Boston Bruins HC Bruce Cassidy Wins 2020 Jack Adams Award

PHOTO CREDITS: (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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

Boston Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy has officially been named the winner of the 2020 Jack Adams Award, the trophy given to the best head coach during the 2019-20 regular season.

Cassidy became the bench boss of the Bruins back in the 2016-17 season following the departure of longtime coach Claude Julien. Prior to his hiring, Cassidy was the Head Coach for Boston’s AHL affiliate, the Providence Bruins, for five seasons – only missing the postseason once.

Cassidy coached only 27 games in ’16/’17, but with the change of coaching the Bruins went 18-8-1 and managed to claw their way into the playoffs, ending a two-year playoff drought. While the Bruins fell short to the Ottawa Senators in six games, it became clear Cassidy was the right fit for the organization.

In 2017-18, the Bruins won 50 games for the first time since the 2013-14 season and made it to the second round of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs before losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning. In ’18-’19, Bruce Cassidy led the B’s to another near 50-win campaign, finishing the year with a 49-24-9 record. While the Bruins failed to secure the top spot in the Atlantic Division, they managed to defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs, Columbus Blue Jackets and swept the Carolina Hurricanes en route to the Stanley Cup Finals, losing to the St. Louis Blues.

That brings us to this year. Boston was undeniably the best team during the course of the regular-season prior to the pause in result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Bruins finished as the only franchise to reach the 100-point plateau and as result, won the league’s Presidents’ Trophy. With a plethora of injuries throughout the campaign, Cassidy kept the train on the tracks and with the “Next Man Up” mentality, allowed the Bruins to remain contenders in the Eastern Conference.

Bruce Cassidy joins Don Cherry (1975-76), Pat Burns (1997-98), and Claude Julien (2013-14) as the only head coaches in Boston Bruins franchise history to be named the Jack Adams winner.

Philadelphia Flyers’ Alain Vigneault and Columbus Blue Jackets’ John Tortorella finished second and third respectively in the voting done by broadcasters across the league.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 193 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, Vladar Agree To Terms On Three-Year Extension

Photo: Steve Babineau / NHL via Getty Images

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney announced on Sunday night that the team has agreed to terms with goaltender Dan Vladar on a three-year contract extension with an annual cap hit of $750,000. The deal is a two-way contract for the first two seasons, with the third being a one-way contract.

In 25 games with the Providence Bruins, Boston’s American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, this season, Vladar led the league in save percentage (.936) and goals-against average (GAA) with a 1.79 marker. On the year, the 23-year-old posted a 14-7-1 record, including three shutouts.

In 68 games with the P-Bruins over four seasons, the Prague, Czech Republic native holds a 33-26-3 record to go along with a 2.35 GAA and .916 save percentage. In 60 games with the Atlanta Gladiators, Boston’s East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) affiliate over three seasons, Vladar posted a .902 save percentage and a 2.95 GAA.

The Bruins selected Vladar with the 75th overall pick in the third round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. With the departure of Tuukka Rask from the NHL’s Return to Play due to a reported family emergency, Vladar is currently serving as backup to Boston netminder Jaroslav Halak.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 190 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: ECQF vs Carolina Game 5: 8/19/20

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

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

Only two nights ago, the Boston Bruins exploded for four goals in the third period to come back from a 2-0 deficit and take a commanding 3-1 series lead in this Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals series. Tonight, Boston will play their first of three chances to eliminate Carolina in a massive Game Five. 

Pre-Game Notes: 

Arena: Scotiabank Arena – Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Home: Boston Bruins (3-4-0)

Away: Carolina Hurricanes (4-3-0)

Bruins’ Last Game: 4-3 win in Game 4

Bruins Gameday Lineup:

Bruins forward David Pastrnak returns tonight for the first time since Game One while Anders Bjork will be scratched as a result. Jaroslav Halak gets the start in goal.

For Carolina, forward Andrei Svechnikov remains out of the lineup while Jordan Staal stays in after many questions were asked on him playing tonight following a massive hit in Game Four that caused him to leave prematurely. Petr Mrazek gets the starting job for the Hurricanes.

First Period:

Opposite to the early stages of Game Four, the Boston Bruins look a lot better off the opening puck drop. All lines moving their skates and are making the smart passes and plays to get a few shots on goal. Improved start, will be huge to continue that pressure as this game goes on.

With that said, just about ten minutes into the opening frame, Haydn Fleury unleashes a rocket of a shot that beats Halak just underneath the crossbar. On-ice officials took a second glance to make sure it went in the net and not off the bar and a quick look at the replay shows a perfect shot, 1-0 Hurricanes.

Not long after the game’s first goal, Charlie Coyle races in off the wing and fires a shot that Petr Mrazek stops with the glove. A couple minutes after that chance, David Pastrnak finds himself with the puck alone in the slot and shows off great patience to try and get around Mrazek and lift it over top, but the Carolina netminder makes the stop. 

