Boston Bruins Place Forward David Backes on Waivers

David Backes

PHOTO CREDITS: (nbcsports.ca)

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

As per numerous reports on social media, including from The Athletic’s Joe McDonald (@JoeyMacHockey on Twitter) and Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC on Twitter), the Boston Bruins have placed forward David Backes for assignment to the Providence Bruins.

David Backes, 35, has played in 16 games this season for the Bruins, scoring one goal and two assists for three points and a -2 rating. Backes has not played a game since Boston’s 5-4 win over the Winnipeg Jets on January 9th where he skated for eleven shifts totalling 8:35 of ice-time. He has not scored a point since December 5th against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Boston signed the Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA native to a five-year, $30,000,000 contract ($6 million AAV) on the opening day of free agency back in the 2016 off-season. Prior to the signing, Backes had been the captain of the St. Louis Blues, totalling 727 career regular-season games with the Blues, scoring 206-254-460 numbers in that span. It was a tough move for him to make, but he felt he had a better shot to hoist the Stanley Cup if he signs with the Bruins.

Since the signing, Backes has not turned out to be what Boston expected. In 217 regular-season games for the Black and Gold, Backes scored 29-55-94 numbers along with 12 points in 39 playoff games dating back to the 2016-17 campaign. Backes scored two goals and three assists during Boston’s 2019 Stanley Cup Finals run as well.

The move to send Backes down is an interesting one, considering the move to put Brett Ritchie on waivers earlier in the week (he cleared). With players such as Karson Kuhlman and even Anton Blidh pushing for more consistent spots on the roster, older veterans like Backes simply don’t have the space on the team anymore. Head Coach Bruce Cassidy re-iterated that in a much simpler way.

The likelihood of Backes getting claimed by one of the other 31 NHL franchises is slim, but there is a benefit to him going to the Providence Bruins as well. As Bruins Network (@BruinsNetwork on Twitter) stated, if the 35-year-old clears waivers, the Bruins will free up $1 million in salary. With the trade deadline looming around the corner, every dollar counts and Backes’ $6 million cap hit right now is a lot to continue paying if he continues to be in the press box.

For the latest breaking news, updates, and injury reports, make sure to check back on blackngoldhockey.com and follow on Twitter (@BlackNGoldPod). The Boston Bruins play the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday, January 19th in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Puck drop is scheduled for 12:30pm EST.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 162 that we recorded 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 Place Forward Brett Ritchie on Waivers

brett_ritchie_100319.jpg

PHOTO CREDITS: (nbcsports.com)

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

According to insider Elliotte Friedman, the Boston Bruins have placed forward Brett Ritchie on waivers with purpose of assignment to the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League. This comes one day after Ritchie played 10:27 over 14 shifts in Boston’s 3-0 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on the road.

Last offseason, the Boston Bruins signed Ritchie to a one-year contract that will pay him $1 million for the 2019-2020 campaign. Prior to signing with the Bruins, the 26-year-old forward played 241 career regular-season games with the Dallas Stars. Highlighted by his 2016-17 season where he put up 16-8-24 numbers in 78 games played, Ritchie finished his five-year tenure in Dallas with 33-21-54 totals.

The Orangeville, Ontario, Canada native scored four goals and two assists for six points in 53 games during the 2018-19 season, but when his contract expired, the Stars opted to let him walk, allowing the Bruins to sign him in free agency. Boston did not have the available cap space to sign some of the more well-known free agents, so the organization settled on depth players with Ritchie being one of those players.

Ritchie scored the first goal of the 2019-2020 season for the Boston Bruins, half of his entire goal output in 27 games skated for the Black and Gold. Head Coach Bruce Cassidy has tried Ritchie all over the place, seeing minutes with Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci on the second-line, to minutes on the third and fourth lines as well. Unfortunately for him and the Bruins organization, he has not been able to find his game offensively whatsoever.

Now, if Ritchie does indeed clear waivers, he will report to the AHL’s Providence Bruins, who are third in the Atlantic Division with a 22-15-1 record through the first 40 games of the season. In the case that Ritchie joins Providence, his $1 million salary will still be on the bill for the Boston Bruins, where as if he is claimed, he is off the books and no longer apart of the B’s at all.

