Bruins Marchand Voted Best/Worst Trash Talker in NHL

620-marchand.jpg

PHOTO CREDITS: (cbc.ca)

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

As announced today, March 20th, 2019, the NHL Player’s Association (NHLPA) voted Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand the best and somehow, worst trash talker in the National Hockey League. Over 500 current NHL players participated in the voting process and it is meant to add some fun awards to the league.

The NHLPA Player Poll has been in the running for the past two seasons and it covers a variety of different categories – all of which voted on by the player body. Below are some of the winners from the 2018-19 season.

  • Best Forward – EDM Connor McDavid
  • Best Defenceman – TBL Victor Hedman
  • Best Goalie – MTL Carey Price
  • Best Shot – WSH Alex Ovechkin
  • Best Female Player – CWHL Hilary Knight
  • Best Arena Atmosphere – T-Mobile Arena (Vegas Golden Knights)
  • Best Ice – Bell Centre (Montreal Canadiens)
  • Best Team Mascot – Gritty (Philadelphia Flyers)

And many more. For a full list of all the winners – CLICK HERE.

Back to Boston – Brad Marchand took home two winning awards from this voting event. Marchand won the best trash talker, earning 21.3% of the votes, beating out Drew Doughty (11.8%), Ryan Reaves (5.5%), Claude Giroux (4.8%) and Nick Cousins (3.3%). Somehow, Marchand also won the complete opposite of that award – the worst trash talker in the league, receiving 12.5% of the votes, ahead of Antoine Roussel (5.5%), P.K. Subban (5.1%), Nick Cousins (4.7%), and Brendan Lemieux (3.5%).

We all have a good idea on what exactly goes on the ice, even though we don’t get the mics on the players for every game. Although, that would be an interesting addition to the sport. Nonetheless, Marchand seems to be in the thick of things with words flying from his lips to the biggest or smallest of players in the league today. Brad has used this asset for exactly that – an asset.

In a meaningful game for a playoff position or a game against a heated rival like the Canadiens, Maple Leafs, Flyers, etc., Marchand is able to stir the pot and get under the opposing team’s skin – hoping to get them off their game. In the past, Marchand has not been great with keeping this contained, as suspensions and fines, (with many, many warnings), have piled up. This season, however, the 30-year-old Marchand has not, (*knock on wood*), been handed a single suspension – not one and has gone on to set a new career-high in points.

Funny enough, Brad Marchand is not only good (or bad) at trash talking his opponents, but he has a fun time poking fun at fellow Bruin teammates. Bruins defenseman Torey Krug is one of Marchand’s main guys to have a little fun with on social media, especially on Twitter. Brad likes to make fun of Krug’s height which ironically, is the same as Marchand according to Hockey Reference. Here are a few of those gems.

Don’t worry though, Krug has had his fair share to return to Marchand on Twitter.

The friendly fire between Krug and Marchand is just a testament to how close this team has become over the past few years of success and even failure. Just this little back and forth banter between two of the most important players on the team right now shows that this team is more like a family and that is crucial come playoff time.

Aside from Marchand’s dual awards, the Bruins were in the running for a couple other ones as well, but just fell short. Forward Patrice Bergeron received 9.2% of the votes for the most difficult player to play against, finishing third behind McDavid (30.9%) and Crosby (16.0%). That’s not it as Bergeron was also voted 4th in the “Player You Would Start a Franchise With”, getting 1.7% of the votes for him, behind McDavid (60%), Crosby (18.5%) and Matthews (4.3%).

With the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs right around the corner, it is a nice little reminder that the players do enjoy their share of fun and games in these final few weeks of the regular season. Were these awards correct in your eyes or did the players get something wrong? Let me know on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj!

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Four Boston Bruins Players That Could Win The 7th Player Award

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

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

Every year, the New England Sports Network, better known as NESN, releases a fan vote where fans of the Boston Bruins can vote for who they think should be awarded with the annual 7th Player Award. The 7th Player Award is awarded to the Boston Bruin who “has performed above and beyond expectations”. In years past, the team honour is handed out at the end of March, so the countdown is on for the winner.

Before we get into who should win the award for the 2018-19 season, let’s take a quick look at the past winners of the last decade. Information regarding this is courtesy of Ice Hockey Fandom.com. 

  • 2008-09 David Krejci
  • 2009-10 Tuukka Rask
  • 2010-11 Brad Marchand
  • 2011-12 Tyler Seguin
  • 2012-13 Dougie Hamilton
  • 2013-14 Reilly Smith
  • 2014-15 David Pastrnak
  • 2015-16 Brad Marchand
  • 2016-17 David Pastrnak
  • 2017-18 Charlie McAvoy

Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, and Charlie McAvoy are the most recent winners of the award and for good reason. Marchand exploded three years ago with a 37 goals and a new career-high in points with 61. David Pastrnak also had a great year when he won it back in 2016-17, scoring 34-36-70 numbers from his 26 the year prior. Finally, last year, Charlie McAvoy scored 32 points in his debut NHL season and truly came out as one of the best young offensive d-men in the league.

In the past, the award has been handed out at the end of March, just ahead of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in April. We are already over a week into the third month of the new calendar year, so now is the perfect time to take a look at some of the players who can with the 2018-19 7th Player Award.

Jaroslav Halak -> 18-10-4, 2.33 GAA, .924 SV%, 4 Shutouts

When Anton Khudobin did not agree to a new contract with the Boston Bruins following the 2017-18 season, the concern came as to who the Bruins were going to fall on for the role of the backup goaltender position. Ideas of younger, prospect goaltenders from either the Providence Bruins or other affiliate teams were thrown around, but it was the free-agent market that would provide the solution for this new-found problem.

Boston signed journeyman goaltender Jaroslav Halak to a two-year contract with an annual average salary of $2.75 million. Last season, Halak finished up his fourth season with the New York Islanders, the fourth NHL team of his 13-year career. Halak finished last season with a 20-26-6 record, a 3.19 GAA, and a .908 save percentage – not great numbers.

Lucky for Bruins fans and himself, Halak turned a new leaf while wearing the Spoked-B sweater and is showing glimpses of top-level play, the type of play that we saw from him during his time with the Montreal Canadiens. Early on this season, starting goaltender Tuukka Rask was not on his game. He was struggling in net and was losing more often than he was winning. However, Jaro Halak made an appearance and took over the show in the meantime, keeping the Bruins afloat in the NHL’s Eastern Conference playoff race.

jaroslav-halak

PHOTO CREDITS: (NBC Sports)

Head Coach Bruce Cassidy mentioned the fact that he may look to split the number of games that Rask and Halak play down the final stretch and that shows that Halak has done enough to earn starts when it matters. When the original signing was made, many people, including myself was not a fan mainly due to his performance in the previous season but he has exceeded everyone’s expectations and should be a favourite for the 7th Player Award because, without him, Boston may not be second in the Atlantic division.

Chris Wagner -> 66GP, 12G – 6A – 18P, 4th Liner

Chris Wagner never once scored ten goals in his five-year NHL career. In fact, he never scored more than 15 points in a single season, a mark he once hit in 64 games with the Anaheim Ducks last year in 2017-18.

When the Bruins signed Wagner, the Walpole, Massachusetts native to a two-year deal on the opening day of free agency, the signing of Joakim Nordstrom and the hope that the young, up-and-coming players within the Bruins organization will get more NHL minutes, it seemed like Wagner was going to be a spare tire – a depth piece for injuries or for a replacement for a player who is struggling but no, Wagner has become a near-permanent member of the 2018-19 Bruins.

