Ryan Donato Cuts His Teeth on TD Garden Ice



Ryan Donato meets his team after being drafted #56 by the Boston Bruins on Day Two of the 2014 NHL Draft at the Wells Fargo Center on June 28, 2014, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
(June 27, 2014 – Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

By: Andrew Thompson                                                                   Twitter: @godwentwhoops      The Boston Bruins found themselves in a pickle last Monday night. They were taking on the Columbus Blue Jackets who were fighting to hold on to their wild-card playoff slot. The Bruins were down no less than seven players and had to dig deep in order to earn points against the Jackets.

This led to the saw debut of Ryan Donato. Donato is a junior at Harvard. Once Harvard was eliminated from the NCAA playoffs,  the 21-year old Donato junior made the decision to waive his fourth year of NCAA eligibility.  (Donato had been drafted in the second round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. He was a second-round pick (like Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand) and was the 56th pick overall.) He then signed with the Black and Gold the very next day.


This was a big opportunity for the Mass native to showcase some of his skills. By and large, he succeeded. Donato earned his first NHL goal, and his first assist as well.

In the end, Donato ended up with a three-point night and found himself all over the ice. Coach Bruce Cassidy had Donato on the power play and even gave him some ice time during the overtime period.

Current members of the team were certainly pleased with Donato’s debut in Boston. “Ryan played a good game,” said Bruins forward David Krejci on Donato’s first game in the spoked ‘B’.  Donato’s third point of the season came from Krejci’s goal in the middle of the third period. That goal opened the way up for the B’s to take the see-saw game to overtime.  “Good for his confidence to get the first one. That is always the hardest, but he’s got to keep playing the way he played today. I thought he played well and he made some good plays. He easily could have got a couple of more, but that’s a good start for him.”

This was a fantastic debut for the Scituate native.  Even in the loss, Donato was excited to don the spoked ‘B’ and carry on another father-son tradition in Boston. The Donatos are the sixth family in Bruins history to carry on the Black and Gold legacy from father to son.

“I mean, it was fun,” said Donato of his first game for Boston. “Obviously it ended tough, but at the end of the day I was excited and I think it all went well personally, but I’d say it’s still bitter because of the loss.”

Donato’s arrival is certainly a good sign for Boston. Even with some of their best players out of action, the depth of this team is incredible. They’re competitive with other playoff teams and are even capable of shutting out some of the best teams in the NHL. Donato’s strong play once again validates Boston’s “next man up” philosophy.

In the end, Donato and the B’s weren’t able to pull off the win, but they did get that important OT point. This gives the Bruins 99 points for the season. The Black and Gold should find themselves holding onto an automatic playoff spot the next time they earn any kind of point in their next eleven games.

Boston Bruins: Riley Nash For The 7th Player Award

IMG_1394By Andrew Thompson  | Follow on twitter @godwentwhoops

For the last half-century, the 7th Player Award has been awarded to the Boston Bruins player that performs above and beyond expectations.  It’s one of the most difficult local awards to predict. Some seasons, the logical choice is selected. Other years, a dark horse candidate grabs the trophy.

Every once in a while, the Boston Bruins player declared the ‘cutest’ ends up winning.

The 7th Player Award should go to a player that has exceeded the expectations of the fans. This year there are several deserving candidates. Jake DeBrusk,  Matt Grzelcyk, Danton Heinen, Charlie McAvoy,  and Anton Khudobin have been suggested as a possible winner. Each of these players has brought something to the table in Boston, and all of them are deserving candidates.

In my mind, there is one player that has truly gone above and beyond in Boston.  He was expected to be a low ice-time grinder for the Black and Gold. But through hard work (and the occasional injury) he has found himself on every forward line for the Bruins this year.  The player I’ve voted for is forward Riley Nash.

The 28-year old Nash has been the biggest and best surprise for the Bruins organization this year. He’s become the go-to player on the squad when the B’s need to change a lineup. While he’s spent most of his time on the B’s third line, the versatile Nash now finds himself on the B’s top line as Patrice Bergeron heals from a hairline fracture in his foot.

Riley Nash is currently tied for eighth on the team in points with 32.  He’s having a career year in goals (12) and assists (20).  He wins just under half (49.9%, 372/746) of his battles in the playoff circle, and is the best jack-of-all-trades player the team has right now (with the exception of Bergeron).

