Bruins Prospect Studnicka Named IceDogs’ Alternate Captain

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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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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.

 

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

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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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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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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.

The Week Ahead: Black Friday Madness

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photo credit: Joseph Prezioso

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

The Bruins have gone 1-1-1 so far on their four-game road trip, but their record doesn’t reflect just how well they’ve held things together despite icing a defensive corps containing two National Hockey League regulars, one seventh defenseman, and three rookies who were called up from the AHL. The Black and Gold have also been missing their best player at both ends of the ice, perennial Selke Trophy winner Patrice Bergeron, for most of the last two games.

Wednesday in Colorado, the Bruins were holding their own in a fun back-and-forth contest until captain Zdeno Chara left the game with a knee injury in the second period. Once Chara left the game, the wheels fell off, and the Bruins lost 6-3 after surrendering five unanswered goals. One plus from this game was that the secondary scoring was alive and well, with Jake DeBrusk potting two goals.

In Dallas on Friday,  John Moore was out of the lineup, on top of Zdeno Chara, Charlie McAvoy, Kevan Miller, Brandon Carlo, and Urho Vaakanainen. The Dallas game was poorly officiated, and on top of that, Patrice Bergeron was injured on an awkward hit by Radek Faksa. Tuukka Rask played a great game, but the Bruins couldn’t put the biscuit in the basket and lost 1-0 in overtime. The Stars got many opportunities to score, but between Rask and the patchwork defense, Dallas was unable to make it happen during regulation.

On Saturday night, the Bruins visited the Coyotes, who were quite fashionable in their 90s-chic Kachina jerseys (where were Keith Tkachuk and Jeremy Roenick, though?).  The B’s were able to net two goals in the first three minutes, most notably Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson’s first NHL goal. Jake DeBrusk scored within two minutes of JFK. It was nice to see someone score other than Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, or David Pastrnak, however, Bergeron being out of the lineup definitely had something to do with that. It was another game where the young defense helped hold it together, and the save of the game went to Jeremy Lauzon. Bruins won, 2-1.

Kevan Miller (hand) could be returning for the Detroit game on Wednesday night. We don’t have any news on John Moore or Patrice Bergeron yet, either.

Now, on to the next week of games…

November 21 @ Detroit:

The Detroit Red Wings are a shell of their former selves. They have a 9-9-2 record and a goal differential of -8. Currently, the Wings are in 7th place in our 8 team Atlantic Division and are 23rd in the National Hockey League, with 20 points on the season. Their special teams are better than their record would have one believing, as their power play is 11th in the league at 22.4%, and they have killed 81.3% of their penalties, good for 10th in the NHL.

Leading the way in scoring for the Red Wings is Dylan Larkin, with 8-11-19 totals in 20 games, followed by former Maine Black Bear Gustav Nyquist, who has scored two goals and assisted on 13, for 15 points on the season. Goaltending has been better than Detroit’s record would lead us to believe; Jimmy Howard has a save percentage of .922, with a GAA of 2.64. The Wings don’t take many shots – they are 27th in the league and are taking an average of 28.8 per game (just behind the Bruins at 26th, and 29.4 shots/game). However, they are allowing the third most shots per game, at 35.5.

The last time the two teams faced each other was October 13 at the Garden. David Pastrnak scored a hat trick, and the Bruins won 8-2. Detroit obviously wants that one back, and if they have any competitive spirit left in them, they will come out flying Wednesday night. Hopefully, all the Bruin cubs on defense will be ready for them.

November 23, vs. Pittsburgh:

The Bruins’ annual tradition of playing a matinee game on Black Friday while we all gorge ourselves on Thanksgiving leftovers has been squashed in favor of a more National TV-friendly schedule. For the second year in a row, they will face the Penguins at home that night.

Imagine having a roster with the likes of Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin, and Phil Kessel, and still being terrible? You don’t have to imagine it, though, because the Penguins have brought your imagination to life! Up to this point, Pittsburgh has been alarmingly bad, and have dropped 8 of their last 9 games. They are off to a 7-8-3 start and are 29th in the league in points. They are last in the Metropolitan Division, as well, but are only one point behind the struggling New Jersey Devils.

