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Pierre McGuire on MFB: Milan Lucic has ‘elevated his game’ playing with Ryan Spooner, David Pastrnak 03.19.15 at 1:40 pm ET
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Pierre McGuire

Pierre McGuire

NBC Sports NHL analyst Pierre McGuire made his weekly appearance Thursday on Middays with MFB to discuss the Bruins and their push for the playoffs, as well as other NHL matters. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

With David Krejci being out, the Bruins have shuffled their lines up front and currently have Milan Lucic playing with Ryan Spooner and David Pastrnak. McGuire feels this has improved Lucic’s game, as he’s been playing more like a leader being paired with two of the youngest players on the team. He does feel once Krecji returns, Lucic will be reunited with him, but doesn’t know when that will happen.

“The thing that really stood out to me is he’s really relishing this role as a leader with those two young players in Spooner and Pastrnak,” said McGuire. “I think he’s elevated his game because of the leadership potion that has been put on his plate. I don’t know what Claude [Julien] is going to do, it’s a real debatable issue. I have to think at some point Krejci will be back with Lucic, I really do. I don’t know when or for how long, but I have to think at some point they will put them back together.”

The Bruins are in Ottawa Thursday night to take on the Senators. As it stands now the Senators are four points behind the Bruins for eighth place in the Eastern Conference. McGuire feels the Bruins are in a good spot to make the playoffs.

“I think Boston has a very good chance to be a playoff team,” he said. “In fact, I would be shocked if they didn’t make it. They deserved a better fate the other night (in a shootout loss to Buffalo). The biggest thing to be was Anders Lindback, he never played a game that good in his life. I give Buffalo a lot of credit. They showed a lot of heart and a lot of desire, but the Boston Bruins were [playing hard], they just couldn’t beat Lindback. I don’t expect goaltending like that every night against Boston.”

It seems the NHL getting rid of the shootout and going to 4-on-4, and 3-on-3 overtime is getting some steam to be put in place next season. McGuire thinks this change is needed, and will be a welcomed change with members of the league — both with the coaches and players.

“I think most people that really care about the sport want to see the best players play in the game and having the game decided by the players playing the sport rather than just having a skills competition,” said McGuire. “I am all for it and I think most of the players are for it. I can tell you 99 percent of the coaches are for it in terms of the people that I have spoken with, so I would be absolutely shocked if it was not put into place for next season.”

Read More: David Pastrnak, Milan Lucic, Pierre McGuire, Ryan Spooner
David Krejci skates at right wing as David Pastrnak misses Bruins practice 03.18.15 at 12:05 pm ET
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David Pastrnak

David Pastrnak

WILMINGTON — The Bruins swapped out one David for another in Wednesday’€™s practice, as David Krejci took part in the skate while David Pastrnak was the only absence.

Krejci also participated in Tuesday’€™s non-contact morning skate, but Wednesday marked his first full practice with the team since suffering a partially torn MCL on Feb. 20. He is not expected to return to game action until this weekend at the earliest, with Claude Julien saying Krejci will travel with the team for their upcoming three-game road trip.

Julien said that Pastrnak was given a maintenance day. The 18-year-old played through overtime of Tuesday’€™s 2-1 shootout loss to the Sabres and did not appear to suffer any injuries.

With Pastrnak’€™s absent, Krejci skated in his place in line rushes. The lines in practice were as follows:

Marchand-Bergeron-Smith
Lucic-Spooner-Krejci
Kelly-Soderberg-Eriksson
Paille-Campbell-Talbot-Ferlin

All six defensemen practiced, while Jeremy Smith joined goaltenders Tuukka Rask and Niklas Svedberg after being recalled and dressing as the team’s backup Tuesday. Rask missed the game with what the team called “general soreness.” Julien said all three goalies will travel.

Read More: David Krejci, David Pastrnak,
Don Sweeney on Sunday Skate: Bruins not limiting their search at trade deadline, ‘nothing that’s set in stone’ with David Pastrnak 02.08.15 at 12:46 pm ET
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Don Sweeney

Don Sweeney

Bruins assistant general manager Don Sweeney joined Sunday Skate to discuss the Bruins’€™ roster as the team gets closer to the March 2 trade deadline. To listen to the interview, click here.

The B’€™s have been looking for a wing nearly all season, though they are among a large number of teams who could stand to improve defensively. Sweeney said the Bruins continue to look for a wing, but that general manager Peter Chiarelli isn’€™t limiting his search.

