rangers Live Blog