The big question with this transaction is what it means for a possible future transaction. With the injury of goaltender Tuukka Rask last night in Columbus and the recent losses on their record, changes were expected and predicted – this just brings up that question about what exactly this new change will be. Within the next 24 hours, we will know the next stages of Brett Ritchie’s future with the Boston Bruins.

For the latest breaking news, updates, and injury reports – make sure to check back to blackngoldhockey.com and give all of the excellent writers a follow on Twitter including myself (@tkdmaxbjj).

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 162 that we recorded 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!!\

Boston’s Unknown Talent: Par Lindholm

( Photo Credit: USA TODAY Sports )

By: Michael DiGiorgio  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BostonDiGiorgio

July 1, 2019, marked the first day of NHL free agency. NHL fans across the nation have hopes and dreams of their team signing the most attractive named talents. Unfortunately, the NHL salary cap limits numerous teams in who they can sign. Most General Managers will sign for needs rather than wants. The Bruins’ General Manager (Don Sweeney) had $12 million in cap space when free agency began, with three restricted free agents awaiting new deals: Charlie McAvoy, Danton Heinen, and Brandon Carlo.

Most fans and analysts were convinced Sweeney would have to trade a current roster player in order to sign all three. Thankfully, he was able to sign all three to team-friendly deals and had a few extra million dollars leftover. Noel Acciari had been a staple on Boston’s fourth line but received a hefty raise from the Florida Panthers in the off-season. The Bruins found themselves with a need for trustworthy bottom-six talent. With the leftover cap room, Sweeney signed a few inexpensive role players: Brett Ritchie and Par Lindholm.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Par Lindholm entered the league as an undrafted free agent, signing his first NHL deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2018. The 26-year-old Swedish forward played in the Swedish Elite League from 2014 through 2017, racking up 148 points and a plus 42 rating in 193 games. He has the ability to play both left-wing and center, which is a coveted trait amongst NHL players. He featured in 61 games with the Leafs, before being traded to Winnipeg at the deadline for Nicolas Petan. Lindholm only played 4 games with the Jets and became a free agent in 2019.

The contract with Boston is a low-risk, high-reward situation. They aren’t investing much into Lindholm, but if he can help in small areas it will pay dividends for the team down the road. Elliotte Friedman (Canadian Sportsnet journalist) writes a weekly article called “31 Thoughts” explaining league news and his reaction to all NHL stories. In his latest article, he gave Lindholm an unexpected but warranted praise: “There is one player in the NHL with more than 100 minutes of ice-time who has not been scored against. It is Boston’ Par Lindholm. Jinx!” Unfortunately, this accolade was broken when the Capitals defeated the Bruins on November 16, but it highlights and recognizes his contributions that go unnoticed. It’s great to watch highlight-reel goals and tic-tac-toe passing, but the ability to resist the offense from scoring is equally as important and endearing.

This type of play is no surprise to Sweeney since he had done his homework on Par before signing him. “We only had one left-shot centerman, (Lindholm is) very good on faceoffs, also kills penalties, certainly in his previous years in Sweden he had 18 goals,” I don’t believe he’ll score just one.” Seventeen games into the season, Lindholm has scored that one goal and fittingly enough, it came against his former team.

Thankfully, he wasn’t signed for his offensive game; but instead for stats that never seem to gain the recognition it deserves. His NHL career has just begun but he has yet to post a total season’s negative stat in the plus/minus column. He’s logging an average of 11:08 of ice team a year, which is normal for a bottom-six forward. If he can give the Bruins 11 shutout minutes a night, this can catapult his teammates in situations that allow them to win the game.

Face-offs are also incredibly important to a team’s success. If a team cannot win the necessary face-offs, it could be the difference between a win or a loss. An example of a key situation is when a team (say the Capitals for argument sake) trail the Bruins and pull the goalie for an extra attacker. The strategy in these situations for a head coach starts with the grouping he wants to deploy. Normally, a coach will deploy a group that tends to kill penalties because the Capitals extra attacker is a man-advantage situation. The head coach also ensures his lineup consists of more than one center-man in case his number one center is thrown out of the face-off dot for a violation.

