|How Bruins will honor Milt Schmidt ahead of game vs. Oilers||01.05.17 at 6:36 pm ET|
The Bruins lost an icon on and off the ice with the passing of Milt Schmidt at the age of 98 Wednesday night.
And while it’s hard to truly honor a player that devoted nearly eight decades of his life to the Bruins, the B’s will do their best when they play host to the Oilers at TD Garden Thursday night.
First, the Bruins will honor Schmidt’s legacy with a pregame tribute prior to tonight’s game. In addition, two on-ice graphics with Schmidt’s retired jersey No. 15 have been painted behind both nets and will remain there for the entire month of January.
The Bruins will also wear a commemorative patch on their jerseys featuring Schmidt’s number 15 for the rest of the 2016-17 season.
The B’s have also lowered Schmidt’s retired number banner down closer to the ice down from its usual post with the other nine retired jerseys.
Schmidt's banner lowered from its usual perch. pic.twitter.com/4WtjXsKVqJ
— Ty Anderson (@_TyAnderson) January 5, 2017
Schmidt, who was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1961, is the only person in Bruins history to have served the club as a player, captain, coach and general manager. He won more Stanley Cup Championships with Boston than any other person, capturing two as a player in 1939 and 1941 and two more as the club’s general manager in 1970 and 1972. Schmidt was a four-time All-Star, won the Hart Trophy as the league’s MVP in 1951 and the Ross Trophy as the NHL’s scoring champion in 1940.
|Bruins have made call on Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog||01.05.17 at 2:20 pm ET|
The Bruins know they need high-end scoring. The entire league knows the Bruins need high-end scoring, for that matter. And the Bruins have made their first real push at landing such a talent with a reported call to Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic on Avs captain Gabriel Landeskog, according to Adrian Dater (Bleacher Report).
The worst team in hockey, at 12-25-1 on the year, the time for a legitimate culture change in Colorado seems upon the Avalanche, and it’s landed names like Landeskog (and Matt Duchene) on the trade market. Landeskog, the team’s captain since Sept. 2012, is an immense talent, and while he’s struggled with just six goals and 12 points in 28 games this year, is a bonafide superstar on any team in this league.
So, to pull off a trade for No. 92 would take an awful lot. The price, or rather the centerpiece of the price the Bruins would have to pay? First-year pro and B’s top-pairing defenseman Brandon Carlo. A native of Colorado Spring, Colo., the Avs’ interest in Carlo is an obvious one given his local connections, but also his play as the Bruins’ undeniable No. 2 defenseman behind (er, beside) captain Zdeno Chara and Colorado’s major need for defense.
Averaging 21:58 of time on ice a night, which ranks second on the B’s and NHL rookies as a whole, Carlo has chipped in two goals and eight points, and averaged 3:09 of shorthanded time on ice per game for the NHL’s second-best penalty killing team.
Speaking to a source close to the team, Carlo has been described as ‘nearly untouchable’ for the Bruins. And according to Dater, Carlo was a non-starter for the Bruins in these talks, and they instead countered with Jakub Zboril. In later tweets, Dater went on to mention that the Bruins could build a package centered around Zboril, NHL defenseman Joe Morrow, 2015 first-round draft pick Jake DeBrusk, and the team’s first-round pick in this year’s upcoming draft to entice Sakic and the Avs into a deal.
Landeskog, who is under contract with a $5.571 million cap hit through 2021, has been a 20-goal scorer in all four of his full NHL seasons since coming into the league in 2011, and recorded a career-high 26 goals and 65 points for the Avalanche in 2013-14.
|Bruins forward David Backes (concussion) out vs. Oilers||01.05.17 at 1:13 pm ET|
Bruins forward David Backes, who has been a full participant in the on-ice portion of the last two B’s skates, a Wednesday practice and Thursday morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena considers himself a quick healer. At the same time, and working through the recovery process of what he figured to be his fourth diagnosed concussion, Backes knows there’s more to his recover than just feeling OK.
And that’s why that the 32-year-old will sit out for the third straight game Thursday when the Bruins play host to the Oilers at TD Garden.
“Feeling better again today, but not quite where I need to be to play in the best league in the world quite yet,” Backes, who stayed on the ice for extra work along with the healthy scratches, admitted.
In his second straight day on the ice, Backes did take line rushes with his normal grouping, and even skated in some special team drills, but did not feel that his body was able to keep the pace he wanted.
“The speed of everything,” Backes said when asked of what’s telling him he’s not ready. “It’s a fast game and trying to get back up to speed, you don’t want to put yourself in vulnerable positions to take another hit to the head and get that compounding effect again.”
A week since suffering the concussion on a late hit from the Sabres’ William Carrier, Backes has said that all of his concussions in the past have usually taken about ‘seven to 10 days’ to heal, and that he hopes another 48 hours of rest will have him ready to go when the Bruins embark on a four-game road swing starting with a Saturday road head-to-head with the Panthers.
