Bruins Game Recap: Bruins at Rangers 2/6/19

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photo credit: AP Photo / Mary Altaffer

By: Mandi Mahoney | Check me out on Twitter @phonymahoney

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: Madison Square Garden, New York

Home: New York Rangers (22-22-8)

Away: Boston Bruins (29-17-7)

Bruins Lineup:

Brad Marchand — Patrice Bergeron —Jake DeBrusk

Peter Cehlarik — David Krejci — David Pastrnak

Joakim Nordstrom — Trent Frederic — Danton Heinen

Sean Kuraly — Noel Acciari — Chris Wagner

Torey Krug — Kevan Miller

Zdeno Chara — Brandon Carlo

Matt Grzelcyk — Charlie McAvoy

Jaroslav Halak

Tuukka Rask

Scratched: John Moore, Steve Kampfer, David Backes

Injured: none

Rangers Lineup:

Chris Kreider — Mika Zibanejad — Mats Zuccarello

Pavel Buchnevich — Kevin Hayes — Jesper Fast

Filip Chytil — Ryan Strome — Vladislav Namestnikov

Vinni Letteri — Boo Nieves — Jimmy Vesey

Marc Staal — Tony DeAngelo

Brady Skjei — Adam McQuaid

Brendan Smith — Kevin Shattenkirk

Alexandar Georgiev

Henrik Lundqvist

Scratched: Neal Pionk

Injured: Brett Howden (MCL), Fredrik Claesson (shoulder)

 

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photo credit: Thomas Nyström

First Period:

Just over a minute into the action, the Bruins went on the penalty kill after Patrice Bergeron was assessed a minor for tripping Rangers center Mika Zibanejad. While they were shorthanded, Chris Wagner capitalized on a turnover and turned on the jets to go on a breakaway. Bulgarian sensation Alexandar Georgiev made the save, and play went back toward the Bruins’ defensive zone. The play was back and forth for a few minutes with no crazy scoring chances, but solid play all around, especially by both goaltenders. Jaroslav Halak seemed to have gotten past whatever had been dogging him for the last few games. The Rangers managed to get back into the offensive zone, and Brendan Smith let a shot go that Halak saved with his head.

At 13:39, Mark Staal landed in the penalty box due to a completely questionable call for cross checking Sean Kuraly (it was an awkward and accidental hold at best). On the ensuing Bruins power play, the Black and Gold caused some chaos in the Rangers’ end, to no avail. Grzelcyk and McAvoy were both on the ice for this power play, and showed some chemistry, as they did at Boston University.

Once the Rangers killed the penalty, Mika Zibanejad dumped the puck in, with Mats Zuccarello retrieving it by the Bruins’ net. Matt Grzelcyk attempted to break up the play, but his stick got caught in the twine of Halak’s net. This left Zuccarello able to set Zibanejad up for a filthy one-timer goal. Z-Bad is hot these days.

Played resumed with the same tempo after the goal, with Kevan Miller breaking up a scary 2-on-1 opportunity for the Rangers. At 19:08, Sean Kuraly collided with Ranger Boo Nieves, knocking him down and upsetting Jimmy Vesey, who immediately rushed to Nieves’ defense, cross checking Kuraly. Two minor penalties were assessed: roughing for Kuraly, and cross checking for Vesey. Referee Dan O’Halloran assured a whining Nieves that yes, there had been contact, but it was very clearly accidental on Kuraly’s part. Oh, the drama!

Score: 1-0, Rangers

Second Period:

The second stanza began with 4-on-4 hockey due to the Kuraly-Vesey incident, this time with the Bruins getting a few chances in the offensive zone, and Georgiev getting the opportunity to make a save with his melon, too – equal opportunity goaltending. The Bruins continued to prove that aside from their top line and David Krejci, they are fairly inept offensively. At 2:16, Kevan Miller went to the box for a cross checking minor against Vladislav Namestnikov. Naturally, Patrice Bergeron won the faceoff, and the puck heads toward Matt Grzelcyk at the point, and he sends a laser of a shot toward the net, allowing Danton Heinen to tip it right over Georgiev’s shoulder to tie the game at one goal apiece. Secondary scoring, folks!

At 11:49, the Rangers turned the puck over at the blue line, with Kevan Miller making a diagonal cross-zone pass from the right point to David Krejci, in the left circle. Krejci executed a beautiful tic-tac-toe move, fling the puck toward David Pastrnak, who was patiently waiting at the top of the crease. Pastrnak was able to bury Krejci’s feed, giving the Bruins a 2-1 lead.

At 12:12, Patrice Bergeron was assessed a laughable minor penalty for “slashing” Mats Zuccarello, who happened to drop his stick with very light contact from Mister Perfect. Officiating was somewhat questionable at Madison Square Garden last night. The resulting power play afforded the Rangers a few good chances, but luckily, the Bruins managed to kill the penalty. Now at even strength, the Bruins were ready to make things happen.

And make things happen, they did! It seemed like the floodgates opened for a minute there, with the Bruins getting several chances in the Rangers’ zone. Brad Marchand passed to Torey Krug, who let a shot go from the blue line. With Jake DeBrusk setting up the screen, Patrice Bergeron was able to deflect the puck home.

Score: 3-1, Bruins

Third Period:

The fourth line began with a solid shift from the Bruins’ fourth line, who seemed to have the Rangers hemmed in for a bit. The play then transitioned to a ping-pong type of game with the Bruins and Rangers going back and forth for several minutes, without any significant scoring chances. Things would get sloppy for the Bruins, though: Pavel Buchnevich received a phenomenal pass at the Bruins’ blue line, took a shot, and Halak made the save. Jimmy Vesey jumped on the juicy rebound, dishing it to Kevin Hayes, who was left alone in the slot. Hayes beat Halak, and the Rangers were within one.

At 12:05, Charlie McAvoy took a penalty for boarding Mika Zibanejad (this was a stupid play and a good call). The resulting Rangers power play would of course yield a goal for them, tying the game. Ryan Strome fed Buchnevich at the point. Buchnevich let one go from the blue line, but Halak made the save. He was slow to find the rebound, which was behind him on his right side, and Filip Chytil managed to capitalize, tying the game at 3. It looked like the Bruins were done blowing leads after the last two games. Oh well.

