|Marc Savard will be on the Stanley Cup, but will Steven Kampfer?||09.12.11 at 11:59 pm ET|
One petitioned player will be on the Stanley Cup, but what about the others?
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli confirmed Monday night that center Marc Savard’s name will be on the trophy, which is good news for a guy who hasn’t had much of it.
Due to his latest concussion, Savard played in only 25 regular season games last season (41, or one Stanley Cup finals game are required to get one’s name on the trophy). The Cup will be engraved this week, with 52 names (including the players) allowed.
“It’s not an easy task, it really isn’t,” Bruins president Cam Neely said of trying to narrow down the list while also seeking approval for petitioned players who don’t meet the required games. “You’d like to get as many on there as possible, but it was important to have Savvy on there, and fortunately enough it worked.”
While the Bruins know Savard will be on the Cup, they aren’t sure about defenseman Steven Kampfer, who played in 38 games in the regular season. Both Savard and Kampfer had injuries last season (Savard a season-ending concussion and Kampfer a lower-body injury during an AHL stint late in the regular season), but Chiarelli said they don’t know whether the young defenseman will get his name on the trophy.
“I’m going to know that shortly,” Chiarelli said. “I’ve had discussions [about it]. Those are tougher arguments, unfortunately. I’ll probably know that by the end of the week.”
Obviously, the feel-good story is for Savard to get on there, and the powers that be absolutely made the right decision in allowing Savard’s name. With that being said, it’s pretty crazy to imagine Kampfer not getting on the trophy given his contributions as a blueliner capable of logging 20 minutes a night in the middle of the season. Shane Hnidy is far less likely to get on there.
|Will Joe Corvo be able to replace Tomas Kaberle?||08.26.11 at 1:51 am ET|
With captains’ practices just two short weeks from commencing, WEEI.com will be looking at the questions facing the defending Stanley Cup champions in the 2011-12 season.
Today’s question is whether Joe Corvo will be able to replace Tomas Kaberle on the Bruins’ blue line. Corvo isn’t nearly as talented, but he’s definitely capable of doing what Kaberle did in a so-so stint in Boston. When you look at the fact that Corvo is in the last year of a deal with a $2.25 million cap hit, while Kaberle got a three-year, $12.75 million deal in Carolina, the exchange looks good for the Bruins.
Though it became trendy to give Kaberle a big pat on the back during the Cup finals for his improved play, the fact of the matter is that things had gotten to the point where Kaberle was getting less ice time than he’d ever gotten in his career (he actually played less than 10 minutes in Game 7 of the finals). Not to compare two different players in two different situations, but as a point of reference, Corvo averaged a little under 25 minutes per game last season (Kaberle had 21:15 with the B’s), but Corvo is sure to get less than that, assuming he becomes one of the six regular defensemen in Boston.
For the sake of comparison, Kaberle is a little bigger than Corvo, while Corvo is a better skater. (While Kaberle’s passing skills were as-advertised, one thing that stood out here with the Czech blueliner was how poor a skater he was). Corvo’s 40 points last season tied a career-high, while Kaberle had 47 points in a season that was close to on par with his recent output, but far from the 67 he had in the 2005-06 season.
One player with plenty of perspective on the matter is Dennis Seidenberg. He’s played with both defensemen, as he was teammates with Corvo in Carolina in the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons. Seidenberg, who occasionally played on a pairing with Corvo (Corvo was usually paired with Tim Gleason, while Seidenberg skated with Joni Pitkanen), gave his new and former teammate a glowing review this week.
“[He’s] a very, very good skater,” Seidenberg said of Corvo. “Good hands, good passer. Very fast. I like playing with him like I did in Carolina. I’m looking forward to it and I think he’ll fit in really well.”
But can he replace Kaberle? Seidenberg seems to think so.
“He’s an offensive guy and I’m sure he likes to shoot the puck, and that’s what we need – guys getting the puck to the net and creating rebounds,” Seidenberg said. “I think he’s been doing that in the past and I’m sure he’s going to do it again.”
