Three Bruins To Watch In the Upcoming 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs

( Photo Credit: AP Photo/Charles Krupa )

By Jack Cinquegrana | Follow me on Twitter @bruinschewy

Three times in the past decade the Boston Bruins have made it to the Stanley Cup Finals, only winning one year but is a testament to the Bruins organization to return each year with a chance in the playoffs. Though we lost the last two, one in 2013 and one in 2019, making the finals three out of ten years is very impressive and establishes that Boston is a strong and prominent team in the NHL. We are spoiled as Bruins fans because we get to see our team in the playoffs year after year.

Sometimes though, being a Bruins fan can be a struggle. Each team has its strengths and personally, I have seen the Bruins as a defense-first team with a strong back-end as our identity. And even though the saying, “defense wins championships” can be backed up by many examples, the Bruins have a hard time scoring, especially in the playoffs. With defense being our strength, our scoring options are limited. David Pastrnak and the rest of the top line are responsible for 47% of the team’s goals this season, and yes they are superstars, but we need more secondary scoring.

Three Players That Need to Have Breakout Playoff Performances

The first player that comes to mind when it comes to secondary scoring for me is Charlie McAvoy. This kid broke onto the scene in 2017 against Ottawa in the first round. Torey Krug and Brandon Carlo were both out after getting injured one and two games before the playoffs began. Mac opened many eyes with the immediate impact he made in the defensive end. “At the time, he was listed as a player who not only would soon be starring in the NHL but one with the potential to be a perennial all-star,” said Mike G. Morreale on NHL.com when Charlie first got into the NHL.

The same cannot be said for his offensive game three seasons later. You will see little spurts of his playmaking ability and passing here and there but the scoring is not up to par with the expectations and his abilities we see on a game-to-game basis. His puck-carrying ability, hockey IQ, and playmaking are something special, but he needs to score more goals and reach that potential as a perennial all-star.

( Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images )

The next player I have many high hopes for would be Tuukka Rask, the beloved Boston goaltender. Tuukka is a superstar goalie each and every year he suits up for the Bruins. He dominated the playoffs last year with a .934 save percentage and in six seasons he has played in the playoffs he has an average of a .927 save percentage and has only been below a .920 once. That is sustained success if I have ever seen it. But with Rask’s contract coming to an end, his age getting up there, and rumors swirling that he will retire after his contract is complete, how much can we expect from our perennially prolific goaltender.

If this is another shot at the Cup for Tuukka, I think he is going to play better than we have ever seen, he wants the Stanley Cup more than most of the league, especially after sporting a .929 save percentage and 2.12 goals-against average in 2019-2020, both among top five in NHL goalies this season.

( Photo Credit: Matthew J. Lee/GLOBE STAFF )

Last but not least is David Pastrnak or Pasta as the fans love to call him. Pastrnak was dominating this year, tying the goal tally with the annual winner Alexander Ovechkin at 48 and “co-winning” the Rocket Richard, and also leading the Bruins in points with 95 in 70 games. Though his scoring talent in the regular season has been breathtaking, and even being in the conversation for the MVP is well-deserved, his playoff scoring has been inconsistent. Granted, he has only played in the playoffs three times, but he has been either very good or bad. His first playoffs against Ottawa had a subpar performance and there was talk about maybe he is not a superstar. The following season the Bruins beat Toronto and lost to Tampa Bay in the second round. In only 12 games Pasta accumulated 20 points.

Last season when we lost in the Stanley Cup Finals to St. Louis, through 24 games, twice as many played as the year before, Pastrnak only has 19 points in that run. He had three more goals than the year before and that can be looked at as a positive thing because goals are the only thing that really matters but it shows the progression of how going into the playoffs and getting deeper every year, you just are not used to playing 106 hockey games in the season and playing into June. David Pastrnak has experienced a deep playoff run and he is going to be prepared physically and mentally for another potential Stanley Cup Final appearance.

(Photo Credit: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 184 that we recorded below on 6-28-20! 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!

What The Bruins Defensive Pairs Could Look Like In The 2020 Playoffs

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By: Lucas Pearson  |  Follow Me On Twitter @LucasPearson_

The Bruins have arguably the deepest defensive core in the entire league, and that can never be a bad thing. It’s going to be very intriguing to see how each defenseman comes back from all the time off and will be very telling on who gets the nod when playoffs begin. I just recently gave my opinion on the Bruins forward group, and here are my thoughts on the defense.

1st Pairing: Matt Grzelcyk – Charlie McAvoy

(Photo Credit: Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Starting out with a bit of a surprise, I really think the Bruins should keep the former Boston University pairing together. I talked a bit about it in my last article about how important speed is going to be in the upcoming playoffs, and here is exhibit A. Taking nothing away from the future first-ballot Hall of Famer that is Zdeno Chara, but he doesn’t have the legs he used to and I’m not sure how the time off will affect his game. Matt Grzelcyk should get a bulk of shifts with Charlie McAvoy.

He’s undersized, not very physical, and doesn’t put up crazy offensive numbers, but Matt Grzelyck may be the most underrated defensemen in the league. His importance to the Bruins is wildly understated, he just does everything right. The mobile defenseman always makes a good first pass and is excellent at the transition game.

The Charlestown native is an analytical darling. Among NHL defensemen with 40+ games, Gryz ranks third in even-strength goals per 60 minutes. He has a very solid 52.8 Corsi and 54.6 Fenwick. And did all of Grzelyck’s success halt in the playoffs? Nope. In last year’s playoff run, the 26-year-old totaled four goals and eight points. Despite being put in tough positions and starting in the Bruins’ end 53.4% of the time, Grzelyck still managed to post a 54.4 Corsi. It’s going to suck seeing him in Seattle…

Boston media was all over Charlie McAvoy at the beginning of the season. Pekka Rinne (yes the goalie) scored a goal before Chucky Mac did, but he was still playing good hockey. He’s constantly paired against his opponent’s top lines and has proven time and time again that he can take any task he’s assigned. McAvoy came to Boston as a teenager and averaged 26 MINUTES a game in the playoffs without a lick of NHL experience. He’s done a remarkable job against the likes of Steven Stamkos, Auston Matthews, and Nikita Kucherov in the playoffs and deserves to eat up as many minutes as Bruce Cassidy gives him.

