|Bruins players would face new circumstances in World Cup of Hockey||01.28.15 at 10:39 pm ET|
When the return of the World Cup of Hockey was announced over the weekend, it wasn’t clear what that meant for the future of NHL players participating in the Winter Olympics. One thing, however, was clear: It would not be the same experience as the Olympics.
By the time the tournament rolls around in the fall of 2016, some of the Bruins’ participants will be unfamiliar territory. While players like Patrice Bergeron (Canada), Tuukka Rask (Finland) and Loui Eriksson (Sweden) will likely wear the sweaters of their respective countries as usual, other Bruins stars will face different circumstances.
Zdeno Chara has represented Slovakia in three Winter Olympics, but Slovakia is not one of the six countries set to have its own team (United States, Canada, Czech Republic, Russia, Finland, Sweden). Instead, Chara would qualify to play on Team Europe, which will consist of European players from countries not represented.
Dougie Hamilton, a Toronto native who represented Canada in the 2012 World Junior Championships, would actually find himself playing against Canada, as the final team in the tournament will consist of American and Canadian players ages 23 and under. Hamilton, 21, would be 23 at the time of the tournament. No other player on Boston’s current roster would qualify for the team, but Malcolm Subban (Toronto) would be an option for the squad, as he’ll be 22 years old.
While children in sports dream about one day representing their countries, few dream about playing on a team called the North American Young Stars. That said, Hamilton would welcome the different opportunity.
“You want to play for your country, obviously,” Hamilton said Wednesday. “It’s kind of unique, but I think it would be a lot of fun to be able to play with all those young guys from North America, and at the same time kind of hard to play against Canada. It’s kind of hard when you have to play against your own country. I think it’s still a long ways away, but something you could look forward to.”
Bergeron, who is well-versed in international play (he’s won Gold medals at the World Championships and World Junior Championships in addition to his two Olympic Gold medals), likes the idea of having another squad for younger players, as Canada routinely turns away top talent due to its surplus of star players.
“Definitely [Team Canada] is going to be a tough team to make, and we know there’s great young players that are always coming up and don’t get a chance to get on either of these teams, US and Canada, but are still great players,” Bergeron said. “It could be a really good team.”
|Pierre McGuire on MFB: Dougie Hamilton potential Norris Trophy winner||01.22.15 at 1:32 pm ET|
NBC Sports NHL analyst Pierre McGuire made his weekly appearance Thursday on Middays with MFB and talked about Dougie Hamilton, and also the Winter Classic between the Bruins and Canadians next January at Gillette Stadium. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
The 21-year-old has started to come into his own in the league of late, totaling three points in his last four games. McGuire feels like he has a very strong potential in the league.
“As a potential Norris Trophy winner, which is the best defender in the league,” said McGuire. “He can dominate offensively. He’s a great first passer. … He skates better than Zdeno Chara, nobody in the league will even debate you on that. Usually in hockey defensemen don’t mature until they are 24 or 25, so he’s way ahead of the curve. I think the fact that he’s playing in such a stressful environment that they have in Boston it helps him that much more. I’ve always been a huge Dougie fan and I will remain one.”
The Bruins will host the Canadians next January at Gillette Stadium, which will be broadcasted on NBC. McGuire says it will be great for the network and also to have the game played in a football stadium.
“I just love the football venues — all the seats are great,” he said. “The noise just cascades down. It’s a phenomenal venue. We’re so excited to have two Original 6 teams in it. Two great market places and our ratings will go sky high, I really believe that.”
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|Five things we learned as Tuukka Rask, Dougie Hamilton lead Bruins past Stars||01.20.15 at 11:10 pm ET|
Dougie Hamilton had a two-point night, including his career-high eighth goal of the season in the third period, to give the B’s a 3-1 victory over the Stars in Dallas (box).
The victory was the Bruins’ sixth in their last seven games, giving them points in 11 of the last 12.
It was also the second and final game of Brad Marchand‘s suspension. Marchand will be eligible to return Wednesday against the Avalanche, which is the Bruins’ final game before the All-Star break.
