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Zdeno Chara’s hardest shot dominance ends; does he still think he has hardest shot in league? 01.12.15 at 1:16 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — Zdeno Chara‘s PCL injury cost him 19 games this season. It also weakened what is perhaps the NHL All-Star weekend’s most watchable event.

Given that Chara is not an All-Star this season, he will not participate in the hardest shot competition, which he was won five times in a row from 2007-2012. The NHL has not had an All-Star weekend the last two seasons due to the 2012-13 lockout and the 2014 Winter Olympics, so Chara is still the defending champion in the talent show.

Over the years, Chara set new records in the contest and developed a good rivalry with Nashville’s Shea Weber, who has finished second to Boston’s captain in each of the last three contests. In the last contest, Chara’s shot was clocked at 108.8 mph, the fastest on record to date.

Chara is understanding of why he won’t take part in the contest, as he noted that you need to be an All-Star first, and it would have been hard to make a case for him qualifying.

“Obviously I missed a big chunk of the first half,” he said. “It’s based on the play and performance of the players, and obviously I didn’t play most of it.”

Given that there hasn’t been one of these contests in a couple years and that Chara is now in his age 37-38 season, it would have been interesting to see if Chara’s shot still reigned supreme. Furthermore, Chara is two victories shy of tying wooden stick wonder Al MacInnis for most hardest shot crowns (seven).

Chara’s been able to step into powerful shots at points this season on goals against Buffalo on Oct. 18 and last week in Pittsburgh. Asked whether he felt his shot remains the hardest in the league, Chara thought for three full seconds before answering.

“I don’t know,” he said. “It’s a different thing doing the shots during the game and when you have to skate into it and wind up. I assume I could be up there, but a lot of guys have hard shots.”

Chara won’t win this season, but given that a healthy Chara should be an automatic All-Star, perhaps he’ll return to the contest in the coming seasons.

“It’s fun,” he said. “I think it was exciting for fans; it was exciting for players. We always made it kind of interesting with different players and it was always a bit hyped before the contest.”

Read More: Shea Weber, Zdeno Chara,
Bruins return to practice sporting same lines 01.12.15 at 12:40 pm ET
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David Pastrnak

David Pastrnak

WILMINGTON — The Bruins began their preparations for a three-game homestand Monday after taking Sunday off.

The B’€™s sported the same lines they used in Saturday’€™s 3-1 win over the Flyers, with David Krejci still centering Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak on Boston’€™s top line.

Pastrnak’€™s presence and Daniel Paille‘€™s recent promotion to Patrice Bergeron‘€™s line has moved Reilly Smith out of the top six, as he has taken Chris Kelly‘€™s spot on Carl Soderberg’€™s line, which in turn has left Kelly on the fourth line.

The lines were as follows:

Marchand – Krejci – Pastrnak
Lucic – Bergeron – Paille
Smith – Soderberg – Eriksson
Caron – Kelly – Campbell – Cunningham

All seven defensemen and both goaltenders took part in practice.

The B’€™s will host the Atlantic Division-leading Lightning on Tuesday. Tampa Bay, currently eight points ahead of the Bruins with one game in hand as of Monday morning, will play the Flyers Monday night in Philadelphia.

Bruins send Seth Griffith to Providence 01.11.15 at 1:44 pm ET
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Seth Griffith

Seth Griffith

The Bruins sent forward Seth Griffith to Providence after Saturday’€™s victory over the Flyers.

Griffith has played in 30 games this season for the Bruins, many of which have seen him play on the right wing of David Krejci‘€™s line. With David Pastrnak currently serving in that role and the rest of Boston’€™s forwards healthy, he was a healthy scratch on Saturday for the second straight game.

Pastrnak, who has played seven NHL games, can play two more without accruing an NHL season on his contract. If he plays 10 games, the first year of his three-year entry level pact will be burned. If Pastrnak performs like he did Saturday, when he netted the first two goals of his NHL career, it would appear a good bet that he’€™ll stick with the B’€™s.