Part of the reason for his success is the help of his linemates, Sean Kuraly and Noel Acciari, who have helped bolster the game of Wagner to a level never seen before in the NHL. The trio has brought a high level of intensity and energy to the bottom-six while being able to add in a few goals here and there. Additionally, Wagner leads the Bruins with 226 hits, a stat that ties him for 6th most in the National Hockey League.

In today’s NHL, all four lines of any team need to have the ability to score goals when they are so required to do so, yet provide a level of physicality and defence that can keep them in the thick of things. Chris Wagner has been a big reason for the success of that line and he deserves to be in the conversation for the 7th Player Award. No one expected the performance of Wagner to be this solid and a brief stroll in past Twitter comments will highlight that.

David Krejci -> 69GP, 19G – 41A – 60P, +3 Rating

Without a doubt, David Krejci is one of the best second-line centres in the NHL and is one of the best playmakers in the league for the past few seasons. It may seem hard for a player of that stature to win an award that presents the player that has exceeded expectations, but he needs to be in the conversation.

Since putting up 17-46-63 numbers in the 2015-2016 campaign, Krejci seemed to be on a decline for point production. In 2016-17, Krejci scored 54 points in a full 82-game season followed by a 44-point year last year in only 64 games played. However, with the growing chemistry with left-winger Jake DeBrusk, Krejci is on pace for just over 71 points this season. That total would be the second-highest single-season point total for Krejci since his 22-51-73 effort back in 2008-09 – ten seasons ago.

In that 2008-09 season, Krejci averaged 0.89 points-per-game. In comparison, Krejci is averaging 0.87 points-per-game, the third-highest PPG average in his 13-year NHL career. Krejci has found 15 of his points on the man-advantage, meaning the bulk of his numbers have come from five-on-five play, a huge attribute to take into consideration.

Throughout the past few seasons, the Sternberk, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic) native has been on the receiving end of hard criticism but quite clearly, he has used that as motivation for his success this season. The 32-year-old has three game-winning goals this season, including the overtime goal in the 4-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on March 5th. Linemate Jake DeBrusk said the following about his chemistry with Krejci right after the game versus Carolina.

“I think when you play with a guy for almost 2 years now, you generate that w just games played & different things like that. He’s been playing great all year. He’s the biggest reason why I’ve had success personally as well. To have a guy like that in my corner is something that I don’t take for granted.” – Quote from Shawn Hutcheon (@ShawnHutcheon on Twitter)

David Krejci exceeded the expectations that were placed on him back in September before the puck dropped to begin the regular season. His name is back in the minds of teams across the league if they so happened to forget about him and he has been a factor for the success of the Bruins.

Sean Kuraly -> 66GP, 6G – 11A – 17P, 4th Liner

Sean Kuraly joins linemate Chris Wagner on this four-player list because, in a way, they have to be. Kuraly and Wagner, with the inclusion of Acciari, have surprised most Bruins fans and hockey fans throughout the league with their energy, tenacity, and offensive capabilities while throwing in the occasional hit or fight.

Sean Kuraly came to Boston on June 30th, 2015 in a trade with the San Jose Sharks that sent goaltender Martin Jones off to California and Kuraly with a 2016 1st Rounder (Trent Frederic) to Boston. Martin Jones was acquired by the B’s from the L.A. Kings in exchange for beloved Bruin, Milan Lucic only a few days prior.

Kuraly didn’t play with Boston until 2016-17, skating in eight games, scoring a single point. Kuraly was given an opportunity in the 2017 Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals against the Ottawa Senators and he earned his way into the hearts of Bruins fans all over with two massive goals, one of which in the second overtime session in Game 5 of that series, forcing a Game 6.

After that remarkable game for Kuraly, he ended up playing 75 games during the 2017-18 season, scoring six goals and eight assists for a total of 14 points. In the offseason of this past year, Kuraly signed on the dotted line to a three-year, $3,825,000 contract extension, securing himself a position on the NHL roster for the time being.

Kuraly has done that and more. The Dublin, Ohio, USA native has matched his career-high in goals (6) and set a new career-high in points (17) and has played in twelve less games than in last year’s season. The threat of the fourth-line could be courtesy of the always hard-working Sean Kuraly. Kuraly still possesses that clutch goal-scoring talent, scoring two game-winning goals so far in 2018-19 – both coming in back-to-back games against the Sabres on December 29th and the Blackhawks in the Winter Classic on January 1st.

Kuraly has been one of those quite but deadly pieces to the puzzle that is the 2018-19 Boston Bruins – which can come across as a pleasant surprise for him, the management, and the fanbase.

My Winner: Chris Wagner

It seems like when the Bruins are down a goal late in the hockey game, scrambling to find their legs and score the tying goal or even the winning goal, Chris Wagner is inadvertently in the thick of things when the goal eventually crosses the red line. Wagner has scored the game-tying goal on three different occasions, two of which in the third and final period. Also, in each of those games where he scored the tying marker, the Bruins went on to either win the game or lose in a shootout.

I’ll be 110% honest here – I was fully anticipating Chris Wagner to be scratched for more games than he played and to see limited ice time when he is indeed in the lineup. Losing out on Tavares and Kovalchuk in free agency, at the time, it appeared as though Sweeney and the rest of the B’s management staff had no one else and wanted to go for depth. Tim Schaller, the now Vancouver Canuck, did not re-sign, but it looked like Nordstrom would replace him. Instead, the Bruins have a physical, gritty fourth-liner that has been big when scoring meaningful goals this season.

Chris Wagner is my personal pick to win this year’s 7th Player Award, who do you think wins the annual accolade? Was it one of the players I listed or does another player come to mind? Let me know via Twitter (@tkdmaxbjj) or on FaceBook comments!

Side Note: In the poll above, I listed D Brandon Carlo as an option, yet he is not on my list. I personally expected Carlo to be good this year, so he did not necessarily ‘exceed’ my expectations, but he has been great.

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Why Bruins Coach Bruce Cassidy Should Be In Conversation For Coach of the Year

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

By: Yanni Latzanakis  |  Follow Me On Twitter @yanlatz

The Boston Bruins have been on a roll lately and are currently on a 14 game point streak as of their February 28th matchup with the NHL’s best Tampa Bay Lightning. This team is feeling it right now, and season-long confidence from Bruce Cassidy and coaching staff has fueled this team to a top team in the league. Bruce Cassidy should be in the conversation with NHL’s elite coaches.

Bruce Cassidy’s Bruins have skyrocketed to the top of the Eastern Conference and the NHL’s overall standings. As of Thursday, they sit at 83 points which is second in the Atlantic Division, second in the Eastern Conference and Third place in the overall league standings. They even came in second in the NHL’s weekly power rankings. Just one point ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs, every point down the stretch is still critical for Boston and their playoff positioning.

At the forefront of every good hockey team is obviously good players. But, accompanying high-end talent on the ice, is high-end talent behind the bench. The Bruins have that in Bruce Cassidy. Bruce Cassidy was hired as interim head coach on February 07, 2017 after the firing of Claude Julien who coached the Bruins for 10 seasons and is the winningest coach in Boston Bruins franchise history. He then became the 28th head coach on April 26, 2017.