The Bruins certainly did their offensive defenseman to shoot the puck, but that was not part of Kaberle’s repertoire. It is that area in which the Bruins are in luck. Corvo had 191 shots on goal last season, which would have placed him behind only Zdeno Chara (264) amongst Bruins defensemen. Kaberle had 130 over the course of last season, including 31 shots on goal in 24 regular-season games with the B’s.
There’s also the fact that Corvo will need to stave off Steven Kampfer, who hasn’t gone anywhere. On paper, it would seem that Kampfer could start next season in the role Adam McQuaid filled early last year as the seventh defenseman, but one shouldn’t count out Kampfer now that he’s healthy. Based on experience, though, it would seem a spot would be Corvo’s to lose.
In the end, Corvo can meet, exceed, or fall below expectations when it comes to replacing Kaberle. Ultimately, that could come down to whether people are talking about the pre-Boston Kaberle or the one who underwhelmed in black and gold. If it’s the latter, Corvo is certainly capable of doing what Kaberle did for $2 million less this year.
|No update on who gets on the Stanley Cup||07.21.11 at 4:47 pm ET|
After the Bruins won the Stanley Cup last month, we asked B’s general manager Peter Chiarelli whether he had planned on petitioning for Marc Savard and Steven Kampfer to get their names put on the trophy, and the GM said he intended to do so. One has to play either 41 regular season games or one Stanley Cup finals game in order to get on the Cup, but if the league is flexible, both Savard and Kampfer have easy cases.
Savard, who played in only 25 games, would have played more had he not suffered a season-ending concussion. Kampfer played 38 games and was injured while playing in Providence late in the season.
As it relates to Savard, Greg Wyshysnki of the Puck Daddy blog on Yahoo! Sports (great for national stuff and a daily must-read), asked Bruins director of communications Matt Chmura recently, with Chmura relaying that no decisions had been made.
It’s hard to imagine this being a major issue either way. If one had to bet on it, the safe bet would be that both Savard and Kampfer should end up getting their names on the Cup.
|With five returning, who will be the other Bruins’ defenseman?||06.30.11 at 2:34 pm ET|
The Bruins have five of their six defensemen from the Stanley Cup finals under contract through at least next season, with Tomas Kaberle’s spot the only question mark. B’s general manager Peter Chiarelli said Thursday that the team will let Kaberle test the waters, and that if he signs elsewhere, they’ll find a replacement. That means whoever the B’s have back there next year needs to be at least somewhat offensively minded. After the power play woes of the playoffs, that’s only logical.
So who might be that last (not necessarily the sixth) defenseman be? Here are some options:
TOMAS KABERLE (free agent, Bruins)
2010-11 team: Maple Leafs/Bruins
2010-11 stats: 82 GP, 4 G, 43 A, 47 P, +4 (regular season)
25 GP, 0 G, 11 A, 11 P, +8 (playoffs)
Height/Weight: 6-foot-1, 214 pounds
Pros: Outstanding passer
Cons: Poor skater, turnover-prone
The skinny: The sound of a full Garden screaming “SHOOT!” might keep Kaberle awake at night, and though there were plenty of roadbumps on the way to him becoming the solid player he was in the Cup finals, more time in Boston might make him better. Perhaps the reason he looked more like himself later in the postseason was because he was getting comfortable, but the minutes Claude Julien gave him in the playoffs suggest he won’t be worth the payday he seeks. If the B’s can get him for $3 million or less, maybe they’ll take a flier. Any more than that just isn’t sensible.
STEVEN KAMPFER (Bruins, signed through 2013)
2010-11 team: Bruins
2010-11 stats: 38 GP, 5 G, 5 A, 10 P, +9 (with Boston)
22 GP, 3 G, 16 A, 16 P, +10 (with Providence)
Height/weight: 5-foot-10, 188 pounds
Pros: Good skater, right-handed shot
Cons: Faded/lost spot down the stretch
The skinny: Kampfer needed very little time to settle into the NHL, and though his partner (some guy named Chara) had plenty to do with that, he showed he is capable of contributing at this level. He had as costly a 13-minute span as anyone could back on March 17, and his misplay and a penalty not only cost the Bruins the game in Nashville, but it cost Kampfer his spot in the lineup. He injured his knee while playing in the AHL late in the season, but was good enough to play again midway through the Eastern Conference finals. He did not play a game in the postseason.