2nd Pairing: Torey Krug – Brandon Carlo

(Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Yin and Yang. The pairing just works. On the left, you have one of the most dynamic offensive defensemen in the league. On the right, you have a 6’5 defensive specialist who’s grown into an incredibly reliable player on the back end for the Bruins. 

When I think of playoff Torey Krug I think of two things. The first being his 2013 run where he was plucked out of Providence and lit it up for the Bruins. Watching him against the Rangers was special. He displayed a crazy amount of poise and skill, scoring FOUR goals in five games. The subtle things are what stood out. Getting into open space, a little footwork before scoring are just a few examples. The second thing is this.

Brandon Carlo is a defenseman every team wishes they had. He reminds me of Niklas Hjalmarsson. He’s not a player that will light up the scoresheet (although his offensive output has been far more impressive as of late) but he’s so hard to beat one on one, he blocks everything that comes his way and is the type of guy you need to win a cup (see Hjalmarsson’s three Stanley Cups). The 2015 2nd rounder has become a great skater, and he’s finally using his size against opponents. And the craziest thing is he’s still just 23. 

3rd Pairing: Zdeno Chara – Jeremy Lauzon

NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 31: Jeremy Lauzon #79 of the Boston Bruins waits for a face off during an NHL hockey game against the New Jersey Devils on December 31, 2019 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Devils won 3-2 in a shootout. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
(Photo Credit: Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

I need to retcon a bit on having Grzelcyk on the first pairing. Maybe it’s a 30%-70% split, maybe it’s a 50%-50% split, but there are still circumstances where Chara needs to be with McAvoy because they are so effective in so many situations. In last year’s postseason, he had six times the amount of giveaways as takeaways and had a tough 46 Corsi, but he led the entire playoffs with a plus-11 rating and you can’t argue with the captain of a team that was a game (or a penalty call) away from winning the cup. He’s the ultimate competitor, not many people can break their jaw and play the next game. 

I had to deliberate a lot with the sixth man at the backend. Bruce Cassidy could go for experience and play John Moore (who I thought played very solid in the Cup), he could elect for someone to play on their strong side like Connor Clifton, or go with the “hot” hand (if you could call it that after all the time off) with Jeremy Lauzon, who I think should get the nod. 

Lauzon doesn’t have any playoff experience, but like we’ve seen with some of the aforementioned players, that may not be an issue. The French-Canadian has a whole lot of grit to his game, he already has two fights under his belt, one against the tough bastard that is Matthew Tkachuk, which is something you love to see from a young player. His style of play should mesh perfectly with the pace of typical playoff hockey.

Having John Moore, Connor Clifton, and even Steven Kampfer are huge luxuries to have and will all be big assets if Lauzon (or any others) look out of place. And of course, Tuukka Rask will be the starter, don’t need anyone to say otherwise.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 184 that we recorded below on 6-28-20! 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 Should Be A Hub City

( Photo Credit: STUART GARFIELD 0

By: Jess Belmosto| Follow me on Twitter: @jessbelmosto

There have been several cities thrown around in conversation for candidacy to be a hub city in the return of the NHL playoffs. Boston has not been mentioned. Jenna West from Sports Illustrated reported on June 23 there were six teams with their hat in the race.

  • Vancouver
  • Las Vegas
  • Los Angelos
  • Edmonton
  • Chicago
  • Toronto

We know now that Vancouver is no longer part of the conversation.

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While the goal is to get it down to two cities, what if the best option isn’t even in the race? Is it possible that the league said no to Boston before the curve was flattened? Maybe the Jacobs family isn’t interested.

The Curve is Flattened

There are a number of possibilities of why Boston hadn’t been mentioned. Let’s talk about why it should be in the conversation.

Massachusetts and its capitol are no longer hot spots. Governor Charlie Baker has been diligent in monitoring numbers as the state lifts restrictions. Boston is in a position where they could open their doors and welcome hockey back into the beloved TD Garden.

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No Easy Way To Decide

There’s obviously a lot at stake when it comes to cities welcoming “outsiders” for extended periods of time for the first time in over three months. This is peak Cape time. Everyone wants to see the Mayflower and then a trip over the Bourne Bridge to a crowded beach.

Under normal circumstances, Massachusetts is prepared for accommodating a mass amount of visitors. While I understand that these are not normal times and the typical tourists stayed home, the focus will be so heavily directed toward keeping spaces clean and prepared for players and staff.

What About The Ice Conditions?

People complain about the ice conditions at TD Garden any chance they get. It’s not the best but it could certainly be worse! Former Bruins beat reporter DJ Bean pointed out why the garden would be okay!

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Final Thoughts

While I do believe the return of sports is just a little bit out of reach right now, I still think Boston should be considered. If it’s not Plan A it should certainly be someone’s Plan B.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 184 that we recorded below on 6-28-20! 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!

Three Bruins To Watch In The 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs

(Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara / USA Today Sports)

By Carrie Young | Follow me on Twitter @carrieyoung512

The National Hockey League is planning to hold the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs at some point this summer, though the exact dates are yet to be determined. The Boston Bruins hold the number one seed in the playoff bracket, having finished the shortened regular season as the President’s Trophy winners with a 44-14-12 record and 100 points. Finishing the season strong is no guarantee of success, however, especially with the new playoff format that the league has instituted this year. The Bruins will need both their stars and depth players to perform well in their quest for the Stanley Cup.

Which players should fans keep an eye on when the playoffs begin? There are the obvious choices: David Pastrnak, who shared this year’s Rocket Richard Trophy alongside Alex Ovechkin for the most goals scored in the regular season (48); Tuukka Rask, who has been one of the best goalies in the league for years but has yet to win the Stanley Cup as a starter; and dependable veterans like Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara. For this list, I chose players who are not quite so obvious but could still impact any potential playoff series.

Torey Krug

Torey Krug has been a mainstay on the Boston blue-line for years and is a top offensive defenseman in the league. He performed well during the Bruins’ run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2019, leading all players in playoff assists with 16. He scored 49 points 2019-20 regular season including 28 power play points.

