Bruins Prospect Jesse Gabrielle To Play In The 100th Memorial Cup

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PHOTO CREDITS: (dobberprospects.com

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

Considered the hardest trophy to win, the Memorial Cup began back in March of 1919, when it was known then as the OHA Memorial Cup. The name “Memorial” was given to the trophy to remember the fallen Canadian soldiers who sacrificed their lives in World War One. When the Canadian Junior Hockey system divided into “A” and “B” categories in 1971, it was given to the highest class of junior hockey players.

In 1972, the tournament adopted a round-robin style, as we typically see in international tournaments. The champions of the Western Hockey League (WHL), Ontario Hockey League (OHL), and Quebec Major Hockey League (QMJHL) play against the host team with the two best during the round-robin battling in the finals to determine the ‘Memorial Cup Champion’.

The 100th Annual MasterCard Memorial Cup begins this Friday, May 18th in Regina, Saskatchewan. Sixty teams had the entire season to get to this moment, but only these four teams will get the opportunity to play in the Memorial Cup.

WHL Champions – Swift Current Broncos

The Swift Current Broncos were considered a team that could possibly have a chance to win the WHL Championship at the beginning of the season, but were often held back from the Moose Jaw Warriors, the Saskatchewan team that most people expected to make it into the final. However, thanks to the massive trade deadline acquisition of Stuart Skinner, the Broncos finished second in the WHL standings, becoming a quick favorite to win it all.

The Edmonton Oilers prospect led the league with six shutouts during the playoffs, captain Glenn Gawdin led the team in points during both the season and the playoffs. Not to mention having the WHL Coach of the Year Manny Viveiros behind the bench, controlling the team’s on ice performance. The Broncos set a Western Hockey League record for most playoff game played in one season (26) after back-to-back game seven series in the first two rounds, following with two consecutive game six wins to take home the WHL Championship.

This will be the third time the organazation will play in the Memorial Cup tournament, winning it back in 1989 in Saskatoon. The only other appearance for the Broncos was back in 1993.

OHL Champions – Hamilton Bulldogs

It’s fairly safe to say that this is uncharted territory for the new Hamilton Bulldogs. After being re-located back to Hamilton, Ontario following a 35-year run in Belleville as the Belleville Bulls, the Bulldogs became an Ontario Hockey League franchise in the 2015-16 season.

In the first season as the Hamilton Bulldogs, they missed the playoffs with a 25-35-8 record. With a quick turnaround the next season, the Bulldogs managed to squeak their way into a playoff berth, finishing the 2016-17 season with a 33-27-8 record, good for fourth in the East. Even with the improvement, the Bulldogs would lose in the first round to the Kingston Frontenacs in six games. The defeat would not slow them down heading into this past regular season.

During the 2017-18 season, the Hamilton Bulldogs finished with the second-best record in the OHL, with a 43-18-7 record. This would lead the team to a solid postseason run. Hamilton would knock off the Ottawa 67s, Niagara Ice Dogs, and the Kingston Frontenacs (rematch of the year prior) all in five games. The dominant playoff success would eventually give OHL fans what they wanted to see from the beginning – Hamilton vs the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, the best team during the regular season. With near ease, the Bulldogs would eliminate the Greyhounds in only six games, winning Game Six by a score of 5-4 on home ice.

This will be the first ever appearance in the Memorial Cup for the Hamilton Bulldogs.

QMJHL Champions – Acadie-Bathurst Titan

After a disappointing second-round exit in the 2016-17 QMJHL playoffs to the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, the Acadie-Bathurst Titan would come back with a vengenace in the 2017-18 regular season. Coming off a 39-23-6 record (6th in the league) for the ’16/’17 campaign, the Titan would win 43 of the 68 QMJHL games this past season, finishing second in the year-end league standings. They only trailed one team – the team who beat them in the previous playoffs, the Blainville-Boisbriand Armanda.

This little rivalry would grow even more as both the Titan and Armanda would meet once again in the QMJHL finals. Before this, however, the Titan would defeat the Chicoutimi Saguenéens in six games, sweep the Sherbrooke Pheonix, and complete another sweep in the semi-finals against the Victoriaville Tigres.

Following a Game One loss, the Titan would come out victorious in Games Two, Three, Five, and Six to eliminate Blainville-Boisbriand and win the QMJHL Championship. Throughout the season and the playoffs, defence has clearly been the top strength for the Titan. Their backend is filled with older CHL players who have more experience.

Host Team – Regina Pats

The Pats are only in the Memorial Cup because they are the CHL team that is hosting the tournament. Back in 2017, it was announced that Regina, Saskatchewan would host the event, beating out Hamilton, Ontario and Oshawa, Ontario. The Pats are the league’s oldest franchise, with play dating back to 1917. Regina has appeared in a record 16 Memorial Cup tournaments and also have appeared in the most Memorial Cup finals (13). The franchise has won the trophy on four occasions – 1925, 1928, 1930, and 1974.

This year, the Pats finished the league with the seventh-best record (40-25-7), good for a playoff berth in the WHL postseason. However, the run to a WHL championship would end abruptly, losing in seven games to the eventual WHL Champion, the Swift Current Broncos. The loss stung a bit more than usual for the Pats. They took Game Six on home ice by a whopping score of 7-3, only to lose in Swift Current, 4-3 in the final Game Seven.

While the Regina Pats seem like just another CHL team in the 100th Memorial Cup, they actually have some connections to the current Boston Bruins – prospect Jesse Gabrielle.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Keith Hershmiller)

Jesse Gabrielle was the Boston Bruins’ 105th overall draft selection (4th Round) in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. The 6’0″ 205-pound, Moosomin, Saskatchewan native impressed Boston scouts enough with a 25-point season in 33 games the year before his draft with Brandon Wheat Kings, and another 19 points in 33 games with the Regina Pats also in the 2014-15 season.

It wasn’t until after he was drafted that he impressed in the WHL. With the Prince George Cougars in the 2015-16 season, Gabrielle scored 40 goals and added 35 assists for a 75-point year in only 72 games played. Then again in the 2016-17 campaign, he would finish with 35-29-64 totals in 61 games along with a +17 rating.

