Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 12 Recap

( Photo Credit:  Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By: Mark Allred |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Week 12 for the Providence Bruins brought three straight games to end the 2018 calendar year. The top minor-pro affiliate of the Boston Bruins certainly hope they can turn the 2018-19 campaign around and show better results in the new year. At about the half-way point of the current hockey season, the team from Rhode Island sits in the second to last spot in the seventh position in the Atlantic Division and outside the American Hockey Leagues, Calder Cup Playoff picture holding the 13th spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Providence club has a 14-15-5-0 season record after 34 games played accruing 33 points and 18 points away from catching division front-running Charlotte Checkers who have a 24-8-3-0 and 51 points. The B’s have given up 102 goals while scoring 105 needs to tighten up as a team and come to the rink with a 60 minute a night effort regardless of the up and down season thus far. The first game of 2019 is Friday night which ends a six-game road trip that saw the B’s go 2-4 and the club has gone 3-6-1-0 in their last ten games.

Hopefully, Providence is ready as the workload for week 13 isn’t going to be easy with another three-straight game schedule this weekend with two of those games at the Dunkin” Donuts Center in Providence where the B’s are 7-3-2-0. The one roadie of the weekend is in nearby in Springfield, Massachusetts against the Thunderbirds at the MassMutual Center where the Bruins are 1-2 and have a season road record of 7-12-3-0.

Let’s take a look back at the weekend that was for the Providence Bruins and some key details to who got involved offensively in the three games that ended the season-long road trip.

Friday, December 28th, 2018, Providence Bruins vs. The Lehigh Valley Phantoms (Road Game)

( Photo Credit:  Providence Bruins / Flickr )

The first of the three started at the PPL Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania against the Phantoms who sit in the Atlantic’s third position. The Lehigh club owned a majority of the game scoring goals in the first and third periods being up 2-0 and outplaying the visiting Bruins team until the half-way point of the last frame where the B’s started showing signs of life. Bruins prospect forward Joona Koppanen scored his first goal of the season and third of his career at the 12:39 mark of the third period assisted by rookie forward Karson Kuhlman and veteran defenseman Chris Breen.

Koppanen who started the 2018-19 season with the ECHL Atlanta Gladiators took advantage of a Phantoms turnover in their own zone to come in on Lehigh Valley goaltender Alex Lyon all alone to wrist one home for the first and only Bruins goal of the contest. The Phantoms would put the dagger in the hearts of the visiting Providence club with a shorthanded empty-netter with 30 seconds remaining in the game to seal the 3-1 victory over the B’s. Bruins rookie goaltender Dan Vladar got the start in goal stopping 17 of 19 shots in the loss. Vladar is 6-7-2-1 on the season and holds a 2.67 goals-against-average, and .889 save percentage in 16 games in this his rookie campaign.

The Providence Bruins would outshoot the Phantoms in the game by a 34 to 20 margin and would go zero for five on the man advantage. The Bruins currently sit in the 9th position when talking about the leagues best powerplay at 20.8%. This was the first time in two previous games the B’s didn’t score on the man advantage but also have to mention the exceptional play on the other side of the special team’s spectrum concerning the penalty kill. The Bruins are ranked second in the league with an 86.6% and ranked third in the league on the road with a man down.

Saturday, December 29th, 2018, Providence Bruins vs. The Hershey Bears (Road Game)

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

The first of two games against the Hershey Bears would have the Providence club travel to the Giant Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania to play the division dwelling 14-18-0-2 Hershey Bears. As in most night’s this season, the Bruins would come from behind after the Bears scored the first goal of the game late in the second period. After being down one for the first forty minutes of play, It seemed the message in between the second and third intermission lit a fire under the asses of the Bruins squad.

During the last period of the game, the B’s would, in my opinion, have their best late game heroics of the year posting four straight goals to end the night against the team from the chocolate city. Veteran defenseman Cody Goloubef scored two straight in the period to leap over the Hershey team by the score of 2-1 notching his second and third goals of the season with his third of the year coming on the powerplay. Both of Goloubef’s goals on this night we assisted by forwards Peter Cehlarik and Mark McNeill. Late in the game Providence rookie forward Karson Kuhlman would take advantage of the empty net after the Bears goaltender was pulled to score his 5th of the year and a shorthanded tally.

After a 3-1 Providence lead late in the third, Hershey Bears Head Coach Spencer Carbery would pull his netminder once again with pretty much the same results. Veteran forward McNeill would seal the win with his own empty net goal in the yawning cage for a 4-1 B’s victory. Zane McIntyre got the win in goal against the Bears stopping 23 of 24 shots for his eighth victory of the season. Zane now sits at 8-8-3 with a 3.02 goal-against-average, and .880 save percentage.

Sunday, December 30th, 2018, Providence Bruins vs. The Hershey Bears (Road Game)

  ( Photo Credit:  Providence Bruins / Flickr )

The final game of the weekend and the seasons longest road trip thus far had the Providence and Hershey teams meet once again at the Giant Center, but on this night there would be different results. The Bruins continued the trend of coming from behind as the Bears got on the board at the 5:06 mark of the first period. In the second period, the B’s would get closer by tying the score at one on a sweet backhand goal from rookie Kuhlman who accepted a heads-up pass from Trent Frederic at the side of the net. A big part of this goal from Kuhlman was the hard work and forechecking abilities of prospect Cameron Hughes who turned over the puck and brought it back of the net where a fortunate Frederic was there and quick to read the play to the crashing Kuhlman at the 11:16 mark of the second period.