This year, Krug is an unrestricted free agent. The Bruins are certainly interested in keeping him, but he could demand big bucks on the free agent market and there are other teams that would love to coax him away from Boston. A strong performance in the playoffs would be a cherry on top of an already impressive resume for the 5’9″ defenseman.

I think that Krug will be one to watch when the playoffs get underway. He is the power play quarterback for a Bruins team that was second in the league in power play goals and power play percentage this year. A strong man advantage is crucial to a deep playoff run, so Krug will need to keep it running smoothly (and get the puck to Pastrnak!) if the Bruins want redemption for last year’s Finals loss. A few big hits like the one on Robert Thomas in game one wouldn’t hurt, either.

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Ondrej Kase

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As a trade deadline acquisition meant to aid the team in the playoffs, Ondrej Kase is a player looking to turn heads. Unfortunately, he was never able to settle into his role on the team because the season was paused so soon after the trade deadline. If he can stay healthy and remain on David Krejci’s right wing, he could be an impact player when the playoffs begin.

The Bruins traded a 2020 first-round pick, David Backes (25% of salary retained), and prospect Axel Andersson to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Kase.

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Though Kase scored just 24 points in 55 games this season, he is only 24 years old and has the chance to play with a highly skilled center in David Krejci. If the Bruins’ second line can score consistently and take some of the pressure off the Pastrnak-Bergeron-Marchand top line, it would mean better chances for a deep playoff run.

One of the players that impressed me the most during the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs was Marcus Johansson, who fit right in on the Bruins third line with Charlie Coyle and Danton Heinen. That third line scored some huge goals and were definitely a factor in propelling the Bruins to the finals. This year, I think Ondrej Kase has similar potential. Fans of analytics already know that Kase is an impact player when given the opportunity. This is why I consider him to be a player to watch.

Brandon Carlo

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Brandon Carlo has been one of my favorite unsung heroes on the Bruins roster for a few years now. Beginning in his rookie year, his shutdown style and ability to move past mistakes have been impressive to watch. Bad luck and timing meant that Carlo was unable to participate in the playoffs for his first two years in the league: first he was concussed in the last game of the 2016-17 season, then he suffered a leg injury late in the 2017-18 season. 2019 was finally his chance to contribute in the playoffs. He played a strong defensive game and was second among all players in plus/minus (trailing only Zdeno Chara). I would argue that Carlo was a huge part of the Bruins’ success.

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This year, Carlo has the chance to do the same. 2019-20 was his best season yet in regards to points production, recording 19 points in 67 games. His game has matured and he has become a stronger and more physical player, which will translate well into playoff hockey. His shorthanded play is another asset. The Bruins were third in the league this year in penalty kill percentage (84.2). Carlo was ranked 13th in the entire league in shorthanded time on ice per game (second on the team behind Chara). As important as the power play is in the playoffs, so is the penalty kill. The combination of Chara and Carlo should help to keep the puck out of the net.

Boston is a well-rounded team, boasting superstar scorers, underrated analytics darlings, puck-moving defensemen, and shutdown blue-liners. They also have an elite goaltender as the last line of defense. This team should be fun to watch when the playoffs begin.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 178 that we recorded below on 5-10-20! 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!!

Does Bruins Cassidy Deserve The Jack Adams Award?

Ottawa Senators v Boston Bruins

(Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

By Joe Chrzanowski  |  Follow Me on Twitter @jchrz19

For the last three years, I have watched the NHL awards nominations and the subsequent awards show and wondered when Bruce Cassidy is going to get some recognition as one of the best coaches in the league? Even though he was nominated in 2017-18, everyone knew that Gerard Gallant of Vegas was winning the award that year (despite the B’s finishing with more points than the Knights. When will his time come, if ever?

Cassidy received his first NHL head coaching position in 2002. He was 37 years old and took over a veteran-laden Washington Capitals team with eight regulars that were over the age of 30. It must have been a pretty daunting proposition for the Ottawa native in his first kick at the NHL coaching can? His initial year in Washington went relatively well. The team had an above-average season, finished with 92 points, and made the playoffs after missing the season before under previous coach Ron Wilson. The Capitals were eliminated by Tampa in the first round in six games, but all in all a decent start for Cassidy.

Unfortunately, the following season was a different story. The team got off to a rough 8-18-1-1 start under Cassidy and he was replaced by Glen Hanlon (who fared no better). There were rumors of issues between veteran players and their young head coach. Any time players are only a few years older than the coach and things don’t go well, this is a possibility.

Cassidy had less than six seasons experience as a professional head coach and had been the coach of the year in the AHL in 2001-02 for Grand Rapids before making the jump to the NHL. It was a rapid rise and Cassidy may not have been fully prepared for the rough road his second season in Washington?

He returned to coaching in 2005-06 as an assistant for the Chicago Blackhawks. He would spend the next ten seasons honing his craft in the OHL and AHL before returning to the NHL as an assistant coach with the Bruins under Claude Julien in 2016-17 at the age of 51. The team had narrowly missed the playoffs the previous two seasons and after 55 games were only three games above .500. This was an unheard-of proposition for the proud Original Six franchise and GM Don Sweeney decided to make a change.

He installed Cassidy as Julien’s replacement with 27 games to go and the season in the balance. The B’s went 18-8-1 during that stretch, finished with 95 points, and qualified for the playoffs. After some key injuries, they were eliminated by Ottawa in the first round in six games. Probably not what Cassidy and the team had hoped for, but a solid beginning. It was no surprise that Cassidy would not get Adams Trophy consideration for 27 games, but I’m not sure what the reasoning has been since that time?

The following year (2017-18) would see the team take another step forward under Cassidy. They finished with a record of 50-20-12 (.683), and 112 points, good for 2nd in the Atlantic (one point behind Tampa). After a thrilling seven-game series and victory over Toronto, the Bruins appeared a bit overmatched vs Tampa Bay and were eliminated by the Bolts in five games. Still, it was a step forward for the organization, reaching the 2nd round of the playoffs for the first time in four years.

Cassidy was nominated for the Adams but ended up finishing 2nd to the Vegas Knight’s coach, Gerard Gallant. As I mentioned earlier, it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that Gallant would win because of his success with an expansion squad, leading them to the Stanley Cup Finals. In retrospect, seeing the advantages this expansion team had over its predecessors and how well they were constructed, perhaps this vote should have been a lot closer than it was?

