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Bruin nemesis Cooke re-ups with Pittsburgh 06.23.10 at 10:35 am ET
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Bruin fans will be hard pressed to forget the questionable, blindsided hit Matt Cooke delivered on Marc Savard on March 6. Replays confirm the maliciousness of the blow, although Cooke was never penalized on the ice and received no fine from the league office. The hit knocked out Savard until the Flyers series in May.

Known for being a pest on the ice, Cooke re-signed with the Penguins Wednesday, a reported three-year, $5.4 million contract. One of the Penguins’ top penalty-killers, he had 15 goals and 15 assists last season, to go along with a plus-17 and 183 hits. Cooke, who also has played for Vancouver and Washington, could have become a free agent July 1.

Read More: Bruins, Matt Cooke, Penguins,
Top two picks in last 25 NHL drafts at 8:28 am ET
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On Friday the Bruins will have the second pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, their highest pick since picking Joe Thornton first overall in 1997. There have been rumors about the B’€™s trading the pick for more picks or possibly a star player, but the Bruins have emphatically denied any plans to give it away. With Tyler Seguin and Taylor Hall expected to go 1-2, it will be the biggest 1-2 punch since the Alex OvechkinEvgeni Malkin combo of 2004.

The No 1 pick always is the solid, franchise-building player who can score the most, hit the best, skate the fastest or defend the best. He also can also easily wear the ‘C’ on his sweater within a few years of his debut because he can command respect. In the past, there have been famous No. 1 picks including Guy Lafleur, Denis Potvin, Mario Lemieux, Pierre Turgeon, Mike Modano, Mats Sundin, Eric Lindros, Joe Thornton, Vincent Lacavalier, Rick Nash, Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby and Patrick Kane.

Then, of course, there is the overlooked No. 2 pick in the draft. In many cases, this pick can also be a blessing for a team, just as good as a No. 1 pick, depending on the class. Some of the great No. 2s: Brendan Shanahan, Petr Nedved, Chris Pronger, Patrick Marleau, Dany Heatley, Jason Spezza, the Staal brothers, Evgeni Malkin and James van Riemsdyk.

Here’€™s a list of the past 25 top two picks in the NHL draft.

2009

1. New York Islanders: John Tavares, London (OHL)
2009-present: 82 games, 24 goals, 30 assists, 54 points, 22 PIM, -15 plus/minus
2. Tampa Bay Lightning: Victor Hedman, Modo Ornskoldsvik (Elitserien)
2009-present: 74 games, 4 goals, 16 assists, 30 points, 79 PIM, -3 plus/minus

2008

1. Tampa Bay Lightning: Steven Stamkos, Sarnia (OHL)
2008-present: 161 games, 74 goals, 67 assists, 95 points, 77 PIM, -15 plus/minus
2. Los Angeles Kings: Drew Doughty, Guelph (OHL)
2008-present: 163 games, 22 goals, 64 assists, 86 points, 110 PIM, +3 plus/minus Read the rest of this entry »

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Bruins release schedule 06.22.10 at 12:44 pm ET
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The Bruins released their regular season schedule for the 2010-11 season on Tuesday. After a pair of games in Prague against the Coyotes to open the season, the team will embark upon a two-game road trip in New Jersey and Washington before returing home to face the Capitals on Oct. 21. The Bruins will have their first rematch with the Flyers, who famously eliminated Boston in the Eastern Conference semifinals after climbing back from a 3-0 series defecit, on Dec. 1 when the B’s visit the Wachovia Center. Here is the complete schedule, courtesy of the Bruins (all times are local):

Saturday, October 9, vs. Phoenix (Prague, Czech Republic), 6 p.m.
Sunday, October 10, at Phoenix (Prague, Czech Republic), 4 p.m.
Saturday, October 16, at New Jersey, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, October 19, at Washington, 7 p.m.
Thursday, October 21, vs. Washington, 7 p.m.
Saturday, October 23, vs. New York Rangers, 7 p.m.
Thursday, October 28, vs. Toronto, 7 p.m.
Saturday, October 30, at Ottawa, 7 p.m.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Boynton: The road to the Cup began in Boston 06.10.10 at 10:31 am ET
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PHILADELPHIA — Nick Boynton dreamed of a moment like Wednesday night since he was three. And finally, on the ice of the Wachovia Center, the 31-year-old Blackhawks defenseman was finally able to hoist the Stanley Cup over his shoulders.

