|A look at how former Bruins have started with new teams||10.16.15 at 1:09 pm ET|
The Bruins’ changes this summer meant familiar faces are gone and new ones have arrived. Though the B’s can’t be happy with their start, it’s also been a mixed bag for those to whom they bid adieu.
Jimmy Hayes’ four-point performance on Wednesday aside, Boston’s newcomers have been slow to get adjusted. Here’s a look at how the former Bruins have started with their new teams:
Milan Lucic, Kings: It’s been a very quiet start for both the Kings (0-3-0) and Lucic. Through three games, Lucic has landed just two shots on goal. The bad news there is that he has zero points, but the good news is that he’s one point away from tying for the team lead. He played the first two games on a line with Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik, but the Kings have since pulled the plug on that experiment. Lucic is now skating with Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli.
Dougie Hamilton, Flames: Playing on what should be a stellar top pairing with T.J. Brodie out, Hamilton and Mark Giordano haven’t had the hottest start together. Though Hamilton scored a power-play goal in Calgary‘s second game of the season, he’s been on the ice for just one even-strength goal for and four goals against. All four of those goals came on shifts played with Giordano.
Martin Jones, Sharks: Though only Bruins property for less than five days, it’s worth including Jones here for the sake of justifying what looked like a rather odd trade at the time. After getting Jones in the Lucic trade, the Bruins got the Sharks to surrender a first-round pick and a prospect (Sean Kuraly) for the former Kings backup goaltender. So far, the deal hasn’t looked like as much of a steal for the Bruins as it did back in June. Jones has been absolutely lights-out with two shutouts and a .987 save percentage in three starts for San Jose.
Carl Soderberg, Avalanche: Wednesday night saw Soderberg’s former teammates make his new contract look not-so-good. Soderberg was on the ice for goals by Boston’s second, third and fourth lines. The 30-year-old center had assists in each of Colorado’s first two games.
Reilly Smith, Panthers: Smith’s doing a little bit of everything for the Panthers, including killing penalties after never being used in that role as a Bruin. Smith has a pair of goals (both of which he scored in his Panthers debut) and an assist through four games on a line with Nick Bjugstad and Brandon Pirri.
Gregory Campbell, Blue Jackets: The former Merlot-Liner is averaging a little under 11 minutes a night through four games with Columbus and so far the results haven’t been great. His line is getting outscored (three goals against, none for) and Campbell has managed just one shot on net.
Matt Bartkowski, Canucks: Bartkowski has suited up in all four of the Canucks’ games after being in and out of Boston’s lineup over the years. He’s been used on Vancouver’s second pairing with Dan Hamhuis, which has held up well despite its poor possession numbers. He has an assist on the season, but he’s still looking for his first regular-season goal 135 games into his career.
Daniel Paille, Rockford IceHogs (AHL): After spending training camp with the Blackhawks on a professional tryout, the 31-year-old left wing went to Chicago’s AHL camp before signing with the IceHogs. He’s played one game for them, recording no points.
Niklas Svedberg, Ufa Salavat Yulayev (KHL): Svedberg went to the KHL after a statistically decent showing with the Bruins, but one that saw the B’s lose confidence in him and stop playing him. So far, Claude Julien appears to have been in the right. Svedberg has an .887 save percentage in 19 games in Russia.
Peter Chiarelli, Oilers: It’s going to be a while before the Oilers are competitive. That they had to play the Blues twice in their first four games makes their 0-4-0 start less than surprising.
|Dale Weise knows Bruins-Canadiens rivalry will be different without Milan Lucic||10.10.15 at 12:55 pm ET|
Bruins-Canadiens games won’t be the same without Milan Lucic, but then again this rivalry has always found a way to stay heated regardless of who comes and goes.
When the Bruins host the Habs Saturday at TD Garden, things will look vastly different from the way they did when Montreal won all four meetings by multiple goals a season ago.
(Actually, there’s a very good chance the result will be the same; it will just look different.)
Lucic is gone. Dougie Hamilton, whose biggest contribution to the rivalry was forgetting that penalties expire, has also departed. Zdeno Chara is likely to remain out with an upper-body injury, while the likes of Matt Beleskey, Zac Rinaldo, Colin Miller (making his NHL debut), Jimmy Hayes and Matt Irwin will all play against the Habs for the first time as Bruins.
Despite Boston’s injuries and new faces, Bruins killer Dale Weise (seven points in his last 10 games against Boston, including the playoffs) doesn’t see Saturday as an automatic two points.
“I don’t think Boston’s any slouch by any means,” Weise said. “I think this is a good hockey team. They’ve added some good players; Beleskey’s a good guy that’s going to score for them, Jimmy Hayes we saw a lot in Florida. He scored a couple goals against us, so he’s a big body. With a goaltender like [Tuukka] Rask, similar to us, you always have a chance.”
Perhaps Weise’s most notable moment in Boston came after Game 7 of the 2014 second round. Following Montreal’s series-clinching victory over the Bruins (a game in which Weise scored), word got out that Lucic had threatened Weise in the handshake line.