The Bruins defense began to look sloppier, with Zdeno Chara and Brandon Carlo causing a little bit of a blunder after great chances by Jesper Fast and Jimmy Vesey. The puck entered the crease at Halak’s left, and fortunately exited to his right. The third period was a little bit chippy, and the Bruins began letting the Rangers carry the puck for long distances without really challenging them. On to overtime…

Score: 3-3

Overtime:

Overtime in hockey is notoriously stressful. Lately, the Bruins have been particularly unsuccessful in games longer than three periods. Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy rolled out David Pastrnak, David Krejci, and Torey Krug to start. The Bruins and Rangers traded chances for the entire five minutes, with both goaltenders standing on their heads. Jaroslav Halak must have been having an out-of-body experience during overtime, as the man was playing out of his mind. Zibanejad had a fantastic opportunity to bury the OT winner, with Halak robbing him, low glove side.

Neither team would be successful in overtime, however, and this fun game would end up going where great games go to die – the shootout. What a drag.

Shootout:

Bruce Cassidy took a strange approach to this shootout, almost like he thought this would be the way to breathe some life into the players who should be producing offensively, but aren’t. It didn’t make a lot of sense. This shootout lineup boggles the mind:

  • Mats Zuccarello – no goal
  • Peter Cehlarik – no goal
  • Kevin Shattenkirk – no goal
  • Mika Zibanejad – goal!
  • Brad Marchand – goal!
  • Kevin Hayes – no goal
  • Charlie McAvoy – no goal
  • Filip Chytil – no goal
  • Jake DeBrusk – no goal
  • Jimmy Vesey – no goal
  • Danton Heinen – no goal
  • Ton DeAngelo – goal!
  • David Krejci – no goal

Notice anyone missing? Patrice Bergeron, Bruins all-time shootout goal leader, perhaps? This did not go unnoticed among Bruins fans and media, because it was really not a good call by Cassidy. Nobody can figure out what he was going for. Oh well, at least the Bruins left New York with a point.

Final Score: 4-3, Rangers

Three Stars Of The Game

First Star: Mika Zibanejad has been on fire lately, and is definitely the one driving the bus offensively for the Rangers. He scored on a sweet one-timer and had a few chances during overtime, as well. He was also one of the few successful shootout

Second Star: Filip Chytil had himself a good game, getting several scoring chances. Scoring the game-tying goal was huge. The rookie has 10 goals and nine assists for 19 points in 52 games.

Third Star: Both goaltenders were better than anyone expected them to be. Jaroslav Halak has been mediocre ate best lately, and Georgiev is having a tough season. They both were very solid between the pipes.

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! 

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Bruins Game 54 Preview: New York Rangers

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photo credit: John Tlumacki/Boston Globe Staff

By: Mandi Mahoney | Check me out on Twitter @phonymahoney

The Boston Bruins are coming into tonight’s game against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden riding a two-game win streak that came after a rough stretch. The Bruins are 4-3-3 in their last ten games and have beaten both of the Metropolitan Division’s top two teams, the Islanders and Capitals, this week. The Rangers are 5-4-1 in their last ten outings, including a 3-2 win over the Bruins in Boston.

The Bruins are occupying the first Wild Card spot, as they are in fourth place in the Atlantic Division, which I have referred to as both the Adams Division and the Northeast Division today. Their record is currently 29-17-7, and they’ve accumulated 65 points on the season. The Rangers are 22-22-8 with 52 points and are nine points out of the playoff picture at the moment. If the Blueshirts want to make the playoffs, they will have to leapfrog Philadelphia, Carolina, and Buffalo in the standings.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Jaroslav Halak | 13-9-3 record; .918 Save Percentage, 2.49 Goals Against Average | Last game: 24 saves in 4-3 OTL against WPG on January 29

NYR: Alexandar Georgiev | 14-6-9 record; .897 Save Percentage; 3.28 Goals Against Average | Last game: 18 saves in a 1-0 loss against PHI on January 29

Who’s Hot

The Bruins’ top line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak are performing, as usual. Bergeron is coming off a two-goal performance (one was on an empty net, thanks to Pasta) in his 1000th NHL game. He has also scored two goals and notched four assists for six points in his last six games. David Pastrnak has scored three goals and assisted on six for nine points in his last five games. Left Wing Brad Marchand has scored one goal and assisted on six for seven points in his last five outings.

For the Rangers, Mika Zibanejad has tallied six goals and got the helper on four, for a total of ten points in his last five games. He became the first Rangers player in franchise history to register a point on nine consecutive team goals, surpassing the long-standing record set by Rod Gilbert (2-6—8 in 1967-68). The guy is absolutely on fire right now – it’s almost like he plays on Patrice Bergeron’s line.

Who’s Not

The Bruins’ secondary scoring has been experiencing a serious drought of late. Apart from the Bergeron line, there has been very little offensive production from anyone in the lineup recently. Peter Cehlarik lit the lamp against the Islanders last night, but goals from players other than Bergeron, Marchand, and Pastrnak have been few and far between.

Another struggling Bruin is Jaroslav Halak, who is 1-3-1 in his last five games. In that stretch, the Bruins have allowed 117 shots, and 16 of them have found the twine, which is a save percentage of .863 — not good. Halak, however, is historically good against the Rangers, with a record 18-8-0 to show for it. His career save percentage is .928, and his goals-against-average is 2.40, so there is hope that Halak can shake off the cobwebs and give us a better show between the pipes tonight.

For New York, Bulgarian backup goaltender Alexandar Georgiev has had a rough go this season, and while he’s fared a bit better than Halak recently, he’s still not playing well. In his last five outings, Georgiev has allowed 12 goals on 122 shots, good for a save percentage of .902.

