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Bruins react to Johnny Boychuk trade and its ‘reality check’ impact going forward 10.05.14 at 10:41 am ET
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With the season opening at home Wednesday against the Flyers, the Bruins don’t have long to be upset about the loss of one of their best teammates.

Still, even coach Claude Julien said after Saturday’s preseason finale that the team will take a little time to get over “the sting” of losing Johnny Boychuk ($3.37 million) to the harsh realities of today’s salary cap NHL.

Torey Krug, just 23, now understands just how important managing the salary cap is for each team after spending most of the summer without a contract because GM Peter Chiarelli couldn’t fit him under the cap. Krug and Reilly Smith had to wait all summer and through most of camp to sign their $1.4 million deals because the team couldn’t sign them.

“[It’s] another lesson in the business for me,” said Krug. “I learned a few things this summer for sure, and it’€™s always going to be part of it forever as long as this game exists and the cap situation exists in this sport, so it’€™s tough to see him go for sure.”

Several defenseman will have to pick up the slack for Boychuk and will have the opportunity to step right in play a bigger role for the 30-year-old who was considered one of the heart-and-soul parts of their Stanley Cup run in 2011 and their finals appearance in 2013.

Adam McQuaid, Matt Bartkowski and Torey Krug are all younger than Boychuk and all will likely get chances to play alongside Dennis Seidenberg on Boston’s No. 2 D-pairing.

“I mean it’€™s been like this the last few years so it doesn’€™t really change anything,” Seidenberg said. “For me, it’€™s just trying to play wherever they put me and trying to do it well.”

“I didn’€™t know that’€”there was some talk about different things and stuff but I was pretty much shocked,” McQuaid said in reacting Saturday. “I don’€™t know, I guess maybe we all just kind of had that hope in the back of our minds that somehow we could all stay. He’€™s a guy that’€™s a huge part of this team and for me a guy that always put a smile on my face every day. Always came to the rink in a good mood and was cracking jokes. I think I’€™ve played seven pro seasons and six have been with Johnny so we’€™ve been through a lot together. He’€™s a guy that’€”I don’€™t think it’€™s really sunk in quite yet’€”but a guy that will be sorely missed.”

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Read More: Adam McQuaid, Boston Bruins, Dennis Seidenberg, Johnny Boychuk
Zdeno Chara scores as Bruins beat Capitals in preseason meeting 09.24.14 at 9:30 pm ET
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The Bruins beat the Capitals, 2-0, in their second game of the preseason Wednesday night at TD Garden.

Zdeno Chara scored on the doorstep during a third-period power play to finally break a scoreless tie. The power play came as a result of a boarding penalty on John Erskine for shoving Jared Knight into the boards head first. Knight stayed in the game.

The B’s also got an empty-netter from Simon Gagne in the final seconds of the game.

Tuukka Rask played the first two periods, stopping all 14 shots he saw. Jeremy Smith, who was signed in the offseason to back up Malcolm Subban in Providence, turned in a scoreless third period, including the play of the game in which he came across his net to rob Andre Burakovsky with a glove save.

The lines for the game were:

Marchand – Bergeron – Griffith
Gagne – Khokhlachev – Leino
Florek – Kearns – Knight
Lindblad – Spooner – Fallstrom

Chara – Hamilton
Bartkowski – McQuaid
Breen – Trotman

Rask
Smith

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Zdeno Chara admits 2 of his fingers were broken vs. Canadiens 09.08.14 at 12:49 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — Zdeno Chara was careful to not go into detail regarding a hand injury believed to be a broken finger when the Bruins were eliminated by the Canadiens in the second round, even asking his agent to not comment on his injury back in May. On Monday, the Bruins captain finally confirmed that, as suspected, his shooting hand was in rough shape as the series wore on.

Chara said he did not have surgery, but admitted that both the ring finger and the pinky of his left hand were broken. Chara said Monday that the bone in his pinky was sticking out of his skin at the time of the injury and that he no longer has feeling in either finger, though he now can grip his stick normally again.

Though breaking two fingers isn’t the most gruesome hockey injury, it’s a much bigger deal than it sounds, especially considering the pinky was one of them. Without the use of the pinky a player can’t grip his stick, or much of anything for that matter.

That explains why Chara was so visibly weak on his stick, particularly late in the series. It also explains why he wasn’t shooting; Chara had just one shot on goal in Game 6 and none in Game 7.