Weise has always praised Lucic’s game since the incident, so it wasn’t a surprise to hear him do the same after Saturday’s morning skate.
“It makes our job a little bit easier without having him out there,” Weise said. “He’s a horse to handle out there. You’ve got to be aware when he’s out there.
“Picking up Beleskey, I know him from the West a little bit. He’s another big body. He plays hard. They’ve still got some players that can play hard over there.”
Boston’s biggest issue against the Habs will be holding up better defensively than they did Thursday night against the Jets. Though Montreal was hard-pressed for goals last season, they still managed to rack them up against Boston. The Habs have given Chara fits in recent years, but they’ll likely have an easier time with him out of the lineup.
“Having him in the lineup is a big difference,” Weise said of Chara. “He’s a big body. He’s hard to play against. Going in front of the net, you’re going to get a couple of whacks from him. It’s not a pretty place to be. He adds so much to their lineup.”
Though the Canadiens didn’t make any sizable upgrades in the offseason, they should certainly be considered the better of the two teams at this point. Even if they won’t say it, they should feel pretty good about their chances Saturday.
|David Krejci looks forward to new linemates, fixing Bruins’ scoring woes and (hopefully) health||09.14.15 at 2:41 pm ET|
BOLTON — After a season of terrible moments, David Krejci had one of the best moments of his life when he and his wife recently welcomed their first child to their family. As far as hockey goes, he should hope he doesn’t have to go to another hospital for a while.
Krejci, who had previously never missed more than seven games in a regular season in his entire professional career, had a highly frustrating go of it last season. After fighting nagging lower-body injuries through the first few months of the season, Krejci suffered a partially torn MCL in late February. All in all, Krejci missed 35 games in a season that saw Boston’s offense suffer without him.
Now, after an extra-long offseason that saw him lose his running buddy of his five-year tenure as a first-line center in Milan Lucic, Krejci hopes to return to both the health and performance of seasons past. He said prior to Monday’s Bruins golf tournament that his workouts were not encumbered this offseason, so he sees no reason why things wouldn’t get back on track.
“Last year was the first year in my career that I had [ongoing] injury troubles,” Krejci said. “I’ve been working out since pretty much the season ended and have had no setbacks. I’m shooting for 82 games, so we’ll see what happens.”
With whom Krejci plays those games is wide open. It’s safe to assume the Bruins will plan on free agent signing Matt Beleskey filling Lucic’s spot, but there’s no telling whether it will be David Pastrnak, Brett Connolly, Jimmy Hayes or somebody else on the right side. Loui Eriksson could potentially be an option, though he’ll likely be moved to left wing this season given Boston’s number of right-shot wings.
Krejci’s had some different right wings since 2010-11, from Nathan Horton to Rich Peverley to Jarome Iginla to a revolving door of players (Seth Griffith, Simon Gagne and Pastrnak among them) last season. He’s used to change on the right side, but losing his longtime left wing in Lucic, now with the Kings, will present new challenges.
“It’s going to be weird,” he said. “We’ve been together for a long time, and now he’s gone, so obviously that was a really sad day. We have to understand that it’s a business as well and there were some upper-management changes. They’re just trying to make our team better than last year, and they did some changes. I really like the we have right now, so we’ll see how that goes.”
The good news for Krejci is that he signed a contract extension prior to the start of last season. Last season was the final year of his contract, so rather than hitting free agency after injuries, he at least has the security of a new six-year deal. With that comes pressure to live up to the $43.5 million he’ll be making.
Last season was bad for pretty much everyone on the Bruins, injured or healthy. The teamwide dropoff in shooting percentage suggests the B’s will get back to scoring as long as they don’t have two consecutive seasons of wretched luck. Having Krejci back will undoubtedly help as well.
“It’s definitely something that you can’t replace,” Patrice Bergeron said. “He’s a player that is so important to our club. To have him fresh and healthy is something we’re going to a lot from. I’m really happy to have him and happy he feels good.”
|Don Cherry on MFB: Milan Lucic is ‘[going to] come back with a force’ this season||07.02.15 at 12:52 pm ET|
Hockey Night in Canada’s Don Cherry joined Middays with MFB on Thursday to discuss the Bruins’ recent moves. To hear the interview, go to the Middays with MFB audio on demand page.
Prior to the NHL draft Milan Lucic and 22-year-old defenseman Dougie Hamilton were traded to the Kings and Flames, respectively. The trades caught many by surprise, though the return for both of them gave the Bruins pieces to work with, namely those acquired in the Lucic trade.
The winger was traded to Los Angeles for goaltender Martin Jones, defenseman Colin Miller and the No. 15 overall pick in last Friday’s draft. The B’s were able to flip Jones to the Sharks afterwards for a first-round pick in 2016 and the rights to Miami Redhawks rising senior Sean Kuraly.
“I think what happened is [Lucic] sort of fell out of favor with that  goals [last season],” Cherry said. “You expected more goals from him. I have to admit, he wasn’t Lucic of old last year, but somehow or other, I always think of the Bruins, I think of them as tough and everybody thinks of them as tough.”