Patrice Bergeron is, unfortunately, a repeat offender of these violations (deservedly so or not), so Head Coach Bruce Cassidy will want a player like David Krejci or Par Lindholm on the ice for his replacement for the key defensive zone draw. If Bergeron, Krejci, or Lindholm cannot win the defensive zone face-off, the Capitals could get a quality scoring opportunity. Successful teams do the little things right and these successful plays often come from under-the-radar players. Lindholm is a career 49.3% face-off winner, which is a necessary and trait for a bottom-six forward especially on special teams. The best players generally have a face-off percentage of 52% for the year.

Lindholm will certainly not be winning any awards in the near future or be featured on the NHL Network’s Top 5 Goals of the Week. But, he will be doing all of the little things that don’t show up on the score sheet. He was able to work third line duties while the Bruins recover from the injury bug, so there’s an opportunity for him to build on other areas in his game. He has returned to fourth-line duties. Regardless of the line, he plays on, Lindholm has won face-offs, denied scoring opportunities, and kills penalties; which is exactly the reason Sweeney called him on July 1.

Check out our new Black N’ Gold Prospect Podcast episode that we recorded on December 4th, 2019! Our BNG Prospects Pod can be found on the same RSS Feed as our original Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast, which can be found 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!!

Leafs’ Firing of Mike Babcock Similar to Bruins’ 2017 Firing of Claude Julien

ezgif-4-32c55a600fda.jpg

PHOTO CREDITS: (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

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

When the news that Toronto Maple Leafs Head Coach Mike Babcock had been fired and that the Head Coach of the Toronto Marlies, Sheldon Keefe, had been hired as the new Head Coach of the NHL club, the opinions throughout the entire NHL universe – especially on Twitter, filled everyone’s feed.

The release of Babcock from the organization is a surprise, considering the expectations placed on him when he was hired by the team in 2015, but at the very same moment, it was expected. As of November 20th, the Maple Leafs are 10th in the Eastern Conference with a sub-par record of 9-10-4 and they have lost six consecutive games dating back to November 9th. Toronto has the team to win games on paper, but when those victories fail to come to fruition, it eventually falls on the Head Coach and that is the case here.

Mike Babcock started his NHL coaching career with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 2002-03, leading them to a 40-27-9-6 record and the Western Conference Championship, losing an eventual Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Finals to the New Jersey Devils. In 2003-2004, the Mighty Ducks missed the playoffs altogether and Babcock was subsequently fired in June of 2004.

A full season later, in July 2005, Mike Babcock was hired by the Detroit Red Wings who were coming off of a dominate 48-21-11-2 record but were eliminated in the second round. From 2005-06 to 2008-09, Babcock led the Red Wings to four-straight 50-plus-win seasons – culminating it all off with a Stanley Cup Championship in 2008 and a Western Conference Championship in 2009.

For the entire ten-year tenure that Mike Babcock spent in Detroit, the Red Wings made the playoffs – adding to their incredible streak of 25 playoff berths that began in the 1990-91 campaign, tied for the third-longest playoff appearance streak in NHL history, behind only the Boston Bruins (29 seasons from 1967-68 to 1995-96) and Chicago Blackhawks (28 seasons from 1969-70 to 1996-97) and equal to the St. Louis Blues (25 seasons from 1979-80 to 2003-04).

From July 15, 2005, to May 8th, 2015, Mike Babcock coached the Detroit Red Wings in 786 regular-season games with a combined record of 458-223-105 along with a 67-56 record in 123 postseason games with the franchise, solidifying himself as one of the best coaches in the NHL. Add that with his two Olympic Gold Medals (2010, 2014), IIHF World Championships Gold Medal (2004) and his World Cup of Hockey Championship win (2016), Babcock proved that he is one of the best bench bosses in the game.

