|Days of taunting (should be) over for Bruins||04.13.16 at 12:48 pm ET|
By all indications, Brad Marchand has loved non-playoff teams over the years. They’ve just been such easy targets.
Playing on them hasn’t been as fun. After years of shoving their 2011 Stanley Cup championship in their opponents’ faces (probably too many years), the Bruins officially have no scoreboard to point to, no recent track record with which to antagonize the other bench.
The Bruins certainly got their money’s worth with their Cup championship and general dominance over the Eastern Conference. They were better than their opponents and they let everyone in the NHL know to the point that they were admittedly obnoxious. Months before they won it all, Marchand skated by the Leafs’ bench in a game towards the end of the 2010-11 regular season and made a golf-swing gesture. He proved he could walk the walk by racking up 19 points during Boston’s Cup run.
“When we were winning and when we were going to the finals and when we won, we had such a dominant team,” Marchand said this week. “You can play with that arrogance and you can get away with it because you back it up. That’s tough to do when you’re not winning as frequently.”
The taunting was part of the Bruins’ charm during their recent heyday, but with two straight ninth-place finishes, that heyday is over. When the B’s kept it up long after winning, it became more of a bad look than anything else. The Bruins were not happy when Marchand made a Cup-raising gesture to the Vancouver crowd in a game the B’s were losing by three goals during the 2013-14 season. It was awkward when Milan Lucic raised the Cup to Canadiens fans in the 2014-15 seasons, which was not only four seasons after Boston won, but mere months after the Habs had eliminated them from the previous season’s playoffs.
Fortunately, Marchand has a few other ways of entertaining. His play with the puck on his stick made this the most impressive regular season of his career, as he scored a personal best 37 goals to finish sixth in the league.
Marchand hopes to continue putting on a show the way he did this season. Just don’t expect much of the taunting until the B’s are winning again.
“If you’re going to act arrogant, you have to be able to back it up,” Marchand said. “That’s something we were always able to do. It’s tough at times and it’s frustrating when you’re playing against teams and they’re acting like that towards you. Hopefully we can get back there and be able to play with that same kind of swagger.”
|Alexander Khokhlachev’s agent says Claude Julien didn’t give player a chance||04.13.16 at 9:51 am ET|
Alexander Khokhlachev didn’t hold back when venting his frustrations with the Bruins back in September, so perhaps his agent’s recent comments shouldn’t come as a surprise.
With Khokhlachev at the end of his entry-level contract and coach Claude Julien’s status with the Bruins in limbo, Khokhlachev’s agent blamed his client’s lack of NHL success (zero points in nine NHL games) on Boston’s head coach.
Alex Khokhlachev’s agent blames Julien for not giving a chance to his client,says #Bruins disrupted all the possible deals involving Koko1/2
— Igor Eronko (@IgorEronko) April 13, 2016
Khokhlachev’s agent won’t comment the possible offer from #SKA but doesn’t rule out return to Russia 2/2
— Igor Eronko (@IgorEronko) April 13, 2016
Khokhlachev posted strong numbers in the AHL the last two seasons but was invisible during his callups to Boston, where he’s averaged under 10 minutes of ice time per game.
A second-round pick of the Bruins in 2011, the center’s issues with Julien will certainly feed into Julien’s perhaps overstated reputation for not being a good coach for developing young forwards. Julien has developed the likes of Brad Marchand, David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Ryan Spooner, among others. Khokhlachev’s chances of becoming a full-time Bruin dwindled when Spooner and Noel Acciari seized open center jobs behind Patrice Bergeron and Krejci.
Khokhlachev will be a restricted free agent this summer. If he is to stay in North America (his father is the general manager of Spartak Moscow of the KHL), it’s hard to believe he’d want to stay with the B’s.
|Senators fire Dave Cameron, pave way for Claude Julien?||04.12.16 at 10:21 am ET|
The Senators fired head coach Dave Cameron and his staff on Tuesday, a move that could eventually lead to a familiar face heading to Ottawa.
Should Claude Julien be fired by the Bruins, he would figure to be an ideal candidate for the Senators. Julien, regarded as one of the league’s top coaches, grew up in nearby Orleans, Ontario. Furthermore, Julien has experience working with current Senators general manager Pierre Dorion.
#Sens GM Pierre Dorion gave Julien his first coaching job 23 years ago with the Ottawa Jr. Senators of the Central Junior Hockey League
— Don Brennan (@SunDoniB) April 12, 2016
The Bruins have yet to make an announcement on Julien or make him available to the media. Julien last spoke publicly after Saturday’s 6-1 loss to the Senators, which proved to be the team’s final game of the season when they were eliminated from playoff contention hours later.
Julien has coached the Bruins for nine seasons. He has two years remaining on a three-year contract.
|Loui Eriksson: ‘Hard to tell’ whether Bruins were honest about lack of offers at trade deadline||04.12.16 at 8:44 am ET|
After the trade deadline, Bruins management said in various public forums that the team did not receive an offer of either a first-round pick or two second-round picks for Loui Eriksson.
That could very well be true, but it’s hard to believe.
Consider that Andrew Ladd (17 goals at the time he was traded) went for a first and a prospect. Lee Stempniak (16 goals at the time) went for a second and a fourth. Eriksson had 23 goals at the deadline and went on to score 30 goals this season.