The Pens’ power play is converting at 25.7% and is seventh-best in the league. They’ve killed 80% of their penalties, which is 15th. Bruins are 29.8% (third), and 79.1% (18th), respectively. Evgeni Malkin is their scoring leader with 7 goals and 18 assists for 25 points in 18 games, and former Bruin and hot dog enthusiast Phil Kessel has notched 9-14-23 totals in 18 games. Sidney Crosby has missed two outings but still has 19 points in the 16 games he has played. Matt Murray, Pittsburgh’s number one goaltender, has been terrible this season, with a sub-.900 save percentage (.877!), and goals against average of 4.08. Woof. They do have themselves a bit of a goaltending controversy, as many people are calling for backup Casey DeSmith (.903 SV%, 2.25 GAA) to play more games. Sounds familiar. doesn’t it?

November 24th, @ Montreal:

The best rivalry in sports has died down a little bit given roster moves both teams have made, and the difference in their records the last few seasons. Max Pacioretty was traded to Vegas for Tomas Tatar, Alex Galchenyuk was swapped for Max Domi, who is apparently a number one center (who knew?!). Andrei Markov was sent packing a year ago for some reason, and Shea Weber is still injured. Nobody expected the Canadiens to be able to do anything this year.

Surprisingly, though, the Habs’ record is exactly the same as the Bruins: 11-6-3 with 25 points. The Canadiens have won their last two games after dropping one to Edmonton earlier this week. Montreal’s power play is 29th in the league, as is somehow only scoring 13.5% of the time. These are not the same Habs who embellish and roll around on the ice anytime an opposing player skated within ten feet of them, as their power play will get them nowhere. Their PK is 13th in the league at 80.9%. These are not the numbers we are used to seeing with the Habs. This is a whole new team.

Max Domi has scored 10 goals and assisted on 14, good for 24 points in the first 20 games. This is a record for the Canadiens, which seems bizarre given their history. Tom Tatar and Jonathan Drouin are tied for second on the team with 17 points apiece. Defenseman Jeff Petry is having a solid offensive season, having scored 15 points already. – not too shabby.

In continuing with the theme of “Everything In Montreal Is Weird This Season”, the Habs’ goaltending has been terrible – really, really bad. Carey Price’s save percentage is only .904, and his goals-against average is 2.92. That’s pretty bad, but their backup, Antti Niemi, is even worse at .887 SV% and 3.74 GAA. Yikes! Price’s numbers may be on the upswing, though, as he’s stopped 79 of 83 shots in his last two starts, though that’s a lot of shots allowed over two games.

The answer for the Bruins will be to put as many pucks on net as possible and to create traffic in the crease. If the Bruins can do that while holding off Domi, Tatar, and Drouin, they can come out of Montreal on top.

Opponents like Detroit and especially Pittsburgh should not be overlooked, but there is no reason the Bruins can’t take at least four out of a possible six points in the next week. Not losing anyone else to injury, unfortunately, is probably the most important thing the Bruins can do this week.

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Injuries Pile Up During Bruins’ Road Trip

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photo credit: NHL.com

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

Zdeno Chara injured his left knee Wednesday night during the second period of a loss to the Avalanche in Colorado. Chara cut his road trip short, traveling back to Boston to be evaluated by team medical staff. When Chara was injured, the Bruins were already without Charlie McAvoy (concussion), Kevan Miller (hand), and Brandon Carlo (upper body).

The Bruins played in Dallas last night with three rookie defensemen in the lineup, two of whom were on emergency call-ups, making their National Hockey League debut. Boston lost 1-0 in overtime, in a back-and-forth, competitive game. While half of the Bruins defense consisted of players who were playing in the AHL last week, they were better defensively than most imagined that would have been.

That said, Zdeno Chara was sorely missed.  Chara was diagnosed on Friday, and today the Bruins announced that he sustained an injury to his left MCL and will miss 4-6 weeks of hockey. Surgery is a possibility, unfortunately. Chara is not the player he was when Boston won the Stanley Cup in 2011, but he is still a very important part of the team, and remains an effective shutdown defenseman.

Defenseman John Moore missed Friday’s game in Dallas as well, with a lower-body injury purportedly sustained in Colorado, as he was unable to participate in Friday morning’s skate in Dallas. Moore cut his road trip short as well and returned to Boston for rest and evaluation. Moore’s absence on top of Chara’s, gave Jakub Zboril and Connor Clifton the opportunity to debut for the Bruins last night. Moore is listed as day-to-day.