This high-paced first-period continues with a 2-on-1 by the Hurricanes that sees Jaroslav Halak spreading across the entire net mouth to make a great cross-crease save on Justin Williams. It is quite evident this is an elimination game, opportunities on either end, and a much more back-and-forth game in comparison to Monday’s contest. 

With just under five minutes to go in the first, the Hurricanes are in the Bruins’ zone trying to set up an offensive zone play and in the midst of that, Charlie McAvoy gets his stick hooked on a Hurricane player, forcing him to sit for the next two minutes on a minor penalty for hooking. Boston’s penalty kill looked solid as they allowed zero shots against and had numerous clearing attempts down the ice. Back to five-on-five. 

In the final minutes of the period, the Hurricanes get a few solid chances to bury their second with a couple chaotic shots on net. A chance by Jordan Staal that looks to be going in due to a falling Halak is blocked by David Krejci who slid in out of nowhere. Valient effort to keep this a one-goal game late. 

Shots on Goal: BOS: 9 CAR: 8

Score: 1-0 Hurricanes – Goals: Fleury (2) Assists: Aho (9), Martinook (1)

Second Period:

Carolina, looking to extend their lead, comes out strong in the second. Jordan Martinook nearly capitalizes on a 2-on-1, but Brad Marchand used excellent backcheck to interfere with Martinook’s stick, ending the chance. Less than two minutes into the period, David Pastrnak gets called on a hooking minor and Carolina heads to their second power-play. 

Carolina got a lot more zone time on that man-advantage and in the dying seconds, nearly gets one past a sprawling Halak but even after multiple rebounds and hacks at the puck, they cannot strike. Zdeno Chara uses his stick to stop the goal and soon after, the Bruins send the puck out of the zone to Pastrnak who just exited the penalty box and is now on a clear breakaway, but trips on Mrazek’s pad and the puck stays out. Chaos once again.

Throughout the second period, the Bruins have seemed a bit sluggish while the Hurricanes get more chances on Halak. A lot of missed shots and missed passes, but the chances are there. Then, with about six minutes left to expire in the frame, Bergeron is sent on a partial breakaway but is hooked from behind. Bruins head to the power-play for the first time tonight. 

On that man-advantage, David Pastrnak brings the puck into the zone and after numerous quick passes, the shot from Bergeron deflects off Pastrnak’s skate and goes right to David Krejci who hammers it into the open net, Bruins tie it at one.

With less than a minute to go in the period, Jake DeBrusk barrels his way to the net, gets a shot on net with a rebound there for Ondrej Kase. Kase hits the side of the cage, but is nailed into the boards by Martinook in a clear head hit. Martinook is penalized and Boston goes to the power-play late in the second. 

David Pastrnak rips a shot that gets deflected high and with very little time left on the clock, the Hurricanes stop moving as the puck goes behind Mrazek. Bergeron recovers and just fires it towards the net. The puck hits the back of Mrazek’s leg and goes in with three seconds remaining, Boston takes a 2-1 lead with twenty minutes left in this Game Five. 

Similar to Game Four, once Boston scores their first goal, the momentum changes entirely. After Krejci’s tying goal, the Bruins were more relentless on the pucks, winning board battles, and made smarter plays, leading to a drawn penalty and another goal. Carolina is likely going to come out flying in the final regulation period with their season on the line. 

Shots on Goal: BOS: 22 CAR: 18

Score: 2-1 Bruins – Goals: Krejci (3) PPG Assists: Pastrnak (2), Bergeron (4); Bergeron (2) PPG Assists: Pastrnak (3), Krejci (6) 

Third Period:

Very early on in the final regulation period, Warren Foegele gets called on a holding penalty that in my opinion, was a very weak call, but the Bruins go to their third man-advantage of the game as a result of it. However, Carolina’s penalty-kill looked way better on this penalty as they kill it off and the game returns to even-strength three minutes in.

Still, within the first five minutes of the third period, the Bruins take a penalty of their own as the officials wave Joakim Nordstrom down on an interference minor and the B’s go shorthanded for two minutes. Carolina had some good time in the offensive zone and had a brilliant chance for a one-timer in the slot but Vincent Trocheck fanned on the shot and Nordstrom exits the box not long afterward. 

As the game ticks on, the Hurricanes keep the aggressiveness all over the Bruins. During a span of heavy Carolina offensive pressure, Charlie McAvoy recovers the puck at the corner boards and as he attempts to skate with the puck, Justin Williams gets his stick in between his legs and takes a tripping minor. 

On the ensuing Boston power-play, David Krejci has a wide-open net but somehow fires it off the iron. For the first time in this series, the Bruins’ power-play looks dangerous and the passes within Carolina’s zone were a lot more fluid, almost as it was during the course of the regular season. Penalty ends with no goals scored, back to 5-on-5.