That makes two consecutive postseasons in which Chara was hindered in a significant way in the Bruins’ final games. Chara had a hip injury that worsened over the course of the 2013 Stanley Cup finals, with the Blackhawks taking advantage of the weakened blueliner for the game-tying goal in their Cup-clinching Game 6 victory.

Chara has been in town practicing with his teammates since last week.

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Giant defenseman Oleg Yevenko hopes to make most of development camp invitation with Bruins 07.09.14 at 10:57 pm ET
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There is a great big European defenseman on the ice at Bruins development camp.

His name is Oleg Yevenko, he stands 6-foot-7 and 230 pounds and he’s from Belarus. He’s 23 years old and isn’t a member of an NHL organization; he’s in town on an invitation from the B’s (he was in the Devils prospect camp last year and the Islanders prospect camp two years ago). He plays his college hockey at UMass, where he’ll be a senior in the fall. He also played for Belarus in the IIHF World Championship back in May.

And, like many giant players before him, the question is obvious: Can he skate?

It’s a question that was applied to the 6-foot-9 Zdeno Chara for years, and the answer wasn’t always yes. With hard work came the skating, and Chara, a third-round pick of the Islanders, became Chara.

“He’s definitely the example,” Yevenko said Wednesday of Chara. “He’s one of the best defensemen in the league at the moment. He uses his size very, very well and there’s a lot to learn from that guy.”

Yevenko strives for a future in the NHL, something that led him to North America at the age of 18.

A hockey player since he was 8 years old, Yevenko got a tryout with the Fargo Force of the USHL and made the team. If that team sounds familiar, it’s because that’s where Bruins goaltending prospect Zane Gothberg played before heading to the University of North Dakota.

Gothberg’s been watching Yevenko for years, from the not-so-pretty to the better-than-not-so-pretty.

“He’s a huge body, man. I remember him coming to camp in Fargo,” Gothberg said. “He could barely move his boots and stuff; had a tough time skating. Now, he’s come a heck of a long way. He’s got good feet for a big man. It’s obviously something he [still] could work on, but that’s with anything in everybody; you’ve always got something to work on.”

Yevenko takes a lot of penalties and was suspended multiple times in his three years in the USHL. He views his size as a big part of that, which is reminiscent of the difficulty Dougie Hamilton – albeit a much younger Dougie Hamilton — had in junior hockey being physical without being called for infractions.

“Every decent or big collision, normally you get called,” Yevenko said. “That’s one of the things that happened during the last year, too. You get called a lot, sometimes get suspended. It kind of influences your game to a certain degree. Maybe on a conscious level, you’re just more careful when you come in a corner because you don’t want to put your team in a bad position.”

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Read More: Oleg Yevenko, Zdeno Chara,
Bruins report card: Defensemen/goaltenders 06.10.14 at 4:12 pm ET
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As the Stanley Cup finals take place, the fact that the Bruins didn’€™t even reach the Eastern Conference finals after winning the Presidents’€™ Trophy further accentuates the failure that was their 2013-14 season. Here are the individual grades.

DEFENSEMEN

Zdeno Chara: A-
Regular season: 77 GP, 17 G, 23 A, 40 PTS, plus-25
Postseason: 12 GP, 2 G, 2 A, 4 PTS, plus-4

The good: He was the best defenseman in the league in the regular season and was the most deserving Norris candidate, though the guess here is he’€™ll lose to Duncan Keith. The bad: He wasn’t himself in the last couple of games against the Canadiens, which cemented the fact that when Chara isn’t right, neither are the Bruins.

Torey Krug: A-/B+
Regular season: 79 GP, 14 G, 26 A, 40 PTS, plus-18
Postseason: 12 GP, 2 G, 8 A, 10 PTS, minus-2
RESTRICTED FREE AGENT

Krug gets this high a mark because he’€™s a bottom-pairing defenseman who gives the Bruins major production in offensive situation and on the power play. He’s also getting better in his own end. It will be interesting to see what kind of money Krug commands as a restricted free agent, as this was just his first full season in the NHL.

Dougie Hamilton: B+
Regular season: 64 GP, 7 G, 18 A, 25 PTS, plus-22
Postseason: 12 GP, 2 G, 5 A, 7 PTS, plus-1

When he was healthy, Hamilton made big strides in his second season. Paired with Chara on the Bruins’€™ shutdown pairing in the postseason, he had a ball against the Red Wings in the first round, but his Game 3 mental gaffe with P.K. Subban coming out of the penalty box was the low point of what was otherwise a very promising campaign from the 20-year-old.

