Could New Hampshire Be A Future Home For A Bruins Affiliate?

( Photo Credit: Mikes Tickets )

By: Mark Allred | Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Per RinksideRhodeIsland.com writer Mark Divver, Manchester, New Hampshire continues to produce rumors with the return of professional hockey. Commonly known in the Northeastern part of the United States as ManchVegas, the largest city in the state initially had a firm grip in the hockey community when the American Hockey Leagues Manchester Monarchs team was there from 2001 to 2015.

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The Monarchs were a minor-pro affiliate of the National Hockey Leagues Los Angeles Kings before packing up operations from the New England area after a successful tenure. The Monarchs would change their name to the current Ontario Reign, which was the King’s ECHL “AA” affiliation, and headed to the Golden State to house their top prospects closer to the NHL organization. The cities of Manchester, NH, and Ontario, CA, would swap minor-pro affiliations, thus keeping the Monarchs team name but representing a lower hockey league in the development scheme.

After the departure of the AHL franchise, the ECHL Monarchs would continue to play four seasons in the Queen City totaling a record of 156-102-14 in 288 games. The Monarchs club did make the Kelly Cup Playoffs for all four years in the Granite State in that timeframe but dwindling season ticket numbers and individual gameday gate numbers the franchise folded at the end of the 2018-19 campaign. So for a whole hockey season including this Covid-19 Pandemic, the SNHU Arena owned by Southern New Hampshire University has laid dormant for on-ice events when it comes to the pro level.

The Boston Bruins have had their “AA” affiliation located in the Atlanta, Georgia area since August of 2015 after not agreeing to an extension with the then affiliated South Carolina Stingrays who the B’s shared with the NHL’s Washington Capitals. Atlanta has been a suitable place for a backup franchise to act as a feeder system for the above AHL’s Providence Bruins organization. From the 2015-16 regular season to the close of operations due to the Corona Virus the Atlanta Gladiators have a record of 153-161-23 in 349 games. The Gladiators were on a serious run trying to get out of the middle of the ECHL’s South Division for a 2019-20 Kelly Cup playoff better but that was cut short with what’s going on in the world today. Before the tremendous second-half play this season, the Gladiators only made it to the postseason once affiliated with the NHL Bruins getting swept in the first round to the powerful Florida Everblades.

As of right now with no sports going on and hockey seasons canceled at the lower levels, the ECHL one-year agreement is officially over between the Bruins and the Gladiators. As seen below, collegiate hockey and minor-pro hockey guru Mark Divver comes at us one more time with another interesting tweet the very next day sparking increased speculation about a possibility of the Bruins moving their “AA” affiliation closer much like what the LA Kings did in 2015 in a different league of course.

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With the information above from Divver’s source, it almost aligns the planets of bringing of things together that could happen shortly when talking about creating closer affiliations. One more season in Atlanta could be the time needed to facilitate an ECHL franchise move northward and one that might be attractive to Bruins fans thirsty for hockey. Things might’ve not been the best of times between the city of Manchester and former ECHL team ownership, but can you imagine the increased volume of attention if that “team” had ties to the NHL Boston Bruins about 80 miles away?

There’s long been a rumor that the now ECHL Worcester Railers were going to be the next “AA” affiliate of the Boston Bruins before a team ended up playing in the second-largest city in Massachusetts. Worcester Pro Hockey, LLC owner Cliff Rucker has a long relationship with the NHL Bruins, and it was almost certain the ECHL affiliation would leave Atlanta and head North. Another rumor about a Bruins affiliation in the city of Worcester that might’ve been the ole wrench in the gears of that idea was the NHL Bruins top minor-pro affiliation with the Providence Bruins. That particular rumor was the team from Rhode Island didn’t want to compete with another B’s affiliation so close, and it’s believed that there’s a 40-mile radius agreement between the NHL Organization and the club in Providence.

Outside of that “so-called” 40-mile boundary lay some other great locations besides mentioned above, Manchester, New Hampshire. Lowell, Massachusetts, is another attractive destination that housed the AHL for several NHL organizations in the past but hasn’t seen professional hockey in the last ten years. The University of Massachusetts-Lowell owns the multi-purpose facility, and even though this might be an attractive location, it would be hard to compete for ice time. College and minor-pro hockey predominately operate during the weekends, so scheduling home games around the UMass-Lowell River Hawks hockey team would somewhat de difficult.

Portland, Maine is another area that could be interesting although currently occupied at the Cross Insurance Arena by the Maine Mariners. The Maine club is affiliated with the NHL’s New York Rangers, so not sure if the Rangers organization would want to break a contract for another team to come in and set up operations. If an ECHL affiliate is needed closer to the Rangers AHL affiliation in Hartford, Connecticut, then the possibilities are endless for a Bruins minor-pro affiliation back in the state of Maine. The NHL Bruins and the old AHL Maine Mariners were under Bruins rule from 1986 to 1992 before moving south to Providence Rhode Island.

Of course, this is all speculation at this point, but I do see a team in the near future being located somewhere in New England to be the primary Providence Bruins feeder system. It just makes sense in my opinion.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 181 that we recorded below on 5-31-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher!