Needing an extra push with 2:05 left in regulation, Rod Brind’Amour pulls Petr Mrazek to go with six skaters down by one goal. Bruins survive until the end, winning 2-1, eliminating Carolina in five games. 

Shots on Goal: BOS: 27 CAR: 24

Final Score: Bruins 2-1 – BOS wins series 4-1

Max’s Three Stars:

1st Star: BOS F David Krejci – 1 Goal, 1 Assist, 2 Shots, 18:14 TOI

2nd Star: BOS F Patrice Bergeron – 1 Goal, 1 Assist, 7 Shots, 50% Faceoffs

3rd Star: BOS F David Pastrnak – 2 Assists, 5 Shots, 20:28 TOI

The Boston Bruins advance to the second round, joining the Tampa Bay Lightning as the only teams to advance so far from the Eastern Conference. Bruins await winners of WSH/NYI and PHI/MTL series to find out their Round Two opponent. 

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 190 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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Reports: Bruins’ Rask Opted Out Due To Family Emergency

(Photo: Paul Rutherford / USA TODAY Sports)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask reportedly opted out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the National Hockey League’s Return to Play in Toronto due to a family emergency, according to WEEI’s Greg Hill. Per Hill, Rask said he had received a call from his wife about a medical emergency for one his daughters, and rushed to be with his family.

On Sunday, Dale Arnold of NESN and WEEI said that Rask had texted him saying there was a family emergency he had to deal with, but that things are fine now.

“He texted me back and I asked specifically if I could share this part of what he said to me and he said you can. The fact of the matter is he said to me there was a family emergency,” Arnold said. 

“He went on to say everything is fine now, but there was a family emergency and he felt he needed to be back with his family.”

News of the Finnish netminder’s decision to return home broke on Saturday morning prior to Game 3 between the Bruins and the Hurricanes. In a statement, Rask said, “there are things more important than hockey in my life, and that is being with my family.”

So far, Bruins management and Rask’s teammates have supported his decision.

“It makes me upset sometimes how badly [Rask] gets trashed for that. People aren’t in the bubble with us,” Bruins forward Chris Wagner told WBZ’s Dan Roche. “They’re not away from their families for months at a time.”

“Obviously we’re supporting him. We’re behind him and we understand,” Bruins assistant captain Patrice Bergeron said in his media availability after Game 3 on Saturday. “Family comes first. We’ve always said that.”

The 33-year-old is a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, annually awarded to the league’s top goaltender as voted on by the general managers. He concluded the 2019-20 regular season with a 28-5-6 record to go along with five shutouts, second in the league, a 2.12 goals-against average (GAA), first in the league, and a .929 save percentage, second in the league. Rask split the William M. Jennings Trophy with fellow Bruins netminder Jaroslav Halak as the two led the Bruins to the fewest goals-allowed among any team in the league.

In the league’s return to play, Rask posted a 1-3-0 record in four games, recording a 2.57 GAA and a .904 save percentage.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 189 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: ECQF vs Carolina Game 4: 8/17/20

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PHOTO CREDITS: (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young)

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

Following a Game Three victory, the Boston Bruins enter Monday night’s Game Four with a chance to take a commanding 3-1 series lead in this Eastern Conference Quarterfinals matchup. Charlie Coyle scored a goal and an assist while Sean Kuraly scored the eventual game-winning tally in Saturday’s contest.

Pre-Game Notes:

Arena: Scotiabank Arena – Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Home: Carolina Hurricanes: (4-2-0)

Away: Boston Bruins (2-4-0)

Bruins’ Last Game: 3-1 win in Game 3

Bruins Gameday Lineup:

Bruins forward David Pastrnak remains out of the lineup while Anders Bjork will get the bid on the top line with Marchand and Bergeron.

First Period:

Today’s game started early with a penalty on the Carolina Hurricanes as Ryan Dzingel gets his stick up high on Connor Clifton and the Bruins head to the power-play less than two minutes in. Even with four shots on goal, the Bruins cannot capitalize on the chance and we return to five-on-five.

Just about three minutes afterward, Jack Studnicka is whistled down on a slashing minor on Brady Skjei and will go on the penalty-kill for the first time. This man-advantage is a huge opportunity for the Hurricanes as an early kill and a successful power-play for the game’s opening goal could give them massive momentum. With that said, the Bruins looked excellent shorthanded, killing off Studnicka’s penalty – allowing zero shots on Halak.

Nearly ten minutes into the game, Justin Williams recovers the puck at the top of the circle after a tough board battle by his teammates and takes a shot. The seeing-eye shot finds its way under the glove hand of Jaroslav Halak and Carolina takes a 1-0 lead on their first shot of the game.

Following the goal, the Canes put on a lot more pressure in Boston’s defensive zone. A lot of heavy forecheck and making plays around the perimeter of the zone. Justin Williams and Ryan Dzingel are playing well and forcing the Bruins to clear the puck out of the zone. Great work to control any breakout attempts.

