|Website gives Bruins 2nd-best chance at winning Stanley Cup||02.22.17 at 5:18 pm ET|
Here’s something weird: According to MoneyPuck.com, there are 15 teams that have a better chance to make the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs than the Bruins, who are currently given a 72.14 percent chance of making the 16-team dance.
But that’s not the weird part.
Of the 30 teams and their chances at lifting the Stanley Cup this June, only the Capitals, currently given a 10.9 percent chance, have a higher number than the 8.7 percent given to the Bruins by MoneyPuck.com’s scale.
It’s also probably worth noting that the Bruins, who have not made the playoffs since 2014 by the way, would not make the playoffs if the season ended today.
At the same time, it’s just the latest model that speaks to how the Bruins are viewed as a team that’s been better than their luck and win-loss record has indicated through the first three legs of their season.
|Bruins and Avalanche are unlikely to strike deal before deadline||02.21.17 at 7:11 pm ET|
Those of you still waiting for the blockbuster trade between the Bruins and Avalanche to go down can probably find something else to do.
In what’s been nearly two months of rumors linking the Bruins and Avs in talks for a major swap (with the Bruins targeting Colorado captain and former No. 2 overall pick Gabriel Landeskog), all has gone quiet on the trade front. That’s because each party seems fed up with the other’s unwillingness to either come up or down on their desired prices.
By now, it’s obvious what the Avalanche want from the Bruins, and it’s centered around first-year pro defenseman Brandon Carlo and more.
A 20-year-old native of Colorado Springs, Colo., the Avs’ interest in Carlo is obvious given the fact that the team is in dire need of a defensive upgrade and Carlo’s ability to compete at a top-pairing level as a rookie.
But a 6-foot-5 defenseman that can defend and skate as well as Carlo has in just his first season in the greatest league in the world do not grow on trees. And at less than $800,000 per year for two more years after this one thanks to his affordable entry-level contract, there’s no rush from Bruins general manager Don Sweeney to move that out of Boston.
Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic is not the first general manager to try, either.
|What’s going to happen with Bruins winger Matt Beleskey?||02.21.17 at 5:25 am ET|
Bruins winger Matt Beleskey has hit the proverbial reset button too many times to count this season. And rarely has it actually worked.
A scratch in two of the last three games (or half of the games coached by interim B’s coach Bruce Cassidy), Beleskey has missed time to a knee injury and has struggled to the tune of just two goals and five assists in 33 games this season. It seems tough to find the perfect fit to work the hardworking winger back into the mix too, especially before Beleskey’s return to Anaheim, where he played for the first seven years of his NHL career, on Wednesday night at the Honda Center.
The Bruins tried to find a different role for Beleskey last week when he stepped in for Tim Schaller. But Beleskey struggled to play his game in a fourth line role with Dominic Moore and Riley Nash, with just one shot in goal and a season-low 7:37 of time on ice (unless you count that injury-shortened night which ended after just six shifts and 5:27 of time on ice against Buffalo back on Dec. 3) in a 4-0 win over the Habs.
Schaller responded to the scratch with an impact in his next game out, with three hits and three blocked shots in just over 13 minutes of time on ice while often matched up against the Sharks’ Brent Burns. In other words, he doesn’t seem like a fit for the press box in the Black and Gold’s next contest, not after an effort like Sunday’s, anyhow.
So just what becomes the team’s go-to route to salvage Beleskey’s second year in town?
|Bruins successfully limit Sharks’ Brent Burns on way to 4th straight win||02.19.17 at 11:37 pm ET|
The sample size is entirely too small to make any definitive statements one way or the other. But it’s obvious that the Bruins — despite the positive results of three wins in as many games — have been a little ‘too open’ in the defensive zone under interim head coach Bruce Cassidy.
You could very well at times see a week’s worth of running around under Claude Julien in just one period from Cassidy’s group.
But the theme of the Cassidy Era, again as small of a sample as it has been, and in addition to the results, has been progress from one game to the next and actually applying the adjustments.
So when Cassidy’s Bruins returned from their bye for their second head-to-head with the Sharks in just over a week, the Bruins knew who they had to watch out for, and did just that in a 60-minute plus smother of Norris Trophy favorite (or perhaps inevitable is a better word, to be honest) Brent Burns.
