Bruins Call Up Hughes, Send Down Cehlarik

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Photo Courtesy Of NHL.com

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney announced this morning that the team has assigned forward Peter Cehlarik to Providence and recalled forward Cameron Hughes. Hughes has skated in 13 games for Providence this season, posting two goals and four assists for six points. Cehlarik has appeared in two games for Boston this season going scoreless and has appeared in seven games for Providence scoring six goals and adding four assists for ten points.

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Cehlarik has appeared in 39 career games at the NHL level, posting five goals and five assists for ten points. Cehlarik skated in 20 games with Boston last season, posting four goals and two assists for six points. The Zilina, Slovakia native was originally drafted by the Bruins in the third round (90th overall) of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.

Hughes appeared in 52 games for Providence last season, posting 13 goals and 15 assists for 28 points. Hughes also played four seasons at the University of Wisconsin, posting 23 goals and 69 assists for 92 points in 139 career games. The Edmonton, Alberta native was originally drafted by Boston in the sixth round (165th overall) of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.

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Hughes suffered a facial injury during the Prospects Tournament in training camp which cost him ice time during the preseason but did impress the coaching staff. With the recent spate of injuries the Bruins have had there’s a very strong chance that Hughes makes his NHL debut tonight against the Pittsburgh Penguins playing on the fourth line. It’ll be interesting to see what’s next for Cehlarik who has had a hard time sticking in Boston but has proved he belongs at the NHL level.

Bruins Place Krejci On IR, Recall Bjork

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Boston Bruins

Photo Courtesy Of NBC Sports Boston

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney announced on Tuesday morning that the team has placed forward David Krejci on injured reserve and recalled forward Anders Bjork from Providence on an emergency basis.

Krejci has recently been sidelined due to an upper-body injury suffered on October 14th against the Anaheim Ducks. The Bruins second line center has recorded just one assist in five games this season after matching his career high in points a year ago. Meanwhile, Bjork has appeared in seven games for Providence this season and leads the team in scoring with three goals and five assists for eight points.

Bjork, the Mequon, Wisconsin native was originally drafted by the Bruins in the fifth round (126th overall) of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. The young forward has appeared in 50 career games in the NHL, recording five goals and ten assists for 15 points. Unfortunately his previous two seasons have been cut short due to injury, but so far this season he’s shown tremendous growth and initiative and has greatly earned this recall. It’ll be interesting to see where Bjork slots into the lineup and he should make his season debut tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Bruins Post-Game Recap: Tampa Bay at Boston: 10/17/19

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Photo Courtesy Of NHL.com

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Pre-Game Notes

Home: Boston Bruins (5-1-0)

Away: Tampa Bay Lightning (3-2-1)

Arena: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

DeBrusk-Coyle-Ritchie

Heinen-Lindholm-Kuhlman

Nordstrom-Kuraly-Wagner

Defense

Chara-McAvoy

Krug-Carlo

Grzelcyk-Clifton

Goalies

Rask

Halak

Tampa Bay’s Lineup

Forwards

Stamkos-Point-Kucherov

Killorn-Cirelli-Joseph

Palat-Johnson-Gourde

Maroon-Verhaeghe-Witkowski

Defense

Hedman-Cernak

McDonagh-Shattenkirk

Coburn-Sergachev

Goalies

Vasilevskiy

McElhinney

First Period

The Bruins surrendered a few scoring chances in the opening moments as the Lightning looked ready to play from puck drop. Luckily for Boston, Tuukka Rask was on his game early, making a few saves in close. Brad Marchand nearly gave the B’s the early lead but hit the glove side post of Andrei Vasilevskiy less than three minutes into the game. The Bruins continued to have trouble getting their offensive game going as the Lightning dominated the early possession game. The B’s would get a power play opportunity as Mikhail Sergachev went to the box with 10:33 left in the period. David Pastrnak found the back of the net yet again just seconds into the man advantage to give the Bruins the lead.

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Sean Kuraly was called for hooking shortly after the goal, giving Tampa Bay a chance to tie the game. The B’s killed off the penalty without surrendering any significant scoring chances, keeping them in the lead. The Bruins seemed to gain some momentum after the man advantage, firing a couple shots on Vasilevskiy. Patrice Bergeron was called for slashing with under four minutes to go in the period, giving the Lightning another opportunity. The B’s killed off the penalty to Bergeron, surrendering a few shots on goal. Brayden Point got lost at the blue line and scored on a breakaway, barely beating the buzzer to tie the game.