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Potential Second Round Fits For The Bruins In The 2020 NHL Draft

Luke Evangelista

Photo Credit: Dennis Pajot/Getty Images

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

While we’re still not sure when the draft will take place, we know that the Bruins will be making their first pick towards the later portion of the second. With the team’s first-round pick being dealt to the Anaheim Ducks in a deal for Ondrej Kase, the Bruins’ first pick will come in the second round, as of now.

A few players have stuck out to me as potential second-round targets for the Bruins. There’s no guarantee that these players will be available when the Bruins are on the clock, but they could be and would be great fits for the organization, in my eyes.

Tyson Foerster – C/RW – Barrie Colts (OHL)

2019-2020 – 62 GP – 36G, 44A, 80P

Tyson Foerster is my top guy for the Bruins in the second round if he is to drop far enough so they can select him. He has the makings of a big-time goal scorer at the NHL level. Positional versatility is never a bad thing either, and he can play center as well as the wing. His hockey IQ allows him to make smart decisions with the puck and pick his spots with ease.

Foerster has solid size at 6-foot-1, 194 lbs. and seems to be an offensive threat whenever he steps foot on the ice. The Bruins could use some prospect depth at the right-wing position, and Foerster could provide that. There would be no need to rush his development, which would allow him to develop even further at his own pace into a formidable goal scorer at the NHL level.

(Video credit: PuckProspects on YouTube)

Luke Evangelista – RW – London Knights (OHL)

2019-2020 – 62 GP – 23G, 38A, 61P

Luke Evangelista is a playmaking winger and a smooth skater. His soft hands, hockey IQ, and nose for the net make him a dangerous offensive player. After playing in 27 games last season to get his feet wet in the OHL, only tallying two assists, he put himself on the map with a productive 2019-2020 campaign.

One thing he could and likely will build upon is his size, as he is currently 5-foot-11, 165 lbs. There’s time for that. Putting on some more weight and muscle will serve him well down the road. If someone like Tyson Foerster isn’t on the board, Evangelista would be another solid fit at the right-wing position.

(Video credit: Prospect Film Room on YouTube)

Ozzy Wiesblatt – C/RW – Prince Albert Raiders (WHL)

2019-2020 – 64 GP – 25G, 45A, 70P

Ocean, Orca, Oasiz, and Ozzy. All hockey players, all have first names that start with “o”, and they’re all Wiesblatt brothers. What a family. Wiesblatt can hold his own in all three zones on top of being an effective scorer and playmaker.  Like Evangelista, Wiesblatt would be another solid right-wing option if Foerster is off the board.

(Video credit: Prospect Film Room on YouTube)

Jaromir Pytlik – C – Soo Greyhounds (OHL)

2019-2020 – 56 GP – 22G, 28A, 50P

If the Bruins go with a center in the second round, Jaromir Pytlik would be a good choice. The big, right-shot Czech plays a powerful game with his 6-foot-3, 201 lbs. frame. His size doesn’t slow him down, as he is a pretty solid skater that brings a formidable presence on the ice. Offensively, he makes his money in close proximity to the net. The addition of Pytlik would add to a group of young Bruins centers that are already looking good, but could become even better.

(Video credit: HSD Prospects on YouTube)

Eamon Powell – D – U.S. National U18 Team (USDP)

2019-2020 – 43 GP – 6G, 8A, 14P

If the Bruins choose to replenish their defensive prospect group after trading Axel Andersson in the Ondrej Kase trade, Eamon Powell would be a great choice. A right-shot defenseman, Powell is an excellent decision-maker and puck mover. He really fits the mold of the ideal, modern-day NHL defenseman. All of this is coupled with his smooth skating ability and solid speed.

He’ll be closeby at Boston College for the foreseeable future, so it’ll be easy to keep an eye on him. A bit undersized now at 5-foot-11, 165 lbs., Powell will have ample time to add weight and muscle over the next few years. With the current layout of Boston College’s defensive core next season, Powell has a good chance to step in and play prominent minutes on an excellent Boston College Eagles team.

(Video credit: Draft Dynasty on YouTube)

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 181 that we recorded below on 5-31-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher!

User 568316199 · 181: Co-Host Heather Is Back! Discussion Includes 24 Team Playoff, Cehlarik, Bruins Awards & More

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A Look Ahead To The 2021 Seattle Expansion Draft For The Bruins

Photo Credit: Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports

By: Lydia Murray | Follow Me on Twitter @lydia_murray12

As many of you probably know, a new NHL team located in Seattle will be entering the league in the 2021-22 season. This means that in June of 2021, there’ll be another expansion draft. According to this article from NHL.com, the rules will remain the same as they were for the 2017 Vegas expansion draft, so we know exactly what it’ll look like. If you need a refresher, read through the linked article, as it details everything that’s important. So, what does this draft mean for the Bruins? As the linked article states, teams have two options in terms of protecting players. They can protect seven forwards, three defensemen, and one goalie, or a total of eight skaters and one goalie. Back in 2017, Bruins’ general manager Don Sweeney chose the 7-3-1 format. This is almost certainly the format the organization will choose again given the current team. Even so, when looking at the roster, it seems like the Bruins will lose a really good player for nothing. However, when you take a closer look, you’ll find this may not be the case. 