At the TV timeout with approximately five minutes to go in the first period, the Bruins have not recorded a shot on goal in over twelve minutes. Carolina continues to shut down any breakout attempts and Boston continues to resort to dump-ins. However, the Hurricanes are also struggling to get great offensive opportunities as the shot counts remain 5-2 in favour of the Bruins.

One of Boston’s best chances comes with 4:50 to go as Charlie McAvoy airs a puck high into the air, landing perfectly for Chris Wagner who tries and a dangle and finds the puck to Par Lindholm. Lindholm nearly squeaks it five-hold past Reimer but is unable to, and the game stays at 1-0.

In the final minutes of the frame, the Canes find more shots towards the net, and with some crease battles in front of Halak, nearly bury a few of them but the 35-year-old netminder keeps them out.

The opening frame comes to an end there. A very neutral-zone heavy period for both teams, not many shots on goal. Carolina had a stronger period, but it was not a horrendous twenty minutes for Boston. Things to work on in the intermission, especially to hold off the Williams line, but again, not a terrible first period for the B’s.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 6 CAR: 7

Score: 1-0 Hurricanes – Goals: Williams (1) Assists: Trocheck (2), Gardiner (1)

Second Period:

In the beginning stages to the middle regulation period, the Hurricanes keep some of the momentum that they built from the first, getting pucks in Boston’s zone and preventing any chances coming back the other way. The Bruins’ fourth line has been the best trio for the Black and Gold thus far and is the line that gets a few chances on James Reimer in the second.

Boston gets another great scoring opportunity a few minutes later as Brad Marchand intercepts a pass on the backcheck and immediately rushes the puck down the ice, making a couple nice moves to set up a partial 2-on-1 with Patrice Bergeron. Marchand feeds the puck across the crease for a Bergeron tap-in, but the pass hops over Bergeron’s stick and the chance disappears.

Boston gets easily the best chance to score all game so far as Anders Bjork shows off his great stick-handling and puck control in the Hurricanes zone, dancing around everyone before feeding it to Jack Studnicka who slides it across the crease to David Krejci. Krejci rips a shot off the post and attempts to get a rebound that doesn’t go in as well. In the meantime, the Canes take a hooking minor and Boston heads to their second power-play.

The Bruins controlled the entire man-advantage with numerous chances by David Krejci. Solid puck movement but just cannot find the back of the net. Not long after the failed power-play, Jordan Martinook skates along the wing and snipes one glove low on Halak – the same spot as the first goal, extending Carolina’s lead to two past the halfway mark of the frame. Not a great night for Jaro tonight.

Dougie Hamilton takes a point shot late in the period that gets deflected high by Martinook that once again beats Halak, but the on-ice officials rule it a high-stick immediately and the goal is waived off. This game remains 2-0 for Carolina.

With 22 seconds left to tick on the scoreboard, Dougie Hamilton takes a penalty on Jack Studnicka and the Bruins go to their third power-play of the night with a chance to cut the lead in half. Boston does get a few really solid chances including a pair from Bergeron in his infamous bumper spot on the ice, but Reimer makes the pad save on each one. Boston will start the third period with 1:38 of power-play time.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 17 CAR: 17

Score: 2-0 Hurricanes – Goals: Martinook (2) Assists: Aho (8)

Third Period:

Starting a fresh period on a limited power-play is a difficult thing to do and that was evident for Boston. No real chances and we quickly return to 5-on-5 early in the final regulation period.

Boston again continues to struggle to not only get into the Hurricanes’ zone but generate any chances whatsoever to strike for the first time in this game. Brad Marchand nearly buried one in a net-front battle but Reimer makes the pad stop while flat on his stomach. Boston’s offence is pretty dry tonight and large credit to Carolina’s defence for that.

Finally, a simple play leads to a goal. Jake DeBrusk slowly brings the puck towards the zone, making a sudden move to flip the puck past Haydn Fleury who gets caught turning the wrong way. Reimer comes way out of his crease to try and poke the puck first, but DeBrusk moves around him and puts it in the open cage. Bruins cut the lead to 2-1.

Just about halfway through, the Hurricanes attempt a breakout allowing Charlie McAvoy to land a monstrous hit on Jordan Staal – flattening him on the ice. Stall looked dizzy getting up and went right down the tunnel. McAvoy has laid some big hits this series but this one is no question the biggest so far.

Not long after that, the fourth line of the Bruins on another hard forecheck finds Nordstrom behind the net, feeding it to a hungry Connor Clifton who blasts a bomb past Reimer and just like that – we are tied.

The momentum in this hockey game has done a complete 180 as Boston is dominating play, is faster on the puck, and is forcing Carolina to play on their heels. As a result, Brad Marchand finds himself on a breakaway. With some slick hands and poise, Marchand buries a five-hole goal past Reimer to give Boston the lead.