The solid two seasons with the Cougars would pay off, as Gabrielle began his 2017-2018 season with the AHL’s Providence Bruins. However, due to poor attitude in the locker room, he would be healthy scratches in many games, causing him to only play in 21 games last season with the Boston affiliate team. In that span, he would struggle – only one goal and four points.

In January of 2018, the Boston Bruins announced that they would send down Gabrielle to the Western Hockey League. Just days before, Gabrielle was traded from the Prince George Cougars to the Regina Pats, who wanted Jesse for their Memorial Cup run.

Gabrielle would play in 27 regular season games with the team, producing 13-6-19 totals in that span. The move added scoring depth to the Pats, something they wanted heading into the playoffs. Unfortunately for Regina and Gabrielle, he would sustain an injury in the final weekend. Jesse would be a scratch for the Pats in Game One of the playoffs against the Broncos.

Gabrielle would get to play two games in the first round, his first coming in Game Three. Gabrielle was held off of the scoresheet, in a 4-1 loss. Gabrielle would not be slotted into the Pats’ linup for the next three games, but would indeed make his second appearance in the 2018 WHL Playoffs in Game Seven, where he again failed to tally a point and only landed a single shot on the net.

Clearly, Regina was eliminated in the first round in that Game Seven, which is the main cause of Swift Current winning the WHL Championship and earning their spot in the 100th Memorial Cup. Jesse Gabrielle has had since April 2nd to recover from the injury that was hindering his playing time in the WHL Playoffs.

Still, there are rumours around Twitter that Gabrielle may still be on the Pats’ injury list, but according to numerous podcasts across the hockey community, Gabrielle is expected to play in the tournament and is also expected to play a big role in a possible successful result for the Regina Pats.

It is very possible this Tweet is not true, but it is a good idea to consider the possiblity of Gabrielle not playing.

A strong Memorial Cup (if he does play) could bring him back on the Providence Bruins roster for the 2018-2019 regular season. This is a big opportunity for Jesse to get back into the position he was once in just a short time ago.

The action begins this Friday as the Regina Pats take on the Hamilton Bulldogs at 8:00pm Regina (Central) time. On Saturday, the Acadie-Bathurst Titan will play the Swift Current Broncos at 2:00pm Central time. The six round-robin games will come to an end on Wednesday, May 23rd with a tie-breaker game (if required) on Thursday, May 24th. As of May 17th, the Final for the 2018 Memoral Cup will be on Sunday, May 27th at 5:00pm Central time.

 

 

Bruins Injury Report: Post-Playoff Run

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

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

As with every playoff run in the National Hockey League, injuries become one of the biggest issues with a team and it is usually how well the rest of the team can handle the injury and how deep that team is offensively and defensively that determines if they can remain good in the playoffs.

Going back to the beginning of the 2017-2018 regular season, the Boston Bruins dealt with injuries after injuries. In fact, the injury bug lasted to the end of the season and into the playoffs. However, most of the time, when a player is injured in the playoffs, they push through the pain and play in hopes of assisting their team to the next round.

Today, the Boston Bruins cleaned out their lockers at Warrior Ice Arena and talked to the media about numerous topics including the one everyone wants to know about – the injuries.

So, according to Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins on Twitter) here is the updated Bruin Injury Report as of 1:00pm EST.

F Brad Marchand – dealt with groin injury for final 6-7 games of postseason, surgery no required.

F Riley Nash – concussion symptoms following a puck to the ear late in the season

D Zdeno Chara – upper-body injury throughout the playoffs, no word on what exactly it is

F Jake DeBrusk – AC joint sprain (shoulder), suffered in Round Two vs Tampa Bay

F Patrice Bergeron – Missed Game 4 vs Toronto due to concussion-like symptoms, had groin injury as well

D Torey Krug – fractured ankle, no surgery required, will wear boot for two months

Defenceman Brandon Carlo attended the media day this morning as well, giving a positive update on his broken ankle that he suffered back in March.

Carlo said that his ankle feels fantastic as of today and fully expects to make it for training camp later in the off-season. He predicts to be walking once again on the foot within the coming week.

Clearly, you cannot blame the injuries as to why the Boston Bruins were eliminated in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals, but it could have played some sort of role in the downfall of the second-best team in the Eastern Conference during the regular season.

No doubt about it, the Bruins lacked 5-on-5 goal scoring in the series against the Tampa Bay Lightning, relying fully on their strong power play to lead them into the Conference Finals, which evidently did not play in Boston’s favor, losing in Game Five.

To have Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and Jake DeBrusk dealing with injuries, it slowed down the production that we saw so vividly in the Conference Quarter-Finals against the Maple Leafs. Boston needed the depth of the third and fourth lines, a strength that they succeeded with throughout the season. Against Tampa, however, the bottom-six was not there to add additional scoring for the team, also adding to the loss.

Either way, the Bruins now have a few months to fully heal up and get ready for the 2018-2019 regular season in this upcoming October.

 

Pastrnak & Krejci To Represent The Bruins At World Championships

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

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

As announced earlier today by Josef Jandac (head coach for the Czech Republic), the Boston Bruins will have at least two players representing the team in the 2018 IIHF World Championships – David Pastrnak and David Krejci.

The move comes after the NHL team was eliminated in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals in five games. Both Pastrnak and Krejci will reportedly also play on the same line, most likely the first line, for the remainder of the tournament.

David Pastrnak just finished a career season with the Bruins. In all 82 games of the 2017/18 season, Pastrnak set a career-high in goals, assists, and points with 35-45-80 totals along with a +10 rating. The 21-year-old also had a great playoff run, even given the short amount of time.

In twelve games, Pastrnak scored six goals and assisted on fourteen others to bring his point total to twenty. In Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals against the Toronto Maple Leafs, David Pastrnak broke Wayne Gretzky’s record for youngest player to score six points in a single playoff game.

When it comes to international play at the NHL level, Pastrnak has appeared in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey for Team Czech Republic, where he went scoreless in the three games played as well as most recently in the 2017 IIHF World Championships, finishing the eight games with one goal and six assists for seven points in the tournament.

