Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston vs. Vegas: 1/21/20

Vegas Golden Knights right wing Alex Tuch (89) and Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug (47) chase after a loose puck during the second period at TD Garden.

Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

 

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Home: Boston Bruins

Away: Vegas Golden Knights

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak

DeBrusk – Coyle – Bjork

Heinen – Krejci – Kuhlman

Blidh – Kuraly – Wagner

Defense

Chara – McAvoy

Krug – Carlo

Grzelcyk – Lauzon

Goalies

Halak

Vladar

Vegas’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchessault – Stephenson – Smith

Pacioretty – Stastny – Stone

Carrier – Eakin – Tuch

Nosek – Roy – Reaves

Defense

McNabb – Schmidt

Holden – Theodore

Hague – Engelland

Goalies

Fleury

Subban

David Krejci returned to the lineup after missing the last three games with an upper-body injury, centering Danton Heinen and Karson Kuhlman. Anton Blidh slotted into the lineup for the first time this season, as he has been sidelined since September due to shoulder surgery.

Jeremy Lauzon jumped right into the lineup after being called up earlier today. He suited up once for the Bruins earlier in the season on New Year’s Eve against the New Jersey Devils. The Vegas Golden Knights, now led by head coach Peter DeBoer, stood in the way of the Bruins.

First Period

The Bruins came out of the gate with plenty of intensity, but Mark Stone put the Golden Knights on the board first just a minute and 24 seconds in, on their first shot of the game. Nicolas Hague took the first penalty of the game for the Golden Knights, 15 seconds later for interference. Luckily for them, they killed the penalty and held onto their lead.

Later in the period, Stone found his way to the box for tripping with 12:45 to go in the period. The Bruins couldn’t beat Marc-Andre Fleury despite playing with such intensity and generating some high-quality chances. Through the first ten minutes, they held a 9-3 advantage in shots.

Lauzon loves playing against the Golden Knights. Last season, he scored his first career goal against them. This time around, he sent a shot through traffic and past Fleury to tie the game 8:20 remaining in the period. His first of the season was assisted by David Krejci (22) and Karson Kuhlman (3).

Zdeno Chara sat for two minutes for tripping with 4:05 remaining. A solid penalty kill from the Bruins kept the game tied. Jake DeBrusk nearly broke the tie off of a great pass from Krejci not too long after the penalty expired, but was stopped by Fleury. The final shots through an entertaining first 20 minutes were 14-8 in favor of the Bruins.

Score: 1-1

Second Period

An early Bruins power play came when William Carrier went off for interference just a minute and 42 seconds in. The Golden Knights killed the penalty, but were caught with too many men on the ice just 25 seconds after Carrier’s penalty expired. Despite taking four penalties very early on, they managed to kill them off successfully.

Brandon Carlo took the second Bruins penalty of the game for high sticking with 10:45 remaining. Hague made it hurt on a booming one-timer from the point for his first career NHL goal. With 9:01 remaining, the Golden Knights regained the lead. Hague’s goal magnified how the struggles on the power play that the Bruins were experiencing can really sting.

Charlie McAvoy went pretty hard into the boards head first following contact with Chandler Stephenson. As a result, Stephenson sat for two minutes for boarding and McAvoy surprisingly remained on the bench, but in some pain, understandably.

Power play chances came and went, but the Bruins couldn’t convert on their fifth power play. They went into the third period 0-for-5 on the man advantage for the game with just three shots. Through 40 minutes, the total shots 23-16 overall and 9-8 in the period, both in favor of the Bruins. Converting on their opportunities was the problem, and they needed to fix it fast if they want a chance to win.

Score: 2-1 Vegas

Third Period

DeBrusk saw some good opportunities come his way throughout the game and was rewarded for his efforts in the third. His 15th goal of the season came in the form of a sweet snipe to tie the game. Charlie Coyle’s 18th assist helped set it up, as did Jaroslav Halak’s second assist of the season with 15:34 remaining.

Matt Grzelcyk made his way down the tunnel after a collision with Cody Eakin. Not good, although he eventually returned to the bench. Krejci’s goal was good though. A great effort by Kuhlman began to establish offensive zone time and with some help from Carlo, Heinen, and the hand-eye coordination of Krejci, the Bruins took the lead. The goal marked Krejci’s 12th of the season, plus Carlo and Heinen’s 12th and 14th assists respectively. The Bruins led for the first time all night.

Fleury was pulled for an extra attacker and Stone made an incredible effort to thwart Krejci’s bid for an empty netter, but it wasn’t enough for Vegas to tie it up. The Bruins held the advantage in shots at 14-13 in the final frame, bringing the grand total to 37-29 in their favor. They really had to grind to earn two points ahead of the long break that awaits. Halak made 27 saves in the win. Next up are the Winnipeg Jets on Jan. 31 at MTS Centre at 8:00 PM ET. The Bruins are 29-10-12.