“Everybody’€™s sort of focused on the fact that maybe our depth on the wings or scoring ability would be an area that we would like to address, having the types of players that we’€™ve lost over the last couple of years,” Sweeney said. “I don’€™t think it’€™s any trade secret that that’€™s probably the area that we’€™ve primarily been focused on, but I don’€™t think if any trade situations and discussions come up, that Peter wouldn’€™t have the opportunity to pursue in any one area that might strengthen our club.”

The search for a forward is part of an ongoing process to find David Krejci a permanent right wing. David Pastrnak’€™s play with Krejci was enough for the Bruins to burn the first year off his entry-level contract and keep him on the roster, though the B’€™s moved Pastrnak off Krejci’€™s line last week to keep the rookie away from other teams’€™ top lines.

Pastrnak was moved back to Krejci’€™s line with Milan Lucic in the second period of Saturday’€™s game, however, as the Bruins had last line change and were matching Patrice Bergeron‘€™s line against New York’€™s first line. Sweeney said Pastrnak remains a candidate to play with Krejci, but that the team is still figuring out what his role will ultimately be this season.

“There’€™s nothing that’€™s set in stone,” Sweeney said. “We’€™re just going to continue to evaluate. We’€™ll go to the trade deadline, and Peter’€™s trying to improve our hockey club. If we can do that, then David may find his way out of the lineup, may find his way back in Providence. It doesn’€™t matter. The boy has been a sponge with all things, and we’€™re so excited about his development trajectory and hopefully he doesn’€™t hit a wall here as he goes down the stretch.”

Sweeney did say that if either Pastrnak or Reilly Smith forces the Bruins’€™ hand and fills the spot themselves, it would be “the perfect scenario.”

The Bruins have around $2.2 million in cap space, though they have an undisclosed amount of unused long-term injured reserve space that will allow them to exceed the upper limit. Though they don’€™t have too much money to spend — something that can be helped by a trade partner retaining a player’€™s salary — Sweeney did say that the Bruins have the assets to add players to their liking.

“I think we have the assets to be able to pursue any type of deal outside of a straight cap add-on,” he said. “Obviously, the wiggle room we have from just adding a player without necessarily moving some money around is going to be more problematic than not, but from an organizational standpoint of having assets to be able to pursue deals and talk deals and potentially explore them, we absolutely are in a position to do that.

“Obviously, the cap dollars are what they are. We’€™ve been in the station all year long. We’€™ve managed that and we have to continue to do that down the stretch. Our cap situation doesn’€™t grow as the season goes along because we’€™re in LTI, but we do have some wiggle room.”  Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: David Pastrnak, Don Sweeney,
Pierre McGuire on MFB: Bruins need ‘proven’ veteran who can score goals 02.05.15 at 1:50 pm ET
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Pierre McGuire

Pierre McGuire

NBC Sports NHL analyst Pierre McGuire made his weekly appearance Thursday on Middays with MFB after the Bruins’ loss to the Rangers Wednesday night, and to look ahead to their stretch of games before the trade deadline. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

With the trade deadline approaching, McGuire feels the Bruins’ biggest need is a veteran presence on the first line who can score goals, and play with Milan Lucic and David Krejci. He feels the defense can be corrected on its own.

“I don’t know about the top four [defenseman], it’s a fair question,” McGuire said. “I think it is more pressure and get more consistent offense in the first line and insert with [Milan] Lucic and [David] Krejci, and this isn’t a knock on whomever they have tried there — whether it’s [Loui] Eriksson or Reilly Smith, whenever it be anybody, David Pastrnak — it doesn’t matter. I think they really need a veteran presence, a proven guy that can score goals in a first line situation and then the rest of the batting order kind of stabilizes itself.

“I think they can do it by committee on defense really because of the way the team plays. I think they need to get more run support with consistency, I think that is one of the reasons why they play so many one goal games, they are in so many close games, they just don’t have consistent run support for their defense and their goalie.”

McGuire has been impressed with the rookie Pastrnak and compared him to Tyler Seguin in a way that he could make an impact in the postseason once he gets fully acclimated to the NHL.

“The one thing that stands out to me and not even being 19 years of age or pretty darn close to it, he can still dominate the puck,” said McGuire. “He made some pretty creative plays last night. It’s a hard league for kids that weigh 165-170 pounds to play in. I don’t see him tailing off. I think this will be a lot like what we saw with Tyler Seguin in the Bruins run to the Cup in [2011], just because it took awhile for Tyler to get comfortable and once he got comfortable you saw what he did in the Tampa Bay series in particular.

