Bruins Goalie Tuukka Rask Set to Play in 500th Career Game

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( Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images )

By: Yanni Latzanakis  |  Follow Me On Twitter @yanlatz

The Bruins are gearing up for a big matchup against the rival Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night. There will certainly be a buzz in the building as the Boston and Toronto rivalry writes another chapter but there will also most likely be much louder “TUUKK” chants coming from the Black ‘N Gold faithful as well.

That’s because Tuukka Rask will be between the pipes for the Bruins and it will be his 500th game in the National Hockey League. On November 24, 2007, Rask got his first win against the Maple Leafs with a 30 save performance in a 4-2 win for the B’s. Twelve years later it all comes full circle as Rask will skate in the milestone game against the very same team that drafted him and that he got his first NHL victory against.

Bruins head coach, who started coaching Rask in 2008, has rotated starts between Rask and Jaroslav Halak who have arguably been the league’s best goaltending tandem for the past two seasons. The lesser workload for Rask has allowed him to play better and more consistently all season long. Last season, Rask played in 46 games which allowed him to be fresher for the Bruins long playoff run to the Stanley Cup Finals. Rask and Halak have picked up right where they left off last season and the Bruins hope the goaltending tandem can emulate their success from last season.

“They say it’s like 1,000 games for players, he said after practice on Monday when asked about his upcoming milestone game. “It’s a big milestone. I think you play 500 as a goalie, it’s going to take some years. Just goes to show how old I am, that’s about it.”

Bruins captain Zdeno Chara also weighed in on his longtime goaltender’s achievement: “I think it’s a great achievement. It just shows his durability and the way he takes care of himself and we are certainly happy for him. He deserves the accomplishment and whatever it comes with.”

Tuukka Rask was drafted 21st overall in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs, his opponent for his 500th career game, but has only played for the Boston Bruins. His rights were traded to the Bruins on June 24, 2006, for goaltender Andrew Raycroft and he then signed a three-year contract in May of 2007. He played most of his early career for the Bruins backing up Tim Thomas and won a Stanley Cup with the Bruins in 2011 but still has not yet won the Stanley Cup as a starter – failing to beat the Blackhawks in the 2013 Cup Finals and the Blues in the 2019 Cup Finals.

The Bruins goaltender has posted a 3-0-1 record this season in four starts posting a 1.72 goals-against average to go along with a .946 save percentage. The Bruins look to bounce back on Rask’s big night on home ice against the Leafs after falling to them on Saturday night in overtime 4-3.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 149 that we recorded on 10-11-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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Weymouth Native ‘Mighty Quinn’ To Drop Puck at Bruins Game

mightyquinn

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

By: Yanni Latzanakis  |  Follow Me On Twitter @yanlatz

Meet 3-year-old Quinn Waters from Weymouth, Massachusetts. The big Bruins and Charlie Coyle fan who is battling cancer will drop the ceremonial puck at the Bruins game on Tuesday, October 29th when the Bruins host the San Jose Sharks. That night, the Bruins will be hosting Hockey Fights Cancer night at the TD Garden.

Last February, just a day after celebrating his third birthday, Quinn went to Boston Children’s Hospital and was quickly diagnosed with a brain tumor on his brain stem called Medulloblastoma. That very next week after turning three, he underwent an eight-hour surgery to remove the tumor. He has undergone numerous rounds of chemotherapy and has spent months of his young life in the hospital.

This past summer, after his countless rounds of treatment for cancer weakened his immune system, he was unable to go outside. This prompted many of his family and friends to visit Quinn at his house through his window. The story went viral and soon visiting requests for The Mighty Quinn at his window came pouring in at the Weymouth home. Quinn was getting all kinds of visits from friends and family, Weymouth residents and sports teams, local first responders, and local celebrities like The Dropkick Murphy’s. He even received a personal video from New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady and Cornerback Stephon Gilmore telling Quinn that he is a champion and that he has the support from all of the Patriots.

Fellow Weymouth native and Bruins forward Charlie Coyle was also part of the hundreds of visitors to Quinn’s window this past August. Coyle along with Blades, the Bruins mascot, presented him with a personalized #13 Bruins jersey with Quinn’s name on it. Coyle proceeded to chat with Quinn and brighten his day as well as even partaking in a Nerf gun fight. Since then, Quinn and Coyle have become the best of friends as Coyle continues to support the Waters family and Quinn’s battle with cancer. The Bruins forward was also seen with a blank “Hockey Fights Cancer” sign in which he wrote, “I fight for The Mighty Quinn” in support of his new friend.