Final Score: 3-2 Boston

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 162 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Are The Bruins Showcasing A Defenseman?

lauzon

( Photo Credit: Paul Rutherford )

By: Michael DiGiorgio  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BostonDiGiorgio

Another day, another Bruins trade rumor.  Elliotte Friedman is a seasoned hockey reporter for Canada’s Sportsnet and NHL insider.  He is known to have credible sources and news when it comes to NHL rumors.  Friedman is a weekly guest on the “Oilers NOW with Bob Stauffer” podcast, where he piqued Bruins fans’ interests with the latest story.  “Tyler Toffoli is a name that’s been out there a while.  Boston has expressed interest.  The price for Toffoli is a second-rounder and a prospect.”

It’s no secret the Bruins have been searching for years for their top-six forward to pair with David Krejci.  They have plenty of in-house options, but most haven’t been consistent enough for the opportunity.  Some have even had the misfortunate of untimely injuries (Anders Bjork and Karson Kuhlman).  When nothing in the system works, teams look for outside help.  Don Sweeney, current Bruins General Manager, has reportedly been on the phone since day one of the 2019 season.  He recently sent David Backes and Brett Ritchie down to the American Hockey Leauge for cap relief, which will help in a potential future trade.

The Bruins also recently called up Jeremy Lauzon from Providence.  The current Bruins defensemen are not hurt, so it’s reasonable to think Lauzon’s call up is to showcase his skills for a trade.  If Tyler Toffoli genuinely nets a second-round pick and a prospect, Lauzon could fit the mold.

Jeremy Lauzon, a left-handed shot defenseman, was the Bruins’ 52nd overall draft choice in 2015.  He was coming off of a career year as captain of the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with 50 points and a plus-40 in 46 games.  He was drafted for his size (6’1, 205 pounds), his physical presence, and offensive ability.  In his four years in the QMJHL, he finished with a plus-81 rating and 130 points in 200 career games.  He made his AHL pro debut in the 2017-18 Providence season.

In Providence, Lauzon had a tough time finding the same scoring touch he had in the QMJHL but was able to continue his defensive tenacity.  Through the first 15 games in his rookie season, he was among the top defenseman in plus/minus with a plus-8 rating.  Unfortunately, he sustained a concussion and missed the majority of that season.  He returned at the end of January 2018 and made a lasting impression on the Providence Bruins fans and writers.

He would only finish the year with seven points but looked to regain some of his confidence, which is immense for a young defenseman.  A year later, he would receive the call up to the Bruins for 16 total games, one of which he will remember forever.

Lauzon has the makings of a solid NHL defenseman because he is useful in all three zones.  He has the scoring ability but has been untapped up to this point.  He’s nearly doubled his first two seasons point total this year in Providence and still has a plus-rating.  The Bruins may be showcasing him to the Los Angeles Kings to help with their depleted blue-line.  The Kings have been heading toward a massive roster rebuild for over a year.  They’ll need to unload some of their aging stars (Jonathan Quick and Dustin Brown) and expiring contracts (Tyler Toffoli) to jump-start the rebuild.  A second-round pick and Lauzon could be great a complimentary piece for the Kings’ future plans.

Tyler Toffoli is a 27-year old right-winger for the Los Angeles Kings.  He has been with the Kings organization since the 2010 draft, where he was selected 47th overall.  He made his NHL debut in 2012, where he scored five points in 10 regular-season games and six points in 12 playoff games.  He was even part of Los Angeles’s 2014 Stanley Cup-winning season.  Toffoli has surpassed the 30-goal total once and currently has 27 points on an abysmal Kings team.  Bruins fans may remember Toffoli for his heroic game-winning goal in overtime in the 2017 season.

Toffoli has the resume to play alongside Krejci for the remainder of the year, but will that be his only time in a Bruin uniform?  Tyler is an unrestricted free agent after this season.  Rentals are a significant trade risk because their future is uncertain.  Sweeney and the Bruins may show Toffoli the benefits of playing in Boston, but players’ mindsets are always unknown.  He has the pedigree and the fantastic shot release to be a long-time contributor for Boston.  At 6’0, 197 pounds, Toffoli has Stanley Cup experience and currently plays on the top line of the Kings with Anze Kopitar and Alex Iaffalo.

Backes and Ritchie’s demotions to the AHL also fit a trade mold because the Bruins are trying to clear cap space for a potential player.  The Bruins started off the year with thousands of dollars in cap space, but have since been able to move money around for a current-day $1.3M in cap space.  If the Bruins wait to trade for Toffoli until the February deadline, his in-season cap hit would be much lower than it was at the beginning of the season.

The second-round pick is probably the hardest ingredient to send.  Sweeney has been very mindful and frugal with his draft picks.  He has been on record saying he wants a first-round pick in the upcoming draft. He won’t part ways with a high draft selection unless it nets him an unbelievable long-term player. He would have to be quite confident to send a draft pick that Toffoli will help his team get over the hump to a Stanley Cup win or that Toffoli would sign long-term.

It’s a risky business, but in this day and age, NHL teams need to give the talent to receive the talent.  It just so happens, the Kings have plenty of it and require a new direction.  Toffoli would be a beneficial addition to the Bruins, who are searching for the last few puzzle pieces for their seventh Stanley Cup.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 162 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!! 

