|One of many U.S. Olympic roster projections||12.30.13 at 9:00 am ET|
The U.S. Olympic roster will be announced Wednesday at the Winter Classic, which means it’s time for everyone to make their roster projections. Mine is below. It’s worth noting that this isn’t necessarily who I think will make the team, but rather who I think should make it. It’s also worth noting that the roster announced Wednesday could end up changing due to injuries. Team USA will take 25 players to Sochi, and the assumption is that the breakdown will be 14 forwards, eight defensemen and three goalies.
Zach Parise – Ryan Kesler – Patrick Kane
James van Riemsdyk – Joe Pavelski – Phil Kessel
Max Pacioretty – David Backes – Bobby Ryan
Dustin Brown – Paul Stastny – T.J. Oshie
Jason Pominville, Ryan Callahan/Derek Stepan
The top three centers are pretty much interchangeable — all three can score, all three play defense and all three are strong on faceoffs. Parise and Kane are as good as it gets on the wing (although it’s worth mentioning that Parise is currently battling a foot injury). Kessel and van Riemsdyk already play together in Toronto, so it makes sense to keep them together here.
Pacioretty and Ryan give you a very good third scoring line. Brown has struggled this season, but I still like him as a fourth-liner. He and Oshie would be a bruising tandem. Stastny gets the nod over Stepan because he’s better on faceoffs and he’s been playing better recently. Read the rest of this entry »
|Bruins call up goalie Niklas Svedberg||12.27.13 at 10:12 am ET|
The Bruins have recalled goalie Niklas Svedberg from AHL Providence, the team announced Friday. The 24-year-old is 11-5-3 with a 2.91 goals against average, .907 save percentage and one shutout this season. Last year, Svedberg was voted the AHL’s most outstanding goalie after going 37-8-2 with a 2.17 GAA, .925 save percentage and four shutouts.
If Svedberg gets into a game with the Bruins, it would be his NHL debut. The Bruins kick off a home-and-home with the Senators at TD Garden on Friday before heading up to Ottawa on Saturday.
|Marshfield’s David Warsofsky shows power-play ability in Garden debut||12.21.13 at 11:46 pm ET|
In his second NHL game, defenseman David Warsofsky got a chance to show what he can do in the role that suits his game best — power-play quarterback. And the Marshfield native and Boston University product ran the Bruins’ power play the same way he’s been running Providence’s, which is very well.
Buffalo’s Linus Omark went to the box for hooking 9:07 into Saturday’s game, and with the Bruins’ top line just finishing up a shift, it was Warsofsky and the second power-play unit (which also included Patrice Bergeron, Reilly Smith, Carl Soderberg and Ryan Spooner) that got the first crack.
They set up a nice cycle and got Buffalo’s penalty killers moving, and Warsofsky’s ability to move his feet and open up lanes was a big part of it. Thirty-two seconds into the man advantage, Smith found the back of the net after a pretty passing sequence that saw all five Bruins touch the puck in about a five-second span.
“I think I’ve obviously been playing on the power play down in Providence, and that’s kind of the role I want to come into,” Warsofsky said. “I felt comfortable out there. … Not every guy gets the chance when they come up to play on the power play, so it was nice to see the coaches have some confidence in me and put me out there.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Zdeno Chara doesn’t really step up; he just continues to be great||12.17.13 at 11:22 pm ET|
It’s rare that Zdeno Chara doesn’t step up, which is why it wouldn’t really be fair to say he “stepped up” in the Bruins’ 2-0 win over the Flames on Tuesday. But he did play one of his best games of the season, and not just because he registered his first two-goal game since May 4, 2011.
In fact, you could make the case that the two goals weren’t even the most impressive part of his game. They both came on the power play, an area where he’s been getting more and more comfortable all season. The first was a one-timer — he’s always had that. The second was a put-back from the top of the crease — he hasn’t been in that role on a regular basis until this year.