Almost as soon as the puck was dropped after Kulman’s sixth goal of the year in the second period, the momentum quickly changed for the Hershey team and instantly fired back over a minute later to go ahead 2-1. Providence just didn’t have what it took as the Pennsylvania team clamped down defensively not giving the Rhode Island club any offensive opportunities ending the game with the same score mentioned above. McIntyre got his second straight start of the weekend taking the 2-1 loss stopping 17 of 19 Hershey shots and suffering his eighth defeat of the season. This was the first time this season McIntyre started consecutive games in as many nights.

Honorable Mentions

F Peter Cehlarik – Peter the great has played very well as of late posting 2-9-11 numbers in his last 12 games.

F Mark McNeill – In the last seven games, the rugged AHL veteran has 2-6-8 numbers. He has a total of 17 points in 22 games in his first year as a Providence player.

F Karson Kuhlman – After going a season-long five game stretch without a point, the former NCAA National Champion has 3-1-4  numbers in a four-game point streak.

D Cody Goloubef – After missing a majority of the December 2018 month, the veteran defenseman came back from an injury on December 29th to score two goals and continue a six-game point streak to have that foiled in Sunday’s loss to Hershey where he went pointless.

Not So Honorable Mentions

F Ryan Fitzgerald – The Providence leading point getter has been off the scoresheet for the last three games. Not saying he’s playing bad but this is the longest pointless stretch since he went five games from October 19th to November 2nd, 2018.

F Anders Bjork – After going the first seven games since his demotion to Providence where he went 1-8-9 in that timeframe has only produced one assist in this last six games. In my opinion from the games I’ve watched him play this season in the AHL, his game hasn’t gotten much better than what Bruins fans saw from him in his limited time in the NHL.

F Trent Frederic – The former first-round selection of the NHL Bruins has 1-2-3 numbers in his last 16 games. In 26 games in his first full season in the AHL Frederic has contributed 6-2-8 numbers and would like to see him get a little more offensive numbers moving forward with the skill set he brings to the team.

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Bruins Prospect Gabrielle Reassigned To ECHL Wichita

( Photo Credit:  Atlanta Gladiators Instagram )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

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Yesterday there were some rumors floating around that a Boston Bruins prospect might be on the move to another team, well waking up this morning and doing my daily routine of checking the many hockey leagues transactions I indeed found a player was relocated. After Mark Divver’s tweet yesterday, B’s prospect Jesse Gabrielle was recalled after playing in 25 of 28 games this season with the Bruins “AA” minor-pro affiliate the Atlanta Gladiators. What would seem like a paper transaction this morning, the 21-year-old gritty winger was immediately reassigned by his parent National Hockey League club to the Wichita Thunder of the ECHL.

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Gabrielle was selected in the fourth round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft from Sunrise, Florida after splitting the 2014-15 season starting with the Western Hockey Leagues Brandon Wheat Kings who originally drafted him in the 2012 Bantam Draft and end the year with the Regina Pats and combining 23-21-44 numbers. In the 2015-16 campaign and the first full season under the Boston Bruins prospect umbrella, the crafty forward would have his Junior rights moved to the WHL’s Prince George Cougars where he really stretched his legs and showed promise with his creativity and increasing speed. In 72 games with the Cougars, the 5′-11″ 205-pound winger posted career-high 40-35-75 numbers including 101 penalty minutes. His points alone in his first year with Prince George had him ranked 20th in the league.  The 2016-17 year he was named as an assistant captain and contribute with 35-29-64 numbers and seemingly ready for the professional level.

The Saskatchewan, Canada native signed his entry-level contract on December 11th, 2016 and was eligible per the CHL and NHL agreement to play his first year of pro hockey closer to reaching his dream with the Providence Bruins. After paying close attention to Jesse since leaving the draft podium in 2015, this was an exciting jump for him and myself who’s watched many of his WHL games and evaluate what he could bring to the table at the AHL level. Something was off to me with the relationship from the get-go when Gabrielle played his first game in his AHL rookie year against the Springfield Thunderbirds where head coach Jay Leach was using him sparingly with minimal minutes each game. Jesse was with the Providence club for 32 games appearing in 21 of them in the 2018-18 season.

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Now, I’m not totally sure what went on and not going to mention the many theories surrounding the rumors about this topic, but I can say from what I’ve noticed and heard the two sides were like oil and water. The seemingly sour relationship between the player and organization translated in major struggles for the aspiring NHL pro while going pointless in his first 16 of 21 career AHL games and would end with 1-3-4 numbers in that timeframe. With his struggles at the AHL level, I thought for sure an assignment in the ECHL with the Gladiators team would be the next course of action for the young prodigy to create a spark in the players offensive capabilities but was shocked at the news that he was heading back to the WHL to finish the 2018-18 season.

On January 5th, 2018 Gabrielle’s rights were traded from the PC Cougars to the Regina Pats who won the bid to host the very popular Memorial Cup which celebrated its 100th year in existence later that spring. In a surprising move, he was later loaned from the Boston Bruins to the Regina club where he finished the year posting 13-6-19 numbers in 27 games and would appear in the first round of the WHL playoffs playing two games going pointless. Gabrielle would not appear in any of the 2018 Memorial Cup round-robin tournament action as he was nursing an injury sustained in the second game of the 4-3  best-of-seven series defeat to the hands of the later league champion Swift Current Broncos.

As a healthy Gabrielle tried to erase a tough 2017-18 season that certainly had it’s ups and downs as mentioned above, it wouldn’t get any easier as both sides continued to butt heads. Gabrielle mentioned in a Rinkside Rhode Island Article from website founder/writer Mark Divver back in late September of 2018 during an interview at camp that he was not contacted by Bruins management to participate in the team’s four-day development camp in late June of 2018 and not a word was spoken about Septembers rookie camp which a majority was spent in Buffalo, New York for the fourth annual Prospects Challenge. Jesse mentioned that the Bruins finally contacted him via “text” to report to Providence for their camp and go from there.