Karson Kuhlman’s Position On The Bruins

(Photo Credit: AP Photo / Winslow Townson)

By: Michael DiGiorgio  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BostonDiGiorgio

When Don Sweeney took over as General Manager of the Boston Bruins, one item on his to-do list was to send his scouts to a relatively untapped market.  Historically, American college hockey took a backseat to leagues like Canada’s Ontario Hockey League, Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League, and Sweden’s Elite Swedish League.  Draft-eligible players found themselves forgoing college hockey and playing in these leagues because that’s where the competition was.  Over the last seven or eight years, though, American college hockey has attracted more stars, and NHL teams have noticed.

Don Sweeney played at Harvard University from 1984-1988.  He is familiar with the talent in the college hockey system, which explains his vested interest.  Some of his recent draft picks have even come from Boston University, University of Denver, and the University of Wisconsin.  Moreover, he’s made sure his scouts are also looking for players who weren’t drafted in June and invite them to training camp.  One player in particular who fits this situation is Karson Kuhlman.

The Esko, Minnesota native played his college hockey 20 minutes northeast of his hometown at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.  Karson was awarded captain his senior year and posted a modest 80 points and an impressive plus-47 rating in 166 games for the Bulldogs.  He and his teammates won the franchise’s second National Championship in 2017-18.  Karson was named MVP of the Frozen Four and scored a goal and an assist in the title game.  Kuhlman’s style of play fits the Bruins style perfectly.  He is a smaller center, with great hands, a lethal shot, and the ability to lead on and off the ice.

Unfortunately, Kuhlman was not drafted during his eligibility year in 2014.  He was invited to two training camps by the Winnipeg Jets and Montreal Canadiens.  Neither team saw enough to sign him.  Thankfully, his hometown roots made him a rememberable name to another Minnesota Native with Bruin ties.  Jamie Langenbrunner, former NHL right-winger, and current Bruins player development coach, knew Kuhlman before the NHL teams caught on.  Langenbrunner has long been impressed by Kuhlman’s “attention to detail. He’s a kid that plays a pro-style game in the way he positions himself, uses his body, gets pucks out on walls.

The Bruins invited Kuhlman to their 2017 development camp to see what Langenbrunner had advocated.  He left the Bruins without a deal, but they kept a keen eye on him.  Following his senior year, the Bruins signed Kuhlman to a 2-year, $1.5M contract, and he reported directly to Providence.  He would only play in three games, notching two assists for the baby Bruins.  The following year, he played through the end of January for the Bruins’ AHL farm team and received the call up to the Boston Bruins when one of their star players injured himself.

David Pastrnak slipped on ice in the Boston streets and injured his thumb.  This created an empty roster spot, which Kuhlman was called to fill.  He joined the Bruins on their west coast road trip and lit the lamp in his second career NHL game.

He would play in nine more regular-season games and made the playoff roster.  He played through game one of the Columbus series and was eventually scratched for the veteran David Backes.  Kuhlman would watch the Bruins from the ninth floor until game six of the Stanley Cup finals.  Similar to his time in Minnesota, Kuhlman shined on the team’s biggest stage.

Both the Stanley Cup goal and the NCAA Championship goal featured Kuhlman’s lethal shot.  He has immense power and accuracy from most areas of the offensive zone, and both goals are evidence of that.  His willingness to shoot the puck in any spot of the offensive zone will pay dividends for his style of play in the long run.

The 24-year old was set to make a lasting impact on the Bruins second line at the beginning of the 2019 regular season.  He formed great chemistry with Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci right off the bat.  The Bruins and its fanbase were hopeful they found the top-six winger they’d been longing for.  He was averaging nearly 13 minutes a game through the first eight games in October until he suffered an unfortunate injury.

It wouldn’t be until January 3, 2020, that Kuhlman would return to the ice.  He was sent to Providence for a conditioning stint to get his legs back and up to game speed.  Once again, Kuhlman didn’t skip a beat and notched three points in four games, one of which was an impressive score.

The Bruins finally called up Kuhlman on January 16, 2020, against the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he set up two Bruin goals.  Karson’s call up is also interesting timing.  The Bruins had just sent down Brett Ritchie and are still looking for the top-six winger that’s plagued them for years.  Kuhlman’s skill is undeniable, but is he the answer for Krejci’s wing?

That is still to be determined.  He has yet to play a full season as a top-six forward.  He certainly fits the mold of what the Bruins search for in players.  He’s versatile, leads by example, and plays on both ends of the ice.  He even throws his body around quite well for a sub-6-foot forward. Karson has already earned the trust of his coaches and the organization, which could yield significant benefits in the future.

Even if he doesn’t answer the Bruins hole on the second line, he would fit nicely with Danton Heinen and Charlie Coyle on the third line.  That line combination would be a high-speed, hard-hitting, skillful third unit to counter the league’s top counterparts.  Karson is a mainstay on this Bruins roster, and time will tell what line is best for him and the franchise.

Check out this weeks Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 163 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!! 