Boston, not done there, keeps the heavy pressure all over Carolina. The Bruins are first to every single puck battle and every line is keeping the Hurricanes guessing. The DeBrusk-Krejci-Kase line that has looked so good all series long generates a gorgeous scoring play. Krejci, along the boards, passes it to Kase in the high slot. Wasting no time, Kase directs it to DeBrusk back door who makes a nice move and beats Reimer. 4-2 Boston.

Bruins keep the pressure going but as Carolina pulls their goalie for the extra man with just about 1:30 to go, Teuvo Teravainen shoots a backhander that somehow beats Halak five-hole and makes this a one-goal game. Carolina scores on their first shot of the third period, 18th of the game. Hurricanes, however, fail to add another and the Bruins win 4-3. Boston leads the series 3-1.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 33 CAR: 19

Final Score: 4-3 Bruins – BOS takes 3-1 series lead

Max’s Three Stars:

1st Star: BOS F Jake DeBrusk – 2 Goals (GWG), 3 Shots, 16:07 TOI

2nd Star: BOS D Connor Clifton – 1 Goal, 1 Assist, 3 Hits

3rd Star: BOS F Ondrej Kase – 2 Assists, 2 Hits, 14:29 TOI

The Boston Bruins take a 3-1 series lead over the Hurricanes and will have a chance to close out the series Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. EST.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 190 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!!

Breaking News: Tuukka Rask Opts Out of Playoffs

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Carolina Hurricanes at Boston Bruins

(Photo Courtesy of Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports)

By: Tim A Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter@TimARichardson

A little bit of breaking news just before the Boston Bruins and Carolina Hurricanes play the third game of their first-round playoff matchup, Tuukka Rask has opted out of the rest of the playoffs. In a statement made through the team, Rask cited his need to be with family at this time.

 

Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney met with the media this morning to address Tuukka’s decision. He assured us that there wasn’t an emergency situation at home with Tuukka and that his family was healthy and safe. Sweeney also mentioned that the team fully supports Rask’s decision to be with his family.

 

I want to say everyone here at Black N Gold hockey wishes Tuukka Rask and his family the best at this time. As we look to hockey, the Boston Bruins are lucky they can turn to Jaroslav Halak to start the rest of the way. Halak has played in 31 playoff games, with 29 of those being starts. He’s 13-16 with a 2.45 GAA and a .922 save percentage (stats courtesy of Hockey-Reference). Halak’s backup will be Dan Vladar. The young netminder had an excellent year in Providence, going 14-7-1 with a 1.79 GAA and a .936 save percentage with three shutouts (stats courtesy of the AHL). I hope everyone enjoys the game today. Feel free to send me any comments or questions on Twitter.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 189 that we recorded below on 8-9-20! 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’ Charlie Coyle Named Winner Of NESN’s 7th Player Award

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(Photo: Winslow Townson / Associated Press)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

This afternoon Bruins forward Charlie Coyle was named the winner of NESN’s 7th Player Award for the 2019-20 season, as voted on by the fans. Per NESN, the 7th Player Award is annually awarded to a Bruins player, who has performed above and beyond expectations every day for the good of the team without any expectation to be recognized.

During the regular season, Coyle notched 16 goals and 21 assists for 37 points in 70 games, all in the top 10 on the team for each category. The 28-year-old finished the regular season with a plus-nine rating while averaging 16:47 of ice time per game, the fifth-most among Boston forwards.

The East Weymouth, MA, native broke out during the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs with the Bruins, recording 9-7-16 totals in 24 games, tied for the team lead in scoring. Since coming over from the Minnesota Wild via trade, the 6-foot-3, 220 pound centerman has 18-25-43 numbers in 91 regular season contests – 2-4-6 in 21 games immediately after the trade.

Originally drafted 28th overall in the first round of the 2010 National Hockey League Entry Draft by the San Jose Sharks, Coyle has registered 109 goals and 176 assists for 285 points in 570 NHL games between the Wild and the Bruins. In 68 playoff games, the former Boston University Terrier has 16-15-31 totals.

With the award, Coyle will also receive $5,000 to donate to a charity of his choice. Current Bruins to have won the award include Chris Wagner (2019), Charlie McAvoy (2018), David Pastrnak (2017, 2015), Brad Marchand (2016, 2011), Tuukka Rask (2010), as well as David Krejci (2009).

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 187 that we recorded below on 7-26-20! 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!

 

NHL, NHLPA Ratify RTP; Bruins’ Playoff Schedule Released

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Yahoo Sports)

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

It’s official – hockey is coming back. Today, July 10th, 2020, the NHL and NHLPA officially ratified the Return-To-Play/CBA Extension following a 502-135 vote (nearly 79% in favor) that has taken place over the last couple days.

In addition to confirming the Return-To-Play plans, more details have emerged on the deadline for players to opt-out of the festivities. Players will have until 5 p.m. EST on Monday, July 13th to opt-out of the 2019-2020 summer training camp as well as the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs without a penalty. Players must do so in writing to keep records of who decided to participate and who opted-out.