Bruce Cassidy undoubtedly has big shoes to fill. Throughout extensive injuries last year and this year, the Bruins under Bruce Cassidy have the second best record in the league since he was hired in February of 2017. Bruce Cassidy is currently 105-44-22 in parts of 3 seasons in Boston. He just recently became the second fastest Bruins coach to reach 100 wins when his team defeated Chicago 6-3 on February 12, 2019. With 100 wins in 166 games, only Tom Johnson was quicker in the 1971-1972 season when it took him 138 games to get to 100.

It is evident that Bruce Cassidy’s system is working in Boston and in my opinion, has to be in the conversation for the Jack Adams Trophy as the NHL’s Coach of the Year. They continue to win games, and his voice in the locker room is strong. Bruce Cassidy has lost many players for parts of this season to injuries like David Pastrnak, Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, Tuukka Rask, and many others. As a result, he has shown a lot of confidence in the young players stepping into the lineup or into new line roles like Heinen, DeBrusk, Cehlarik, Kuhlman, Frederic, Vaakanainen and others. But despite these man-games lost, the Bruins are still climbing the NHL standings and solidifying their spot in the 2019 playoffs.

As the Bruins have battled their injuries this season, Cassidy has had to balance a lineup that has seen a lot of youngsters from Providence fill in for the injured B’s and has taken a lot of criticism for his line pairs. However, I think Cassidy has done his best with the lineup, and his system has worked. Thanks to their second-best powerplay percentage at 26.4%, strong leadership, experience, trade deadline help and consistent contribution up and down the lineup, the Bruins have emerged as a strong Stanley Cup contender from the East.

Wins speak volumes with whoever is in the lineup for the Bruins. Regardless of who has stepped in for Boston this season, the Bruins continue to win under Bruce Cassidy. Along with the likes of Bill Peters in Calgary, Barry Trotz with the Islanders and John Cooper with the Lightning, Bruce Cassidy has to be in the conversation for the Jack Adams Trophy as Coach of the Year.

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Opinion: Boston Bruins Will Not Make A Big Trade At 2019 Trade Deadline

2015 NHL Draft - Round One

PHOTO CREDITS: (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The 2019 NHL Trade Deadline is less than two weeks away and the anticipation of every fan in the National Hockey League is growing by the hour. Similar to every season, in the weeks and days leading up to the February 25th deadline, the trade rumors are through the roof. NHL insiders and analysts alike are scrambling to find the latest, most in-depth scoop on any team involving trade.

For the past couple of seasons, especially this one, the Boston Bruins are one of the main teams in the mix to make a deal at or around the deadline. It is well known that the core of the Bruins – Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara, Tuukka Rask, David Krejci, etc. – are not getting any younger and it would be a good send off for some of these players to get another Stanley Cup ring under their belts.

In addition to that, the Bruins have some holes on their roster that need to be filled. Head Coach Bruce Cassidy has had an issue with the depth scoring since Opening Day back in October. In the two wins last weekend against the Los Angeles Kings and the Colorado Avalanche, Cassidy had star forward David Pastrnak on the second-line with Krejci and Cehlarik while Danton Heinen joined Bergeron and Marchand in an attempt to spread out the offence and spark offence on other lines than the top one.

Heading into the Trade Deadline, Boston is quite clearly going to push for a top-six winger, most likely to play with David Krejci, so Pastrnak can be reunited with Bergeron and Marchand, if they do end up making that push. With a quote coming from an article published on NHL.com by Amalie Benjamin (@AmalieBenjamin on Twitter), General Manager Don Sweeney does indeed recognize that need.

“My feeling is that we would like to try and add without necessarily giving up what we know is a big part of our future,” Sweeney said in comments provided to NHL.com by the Bruins. “We committed assets last year to take a swing where we felt we needed to address an area of need and we will try and do a similar thing this year. I can’t guarantee that’ll happen. This time of the year, prices are generally pretty high, but we’re going to try. We’re going to try because I think we still need it.”

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

If the Boston Bruins want to be considered a Stanley Cup Contender this season or even just a really solid team coming out of the Eastern Conference, then Sweeney needs to pull the trigger and in my eyes – that is the move to make. Make a trade for a top-six winger who can score. However, even though I’d like to see a move made, I think for a few reasons that Boston will not make a big trade this Trade Deadline.

High Risk – High Reward, Maybe.

To make a trade, you have to send someone the other way – simple equation to all trades in every sport. The Boston Bruins appear to have a large pool of prospects in not only the AHL with the Providence Bruins, but across many different hockey leagues all throughout the world. With that said, the performance of these young players in the NHL this season may be a cause for concern for other General Managers on the other end of the phone call.

Ryan Donato and Jakub Forsbacka Karlsson were arguably the best prospects in the system as we closed in on the 2018-19 season, but with their lackluster performance in the NHL, resulting in their demotion back to Providence, it is a very good chance that the GMs across the league are worried that these prospects are “flops”, which could be completely false, but it is most definitely something they are discussing.

donato

PHOTO CREDITS: (CHARLES KRUPA / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE PHOTO)

Columbus Blue Jackets forward Artemi Panarin is without a doubt, the number one player on the market. Boston Globe’s Matt Porter discussed what the idea of what Columbus may be wanting for the pending unrestricted free agent.

“The market for (Panarin) is reportedly a first-round pick, a player, and a prospect. It is a high price, especially for someone who could leave a team empty-handed on July 1. But the Bruins are interested, and they’re not alone,” Porter reported.

If I were a betting man, (I am not), I would imagine Jake DeBrusk having to go to Columbus as well as a Ryan Donato or Trent Frederic and the 2019 1st Round Pick. All that with the added dilemma on what happens to Panarin after the season ends, does he test free agency, or does he sign an extension in Boston? That is a high price for a rental player and it does not guarantee a Stanley Cup for Boston.

Even if it isn’t Artemi, players such as Mark Stone, Wayne Simmonds, Michael Ferland, or Kevin Hayes – the Bruins will have to give up assets that may or may not appeal to the future of this franchise. It has been mentioned that it is a buyer’s market right now, but teams with valued assets will most likely charge an arm and a leg for that player because they can most likely get those same assets back from one of the other 30 NHL teams.

Are the assets going out worth it? That is to be determined, but nothing is official.

Sweeney’s Trade History

Even though GM Don Sweeney expressed his interest in trading, he also said in the same quote that he wants to avoid moving a large part of their future for a possible rental player. When saying that, he wants to avoid a repeat of last year’s deadline acquisition with the New York Rangers.

Put in the same position as this year, the Bruins needed help on the top-six forward core. In what looks like now like a panic move, the Bruins sent forward Ryan Spooner, defenceman Ryan Lindgren, and Boston’s 2018 1st Round Pick (traded to Ottawa for D Jacob Bernard-Docker) to the New York Rangers for forward Rick Nash who played in eleven regular season games (3-3-6 totals) and another twelve playoff games (3-2-5 totals, -7 rating) and then retired this year.

Sweeney moved a lot of youth – mainly Lindgren and that 1st Round Pick for a player that played in a combined twenty-three games in a Spoked-B sweater. Don Sweeney has stated in the past that he does not want to move another first-rounder and if it is for a player that may decide on hitting the free-agent market come July 1st, the chances of him giving in are quite slim.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (USA Today Sports)

When considering that, there are teams, such as Toronto, Tampa Bay, Winnipeg, or Nashville that would gladly trade their first-round selection because they believe that they can be a serious Cup contender and that their pick will be a late round pick and in that regard, would not be that hard of a price to pay. Sweeney does not want to make a mistake on a trade nor make a move just for the idea of making a move, leaving some bargaining power off the table.