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Given the contract statuses (all information in this article about that comes from CapFriendly) of many of the team’s key players, if Sweeney plays his cards right, the Bruins could end up getting very lucky. David Krejci, Tuukka Rask, and Jaroslav Halak will all be unrestricted free agents in the 2021 offseason, as will formidable fourth-line center Sean Kuraly. Zdena Chara is also going to be a UFA (in the likely event that he plays next season), so even if he doesn’t retire, he won’t need to be protected (not that Seattle would pick a then-44-year-old player anyways). While Seattle will be able to take any of these players if left exposed, it wouldn’t make any sense for them too. They’d have no rights to the player and the player will be able to sign with whoever they want to come July 1st, 2021. If they were to be picked, the Bruins could easily just resign them then. So, the Bruins will be able to leave these players exposed and not worry about losing them for nothing, provided they don’t give them contract extensions before the draft. Hopefully, Sweeney is smart with these players and doesn’t do that (he can still negotiate a contract though), as that will put the Bruins in an excellent position to come out of this relatively unscathed. With that in mind, here’s a look at who the Bruins are likely to protect.

Forwards

Photo Credit: Stuart Cahill/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald

Starting with the forwards, it goes without saying Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak, and Brad Marchand will all be protected. All three of them would be taken in an instant, much to the detriment of the Bruins. Bergeron and Marchand both have no-move clauses, so they have to be protected, but even if they didn’t, there’s just no way the Bruins would expose them. Charlie Coyle has a modified no-move clause on his contract extension that kicks in next season, so he will need to be protected unless he waives it, although even if he did, he will most likely be protected anyways, Besides them, it would be shocking to see the Bruins expose Jake DeBrusk (in the near-certain event he resigns this offseason). He’s developed into a solid, albeit streaky, top-six winger, and he’s still young, so to expose him wouldn’t be smart. 

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Beyond those five, things get less clear. If Sweeney doesn’t extend the UFA forwards, he’ll be able to protect players he otherwise would’ve had to expose, including Anders Bjork (who’s a likely-to-resign RFA this offseason) and Chris Wagner. Trade deadline acquisitions Nick Ritchie and Ondrej Kase will both be RFAs in the 2021 offseason, but it remains to be seen how they will fit in with the Bruins in the long-term and if they will be worthy of protection. If they are, despite the long-term extension given to him this season, Wagner will likely be the one left exposed, since he is not likely to be picked given his status and the other, more enticing options that the Bruins will have available. Bjork took big steps forward in his development this season and is turning himself into a solid third-liner with the potential to become more than that. With that in mind and given how much the Bruins have invested in his development, I would be surprised to see him get exposed.

Defensemen

Photo Credit: Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Things get tougher for the Bruins when it comes to defensemen. It goes without saying Charlie McAvoy will be protected. He is the team’s number one defenseman of the present and future, and he’ll only continue to improve for the next several seasons. Exposing him would cost the team dearly, so there’s no way it happens. Brandon Carlo will undoubtedly be protected too, as he is becoming one of the best shutdown defensemen in the league, and like McAvoy, he’s only getting better. He will be an RFA in the 2021 offseason, but the Bruins will have to protect him even if they don’t sign him to an extension before the draft, because if Seattle were to pick him they would own his rights, and if he was left exposed, he would almost certainly be picked. The biggest question for the Bruins right now is what will happen with Torey Krug. He’s a UFA this offseason, and should he resign, which he has made it abundantly clear he wants to, he will be the third protected defenseman. I’m hopeful that he will resign, but if for some reason it doesn’t work out, the team will have no shortage of options surrounding who to protect.

If Krug doesn’t need to be protected for some reason, Matt Grzelcyk will likely be the third protected defenseman. If left exposed, he will almost surely be picked up, which will hurt the Bruins, as he is an excellent third-pairing defenseman who is able to play important minutes and up in the lineup. But, he is an interesting circumstance, as his contract expires this offseason. He will most likely resign with the team, but on what terms will change how the Bruins are affected by this expansion draft. He’s an RFA, but if he signs a one-year deal, it will bring him through his age 27 season, thus making him a UFA. This is without a doubt the best possible scenario for the Bruins, as it will make it so no matter what, he will not have to be protected. But, whether or not that’s likely is hard to say. If Grzelcyk wants to stay a Bruin, this is probably the only way it’ll happen, unless Krug doesn’t resign. So, hopefully, it happens, but it may not if he’s not comfortable betting on himself, or if he doesn’t want to remain a Bruin for some reason. 

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In the unlikely event that neither Krug or Grzelcyk have to be protected, the Bruins will probably protect Connor Clifton, Jeremy Lauzon, or Urho Vaakanainen. Lauzon impressed this season after being called up from Providence, so much so that he stuck in the lineup once those he was called up to help replace got healthy. He was great on the third-pairing with Grzelcyk, and if this season was any indication, the future is bright for him. Meanwhile, Clifton had a shakier season, partially due to injury. He had games where he looked like a solid third-pairing defenseman, but also somewhere he hurt the Bruins more than he helped him.

