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Bruins lottery victory countdown: Which center will they trade after getting Auston Matthews? 04.27.16 at 11:35 am ET
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David Krejci has five years left on his contract. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

David Krejci has five years left on his contract. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

The NHL draft lottery will be held Saturday night, and WEEI.com is preparing you for the one percent chance that the Bruins will win the first overall pick.

We’ve already covered that once the Bruins win the lottery on Saturday (duh), they’ll have the chance to grab American center Auston Matthews. This will go a long way in the Bruins’ effort to make their offense overwhelmingly American (Frank Vatrano, Noel Acciari, Jimmy Hayes, Austin Czarink, Lee Stempniak? Jimmy Vesey?), but it would also make the Bruins a little too loaded down the middle.

The addition of Matthews would make either David Krejci or Ryan Spooner expendable in an effort to get much-needed defense help.

For those who didn’t watch this season (congrats), Krejci was one of the best players in the league over the first month of the season before seeing his play drop off due to a pair of injuries. Despite missing 10 games on the season, Krejci still put up 63 points (17 goals, 46 assists) over 72 games.

One of his injuries, a hip impingement, has required surgery. Krejci, 29, has five years remaining on a six-year contract with an annual $7.25 million cap hit.

Spooner, meanwhile, put up 40 points over his first 56 games before fading in the second half due in part to a lower-body injury. He finished the season with 49 points (13 goals, 36 assists) in 80 games. The 24-year-old has one year left on a two-year contract with a $950,000 cap hit. His contract is one of Don Sweeney’s bright spots thus far as Bruins general manager.

Who should the Bruins trade for defense help if they win the lottery?

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Read More: Auston Matthews, Bruins Lottery Victory Countdown,
Bruins sign goaltender Daniel Vladar to entry level contract 04.26.16 at 8:51 pm ET
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The Bruins announced the signing of an entry level contract for goaltender Daniel Vladar Tuesday.

Vladar, a third-round pick of the Bruins in the 2015 draft, hails from the Czech Republic but has spent this season in North America playing for the Chicago Steel of the USHL. He posted a .920 save percentage at the USHL level.

The 18-year-old netminder stands at 6-foot-6 and 185 pounds. He was the fourth goaltender taken in last June’s draft.

Bruins lottery victory countdown: Watch Auston Matthews’ first Swiss League goal 04.25.16 at 12:50 pm ET
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The NHL draft lottery will be held Saturday night, and WEEI.com is preparing you for the one percent chance that the Bruins will win the first overall pick.

(Seriously. We have nothing better to do.)

Anyway, here’s projected first overall pick Auston Matthews’ first goal in the Swiss National League A:

Read More: Bruins Lottery Victory Countdown,
Providence Bruins’ season ends in double-OT loss to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 04.24.16 at 3:44 am ET
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Frank Vatrano

Frank Vatrano

PROVIDENCE — Guys were feeling good about themselves after the third period, said head coach Bruce Cassidy.

“Why wouldn’t they?”

Entering the final 20 minutes of regulation, the Providence Bruins trailed the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 4-1 in Game 3 of the Calder Cup Atlantic Division Semifinals, a best-of-five series in which the B’s were already in a 2-0 hole. They had lost the first two games on the road and needed a win Saturday to keep the season alive.

So after the “best period [they’d] had of the three games,” rallying from that three-goal deficit to tie things up with just under four minutes left in the third, they “deserved” to feel that way during the intermission prior to the start of overtime, Cassidy said.

On 20 shots in as many minutes that frame, Providence netted a trio of goals off the sticks of defenseman Chris Breen, captain Tommy Cross — both shots from the point — and centerman Austin Czarnik.

But despite a 63-37 disparity in shots favoring the P-Bruins, 33 minutes and 52 seconds worth of extra time wound up going the other way.

Pens winger Tom Kostopoulos, entering the zone on the right-wing boards, fed the puck to a streaking Jake Guentzel, who by that time was in the slot with defenseman Brett Bellemore on his tail. As Bellemore stumbled, the WBS center finished off his opportunity, beating netminder Jeremy Smith blocker side to end the series and Providence’s season.

Not only did the Penguins end up sweeping the Bruins, but they did so on three straight overtime winners.

“It’s tough when you go out like that, three overtime games, but I thought we left it all on the line,” said forward Frank Vatrano. “The hockey gods didn’t give us our bounces and it’s just a tough way to go out. We left it all out there, though, fought back, 4-1, had some chances to put the game away but sometimes that’s not how it goes.”

Much like the series, the P-Bruins found themselves down 2-0 a little more than halfway through the first period. Shots were even, 8-8, by stanza’s end, but Cassidy said he wasn’t sure the guys the team typically relies on to get going were “invested early on.” Most of the talking, then, ended up taking place after the opening period.

Cassidy gave “a little emotional speech” to get the team going and thinking, Czarnik said, and the B’s “simplified [their] game, got pucks to the net and worked [their] way back into it.”

Czarnik was one of the players challenged between periods, Cassidy said, adding that this is the time of year when you need your best players to be your best players. The forward ended up answering the call, finally getting the P-Bruins on the board 13:39 into the second.