For David Krejci, he is coming off of a 44-point campaign, (17 goals, 27 assists), in 64 games played. Krejci dealt with numerous injuries over the course of the season that led to him missing eighteen games for the Bruins.

In the playoffs, Krejci put up 3-7-10 totals in the twelve postseason games, finishing with a -4 rating and a 44.7% faceoff percentage as well.

According to 98.5 The Sports Hub, this will be the first time since the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia that Krejci has suited up on an international stage. During the 2014 Olympics, Krejci put up 1-2-3 totals in five games.

The two will join a Czech Republic team that currently sits in the fourth spot of the Group A standings, headed into a game against the Russians this Thursday, May 10th. The Czechs are yet to win a regulation game in the first three games, but still have four more preliminary games left to play.

It is quite possible that more Bruins announce their availability to play in the World Championships in Denmark this year, as the team will meet with the media at Warrior Ice Arena according to 98.5 The Sports Hub once again.

 

 

 

Boston Bruins: You Win or You Learn

 

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PHOTO CREDITS: (si.com)

 

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

The Boston Bruins have been eliminated in five games in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

As much as it pains to see the team that we have followed ever so closely throughout this past season play their final game until October, there are so many positives to look at, especially the experience that the youth of this team earned.

Eight players under the age of 26 played in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the Bruins during the twelve playoff games, (Noel Acciari, Jake DeBrusk, Ryan Donato, Matt Grzelcyk, Danton Heinen, Sean Kuraly, Charlie McAvoy, and David Pastrnak).

The roster of youth that was brought ever since the hiring of Bruce Cassidy has evolved into the contender that we became. Was it experience, or lack thereof, that cost Boston a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals? I don’t believe so. In fact, the best players that showed up were some of those young guys.

Jake DeBrusk and David Pastrnak stole the show from the Toronto Maple Leafs while Charlie McAvoy played a solid Game Five against Tampa Bay, even in a loss. Matt Grzelcyk and Sean Kuraly also played crucial roles for the team, especially Grzelcyk who had to perform at a higher level due to the absence of Brandon Carlo and eventually Torey Krug.

NHL: New York Islanders at Boston Bruins

PHOTO CREDITS: (nbcsports.com)

Even players like Danton Heinen, Noel Acciari, and Ryan Donato who finished the postseason with three points combined, played some decent hockey in the short time. Ryan Donato faced criticism along with very high praise to somehow still earn some second-line minutes and managed to produce some quality scoring chances, even though he did not end up recording a single point.

Not to mention, the Bruins are still filled with solid prospects that can play in the future for the team. Brandon Carlo has been a key defenceman for the team, taking a lot of the stress from captain Zdeno Chara on that Bruins blueline. With that said, Carlo is yet to play a single playoff game in the National Hockey League, dealing with injuries during both the 2016/17 playoffs and the 2017/18 playoffs.

Anders Bjork played thirty games for the organization over the course of the season, before falling to an upper-body injury (shoulder surgery) back in January of 2018. Headed into the future, Bjork may become an important player when it comes to left-winger depth.

Not to mention the Providence Bruins, who even in a First-Round exit in the Calder Cup Playoffs, still had some good things to note, including starting goaltender, Zane McIntyre who helped lead the P-Bruins to the playoffs with a 26-15-4 record throughout the season.

Even in the first round loss, Providence forward, Austin Czarnik tallied six points (two goals) in the four games as well as a +4 rating, not to mention the 25-44-69 totals in 64 games that the 25-year-old Czarnik had this past regular season. Providence holds many other players within the organization that could one day make it onto the NHL team.

Even further in the system, Boston is packed with solid prospects for the future. So, clearly the Boston Bruins did not win in the 2017-2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs, so, what exactly did they learn?

Well, the young players like the ones previously mentioned now have the experience of the intense pressure felt in elimination games. The beauty of losing in the second round is the younger players get to feel what it is like to win a tight series, but at the same time, the pain of losing in a playoff series has hit them all.

An argument is there that the Boston Bruins managed to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game Seven of their Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals because of the game that rookie Jake DeBrusk had. The two goals, including the eventual game-winning goal, pushed the B’s to a series win.

Obviously following the huge win on home ice, the team would feel the disappointment of a Round Two exit in the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Although, the experience of losing to the Lightning made the young players realize how much losing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs hurts, and hopefully, it will motivate these future Bruins to excel for years to come.

 

 

Boston Bruins Game Recap: ECSF Game 4 – 05/04/18

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)

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

BEFORE PUCK DROP

Lineup News

Bruins forward Ryan Donato will make his series debut on Friday in Boston according to Head Coach Bruce Cassidy. Who he will play with is not yet determined. Donato played one game against the Maple Leafs, finishing with three shots on goal and a -1 rating.

Practice Lines

Warmup Line Rushes

Both Tommy Wingels and Riley Nash are expected to not play in Game Four while Brian Gionta will make his playoff debut this season on the right side with Sean Kuraly and Ryan Donato.

What Needs To Happen

Following two consecutive losses in Games Two and Three, the Bruins are now down in the playoffs for the first time during the course of this postseason. The Bruins struggled to score on their home ice, scoring only once in a 4-1 loss, which came after they trailed 2-0. Clearly, the offense will need to show up if Boston wants to return to Tampa with a tied series, rather than a 3-1 series deficit.

Period One

Following a decent start for the Bruins including some chances in the offensive zone, Lightning forward Brayden Point takes a Bruin neutral zone turnover to dance around Chara while driving to the net, scoring on Rask. A tough goal against as it comes only 4:36 into the game.

Following the Point tally, the Bruins continued to make bad breakouts, leading to a bad tripping penalty by Rick Nash. On the delayed call, the B’s left Brayden Point open once again, leading to a 2-on-1 with Steven Stamkos, who just fired the puck high of the net.

On the penalty-kill, captain Zdeno Chara attempted a clear, but the puck went up and over the glass, leading to a delay-of-game penalty. Once the 5-on-3 was killed off, the Lightning utilized the umbrella system to a tee, which eventually led to the one-timer from Nikita Kucherov who finally scored his first of the series.