Bruins Recall Lauzon, Send Down Kampfer

Bruins Coyotes Hockey

Photo Courtesy Of The Boston Herald

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney announced this morning that the team has assigned defenseman Steven Kampfer to Providence and recalled defenseman Jeremy Lauzon from Providence.

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Kampfer has skated in ten games for Boston this season, posting two assists. He also has tallied four assists in six games for Providence this season. Kampfer appeared in 35 regular season games for the varsity club last year, posting three goals and three assists for six points. He also skated in three postseason games, scoring a goal. Kampfer has appeared in 211 career games, recording 13 goals and 21 assists for 34 points.

Lauzon made his season debut a few weeks ago for Boston on December 31st against the New Jersey Devils. In 43 games for Providence this season, Lauzon has totaled one goal and 12 assists for 13 points. Lauzon appeared in 16 games for the NHL club last season, posting a goal. He also skated in 29 games for Providence last season, posting a goal and six assists. Lauzon was drafted by the Bruins in the second round (52nd overall) of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. It should be interesting to see what Lauzon can bring to the table and it is possible he is in the lineup tonight as the B’s take on the Vegas Golden Knights.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 162 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Bruins “Serve Up” Pucks & Paddles Event

(Photo Credit: Boston Bruins Foundation)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @00EvanMichael

The Boston Bruins “served up” quite the successful charity event in mid-January to kick-start what will undoubtedly be another milestone year of community service and fundraising in 2020.

The third annual Pucks & Paddles event to benefit the Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center raised $125,000 after all was said and done, with B’s players partnering up with fans, broadcasters and community members for a competitive single-elimination table tennis (aka ping pong) tournament.

Patrice Bergeron “captained” the always entertaining event with 98.5 The Sports Hub co-sponsoring all the fundraising fun and festivities. Here’s the description from the official Pucks & Paddles page:

“Fans [had] the opportunity to bid for their chance to play ping pong with their favorite Bruins player. The tournament commenced with two select players playing ping pong against two patients from Floating Hospital for Children, followed by a single elimination tournament featuring the players, on air talent and bidders. The rounds advanced to a championship game featuring the final two teams, with a winning tandem being crowned the ping pong fest champions. In addition, the four best Bruins ping pong players participated in a separate informal singles competition to demonstrate their talents to the crowd.”

Bruins prospect Anton Blidh and his partner were crowned “the champions of the event” according to the B’s website, where more than a dozen friendly photos of ping pong prowess and table tennis tenacity are on display.

If you’re wondering how that “whopping $125,000” will benefit local children and families, look no further than this description from the Boston Bruins Foundation:

“Patients from Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center are invited to participate in the tournament and proceeds raised from the annual event benefit the hospital and the Boston Bruins Foundation. In 2019, Pucks and Paddles raised a grand total of $120,000. Portions of the money raised goes toward providing extraordinary care and exceptional comfort when families need it most. Floating Hospital for Children knows that helping kids requires cutting-edge research, state of the art facilities, and caregivers who treat all children as if they are their own.”

As expected, the event was a “hit” for area families, fans and local businesses — all benefiting from the B’s consistent commitment to community that will continue to resonate… from pucks to paddles!

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 162 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE!

Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston at Pittsburgh: 1/19/20

Image result for bruins penguins january 16

Photo Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Home: Pittsburgh Penguins

Away: Boston Bruins

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak

DeBrusk – Coyle – Bjork

Heinen – Lindholm – Kuhlman

Nordstrom – Kuraly – Wagner

Defense

Chara – McAvoy

Krug – Carlo

Grzelcyk – Moore

Goalies

Halak

Vladar

Pittsburgh’s Lineup

Forwards

McCann – Crosby – Simon

Kahun – Malkin – Rust

Galchenyuk – Agozzino – Hornqvist

Aston-Reese – Blueger – Tanev

Defense

Johnson – Letang

Pettersson – Marino

Riikola – Ruhwedel

Goalies

Murray

Jarry

First Period

Scoring 11 seconds into a game is a good way to make your presence felt. Patrice Bergeron did that, burying his 21st goal of the season. David Pastrnak and Brandon Carlo had the assists on the goal, their 33rd and 11th assists of the season respectively.

Anders Bjork made it 2-0 just a minute and 51 seconds later. With such a fast start, it was apparent early on that the Bruins weren’t totally satisfied with their 4-1 win over the Penguins. As a result, it didn’t take them long to make a statement in enemy territory. Bjork’s eighth goal of the season was assisted by Charlie Coyle (17) and Jake DeBrusk (14).

It continued to be pretty much all Bruins throughout the first period. While Jaroslav Halak made key saves when needed, the way the Bruins controlled the flow of play stood out the most. After two quick goals early on, Pastrnak added his 37th goal of the season to extend the lead to three with 4:53 remaining. Brad Marchand (44) and Torey Krug (27) had the helpers.

Not all was bad for the Penguins, as they managed to get one back thanks to Dominik Simon and a great pass by Sidney Crosby to set him up – making it 3-1 Bruins with 3:26 remaining. Brandon Tanev had a great chance to cut the deficit to one, but Brandon Carlo went all out to thwart the chance.

