The Latest Bruins Trade Buzz

( Photo Credit: NBC Sports Boston )

By: Michael DiGiorgio  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BostonDiGiorgio

The NHL trade deadline is 20 days away, and the Bruins are the center of attention.  Pierre LeBrun, a senior NHL columnist for The Athletic, posted an article giving his perspective of plausible trades throughout the NHL.  He predicts Chris Kreider to the St. Louis Blues, Tyler Toffoli to the Calgary Flames, and Ducks’ Ondrej Kase to the Boston Bruins.  

The hypothetical deal would send Kase to Boston in exchange for a 2020 third-round pick and prospect Oskar Steen.  Steen is a former sixth-round draft choice in 2016 out of Karlstad, Sweden.  Oskar is currently playing on Boston’s American Hockey affiliate team, the Providence Bruins.  Steen’s scouting report has centered around his feisty play combined with a lethal shot.  He was able to show off that shot during a Bruins pre-season game in September 2019.

Bruins Coordinator of Player Development, Jamie Langenbrunner, has given his take on Steen’s abilities. “He should be a very effective player for us in Providence to start, and we’ll see how quickly he can translate that to be on the radar for [Bruce Cassidy] and the guys [in Boston].” He has 16 points in 47 games as he transitions from the bigger Swedish ice surface to the NHL-sized rinks.  European hockey leagues play on Olympic sized rinks (200×100), where the AHL and NHL play on 200×85 sized rinks.  Once Steen adapts to the smaller arena, he could be an effective piece for an NHL franchise.

Another Athletic NHL writer, Scott Wheeler, ranks NHL teams’ prospects pools each year and where each player ranks within each system.  He ranks Steen fourth-best in the Bruins’ prospect pool behind Jack Studnicka, John Beecher, and Urho Vaakananien.  “Steen has underperformed. We rarely see players his age have the kind of impact he had for Farjestad last year. He was consistently their most dangerous forward shift-to-shift.”  He goes on to say Steen is on his way to be a complementary piece on an NHL roster.

If you’ve watched more than three Bruins games this year, it’s clear the Bruins have a plethora of complementary players.  The Bruins are still searching for their top-six forward.  It would be a welcoming surprise if Steen could surpass the complementary piece trajectory and become a top-six winger.  Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney has been doing his due diligence throughout the year.  There have been reports that the Bruins have a “back-pocket deal in place for Los Angeles Kings winger Tyler Toffoli.  LeBrun has Toffoli heading to Calgary, so if LeBrun’s predictions hold true, the Bruins would need to look elsewhere.

The Anaheim Ducks have had an extremely trying season.  They fired their coach and bought out the second-best winger in Ducks history (Corey Perry) this past off-season.  NHL analysts predicted their youth would carry them into a playoff spot.  Unfortunately, the Ducks sit 27th in the league standings, second-to-last in the Western Conference.  Their team has been depleted with injuries and a lack of consistency.

They have a few bright spots, due to strategic drafting.  Rickard Rakell is in-line to be their number one forward and John Gibson has been a highly-regarded goalie throughout the league.  Kase was once seen as a key cog in the Ducks’ future plans, but with how their past few seasons have ended, their General Manager could be looking to shake things up.  The Bruins would prefer Rakell but would have to offer a better package.  Anaheim is more likely to part ways with Kase.

Ondrej Kase was the Ducks’ 205th overall draft choice in 2014.  He spent his early hockey career in the Czech Republic and two invitations to the World Junior U-20 Championships.  Both years, he played alongside Bruins leading goal-scorer David Pastrnak.  The 24-year old winger is a versatile player who is featured in all of the games’ situations.  He currently plays on right-wing on Anaheim’s second-line.  He is featured on their second powerplay unit and has logged 30 minutes penalty kill time-on-ice.  He’s even registered one short-handed goal for the Ducks.

Kase showcased his incredible speed during this play and slick hands.  He is a shifty 5’11 forward who could fit nicely in the Bruins system.  In his first year with the Ducks, Kase recorded 15 points in 53 games.  The following year, he ended with 38 points in 66 games, but the injury bug started to latch on.  He would miss a few games due to a concussion and illness.

In his third year with Anaheim, he was on pace for a 55 point-season when he tore his labrum in his shoulder and would miss the next six months.  Fast forward to the current season, he has stayed relatively healthy playing in 46 games amassing 21 points.  His 21 points would rank eighth on the Bruins, tying him with Danton Heinen.  If he continues on his current pace, he will end the season with 37 points.

The point total is low, but he is playing on a horrendous team, and a change of scenery has paid dividends for players.  Charlie Coyle had endured a few consecutively rough seasons in Minnesota before being traded to Boston.  He was an immediate impact in the Bruins deep playoff run and is on pace for the third-highest point total of his career (41).  Kase could benefit from the same situation.  Kase would also be under the Bruins cap control through next season.  He is half-way through his 3-year, $7.8M deal and will be a restricted free-agent in 2021.

