|Having made their moves, B’s making noise on the ice, stay quiet on deadline day||03.01.11 at 2:44 am ET|
It was a generally quiet couple of days leading up the NHL trade deadline throughout the league, but with the way the Bruins have been going, they may not have been a team that needed much more via trade.
The B’s had their biggest day in that department 10 days prior to the deadline. Seemingly in an effort to both upgrade the roster quickly and avoid taking chances at the last second, general manager Peter Chiarelli made a couple of big deals on Feb. 18, reeling in Tomas Kaberle from Toronto and a package of Rich Peverley and (less notably) Boris Valabik from Atlanta. With the team having already acquired center Chris Kelly from the Senators earlier in that week, Chiarelli hinted at the post-Kaberle trade press conference that he was done making big deals.
With less than $1 million in cap space, you probably should have seen that coming.
Even so, the trade deadline passed, and the B’s moves leading up to it consisted of the following:
- Signing Shane Hnidy
- Trading Brian McGrattan and Sean Zimmerman to the Ducks for David Laliberte and Stefan Chaput, a deal that involved only AHL players.
- Trading Jeff Penner and Mikko Lehtonen‘s rights to the Wild for Swedish goaltender Anton Khudobin.
Not exactly moves that scream “difference-maker,” huh? Well, they don’t have to when they also scream “the team’s already made its moves.”
With Kaberle, Peverley, and Kelly already in the fold, the Bruins were able to use the days leading up to the deadline as a bonding experience while on a Canadian road-trip. While other teams were adding pieces, the Bruins’ new pieces were already contributing. Boston has won five straight, including all four since Kaberle came on board.
While much of the discussion following the trade deadline is on how a team with improvements in tow will fare in the offseason, the moves or lack of moves also mean big things for the stretch run of the regular season. It seems that’s another area in which the B’s might be aided. Already with a six-point lead over the Canadiens in the division despite having played one game less than the Habs this season, the fact that the Canadiens were also quiet over the last couple of days is also encouraging for the B’s. The Habs made their biggest deal when they brought in James Wisniewski from the Islanders earlier in the season, and their lack of activity at the deadline is something the B’s will take.
|Bruins improve to 5-0-0 on road trip with 3-2 win over Edmonton||02.27.11 at 10:48 pm ET|
The Bruins gave up a season-low 17 shots en route to a 3-2 win in Edmonton on Sunday night. The B’s improved to 5-0-0 on their current road trip, which wraps up Tuesday in Ottawa, giving them their first five-game winning streak of the season.
Ales Hemsky put the Oilers on the board first when he fired a rebound inside the left post just 1:05 into the game. The Bruins picked up the pace as the first period went on, though, and ended up taking a 2-1 lead into the break.
Michael Ryder registered Boston’s first goal with 4:30 left in the first when he collected a rebound in the slot and waited out goalie Devan Dubnyk (37 saves) before lifting a shot under the crossbar.
The B’s took the lead three minutes later. After an exhibition of tic-tac-toe passing, David Krejci fed Nathan Horton in the left circle and Horton buried the opportunity.
Rich Peverley netted his first goal as a Bruin to make it 3-1 with 52 seconds left in the second. He took a pass from Ryder in the lower left circle and cut across the front of the net before beating Dubnyk.
The Oilers made things interesting 3:14 into the third when Gilbert Brule beat Tuukka Rask (15 saves) glove-side with a slapper from the left half-wall. But the Bruins were able to hang on down the stretch and get the win.
Rask improved to 8-11-1 on the season, and he is now 5-0-0 in his last five road games.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
-Horton continued his recent stretch of solid play with his third goal in the last four games. He also dropped the gloves with Theo Peckham in the first period and took the Oiler down with a hard right. Horton once again was a presence in the offensive zone all night, as he tied for the team lead with five shots on goal.
-After being held scoreless in its first two games together, the new third line of Ryder, Peverley and Chris Kelly broke out with two goals Sunday night. Ryder netted the Bruins’ first goal and then set up Peverley for what proved to be the game-winner. The trio combined for a plus-4 rating on the night.
-The Bruins got off to a bit of a slow start against the worst team in the NHL, but they really turned up the heat in the final 10 minutes of the first. They ended up outshooting the Oilers, 15-5, in the opening frame and netted the two late goals to head into the locker room with the lead. The momentum carried over into the second, during which the B’s outshot Edmonton, 17-7.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
-The Bruins opened the game with a bad first couple shifts and paid for it when Hemsky scored a little more than a minute in. It seemed like they were just standing around waiting for something to happen. As mentioned above, that certainly changed as the period went on.