Boston was granted with their sixth power play of the series and first of the game thanks to a tripping minor by Tampa Bay forward Yanni Gourde. However, after some good puck movement and shots, the Bruins would not convert on the man-advantage, a lost opportunity for the Bruins to cut into the lead over halfway through the period.

Then, with 4:32 left to trail in the period, on a second straight power play, David Pastrnak would slap a rebound past Vasilevskiy, making it only a 2-1 game. That would be Pastrnak’s twentieth point of the playoffs.

Not much else took place in the remaining time, Tampa Bay leads 2-1 after one.

Shots: TBL 11 – BOS 9

Hits: TBL 13 – BOS 12

Period Two

Only 42 seconds into the second period, the Lightning take their third penalty in the game. With a chance to tie the game at two, Patrice Bergeron buries a one-timer from a beautiful feed down low by Torey Krug, tying it at 2-2.

Less than a minute after the tying goal, Boston gets caught defensively, leading to a breakaway by Steven Stamkos. However, Tuukka Rask would make a stellar glove save, most likely his best save of the postseason. Both the goal and save caused the crowd in Boston to get loud, something needed in these desperation home games.

Just to grow the fire in the Garden, Charlie McAvoy lays out Ondrej Palat along the boards, erupting the fans.

The Bruins continued to ignite the TD Garden with massive hits along the boards and in open ice, including several by Zdeno Chara and Charlie McAvoy. D-man Adam McQuaid would get nailed in the offensive zone as he attempted to pinch, leading to a scuffle between both teams. Brad Marchand, involved in the mess, appears to lick Ryan Callahan. I guess he has to lick one person in each and every series this year.

Boston would extend the chances in the second period in what is quite possibly the best hockey we have seen by Boston in this series. Tampa has struggled to get out of their own zone, while Boston is doing great in all zones. Rask has needed to make some crucial saves, which to his credit, he has done a great job of doing so.

The only real negative in the period was a questionable hit by Brad Marchand. Marchand bent down to hit Ryan Callahan near the knees, a play that was unneeded as a shoulder-to-shoulder hit would have sufficed.

At that, the period would come to a close. Some strong play for every line, especially the bottom-six. The second period was often in the Tampa Bay zone, leading to very few offensive zone faceoffs for the Bolts.

Another twenty minutes of this for the Boston Bruins and we could very be headed back to Florida with a tied series.

The score is tied 2-2 after forty minutes.

Shots: BOS 23 – TBL 15 (14-4 BOS in 2nd Period)

Hits: TBL 24 – BOS 23 (11-11 in 2nd Period)

Period Three

Roughly five minutes into the final period, Bruins are called on a weak penalty, but the call ended up helping the Bruins, as an exhausted Brad Marchand fed the puck towards the net, allowing Patrice Bergeron to deflect the puck top shelf, past Vasilevskiy, giving Boston the 3-2 lead.

Not long after the goal, while on the same penalty kill, Zdeno Chara would level Tyler Johnson in the defensive zone with a clean, solid hit. In retaliation, Johnson would hook Chara where the sun does not shine, an obvious penalty.

Tampa would, however, be able to successfully kill the penalty off, bringing the game back to 5-on-5 with less than ten minutes left on the scoreboard.

As the intensity increased, Torey Krug went into the boards very awkwardly as he was racing for the puck, with Alex Killorn right behind him. Krug did the splits and his ankles bent in an odd way. He limped off of the ice and headed down the tunnel.

After the earlier hooking call against the Bruins, Kucherov looked to hook McAvoy behind Tuukka Rask, who ended up falling to the ice and turning the puck over. Somehow, Steven Stamkos would be fed the puck by J.T. Miller in the slot, scoring the one-timer. 3-3 with 6:26 to go.

Back and forth action would lead us to the end of the game. Before that though, some good zone possession from the Bruins, only for Kevan Miller to fan on the puck on the blueline. Nikita Kucherov would race down the ice, but some great defense by Matt Grzelcyk would prevent the shot.

Torey Krug would not return to the game in the third-period, no word on the extent of his injury at this point.

Boston’s play in the third was far inferior to the second period. 3-3 after 60 minutes means overtime for the first time in Boston’s playoff year.

Shots: BOS 30 – TBL 26 (11-7 TBL in the 3rd Period)

Hits: TBL 32 – BOS 30 (8-7 TBL in the 3rd Period)

Overtime 

Just prior to the beginning of the first overtime session, the Boston Bruins announced that defenceman Torey Krug will not return to the game due to the lower-body injury sustained in the third period.

Boston opened up overtime with a great shift by the DeBrusk-Krejci-Rick Nash line, but no such luck when it comes to winning the game.

However, not even four minutes into the overtime, Tampa Bay’s Dan Girardi scores the game-winning goal. Brian Gionta standing right beside Girardi.

The second loss at home for the Bruins, now down 3-1 in the series, headed back to Tampa.

Shots: BOS 32 – TBL 28 (2-2 in OT)

Hits: 33 TBL – 30 BOS (1-0 TBL in OT)

Max’s Three Stars:

1st Star: TBL D Dan Girardi – OT Winner

2nd Star: BOS F Patrice Bergeron – 2 Goals, 73% faceoffs

3rd Star: BOS D Torey Krug – 2 Assists

A real heartbreaker for a team who played so well in the second period, but the focus needs to turn to Game Five, possibly the last game of the 2017-18 season.

Game Five is scheduled for Sunday, May 6th in Tampa, Florida. Current puck drop time is 3:00pm EST.

Bruins To Play Two Preseason Games In China

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

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

In an attempt to grow the sport of hockey across the globe, the National Hockey League announced their plan to have two preseason games between the Boston Bruins and Calgary Flames in China.

The first of the two meetings in China will take place on September 15th at the Shenzhen Universiade Sports Center in Shenzhen, China. A few days later, the two teams will play another game at the Cadillac Arena in Beijing.

This is not the first time that the National Hockey League has had games in China. Last season, the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks played two preseason games in the country which were held in Shanghai and Beijing. The Kings won both of the games.