He’s currently fourth among forwards for overall ice-time. (Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak are ahead of him.) He’s third in shifts as well(1252).  Among the B’s forwards he shares the lead for the most amount of short-ice time as well (1:53).  He’s even tied with Bergeron for the most amount of takeaways this season (48). If any player has exceeded the expectations on the team this year, it’s Nash.

Nash’s total package skill set has been one of the great surprises for the Black and Gold. He’s also been one of the big bargains in Boston. At just $900,000 this season, Nash has proven to be one of the best grabs made by Don Sweeney in his tenure as the B’s general manager.

All these numbers look great for Nash as he heads into a contract year with Boston. He’s been a great deal for the B’s these last two years, and the organization will probably try to pick him up for another two or three seasons.  Sadly, the B’s cap space may make that a daunting prospect.

Hopefully, the fans will take a look at Nash’s service to the team this season and give him the award he’s certainly earned.

Newest Acquisitions Shine For The Boston Bruins



Rick Nash #61 of the Boston Bruins skates with the puck during the first period of a game against the Carolina Hurricanes at TD Garden on February 27, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts  (Feb. 26, 2018 – Source: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images North America)

By: Andrew Thompson | Follow on Twitter: @godwentwhoops


The Boston Bruins got to showcase the team’s newest arrivals at the TD Garden on Tuesday night. Second place in the Atlantic Division was on the line as the Black and Gold took on the Carolina Hurricanes. While the B’s had a rough first period, they kept it close and tied it up in the second. In the end, it took Charlie McAvoy to score the game winner in OT for Boston.

While it was certainly another excellent game for McAvoy, the Bruins latest arrivals stole the show in the B’s 4-3 win.

If we’re objective, the B’s weren’t going to be able to hold on to Ryan Spooner, so it made sense to move him while Spooner still had value. The B’s also moved Matt Beleskey, whose underwhelming season found him in Providence at the time of the trade.  The loss of the 2018 first-round pick and B’s prospect Ryan Lindgren seemed to anger fans more than the loss of Spooner and Beleskey.

Some people haven’t been thrilled with the Rick Nash trade. His early performance in the spoked ‘B’ should silence some of these critics.

Nash played in his second game in the spoked B, and again came up big for Boston. He put up a goal and assist in the game, and made a massive save for the B’s early on in the game. He’s only been in two games, and he’s already made a substantial impact for Boston.

The Bruins organization got off much lighter when they traded for Chicago Blackhawks forward Tommy Wingels. Bruins fans were more than willing to add a player that only cost the team a fifth (or fourth if the B’s get into the second round of the playoffs and/or resign him next year) round pick in 2019.

The 29-year old Wingels came out of the box flying for the Black and Gold. He had a goal, an assist, seven shot attempts, a plus-2 goal differential, and a very positive 53.33 Corsi percentage.  That’s a rather solid debut for a player who put in just 15:06 of ice time for the Bruins.

Wingels got his first Boston start due to a hole in the lineup caused by the absence of Patrice Bergeron. The Bruins best all-around player will be out for the next two weeks due to a hairline fracture of his right foot.

“Whenever you played the Bruins, you knew you were in for a game,” said Wingels about his new team. “And I think that’s as good of a compliment as you can give, that those guys compete, those guys play hard, and they’re tough to play against. That’s what I saw from them, and that’s what I’m going to try to fit in here as well.

“If you get traded this is the kind of place you want to go to. A hungry team, a team that is capable of winning it all and a team with the skill and work ethic of the Bruins here. So, really happy to be here and just going to try to contribute any way I can.”

Bruins bench boss Bruce Cassidy was undoubtedly pleased with the work of Wingels and Nash this evening. “They’re both experienced players in the league, and I think they’re good people that want to help the team win,” said Cassidy of the team’s newest players. “We wanted them. They can help a good team be better, so I think that’s part of it, as well. Like anybody, you go to a new job, you want to impress…good first impression. I think that’s human nature, and they’ve done that.”

While it’s a little early to see what the players like Nash, Wingels, and Brian Gionta will do long-term for the B’s, they’re off to a strong start in the Black and Gold.