-Despite completely dominating in terms of shots and puck possession, the Bruins struggled to slam the door shut and let Edmonton hang around. The Oilers managed to pull within one early in the third on Brule’s goal and had a few chances to tie it up down the stretch. Dubnyk was the biggest reason the score was as close as it was, as he played great for the Oilers, but the B’s still should’ve won by a more convincing margin.
-The fourth line of Gregory Campbell, Tyler Seguin and Shawn Thornton combined for a minus-3 rating and just four shots on goal. Campbell and Seguin also combined for five of the Bruins’ 15 turnovers in the game.
|Shawn Thornton on D&H: Tomas Kaberle ‘one of the best defensemen in the league’||02.21.11 at 12:55 pm ET|
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton, while on his way to the airport for the Bruins’ road trip that starts with a game Tuesday in Calgary, checked in with the Dale & Holley show Monday and talked about the team’s recent roster changes. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
Asked if there was any tension around the team last week, Thornton acknowledged that there was. “There always is this time of year,” he said. “The media obviously reports it. I think it gets worse these days, with —I’m not bad-mouthing anybody, but — countless blogs and stuff that nobody really has to [be accountable]. You can just throw stuff against the wall and hope it sticks. There’s a lot of names being thrown around nowadays. I think everybody’s hoping that they get one right. So, yeah, there’s a little bit of tension. I think the best thing to do is not try to pay too much attention to it.”
Thornton had high praise for new Bruins Tomas Kaberle, Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley. “I’ve known Tomas for a long time,” he said. “We were in the minors together for a little bit, actually. The way he moves the puck and the way he sees the ice when he has the puck — even without it — he’s such a smart player. He’s one of the best defensemen in the league, and I think we’re very, very fortunate to have him.”
Of Kelly, Thornton said: “He can skate, he can shoot, he competes really hard. I think he’s a good pickup for us.”
Thornton said the adjustment period for the new Bruins shouldn’t be long, especially considering their age and the fact that Peverley comes from Atlanta, where first-year Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay is using a style similar to the one used when Ramsay was an assistant in Boston the past three seasons. “I think it should be pretty seamless, being that they’re older guys,” Thornton said. “Kelly, Peverly, Kaberle — they’ve all been around the league a bunch. … The fact that Kelly’s been in the league for six, seven years makes it a little easier than being maybe 20 or 21.”
Bruins goalie Tim Thomas challenged Canadiens netminder Carey Price to a fight when the teams met in Boston earlier this month. While it didn’t go so well for Thomas, Thornton was impressed with the effort and strategy. “His game plan was pretty good for a guy fighting somebody a lot bigger,” Thornton said. “I’ve actually used his game plan before. But when you miss your grab on the way in, sometimes it goes all out the window. And it did for him. But you know what? He did a good job. He protected himself well.
“He’ll be the first to tell you it wasn’t much of a fight. But that was the loudest I’ve heard the Garden I think in a long time, when those two squared off. It was pretty fun.”
|The cult-hero appeal of Rich Peverley||02.20.11 at 1:49 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Many are excited to see what newly acquired Bruins forward Rich Peverley brings to the Bruins on the ice, but what they may not know is that the once undrafted free agent was a bit of a cult hero in Atlanta.
Fans in Atlanta dressed in overalls (and the one in this video even furthered his game of dress-up) to support the 28-year-old, referring to themselves as the “Peverley Hillbillies.” Check out the video below (courtesy of the Thrashers’ official website) for a better look.
As for whether the guy featured in this video could potentially follow Peverley to Boston, the forward laughed.
“No,” he said. “I don’t think so.”
Looks like Bruins die-hards may have a new task.
|Rich Peverley: ‘I want to get better’||at 1:33 pm ET|
Newly acquired Bruins forward Rich Peverley put on a Bruins sweater for the first time Sunday as he practiced with his teammates at Ristuccia Arena. After the skate, he reflected on the trade.
“It was a bit of a surprise, but [Thrashers coach] Craig Ramsey told me this was a team that has a chance to win,” Peverley said. “It’s a big thrill to be a part of a really historic organization and come into a team that has a chance to go pretty far in the playoffs.”
Coach Claude Julien said after practice that he will try the 28-year-old at wing on a line centered by Chris Kelly with Michael Ryder on the other wing. Peverley said he is more comfortable at center, but that he has no problem playing anywhere.
