Who Is The Bruins Biggest Rival Today?

(Photo Credit: AP/Nick Wass)

By Joe Chrzanowski  |  Follow Me on Twitter @jchrz19

 

If you have been a Bruins fan for more than 10 years, you should have a healthy, hotter than the heat of a thousand suns, passionate hatred for the Montreal Canadiens. Good vs. Evil…Night vs. Day…Heat Miser vs. Cold Miser…none of those have anything on Boston vs. Montreal. As a boy, I went to a B’s vs. Habs playoff game in the late ’70s and witnessed a drunken Montreal fan on crutches “mouthing off” to a group of Boston fans and subsequently being beaten with his own crutches until police intervened. That’s how bad it was it was between the two fanbases at the time. Let’s take a quick look at this historic rivalry and decide if they are still the B’s most hated foes today.

Being two of the NHL’s Original Six franchises means that the Bruins and Canadiens have been facing off for a long, long time. They first met in December of 1924, with Montreal defeating Boston 4-3. This first game was sort of emblematic of the rivalry as a whole for many years, with the Bruins coming close, but ultimately losing to their rivals from North of the Border. Since that time, the two teams have played each more times (regular season and playoffs combined) than any other two teams in NHL history. The series stands at 469–345–103–10 in favor of Montreal, who has dominated at times. They have also met 34 times in the postseason, with the Canadians winning 18 straight series from 1946-1987.

(Photo Credit: La Presse)

I started following the Bruins in 1972, and while I was just a youngster, there was not a team I despised more than Les Habitants. If the earth had opened up and swallowed Dryden, Lafleur, and Robinson, I probably would have been the happiest six-year-old on the planet. As I was starting my decades-long fandom with the Bruins, they actually took a brief hiatus from the rivalry with the Canadiens, meeting them only once in the playoffs from 1970-71 (the Dryden series) through 1975. It would not last very long, but for that period, Montreal was on the back burner.

During those years, the B’s had a pretty healthy rivalry with the Rangers that briefly eclipsed the one with Montreal. Boston met New York in 1970 and 1972, defeating them on the way to two Stanley Cups. New York eliminated Boston in 1973. After that, it was the Flyers for a few seasons. Philadelphia and Bernie Parent (a former Bruin) beat Boston in the Stanley Cup Final in 1974 in a grueling six-game series and also eliminated them in 1976. The Bruins had the upper hand in 1977 and 1978, besting the Flyers in the semi-finals both of those seasons. Not to worry though, Montreal was already marching back to the forefront of Bruin’s fan’s hit-lists.

From 1977-1979 the teams met in three straight postseasons, with the Habs winning all three series, two in the Finals. As an avid 11-13-year-old B’s fan and hockey player during that stretch was particularly hard on me, with some tears being shed. I had the pleasure and good luck to attend Game Four’s in both 78 and 79, both 4-3 OT wins for the Bruins. I have not experienced that kind of atmosphere at a hockey game since, and have attended many. My absolute joy both years was obviously short-lived. Despite the Canadien’s dominance an amazing stat for that era…from 1965-1979 Boston (2-3) and Montreal (10-1) took up 16 of the possible 30 spots in the Finals during those 15 years.

The 1980s were not much kinder to Boston, as they lost five of the six series in that decade when the teams faced off (1984, 85, 86, 87, 89). The lone exception was 1988 when a Bruins team led by Cam Neely and Ray Bourque defeated the Canadiens in five games in the Adams Division Final. This series victory broke a 44 year and 18 series stretch of Montreal victories. The B’s would go on to defeat New Jersey and lose to the juggernaut that was Edmonton in the Cup Finals.

The 1990s would bring a much-needed change to the rivalry from the Bruins perspective, with Boston taking all four series played that decade. From 2000-2014, the two Eastern Conference foes faced each other another six times, with Montreal holding a 4-2 series edge. At that point, the rivalry appeared to be alive and well, despite the fact that the NHL changed the season format between division teams. At one time, the two teams could have as many as nine meetings in the regular season alone, and it was down to four or five.

The one-time automatic opponents have not faced each other in the playoffs since the 2013-14 season. While the regular-season matchups are still intense, it lacks something without adding the intensity of postseason games to the mix. In my opinion, the two things most directly responsible for the slippage of this once-great rivalry is the NHL’s lack of emphasis on division games and Montreal’s lack of competitiveness in recent years. The Bruins are headed to their fourth straight playoffs, while the Canadiens have missed “the chase” two of the last four seasons, and are only going this season because of the expanded 24-team playoff format. While I am positive that this rivalry is not dead, it certainly is on life-support at this juncture.

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If not Montreal, which NHL team now makes the blood of Bruins fans boil? Pittsburgh? I guess you could make a case for the Pens, but the Bruins have not faced them in the postseason since 2012-13. Matt Cooke is gone, and while I like nothing better than hating on Sid and Geno, there just isn’t enough meat there. Tampa Bay? The Lightning have been one of the better teams in the East for the last decade or so. Boston has faced them twice in the playoffs during that time, but only once in the last five seasons. It’s close, but I would say that the Bolts are #2 on the hit list, until Boston sees them more regularly in the postseason.

I think if you ask most fans, the answer to the question, who is the Bruins’ biggest rival at this moment, is a pretty easy one. And the winner is…the Toronto Maple Leafs. In addition to being in the same division, the Bruins have faced the Leafs three times since 2012-13 in the playoffs. All three series have been absolute barn burners, going seven games with Boston winning each Game 7, one in extremely dramatic fashion. Toronto is a very talented team that just needs to get over the hump. Unfortunately for them, the B’s seem to be their kryptonite, like the Habs once were for the Bruins. Toronto has not won a playoff series against Boston since 1959.