In 2018-19 it was more of the same for Cassidy and the Bruins. They finished the regular season at 49-24-9 (.652), with 107 points, and finished 2nd to Tampa Bay again in the Atlantic. One could argue that Cassidy did an even better job that regular season than the year before (despite having five fewer points). The B’s didn’t suffer any season-ending injuries, but they did have a variety of injuries to key contributors on the top two lines, both forwards and defensemen. Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak, Torey Krug, and Zdeno Chara all missed 15-20 games, with Charlie McAvoy missing almost 30. Cassidy plugged guys into the holes and the team didn’t miss a beat.

While the 2018-19 postseason started off the same as 2017-18, with a seven-game series win over the Maple Leafs, what followed hadn’t been seen in Boston since the 2012-13 season. The B’s followed up their opening-round victory with wins over Columbus and Carolina (in the Eastern Conference Finals), and faced St. Louis in the championship round. Ultimately, the Bruins lost a heartbreaking seven-game series to the Blues. Obviously not what the organization envisioned, but it was another big step forward.

Cassidy was not nominated for the Adams. That honor went to Barry Trotz for turning the Islanders around, Craig Berube for doing the same with the Blues, and John Cooper for a record-setting regular season. Ultimately the award went to Trotz after engineering a 23-point improvement for the Isles. Unfortunately, the Jack Adams Award is based solely on regular-season performance, otherwise, I feel like Cassidy would have had another strong candidacy. Despite the tough loss to St. Louis, the Boston front office had seen more than enough from their head coach the prior two-plus seasons and signed him to a multi-year contract extension in September of 2019.

Which brings us to the 2019-20 hockey season, one like no other in history (unfortunately). There was a lot of talk last summer about Stanley Cup hangovers and teams struggling after losing in the Finals. Cassidy and the Bruins showed no sign of these maladies, getting off to a quick start, and finishing October with a record of 9-1-2. Despite predictions by many of an angry Tampa team coming out hard after their first-round elimination last season, it was Boston that led the Atlantic pretty much start to finish.

When the NHL recently announced their “return to play” plan and the regular season was officially over, the Bruins became the 2019-20 President’s Cup winners, finishing the year with a 44-14-12 record (.714) and 100 points. Because of the expanded playoff system, Boston will have to take part in a “play in” round to determine the top four seeding order in the East, along with Tampa, Washington, and Philadephia. This despite being the dominant team in the league all season (but that’s another discussion).

Cassidy replaced a coach who had won a Stanley Cup in Boston, which is no mean feat itself, but he also has made fans forget about Mr. Julien. His adherence to two-way hockey is nearly at the level of his predecessor, but unlike Clode, Cassidy appears to want his defensemen to “activate” and join the rush whenever possible. His demeanor with the press is also very different. I have been a Boston sports fan for a long time and his candid statements to the media are refreshing. At the same time, Cassidy manages to do this without being abrasive or disrespectful to the players. You get the feeling that “what you see is what you get” and that he has the same straightforward approach with the team.

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(Photo Credit: John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Cassidy led the team to the playoffs as an interim guy. Followed that up by winning a playoff round the next season, and leading the team to the Stanley Cup Finals the following year. Not content to rest on his laurels, this season the Bruins finish with the most points in the NHL. Over three-plus seasons, Cassidy has compiled a staggering .682 winning percentage. He is second in wins to Tampa and John Cooper but has enjoyed more playoff success.

Due to the change in the season schedule, the NHL Broadcaster’s Association, which is responsible for voting on the nominations and winners of the Jack Adams Award, will not be announcing anything until an undetermined date later in the summer. Is there anything else Bruce Cassidy needs to do to get his name on that trophy? We shall see.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 184 that we recorded below on 6-28-20! 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!

Best Bruins Moments Of The 2019-20 Regular Season

(Photo Credit: Charles Krupa / AP)

By: Bryan Murphy | Follow me on Twitter @bryan_murphy10

Playoff hockey is on the horizon, and with the Boston Bruins 2019-20 regular season concluded, there’s plenty to look forward to as the Bruins will make another run at the Stanley Cup.

But let’s not forget about everything that led up to the break. The Bruins were the best team in hockey and had so many great memories along the way to a President’s Trophy victory. A mix of highlight-reel plays and touching moments made up some of the best of the Bruins’ 2019-20 regular season.

Pastrnak Scores 4 Goals

All it took was six games into the season for David Pastrnak to make history.

Pastrnak and The Perfection Line roasted the Anaheim Ducks on Oct. 19, with Pastrnak tallying all four goals in a 4-2 win. He became the third player in Bruins’ history to score at least five hat tricks in the regular season before turning 24 years old, joining Barry Pederson and Cam Neely. 

Surprisingly, at that point, Pastrnak was the third player in the NHL to score four goals in a game this past season. Anthony Mantha and James Neal had already completed that feat in the first week. Nonetheless, Pastrnak’s four-goal game was certainly foreshadowing of the season he would have, as he was recently named co-winner of the Rocket Richard Trophy for the NHL’s leading goal scorer. 

Pastrnak Goes Between the Legs

What’s better than David Pastrnak highlights? More David Pastrnak highlights. 

Just over a week after his four-goal performance, Pastrnak was in the headlines again with his between-the-legs goal on Michael Hutchinson and the Maple Leafs. 

His 300th point in the NHL was an absolute beauty. With his back to Anderson, Pastrnak went full-finesse mode to beat Hutchinson between the legs. It’s the kind of goal players might practice but rarely use it in a game, let alone have it actually work. 

Chara Plays In His 1,500th Game

Zdeno Chara just keeps on churning on. 

The 43-year old captain played in his 1,500th career game on Nov. 5 against the Montreal Canadiens. And even the bitter rivals of the B’s couldn’t help but recognize the accomplishment of Big Z with a standing ovation at the Bell Centre. 

Chara is sixth on the all-time career games played list for defencemen and 15th out of all players. With 1,553 total games under his belt, he is 12 games shy of passing Nicklas Lidstrom to move into the top 5 of all-time for defencemen. 

The Bruins later would honor him with a ceremony in February at the Garden for his accomplishment. 