“That’s for the coach to decide. I could play either or,” Peverley said. “I’ve been playing center most of my career. I can play the wing, it’s not a problem. I played it in Nashville and Atlanta. Wherever he wants me to fit in, I’ll try to do that. There’s a lot of good offensive players here with tremendous talent, so I’m just going to try to work and create some chemistry with somebody.”
Peverley had 14 goals and 20 assists for 34 points with Atlanta prior to the trade. With the way he spoke of his season to this point, he figures to hold higher hopes for his days in Boston.
“I was OK,” he said. “To be honest, it was kind of an up and down year. I wasn’t too pleased with my overall production on both ends of the rink. I was kind of hoping that the team would do a little bit better, but I’ve moved on and I’m glad to be here now.
“You always want to get better. You never want to cap yourself or put a ceiling [on your production]. I want to get better, and I’m looking at this as an opportunity to get better. Hopefully I can build on past years.”
Peverley wore No. 47 in Atlanta, but will wear No. 49 with the Bruins. He said he did not approach Steven Kampfer about the rookie potentially giving him his number.
“I’m not going to try to steal any numbers from anybody,” Peverley said. “I’m the new guy coming in. I just want to fit in.”
|Sunday scrimmage for Bruins||at 11:54 am ET|
WILMINGTON — Tomas Kaberle isn’t in town, but those packing the stands at Ristuccia in Wilmington get to see Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley for the first time. While that’s all fine and dandy, the real question of how these lines will shake out remains unanswered. Rather than wearing their traditional color-coded practice sweaters to indicate lines, the B’s wore black and white uniforms for a skate that included a scrimmage.
Unfortunately the scrimmage was of 4-on-4 variety, so the lines for the B’s with Peverley in the mix remain unknown. Check back for more following practice.
|Meet new Bruins forward Rich Peverley||02.18.11 at 6:13 pm ET|
In addition to landing the big fish in Tomas Kaberle Friday, the Bruins made a move that both cleared salary and improved their 2010-11 roster by sending Blake Wheeler and Mark Stuart to the Thrashers in exchange for forward Rich Peverley and defenseman Boris Valabik. While Valabik doesn’t figure to have an immediate impact on the NHL club, Peverley could play a significant role for the Bruins down the stretch.
Contractual status: Has one more year remaining on his deal after this season at a very reasonable $1.325 million cap hit.
2010-11 stats: 59 games played, 14 goals, 20 assists, 34 points, minus-16.
WHAT HE BRINGS
Peter Chiarelli noted Friday that Peverley’s 161 shots this season would be second on the Bruins. What he didn’t note is that Peverley has as many goals this season (14) as Nathan Horton. Experienced at both center and wing, he figures to fit into the mix as a third-line winger, though that complicates the rest of the bottom six.
It will be interesting to see what this means for Tyler Seguin and the entire dynamic of the bottom six forwards. Chiarelli said Friday that he sees the team keeping the fourth line intact, but it’s hard to imagine Seguin sitting much if he continues to play the way he did Thursday.
The B’s might be better off sitting Daniel Paille – who has played very well this month but missed four games with a suspension – and playing a guy like Chris Kelly on the fourth line. Chiarelli reiterated Friday that the team traded for Kelly to replace Marc Savard, but right now there are simply too many bodies to make sense of it all.
WHY THEY MADE THE DEAL
At face value, this appears to be a smart move for the Bruins for both this season and next season. Wheeler, who carries a $2.2 million cap hit, will be a restricted free agent at season’s end. Given that Peverley, who has out-produced Wheeler this season, will definitely be around for another season at nearly $900,000 saves the team money as they look into potentially re-upping Kaberle. The money saved between Wheeler and Peverley obviously won’t be the ultimate difference in whether they have the space to retain their new blueliner, but it helps.
“I just, I like to use my speed. That’s probably my number one asset, my speed and my quickness. I do like to shoot the puck a lot and make plays offensively. I’ve really been working on my faceoffs these past two years, learned a lot in Nashville when I was there from a lot of guys. It’s a big thing, I take a lot of pride in it being a really faceoff guy. I know there are some guys there who are already really good at faceoffs so hopefully I can help out in that category also.”
“Adding Chris Kelly was a lot in part to replace Marc Savard. Obviously he’s not the same player as Marc Savard, but he’s a two-way player that can help out down the middle. And Peverley was to maintain speed and skill and to get better shooting. We scored more goals this year but I still think we can improve our shooting. And he’s got a real good shot and he will help us improve that.”
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