For the Bruins, while this will be the first time that they will play an NHL hockey game in China, they have participated in numerous hockey camps for the Chinese youth back in the Summer of 2016 and 2017.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (nhl.com)

Of course, the Boston Bruins organization is honoured to be headed back to the over 1.3 billion people of China, as they shared in their tweet earlier today.

However, according to Flames reporter, Kristen Anderson (@KdotAnderson on Twitter), Flames’ forward Sean Monahan has a personal fear of flying on planes, so the nearly twelve-hour flight to China will be a challenge.

Along with the two games, both the Bruins and the Flames will host a set of camps and fan interaction events during the time that they are in China. During the event last year with the Canucks and Kings, fans were taught some of the basics that hockey has to offer. Including how to hold a stick, passing, and even shooting the puck around.

The National Hockey League is also making more of an effort to visit China and promote the game due to the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, where the first ever Chinese-born player to be drafted, Andong Song, was selected by the New York Islanders in the sixth-round.

Further information on the O.R.G. 2018 NHL China Games, such as broadcasting and tickets, will be announced by the NHL at a later date.

 

Riley Nash Deserves A Pay Raise

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PHOTO CREDITS: (cbsboston.com)

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

One of the most underappreciated players on the Boston Bruins this season is without question Riley Nash. For a player of his current salary ($900,000 AAV), Nash has a two-way game that excels when needed the most.

As according to @bruinscapspace on Twitter, Riley Nash’s contract expires on July 1st and if it was up to me, he would be staying on the team heading into the 2018-19 season.

Riley Nash joined the Boston Bruins back on July 1st, 2016 – the first day of free agency.

The signing with the Bruins meant that Riley Nash would be playing for an NHL franchise not named the Carolina Hurricanes. Since being drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft in the first round, (21st overall), Nash played in three different leagues before finding his home in the National Hockey League.

The 28-year-old was tossed around the league even before he was officially drafted. On two different occasions, Nash’s draft rights were traded from the Dallas Stars to the Phoenix Coyotes and then again a few months later, one day before the ’07 draft, the Coyotes moved Riley’s draft rights to the Edmonton Oilers, who as we know, selected him 21st overall.

Even though Nash was drafted by the Oilers in 2007, he would not experience NHL hockey until the 2011-2012 regular season. Prior to that, he played in the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) for three seasons with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. Following an impressive 38-46-84 season in only 55 games played, Nash would sign with Cornell University in the NCAA.

Following three near-identical seasons with Cornell University (32 points, 35 points, and 35 points), Riley Nash would be traded from the Edmonton Oilers (Edmonton still owned his rights from drafting him) to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for a 2nd round selection in the 2010 NHL Draft which later became D Martin Marincin.

The trade to Carolina would give Riley Nash that big break he so desperately needed. Although he only skated in five NHL games throughout the 2011-2012 season, Nash would be given the chance to show off in the 2012-2013 regular season, playing 32 games, producing nine points during the time frame.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images)

The remainder of Riley Nash’s career in Carolina would be highlighted with an 8-17-25 season back in 2014-15. The performance earned him a one-year, $1,150,000 contract with the Hurricanes. However, Nash would not be able to match the point total but would improve his plus/minus stat to a -5 rating from a -10 rating.

The Hurricanes felt that they didn’t need the services of Riley Nash any longer, leaving him to the free agent market, where of course, the Bruins signed him. Boston would give Nash his second-highest yearly salary, a two-year deal with an annual average salary of $900,000.

In his very first season with Spoked B on his chest, Nash would skate in 81 games, a career-high. Right off the bat, Riley’s two-way game awarded him with a promotion to the first line, replacing David Pastrnak who was dealing with an injury. Although the move only lasted a single game, it showed that management had trust in Nash.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (rotoworld.com)

Not expected to be a point producer, Riley Nash finished the 2015-2016 campaign with 7-10-17 totals along with a -1 rating.

Still, Nash was just another bottom-six forward with a decent two-way game. However, this past season, Riley Nash would be noticed on the ice more by Bruins fans and management. On December 27th, 2017, Nash would strike twice along with an assist in a 5-1 win over the Ottawa Senators. Later on in early-January, Riley would have a mini point streak, four points in five games. Nash would do the same later in the month, putting up three points in four games, including a big goal against the Montreal Canadiens.

The success for Nash would continue into February, scoring three goals and an assist in four games, hitting the ten-goal milestone for the first time in his young NHL career. Slowly but surely, Riley Nash would surprise people with his efforts on both ends of the ice. Head coach Bruce Cassidy would say the following about Nash back on March 1st after he scored a goal and an assist. Quote according to Boston Herald.

“He did his best Bergy (Tuesday) night,” Cassidy said. “He did a job, he defended well but he wasn’t on the ice with those two when he scored. He did a good job with them but he is not going to be Bergy every shift, every night, but he was one of our better players.”

As reported by Matt Kalman of CBS Boston, Nash stepped in for the injured Bergeron. In seven games, Nash had eight points (three goals and five assists) and helped the Bruins to a 6-1-0 record in the games without Patrice Bergeron in the lineup.

The play would continue for the remainder of the season, easily surpassing his career-high in goals, assists, and points. Even with a shortened 76 games on ice, Nash had 15-26-41 totals with a +16 rating. Another impressive stat for Nash this season was the ratio of takeaways to giveaways. Throughout the course of the ’17/’18 season, Riley Nash had 55 recorded takeaways and only 14 giveaways.

Along with that, Riley won 459 faceoffs, finishing with an average of 48.4% on the draw. For one last impressive stat for a bottom-six player, Nash finished the season with a shooting percentage of 13.3%, good for sixth-best on the team.*

Now, the title of this article states that Riley Nash should get a pay raise for the upcoming season, whether that is with the Bruins or another NHL franchise. With the talk of possible contracts, it is common to compare a similar player who recently earned a contract. Former Bruin, Ryan Spooner, earned a one-year, $2.85 million contract with Boston back in July of 2017.

Although Spooner did not have the defensive talent that Nash possesses, he does have offensive talent that you could argue is greater than Nash. There is an argument somewhere that the two may balance each other out.