Just last week, the Waters family announced fantastic news that Quinn’s latest MRI showed no signs of new disease. Doctors have been amazed by Quinn’s recovery that although he is continuing his fight, he is making incredible progress.

At the end of September, Quinn was allowed to leave his house for the first time in months and is now set to make an appearance on TD Garden ice dropping the ceremonial puck for the Bruins and San Jose Sharks game on October 29th.

It will no doubt be an emotional night for Quinn and his family but hopefully will be a joyous occasion for Quinn in support of his favorite hockey team. I also suspect that when called upon, Charlie Coyle will line up and receive the ceremonial puck drop from his friend Quinn.

If you would like to support or follow Quinn and his fight against cancer, click here.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 149 that we recorded on 10-11-19 below! 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 Forward David Backes Hopes Unique Offseason Training Revitalizes Career

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( Photo Credit: NBC Sports )

By: Yanni Latzanakis  |  Follow Me On Twitter @yanlatz

On July 1, 2016, the Boston Bruins signed veteran forward David Backes to a five year $30 million contract. He has not quite lived up to his $6 million yearly valuation in a Bruins uniform despite continuing to work hard to remain in the Bruins lineup. The 35-year-old veteran forward is entering his fourth year of the deal and has recently revealed his offseason training to try and keep his NHL career alive.

After a recent preseason game against the New Jersey Devils, in which Backes was arguably the best forward on the ice, he revealed what he decided to do differently this offseason. He was skating at his old high school back home in Spring Lake Park, Minnesota when he got a text from a friend saying that their sister-in-law was teaching figure skating on the other rink and the girls would love for him to go and say hello.

Backes willingly went over to the rink to chat with the girls and ended up joining them in some skating drills. That is when David Backes realized that he could not do skating drills that these 12-year-old girls were doing easily. He couldn’t believe that he could not do the drills as a professional hockey player. So, David went home and thought about the eye-opening experience and decided to call the skating coach named Katie McDonough and ask for her help.

Backes hopes that this new training in the offseason will pay off for this upcoming season as he battles for a spot on the Bruins roster. Backes was scratched numerous times last season and even games five, six, and seven of the Stanley Cup Final against the St. Louis Blues.

Last season, Backes had his worst season in the NHL pointwise with just seven goals and 13 assists for 20 points in 70 games played. Backes knows that he can return to the hockey player that he once was and is doing everything in his power to continue his career with the Black ‘N Gold at the NHL level. There is no doubt that David Backes brings a lot of leadership and experience to the Bruins lineup. With the infusion of youth prospects into the veteran core group of the Bruins, it is a perfect recipe to teach the younger players for the future but take another stab at a Stanely Cup Championship at the same time.

You have to respect David Backes for his recognition of his struggles on the ice and how he is working hard to get back to the level of play that he is capable at this stage of his career. We will see if the offseason skating has a big impact on Backes’ play but as of September 30, all signs point to David Backes making the opening night roster against the Dallas Stars on October 3rd.

Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 147 that we recorded on 9-30-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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Extremely Bold Prediction: Torey Krug Wins 2020 Norris Trophy

krug

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

By: Yanni Latzanakis  |  Follow Me On Twitter @yanlatz

Hear me out: Torey Krug is arguably the best offensive defenseman on the Bruins and as well as across the league. Krug is entering the last year of his contract before he is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July first, 2020. Here is why I think he will have his best season as a pro and will not only be in the top three votings for the Norris trophy, but he will win it.

Torey Krug was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Michigan State University in March of 2012. After playing most of the 2012-2013 season with the Providence Bruins, he was called up on an emergency basis and made his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut against the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals series. In game one of the series, the Bruins were down 2-1 in the third period and Torey Krug scored his first goal in the playoffs in his first playoff game becoming the first Boston Bruins defenseman to do so since Glenn Wesley in 1988. From that series, Krug scored four goals in five games and instantly became a fan favorite.

Krug has since become a staple on the Bruins blue-line and often been labeled as the Bruins quarterback on the powerplay. Krug has scored 39 or more points in each of his six seasons in a Black ‘N Gold uniform. Krug hit a career-high in points during the 2017-2018 season at 59 and this past season, Krug reached his second-best offensive season with 53 points.