Jordan Caron is now the Bruins’€™ 13th forward with Griffith in Providence.

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

Read More: Seth Griffith,
David Pastrnak scores first two NHL goals as Bruins win third straight 01.10.15 at 3:35 pm ET
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David Pastrnak

David Pastrnak

David Pastrnak scored the first two goals of his NHL career as the Bruins beat the Flyers Saturday in Philadelphia, 3-1 (box), to give them their third three-game winning streak of the season.

Pastrnak, playing in his second straight game since rejoining the Bruins this week, picked up his first goal by jamming in a rebound of a Torey Krug shot during a first-period power play. Krug’€™s bid came as a result of some slick passing down low by Milan Lucic and Zdeno Chara. The goal came against Ray Emery, who spelled Steve Mason after Philadelphia’€™s starter left due to injury after just 7:07.

The Bruins turned in a quiet second period in which they landed only four shots on goal, but Pastrnak turned in one of the period’€™s few bright spots by out battling Luke Schenn behind the net to prolong a lengthy stay in the Philadelphia zone for the Bruins.

The highlight of Pastrnak’€™s day undoubtedly nearly five minutes into the third period, when he took a pass from Adam McQuaid in the neutral zone, skated it into the Philadelphia zone and left a drop-pass for David Krejci before sliding across the net, receiving a perfectly placed pass from Krejci and firing it in for his second goal of the day.

Pastnrak has now played seven NHL games. Once he plays his 10th this season, the first of three years will be burned off his entry level contract.

Chris Kelly made it 3-0 at 9:51 of the third with a shorthanded goal scored on a 2-on-1 with Loui Eriksson, who returned to Boston’€™s lineup after missing Thursday’€™s game with a right hand/wrist injury. Kelly’€™s goal was his fifth of the season and his 11th point (three goals, eight assists) in his last 13 games.

Kelly also drew the Jakub Voracek interference penalty in the first period that led to the power play on which Pastrnak scored. The game was the second straight in which Kelly drew a penalty that led to a power play goal for the Bruins, as Jaromir Jagr’€™s hooking penalty against him led to a Milan Lucic goal on the man advantage Thursday.

Tuukka Rask‘€™s shutout bid was broken up with 5:47 to play wen Claude Giroux fired a snapshot through traffic during a Flyers power play that came as a result of McQuaid clearing the puck over the glass from the defensive zone. The Flyers had six power plays on the day.

Pastrnak could have had a hat trick with Emery pulled in a two-goal game late, but he held the puck too long, shooting it in after the final horn sounded.

The victory improved the Bruins to 22-15-6. Including Boston’€™s disappointing run of overtime and shootout losses, the Bruins have now picked up points in seven straight games.

Bruins not sure who their All-Star is 01.09.15 at 3:58 pm ET
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Dougie Hamilton

Dougie Hamilton

Asked Friday which teammate should represent the Bruins in the All-Star Game later this month, one Bruin confidently responded, “€œOur best player is Tuukka.”

Then, after showering and thinking about it, the player came back.

“I change my answer,” he said. “Bergy.”

The player was correct –€” not for choosing Patrice Bergeron, but for being indecisive. With All-Star teams being named Saturday, there is no obvious answer as to which Bruin (or, less likely, Bruins) should be there in this tumultuous season.

The annual exhibition returns this month from a two-year absence and, aside from those making money off it and a shockingly high number of Latvian voters (big ups, Zemgus Girgensons), it’€™s hard to imagine that many folks have missed it. All-Star appearances, aside from the extra dough they earn the player, aren’€™t a big deal in the grand scheme of things, as fan voting for six of the 42 players and the fact that each team needs a representative water down the distinction.

With the Bruins receiving few standout season-long performances (they don’t have anyone in the top in points) it will be interesting to see who goes to Columbus. The player folks should most want to see would be Zdeno Chara so he can defend his title in the Hardest Shot contest, but he has not performed to his level of seasons past and has missed 19 games this season due to a torn PCL.