Free Agency Class – UFAs and RFAs

One thing that a lot of the hypothetical trade targets have in common, is that their current contract expires on July 1st. If the Bruins management decides to make a move for one of these players, it does not guarantee that they will remain on the team for the 2019-20 season. That plus the fact that the B’s will have to trade some pieces, like I have already mentioned, that may not be in the plans of the future.

Here are 10 unrestricted free agent players that could fill the Bruins holes in the free agent market IF they do not re-sign with their current organization and they decide to sign with Boston:

  • CBJ LW Artemi Panarin – 52GP – 21-42-63 in 2018-19
  • OTT RW Mark Stone – 55GP 25-31-56 in 2018-19
  • OTT C Matt Duchene – 46GP – 25-28-53 in 2018-19
  • NYI RW Jordan Eberle – 51GP 13-13-26 in 2018-19
  • OTT C/RW/LW – Ryan Dzingel 54GP 21-20-41 in 2018-19
  • NYR C/W Kevin Hayes – 46GP – 13-25-38 in 2018-19
  • DET RW/LW Gustav Nyquist – 56GP – 14-33-47 in 2018-19
  • NYR RW Mats Zuccarello – 41GP – 9-23-32 in 2018-19
  • ANA LW/RW Jakub Silfverberg – 47GP – 12-8-20 in 2018-19
  • CAR LW/RW Micheal Ferland – 48GP – 15-16-31 in 2018-19

Of course, there is no guarantee that any of these players make it to free agency and if they do decline offers from their respective teams, then there is no guarantee that they are swayed enough by the Bruins management members to come to Massachusetts and join the Bruins. However, the same can be true if the Bruins trade an arm and a leg for these players for them to just leave at the beginning of July. If Boston fails to win the Cup with them, then it is another bad move.

In the same breath, the 2018-19 free agent class has one of the most-skilled RFA class of any year’s past. When sending an offer to an RFA that makes it past July 1st, you must not only get acceptance from the player, but from the team, who has the option to match your contract offer. If the Bruins can land a player that is under a restricted free agent status, then compensation picks that vary on annual salary amount will have to be paid to the team. Under every option, the Bruins right now, are able to offer any amount. It is important to know that all picks are for the nearest Entry Draft so in this case, 2020 NHL Draft unless the compensation is multiple picks from the same round, then it can be from numerous years. Check it out below via CapFriendly Offer Sheet Calculator:

  • $0 – $1,339,575 – No Compensation
  • $1,339,576 – $2,029,659 – One 3rd Round Pick
  • $2,029,660 – $4,059,322 – One 2nd Round Pick
  • $4,059,323 – $6,088,980 – One 1st Round Pick and One 3rd Round Pick
  • $6,088,981 – $8,118,641 – One 1st Round, One 2nd Round, One 3rd Round Pick
  • $8,118,642 – $10,148,302 – Two 1st Rounds, One 2nd Round, One 3rd Round
  • $10,148,303 – ∞ – Four 1st Round Picks

If Sweeney and the Bruins make a move that will most likely have to require that first rounder, it makes a RFA offer less likely because Boston will be without a pick in the first round for three years in a row. The options for Sweeney are a lot, but the questions that are being asked often are the following.

Can the Bruins afford to move the youth and prospects that they have built up for a rental? Will a trade for a longer-term player work out? Will the lack of 1st Round Pick(s) impact the team in a negative manner for the long-term? Should Boston make a real push with Chara, Bergeron, etc., getting older and their time for another Cup running slim?

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

The questions continue from there but with the weeks and days counting down, only the B’s management know what they can get and what they want. We as fans just have to bite the fingernails off as we anticipate the breaking news, or lack thereof.

In one final conclusion, I do not think that the Boston Bruins will make a big, franchise-altering trade at the Trade Deadline this season. If there will ever be a big trade, it will be at the NHL Entry Draft in Vancouver or on the opening day of NHL Free Agency. Don Sweeney’s track record has not been pleasant nor will the assets going the other way for a player that may or may not stay with Boston next season all combined together with the simple fact that nothing guarantees a Stanley Cup. What do you think about the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline?

Check out the available tickets from our advertising partner SeatGiant for your next Boston Bruins game. Click the link below, and when purchasing any event ticket, from the NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL to concerts and shows, please use discount code BNGP to save a little money. Thank You!  

-> Click Here For The Boston Bruins 2018-19 Regular Season Schedule and Ticket Info From SeatGiant.com <-

Bruins Halak Finishing up Elite First Half of Season

Jaroslav-Halak-Bruins(Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara, USA Today Sports)

By: Ian Smith | Follow me on Twitter @IanMalcolmSmith

When the Boston Bruins signed Jaroslav Halak as a free agent this offseason, he wasn’t really expected to be anything beyond a serviceable backup. He signed a two-year contract worth $5.5 million with the Bruins, while Anton Khudobin left to sign with the Dallas Stars for two-years and $5 million. The Bruins shelled out a bit more money for Tuukka Rask’s backup for this season, but Halak provided a nice veteran option to play whenever Rask needed a rest.

Halak has played some of the very best hockey of his career and been a pleasant surprise for a team that has suffered through a lot of bad luck with injuries. The official halfway point of the season is right around the corner, and Halak definitely needs to be discussed among the potential Vezina Trophy candidates. He leads the league with a .928 save percentage and is fifth with 2.28 goals against average, although his biggest impediment to being taken as seriously as possible for the award is his relative lack of playing time. Halak has played in 22 games this season while splitting time in net with Rask and has gone 12-6-2 in 21 starts.

His stats are impressive, but he hasn’t been leaned on as his squad’s workhouse this season due to the Bruins depth chart situation. It’s a luxury to have two very capable goaltending options, but it probably means that neither one would get the proper due in terms of that Vezina Trophy by the end of the season. A lot of his chances for the award are going to be based on whether the Bruins coaching staff begins giving him significantly more starts over Rask in the second half of the season. Even with the elite statistics in categories like save percentage and goals against average, it’s likely going to take Halak getting more starts to win the Vezina Trophy.

The last 10 Vezina winners in non-lockout shortened seasons illustrate a pretty clear picture of what Halak needs to get to. In terms of wins, the fewest amount by a Vezina winner in the last 10 non-lockout shortened season is 35. The highest win total is 48. The average is about 41. The lowest goals against average by a Vezina winner in the last 10 non-lockout shortened season is 1.96 goals against average. The highest is 2.31 goals against average, and the average is about 2.10 goals against average. The highest save percentage by a Vezina winner in the last 10 non-lockout shortened season is a .938 save percentage. The lowest is a .920 save percentage, and the average is about a .929 save percentage.

Halak has a save percentage right now that is just about average for what a Vezina winner has put up recently. Even with the goals against average a bit on the high side, it’s still not the highest amongst the recent winners. The wins are the biggest problem for him right now, though, but that’s to be expected given that his goaltending partner is getting so many starts. Tim Thomas won the Vezina with 35 wins back in 2010-11, but he still ranked tied for ninth that season in that category. Halak is tied for 18th in wins right now, and there are currently four goaltenders who are tied for seventh with 15 wins. Halak is a few wins behind the top 10 in that category, which is around where he’d have to be if he wants any realistic chance to win the Vezina.