Seriously my friends! If you did not click that link from Divver’s article, I highly recommend you do for factual reasons for why I got the idea to publish this post in the first place. You can also just CLICK HERE

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As any prospect under contract would do, Gabrielle reported but would be released along with fellow forward prospect Joona Koppanen to report to the Atlanta club in the ECHL where he most recently played. If anyone needs to know, the ECHL Wichita Thunder is the “AA” minor-pro affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers and a direct affiliate of the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors.  The Wichita team is in action for two games this weekend starting tonight at the Thunder’s home InTrust Bank Arena as they host the Kansas City Mavericks and tomorrow night when the Tulsa Oilers visit. The Monday New Years Eve game will be played on the road in Kansa City, and it’s not out of the realm for Bruins prospect Gabrielle to get into any of these three matchups mentioned above.

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Regardless of where Jesse plays, he’s in year two of his current three-year entry-level contract, and it certainly seems like both sides would like to part ways and create a little distance from each other with a move like this. Of course, it remains to be seen what the outcome and the thought process will be moving forward with this prospect that has the skills to be a solid pro anywhere on any level.  Also wanted to mention that this article is not to trash the player as I did not mention some of the many things heard because of unconfirmed reports, but I will say that if there is, in fact, an issue with this talented individual, I hope he can find out what that speed bump is in his progression moving forward to succeed in his life goals. I’m also not calling out an organization for potentially playing a heavy role in all the speculation but its newsworthy in my opinion.

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 11 Recap

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The Providence Bruins wrapped up their weekend games going one-for-one in games two and three of the current six-game road trip. The top minor-pro affiliate of the Boston Bruins won’t return to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island until after the new year when the Lehigh Valley Phantoms come to town on Friday night January 4th, 2019. If you happen to be in the Providence area or in a city where the B’s play on the road and would like to see the American Hockey Leagues Providence Bruins club in action to end 2018 and in the new year, please either CLICK HERE and use discount code BNGP or go to the bottom of this article to view ticket availability from our partners over at SeatGiant!

The Providence Club started the weekend traveling to the  Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton, New York to take on the Binghamton Devils. The Bruins entered the Friday, December 21st, 2018, matchup against the top minor-pro affiliate of the New Jersey Devils winning only once in the last six games. The Bruins who sit in the in the seventh position in the AHL’s Atlantic Division were desperate to get a victory to set off the weekends action nicely, but unfortunately, that wasn’t the case the Devils trounced the B’s by a score of 6-3.

Remaining on the road, the B’s headed to the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts to wrap up the weekend’s action before the holiday break to play the Springfield Thunderbirds on Saturday, December 22nd,2018. On this night in South Western Massachusetts, the team from Rhode Island faired better in the second game of the weekend with a 5-4 win over the host Thunderbirds. The players will take a break to be with family and friends ready to return to the ice when the Providence club gets back to work on Friday, December 28th, 2018, as they continue their road trip in Lehigh Valley against the Phantoms to finish the six-game roadie with three-straight games next weekend in the final days of 2018.

Friday, December 21st, 2018, The Providence Bruins vs. The Binghamton Devils (Road Game)

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

The Bruins owned the first period from start to finish with defenseman Connor Clifton getting things started just 16 seconds into the opening frame scoring his second of the year. New Providence forward Gemel Smith got his first goal of the season on the power-play at the 18:26 mark of the opening 20 minutes entering his second game since being placed on waivers from the NHL Bruins team. Besides an unassisted goal for forward Anton Blidh who scored his sixth of the season in the second frame, the Binghamton club was too much to handle as the Devils would go onto own the last 40 minutes of the contest especially in the third period were the team from New York would go onto score four straight ending the game with the home team winning 6-3

Bruins goaltender Zane McIntyre got the start in goal on this night in Binghamton and continues to show signs of struggling the 2018-19 roller coaster season. He stopped 17 of 22 Devils shots taking the loss while taking the loss. The 2010 sixth-round selection of the Bruins is 7-7-3 on the year with a 3.20 goals-against-average, and .875 save percentage in 17 appearances this season.

Saturday, December 22nd, 2018 The Providence Bruins vs. The Springfield Thunderbirds (Road Game)

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

After a tough loss in Binghamton the night before, The Providence club looked to wipe away the memory or lack of effort to the hands of the Devils to focus on the game and better results in Springfield, Massachusetts. Once again the Bruins got off to a good start with a man advantage goal from veteran forward Mark Mcneill who scored his third of the season at the 14:45 mark of the first period. Almost a minute later in action, the Thunderbirds club would tie the game at one which seemed to get the attention of the Bruins team when they got a late first frame goal by Karsons Kuhlman who scored his fourth of the year to get the B’s to a 2-1 lead.

The second period was owned by the Providence team scoring three straight starting with B’s Captain Jordan Szwarz netting his 10th of the season on the power-play at the 6:38 mark to make the score 3-1 B’s. Peter Cehlarik scored his fifth of the year at the 16:26 mark of the second to pull the Bruins away from the home Thunderbirds team with a 4-1 advantage. B’s defenseman Clifton would finish the middle period scoring his third of the year and second goal in as many nights with his own power-play goal giving Providence a 5-1 lead with 20 minutes to go.

With a significant lead over the Thunderbirds, the Bruins seemingly didn’t show up in the last frame giving up three straight but held on to win the game by the score of 5-4. Rookie goaltender and NHL Bruins third-round selection in 2015, Dan Vladar got the start in goal against the Birds on this night stopping 22 of 26 shots that came his way. Like his netminding partner McIntyre, the 21-year-old Vladar has struggled in his first year of AHL action appearing in 15 games in the 2018-19 campaign posting a record of 6-6-2 with a 2.71 GAA and .899 Save%.