“Lucic, I know he had an off-year last year, but he’s [going to] come back with a force,” he added. “When you think of the Bruins, when everybody thinks of the Bruins, they think of Lucic, and then a 22-year-old guy. … You don’t get a 22-year-old stud like that guy and Calgary now has the best defense in the league, there’s no doubt about it.”
Following Hamilton being traded there were reports saying Hamilton was a “loner” and an “uppity kid.” Cherry said that wouldn’t matter to him if he were coaching the Bruins.
“If I had Hamilton, somehow I’d work him in, and that’s the job of the organization,” he said. “When I hear he doesn’t work and he’s a loner, who cares? Look at the way he plays, it’s on the ice. I don’t care if he’s a loner or not. I don’t believe in that stuff.”
|Exploring the idea of Matt Beleskey to the Bruins||07.01.15 at 7:00 am ET|
Poor Matt Beleskey.
He could very well cash in on Wednesday, but you can’t help but feel for the guy.
The newly 27-year-old left wing might be the most offensively potent free agent in this year’s class, yet he’s at the very top of virtually every “buyer beware” list. Instead of the being billed as the solution to teams’ problems, he’s being billed as the second coming of David Clarkson.
Why? Because he’s only done it once.
“It” being reach the 20-goal plateau, that is. In 65 games for Anaheim last season, Beleskey notched 22 goals and 10 assists for 32 points. Not only was it Beleskey’s only 20-goal season; it was just his second 10-goal season in the NHL, as his previous career high was 11 goals, which he registered in the 2009-10 season as a rookie.
What makes Beleskey’s goal total flash red is the fact that this season saw him play on a line with Ryan Kesler after playing in lesser roles in previous seasons. As our pal Nick Goss points out, his shooting percentage nearly doubled last season from his career mark entering the season
As such, arguing that a particular team should sign the player figures to be met with skepticism, but the Bruins could actually be a fit in the right circumstances. Read the rest of this entry »
|Bruins trade Martin Jones to Sharks for first-round pick, prospect||06.30.15 at 12:54 pm ET|
The Martin Jones era is over.
(Martin Jones was on the Bruins.)
Shortly after acquiring him from the Kings in the Milan Lucic trade, the Bruins have flipped the goaltender to the Sharks, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.
Sharks give up a 2016 first-round draft pick plus unsigned prospect Sean Kuraly for Martin Jones
‘ Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) June 30, 2015
The package of San Jose’s first-round pick and the rights to Sean Kuraly presents a strong return for Martin, a restricted free agent goaltender looking for an opportunity to start somewhere.
With the trade of Martin, the Bruins have now turned Milan Lucic (and $2.75 million in retained salary) into Los Angeles’ first-round pick Friday, San Jose’s first-round pick next year, and a pair of prospects in Kuraly and defenseman Colin Miller.
Kuraly spent the last three seasons playing college hockey at Miami University in Ohio. He was a teammate of Bruins prospect Austin Czarnik, whom Boston signed as a free agent late last season.
The 22-year-old Kuraly is a left shot who stands at 6-foot-2 and 201 pounds. Last season, he scored 19 goals and added 10 assists for 29 points in 40 games.
|Pierre McGuire on MFB: ‘I do think [the Bruins] have a plan’||06.29.15 at 12:26 pm ET|
NBC Sports analyst Pierre McGuire joined Middays with MFB on Monday to discuss the Bruins’ rebuilding strategy and the direction they will go after surprise moves prior to the NHL draft last week. To hear the full interview, visit the Middays with MFB audio on demand page.
“I can’t see that happening,” McGuire said. “They’re a proud franchise. I can’t see that alienation of their fan base. They’ve been down this road before back in the [mid-1990s]. It was painful. … They’ve still got a very solid infrastructure of players. But again, they’re going to have to pass the torch here because some of their better guys are getting older.
“I can’t see them trading Patrice Bergeron. You put his name out there and every team in the league’s going to want him. … This is my one word of caution on this: I would be really careful pre-judging this thing if I were a Bruins fan, because I do think they have a plan. Doesn’t mean they have to share it with everybody only because you don’t want to show your cards too often in this league. In this league, they throw you anchors, not life jackets.”
According to McGuire, the recent moves made by the Bruins are part of a trend that began last offseason with the departure of Shawn Thornton and Jarome Iginla, among others.
“[My reaction was] that Don Sweeney wanted to put his stamp on the team early on along with Cam Neely that this was clearly something that was approved by ownership, that they felt that maybe something had gone a little bit astray in their building plan and they wanted to try to get it straightened out as soon as possible,” McGuire said. “I remember being in Boston last year when Johnny Boychuk got traded away … and I remember the reaction of the players and it was really negative. They were not happy at all.
“Shawn Thornton moves on to Florida, Jarome Iginla moves on to Colorado, Johnny Boychuk moves on to the New York Islanders and then you see what happens this year — Chiarelli gets fired, Gregory Campbell‘s not coming back, Danny Paille’s not coming back, Milan Lucic isn’t coming back and obviously Dougie Hamilton’s not coming back. Start doing the math. That’s a huge part of your infrastructure, so clearly they knew that they wanted to go in a younger, different direction and they’ve started that process.”