It was largely expected that the results would be in favor of hockey returning to decide a 2020 Stanley Cup Champion, but we also heard the news today of the schedule for the games and for Bruins fans, when we will see the boys in Black and Gold back on the ice for their three Round Robin games.

As of right now, only the qualifying round exact schedule has been released as further details will be released as the play-in rounds and round-robin conclude. Below is the full, 10-day schedule for every one of the 24 teams participating:

The Boston Bruins will begin their road to the 2020 Stanley Cup on Sunday, August 2nd against the Philadelphia Flyers followed by the dangerous Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday, August 5th, and finally the Washington Capitals on Saturday, August 8th. From there, the seeding will be formed for the remainder of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Re-seeding will take place after each round ends, meaning a 1st seed position has more value.

Toronto, Ontario and Edmonton, Alberta are the official hub cities. The National Hockey League confirmed that the Conference Finals and the Stanley Cup Finals will be held in Edmonton. According to Sportsnet Stats on Twitter, this is the first time since 1925 that the entirety of the Stanley Cup Playoffs will be held in Canada. The Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup over the Hamilton Tigers due to a player strike in that 1924-25 season.

Below are some of the key dates for the National Hockey League starting at Training Camp courtesy of NHL Public Relations:

July 13th – Training Camps Open

July 26th – Teams Travel to Hub City

July 28-30th – Exhibition Games

August 1st – Stanley Cup Qualifiers Begin

August 10th* – Phase 2 of NHL Draft Lottery

August 11th – 1st Round Begins

August 25th* – Second Round Begins

September 8th* – Conference Finals Begin

September 22nd* – Stanley Cup Final Begins

October 4th* – Last Possible Day of Final

October 9-10th* – 2020 NHL Entry Draft

*Tentative Date

For the latest on the NHL’s Return-To-Play as well as everything in the Boston Bruins organization, make sure to check back to blackngoldhockey.com and follow me on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj!

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!

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 vs. Philadelphia Flyers – An Underrated Rivalry

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Boston Bruins’ Charlie Coyle shields the puck from Philadelphia Flyers’ Connor Bunnaman. PHOTO CREDITS: (nbcsports.com)

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

As one of the first franchises in the National Hockey League, the Boston Bruins have had their fair share of time to stir the pot with essentially every other team. Typically, when the word “rivalry” combines with the name “Boston Bruins”, the other five Original Six teams come to mind. The rivalry with the Montreal Canadiens, as fellow Black n’ Gold Hockey Podcast writer Joe Chrzanowski wrote about in a recent article, is widely regarded as the greatest rivalry in the history of the NHL.

As well, rivalries with the Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers, Chicago Blackhawks, and even the Detroit Red Wings are fairly well-known. These teams are rivals with the Bruins more-so because of the fact they were the only teams in the league at the time and played each other in high-stakes games often, thus creating hatred for one another on the ice.

However, in the 1967-68 season, the National Hockey League introduced six new organizations to the league – the California Seals, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota North Stars, Pittsburgh Penguins, St. Louis Blues, and the Philadelphia Flyers, bringing the size of the league to twelve teams instead of six. With more competition and more opponents, winning a Stanley Cup became even more challenging and opened the door for more rivalries.

As an expansion team, the Philadelphia Flyers had losing records in each of their first five seasons, making the postseason three times and losing in the quarter-finals each time – twice to the St. Louis Blues and once to the Chicago Blackhawks. It wasn’t until the 1972-73 season where the Flyers, led by captain Bobby Clarke, finished with a winning record of 37-30-11. Philly knocked out the Minnesota North Stars in six games but fell short in five games to the Montreal Canadiens in the next round.

In the very next season, the Bobby Clarke scored a team-leading 87 points to help lead the Flyers to a 50-16-12 record and the 1st place position in the NHL West Division. After sweeping the Atlanta Flames in the opening round and bouncing the New York Rangers in seven games, the Flyers were in the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in franchise history – against the powerhouse Boston Bruins.

The Start of a Rivalry: 1974 – 1978

Led by Bobby Orr and company, the Boston Bruins were one of the strongest teams in the National Hockey League. The Bruins won the Stanley Cup in the 1969-70 season, won 57 games before losing in the first round in the ’70/’71 season, won a second Stanley Cup in 71-72, won another 51 games in 72-73, and were coming off a 52-17-9 record in the 1973-74 campaign.

Boston eliminated both the Toronto Maple Leafs (4-0) and Chicago Blackhawks (4-2) in the previous two rounds which led to the Finals against Philadelphia. During the regular season, the B’s won the season series 3-1-1, out-scoring Philly 20-to-16 in those five games. Boston was arguably the favorites to win their third Stanley Cup in five seasons.