Teddy Blueger took a late hooking penalty with 1:37 remaining. Although the Bruins failed to score on the power play before the end of the frame, the final 23 seconds of the penalty awaited them to start the second period. The Bruins held a 13-6 shot advantage and won 72 percent of faceoffs.

Score: 3-1 Boston

Second Period

The Penguins wanted an early goal of their own, and they got one. Blueger scored shortly after serving the hooking penalty he took late in the first period. Crosby made another great pass to set it up. A two-goal lead for the Bruins was quickly cut to one just 33 seconds in.

Chris Wagner took an interference penalty at the 12:09 mark of the period. Just 51 seconds later, Marchand and Kris Letang got tied up to Matt Murray’s left and received matching roughing penalties as a result.

After the Blueger goal, it was a battle of wills for the majority of the period. Murray bounced back after a rough first period, and Halak made some timely stops of his own. The Penguins held the advantage in shots at 12-10 and set up what was sure to be an eventful third period. The shots through two periods were 23-18 in favor of the Bruins.

Score: 3-2 Boston

Third Period

Keeping with the trend of eventful starts to each period, Letang went off for elbowing just 20 seconds in. Jack Johnson took advantage of a huge opportunity tied the game with a shorthanded goal. The game was tied with 18:19 remaining and things got a bit chippier as this grudge match rolled on.

The Bruins were generating chances, but weren’t getting results. Murray continued to play very well after a bad first period and the Penguins didn’t relent. Bryan Rust made it four unanswered goals and gave his team the lead with 7:25 remaining in regulation.

Halak was pulled with 2:19 remaining for an extra attacker. While they managed to prevent an empty netter, the Bruins couldn’t tie the game back up. A tripping penalty assessed to Matt Grzelcyk in a successful effort to prevent Tanev from adding an empty netter late was the nail in the coffin in this one. A 14-4 advantage in shots in the final frame wasn’t enough to secure a win. The final shots were 37-22 in their favor. Next up are the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday at TD Garden at 7:00 PM ET. The Bruins are 28-10-12 at the 50-game mark on the 2019-2020 season.

Final Score: 4-3 Pittsburgh

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 162 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

AHL Bruins Sign Goaltender For Remainder Of The 2019-20 Season

( Photo Credit: ECHL / Utah Grizzlies )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Earlier this week I dropped the news of the Boston Bruins recall of goaltender Dan Vladar and the club’s top minor-pro affiliate the Providence Bruins signing of a new addition in the crease. That article I posted late on Wednesday night January 15th, 2020, can be seen HERE. The official news from the Boston organization pertaining to this transaction can be seen HERE from the team’s official website. Both can also be viewed via official tweets below.

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The second part of the article I got from the same source of the Vladar recall was correct even though I mentioned it was a loan in the article when it was, in fact, the signing of a new goaltender. With the injury news of Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask (Upper-Body) and his unknown timeframe of return, the organization was on full alert creating space and making additions to accommodate the multi-levels that get affected when situations like these happen at the highest level of professional hockey. A signing like this was also important due to the injury status of B’s prospect goaltender Kyle Keyser who I talked about later in this article.

The Providence club signed veteran netminder Martin Ouellette for the remainder of the 2019-20 American Hockey League regular season. The 28-year-old Ouellette has spent time already this season appearing in ten games for the Bruins affiliate the Atlanta Gladiators this season but was involved in a December 2019, trade shortly after to the Beehive State (Utah) where his game certainly garnered interest from the Providence Bruins and General Manager John Fergerson Jr. Ouellette a former Columbus Blue Jackets seventh-round draft pick in 2010 has spent a majority of his minor-pro career with the Philadelphia Flyers organization covering the crease in both the AHL and lower ECHL levels. Lately, Martin has been a bit of a journeyman and an attractive risk to take when finding suitable talent to keep any team’s minor-pro developmental system competitive.

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The 6′-1′ 161-pound netminder from Quebec, Canada has New England ties as his alma mata the University of Maine Black Bears is nearby in the six-state Northeastern area. Ouellette played in 82 games in his four year NCAA hockey career in the Hockey East Men’s Division 1 Conference posting a record of 28-33-14 with a 2.82 goals-against-average and .893 save percentage. This season with the Utah Grizzlies team before coming to the Ocean State (Rhode Island), he appeared in 14 games posting an 11-1-2 record, a GAA of 2.11 and .924 Save%. This short time period with his former Utah club has been his best timeframe in the ECHL since he was with the Florida Everblades in the 2017-18 campaign when he posted a 33-5-3 record, a 2.02 GAA, and .921 Save% in 42 games played that particular season.

As soon as Boston Bruins 2020 All-Star nominated Tuukka Rask returns to the ice for the Boston club the trickle-down effect will commence having either Vladar or Max Lagace in Providence full time. Newly acquired Ouellette will most likely report back to the ECHL this time with the Atlanta club he’s already had familiar experiences with previous games as mentioned this season.

