Big Bad Blog
WEEI.com Blog Network
Brad Marchand, Joe Corvo among those in attendance at Bruins’ first veterans practice 09.08.11 at 12:25 pm ET
By   |  3 Comments

WILMINGTON — The Bruins held their first veterans practice of 2011 as they prepare for the start of training camp next weekend. The skate lasted about an hour and saw several familiar faces.

There was one notable attendee and one notable absence in the group, as Brad Marchand was on the ice despite not having a contract for the coming season. Winger Nathan Horton, who participated in each and every veterans practice a season ago, was not in attendance. He was knocked out of the playoffs in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals on a hit from Aaron Rome and had a separated shoulder in addition to his concussion, but said last month that he was ready to go. We’ll see if he takes the ice in the coming days.

Speaking of newcomers, defenseman Joe Corvo, who came to the team in a July trade with the Hurricanes, was out there. No sign of Benoit Pouliot yet.

Here’s the list of those spotted: Andrew Ference, Zdeno Chara, Johnny Boychuk, Tyler Seguin, Steven Kampfer, Milan Lucic, Marchand, David Krejci, Sean Thornton, Corvo, Adam McQuaid, Dennis Seidenberg, Gregory Campbell, Rich Peverley, Chris Kelly, Daniel Paille, Colby Cohen, Max Sauve, Jamie Arniel, Michael Hutchinson.

Read More: Brad Marchand, Joe Corvo, Nathan Horton,
Report: Chris Clark to join camp on tryout basis 09.05.11 at 10:00 pm ET
By   |  2 Comments

According to a report from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe, veteran winger Chris Clark will be at Bruins camp this month on a tryout basis.

The longtime Flame and Capital spent the last two seasons with the Blue Jackets. Last season, he scored five goals and added 10 assists in 53 games. Now 35, Clark’s best statistical season came in 2006-07, when he had 30 goals and 24 points.

Clark, who hails from South Windsor, Conn., will compete with Benoit Pouliot and some of the Bruins’ prospects for a roster spot. Among the players to compete with Clark and Pouliot are Jordan Caron and Jared Knight.

The Bruins saw the last veteran they brought in for a tryout sign with the team. Last season, enforcer Brian McGrattan participated in the Bruins’ camp and made the Europe trip before being signed. He ended up spending time in Providence before being traded to the Ducks in February.

Read More: Chris Clark,
Andrew Ference spends day with Stanley Cup in Boston 09.05.11 at 8:50 pm ET
By   |  1 Comment

Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference was a big reason as to why the B’s were able to bring the Stanley Cup to Boston, so for his day with the trophy, Ference, fittingly, brought the Cup to Boston.

The 32-year-old blueliner took the trophy for a bike ride, to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and around the North End, among other places, Monday as part of a day that saw quite a few passers by turn into a large crowd.

Ference was also in attendance for Mark Recchi’s day with the Cup last month in Kamloops, British Columbia. Here are a few pictures of Ference’s day with the Cup, all courtesy of John Bishop and the Bruins via twitter:

Read More: Andrew Ference,
Report: Yury Alexandrov leaves Bruins organization 08.26.11 at 4:08 pm ET
By   |  6 Comments

According to a report from Sports.ru, Russian defenseman Yury Alexandrov‘s days as Bruins property are done. The 23-year-old is expected to take a deal with SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL.

Drafted 37th overall in the 2006 draft by the B’s, Alexandrov played last season in Providence, putting up 6-13-19 totals with the baby B’s. Though he was less than impressive in last summer’s rookie development camp, he was among a large group of young defensive prospects in Boston’s system.

Read More: Yury Alexandrov,
Will Joe Corvo be able to replace Tomas Kaberle? 08.26.11 at 1:51 am ET
By   |  1 Comment

With captains’€™ practices just two short weeks from commencing, WEEI.com will be looking at the questions facing the defending Stanley Cup champions in the 2011-12 season.

Today’€™s question is whether Joe Corvo will be able to replace Tomas Kaberle on the Bruins’€™ blue line. Corvo isn’€™t nearly as talented, but he’€™s definitely capable of doing what Kaberle did in a so-so stint in Boston. When you look at the fact that Corvo is in the last year of a deal with a $2.25 million cap hit, while Kaberle got a three-year, $12.75 million deal in Carolina, the exchange looks good for the Bruins.

Though it became trendy to give Kaberle a big pat on the back during the Cup finals for his improved play, the fact of the matter is that things had gotten to the point where Kaberle was getting less ice time than he’€™d ever gotten in his career (he actually played less than 10 minutes in Game 7 of the finals). Not to compare two different players in two different situations, but as a point of reference, Corvo averaged a little under 25 minutes per game last season (Kaberle had 21:15 with the B’€™s), but Corvo is sure to get less than that, assuming he becomes one of the six regular defensemen in Boston.

For the sake of comparison, Kaberle is a little bigger than Corvo, while Corvo is a better skater. (While Kaberle’€™s passing skills were as-advertised, one thing that stood out here with the Czech blueliner was how poor a skater he was). Corvo’€™s 40 points last season tied a career-high, while Kaberle had 47 points in a season that was close to on par with his recent output, but far from the 67 he had in the 2005-06 season.

One player with plenty of perspective on the matter is Dennis Seidenberg. He’€™s played with both defensemen, as he was teammates with Corvo in Carolina in the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons. Seidenberg, who occasionally played on a pairing with Corvo (Corvo was usually paired with Tim Gleason, while Seidenberg skated with Joni Pitkanen), gave his new and former teammate a glowing review this week.

‘€œ[He’€™s] a very, very good skater,’€ Seidenberg said of Corvo. ‘€œGood hands, good passer. Very fast. I like playing with him like I did in Carolina. I’€™m looking forward to it and I think he’€™ll fit in really well.’€

But can he replace Kaberle? Seidenberg seems to think so.