Krug is only going to improve as he matures as a veteran. His point totals will continue to climb as he quarterbacks the deadly Bruins power-play that I think will be lethal again this season. His ability to find passing lanes, his vision, hockey IQ and his speed allows him to set up scoring plays and contribute to the Bruins offense. In January, he set up Pastrnak with an incredible pass from his own defensive zone that Pastrnak was able to corral and deke past the Flames netminder for one of the best scoring plays of the season.

Probably the biggest reason why I think he will win the Norris trophy this season is that he is set to become an unrestricted free agent in July. There is no doubt that whether Krug is going to re-sign with the Bruins or another NHL club, he will get paid. Some believe that Krug will be looking for a contract of seven or eight years at around 45 to 50 million dollars. Krug’s predicted contract is compared to some other top defensemen that got new contracts like Ryan Ellis of the Nashville Predators who signed an eight-year $50 million contract as well as Keith Yandle of the Florida Panthers who is signed at seven years, $44.4 million.

Players that are set to get contracts often have big seasons as they await to sign. I think Torey Krug will have a monster year for the Bruins and will have his best offensive season. Torey Krug is also healthy at the beginning of the year for the first time in a few seasons which will allow him to have a fast start out of the gate.

He does have some competition for the Norris Trophy, however. Last year’s winner Mark Giordano won the award after a huge year for the Calgary Flames with 17 goals and 57 assists for a whopping 74 points. Previous winners Victor Hedman, Brent Burns, Drew Doughty, and Erik Karlsson will also most likely have good years but I think Krug will get the recognition that he deserves this season and will win the Norris Trophy as the leagues best defenseman.

Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 146 that we recorded on 9-22-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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Bruins Should Focus on Improving Even Strength Offense in 2019-2020

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( Photo Credit: AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

By: Yanni Latzanakis  |  Follow Me On Twitter @yanlatz

It was no question the Bruins had enough skill and firepower to make it all the way to game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals last season. A big part of their success, however, was their powerplay in which the Bruins finished third in the league last season at 25.9% powerplay which was behind division rivals Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning. The Bruins only came in 12th in the NHL in goals scored at five-on-five play. A stronger offensive output at even strength should be a focus for Bruce Cassidy and the B’s this season.

The Bruins have multiple skilled players up and down their lineup that put the puck in the net especially the top line that dominated last season in Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak. Brad Marchand had a career year burying 100 points with a third of his points coming on the powerplay at 34. His linemates were also enormous on the powerplay with Pastrnak tallying 17 powerplay goals and 33 powerplay points and Bergeron scoring 27 points on the powerplay.  Although the top line dominates most games, most of their points came on the powerplay.

The Bruins relied heavily on the powerplay in the regular season and the playoffs but especially against the St. Louis Blues in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Black ‘N Gold met a heavy, physical team that was strong at even strength and eventually found a way to shut down the Bruins potent powerplay. Bruins like Marchand, Bergeron, Pastrnak, McAvoy, and Backes scored zero points each at even-strength during the Stanley Cup Finals. This ultimately was a factor in the Bruins losing game seven. In the first period, the Bruins saw the only powerplay of the game that they were unable to capitalize on and then struggled to score on Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington at even strength – and we all know how that nightmare ends.

Part of improving the even-strength scoring can be to balance the lines. That might mean breaking up the “perfection” line of Marchand, Bergeron, and Pastrnak and moving Pastrnak to Krejci’s right-wing side. This could benefit the Bruins for matchups against opponents defense and to strengthen the second line that at some points looked invisible last season and postseason.

The preseason is a good time to test out the new lines and some depth acquisitions from offseason moves as well as up-and-coming prospects from Providence and beyond. There could also be a breakthrough forward who makes the team to play on the David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk line that would significantly balance the Bruins forward group. This would allow the top line to remain together and hopefully continue their dominance at both ends of the ice.

Also, having Charlie Coyle at the beginning of the season will benefit the Bruins with some security on the third-line center position. At the beginning of the 2018-2019 season, that spot was a big question mark for most of the beginning and first half of the season.

Having a great penalty kill and powerplay is immense for success in the NHL but the even-strength offense should be a primary focus. Every game will have fine-on-five play but the Bruins should be reliant on getting penalty calls and heading to the powerplay. Bruce Cassidy and his coaching staff should be focused on getting the even-strength offense up from last season and it would certainly benefit the Bruins down the stretch and especially in the playoffs.

Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 146 that we recorded on 9-22-19 below! 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!