Some might question whether Boston vs. Toronto is a legitimate rivalry with the series being somewhat lopsided? I would say the answer is yes for a couple of reasons. First, the last three times they met, it went to seven games, all the games were very close, and the Leafs could have easily won all three series. Second, the Toronto fans are easily the most dis-likable group since Montreal, and some would argue they are worse. At least the Canadiens had a history of winning, while Leafs fans are the most entitled I have come across. One would never know from talking to them that their team has not won a playoff series since 2004 (close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades).

So, while it is a little disappointing that the Bruins rivalry with the Habs has simmered in recent years, it’s good to know that their neighbors to the south and west have picked up the torch until Montreal gets back on their feet. Here’s to another seven-game series this postseason, with the B’s winning their fourth straight against Toronto in heartbreaking fashion (fingers crossed).

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 184 that we recorded below on 6-28-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher!

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

Three Bruins To Watch In the Upcoming 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs

( Photo Credit: AP Photo/Charles Krupa )

By Jack Cinquegrana | Follow me on Twitter @bruinschewy

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

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

Three Players That Need to Have Breakout Playoff Performances

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

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

( Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images )

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

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

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

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

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

(Photo Credit: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 184 that we recorded below on 6-28-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher!

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

Top Ten Greatest Canadian Boston Bruins of All-Time: #10 – #6

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Maddie Meyer / Getty Images)

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

Today, July 1st, 2020 is Canada’s 153rd birthday – more commonly known as Canada Day. In celebration of this historical day, I decided to take a look back on some of the greatest players from the Great White North that dawned that infamous Spoked-B sweater of the Boston Bruins. This list was incredibly difficult to make, but it could make for some fun discussions. Without further ado, let’s dive right into the Top Ten Greatest Canadian Boston Bruins of All-Time!

10 – Eddie Shore (1926 – 1940)

Born in Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan on November 25th, 1902, Eddie Shore spent the early years of his life on a horse ranch working hard labor – breaking in ponies, herding stock and hauling grain on the daily. While that may seem like a useless piece of information, those early days helped pave the way for Shore who became known as one of the most physical players during his era.

Immediately at the beginning of his career, Shore’s bruising style controlled the game and in the 1928-29 season, he led the Bruins to first place in the American Division and helped them go undefeated in the playoffs en route to the franchise’s first Stanley Cup in 1929. Shore continued his strong play throughout his career, winning the Hart Trophy in 1933, 1935, 1936, 1938 becoming the first defenceman in NHL history to win four Hart trophies and as of 2020, is still the only defenceman to have won that many times.

On December 22nd, 1933, one of Shore’s most infamous moments occurred. Eddie Shore hit Toronto Maple Leafs’ forward Ace Bailey from behind, causing him to go headfirst into the ice. Bailey was knocked unconscious and his career was ultimately ended right then and there. In retaliation for the hit, Leafs player Red Homer punched Shore in the face, causing Shore to fall onto the ice as well, resulting in seven stitches. The first large-scale benefit game in NHL history took place for Bailey in 1934 which led to Shore and Bailey shaking hands, one of the best showcases of respect in hockey.

Later on in his career, Shore helped bring the Bruins back to championship glory, winning the franchise’s second Stanley Cup – ten years after the first one – in 1939. Shore’s tenacious style was a huge factor in the victory. Shore retired after the 1939-40 season. He played 14 seasons with Boston, scoring 284 points in 551 games and two Stanley Cups. Eddie Shore was inducted into the Hockey Hall-of-Fame in 1947 and his #2 was retired by the Bruins that same year.

9 – Wayne Cashman (1964 – 1983)

Wayne Cashman, born in Kingston, Ontario on June 24th, 1945, played for the Black and Gold for 17 seasons, starting out in the 1964-65 campaign where he skated in one game. Cashman was a solid player for the Bruins, skating on a line with Phil Esposito and Ken Hodge – the line that set an NHL record at the time with 336 points combined. During the Bruins’ Stanley Cup run in 1970, Cashman scored 9 points in 14 games.

During the 1970-71 campaign, Cashman scored 21-58-77 totals in 77 games played for the Bruins, setting a new career-high in points that would later be broken in 1974 when he posted an 84-point season. However, Cashman was never known for his personal statistics. “Cash” was the tough, physical player that battled hard in the boards for pucks and was there to stand up for his teammates – especially Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito. Teammate Derek Sanderson said the following about Cashman:

“You could see a guy go into a corner after the puck, and just before he got to it, he stopped and flinched a bit when he saw Cash. That’s when you knew you got him on the ropes,” – Derek Sanderson 

Cashman won a second Stanley Cup with the Bruins in 1972 and went on to play over 1,000 games with the franchise, including the final six seasons as captain, before retiring from playing in 1983 – the final player from the Original Six to retire. Following his playing career, Cashman spent 16 years in various coaching positions throughout the NHL. He ended his coaching career as an assistant with the Bruins in 2006. Wayne Cashman scored 277-516-793 numbers in 1027 games – all for Boston.

8 – Cecil “Tiny” Thompson (1928 – 1940)

Cecil “Tiny” Thompson, born in Sandon, British Columbia, was another member of the early Boston Bruins and is known today as one of the best goaltenders to play for the organization. Throughout eleven seasons in Boston (and two in Detroit) Thompson accumulated 284 wins, 194 losses, 75 ties, and 84 shutouts throughout 553 career NHL games.