During Friday’s game in Dallas, Stars center Radek Faksa rode Patrice Bergeron into the boards awkwardly during the second period. Bergeron appeared to injure his shoulder and returned to the Bruins’ locker room. Eventually, he returned to the game but was not able to be as effective as he usually is, and he didn’t play a shift during overtime. Bergeron returned to Boston and will be evaluated by the team.

There hasn’t been any word from the Bruins about what kind of timeline to expect regarding Bergeron’s return to the lineup, as his injury only occurred last night, and there hasn’t been any communication as to how severe his injury is. Bergeron’s loss will be felt, as it was causing all sorts of upheaval in the Bruins’ forward lines, as well as on the power play and penalty kill.

Without team captain Zdeno Chara or alternate captain Patrice Bergeron in the lineup, the Bruins will be tolling with three alternate captains tonight in David Krejci, David Backes, and Brad Marchand.

The Bruins forward lines will be affected greatly: Krejci will be centering the top line, with Anders Bjork and David Pastrnak on his wings, while Joakim Nordstrom will be the second line pivot, skating with Marchand on his left and Jake DeBrusk on his right. The third line will consist of Danton Heinen, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, and Noel Acciari, while Sean Kuraly will play center for Chris Wagner and David Backes.

Regardless of what the results of Bergeron and Moore’s evaluations tell us, the Bruins are going to feel the loss of Chara through the end of the year (and hopefully that’s it). The Bruins really need  Bergeron and Moore to return to the lineup sooner, as icing three rookie defensemen cannot be ideal when a team is looking to win. It’s going to be a rough few weeks.

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Check out the available tickets from our advertising partner SeatGaint 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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Zdeno Chara Injured, Heading Back To Boston

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photo credit: Ron Chenoy/USA Today Sports

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

During Wednesday night’s tilt against the Colorado Avalanche, former Bruin Carl Soderberg had just dished out the puck at the Bruins’ blue line as Bruins captain Zdeno Chara was advancing toward him. Chara made the check and hit Soderberg square on the back. As he did, the resulting impact caused Chara’s left knee to cave inward. He left the game immediately following Jake DeBrusk’s second goal of the night, a little less than 30 seconds after the incident.

Chara traveled to Dallas with the team after Wednesday’s loss to the Avalanche in Colorado, but instead of staying for the remainder of the trip, he has returned to Boston to have his knee evaluated by team medical staff. Perhaps Bruins fans can take a little bit of comfort from the fact that Chara left the rink unaided and did not appear to be badly injured, but there’s no telling what an evaluation can reveal. Hopefully, it’s relatively minor, as injuries to the Bruins’ blue line are beginning to pile up.

Currently, the Bruins’ defense corps is decimated, with Kevan Miller out (hand), Charlie McAvoy sidelined with a concussion, and most recently, Brandon Carlo placed on injured reserve (upper body injury) and did not travel with the team. It was initially thought that Carlo’s injury was minor as he was questionable for Sunday’s home game against the Vegas Golden Knights, but it looks like it may be a little more significant than it seemed at first glance.

Injuries to these three defensemen have thrown the Bruins’ defensive pairings out of whack, and adding Chara to the list means the Bruins do not have either of their top pair available. They are also missing one from their second pair (Carlo), s well as one from the third pair (Miller). Jeremy Lauzon was called back up from Providence a week ago and played the last two games with Boston. 2015 first round pick Jakub Zboril was called up following Carlo’s injury. Should Zboril make it into the lineup (which is likely at this point), it will be his first rodeo, as he has yet to make an appearance in the National Hockey League.

The entire right side of the Bruins’ defense is injured in McAvoy, Carlo, and Miller, and with Chara out, now their top left defenseman is out as well. This leaves the Bruins with a defensive corps consisting of Torey Krug, John Moore, Matt Grzelcyk, seventh defenseman Steve Kampfer, and Providence Bruin callups Jeremy Lauzon and Jakub Zboril. After Chara left the game in the second period Wednesday, the wheels fell off, and the Bruins gave up five unanswered goals. Hopefully, with a little time to practice together and for coach Bruce Cassidy to figure out the pairings, things will come together and the defense will be less leaky than it was for the second half of Wednesday night’s game, as the Bruins will undoubtedly feel the loss of Chara.