‘€œHe’€™s an offensive guy and I’€™m sure he likes to shoot the puck, and that’€™s what we need ‘€“ guys getting the puck to the net and creating rebounds,’€ Seidenberg said. ‘€œI think he’€™s been doing that in the past and I’€™m sure he’€™s going to do it again.’€

The Bruins certainly did their offensive defenseman to shoot the puck, but that was not part of Kaberle’€™s repertoire. It is that area in which the Bruins are in luck. Corvo had 191 shots on goal last season, which would have placed him behind only Zdeno Chara (264) amongst Bruins defensemen. Kaberle had 130 over the course of last season, including 31 shots on goal in 24 regular-season games with the B’€™s.

There’€™s also the fact that Corvo will need to stave off Steven Kampfer, who hasn’€™t gone anywhere. On paper, it would seem that Kampfer could start next season in the role Adam McQuaid filled early last year as the seventh defenseman, but one shouldn’€™t count out Kampfer now that he’€™s healthy. Based on experience, though, it would seem a spot would be Corvo’€™s to lose.

In the end, Corvo can meet, exceed, or fall below expectations when it comes to replacing Kaberle. Ultimately, that could come down to whether people are talking about the pre-Boston Kaberle or the one who underwhelmed in black and gold. If it’€™s the latter, Corvo is certainly capable of doing what Kaberle did for $2 million less this year.

Read More: Joe Corvo, Steven Kampfer, Tomas Kaberle,
Report: Brad Marchand negotiations could last into training camp 08.25.11 at 3:17 pm ET
By   |  4 Comments

The agent for Bruins restricted free agent Brad Marchand recently told CSNNE‘s Joe Haggerty that the two sides are not close to a deal to keep the folk hero in Boston.

‘€œDiscussions with the Bruins remain open and ongoing regarding Brad, but nothing is imminent,’€ agent Wade Arnott told Haggerty.

When asked whether a deal would be done before training camp opens on Sept. 16, Arnott replied, ‘€œ[I’€™m] hopeful, but it’€™s no sure thing.’€

Last season, Marchand had 21 goals and 20 assists for 41 points. He added 19 more points in the playoffs, including two goals in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals.

Read More: Brad Marchand,
Which Tuukka Rask will the Bruins see this season? 08.25.11 at 4:52 am ET
By   |  2 Comments

With captains’€™ practices just two short weeks from commencing, WEEI.com will be looking at the questions facing the defending Stanley Cup champions in the 2011-12 season.

Up next is the question of what goaltender Tuukka Rask‘€™s season will hold. The case of Rask is an interesting one, as he was the best statistical goalie in the league in 2009-10 before watching Tim Thomas wrest the starting job away last year. There are other factors at work as well, including the offseason knee surgery he’€™s coming off of and the fact that he’€™ll be a restricted free agent at season’€™s end.

Speaking prior to Milan Lucic‘€™s Rock and Jock softball game Wednesday in Lowell, Rask discussed the arthroscopic procedure he had on his left knee. The surgery required between four and five weeks recovery time, but Rask is now feeling healthy after suffering the injury midway through last season.

Could the knee be the reason as to why Rask went from having a league-best 1.97 goals against average and .931 save percentage in 2009-10 to posting a mediocre 2.67 GAA and .918 save percentage last season? He isn’€™t ready to say so, as he denied feeling significant discomfort in the knee.

‘€œIt actually happened in January, I tweaked it, but it didn’t stop me from playing or practicing,’€ Rask said. ‘€œIt was just something that we saw that was better to fix, because it would have bugged [me] in the future at some point, so it was just a minor fix-up, but the recovery was a few weeks.’€

Now, whether it’€™s through health or increased playing time, Rask has to be hoping to post better numbers this season. There is certainly something to be said for a goaltender getting in a rhythm, and Thomas’€™ dominance made it nearly impossible for the Bruins to give Rask the amount of time a netminder of his caliber deserves.

If it is more time between the pipes that will lead to more 2009-10-like numbers, Rask could be in luck. Yes, Thomas is unquestionably the best goaltender in the league right now, but he is also the oldest player to win the Vezina since the adaptation of its current criteria. Rask played in only 29 games last year, good for approximately 35 percent of the regular season schedule. Assuming neither player gets injured, the Bruins could go with a closer split to give each guy a chance to take control of the job a la Thomas last season. Additionally, if the two split time a little more evenly than last season, neither goaltender would run as big a risk of getting cold.

Then there’€™s the matter of the guys playing in front of him. The Bruins often struggled to give him whatever the hockey equivalent of run support is (he had an 11-14-2 record), and players often lamented the way they played in front of Rask following losses. If both Rask and his teammates can pick it up in games he starts this season, he could be a richer man come next summer. The guess here is that he gets upwards of 35 starts and posts a GAA somewhere in the 2.20 range.

One thing that is safe to say about Rask is that he won’€™t be a poor sport if he ends up spending more time on the bench. He was among the most chipper Bruins during their Cup run, wearing Nathan Horton‘€™s helmet for fun and commonly being in the middle of Bruins’€™ on-ice celebrations after series wins. He said Wednesday that it’€™s the up-and-down nature of the last two seasons that have taught him to be a team guy no matter what.

‘€œI mean, anything can happen, right?’€ Rask said of what he’€™s learned. ‘€œAnd you’ve just got to go day-by-day and no matter what, be a great teammate, because even if you’re playing or you’re not playing, you’ve still got to support the guys and be a part of the group, so that was the really big thing I learned the past two years.’€

Read More: Tim Thomas, Tuukka Rask,
Bruins Box Score
Bruins Schedule
Bruins Headlines
NHL Headlines