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Gary Bettman: NHL still not considering a Capgeek-style feature 07.29.15 at 6:28 pm ET
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Gary Bettman

Gary Bettman

FOXBORO — Since Capgeek.com was taken down in the final months of founder Mathew Wuest’€™s life, hockey fans all over have been without a state-of-the-art, up-to-the-minute destination for the NHL‘€™s ever-changing salary cap scene. They have options, but none are as good.

With Capgeek, Wuest created a site that listed where teams were in relation to the cap down to the dollar in a format that displayed team rosters in terms of individual players’€™ cap hits.

When the ailing Wuest took the wildly popular site down before succumbing to colon cancer in March, many wondered who would step up with a proper replacement. The NHL‘€™s official site seemed like one feasible option, but Gary Bettman poo-pooed that in late February, saying that such a feature was ‘€œnot something that seems to be driving fan interested as much as perhaps the [media].’€

That foolish statement was rightfully criticized and has been proven wrong time and time again in the months since. Not only do fans want it, but even B’€™s president Cam Neely made a tongue-in-cheek reference to GM candidates not being able to prepare for job interviews as well without the site.

Given all of this, Bettman was asked Wednesday if any more consideration has been given to making cap information available in a one-stop destination.

“No,” he replied.

There was no elaboration, so in the meantime everyone will have to settle for the myriad of sites doing their best to manage the nearly impossible task of carrying on Wuest’€™s work.

At this point, war-on-ice.com, perhaps the best NHL site these days for NHL statistics, does the best job. It isn’€™t perfect (ex. details of no-trade provisions), but that’€™s where the opportunity exists for the NHL to step in and make the perfect option. It’€™s silly for them not to.

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Bruins still exploring defense options as Cody Franson remains available 07.29.15 at 4:14 pm ET
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Don Sweeney

Don Sweeney

FOXBORO — Don Sweeney remains active in trying to find the Bruins help on defense. Whether that means signing top remaining free agent Cody Franson, seeking other free agent options or making a trade remains to be seen.

“I’€™m not shutting the doors in terms of picking your team in July,” Boston’€™s general manager told WEEI.com at Wednesday’€™s Winter Classic press event. “We’€™ll continue to look and talk and have those types of conversations, not just in the free agent market, but around the league.”

The Bruins and Franson’€™s camp have had discussions, as Franson revealed last week. The 27-year-old 6-foot-5 right shot would figure to be a plug-and-play option to anchor Boston’€™s second pairing, which would at least move the B’€™s closer to what they had prior to trading Dougie Hamilton.

Asked whether he felt the team was close to signing Franson, who said there were four or five other teams in on him, Sweeney replied, “I don’€™t know whether or not anybody can say ‘€˜close’€™ because you don’€™t know what other conversations are happening.”

This has been something of an odd offseason throughout the league, but Sweeney acknowledged that the traditional waves of movement (the draft and free agency) have been as expected. A third wave may be presenting itself now, however, with at least one big name still unsigned in Franson and Tuesday’s trade of Brandon Sutter to the Canucks.

“There’€™s less chatter, but there’€™s some seeds being planted they we may want to revisit as well with our staff, and sort of going over all these – after I have one conversation, sending it out to our group and sort of seeing where we’€™re at. Coaches have some input in that as well. Now that we’€™ve had a little bit of time to see where our group is, we’€™ve got to forecast from here on out.”

Sweeney acknowledged the potential need to shed cap space if they do sign a higher-priced free agent. The B’€™s currently sit about $4.42 million below the salary cap’€™s upper-limit with 21 players on their roster. They have seven defenseman on one-way contracts as is (Zdeno Chara, Zach Trotman, Dennis Seidenberg, Adam McQuaid, Torey Krug, Matt Irwin and Kevan Miller), so a trade of a defenseman could be one way to clear space. Boston could also trade one of its veteran forwards, such as Chris Kelly.

Sweeney expressed a desire to shed cap space before making a signing, should such a situation present itself, as he did when he traded Reilly Smith and Marc Savard minutes before signing Matt Beleskey on the opening day of free agency. He also noted that if he feels the team would have space-saving options that could be executed at a later date if they were to pull the trigger on a signing beforehand.

“I think when you’€™re up against it, it presents pressure on the other side. Theoretically, you’€™d like to plan to be under and have some flexibility, but in the same vein, if you’€™ve had conversations that you think could foster something down the road, and you want to improve your club, then you may take that risk,” Sweeney said. “There will always be an assessment in that period of time.”

Should the Bruins not add outside help, a defense that figures to miss Hamilton dearly will be in for an uphill climb. It’€™s expected that Trotman will have a full-time job, but opportunities will be given to other young players such as former Penguins‘€™ first-round pick Joe Morrow and trade acquisition Colin Miller.