There was a time when Boynton thought those dreams would be realized in Boston. After all, he was taken by the Bruins as a defenseman in the 1999 NHL Draft and there were those who thought he would be able to help replace the legendary Ray Bourque as a defenseman who could move the puck and kick-start the Bruins offense.

Originally drafted by the Washington Capitals in the 1997 NHL Draft, Boynton was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes just before his first camp with the Bruins but the disease did not keep him from pursuing his life-long dream.

His best season was 2003’€“04 with Boston, when he had six goals and 24 assists. During the NHL lockout season of 2004’€“05, Boynton played for the Nottingham Panthers in the British Elite Ice Hockey League.

“It’s hard to describe,” Boynton said. “But this is what I’ve dreamed about since I was a little kid. It’s the greatest thing ever.”

He played one more season for Boston before being dealt to Phoenix for fellow defenseman Paul Mara. Since then, he’s bounced around, going to Florida, Anaheim and finally stopping in Chicago after being traded there this March.

What a break for him. He winds up with a ring out of it.

“I’ve been very fortunate in my career, starting with the Bruins,” Boynton said. “I love Boston and have so many friends back there. I’m a lucky guy. I head back to Boston every summer and I miss it. Those were my younger years and made me who I am today so I love it there.

“It was everything you expect and more. It’s been 31 years. Since I was three years old, I’ve been dreaming about this. It’s been a long time.”

Read More: Bruins, Flyers, Hawks, Nick Boynton
Flyers run out of time and luck at 1:28 am ET
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PHILADELPHIA — The team of destiny that made history in Boston went to the well once too often in overtime and it finally cost the Flyers their Stanley Cup dreams. Chicago’s Patrick Kane scored on a bizarre goal that few people in the building even realized went in just over four minutes into overtime and the Blackhawks claimed their fourth Stanley Cup with a 4-3 win over Philadelphia at the Wachovia Center in Game 6.

The Flyers had to get a stop from Brian Boucher on the last day of the regular season to beat the New York Rangers, 2-1, in a shootout to qualify for the playoffs.

They entered as a No. 7 seed in the East and dispatched of Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils in Round 1 in five games.

They then matched up against the No. 6 Bruins, and no one in New England needs to be reminded that ‘€” up three games to none and 3-0 in Game 7 on Garden ice ‘€” the Bruins let the Flyers come back to tie and win Game 7 and the series, 4-3, on a power-play goal by Simon Gagne with the Bruins serving a penalty for too many men on the ice.

It was in Game 4 in overtime when Gagne scored his first goal back from injury to re-ignite the flame for the Flyers.

Three wins later it was the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern finals. The Habs proved little opposition for the Flyers, who prevailed in five games.

Then the Chicago Blackhawks. The team that hadn’t won the Stanley Cup since 1961 won a shootout, 6-5, in Game 1 and another one-goal game in Game 2, 2-1.

The Flyers showed their character by winning Game 3 again in overtime and handling Chicago 5-3 in Game 4. After a 7-4 loss in Game 5 the Flyers were again on the brink, down 3-2 with 3:59 left in regulation when Scott Hartnell scored to force ‘€” yep ‘€” another overtime.

This extra session would be the heartbreak of heartbreaks for the Flyers. A weak shot from Patrick Kane, almost an afterthought, was thrown on Michael Leighton. The goalie didn’t see it until it went under him and the lip of the goal on the right side.

“He walked out of the corner, and there was a guy driving the net so I thought he was going to pass it,” Leighton said. “He just threw it at the net and it went underneath me.”

Bang. Game over. Stanley Cup over. Team of Destiny denied.

But still, this Flyers team will have its fondest memories of one of the most remarkable playoff run in recent sports rooted in Boston.

It was at TD Garden on May 14 that the Flyers became just the fourth team in major professional sports to wipe out a 3-0 deficit and win a series and the first to overcome a 3-0 hole on the road in Game 7 to do so.

“Yeah, you look back at a lot of games throughout the whole season,” Hartnell said. “The way we got in, the way we came back against Boston to beat a great goalie and New Jersey and Montreal was on fire as well. We have to be proud to a certain point but certainly it’s disappointing, too.”