Johnny Boychuk: B+
Regular season: 75 GP, 5 G, 18 A, 23 PTS, plus-31
Postseason: 12 GP, 1 G, 1 A, 2 PTS, plus-3

Know who loves playing for the Bruins? Johnny Boychuk. Know who’€™s in the prime of his career (30) and a really good right-shot defenseman who could command a ton of money if he hits free agency after next season? Johnny Boychuk. This could get interesting. The Bruins could either concede that they won’€™t be able to afford him by trading Boychuk this offseason or they can try to get a deal done with him before the season starts, the latter of which is Peter Chiarelli‘€™s usual plan of attack.

Kevan Miller: B+
Regular season: 47 GP, 1 G, 5 A, 6 PTS, plus-20
Postseason: 11 GP, 0 G, 2 A, 2 PTS, plus-2

He’€™s a young defenseman who isn’t immune to making mistakes, but he’s steady enough to play the Adam McQuaid role of third-pairing defenseman with a healthy dose of nasty. While Miller proved himself to be an NHL regular, his first taste of the playoffs wasn’t so swell, as his postseason will be remembered for his giveaway in Game 6 against the Canadiens that resulted in what would end up standing as the game-winning goal. The fact that he signed a two-year extension with an $800,000 cap hit might make him a better commodity than McQuaid going forward.

Dennis Seidenberg: B
Regular season: 34 GP, 1 G, 9 A, 10 P, plus-11
Postseason: DNP

Seidenberg was fine before he went down with a torn ACL/MCL, and you have to commend his effort to return to the lineup, which he would have done had the Bruins reached the Eastern Conference finals. He signed a four-year extension before the first game of the season.  Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Dougie Hamilton, Torey Krug, Tuukka Rask, Zdeno Chara
Bruins injury roundup: Matt Fraser played on broken foot 05.16.14 at 1:30 pm ET
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As is customary on breakup day, word emerged on injuries the Bruins dealt with during the postseason. The bravest of the bunch proved to be Matt Fraser, who played the entire postseason with a broken foot.

Fraser, who was sporting a cast and crutches Friday, broke his right foot in Game 1 of the first round of the AHL postseason while playing for the Providence Bruins. He was dealing with the injury when he was called up in the second round by the Bruins and he scored the overtime winner in Game 4 of the second round for Boston.

Chris Kelly, who suffered a back injury late in the season, had a herniated disc and said it was the most pain he had ever dealt with. Kelly said he hoped he could have returned in some point in the playoffs but wasn’t sure. Kelly will undergo surgery at some point.

Milan Lucic was sporting a soft cast on his left wrist after suffering an injury in Game 7 of the second round against Montreal. He was set to receive an MRI on Friday.

Regarding Zdeno Chara‘s fractured finger, the Bruins captain said that he might not need surgery.

As for Dennis Seidenberg, the defenseman said his plan all along was to return this season after tearing his ACL and MCL on Dec. 27 and having surgery in early January. Seidenberg said he would have been able to play in the Eastern Conference finals had the team gotten there.

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Chris Kelly, Dennis Seidenberg, Matt Fraser, Milan Lucic
Report: Zdeno Chara played through fractured finger 05.15.14 at 7:56 pm ET
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Slovakian national team general manager Otto Sykora told reporters Thursday that Bruins captain Zdeno Chara would not be joining the Slovakian team at the World Hockey Championships because Chara required surgery on a finger he fractured during the second round of the NHL playoffs against the Canadiens.

Chara was slashed in the first period of Game 3 by Michael Bournival and left the ice briefly but returned to the game. Chara’s play diminished as the series went on, and he looked to be in pain after being slashed in the same area by Max Pacioretty in Game 7.

The final two games of the series were particularly bad for Chara, as he failed to take the body on Pacioretty in Game 6 on a play in which Pacioretty scored, while he had a pair of weak giveaways during a first-period penalty kill in Game 7 and saw Montreal’s final goal of the series go off his skate and past Tuukka Rask.

This marks the second consecutive season in which Chara had to play through an injury at the end of the season, as he struggled through a hip injury against the Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup finals last season.

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

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