However, after repeated first-round exits, the Red Wings organization relieved the Manitouwadge, Ontario native of his head coaching duties and only a few days later, the now 56-year-old agreed to an eight-year, $50 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs in an intense bidding war. Babcock’s ’15/’16 campaign with Toronto was a dismal one, as the Maple Leafs finished last in the Atlantic Division with a 29-42-11 record. Immediately, however, Babcock coached Toronto to the playoffs for the first time since the 2012-13 season – losing to the Washington Capitals in six games.

In 2017-18, the Maple Leafs took even larger strides en route to a 49-win season but fell short in seven games to the Boston Bruins. Last season, the Leafs managed to win 46 games for another 3rd place finish in the Atlantic Division, setting them up for the rematch against Boston, but once again, they came up short losing in another Game Seven.

With a virtually similar roster, the Maple Leafs entered this season with even higher expectations and they have not met them whatsoever as mentioned at the beginning of the article. Toronto has struggled to score first in any game and they constantly find themselves chasing the game in almost all aspects. Their defensive game is extremely lacking and the goaltending after Frederik Andersen is almost non-existent. The Toronto Maple Leafs are not good right now and it all fell on Mike Babcock, resulting in his departure from the organization.

In response, the Toronto Maple Leafs also announced the hiring of Sheldon Keefe, the Head Coach of the American Hockey League’s Toronto Marlies since the 2015-16 season, as the 31st Head Coach of the NHL franchise. Sounds oddly familiar to the Boston Bruins back in 2017.

Boston Bruins Déjà Vu?

Replace the names of “Mike Babcock” with “Claude Julien” and “Sheldon Keefe” with “Bruce Cassidy” and you essentially have near-identical stories, sort of. Rewinding to the 2016-17 regular-season, the Boston Bruins were in a similar situation to the Leafs of today. Prior to ’16/’17, the Bruins failed to clinch a berth in the playoffs for two straight seasons, even though they just narrowly missed by only a few points in both scenarios.

Boston started the new season off rough, failing to gain any momentum or put together any winning streak(s), accumulating a 26-23-3 record throughout the first 55 games of the year. The B’s were on a pace to miss the playoffs once again and for the Bruins ownership, that is not acceptable with the roster they have, so they fired the man who has control of the lineup – Claude Julien.

Rewinding the tape even further, Claude Julien had one of the most successful tenures of a Boston Bruins coach in the history of the franchise. In fact, Julien is the all-time most-winningest head coach in Bruins history, winning 419 games in 759 regular-season games played. In addition, Julien was the Head Coach for 98 playoff games – the most out of any other Bruins coach, winning 57 games – another franchise record. Wrap all of that in a pretty bow called the Stanley Cup because it was Claude Julien that ended the 39-year Stanley Cup drought in Boston.

However, the league was changing and Julien’s defensive-minded style was just not cutting it anymore so General Manager Don Sweeney made the decision to release CJ of his duties in February 2017. Instead of naming a new Head Coach immediately, the Bruins named Bruce Cassidy the Interim Head Coach as he was serving as Julien’s assistant coach for the first time after being the Head Coach of the AHL’s Providence Bruins for the previous five seasons.

Cassidy brought in new ideas and upped the intensity during practices to get the guys to rally behind him. Cassidy came into the role as an almost exact opposite to Julien, coaching a more offensive game while staying defensively responsible. At the time, Cassidy also had experience and chemistry with a few of the younger players on the roster from his time with the P-Bruins, giving him additional advantages.

Backed by the veterans in the lineup, the Boston Bruins indeed rallied behind Bruce Cassidy, winning 18 of their final 27 games, earning a playoff spot against the Ottawa Senators. Even though the Bruins were eliminated in six games, it was a breath of fresh air to go 18-8-1 after Claude Julien was fired and to make an appearance in the postseason. On April 26th, 2017, Bruce Cassidy was officially promoted as the 28th Head Coach in franchise history.

Since then, he has brought the Bruins to a 50-win season in his first full year as coach followed by a 49-win campaign last year that ended up bringing the Black and Gold to a Stanley Cup Finals berth for the first time since 2013. Cassidy has done an excellent job adjusting and adapting to challenges in the lineups during the season and even mid-games. He has done a terrific job battling against injuries, slumps, and tough teams to earn the respect of being a top coach in the National Hockey League.