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Providence Bruins McIntyre Sets Franchise Record

( Photo Credit: KDP Studio )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The Providence Bruins beat the Hershey Bears last night by the score of 6-2 at the Dunkin” Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island to improve their 2018-19 regular season record to 12-11-5-0. Speaking of record, with the victory over the Bears, Providence goaltender Zane McIntyre recorded his 68th American Hockey League win in franchise history. The 26-year-old Grand Forks, North Dakota native passes former B’s goaltender John Grahame who previously held the organization’s record since the end of the 2000-2001 regular season.

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McIntyre, a 6′-2″ 205-pound goaltender, has been with the Boston Bruins organization since his 2010 National Hockey League Entry Draft when he was selected in the sixth-round with the 165th overall pick. Zane has always been a strong goaltender learning the game throughout the developmental leagues creating instant success wherever he landed. The Bruins drafted him after he finished his last season of high school hockey playing for the Thief River Falls club where he posted an 18-8-1 record, a 1.81 goals-against-average and .925 save percentage.

The Bruins saw something very special in Zane to draft him out of a Minnesota High School and playing at the higher levels would seemingly fit his game continuing forward as he gained valuable experience with increased playing time and longer regular seasons. At the end of the 2009-10, High School season, Zane was the recipient of the Frank Brimsek Award for the Minnesota Senior Goalie of the Year. For those who don’t know, Frank Brimsek was a former Boston Bruins goaltender who was with the organization for 11 years winning two Stanley Cups.

After leaving the Minnesota, high school ranks Zane went to play in the USHL with the Fargo Force where he posted a career record of 38-24-4 with a 2.22 goals-against-average and .914 Save percentage. His play in the USHL particularly in the second and final season with the Force team he posted a 26-16-4 record earning himself another high honor of winning the Award for the USHL’s Goaltender of the Year for the 2011-12 campaign. The United States Hockey League is the nations only Tier 1 junior hockey league which is a fantastic developmental league that many current and former Boston Bruins players spent time in.  B’s players such as Anders Bjork and Charlie McAvoy played for the Team USA club, Torey Krug played for the Indiana Ice, and David Backes spent time playing with the Lincoln Stars all before stepping foot in the NCAA ranks of Division 1 College hockey.

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The next step was a three-year collegiate hockey career at the University of North Dakota where he started gaining popularity at a national level with his tremendous play. After the 2012-13 season which was McIntyre’s rookie season playing for the Fighting Hawks as the backup goaltender and posted a 9-4-3 record with a 2.46 GAA and .920 Save%. His next two seasons he was given the reigns as the starting goaltender and ran with the opportunity to produce a 49-20-6 record with a 2.02 GAA and .927 Save%. This third and final season at North Dakota was simply a work of art and a huge boost in confidence for Zane when he was a Hobey Baker Award Finalist, winner of the Mike Richter Award for the NCAA Top Collegiate Goalie. McIntyre was also the NCAA/NCHC Goaltender of the Year after his best career season for the Fighting Hawks going 29-10-3 in 42 games in the 2014-15 campaign before turning pro.

From College To The Pro Ranks

Adjusting to the pro level for Zane during the 2015-16 season was a bit of a challenge after he left school for the AHL’s team in Rhode Island. His rookie season started off with a three-headed monster in the crease that year as he split duties with former 2012 first-rounder Malcolm Subban and Jeremy Smith who was later shipped to the Iowa Wild on loan because of the bottleneck of netminders in the system. In 31 games as a rookie, he went 14-8-7 with a 2.68 GAA, and .898 Save% to be one of the best goaltenders in the AHL in his second season going 21-6-1 and leading the league with a .930 Save%. Zane’s third season in the AHL was good, but you can see that he had moments of struggles and even though he had good numbers with a 26-15-2 record you could see he was slowly getting passed in the depth chart but continued to work hard regardless of stretches where he honestly didn’t look great.

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The 2018-19 season has not been a great start for the Providence club with the constant recalls from the higher NHL Boston team that’s been rattled with injuries and McIntyre who’s sharing the crease duties with rookie Dan Vladar continues to show signs of struggles. This year mac has appeared in 16 games posting a 7-6-3 record with a 3.07 GAA and .880 Save% in the last year of his current two-year deal. I will admit that the team is starting to play somewhat better and have been trending to turn their fortunes for the better in the month of December the last few seasons. After starting the AHL regular season in the basement of the Atlantic Division, the Bruins have risen up the standings with a 12-11-5-0 record and 29 points which is good enough for sixth place in the eight-team AHL division.

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Moving Forward

As mentioned above, McIntyre is in the last year of his current deal, and even though he’s going to be a restricted free-agent at seasons end, it remains to be seen where both sides go with the veteran minor-pro goaltender. His unsuccessful cup of coffee at the NHL level and continued struggles at the AHL level might have the Bruins organization moving on without him with due to a seemingly bottleneck in the developing depths of the organization. B’s prospect goaltender Kyle Keyser who was signed as an undrafted free agent signed a three-year entry-level contract with the departure of goaltender Malcolm Subban who was claimed off of waivers from the Vegas Golden Knights in year one of the franchise. Keyser who will be eligible to play with the top minor-pro affiliate of the B’s is having a career year so far with the Ontario Hockey Leagues Oshawa Generals and might force the hand of Bruins management to walk away from McIntyre in favor of the younger netminder.