Rask Makes Potential Save of the Year

Talk about down and out. Evan Rodrigues of the Buffalo Sabres was staring at an empty net against the Bruins on Nov. 21. It looked like the Sabres were about to cut the score to 3-2 when all of a sudden, Tuukka Rask flashed his blocker hand and made the tremendous save. 

You could see Rask flexing his right hand afterwards, as he basically caught the puck with his right hand to prevent the goal. 

Rask’s sensational stop was voted 2nd as the NHL Fan Choice Award for Best Save of the Year, only behind Marc-Andre Fleury’s fantastic glove save on Nic Petan

Jake and Louie DeBrusk Share Heartwarming Moment

There’s not much more touching than a father-son moment of national TV. 

In his hometown of Edmonton, Jake DeBrusk and his father, Louie, shared a heartwarming moment on the ice before the Bruins and Oilers game on Feb. 19. Louie, a former professional hockey player himself, is now one of the main color broadcasters for Hockey Night in Canada and got the rare chance to interview his son. 

This moment also was a finalist for the NHL Fan Choice Award category of “Best Feel-Good Moment”, coming in third behind Bobby Ryan’s return and David Ayres EBUG win.

But seriously. “Thanks, Dad, love you.” What’s not to love more than that?

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 184 that we recorded below on 6-28-20! 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 Recognize Season Ticket Holder & Healthcare Heroes!

Bruins STH Heroes(Photo Credit: Boston Bruins)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @00EvanMichael

The Boston Bruins organization is honoring faithful fans dedicated to not only the team, but also our health and safety during these unprecedented times.

 

Through their Season Ticket Holder (STH) Heroes initiative and the equally relevant Healthcare Heroes program, the B’s “are highlighting season ticket holders who have been directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic or are on the frontlines of the fight against the virus… [as well as] the care and compassion of countless [Bruins fans] in healthcare,” according to the team’s website and Twitter account.

As many of us have experienced firsthand be it through family, friends, fellow fans or even ourselves, the fight against COVID-19 has required ample amounts of sacrifice, dedication, perseverance and a mutual respect of each other’s well-being — echoing the recently-published posts (and ideals) of Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara as players and more importantly people.

Now with the team sharing positive and inspiring stories about Bruins supporters who simultaneously support everyone’s health and well-being with their tireless efforts and actions, the B’s are putting themselves in a position to succeed both on and off the ice when the season (hopefully) resumes mid-Summer.

Here’s an example of how the Bruins are tipping their caps online to each STH and Healthcare Hero right now:

Name: Amy Ginter / Occupation: Respiratory Therapist

STH since: 2017

Seats: Loge 8, Row 20, Seats 1-2

Favorite Player: Zdeno Chara – “I admire his skill, leadership qualities and record-fast slap shots! I can’t wait to see my Bruins in action again at the Garden.”

“Being a Registered Respiratory Therapist for 13 years has been an amazing experience. Respiratory Therapy, as an occupation, is not widely known or understood by the general population, but we are a key part of the bedside care team with nurses and doctors. Our responsibility is the patient’s airway, so we initiate and manage ventilators (life support) as well as other means of ventilatory support.

“COVID-19 has presented significant challenges that I have never witnessed before: new ventilation strategies, stringent PPE requirements, overwhelming numbers of patients who require intensive care, etc. The most difficult aspect has been witnessing family not able to be with their suffering and dying loved ones because they are in isolation and cannot have visitors. Respiratory Therapists and nurses are at the bedside for these patients for their last moments which has been profoundly sad.

“On a positive note, COVID-19 has brought forth a better understanding of the role that Respiratory Therapists play as part of the care team through recognition on social media and news outlets. This really means a lot to me, and I am proud of my profession and feel blessed to be a part of such an integral team. Yay Respiratory!

“Currently, I am a traveling Respiratory Therapist in Boston at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center on a COVID-19 crisis assignment.”

                                                                                                            –Boston Bruins Website

If you’d like a chance to be recognized, or to nominate someone as a Bruins “STH or Healthcare Hero,” I suggest tagging the @NHLBruins online or commenting on any of the team’s official posts. Like a David Pastrnak “Goal of the Year,” now is a great time to be celebrating some positive news when it comes to one of our passions — Bruins hockey!  

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What Could the Bruins’ Power Play Look Like Next Year If Krug Leaves?

( Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports )

By: Lydia Murray | Follow Me on Twitter @lydia_murray12

As I’m sure most of you reading this know, Bruins defenseman Torey Krug is an unrestricted free agent this summer. Krug is one of the top power-play quarterbacks in the NHL, and he’s improved greatly at both ends of the ice at even strength in recent years as well. He’s also become a good leader on and off the ice. Contrary to what some still think, Krug is an extremely important player to the Bruins, and losing him will create a huge hole on the back end that won’t be easily filled.

Thankfully, both the team and Krug want him to stay, so hopefully, he does. But an agreement hasn’t been reached yet, and it’s still possible one never will be. I don’t think that’ll be the case, but since it’s possible, we should start thinking about what things could look like without Krug. So, I decided to take a look at what the first power-play unit could look like next year should Krug depart.

Current PP Structure

Before I get too far into this, I thought it’d be good to provide a refresher of the way the Bruins structure their first power-play unit. The Bruins use four forwards and one defenseman on their PP in the 1-3-1 format. Krug is the point man, Bergeron, Marchand, and Pastrnak are the attackers (bumper, right half-wall, and left elbow, respectively), and DeBrusk is the net-front presence.

This is the typical structure of it, but the true beauty of the Bruins PP is how fluid it is. You’ll often see Marchand (or even Pastrnak) switching positions with Krug, or Pastrnak switching with DeBrusk, among many other switches. While they may technically have an assigned spot, they rarely stay in it the whole time, and it’s a big reason why the Bruins’ PP is as successful as it is. Krug is a big reason why they are able to do this because, as an offensive-minded defenseman, he is very comfortable jumping up in the offensive zone, as evidenced by his point totals.

Keep The Same Format

( Photo Credit: John Minchillo/Associated Press )

The easiest option if Krug departs is to keep the same format (four forwards, one defenseman, 1-3-1 set-up), and plug either McAvoy or Grzelcyk into Krug’s point spot. Both McAvoy and Grzelcyk have proven that they’re able to man the PP, as they run the second unit and sub in for Krug if he’s hurt. They aren’t as good as Krug, but they’re capable and will likely improve if given more time there. Unfortunately, though, if McAvoy or Grzelcyk was the point man, the PP would likely not be as fluid.