As of July 1st, 2020, Thompson is all over the Boston Bruins record books. He ranks second in games played (behind Tuukka Rask), second in wins (behind Tuukka Rask), first in career goals-against-average (1.99), and first in shutouts (74). Thompson’s overall 81 shutouts (7 with Detroit) rank 6th in NHL history. Thompson was apart of Boston’s first Stanley Cup back in 1929 and won a total of four Vezina trophies as the best goaltender in the NHL. He was also named as an All-Star on four occasions as well.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (George Rinhart/Corbis via Getty Images)

Cecil is also known for being one of the first netminders to perfect and popularize the technique of catching the puck in his glove – known today as a glove save. Before then, it was not common for goalies to grab the puck, but his skill allowed him to do so, paving the way for future players. Also, he was the first NHL goaltender to record an assist back in the 1935-36 season.

Tiny Thompson retired from the National Hockey League after the 1939-40 season. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall-of-Fame in 1959.

Note: It was a true toss-up for me to put either Thompson or Gerry Cheevers. Due to the statistics being slightly in favor of Thompson, I decided to put him instead. However, there is a true argument for Cheevers due to his impact on the Bruins winning the Cup in 1970 and 1972 as well as the sentimental value he holds with Boston Bruins fans. 

7 – Rick Middleton (1974 – 1988)

Rick “Nifty” Middleton was born in Toronto, Ontario back on December 4th, 1953, and is the most recent player to have their number retired by the Boston Bruins as his #16 went into the TD Garden rafters in November 2018. During his 1005-game NHL career (881 with the Bruins), Middleton was one of the better scorers of his generation. As of July 1st, 2020, Middleton is fourth in Bruins all-time points and 3rd all-time in Bruins goals.

From 1978 to 1982, Middleton led the Bruins in points and also led the Bruins in goals for six consecutive seasons. To this day, Middleton’s 19 points in a single playoff series against the Buffalo Sabres still holds as an NHL record and has helped contribute to him being 5th in the Boston Bruins organization for playoff scoring. The reason for “Nifty” being so dangerous? He was one of the best one-on-one players in the league during his career and former teammate Wayne Cashman confirmed that:

“He was the most exciting one-on-one player in hockey when he was in his prime”- former teammate Wayne Cashman 

In 1005 career regular-season games, Rick Middleton scored 448 goals and 540 assists for 988 points in addition to his 100 points in 111 career playoff games. While the prestigious Stanley Cup managed to stay out of his grasps in his 14-year career, Middleton goes down as one of the best Bruins of his generation and in my opinion, deserves a spot in the Hockey Hall-of-Fame.

6 – Cam Neely – (1983 – 1996)

A native of Comox, Britsh Columbia, Cam Neely is widely regarded as one of the greatest “power-forwards” in NHL history. In fact, Neely was essentially the first player to be referred to as a power forward in the league and it is genuinely the only proper description of his playstyle. Neely began his NHL career with his home province team of the Vancouver Canucks but only played three seasons before being traded to the Bruins in 1986.

From then, Neely went on to play 525 regular-season games across ten seasons with the Boston Bruins scoring a total of 344 goals and 246 assists for 590 points in the Spoked-B sweater. Neely led the Bruins in goals for seven of those ten campaigns with the help of three 50-goal years (1989-90, 1990-91, 1993-94). Cam’s 55 goals in the ’93/’94 season is still the Bruins’ record for most goals by a winger in a single season and he is the leading playoff goal-scorer in franchise history with 55 goals in 86 postseason contests.

Cam Neely was named an All-Star on four occasions and won the Masterton Trophy in 1993-94 for dedication to the sport of hockey after he scored an incredible 50 goals in only 44 games played after missing a large majority of the previous two seasons due to hip, knee, and thigh injuries. Only Wayne Gretzky has scored 50 goals in fewer games in a single season – showing how dangerous of a threat Cam Neely was offensively.

Unfortunately, injuries forced Neely to retire from playing in 1996 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall-of-Fame in 2005 – one year after his #8 was retired by the Boston Bruins franchise. Cam Neely ended his career with 395 goals, 299 assists, and 694 points in 726 games along with 55-32-87 numbers in 86 playoff games. Today, Cam is the President of the Boston Bruins.

That does it for players ten through six on my list of the Top Ten Greatest Canadian Boston Bruins of All-Time! For the remaining players on this list, make sure to check out blackngoldhockey.com as it will be released on July 1st as well.

Information and Statistics courtesy of hockey-reference.com, nhl.com Bruins honored numbers, quanthockey.com, originalhockeyhalloffame.com, and the hhof.com.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 184 that we recorded below on 6-28-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher!

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

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

( Photo Credit: Getty Images )

By: Lucas Pearson  |  Follow Me On Twitter @LucasPearson_

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

1st Pairing: Matt Grzelcyk – Charlie McAvoy

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

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

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

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

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

2nd Pairing: Torey Krug – Brandon Carlo

(Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

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

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

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

3rd Pairing: Zdeno Chara – Jeremy Lauzon

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

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

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

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

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

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 184 that we recorded below on 6-28-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher!

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

What The Bruins Forward Lines Could Look Like In The 2020 Playoffs

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

By: Lucas Pearson  |  Follow Me On Twitter @LucasPearson_

I think we all need hockey back in our lives ASAP. Thankfully the return is getting closer and closer by the day. But as hockey comes back, a lot of questions come back as well. The Bruins, especially after a pretty busy trade deadline, have one of the deepest and most interesting forward cores in the league. With such a competitive group and only a limited number of spots, it’ll be very interesting to see how the Bs forwards lines shake up. Here’s my best guess at what we see. 

1st Line: Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak

It’s going to be reeeeally fun to see these guys dominate again. Obviously if the rest of the lines stall and aren’t able to generate offense, we’d likely see Pasta on the 2nd line to spread the wealth a bit, but there just isn’t a better line in hockey. To have a line that sports an 100 point player, Selke winner, and now Rocket Richard winner is something no other line in the league can do. 