Will the Toronto Maple Leafs become a contending team, make the playoffs, and find themselves in the Stanley Cup Finals in a few seasons under the guidance of Sheldon Keefe – possibly, but this could very well end up doing nothing or even doing more harm to this struggling team. Boston had a talented roster behind them and had heart – some may debate if those exist for the Maple Leafs.

Boston and Toronto have a lot in common. The method of relieving old-school coaches for younger, new-school coaches is proving to be yet another similarity. Only time will tell to see if the Toronto Maple Leafs can turn their season around and be a contender for the Boston Bruins.

To close out, here are a few statements from current Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy and former Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien on the firing of Mike Babcock:

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 154 that we recorded 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!!

Report: Bruins Place F Nordstrom on IR, Recall F Cehlarik From AHL

joakim-nordstrom-1.jpg

PHOTO CREDITS: (Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images)

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

While most Boston Bruins fans were asleep, the CapFriendly Transactions Twitter page, (@CF_Transactions) announced that forward Joakim Nordstrom has been placed on the injured reserve and forward Peter Cehlarik has been recalled from the American Hockey League affiliate, the Providence Bruins.

Joakim Nordstrom, 27, has missed the last two games for the Bruins with what is being determined an “infection in his elbow” and he needs to allow it to “cool down” according to numerous sources. On October 29th, Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy said the following in a press conference about Nordstrom.

“He [Nordstrom] had an infection in his elbow. I don’t know what the timeline is, to be honest, but they have to let it calm down, so I’ll doubt we see him Saturday. After that, I’ll probably be able to give you a better update.” Cassidy goes on to say that he won’t necessarily rule Nordstrom out, “I shouldn’t even rule him out for Saturday, but I think that it was similar to what [David] Backes went through a few years ago.” – Bruce Cassidy via @nhlbruins on Twitter

Nordstrom has only played in four games so far in the 2019-2020 campaign after missing the first few games due to a broken foot sustained in the Stanley Cup Finals against the St. Louis Blues back in June. In those four games, the Stockholm, Sweden native has one goal and an even plus/minus rating averaging 13:33 minutes-per-game.

In practice on Friday, defenceman Connor Clifton was skating as the third-line right-wing while forward Brett Ritchie was absent. Cassidy later revealed that Ritchie’s absence in Friday’s practice was due to a maintenance day and he believes that the 26-year-old will play against Ottawa on Saturday, although, there was “some level of concern” with him missing practice.

Also on Friday, freelancing writer, Mark Divver (@MarkDivver on Twitter) tweeted that forward Peter Cehlarik had been recalled by Boston on a loan to the National Hockey League according to the AHL Transactions. The report of Nordstrom being placed on IR makes Divver’s report of Cehlarik’s arrival in Boston more understandable.

Cehlarik, 24, has one game under his belt for the NHL Bruins this season, playing 12:05 against the New York Rangers on Sunday night. Cehlarik finished the night with zero shots and a -2 rating before being sent back down to Providence due to the return of Chris Wagner against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday.

With the P-Bruins, Cehlarik has been lighting it up, scoring six goals and four assists for ten points in six games played. Cehlarik’s last game was a two-assist night against the Rochester Americans on Wednesday – a game Providence won by a final score of 4-3. Cehlarik re-signed with the Bruins organization this past offseason on a one-year, two-way contract worth $700,000 ($125,000 in minors) and will need a new deal come July 1st, 2020.

As of 2:00 am EST on Saturday, November 2nd, the Boston Bruins have not officially confirmed these transactions, they are strictly from the sites and sources provided above. The Boston Bruins play the Ottawa Senators in Boston. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 pm EST from the TD Garden.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 151 that we recorded 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!!

What To Expect From Anders Bjork This Season

( Photo Credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images )

By: Lucas Pearson  |  Follow Me On Twitter @LucasPearson_

The injuries have already begun to pile up for the Bruins. With David Krejci and Karson Kuhlman out (as well as the lack of offense in general), the Bruins looked to call in some reinforcements from Providence. That reinforcement came in the form of Anders Bjork.