Projected Lines:

Boston Bruins:

Brad Marchand — Patrice Bergeron — David Pastrnak

Jake DeBrusk — David Krejci — Peter Cehlarik

Joakim Nordstrom — Trent Frederic — Danton Heinen

Sean Kuraly — Noel Acciari — Chris Wagner

Torey Krug — Kevan Miller

Zdeno Chara — Brandon Carlo

Matt Grzelcyk — Charlie McAvoy

Jaroslav Halak

Tuukka Rask

Scratched: John Moore, Steve Kampfer, David Backes

Injured: none

New York Rangers:

Chris Kreider — Mika Zibanejad — Mats Zuccarello

Pavel Buchnevich — Kevin Hayes — Jesper Fast

Filip Chytil — Ryan Strome — Vladislav Namestnikov

Vinni Letteri — Boo Nieves — Jimmy Vesey

Marc Staal — Tony DeAngelo

Brady Skjei — Adam McQuaid

Brendan Smith — Kevin Shattenkirk

Alexandar Georgiev

Henrik Lundqvist

Scratched: Neal Pionk

Injured: Brett Howden (MCL), Fredrik Claesson (shoulder)

 

Milestone Watch

Boston Bruins:

  • D Zdeno Chara is two goals away from 200 career NHL goals, making him the 21st defenseman to hit that mark in NHL history
  • F Brad Marchand is one short-handed goal away (23) from tying Derek Sanderson (24) for second-most SHG in Bruins history
  • F Brad Marchand is one game-winning goal away from taking sole possession of 7th most GWG in Bruins history
  • F Patrice Bergeron is one game-winning goal away from taking sole possession of 3rd most GWG in Bruins history

New York Rangers:

  • The Rangers are a fairly young team and don’t have anybody currently nearing any milestones to speak of at the moment.

Bruins vs. Rangers Outlook

The Bruins are playing in back-to-back games, one home and one away, and maybe a little worn out for tonight’s tilt. David Backes will be sitting out in favor of Danton Heinen, so the bottom six may look and feel a little bit rejuvenated in comparison to the Bruins’ last couple of games. The Rangers, meanwhile, will be rested as their last game was an overtime loss to the Kings on Monday. The Rangers know they’re in trouble in the standings and shed some dead weight in trading forward Cody McLeod today so there may be an extra spring in their step.

The Bruins and Rangers will meet a total of three times this season, with tonight’s game being the second. Their last meeting, on January 19, was a 3-2 overtime loss for the Bruins. Boston will really need to get rolling again after a couple of disappointing weeks, as no team feels comfortable in a Wild Card spot. Every point counts and the Bruins are going to come to play tonight. This is not going to be much of a clash of the Titans, however, as the Rangers’ offense is among the worst in the NHL, and pretty much every Bruin forward that isn’t on the top line has been snake bitten lately.

 

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! 

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Another Day, Another Milestone: Patrice Bergeron Plays His 1000th Game

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photo credit: Sportsnet

By: Mandi Mahoney | Check me out on Twitter @phonymahoney

There’s a quiet grace about Patrice Bergeron that makes people forget exactly how good a player he is, and it’s unbelievable how long he’s been an important fixture in the Bruins’ lineup. One of the best players in the world, Bergeron is a member of the Triple Gold Club (World Junior Championship, Olympics, and Stanley Cup), and a four-time Selke Trophy winner, as the National Hockey League’s best defensive forward. This is a player who is so consistently effective night in and night out, that the only reason any of the milestones he’s achieved as a Bruin have been remotely surprising is because it’s so easy to forget he’s been with the team for 15 years. Tonight, he will play in his one thousandth NHL game – the other 999 have all been with the Boston Bruins, and we should all be grateful for it.

Despite the Bruins’ history as one of the oldest NHL teams, there are only four former Bruins who have played one thousand games in Black and Gold: legendary defenseman Ray Bourque (1518), Johnny “Chief” Bucyk (1436), current GM Don Sweeney (1052), and an important cog in those powerful 1970s teams, Wayne Cashman (1027). Patrice is in good company with those guys, and it shows what an important role he has continually played since arriving in Boston as an 18-year-old. It’s not unreasonable to think that when Bergeron skates off the Garden ice for the final time, he could be second or third on the list.

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photo credit: Mary Beth Meehan / Boston Globe Staff

Bergeron came to Boston after he was selected 45th overall in the second round of the 2003 NHL entry draft – a draft class that is regarded as one of the deepest and most talented to date. He made a good impression almost immediately in Boston, but nobody could possibly have guessed the impact he would have on the organization for years to come. He would soon prove to be the organization’s hardest working prospect, forcing his way onto the Bruins’ roster immediately after being drafted. When he made his NHL debut as an 18-year-old Quebec Major Junior Hockey League alum, Patrice was only a year removed from having been cut from his junior team and was the NHL’s youngest player. Bruins fans didn’t know much about him, but they would be in for a pleasant surprise.

During his rookie season, Patrice mostly played wing on the Bruins’ second line alongside Brian Rolston and Marty Lapointe, who invited the teenage Bergeron to live with him. Bergeron could only speak French when he got to the Hub, and living with Lapointe didn’t help, as his family mainly spoke French at home, so Bergeron had to teach himself English over the next couple of seasons. Language skills be damned, Patrice was successful skating alongside Lapointe and Rolston, and enjoyed some success on that line, scoring 16 goals and assisting on 23 for a total of 39 points. He finished 8th in Calder Trophy (rookie of the year) voting, which teammate Andrew Raycroft ultimately won after Bergeron missed time due to a groin injury. He was the only 18 year old to receive Calder votes that season.

He played with Michael Nylander and Sergei Samsonov after the trade deadline and in the playoffs, and the trio formed a short-lived but very fun-to-watch line. The Bruins were bounced by the Habs in a very memorable series, and the following season, the NHL did not play. Bergeron headed to Providence to play in the American Hockey League, where he worked on his game and fine-tuned a few things so he’d be even further improved when the NHL returned to action.

It was early in his career that then-Bruins GM Mike O’Connell and company decided that Bergeron was the player to build their team around, rather than Captain Joe Thornton. Patrice had shown unexpected maturity since day one, as well as a team-first attitude – it was never about him – he did whatever his coaches and management asked. He put in even more work than they asked. It was a no brainer that Bergeron should be the future of the organization, as he had the talent and work ethic to set a good example for the rest of the team.