Kyle Keyser Update And What The Ouellette Addition To The Bruins Minor-Pro System Means To Him

( Photo Credit: Atlanta Gladiators )

Per RinksideRhodeIsland.com founder/writer Mark Divver’s tweet below, the undrafted Keyser has been suffering concussion symptoms which have caused many to speculate about his injury status which I thought was shoulder related dating back to when he was with the Providence Bruins earlier this season. In six games with Providence, the 20-year-old Keyser had a 1-4-1 record with his last game before his injury in November of 2019. He only appeared in one game for the Atlanta “AA” team when we all thought he was returning from the first injury but after his ECHL debut on December 13th, 2019, where he gave up four goals in a loss to the Jacksonville IceMen news about him vanished.

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So for the time being Ouellette will serve a valuable service in the AHL with Providence until things return to normal. With Keyser being out now and possibly for the foreseeable future, Martin will be a solid addition to the Gladiators team and used as a “break glass” in case of emergency scenarios if injuries happen to arise again in the Bruins organization. When Keyser returns to the Gladiators club after his head injuries it would add to the depth of the ECHL organization and not create the three-headed goaltending monster at the AHL level.

In my opinion, just by the way Ouellette has rejuvenated his minor-pro career in his short tenure with the Utah franchise. He comes to the Bruins system with determination to stay in the game at multiple professional levels and even though he might fly under the radar of the higher Boston Bruins franchise, at the lower level he seems like the perfect candidate and hard worker that can contribute whenever called upon. With Providence going with Dan Vladar in last night’s 2-1 loss to the visiting Bridgeport Sound Tigers and Max Lagace being returned to the AHL minor-pro affiliate today with the official news that can be seen HERE,  I’d be surprised if Oullette gets the call tonight on the road against the Sound Tigers. With the NHL Boston club playing the Pittsburgh Penguins tomorrow afternoon and who knows who gets the netminding recall, I could see Ouellette getting into his first action with Providence with a game Sunday afternoon at home against the Springfield Thunderbirds as the Bruins AHL team has three games this weekend.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Prospects Podcast episode 11 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!! 

Asselin Gets First Star Honors In Thrilling Victory For Bruins ECHL Affiliate

( Photo Credit: Dale Zanine / Atlanta Gladiators )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Last night the Atlanta Gladiators beat the visiting Orlando Solar Bears 5-4 in overtime at the Infinite Energy Arena. The “AA” minor-pro affiliate of the National Hockey Leagues Boston Bruins are having an up and down 2019-20 regular season in the tough South Division. With this Friday night January 17th, 2020 win the Gladiators improve to a 17-20-0-0 record with 34 points and stuck in the middle of a tough division led by powerhouse South Carolina Stingrays who have a league-leading 29-5-3-1 record with 62 points in 38 games.

Regardless of the Gladiator’s struggles and 5-5-0 record in their last ten games as a team, there are certain individuals going above and beyond in an effort to get noticed by their parent American Hockey League team. One particular Gladiator player who’s having a good season in his first year of professional hockey lead his final season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in goals during the 2018-19 season as a member of the Halifax Mooseheads with 48. After this tremendous season in the highly respected QMJHL, the Boston Bruins scouting staff were close by to pounce on this undrafted player as soon as his commitment was over in the Canadian Hockey League.

Samuel Asselin

( Photo Credit: OSC Our Sports Central / oursportscentral.com )

Samuel has been a welcome addition to the Boston Bruins organization with a low-risk “show me” first two-year AHL contract in early July of 2019 which gives him the flexibility to further his development either with the Providence Bruins or lower ECHL Atlanta team. In five games that Asselin has been recalled to Providence the undrafted free agent forward has three assists but in the coast, with Atlanta, he’s a point-per-game player with 15-14-29 numbers in 29 career games.

Last night the 21-year-old Asselin notched the second hat trick of his rookie season with two goals in regulation and a heroic ending to seal the deal for his Glads club. Samuel’s point production on this night started in the first period with the primary assist on teammate Tommy Marchin’s 13th goal of the season at the 14:12 mark of the opening frame as seen below.

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Asselin’s 13th goal and first in this game came at the 4:29 mark of the second period to give the Glads a 2-0 lead. The primary assist on this goal came from third-year Atlanta defenseman and Wilmington, Massachusetts native Zach Malatesta with the secondary helper going to Logan Nelson which can be seen below.

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The second goal of Asselin’s Trifecta came at the 5:18 mark of the third period and a 4-3 lead in the final frame. Samuel’s 14th goal of the season went unassisted when he comes in on the right side untouched for a snipe past visiting netminder and former highly regarded goalie Zach Fucale.

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Asselin’s final goal of the game and fourth point in the thrilling victory over the Solar Bears came in the extra frame as both clubs were deadlocked at four at the end of regulation. Samuel would only need 1:08 into overtime to send the Glads faithful home with a celebratory win over their South Division rival. Asselin received a behind the back pass on the cycle in the offensive zone from fellow teammate and Atlanta defenseman Joel Messner and protected the puck well working his way in-between the faceoff circles to snipe a wrister at the hash marks for the eventual game-winner and 15th goal of the season. The aforementioned Gladiators defenseman Malatesta his helper in the final Asselin goal was his second point of the night.