“We’€™ve got five of six guys returning,” Sweeney said in reference to Chara, McQuaid, Seidenberg, Krug, Miller and Trotman. “I think it’€™s been lost a little bit that Kevan Miller is coming back to our group because he’€™s been our for so long, and we’€™ve got young players that at some point in time have to recognize that a situation presents itself and take advantage of it.”

Added Sweeney: “We have institutional knowledge as to how much they’€™ve developed and where we think they can get to. Are they plug-and-play? No, [not] like you would describe some of the other guys that have had the the level of success that they’€™ve had. We have to balance that. There’€™s definitely a bit of forecasting involved in both of those decisions.”

Read More: Cody Franson, Don Sweeney,
Logos, details of Bruins-Canadiens Winter Classic revealed 07.29.15 at 1:16 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Among the most notable revelations from Wednesday’s Winter Classic press event were the logos that the Bruins and Canadiens will use when they play at Gillette Stadium on July 1.

The following image were displayed on the big screen and around the field during the NHL‘s event, featuring what appeared to be an updated version of the Bruins’ logo from 1924 through 1926:

photo (1)

 

 

photo (2)

Courtesy of SportsLogos.net, here is a cleaner image of Boston’s 1924-1926 emblem:

bruins2426

The Canadiens’ logo in that image appears to be something of a new take on one of their older logos, with it most closely resembling the one the Habs wore for a brief time from 1922-1925.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman also said at the event that there will be another all-access show that follows the teams leading up to the annual outdoor game. He did not specify which channel would carry the series, though it could be Epix given that the show switched to that channel after years at HBO.

Information on tickets will soon be made available, with season-ticket holders of the Bruins, Canadiens and Patriots having access to a pre-sale.

Wednesday’€™s event was emceed by former Patriots broadcaster Gill Santos. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and Patriots owner Robert Kraft were among those to speak, with Patrice Bergeron, Torey Krug and Jimmy Hayes sitting alongside Montreal forward and Lynnfield native Brian Flynn. Bruins president Cam Neely was joined by fellow Hall of Famers Ray Bourque and Canadiens great Yvan Cournoyer.

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Bruins have 12 national TV games 07.27.15 at 6:05 pm ET
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The NHL announced its national television schedule for the 2015-16 season on Monday. The Bruins will play 12 games on either NBC or NBCSN, including the Jan. 1 Winter Classic.

Boston’€™s first national game will be on Oct. 21, when the B’€™s host the Flyers. The Bruins’€™ full national TV schedule is as follows:

Wednesday, October 21 vs. Philadelphia at 8:00 p.m. (NBCSN)
Friday, November 27 vs. New York Rangers at 1:00 p.m. (NBC)
Wednesday, December 9 at Montreal at 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
Wednesday, December 16 vs. Pittsburgh at 8:00 p.m. (NBCSN)
Friday, January 1 vs. Montreal at 1:00 p.m.  (NBC)
Wednesday, January 13 at Philadelphia at 8:00 p.m. (NBCSN)
Sunday, February 14 at Detroit at 3:00 p.m. (NBC)
Wednesday, February 24 vs. Pittsburgh at 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
Sunday, February 28 vs. Tampa Bay at 6:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
Tuesday, March 15 at San Jose at 10:00 p.m. (NBCSN, non-exclusive)
Wednesday, March 23 at New York Rangers at 8:00 p.m. (NBCSN)
Sunday, April 3 at Chicago at 12:30 p.m. (NBC)

Cody Franson says he’s in contract talks with Bruins 07.21.15 at 2:30 pm ET
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Free agent defenseman Cody Franson said on TSN 1040 Tuesday that the Bruins are among five or six teams with whom he’€™s in contract talks. To listen to the interview, click here.

Franson, a 6-foot-5 right shot blueliner, was one of the top players in this year’€™s free agent class and is the top player who has yet to sign. Asked about the possibility of playing for the Bruins, Franson said he has asked Milan Lucic about playing in Boston and noted that the Bruins are looking to fill the void left by the trade of Dougie Hamilton.

“I asked [Lucic] a few questions about it,” Franson said. “With the trade they made with Hamilton and some of the other stuff they’€™ve done, they’€™re one of the teams we’€™re in talks with. Yeah, Boston would be an interesting spot. I mean it’€™s obviously a great city and they’€™ve got a great organization and all the things that come with it, but there’€™s a handful of other teams too and everything’€™s kind of just slow rolling at the moment. We’€™re taking it day-by-day.”