The 1974 Stanley Cup Finals was also a series between two of the scariest NHL teams at the time and quite possibly of all-time. The Bruins were known as the ‘Big Bad Bruins’ with the likes of Terry O’Reilly and Wayne Cashman and truly paved the way for the physical, hard-hitting teams like the Broad Street Bullies to even exist. Now, with the likes of Dave Schultz and Don Saleski, these two tough teams were going toe-to-toe with Lord Stanley on the line.

Boston took the first game, but the Flyers won Game Two in overtime followed by wins in Games Three and Four to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. In Game Five, the Bruins scored more than three goals for the first (and only) time in the series, winning the game 5-1. However, Hall-of-Fame goaltender Bernie Parent stopped every shot in Game Six as the Philadelphia Flyers won their first franchise Stanley Cup with a 1-0 victory. Parent was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy.

The Broad Street Bullies did not stop there. In the very next season, they dominated once again all the way to their second-consecutive Stanley Cup, defeating the Buffalo Sabres in six games. The Bruins, on the other hand, lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in the best-of-three preliminary round.

In 1975-76, both the Bruins and Flyers were top-three in the final league standings and found success early on in the postseason. Thus led to a semi-finals matchup between the two, a rematch from the Finals two years prior. The Flyers dominated the Bruins, winning four-straight games after losing Game One, sending them to the Stanley Cup Finals again. However, the Montreal Canadiens proved to be too good and swept Philly in four games.

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Boston Bruins’ Bobby Orr (right) passes the puck as Philadelphia Flyers Rick MacLeish looks on in Boston on February 9, 1974. PHOTO CREDITS: (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP)

For the next two seasons, these hard-hitting franchises played against one another in the semi-finals with Boston winning both matchups before going on to lose to the Montreal Canadiens – as most teams did back in this era of the NHL. During those five years, the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers played in four playoff series with each team winning twice. Although, only the Broad Street Bullies managed to go on and win the Stanley Cup (1974) after their series.

The 1970s went down as arguably the most entertaining decades for each of these teams. Philadelphia and Boston had seemingly the perfect blend of scoring talent, solid goaltending, and the willingness to drop the gloves and pound your body into the glass. Ruthless, intense, physically-demanding are the best ways to describe the Big Bad Bruins and the Broad Street Bullies back in the day.

A Recent Resurgence: 2007 – Present

This rivalry appeared to die down a little during the 1980s, 1990s, and beginning stages to the 2000s. We did not see another playoff series between the two organizations and neither team won another Stanley Cup in that period. While they played each other in the scheduled regular-season games, there just was not as much intensity as a best-of-seven elimination series.

However, the bad blood between Boston and Philadelphia started to amp up more recently. On October 27th, 2007, defenceman Randy Jones brutally hit 22-year-old Patrice Bergeron on the numbers into the glass. Bergeron laid unconscious on the ice before being stretchered out of the arena. He was later diagnosed with a broken nose and a concussion and was forced to miss the remainder of the 2007-08 season. Jones received a two-game suspension for his hit.

Two seasons later, in 2009-2010, the Bruins and the Flyers each made it to the Stanley Cup Playoffs after finishing third in their respective Eastern Conference divisions. Boston dispatched of the Buffalo Sabres in six games while Philadelphia knocked out the New Jersey Devils in five games. This subsequently led to a Bruins-Flyers playoff series for the first time since 1977-78 – 32 years prior.

Following a 5-4 overtime win in Game One, the B’s would win the next two meetings to have a dominating 3-0 series lead over the Black and Orange. Most hockey fans expected Boston to come out victorious, but the Flyers were not done yet. Simon Gagne, who missed the first three games due to injury, scored the game-winning goal in overtime to avoid the four-game sweep.

Philly shutout the Bruins 4-0 in Game Five and stole Game Six by a final score of 2-1 to somehow, someway force a pivotal Game Seven in Boston, Massachusetts. With goals from Michael Ryder and Milan Lucic (2), the Bruins exploded to a 3-0 lead in the first period of play. However, James van Riemsdyk buried one with less than three minutes to go in the opening frame to cut the lead down to two.

Scott Hartnell and Danny Briere each potted one of their own to equal the score after forty minutes. Then, the Boston Bruins took a too-many-men penalty (a Déjà vu moment from the 1979 Semi-Finals against Montreal) which lead to a power-play goal by Simon Gagne with just around seven minutes remaining in the final regulation period.

Philadelphia held on to win Game Seven, 4-3, and became just the third team in NHL history to come back from a 3-0 series deficit and win the series (Maple Leafs over Red Wings in 1942, Islanders over Penguins in 1975). This series loss remains to be one of the most heartbreaking moments for many Boston Bruins fans as an almost certain series win came crashing down. The Flyers would go on to win the Conference Finals but lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Finals.

During the 2010-2011 campaign, both Boston and Philadelphia finished with 100-plus-point records and were considered to be two of the favorites to make it to the Finals coming out of the East. The Bruins defeated the Canadiens in seven at the same time the Flyers eliminated the Sabres in seven – setting up an immediate rematch of the year prior.