His career hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows, however. In the tenth game of the 2007-08 season, Randy Jones of the Flyers hit Bergeron from behind, pushing Bergeron into the boards head-first, knocking him unconscious, breaking his nose, and causing a grade three concussion. Anyone who watched that game can attest to how scary it was when Bergeron went down. Ultimately, he was unable to return until the following season. In December 2008, two months after making his return, Bergeron collided with future Bruin Dennis Seidenberg and suffered another concussion. He didn’t regain his old form until later in 2009.

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photo credit: Elsa / Getty Images

That all feels like ancient history at this point. In 2009, the Bruins acquired well-traveled NHL veteran Mark Recchi, who had won the Stanley Cup in Pittsburgh and in Carolina. Recchi was long in the tooth by then, at 41 years old, but was still producing and was considered a smart deadline pickup. Recchi would bring more than scoring to the Bruins, though, as he helped shepherd Bergeron into the leadership role the Bruins had always wanted to see him in.

When asked about Recchi’s influence on him, Bergeron told Joe McDonald of the Athletic:

 I learned to be a better leader with Rex. I never got asked that and I think that was a, I wouldn’t say a “turning point” in my career, because I think I would’ve learned the ropes, but I took a huge step with him helping me out. And that year he came in was the year I was starting to find my game again. I was still dealing with some injuries at that time, and the year before, and I was still young and trying to learn and get better. That year was really one that he showed me how to win. It’s not that I didn’t know that stuff, but more like just trying to help me grow my leadership skills. That was huge off the ice. On the ice, I had great chemistry with him and (Brad Marchand) and that’s when it started for us. That trade, obviously helped the team and we won a Stanley Cup, but for me he was a huge impact.

In response, Recchi told The Athletic about his urging Bergeron to step up and lead his team during a rough game in the 2010-11 season:

He had it in him. There’s no question he had it in him; it was just a matter of getting it out of him. I remember saying to him, “This is your time. This is your team and they need to hear you right now.” He stepped up and never looked back from there. It was awesome to see. He’s a natural leader and he had to get into that comfort zone where he felt he was there. He made it so much fun for me. It was so enjoyable to be around that. I always loved helping young guys, but when you have someone as special as (Bergeron) it makes it even more rewarding every day to play with him, practice with him and get to be around him on a daily basis. It was incredible.

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photo credit: Harry How / Getty Images

There are endless stories about what a class act Bergeron is – they come from former Bruins, current Bruins, opposing players, former teammates – there is no shortage as Patrice Bergeron is everything teams want in a hockey player, on and off the ice. He’s a leader and knows how to interact with teammates, what to say and do, and when to say and do it. He takes team friendly deals. He cares about the community. There is no doubt that Bergeron will be named Captain of the Bruins when Zdeno Chara retires – for the Bruins to even consider doing anything else would be ludicrous.

Need a big goal? Count on Bergeron. A key faceoff win? Patrice is your guy. Need someone to talk his team off the ledge when their backs are against the wall? Again, #37 is your man. He was instrumental in the Bruins’ Stanley Cup win in 2011 and scored the winning goal in Vancouver in game 7. He’s so responsible, you can even trust him with your gardening needs.

There is so much positive to be said for Patrice Bergeron. He is literally the perfect hockey player. He is defensively responsible while offensively gifted (many people forget how skilled he is because he’s so unselfish), and he has managed to get through one hell of an injury history and come out on top. Bergy is a symbol of the right kind of toughness in the NHL – teams covet a player like him, who played through a Stanley Cup Final game with a punctured lung (don’t try that at home, kids). He isn’t afraid to drop the gloves if need be, but you can count his NHL fights on one hand. He has already carved his legend into the history of the Boston Bruins, and while there will undoubtedly be more Bruins milestones to come, Bergeron has already racked them up:

  • 3rd in game-winning goals, all-time (tied with Ray Bourque at 60)
  • 5th in games played (1000)
  • 6th in goals (305) and power play goals (92)
  • 7th in assists (473) and points (778)

Bergeron is right up there with the Bruins we’ve all heard about from our parents, and the ones we watched when we were kids. He is one of the Bruin greats. Think about this: Patrice Bergeron is very likely to eclipse Bobby Orr in points as a Boston Bruin. Crazy, isn’t it? We should enjoy him while we can, as he is a special player, and guys like this only come around once in a blue moon.

It’s been an absolute pleasure to watch and cheer for Bergeron in these 1,000 games – here’s to 1,000 more!

Pittsburgh Penguins v Boston Bruins - Game Three

photo credit: NHL.com

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!

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Bruins Prospect Studnicka Named IceDogs’ Alternate Captain

( Photo Credit:  NHL.com )

By: Mandi Mahoney | Check me out on Twitter @phonymahoney

The Ontario Hockey League’s Niagara IceDogs have announces that Bruins prospect Jack Studnicka has been named as one of the squad’s Alternate Captains.  One of the Bruins’ top prospects, Studnicka was drafted 53rd overall in the second round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, and is currently playing his fourth, and likely last, season in the OHL.

The right-hand shooting center was traded to the Niagara IceDogs from the Oshawa Generals along with Canucks prospect Matt Brassard as part of a blockbuster deal in exchange for defenseman Lleyton Moore and six draft picks on January 8th. Since he was traded to Niagara, Studnicka has scored seven goals and assisted on eight, for a total of 15 points in just nine games with his new team — not too shabby. He also scored a hat trick in a 7-2 routing of the Flint Firebirds on January 19th.

Jack is currently sitting at 49 points in 39 OHL games this season and is tied for fifth in scoring for the IceDogs. Studnicka is no stranger to being in a leadership role, as he Captained the Oshawa Generals last season. It runs in the family, apparently, as his older brother Sam, also a center, was named Captain of the OHL’s Sarnia Sting in 2016.

IceDogs Head Coach Billy Burk has been impressed by the crafty center since he joined the Niagara squad:

Jack is one of the most detailed players in the league and he carries himself like a pro at practice and away from the rink. He is a natural leader and even though he has only been here a few weeks, he completely embodies what it means to be an IceDog. The strength of this team is the character of our players. Jack will do a great job along with Ben, Akil and Jon in leading our group on hopefully a long run.