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Check out the available tickets from our advertising partner SeatGiant for your next Boston Bruins game. Click the link below, and when purchasing any event ticket — from the NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL to concerts and shows — please use discount code BNGP to save a little money. Thank You & Happy Holidays!

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Providence Bruins Sign Defenseman Cumiskey

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Per Providence Journal’s Bruins beat writer Mark Divver, yesterday the Providence Bruins organization signed veteran defenseman Kyle Cumiskey to a one-year American Hockey League contract. The 32-year-old British Columbia, Canada native, has certainly made the rounds when talking about his hockey career spending a considerable amount of time playing in North America and even spent time playing in Europe when he couldn’t find work in his home continent.

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After playing in 12 games in the Swedish Hockey League in the 2016-17 season with the Skelleftea AIK club and completely missing the 2017-18 hockey season altogether, the former 2015 Stanley Cup Champion with the Chicago Blackhawks made his way back to North America to keep the dream of playing alive. To start his 2018-19 season, the AHL Toronto Marlies came calling with a professional tryout agreement but after one game with the Marlies the top minor-pro affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs he was demoted to the new ECHL franchise with the Newfoundland Growlers where he appeared in 11 games. Cumiskey was loaned to the Providence Bruins on November 18th, 2018, where he agreed on a PTO while showing the AHL Providence club that he belongs at this level. Producing six points in 11 games with the Rhode Island franchise his play and leadership alone was enough for the team to lock him up for the remainder of the season.

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Cumiskey’s hockey career, particularly in North America, has been an up and down adventure. In 139 career NHL games, he has 9-26-35 numbers, but in the lower levels of minor-pro hockey, he’s produced 23-89-112 in 236 games in the AHL and nine assists in 11 games in the ECHL. His addition to the Providence team has been important because of the constant movement the team has seen with key injuries to the parent NHL Boston Bruins team, especially on defense. The 5′-11″ 181-pound blueliner tied a 2018-19 season-high last night when it comes to multi-point games with two assists in last nights 4-3 overtime loss to the hands of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. With last night’s two assists Kyle is now on a season-high two-game point streak.

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The 11-11-5-0 Providence Bruins are back at it tonight when the visiting 11-13-0-2 Hershey Bears come to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island. The Bruins currently sit sixth in the Atlantic Division with 27 points and are in the 11th spot when looking at the Eastern Conference rankings. The Providence club is 5-3-2 in their last ten games and winless in the last four with a 0-3-1 record. The B’s have had a tough time creating any consistency since starting the 2018-19 campaign but have shown signs of life in December as they’ve trended in year’s past the other way to make a strong second half effort and march into a playoff position. Cumiskey has certainly played well enough to be a catalyst on the backend of this B’s team, and his leadership could be an important factor moving forward with younger developing players all working towards the same goal.

Check out the available tickets from our advertising partner SeatGiant for your next Boston Bruins game. Click the link below, and when purchasing any event ticket — from the NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL to concerts and shows — please use discount code BNGP to save a little money. Thank You & Happy Holidays!

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Getting To Know New Bruins Forward Gemel Smith

( Photo Credit: Fox34 News )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

On December 6th, 2018, the Boston Bruins claimed forward Gemel Smith off the National Hockey Leagues waiver wire from the Dallas Stars who put him through the process in an attempt to move him to their American Hockey League top minor-pro affiliate. Obviously, he didn’t clear as the B’s came calling for his services and were willing to take the risk for something this Boston team might need. It seems many in Bruins Nation believe this club is “soft,” and nobody is there when opposing players seemingly take liberty’s on Boston’s better players in recent years and especially in the postseasons.

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With veteran forward Martin Hanzal coming off the injured list and in need of a roster spot to accompany his return, the 5′-11″-195-pound Smith was expendable and worth the risk of placing the waiver eligible player in the water for the sharks to feed. His addition to the Bruins organization addresses a particular need many Bruins fans want to see implicated, and that’s toughness. Although Smith is not labeled as an enforcer, he does add speed and grit when needed and not shy if the gloves come off even though he doesn’t have many fighting majors in his NHL career. The Mississauga, Ontario native was drafted by Dallas in the fourth round in 2012 and spent the first three seasons with the Stars top minor-pro affiliate the Texas Stars. In 186 career AHL games, the rugged forward has 35-51-86 numbers.

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His time in the NHL with Dallas has been his most recent home before the above-mentioned waiver claim appearing in 77 games while posting 11-9-20 career totals. In an interview this morning at practice at Warrior Ice Arena, he mentioned he can play up and down the lineup at all three positions and spent a majority of last season playing his off wing. For the “we need an enforcer” folks out there if his penalty minutes are indicative of his potential on this Bruins club when it comes to throwing the fists, his career penalty minutes through 77 games is only 38 with a high of 21 in 2016-17 and zero minors in 14 games this season before coming to Boston.

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By reading everything this morning in regards to practice and lines that were assembled at the Brighton, Massachusetts training facility, it remains to be seen where he could be placed and how effective he can be if needed. Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy mentioned he’ll play on a line with Sean Kuraly and Chris Wagner but if the Bruins get desperate and Cassidy saying Smith is a fast player with good forechecking skills, mismatching lines during play tonight and moving him around is not out of the question.  A free waiver claim like this might settle the thirst of old-school fans that thrill themselves on the thought of Old Time Hockey but this might be a counter move from the Bruins organization and of course, address certain needs whether fan sparked or just plain fact.

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Adding Kovar Could Be A Costly Signing For Bruins

( Photo Credit: Steven Ryan )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Let me start by saying this article is in no way bashing the player or the opinions of a fan base that would like to see free agent forward Jan Kovar get a shot with the Boston Bruins this season. The 28-year-old is currently playing with the Providence Bruins and is having a decent season thus far showcasing his skills to the eyes of National Hockey League managers and scouts that want to see more of him before committing. That’s right folks! The 5′-11″ 216-pound center iceman is with the top minor-pro affiliate of the NHL B’s on a professional try-out and is free to go where he pleases.