Prediction

So, in a final conclusion, I will make my contract prediction as of April 30th. Riley Nash will re-sign with the Boston Bruins on a two-year, $6 million deal ($3 million AAV) come July 1st, 2018.

This leaves it to you BNG fans, do the Boston Bruins bring back Riley Nash for the upcoming 2018-2019 regular season and if so, what are the details of the contract. Let’s play some armchair GM. Tweet at me @tkdmaxbjj. 

*With a minimum of sixty games played.

Bruins/Lightning – 2018 Playoff Preview Round Two

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Matt Stone)

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

For the first time in a long four years, the Boston Bruins are returning to the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals.

With three opportunities to eliminate the Toronto Maple Leafs, the B’s capitalized in the final game with a 7-4 victory on home ice to defeat the Maple Leafs in Round One of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Boston had some huge help from Danton Heinen, Patrice Bergeron, Torey Krug, David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, and of course two massive goals from Jake DeBrusk, including the game-winning goal in the third period.

With the series win, the Boston Bruins now have a two-day break before starting Round Two against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Season Series – Four Games

Throughout the regular season, the Boston Bruins played the Lightning on four different occasions, finishing with a record of 3-1-0 in that span. With a total of ten goals for and eight against, the season matchup between the Bolts and the B’s was entertaining nonetheless.

Both teams battled near the end of the 2017-18 season to see who finished atop the Eastern Conference, but as we know, Tampa Bay did end up gaining enough points to secure the top spot and guarantee an opening series against the New Jersey Devils. While at the same time, the Bruins faced the Maple Leafs, which we, of course, saw conclude Wednesday night in Boston.

Boston’s three wins during the season came consecutively on November 29th, March 17th, and March 29th, while the Lightning took home their sole win over the Bruins earlier this month, on April 3rd.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

In each game prior to April 3rd, Boston played a good all-around game. Scores in the wins were 3-2, 3-0, and 4-2 while losing 4-0 on the 3rd.

INDIVIDUAL STATS (Regular Season):

Boston Bruins Leading Scorers:

F David Pastrnak – 82GP – 35G – 45A – 80PTS

F Brad Marchand – 68GP – 34G – 51A – 85PTS

F Brad Marchand* – 68GP – 34G – 51A – 85PTS

New Jersey Devils v Boston Bruins

PHOTO CREDITS: (Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

*Marchand led Bruins in regular season assists and points.

Goaltenders:

Tuukka Rask – 54 GP 34 W – 14 L – 5 OTL – 2.36 GAA – .917 SV%

Anton Khudobin – 31 GP – 16 W – 6 L – 7 OTL – 2.56 GAA – 9.13 SV%

Tampa Bay Lightning Leading Scorers:

F Nikita Kucherov** – 80GP – 39G 61A100P

F Steven Stamkos – 78GP – 27G – 59A – 86P

F Brayden Point – 82GP – 32G – 34A – 66P

**Kucherov led Lightning in regular season goals, assists, and points.

Goaltenders: 

Andrei Vasilevskiy – 65GP 44 W – 17 L – 3 OTL – 2.62 GAA – .919 SV%

Louis Domingue – 12GP 7 W – 3 L – 1 OTL – 2.89 GAA – .914 SV%

 

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PHOTO CREDITS: (nhl.com)

 

TEAM STATS (Regular Season)

Offensive Stats for Boston Bruins :

Goals For Per Game – 3.26 (6th in NHL)

Powerplay Percentage –  23.6% (4th in NHL)

Shots/GP –  33 (9th in NHL)

Even Strength Goals – 197 (6th in NHL)

Powerplay Goals – 61 (5th in NHL)

Offensive Stats for Tampa Bay Lightning:

Goals For Per Game – 3.54 (1st in NHL)

Powerplay Percentage – 23.9% (3rd in NHL)

Shots/GP – 32.8 (11th in NHL)

Even Strength Goals – 214 (1st in NHL)

Powerplay Goals – 66 (2nd in NHL)

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PHOTO CREDITS: (nhl.com)

Defensive Stats for Boston Bruins:

Goals Against Per Game – 2.57 (4th in NHL)

Penalty-Kill Percentage – 83.6% (3rd best in NHL)

Shots Against/GP – 29.3 (2nd Least in NHL)

Even-Strength Goals Against – 161 (6th Least in NHL)

Defensive Stats for Tampa Bay Lightning:

Goals Against Per Game – 2.85 (13th in NHL)

Penalty-Kill Percentage – 76.1% (28th in NHL)

Shots Against/GP – 32.7 (10th in NHL)

Even-Strength Goals Against – 167 (8th Least in NHL)

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS (First Round of Playoffs)

Boston Bruins Leading Scorers:

F Jake DeBrusk – 7GP – 5G – 2A – 7P

F David Pastrnak – 7GP – 5G – 8A 13P

F David Pastrnak*** – 7GP – 5G – 8A 13P

***Pastrnak leads in assists and points.

Tampa Bay Lightning Leading Scorers:

F Nikita Kucherov**** – 5GP – 5G – 5A – 10P

F Steven Stamkos – 5GP – 1G – 5A– 6P

****Kucherov leads in goals and points.

First Round Results

Boston Bruins def. Toronto Maple Leafs ~ 4-3

Tampa Bay Lightning def. New Jersey Devils ~ 4-1

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Charles Krupa/AP Photo)

Like the Bruins, the Lightning won the first two games on home ice against their first-round opponent, the New Jersey Devils. Also like Boston, Tampa lost their first game of the series in the third game. However, in Game Four, the Bolts were able to win by a score of 3-1, setting up a possible elimination in Game Five on home ice.

With the opportunity, the Lightning would capitalize. With another three-to-one victory, Tampa Bay would eliminate the New Jersey Devils, four games to one.

One thing that may or may not play a role in the way the series starts, is when the Lightning finished their series with the Devils. Due to the early elimination, the Lightning will have completed a ten-day break prior to Saturday’s Game One. This compared to Boston’s short two-day break since Wednesday’s Game Seven.

