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Giant defenseman Oleg Yevenko hopes to make most of development camp invitation with Bruins 07.09.14 at 10:57 pm ET
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There is a great big European defenseman on the ice at Bruins development camp.

His name is Oleg Yevenko, he stands 6-foot-7 and 230 pounds and he’s from Belarus. He’s 23 years old and isn’t a member of an NHL organization; he’s in town on an invitation from the B’s (he was in the Devils prospect camp last year and the Islanders prospect camp two years ago). He plays his college hockey at UMass, where he’ll be a senior in the fall. He also played for Belarus in the IIHF World Championship back in May.

And, like many giant players before him, the question is obvious: Can he skate?

It’s a question that was applied to the 6-foot-9 Zdeno Chara for years, and the answer wasn’t always yes. With hard work came the skating, and Chara, a third-round pick of the Islanders, became Chara.

“He’s definitely the example,” Yevenko said Wednesday of Chara. “He’s one of the best defensemen in the league at the moment. He uses his size very, very well and there’s a lot to learn from that guy.”

Yevenko strives for a future in the NHL, something that led him to North America at the age of 18.

A hockey player since he was 8 years old, Yevenko got a tryout with the Fargo Force of the USHL and made the team. If that team sounds familiar, it’s because that’s where Bruins goaltending prospect Zane Gothberg played before heading to the University of North Dakota.

Gothberg’s been watching Yevenko for years, from the not-so-pretty to the better-than-not-so-pretty.

“He’s a huge body, man. I remember him coming to camp in Fargo,” Gothberg said. “He could barely move his boots and stuff; had a tough time skating. Now, he’s come a heck of a long way. He’s got good feet for a big man. It’s obviously something he [still] could work on, but that’s with anything in everybody; you’ve always got something to work on.”

Yevenko takes a lot of penalties and was suspended multiple times in his three years in the USHL. He views his size as a big part of that, which is reminiscent of the difficulty Dougie Hamilton – albeit a much younger Dougie Hamilton – had in junior hockey being physical without being called for infractions.

“Every decent or big collision, normally you get called,” Yevenko said. “That’s one of the things that happened during the last year, too. You get called a lot, sometimes get suspended. It kind of influences your game to a certain degree. Maybe on a conscious level, you’re just more careful when you come in a corner because you don’t want to put your team in a bad position.”

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Jonathan Toews contract puts Patrice Bergeron’s deal in perspective 07.09.14 at 3:45 pm ET
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Patrice Bergeron has won the Selke Trophy in two of the last three seasons. (AP)

Patrice Bergeron has won the Selke Trophy in two of the last three seasons. (AP)

On Wednesday, the Blackhawks finally delivered the mega-contracts to their mega-stars that the hockey world had seen coming for a mega-long time. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane got, as they say, paid.

The numbers were the same for each: Eight years and $84 million, with the deals carrying annual cap hits of $10.5 million.

That’€™s a boatload of money, but great players in their prime get paid boatloads of money. Both contracts should be met with initial shock at the dollars followed by an understanding that the cap goes up over the years and that we’re talking about two of the best players in the league.

The Bruins don’€™t have a player like Kane, and not many teams do. However, Toews and Patrice Bergeron have spent the last few years (and figure to spend many more) battling one another for the Selke Trophy as the league’€™s top two-way forward.

Last summer, Bergeron got a mega-extension of his own: Eight years worth $52 million with an annual cap hit of $6.5 million.

Now, there are obvious differences between Bergeron and Toews, with the biggest one that Toews is a better player, particularly offensively — that one’€™s kind of the biggie here.

They’€™re also different ages. Bergeron will turn 29 years old later this month, while Toews turned 26 in April.

Still, considering the two players are compared to one another each year in the Selke race (Toews edged Bergeron in the 2013 season, Bergeron won for the second time in three years this past season), it’€™s worth comparing the two contracts. The immediate takeaway from Toews’€™ deal is that, at $4 million against the cap less each year, Peter Chiarelli got Bergeron, perhaps for the rest of his career, at a pretty sweet rate.