Over the past three years, the trio has combined for 312 goals and 726 points in 625 games. Their success has been unparalleled by the rest of the league and man, I haven’t even started to talk about what they do in the playoffs. Obviously Marchand and Bergeron have a cup to their name and with the way Pastrnak has played in the postseason, I don’t think he’s too far behind. And for all of the advanced analytics guys, how does a combined 56.1 corsi sound? There’s not much more to say about the excellence of the three, so I’ll just move onto the more interesting lines of the Bruins. 

2nd Line: Jake Debrusk – David Krejci – Ondrej Kase

(Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY Sports Images)

The age old question. Who the hell is playing on David Krejci’s wing? Well I think the Bruins may have found that answer in Ondrej Kase. The young Czech native does a lot well, but the most important thing for him (and the Bruins) is that he puts up points AT EVEN STRENGTH. Two seasons ago, Kase potted 20 goals and 38 points in 66 games and guess what, 19 even strength goals, 35 even strength points and five game winners. The next year he scored just one PP goal out of his 11 in total and didn’t score a single goal this season with a man up. If Kase can stay healthy, I think Krejci may have a permanent resident to his right. 

The other two members on the 2nd line aren’t too much of a surprise in David Krejci and Jake Debrusk. The veteran and the young winger have built some solid chemistry over the past couple years, and while they’ve been a bit streaky at times, when the two are on their game, it’s a major asset for the Bruins 2nd line. 

Everybody knows how lights out playoff David Krejci is. He’s led the league in playoff scoring twice, including in the Bruins’ cup victory in 2011. When intensity is at its peak, Krejci always seems to step to the plate and his winger Debrusk has started to follow in his footsteps. We saw Debrusk’s flair for the dramatic in the playoffs of his rookie year. He lit it up against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round, scoring five goals (including this beauty) and seven points in seven games. 

3rd Line: Nick Ritchie – Charlie Coyle – Anders Bjork

(Photo Credit: Eric Bolte/USA TODAY Sports Images)

Outside of Charlie Coyle slotting in at 3C, the bottom six is basically all up for grabs. The Bruins and coach Bruce Cassidy have a lot of options. They could go young and fast, they could go with a more defensive outlook, they could try and out-muscle, or (like I have) a mix of all three: grit, size and speed. 

Nick Ritchie is a big dude. At 6’2, 234 pounds, the former Duck knows how to throw his body around. He averages over 200 hits a season and we saw pretty quickly that he knows how to drop the mitts. The winger has a surprisingly good set of hands in tight, and is not forgein to dishing out some A+ passes. Ritchie spent a lot of minutes in Anaheim centered by Ryan Getzlaf, and his new center in Charlie Coyle, has a lot of similarities to Getzlaf. He’s a big, strong center, just maybe with a bit more hair.

(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Last year’s acquisition of Charlie Coyle may have been the best move Don Sweeney has made in his tenure as GM of the Bruins. After a slow start to his career in Boston, the Boston University product was a major part of the Bruins’ run to the Stanley Cup Finals. With Coyle anchoring the 3rd line, it gave Cassidy the option to simply roll four lines. On a line that was money all playoffs, Coyle put up nine goals and 16 points to go along with great 200 foot play. 

And then that leaves Anders Bjork. He’s got skill, he’s got speed, he’s got high hockey IQ and he finally began to put it all together this season. After a couple injury riddled years bouncing between the NHL and AHL, the Notre Dame grad finally found some consistency to his game. He’s looked stronger, more confident with the puck and most importantly, has been able to drive a play by himself. His 19 points in 58 games aren’t going to blow you away, but he’s got all the little things down, the points will start to come. 

4th Line: Joakim Nordstrom – Sean Kuraly – Karson Kuhlman

(Photo Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports)

Aside from Sean Kuraly, the usual members of the 4th line have not had the same success as they had last season. Chris Wagner and Joakim Nordstrom have been far from bad, but they haven’t been as effective. So instead of the veteran Wagner on this line, I think Karson Kuhlman should get the nod. My reasoning? Speed. The entire league is going to have fresh legs, so having a guy who’s as tenacious as it gets on the forecheck with wheels is going to be key. We saw what Kuhlman can bring to the table in a handful of the regular season and playoff games and, he never looked out of place. In the playoffs, the waterbug ripped a goal (which was unreal) and had two assists in eight games. 

Like I said before, I think Kuraly is a shoo-in for a spot in the lineup when the Bruins return. He’s been as clutch as you can get when the playoffs begin. We saw it against Ottawa, we saw it against Toronto (a lot) and into the finals against St. Louis. He’s got a lot of skill for a bottom-six forward and has the perfect mix of size and speed. 

Stanley Cup winner Joakim Nordstrom (yeah, he won a cup) was awesome in the playoffs last season. After we curiously saw the speedster to the left of David Krejci a few times in the regular season, Nordstrom took off as a fourth-liner. He just works incredibly hard, winning puck battles and cutting off passing and shooting lanes. In 23 postseason games, the Swede had three goals, eight points and was second among Bruins forwards in blocked shots. 

As for the rest, we’ll certainly see Chris Wagner and Par Lindholm as defensive, able bodies. But I also think we get to take a look at some prospects from the AHL in the playoffs, you can take a look at who I think will have a shot here

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 183 that we recorded below on 6-14-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher!

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

Five Players You Forgot Played For The Bruins: Part Two

(Photo Credit: Game Worn Auctions | gamewornauctions.com)

By: Andrew Lindroth | Follow me on Twitter @andrewlindrothh

It’s always fun to look back at Bruins’ history and notice players you had no idea played for the team. Sometimes, you recognize that name and suddenly remember the short time they did have with the Bruins. Regardless, let’s take a trip down memory lane and look at some players you probably forgot played with the Bruins. You can view part one of this series here.