He’s in excellent shape with his save percentage, and even his goals against average as of now isn’t acting as a huge impediment for his odds. The real challenge for him is in the wins category, and that’s dependent on how many starts he gets in the second half of this season. He might ultimately not play in enough games to really generate sufficient buzz for the award. It would also be tough for him to keep the save percentage and goals against average where they are with more starts, but given how locked in Halak has been in the first half of the season, it wouldn’t be a huge stretch to expect him to finish the season with stats worthy of securing the Vezina Trophy.

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Can Bruins David Pastrnak Win The Rocket Richard Trophy?

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PHOTO CREDITS: (AP Photo)

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

Without a doubt in anyone’s mind, David Pastrnak is the best goal scorer on the Boston Bruins in 2018-19 and he will most likely retain that title for many years to come. With that in mind, how good of a goal scorer exactly is Pastrnak?

The National Hockey League has had the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy since 1999 and was first established at the end of the 1998-1999 season, where Teemu Selanne was awarded the trophy. The award was named after Richard, who spent the entirety of his eighteen-year NHL career with the Montreal Canadiens. “Rocket” was the first NHL player to reach the 500-goal milestone and was the first NHL player to hit 50 goals in a single season, doing so in only 50 games back in 1944-45.

For over a decade, the Rocket Richard Trophy has gone to one man seven times – Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals. From the 2012-13 season to the 2015-16 season, Ovechkin won the trophy every single season, until Sidney Crosby broke that streak in 2016-17, only for Ovi to reclaim the trophy last season. Ovechkin’s best trophy-winning season was his 65 goals in 2007-08, the most by a winner of the Rocket Richard Trophy.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (AFP)

Since then, however, the winner of the trophy has scored less than fifty goals – Crosby with 44 and Ovechkin with 49 last year. In the history of the trophy, no Boston Bruin has ever won it. David Pastrnak is considered to be one of the best young scorers that the Bruins have had in recent memory, can he be the first Bruin to win the prestigious winner?

At the end of December 2018, Alex Ovechkin still leads the NHL in goals with 29 in 37 games played. Six goals behind him in seventh place, David Pastrnak of the Boston Bruins. The 22-year-old winger is scoreless in his past three games (CAR, NJD, BUF) and if he scores a few times during that stretch, he could find himself within the top five for goals.

It is somewhat hard to look at the future of a hockey season when you are not even past the halfway point. In the past eighty-two regular season games dating back to the 2017-18 season, including Boston’s most recent game against the Buffalo Sabres, Pastrnak has scored 43 goals. In comparison to Ovechkin’s league-leading forty-nine tallies last season, Pastrnak would only be six goals away from leading the National Hockey League – the exact distance he is apart from the lead right now.

With that stat, it is fair to note that Pastrnak had some rough patches when it came to scoring goals last season. From December 14th, 2017 to January 2nd, 2018, Pastrnak failed to score a single goal in ten consecutive games. If only he scored on six of those, he would have tied Ovechkin’s tally from last year. Of course, that includes the 23 goals this year that Pasta has scored.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (USA Today Images)

Already this season, the Bruins have struggled with injuries – including hard injuries to Pastrnak’s well-known linemates, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. Although, when Marchand has been healthy, he has not been as effective at putting the puck in the back of the net, scoring only twelve times in thirty-eight games. On the flip side, Marchand leads the team for assists with twenty-nine helpers.

When the Bruins’ first line is fully healthy and they are clicking offensively, the numbers can truly skyrocket. Bergeron already has a passer’s touch and if Marchand continues to have the vision to send the rubber to the piece of tape on Pastrnak’s stick, Pastrnak can rake in the goal numbers.

Is it possible for David Pastrnak to score more goals than any other player in the entire National Hockey League? Of course, it is. The Bruins are finally going to have a healthy roster, *knocks on wood* and can have the opportunity to finally gain some ground on the NHL standings. However, goals have been an issue for the players further on down the lineup.

When Patrice Bergeron was out for multiple weeks with a sternoclavicular/rib injury earlier this season, centre David Krejci filled in on the top line. Pastrnak did not seem to have issues scoring alongside Krejci. Krejci, an above-average passer is able to find his fellow Czech on the ice and create scoring opportunities.

In fact, Pastrnak is in the middle of his best goal-scoring season, scoring an average of 0.59 goals-per-game. His next highest came in the 2016-17 campaign when he averaged 0.45 GPG. If he continues his current pace, Pastrnak has the chance to hit 48 goals this season and that very well could contend for the league-lead. This is barring no injuries and for Pastrnak to continue at this very same pace. It is very possible that David can score more or less than that average moving forward.

If I were a betting man, which I am most definitely not, I would not bet money on David Pastrnak winning the Rocket Richard Trophy THIS season. I do, however, think he can contend for the trophy and within the next five years, he will win the award. Since being drafted twenty-fifth overall in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft by Boston, Pastrnak has done nothing but improve in nearly all assets of his hockey game.

If the trend continues, he will only score more goals. But with predictions and future events, the only true answer is in the hands of one thing – time.

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Bruins Pastrnak Remains On Pace For Best Season

David-Pastrnak-2(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

By: Ian Smith | Follow me on Twitter @IanMalcolmSmith

David Pastrnak burst out of the gate to begin the season for the Boston Bruins, and he immediately looked like a contender for the Rocket Richard Trophy. Given that Pastrnak was coming off consecutive 30-goal seasons, he looked like a prime candidate to top that leaderboard. In his 12 games in October, Pastrnak scored an incredible 11 goals. It was always extremely unlikely that Pastrnak was going to continue at a rate in which he would have eclipsed 70 goals by the time the season ended. Understandably, he has slowed off that pace a bit since then. In his 13 games in November, Pastrnak was still fantastic, but expectedly eased it back and scored a more realistic eight goals. In 14 December games, Pastrnak has four goals and 15 assists for 19 points. He had 10 assists combined for all of October and November.

Pastrnak is still generating scoring chances for his teammates, but he hasn’t personally been lighting the lamp with the same type of proficiency he showed earlier in the year. In his 25 games in October and November, Pastrnak had 19 goals on 101 shots on goal, registering an 18.8% shooting percentage. Pastrnak was averaging about 4.04 shots on goal per game in those first two months, and converting those shots on net into goals at a rate that was higher than his 13.3% career shooting percentage heading into this season. Pastrnak was also getting more pucks on goal than ever before, as he had averaged about 2.79 shots on goal throughout his career. His season-high in that category was 3.49 shots on goal per game in 2016-17, so his October and November total this season really represented a leap for him.

In the 14 games then, though, the stats have begun to come back down towards what his career totals had been before this season. He has 50 shots on goal in those 14 games, averaging 3.57 shots on goal per game. That is very close to his rate for the 2016-17 season. His December shooting percentage is what has caused the low output. Pastrnak is shooting just 8% in those 14 December games.

That December stretch has made Pastrnak fall behind in the chase for that Rocket Richard Trophy, as he is now tied for sixth in the league in goals. Alex Ovechkin is currently the league leader in with 29 goals in 37 games, and he is up by three over Jeff Skinner and John Tavares. Ovechkin has previously won the Rocket Richard Trophy seven times in his career, including five times in the last six seasons. The award has basically become his to lose any season in which he doesn’t miss significant time due to injury, and he deserves to be the favorite as things look right now.