Boston’s weakness throughout the entire series was the shakiness in goal. Tuukka Rask managed to hold his own in some of the seven games, but he also allowed four goals in three of the games, including being pulled in Game Five.

Another big issue for the black and gold against the Maple Leafs would be the missed opportunities on the offensive side of the puck.

With the struggles in net and on offence, the Bruins managed to come together in the third period of Game Seven to secure the series win and advance to the second round and live to play again. Boston’s blueline shut down the fast, skilled Toronto forwards that were so feared before the best-of-seven series began.

Boston held Toronto to only eight shots in the final frame, limiting almost every main chance that the Leafs gained. The majority of the shots on goal came in the final minutes with Frederik Andersen pulled from the net. The B’s also contributed with four, third period goals to solidify the 7-4 win.

Well, I feel it is an appropriate time to look at the predictions from the entire BlacknGold website team! Make sure to follow them all on Twitter and check out their articles in the past.

Mark Allred (@BlackAndGold227) – Bruins win 4-2

KG (@kgbngblog) – Bruins win 4-3

Lucas Salvatore (@lsalvatore29) – Bruins win 4-2

Mike Cratty (@Mike_Cratty) – Bruins win 4-2

Garrett Haydon (@thesportsguy97) – Bruins win 4-3

Rob Tomlin (@rob40bruins) – Bruins win 4-2

Lauren Campbell (@lalalalaurrrren) – Bruins win 4-1

Court Lalonde (@courtlalonde) – 4-2

Thomas Nystrom (@nahstrom) – Bruins win 4-2

Adam Belue (@albinomamba44) – Lightning win 4-2

Andrew Thompson (@Godwentwhoops) – 4-1

Spencer Fascetta (@PuckNerdHockey) – Bruins win 4-3

And, in conclusion, my official prediction. In a hard-fought battle, the Boston Bruins will come out with the win in Game Seven, in Tampa, Florida. With a combination of the defense and depth for the Bruins and the offensive talent of the Lightning, this series will be a close, back-and-forth one.

Puck drop for Game One is scheduled for today at 3pm EST in Tampa, Florida.

 

Frederik Andersen vs Tuukka Rask – Game 7’s

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PHOTO CREDITS: (nhl.com)

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

Throughout the first six games of the Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals, goaltending has been the main headline across all sports outlets. From the twelve goals scored on Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen in the first two games combined, to Tuukka Rask being pulled in Game Five after allowing four goals on thirteen shots.

As the old story goes, good goaltending is required to win the Stanley Cup. That was evident in the back-to-back Stanley Cups by the Pittsburgh Penguins as much as it was evident for Tim Thomas and the Boston Bruins in the 2011 Cup run. Rarely do you hear of a playoff story where the number one goaltender on the team gets pulled in a series. Well, for both Andersen and Rask, they have been pulled from the crease and replaced with the backup tender for the remainder of that game.

However, Game Seven is a completely different hockey game altogether. The pressure of elimination with the excitement of advancement into the next round. Do or die. In a goalie’s career, a Game Seven win can boost your confidence for a long time, while a loss can haunt a goalie. Even though hockey is a team sport, the goalies do in fact take some of the blame upon themselves.

Both Tuukka Rask and Frederik Andersen have experience with losing in the seventh game of a series as well as winning. Which goaltender can put the past in the past and lead their team to a second-round matchup?

Frederik Andersen – TOR

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PHOTO CREDITS: (sportsnet.ca)

Although Andersen is known today as the starting goaltender for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Andersen started his young career with the Anaheim Ducks, where he played 125 games over the course of three seasons. However, the trouble in Anaheim was the surplus of good goalies. The Ducks management was forced to decide on whether or not to keep John Gibson or Frederik Andersen.

This dilemma eventually led to the June 2016 trade that sent Andersen to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for a 2016 1st Round Pick (Sam Steel) and a 2017 2nd Round Pick (Maxime Comtois).

Since joining the Leafs, he has yet to play in a Game Seven. During the 2016-17 season, Andersen and the Leafs were eliminated in the Game Six to the Washington Capitals. With that said, Frederik did, in fact, play in two do-or-die games with the Anaheim Ducks.

2013-14 vs Los Angeles Kings

Frederik Andersen was thrown into the Game Seven experience in his very first season in the National Hockey League. Following a six-game victory over the Dallas Stars in the first round, the Ducks were forced to battle Californian rival, the Los Angeles Kings in the second round.

The series was a back and forth one, the first two games went to the Kings, then the next three to the Ducks, until L.A won the sixth game, leading into the ever-exciting Game Seven.

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PHOTO CREDITS: ( Stephen Dunn/Getty Images North America)

After the six games ended as one or two-goal games, Andersen would allow six goals on 30 shots, losing the game 6-2 and forced to enter the offseason with a second-round loss.

Even though the loss was heartbreaking, it is the first playoff season for the young Denmark goalie, meaning there are many more years to follow to make up for the defeat.

2014-15 vs Chicago Blackhawks

The Anaheim Ducks continued to play as a dominant team during the 2014-15 regular season. The team battled to a 51-24-7 record, good for first place in the Western Conference and only four points behind the New York Rangers for the top spot in the National Hockey League.

With relative ease, the Ducks would sweep the Winnipeg Jets and knock off the Calgary Flames in five games in round one and two respectively. This would lead into a Western Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks, who were looking to continue the modern-day dynasty that they have built over the previous years.

The series was one of the most entertaining ones throughout that specific season. Three overtime games between the two teams including a triple overtime and a double overtime in the mix as well. While Andersen played solid throughout the series, when it came to the deciding game, Andersen allowed five goals from the stacked Hawks team, losing in the West Final Game 7, 5-3.

As per Matt Kalman, (@MattKalman on Twitter), Andersen is 0-2 in Game Seven outings, with a goals against average of 3.65 and a save percentage of 0.848%.

Tuukka Rask – BOS

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PHOTO CREDITS: (sportingnews.com)

If you play for any Original Six team, it is typical to feel criticism from the fan base. However, Bruins goaltender, Tuukka Rask, seems to get the most talk around him for his play in the crease. If he stands on his head one game, you’ll hear about it. If he has a bad game, you’ll hear it from the other side.