Providence was outscored in that frame 2-1 but outshot the Pens 17-5 in the meantime.

“We’ve talked about it all year,” Cassidy said, “and Max Talbot said it in the time out, listen, you might win, you might lose, but you’ve got to go out competing and go out fighting, and that’s kind of the mentality you have to have. We bought into it and off we went.”

Then came the three-goal third. Two goals a little over three minutes apart got Providence within one with 14:30 left to play. As the clock ticked down to four minutes remaining, Czarnik took a dish from linemate Alexander Khokhlachev and one-timed it on net from the high slot past WBS goalie Casey DeSmith.

With all the momentum in the hands of the P-Bruins, Cassidy said, their best chance at winning the game likely came in those final three or four minutes. The Pens were on their heels as the B’s pressed and took shot after shot, but the intermission allowed WBS to regroup.

During OT, shots were even at 18-18, but Guentzel’s winner ended up being the difference and the cap on Providence’s 2015-16 season.

Three skaters in the top 10 in the AHL in points, one of the best home win percentages in the league, a 23-game home point streak for the team and the best record in the league since Jan. 1 were just a few highlights of the year.

“It was awesome,” Vatrano said. “It was a fun ride. We had a really great group down here and I enjoyed coming to the rink every day with these guys.”

“Where we were at in October,” Czarnik added, “worst team in the league to where we came speaks a lot about everyone in the room, their commitment to the organization, their battle level, their compete level, everything like that. So I love all of them in there, they did a great job all year, and I’m proud to be their teammate.”

Read More: Austin Czarnik, Frank Vatrano, Providence Bruins,
David Krejci, Torey Krug, Matt Beleskey have yet to undergo surgery 04.20.16 at 12:39 pm ET
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No Bruins players have gotten surgery yet this offseason, team president Cam Neely said Wednesday at TD Garden.

David Krejci is set to undergo surgery for a hip impingement with Dr. Brian Kelly, while Torey Krug and Matt Beleskey could undergo procedures for shoulder and hand injuries, respectively.

Krug and Beleskey’s statuses were up in the air at last week’s press conference with Don Sweeney, with the GM not saying that they would definitely require operations. Neely said Wednesday that Krug’s surgery was likely, while the team would “wait and see” with Beleskey.

Cam Neely on Bruins keeping Claude Julien: ‘I had no problem with that at all’ 04.20.16 at 11:55 am ET
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Cam Neely

Cam Neely

Bruins president Cam Neely said at Wednesday’s press conference that he fully supported general manager Don Sweeney’s preference to retain Claude Julien for a 10th season.

Julien’s status was up in the air after the Bruins missed the playoffs for a second consecutive season, but Sweeney announced last week that the team would be keeping Julien. Neely said that he viewed Julien as one of the positives for the team this season.

“I thought he did a great job coaching this year,” Neely said. “It was a big transition year for him. Different player personnel than he’s accustomed to. We tried to integrate a lot of younger players and I think he did a good job with the roster. There’s areas where we can all still evolve and I think Claude is looking at that. I think he did a great job with some of circumstances that he had throughout the year, so when Don said he wanted to keep Claude, I had no problem with that at all.”

Added Neely: “We have conversations throughout the year, and there wasn’t really a point of saying, ‘I want to bring him back.’ It was he wasn’t doing anything differently. Ultimately, that’s Don’s decision. If he comes to me and says, ‘Listen, I think we need to make a change here,’ I’ve got to go on his recommendation because he’s the one who deals with the coach on a daily basis.”

The Bruins fired assistant coach Doug Houda and the futures of Joe Sacco and Doug Jarvis, neither of whom have contracts, are up in the air. Neely said it was too early to rule out a return for Jarvis and Sacco, adding that Sweeney and Julien would interview assistant coaching candidates in short order.

“Don’s still working through that,” Neely said. “I think he’s got some people in place that he wants to get together with and interview, along with Claude. Obviously it’s a collaborative effort. Don’s out scouting right now, but I know when he gets back he’s going to sit down with Claude and they’re going to go over some names.”

Jeremy Jacobs gives Cam Neely vote of confidence 04.20.16 at 11:29 am ET
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As expected, Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs attended Wednesday’s press conference with CEO Charlie Jacobs and Cam Neely. Since becoming CEO during the 2014-15 season, Charlie Jacobs had taken over many of the media responsibilities of his father.

Rumor had it that Jeremy Jacobs was not happy with the Bruins’ situation after missing the playoffs in two straight seasons, but the longtime owner gave Neely and his staff a vote of confidence Wednesday.

“He’s my leader right now and I ride with him,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs added that Neely, who played 10 seasons of a Hall of Fame career for the Jacobs-owned Bruins, deserves ample time to try to correct the organization’s path.

“Absolutely. He is the personality that I’m looking forward to seeing,” Jacobs said. “He’s got a clear deck right now to do it.

“He had a difficult year last year, but it wasn’t unanticipated in my mind. They said it would be rocky and it was. And it was disappointing in the end.”

Neely has been the team’s president since the 2010-11 season.

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