The Bruins are 4-3-0 with Backes out this year, but have been outscored 18-to-11 in those games.
|Bruins goaltender Anton Khudobin clears waivers||01.05.17 at 12:48 pm ET|
The Bruins have just one win from a backup goaltender this year, and though that win did come from Anton Khudobin, there’s no denying the fact that the team needs far better results from the man behind Tuukka Rask if this team is to do much of anything come spring.
Placed on waivers by the B’s yesterday, the struggling 30-year-old cleared the waiver wire this morning without a claim from any of the other 29 teams in the league, and will remain with the Bruins organization. Khudobin could even suit up as the team’s backup goaltender tonight when the Bruins take on the visiting Oilers.
In the first year of a two-year, $2.4 million contract signed last summer, Khudobin has posted a 1-5-1 record, along with a 3.06 goals against average, and .885 save percentage in eight games this season. That .885 is the second-worst save percentage among NHL goaltenders with at least eight games played this year (the Flyers’ Michal Neuvirth has an .859), and Khudobin is one of 10 NHL goaltenders that’s played in at least eight games and has a sub-.900 save percentage.
Those numbers, along with the fact that Khudobin still has another year left on his deal, ultimately factored into the decision by 29 other general managers not to claim the gregarious goalie, and so it’s with the B’s that Khudobin remains.
Whether that’s in Boston or Providence, however, remains to be seen.
“We’re looking for options. We need obviously Dobby to be better,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “The options we have, we got guys in the minors — [Zane] McIntyre that’s playing well. We hope that Dobby can find his game because we know he’s a better goaltender than what he’s shown so far. And if that doesn’t work, then we probably have to look on the outside.”
McIntyre has a 10-0-0 record with the P-Bruins this year, leads the AHL in goals against average (1.41) and save percentage (.951), and was most recently named the AHL’s Goaltender of the Month for his perfect December record.
With Khudobin clearing waivers, the Bruins do not have to make an immediate reassignment with No. 35 as alluded to earlier, but can now send him back and forth between the NHL and AHL without requiring waivers for the next 30 days or 10 games.
The Bruins are 1-8-1 in games not started by Rask this season.
|Bruins, NHL reflect on passing of legendary Milt Schmidt||01.05.17 at 12:52 am ET|
The game lost one of its great ones on Wednesday.
Milt Schmidt, the iconic Bruins legend and a four-time Stanley Cup winner (twice as a player with the Bruins, in 1939 and ’41, and twice as a general manager with the B’s, in 1970 and ’72), passed away at the age of 98. Prior to his death, Schmidt was the oldest living former NHL player, and was one of the last ties to the Old Time Hockey of Eddie Shore and company, a teammate of Schmidt’s for four seasons.
Involved with the Bruins for almost four decades, and again as one of the team’s greatest ambassadors and legend often found around the building, even in his 90s, it’s tough to find a Bruins player that Schmidt did not impact in some way, shape, or form.
“Milt’s impact in Boston, as both a player and a coach, will forever be felt amongst hockey fans,” Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs said Wednesday night via a statement. “He was a legendary personality in the Bruins organization and goes down in history as the ultimate Bruin. We should all be envious of the longevity and meaningfulness of his life.”
“I got to know Milt when I arrived in Boston, and I quickly learned that he was an outstanding ambassador for the game of hockey, a true gentleman, and that he epitomized what it means to be a Bruin.
“When people today talk about ‘Bruins Hockey’ they talk about the style that Milt created, and generations of Bruins after him tried to emulate,” Bruins team president Cam Neely, familiar with Schmidt from his playing days and managerial days, added. “After his playing and coaching days were over, he remained incredibly giving of his time and the wealth of knowledge that he had accumulated over his career to everyone associated with the Bruins and the game of hockey. He will be dearly missed.
“On behalf of the Bruins organization, I would like to extend our most sincere condolences to Milt’s family and friends.”
Schmidt even familiarized himself with today’s era of Bruins leaders.
“Milt has been one of the most respected and friendly human beings that I have ever met and spent time with. Losing Milt, who spent his life dedicated to the game of hockey, is a great loss for the Boston Bruins organization and the entire hockey community,” said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. “I will always cherish the times we had together listening to him reminisce about old time hockey as well as our conversations on today’s style of the game – the game that he just loved so much. My deepest condolences go out to his entire family and closest friends. Milt will be greatly missed but never forgotten.”
“When you think about the Bruins, you think about Milt Schmidt,” Patrice Bergeron noted. “It has been amazing for me to see the impact that he has had, and continued to have on the organization. The last time I saw him, he was on the ice with Bobby (Orr) earlier this year. He shook my hand and said ‘Go get ‘em.’ He was always rooting for the Bruins and in our corner.