 

TD Garden, Bruins Unveil New Look for 2019-2020 Season

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( Photo Credit: tdgarden.com )

By: Yanni Latzanakis  |  Follow Me On Twitter @yanlatz

Fans going to TD Garden to attend Bruins and Celtics games as well as other events will notice multiple changes to the building. The TD Garden has been giving fans plans throughout the past season as to what to expect but just recently gave fans a bigger glimpse into what to expect at the Garden this season.

On Tuesday, TD Garden unveiled the first look at the first round of changes to the Garden coming as part of a $100 million upgrade which includes new seats, expanded parking garage, Garden HDX upgrade, “Rafters” club, and concourse expansion.

 

Seat Upgrade

Arguably the most noticeable change coming this season is the removal of the iconic yellow and black seating in the arena which was installed in 1995 when the building was built. These seats have been replaced with all-black seats that are more modern and designed for comfort for the best possible experience for Bruins fans. Even in the balcony seats, fans will sit in cushioned seats that are a much improvement of the hard plastic seats that called the balcony home. Select old yellow seats will be reserved by the Boston Bruins Foundation and other foundations for future charitable endeavors.

 

Some fans, however, are unhappy that the yellow seating is gone in the arena as they were a staple for the TD Garden ever since the building replaced the Boston Garden which also featured yellow seating. The new black seats do in fact take away the unique look that the TD Garden possessed over the past 23 years.

Garden HDX Upgrade

The TD Garden center-ice video boards have been upgraded as well. Although to the eye the physical jumbotron will not look much different to B’s fans, it was upgraded to 4K screens which will be much clearer and easier for fans to see.

Rafters

Opening in November of 2019, the new Rafters club on level 9 will feature an extremely unique experience. This is a membership plan that is apart of the new Boston Garden Society and includes a communal bar area, food stands, and seating that allows fans to sit virtually above the ice surface.

 

Concourse Expansion

The concourse area is also being expanded and is expected to also be completed in November 2019. The areas will be enlarged by 20% on the loge level and 30% on the balcony level. This all with the aim to give fans more room to meet friends, sit down and have food and drinks, and also add more merchandise pop-up stores, quick food options, and bar areas.

The Garden will look much different this year to Bruins fans as the expansion, upgrade, and renovation of TD Garden is ongoing as part of the Jacobs’ family’s $100 million dollar investment with the Garden is entering its 24th season as the proud home of the Boston Bruins and Boston Celtics. Fans will get to experience some of the new changed for the first time at the TD Garden when the Bruins host the Philadelphia Flyers in a preseason game on Monday, September 23.

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Bruins Goalie Tuukka Rask Cracks NHL Network’s Top 10 Goalies List

bruins

( Photo Credit: USA Today )

By: Yanni Latzanakis  |  Follow Me On Twitter @yanlatz

Every summer, the NHL Network narrows down the best players from throughout the league at each position. As part of the series, producers, hosts, and analysts prepared a top-10 list of the current best goaltenders in the National Hockey League and revealed it Sunday night. Tuukka Rask made the top ten list again and made a significant move up from his position last year. 

Last year, Rask was named to the top-10 goalies list at number-eight while this year the Bruins netminder cracked the list and came in at number five. Rask was one ahead of Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury at number six and one behind rival Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price who came in at number four. Jordan Binnington who out-dueled Tuukka Rask in game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals made the list at number eight. Rask posted a 27-13-5 record in 46 games played in the 2018-2019 campaign with a 2.48 goals-against average and a .912 save percentage along with four shutouts.

The Bruins had a strong goaltending tandem this season and Bruce Cassidy wanted a rather equal workload for both Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak as he felt they could use a more rested Rask for the playoffs and boy did that pay off for the Black ’N Gold. Tuukka Rask had one of the best goaltending performances in the playoffs this season and was one of the biggest reasons why the Bruins were able to make it to game seven of the Cup Finals. In the 2019 playoffs, Rask recorded a 15-9 record with a 2.02 goals-against average, a .934 save percentage, and 2 shutouts. 

Throughout the whole playoffs, Rask was strong for the Bruins but there were a few performances in particular in which Rask absolutely stole the show. In the opening-round series against Toronto, the teams met again at TD Garden for a deciding game seven. Rask turned away 32 Toronto shots en route to a 5-1 victory and another second-round appearance for the B’s. In round two against the Columbus Blue Jackets, two of the best goaltenders went head to head as Rask and Sergei Bobrovsky battled all series long. In game six in Columbus, Rask had one of his best games of the playoffs as he shut the door on the Blue Jackets’ season with a 39-save shut out to blank the Blue Jackets and propel the Bruins into the Conference Finals. In another series-clinching game in the Conference Finals against the Hurricanes, Rask again stood tall with a 24-save shut out for the B’s and sent them to the Stanley Cup Final.