Marty Turco

(Photo Credit: Times Union | timesunion.com)

Yes, Marty Turco wore the bright gold leg pads for the Bruins during the 2011-2012 season. The netminder signed with the Bruins as a free agent on March 5th, 2012. He only appeared with the Bruins for five games and won two of those.

Turco began his career with the Dallas Stars and played with the team throughout most of his career. His rookie season from 2000-2001, led the league with 1.90 GAA and .925% save percentage. He led the league again in 2002-2003 with 1.73 GAA and .932% save percentage. He played with Dallas from 2000-2010 until his contract expired and decided to hit the free-agent market. He was then picked up by the Chicago Blackhawks during the offseason and played until the end of the season, then signed to the Bruins as a free agent in 2012.

Throughout his 11-year NHL career, Turco played in 543 games and won 216 of them, averaging 2.36 GAA and a .910% save percentage. He officially announced his retirement from the hockey world on January 17th, 2013.

Chris Nilan

(Photo Credit: Stanley Cup of Chowder | stanleycupofchowder.com)

To me, Nilan wearing the Spoked-B has never felt right. The Boston-native was traded to the Bruins by the New York Rangers in 1990 and played for them until Montreal claimed him on waivers in 1992. He appeared in 80 games with Boston while producing 11-14-25 numbers with 463 PIM.

He began his NHL career with the Montreal Canadiens in 1979 and played with them until 1988 when he was traded to the New York Rangers. During his time as a Canadien, he played in 523 games while posting 88-87-175 numbers with a whopping 2,248 PIM. He led the league in penalty minutes two seasons in a row from 1983-1984 (338 PIM) and 1984-1985 (358 PIM).

After his time with Montreal, he spent the next few seasons with the New York Rangers before being traded to the Bruins. Throughout his 13-year NHL career, Nilan played in 688 games while posting 110-115-225 numbers with an astounding 3,043 PIM.

Brian Gionta

(Photo Credit: Stanley Cup of Chowder | stanleycupofchowder.com)

Oddly enough, Gionta did have a short stint with the Bruins, and it was just two years ago back in 2018. His time in Boston lasted only 20 games during the 2017-2018 season and shortly retired after the season ended. The 5’7, 175-pound forward, had a memorable career though.

Gionta spent most of his career with the New Jersey Devils from 2001-2009, appearing in 473 games while producing 152-160-312 numbers with a +62 rating. He also became a Stanley Cup champion during his second year in the NHL after the New Jersey Devils won in 2003. After his contract expired in 2009, he signed to the Montreal Canadiens as a free agent and played with the team until 2014. His contract had expired during the off-season and was signed by the Buffalo Sabres. He played for Buffalo from 2014-2017, then was signed late in the 2017-2018 season by the Bruins.

The Stanley Cup champion announced his retirement from professional hockey on September 18th, 2018. Throughout his 16-year NHL career, he appeared in 1,026 games while producing 291-304-595 numbers with a +35 rating.

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Jarome Iginla

(Photo Credit: Black N’ Gold Hockey | blackngoldhockey.com)

If you’ve always been a fan of Iginla, how could you ever forget the one season with the Bruins? Iginla signed with the Bruins as a free agent in 2013 and suited up for 78 games while contributing 30-31-61 numbers with a +34 rating. Unfortunately, this would be the only season the power-forward plays with Boston.

Iginla spent most of his career as the captain for the Calgary Flames from 1996-2013, playing in 1,219 games and posting 525-570-1,095 numbers. He was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2013 for Kenny Agonisto, Ben Hanowski, and a first-round pick (Morgan Klimchuk) in 2013 NHL Entry Draft. That following season, he inked a deal with the Bruins and did a tremendous job. Unfortunately, Iginla wanted to keep his options open and signed a contract with the Colorado Avalanche in 2014.

The 6’1, 210-pound forward played for Colorado until being traded in 2017 to the Los Angeles Kings for a fourth-round conditional pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. After finishing the season with the Kings, Iginla decided to hang them up and officially retire from the hockey world.

Throughout his 20-year NHL career, Iginla suited up for 1,554 games and posted 625-675-1,300 numbers. As of yesterday, the NHL announced Iginla to be apart of the 2020 Hockey Hall of Fame and fellow Black N’ Gold writer, Lucas Pearson, wrote about it and can check it out here. Congratulations on an astounding career, Jarome Iginla!

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Zac Rinaldo

(Photo Credit: The Hockey News | thehockeynews.com)

Tough guy, Zac Rinaldo, was traded to the Bruins during the 2015 off-season for a third-round pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. He played for just one season, appearing in 52 games and scoring three points with 83 PIM.

He spent half of his NHL career with the Philadelphia Flyers from 2011-2015, suiting up in 223 games while producing 8-16-24 numbers with 572 PIM. After his time in Philadelphia, he has become an NHL journeyman, spending the last five seasons between four NHL teams and several American Hockey League (AHL) teams.

This past season, he played with the Calgary Flames but will most likely be hitting the free-agent market this off-season. Throughout his eight-year NHL career so far, he has played in 370 games while producing 18-24-42 numbers and racking up 753 PIM.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 183 that we recorded below on 6-14-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher!

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Boston Bruins Announce 2019-2020 Award Winners

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

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

At the end of each season, the Boston Bruins hand out numerous awards within the organization to the players who best exemplify the criteria. Today, June 18th, the Bruins released the 2019-2020 winners of these team awards.

Eddie Shore Award – D Brandon Carlo

Eddie Shore was a 14-year veteran of the Boston Bruins during the late 1920s and early 1930s, winning two Stanley Cups and being selected to eight All-Star games. Shore was the embodiment of a hard-working, tough Bruin and for that reason, the organization created an award in his name. The Eddie Shore Award, presented by the Gallery Gods, is awarded to the player who best demonstrated “exceptional hustle and determination throughout the season”. This year’s winner – defenceman Brandon Carlo.