He’s a good player when he’s on his game and plays a style that can only be described as “Cliffy Hockey.” If he’s more consistent next season, he might be the one protected. Lastly, Vaakanainen, who had high expectations placed on him going into this season, was underwhelming for much of it. He still has a high ceiling, and it could easily have just been a bad year for him, so hopefully, he can turn it around next season. If he doesn’t, he makes the decision easier for Sweeney. Even if he does, I believe he is the least likely of the three to be picked by Seattle, as he has limited NHL experience, and there will be at least there good, proven, NHL player available instead. Jakub Zboril is another one the Bruins could choose to protect, as he took a major step forward in his development this season, but as of right now, he has the least NHL experience of the four, so it’s doubtful that he’d be picked.

Goaltenders

Photo Credit: John Cordes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Finally, when it comes to goalies, it’s completely up in the air as of right now. If they don’t sign Rask or Halak to an extension before the expansion draft, they’ll be able to protect one of their prospects. If they sign either of them before then, whoever gets signed will be protected. If both are signed before then, the Bruins will surely protect Rask over Halak. But, given the circumstances, I don’t see them signing both before the draft, because there’s a decent chance that Seattle would pick the one exposed due to the other options that will be available to them from the Bruins. If the Bruins are able to protect a goalie prospect, the only one who will need protection is Dan Vladar.

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Both Jeremy Swayman and Kyle Keyser will have two years or less of professional experience by the expansion draft, thus exempting them from it, and I don’t see the team resigning Maxime Lagace this offseason. Even though he took a huge step forward in his development this season and was one of the top goaltenders in the AHL, it’s doubtful Seattle would take him even if left exposed, even though they’ll be looking for promising goalie prospects. He’ll have zero NHL experience barring any serious injuries to Rask or Halak, and the Bruins will have at least one, possibly two or more, young defensemen who are proven in the NHL that will likely prove more enticing. 

Final Thoughts

In short, the Bruins have no shortage of options when it comes to the expansion draft next year. Most of their choices are clear-cut, but they have some potentially tough decisions to make for the remaining spots, although a lot can change in a year that could help them. They’re extremely lucky that several of their key players will be on expiring contracts unless they sign them to extensions before the expansion draft. If it weren’t for that, they’d be almost guaranteed to lose a great roster player. Even so, they’ll most likely lose a good young defenseman for nothing, which hurts. But, the organization has plenty of depth at that position, so it won’t be detrimental. It will be very similar to the 2017 Vegas expansion draft in that way, when they lost Colin Miller, in that it was unfortunate to lose him for nothing, but in the long run, it didn’t have a huge impact. So, let’s hope that Sweeney does the smart thing and doesn’t sign too many players (if any) to extensions in the middle of next season, thus ensuring that the Bruins won’t be too seriously hurt by the upcoming expansion draft.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 180 that we recorded below on 5-25-20! 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!

Banner Year: A Look-Back At The 1999 Providence Bruins

(Photo Credit RIHHOF.com)

By: Josh Houreas | Follow Me On Twitter @JHoureas

At the start of the 1998-1999 American Hockey League season, the Providence Bruins had been in the league for six seasons, after the Maine Mariners had packed their bags and moved to the capital of Rhode Island in 1992. While maintaining success early and often, the Baby B’s could not find themselves going further than the second round of the playoffs. In 1999. with the guidance of head coach Peter Laviolette (who had actually finished his playing career with Providence a season prior) the organization would experience a season unlike any other.

Providence opened the season with a 3-2 win against the Springfield Falcons. While the first month of the season was less than superior, Providence quickly rolled to a hot streak, where they only dropped points in three games the following month. Providence went from a 4-4-1-0 record to 14-6-1-1 in the span of thirteen games which included (and I’m not exaggerating when I say this) a 14-2 victory over the Syracuse Crunch.

On December 23 1998, Providence would receive an early Christmas gift as the start of an unbeaten streak that would last sixteen games was underway. This is *technically* the franchise record, but when only wins are considered, the record is 12, a record that would be set twenty one seasons later. (If you do the math that was this past season)

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At the Time of the AHL All-Star Game, the Bruins were represented by Randy Robitaille, Andre Savage, as well as backup goaltender Jim Carey. Honestly, when a team has a backup goalie representing the organization at the All-Star Game, there’s a VERY high chance that club will become highly successful in the following months, and that was exactly the case for the Providence Bruins.

Finishing with a record of 56-16-4-4 (the extra four is for a tie because before the NHL Lockout those existed) Providence had just accomplished the greatest season in franchise history, a statement that still stands to this day. Lead by players such as Randy Robitaille, who lead the team in points with 102, and Bob Beers, who you may know as one of the radio commentators on 98.5 The Sports Hub, the Bruins were on their way to the American Hockey League’s ultimate prize.

In the opening round of the Calder Cup Playoffs that year, Providence faced the Worcester Icecats. A 4-1 and 3-1 win in games one and two respectively gave Providence a 2-0 chokehold on the opening-round series. I say choke hold because, in the AHL, the opening round consists of only five games. Worcester wasn’t going to go down without a fight. The Icecats took the third game, the first at the Worcester Centrum (now known as the DCU Center) by the score of 5-3. Providence would flip the script at the Centrum taking game four and the series three games to one.