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Score: Tied 1-1

Second Period

The B’s had some good early legs in the opening moments of the period and they got a few solid scoring chances. The Bruins picked up another power play opportunity as Carter Verhaeghe went to the box for tripping. The Lightning killed off the penalty and even got a shorthanded breakaway. The B’s would get yet another man advantage opportunity shortly after, as Yanni Gourde took an interference penalty. Bergeron gave the B’s the lead again off of a beautiful slap pass from Pastrnak on the power play.

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The Lightning evened it up quickly as Mathieu Joseph tapped in a rebound behind Rask to make it 2-2.

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The B’s and Lightning continued the trend of trading chances with both teams going end to end pretty consistently. The Bruins started to turn the puck over and get beat to the dirty areas as the Lightning started to surge late in the period. The Bruins picked up their fourth power play of the game as Karson Kuhlman drew a penalty with his great speed. The Lightning killed off the penalty as they got a few shorthanded opportunities.

Score: Tied 2-2

Third Period

Neither team came out with much jump to start the period as the game’s intensity began to pick up. The Bruins began to surge almost midway through the period, getting a number of chances in the offensive zone. Matt Grzelcyk was called for a penalty with 11:35 to play as the Lightning went to the power play looking to take the lead. The B’s killed it off as the Lightning failed to get any scoring chances. The Bruins continued to be the aggressor in the third period, getting multiple shifts with extended time in the attacking zone.

Kevin Shattenkirk gave the Lightning their first lead of the game with 4:47 to go with a quick shot through Rask.

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The Bruins would go to the man advantage less than a minute after the goal as Anthony Cirelli was called for tripping. Pastrnak tied the game on the power play after his shot was deflected into the net off of a Tampa Bay stick.

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Score: Tied 3-3

Overtime

Both teams had some spectacular chances including the Bruins hitting the goal post on a shot by Kuraly but neither team could find the back of the net and game went to a shootout.

Shootout

Steven Stamkos scored the only goal in the shootout and the Lightning handed the B’s their second loss of the season.

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Final Score: 4-3 Lightning

Three Stars Of The Game

First Star: Pastrnak. Another strong game from Number 88 continues his great start to the season, totaling two goals and an assist.

Second Star: Bergeron. The B’s top center recorded a power play strike and an assist.

Third Star: Rask. The Bruins goaltender kept the team in the game all night and made some huge saves especially in the third period and overtime.

Six Thoughts From The Bruins First Six Games

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Photo Courtesy Of WCVB Boston

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

It’s a good time to be a Bruins fan. The hometown team is 5-1-0 in their first six games of the 2019-20 campaign and look every bit the squad that came within a game of winning the Stanley Cup last season. The B’s began the season 3-0-0, their best start in nearly 20 years back when Joe Thornton was in black and gold. The team has earned 10 of a possible 12 points to open the season and lot of it is due to the superb goaltending combination of Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak. The B’s first line has picked up where it left off last season with all three players off to great starts including David Pastrnak who scored four times on Monday against the Anaheim Ducks. There have been a few interesting developments in the first few games of the season and below I’ll take a look at six storylines I’ve noticed in the B’s first six games.

Goaltending Has Been Phenomenal

As I previously mentioned, the Bruins goaltending has been the main reason the team is off to their best start in years. Rask and Halak have each started three games and have looked very strong and look every bit the part of the elite tandem they were a season ago. Rask has started the season especially strong after having his fair share of issues in the early parts of the last few years. He’s 3-0-0 with a sparkling .957 save percentage and a minuscule 1.33 goals against average. Halak, meanwhile has been just as good and has already made a seasons worth of spectacular saves especially in his first start of the year against the Arizona Coyotes, a 1-0 shutout victory. It’s very clear that yet again the B’s have another elite goaltending tandem that is showing no signs of slowing down.

Pastrnak Scoring In Bunches

As evidenced by his four goal outburst the other day, David Pastrnak is an elite goal scorer. At 23, Pastrnak seems to top himself every season and perhaps his next feat is 50 goals in a season. Despite not scoring in his first two games of the season, Pasta has found the net six times in his past four contests and is now tied for second in the entire league in goals scored. The great thing about Pastrnak‘s game is it seems to get better and better by the season and there’s no reason to expect anything less in 2019-20.