Don Sweeney has been wary of sending high draft picks to teams for rentals.  Chris Kreider is atop the NHL’s most expensive trade asset at the deadline.  It is almost a foregone conclusion the New York Rangers will net a first-round draft selection and a prospect for the impending unrestricted free-agent.  Most teams will likely be scared off by the high ask.  Tyler Toffoli is a name to watch if you’re a Bruins faithful, but the Calgary flames have also expressed interest.  If the Bruins want to avoid a bidding war, Kase could be their best option.

If LeBrun’s asking price is a third-round pick and Steen, Sweeney could be enticed enough to take the chance.  Anaheim may counter with a second-round pick instead and in that case, which is still a fair deal to be made.  Kase is not a rental, and he could potentially stop the Bruins’ top-six winger merry-go-round.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 164 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston at Minnesota: 02/01/20

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PHOTO CREDITS: (nhl.com)

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

Immediately after the NHL All-Star break and Boston’s week-long break, the Bruins are right back at it with their second game in as many nights since they returned. Last night, the B’s edged out a 2-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets in one of the most physical games of the season to date. A win over the Wild tonight in Minnesota would only continue that momentum.

Pre-Game Notes:

Arena: Xcel Energy Center – St. Paul, Minnesota, USA

Home: Minnesota Wild (23-21-6)

Away: Boston Bruins (30-10-12)

Bruins Last Game: 2-1 win vs WPG

Bruins Gameday Lineup:

Forwards Sean Kuraly (healthy scratch) and Danton Heinen (minor injury) are out while Anton Blidh and Par Lindholm enter the lineup.

First Period:

Boston looking physical to start the period with some good board play and hits from the opening faceoff. However, the first real chance to score came from Minnesota when defenceman Matt Dumba takes a shot to Jaroslav Halak, ringing it off of the bar.

In the second half of the first, the Bruins strike first. Torey Krug makes a brilliant move to get past the defenders and bury it past goalie Devan Dubnyk to score his sixth of the season. The tenacity to drive to the net and make the effort to score is what the Bruins need for a full 60 minutes tonight.

The Bruins were forced to go shorthanded late in the period when McAvoy was sent to the box for hooking Zach Parise, but a solid penalty-killing effort brings this game back to 5-on-5.

Aside from the goal, it was a solid period for the Bruins. There weren’t too many high-quality chances for Minnesota to equalize the score and the B’s generated some chances of their own. Good start on the second game of a back-to-back.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 12 MIN: 11

Score: 1-0 Bruins – Goals: Krug (6) Assists: Lindholm (2), Krejci (23)

Second Period:

Looking to continue a strong start to this game, the Bruins play well in the opening minutes of the second period. 3:49 into the frame, the Bruins draw an interference penalty, giving them their first power-play chance of the night. Following some good puck movement around the offensive zone, Brad Marchand finds Torey Krug on a cross-ice feed, allowing Krug to get control of the puck and fire it off the post and off the back of Dubnyk, going into the net. Krug’s second of the night makes it 2-0 Boston.

On the very next shift after the tally, Eric Staal takes another interference penalty for the Wild, giving the dangerous Bruins man-advantage a second consecutive chance to score. Only 33 seconds into the power-play, Krug returns the favor to Marchand, making a solid pass that allowed Marchand to blast a one-timer past Dubnyk and just like that – the Bruins have a 3-0 lead in this game.

As we pass the halfway mark of the game, the Bruins go to the penalty kill once again as Charlie McAvoy is sent to the box for roughing as a Wild player entered the defensive zone. During the penalty, both Marchand and Mikko Koivu get into a tussle together in front of the benches and the officials decide to send both to the box simultaneously. Not long after, McAvoy exits the box.

With 5:28 to go in the period, Torey Krug draws a holding minor sending Boston right back to the power-play. Following a few shots that created net-front battles, David Pastrnak ended up locating the loose puck and ripping it into the open net, scoring his 38th goal of the campaign and it’s 4-0 Bruins. The goal matches Pastrnak’s previous career-high in goals and it is only February 1st.

Jake DeBrusk took a penalty later in the frame, but the Bruins did a great job killing it off again, entering the second intermission with a four-goal lead.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 24 MIN: 19

Score: 4-0 Bruins – Goals: Krug (7) PPG Assists: Marchand (46), Pastrnak (36); Marchand (22) PPG Assists: Krug (29), Pastrnak (37); Pastrnak (38) PPG Assists: Krejci (24), DeBrusk (15)

Third Period:

Having lost large leads in the third period of play earlier this year, the Bruins need to keep the pressure coming and keep playing the same hockey they have been over the last five periods since the break. David Pastrnak nearly buries his second of the game off of a bomb of a shot courtesy of a Marchand pass, but the shot rings off the post and stays out.