Hartford would be the next opponent standing in the way of the Calder Cup. Providence would gain momentum after a double-overtime win and would never look back. In a four-game sweep, Providence was halfway in their journey to the first-ever championship in franchise history. Game Three would be the turning point as the Bruins won another overtime thriller at the Hartford Civic Center by the score of 5-4.

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Next to face the surging Bruins were the Fredericton Canadiens and putting two and two together, these guys were the farm team of the hated Montreal Canadiens. The “Baby Habs” as they were known as finished their season with a record below .500 at 33-36-6-5. Nowhere near Providence’s numbers but honestly not even that respectable, I mean seriously? This team made the CONFERENCE FINALS with a losing record.

Just like the series before, Providence had taken a commanding three games to none lead and was one win away from their first Calder Cup Finals appearance. Fredericton would outscore Providence in games 4 and 5 by a combined score of 8-1. Providence needed an answer to the surge from Fredericton. Coming back to the Providence Civic Center, the home-ice advantage would give the Bruins the final leap into the championship series. With a thumping 6-1 win, the Providence Bruins had made it.

To think that the 1998-99 Providence Bruins were a complete rebuild from the season prior, wouldn’t be an understatement. In 1997-98, Providence finished with a dismal .313 win percentage, the lowest in franchise history. Now the club was a mere four wins away from the Calder Cup. The last team standing in the way was the Rochester Americans. Rochester finished with a much more respectable record compared to the Bruins Eastern Conference Final opponent, backed by Martin Biron, who would go on to have a very respectable career with the Buffalo Sabres.

In game 1 of the Final, Providence would take the momentum from their five-goal win from the Conference Finals to take the opener by the score of 4-2. Game 2 would see the same amount of goals scored, but only one team scored all 6. Providence was up 2-0 going into Rochester for the next two games.

While The Americans returned home, the momentum would stay with Providence after a triple-overtime win propelled the Bruins to their third straight 3-0 series lead in that seasons Calder Cup Playoffs. After Rochester had won game 4 to stay alive, Providence would come back home for game five with a chance to clinch the Calder Cup.

It wouldn’t take long for Providence to prove why the team had been so dominant on home ice. Dominant meaning 10-0 on home ice including the Calder Cup Cup Clinching game. That last sentence isn’t a typo. The 1999 Providence Bruins DIDN’T LOSE A SINGLE GAME ON HOME ICE. Landon Wilson would help the Baby B’s draw first blood in game 5, and Providence would not look back. Four goals later, Rochester would go home knowing their season was over. The Bruins, lead by Peter Laviolette lifted the Calder Cup in front of over 5,000 rambunctious fans at the Providence Civic Center.

And if anybody deserved the last Calder Cup of the 20th Century, it was without a doubt the 1998-99 Providence Bruins.

(Photo Credit: thirdstringgoalie.blogspot.com)

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Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 180 that we recorded below on 5-25-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher!

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Report: Peter Cehlarik Leaves Bruins, Signs With Lugano

USATSI_13610831

(Photo: Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

Now former Boston Bruins forward prospect Peter Cehlarik has reportedly agreed to a terms with HC Lugano of the Swiss National League. The 24-year-old was slated to become a restricted free agent this summer after his one-year deal with an average annual value (AVV) of $700,000 runs out.

Last month, Cehlarik spoke with Slovak media about his frustrations with the Bruins organization after traveling to his native country to wait out the pandemic. The left-shot forward did not seem too pleased with his usage under Boston head coach Bruce Cassidy during his stints with the big club.

“I can’t cross the line to persuade Bruins [coach] Bruce Cassidy for good,” Cehlarik said at the time. “Sometimes I felt as if he was just waiting for my mistake to send me back to the farm.

“They know what they are doing. They’ve invested years of development in me. It’s all about trust from a coach I don’t get. I still hear that I’m ready for the NHL, I have it, but when it goes like this, I need a change and a new start. It is high time.”

The left-winger has suited up in just three games with the Bruins this season, notching just one assist and posting a minus-one rating. In 48 games with the Providence Bruins, Boston’s American Hockey League affiliate, he has 16-21-37 totals in addition to a plus-three rating in 48 games.

On Nov. 2, 2019, Cassidy was candid with the media about his thoughts on Cehlarik’s performance after a matchup with the Ottawa Senators, saying: “If [Cehlarik]’s going to stay in the National Hockey League, you’ve got to play to your strengths, and I thought he had opportunities to make plays. He made a few here and there, but I thought he left some on the table. At the end of the day, the details we’ll keep getting after him about, so overall, I thought he was okay.”

Boston’s bench boss also noted he feels Cehlarik’s ideal spot in the lineup is next to a “skilled centerman.” After failing to make the team out of camp, Cehlarik was placed on waivers to be assigned to Providence, and went unclaimed.

On his career, the 90th overall pick in the third round of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft has five goals and six assists for 11 points in 40 NHL games, as well as a plus-11 rating. In 185 AHL contests, Cehlarik has 59-77-136 numbers in addition to a plus-20 rating. Over nine Calder Cup Playoffs games, he recored three goals and one assist.