Last season, the players put up similar offensive numbers, with Toews’€™ 68 points over 76 games edging Bergeron’€™s 62 points over 80, but Bergeron put up 30 goals while Toews netted 28. Bergeron’€™s faceoff numbers (third in faceoff percentage; Toews was fifth) and superior advanced stats (he finished third in the league among players with 25 or more games in Corsi Rel; Toews was 22nd) made him the Selke winner in the eyes of the Pro Hockey Writers Association.

It should be expected that Toews will regularly outproduce Bergeron offensively, while Bergeron figures to remain the better defensive player. They aren’€™t the same player, but they’€™re closer than their contracts suggest. Neither deal has begun yet (Bergeron’€™s starts this coming season, Toews’€™ the year after that), but count Bergeron’€™s as another savvy signing for Chiarelli.

Read More: Jonathan Toews, Patrice Bergeron, Peter Chiarelli,
Bruins open development camp 07.09.14 at 2:30 pm ET
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Malcolm Subban

Malcolm Subban

WILMINGTON –€” The Bruins opened development camp Wednesday at Ristuccia Arena, with prospects taking the ice to get better acquainted with the organization.

Malcolm Subban was the last player in attendance to get on the ice, as he was dealing with cramps. Wednesday marked the first time 2014 first-round pick David Pastrnak hit the ice in a Bruins’€™ sweater, though general manager Don Sweeney shared that Pastrnak had only brought his skates to the camp and thus had to use all new equipment.

Fourth-round pick Danton Heinen is not at the camp because he is currently enrolled in college classes at the University of Denver. Players enrolled in college courses are not allowed to be excused for professional camps. Matt Grzelcyk will miss Thursday’€™s session because he has class at Boston University.

The development camp will continue through Sunday at Ristuccia.

Bruins sign letter of intent for Allston-Brighton practice facility 07.08.14 at 9:54 am ET
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The Bruins have signed a letter of intent with Boston Landing to build a new practice facility in the Allston-Brighton neighborhood.

The facility will include 25,000 square feet of locker room, training and office space. A statement released by the team indicated the B’s are in the “€œdesign phase” of the project, with construction estimated to begin in spring of 2015 and completed in the fall of 2016.

The Bruins will continue to practice at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington until their new facility is completed.

Following is the press release:

BOSTON, MA – Boston Bruins President Cam Neely announced today, Tuesday, July 8, that the Bruins have signed a letter of intent for a long term-lease with Boston Landing, a mixed-used development in the Allston-Brighton neighborhood of Boston, to build a new professional standard hockey rink that will serve as the team’€™s practice facility.

“€œI am thrilled that we have found the Bruins a new practice home within the Boston city limits,’€ said Bruins Principal Charlie Jacobs. “Our goal is to set the industry standard in everything that we do, and we are confident that our new practice facility will do just that. As we enter the design phase of the project, we look forward to sharing details as they become available.”€

In addition to ice time, the agreement includes approximately 25,000 square feet of dedicated locker room, training and office space. Construction is estimated to begin in Spring 2015 with completion for Fall 2016. Elkus Manfredi Architects will do the design and John Moriarty & Associates will handle the construction.

“€œSince joining the Bruins in a front office capacity, a goal of mine has been to move the Bruins into a first-class practice facility and this agreement moves us closer to accomplishing that goal,”€ said Neely. “œThe vision that New Balance has for the Boston Landing project is exactly what we were looking for, and we are confident that through this partnership, we will build a facility that our entire organization will be proud of.”

Boston Landing is a 14-acre mixed-used development in the Allston-Brighton neighborhood of Boston that includes the new world headquarters of New Balance, which will be completed in Fall 2015. A commuter rail station will also be built on the Framingham-Worcester line with completion for Fall 2016. In addition, the development includes additional office buildings, retail and restaurant space, a hotel and a sports complex.