Roughly seven minutes into the final regulation period, the Bruins go back to the penalty kill as captain Zdeno Chara was whistled down on a hooking minor. Boston successfully killed it off, thanks to a few big blocked shots by forward Anton Blidh, who entered the lineup for Danton Heinen tonight. He is making the most of this opportunity and he’s doing a great job. Back to even-strength.

Just around the ten-minute mark of the frame, the Bruins drive to the net, giving the puck to Torey Krug who nearly sneaks the puck short-side past the Wild goaltender for the hat-trick, but the defenceman in the crease stops the bid.

With 8:43 remaining, the Wild take yet another penalty and the Bruins have a golden chance to score their fifth of the game. Boston fails to score, back to even-strength.  Just over four minutes left to tick away, Mats Zuccarello spins and shoots the puck off of Halak’s shoulder and into the net, ending Halak’s shutout and making it a three-goal game once again.

Playing until the final horn is the key for the Bruins and they proved that. Andres Bjork does a fantastic job on the forecheck to get the puck loose for Joakim Nordstrom who feeds it right back to Bjork, burying it past Dubnyk to make it 5-1. Only a few shifts afterwards, Karson Kuhlman fakes a brilliant pass to Jake DeBrusk for the sixth goal, Bruins win 6-1 the final score.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 34 MIN: 26

Final Score: 6-1 Bruins

Max’s Three Stars

1st Star: BOS D Torey Krug – 2 Goals, 2 Assists, 2 Shots, 19:09 TOI

2nd Star: BOS F David Pastrnak – 1 Goal, 2 Assists, 2 Shots, 15:27 TOI

3rd Star: BOS G Jaroslav Halak – 25 Saves, .962 SV%

Boston will have the rest of the weekend off, preparing for Tuesday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks in Boston.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 163 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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

Bruins Prospect Lauzon Is Making A Case To Stay At The NHL Level

( Photo Credit: Boston Bruins / @NHLBruins / NHL.com )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Boston Bruins defensive prospect Jeremy Lauzon’s road to the National Hockey League has certainly been fun to watch as a person that tracks developing players selected in the annual league draft at the beginning of every summer. A product of the controversial 2015 Entry Draft that was held at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida, Lauzon was selected in the second round (52nd Overall) and with the small sample size at the NHL level thus far, the selection of the Quebec, Canada native is definitely paying dividends and proof that the scouting staff didn’t exactly fumble the whole weekend in Florida that was Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney’s first event as an NHL executive.

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Jeremy and his hockey development really got exposed as so many other young talented men increase their competitive edge and draft expectations in leagues like the nationwide Canadian Hockey League. Playing for the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in the skilled Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Lauzon caught the eyes of many thirsty scouts that were in the house on a game by game basis watching his strong defensive game and crushing hits either along the boards or opposing players entering the defensive zone. With the QMJHL Huskies, he contributed offensively with career 35-95-130 numbers in 200 games played but has seemingly transitioned his game to a shutdown role in the higher professional hockey leagues.

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Since joining the American Leagues Providence Bruins Lauzon has appeared in 126 career games production 3-24-27 and has been a workhorse getting himself noticed for opportunities like he’s currently having with his recalls to Boston. In my opinion, he boxes out players very well and has the intelligence enough to have defensive responsibilities against bigger forwards trying to create havoc in front of his fellow goaltender. Jeremy is a really good special teams asset as he forces players to make immediate decisions as he minimizes opponents space but also quick enough to get back and help with defensive coverage.

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In 19 career NHL games with Boston, he’s seen 16 appearances in the 2018-19 season contributing a goal to three games thus far in the 2019-20 campaign adding his second NHL tuck. It’s going to be interesting to see what the Bruins are going to do with the young up and comer and forever question of when veteran defenseman Kevan Miller is going to make a return this season or be ready for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. To me, if the Miller option of off the table, I’d like to see Lauzon get more time obviously but would hate to see him being used to go down to Providence just because he’s waiver exempt. The better players should get the time in my opinion, regardless of seniority.

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In the above tweet, co-host of the Big Bad Bruins Podcast Chris Blackey brings up a valid point of Lauzon’s presence when it comes to the B’s organization moving forward. If he’s not being shopped as mentioned above, what if he’s in fact with the higher Boston club to show what he can do while the Bruins look to move a current blueliner with the 2020 NHL trade deadline coming later this month on the 24th. Could John Moore be shopped or a player like Matt Grzelyck be a candidate to be shipped out of town to make room for the young Lauzon who in my opinions certainly deserved more time at the NHL level and adds that element of physicality on the backend that was missed during the 2019 Stanley CVup Playoffs? All remain to be seen of course.