The most popular guess from Bruins players was that Patrice Bergeron was the best candidate, with players also voicing their support for Tuukka Rask, Carl Soderberg, Chara and Dougie Hamilton. Multiple players expressed hope that Chara could go so he could put on his until-recently annual slapshot clinic.

Bergeron was a pretty obvious candidate in the 2011-12 season, but was passed over in favor of linemate Tyler Seguin. Chara, who captained one of the teams, and Tim Thomas were also there for the Bruins in 2012, the last All-Star Game played before it fell victim to the lockout in 2013 and Olympics last season.

This season, Bergeron’€™s play has dipped a bit from last season, though he leads the Bruins with 31 points and is on pace for a respectable 20-goal campaign. Given what happened in 2012, one could argue he is owed an All-Star appearance. Bergeron has still never been an All-Star in his 11-season NHL career.

If the NHL seeks a big name who has raised his performance this season, Hamilton is a good candidate. He has regularly played against opponents’€™ top lines, with only Dennis Seidenberg getting fewer offensive zone starts on average than him. Hamilton frequently led Boston defensemen in time on ice while Chara was out and is third on the B’€™s in average time on ice with 22:01. Chara leads the way, averaging 22:40.

Furthermore, Hamilton is fifth on the Bruins in points with 23, which leads Boston defensemen and is 19th among NHL blueliners.

Hamilton doesn’€™t buy it, however. He feels Dougie’€™s Big All-Star Game will have to wait.

“I don’€™t think so,” he said with a smirk when asked whether he felt he was having an All-Star season. “I think there’€™s too many good D in the league. I think I had a good start and everything, but I don’€™t think I’€™m an All-Star.”

When Seguin was an All-Star in 2012, he felt he needed to apologize to Bergeron. Hamilton said that if he were chosen this year, he’€™d feel there were other Bruins more deserving as well.

“I think with our team, we’€™re known to be a team,” Hamilton said. “There’€™s not one guy who puts himself ahead of other guys. I would probably feel the same way [as Seguin did]. Guys like Bergie — Krej was hurt and Zee was hurt — but even Carl, Loui and Marchy, the list goes on. For me, I’€™m just trying to contribute to the team and win some games.”

Well, someone has to go to the stupid thing.

Read More: Dougie Hamilton, Dougie's Big Year, Patrice Bergeron,
Loui Eriksson practices, questionable for Saturday vs. Flyers 01.09.15 at 1:24 pm ET
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Loui Eriksson

Loui Eriksson

Loui Eriksson is questionable for Saturday’€™s game against the Flyers after participating in Friday’€™s practice.

Eriksson, who appeared to suffer a right hand/wrist injury on a slash from Penguins defenseman Robert Bortuzzo Wednesday in Pittsburgh, skated before practice Friday but was very light in his shooting. After the practice, Claude Julien said that Eriksson is still dealing with swelling that will need to subside before he plays.

The lines in practice remained the same as they were in Thursday’€™s win over the Devils:

Marchand – Krejci – Pastrnak
Lucic -€“ Bergeron – Paille
Kelly – Soderberg – Smith
Caron -€“ Campbell – Cunningham

Chara – Hamilton
Seidenberg – McQuaid
Krug – Miller

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

Read More: Loui Eriksson,
5 things we learned as Bruins dominate Devils for second straight win 01.08.15 at 9:32 pm ET
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If there were such a thing as a two-goal blowout, the Bruins played it for all but 11.7 seconds on Thursday night.

Coming off a key overtime victory against the Penguins Wednesday, the Bruins dominated the Devils for 60 minutes with a 3-0 win that was sealed with a Milan Lucic empty-netter with 11.7 seconds remaining. Aside from a horrid first-period five-on-three and a general lack of finish, it was the most one-sided victory the Bruins have had all season.