Boston Bruins Trade Frank Vatrano To Florida



Frank Vatrano #72 of the Boston Bruins heads up ice in the first period while playing the Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena on February 6, 2018, in Detroit, Michigan.
(Feb. 5, 2018 – Source: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images North America)

By Andrew Thompson | Follow on twitter @godwentwhoops

Earlier today, the Boston Bruins organization announced that they had traded forward Frank Vatrano to the Florida Panthers in exchange for a third-round pick.

The writing was on the wall for this one. While a lot of people seem to love the story about the local boy who becomes a gritty winger, it doesn’t work out too well for the Bruins organization in general (Jimmy Hayes was the most recent example.).

That Bruins GM Don Sweeney got something out of nothing is rather outstanding. He solved the bottom-six log jam at the forward position, got the team a decent level draft pick, and even shaved a little room off the salary cap in one fell swoop.

In short, nobody lost out on this trade.

The Boston Bruins knew they had a player of limited value on their hands. Vatrano made the team by the skin of his teeth this season and fell by the wayside as younger and more exciting players fought their way on to this year’s roster. He had only played in 25 games this season. The rest of the time found the 23-year old Mass native injured or as a healthy scratch.

When it comes to forwards, the Bruins have an embarrassment of riches on their hands. With so many good players on the team, the Bruins organization would have had to eventually put him on waivers. Another NHL team would have quickly snapped him up, and Boston would have had nothing to show for it in the process.

The Florida Panthers could certainly use some bottom-six help right now, so they’re certainly not complaining about giving up a third-round pick for someone who can come in and help on day one.

As for Frank Vatrano, he gets to stay in the NHL.  Had Vatrano got passed waivers, he would have found himself playing in Providence against other players who had a strong chance to bypass him on their way up to Boston. That would have led to Vatrano turning into a career NHL/AHL swing player.

It’s certainly disappointing to see Vatrano go, but there was only so much he could offer the Bruins organization.

As I said, there are no losers in this one. The Boston Bruins win. The Florida Panthers (one of my adultery teams) win. Frank Vatrano wins.  Bruins fans should give a stick tap to Don Sweeney for making this little piece of magic work.

Boston Bruins Focus On Fixing Game After Rough Road Loss



Patrice Bergeron #37 and David Pastrnak #88 of the Boston Bruins celebrate after Bergeron’s goal put the Bruins up 3-1 against the New York Rangers in the second period at Madison Square Garden on February 7, 2018, in New York City.
(Feb. 6, 2018 – Source: Abbie Parr/Getty Images North America)

By: Andrew Thompson                                                                        Twitter: @godwentwhoops

Well, that was an ugly one.  The Boston Bruins have been one of the best teams in the National Hockey League this season.  As good as the B’s have been playing, we all sort of knew that one of those games was going to happen. The Black and Gold got mercilessly drubbed by the Vancouver Canucks 6-1 the other night.

While the Canucks and their fans celebrated like it was game eight of the 2011 Stanley Cup finals (It was seven years ago, and you lost, get over it.), the Bruins knew they’d have to take a step back and analyze exactly what went wrong on Saturday.

The answer was simple. The Bruins defensive game had gotten sloppy. The team had gaps in their coverage. The team seemed a little slow on the draw as well.  When those factors were added to Tuukka Rask having an off night, it led to the B’s giving up four first period goals against Vancouver.

The B’s knew that the team had lost a little polish off their game, but they usually relied on their offensive firepower to get themselves out of trouble.  That also seemed to let them down on Saturday (although not through lack of effort).  So, the Bruins will take this loss on the chin and get back to work.

“It’s been creeping into our game,” said Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron about their lack of defensive effort. “We’ve been getting away from what’s been good to us.” Our defensive zone coverage has been lacking a little lately. We’ve got to tighten that up and yesterday was a perfect example…when you don’t start on time, and you have holes defensively that you don’t take care of, and don’t play the proper way and respect the game plan, that’s what happens.”

Bruins bench boss Bruce Cassidy knows his team will bounce back from this disappointment.  Still, he scheduled a Sunday practice that focused on the B’s remembering their strengths in the defensive zone. While the team didn’t need to go back to the drawing board, they did get a few touch-ups on their three-zone game.

“We built into practice. That’s generally what we do after a video session, where we try to teach or get better in an area, we’ll try to translate it into practice,” said Cassidy on the focus of the B’s Sunday practice. “We play tomorrow, we play Tuesday, so we’ve got to be careful. It was a workday.”