If it ends up being an in-house promotion, the B’s will also give Matt Bartkowski a good look.
JAMES WISNIEWSKI (UPDATE: signed six-year, $33 million deal with Blue Jackets)
2010-11 team: Islanders/Canadiens
2010-11 stats: 75 GP, 10 G, 41 A, 51 P, -14 (regular season)
6 GP, 0 G, 2 A, 2 P, -2 (playoffs)
Height/weight: 5-foot-11, 208 pounds
Pros: Hard-nosed, crafty with the puck
Cons: Had career year in contract year, price may be high
The skinny: The Michigan native could become fast friends with Kampfer and Tim Thomas (both from Michigan), and given his tendency to get under the skin of opponents, he and Brad Marchand would probably go from being enemies to pals pretty quickly. The Red Wings have only three defensemen under contract for next season, so the idea of bringing the local boy to Detroit makes that a logical potential destination for Wisniewski. If the Red Wings are in on the 27-year-old, they won’t be alone. Wisniewski has only had one season with more than 30 points, and it was his contract year. He’ll be paid well, so the price could be too steep for the Bruins’ liking.
CHRISTIAN EHRHOFF (UPDATE: SIGNED 10-YEAR, $40 M contract with Sabres)
2010-11 team: Canucks
2010-11 stats: 79 GP, 14 G, 36 A, 50 P, +19 (regular season)
23 GP, 2 G, 10 A, 12 P, -13 (playoffs)
Height/weight: 6-foot-2, 200 pounds
Pros: Durable (77+ games each of last five seasons), strong on power play
Cons: Too much money, this video
The skinny: Ehroff suffered a shoulder injury against his old team in the Western Conference finals, explaining why he was less than impressive vs. the Bruins. The shoulder will not require surgery.
The German media would go nutbars at the prospect of Dennis Seidenberg, one of only two German Stanley Cup champions, to be teamed with Ehrhoff. The two are actually good friends, as they have played on national teams since they were 17 and were defensive partners at the Olympics. The issue is that the Islanders traded a fourth-round pick for his rights this week and, despite general manager Garth Snow saying they offered “well north” of Kevin Bieksa‘s five-year, $23 million pact, couldn’t get him signed. Maybe that’s because Ehrhoff wants to play for a winner, but it may also be because he’s holding out for top dollar. If it’s the latter, you can count the Bruins out. Given the financial aspect, it’s hard to imagine any circumstance in which the B’s bring him in.
At the end of the day, the Bruins might have to overpay for Wisniewski, which makes one feel that if the B’s don’t get Kaberle back, they could just go with Kampfer. The 22-year-old is still progressing, and if he plays with Chara, it will be that much easier. Plus, it’s the most economical thing to do. Unless the B’s can get a deal on a veteran who brings more to the table, they might be better off hoping that, much like Adam McQuaid did this past season, Kampfer can take an opportunity and run with it.
|What will the Bruins do with the ninth pick?||06.24.11 at 3:14 am ET|
As the world continues to have a laugh over pictures of Brad Marchand and the Bruins’ bar tab (did you hear they had a $100,000 bottle of champagne?) to the point where the dead horse couldn’t possibly take another blow, the Stanley Cup champions are getting ready to add a potential franchise player.
The B’s will pick ninth overall in Friday’s NHL draft, finally closing the book on the Phil Kessel trade as they add one of the top players in a draft widely considered to be a notch below that of last year’s. Given that Toronto’s selection is slotted ninth, it’s safe to say the B’s will add one Central Scoutings’ highest-rated players.
Here are the top 15 skaters in this year’s draft accoriding to Central Scouting.
1. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C, Red Deer (WHL)
2. Gabriel Landeskog, LW, Kitchener (OHL)
3. Jonathan Huberdeau, C, Saint John (QMJHL)
4. Dougie Hamilton, D, Niagara (OHL)
5. Nathan Beaulieu, D, Saint John (QMJHL)
6. Sean Couturier, C, Drummondville (QMJHL)
7. Sven Baertschi, LW, Portland (WHL)
8. Ryan Strome, C, Niagara (OHL)
9. Ryan Murphy, D, Kitchener (OHL)
10. Duncan Siemens, D, Saskatoon (WHL)
11. Vladislav Namestnikov, C, London (OHL)
12. Joseph Morrow, D, Portland (WHL)
13. Jamieson Oleksiak, D, Northeastern (Hockey East)
14. Mark McNeill, C, Prince Albert (WHL)
15. Zack Phillips, C, Saint John (QMJHL)
And the top five European skaters:
1. Adam Larsson, D, Skelleftea (Sweden)
2. Mika Zibanejad, C, Djurgarden (Sweden)
3. Jonas Brodin, D, Farjestad (Sweden)
4. Joel Armia, RW, Assat (Finland)
5. Dmitrij Jaskin, RW, Slavia (Czech Republic)
Of course, Central Scouting isn’t everything, as we saw last year. The top-ranked player (Tyler Seguin) went second overall, and it looks like the Hurricanes weren’t crazy when they drafted the 34th-ranked North American skater (Jeff Skinner) seventh overall.
Whoever the Bruins take with the ninth pick (assuming, as Peter Chiarelli indicated Thursday, they stay put), don’t expect him to be in Boston next season. Chiarelli told reporters in Minnesota that based on the players he expected to be on the board at No. 9, the player the B’s select will not be NHL ready. That means bad news for Seguin, who jokingly expressed hope on breakup day that someone else could be “the kid” next season and that everyone would be on the draft pick’s case instead of his.
Chiarelli said his intention is to draft the best available player, and given that this draft is top-heavy when it comes to defense, that player may be a blueliner. Picking defense would give the B’s a blue-chipper in an area in which it organizationally does not have a sure-fire star in the making, and it would also be somewhat of a deviation for Chiarelli. The highest the Bruins’ GM has selected a defenseman was 35th overall, when the B’s traded up in the second round to grab Tommy Cross 35th overall.
If the B’s spend the ninth pick on a defenseman, you can bet your bippy the Tomas Kaberle rumors will swirl, and there will obviously be two easy arguments. If the team has a young puck-mover (we’ll get to the players below) with star potential a year or two away, perhaps they could try to go with Steven Kampfer next season (and beyond) and let Kaberle walk. On the other hand, the Bruins happen to have just won the Stanley Cup, and the Vezina winner isn’t getting any younger. There isn’t much of a window closing for the Bruins given that they are good and young both offensively and behind Tim Thomas (remember Tuukka Rask?), but they certainly want to win now.
With all that being said, here are some of the guys who have been common Bruins’ selections in mock drafts and/or might make sense for the B’s at No. 9:
Ryan Murphy, D, Kitchener (OHL)
Height/weight: 5-foot-10, 166 pounds
2010-11 stats: 63 games, 26 G, 53 A, 79 P, 36 PIM
An offensive-minded defenseman, Murphy’s 26 goals were the most among OHL blueliners this past season. Considered a plus-skater and strong passer, he could eventually offer more than the Bruins are currently getting out of Kaberle on the power play. The Bruins certainly showed in the Kaberle deal that a defenseman who can help the offense is a priority, so landing one for the long term would be a wise move if Murphy is still on the board. Given that he’s ranked 9th by Central Scouting among North American skaters, it could be close. Murphy is also a right-handed shot. The Bruins’ blue line was lefty-dominant last season, with Johnny Boychuk and Adam McQuaid (and, at points, Kampfer) the only righty defensemen in the lineup.
Nathan Beaulieu, D, Saint John (QMJHL)
Height/weight: 6-foot-2, 174 pounds
2010-11 stats: 65 games, 12 G, 33 A, 45 P, 52 PIM
Beaulieu is another strong-skating defenseman, though his speed won’t get confused with that of Murphy. He still brings an impressive offensive skill set to the blue line, and he certainly offers more size than Murphy. He would most certainly be the puck-moving defenseman of the future if the B’s were to select him.