Carlo, 23, played in the third full season of his young career and in only 67 games, set a new career-high in goals, assists, and points with 4-15-19 numbers. Playing 20:29 minutes per-game, Carlo has become a pivotal piece to Boston’s defensive core and will be a solid defensive defenceman of the future as well. This award goes to show the effort he puts in on a night-to-night basis and how he put his all on the ice to help the Bruins win. He joins forward Jake DeBrusk who won the award last season.

John P. Bucyk Award – F Patrice Bergeron

John Bucyk is one of the greatest Boston Bruins of all-time. Having played 1436 career regular-season games (2nd-most in franchise history) and his 21 seasons as a Bruin along with his 1369 career points and two Stanley Cups, “The Chief” is a perfect image of the Boston Bruins, having been apart of the organization for 62 seasons now. For that reason, this award is named after him and is awarded to the player with “the greatest off-ice charitable contributions”. This year’s winner – forward Patrice Bergeron.

Bergeron, 34, is not only one of the most respected Bruins, but most respected NHL players, and part of that is due to his incredible off-ice contributions to his community and people who are in need. While Bergeron has often been involved in great charity work, it is a recent gesture that showcased his class. Following the death of George Floyd, Patrice Bergeron made a lengthy, heartfelt statement regarding racial inequality and donated $50,000 – $25,000 to the Boston NAACP and $25,000 to Centre Multiethnique de Quebec in Canada.

In addition to the award, Bergeron will be awarded $1,000 from the Boston Bruins Alumni Foundation to donate to a charity of his choice. Throughout his career, the Ancienne-Lorette, Quebec, Canada native has truly exemplified class and respect to everyone on and off the ice and is very well-deserving of this award. This is his second time winning the award, (other in 2006-07) and joins Zdeno Chara who won the award last season.

Elizabeth Dufresne Trophy – F David Pastrnak

The Elizabeth C. Dufresne Trophy is commonly awarded in the final home game of the regular season, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that is not possible. However, for many years, this trophy has been awarded to the Boston Bruin “with the most outstanding performance during home games”. This year’s winner – forward David Pastrnak.

Pastrnak, 24, has emerged as one of the top scorers in the National Hockey League, winning the Maurice Richard Trophy for most goals in the league this season (tied with Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin). According to Hockey Reference, Pastrnak scored 28-21-49 numbers in 35 games on TD Garden ice in 2019-20, showcasing how dominant he is when at home. This is the first time Pastrnak has been awarded this trophy, ending Brad Marchand’s three-year streak.

Bruins legend Raymond Bourque won this trophy seven times (a franchise-best), while Phil Esposito and Bobby Orr each won it five times and Milt Schmidt and Rick Middleton won it four times each. While he has a long way to go to get there, David Pastrnak is proving at a young age that he can be a dangerous player for years to come in the NHL.

98.5 The Sports Hub Three Stars – F Pastrnak, G Rask, F Marchand

Finally, the Boston Bruins Three Stars that go to the top three players that were the team’s best performers during home games this season. The winners – forward David Pastrnak, goaltender Tuukka Rask, and forward Brad Marchand.

David Pastrnak was awarded the first star for his 28 goals, 21 assists, and 49 points at home in ’18/’19. Pastrnak finished as the 3rd Star last year, showing his improvement as a young forward in the league. The second star goes to Tuukka Rask who finished with a stellar 14-2-6 record on home ice with a 2.15 GAA and a .926 save percentage to go along with his three shutouts. This is the sixth time Rask has been named one of the Three Stars on the Bruins.

Finally, Brad Marchand scored 14 goals and a team-high 27 assists for 41 points in TD Garden this campaign and once again proved how dangerous he is when at home. This is Marchand’s fifth time being named in the top three stars of the Bruins and his fourth-straight season as well.

In addition to these team awards, the Boston Bruins also won the President’s Trophy, David Pastrnak was named a co-winner of the Maurice Richard Trophy, and both Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak won the William M. Jennings Trophy. Tuukka Rask is also talked about being one of the favorites to win the Vezina Trophy, David Pastrnak is expected to be a nominee for the Hart Trophy, and Patrice Bergeron could potentially be a candidate for the Frank J. Selke Trophy.

All in all, it has been a successful regular-season for the 2019-2020 Boston Bruins and the chase for the greatest prize in hockey, the Stanley Cup, is about to get underway.

Information and statistics used in this article courtesy of hockeyreference.com, nhl.com, wikipedia.com, and @nhlbruins on Twitter.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 183 that we recorded below on 6-14-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher!

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

Bruins Recent History (And Success) With Czech Republic Players

Dallas Stars v Boston Bruins
(Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

By: Lucas Pearson  |  Follow Me On Twitter @LucasPearson_

At this year’s Trade Deadline, the Bruins were pretty active players. They made two deals with the Anaheim Ducks, the most interesting being the acquisition of Ondrej Kase. While Kase is a highly skilled player with blazing speed and age on his side, the most interesting thing to me, is actually his nationality. The winger is of course a native of the Czech Republic, and the Bruins have quite the success rate with players that hail from the Czech Republic. So naturally, I had a little look at the Czech players that have donned the spoked B in the past ten or so years and wrote an article on it. The Bs have some skilled prospects in the system like Jakub Zboril, Jakub Lauko, and Daniel Vladar but due to their minuscule time in the NHL, they will only get this mention. 