Regardless of what was offered, the Bruins elected to keep Eriksson because they wanted to make the playoffs. Now his contract has essentially expired and he’ll be able to sign wherever he wants on July 1.
For a player who is trying to score his last big contract, it probably wasn’t too flattering for Eriksson to hear the Bruins telling everyone who would listen that teams didn’t want to pay a high price for him. Maybe it was a negotiating tactic so the Bruins, who were trying to sign him up until the trade deadline, could still sign the player for cheap. Whatever it was, Eriksson wasn’t sure he believed it.
“It’s hard to tell,” Eriksson told WEEI.com, carefully choosing his next words. “I don’t know. There was a lot of things going on at around that time.
“I think the type of player that I am, I think a lot of teams want that type of player. We’ll see what’s going to happen.”
|Bruins’ deviance from typical breakup day fishy||04.12.16 at 7:59 am ET|
In some ways, breakup day in hockey is like the players’ last day of work. In 2011, Bruins players had to work more than expected.
Brad Marchand had been overserved. Walking through the hall at TD Garden on the way to meet with the press, a Mike Cameron-jersey-wearing Marchand was babbling about how much he loved baseball after the Stanley Cup champs had just been to Fenway Park. Once everyone, media included, had gone into the Bruins’ dressing room for the commencement of the year-end availability, various Bruins players kept watch of Marchand in the players’ lounge to make sure Marchand didn’t venture over to the media and field questions.
From every time the door to the players’ lounge would crack open, it looked like hard work. Marchand kept getting up. He really wanted to talk about baseball.
Only one team a year gets to come out of breakup day with such stories. For the rest, it’s roughly the same routine everywhere: tie up odds and ends, have exit meetings with the coaches and executives, take physicals and give final comments to the media.
The Bruins did not follow that routine Monday. Not only did the coach and general manager not give their annual season-ending press conference, they didn’t even conduct the exit interviews with the players.
Claude Julien, Cam Neely and Don Sweeney were all at the Garden on Monday, so the fact that the annual meetings were not held when all parties were present came off as very suspect. The meetings will still be held at some point, so one has to wonder if the Bruins are waiting until after they fire Julien to conduct them.
|Bruins sign Danton Heinen to entry-level contract, send players to Providence||04.11.16 at 5:41 pm ET|
The Bruins signed prospect Danton Heinen to a three-year entry-level contract Monday, a contract that will get the highly touted wing to leave Denver University after his sophomore season.
Heinen was a fourth-round pick of the Bruins in 2014 but quickly established himself as one of the top prospects in college hockey after his selection. A left shot wing, Heinen has played both the left and right wings at Denver.
The British Columbia native’s strength is his offensive game, as he had 20 goals and 28 assists for 48 points in 21 games as a sophomore. While he could be an NHL player as soon as next season, he’ll need to add on some weight if he wants to hold up physically. Heinen stands at 6-foot-0 and 161 pounds.
Heinen is expected to spend the rest of the season with the Providence Bruins on a professional tryout, meaning his contract will not begin until next season.
Joining Heinen in Providence will be Frank Vatrano, Noel Acciari, Max Talbot and Colin Miller, all of whom were sent to the AHL on Monday.
|David Krejci respects Pavel Datsyuk’s decision, plans to finish career in Czech Republic||04.11.16 at 1:44 pm ET|
Pavel Datsyuk rocked the hockey world over the weekend by confirming that he will leave the Red Wings and the NHL after the playoffs.
The 37-year-old Datsyuk has chosen to go back to Russia for family reasons; he will play in the KHL so he can be reunited with his teenage daughter. The three-time Selke winner’s decision will hurt the Red Wings in more ways than just his absence, however, as his $7.5 million cap hit will still count against the team’s salary cap figure next season because his contract began when he was over 35 years old.
David Krejci understands Datsyuk’s decision, as he does not plan to finish his career in the NHL either. Krejci, who has just concluded the first season of a six-year, $43.5 million contract, plans to go back to his native country of the Czech Republic after his deal expires.
“That’s where I grew up. That’s where I learned how to skate, and from a family standpoint, I’m the only guy here,” Krejci told WEEI.com Monday. “Now, I created my own family — they’re American — but it would be nice to show my kid, or kids in five, six years, where I’m from. By the time [my deal expires], I’ll be 35. If I have one more NHL season in me, then I would play, but no matter when or how, if I’ll be 36 or 38 or 39, I want to finish my career back home.”
If Krejci were to leave early, the Bruins would not be charged with his cap hit, but that figures to be a moot point given that Krejci says he intends to play out his contract. As such, Krejci’s eventual departure will be far less controversial than Datsyuk’s.
“I respect his decision,” Krejci said. “He’s been here a long time, and I heard that he’s got a teenage daughter living back home. Now I have a daughter of my own, so I know how hard it must be to be away. It’s not like he’s in his 20s or something; he’s in his late 30s, so sometimes you have to know there’s a time.
“I’m pretty sure no matter how old you are, family is the most important thing, but when you get older you kind of realize it a little bit, you appreciate spending time with your family more than if you’re a teenager or in your 20s. [Then], you just want to be with your buddies and having fun, but when you have kids, you always pick your family over going out with your buddies or going golfing with your buddies. I respect his decision.”