Franson’€™s last three contracts have been one-year deals, so he said his preference is a multi-year pact. He said he doesn’€™t have one specific number in mind, and that the holdup on him signing is also tied into the fact that the teams interested in him might need to clear cap space. The Bruins would likely fall into that category, as they have approximately $66,977,667 committed against the cap to 21 players, giving them about $4.42 million in cap space.

“We’€™re open here,” Franson said. “We haven’€™t set a number and we’€™ll take nothing less or a term and we’€™d take nothing less than that. We haven’€™t said that at all. We’€™ve had a lot of teams call and just kind of see where we’€™re at.

“We’€™ve just said in a certain ballpark and nobody’€™s kind of laughed at us. Everybody’€™s thought it was reasonable and stuff. It’€™s just one of those things where some of the teams that we’€™re talking to are in cap crunches and some teams don’€™t want to go maybe as long. A number of different circumstances.”

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Jake DeBrusk scores an insane shootout goal (video) and other notes from Day 4 of Bruins development camp 07.17.15 at 1:52 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — Bruins prospects held a 4-on-4 scrimmage to wrap up their four-day development camp Friday at Ristuccia Arena. The winner of the game wasn’€™t a team, but rather a player.

That player was left wing Jake DeBrusk, the second of three consecutive first-round picks for the Bruins last month (14th overall) because he did this in a shootout against Zane McIntyre:

debrusk2

(Footage courtesy of the Bruins, with none other than Pete Blackburn providing the GIF)

In real time, it was borderline confusing. Behind the back and flipped past the best goalie in college hockey last season. DeBrusk didn’€™t stand out during the actual 4-on-4 play, but his shootout goal proved to be the highlight of the entire camp. He will return to Swift Current of the WHL this season.

Here are some other notes from the scrimmage:

– Ryan Donato was the best player on the ice. The 2014 second-round pick played a perfectly balanced game, flashing a good stick in the defensive zone and scoring a nifty goal on Zane McIntyre. Donato will be a freshman at Harvard in the fall.

– After blending in over the first few days of the camp, 15th overall pick Zach Senyshyn stood out in the scrimmage. He and camp invitee Brandon Tanev (Providence College) flew together, with Senyshyn jetting down the wing to feed a Tanev goal before scoring two goals of his own. All in all, Senyshyn appeared to put up four points (two goals, two assists), while helping Tanev’s case to be signed down the road.

– Speaking of Senyshyn, he answered the question that’s been on everybody’s mind. It’s pronounced SEN-ish-in.

– Danton Heinen also stood out with a goal in the second half of the scrimmage. Don Sweeney sung his praises following the scrimmage.

– Everyone keeps saying Sean Kuraly won’t be far from the NHL once he finishes his senior year at Miami this season, and while he wasn’t overly flashy, he provided plenty of evidence Friday. Kuraly battled for (and won) pucks early on.

– McIntyre made a nice save in front on Peter Cehlarik, but he was also beat often in the scrimmage. Scoring often comes in abundance in these prospect games, and the 4-on-4 format only welcomed more of it.

– Incoming Boston University freshman and Bruins second-round pick Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson disappointed a bit in the scrimmage. Known as a dependable faceoff man and two-way guy, JFK struggled on draws, including losing the opening one to Mike Vecchione to set up an immediate goal against.

– Joonas Kemppainen missed the entire camp with a hamstring injury suffered last week. Don Sweeney said after the camp’s conclusion that the team is not concerned it will be a longterm issue.

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Don Sweeney: Bruins still talking to free agent defensemen 07.17.15 at 1:25 pm ET
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Don Sweeney

Don Sweeney

WILMINGTON — Speaking at the conclusion of the team’s development camp, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said he is still active in trying to improve the team’s NHL roster.

Sweeney said he remains in talks with both free agents and other general managers. Boston’s biggest need is on defense after losing Dougie Hamilton and Matt Bartkowski off a blue line that was already in need of upgrades.

“You’€™re always going to want to have the best group you possibly can,” Sweeney said. “There’€™s probably an element of unknown because we have some guys that are going to push and we have waiver decisions, different things that can impact the decision overall. There are a couple free agents that we’€™re still having conversations with that we feel might improve our club. If the financial component works, we’€™re not going to stop having those conversations because it might be the right thing to do.”

Including overages and the money retained in the Milan Lucic trade, the Bruins currently have approximately $67,235,667  devoted to 12 forwards, seven defensemen and two goaltenders for next season, leaving them with approximately $4.16 million in cap space.

Among the remaining free agent defenseman are big righty Cody Franson and 33-year-old Christian Ehrhoff.  The Stars signed former Blackhawks defenseman Johnny Oduya to a two-year deal, but a source told WEEI.com early in free agency that the Bruins were not seriously interested in the player.

Read More: Christian Ehrhoff, Cody Franson,
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