Some of the most criticism that Rask gets from time-to-time, is his struggle to come through in high-pressure situations. While in some cases that may be true, Rask does have a better record in Game Seven appearances than his goaltender counterpart.

2009-10 vs Philadelphia Flyers

For Bruins fans, this one hurt. After leading the team three games to zero in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals, Boston lost four games in a row following that third game, as the Flyers would finish the ‘reverse sweep’.

First, Boston would lose in overtime, 5-4, followed by a 4-0, 2-1, and 4-3 loss in the final game. Just like Andersen, Rask lost in Game Seven for the first time in his very first playoff season that he was deemed the starter.

Rask would not get the opportunity to play in any game sevens the following year, as that would be the year that Tim Thomas led the Boston Bruins to their 2011 Stanley Cup. However, it would indeed lead into his second experience with a game seven.

2012-13 vs Toronto Maple Leafs

This seems familiar.

When talking about the 2012-13 Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals against the Toronto Maple Leafs, it sounds a lot like deja vu to the 2017-2018 playoff round one that we are talking about.

In the 2012-13 postseason, the Bruins started off against the Toronto Maple Leafs with a Game One win, by a score of 4-1. The B’s looked great in that first meeting, but the Leafs would fire back, winning Game Two, heading back to Toronto. In Toronto though, Boston would come out victorious in both meetings, winning 5-2 and 4-3 in overtime.

Things were looking great for the B’s. In a lockout season, they started off with a 3-1 series lead and Tuukka Rask had only allowed ten goals in the four games. Then, it all went south.

Boston lost the next two games, creating a Game Seven matchup in Boston. Toronto exploded for a 4-1 early in the third period and it was looking like the Maple Leafs would complete the comeback that no one thought they could pull off.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (BRIAN SNYDER / REUTERS

Nathan Horton brought some life back into the team with the second goal, followed by Milan Lucic’s tally with just under two minutes to trail in the final frame. Then, as we all know, Patrice Bergeron would rifle a shot from the point, beating James Reimer and tying the game at four a piece. Not far into the first overtime session, Bergeron would strike for the second time in the game, winning the game and series for the Boston Bruins on home ice.

Boston would follow up with series wins over the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins before falling in Game Six of the Stanley Cup Finals to the Chicago Blackhawks – the same year that Andersen lost to the Hawks in the Western Conference Finals.

Rask would get the win in the game, but all thanks to the surrounding cast, who came back from the 4-1 deficit. Rask did allow the four Toronto goals on the 28 shots he faced within that game.

2013-14 vs Montreal Canadiens

At the same time that Frederik Andersen lost in his first Game Seven, Tuukka Rask would be in a tight series with the bitter-rivals, Montreal Canadiens.

The Bruins were the team to beat that season. After a Stanley Cup Finals appearance the year prior and a Presidents Trophy during the past 82-games, the prediction from most analysts was that the Bruins would be back contending again. But, the Canadiens had other plans.

The first game of the series went to double overtime, making the series that much more entertaining from the get go. Unfortunately for Boston, they did not come out with the victory in that game. After falling 2-1 in the series, Boston would fire back and lead the series 3-2.

With two chances to eliminate Montreal, the Bruins would fall short of the Eastern Conference Finals due to a 3-1 loss in Game Seven. Tuukka Rask allowed three goals on only 18 shots against. Not all of this series can be blamed on Rask though. The Bruins only scored one goal in Game Six and Seven combined, disappointing Bruins fans everywhere who anticipated another deep playoff run.

Also according to Matt Kalman, Tuukka Rask is 1-2 in the postseason, with a goals against average of 3.63 and a save percentage of .849% in Game Sevens.

Both goaltenders are nearly identical when statistics are brought up, meaning no real statistical benefit will come about. However, both goalies have different experiences that must occasionally play back in their mind from bad and good do or die scenarios. Tonight’s game will be a goaltender battle, just like the other ones. The better goalie will most likely advance to Round Two.

 

Bruins’ Bergeron Nominated For 2018 Selke Trophy

NHL: Preseason-New York Rangers at Boston Bruins

PHOTO CREDITS: (nesn.com)

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

To no surprise, the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association (PHWA) have nominated Boston Bruins forward, Patrice Bergeron for the Frank J. Selke Trophy along with Philadelphia Flyers forward, Sean Couturier, and Los Angeles Kings forward, Anze Kopitar.

The Frank J. Selke Trophy was brought into the National Hockey League back in 1977-78 regular season, when Montreal Canadiens forward, Bob Gainey won the very first award. The award was named after nine-time Stanley Cup winner and former general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens, Frank J. Selke.

Ever since the trophy’s creation, it has been awarded to the best defensive forward throughout the course of the regular season. For Bergeron, it is an opportnunity to break the NHL record for most Frank J. Selke Trophies, tied with Gainey. Patrice has won the award on four previous occasions, (2011/12, 2013/14, 2014/15, 2016/17).

This past season has been one of the best for the 32-year old Bergeron, who scored 30 goals along with 33 assists, good for 63 points on the year in only 64 games played, his second-highest point total in his last five seasons. Along with the points, Bergeron finished the campagin with a +21 rating, his third-highest of his career.

Bergeron is commonly known throughout the league for his domination on the faceoff dot. During the 2017-18 season, ‘Bergy’ had a 57.3% average on the dot, winning 784 of his 1368 faceoffs taken. Bergeron had 55 takeaways during the season as well, his third-highest number of takeaways, with 12 less than his 2015-16 season and he played 16 less games this season than the ’15/’16 campaign.

The other nominees, Sean Couturier and Anze Kopitar also had great seasons. Couturier had 31-45-76 totals with a +34 rating while Kopitar finished with 35-57-92 totals and a +21 rating. However, it is worth noting that Couturier and Kopitar each played a full, 82-game season.

This is the first time that Couturier has been nominated for the award while Kopitar already has experience in winning the trophy, back in 2015-16, his first and only one to date.

The 2018 NHL Awards will take place on June 20th, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada.