Returning or Cancelled? Future of the 2019-20 NHL Season

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

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

It was mid-March, teams around the NHL finished trades to acquire new players only a couple weeks prior at the Trade Deadline, and the race for the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs was heating up by the day. The Boston Bruins were atop the NHL standings with a 44-14-12 record, becoming the only team to reach the 100-point plateau. Then, on March 12th, the National Hockey League made the difficult, but necessary decision to put the 2019-2020 campaign on “pause”.

Only a few days prior, the league was discussing plans to host games as normal but prevent fans from attending the games in a way to continue the schedule, but hopefully limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus that was infecting, at that time, hundreds-of-thousands of people worldwide. However, on March 11th, Rudy Gobert of the NBA’s Utah Jazz tested positive for COVID-19, resulting in the game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz to be postponed before tipoff.

Amid concerns of who Gobert might have come into contact with in the time of contracting the virus and him testing positive, the NBA postponed their season almost immediately. This decision put immense pressure on the remaining professional sporting leagues to either suspend or to continue operations. As mentioned above, the NHL made the tough choice to put the 2019-2020 regular-season and subsequent playoffs on “pause”.

Putting a league’s operations on “pause” is a very broad statement. It was impossible to know how long the pause would last, considering the entire world had no idea what the COVID-19 pandemic would continue to do. Not wanting to give up hope, the NHL made sure to keep the idea of returning a possibility in their official press release on March 12th, stating, “Our goal is to resume play as soon as it is appropriate and prudent so that we will be able to complete the season and award the Stanley Cup”

That message has stayed consistent for the National Hockey League. No deadlines or specific dates have been set on a return, but also no confirmation has been announced or the season not returning. In an interview with NHL Network on April 30th, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said, “We’re going to have to take things one step at a time because the health and well-being of our players is paramount to anything we’re focused on.” Also, stating, “I don’t think anybody knows for certain.” when asked about possible return-to-play scenarios.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Within that same interview, Bettman said that while the NHL and NHLPA continue to discuss the chance to return, they have also been talking about what the 2020-2021 season will look like. Of course, if the season did resume, it would not be on the same schedule as a typical NHL season looks. By now, teams would be nearing the end of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and other teams would be looking ahead to the offseason. A return in ’19/’20 means we are seeing hockey in likely July or August, and how long that will go for is uncertain.

“We have a great deal of flexibility in terms of when we can start,” Commissioner Bettman said. “There’s no magic for next season of starting in October as we traditionally do. If we have to start in November or December, that’s something that will be under consideration. – NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, NHL.com

In that case, I personally would expect the All-Star festivities to be canceled as well as the week-long break to be shortened or taken out of the schedule altogether. This is assuming the league will look to play a full 82-game campaign.

Throughout this timeline of the season being put on pause to the current date, players have been asked to self-quarantine, meaning they have not been able to train in the same way that a professional athlete needs to. Recognizing that fact, Bettman also said that the next step is to open training facilities for “small group activities” to get players back into game-ready shape.

NHL: Stanley Cup Final-Media Day

PHOTO CREDITS: (NBC Sports)

In an article by ESPN on May 4th, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told ESPN in an email that they are hoping to organize these training sessions in the “latter half of May” but right now, it “remains to be seen”. In that same article by ESPN, it was mentioned that the NHL continues its search for cities to play games if a return does take place. Rather than having each team play in their home city, all teams would play in “centralized locations” to limit travel and player contact with other people.

Among those arenas include the homes of the Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Edmonton Oilers, Minnesota Wild, Pittsburgh Penguins, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Vegas Golden Knights. Other locations, like British Columbia, have reached out to the league to “bid” for their arena to be a potential playing spot for summer hockey.

Another question in play is the NHL Entry Draft, an event that commonly takes place in late June, just before the start of free agency on July 1st. Bettman has tossed around the idea of a virtual draft, similar to that of the NFL, NWHL, and WNBA, and also suggested that such technology would take at least a month to prepare. General Managers throughout the league have differing opinions on it, but Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney stayed down the middle, saying, “I have my own preferences but that being said, I think the league has to make their decision about what’s best for the overall decision making than any teams that have a personal preference, and I have to respect that.”

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

In my humble opinion, I feel the season will resume because it almost has to. The NHL has lost a large amount of revenue, and the players have worked hard from October to March to battle for playoff positions, stats, and a chance at the Stanley Cup. To take that opportunity away is tough given the circumstances, but it would be unfortunate if there is a chance to keep the season going at some point this calendar year. Without question, the health and safety of everyone is of the utmost priority, and a return should only be done if it does not put people in more danger.

Gary Bettman made sure to reiterate, “But as soon as possible means under the right circumstances, and for that, we’re going to take our guidance from the governments at all levels and from the medical people.”

Though there has not been confirmation on when the games will resume, some sites have pushed out odds on when the season would start again. Articles found here will indicate that we will most likely see the season start in August. Good idea to check back in a few weeks to see if there are any new updates on that prediction but it is safe to assume that the season will not be cancelled at this point.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 177 that we recorded below on 5-3-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher!

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Boston Bruins: A Hat-Trick of Birthdays

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PHOTO CREDITS: (MADDIE MEYER/GETTY IMAGES)

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

Today, April 28th, 2020, three current Boston Bruins players all become a year older and celebrate their birthdays – David Krejci, Connor Clifton, and Jeremy Lauzon.

F David Krejci

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

David Krejci was born on April 28th, 1986 in Sternberk, Czechoslovakia. Krejci started his hockey career in the early 2000s playing with numerous U18 clubs in the Czech Republic – performing at over a point-per-game pace for each season. In 2003-2004, David scored 23-37-60 totals in 50 games with HC Kladno U20. This propelled him to the 2004 NHL Entry Draft where the Bruins selected him 63rd overall in the second round.

In the 2004-05 season, Krejci joined the Gatineau Olympiques in the QMJHL to further his development as a new Bruins prospect. He played two seasons with the Olympiques, posting 49-95-144 numbers in 117 games as well as 12-29-41 numbers in 27 playoff games.

Krejci didn’t make his mark on the Boston Bruins organization until the following season when he scored 74 points in 69 regular-season games with the Providence Bruins in the AHL and scored the most playoff assists as a rookie with 13 helpers in 13 games during the ’06/’07 postseason. David played in six games with Boston but didn’t make a true impact until the next year where he skated in 56 games for the Boston Bruins.

Since then, Krejci has played in 911 regular-season NHL games, scoring 207 goals and 479 assists for 686 points. Krejci added a Stanley Cup to his resume as he led the NHL in playoff goals (12) and points (23) to help the Bruins win the Stanley Cup in 2011. Krejci’s 103 playoff points ties him with Patrice Bergeron for the second-most points in the postseason in Boston Bruins history.

This season, the 6-foot, 187-pound forward has 13-30-43 totals in 61 games before the COVID-19 pandemic put a pause on the NHL. Recently, David Krejci stated that he would like to continue playing hockey when his current contract expires in July of 2021. Whether or not Krejci plays with the Bruins after the deal ends is yet to be seen, but he will go down as one of the better Bruins of recent memory. Happy 34th Birthday, David Krejci!

D Connor Clifton

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Billy Hurst / USA Today)

Connor Clifton was born on April 28th, 1995 in Long Branch, New Jersey, USA. Clifton started his hockey journey in various United States hockey programs including the EmJHL, EJHL, and USHL. Throughout those different leagues, Clifton never played a large number of games per season but kept working. In 2012-13, Connor played with the U.S. National U18 Team in the United States Development Program (USDP) where he scored 8-15-23 numbers in 66 games.

Following that, the 5-foot-11, 174-pound defenceman was drafted 133rd overall (5th round) in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft by the Phoenix (now Arizona) Coyotes. Being such a late draft selection, Clifton made his way to the NCAA to play for Quinnipiac University where he would spend the next four seasons ending in 2016-17. After two slow seasons, Clifton scored 28 points in 43 games for the Bobcats in 2015-16. That was the same season that Quinnipiac defeated Harvard to win the ECAC Championship, with Clifton winning the Tournament MVP.

Clifton captained the team in 2016-17, his final year in the NCAA, as he put up another 14 points in 39 games. After opting for free agency, Connor Clifton signed an AHL contract with the Providence Bruins and began his AHL career in 2017-2018. He posted 4-9-13 numbers in 54 games but went pointless in four playoff meetings. On May 3rd, 2018, the Boston Bruins signed Clifton to a two-year NHL contract, allowing him to play with the NHL team.

The New Jersey native played the bulk of the 2018-29 campaign in the AHL once again but did see 19 games of regular-season hockey with the NHL club, tallying one assist. However, it was on the Bruins’ 2019 Stanley Cup Finals run where he made an impact. “Cliffy Hockey” scored two goals and three assists in 18 playoff games and played a solid defensive game, laying heavy hits and making a name for himself with injuries on Boston’s blueline.

His performance earned him a three-year, $1 million AAV deal to re-sign with the Bruins in this past offseason. Unfortunately, though, Clifton only played 31 games in the NHL as he dealt with an upper-body injury for a large chunk of the season and then the COVID-19 pandemic put a halt on the NHL season just as Clifton was finding his way back into the lineup. Regardless, Connor will be a future regular on Boston’s d-core. Happy 25th Birthday, Connor Clifton!

D Jeremy Lauzon

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Jeremy Lauzon was born April 28th, 1997 in Val-d’Or, Quebec, Canada. Lauzon’s young hockey career started in 2010-11, playing for a few different organizations in Quebec, Canada. In 2013-14, Lauzon joined the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), where he came out of the gate with 5-11-16 numbers in 55 games and four points in 9 playoff appearances.

Lauzon had a more impressive sophomore season in the QMJHL, putting up 36 points in 60 games as a defenceman. Those numbers did something for the Bruins organization who selected the 6-foot-2, 205-pound 52nd overall (2nd round) in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.

The following season, in 2015-16, Boston returned Jeremy to the QMJHL where he scored 50 points during the regular season, earning himself an entry-level deal from Boston in November of 2015. In the playoffs that year, Jeremy posted 1-7-8 totals in 9 playoff games as Rouyn-Noranda won the QMJHL Championship, booking them a spot in the infamous Memorial Cup tournament. Lauzon’s Huskies made it all the way to the Finals but fell short to the London Knights.

Following one more season with the Huskies in the 2016-2017 campaign, Jeremy Lauzon finally joined the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League. Lauzon, unfortunately, missed 22 games with a concussion but still played in 52 games, scoring 7 points. Lauzon made his NHL debut in the 2018-19 season and scored his first career goal in that same year.

This season, Lauzon proved to be a solid piece of Boston’s depth defensive core as he held his own in 19 games played when the other blueliners were out with injuries. In February of 2020, General Manager Don Sweeney re-signed Lauzon to a two-year contract extension worth an annual average of $850,000. Happy 23rd Birthday, Jeremy Lauzon!

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 176 that we recorded below on 4-27-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Bruins Will Have Challenging Offseason With New Salary Cap Reports

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( PHOTO CREDIT: Stephanie Gois on Pinterest )

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

With the NHL on pause due to the current COVID-19 pandemic that is essentially putting the entire world on hold, there have been a large number of questions regarding the future of the 2019-2020 regular-season as well as the subsequent postseason and how it may have an impact on the 2020-2021 campaign.

Today, April 17th, 2020, St. Louis Blues reporter Andy Strickland tweeted that the players of the league were informed on a call that the salary cap will remain the exact same for the upcoming season, flatlining at $81.5 million. Strickland went on to say that there were many ideas and scenarios presented to the players, including this one, and there are “several variables” that played a part in this decision.

Going back to earlier in the season, on March 4th, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly announced that the salary cap would increase from the current $81.5 million to anywhere from $84 million to $88.2 million. This, of course, was before the COVID-19 pandemic, and it created a sense of security for teams around the league who have numerous players with expiring contracts come July 1st. One of those teams that would have benefited greatly from a raise in salary cap? The Boston Bruins.

Below is the full list of Boston Bruins players that have expiring deals come July 1st, 2020 as per CapFriendly:

NHL Roster:

  • F Anders Bjork – RFA
  • F Jake DeBrusk – RFA
  • F Joakim Nordstrom – UFA
  • D Torey Krug – UFA
  • D Zdeno Chara – UFA
  • D Kevan Miller – UFA
  • D Matt Grzelcyk – RFA
  • G Jaroslav Halak – UFA

AHL Roster (Providence):

  • F Brett Ritchie – RFA
  • F Zach Senyshyn – RFA
  • F Karson Kuhlman – RFA
  • F Ryan Fitzgerald – UFA G6
  • F Brendan Gaunce – RFA
  • F Peter Cehlarik – RFA
  • D Jakub Zboril – RFA
  • D Wiley Sherman – RFA
  • D Alex Petrovic – UFA
  • G Daniel Vladar – RFA
  • G Maxime Lagacé – UFA

For simplicity’s sake, in this article, we will only take a look at the eight players on the current Boston Bruins NHL roster and not the ones in the American Hockey League as the majority of them can be placed on a qualifying offer. According to @bruinscapspace on Twitter, the B’s will have roughly $20 million in available cap space to sign players this offseason.

Starting off, it is very likely the Bruins do not re-sign goaltender Jaroslav Halak. At 34-years-of-age, Halak is making $2.75 million, but with his impressive performances in both the 2018-19 and 2019-20 campaigns, Halak has proven that he deserves a pay raise, and he can very well be a solid starting goaltender for a franchise who’s looking for a more experienced netminder. With funds running dry and the potential for goalies such as Daniel Vladar to become the new backup goaltender behind Tuukka Rask, it makes the most sense to move on from Halak.

To add to my releases, I do not see the Bruins re-signing forward Joakim Nordstrom. The 28-year-old has been making $1 million for each of the past two seasons and has been a solid depth player for the B’s, but it’s a spot that can be replaced by a depth player from the Baby Bruins. His short tenure with the Black and Gold is valued and appreciated, but it is, unfortunately, time to move on.

This brings us to the two restricted free-agent forwards – Jake DeBrusk and Anders Bjork. DeBrusk has been a consistent 40-point scorer (he was only five points away from hitting 40 again this season) and last season in his sophomore campaign, scored 27 goals. Again, I look to @bruinscapspace on Twitter, who created a simple graphic on some comparable contracts for DeBrusk.

The comparables listed make it appear that DeBrusk could be looking at an average cap hit of somewhere around the $3.5 million number on likely a three or four-year contract. At a young age, DeBrusk has been a good top-six winger for the Bruins but has also faced times of inconsistency throughout his tenure. Those inconsistencies are what brings his salary cap number down. I have DeBrusk re-signing with the Bruins on a three-year, $3.5 million AAV contract. 

Anders Bjork is the other RFA forward on the Bruins roster that will return. Bjork is finishing up his entry-level contract and has played 108 regular-season games for the B’s, scoring 14-20-34 numbers during that time. Bjork has 19 points in 58 games this year, meaning he won’t ask for a large salary. For a comparable, the Penguins re-signed Zach Aston-Reese when he was 24 (Bjork is 23) for $1 million AAV for two years. Aston-Reese had a 0.38 points-per-game average in 59 games, whereas Bjork has a 0.31 points-per-game average in 108 games played. I have Anders Bjork re-signing with the Bruins on a two-year, $1.25 million contract. 

Now, the defencemen. With a doubt, the blueline of the Bruins has been the number one talking point in regards to the offseason with powerhouse defender Torey Krug and captain Zdeno Chara each on expiring deals as well as the young offensive Matt Grzelcyk and the injury-riddled Kevan Miller. With today’s news of the new salary cap, it appears to be unrealistic for all four to re-up their deals.

Earlier this month, General Manager Don Sweeney said that if the NHL season does resume this year, that defenceman Kevan Miller will likely not be healthy enough to return to the team. However, in an article by 985TheSportsHub.com writer, Ty Anderson, Sweeney said, “Our intentions are for Kevan to be 100 percent healthy so he can resume when we start the next season. We know Kevan is a UFA, so we will entertain the opportunity to bring Kevan back, and he will also entertain whether or not he wants to be back.”

Injuries have prevented Miller from playing in over a full calendar year, and for that reason, he is expendable in my eyes and I believe the Bruins will not re-sign him prior to the July 1st deadline.

At 26-years-old, Charlestown, Massachusetts native Matt Grzelcyk is the future of the Bruins defensive core and in my humble opinion, is a must re-sign. In 68 games this year, Grzelcyk has 4-17-21 numbers, a new career-high in goals, assists, and points. Grzelcyk, like Krug, is a 5-foot-9, left-handed defenceman who is primarily known for his puck handling and offensive capabilities. With room to improve as well, Grzelcyk is one of those players teams would love to have on their backend. I have the Bruins re-signing Matt Grzelcyk on a two-year, $2.5 million contract. 

Zdeno Chara has been the captain of the Boston Bruins since the 2006-07 season and ever since, has been the backbone of the leadership core in every way possible, guiding the way for countless rookies on the roster to make their mark on the league. However, at 43-years-old, Father Time is going to catch up on Chara eventually. Retirement is very likely around the corner but I doubt it happens this offseason due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Zdeno still averaged 21:01 minutes on the ice this year, proving he is still capable, so I predict he re-joins the Bruins organization. The only way this happens is on a one-year, $1.5 million contract. 

Finally, Torey Krug. Krug is the quarterback of the power-play and the driver of offense on the blueline. At 29-years-old, the Michigan native has 337 career points in 523 regular-season games and put up 9-40-49 totals in 61 games prior to the pause. With the signings above, the Bruins would have $11.25 remaining in available cap space. Krug has made it clear he would rather remain a Bruin and the message seems to be the same on the management side as well. The Bruins could re-sign Krug on a seven-year, $7 million contract, leaving just around $4 million in cap room to get depth players or even a backup goalie if they feel Vladar cannot take the role.

Before we conclude, it is fair to note that comparisons of other players league-wide are nearly impossible given the worldwide circumstances. Times are not the same whatsoever so these numbers can fluctuate entirely. In addition, the Bruins could pull off a trade if they so feel necessary to free up more cap space or pick up another piece heading into the upcoming season.

Things could be a lot worse for the Boston Bruins, but with the talent in Providence and the strong depth, it makes more players a bit more expendable. However, predictions like these are very difficult to predict and these upcoming months will be fascinating to follow.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 174 that we recorded below on 4-12-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Bruins Alumni: Happy Birthday Tommy Wingels

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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

Happy 32nd Birthday to Former Boston Bruins Forward Tommy Wingels!!

Tommy Wingels was born on April 12th, 1988 in Evanston, Illinois, United States. Tommy began his hockey career at sixteen when he joined Team Illinois U18 team in the MWEHL (Midwest Elite Hockey League), scoring 12 points in 15 games back in 2008-09. After a season in the USHL with the Cedar Rapids Roughriders, Wingels joined the Miami University of Ohio Redhawks.

After his first season in 2007-2008, Wingels was drafted 177th overall (6th round) by the San Jose Sharks in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. From 2007-08 to 2009-10, Wingels played a combined 127 games for the NCAA team, finishing with 43-56-99 numbers including a 42-point season in ’09/’10 when he was captain of the Redhawks. Following this final year, he agreed to an entry-level deal with the Sharks.

In 2010-11, the 6-foot, 201-pound forward played in five games for the Sharks but spent the majority of his time in the American Hockey League (AHL) with the Worchester Sharks where he scored 17-13-30 numbers in 69 games played. During the 2012-13 lockout season, Wingels took to the Finnish hockey league, Mestis, playing with KooKoo for 18 games. When the NHL season resumed, Wingels returned to San Jose where he scored 13 points in 42 games.

Tommy played three-and-a-half more seasons in California until January 2017 when he was traded to the Ottawa Senators for Zach Stortini, Buddy Robinson, and a 2017 7th Round Pick. Being on an expiring contract, Wingels hit the free-agent market that offseason for the first time in his NHL career, signing a one-year deal with the Chicago Blackhawks. He failed to spend a full season with the Hawks before he was shipped to the Boston Bruins at the 2018 Trade Deadline for a 2019 5th Round Draft Pick.

Tommy Wingels finished out his season with the Bruins, scoring two goals and three assists for five points in 18 games and went pointless in four games during the 2018 postseason. While his NHL career did not work out as planned, Wingels signed with Genève-Servette HC of the National League in Switzerland and has been there for two seasons. In the current 2019-20 campaign, the now 32-year-old has put up 16-23-39 numbers in 44 games before the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 448 regular-season games, Tommy Wingels scored 61 goals and 82 assists for 143 points over eight years in the National Hockey League with the San Jose Sharks, Ottawa Senators, Chicago Blackhawks, and the Boston Bruins. Happy Birthday, Tommy Wingels!

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 174 that we recorded below on 4-12-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Boston Bruins: Happy Birthday Torey Krug

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports)

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

Happy 29th Birthday to Boston Bruins Defenceman Torey Krug!!

Torey Krug was born on April 12th, 1991 in Livonia, Michigan, United States. At the age of seventeen, Krug started off playing for the Indiana Ice in the United States Hockey League (USHL), scoring 10-37-47 numbers in 59 games in the 2008-09 campaign, setting an Indiana Ice record for most points by a defenceman.

In 2009-10, Krug joined Michigan State University as a fifth or sixth defenceman on the roster, but before long, Krug skated in all 38 games that year and put up 3 goals and 21 points. That point total placed him second in rookie scoring on the team and led all CCHA first-year defenceman in points. In his second year, Krug was named the captain of the team and was named to the First-Team All-CCHA and was voted the CCHA’s Top Offensive Defenceman.

The 2011-12 regular-season was the final one for Krug with the Spartans and was also his best, as he scored 12 goals and 22 assists for 32 points in 38 games played. Krug was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award and tied for the scoring title, making him the first defenceman to win the scoring title in the league since Wayne Gagner in 1986-87. Torey’s stellar collegiate performance led him to be one of the most sought-after free agents for NHL teams, thus signing with the Boston Bruins on an entry-level contract in 2012.

The 5-foot-9, 195-pound defender played only two games for the B’s in the 2011-12 season, and only one regular-season game in the following 2012-13 campaign, spending the majority of the time with the Providence Bruins where he produced 45 points in 63 games. Torey Krug finally made his mark on the NHL in the 2013 playoffs when he scored four goals and two assists in 15 playoff games – all of the goals coming in the semi-finals against the New York Rangers.

Seeing the success he had in the postseason, the Bruins used Krug in their regular-season lineup for 79 games in the ’13/’14 campaign, allowing him to put up 14-26-40 totals in that time as well as another impressive ten points in twelve playoff games. From this point on, Krug has become a dynamite offensive threat on the Bruins’ blueline, constantly putting up 50+ points per season.

As of 2019-2020, Krug’s best season came in the 2017-2018 year when he recorded 45 assists and 59 points in 76 games. In 2019-20, Krug has 9-40-49 numbers in the 61 games before the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a pause of league operations. On March 27th, 2019, Torey became the all-time leader in points by an American-born player in Boston Bruins history. Also, in Game Three of the Stanley Cup Finals, Krug became the first player in Boston Bruins history to score four points in a Finals game.

Torey has been in a lot of Bruins news as of late, mainly due to his contract that expires on July 1st, 2020. On April 7th, Krug said, “I really hope I haven’t played my last game as a Boston Bruin” in a video call and that idea was reiterated by General Manager Don Sweeney who stated, “I dearly hope that Torey hasn’t played his last game this year or going forward”, in a video conference on April 10th.

“Every negation has its own timeline. We’re hopeful that we’ll find a resolution with Torey and [his agent Lewis Gross]. At this point, we haven’t been able to do so. But it’s very amicable and we’ve made our feeling perfectly clear that we respect and acknowledge what Torey has done and what he’s capable of doing for the Boston Bruins. We hope that continues.” – GM Don Sweeney, April 10th, 2020

In 535 games for the Boston Bruins, Torey Krug has 67 goals and 270 assists for 337 points along with a +23 rating in addition to 11 goals and 35 assists for 46 points in 62 playoff games. Happy Birthday, Torey Krug!

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 174 that we recorded below on 4-12-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Bruins Alumni: Happy Birthday Jim Nill

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PHOTO CREDITS: (kronozio.com)

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

Happy 62nd Birthday To Former Boston Bruins Forward Jim Nill!

Jim Nill was born on April 11th, 1958 in Hanna, Alberta, Canada. Jim began his hockey career back in 1974-75 with the Drumheller Falcons of the AJHL (Alberta Junior Hockey League), posting 30-30-60 numbers in 58 games that season. At the age of 17, Nill joined the Medicine Hat Tigers of the WCHL (now known as the WHL), scoring 16 points in 62 games during his first season.

Over the next two seasons in Medicine Hat, Nill scored a 47-point season followed by an impressive 93-point season where he scored 47 goals and put up 8-7-15 numbers in 12 playoff games before being eliminated by the Billings Bighorns in the Division Finals. This subsequently led to him being drafted 89th overall (6th round) in the 1978 NHL Amateur Draft by the St. Louis Blues.

In 1978-79, Nill played 17 games for the University of Calgary, racking up another fifteen points. The very next year, Nill only played international hockey for his home country of Canada. The 6-foot, 185-pound winger played in six games at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York. Canada finished sixth in men’s hockey during those games and Nill would put up three points during the tournament.

It was until the 1981-82 season that Jim Nill would finally get the taste of hockey in the National Hockey League. For the St. Louis Blues that season, Nill scored nine goals and 12 assists for 21 points and 127 penalty minutes in 61 games played. In March of ’82, Jim Nill joined Tony Currie, Rick Heinz, and St. Louis’ 4th Round Pick in 1982 in a deal to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for goaltender Glen Hanlon.

Nill played a combined 124 games with the Canucks over three NHL seasons, posting a 17-23-40 stat-sheet before being shipped once again – this time to the Boston Bruins in exchange for Peter McNab. He never really impressed in the two years he spent in Boston, scoring only 15 points in 76 games from the 1983-84 season to the 1984-85 season. It was in 1985 when Nill was traded to the Winnipeg Jets for Morris Lukowich.

The majority of Jim Nill’s NHL playing career came in Winnipeg, where he skated in 141 regular-season games throughout four seasons of hockey. The journeyman forward was traded one last time to the Detroit Red Wings in the winter of 1988 for right-winger Mark Kumpel. Jim put up 31 points in 122 games with the Wings, only for him to be sent down to the Adirondack Red Wings of the American Hockey League (AHL). He retired from professional hockey in 1991.

While most would be done with hockey at this point, Nill was not, and at the age of 33, he joined the Ottawa Senators as an amateur scout and not long after, promoted to a professional scout. He later joined the Detroit Red Wings to oversee player development and amateur scouting and was with the team for four Stanley Cups (1997, 1998, 2002, and 2008).

In April 2013, the Dallas Stars hired Jim Nill to be their new General Manager and after only a few months on the job, he made one of the biggest blockbuster trades in recent memory, sending forward Loui Eriksson, defenceman Joe Morrow, forward Reilly Smith, and forward Matt Fraser to the Boston Bruins in exchange for superstar forward Tyler Seguin, forward Rich Peverley, and defenceman Ryan Button.

As of today, Jim Nill remains the General Manager of the Stars and has helped them become one of the top teams in the Central Division with a record of 37-24-8 before the COVID-19 pandemic pause. Happy Birthday, Jim Nill!

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 173 that we recorded below on 4-4-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Bruins Alumni: Happy Birthday Ron Murphy

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PHOTO CREDITS: (benchedathletes.wordpress.com)

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

Happy Birthday To The Late Former Boston Bruins Forward Ron Murphy!!

Ron Murphy was born on April 10th, 1933 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Murphy started his hockey career in 1949-50 with the Guelph Biltmores of the OHA-Jr. In only three full seasons with Guelph, Murphy put up an incredible 141 goals and 144 assists for 285 points in only 151 games played. The left-winger helped lead his team to the 1952 Memorial Cup Championship, defeating the Regina Pats in four straight games. During the Memorial Cup run, Murphy scored 13 goals in 12 games, proving his talent at an early age.

In 1952-53, the 5-foot-11, 185-pound Canadian agreed to a 15-game tryout with the New York Rangers in the National Hockey League. He scored 3 goals and 1 assist during that tryout, but in December of 1953, Murphy suffered a broken jaw and a concussion after he was hit by a stick from Montreal Canadiens Bernie (Boom Boom) Geoffrion, creating a full brawl. In 1953-54, Murphy put up 1-3-4 numbers in 27 games played with the Rangers. Following this, he played in three more seasons with New York, before being traded to the Chicago Black Hawks in 1957.

The majority of Murphy’s career came in Chicago as he played in 459 regular-season games for the Black Hawks, accumulating 105-127-232 numbers in that span. Murphy was apart of the 1961 Stanley Cup-winning Black Hawks – the same year he made it to his only NHL All-Star game.

In June of 1964, Ron Murphy was once again on the move, this time to the Detroit Red Wings in a large package deal that saw a total of five players moving teams. He only played 90 games with the Wings, scoring 30 goals and 26 assists for 56 points prior to being traded once again to the Boston Bruins in 1966. This trade to Boston meant that Murphy had played for each of the four American teams that were apart of the Original Six.

It was with the Bruins that Murphy would eventually end his career, not before playing in 133 games, scoring 29-61-90 totals. His best season with the organization came as a 35-year-old in 1968-69 when he put up 26-38-54 numbers in 60 games as well as another eight points in ten playoff games before being eliminated by the Montreal Canadiens in the semifinals.

Murphy retired from professional hockey in March of 1970, the year Boston went on to win the Stanley Cup. Even though he did not play for the team during the postseason, his name is still engraved on Lord Stanley, making him a two-time Stanley Cup Champion. Ron Murphy finished his career in the National Hockey League with 205-274-479 numbers in 889 regular-season contests. Ron Murphy passed away on March 6th, 2014 at the age of 80. Happy Birthday to the late Ron Murphy!

Note: Big thank you to Benched Athletes for their article on Ron Murphy. That article can be found HERE.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 173 that we recorded below on 4-4-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Bruins Alumni: Happy Birthday Ryan Donato

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

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

Happy 24th Birthday to Former Boston Bruins Forward Ryan Donato!!

Ryan Donato was born on April 9th, 1996 in Boston, Massachusetts to former NHLer Ted Donato. Donato began his young hockey career with Dexter School in Massachusetts as a 16-year-old, scoring 14-22-36 numbers in 26 games played in the 2011-12 season. The forward spent numerous seasons in the USPHL as well as the USHL, putting up point-per-game seasons on multiple occasions.

Donato’s success in the United States hockey leagues led to the Boston Bruins selecting him 56th overall (2nd Round) in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, the same draft that Bruins superstar David Pastrnak was drafted in the first round. Instead of joining the Bruins immediately, Ryan Donato made the decision to join the Harvard Crimson, following in his father’s footsteps who played 106 career games with Harvard University and later went on to be the Head Coach of the hockey team in which he is still the Coach to this day.

In Ryan’s first season back in 2015-16, he scored 13 goals and eight assists for 21 points in 32 games that year as well as four points in seven games at the 2016 U-20 World Junior Championships, winning a bronze medal with Team USA. Donato’s true skill was showcased in the following 2016-2017 campaign where he posted 21-19-40 numbers in 36 games and the one-uped that again with 26-17-43 totals in only 29 games that led all Harvard players in the 2017-18 season.

After three seasons in the NCAA, Ryan Donato finished with 60-44-104 numbers in 97 games played. Donato was named the Ivy-League Player of the Year in 2016-17 after helping bring Harvard to an ECAC Championship and a berth in the Frozen Four. In his final season, he was also named one of the ten finalists for the Hobey Baker Award, awarded to the best collegiate player of the year.

In 2018, Donato represented the United States in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, where he scored five goals and six points before being eliminated by the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals. That same year, Donato agreed to a two-year entry-level contract by the Bruins, officially beginning his NHL career. The young forward made an immediate impact, scoring three points including his first career NHL goal in his debut against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Having joined the Bruins late in the season, the 6-foot, 181-pound forward played in only twelve regular-season games in the NHL, scoring five goals and four assists for nine points. Donato went pointless in three playoff games that postseason as well. A lot of pressure was placed on Donato in the 2018-19 season as it was his first full season in the league and his promising performance to end the year before gave hope to Boston fans.

Donato was moved all around the Bruins organization, playing 34 games with the Boston Bruins as well as 18 games in the American Hockey League with the Providence Bruins. This up-and-down process went on until February 20th, 2019, when the Bruins traded Ryan Donato to the Minnesota Wild along with a conditional 2019 5th Round Pick in exchange for forward Charlie Coyle, who has since become a staple on the Bruins’ bottom-six.

Now with something more to prove, Donato played decent with the Wild to finish the ’18/’19 season, putting up 4-12-16 numbers in 22 games. Again, having the chance for a full season in the current 2019-2020 campaign, Donato scored fourteen goals and nine assists for 23 points in 62 games before the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the NHL going on pause.

At 24-years-old, Ryan Donato has one year remaining after this season on a $1.9 million contract with Minnesota. Happy Birthday, Ryan Donato!

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 173 that we recorded below on 4-4-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Bruins Alumni: Happy Birthday Marco Baron

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PHOTO CREDITS: (goaliearchives.com)

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

Happy 61st Birthday to Former Boston Bruins Goalie Marco Baron!!

Marco Baron was born on April 8th, 1959 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He started his junior career in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) at the age of sixteen with the Montreal Juniors. Baron played four seasons with the Juniors up until the 1978-79 season. He can be considered to be one of the best goalies to play on the Montreal Juniors, holding the all-time record in franchise wins (92), franchise shutouts (6), and franchise games played (192).

During his time in the QMJHL, Baron had a 92-62-21 record, with his best season coming in his last where he finished with a 37-17-13 record along with a .877 save percentage and a 3.80 goals-against-average to pair with his three shutouts. Additionally, Baron was named to the QMJHL All-Star Second Team in 1977-78.

Being from Montreal, Baron wanted to be drafted by his hometown Canadiens, but instead, was drafted 99th Overall (5th Round) in the 1979 NHL Entry Draft. Baron did not join the Bruins immediately, instead of playing with the Grand Rapids Owls in the IHL (International Hockey League).

Marco Baron’s NHL debut has a place in NHL history as well. On January 10th, 1980, both Gerry Cheevers (knee) and Gilles Gilbert (flu) were injured so rookie goalies Jim Stewart and Marco Baron played the game for Boston against the St. Louis Blues. Stewart struggled in net, so Baron replaced him following the first period, allowing two goals on thirteen shots in a 7-4 loss. As of March 29th, 2018, that duo is one of three NHL teams where two goalies each made their NHL debut in the same game (NJD in ’86/’87 and CHI in ’17/’18).

Throughout the next three seasons, Baron played a combined 64 games for the Boston Bruins, amassing 31 wins, 23 losses, and five ties/overtime losses to add onto his .866 save percentage and 3.41 goals-against-average and one shutout that came in the 1981-82 campaign. On January 3rd, 1984, the Boston Bruins traded Baron to the Los Angeles Kings for right-wing Bob LaForest who failed to play a single game with the Bruins. 

In Los Angeles, Baron had a measly 3-14-4 record with a 4.31 GAA and a .863 SV%. Following his only season with the Kings in 1983-84, he was signed as a free agent by the Edmonton Oilers where he only played only part of a single game, allowing two goals on nine shots. After his NHL career ended in 1985, Baron played a few seasons in Switzerland, but never put up stellar numbers.

Since his retirement from professional hockey, the now 61-year-old spent time as a head coach for a Swiss team as well as becoming a commentator and a hockey analysis on Swiss Italian-language broadcasting. Happy Birthday, Marco Baron!

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 173 that we recorded below on 4-4-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Former Bruins Forward Colby Cave Placed in Medically-Induced Coma

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( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

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

Today, April 7th, 2020, the Edmonton Oilers organization made an announcement that forward Colby Cave had suffered a brain bleed overnight and has been placed in a medically-induced coma in addition to being admitted to the critical care unit at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Cave, 25, was signed to an entry-level contract by the Boston Bruins exactly five years ago on April 7th, 2015. Cave had just come off four full seasons with the Swift Current Broncos of the Western Hockey League (WHL), where he scored 95 goals and 107 assists for 202 points in 286 games. Cave had also served as the captain of the team for the two years before signing with the Bruins, earning the team’s most valuable player award as well.

The North Battleford, Saskatchewan native only played a combined 23 regular-season games with the Boston Bruins, including 20 games during the 2018-19 campaign where he scored one goal and four assists for five points. It was with the Providence Bruins, the Boston Bruins’ AHL affiliate, where he had the most success in the franchise.

With Providence, Cave scored 43 goals and 72 assists for 115 points in 238 games including time as the assistant captain. However, on January 15th, 2019, the Bruins placed Colby Cave on waivers only for the Edmonton Oilers to pick him marking the end of Cave as a member of the Bruins organization.

Cave finished the year in Edmonton with 2-1-3 totals in 33 games and played 11 games in the 2019-20 season scoring only one goal. The 6-foot-1, 201-pound forward put up 11-12-23 numbers in 44 games with the Bakersfield Condors of the AHL before the sporting world came to an abrupt pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We here at the blackngoldhockey.com website send our best wishes to Colby and his entire family during this time and we keep him in our thoughts as he fights to make a full and speedy recovery. The entire hockey community stands strong with Colby.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 173 that we recorded below on 4-4-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!