Even with the tough loss, the B’s are still in great shape. They’re one point ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs for second in the Atlantic with five games in hand. The team will likely make life interesting for Dougie Hamilton and the rest of the Calgary squad as they fight to get themselves back in the win column.

Boston Bruins: Patrice Bergeron And The Triple Fifty Line



Patrice Bergeron #37 and Brad Marchand #63 of the Boston Bruins react in the first period against the New York Rangers during their game at Madison Square Garden on February 7, 2018, in New York City.
(Feb. 7, 2018 – Source: Abbie Parr/Getty Images North America)

By: Andrew Thompson                                                                        Twitter: @godwentwhoops


The Boston Bruins earned themselves another two points with a solid 5-2 drubbing of the Calgary Flames Tuesday night.  Overall it was a great night for Bruins fans. The TD Garden hosted the legendary Don Cherry and members of the Bruins 1977-78 squad (the only team in NHL history to have 11 20-goal scorers).

The Bruins got on the board early, and they got on the board often. Once again, the Black and Gold came from behind to make life difficult for the opposing goalie. Riley Nash put in the first two goals of the night for the B’s, and B’s captain Zdeno Chara put in the empty-netter to seal the deal late for Boston.

But once again, the player of the game was B’s alternate captain Patrice Bergeron. Bergeron scored the third and fourth goals of the game, putting the game out of reach and stealing the heat from the Flames.

Patrice Bergeron has been on fire these last few weeks. Since the start of 2018, the four-time Selke winner (and obvious first ballot into the Hockey Hall of Fame) has made NHL goalies his playthings by putting in 16 goals for the Black and Gold (including two hat tricks). Four of those goals were game-winners and he tallied an obscene 65 shots on goal.

So what does one of the hottest players currently in the National Hockey League think about being a one-man shooting gallery?

“I’m trying not to think about it,” said Bergeron with his usual honest humility. “I’m trying just to go out there, play, and stay focused…push myself to be better from one night to another and learn and watch video. Whenever it’s on the power play, [studying] my positioning and trying to find openings and things like that. To be honest with you, I’m trying to stay focused and be in the moment.”

Bergeron’s two goals helped him eclipse the 50-point plateau this season. Bergeron has hit this mark or higher every year for the last five seasons.  He’s the last of the Bruins top line to hit that mark. David Pastrnak crossed that line last week against the New York Rangers. Boston’s Little Ball of Hate Brad Marchand passed that mark in late January against the New Jersey Devils.

The Bruins top line has been one of the strongest lines in the entire league this season. It’s impossible to find a line in the league that has let in as few goals as they have. In his long career, Bergeron has been a remarkable leader and teacher to the rest of his line. He’s helped turn Marchand from a fourth-line grinder to an All-Star, and Pastrnak from a raw rookie to a future All-Star.

There’s also that small matter of putting Bergy’s name in the conversation for the Hart Trophy.

Look at the numbers Marchand and Bergeron have put up in their respective careers in Boston.  43 goals in 2010-11. 50 in 2011-12. 28 in 2012-13(but that’s because the owners wanted to stick it to the players and thus gave up half the season). The numbers are high and they stay high.

Now add in David Pastrnak and the numbers just get silly. 69 goals (10 of them game-winners) between the three of them. 156 points. 440 shots on goal and nobody on that line hits less than 14% of the time.  It’s as close to Bruins hockey perfection without mentioning the name ‘Orr’.

Patrice Bergeron is only 32. He still has five-plus years in the league. Marchand’s just 29. This power trio will be one of the dominant lines in the NHL until the mid-2020s.  Guess Bruins Nation owes a big debt of gratitude for Claude Julien for putting them together.






Boston Bruins Rookie Squad Continues To Impress and Improve



Charlie McAvoy #73 of the Boston Bruins works against Mats Zuccarello #36 of the New York Rangers in the third period during their game at Madison Square Garden on February 7, 2018, in New York City.
(Feb. 6, 2018 – Source: Abbie Parr/Getty Images North America)

By: Andrew Thompson                                                                      Twitter: @Godwentwhoops


The Boston Bruins knew they would be going all-in on the youth movement when they replaced Claude Julien with Bruce Cassidy. Cassidy had spent his time in Providence working with many of the young kids that were coming up through the ranks in Boston. The Bruins organization knew that there would be growing pains early on and the team certainly felt them that first month (Especially with the rough string of injuries that hampered the Black and Gold).