Second Period Woes

Unfortunately it’s not been all positive for the B’s to open the year as a familiar monster has reared its ugly head. A common theme for the team in the early going of the season has been second period struggles as the Bruins seem to lose momentum and not play with the same intensity. For whatever reason it’s been a common issue for the team under Bruce Cassidy which certainly isn’t a knock on the coach but it’s something that happens pretty consistently. One could argue the B’s are still in search of their first win playing a full 60 minutes.

Kuhlman Doesn’t Look Out Of Place

I’ll preface this by saying Karson Kuhlman is not the ideal fit on the Boston second line. However, I do believe he’s the best they can do at this point in time. Kuhlman’s energy is pretty clear watching the first few Bruins games of the season, the guy is always hunting the puck and making plays utilizing his straight line speed. Because of that speed, he’s gotten numerous scoring chances and unfortunately hasn’t found the back of the net yet but the ability is clearly there. The B’s second line has been off to a bit of a slow start but Kuhlman is certainly not the reason why.

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Krug Limiting Turnovers

I’ll probably get serious heat for this but I’ve noticed Torey Krug has been pretty good in his own end in the early part of the season. Now certainly he’s not perfect and has made some mistakes but often he’s in the right place at the right time. The Bruins entire defense group do a great job denying scoring chances with their sticks and this is an area Krug has greatly improved in. He may never be an elite defensive defenseman but Krug does do a lot of things especially in his own zone that often go unnoticed.

Scoring Depth Needed

Perhaps the B’s biggest strength can also be categorized as a weakness in a way. With how dominant the first line is, it often masks issues the team has in getting consistent scoring from other players. It’s pretty clear that this may be the case this season if this continues. The Bruins are counting on the likes of Jake DeBrusk, Kuhlman and Danton Heinen to provide consistent goal scoring especially five on five. It’s a great thing that the first line is so dominant but it remains to be seen whether the team can get goal scoring from other places.

Bruins Announce More Transactions

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Photo Courtesy Of NHL.com

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney announced on Tuesday afternoon that the team had assigned forward Peter Cehlarik and defenseman Jakub Zboril to Providence. Sweeney also announced that forward Joakim Nordstrom will start the season on IR. Cehlarik had recently cleared waivers yesterday.

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Cehlarik appeared in 20 regular season for the B’s last season, posting four goals and two assists for six points. Cehlarik also appeared in 53 regular season games for Providence last year, posting 12 goals and 26 assists for 38 points. He also appeared in four playoff games for Providence, scoring a goal. Zboril, the former first round pick of the B’s in 2015 appeared in two regular season games for the Bruins last year. He appeared in 56 games for Providence last season, recording four goals and 15 assists for 19 points. He also appeared in four postseason games, going scoreless.

Nordstrom signed with the Bruins in the summer of 2018 as a free agent. He appeared in 70 regular season games in Boston last year, posting seven goals and five assists for 12 points. The Stockholm, Sweden native appeared in 23 playoff games for the B’s last season recording three goals and five assists for eight points. These moves shouldn’t be a huge problem for the Bruins as the team has plenty of guys to step in for Nordstrom. There’s also a very good chance both Cehlarik and Zboril see time in Boston yet again this season.

Bruins Sign Carlo To New Contract

brandon-carlo

Photo Courtesy Of Getty Images

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney announced this morning that the team has signed defenseman Brandon Carlo to a two-year deal with approximately $2.85 million per season. The signing comes just two days after the B’s were able to come to terms with Charlie McAvoy. Carlo skated in 72 regular season games for the B’s last year, recording two goals and eight assists for ten points. He also appeared in all 24 postseason contests last spring, posting two goals and two assists.
 

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The Bruins drafted the Colorado Springs native in the second round (37th overall) of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. Carlo skated in all 82 regular season games for the B’s in his rookie year, posting six goals and ten assists for 16 points which are still career highs for the young defenseman. Due to injuries at the end of both of his first two seasons, Carlo didn’t appear in the postseason either of those years. Carlo spent seven games in 2015-16 with the Providence Bruins, recording an assist.