While both players are comfortable jumping up into the offensive rush, they aren’t quite as offensive-minded as Krug. So, I have my doubts that either of them would be comfortable rotating around as much as Krug does, or at least they wouldn’t be for a while. So, this style of PP would be less effective for the Bruins not only because Krug wouldn’t be there, but because it wouldn’t be as fluid and therefore it’d be just like everyone else’s, and so teams will be better prepared to defend it. So, Cassidy has reportedly been considering another option, one that no other team currently uses in the NHL.

Five Forward Unit

According to this article by Fluto Shinzawa of The Athletic, if Krug leaves, Cassidy is considering a first PP unit made up of all forwards. Please note, much of what was said in that article I fully agree with, so I am not simply parroting what he said. I actually hold the same opinions that he does on this. Moving on, this PP structure has the potential to either be really good or really, really bad. The reason teams don’t do this is that obviously when they’re on the PP, they want to lower the chances of a shorthanded goal being scored.

Having a defenseman man the point (most of the time) does that. Anybody who watches a lot of hockey can tell you that defensemen are almost always far better at transitioning and skating backward than forwards are. Plus, they obviously know their defensive positioning angles better. If you stick a forward back there, it’s probable that opposing teams will take more chances shorthanded to know they aren’t as equipped to handle it. As a result, they’ll likely score more shorthanded goals, which is obviously not what you want.

However, this may not be the case with the Bruins, and I can see why Cassidy is at least considering it. The Bruins have several forwards who would be capable of manning the point and handling a shorthanded break should one happen.

( Photo Credit: Michael Dwyer/Associated Press )

Krejci is the first player who comes to mind as a forward who would be good at quarterbacking the PP. He’s one of the smartest players on the team, so he would likely be fine with his positioning on a shorthanded chance. Also, because of his high hockey IQ, he’d be able to handle rotating with some of the others a lot, thus allowing them to keep the fluidity they have. That’d also make it so the point responsibilities wouldn’t all fall on him.

Plus, he’s a pass-first guy, making him perfect for manning the point on the first unit because he’ll have plenty of eager shooters to pass to. But, Krejci also has a great one-timer and isn’t afraid to use it, so if the opportunity presented itself, he could also rotate down one of the walls, particularly the left one. His ability to slow the game down is incredible as well, which is a skill that is very useful for the guy operating the point on the PP to have. In short, a five forward unit of Krejci, Pastrnak, Bergeron, Marchand, and DeBrusk has the potential to be lethal offensively as well as sound defensively.

( Photo Credit: Winslow Townson/Associated Press )

Another forward that could work well as the point man is Coyle. He’s a solid skater all around, and he has a good hockey IQ, so he’d probably be able to contain shorthanded chances fairly well. He probably wouldn’t be as likely to rotate all over the place, but I think he’d be capable of it, so it’d still be an option, just to a lesser extent probably. Coyle also has a nice shot, so if the best option was to shoot, he’d probably be able to get it through a fair amount of traffic. He’s also great at passing and setting others up, so regardless of what the best option was, he’d be able to handle it well. 

If the Bruins are going to go with this, they really need to pick a center to be the primary guy to man the point. They have other options that could work, but centers are often (but not always) better at skating backward and playing defensively than wingers are, and in the case of the Bruins, they have two great all-around centers (besides Bergeron) to choose from. Both Krejci and Coyle would likely be fine handling the point, although I’ll have to give the edge to Krejci, given his incredible vision and ability to slow the game down.

So, What’s the Best Option?

All of this being said, I’m not sure we can say with much certainty which option would be better for the Bruins if Krug leaves. At first glance, it seems like they’d be better off just sticking to the usual 4F/1D, but at the same time, the 5F format could be really interesting. No other team uses it, so teams wouldn’t be as good at defending it. Plus, unlike some other teams, the Bruins have some solid options for forwards to run the point that would not only be good offensively but would be capable defensively as well.

So, in the unfortunate (and in my opinion unlikely) event that Krug leaves this offseason, I think we see Cassidy try the 5F configuration for at least a few games. He’s certainly not afraid of mixing things up and trying new things, and this could end up being really successful. If it goes well, he’ll keep it, and if not, it’ll be easy for them to revert back to the old format.

Or, it’s possible that he could practice both and have them as options, so depending on the opponent or how the PP is playing, they could switch it up. Regardless of what they do, though, the PP wouldn’t be the same without Krug. He’s a huge part of why it’s so successful, so no matter which option they choose, it probably won’t be as good as it is right now. But hopefully, they’ll be able to find a way to minimize the damage caused by Krug’s departure should it unfortunately happen.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 183 that we recorded below on 6-14-20! 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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Providence Bruins Announce Winners Of Team Awards

(Photo Credit: Providence Bruins | providencebruins.com)

By: Andrew Lindroth | Follow me on Twitter @andrewlindrothh

Every year the Providence Bruins (AHL) hosts their awards for their players who exemplified excellence and leadership throughout the season. If you followed Providence in any way this season, then you’ll recognize a few of these names and might have predicted who would win a particular award. Some players won more than one award and blew away people’s expectations. There is a good chance some of the players you see here today might crack the Bruins roster for the 2020-2021 campaign. Here are the winners of Providences’ awards!

Rookie of the Year Award – Jack Studnicka

(Photo Credit: Boston Globe | Bostonglobe.com)

The ‘Rookie of the Year’ Award presented by Cross Insurance goes to the one obvious choice, Jack Studnicka. Since graduating from juniors and getting the promotion to Providence, the 21-year-old forward has showcased his talents at the AHL level and even at the NHL level when called upon for two games where he also collected his first career NHL point.

Studnicka not only produced offensively 5-on-5 and on the power-play but was an absolute brute on the penalty-kill unit and led the AHL in shorthanded goals this season (seven). He also led Providence in goals, assists and points this season. He took the professional hockey world by storm this year, and I believe if anybody deserves a chance in the Boston Bruins lineup this upcoming season, it is Studnicka. Congratulations, Studnicka!