Here are four more things we learned Thursday:
BRUINS TRADE CHANCES AND PENALTIES
Players went three places Tuesday: up the ice for a scoring chance, down the ice to defend one and then to the penalty box.
From the opening shift of the game, when Jamie Benn was sprung on a breakaway and then tripped by Adam McQuaid, the Bruins and Stars swapped both scoring chances and penalties. It’s a frantic style the Bruins would rather not play, but strong penalty killing allowed them to survive it.
The B’s took six penalties on the night and killed off each of them, while Hamilton’s power-play goal came on Dallas’ fourth penalty of the night.
Standing tall for the Bruins throughout it all was Tuukka Rask, who made timely saves and got some help from the post.
|Bruins not sure who their All-Star is||01.09.15 at 3:58 pm ET|
Asked Friday which teammate should represent the Bruins in the All-Star Game later this month, one Bruin confidently responded, “Our best player is Tuukka.”
Then, after showering and thinking about it, the player came back.
“I change my answer,” he said. “Bergy.”
The player was correct – not for choosing Patrice Bergeron, but for being indecisive. With All-Star teams being named Saturday, there is no obvious answer as to which Bruin (or, less likely, Bruins) should be there in this tumultuous season.
The annual exhibition returns this month from a two-year absence and, aside from those making money off it and a shockingly high number of Latvian voters (big ups, Zemgus Girgensons), it’s hard to imagine that many folks have missed it. All-Star appearances, aside from the extra dough they earn the player, aren’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things, as fan voting for six of the 42 players and the fact that each team needs a representative water down the distinction.
With the Bruins receiving few standout season-long performances (they don’t have anyone in the top in points) it will be interesting to see who goes to Columbus. The player folks should most want to see would be Zdeno Chara so he can defend his title in the Hardest Shot contest, but he has not performed to his level of seasons past and has missed 19 games this season due to a torn PCL.
The most popular guess from Bruins players was that Patrice Bergeron was the best candidate, with players also voicing their support for Tuukka Rask, Carl Soderberg, Chara and Dougie Hamilton. Multiple players expressed hope that Chara could go so he could put on his until-recently annual slapshot clinic.
Bergeron was a pretty obvious candidate in the 2011-12 season, but was passed over in favor of linemate Tyler Seguin. Chara, who captained one of the teams, and Tim Thomas were also there for the Bruins in 2012, the last All-Star Game played before it fell victim to the lockout in 2013 and Olympics last season.
This season, Bergeron’s play has dipped a bit from last season, though he leads the Bruins with 31 points and is on pace for a respectable 20-goal campaign. Given what happened in 2012, one could argue he is owed an All-Star appearance. Bergeron has still never been an All-Star in his 11-season NHL career.
If the NHL seeks a big name who has raised his performance this season, Hamilton is a good candidate. He has regularly played against opponents’ top lines, with only Dennis Seidenberg getting fewer offensive zone starts on average than him. Hamilton frequently led Boston defensemen in time on ice while Chara was out and is third on the B’s in average time on ice with 22:01. Chara leads the way, averaging 22:40.
Furthermore, Hamilton is fifth on the Bruins in points with 23, which leads Boston defensemen and is 19th among NHL blueliners.
Hamilton doesn’t buy it, however. He feels Dougie’s Big All-Star Game will have to wait.
“I don’t think so,” he said with a smirk when asked whether he felt he was having an All-Star season. “I think there’s too many good D in the league. I think I had a good start and everything, but I don’t think I’m an All-Star.”
When Seguin was an All-Star in 2012, he felt he needed to apologize to Bergeron. Hamilton said that if he were chosen this year, he’d feel there were other Bruins more deserving as well.
“I think with our team, we’re known to be a team,” Hamilton said. “There’s not one guy who puts himself ahead of other guys. I would probably feel the same way [as Seguin did]. Guys like Bergie — Krej was hurt and Zee was hurt — but even Carl, Loui and Marchy, the list goes on. For me, I’m just trying to contribute to the team and win some games.”
Well, someone has to go to the stupid thing.
|Dougie Hamilton on Claude Julien: ‘He gives us a game plan and we don’t follow it’||12.21.14 at 12:49 pm ET|
None of the Bruins are happy about losing, and it’s obvious.