The young kids have come a long way in just a few short months. They’ve picked up the slack in Boston, and in some cases helped push the team from the near bottom of the pack to the second-best point total in the NHL (after tonight’s 6-1 drubbing of the New York Rangers).

Early on in the season, the Boston Bruins had to rely on the scoring prowess of the Bergeron line. At one point in the season, the B’s top line was responsible for over 45% of the scoring for the Black and Gold.

Thankfully for the Bruins and their fans, that situation has changed. The Bruins rookie squad has learned from the B’s rough start and have become the most prolific scorers among all NHL teams. The rookies have already put up 33 goals for the Black and Gold, good enough for nearly 20% (19.41) of the B’s total goal production this season.  The young guns are playing their part in the B’s 3.27 goals/game average (fourth in the league).

The rookies have been all over the ice this season, and it shows in the Bruins numbers when compared to the rest of the league. Charlie McAvoy has done an outstanding job on the blueline so far this year. He’s part of the reason why the B’s are number one in the league in goals-against per game (2.35). He’s also seeing a decent amount of time on the penalty kill, now rated sixth in the league (82.9%).

The young players rookie seasons are certainly impressive so far. Danton Heinen already has 38 points (12 goals) this year and is on track for a near 60 point season this year. Jake DeBrusk isn’t that far behind with his 28 point (11 goals) effort. McAvoy finishes out the top three with 25 points and 5 goals.  Heinen certainly the breakout rookie star this year after working his way up onto the team after being a fourth-round pick (116th overall) in the 2014 Entry Draft. He’s become the B’s diamond in the rough this season.

The lion’s share of credit has to go to Cassidy, who is earning more and more buzz as a solid contender for the Jack Adams Award. He’s really turned things around in Boston and has made the Bruins a team to be respected in the league.

Credit also needs to be given out to the veteran members of the team who have helped make the young players better. Bruins captain Zdeno Chara has certainly taken McAvoy under his wing. Players like Patrice Bergeron (who may actually pull of the Selke and the Hart Trophy this year), Brad Marchand, and even David Pastrnak have made the rookie forwards more dangerous and aware on the ice.

It’s been an amazing run so far for the 2017-18 Bruins squad, and all Black and Gold fans can only be excited for the young guns of the team. They continue to impress and improve and they’ll be a terror for the other teams for the rest of the season.



Boston Bruins: At The Trade Deadline, No News Is Good News



Boston Bruins General manager Don Sweeney speaks to the media during the 2016 NHL Draft on June 25, 2016 in Buffalo, New York.
(June 24, 2016 – Source: Jen Fuller/Getty Images North America)

By: Andrew Thompson                                                                    Twitter: @godwentwhoops

The Boston Bruins seem to be in control of their own destiny at the moment.  From an ugly beginning, the Black and Gold have earned points in 30 of their last 34 games. With their most recent win against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the B’s sit comfortably in second place in the Atlantic Division.

The Boston Bruins seem to be in control of their own destiny at the moment.  From an ugly beginning, the Black and Gold have earned points in 30 of their last 34 games. With their most recent win against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the B’s sit comfortably in second place in the Atlantic Division.

The Bruins next big move (other than forward Brad Marchand’s return to the ice) is the trade deadline. Several teams have been sniffing around the TD Garden to see who could be made available for the right price. Several big named players have put up their trade lists as well. (To no surprise, Boston was on those lists.) Don Sweeney had mentioned that they could be looking for a top-six winger earlier in the season.

So, what should the Bruins do?

Answer: Absolutely nothing.

The 2017-18 Bruins roster have really put things together in the middle of the season. For the first time in a few years, the Black and Gold have four solid forward lines. (Including the Bergeron line which could be argued as being the best top line in the NHL at the moment.) The Bruins defensive pairs have done their job, and the goaltending duo of Anton Khudobin and Tuukka Rask are among the top in the league right now.

The B’s have always believed in the ‘next man up’ philosophy. With the loss of Brad Marchand to his suspension, the team just moved the best possible player up a line and brought home points in four of the five games. But the B’s are also totally committed to the team this season. There are no Black and Gold passengers this time around.