Rask also became the winningest goaltender in Boston Bruins history after a Super Bowl Sunday shutout over the Washington Capitals. This was Rask’s 253rd win with the Bruins and passed Tiny Thompson who played for the Bruins from 1928-1939 and racked up a 252-153-63 record.

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Other notables who made the list are division rivals down in Florida with Sergei Bobrovsky of the Panthers coming in at number two and Andrei Vasilevskiy of Tampa Bay who came in as the best goaltender right now.

Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 142 that we recorded on 8-25-19 below! 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 Link To Our YouTube Channel! 

Bruins’ Krug And McAvoy Named To NHL Network’s Top-20 Defensemen List

( Photo Credit:  AP / Ben Margot )

By: Yanni Latzanakis  |  Follow Me On Twitter @yanlatz

Every summer, the NHL Network narrows down the best players from throughout the league at each position. As part of the series, producers, hosts, and analysts prepared a top-20 list of the current best defensemen in the National Hockey League. This year, the Bruins had two of their own crack the top-20 list as Charlie McAvoy and Torey Krug made appearances on the board.

Torey Krug came on the list at number 16 ahead of Zach Werenski, Colton Parayko, Ryan Suter, and rookie Miro Heiskanen. Krug had six goals and 47 assists for 53 points in 64 games which ranked him 12th most in points among defenseman in the NHL. The Bruins power-play quarterback had 30 power-play points which ranked him 16th in the league. This was Krug’s third straight season with 51 or more points and his second-best year in points since he scored 59 points in  76 games during the 2017-2018 campaign. The 28-year-old Michigan native has 62 playoff games under his belt with 11 goals and 35 assists for 46 points and 27 of those on the powerplay. He was second among defensemen in points these past playoffs with 18 points behind Alex Pietrangelo’s 19 points. This past season was Krug’s sixth full season in the NHL and will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2020.

Charlie McAvoy cracked the list two spots ahead of Krug at #14 and one spot behind New Jersey Devil P.K. Subban. The 21-year-old Long Island, NY native was selected 14 overall by the Bruins in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft out of Boston University and has played in two full seasons after beginning his NHL career in the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Ottawa Senators. In his rookie campaign, #73 in Black ‘N Gold put up seven goals and 25 assists for 32 points along with a plus-20 rating. In his sophomore season, McAvoy only appeared in 54 regular season games posting seven goals and 21 assists for 28 points and a plus-14 rating. Playing with Bruins captain, Zdeno Chara has accelerated McAvoy’s growth as a young hockey player in the NHL and has quickly become a dominating defenseman in both his own zone and has an offensive upside. McAvoy is still not signed by the Bruins as he is a restricted free agent. He is joined by Brandon Carlo as the Bruins unsigned RFA’s and it is unclear if both defensemen will be on the ice for the beginning of training camp before the 2019-2020 campaign.

Other notables on the list include a number of division rivals such as Maple Leafs d-man Morgan Reilly at number seven and Tampa’s Victor Hedman at number two. Seth Jones of the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Bruins’ second-opponent in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, came in on the list at number five.

However, the NHL Network does know that some fans will disagree with their picks and allow the fans to choose their own top-20. According to the fans, Charlie McAvoy rose up to number 11 while Torey Krug fell one spot to number 17.

Although there was not much of a disagreement from the fans regarding Krug’s and McAvoy’s placements on the list, we can all agree that the Bruins have a couple of gems on the blueline.

Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 141 that we recorded on 8-18-19 below! 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 Link To Our YouTube Channel! 

Latzanakis: Ideal Bruins Lineup on Opening Night: Version One

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( Photo Credit: The Hockey News )

By: Yanni Latzanakis  |  Follow Me On Twitter @yanlatz

First Line: Marchand – Bergeron – Heinen

Ever since Marchand and Bergeron began playing together, they have been inseparable. The duo has played together on the same line five on five, on the powerplay, and even the penalty kill and have shined together. While at times the line with Pastrnak on the right side was arguably the best line in the league, they also struggled to put the puck in the net. Also, the top line had so much pressure on them to score that they were gripping their sticks a little to tight and not producing like they can. I would like to see some balance in the Bruins lineup by moving Pastrnak to the second line and Danton Heinen getting a shot on the first line. When Pastrnak went down with a thumb injury and Heinen filled in on the right-wing, the line continued dominance without missing a beat and it was Heinen’s best stretch of hockey last season. When playing with Bergeron and Marchand, they produced 11 goals and gave up four against. Heinen is becoming a skilled two-way forward before our eyes and his development can take off if he plays with Marchand and Bergeron in the 2019-2020 season.