Kovar was signed by the New York Islanders during the offseason as a possible solution for the departing John Tavares who as many of you know signed as a free agent with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He was an attractive gamble after his contract ended in the Kontinential Hockey League with the Metallurg Magnitogorsk where he contributed 286 points in 285 career games for a better part of five seasons. There’s no doubt he’s a talented player and could be a key asset to any NHL club, but I have some concerns from a few angles with a potential move of like this.

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In Andrew Gross’s Tweet above the two sides walked away from each other after Kovar signed a one-year deal worth a reported $2 million back in early July of 2018. It was clearly the NHL or bust for the Czech Republic native who only been playing the North American style for a couple of months. After the departure off the Island, The Providence club came calling as they had room on their roster but the terms of the PTO signing were a bit troubling for me.

Goodbye New York, Hello Providence?

Kovar’s agent Alan Walsh’s tweet below is a clear indication of why he’s with the Providence club in the first place and while I do understand this is a business and the players’ livelihood is at the top of his priority, I consider this a little selfish of the player and a telltale sign of him being a flight risk if unhappy. I’m sure the Islanders organization asked if he’d like to stay on with the teams AHL affiliate in Bridgeport, Connecticut and with a contract termination if he doesn’t make the NHL club first and foremost, one has to speculate if he doesn’t sign with the NHL Bruins he could be again on the move.

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So far with the Providence Bruins, the free agent veteran has 4-6-10 numbers in 12 games played but has suddenly dipped off offensively in the last five games posting only two assists. He recently took a leave of absence from the Providence club as he was not seen at practices or any team training sessions between weekend games spurring the speculation that a deal either in the NHL or an organization calling from overseas was showing interest. The tweets below paint a very good picture of his intentions if not signed soon.

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Where To Now?

Obviously, the Boston Bruins have been hit with the injury bug and the demand for secondary scoring is a desperate need but if Kovar is indeed signed to an NHL contract from the B’s what is it going to take salary cap wise and what would the contract details be? It sounds to me that he’s all in on a one-way deal and by the way, his contract was handled with the Islanders a two-way deal that could potentially have him returned to the AHL would be a no-go for him and his agent. Some seem to believe under the agreement of an “AHL PTO,” the parent club can just call them up if needed but in fact, he will need an NHL contract of some sorts to even step on the ice of the greatest hockey league in the world. In my opinion, if you want to get to the promised land, put in the work like a professional and go through the rigors like so many deserving players have done in the past.

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Also, what does a move like this do to the minds of prospects that have worked hard to get to the NHL as a member of this organization? Not a very good message in my opinion when you pass over players of your own to take a gamble on one that’s only played in this part of the world and smaller ice surfaces for a short time. As a non-professional person that’s streamed every Providence Bruins game this season, I do agree that Kovar has some impressive skills that he brings to the table but his foot speed is far from NHL caliber and needs more improvement.  If he agrees to an AHL deal, all attributes of his game can be worked on and done so under the umbrella of the B’s organization only and not from the plentiful eyes of 30 other teams.

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As a fan and a person that follows this Bruins organization closely, I am more apt to give opportunities at a higher level from our own regardless of skill and what was done in other leagues participating in other countries. Even though B’s General Manager had some good things to say about Kovar in a tweets below from Providence Journal’s Bruins writer Mark Divver, I still have to believe that the puck is in Kovar’s corner, and it’s up to him to prove to the Bruins brass that he can be a team player and do what’s right instead of expecting this opportunity and pass many developing members of this organization ahead of him.

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Take a look at the article below from the Eyes on Isles website. It seems fans of the New York Islanders are happy with the two sides walking away from each other and in fact got outplayed by a better Brock Nelson who’s been with the team for a number of years.

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Bruins Prospects Keyser & Studnicka’s Recent Contributions In The OHL

      ( Photo Credit:  Both Images Above Courtesy Of Aaron Bell / OHL Images )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

A Little History……..

The Oshawa Generals are currently playing in their 56th season since rejoining the Ontario Hockey League in 1962. Per Wikipedia, the organization’s roots go back to the 1937-38 season and continue to 1953 before a fire at their home rink forced to club to take a ten-year leave of absence from the league. The Boston Bruins played a key role in the resurrection of the Generals club and new Oshawa Civic Auditorium construction which opened in 1964.

Again, Per Wikipedia, Bruins President at the time Weston Adams would go on to oversee the construction of the new arena and manage the Oshawa team as a Bruins minor-league affiliate having access to legendary B’s player Bobby Orr. Former Bruins legends Rick Middleton and Terry O’Reilly played for Oshawa in the late 1960s and early 1970s before their NHL careers, and Marc Savard was also a member of the Oshawa club in the early to mid-1990s and had a successful junior career for himself.

Present Day

Jumping ahead to the start of the 2018-19 regular season for the Generals club, things were a bit shaky as seen below from Twitter account Generals Live ( @GeneralsUpdates ) below, the team struggled to start but have really made some noise gathering 14 points in their last 17 games since October 16th. The Gens are now in second place in the Eastern Conference 10 points behind the Ottawa 67’s who are having an outstanding season so far with 42 points in 26 games played.