“He lived an amazing life and I am very proud to have known him.”
The man that scouted a then 12-year-old Bobby Orr, and pulled off one of the greatest trades — if not the greatest trade in team history — that brought Ken Hodge, Fred Stanfield and Phil Esposito to the Black and Gold, Schmidt’s impact on the game went beyond just the Bruins, and his passing prompted a statement from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.
“It would be a challenge to find anyone who took greater pride in being a Boston Bruin than Milt Schmidt did – be it as a player, an executive or an ambassador over the 80-plus years he served the franchise, the City of Boston and the NHL,” Bettman said.
“Milt’s respect for the game was matched by his humility and was mirrored by the great respect with which his opponents, and generations of Bruins players, treated him through the years. An ultimate competitor, a mainstay of two Bruins Stanley Cups as a player and architect of two more as the Bruins’ General Manager, Milt was a landmark presence in Boston’s sports landscape.”
Schmidt is survived by his son, Conrad, and his daughter, Nancy.
|Reports: Bruins legend Milt Schmidt dies at 98||01.04.17 at 3:50 pm ET|
Days after his inclusion in the NHL’s ‘First 33,’ a list of the league’s best players from the first 50 years of the NHL’s existence, Bruins legend Milt Schmidt has passed away at the age of 98, according to reports.
Considered the Ultimate Bruin for his decades of service to the organization, Schmidt’s on-ice hockey career with the Bruins was an illustrious one that ran from 1936 to 1955, and included Stanley Cup victories in 1939 and 1941, along with a Hart Trophy in 1951. In between those highlights, Schmidt (along with his linemates on the Kraut Line — Bobby Bauer and Woody Dumart) missed multiple NHL seasons in his prime to serve in World War II.
His on-ice persona and presence in Boston even led Bobby Orr to call Schmidt the greatest Bruins player to lace ’em up for the organization.
“I didn’t see Milty play, but I’ve seen him on video. Heard a lot about it,” Orr, who was scouted by Schmidt when he was just 12 years old, said of Schmidt earlier this season. “He wasn’t very big but his heart was this big (gestured with hands) on the ice, and that’s how he played. He was a great player and he’s a wonderful individual.
“He’s a great man and a great friend to all of us.”
Schmidt would add another two Stanley Cups to his name in 1970 and 1972 as the team’s general manager, and pulled off the historic trade that brought Phil Esposito to the Bruins.
A native of Kitchener, Ontario, Schmidt is 12th on the B’s all-time scoring list, and finished his career with 229 goals and 575 points in 776 games. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1961.
At the time of his passing, Schmidt was the oldest living former NHL player.
|David Backes (concussion) returns to Bruins practice||01.04.17 at 2:00 pm ET|
If David Backes, concussed on a late hit from the Sabres’ William Carrier in the first period of last week’s comeback win over the Sabres, had his way, he would have been out there for some retribution against the Sabres in the second leg of the home-and-home last Saturday at TD Garden.
That said, the 32-year-old will settle for a Wednesday practice back with the team.
“On the ice with the guys, it felt good to be back in some sort of normal routine,” Backes, who was cleared for full contact and participation after being told to stay away from the arena last Saturday and after missing Monday’s 3-0 loss to the Devils, admitted after practice at Warrior Ice Arena.
But the Bruins have wisely not penciled Backes in for a return tomorrow night just yet.
“Still undetermined,” B’s coach Claude Julien said of Backes’ status against the Oilers. “He practiced with us because he has medical clearance to have full contact and everything else so we’ll see how that transpires here today and how he feels tomorrow morning. He feels good [now]. Things can change.”
Battling through what he believed to be the fourth diagnosed concussion of his 10-year NHL career, Backes understands the importance of his own patience when it comes to his return back to the Black and Gold’s lineup.
“There’s a difference between your head and your heart,” Backes said. “You have one brain.”
Signed to a five-year, $30 million contract last summer, Backes has already dealt with an elbow injury this year, and had to exercise caution upon his return given the risk of an infection that could have put him on the shelf even longer. And though it’s a different injury entirely when you talk about an elbow versus a brain, the recoveries do come with a similar mindset.
“In both cases I don’t know if it’s caution, I think it’s listening to the smart people around you and answering their questions honestly,” Backes said of his recovery. “It’s about making an educated decision. Could you rush potentially any injury back in short order? But then you’re risking further injury to that which takes you out even longer term and where’s that kind of gray area or that line to step over to make sure you’re not causing more harm than you are doing well by rushing back.
“Those factors all go into the decision and we try to be smart about that.”
The Bruins are 4-3-0 with Backes out of the lineup this season, but have been outscored 18-to-11 in those games.
Backes has recorded nine goals and 19 points, along with 89 shots on goal and 98 hits, in 33 games this year.