Bruins assistant captain Patrice Bergeron skated with Lugano during the 2012-13 lockout. In 21 games with the club before the NHL returned, Bergeron registered 29 points (11g, 18a).

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 180 that we recorded below on 5-25-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher!

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The Boston Bruins Win The President’s Trophy

(Photo Credit – Greg M. Cooper-US Presswire)

By: Lucas Pearson  |  Follow Me On Twitter @LucasPearson_

With the regular season now officially completed, the NHL had some awards to hand out earlier today. For just the third time in team history, the Bruins have won the Presidents’ Trophy for having the best record in the NHL. The Bs previously won the award in the 1989-90 season, where they lost in the Stanley Cup to the Edmonton Oilers, and in the 2013-14 season, where their year was cut short in the second round against the Canadiens. 

This Bruins team was awarded the Trophy with a record of 44-14-12, ending the season with exactly 100 points. From day one, the Bs’ year felt like a revenge tour, knocking off team after team, getting contributions from each and every part of the lineup. David Pastrnak was able to share the Rocket Richard with the living legend that is Alex Ovechkin. Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak split the William M. Jennings Trophy for allowing the fewest goals in the league. We could very well see more hardware come the Bruins way, with the Hart, Selke and Vezina trophies all yet to be decided, and David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron and Tuukka Rask all looking at their respective awards. 

Being awarded the President’s Trophy isn’t quite the honor you’d think however. Since its creation in 1985, the Trophy’s holder has won the Cup just eight times, and just twice in the Salary Cap era (starting in 2005). The last time a President’s Trophy winner went on to win the cup was, brace yourself, the 2013 Chicago Blackhawks. The Trophy’s winner has yet to make it back to the cup since, so it seems to be a bit of a curse the Bruins may need to break, but to say the city of Boston has a history of breaking curses would be putting it lightly.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 180 that we recorded below on 5-25-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher!

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Bruins Pastrnak Wins Share Of Rocket Richard Trophy

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Photo Courtesy Of NHL.com

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

The NHL announced various award winners this afternoon after coming to a decision to keep all regular season statistics where they are and not count statistics from the proposed qualifying rounds of the 24 team playoff. For the first time in team history, a Boston Bruin has won the Rocket Richard trophy since it was introduced in 1999 as the leading goal scorer in the entire league. David Pastrnak finished the regular season tied with Alexander Ovechkin with 48 goals to win his first major NHL award in his sixth season.

Pastrnak had been on a scoring tear pretty much the entire season, never going more than five games without a goal. He totaled four hat tricks this season including a four goal outburst against Anaheim and two separate hat tricks against Montreal.

It’s also worth noting that Pasta recorded four two goals games this season. He finishes the regular season with 48 goals and 47 assists for 95 points good for third in the entire league. It’s also the fourth straight season Pastrnak has recorded 30 goals or more. It’s not just goal scoring with Pasta that’s impressive, it’s his overall game as he’s had at least 40 assists and 80 points for the last three seasons.

The Bruins selected the Havirov, Czech Republic native in the first round (25th overall) of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. Pastrnak made his NHL debut the following season on November 24th, 2014 in Boston against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 180 that we recorded below on 5-25-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher!

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Bruins’ Rask, Halak Awarded Jennings Trophy For 2019-20 Season

NHL: Boston Bruins at Washington Capitals

(Source: NESN)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

Boston Bruins goaltenders Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak have officially been named the recipients of the William M. Jennings Trophy for the 2019-20 season, annually awarded to the goaltenders on the team with the fewest goals allowed during the regular season. Rask and Halak become the third duo in franchise history to earn the Jennings Trophy, joining Tim Thomas and Manny Fernadnez (2008-09), and Andy Moog and Reggie Lemelin (1989-90).

Boston’s duo allowed 167 goals-against during the regular season, the fewest in the NHL, seven clear of Dallas’ Ben Bishop and Anton Khudobin (174). The Arizona Coyotes and Columbus Blue Jackets tied for the third-fewest goals-against with 183 each.

On the season, Rask finished with a 26-8-6 record and a 2.12 goals-against average (GAA), the best in the league among qualified goaltenders. The 33-year-old’s .929 save percentage sits second in the league behind Khudobin’s .930 marker. Rask also pitched five shutouts, one shy of Winnipeg’s Connor Hellebuyck, who led the league with six.

The Savonlinna, FIN, native made a total of 1,189 saves on the year, allowing only 85 goals in 41 appearances. Rask previously won the Vezina Trophy as the league’s best goaltender for the 2013-14 season.

Halak concluded the season with three shutouts, the fourth-most in the league, to go along with a record of 18-6-6 and a .919 save percentage over 31 appearances. The 35-year-old posted a 2.39 GAA, which finishes as fifth-lowest in the league. A native of Bratislava, SVK, Halak made 905 total saves and surrendered just 73 goals.

This mark’s the second time in his career that Halak has won the Jennings Trophy, having earned it alongside Brian Elliot during the 2011-12 season while playing for the St. Louis Blues. Halak and Elliot gave up 165 goals that season. Halak becomes the tenth goaltender to win the award multiple times, joining the likes of Patrick Roy, Martin Brodeur, and Dominik Hasek.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 180 that we recorded below on 5-25-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher!