Ryan Strome, C, Niagara (OHL)
Height/weight: 6-foot-0, 175 pounds
2010-11 stats: 65 games, 33 G, 73 A, 106 P, 82 PIM
Another center? With the Bruins, you never know. You have to figure that Seguin will eventually become a full-time center once he’s done being eased in, but there are enough question marks in the future to make selecting a center not seem so crazy. Excluding Marc Savard given all the uncertainty, Patrice Bergeron and Seguin are the only pivots signed past next season (David Krejci will be a restricted free agent, while Chris Kelly and Gregory Campbell will be unrestricted).
Duncan Siemens, D, Saskatoon (WHL)
Height/weight: 6-foor-2, 192 pounds
2010-11 stats: 72 games, 5 G, 38 A, 43 P, 121 PIM
The bulkiest of the blueliners featured in this sample, many things you read about about Siemens will suggest he’s behind some of the other defensemen in this draft as far as both development and potential go. Still, he’s strong, and though he doesn’t bring the same bells and whistles that guys like Murphy and Beaulieu do, he could still be a welcome presence on Claude Julien’s blue line eventually.
|Mark Recchi only man missing from Bruins morning skate||05.27.11 at 10:42 am ET|
Mark Recchi was the only Bruin to not take the ice in Friday’s morning skate in anticipation of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals. Recchi generally takes his veteran option for morning skates, leaving a “Recchi’s dozen” of the remaining 11 forwards plus healthy scratch Shawn Thornton out there for forwards.
Defensively, everyone was out there, including healthy scratches Shane Hnidy and Steven Kampfer. Hnidy did not participate in Wednesday’s morning skate.
Check back following the skate for updates from players and coach Claude Julien.
|Claude Julien sticking with Tomas Kaberle||05.23.11 at 12:44 pm ET|
This space has long been a meeting place for the “Play Steven Kampfer” movement, but Bruins coach Claude Julien emphatically stated Monday that Tomas Kaberle is staying in the lineup.
“If you know the game well enough, you would understand that there’s some experience back there,” Julien said when a reporter asked about benching Kaberle. “You’ve got to also think, is that guy coming in a better player than Kaberle?”
In my humble opinion, I would answer “yes” to Julien’s question. Between Kampfer’s skill set/previous success vs. Tampa making him a good fit for this series and Kaberle’s ugly turnovers on which he’s looked indifferent, Kampfer could probably do more with 11:35 of ice time than Kaberle did in Game 4.
Yet Julien is correct in reminding doubters that sticking with a struggling player has worked for the Bruins. Many wanted Michael Ryder out of the lineup in the first round, and now Ryder has been the team’s best winger for the last five games.
“Some people wanted certain people out of the lineup earlier on, and our patience has paid off,” Julien said. “I don’t know why we decide that we should be taking [Kaberle] out of the lineup when there’s other players too that have struggled. I don’t know why we haven’t talked about that. That’s because we had patience. We believed in those guys, and Kaberle last game, that second goal, maybe [lost] the puck, but our system calls for support on that. Our support wasn’t there. According to our system, he’s not the only one to blame.”
Kaberle was certainly to blame for Sean Bergenheim’s game-tying goal in the second period Saturday, as the Lightning forward took the puck from Kaberle behind the Bruins’ net without a fight from No. 12. Kaberle was not to blame for Simon Gagne’s game-winner in the third, but Julien only addressed the fourth goal.
“On the winning goal, he blocks a shot, makes a great play. He’s trying to get off the ice, and we turn the puck over, so we keep playing Kaberle? I think people are a little hard on this guy,” Julien said. “I’m one of those guys that’s going to support him, and one of those guys who’s going to keep him in the lineup, in case you want to know. He’s going to be a good part of our hockey team. We got him because we believe in him, and until last game he played two really good games, so that’s how we see Kaberle.”
There you have it. Kaberle is only worth 11:35 of ice time, but he’s worth believing in. The company line just sounds a bit off.