I think everybody expected Bjork to be back in the NHL at some point this year, but I don’t believe it was intended to be this early. After back to back season-ending injuries, the original plan was to have the Wisconsin native get his feet back under him in the AHL and to play his way back to the NHL. Before the season, coach Bruce Cassidy believed Bjork was “better off finding his scoring touch in Providence,” rather than beginning in Boston. 

That scoring touch Cassidy alluded to was what made Bjork a Hobey Baker finalist during his time at Notre Dame. He began his tenure with the Fighting Irish with 22 points in his rookie campaign. He continued to grow on that the season after, scoring at a point-per-game pace through 35 games. The 2016-17 season was where Bjork really shined. In 39 games, he was able to score 21 times and added 31 assists, finishing the year as a Hobey Baker finalist.

Bjork’s first season out of college started in Boston, where he flashed his potential at times, but left a lot to be desired in many aspects of his game. After 30 games, where he totaled 12 points, he was sent down to the AHL where his season was unfortunately cut short due to a shoulder injury. Bjork came into the 2018-19 season looking build off of his rookie year, but the narrative was all too similar to the season before. He was only able to tally three points in 20 games and was sent down to the AHL later in the season. Bjork was finally able to get something going in Providence with 10 points in 13 games but yet again, his season was cut short due to another shoulder injury.

To say Anders Bjork’s first two professional seasons didn’t go as planned would be an understatement. They were filled with inconsistencies and injuries, and for someone so highly touted, it is pretty safe to say that it was a failure of two years. With that being said, just as all good things must come to an end, all bad things do as well and Bjork is back and looks as good as he has ever looked.

Despite only playing in seven games in the AHL, the Bruins believed that now was the time to bring Bjork back to the big-leagues. The 23-year-old looked great in his stint in Providence. He potted three goals to go along with five assists and a +5 rating. Aside from the stats, Bjork has really looked like a much-improved player. His confidence has continued to grow and has added a bit more snarl to his game. Obviously, none of that matters unless he is able to convert that to the NHL level but within his first three games in the NHL this season, we’ve seen positive results.

Not only did he rip a beautiful one-timer in the back of the net, but the most promising results have actually been his very apparent improvements in board-work and his offensive zone possession. Despite only averaging 11:47 of ice-time a game, whatever forwards Bjork has been paired with has generated multiple high-end chances and maintain a lot of zone time. That’s apparent with Bjork’s CF% (a possession stat) sitting at 62.5%. For reference, the Bruins outstanding top line has averaged 59.9%, so yea, Bjork has been good. After that game against St. Louis, coach Bruce Cassidy had some good things to say about Bjork, “nice to see him get rewarded, nice play. He was good hunting pucks, on the walls. Great kid, quiet, he’s worked hard and the guys love him. He’s going to be a National Hockey League player.” A young player getting praised by their coach (especially the same coach that believed he needed some time in the AHL) is always promising to see.

So what can we expect from Bjork for the rest of the season? Considering the injuries continuing to pile up, we should get our fair share of Bjork over the next few weeks. With a healthy David Krejci, I’d think Bjork would stay on the third line with Charlie Coyle and Danton Heinen or Brett Ritchie, which with the former, proved to be an effective line throughout their games together in the pre-season. When Bjork-Coyle-Heinen was used they held a 16-3 edge in shot attempts, and a 3-0 edge in hi-danger chances), during the 7:55 of 5v5 TOI (stat courtesy of @ConorRyan_93 on twitter). If that line can get some chemistry and solid playing time, there’s no reason why it couldn’t be just as effective as that line in the playoffs with Marcus Johansson.

They say third times a charm, and in Bjork’s third chance with the big club, I think he finally makes his mark in the NHL. With his always apparent speed and skill, and clearly much-improved work without the puck, the Bruins have yet another dynamic player on their hands. Anders Bjork will be a big part of the Bruins team this year.

(Also to end it off, this goal was too good to not share)

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 151 that we recorded 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 Reportedly Recall F Anders Bjork

bjork.jpg

(Photo: Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

Update: Don Sweeney officially announced the transaction this morning.