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With how things are shaping up, the winner of the award this season is going to at least have 50 goals, so that’s where Pastrnak needs to get to have any type of realistic chance. That doesn’t look as safe of a bet anymore after these last 14 games, although it’s not out of the question that he can still get there. If Pastrnak plays in 79 games this season, he has 40 more games to score 27 goals. It’ll be hard, but he’s capable of that type of production. An extremely conservative estimate would have Pastrnak averaging 2.75 on goal in those remaining games and shooting 12%. Those totals are both lower than his career totals and represent a scenario in which Pastrnak underperforms from here on out relative to what he can do. In that hypothetical, the Czech native would still finish this season with 40 goals. That would be more goals than he has ever scored in a season.

There are definitely realistic paths for Pastrnak to get to 50 goals, though, assuming that he doesn’t miss extended time due to injury. If Pastrnak averages three shots on goal per game in 40 remaining games, he’d need to shoot about 18% to get to 50 goals, and that necessary percentage would decrease the more shots he gets on goal. If he averages four shots on goal per game in 40 remaining games, Pastrnak would need to shoot about 14.1% to get to 50 goals. That great stretch would also have to coincide with Ovechkin and the other guys ahead of Pastrnak slowing down enough for him to surpass them.

The odds of Pastrnak winning the Rocket Richard Trophy have certainly decreased, but he is still very much poised to have the best season of his career. He looks like he’s in the midst of his most impressive season, which is really saying something given how he has asserted himself these past couple years as one of the premier scorers in the league. Even if the Rockey Richard Trophy appears less likely after four goals in those 14 December games, he is going to be among the lead leaders in that category this second half of the season if he’s able to stay healthy.

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Mainville’s Full 2018-19 Boston Bruins Predictions

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PHOTO CREDIT: (MHL.com)

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

Predictions and sports pretty much go hand-in-hand in today’s world. Not only are predictions fun to make when the season is a little under a month away, but they are fun to look back on at the end of the season to see how accurate your predictions were.

Normally, I make my predictions in a Boston Bruins Facebook fan group, but since my arrival on the Black N’ Gold Podcast website in March of 2018, I am able to provide my predictions on the entire season from lineup predictions to statistics to standings to possible trades and playoffs. This will be a fun ride, let’s get into it.

Lineups

This one is a fun one considering the amount of young talent that the Boston Bruins have available and a good portion of that prospect pool could get a chance in the NHL this season. On the flip side, the Bruins still have a large number of veterans that deserve a spot on the lineup, some due to their experience and skill value to the team, others just because of their contract. So, here are my predictions for the Bruins opening day lineup as of September 1st.

Forwards

Marchand  –  Bergeron  –  Bjork

DeBrusk  –  Krejci  –  Pastrnak

Donato  –  Frederic  –  Heinen

Nordstrom  –  Kuraly  –  Backes

Defense

Chara – McAvoy

Krug – Carlo

Grzelcyk – Miller

Goaltenders

Rask

Halak

As many people throughout the community have been saying, I see David Pastrnak getting second-line minutes to start the season. Although the line of him, Marchand and Bergeron are one of the best in the entire league, the Bruins showed in the regular season that they lack deep scoring depth. Placing Pastrnak on the second-line alongside David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk could add some additional scoring threats to the Bruins offensive core.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Another key position the Bruins are undecided on is the third-line center position. Numerous player on the roster could indeed fill that spot, but no official player has been given that role. Head Coach Bruce Cassidy said in an article published by the Boston Globe’s Matt Porter that the third-line center spot will have some competition come training camp.

“Studnicka, [Trent] Frederic, and JFK [Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson], our three center icemen. [Chris] Wagner played some center. Is it ideal for him? But that’s what he’d like. He wants to move up in the lineup. So you’re creating a bit of competition, but you’re also creating opportunity. I think if you go into the year and think, “We’re going to have five guys,” that’s a stretch. But what we’ve done, I think, and Donnie feels, it’s legit for us to stay more than competitive.”

Jack Studnicka seems to be one of the main guys that most fans and media members want on the third line, but I feel that Trent Frederic could get the job come October. I recently wrote an article about Frederic and you can check it out HERE. 

Individual Statistics

As mentioned previously, the Boston Bruins have many top players that can find ways to rack up the points and in turn, hopefully, help lead the B’s to some victories on the ice. In fact, in Sportsnet’s recent Top 100 NHL Players article that was released on August 31, there were six Bruins players, tied with the Nashville Predators for the most players in the list. Boston’s players that were on the list were Charlie McAvoy (96th), Zdeno Chara (92nd), Tuukka Rask (80th), David Pastrnak (36th), Patrice Bergeron (18th), and Brad Marchand (17th).

When a team has a lot of star talent that can put up some high numbers, it isn’t very often that you see above point-per-game totals once the season ends. Connor McDavid on the Oilers and Taylor Hall on the Devils show that when a team lacks depth, the superstar player gets high point totals.

Brad Marchand

PHOTO CREDIT: (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Top Three Scorers (Forwards)

Brad Marchand 40G – 45A – 85P

David Pastrnak 39G – 42A – 81P

Patrice Bergeron 27G – 41A – 68P

Top Three Scorers (Defense)

Torey Krug 18G – 43A – 61P

Charlie McAvoy 8G – 31A – 39P

Matt Grzelcyk 5G – 25A – 30P

Prior to writing this article, I figured making statistic predictions would be a piece of cake, but rather, it is quite difficult. I figured Pastrnak would have a lower assist total than last year because I have him playing with Krejci, meaning he would not be the one passing the puck the most.

However, I do think that the trio of Marchand, Bergeron, and Pastrnak will be one, two, and three in the Bruins scoring race at the end of the year, even if they are separated throughout the campaign.

For defensemen, I think Krug will continue to be the main offensive threat, but McAvoy and most of all, Matt Grzelcyk will gain great strides offensively while Chara and the rest of them will not be as productive offensively in my mind. Obviously, there is room for debate and I would love to hear your thoughts as well.

Regular Season Standings

The Boston Bruins will not have an easy trip to the playoffs at all. With the already stacked Tampa Bay Lightning and the Tavares, I mean, Toronto Maple Leafs, the Bruins may have to settle for third in the Atlantic division.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (nhl.com)

Aside from the Lightning and Maple Leafs being evident threats in the division, the Florida Panthers and Buffalo Sabres could find themselves in the mix as well. The Panthers missed the playoffs by only a single point last year and with the addition of Mike Hoffman this offseason, they could have improved the roster enough to secure a position.

The Buffalo Sabres may have finished last in the NHL last season, but with the acquisition of Jeff Skinner and 2018 1st Overall Pick Rasmus Dahlin, the Sabres could find themselves higher in the division then they were last year.

Of course, the division does have the bottom-feeding teams such as the Ottawa Senators, Detroit Red Wings, and Montreal Canadiens that the Bruins do not have to stress too much over but they will still need to pick up key victories against them in order to secure that divisional playoff spot.

The Metropolitan division is still one of the best in the league and could very well contend for the two Wild-Card positions in the Eastern Conference, leaving only the three division spots. If the Leafs and Bolts are already locked in that spot and the Panthers and Sabres are fighting their way into the postseason as well, then every single game could play out to mean a lot for the B’s.

