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After chaotic travel day, Drew Stafford finally joins Bruins 03.03.17 at 9:57 pm ET
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Drew Stafford joined the Bruins on Thursday night and skated on Friday. (Sergei Belski/USA Today Sports)

Drew Stafford joined the Bruins on Thursday night and skated in a practice with the club on Friday. (Sergei Belski/USA Today Sports)

Trade deadlines are rarely fun for the actual participants.

Drew Stafford, acquired from the Jets in exchange for a conditional sixth-round draft pick in 2018 by the Bruins on Wednesday, knows it.

“It’s crazy, I mean, anybody you talk to that goes through it, it’s the same kind of thing. You find out, nowadays, with social media,” Stafford said of the trade process that landed him in Boston. “The TSN guys are sitting in the room there for however long, looking at their phones, and you find out on Twitter or whatever.”

The 31-year-old Stafford was spared the trouble of finding out his fate on his Twitter, though, as it was his agent that broke the news to him.

Nevertheless, you’ve been traded. No big deal. Now imagine having to immediately pack your life in Winnipeg up into a suitcase, catch a connecting flight in Minnesota, saying hi and then bye to your wife, and arrive in Boston just before a game starts. Oh, and your wife, who is back home in Minnesota — which is an hour-plus flight from Winnipeg but much more Boston —  is 33 weeks pregnant and thus unable to actually fly with you and join you here.

Welcome to Stafford’s journey to the Hub.

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Bruins center Patrice Bergeron feeling OK after injury scare 03.03.17 at 2:39 am ET
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Patrice Bergeron blocked a shot with his hand but returned to action. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Patrice Bergeron blocked a shot with his hand but returned to action in a 2-1 loss to the Rangers. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

The list of significant injuries Bruins center Patrice Bergeron has played through in his NHL career is probably as long as his list of professional accomplishments. That’s saying something, both about Bergeron’s on-ice value to the Black and Gold and his pain tolerance.

So when Bergeron grimaced and made his way down the runway and back to the dressing room after a blocked shot in the second period of Thursday’s loss to the Rangers, you couldn’t help but hold your breath.

But after a quick absence — with Ryan Spooner moved to the middle of the first line in his place — Bergeron returned and finished the night with five shots on goal and two hits in 18:58 of time on ice.

After the game, the 31-year-old, who missed the first three games of the season, talked about the run-in with what would have been major trouble for the Black and Gold’s stretch run.

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Bruins unhappy with late penalty drawn by Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist 03.02.17 at 11:12 pm ET
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The Bruins did not agree with the late goaltender interference penalty drawn by Henrik Lundqvist. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

The Bruins did not agree with the late goaltender interference penalty drawn by Henrik Lundqvist. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who celebrated his 35th birthday in Boston behind a 32-of-33 performance against the Bruins on Thursday, should not expect a gift from the Black and Gold.

He can’t lose any sleep over that, though, as the New York star of over a decade received the perfect gift from referee Tim Peel late in the third period of a 2-1 Rangers win over the B’s at TD Garden.

With the Bruins down by one and the pressure cranked on Lundqvist’s net in search of the game-tying goal with 2:22 left in the third period, Bruins forward David Backes cut across the front of the net, where he was met by Lundqvist’s extended arm. Upon contact, Lundqvist flung himself down to the ice, and a penalty was whistled against Backes.

The penalty put the Bruins on a two-minute kill, which was made, but effectively left the club with just 22 five-on-five seconds to score.

After the loss, a frustrated Backes assessed the incident with the raw emotion of a player that knew the B’s let this game slip.

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Bruins show improvement, but still fall to Rangers for season sweep 03.02.17 at 9:43 pm ET
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The Bruins limited the Rangers in a close game at TD Garden. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

The Bruins limited the Rangers, but still lost, in a close game at TD Garden. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

What the Bruins have done since general manager Don Sweeney replaced Claude Julien with Bruce Cassidy has been great.

It’s propelled the Bruins back into legitimate playoff positioning thanks to wins in seven of eight Cassidy-led games, but collapses in back-to-back stretch runs won’t sell this fanbase on anything just yet. Everybody knows that the B’s mission is far from accomplished, and a Thursday night showdown with a Rangers club that’s straight-up smacked you around in two prior head-to-heads this season was just another test to truly see where this team is now versus then.