Carlo may not be the offensive force that Charlie McAvoy is but he is just as important to the team if not more. He has already cemented himself as one of the best young defensive defensemen in the entire league. Don’t be surprised if the B’s increase his ice time this season, and if all goes well he may contribute a little offense.

Bruins Ink McAvoy To New Deal

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Photo Courtesy Of The Boston Globe

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

First reported by Bob McKenzie of TSN, the Bruins have signed Charlie McAvoy to a three-year contract worth about $4.9 million dollars per season. McAvoy skated in 54 regular season games for the B’s last year, posting seven goals and 21 assists for 28 points. He also appeared in 23 postseason games last spring, posting two goals and six assists for eight points.

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In McAvoy’s rookie season in 2017-18 he posted seven goals and 25 assists for 32 points in 63 regular season games. He also posted a goal and four assists in 12 postseason contests. The 21-year-old also appeared in six playoff games in 2016-17, posting three assists in six games. In that year, McAvoy also appeared in four games in Providence, recording two assists. The Long Beach, New York native was drafted by the Bruins in the first round (14th overall) of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.

McAvoy will certainly be a big part of the Bruins future and perhaps the present as well. Number 73 should see increased ice time overall and on the power play and we could see a breakout season if he can stay healthy. Now with McAvoy locked up, the Bruins defense corps will be solid for years to come. Logically, signing Brandon Carlo would be next on the list for Don Sweeney.

Bruins Sign Bruce Cassidy To Extension

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Photo Courtesy Of Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney announced this morning, that the team has signed Head Coach Bruce Cassidy to a multi-year contract extension. Cassidy is about to start his third full season behind the B’s bench and has compiled a record of 117-52-22 since taking over for Claude Julien.

Cassidy already owns the fourth-best winning percentage in team history and is the second-fastest head coach in team history to reach 100 wins. In just his second full season in Boston, Cassidy led the B’s to a 49-24-9 regular season record and an appearance in the Stanley Cup Final. It was the second straight year the Bruins had topped 100 points and the third straight season the team had reached the playoffs under Cassidy.

 

Prior to joining Claude Julien’s staff in 2016-17, Cassidy spent five seasons (2011-2016) as the Head Coach of the Providence Bruins. He also spent three seasons (2008-2011) as an assistant to the hockey club. The 54-year old native of Ottawa, Ontario compiled a record of 207-128-45 in his tenure as Head Coach including four playoff berths. Since taking over for Claude Julien, Cassidy has been rock solid as Head Coach and has done a fantastic job in a very short span. It’s good to see the front office and the organization not only recognizes his work but rewards him for the success he’s had.

B’s Season Can Be Successful Without A Return Trip To Final

 

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Photo Courtesy Of NBC Sports Boston

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Ideally, when you start a season in any sport the goal is to win a championship. That’s what you work for, what you put in so much for and what you hope to be rewarded for. The Boston Bruins are no stranger to knowing what it takes to win a championship and how much sacrifice it takes. Oftentimes in the NHL, one team’s overall success is often defined by the championships they win because of the nature of the postseason and the level of sacrifice it takes. In a city like Boston, championships are expected this day in age and when a team comes so close to winning a title and doesn’t get it done, words like failure get brought up. In this case it’s fair to label losing Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final at home to be a failure because the Bruins lost to an inferior team and got blown out. As Boston fans, especially recently we expect our teams to win in those situations but sometimes it doesn’t work out and as much as it is hard, it’s what makes sports so captivating. Ideally, the Bruins are out for redemption this season as they look to finish the job, but even without a championship they can still have a successful season.

I’ll reiterate that ideally, the Bruins do want to raise the cup after coming so close about two and a half months ago but a championship doesn’t need to define their success for the upcoming season. Oftentimes we as Boston sports fan focus too much on winning championships that we lose track of a team’s progression. For example, when Bruce Cassidy took over for Claude Julien, the B’s were a team stuck in neutral and looking for a new direction. The Bruins had missed the playoffs for two straight seasons and were dangerously close to becoming a mediocre hockey club. Hiring Cassidy was the perfect medicine as he’s led the team to three consecutive playoff appearances including a Stanley Cup Final appearance. It’s not just the team that’s progressed so well, the front office has had a successful few years including really solid free agent acquisitions such as Riley Nash, Tim Schaller, and Chris Wagner. Don Sweeney has done a fabulous job drafting players like Jake DeBrusk, Charlie McAvoy, and Brandon Carlo who are now a big part of the B’s core.

