|Zdeno Chara: Loss of friend Pavol Demitra, former coach Brad McCrimmon ‘hard to swallow’||09.08.11 at 12:56 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — It takes a lot to shake the biggest player in the league, but a day after the tragic plane crash that killed the members of the KHL team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, it was clear that the event had a major impact on Bruins’ captain Zdeno Chara.
Among those killed in the crash were former Bruin Brad McCrimmon, who was the head coach of the KHL team and had previously coached Chara while the two were in the Islanders system, as well as longtime NHL forward and Slovakia native Pavol Demitra. Chara had ties to both men, so the crash hit close to home for the Slovakian defenseman.
“It was huge. Still. It’s horrible,” Chara Thursday said of how hard the last 24 hours-plus had been. “It’s just a tragedy that shook up the whole world and hockey world especially. We all feel bad about the players’ families and it’s something that is just hard to swallow.”
Demitra and Chara grew up in neighboring towns, as Chara hails from Trencin, with Demitra being born in Dubnica nad Vahom. The two grew up less than 20 minutes away from one another, but had a long-standing friendship.
“Pavel was a guy who was always easygoing, was always friendly with everybody and never really had a conflict with anybody,” Chara said of his late friend. “He was really a very favored and popular guy between other guys, and obviously we all know he was an extremely talented player.
“People probably don’t know dedicated a dad he was,” Chara continued. “He was always spending time with his kids and family, and I think that speaks for itself, too. He had offers from the NHL, but he chose to return back home and be there for his kids and his wife when they were going to school, and they chose the school system in Slovakia. It’s a very very said time right now.”
Demitra had a profound impact in the NHL for a former ninth-round pick, as he was a three-time All Star, three-time 30-goal-scorer, and the recipient of the Lady Byng in 2000. McCrimmon was chosen by the Bruins with the 15th overall pick in the 1979 draft, and after a long playing career became a successful assistant coach in the NHL. Chara said he’ll remember those lost not by their accomplishments, but by who they were as individuals.
Said Chara: “When you get to know players as [people], it’s just devastating.”
|‘Anxious’ Brad Marchand still waiting for deal as camp nears||09.08.11 at 12:30 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — What has one ring, too many unflattering pictures on the internet and no contract?
That would be Bruins forward Brad Marchand, who still has yet to ink a deal for the coming season. The 23-year-old was a somewhat surprising attendee at the Bruins’ first veterans practice Thursday at Ristuccia Arena, as he, among others, took the ice in preparation for the start of training camp next weekend.
Marchand addressed his situation after the skate, saying he doesn’t know whether he’ll have a deal in time for camp, but that he’s “anxious” for agent Wade Arnott to give him some good news.
“I’m updated every day,” Marchand said of where things stand between the Bruins and Arnott. “Every day that something happens, I’m updated, so I’m very aware of what’s going on, but [Arnott]’s doing everything.”
Training camp is set to officially open a week from Saturday. Marchand doesn’t know whether he will be under contract then, and though he technically could participate in camp without a deal, he would not indicate whether he plans to take the ice — and therefore risk being injured without a contract — or sit out.
“I’m not thinking that far ahead right now,” he said. “It’s just day to day, and hopefully it gets done before then.”
As for his decision to participate in the voluntary veterans skates, Marchand, who has been skating since Aug. 3, said he did not consider staying off the ice until a deal was signed.
Said Marchand: “The goal is to be in the best possible shape as I can be for the season, and that’s all I’ve been doing and trying to get in shape.”
Marchand’s 11 goals in the playoffs last season were second only to teammate David Krejci. In the regular season, Marchand had 21 goals and 20 assists as a rookie, working his way up from a fourth-line player to a main contributor on the team’s second line with Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi.
|Brad Marchand, Joe Corvo among those in attendance at Bruins’ first veterans practice||09.08.11 at 12:25 pm ET|
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.
|Report: Chris Clark to join camp on tryout basis||09.05.11 at 10:00 pm ET|
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.
|Andrew Ference spends day with Stanley Cup in Boston||09.05.11 at 8:50 pm ET|
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:
|Report: Yury Alexandrov leaves Bruins organization||08.26.11 at 4:08 pm ET|
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.
|Will Joe Corvo be able to replace Tomas Kaberle?||08.26.11 at 1:51 am ET|
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.
‘[He’s] a very, very good skater,’ Seidenberg said of Corvo. ‘Good 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.
‘He’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. ‘I 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.
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