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Fan Favorite Award – Dan Vladar

(Photo Credit: National Hockey League | nhl.com)

The ‘Fan Favorite’ Award presented by Electrical Wholesalers goes to goaltender Dan Vladar. He has been apart of the organization since being drafted by the Bruins in the 3rd round of the 2015 NHL Draft. He has split his time between the Atlanta Gladiators (ECHL) and Providence since his career in the organization but had his most stellar campaign in 2019-2020.

The 6’0, 185-pound goalie led the AHL in goals-against average (GAA) with 1.79 and in save percentage with a whopping .939%. Vladar also set a career-high 14 wins at the AHL level while collecting three shutouts. He has seemed to find his game this past season. With Jaroslav Halak and Tuukka Rask holding down the goalie tandem for 2020-2021, Vladar will be looking to spend another year in Providence, given he re-signs his soon-to-be expired contract after the NHL season. Congratulations, Vladar!

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Three Stars Award – Brendan Gaunce

(Photo Credit: Causeway Crowd | causewaycrowd.com)

The ‘Three Stars’ Award presented by AAA Insurance is an award for the player with the most ‘Three Stars’ nominations this season, and it goes to Brendan Gaunce. He led the team in first star, second star, and overall nominations this season. The 6’2, 207-pound forward was a spark plug for his team all season long and placed third in points with Providence (18-19-37 numbers). Gaunce has been very reliable for Providence, and when he was called up to the Bruins for a game and was able to produce a point.

Gaunces’ contract expires at the end of the NHL season and will be a restricted free-agent (FA). I believe another one-year deal will get done, and they will be able to rely on Gaunce to help with the development of their younger prospects and serve as a depth piece for the Bruins. Congratulations, Gaunce!

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Leading Scorer Award – Jack Studnicka

(Photo Credit: Providence Bruins | providencebruins.com)

The ‘Leading Scorer’ Award presented by National Grid is awarded to Jack Studnicka. As mentioned above, Studnicka led Providence in goals (23), assists (26), and points (49) this season. Averaging 0.81 Pt/G with three power-play goals and seven shorthanded goals, there is no doubt Studnicka will be the offensive spark the Bruins have been looking for within their young pool of prospects.

If Studnicka doesn’t crack the Bruins lineup the next campaign, then expect for him to be putting up even more points than this past year with Providence. At this rate, he will be a point-per-game player at the AHL level and can produce 40-50 points within his rookie year in the NHL, in my opinion. The opportunities and possibilities are endless for this rising star. Congratulations, Studnicka!

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Plus/Minus Award – Josiah Didier

(Photo Credit: Providence Bruins | providencebruins.com)

The ‘Plus/Minus’ Award presented by RI Medical Imaging goes to the player who led the team in plus/minus, Josiah Didier. New defensive addition, Didier, has done a tremendous job of holding down the blue-line for Providence this season and has earned this reward for finishing with an impressive +32 rating. The 6’3, 207-pound defender has been consistent throughout his first campaign with Providence and is a solid depth piece for the Bruins blue-line.

Didier also re-signed with Providence on a two-year deal before the season ended and will be looking to repeat that same success in the next two seasons. Players like Didier exemplifies leadership in the locker room, and that presence alone can help take Providence to the next level, especially during the playoffs. Congratulations on your hard work, Didier!

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Hendricks Memorial Fan Appreciation Award – Paul Carey

(Photo Credit: The American Hockey League | theahl.com)

The Hendricks Memorial ‘Fan Appreciation’ Award goes to the player who shows exemplary leadership & on-ice performance, and this award goes to Providence captain, Paul Carey. There is no doubt, returning captain Carey deserves this award. He plays a significant role in molding and teaching the younger prospects in the organization and remains productive as a forward as well, finishing second on the team with points.

The 6’1, 196-pound forward appeared in 60 games this season while racking up 22 goals and 39 points with a +9 rating. Carey also played in 30 games with Providence in 2018-2019 and produced 33 points during that time. Carey serves as a leadership role for the young prospects as well as an offensive plug for Providence. The 31-year-old has one more year left on his contract and will most likely serve that time with Providence unless he is called upon by the Bruins. Congratulations, Carey!

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Best Defenseman Award- Josiah Didier

(Photo Credit: Providence Bruins | providencebruins.com)

The ‘Best Defenseman’ Award presented by Dunkin’ Donuts goes to Didier, who collects his second award. Along with being team-best in plus/minus, he also led the AHL in that same category. Didier played in 61 games this season and contributed 3-12-15 numbers with 79 PIM.

Didier will be a crucial piece to Providence, especially during the playoffs next season because of his experience after winning the Calder Cup with the Charlotte Checkers in 2018-2019. He collected four assists in 19 playoff games during that championship year. With his defensive skills, leadership, and physicality, he will be able to help Providence to their first Calder Cup Championship since 1999. Congratulations, Didier!

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Team MVP Award – Jack Studnicka

(Photo Credit: Boston Globe | bostonglobe.com)

The ‘Team MVP Award’ presented by Metlife is awarded to Jack Studnicka. The 21-year-old forward walks away with three team awards from the 2019-2020 campaign and rightfully so. In his first year in the AHL, he led his team in goals (23), assists (26) and points (49), while leading the entire league with shorthanded goals (7) and setting a new team record in that category.

If Studnicka remains healthy and performs well at camp this year, I expect him to be slotted into the Boston Bruins lineup almost immediately. I don’t think his rookie year was a fluke, and his hard-work ethic is going to reward him soon. There is no question Studnicka deserves this award. Congratulations, Studnicka!

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Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 183 that we recorded below on 6-14-20! 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’ NCAA Prospects

( Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin|USA TODAY Sports )

By James Slater | Follow Me On Twitter @WhatsJamesBruin


With the 30th pick in the 2019 NHL entry draft the Boston Bruins selected forward John Beecher from the USDP (United Stated Development Program). Beecher, a University of Michigan commit at the time, is just one of many prospects the Bruins selected recently who decided to take their hockey careers through the NCAA. He is also one of the focus points in this article, but more on that later. 

Though the Bruins have had clear success drafting in other areas of the world, see Bruins recent success with Czech players. Still it’s safe to say the original 6 hockey club enjoys drafting prospects who are taking a route that gives a bit more time before contracts need to be handed out.