Going back to his time with the Bruins top minor-pro affiliate the Providence Bruins, I like the game time situations Head Coach Jay Leach has put the developing defenseman to grow his game and allow him to dictate his ultimate success. He’s certainly been a rock on the blueline in his time in the AHL particularly this season with fellow players like Jakub Zboril, Urho Vaakanaienen, Alex Petrovic, and recently signed to AHL extension Josiah Didier. Hats off the Providence coaching staff and the support of veterans on the team that has all molded this work in progress into what many folks are seenin for the first time when he makes it to the NHL level.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 163 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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

Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston at Winnipeg: 1/31/19

NHL: Winnipeg Jets at Boston Bruins

Photo Courtesy Of NESN.com

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: Bell MTS Place, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Home: Winnipeg Jets (25-22-4)

Away: Boston Bruins (29-10-12)

Winnipeg’s Lineup

Forwards

Connor-Scheifele-Laine
Ehlers-Wheeler-Appleton
Perreault-Copp-Roslovic
Bourque-Shore-Harkins

Defense

Morrissey-Pionk
Kulikov-Niku
Bitetto-Sbisa

Goalies

Brossoit
Hellebuyck

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak
DeBrusk-Coyle-Bjork
Heinen-Krejci-Kuhlman
Nordstrom-Kuraly-Wagner

Defense

Chara-McAvoy
Krug-Carlo
Grzelcyk-Lauzon

Goalies

Rask
Halak

First Period

Both teams seemed to be a bit sloppy in the opening moments as they traded turnovers up and down the ice. Both teams also had no trouble getting scoring chances due to the sloppy defensive play. Patrick Laine opened the scoring after a great individual effort by Nikolaj Ehlers to give Winnipeg the early lead.

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The Jets seemed to tilt the ice a bit after the goal to put more pressure on the Bruins defense. The B’s began to put together a flurry of scoring chances to try to tie the game but Laurent Brossoit was up to the task. The Bruins continued to get chances in the latter part of the period as they seemed to have had found their legs. A huge hit from Charlie McAvoy resulted in a penalty on Neal Pionk, giving the Bruins a late period power play. Boston would go to a five on three after Josh Morrissey was called for slashing. Patrice Bergeron tied it on the man advantage after a nice feed from Brad Marchand.

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With the goal coming on a five on three, the Bruins continued with another man advantage, giving them a chance to take the lead in the final minute of the period. The Jets killed off the remainder of the period as the Bruins still had about 30 seconds on the power play.

Score: Tied 1-1

Second Period

The Jets killed off the abbreviated power play and got a tremendous scoring opportunity when Morrissey came out of the box on a partial breakaway but Tuukka Rask made an impressive stop to keep it tied. Matt Grzelcyk was called for hooking soon after as Winnipeg got their first power play opportunity. Marchand was inexplicably called for roughing midway through the power play giving the Jets a two man advantage. The B’s killed the five on three but immediately after Brandon Carlo was called for delay of game, giving the Jets another two man advantage. The B’s killed off both penalties despite the Jets getting a number of high quality chances.

Boston would go to the penalty kill again as Charlie Coyle was whistled for tripping, giving Winnipeg yet another chance to take the lead. The Bruins killed off another penalty which quickly was becoming the story of the game. Carlo was called for an extra two minutes on an instigator penalty prior to dropping the gloves which gave Winnipeg another power play opportunity. The B’s killed off yet another penalty as they continued to frustrate the Jets defensively. The B’s would pick up a power play as Luca Sbisa was called for an instigator penalty prior to his dust up with Karson Kuhlman. The Jets killed off the penalty despite the Bruins moving the puck very well.

Score: Tied 1-1

Third Period

At the tail end of the second period, Torey Krug was called for holding as the Jets would start the final period with a power play and an opportunity to take the lead. Boston would kill it off despite some great scoring chances for Winnipeg. Marchand would draw a slashing penalty soon after, giving the Bruins a chance to take their first lead of the game. Just 32 seconds into the man advantage, David Pastrnak found Jake DeBrusk at the front of the net to give the B’s the lead.

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Both teams continued to throw their body weight around in the third period, not wanting to give the other team an inch. The Jets started to find their legs again past the midway point of the period as they looked to tie the game. Winnipeg continued to make a push late in the period but Rask continued his strong night to maintain the lead. The Jets pulled the goalie with about 90 seconds to go but couldn’t find the back of the net as the Bruins held on.

Final Score: 2-1 Bruins

Three Stars Of The Game

First Star: Rask

Second Star: Pastrnak

Third Star: Carlo

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 163 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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

Top 3 Bruins Trade Deadline Targets

boston-bruins-don-sweeney-draft-062516

( Photo Credit: NBC Sports Boston )

By: Yanni Latzanakis  |  Follow Me On Twitter @yanlatz

The NHL trade deadline is quickly approaching and with it another push to the Stanley Cup Playoffs (seriously? it feels like the B’s were in the Finals a week ago). The Bruins along with every NHL team in the playoff race are laying out potential targets for the Monday, February 24th trade deadline. The Bruins under Don Sweeney have rarely made a humongous splash at the deadline in the past but here’s to hoping that changes this year.

The Bruins are often reluctant to give up top prospects and first and second-round picks for deadline trades. In 2018, the Bruins made arguably their biggest deadline move bringing in 33-year-old Rick Nash in exchange for a 2018 first-round pick, 2019 seventh-round pick, Ryan Spooner, Matt Beleskey, and prospect Ryan Lindgren who was a second-round pick of the Bruins. This was a pretty hefty return for a veteran forward at the tail end of his career and the Bruins went on to lose in five games to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Last season, the Bruins traded for Weymouth, MA native Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson as deadline deals and they both had big impacts on the Bruins run to the Stanley Cup Finals. However, the Bruins still fell short.

In my opinion, the Bruins go for it now and give up the picks and prospects to get another crack at the Stanley Cup as the core of Bergeron, Chara, Marchand, Krejci, and Rask is aging and time could be running out for the Bruins to make another run. Here are my top 3 trade targets for the Bruins at the 2020 NHL Trade Deadline:

1. Chris Kreider

Chris Kreider has been linked to the Bruins for a couple of years now but it seems as though there is much more traction on this rumor this year as opposed to in the past. It has been reported that the Bruins have had Kreider on their radar for the deadline virtually all season and I think he would make a great winger for David Krejci who is still desperately awaiting a locked up wing spot along with Jake DeBrusk.

Kreider would feel right at home as the Boxford, MA native would be yet another New England kid to suit up in the Black ‘N Gold. Kreider is having a solid season for the New York Rangers playing in 48 games and racking up 32 points through his 17 goals and 15 assists. However, It would be a little bit of a hefty asking price from the Rangers as they are in a full rebuild mode and would likely want a top tier prospect along with a first-round draft pick.

2. Kyle Palmieri

Another player who has been rumored to be on the Bruins radar is Devils forward Kyle Palmieri. The 28-year-old seasoned vet could help the Bruins on the right side of David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk as he is a right-shot. Palmieri has appeared in 46 games with New Jersey and has scored 17 goals and dished out 16 assists for 33 points. He is a rugged player who can put the puck in the net but also a tough player who is not afraid to scrap and could be a perfect fit in the Bruins lineup.

Palmieri has another year after this on his deal worth a $4.65 million cap hit which could be beneficial to the Bruins if he fits in the Bruins lineup. The Bruins got a similar situation with Charlie Coyle coming over to the Bruins last season with a year left on his deal so he was not a traditional “deadline rental” player. Obviously, for this deal to happen, the Bruins would need to move a roster player to create cap room for the addition of Palmieri.

3. Andreas Athanasiou

This one might come as a surprise to many as he isn’t a top tier NHL player right now but he is a highly thought of young forward across the NHL. The 25-year-old Greek-Canadian from Woodbridge, Ontario has incredible speed and great hands (maybe he can help the Bruins in the shootout down the stretch?). He currently has five goals and 14 assists for 19 points this season in 36 games but is currently battling an injury and sitting out a few games this weekend for Detroit. This would be a cheaper deal for the Bruins than Kreider and they would get a younger, faster, and extremely talented winger. Although there is some risk with his recent injury and the fact that he hasn’t completely broken out just yet.

Other Notable Trade Targets:

Ottawa Senators F Jean-Gabriel Pageau

Los Angeles Kings F Tyler Toffoli

San Jose Sharks D Brenden Dillon

 

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 162 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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

Bruins Prospect Lauko Is Starting To Skate After Mid-Season Injury

( Photo Credit:  Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Per RinkSideRhodeIsland.com founder Mark Divver below, Bruins prospect forward Jakub Lauko attended a pre-practice skate session presumably for the first time since his mid-season knee injury. Lauko, a former 2018 third-round selection of the National Hockey Leagues Boston Bruins only managed to appear in one shift for his native Czech Republic U-20 team that happened to host this year’s 2020 IIHF World Junior Championships from the beautiful cities of Ostrava and Trinec. It honestly doesn’t matter what time of any game or everyday life an injury happens it’s certainly unfortunate but 53 seconds into the game was all that was needed before being taken off the ice seeking medical attention.

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Lauko’s development since he was selected in the summer of 2018 has been exciting to watch but it’s also come with a few unlucky times concerning the injury bug. Now I’m not saying this is trending into a prone situation or to be high alerted by my opinions but he did get banged up in his rookie year in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League scoring 41 points in 44 games. During his first full season of North American hockey and smaller ice sheet the game comes, quicker and he did see time on the IR during the regular season and 2018-19 Memorial Cup Championship year for the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. Lauko has the capabilities to be a crafty fast forward and offensive threat on the scoresheet but his game also comes with a considerable amount of jam incorporated into his heavy style game.