But the end result remained the same as it did in the Julien-led matchups against the Rangers this season, as the Bruins fell to the Rangers by a 2-1 final at TD Garden.

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New Bruins forward Drew Stafford will not play vs. Rangers tonight 03.02.17 at 12:35 pm ET
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Drew Stafford will not play tonight against the Rangers. (John Hefti/USA Today Sports)

Drew Stafford will not play tonight against the Rangers. (John Hefti/USA Today Sports)

When some of his newest teammates took to the ice for an optional skate at Warrior Ice Arena early this morning, new Bruins trade deadline addition Drew Stafford was likely catching his connecting flight somewhere between Winnipeg and Boston.

Expected to arrive in town and check into his hotel, er, home for the next few months, sometime before puck drop at TD Garden between the Bruins and Rangers, Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy confirmed the obvious and said that Stafford will not be available for tonight’s game.

“He won’t play tonight,” Cassidy said.

As for where the B’s boss envisions the 31-year-old slotting into his club’s lineup, Cassidy knows that the Bruins have options.

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Bruins winger Frank Vatrano admits he didn’t have great relationship with Claude Julien 03.02.17 at 11:59 am ET
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Frank Vatrano is the second Bruins player to talk about a strained relationship with Claude Julien. ( Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Frank Vatrano is the second Bruins player to talk about a strained relationship with Claude Julien. ( Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

It’s taken almost a month to come to the light, but some honest thoughts about the old regime under former head coach Claude Julien have started to trickle out from some of the B’s youngsters.

It started with Ryan Spooner’s honest assessment on Tuesday. Spooner noted that while Julien pushed him at times, he felt that the B’s all-time winningest coach, who was fired on Feb. 7, didn’t like him as a player. Now, two days later, Spooner’s linemate, Frank Vatrano, has dished on his own relationship with the club’s coach of 10 years.

“For me, it’s hard to say what goes on in that kind of situation,” Vatrano said to CBS Boston in regard to Spooner’s comments. “For me, I didn’t have the best relationship with Claude, but that comes with time. Obviously now, [Bruce Cassidy] is our coach. I have a real good relationship with him, having had him last year for a year.

“Obviously Claude had his guys and he trusted his guys that he’s had for a while, which is something that you can understand, especially … he’s got a good relationship with them. At the end of the day, I didn’t have the best relationship with him, but I think he liked me as a player and I liked playing for him while he was here.”

In 60 games under Julien since the start of last season, the 22-year-old Vatrano scored 14 goals and six assists. And since the coaching switch, Vatrano has recorded four goals and three assists in eight games under Cassidy. As Vatrano mentioned, too, there’s an obvious connection with Cassidy, who was his first professional coach when he joined the P-Bruins.

“[Cassidy] coached me in Providence and he was great to me and put me in a spot to do what I do best, and put me in a spot to succeed,” Vatrano, a native of East Longmeadow, Mass., said. “Now that he’s here in Boston, I think it’s been better for me. … He knows where to use me and the way I’m going to be successful in this league.”

Vatrano has 10 goals and six assists in 29 games for the Bruins this season.

Bruins could see NCAA prospects make jump to pro hockey soon 03.01.17 at 7:31 pm ET
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The Bruins have spots open to sign one of their NCAA prospects if they choose to go pro. (Timothy T. Ludwig/USA Today Sports)

The Bruins have space to sign one of their NCAA prospects if they choose to go pro before the season ends. (Timothy T. Ludwig/USA Today Sports)

Don Sweeney’s Bruins bought at the deadline, but they bought low.

Part of the reasoning behind that was because the market simply didn’t call for the Bruins to do anything but. Part of it came back down to where the B’s are right now as a franchise as a team in transition.

“[We’ve] laid out a plan and been pretty committed to it,” Sweeney said of his deadline moves and non-moves. “Even last year, we felt the team had done a good job up until that point. We wanted to add to it, and we’re in a similar situation and hopefully, we have a different result.

“I think our team has played well and I want to see them continue to play well and not necessarily reacting. We’ve approached the game with what we’re bringing to the table as opposed to what other teams are. We’re preparing for what other teams have, but not going to react.”

For Sweeney, that meant not mortgaging future potential cornerstones for quick fixes.

Especially when those pieces are as close to the NHL as he believes them to be.

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