On Saturday morning, Claude Julien joined that club, holding his most honest press conference of the season as he dug into the Bruins’ struggles.
After the press conference – in which he pointed to Dennis Seidenberg’s struggles and lamented the inconsistency of many of his forwards – Dougie Hamilton admitted that “everyone’s frustrated,” and that he can see why his coach would be.
“I think one of the biggest things is that he gives us a game plan and we don’t follow it,” Hamilton told WEEI.com. “There’s a lot of times where he’ll say, like, ‘There’s nothing more to say.’ He’s telling us exactly what we need to do to win and we’re not following it. I don’t know. Hopefully we can win and not have to worry about all this stuff.”
None of this is good for the Bruins, obviously. The B’s have had several injuries this season — most notably to Zdeno Chara and David Krejci, both of whom are currently back in the lineup — but frustration from a winning coach coupled with a group not following directions might be an even bigger problem with the season just eight games away from the midway point.
Entering Sunday’s game, the 16-14-3 Bruins sit 10th in the Eastern Conference.
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|Cam Neely knows money will still be tight with salary cap increase||12.10.14 at 5:24 pm ET|
When the Board of Governors projected a $73 million salary cap for next season, it looked to be good and bad news for the Bruins: good because it’s higher than the current $69 million mark and bad because it isn’t even higher.
Those seemed to be Cam Neely‘s thoughts Wednesday, as the Bruins president answered a question about the anticipated bump by smiling and quipping, “it’s better than 69 [million].”
The projected cap, which is contingent on the Canadian dollar staying the same, will make it easier for the Bruins to keep their team together, but not much. The idea of adding key players in free agency will be out of the question, but then again it generally has been for a few years now, with the exception of the incentive-laden deal given two summers ago to Jarome Iginla.
Not counting Marc Savard, the Bruins have $49,897,857 committed against the cap to 10 players for next season. Dougie Hamilton and Carl Soderberg lead the list of players due for raises from their current cap hits, though Torey Krug and Reilly Smith can also expect pay bumps after playing this season for $1.4 million apiece.
“When you’re a team that spends up to the cap and you are spending to the cap and you are into LTI, there’s a lot of discussions and conversations and pencils and erasers that have to be in play,” Neely said. “Fortunately, Charlie and Mr. Jacobs give us the opportunity to spend to the cap. Until they say we’re not, we’re going to continue to try and put the best team on the ice. Having said that, it’s easy to spend money; you’ve just got to spend it properly.”
Agent J.P. Barry told WEEI.com last month he had yet to begin serious negations with the B’s regarding new deals for Hamilton and Soderberg, both of whom he represents. The holdup was due to the league not knowing where the cap would be next year, so perhaps the ball could get rolling soon with the clarity recently presented.
All that said, the $73 million figure is not set in stone.
“Based on what we’re hearing, it’s all based upon the Canadian dollar,” Neely said. “They have a pretty good idea of the revenues that are coming in. It’s just a matter of Canadian revenues and what happens with the Canadian dollar. It gives us a pretty good idea of where we’re going to end up, but if we’re going to err, we should err on the lower side.”
|NHL salary cap expected to increase to $73 million range||12.08.14 at 7:58 pm ET|
Commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters Monday at the Board of Governors meeting that the NHL‘s salary cap is expected to be around $73 million next season, assuming the Canadian dollar stays the same.
Such a cap ceiling would provide a $4 million bump from what it currently is and, while still not great for the Bruins, would be helpful as they try to keep their roster together.
The B’s currently have $49,897,857 committed against the cap to 10 players (excluding Marc Savard) for next season. Dougie Hamilton, Carl Soderberg, Torey Krug and Reilly Smith will all be due raises from what they currently make. Soderberg, who currently commands a $1.008 million cap hit, will likely hit free agency as the top available center should he not re-up with the Bruins before then.
Agent J.P. Barry, who represents both Hamilton and Soderberg, told WEEI.com last month that he and the B’s were waiting for clarity regarding the salary cap before beginning serious negotiations.
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