“It’s just another sign of what you’re seeing inside of our club, and in that particular case outside, but there’s a lot of that going on,” offered Bruins bench boss Bruce Cassidy (who should be seriously considered for the Jack Adams this year. “Guys are working hard for one another, have each other’s backs. I was asked a question a while ago about what came first, the chemistry or the winning? I think it was the chemistry.

“You could see it earlier in the year. It didn’t result automatically in wins, but you could see our guys pulling for one another, and when we got healthy and started playing the way we wanted to. You see that up and down the lineup. Guys are happy for each other.”

So, let’s wrap up the Bruins current assets. A great set of forward lines. Three defensive pairs that bring it every night. Outstanding goaltending (sorry Tuukka haters). A deep set of prospects from the AHL down. At the moment the B’s have everything they need to make a deep run in the playoffs or even another Stanley Cup Final appearance.

Why would the Bruins even contemplate fixing something that isn’t broken?

Unless I’m reading the terrain all wrong, they won’t. From Jeremy Jacobs on down, the front office has to be excited about this year’s team.  Unless the B’s suffer a string of serious injuries (or Brad Marchand hits a ref with his stick), the Boston Bruins will do absolutely nothing at the trade deadline.

Even if the B’s thought something was still missing, they really couldn’t go all in to get it. The B’s have just over $2 million in cap space, and that won’t be enough to grab a big name at the deadline, and it seems way too much to invest in a rental.

So we can all relax. Don Sweeney is too cagey to allow anything to disrupt the team he’s worked hard on putting together. The Boston Bruins will pass through the deadline unharmed and unchanged, and that’s how most of us want it.

Except for the Tuukka haters.

Boston Bruins: Is This Frank Vatrano’s Last Season With The B’s?



Zdeno Chara #33 of the Boston Bruins directs Frank Vatrano #72 of the Boston Bruins during the second period against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on November 16, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.
(Nov. 15, 2017 – Source: Harry How/Getty Images North America)

By: Andrew Thompson                                                                      Twitter: @Godwentwhoops


Frank Vatrano is currently the odd man out with the Boston Bruins. Vatrano hasn’t seen much action with the Black and Gold this season. He’s only played in 22 games, and he’s spent most of that time as a fourth line grinder for the B’s. In his last five appearances, he cracked the ten-minute ice time mark only once.

Vatrano’s limited action is due to the strength of the Bruins rookies. The B’s youth movement have earned themselves positions on the roster, and that forced players like Matt Beleskey (currently playing in Providence) and Vatrano on the sidelines. Vatrano is only seeing action due to the B’s injuries and the suspension of forward Brad Marchand.

Vatrano’s never really been a full time player for Boston. He’s played in 83 games in the last two seasons. He’s been moving up and down the lines as the situation (or the injuries) required. For his part, the 23-year old Mass native is trying to stay positive. He’s doing his best to be ready for whenever he gets to see action on the ice.

“It’s always difficult when you’re not playing, you’re always trying to get back into the lineup,” Vatrano said. “But when the team is as hot as it is right now you’ve got to tip your cap to everyone in the room, even if you’re not in the lineup you’re rooting for the guys.

“You want them to win, you always want to win. You’ve got to be a good teammate, whether you’re in the lineup or out of the lineup. For me, I just have to have the same mindset night in and night out.”

Vatrano was a point-a-game player during his AHL time. (A situation he may find himself in again come next season.) Now he’s a penalty minute a game player.  He’s now in the situation that Ryan Spooner found himself in last year.  It’s not that he’s a terrible player, but the current roster have been firing on all cylinders.

For Vatrano, it’s about staying positive and waiting for the next opportunity to show he can still be an effective player in the Boston organization.

“I actually felt pretty good,” offered Vatrano on his current condition. “I’ve been trying to stay on top of my conditioning, on and off the ice. I felt good, felt like I really didn’t miss a beat out there. My timing was good, so hopefully I can add some more finishing to it. Obviously in a different role right now, so trying to be reliable.”

Boston Bruins bench boss Bruce Cassidy has been satisfied with Vatrano’s reliability. Cassidy has been trying to find a use for Vatrano in the wake of the B’s youth movement. So far, Vatrano has adapted to his current role.