Nonetheless, in my own personal opinion, the Boston Bruins will make the playoffs, finishing in the third seed behind Tampa Bay and Toronto. While Florida makes a strong case, I’m not sold on the fact that they will make it in the top three of the Atlantic division teams, but rather sneak into the postseason via a wild card.

Winter Classic vs Chicago

I’m making this prediction in a completely separate category because the 2019 Winter Classic between the Bruins and the Blackhawks may be a tad bit underrated. The Bruins did not have the success they were looking for back in the 2016 Winter Classic against the Montreal Canadiens, losing 5-1 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.

Personally, I feel like there is a little bit of redemption wanted by the Bruins who were on that roster, especially Brad Marchand, who was suspended for three games for clipping Ottawa Senators player Mark Borowiecki. Many believe that the lack of Marchand at the January 1 outdoor game was the reason for the loss, as the locker room was left without one of their top players.

Not only will it be redemption for the Winter Classic, but this is arguably the biggest meeting between the Hawks and Bruins since the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals, where Chicago won in six games. Of course, at the end of the day, it is only a normal regular season game with no added benefits from winning the contest, except for bragging rights — and Boston would love to have some bragging rights.

Putting injuries, (and suspensions) aside, the Bruins are in the lead to win the game. Chicago finished last in the Central division last season and failed to make any big offseason moves. Jonathan Toews only scored 52 points in the 74 games he played in last season while goaltender Corey Crawford dealt with a suspected head injury that forced him to miss the final 47 games of the 2017-18 season.

If the Bruins can have a strong start to the season, I believe they will win the 2019 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic held at Notre Dame Stadium in Indiana, improving their Winter Classic record to 2-1.

Playoffs

After making it to the Eastern Conference Semifinals last season against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Boston Bruins will return to the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, in a rematch against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round. The only difference is that Toronto will have the home-ice advantage.

As good as Toronto may have become with the acquisition of John Tavares, they are not quite as experienced defensively compared to the Lightning, who will win the division once again this season.

So, we have Toronto vs Boston for the second consecutive year. Unfortunately, I see the Maple Leafs winning this series, advancing to the second round against Tampa in seven games. The series will be another close battle but with the newly improved offense of Toronto, they will come through and Boston will enter the offseason after a first-round exit.

Well, that does it for this prediction article. Once again, these are all my predictions and I’m interested to hear your thoughts on every category listed. Make sure to check out the Bruins Pump-Up video made by myself and follow me on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj!

 

Bruins Players Set Example On The Ice & In The Community

Patrice's Pals3(“Patrice’s Pals” – Photo Credit: BostonBruins.com)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @Evan007onTV

If you’re a professional athlete, there’s a level of expectation from fans, media, and management to “give back.” After all, you’re playing sports for a living and making large sums of money for it. Life can be a whole heckuva lot harder. Yet, for players on the Boston Bruins — both past and present — giving back has never been an issue. In fact, it’s been as consistent as a Zdeno Chara slapshot, Patrice Bergeron assist, Brad Marchand breakaway, or Tuukka two-pad stacker. You can count on all of the above just like you can count on anyone wearing a B’s sweater to do their part in the community.

It’s setting this example both on and off the ice where the best Bruins players have excelled most recently. And it’s the reason why some of our favorites from yesteryear continue to be talked about and admired today. Here are just some of the ways generous gents wearing the Black N’ Gold have shown the best kind of charity to local New England charities over the years, and why we think the world of them for it (I’m sure I’ll miss mentioning some of the charitable ways the B’s have bettered their community, but that’s a nice problem to have I think)!

Bruins Wives’ Charity Carnival

Bruins Charity Carnival Shirt(“Charity Carnival” – Photo Credit: Etsy)

This was my first introduction to generosity with a capital ‘G’ for players wearing the spoked capital ‘B.’ As you can see from the vintage shirt pictured above, the slogan B’cause we care, were ‘Bruin’ up a better Boston, fit the team, city, and organization to a ‘T’ (another Boston wink & nod). While no longer in existence, the Bruins Wives’ Charity Carnival raised money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and featured the most popular B’s roster players of the era — along with their spouses — playing hockey games, holding competitions, fielding Q&A’s, signing autographs, and plenty more, all in the heart of “The Garden,” old and new. If I still lived in Western Massachusetts, I’d have driven to my parents’ home and raided the basement to find all my old Charity Carnival programs, pictures, pins and the like. It was an eye-opening experience for any young B’s fan not only because you got to meet your favorite players, but also because you met many kids your age benefiting from the CFF. To see first-hand what “giving back” looks like had a profound effect and I’ll forever be grateful to the B’s for instilling that commitment to community within me.

The Cam Neely Foundation

Nashville Predators v Boston Bruins(“The Neely House” – Photo Credit: CamNeelyFoundation.org)

No. 8 was my favorite player growing up, and as soon as I was a grown-up working in local media and often partnering with area children’s hospitals and clinics, Cam Neely became even more of a favorite of mine. That’s because in 1995 he started the Cam Neely Foundation for Cancer Care in honor of his parents, both of whom passed away due to cancer. Since then, the former B’s All-Star and current team president has worked alongside a dedicated foundation team to “donate over $30 million to Tufts Medical Center to design, fund and complete projects with immediate tangible results that have had a positive impact on thousands of families” dealing with cancer treatment, care and hospitalization, according to its website. We always knew Neely to be quite the prolific goal scorer, but these goals are achievements with life-changing results that have positively impacted countless Boston-area children and their families. Maybe we need a new hockey nickname for the B’s boss: “the Gr8 one!”

The Boston Bruins Foundation

Bruins Foundation.jpg(“The Boston Bruins Foundation” – Photo Credit: NHL.com)

This summer, Bruins owner Charlie Jacobs made a big announcement: the Boston Bruins Foundation, which started in 2003 as a way for the team to give back to the organizations that matter most to the fans in Boston, successfully raised more than $3 million to 150 area non-profit charities. Among them, “the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress, Operation Hat Trick, local Boys & Girls Clubs, Franciscan Children’s Adaptive Skating Program, and Massachusetts Hockey,” to quote but a few from the celebratory press release. One of the most notable beneficiaries of the Foundation and one that B’s legend Bobby Orr was integral in helping was the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey league team. The Bruins largest 50/50 raffle of the 2017-18 season donated a total of $200,000 to the team’s community relief efforts in the wake of the tragic bus crash that claimed the lives of 16 players and team personnel in April.

Bruins Broncos(Photo Credit: BostonBruins.com)

Other noteworthy sponsorships, partnerships, and collaborations from the Boston Bruins Foundation (with photo credits courtesy of all the respective events) feature both current B’s players and respected alumni all working together to improve, enhance, enlighten, and entertain the hard-working people and families who cheer on the Bruins:

  • The 15th Annual Boston Bruins Golf Tournament
  • The 3rd Annual Bowl with a Bruin Fundraiser (and yes, that’s candlepin bowling pictured for all you non-New Englanders out there)

Bourque Foundation

  • The 2018 Pan-Mass Challenge

Bruins Pan Mass Challenge

Patrice’s Pals

Pictured at the top of this article is Patrice Bergeron with kids from the Children’s Hospital, Boston as well as area youth hockey players. They are all Patrice’s Pals, which brings patients from local hospitals and other children’s organizations to the TD Garden to experience a Bruins home game where these deserving children are able to feel the excitement of a professional hockey game as VIP guests,” as the Bruins official website states.