Just after midnight early Friday morning, Mark Divver reported that the Bruins have recalled forward Anders Bjork on an emergency basis from the Providence Bruins, Boston’s AHL-affiliate, as the move appeared in the AHL’s transaction list. This move was expected after Bjork was sent down in what was likely a paper transaction for salary cap reasons.

Bjork made his season debut on Tuesday in Boston’s 4-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. The 23-year old was a minus-one on the night, totaling four shots on goal in 13:17 of ice time. While his box score numbers did not pop, he certainly seemed to pass the ice test for head coach Bruce Cassidy, saying he thinks the young forward earned another look.

“He didn’t hurt us defensively, so that’s a good thing and that bodes well for him, and we’ll see if we find a spot for him on Saturday. But it’s looking that way,” Cassidy said.

The Notre Dame product has had quite the start with Providence as he looks to complete his first full professional season after his first two were cut short due to shoulder surgeries. So far, the winger has posted three goals and five assists for eight points in seven games with the P-Bruins to go along with a plus-five rating and a shooting percentage of 14.3% to start the season in the AHL.

Since the Bruins will not return to action until Saturday night as the St. Louis Blues return to town, it remains unclear if Bjork’s spot in the lineup will change. However, the injury to Karson Kuhlman will make things a little more interesting heading into the tilt.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Prospect Podcast episode 002 that we recorded on 10-8-19 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!

Report: Bruins Send Players To Providence; Place Cehlarik on Waivers

cut (1).jpg

PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

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

According to veteran freelance writer, Mark Divver, (@MarkDivver on Twitter), the Boston Bruins have assigned the following players to the American Hockey League as they joined the Providence Bruins’ practice today, September 30th. The move comes on the final day that NHL teams around the league can place players on waives for purpose of AHL assignment and have that player clear according to CapFriendly. 

  • F Anders Bjork
  • F Jack Studnicka
  • F Cameron Hughes
  • F Trent Frederic

On Saturday, the Bruins played their final preseason game of the 2019 off-season, defeating the Chicago Blackhawks 8-2 the final score. David Pastrnak and Jake DeBrusk each scored a hat-trick while Charlie Coyle and Karson Kuhlman potted goals of their own to add to the large victory.

Today, the Bruins hosted one of their final practices before the regular season officially begins this Thursday against the Dallas Stars in Dallas, Texas. Not present – David Krejci and Joakim Nordstrom. Head Coach Bruce Cassidy re-iterated on Saturday post-game that he does expect Krejci to be ready for the season-opener and that his lower-body injury is not that serious. In regards to Nordstrom, his availability for Thursday is still in question.

For the players that have been sent down according to Divver, none of them are a huge surprise. Anders Bjork is one of the most hyped Bruins prospects in the system and many want to see him get playing time with Boston to start the 2019-2020 campaign, but Cassidy feels that he could use some additional time in Providence to improve his skills and earn that spot in the NHL. Studnicka, Hughes, and Frederic were all expected considering the lack of roles available for them with the main club.

One player that remains with the team for practice is defenceman Jakub Zboril, who with Steven Kampfer, are the only spare defensemen with Boston for practice according to Boston Globe writer Kevin Paul Dupont, (@GlobeKPD on Twitter). It is likely that once John Moore and Kevan Miller return to the lineup further into the season, he will be re-assigned to the P-Bruins.

The other big news piece today for the Bruins organization was the news that forward Peter Cehlarik has been placed on waivers by Boston in order to be sent down to the AHL.

Cehlarik played in 53 games for the Baby Bruins in 2018-19, scoring 12-28-36 numbers along with one goal in four playoff games. The 24-year-old winger also scored four goals and two assists for six points in 20 games with the Boston Bruins last season.

For the latest Boston Bruins news, updates, and injury reports, make sure to follow me on Twitter (@tkdmaxbjj) and stay locked on the Black N’ Gold Hockey website for articles from all our staff writers.

Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 147 that we recorded on 9-29-19 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!