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Could Bruins Prospect Beecher Jump From The NCAA To The CHL?

( Photo Credit: Kevin Light/Getty Images )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The Covid-19 virus continues to be a thorn in the side of humanity but also in the sports world that many of us loved following on a daily basis before the pause. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel as numbers are dropping in North America, and some pro leagues such as the National Hockey League are looking to get back to work. The NHL has a 24-Team playoff format laid out to start in the next two months in an effort to return to the ice and award a 2020 Stanley Cup Champion. 

Leagues below the professional level are projected to not start their regular seasons on time because they don’t have the financial gain the best hockey league in the world has. Take, for instance, the scenario in the NCAA and the Canadian Hockey League made up of three different entities. The Ontario Hockey League and the Western Hockey League are rumored to start in late October, but the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League may get started months later even as far as January per source. 

I was listening to the 31 Thoughts Podcast hosted by Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek a few weeks ago, and Mr. Marek brought up an interesting thought in when talking about the NCAA. Jeff pointed out that if the collegiate level of hockey has a late start with the continued virus concerns, some athletes may defect to the CHL for an opportunity to play sooner. Listen to the whole podcast and subscribe, of course, but if you’re looking for a timestamp for the start of the topic, it’s at the 33:30 below.

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Bringing this to a Boston Bruins related article, Marek mentioned 2018 first-round selection John Beecher and his loophole to possibly defect to the CHL. This might be a bit of a stretch after Beecher just finished his freshman year at Michigan with the Wolverines, but it’s a sneakingly good way to keep his development going and on time. I know some are thinking of waiting it out for the NCAA to get back on track and return to a Mel Pearson coached Michigan club.

I’m a huge fan of whatever decision Beecher, his agent, and Bruins organization see fit for his development moving forward, but the OHL might be an enticing landing spot with increased opportunity. Beecher was drafted by the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in the 2017 OHL Priority Draft but with all intentions of committing to Michigan. The benefitting factor by defecting is the increased games that the OHL plays compared to the mandated 34 in the NCAA. If he decides to cross the border into Canada, and in fact, join the Soo Greyhounds club, his games per season would almost double.

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Another thing that Jeff Marek brought up on the aforementioned 31 Thoughts Hockey Podcast was another highly profiled prospect in the Montreal Canadiens organization could do the same. Under the keen eye of former NHL’er and Head Coach Tony Granato of the Wisconsin Badgers is Cole Caufield, who had a tremendous 19-17-36 season in 36 games. Caufield, as Marek mentions in the podcast, was also selected in the OHL Priority Draft, but unlike Beecher in 2017, Cole was selected the following season (2018) by the same Greyhounds club.

There are so many avenues and logistics that have to be considered here about this topic but can you imagine an OHL Greyhounds team with the additions of Beecher and Caulfield with such mainstays as current Soo roster players who had five 25 goal scorers accompanied by six 50 point go-getters in the 2019-20 regular season campaign that had the Hounds appear in 64 games before the arrival of the Covid-19 virus. The Soo ended last season with a record of 29-31-3-1, and if the worlds line together to see this though, if both want to leave the NCAA, of course, they would be solid additions to a potential 2020-21 Greyhounds roster.

I’m not exactly an expert when it comes to the difference between the CHL and the NCAA, but when it comes to the games played a factor that always wins for me in the speed of development. If the Boston Bruins see a serious fit for Beecher in the next season or two, this aggressive approach might be beneficial to that avenue. Also, keeping in mind that as a 19-year-old, Beecher, even though drafted in the CHL would be eligible for the American Hockey League before the age of 20-year-old. 

Like I have mentioned several times before, this is a stretch, but it’s something to consider when thinking about the player and progression timeline. Most Boston Bruins prospect gurus have Beecher making an impact in the next two or three seasons regardless of this article topic, but a planned full 76 game year with the AHL’s Providence Bruins wouldn’t be out of the question and has to be accounted for.

Take B’s prospect Jack Studnicka who also plays up the middle, had a decent first-year pro season in the AHL, and looks to lock up a roster spot when the 2020-21 campaign officially starts. Patience has been key lately for Bruins management when inserting younger talent into the lineup but has also been smart to re-sign team members to give some of that mentioned youth more time in the minor-pro system.

Wolverines Head Coach Mel Pearson has put Beecher in areas to succeed with his versatility. Not sure if this is the idea from Bruins management passed down to the coaching staff of the NCAA club, but it creates a few options moving forward in the forever battle of planning ahead and prospect NHL timelines. Just think of the possibilities at the center positions in the next few seasons with the additions of Studnicka, Trent Frederic, and now Beecher awaiting in the midst. The Bruins have been unreal at identifying what’s needed at center and seemingly build around them, and there’s no doubt about that when you think of current members like Patrice Bergeron, Charlie Coyle, and David Krejci. 

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 180 that we recorded below on 5-25-20! 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!

What Will Boston’s Goaltending Look Like When The NHL Returns?