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Asselin is sure to garner some attention from the higher Providence Bruins club if they need some more scoring help or in case one of their AHL players come down with an injury. The 5′-9″ 181-pound forward is currently on a two-game point streak and has 3-4-7 numbers in his last five games. His longest point streak in this his ECHL rookie season came from the  October 18th, 2019, to the November 8th, 2019 timeframe where he contributed 7-7-14 numbers in his first eight games in the league.

Samuel and his Gladiators club are back on the ice tonight at the North Charleston Coliseum against the league-leading South Carolina Stingrays where the Glad could extend their winning streak to two games and Asselin could push for points in three straight games. After Asselin’s first career season-long point streak he was recalled to Providence so you never know when his talents are going to be needed with the higher parent Providence team.

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Check out the new Black N’ Gold Prospects Podcast episode 11 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!! 

The Bruins’ Silent Defender: Brandon Carlo

carlo-image

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

By: Michael DiGiorgio  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BostonDiGiorgio

There’s a famous saying amongst NHL teams and scouts around regarding defenseman.  A defenseman’s ceiling is not known until they’ve played at least 250 NHL games.  Well, Boston’s Brandon Carlo recently eclipsed 278 games, and Carlo’s trajectory is clear to the organization and its fanbase.

The 6’5 Colorado Springs native began his path to the NHL in Canada’s Western Hockey League in 2012.  He spent three seasons in the WHL with the Tri-City Americans, progressing his game and points each year.  He was also featured on the American U-20 World Junior Championship teams in 2014 and 2015.  In 12 games at the World Junior Championships, he brought home a Bronze medal, scored five points, and an impressive plus-10 rating.

He even led the entire tournament pool of U-20 defenseman with two goals, winning the “U20 WJC Most Goals by Defenseman” award in 2015.  He is in great company for this award with the likes of Cale Makar, Thomas Chabot, and Zach Werenski.  Scouts predicted Carlo either be selected at the end of the first, early second round, and the Bruins were one of many teams interested.

The Bruins were fortunate enough to acquire four extra picks between the first two rounds in 2015.  Upon trading Johnny Boychuk, the Bruins found themselves with an additional pick in the second round, and with it, they selected Brandon Carlo.  His pre-draft scouting report was foreshadowing to what Bruins fans see night in and night out.  “Through maneuvering his way around the ice and making high-percentage, skilled decisions in all three zones, he is able to shut opposition offense down before it begins to take shape.”

He has become a steady, consistent shutdown defenseman that the team has lacked in the past few years.  There has been so much emphasis, energy, and draft choices spent on trying to find the league’s next Erik Karlsson. Teams should spend just as much time and energy on securing a player like Dennis Seidenberg.

Dennis Seidenberg came to the Bruins from Florida in a deadline trade in March 2010.  He was not known for his offensive prowess, but instead was a penalty kill specialist and a blocking shot animal.  Seidenberg amassed 1,417 blocked shots and averaged 20:44 minutes of ice time in 859 career NHL games.  This type of defenseman is needed to make a deep, unbeaten playoff run.

Brandon Carlo is following in the footsteps of Seidenberg, and for Bruins fans, that is a significant area of need.  The beginning of Carlo’s Bruins career would only require seven games in Providence before showing the Bruins he was ready for the big league.  In his first full year with the Bruins, Brandon played in all 82 games averaging 20 minutes on ice and finished with 16 points and a plus 9 rating.  He played alongside big man Zdeno Chara, and the two looked to have solidified an excellent working relationship.  Carlo was primed for his first NHL playoffs in 2017, but unfortunately, the game of hockey can be cruel.  In the last game of the regular season, Carlo suffered a concussion from an Alex Ovechkin brutal hit from behind.

The hit caused Carlo to miss the Bruins’ short playoff run.  The Bruins were eliminated heartbreakingly against the Ottawa Senators in the first round.  Their offseason began in April, and the Bruins were faced with an exciting offseason task.

The Vegas Golden Knights were the NHL’s newest expansion team in 2017, which created a new twist to the upcoming offseason.  The expansion rules required current teams to select 11 roster players for protection, while the rest of their roster was fair game.  However, NHL teams were allowed to exclude pro players who completed two or fewer years of the NHL from their list and the Knights.  These players for the Bruins included Charlie Mcavoy, Jake DeBrusk, and Brandon Carlo.  While this stopped the Knights from nabbing Carlo, it didn’t stop other teams from pursuing him.

The Colorado Avalanche were looking to unload their impending free-agent Matt Duchene in the same offseason.  They had a few calls, and one, in particular, piqued General Manager Joe Sakic’s interest.  Bruins General Manager, Don Sweeney, called Sakic inquiring the asking price for their second-line center.  Sakic expressed his interest in the Bruins budding blue-liner.