“We are thrilled to welcome the Boston Bruins, a truly world-class organization, to Boston Landing,” said Jim Halliday, Managing Director for NB Development Group LLC. “This agreement reflects our vision of Boston Landing that transcends typical brick and mortar real estate development by truly enhancing and activating the area’€™s experience for tenants and residents, and also creating a destination use for visitors.”€

Participating brokers included Steve Purpura and Chris McCauley from Transwestern/RBJ and Sean Gildea and David Smookler from The Dartmouth Company. Boston Landing is being co-developed by HYM Investments, headed by Tom O’€™Brien.

The Bruins previous practice facility, Ristuccia Memorial Arena in Wilmington, MA had served as the Bruins practice home since the 1987-88 season.

Read More: Cam Neely,
Matt Bartkowski files for salary arbitration 07.05.14 at 5:40 pm ET
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Matt Bartkowski

Matt Bartkowski

The NHL Players’€™ Association has announced the 20 players that have elected salary arbitration. Among them is Bruins defenseman Matt Bartkowski, who was the only Bruin to file.

Bartkowski, who is a restricted free agent, can still reach a new agreement with the Bruins leading up until hearings are held from July 20 to Aug. 14. If a deal isn’€™t struck by then, a hearing will be held with an independent arbitrator, who will then determine the amount of money the player will be paid by the team.

Should Bartkowski be deemed worth more than $3,500,000 by the arbitrator (which is very unlikely), the Bruins would have the option of walking away and letting Bartkowski sign elsewhere as an unrestricted free agent.

The 2013-14 season marked Bartkowski’€™s first full season in the NHL. He skated in 64 regular season games and eight playoff games, contributing 18 points (all assists) in the regular season and one assist in the postseason. Bartkowski, who scored in Game 7 against the Maple Leafs two seasons ago, has yet to score a regular-season goal in 84 games in the NHL thus far.

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Bruins announce development camp roster 07.03.14 at 12:33 pm ET
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Malcolm Subban

Malcolm Subban

The Bruins announced their roster for their development camp Thursday. The camp will take place from July 9 to July 13 at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington.

Among the players set to attend the development camp are recent draft picks David Pastrnak and Ryan Donato, as well as 2012 first-rounder Malcolm Subban.

The roster is as follows:

Forwards: Cole Bardreau, Kyle Baun, Anders Bjork, Anton Blidh, Peter Cehlarik, Mitchell Dempsey, Michael Doherty, Ryan Donato, Ryan Fitzgerald, Alex Globke, Colton Hargrove, Simon Norberg, David Pastrnak.

Defensemen: Linus Arnesson, Matt Benning, Matt Grzelcyk, Emil Johansson, Rob O’€™ Gara, Wiley Sherman, Billy Sweezey, Oleg Yevenko.

Goaltenders: Zane Gothberg, Malcolm Subban.

Of the players attending, Bardreau, Baun, Doherty, Globke, Norberg, Sweezy and Yevenko will attend the camp on an invite basis.

For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com/bruins.

Read More: David Pastrnak, Malcolm Subban, Ryan Donato,
Bruins sign goaltender Jeremy Smith 07.02.14 at 4:56 pm ET
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The Bruins signed goaltender Jeremy Smith to a one-year, two-way contract Wednesday. The contract is worth $80,000 at the AHL level and $550,000 at the NHL level.

The signing comes a day after general manager Peter Chiarelli said that Niklas Svedberg, who was signed to a one-year, $600,000 deal last week, was not guaranteed the backup job behind Tuukka Rask.

“I think he’€™s almost ready, if not ready,”€ Chiarelli said Tuesday. “€œIt doesn’€™t mean he gets the job; it doesn’€™t mean we won’€™t add somebody at some point to challenge him.”

With all due respect to Smith, it would be a surprise if he were to beat Svedberg out for the backup job. Instead, it’€™s more likely that Smith will take Svedberg’€™s job on the Providence roster, sharing AHL goaltending duties with 2012 first-round pick Malcolm Subban.

The 25-year-old Smith was drafted by the Predators in the second round of the 2007 draft. He has never played an NHL game, as he has spent the first season of his professional career in the ECHL before playing the last four seasons in the AHL. The brunt of his AHL experience to this point has been with the Milwaukee Admirals, though he played for the Springfield Falcons last season as a member of the Columbus organization.

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

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