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Image Credit/Angela Rowlings/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald

By: Michael DiGiorgio  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BostonDiGiorgio

The NHL announced the Return To Play plan yesterday, which included a plethora of new scenarios the NHL has never seen before.  Gary Bettman, NHL Commissioner, announced 24 teams would return, along with some exciting playoff and draft lottery scenarios.  Among these changes, the NHL has authorized the eligible playoff teams to carry 28 skaters and as many goalies as they’d prefer.

Allowing teams to carry an infinite amount of goalies seems to be reminiscent of the goalie situation in Carolina on February 22, 2020.  The Toronto Maple Leafs and Carolina Hurricanes had begun their hockey game like any other night.  However, the Hurricanes’ two rostered goaltenders were injured during the game and unable to return to the game.  David Ayers was the Carolina Hurricanes’ emergency goalie, who just so happens to be the Zamboni driver for the Toronto Maple Leafs affiliate team.  Ayers allowed two goals on 10 shots and helped Carolina to a 6-3 win.

The NHL and its fans suddenly realized carrying an extra goaltender may be a necessary change in next years’ board meetings.  Since the NHL cannot change the rules mid-season, they have allowed teams to carry as many goaltenders as they’d like heading into the upcoming playoffs.

The NHL has yet to announce the official statistics to end the 2019-2020 regular season.  David Pastrnak and Alexander Ovechkin are in line to share the Rocket Richard Trophy, awarded to the player(s) who lead the league in goals.  Just as important, Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak are in line to share the William M. Jennings Trophy for allowing the fewest goals against.  Rask and Halak are locked in for the first two goalie roster spots.  How many goalies do the Bruins carry, and who sits behind The Bruins’ tandem?

The American Hockey League canceled its season on May 11, 2020, which means the talent in the Bruins’ system is waiting for an opportunity to play competitive hockey again.  The Bruins have four goaltenders in Providence, all of whom have a contract with Boston: Dan Vladar, Maxime Legace, Kyle Keyser, and Jeremy Swayman.

Jeremy Swayman had an impeccable year in the Hockey East, earning him a final spot for the Hobey Baker Award as Division I’s best collegiate hockey player. Scott Perunovich ended up taking home that award, but Swayman did win the Mike Richter Award, an award given annually to Division I’s best goaltender.  He has chosen to forgo his senior year at the University of Maine and join the Providence Bruins for the upcoming season.  It is unlikely the Bruins select him to man the bench for the upcoming playoffs, considering he doesn’t have any professional experience yet.  However, his future is bright, and Bruins fans will hear his name quite soon.

Kyle Keyser split his 2019-2020 seasons between the Providence Bruins and the East Coast Hockey League Atlanta Gladiators.  The Gladiators are an affiliate of the Boston and Providence Bruins.  The 21-year-old Florida native appeared in six games for the Providence Bruins, sporting an unfortunate 1-4-1 record and a 3.21 goals-against average and only one game in Atlanta.  Before coming to the AHL and ECHL, Keyser was a stud in the Ontario Hockey League.  He improved his goals-against and save percentage in each of his three years.  He’s been highly touted by scouts and those who follow the OHL closely.

Similar to Swayman, it is unlikely the Bruins bring Keyser up for the 2019-2020 Stanley Cup playoffs given his lack of professional experience.  This leaves the last two goalies in their system, both of whom played for the Providence Bruins in 2019-2020.

Daniel Vladar was selected 75th overall in the 2015 NHL draft out of the United States Hockey League.  The 22-year-old Czech native has since spent his time between the Providence Bruins and the Atlanta Gladiators, which is a similar path to Keyser.  Vladar took a giant leap forward this past season with the Providence Bruins.  He led the entire American Hockey Leauge in goals-against and save percentage: 1.79 and .936, respectively.  He played in seven fewer games than Legace and sported a 14-7-1 record before the canceled season announcement.  When Tuukka injured himself this season, Vladar was the first goalie to be pulled up on an emergency basis.  He didn’t play an NHL game yet, but the call up shows the Bruins are comfortable with his ability to perform.  He would almost certainly be given the third goalie spot for the upcoming playoffs.  A little added bonus to Vladar is his impending contract negotiations this off-season.  He is entering this off-season as a restricted free agent.  If he received any playoff time (god forbid both Rask and Halak go down), he would be playing to show the Bruins he is capable of handling a more significant load.

Maxime Legace signed a 1-year, $700K deal last off-season with Boston.  He spent the previous six years between the Dallas Stars and the Vegas Golden Knights, only appearing in 17 NHL games for the Knights.  Don Sweeney, General Manager of the Boston Bruins, seemed to sign Legace as a filler while Keyser and Swayman play another year in their respective leagues.  Legace appeared in 33 games for the Bruins affiliate, ending the year with a 22-7-3 record as well as 2.37 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage.  Legace has NHL experience and is a likely option for the Bruins to carry in the event they want to carry four goalies on their roster.

The Bruins have a tough road to the Stanley Cup this year, given the new playoff structure.  Rask will be leaned on to replicate a similar performance to last year’s playoff.  If Halak is needed, he can hopefully replicate his regular-season performance as well.  If in the unfortunate event neither can play, the Bruins will have possibly two formidable backups ready to step in and further their professional careers.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 180 that we recorded below on 5-26-20! 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!