But only 1:56 of Chara’s 22:44 time on ice came on the power play. So what was Chara doing the rest of that time? He was dominating just as much as he dominated on the power play.
The Bruins had a plus-16 Corsi (even-strength shot attempts) with Chara on the ice Tuesday, marking a season best for the Bruins captain. The Flames attempted just six shots with Chara on the ice (also a season best), and only three of them were actually on goal.
After an embarrassing 6-2 loss to Vancouver on Saturday, it was exactly the kind of performance you’d want from your captain. But again, it would be a disservice to Chara to suggest this was some sort of personal turnaround. Read the rest of this entry »
|Dion Phaneuf suspended two games for hit on Kevan Miller; Shawn Thornton’s hearing reportedly set for Friday||12.10.13 at 12:18 pm ET|
Toronto’s Dion Phaneuf has been suspended two games for hitting Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller from behind late in the third period of Sunday night’s 5-2 Bruins win.
Miller went face-first into the boards on the hit and looked shaken up as he left the ice. He is expected to play Tuesday night, though. Phaneuf had no suspension history prior to this.
This marks the second suspension to come out of a chaotic weekend for the Bruins. On Monday, Pittsburgh’s James Neal was suspended five games for kneeing Brad Marchand in the head Saturday night.
The longest suspension of all is still to come, though. Shawn Thornton will have an in-person hearing with Brendan Shanahan on Friday afternoon, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie. On Saturday night, Thornton took down Brooks Orpik from behind and punched him twice while he was on the ice. Orpik was knocked out cold and had to be taken off on a stretcher. He has since been placed on injured reserve with a concussion.
|Johnny Boychuk has lower back injury, extent still unknown||12.06.13 at 3:08 pm ET|
Johnny Boychuk has a lower back injury, but the extent of the injury is still unknown, Claude Julien told reporters Friday. Julien said Boychuk will undergo an MRI on Friday, and that the team should know more after that.
Boychuk suffered the injury in the first period of last night’s 2-1 loss to Montreal when Max Pacioretty checked him into the boards. He was carried off the ice on a stretcher and taken to a local hospital, but he was able to move all his extremities and was cleared to travel back to Boston with the team.
Pacioretty said after the game that he felt terrible about the injury.
“Honestly, I couldn’t even walk you through the hit,” Pacioretty said. “It’s, you know, I felt terrible. I didn’t even really know what happened. I was just kind of battling for the puck. I felt terrible after it happened.”
|Bruins defense bounces back from Detroit disaster with pair of excellent games||11.30.13 at 11:55 pm ET|
The NHL was a different place in 2002. Goals and shots were as low as they’d been since the 1950s, and it wasn’t rare at all to see teams held under 20 shots on goal in a game. In fact, the 2001-02 Bruins — one of the better defensive teams in the league — held opponents under that mark 13 times.
But things have changed since then. The rule changes following the lockout in 2004-05 helped open the game back up, and although we’ll probably never get back to the eight-goals-per-game days of the 1980s, we’re at least seeing more shots and chances than the pre-lockout days. And we’re certainly not seeing teams hold opponents under 20 shots on goal as frequently as we used to — the 2011-12 Bruins, a top defensive team just like the B’s squad 10 years before, did it just four times.
All of that information sets up this: over the last two days, the Bruins have held their opponents under 20 shots on goal in back-to-back games for the first time since that 2001-02 season (April 11 and 13 of that season, to be exact).
It’s a feat that in today’s NHL would be impressive at any time. But for the Bruins, it’s even more significant considering it followed Wednesday’s debacle in Detroit, when they surrendered six goals on one defensive breakdown after another.
“We want to put that game behind us,” Zdeno Chara said. “You’re going to have a game like that where everything is off. Hopefully there’s not too many of them. But after that game, we really wanted to focus on how we were going to play defensively, and more focused on us than the teams we play. Don’t get me wrong — we want to respect their strength and whatever they do well, but mainly we want to focus on how we’re going to implement our game plan.” Read the rest of this entry »