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Read More: David Krejci, David Pastrnak, Milan Lucic, Pierre McGuire
David Pastrnak’s first year burned off as his line comes down to earth 01.17.15 at 10:59 pm ET
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David Pastrnak

David Pastrnak

Forget the fact that the Bruins lost; did you notice that David Krejci‘€™s line with David Pastrnak and Milan Lucic didn’€™t even score on Saturday?

Given all of the attention that’€™s been placed on Pastrnak prior to the Bruins deciding to keep him and the success that the trio has had, the goose-egg from Boston’€™s trio actually is somewhat notable, really only because it’€™s the first time the line hasn’€™t been very good since being united.

Pastrnak, who has now officially accrued one season of service time in the eyes of the NHL and NHLPA (Saturday was 10th NHL game this season, which means this season is officially the first of his three-year entry level contract) and his linemates came down earth against the Blue Jackets, overpassing and losing the possession battle in Boston’€™s first regulation loss in 10 games.

“A lot of passing, a lot of missed passes,” Lucic said. “Maybe trying to do too much and didn’€™t play that north-south type of game that gave us success when we were put together originally.

“We have to know night-in, night-out as a line that in order to be successful and get results and contribute to the team, that there’€™s a certain way that we need to play. That’€™s a straight-ahead game and using our speed and obviously using our skill, but when we’€™re moving straight ahead and using all those things, that’€™s when we’€™re going to have success.”

The line nearly scored in the first period when David Krejci threw a puck on net from the top of the right circle that bounced off Pastrnak’€™s skates in front with half the net open. Pastrnak whiffed on his shot attempt as the puck glided to Blue Jackets netminder Curtis McElhinney. That stood as the line’€™s best chance, though Pastrnak did draw a penalty in the final minute of the period when he was tripped by Scott Hartnell.

But that was the extent of the good for the line offensively. Though Lucic tied for the team lead with five shots on goal, the Czech Davids combined for zero. Saturday was Pastrnak’€™s first game without a shot on goal since his NHL debut on Nov. 24.

Since coming up, Pastrnak has been a standout player. He’€™s found instant chemistry with Krejci, whose vision and creativity could make him a 30-goal scorer in future seasons. Yet there will be speed bumps along the way, such as when Pastrnak took a drop pass from Krejci entering the zone in the first period and, rather than shooting or finding Krejci again, forced a n0-look pass across the ice to Lucic that would have earned him an intentional grounding penalty in the NFL.

“That line didn’€™t do much for us tonight; nobody did as a matter of fact,” Julien said. “We need David to use his speed on the outside; we need Krech to make sure to use his speed on the outside and find him. If you’€™re going to be cute and try and overpass, you’€™re not going to get the results. That’€™s not how we’€™ve had success in the past. I don’€™t think that’€™s how we’€™re going to get success in the future.”

One telling takeaway that should bode well for this line’€™s future: In eight periods together, the Lucic-Krejci-Pastrnak trio has yet to get scored on. They have four goals for and none against.

Read More: David Krejci, David Pastrnak, Milan Lucic,
Bruins to keep David Pastrnak, burn off first year of entry level contract 01.15.15 at 7:57 pm ET
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David Pastrnak

David Pastrnak

Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli announced Thursday night that the team intends to keep rookie forward David Pastrnak on the NHL roster and play him for a 10th NHL game, at which point this season will officially become the first of the 18-year-old’€™s three-year entry level contract.

The Bruins can still send Pastrnak down and up between Providence and Boston going forward this season, as burning the first year one’€™s entry level does not require a team to keep the player on its NHL roster. The incentive for the Bruins to have not kept Pastrnak in the NHL for 10 games was that his three-year window would have slid ahead to begin next year, meaning he would be up for a new contract as a restricted free agent after the 2017-18 season rather than after the 2016-17 season, the latter of which will now be the case.

Chiarelli credited Pastrnak’s work with Providence both at the beginning of the season and following his November/December callup — which Chiarelli said was dominant — as a major reason as to why the Bruins felt he was ready for the NHL.