(Photo Credits: BostonBruins.com)

Ever since No. 37 first took the ice for the B’s back in 2003 (FIFTEEN YEARS AGO…THAT’S INSANE), he’s been an integral, essential part of the team’s success. Bergy is a leader who sets an example through his dedication, hard work, and perseverance, Bergeron does the same when it comes to his community work. You could argue he puts the puck in the net just as frequently as he puts smiles on the faces of countless kids and families across New England. I’d say he does that even more! It’s hard to imagine where the Boston Bruins would be right now, both as a hockey franchise and as a charitable pillar in the region, without Patrice Bergeron. We could all be so fortunate to call him “Pal!”

Chara’s PJ Drive

Chara Cradles to Crayons(Photo Credit: Cradles to Crayons)

For the past 3 years, B’s Captain Zdeno Chara, whom everyone loves to call “Big Z,” has truly made a big difference around Greater Boston by leading the charge for the team’s annual “PJ Drive.” Like Bergeron, Big Z is as integral to the team’s success off the ice as he is on it, working as a mentor, leader, volunteer, and spokesman for numerous charitable causes & organizations, none-so more endearing than the PJ Drive, which benefits area youth in need. “Over 100,000 Massachusetts children have received PJ’s through the Bruins PJ Drive over the past ten years,” according to a team press release. The only other “PJ” with this much success in Boston is Mr. Axelsson (who I featured in a blog post about the B’s best scouts earlier this summer — you always “feel the need for Swede” when Per-Johan is around)!

Cuts For A Cause

This upcoming season will be the Bruins’ 11th season participating in the “Cuts For A Cause” program that benefits children’s cancer research at the Tufts Medical Center. As you can see in the video above, and as #BehindTheB has chronicled over the past few seasons, this event is a fan and player favorite. It’s also an incredible bonding experience for the boys in Black N’ Gold and is often referenced throughout the year as the time many players became even closer to one another and the Boston community at large.

Our friends at Bruins Daily on Twitter shared a few years ago just how positive and difference-making this event can be for the city. “Well done,” indeed!

Putts & Punches for Parkinson’s

Thornton Golf(Photo Credit: Twitter)

You’d be hard pressed to find any person around the city of Boston who didn’t/doesn’t love what Shawn Thornton brings/brought to the table for the team and the community. Just take a look at the homepage for “The Shawn Thornton 22 Foundation,” and you’ll see exactly what I mean. It’s one thing to be a Stanley Cup champion in town, and it’s something even more impressive to be a champion of the people. And that’s exactly who Thornton was, is and will continue to be in retirement. From his aforementioned Putts & Punches for Parkinson’s golf outing to his road & marathon races to his everyday volunteerism, he and his foundation are all about raising awareness, funding innovative research, and helping to relieve the burden and improve the quality of life for patients and their families, as his website illustrates. But here’s the paragraph that brings a smile to people’s faces:

Image result for shaun thornton bucyk award

“While in Boston, Shawn took on a very active role in the community, becoming a fan favorite of many local residents. He is no stranger to public or media appearances and is extremely involved in the charitable world. He regularly visited local hospitals, sat on the board for a variety of charity events, and was a spokesperson for Athletes for Heroes, a program that supports the children of fallen or severely injured soldiers. In 2009 Shawn received the John P. Bucyk Award which honors the Bruins player who has contributed the most to charitable and community endeavors.”

“The Chief” himself would be proud of all the recent and current Bruins players who go above and beyond the “B” to set an example on the ice and in the community. And good news for Boston fans all over New England — I don’t think this admirable trend is going away anytime soon!

One Time Bruin Jarome Iginla Hangs Up His Skates

Screen Shot 2018-07-28 at 6.03.43 PM(Photo credit: Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

By Jacob Albrecht | Follow me on Twitter @bruinsfan3725

Jarome Iginla will be announcing his retirement from the NHL this coming Monday on July 30th, 2018. In his 20 NHL seasons, he played 16 of them with the Calgary Flames after being drafted 11th overall in 1995 by the Dallas Stars who then traded him to the Flames. Of the remaining 4 seasons, he’s played, one was with the Boston Bruins. Iginla was originally a trade target of the Bruins at the trade deadline in the lockout-shortened 2013 season but ended up in Pittsburgh instead. That summer he signed a one-year deal to wear the black and gold during 2013-2014.

The 6’1″, 210-pound winger was a perfect fit on David Krejci right side, with Milan Lucic riding the opposite side. As it was when Nathan Horton occupied that spot, having two big wingers flanking Krejci proved to be very effective, and Iginla did not disappoint. He lived up to his knack for putting up 30-goal seasons, totaling 30 goals and 31 assists for an impressive 61 points in his 17th NHL season. He continued his strong play into the playoffs, tallying 5 goals and 2 assists for 7 points in 12 games. Iginla quickly endeared himself in the hearts of Bruins fans with his gritty, physical play, starting off the season by dropping the gloves in the opener:

Not long after did he score his first goal wearing the Spoked-B, a few weeks later against the San Jose Sharks. A typical goal of Iginla; driving hard to the net, getting to the dirty areas, fighting for pucks and ultimately giving whatever it takes to light the lamp when the Bruins need it:

While Iginla’s stint with the Bruins may have been only a single season and fell short of the ultimate goal, the Stanley Cup, it was without a doubt a great season and one that a lot of Bruins fans won’t soon forget. Jarome Iginla certainly showed himself worthy of the “once a Bruin, always a Bruin” moniker.

When it comes to the Hockey Hall of Fame, not many are as much of a sure-fire first-ballot inductee as Iginla. Throughout his 20 NHL seasons with the Calgary Flames, Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche and Los Angeles Kings, Iginla scored a whopping 625 goals and racked up 675 total assists for an even 1,300 points in 1,554 games played. He impressively scored 30 or more goals in 12 of his 20 NHL seasons, only 5 short of all-time leader Mike Gartner. His 625 goals tie him with Joe Sakic for 15th all-time and comes in at 13th all-time in games played. He won the Rocket Richard Trophy for the most goals in the NHL both in 2002 and 2004 with 52 and 44 goals, respectively. He also took home the Ted Lindsay Award for the best player as voted by members of the NHLPA in 2002 after a career-high, Art Ross-winning 96-point season. With those numbers and that amount of hardware, Jarome Iginla will undoubtedly be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame very shortly. Here’s the ultimate Calgary Flame’s 500th NHL goal;

In terms of his career specifically with the Flames, Iginla served as captain from 2003 to 2013 and led them to their strongest finish during his career, losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning in 7 games in the 2004 Stanley Cup Final. His totals with the Flames are very impressive; 525 goals, 570 assists, and 1,095 points in 1,219 games played. He leads the franchise in goals, points, games played and sits behind Al MacInnis in assists.

It won’t be long before Jarome Iginla’s number 12 will be raised to the rafters in Calgary and he becomes immortalized in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. Iginla will always be known as a great goal-scorer who played the game the right way, played it physically, and was one of the better leaders the NHL has ever known. Congratulations to Jarome Iginla on an absolutely fantastic and prolific 20-year NHL career, it was a privilege to have you wearing the Spoked-B even for just a single season.