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Two Boston Bruins prospects currently playing with the Oshawa club are contributing at career-high paces and have been key members to the team’s recent success. Since being returned from their respected Boston Bruins training camps, prospect goaltender Kyle Keyser and forward Jack Studnicka have been pleasant additions to a very sneaky Gens team. Many highly respected analyst that cover the league has mentioned the Generals could be a “dark horse” club that could be head turners this season regardless of their slow start.  Below is a little more insight and my personal opinion from what I’ve seen thus far this year and what’s to be expected in the future from both B’s prospects.

Goaltender Kyle Keyser

( Photo Credit: Ryan Pfeiffer / Metroland )

Definitely, one of my favorite goaltending prospects to watch with his agility and athleticism. At 6′-2″ 183-pounds he’s aggressive netminder that is often at the top of his crease commonly cutting down his angles and squaring his body to the puck. Often these days, well in my opinion anyway, goaltenders above his height or equal to play deeper in the net while Keyser plays out relying on his quick lower body reflexes to get where he needs to be laterally. His quickness and reaction time is second to none and with those attributes has acquired an increasingly better-developed glove hand that seems to be getting better year-by-year with his puck tracking ability.

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The 2017-18 season was Keyser’s breakout year as a starter, and with his free agent signing with the Boston Bruins in the fall of 2017 shortly after the Vegas Golden Knights waiver claim of former B’s first-round prospect Malcolm Subban, Kyle has seemingly taken the umbrella of the B’s organization to a whole new level. In the aforementioned breakout year, he went 28-13-2 with a 3.16 goals-against-average, and .904 save percentage which had him ranked ninth overall in the OHL. A solid season nonetheless minus the two concussions he battled during the last season’s campaign which could’ve had major setbacks in his development.

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This year Kyle started the 2018-19 season on the shelf nursing an injury from Bruins training camp but as soon as he was cleared to play his mission has been focused on improving and helping his Generals team all he can as the last line of defense. In 18 games played so far the Coral Springs, Florida native has a 12-3-1 record, a 2.43 GAA and .929 Save% which is ranked third overall in the OHL. Keyser is currently on a five-game winning streak which he tied of a season-high this year and is one win away from tying a career-best six-game winning streak. Kyle has the chance to tie his career-high string of “W’s” tomorrow afternoon when the Generals host the Sarnia Sting from the Tribute Communities Centre when the puck drops at 2pm.

Forward Jack Studnicka

( Photo Credit: Ryan Pfeiffer / Metroland )

Determination is a word that I constantly think about when talking about Jack and the skill set he brings to so many levels of competitive developmental hockey. As a guest media member during the offseason’s development camp to rookie camp and NHL training camp participation, being close to Studnicka in that timeframe has allowed me to get a sense of what type of player he can be while presenting himself in a professional manner. From the Bruins training facility at Warrior Ice Arena Jack’s efforts and drive can be seen up close along with the surrounding voice of reason from supporting members such as Bruins training staff for on and off-ice training sessions during the offseason.

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Having the opportunity to interview Studnicka on several occasions, he’s said he’s here to challenge for an NHL roster spot and will continue to showcase his skills with close up looks from the B’s brass whenever possible. All those attributes were on full display as the team was heavily considering a spot as a third-line center but elected to return him to his junior team in favor of further development. This move back to Oshawa was not a knock against his development moving forward but was a smart idea when looking at his American Hockey League eligibility and the potential of starting his NHL career as close as next year.

Studnicka had a career year last season posting 22-50-72 in 66 games and is already on pace to break those totals this year. After being returned to Oshawa from Bruins camp, he’s appeared in 23 games and has 9-21-30 numbers. He’s currently on a five-game point streak which he can extender to six-games with a tilt tomorrow afternoon against Sarnia. So far this season the highly touted center has only gone pointless five times this season and in his last ten games has 3-9-12 numbers in that timeframe.

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This year Generals Head Coach Greg Walters has used Jack’s skills all over the lineup with him playing a majority of time in the top-six but often as low as the third line when matching up pre-game lineups. Regardless of what line he plays on his speed and the two-way game is impressive to watch. I wish I were close to seeing him play games live, but I’ve been fortunate enough to stream about 60 games since leaving the Draft podium in the summer of 2017. Great 200-foot game and high hockey IQ in tight situations. Big slap shot playing the point on the power-play acting like a quarterback with a man advantage and unreal release in front of the net.

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The 6′-2″ 179-pound forward took his demotion back to his Junior Club as a positive with the mindset that the journey to conquering his life-long goal was not yet over. In an October 1st, 2018, an article from Brain McNair of the DurhamRegion.com website, Studnicka had these things to say below upon his return back to the historic OHL franchise.

“It was awesome, they’re fast, you’ve got to keep up with them,” Studnicka said. “I think of myself as fast, but it really helped me to kind of be fast 24-7 and keep moving because those two are obviously two of the most skilled wingers in the game, but they’re also two of the hardest workers.”

Studnicka on working alongside current Boston Bruins player Patrice Bergeron.

“He’s an older guy, but you wouldn’t know it. He interacts with all the young guys due to his leadership, and it’s something I want to bring back to our room,” he said of Bergeron. “A lot of guys that get caught in my situation are going to hang their head and kind of walk through juniors, but I’m going in with my head held high here and I’m going to do everything I can to help the team succeed.”

Some word from Generals Head Coach Greg Walters on his return back to the league and organization.

“As you can see, his skill set is off the charts,” Walters said after Studnicka’s two-goal, four-point night in Sunday’s home opener against North Bay. “He’s a great leader, a true professional in the way he acts in the dressing room and in practice. We haven’t seen the best of Jack Studnicka yet.”

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Check out the available tickets from our advertising partner SeatGaint for your next Oshawa Generals home or road game. Click the link below, and when purchasing any event ticket, please use discount code BNGP to save a little money. Thank You!