“He went down there and he did what we told him to do, which was play without the puck, play heavier, play on the wall, the defensive wall, offensive battles,” Chiarelli said. “Then he came up here and played in the West Coast trip and I think he got his feet wet a little bit, went back down and dominated down there again. I think in making this decision, we really scrutinized his play in Providence and we felt that he was able to play and excel at that level with the proper physicality for him and against the proper physicality.

“He’€™s going to be up here and we’€™re happy to make that decision and we’€™re going to continue to look at it as a development piece, which means that, as we’€™ve done before with some of the younger players, it doesn’€™t mean you’€™re in the lineup all the time. There may be points in time when his play dips a little bit and we may sit him down for a game or two here or there, but I think the important thing to take away from this is that he’€™s going to be up with the big team, practice with the team, and hopefully play on a regular basis.”

Thursday night’s game against the Rangers, in which Pastrnak remained on the Bruins’€™ first line with David Krejci and Milan Lucic and was a plus-1 in Boston’s victory, marked Pastrnak’s ninth NHL game.

In his brief NHL career, Pastrnak has four goals and one assist, with his goals coming in back-to-back two-goal performances Saturday and Tuesday. Pastrnak was first recalled on Nov. 23 and made his NHL debut the next night against Pittsburgh. The right wing stayed up with Boston for a six-game stretch in which he played five games and was a healthy scratch in another.

After the game, Krejci expressed excitement for both Pastrnak and himself, quipping, “I have a Czech buddy.” He won’t have a Czech roommate, however, as the Bruins will make other living arrangements for the 18-year-old. Teenage players often live with veteran players in their first years, as Patrice Bergeron did with Martin Lapointe and Dougie Hamilton did with Adam McQuaid.

Boston chose Pastrnak with the 25th overall pick of the first round last June and kept him in North America with the Providence Bruins rather than sending him back to Sweden, where he’€™d played the previous two seasons. After sending him down in December, the B’€™s loaned him to the Czech National Team for the World Junior Championships and sent him to Providence for a one-game pit stop before bringing him up to the NHL club on Jan. 6.

Pastrnak has been the youngest player at both the AHL and NHL levels this season. In 24 AHL games, Pastrnak has 10 goals and 17 assists for 27 points.

Read More: David Krejci, David Pastrnak, Peter Chiarelli,
Pierre McGuire on MFB: Bruins ‘unbelievably difficult team to play against’ at 2:05 pm ET
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Pierre McGuire

Pierre McGuire

NBC Sports NHL analyst Pierre McGuire made his weekly appearance Thursday on Middays with MFB to discuss the Bruins’ recent hot streak and to talk about rookie forward David Pastrnak. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The Bruins have won four games in a row and are starting to get into a nice rhythm. Even with their struggles early on, McGuire remained optimistic, so their turnaround isn’t much of a surprise to him.

“I really like the way the coaching staff has developed the roles for the players, so you’re seeing now [Carl] Soderberg evolve into the role I think they had envisioned for him,” McGuire said. “I think Gregory Campbell is getting into the role they envisioned for him. Daniel Paille same thing. Milan [Lucic] has really picked up the pace of his game physically. Getting [Zdeno] Chara back, he seems to be getting a little more comfortable with the timing issues that he might have had earlier. That helps you a lot. That puts players deeper on the depth chart in terms of minutes played, so I do.

“It is pretty much the way I envisioned this team. I still think it’s an unbelievably difficult team to play against. They are rounding into form.”

One of the players who has stepped up of late has been Pastrnak, as he has put up four goals in two games. He also thrived at the World Junior tournament earlier last month, scoring a goal and two assists in five games. McGuire says playing in that tournament can help a player prove he can play at the next level. He also doesn’t believe for a second the Bruins would send him down to Providence, thus keeping a year on his entry-level contract for playing less than 10 games in the NHL.

“I’ve been telling you about this player for a little while now, and when you can dominate a World Junior like he did and he is playing on a team from the Czech Republic that wasn’t very good and he was still dominant, that tells you he’s ready to play in the National Hockey League,” said McGuire. “I know that is a foreign concept for a lot of people to understand — I’ve been around that tournament for 20 years and I’ve watched the very best players come out of that and I’ve seen some kids that actually grew over the course of that tournament and that propelled them to being NHL players. That is one tournament, if you can dominant it best-on-best in your own peer group, you’re ready to play at the next level.

“I would be absolutely flabbergasted and shocked if he were set back [to Providence].”

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Read More: David Pastrnak, Dennis Seidenberg, Pierre McGuire,
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