David Krejci

David Krejci of the Boston Bruins celebrates after
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

It’s crazy to think that when it’s all said and done, David Krejci will likely go down as one of the top Czech players of all-time. He currently sits at 11th all-time in scoring with 686 points and can realistically get to number three by the end of his career, passing Milan Hejduk with 805 points. I feel Krejci never gets the recognition he truly deserves. He’s been instrumental in each and every deep playoff run by the Bruins. He’s in 11th place when talking about active players in playoff scoring and continues to prove how important he is to the Bruins. 

The slick playmaker has been a Bruin his entire career. After a few seasons where many though the best of Krejci may be behind him, the center had quite a resurgence last season. He put up 20 goals and 53 apples with a successful go of it in the playoffs with 16 points in the Bruins cup run. As underrated as a #2 center can be, it would be weird to think of Krejci sporting any jersey besides the black and gold. He’ll be a Bruin for life.

David Pastrnak

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - JUNE 06: David Pastrnak #88 of the Boston Bruins plays against the St. Louis Blues during the first period of Game Five of the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden on June 06, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo Credit: Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

He’s just so damn good. Just as the aforementioned Krejci, Pasta will also likely go down as one of the greatest Czech players we’ll ever see. He’s second (to a player that will be mentioned shortly) in points-per-game of all Czech players and he’s only going to continue to improve. Since he stepped on the scene, Pastrnak has been a game-changer for the Bruins. After two seasons where he played just about half the schedule and put up a respectable 53 points, Pasta took massive strides. He helped the Bs get back into the playoffs with his 70 point performance and his partnership with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand has developed into the best line in all of hockey. 

This season, Pastrnak was able to capture his first career Rocket, Richard, sharing the honors with Alex Ovechkin. He would’ve almost certainly hit the 50 goal and 100 point marks had the season continued, but his 48 tucks in 70 games aren’t too shabby. Since coming into the league as a teen, Pasta has grown into an incredible player, and most of all, a complete player. I’m sure his linemates in Bergeron and Marchand have contributed to his growth, but there is no question the 24-year-old will continue to have his name among the current greats for years to come.

Jaromir Jagr

(Photo Credit: Michael Ivins/ USA TODAY Sports)

And here’s the top Czech player of all time. There’s not much to say that hasn’t already been said about Jagr. Despite going overseas for three seasons (plus a season and a half missed worth of lockouts) the living legend has still managed to sit second all-time in points. A year after returning to the NHL, Jagr made his way to Boston at the 2013 NHL Trade Deadline. The Bs pulled off a deal to acquire the veteran, sending a 2nd rounder (which ended up being Jason Dickinson) and a couple of minor leaguers. 

On a shaky Dallas team, Jagr put up a respectable 14 goals and 26 points in 34 games. At the ripe old age of 40, the forward became a solid veteran presence for a Bruins team looking to capture their 2nd cup in three years. When he got to Boston, it was no surprise that Jagr was able to adapt to the Bruins’ system quickly and put up nine points in the last 11 regular-season games. 

When Jagr and the Bs got into the playoffs, it was a bit of a different story. After failing to get Jarome Iginla at the deadline and “settling” for Jagr, the Bruins were of course still able to go on a hell of a run in the playoffs. It’s not that Jagr was bad, he wasn’t, but it was remarkable how snakebitten he was throughout the playoffs. It felt like he hit a billion posts, and without a goal in 22 games, he still put up 10 assists in the Bs’ run that ultimately ended in the dying moments of Game Six. 

Tomas Kaberle

(Photo Credit: Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)

Now here’s a player that was on a Bruins team that went on a run, and DIDN’T lose in the Stanley Cup. Tomas Kaberle was yet another trade deadline acquisition by the Bruins, and man did they give up a haul for him. Going to the Toronto Maple Leafs was Joe Colborne (who at the time was a highly-touted prospect) a 1st round pick (which was used on Rickard Rakell) and a 2nd round pick (which was used to draft Mike Winther). Despite what they gave up, the Bruins went on to win the cup so there’s not much to deliberate on if the trade was a win for the Bruins.

Kaberle didn’t have a massive role in the Bs’ Stanley Cup run, as seen by his 16 minutes of ice time a game, but still remained solid throughout the playoffs. The defenseman played all 25 games and notched 11 assists and a plus-8 rating. And yes, they won the cup nine years ago on this day.

Clearly, the Bruins have had a pretty good track record with Czech players in their team. All four have reached the Stanley Cup and captured the gold twice with Boston and I think we all hope that Ondrej Kase can do the same. The speedy winger had just one assist in his six games with the Bs, but with all the talent he has, I can’t see the youngster’s drought lasting much longer as we enter the playoffs.

I’m not going to lie, I originally had a funny little piece on Andrej Meszaros and his storied Bruins career. But when reviewing the article, I realized he is in fact Slovakian. Nice.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 183 that we recorded below on 6-14-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher!

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

Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney Holds Virtual Press Conference

( Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images )

By: Lydia Murray | Follow Me on Twitter @lydia_murray12

Earlier today, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney held a Zoom press conference regarding the beginning of Phase 2 and what’s expected next. Here’s what you need to know about it:

Player Locations + the Beginning of Phase 2

According to Logan Mullen of NESN and Matt Porter of the Boston Globe, Pastrnak, Nordstrom, Blidh, Vladar, Vaakanainen, and Zboril have all returned home to Europe. Some of them have reportedly been on the ice, but nobody specific was named. 

As for all of the other players, Sweeney did not name who had participated in Phase 2 so far or even who was in the area. Coaches and management aren’t allowed to guide or watch Phase 2 practices and they’re voluntary, so it’s possible he may not even know who’s participated. But, it’s more likely in my opinion that he’s just protecting the identity of the players so people don’t know who is choosing not to return to the ice right now. The only two players we know for sure that are in Boston and have been at Warrior are Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, as the Bruins posted a photo album of them to their official website.