This season with the American Hockey Leagues Providence Bruins the top minor-pro affiliate of the NHL’s Boston Bruins the 19-year-old versatile forward has appeared in only 18 games posting 4-4-8 since his return from NHL training camp. In his AHL rookies season, Jakub played some hard minutes learning the professional game grinding it out on the third and fourth line left side as higher seniority players get top-six roles. had an upper-body injury (shoulder) early in the campaign to return and spend another stint on the IR with another upper-body injury (concussion) in the video provided below that he suffered just before reporting to his Czech Republic team for the mentions WJC tourney.

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It’s good to hear that he’s back on the ice taking the appropriate steps to make a healthy return and his timing might be perfect as he tries to catch a Providence club who seems destined to make an eighth straight Calder Cup Playoff appearance.  This playoff consistency came off of three straight years without a postseason appearance but has certainly been a player dating back to when current Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy and now Providence bench boss Jay Leach hope to bring the city’s second Calder Cup since being organized in 1992. The franchises first and only AHL league championship came in the 1998-99 campaign.

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The Providence club sits in the third position in the Atlantic Division and fourth in the Eastern Conference with a 25-16-2-3 record and 55 points. The B’s only trail Conference-leading Hartford Wolf Pack by four points with 30 games remaining in the 2019-20 regular season. Judging by Divver’s “timeline” of a potential return of Lauko would put him back with the team around the middle of February and a little more than a month and a half of regular-season games to stretch the legs and regain some chemistry. Jakub is a tremendously fast player with high intelligence of making plays in tight areas and the offensive ability to possess the puck in full stride and break away cleanly with some pretty filthy hands at times finishing it off is always a welcome wagon offensively.

Lauko is currently on year one of his three-year entry-level contract so there’s plenty of time to mold this young man to gain a little muscle and round out his overall game. Although, I heard he was tough to teach the North American two-way style game in the early season of his rookie year in the “Q” his knowledge grew stronger and how to be an effective 200-foot game forward was absorbed like a sponge leading him cracking the AHL roster after his time in the B’s NHL training camp. Jakub’s NHL expectations for me if you’re asking is at least two years away as this Boston organization has seemingly been comfortable at the patients of prospects and no rush tom insert said talent into the NHL lineup as soon as they leave the draft podium.

The Providence club gets back to work tomorrow night on the road in Binghamton, New York so get everything you need to know from our very own AHL Bruins writer Tim Richardson in his weekly Providence Bruins preview articles. Click HERE to read this week’s edition!

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 163 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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

Bruins Issue Statement On David Backes

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(Photo: Steve Babineau / NHLI via Getty Images)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

Bruins forward David Backes will not play for the Providence Bruins, Boston’s AHL-affiliate, according to the team. Boston placed Backes on waivers for the purpose of assignment to Providence on Jan. 17. The 35-year-old went unclaimed and cleared waivers on Jan. 18.

This morning, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney issued the following statement on Backes’ future:

“After speaking with David, we have agreed that it is in the best interest of David and the Bruins for him not to play in Providence at this time. David is fit and able to play, but in order to preserve all potential options for both David and the Bruins moving forward, we have decided this is the best course of action.”

Backes skated in 16 games for the Bruins this season, notching a goal and an assist to go along with a minus-two rating and 16 penalty minutes. The former St. Louis Blues captain is currently in the second-to-last year of a six-year contract with a $6-million cap hit. In 944 career NHL contests, Backes has 245-309-554 totals, a plus-67 rating, and 1,138 penalty minutes.

Sweeney offered no comment in reference to Backes’ long-term future or the organization’s plans for the forward, which leaves plenty of room for speculation. In any case, it seems to me as a perfect storm of an unfortunate set of circumstances.

For starters, through no fault of his own, Backes is vastly overpaid for what he brings to the table, which is something we already know and has been hashed out at length for several seasons, so there really is no need to dive back into that conversation. Making matters worse, Backes’ concussion history and overall decline due to age has led to the game passing him by, in a sense.

In my opinion, Backes could be evaluating the next steps for himself and his family, whether that is retirement or returning to hockey down the road. For the Bruins, Sweeney and co. could be looking at all possible options, whether it’s a buyout this offseason, figuring out how to fit Backes and his contract into a trade, or simply giving Backes space and time to sort out his future. Again, all of this is pure speculation on my part.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 162 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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Bruins Forward Bergeron Helped Teammate Through Mental Health Battle

Los Angeles Kings v Boston Bruins

( Photo Credit: The Athletic )

By: Yanni Latzanakis  |  Follow Me On Twitter @yanlatz

Patrice Bergeron is one of the best players to ever suit up in the Black ‘N Gold sweater for the Bruins. He has appeared in over 1,000 games while racking up almost 900 points, has taken home four Selke trophy’s as the league’s best defensive forward, a king clancy trophy, two-time Olympic gold medal champion, and of course a Stanley Cup in 2011. But best of all, Patrice Bergeron is one of the most genuine and caring individuals in the game.

In a recent video interview from TSN, Bergeron was interviewed about former teammate Gemel Smith who was going through a rough time in his life mentally as he was heading into a deep depression. It reminded the world that there is more to life than hockey. It also reminded the world how great of a person Patrice Bergeron is.