There are certainly ways the B’s can have a successful season including the continued success of the young players and prospects and whether they’ll be a part of the team’s future. It’ll be exciting to keep track of players such as Jack Studnicka, Trent Frederic, and Urho Vaakanainen just to name a few. It’s not crazy to think a few of these players play meaningful games for the B’s this season. Another player to be excited about is Charlie Coyle. The Weymouth native was acquired by the Bruins prior to the trade deadline and paid huge dividends with a great playoff performance. Coyle is playing for a new contract perhaps in Boston and could give the front office an option should they decide to move on from a player like David Krejci.

There’s a very good chance the B’s don’t return to the Final this season and personally I believe people need to be ready for that reality. The Bruins got some serious help in the playoffs last season with both Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh being swept in the first round. This isn’t to discredit the B’s at all because making it to the Final is a great accomplishment no matter how you get it done. However, it’s hard to believe the Bruins won’t have to go through at least one of those teams next spring, so the expectation to get back to the Final may need to be tempered a little bit. There’s a reason why teams often don’t repeat as Cup champions or don’t even return to the Final the following season. Only seven teams since 1990 have returned to the Final the following season. Not to say the Bruins can’t do it because looking at their roster there isn’t a ton of changeover from last season but it certainly isn’t easy and history is not necessarily in their favor. 2019-2020 will be an exciting year for the Boston Bruins but they shouldn’t be judged solely on whether they return to the Stanley Cup Final.

Contract Year Could Mean Big Things For Bruins DeBrusk

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Photo Courtesy Of NHL.com

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

It’s been quite a two year ride for Jake DeBrusk. He’s seen a lot, from scoring a goal in his first career game to dominating his first playoff experience to losing on home ice in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. The former first round pick has excelled for the most part since his debut, putting together a rookie season of 16 goals and 27 assists for 43 points. DeBrusk performed above expectations and followed up his impressive regular season with an even better postseason. He posted numbers of six goals and two assists for eight points in just 12 playoff games. The young winger surprised everyone by performing so well, playing with an edge not typically seen in a rookie. His energy and excitement was unmatched in his first season that was full of great moments.

After having such a successful rookie season, the pressure was on DeBrusk to duplicate those numbers or perhaps go beyond that. After performing so well with virtually no expectations, DeBrusk struggled at certain points last year with expectations to improve on his rookie numbers. The crazy thing about it is, this happens in every sport after a player has a strong rookie season. The particular player is expected to perform the same or better despite considering their age and experience. It seemed like these expectations got to DeBrusk and caused him to go through some tough stretches. Ironically, Number 74 finished his second season with just one fewer point than the season before. DeBrusk posted 27 goals and 15 assists for 42 points, drastically improving his goal scoring total. DeBrusk also saw more time on the power play, especially on the top unit with players like Patrice Bergeron and Torey Krug.

DeBrusk then had an up and down postseason that ended with a Game 7 loss in the Stanley Cup Final. It was revealed after the series that the young winger had played through a concussion in the postseason and potentially could’ve been the reason why he didn’t seem to perform at the same level as did the year before. DeBrusk posted four goals and seven assists for 11 points in 24 postseason games which in terms of raw production was better than his first postseason but appearing in so many games perhaps should’ve had him produce more than he did. Obviously though playing through a concussion has serious effects on a player and perhaps DeBrusk was effected in a such way that it changed the way he played. With a player his age, using this past spring as a learning experience certainly would go a long way as he continues to grow as a professional.

DeBrusk will almost certainly come into training camp with something to prove after perhaps a less than stellar postseason. The good news is his place in the lineup likely won’t change barring something unforeseen such as an injury. DeBrusk will almost certainly start the season on David Krejci’s left wing and should continue to see time on that first power play unit. DeBrusk is certainly going to get a ton of scoring chances and it’s not unreasonable to think he could reach 30 goals. With this season being a contract year, expect DeBrusk to play with that energy we all saw in his first year. It’s been a bumpy ride for DeBrusk in his first two seasons but expect his best season yet in 2019-2020.