Boston Bruins Announce More Cuts As Preseason Nears Conclusion

david-backes-boston-bruins-vs-devils-preseason-92519.jpg

PHOTO CREDITS: (NBC Sports)

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

As the Boston Bruins prepare for their final preseason game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday, the management staff have officially announced another round of cuts from the training camp, leaving only a few “bubble” players remaining as the roster for opening day on October 3rd begins to take shape.

In addition to the already-released news about the one-year contract signing of defenceman Alex Petrovic, the Bruins have sent down the following players for purpose of assignment to the American Hockey League affiliate of Boston – the Providence Bruins.

  • F Ryan Fitzgerald
  • G Kyle Keyser
  • F Joona Koppanen
  • D Jeremy Lauzon
  • F Zach Senyshyn
  • F Pavel Shen
  • F Oskar Steen
  • D Urho Vaakanainen

As well, forward Robert Lantosi will report to the P-Bruins according to the Bruins’ press release today, September 26th. Along with Petrovic, forwards Paul Carey and Brendan Gaunce were placed on waivers for purpose of AHL assignment and will be likely that they do not get claimed and will join Providence shortly.

As for the list of prospects that were sent back down to the minors, there are not any real surprises. In a few short years, players such as Kyle Keyser, Jeremy Lauzon, Oskar Steen, and Urho Vaakanainen are more likely to join the Boston Bruins as they all show promise to compete in the National Hockey League one day soon. Head Coach Bruce Cassidy has said some good things over the course of the past week for Pavel Shen and others listed, but with an already log-jammed roster in Boston – it is not much of a shock to see these specific players sent down.

As many users on Twitter have already mentioned, some key names in the Boston Bruins organization were not included in this round of cuts – leading us to believe that there is a true chance that they may see some NHL time at the beginning of the 2019-20 season, or the Bruins want to see them play in the final preseason contest against Chicago.

Forward Jack Studnicka, forward Trent Frederic, forward Anders Bjork, forward David Backes, defenceman Jakub Zboril, and forward Karson Kuhlman have all survived the cuts, making for a very important game on Saturday. Look for any one of these players to play some of their best hockey to date to fight for one of those final spots on the roster or to, at the very least, impress the bosses to earn a shot at playing in Boston when the inevitable injuries come about.

For the latest on the Boston Bruins regarding injuries, news, and all of the most recent updates – make sure to give me a follow on Twitter (@tkdmaxbjj ) and stay locked on the Black N’ Gold Hockey website for articles from all our staff writers.

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!

Report: Bruins Sign D Alex Petrovic To One-Year Deal

alex_petrovic_oilers.jpg

(Photo Perry Nelson / USA TODAY Sports)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

UPDATE: The Bruins have officially announced the deal. You can read the official press release here as well as Max Mainville’s latest piece on the additional breaking news.

As reported by Matt Porter of The Boston Globe, the Bruins have signed veteran defenseman Alex Petrovic to a contract. According to CapFriendly.com, Petrovic’s deal is for one-year with a $700,000 NHL salary and a $375,000 minors salary; it is also a two-way contract. Boston has also reportedly waived the right-shot skater with the purpose of assigning him to Providence. If he clears waivers, he will report to P-Bruins training camp.

The Bruins invited Petrovic to training camp on a professional tryout (PTO) as an unrestricted free agent, and he has apparently performed well enough to earn a contract. The 27-year-old was drafted in the second round (36th-overall) by the Florida Panthers in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. In 254 NHL games with the Panthers, the veteran recorded 5-44-49 totals to go along with a minus-three rating and 348 penalty minutes.

Last season, the Edmonton, Alberta, native was dealt from the Panthers to his hometown team, the Oilers, in the middle of December. The 6-foot-4, 216-pound bruiser only suited up in nine games for Edmonton, due to both a concussion and lack of usage under former Oilers interim head coach Ken Hitchcock. In those nine games, Petrovic tallied an assist and two penalty minutes, registering a minus-seven rating as well.

The reported addition of Petrovic’s presence to the Bruins organization is another low-risk, depth signing by Don Sweeney and the Boston brass. He’ll bring another veteran presence to a young, developing Providence Bruins team and will likely be a fine injury replacement if Boston needs him in a pinch.

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!