Last season, the Bruins claimed forward Gemel Smith off of waivers from the Dallas Stars. Smith only played in three games for the Bruins and was assigned to the Bruins AHL affiliate Providence Bruins. However, his short stint with the Boston Bruins was enough for Bergeron, a person who was also in a dark place at one time, to notice that Gemel Smith was not feeling himself. Bergeron explained that he knew there was stress and anxiety for a new player stepping into a whole new part of the country playing for a whole new organization but he still noticed something wasn’t right.

Bergeron initially reached out to Smith to welcome him to the team and explain that as a team and organization they were happy and excited to have him join the team. Bergeron knew that he was not in a good place and decided to help and shared some of his own stories and how he got through his hard times.

Bergeron was in a similar rough patch in life after he was hit by Randy Jones of the Philadelphia Flyers in Boston that knocked Bergeron out with a concussion that ended his season in 2007. Bergeron fell into a dark place and was having a tough time but shared with Smith and eventually the rest of the world that he got tremendous help from his family, friends such as Martin Lapointe, and a sports psychologist. He began to feel better by expressing his feelings and was able to break through the barrier of feeling alone and afraid.

Once Gemel Smith was sent down to the AHL by the Bruins, he did not forget what Bergeron told him during his short time with the NHL club. He began to see a sports psychologist and talk to his family and friends about how he was feeling. He began to feel better as he opened up about his struggles and could not thank Bergeron enough.

It is fantastic to see Smith doing well as he is now playing for the Tampa Bay Lightning organization for the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL. Appearing in 37 games so far this season, Smith has racked up 17 goals and 15 assists. Last season in 47 games with the Providence Bruins he scored 16 goals and dished out 24 assists for 40 points.

Wednesday, January 29th is Bell Lets Talk day, which is a mental health awareness day created by Bell Canada to spread awareness about the stigma behind Mental Health in Canada and has spread throughout the world through the help of hockey and the NHL. It is OK to not be OK! For every tweet and retweet that uses #BellLetsTalk, Bell will donate 5 cents towards Canadian Mental Health initiatives. To learn more visit their website here.

Watch the whole interview here.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 162 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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

Boston Bruins’ David Pastrnak Wins NHL All-Star MVP

( Photo Credit: Jeff Roberson / Associated Press )

By: Carrie Young  |  Follow Me On Twitter @carrieyoung512

David Pastrnak was awarded the Most Valuable Player award at the 2020 NHL All-Star Game after impressive performances in the semi-final against the Metropolitan Division and the final against the Pacific division. Pastrnak was named as the captain of the Atlantic Division team in a fan vote, beating out stars such as Jack Eichel, Auston Matthews, and teammate Brad Marchand. This was Pastrnak’s second All-Star appearance. He also represented the Bruins in San Jose for the 2019 All-Star Weekend, winning the accuracy shooting contest during the skills competition.

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Tuukka Rask was also awarded with a trip to St. Louis, but did not travel due to injury, leaving Pastrnak as the only Boston Bruin to participate in this year’s All-Star events. Pastrnak competed in the Shooting Stars event on Friday, coming in ninth place with 10 points.

The All-Star Game commenced on Saturday night with the Atlantic division facing off against the Metropolitan division. Pastrnak scored 26 seconds in, assisted by the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Victor Hedman.

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Later in the period, with the Metropolitan division leading 4-3, Pastrnak dangled to beat Braden Holtby for his second goal of the game. Hedman and Buffalo’s Jack Eichel provided the assists.

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After assisting on a goal by Hedman, Pastrnak scored his third of the night with an empty-netter to make it 8-5 in favor of the Atlantic division. With the win, the Atlantic division went on to face the winner of the Central-Pacific matchup.

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In the final game against the Pacific division, Pastrnak assisted on the first goal by Hedman 24 seconds into the period. He then scored his first of the game to extend the Atlantic’s lead to 3-1.

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The Pacific division ended up with a 5-4 victory. Despite the loss, Pastrnak ended the night with four goals and two assists and won the Most Valuable Player fan vote, beating out Leon Draisaitl, Anthony Duclair, and Matthew Tkachuk.

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Pastrnak is the fourth Bruins player to win All-Star MVP, joining an elite group with some of the greatest players in Bruins history. Bobby Orr won the award in 1972, Ray Borque won it in 1996, and Bill Guerin won it in 2001. Pastrnak was gifted a new car for his efforts.

Though the All-Star Game doesn’t count toward the standings, it’s a great opportunity for fans to see the league’s brightest stars all on one rink. David Pastrnak is certainly one of the NHL’s best, currently leading the league with 37 goals and accumulating 70 points in 51 games. He will be a player to watch in the race for the Maurice Richard Trophy. More importantly, however, he will be seeking to lead the Bruins to another deep playoff run this spring.