While there are many of these players throughout the organization, both in the NHL and the AHL (Charlie McAvoy, Trent Frederic etc), the focus here is on the  prospects who will eventually be returning to college for another season. So, just who are these higher-learners? (please note players are listed alphabetically by last name) 

Jack Becker

( Photo Credit: Michigan Athletics / mgoblue.com )

Jack Becker – not to be confused with University of Michigan teammate John Beecher – was selected in the 7th round of the infamous 2015 entry draft. The 22 year old from Dellwood, Minnesota will be returning to the University of Michigan for his senior year, with the hopes of making a big leap. 

This past season Becker saw a minor drop off in total points posting 8-4-12 through 32 games, though he did tie his NCAA career high in goals. Still the 6’3” 190lbs right winger will be looking to prove himself as a consistent scorer before he makes the pro leap. According to NESN’s Logan Mullen, Becker knows his main areas  of improvement are his skating ability and filling out that 6’3” frame. If he can make himself a bit less lanky and add power behind the bulk he’s looking for, it could change his game just enough to see the points start racking up. His senior year could prove to be one of the most significant seasons in his young career.   

John Beecher

( Photo Credit: Daryl Marshke / Michigan Athletics )

Unlike many of the others mentioned in this article there is actually a chance Beecher does not return to college to play. Instead he could exploit a loophole that allows him to play in the CHL this upcoming season. This could be especially enticing amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, as the NCAA may take a much longer time to start their season. But with Beecher having just completed a freshman year where he came out of the gates hot with 4 points in his first 5 games he may decide to stick around and see where the Wolverines can take his development.

Though Beecher did not keep up the .80 points per game pace for the rest of the season, the Elmira, NY native did finish tied for second in goals for the Wolverines with 9. His point total through 31 games was 9-7-16. The 6’3” 210lbs center was also second on the team in PIMs, after having served a one game suspension for headbutting during a game on February 1st.  

Probably the most disappointing part of the year for Beecher was his performance in the World Junior Championship U20 tournament, where he played for team USA. Beecher had 0 points and was -3 through 5 games. Though in the World Junior Summer Showcase Beecher did have much more success.

At his worst Beecher is a dynamic skating, tenacious player who doesn’t mind getting physical when the points aren’t flowing in. But at his ceiling, Beecher is a new-age power forward with blazing speed to match his size and strength. If he can make even remote progress in his development, he could prove to be too much to contain for the younger players of the NCAA or CHL. 

Curtis Hall

( Photo Credit: Yale University / yalebulldogs.com )

Sticking to the power forward theme with their NCAA draft picks the Bruins selected Curits Hall in the 4th round of the 2018 draft. Hall, a 6’3” 200lbs right shot center, was considered a long shot to make the USA World Junior U20 team but did. While on the team he contributed 1 goal in 5 games with a +2 rating.

Hall also enjoyed career highs in goals, assist, total points, PIMS and +/- with Yale this past season. Though he only had his freshman year stats to beat, Hall clearly made the sophomore jump, leading Yale in both goals and points, scoring 17-10-27 through 28 games played. Hall’s tremendous leap, scoring more than double his previous 11 points, was met with some well deserved accolades. Not only was Hall a Hobey Baker Award Nominee, but according to his Yale Hockey bio, the Ohio born power forward ended the season with Second Team All Sec and Second Team All Ivy League honors AND led the NCAA’s division 1 in game winning goals. In any sport, clutch is never a bad skill to have. 

Hall’s ceiling may not be as high as the dynamic skating, and WJC-20 teammate, John Beecher, but he’s a big strong kid who gets to the front of the net. As most hockey fans know, and as Hall’s points attest, the front of the net is where the goals are scored. Hall’s skill may not be as flashy as a lot of high end prospects but he is self described as “hard working” and has a great two-way style that Boston fans love to see.  As his game develops, Bruins fans can hope he starts drawing comparisons to the likes of Charlie Coyle or maybe even a less high end Ryan Getzlaf. 

Dustyn McFaul

( Photo Credit: Clarkson Athletics / clarksonathletics.com )

In 2018 two rounds after selecting Curtis Hall, the Bruins selected defenseman Dustyn McFaul, a Waterdown Ontario native, 181st overall. After spending the 2018-2019 in the Ontario Junior Hockey League, McFaul enrolled in Clarkson University. Mcfaul, a 19 year old during his entire Freshman year, went 1-6-7 through 31 games with a +7 rating. One goal may not scream “offensive-defenseman!” and though McFaul’s point totals thus far have attested to his stay-at-home nature, he has compared himself to the two-way style of Chicago’s Brent Seabrook.  Taking a closer look at his loan freshman year goal, we can see there is some serious skill to back up that two-way play style. 

In case you’re wondering, not many defensemen find themselves below the opposing team’s goal to even attempt a wrap around. But once the puck hit McFaul’s stick in stride, there was little anyone could do to stop him. The left shot D-man stands at a decent size of 6’2 185lbs and clearly has a motor on him. He too will be looking to make a significant sophomore leap. But if his development keeps up, he could find himself competing for spots at the next few development camps. 

Quinn Olson

( Photo Credit: UMD Bulldogs Athletics / umdbulldogs.com )

After John Beecher was selected as the Bruins 1st round pick in 2019, Quinn Olson became the Bruins next forward selected. Taking the 5’11” 170lbs left wing in the 3rd round. Olson had just come off a decent 2018-2019 season in the Alberta Junior Hockey League going 20-46-66 with 75 PIMs in 54 games. For his freshman season, Olson played for the UMD Bulldogs and had a decent rookie showing, 7-8-15 in 31 games. 

(Olson’s goal is within the first 30 seconds)

Olson is often referred to as a hardworking player and has made significant jumps each year. Bruins fans should be familiar with hardworking UMD products, as Karson Kuhlman has made his presence known all throughout Boston. If Olson can continue his end of improving each year, his sophomore campaign at UMD should turn some heads.  While there is certainly no way to know what Olson’s future holds, wouldn’t it be something to see the Bruins have another feisty left wing come up the pipes? In a world still aching for sports, dreaming will have to suffice for now.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 183 that we recorded below on 6-14-20! 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!