“With Frank, we’re going to continue to make sure that in those close games he does his part away from the puck, keep getting better defensively and hopefully the puck falls a little bit and he creates a little more on his own on that line,” said Cassidy of Vatrano’s current performance.

“He’s been good, he’s worked hard the last six weeks without playing. I give him credit for that, it’s not easy when you’re young.”

While Vatrano is trying hard to make a difference with Boston, it may be a case of too little, too late for him. The Bruins have too many prospects coming up. The B’s current roster is (for the most part) injury free, and it’s a case of too many players and not enough spots on the roster.

This will likely be the last season for Vatrano in the spoked ‘B’. Vatrano may end up back in Providence, but its more than likely that’ll end up in another organization.

Boston Bruins: Will Brad Marchand Ever Learn?



Brad Marchand #63 of the Boston Bruins skates against the New York Islanders at the Barclays Center on January 18, 2018, in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Bruins defeated the Islanders 5-2.
(Jan. 17, 2018 – Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

By: Andrew Thompson                                                                      Twitter: @Godwentwhoops


Brad Marchand is in trouble with the Department of Player Safety again. Marchand was given a five-game suspension by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety on Wednesday for elbowing New Jersey Devils forward Marcus Johansson during Boston’s 3-2 win on Tuesday.

Some fans will consider this a BS call. Marchand is trying to maneuver through two Devils players without running over the goaltender. Others will see it as Marchy being Marchy.  (And then there are the Canadiens fans who will want him banned from the league forever because of this.) Unfortunately for Marchand, he’s considered a repeat offender by the league.  Call it a reputation suspension or call it just desserts, Marchand will be out of action for the next two weeks.

The suspension will take him out of the line up until February 7 when he can play in New York against the Rangers.  “I let my teammates down. I know that,” said a dispirited Marchand to the media. “I let my organization down. I have to be better. There’s no question.”

There was a word missing in Marchand’s speech. The word is again.  He let his teammates down again. He let the organization down again. If the Bruins aren’t able to defeat Ottawa tonight, the Boston media (and a fair part of the fan base) will crucify him for being the reason why the Bruins point-streak ended.

This is Brad Marchand’s eighth run-in with the Department of Player Safety in his career.  This is his sixth suspension.  He has a lost of total of 19 games over the course of his suspensions. While he’s not Marty McSorley bad,  Marchand is entering Matt Cooke territory when it comes to being taken off the ice for bad hits.

Marchand will be participating in this weekend’s All-Star tournament. That’ll surely ruffle a few feathers. If he’s not careful, Marchand could find himself becoming the reason for a ‘Marchand rule’ about suspended players attending All-Star tournaments. (It’s bad enough he’s comparable to Matt Cooke [in the number of suspensions, NOT willfully engaging other players with a serious intent to injure], but he could end up joining John Scott.  The NHL made a rule to prevent another John Scott making the All-Star roster after he was traded and demoted to the AHL.)

“The last thing I want to do is anything to hurt the team,” said Boston’s Little Ball of Hate. “That’s obviously what I’ve done here. It wasn’t what I was trying to do.  We have a great team. They’re going to battle hard and do everything they can to win the games. I’ll be rooting them on. I put my team at a disadvantage again. I feel very bad about it.”

Boston Bruins bench boss Bruce Cassidy still supports his top scoring forward.

“I don’t believe there was any intent to injure Johansson,” said Cassidy to the media on Thursday. “But at the end of the day, Brad’s responsible for his actions on the ice. The league dealt with it.

“We’ll talk to him about it. Hopefully going forward, there’s no more incidents. Because I think Brad’s really earned respect around the league for how he plays the game. He plays hard every night. For the most part, I think he’s kept his nose clean.”

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Brad Marchand ‘tries’ to keep his nose clean. In his NHL career, he’s progressed from part-time agitator to an elite level player. He crossed the 50-point mark in just 38 games this season. (It’s Marchand’s third straight 50-point season.)  He’s currently tied for tenth place in points and is near the top of the list in almost every category.

For all his improvement, he always seems to play a little too over the edge. Tuesday night was just another example. Marchand wants to wear an ‘A’ on his chest. The only way he’s going to get that letter is if he stops making bad calls at inopportune times.  As fans, we want him to constantly get better and learn from his mistakes. I just wish Marchand would try a little harder to remember that.