A Bruins Tests Positive for COVID-19

Sweeney also discussed the unfortunate news that broke this morning, which was that the Bruins had been informed that one of their players had tested positive for COVID-19. The player was asymptomatic at the time and has since tested negative twice. For more information, check out my fellow BlackNGold writer Andrew Lindroth’s article on the situation here.

All But Miller Expected to Be Healthy

In addition to talking about the beginning of Phase 2, Sweeney said that as of right now, every Bruin except for Kevan Miller is expected to be healthy and available for the beginning of Phase 3 (training camps open), which is slated to start on July 10th. This is obviously great news, as the team had some injuries to key players at the time of the pause, including Brandon Carlo and Torey Krug. Having everyone healthy at the start will put the Bruins in a great spot to get back up to speed somewhat quickly and hopefully hold onto their top speed going into the playoffs, and then go on a deep run.

No Updates on Upcoming Free Agents

The last notable bit of news that Sweeney offered was that there was nothing new to report on the Bruins’ upcoming UFAs and RFAs. This is far from surprising since nobody knows for sure what the cap is going to look like next season. It just doesn’t make sense to negotiate contracts when you don’t know how much money you have to work with. However, I do feel bad for the players because they’re left in limbo, not knowing what their next contract will look like or if they can make it work with the Bruins.

Sweeney Applauds Chara and Bergeron’s Leadership

Finally, when asked about his thoughts on Chara and Bergeron speaking out in support of the current Black Lives Matter movement, Sweeney applauded them for commenting and, in Chara’s case, joining a protest. He said it speaks to their leadership as human beings and not just hockey players, which I wholeheartedly agree with. This further proved what Bruins fans already knew, which is that both of them are true leaders on and off the ice, and the Bruins are extremely lucky to have them.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 182 that we recorded below on 6-7-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher!

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

The Boston Bruins And The New Stanley Cup Playoff Format.

( Photo Credit: Fred Kfoury III | Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

By Jack Cinquegrana | Follow me on Twitter @bruinschewy

Hockey fans everywhere have been blessed by the grace of Gary Bettman and the quickly drying pockets of the NHL owners. Hockey is coming back and the Boston Bruins have a great opportunity to put another banner in the rafters. Some fans are not stoked about the return to play news and I am unsure as to why that is the case. By coming back the NHL owners get to kickstart their revenue stream which makes them happy, the players get to finish a season that had many storylines and so many teams in the hunt, plus more teams than usual, and us, the fans, we get to watch it all unfold. Potentially two and a half months of playoff hockey and fans are unhappy because there is no one allowed at the games? Can we not just be happy that the best sport in the world and the best team is going to be playing in a 24-team tournament for the Stanley Cup?

THE STRUCTURE OF THE 2019-2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS

The way that is tournament is structured is that teams seeded five through twelve based off of points percentage at the time of the season stopping will be playing in a best-of-five series to move on to the Conference Quarter-Finals and re-seeding will take place. So, five will play twelve, and six will play eleven and so on and so forth. While that is happening, the NHL felt it would be fair to let the top seeds which avoided the qualifying round play in a round-robin tournament to determine seeding. That means Philadelphia, Boston, Tampa Bay, and Washington will play one another, and St. Louis, Colorado, Dallas, and Las Vegas will play on another. After the qualifying round, the regular Stanley Cup Playoffs will continue with 16 teams playing in best-of-seven series’, leaving eight eliminated in the qualifying round.

The Coronavirus took many lives all over the world, it is not to be celebrated but when life deals you a bad hand, you have to turn it around and try to make something of it. The NHL cares enough about the games and the playoffs and who wins the trophy, the new format is what we can take out of this situation as a positive thought. As a hockey fan, nothing pleases me more than knowing there will be more teams in the playoffs, they will be longer. We are going to get to see Patrick Kane and Connor McDavid and so many more superstars compete for the Stanley Cup, this new format is a great opportunity for the NHL to adopt this as their format going forward.

( Photo Credit: AP Photo | Julie Jacobson )

SERIES’ TO LOOK OUT FOR

For most of the teams in the league that is going to have a shot at at least the qualifying round, there are fair matchups all over the place. The Pittsburgh Penguins face off against the Montreal Canadiens, a tighter matchup than one would think to be a five seed versus a twelve seed. The Habs can get hot at any moment and being that they haven’t made the playoffs since 2016-2017, Carey Price and Brendan Gallagher are hungry to make some noise in the playoffs again.

Another matchup to look out for would be the other five verses twelve seeds in the Western Conference facing off. That would be the Edmonton Oilers and the Chicago Blackhawks. Connor McDavid versus Jonathan Toews, Leon Draisaitl versus Patrick Kane. This series is going to have a lot of skill and scoring that you will not want to miss and in my opinion the two most skilled players in the world on the ice for potentially five games.

WHAT THE NEW FORMAT MEANS FOR BOSTON

The Bruins will be playing a round-robin to determine seeding for the playoffs. Now, Bruins fans will be complaining about that, but I always remember the saying, “if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best”, and if beating Tampa Bay, Philadelphia and Washington proves we are the top seed then we should beat them. In games against those three teams this season, the Bruins have a record of 3-3-4 and a -1 goal differential. That is definitely not the kind of record we are shooting for but we are right in every one of those games, and when we beat those teams we are winning by two or three goals.

Boston was one game away from two Stanley Cups in the same decade. We have the skill, the defense and the goaltending to do it again. We can potentially see any Eastern Conference team in any round, and you know there will be upsets. With the Boston Bruins squad that we put on the ice today, I think we have enough firepower and defense to win the 2019-2020 Stanley Cup and go through the best teams doing it.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 182 that we recorded below on 6-7-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher!

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