Studnicka had an excellent training camp with the Bruins this season, and also played for Team Canada in the IIHF World Junior Championship, where the Tecumseh, Ontario native scored one goal and assisted on three for four points in five games. It would be no surprise to see him land on the Providence Bruins’ roster in the American Hockey League at the end of this OHL season.

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photo credit: NHL.com

Jack’s name has been bandied about in Bruins trade rumors in exchange for a scoring wing, but it seems like moving him could turn out to be a bad idea since he is a talented scorer and is considered to be one of the OHL’s most complete player. That said, Studnicka clearly has the skills and intangibles NHL coaches and GMs love, so his being named a Captain on his second team in a row may up his value to other teams a bit.

The way the Bruins’ NHL roster looks at the moment, however, it wouldn’t be that crazy to think that if the 6-foot-2 center can capitalize on his time in the AHL, Studnicka could land in Boston next season. Given that the sky is the limit for Jack, he could very well find himself in a three-way tie for third line center on the NHL roster with Swedish center Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, and Trent Frederic, who made a splash in his National Hockey League debut against Winnipeg Tuesday night. At the moment, Studnicka seems like a pretty special player, and it’s great to see him be rewarded.

 

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!

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Bruins Recall Cehlarik, Frederic From Providence, Reassign Forsbacka Karlsson and Donato

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( Photo credit: NHL.com )

By: Mandi Mahoney | Check me out on Twitter @phonymahoney

This afternoon, Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney announced that the team made several transactions today, including recalling Peter Cehlarik and Trent Frederic from the American Hockey League and reassigning Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and Ryan Donato to their AHL affiliate in Providence.

Cehlarik, a 23-year-old drafted by the Bruins at 90th overall in 2013, was originally called up earlier this month and made his season debut against the Flyers in Philadelphia. At this point, the Zilina, Slovakia native has skated in three games with the Black and Gold this season, tallying 2 goals and one assist for a total of three points. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound forward has been one of the Bruins’ better forwards in each of the three outings he’s played since being called up.

Cehlarik was reassigned to Providence of the AHL last week when the Bruins’ bye week began, as he wouldn’t have to pass through waivers and the Bruins wanted to keep him engaged and playing through the break. As expected last week, the Bruins recalled him as soon as the bye week ended, and he will likely pick up where he left off, playing alongside David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk. Cehlarik has enjoyed some good chemistry with his linemates and hopefully can keep up the good work with his return to the NHL, where he has notched three goals and four assists for a total of seven points in 20 games since the 2016-17 season.

Center Trent Frederic, a late first rounder drafted by the Bruins 29th overall in 2016, had a good training camp with the Bruins and was one of the more likely players to b center the third line coming into this season. Neither he nor Forsbacka Karlsson had a great preseason despite both having a strong camp, and both were reassigned to Providence to start off the season. Frederic will probably be making his NHL debut Tuesday night at home against Winnipeg. The St. Louis native was selected by the Bruins using the first round picked they received along with Sean Kuraly as a return in the Martin Jones trade (Marty, we hardly knew ye!).

The 6-foot-2, 203-pound American center is tough as nails and defensively responsible. Don’t be fooled by his willingness to drop the gloves, as Frederic is offensively gifted, as well, and has 10-7-17 totals in 37 games in the AHL this season. He’s currently riding a hot streak as well and scored two goals Friday night. Frederic played two seasons for the University of Wisconsin Badgers of the Big 10, where he tallied 32-33-65 totals in 66 games – not too shabby for a player labeled a bottom-six defensive forward and draft bust only a year or two ago. Prior to his two seasons in college hockey, Frederic suited up for the United States National Team Development Program, also known as the USA under-18 team, where he scored four goals and assisted on 11 for a total of 15 points in 24 games.

Both Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and Ryan Donato have been with the Bruins’ NHL squad for the better part of this season, and both players have shown some solid NHL potential but have also struggled for the most part. Forsbacka Karlsson, a two-way center, has scored three goals and assisted on six, totaling nine points while playing mostly as the Bruins’ third line center in 28 NHL games this season. Ryan Donato has scored a few beautiful goals and reminded Bruins fans of the offensive potential he showed during the Olympics last February, but he’s had trouble lighting the lamp with any consistency this season, with 6-3-9 totals in 34 NHL games this season. JFK and Donato definitely can be NHL players, but each of them will benefit significantly from a stint in the AHL.

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Bruins Assign Cehlarik to Providence

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photo credit: NHL.com

By: Mandi Mahoney  |  Check Me Out On Twitter @phoneymahoney

This afternoon, Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney announced that their most recent call-up, forward Peter Cehlarik, has been assigned to the Providence Bruins of the AHL.

This reassignment to Providence is mainly due to the Bruins not having a game scheduled until January 29th due to the bye week and All-Star break. Skating in the AHL will keep Cehlarik invigorated during the bye week, as it wouldn’t be ideal for him not to play a game for ten days if he’s able to be sent to the AHL without having to clear waivers. It would make sense for GM Don Sweeney to reassign Cehlarik and then recall him for Boston once the week is nearing completion so he can rejoin his NHL teammates.

Cehlarik had been recalled by the Bruins on Tuesday, January 15, for his third career stint with the NHL club.  In his last two tours with Boston, the Slovak wing mostly skated alongside David Krejci, with whom he has shown some chemistry despite only notching one goal and four points in his previous 17 National Hockey League contests, which occurred during the 2016-17 and 2017-18 campaigns. For most of the last three games with the Bruins, Cehlarik has played on the second line with Krejci and Jake DeBrusk.

During his most recent call-up, the 23-year-old wing dressed in three games for the Bruins, scoring two goals and notching one assist. In the trio of games against Philadelphia, St. Louis, and New York, Cehlarik has been winning puck battles and has shown good positioning and a solid hockey IQ. He has impressed and has looked like he has been skating with the big club since the start of the season. He’s been doing the little things well, and it has been nice to see him be rewarded on the score sheet as well.