Don Sweeney was building a system and philosophy to develop and invest in players he drafted.  Thankfully, Sweeney stuck to his word and refused Sakic’s request.  Duchene would eventually be traded to the Ottawa Senators in a massive haul of prospects and draft picks.  Sakic tried a second time to pry Carlo from the Bruins, this time offering up their captain Gabriel Landeskog.

Sweeney, again, held onto his shutdown defenseman.  Carlo entered his sophomore season on the Bruins’ third-pairing with Kevan Miller.  Zdeno Chara and Charlie Mcavoy were leading the charge on the blue-line, with Adam McQuaid and Torey Krug right behind them.  When McQuaid broke his leg early into the season, Carlo moved up to Krug’s left side.  Carlo and Krug struggled to find chemistry right away, and he was heading towards a sophomore slump.

Hockey is just as much a mental sport as it is a physical sport.  Defensemen need to read plays before as it develops and react in an instance.  They need to pick themselves up after a goal is allowed on their watch.  Carlo struggled during the 2018-19 regular season, so much so that he was on the wrong end of the game-day roster in February against Buffalo.  The message was sent loud and clear, and Carlo quickly found his groove.  In 1,000 minutes played on 5-on-5 ice time, he led the league in the least amount of goals-against with 1.42 per 60 minutes that season.  Yes, even during a down year.  He was full-steam ahead for the playoffs when once again, the injury bug arrived, and he missed another playoff run.

The third time is the charm, and he finally made his playoff debut in 2019.  He averaged 21:31 of ice time throughout the Stanley Cup run and even scored two goals.  The most impressive part of Carlo’s playoff run was his ability to shut down the offensive talent.  Chara was the guy to shut down the likes of Max Pacioretty, Steven Stamkos, and Henrik and Daniel Sedin in 2011.  Unfortunately, Chara isn’t getting any younger and needs to pass the shutdown torch.  Carlo stepped up in a big way.

According to Natural Stat Trick, Carlo played his most playoff minutes against Artemi Panarin, Auston Matthews, and Pierre-Luc Dubois.  All three are an incredible talent and poised to be household names for years to come.  When the three players were on the ice with Carlo in a 5-on-5 situation, the three fired a combined 104 shots on goal.  Without Carlo, the shot total increased to 114.  He also led the team in penalty killing minutes with 77:22 in the entire 2019 playoffs.  The next most PK minute total was Chara at 55:04.  Carlo also added a little flair to his penalty-killing abilities.

Unfortunately, adding a Stanley Cup to his resume will have to wait, but he grew into a phenomenal player over three months.  Carlo received a team-friendly contract of 2 years, $2.85M this past offseason, and will be a restricted free-agent again when it’s complete.  He will be a long-term staple on the blue-line and is an outstanding defensive defenseman, which is rarely talked about.  It’s now clear why Sweeney refused to trade the former second-round pick.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 162 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!! 

Boston Bruins Place Forward David Backes on Waivers

David Backes

PHOTO CREDITS: (nbcsports.ca)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj

As per numerous reports on social media, including from The Athletic’s Joe McDonald (@JoeyMacHockey on Twitter) and Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC on Twitter), the Boston Bruins have placed forward David Backes for assignment to the Providence Bruins.

David Backes, 35, has played in 16 games this season for the Bruins, scoring one goal and two assists for three points and a -2 rating. Backes has not played a game since Boston’s 5-4 win over the Winnipeg Jets on January 9th where he skated for eleven shifts totalling 8:35 of ice-time. He has not scored a point since December 5th against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Boston signed the Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA native to a five-year, $30,000,000 contract ($6 million AAV) on the opening day of free agency back in the 2016 off-season. Prior to the signing, Backes had been the captain of the St. Louis Blues, totalling 727 career regular-season games with the Blues, scoring 206-254-460 numbers in that span. It was a tough move for him to make, but he felt he had a better shot to hoist the Stanley Cup if he signs with the Bruins.

Since the signing, Backes has not turned out to be what Boston expected. In 217 regular-season games for the Black and Gold, Backes scored 29-55-94 numbers along with 12 points in 39 playoff games dating back to the 2016-17 campaign. Backes scored two goals and three assists during Boston’s 2019 Stanley Cup Finals run as well.

The move to send Backes down is an interesting one, considering the move to put Brett Ritchie on waivers earlier in the week (he cleared). With players such as Karson Kuhlman and even Anton Blidh pushing for more consistent spots on the roster, older veterans like Backes simply don’t have the space on the team anymore. Head Coach Bruce Cassidy re-iterated that in a much simpler way.

The likelihood of Backes getting claimed by one of the other 31 NHL franchises is slim, but there is a benefit to him going to the Providence Bruins as well. As Bruins Network (@BruinsNetwork on Twitter) stated, if the 35-year-old clears waivers, the Bruins will free up $1 million in salary. With the trade deadline looming around the corner, every dollar counts and Backes’ $6 million cap hit right now is a lot to continue paying if he continues to be in the press box.

For the latest breaking news, updates, and injury reports, make sure to check back on blackngoldhockey.com and follow on Twitter (@BlackNGoldPod). The Boston Bruins play the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday, January 19th in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Puck drop is scheduled for 12:30pm EST.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 162 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!