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Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 163 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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

Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston vs. Vegas: 1/21/20

Vegas Golden Knights right wing Alex Tuch (89) and Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug (47) chase after a loose puck during the second period at TD Garden.

Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

 

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Home: Boston Bruins

Away: Vegas Golden Knights

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak

DeBrusk – Coyle – Bjork

Heinen – Krejci – Kuhlman

Blidh – Kuraly – Wagner

Defense

Chara – McAvoy

Krug – Carlo

Grzelcyk – Lauzon

Goalies

Halak

Vladar

Vegas’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchessault – Stephenson – Smith

Pacioretty – Stastny – Stone

Carrier – Eakin – Tuch

Nosek – Roy – Reaves

Defense

McNabb – Schmidt

Holden – Theodore

Hague – Engelland

Goalies

Fleury

Subban

David Krejci returned to the lineup after missing the last three games with an upper-body injury, centering Danton Heinen and Karson Kuhlman. Anton Blidh slotted into the lineup for the first time this season, as he has been sidelined since September due to shoulder surgery.

Jeremy Lauzon jumped right into the lineup after being called up earlier today. He suited up once for the Bruins earlier in the season on New Year’s Eve against the New Jersey Devils. The Vegas Golden Knights, now led by head coach Peter DeBoer, stood in the way of the Bruins.

First Period

The Bruins came out of the gate with plenty of intensity, but Mark Stone put the Golden Knights on the board first just a minute and 24 seconds in, on their first shot of the game. Nicolas Hague took the first penalty of the game for the Golden Knights, 15 seconds later for interference. Luckily for them, they killed the penalty and held onto their lead.

Later in the period, Stone found his way to the box for tripping with 12:45 to go in the period. The Bruins couldn’t beat Marc-Andre Fleury despite playing with such intensity and generating some high-quality chances. Through the first ten minutes, they held a 9-3 advantage in shots.

Lauzon loves playing against the Golden Knights. Last season, he scored his first career goal against them. This time around, he sent a shot through traffic and past Fleury to tie the game 8:20 remaining in the period. His first of the season was assisted by David Krejci (22) and Karson Kuhlman (3).

Zdeno Chara sat for two minutes for tripping with 4:05 remaining. A solid penalty kill from the Bruins kept the game tied. Jake DeBrusk nearly broke the tie off of a great pass from Krejci not too long after the penalty expired, but was stopped by Fleury. The final shots through an entertaining first 20 minutes were 14-8 in favor of the Bruins.

Score: 1-1

Second Period

An early Bruins power play came when William Carrier went off for interference just a minute and 42 seconds in. The Golden Knights killed the penalty, but were caught with too many men on the ice just 25 seconds after Carrier’s penalty expired. Despite taking four penalties very early on, they managed to kill them off successfully.

Brandon Carlo took the second Bruins penalty of the game for high sticking with 10:45 remaining. Hague made it hurt on a booming one-timer from the point for his first career NHL goal. With 9:01 remaining, the Golden Knights regained the lead. Hague’s goal magnified how the struggles on the power play that the Bruins were experiencing can really sting.

Charlie McAvoy went pretty hard into the boards head first following contact with Chandler Stephenson. As a result, Stephenson sat for two minutes for boarding and McAvoy surprisingly remained on the bench, but in some pain, understandably.

Power play chances came and went, but the Bruins couldn’t convert on their fifth power play. They went into the third period 0-for-5 on the man advantage for the game with just three shots. Through 40 minutes, the total shots 23-16 overall and 9-8 in the period, both in favor of the Bruins. Converting on their opportunities was the problem, and they needed to fix it fast if they want a chance to win.

Score: 2-1 Vegas

Third Period

DeBrusk saw some good opportunities come his way throughout the game and was rewarded for his efforts in the third. His 15th goal of the season came in the form of a sweet snipe to tie the game. Charlie Coyle’s 18th assist helped set it up, as did Jaroslav Halak’s second assist of the season with 15:34 remaining.

Matt Grzelcyk made his way down the tunnel after a collision with Cody Eakin. Not good, although he eventually returned to the bench. Krejci’s goal was good though. A great effort by Kuhlman began to establish offensive zone time and with some help from Carlo, Heinen, and the hand-eye coordination of Krejci, the Bruins took the lead. The goal marked Krejci’s 12th of the season, plus Carlo and Heinen’s 12th and 14th assists respectively. The Bruins led for the first time all night.

Fleury was pulled for an extra attacker and Stone made an incredible effort to thwart Krejci’s bid for an empty netter, but it wasn’t enough for Vegas to tie it up. The Bruins held the advantage in shots at 14-13 in the final frame, bringing the grand total to 37-29 in their favor. They really had to grind to earn two points ahead of the long break that awaits. Halak made 27 saves in the win. Next up are the Winnipeg Jets on Jan. 31 at MTS Centre at 8:00 PM ET. The Bruins are 29-10-12.

Final Score: 3-2 Boston

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 162 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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