Niklas Svedberg picked up an easy shutout as the Bruins outshot New Jersey, 43-14. In putting 43 shots on net, Boston posted its highest shot total of the season.

The win extended Boston’€™s point streak to six games (3-0-3) and improved the B’€™s to 21-15-6 on the season.

Here are four more things we learned Thursday:

BRUINS COME OUT STRONGER

The Bruins came out slowly to start all three periods of regulation Wednesday and had just 19 shots on goal through three periods to show for it.

That changed Thursday, as the B’€™s outshot the Devils, 18-3, in the first period, nearly reaching their three-period total of shots on goal from the night before in just 20 minutes. Not only that, but the Devils didn’€™t even attempt a shot for the entire second half of the period (10:47).

Carl Soderberg, Jordan Caron, Dougie Hamilton and Kevan Miller were the only Bruins without a shot on goal in the first.

Boston’€™s fourth line of Gregory Campbell between Caron and Craig Cunningham was the Bruins’€™ only line that didn’€™t have a positive Corsi in the period, though they were even and both Campbell and Cunningham had a shot on goal apiece in the first.

…OR MAYBE IT’€™S JUST THAT THE DEVILS DIDN’€™T SHOW UP

In the first period, it appeared the Bruins were dominating play. That rang true again in the second period, but it became abundantly clear that the Bruins were dealing with a nonexistent opponent.

The Devils went 13:09 between shots on goal during the second period from 1:34 to 14:43. They actually passed up a couple of opportunities to throw the puck on net during that span, opting instead to try to get the puck in deep, but their lack of chances and the cold goalie they created in Niklas Svedberg made it more sensible for them to put pucks on net however they could.

KREJCI GETS PASTRNAK, BUT LUCIC STICKS WITH BERGERON

David Pastrnak made his long-awaited return to the Bruins’€™ lineup Thursday, was slotted on David Krejci‘€™s line as expected. The other side of the line was different, however.

Rather than playing a potential first line of Lucic-Krejci-Pastrnak, Claude Julien kept Lucic with Patrice Bergeron and Daniel Paille after Wednesday’€™s strong showing. Lucic and Krejci have long been looking for a right wing since Jarome Iginla left, but they’€™ll have to wait to find chemistry as a trio. Time is running out, however, as Pastrnak has now played six NHL games and the Bruins need to decide whether to keep Pastrnak for the season before he plays his 10th game.

Loui Eriksson missed the game with a suspected hand/wrist injury suffered Wednesday. The lines Thursday were as follows:

Marchand – Krejci – Pastrnak
Lucic ‘€“ Bergeron – Paille
Kelly ‘€“ Soderberg – Smith
Caron ‘€“ Campbell ‘€“ Cunningham

Chara ‘€“ Hamilton
Seidenberg – McQuaid
Krug ‘€“ Miller

Pastrnak did not play the final 6:28 of the second period, missing a shift that Gregory Campbell took in his place. Upon further review of his last shift prior to the missed shift, Pastrnak was battling a bit with Adam Larsson, but didn’€™t appear injured at any point. He returned to the game for the third period.

The Kelly-Soderberg-Smith line showed promise and generated a second-period goal in which some good work from Chris Kelly in the corner forced a poor clearing attempt from the Devils that Carl Soderberg intercepted and took to the net, taking multiple slashes as he shot and scored.

LUCIC GETS BACK TO SCORING

Milan Lucic probably should have been credited with the overtime winner in Wednesday’€™s game given that it appeared to go off Penguins defenseman Simon Despres’€™ glove rather than Patrice Bergeron‘€™s stick, but Lucic didn’€™t have to wait long to receive credit for another goal.

Lucic scored his first goal in 10 games during a first-period power play Wednesday when he took a pass from David Krejci, at the top of the right circle, slid across the top of the circle and fired a wrist shot with Zdeno Chara screening.

Lucic’s empty netter gave him eight goals on the season.

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