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Providence Bruins Name Team Captain

( Photo Credit:  BostonBruins.com / NHL.com )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

After longtime Providence Bruins defenseman departed from the Boston Bruins organization there’s been a vacancy at the role of the definitive team captain. Cross, who held the captaincy honor for the last three of his six seasons with the top minor-pro affiliate of the National Hockey Leagues Bruins. The Providence club is certainly doing things the right way with addressing the vacancy, and after six games in the 2018-19 American Hockey League campaign so far it seems Bruins Head Coach Jay Leach and supporting cast have found their guy.  Earlier today veteran forward Jordan Szwarz was named the team’s thirteenth captain in franchise history.

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Szwarz, a 5′-11″ 201-pound versatile forward was originally drafted in the fourth round by the Phoenix Coyotes (Now Arizona Coyotes) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft from the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec. After a successful Canadian Junior career with the Ontario Hockey Leagues Saginaw Spirit where he appeared in 262 games posting 82-122-204 numbers. The now 27-year-old Ontario, Canada native has spent the last two seasons with the Providence club contributing 43-60-103 numbers in 121 games played with the Rhode Island franchise. His career in the AHL consists of 215 points in 368 games and when called up to the show he’s played 47 games in the NHL and has 4-3-7 numbers in 35 games with the Coyotes (4-0-4), and 12 games with the Boston Bruins (0-3-3).

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Jordan came to Providence camp before the 2016-17 season on a professional tryout agreement but would later sign a one-year two-way contract with the NHL Bruins in November of 2016. After signing with the Boston he would play the 2016-17 season with the Providence club. In his first year with Providence, he led the club in scoring with 54 points in 65 games earning another contract extension from the Bruins in March of 2018. Another impressive increase for Szwarz is his dollar value at the minor-pro level for a veteran who’s entering his eighth year in the AHL. From his minor-pro contract of $65K per season in the Coyotes system to $350K playing on a two-way contract with the Providence club this season.

Szwarz is off to a slow start to the 2018-19 campaign with one assist in six games, but slow starts have been an enigma for the Providence club in recent years as they seem to find team chemistry in the month of December. Even though this team has its troubles in the early going, the team has been a Calder Cup Playoff team for six straight seasons reaching the Eastern Conference Finals once, second round appearance twice, and three first-round best-of-five exits.

Although it’s early in the regular season, hopefully, this Providence team with the tutelage of Head Coach Jay Leach and Assistant bench boss Trent Whitfield can find what it takes to get the message embedded into the heads of these developing players and supporting veterans alike. The Bruins get back to work for game two of the weekend tonight at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island and try to erase the memory of last night’s overtime loss to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Providence Bruins Sign Kovar To PTO

( Photo Credit: Getty Images / Bruce Bennett )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Providence Journal Bruins beat writer Mark Divver reported earlier today the American Hockey Leagues Providence Bruins have signed veteran forward Jan Kovar to a Professional Try-Out agreement. The 28-year-old Czech Republic native recently played in the Kontinental Hockey Leagues with the Metallurg Magnitogorsk where he registered 97-189-286 numbers appearing in 285 games in the last five years.

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The 5′-11″ 216-pound center was a free agent signing of the New York Islanders shortly after the 2018 free agent frenzy and was a saut after project with recent success over in Europe. Per EliteProspects.com Kovar’s development and pro-league play has been impressive to read with three Czech2 Championships,  Czech Extraliga Championship, and a two-time winner of the KHL Gagarin Cup Champion he certainly has worldly skills to take a chance on.

After his contract was over in the KHL, The Islanders were smart to roll the dice with a low cap experiment with Jan’s services and possibly be a seamless asset pending the retain or departure of the Tavares sweepstakes free agent talks which ending with his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs being the most attractive option in free agency. Kovar signed a one-year $2 million dollar contract and it was time for him to showcase his skills at the highest level in the world.

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I’m not exactly sure about what happened to the relationship Kovar and the Islanders had but it was sour enough for the two parties to walk away. What would entice a player who already accepted a contract and eager to join his new National Hockey League team in North America just to have cold feet and want to leave? Per Left Wing Lock Twitter Account,  Kovar was placed on Unconditional Waivers for the purpose of contract termination.

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Well, now that he’s with the Providence Bruins after being seen by the aforementioned Providence Journal Bruins reporter Mark Divver below at this mornings practice, now it’s speculation time where he’ll play alongside other Bruins developmental talent as a 28-year-old but better yet, who’s spot could he be taking? For me and it’s early in the 2018-19 AHL campaign but I don’t believe he will take the job of current Bruins prospects in the system but could have a player that recently signed an AHL contract to play only in Providence’s job or play the role of an extra forward as regulated roster size in the AHL is different than the NHL limit.

In a later Tweet today, Divver mentioned that Kovar most likely won’t see any game action this weekend with three straight games including a home-and-home series starting tomorrow night in Bridgeport, Connecticut against Sound Tigers the minor-pro affiliate of the New York Islanders. Also chiming in on all the questions concerning Kovar was his agent Alan Walsh who said below that both the Providence Bruins and his client are going to remain in the area for the next couple of weeks and see where things go. This is a common tactic to keep players around before returning to Europe or the KHL to keep playing and in leagues with familiarity.

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Kovar is good friends Bruins superstar and countryman David Pastrnak as seen in a Tweet below from the young B’s forward dating back to when Kovar and the Islanders made the deal in July of this year.

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UPDATE: Details Below From first-year New York Islanders General Manager Lou Lamoriello on the termination of Jan Kovar’s one-year $2 million contract per Andrew Gross’s verified Twitter account.

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Below are some video’s of what the Providence Bruins could see in his short professional tryout in the American Hockey League.