 

Second Line: DeBrusk – Krejci – Pastrnak

The second line has been a mystery, especially at the right-wing position all of last season and this offseason. With players like David Backes, Karson Kuhlman, David Pastrnak, Danton Heinen, and Peter Cehlarik just some of the right-wingers who were tried on Krejci’s right for Bruce Cassidy last year. My ideal lineup would include Pastrnak on the right side of Krejci. The two countrymen have been shown to have chemistry in the past and the balance throughout the lineup would be felt quickly, especially if that second line can produce goals at even strength.

 

Third Line: Bjork – Coyle – Ritchie

Charlie Coyle was a hometown playoff hero for the Bruins putting up nine goals and seven assists for 16 points in 24 playoff games this past spring. He built great chemistry with winger’s Marcus Johansson, who left as an unrestricted free agent and signed with division rival Buffalo Sabres, and Danton Heinen. The third line center position was in question all season until GM of the Year Don Sweeney made the deal for third-line center depth in Coyle. If Anders Bjork can make a comeback after a shoulder injury that required surgery and ended his whole 2018-2019 campaign he can add some spark on the third line. Bjork played 30 regular-season games in 2017-2018 for the Bruins scoring four goals and eight assists while appearing in 20 games in 2018-2019 posting a goal and two helpers. Bjork has always been looked at as a skilled prospect and if he can stay healthy, he might be able to provide some offense with Charlie Coyle and new free agent signing Brett Ritchie. Brett Ritchie played 53 games last season with the Dallas Stars and racked up four goals and two assists. Ritchie has an empty score sheet in three career playoff games. The Orangeville, Ontario native signed a one-year $1 million contract on July first and we will have to see how he fits in the Bruins lineup this upcoming season.

 

Fourth Line: Wagner – Kuraly – Nordstrom

With the departure of Noel Acciari to the Florida Panthers, the Bruins lost some grit and depth for their fourth line. However, they still have Chris Wagner, Sean Kuraly, and Joakim Nordstrom as an ideal checking line. Wagner, the Walpole, MA native, won the Seventh Player award as the player who went above and beyond expectations last season. Kuraly and Nordstrom also had strong years as depth, physical, and reliable players for Bruce Cassidy’s B’s. For the fourth line, I would not tinker much with these three for opening night.

Extra Forwards: David Backes, Par Lindholm, Karson Kuhlman

Defense:

Chara – McAvoy

Krug – Carlo

Grzelcyk – Moore

Extra Defense: Connor Clifton, Kevan Miller, Steven Kampfer, Urho Vaakanainen

The defense was strong this past season as well as into the playoffs and it is safe to say the Bruins have plenty of depth on the back end. Assuming Brandon Carlo and Charlie McAvoy are signed to contracts before opening night, this is how I would line it up on the back end for the Black ‘N Gold. Moore did not have the strongest start to his campaign with the Bruins but towards the end of the season and in the playoffs, particularly the Stanley Cup Finals, Moore showed off his smooth skating and hockey IQ. With either Moor or Clifton in the last defense position, there is no doubt the Bruins have all bases covered on the back end.

Goaltenders: Tuukka Rask, Jaroslav Halak

As the offseason is flying by, it will be interesting to see if the Bruins make any trades or moves to their roster as they gear up for hopefully another Stanley Cup run next Spring.

Stay tuned to blackngoldhockey.com for more analysis and breaking news from our team!

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Report: Former Bruin Noel Acciari to sign with Florida Panthers

acciari

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

By: Yanni Latzanakis  |  Follow Me On Twitter @yanlatz

According to hockey insider Elliotte Friedman of TSN, now former Boston Bruins forward Noel Acciari is signing with the Florida Panthers for a three-year deal worth five million dollars.

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The tough forward for the Bruins was signed to a two-year entry-level contract as an undrafted free agent in the summer of 2015 after three seasons at Providence College. The 27-year-old from Johnston, Rhode Island played 180 regular season games posting 18 goals and 13 assists for 31 points and a -10 rating. While racking up 80 penalty minutes, Acciari was never afraid to throw his body around and occasionally drop the gloves.

In 35 playoff games, he posted four goals and three assists with a plus-two rating and four penalty minutes.

 

Check out last weeks Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 133 below!