This season, Cehlarik had a solid training camp and preseason with Boston, and some fans were surprised to see that he didn’t make the NHL squad earlier in the year. He wasn’t exactly lighting it up offensively in Providence earlier this season but has stepped his game up recently, scoring five goals in his last three AHL games. Cehlarik has now tallied 10 goals and 19 assists in 37 games for the Providence Bruins this season. Combining his recent scoring tear with injuries to Anders Bjork and Ryan Fitzgerald, he was a shoo-in for the Bruins’ next NHL call up at forward.

Cehlarik may not be the Bruins’ answer to their second line scoring woes, but he has made a good impression during this call-up and it wouldn’t be surprising if he is called back up and finds himself in a more permanent roster spot. The Bruins undoubtedly will still need a more seasoned NHL player to completely solve their problems with secondary scoring and depth at forward, but making Cehlarik a part of the team after the Bruins’ bye week would definitely be a good start to bolster their roster. Admittedly, this is a very small sample size, but if the last three games are any indication, he is ready to be a full-time NHL player.

 

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Bruins Prospect Studnicka Traded to Niagara Ice Dogs

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photo credit: NHL.com

By: Mandi Mahoney  |  Check Me Out On Twitter @phoneymahoney

The Ontario Hockey League trade that has been rumored for the past week or so has finally happened: Boston Bruins center prospect Jack Studnicka has been acquired from the Oshawa Generals by the Niagara IceDogs. Canucks prospect Matt Brassard is heading to Niagara with Studnicka, in exchange for defenseman Lleyton Moore and six draft picks, spanning from 2020 through 2024. This is an OHL trade only, and the Bruins still own the NHL rights to Studnicka.

Studnicka, one of the Bruins organization’s top prospects, was selected by the Boston Bruins 53rd overall in the second round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. He impressed during the Bruins’ training camp and preseason this year, but ultimately was returned to his OHL team at the time, the Oshawa Generals. Studnicka recently returned to Oshawa from a disappointing sixth place finish with Team Canada in the IIHF World Junior Championship in Vancouver. Studnicka scored one goal and assisted on three, totaling four points in five games.

In 222 games over three and a half seasons in Oshawa, Studnicka tallied 184 points – 56 goals and 128 assists – while captaining the Generals squad since 2017-18. This season, Studnicka had scored 34 points in 30 games before being traded to the IceDogs, where he will undoubtedly continue the tear he’s been on lately.

In a press release, Generals Vice President and General Manager Roger Hunt said, “Jack came in following our Memorial Cup year and right away proved he was a leader and the exact guy we needed to build our team around. While playing with the Gens he has represented Canada at the Under-17, Under-18 and World Junior level. It was a no brainer for him to become our captain two years ago and he will always be remembered as one of the great captains of the Oshawa Generals.”

In a press release out of Niagara, IceDogs General Manager Joey Burke said, “This is a huge day in Niagara. In Jack and Matt we are adding the exact two players we targeted as a perfect fit for our roster. The skill set they will add to an already deep group could not be more exciting, and I can’t wait to watch how well they fit with our guys… To be able to add something of this caliber, something had to go out, and it was a very difficult decision to move Lleyton Moore. As we know, he will go on to become a star in this league. Lleyton is a great young man and athlete, and we wish him nothing but success.”

The IceDogs are currently holding onto second place in the Ontario Hockey League’s Eastern Conference, and are four points above Studnicka’s former Oshawa Club, which is currently in third place. Oshawa got a solid return for Studnicka and Brassard in 16 year old defenseman Lleyton Moore, but Niagara made a fantastic addition to their roster as well, as Studnicka has proven to be one of the OHL’s best players over the last couple of seasons.

 

Bergeron Could Practice Wednesday, Imminent Return Possible

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photo credit: Maddie Meyer / Getty Images

By: Mandi Mahoney  |  Check Me Out On Twitter @phoneymahoney

Boston Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy said on Sunday that Patrice Bergeron could rejoin the rest of his Bruins teammates for a full practice this Wednesday. Bergeron returning to the lineup is a possibility after practicing with the team. Obviously, their star center returning to the lineup would be the ultimate Christmas gift for the injury-riddled Bruins.

Bergeron sustained a rib and sternoclavicular injury in Dallas during a 1-0 loss to the Stars when Dallas center Radek Faksa drove him into the boards while battling for the puck. Bergeron hit the boards awkwardly, went to the Bruins’ locker room, and returned to the game later. Upon returning, he was unable to take faceoffs and was nowhere near effective as usual. Four days later, the Bruins announced that Bergeron would be shelved for four weeks, and then re-evaluated. Tuesday, December 18 will be four weeks from the announcement, so things appear to be right on schedule.

Since losing Bergeron, the Bruins have gone 7-6-1 in fourteen games. During this period, the team has had continued problems creating offense, as Cassidy has jumbled the forward lines several times. Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson was centering the third line, then he was bumped up to play between Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak.

That didn’t work out, so David Krejci was moved up to play with Marchand and Pastrnak, while JFK was moved back to his usual third line spot. Colby Cave has been centering the second line, which hasn’t been particularly productive since Jake DeBrusk was injured and Krejci was moved up. Krejci and his new linemates have been enjoying some chemistry, however.

Recently, there has been much debate about what Cassidy should do with the forward lines once Bergeron returns. Some say the best line in hockey should be reunited, others say Krejci should continue centering Marchand and Pastrnak, while others view Bergeron playing with anyone else as being a demotion. There has been speculation that Cassidy would keep Bergeron and Marchand together and have Krejci and Pastrnak play together, as well.

Since there are so many possible line combinations, there’s a chance more than one or two of them could work in the Bruins’ favor. Let’s start by saying that while Joakim Nordstrom and David Backes have been moved all over the lineup this season and have both done an adequate job in whatever role they’ve been asked to play, neither player belongs on either of the top two lines. Danton Heinen is another player who is a veritable Swiss  Army knife but is more of a third line type of guy. Colby Cave is another player who has done well in playing the cards he was dealt, but with Bergeron back, he should return to the bottom six, or more likely, Providence.