Read More: Blackhawks, Bruins, Flyers, Michael Leighton
Ward on D&H: ‘Boston’s on the upswing’ 05.18.10 at 12:54 pm ET
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Former Bruin Aaron Ward, who is serving as an analyst for NHL coverage on Versus, joined the Dale & Holley show Tuesday to talk about the Stanley Cup playoffs. To hear the interview, click on the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

Ward said the Bruins were in a difficult situation in their series vs. the Flyers. “It’s tough to overcome the loss of your two top scorers in Marco Sturm and David Krejci. And then couple that with Philadelphia getting back Simon Gagne. That’s a tough one to deal with,” said Ward, who finished this season with the Anaheim Ducks.

Ward said Bruins fans can take solace in the fact that the future is bright for this team. “Boston’s on the upswing. They’ve got a great situation now with the draft, they’ve got a great situation where they have a lot of key, young guys that have that experience in the playoffs, regular season, that familiarity with the city. And it means a lot to a team to where you can start forming some sort of consistency and looking toward becoming a dynasty.”

Ward, who said he would return to Boston “in a heartbeat,” defended the leadership of Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, saying: “He possess every intangible. … He knows when to say something and when not to.”

Ward was traded by the Bruins last offseason to the Hurricanes. There he became teammates with Scott Walker, who sucker-punched Ward in the face during their playoff series last season. Ward said it didn’t take long to put hard feelings aside. “The first phone call from a player [after the trade was finalized] was Scott Walker,” Ward said. “That was pretty easy to deal with, because we aired it out right there, put it right on the table, and there was no issue. We’re big boys. One of the things I found out right after that punch was that Scott’s wife had cervical cancer, and that was the day he found out. So, you know what, there’s times in the game as a player, as a human, you figure out you’ve got to cut him some slack because you never know what kind of frame of mind you’d be in in that situation.”

Read More: Aaron Ward, Bruins, Zdeno Chara,
Neely on The Big Show: ‘It’s been a rough few days’ 05.17.10 at 8:59 pm ET
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Hockey Hall of Famer and Bruins vice president Cam Neely called in to The Big Show on Monday afternoon to discuss the aftermath of the Bruins’€™ heartbreaking Eastern Conference semifinal loss to the Philadelphia Flyers and talk about the future of the club with the NHL draft, free agency and other big personnel decisions coming up this offseason.

‘€œWe’€™re going to look top to bottom,’€ Neely said. ‘€œObviously, when you don’€™t win the last game of the hockey season, you have to improve your club, so we’€™re looking at all ways at doing what we need to do to improve the club.’€

A transcript of that interview follows. You can listen to the entire interview on The Big Show audio on demand page.

Has the Game 7 loss hit you guys yet?

Oh, it hit hard. It hit hard on Friday night. It’€™s been a very tough few days, as you can imagine. Obviously, losing in the finals is a big deal, but this is really big, too.

Should the David Krejci injury and the return of Simon Gagne be seen as the turning point of the series, or when you’€™re up 3-0, should you win the series even when you’€™re up against those injuries?

Yeah, I think when you’€™re up 3-0 you have to find a way to close it out. Losing Krejci certainly hurt us. That was a big loss because what it did was we had to give Savard more minutes, and you know him stepping into the playoffs in the second round not in the condition the other players were, being out so long that he was. It was a big loss losing Krejci. Gagne, he came back and got some big goals for them at timely times in all of the games that he played in. But when you’€™re up 3-0, you have to find a way to close it out.

From the front office perspective, where do you start looking [players, coaches, etc.] for what went wrong with that series?

Well I think we have to look at the season as a whole, to be honest with you. The year as a whole didn’€™t go as we expected it to. Certain players didn’€™t perform to the expectations. Then, we found a way to make the playoffs and got out of the first round. Quite frankly, I don’€™t think a lot of people thought we would beat Buffalo, and we came out, played really well and were able to solve [Ryan] Miller and then get up on Philly 3-0.

So I think over the course of this next week, we’€™re going to sit down as a group and really just evaluate the whole season. I don’€™t think we should just look at it in this one little snapshot because the year as a whole didn’€™t go quite the way we had planned or expected. Read the rest of this entry »

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