It added up to another win for Cassidy’s improving Bruins, this one by a 2-1 overtime final over the Sharks at the SAP Center.
|Bruins begin California tour with head-to-head vs. Sharks||02.19.17 at 8:24 pm ET|
Like Robert Plant sang back in the day, Bruins GM Don Sweeney made up his mind to make a new start with a new voice behind the bench, and after a seven-day bye week, the Bruins are going to California with three wins in as many games under interim head coach Bruce Cassidy. OK, maybe it’s not exactly like Plant, but you get the reference.
There’s no much to harp on when it comes to the first three games of the Cassidy Era. The Bruins have scored goals at will — they have 14 goals in this three-game segment, including four from their defensive corps that have been encouraged to create more offense — and now it’s time for the Black and Gold to prove that the streak was not just the high of a coaching change and that this team has legitimately improved with a new voice behind the bench and some needed system tweaks.
But that’ll be awfully hard to do here, at least if recent history tells us anything about what the Bruins are in for against the Sharks, Ducks, and Kings.
|Bruins have to hope break didn’t crush power play momentum||02.19.17 at 7:42 pm ET|
After a stretch that included 50 games in just over 100 days, a week-long break was more than deserved for the Bruins.
But, as timing as a whole has often worked out for this group this season, it could not have come at a worse time. Not only did the B’s rattle off three wins in a row under interim head coach Bruce Cassidy to head into their bye week, but the Bruins rolled into the break with power-play goals in eight straight games.
Over that span, the Bruins have collected 11 power-play goals on 30 opportunities, or a 36.6 power play percentage.
It’s a hot streak that the Black and Gold have to be desperate to extend to nine games in spite of a seven-day layoff when they skate against the Sharks in San Jose as the kickoff to their California tour (and with a stop in Dallas before they return back to Boston) on Sunday night.
|Forward Peter Cehlarik recalled by Bruins ahead of California trip||02.18.17 at 5:11 pm ET|
The Bruins got some much needed rest and relaxation with their bye week, which ends today with a practice in San Jose. With the exception of one player: Forward Peter Cehlarik, who was assigned to the P-Bruins after last Sunday’s win over the Canadiens, but was recalled early this morning to join the team for their California road swing.
This was expected, of course, especially after Cehlarik’s two-point night against the Habs in what finished as a 4-0 win for the Bruins. His vision on the Adam McQuaid goal, which came with a beautiful cross-ice pass that hit McQuaid right on the stick-tape, was something to behold as far as first NHL points go, and his movement to David Backes that led to the David Krejci power-play goal was even prettier.
“He’s been playing really well, not just [Sunday] but also [Saturday] and you know he makes lots of good plays out there, it’s fun to play with him,” Cehlarik’s linemate, David Krejci, said. “So it’s been good but we have to keep working hard, keep getting better every day and keep it rolling.”
On the second line with Krejci and David Pastrnak on the right, the 21-year-old Slovak, who is a more seasoned pro than most first-year N. American pros thanks to multiple years in the Swedish Hockey League, has appeared to find a groove on what everyone should call the ‘Czech Mix’ line (please send all royalty money to this blog).
“He has the hockey IQ and the hands, big enough body guy. You just don’t know when they come up – if they can handle the pace, the pressure, time and space issues and so far, so good,” B’s interim coach Bruce Cassidy said of Cehlarik. “I like his situation where we put him, I think he will complement a [David] Krejci-type player with some give-and-go hockey. He’s not a guy who needs a puck through the neutral-zone – that’s where Krejci excels – makes the little plays down low. He’s been a nice fit so far.”
“I’m really grateful to have the opportunity to play with those kind of players that I play with,” admitted Cehlarik. “I want to make it count and I want to fit there. So I think we’re playing pretty well, hopefully we are going to keep going.”
With two assists in two career games, the obvious question for Cehlarik became when do you plan on scoring your first NHL goal?
Said Cehlarik: “Once I have my first shot.”
The Bruins skate against the Sharks at 8:30 p.m. on Sunday night.