Asking Patrice Bergeron to skate with linemates other than the elite scoring machines that are Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak is not a demotion – not even close. If anything, it speaks to just how much Bruce Cassidy can trust Bergeron in any situation. Since Marchand and Pastrnak are gelling with David Krejci, there is no reason to split them up without giving a line consisting of Patrice Bergeron, Jake DeBrusk and one of the Bruins young goal-scoring prospects a look first. Anders Bjork can be electric at times and could be a good fit with Bergeron and DeBrusk – Cassidy won’t know unless he tries it for more than a shift or two. Bjork or Donato may be interchangeable in this role, as each of them has played well at times on both the second and third lines, and who better to show them the ropes than Mr. Perfect himself?

Nobody should be looking at Bergeron shepherding younger players as a demotion, especially since Bergeron undoubtedly sees it as his job. If the Bruins can get something other than the first and third lines going, then they could be dangerous. They’ll need all the points they can get, given the hyper-competitive Atlantic Division this season. It could be worth his while if Cassidy is willing to try something different.

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photo credit: Winslow Townson / AP Photo

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The Bruins Week Ahead: Wild Card Edition

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photo credit: Eric Canha/CSM/Cal Sports Media/AP Images

By: Mandi Mahoney  |  Check Me Out On Twitter @phoneymahoney

At the moment, the Boston Bruins are in fourth place in the Atlantic Division with 30 points. It may be too early to talk about the postseason, but they currently inhabit one of the Eastern Conference’s Wild Card slots right now. They are sandwiched between their rivals, as they currently sit two points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs, and three points ahead of the Montreal Canadiens.

Last week, the Bruins racked up an overtime loss in Detroit against the Red Wings, and a win at home on Black Friday against Pittsburgh, followed by one in Montreal on Saturday night. With Patrice Bergeron, and Zdeno Chara out of the lineup in addition to Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, and Urho Vaakanainen, the Bruins have had a little bit of trouble finding chemistry with their lines so jumbled. Losing their best center, who is also their best player without the puck, has been a bit of an issue for the Bruins.

Luckily for the B’s, defensemen John Moore and Kevan Miller, both of whom have been playing very well this season, returned from injury this week and have helped immensely. Tuukka Rask has also been fantastic in net since returning from his leave of absence.

There are three games coming up this week, and two are against teams in the super competitive Atlantic Division.

Monday, November 26: at Toronto

The Bruins and Maple Leafs have met once this season, with the Bruins winning 5-1. Monday night they will meet again at Scotiabank Arena. Naturally, the Leafs will want to come out flying as they would not be pleased to drop another contest to the B’s, after last season’s first round exit, and getting blown out in their first meeting with Boston this season.

Toronto is third in the Atlantic Division (and fourth in the NHL) with 32 points. The Bruins are fourth in the division (7th in the NHL) with 30 points. Their top center, Auston Matthews, is still out due to a shoulder injury, but has resumed skating and may be returning in the first week of December. The Leafs are still without William Nylander, as the two sides have yet to work out a deal (the Bruins should make Nylander an offer, but that’s a story for another day).

With Matthews out of the lineup, leading the way for the Maple Leafs is 2015 fourth overall draft pick Mitch Marner, who looks no older than your average eighth grader. Marner has scored 30 points in 24 games, with 6 goals, 24 assists. Superstar center John Tavares and defenseman Morgan Rielly are tied for second in points with 27 apiece.

Toronto’s defense remains questionable, but the Leafs’ goaltending has been excellent so far this season. Frederik Andersen is 12-7 in 19 appearances, with a save percentage of .931 and a goals-against-average of 2.24. Backup Garret Sparks was between the pipes for the first game against the Bruins this season. He is 4-1 in 5 games and has put up a Save% of .925, and a GAA of 2.57 – pretty solid.

The Leafs’ power play is 9th in the NHL and is converting at 23.8% (Bruins are third at 28.4%). The penalty kill is 12th in the NHL at 81.3%, while the Bruins are 19th at 78.4% (ouch). Despite Toronto’s defense is their weakness, they don’t allow many goals. Currently, they’ve let in third fewest goals per game in the league, with only Nashville and the Bruins allowing fewer.

The Bruins are going to have to be particularly solid in their own end against Toronto, as the Leafs are a pretty fast team and are skilled offensively. Stretch passes could be an issue if Boston can’t hold onto the puck or handle passes – the Maple Leafs made it obvious last season that they could cause problems for the B’s this way.

Thursday, November 29: vs. New York Islanders

Former Bruins captain Rick Middleton’s number 16 will be retired in a ceremony before Thursday night’s game against the Islanders. Islanders fans are probably happy about this since Nifty enjoyed much more success for the Bruins than he did when he played for their crosstown rival, the New York Rangers.

Despite the loss of star center John Tavares, the Islanders have put together a decent first two months of the season, and are third in the Metropolitan Division with 26 points, good for fourteenth in the NHL. Thursday will be their first game against the Bruins this season.

The Isles have gone 3-2 in their last five games, which include a win and a loss against the rival New York Rangers, who are nipping at their heels in the standings at fourth in the Metropolitan Division. The Islanders are 12-8-2, while the Rangers are 12-10-2. They also beat the Devils 4-3 in overtime on November 23, with the game winner being scored by center Matt Barzal, who Bruins fans are either obsessed with or tired of hearing about – no in between.

The Islanders are about as healthy as the Bruins, as they are currently without Casey Cizikas (lower body), Andrew Ladd (leg), Matthew Lorito (undisclosed), Matt Martin (upper body), and Linus Soderstrom (shoulder). There is a possibility Cizikas might be back for Thursday’s matchup, which would be huge for the Islanders. Matt Martin may be suiting up as well.

The Islanders are scoring 13th most goals per game with 3.18, while the Bruins are tied with Dallas for 21st in the league at 2.83 goals per game. The Isles are in the middle of the pack as far as goals allowed per game, with 2.86, good for 14th in the NHL.

Right wing Josh Bailey is leading the Isles in scoring with 7-14-21 totals, followed by Mat Barzal with 3-17-20 totals. Brock Nelson and Anders Lee have 18 points each, and Valtteri Filppula will be a player to watch on both sides of the puck, as he’s reliable defensively and can score as well.

Saturday, December 1st: vs. Detroit Red Wings

This will be the Bruins’ third meeting with Detroit this season. The absolutely routed the wings 8-2 in October, with David Pastrnak notching a hat-trick. Last week, the Bruins took on the Wings in Detroit and lost in miserable fashion during overtime. A key faceoff was lost, not one, but two Bruins were unable to strip Andreas Athanasiou of the puck, and of course, he scored a beauty of a gamer winner with a fancy spin move that would have been totally stoppable had anybody opted to play defense. Oy.

The Red Wings are 2-2-1 in their last five games. Three of those games have gone to overtime. The Wings won two of those games (Bruins and Devils) and lost to Buffalo in a shootout. Winning this one in regulation would be a good idea, as it’s very clear that the Red Wings are not to be underestimated. They still have speed and firepower in players such as Dylan Larkin, Athanasiou, Anthony Mantha, and UMaine alum Gustav Nyquist.

Jimmy Howard has been good in the crease, with a GAA of 2.55 and a Save% of .925. Their backup, Jonathan Bernier, had a rough start, as his stats are 3.54 and .897, respectively, but has been finding his game recently, and had a couple of very solid games last week. Bernier made 49 saves in a single game against Carolina. That statistic should make it pretty obvious that the Red Wings are among the NHL’s worst regarding shots allowed per game (29th in the NHL, at 38.4/game).

An important key to this game will be for the Bruins to get as much offensive zone time as possible and capitalize on the many opportunities the Red Wings are probably going to serve up for them. The Bruins should take as many shots as possible, and create traffic in front of the net if they want to be successful. It seems they’re finally starting to find a little bit of chemistry in the new lineup sans Bergeron. Hopefully, they can keep it up.

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Providence Bruins Sign D Kyle Cumiskey To PTO

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photo credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

By: Mandi Mahoney  |  Check Me Out On Twitter @phoneymahoney

Per Mark Divver of the Providence Journal, the Providence Bruins have signed defenseman Kyle Cumiskey to a PTO. Providence’s defense is depleted due to injuries to the Bruins’ NHL roster, as Zdeno Chara, Charlie McAvoy, Kevan Miller, Brandon Carlo, John Moore, and Urho Vaakanainen are all out of the lineup for various reasons. This ridiculous string of bad injury luck has caused Jeremy Lauzon, Connor Clifton, and Jakub Zboril to be called up to Boston to fill all of the holes left in the Bruins’ roster.

Yesterday, Kyle Cumiskey was loaned to Providence from the Newfoundland Growlers of the ECHL, and Divver reported today that Providence has signed Cumiskey to a PTO. Selected by the Colorado Avalanche in the seventh round in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Cumiskey is a smooth-skating defenseman who has had trouble with hip injuries in the past.

Cumiskey has an interesting history as he has jumped continents several times and has been plagued by injury. His professional hockey career began in 2006-07 when he played most of the season for the Albany River Rats and appeared in nine games for Colorado. Over the next two seasons, Cumiskey was dogged by injuries but split time between the Avalanche and their AHL affiliate, the Lake Erie Monsters, when healthy. He also missed considerable time the following two seasons: a groin injury took him out of the lineup for 17 games in 2007-08, and he missed the final 6 weeks of the season with a shoulder injury in 2008-09.

In 2009-10, he was on the opening night roster for the Avalanche. He spent the entire season with the Avs, playing 61 games that season, scoring 7 goals and assisting on 13, for a total of 20 points. The following season, he was limited to 18 games, due to concussion issues. Before the start of the 2011-12 season, the Avs and Cumiskey agreed to a contraction extension consisting of a one-year, two-way deal. Before the season began,  he was put on waivers and then traded to Anaheim in exchange for defenseman Jake Newton. This move definitely made sense for the Avalanche, as they already had Tyson Barrie, who could be a body double for Cumiskey, except that he’s better offensively and in his own end.

Cumiskey was called up to Anaheim a few times but never played an NHL game for the Ducks. He ended up spending the majority of the time skating for their AHL affiliate in Syracuse, the Crunch. Leading up to the 2012-13 lockout season, the Ducks still owned Cumiskey’s NHL rights, but Cumiskey decided to sign with MoDo in Sweden. In his first year skating for MoDo, he scored 32 points in 46 games and was fifth in league scoring among defensemen. At the end of the 2013 season, the Ducks came calling again, and the two parties agreed to Cumiskey making a return to Anaheim and North American hockey. After training camp, he was sent down to Norfolk in the AHL. Cumiskey and the Ducks then agreed to mutually terminate his contract so he could return to Sweden, where he scored 28 points in 45 games for MoDo the following season.

In July of 2014, Cumiskey agreed to a one-year, two-way contract with the Chicago Blackhawks, returning to the NHL once more. He began the season with the Blackhawks but by mid-October, he was assigned to Rockford of the AHL. The following February, Cumiskey was recalled and played his first NHL game in four years. After seven scoreless games, he was sent back down to the AHL but was recalled once again, for Chicago’s playoff run, playing his first NHL postseason game against his former team, the Ducks. He was mainly used as a seventh defenseman, but dressed for three Stanley Cup Final games against Tampa Bay, helping the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup for the third time in six seasons.

After winning the Cup, Cumiskey had surgery in the offseason. His contract had expired and the Blackhawks invited him to camp on a PTO. That October, he signed a one-year contract with Chicago and was assigned to their AHL team in Rockford. He only played in 17 games that season, though, as he was bitten by the injury bug once again. Hitting free agency the next summer, Cumiskey opted to return to Sweden, and he signed with Skelleftea AIK, as MoDo had been demoted to Hockey Allsvenskan, a lower league than the SHL. Before the 2016-17 season, Cumiskey had offseason surgery again and only played a dozen games before he and Skelleftea mutually agreed to terminate his contract.

Cumiskey took the following season off and attended the Toronto Marlies’ training camp as a tryout in September of this year. He was signed to a PTO and only played in one game for the Marlies before being released due to a full roster, causing him to sign with the Newfoundland Growlers of the ECHL, where he played 11 games, notching nine assists before being loaned to Providence of the AHL.