Once again, Boston came out strong, winning Game One 7-3, Game Two 3-2 in overtime, and Game Three 5-1. With another 3-0 series lead over Philly, the Black and Gold were looking to finish the job successfully this time. In a masterful game of offensive and defensive success, the Bruins won Game Four by a score of 5-to-1 and eliminated Philadelphia to move onto the Eastern Conference Finals.

As we know, the Boston Bruins beat the Tampa Bay Lightning in seven games and the Vancouver Canucks in seven games to win their sixth Stanley Cup and first since 1972. The 2011 Bruins went down as one of the toughest teams in NHL history as their defense and hard-hitting style helped lead them to victory. It was shades of the old-school 1970s Big Bad Bruins – the team that as we discussed, started the rivalry with the Philadelphia Flyers.

In 201 regular-season games dating back to 1967-68, the Boston Bruins have a combined 107-61-21-12 record over the Philadelphia Flyers, outscoring them 659-to-583. In addition to that, these two teams have played six playoff series against one another with each winning three times. The Bruins have outscored the Flyers in the postseason 100-to-86.

Now, in 2019-20, this rivalry has the potential to gain new ground. On March 10th, 2020, the Bruins defeated the Flyers 2-0 in what ended up being the final game of the regular season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the NHL’s Return-to-Play format, the Bruins and Flyers will each play in a Round Robin to determine seeding for the remainder of the playoffs.  This means that there is the potential for another high-stakes game between the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers and to be quite frank, I am ready for it.

To a lot of Bruins and Flyers fans alike, this rivalry is heated, intense, and quite historic. However, with other more high-profile rivals for each respective franchise, this one often goes unnoticed. For that reason, the rivalry between the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers is one of the most underrated ones in NHL history.

Information and statistics are courtesy of hockeyreference.com, nhl.com, records.nhl.com, thehockeywriters.com, and bleacherreport.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!

Top Ten Greatest Canadian Boston Bruins of All-Time: #5 – #1

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PHOTO CREDITS: (nhl.com)

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

While Americans have the Fourth of July, us Canadians celebrate Canada Day today, July 1st. In honour of Canada’s 153rd birthday, I decided to rank the greatest Boston Bruins players that were born in the Great White North. If you missed players ten through six, I highly suggest you click HERE. If you’ve already read the previous installment, we can officially move on to the remainder of the Top Ten Greatest Canadian Boston Bruins of All-Time. So without further ado, let’s dive right into this!

5 – Patrice Bergeron (2003 – Present)

The only current player on this list, Patrice Bergeron is one of the greatest players to ever play for the Boston Bruins franchise. At 34-years-old, Bergeron has the 5th-most goals in Bruins history with 352, the 5th-most assists with 517 and is 6th in Boston Bruins history for most points with 869. Bergeron is also one of only six players to play 1000 games for the franchise, joining Ray Bourque, Johnny Bucyk, Don Sweeney, Wayne Cashman, and Zdeno Chara.

While Bergeron is near the top of most of the statistical leaderboards within the organization, it is not the only reason Bergeron will go down in the history books and will likely have a place in the Hockey Hall-of-Fame when his career is all said and done. Patrice Bergeron is one of, if not the greatest defensive forwards of all-time. The Ancienne-Lorette, Quebec, Canada native has won four Frank J. Selke Trophies – tying him with Bob Gainey for the most in NHL history.

In addition, Patrice Bergeron is apart of the illustrious Triple Gold Club – having won an Olympic Gold (2010, 2014), a World Championship Gold (2004), and a Stanley Cup (2011). Bergeron also continues to be one of the most well-respected players in the National Hockey League – putting respect, class, and sportsmanship before anything else and he is a perfect representative of the Boston Bruins organization.

4 – Johnny Bucyk (1955 – 1978)

Quite possibly the embodiment of the Boston Bruins organization – Johnny “Chief” Bucyk, born in Edmonton, Alberta on May 12th, 1935, played 21 seasons for the Boston Bruins from 1957-58 all the way to 1977-78. During that span, Bucyk scored 556 goals (1st in Bruins history), 794 assists (2nd in Bruins history), and 1339 points (2nd in Bruins history) all in 1436 career regular-season games (2nd in Bruins history).

From the 1967-68 season to the 1976-77 season, Bucyk scored at least 20 goals including a 51-65-110 campaign in 1970-71 at the age of 35. A two-time Stanley Cup winner, Bucyk goes down as one of the best Boston Bruins simply for the time spent in the organization. Even after his retirement at the end of the ’77/’78 season, Bucyk worked with the Bruins’ public relations team as well as doing some colour commentary. Today, The Chief is still an ambassador for the team and just concluded his 62nd season as apart of the Boston Bruins.

John Bucyk’s #9 was retired immediately in 1978 and he was inducted into the Hockey Hall-of-Fame not long after in 1981. Bucyk finished his NHL career with 556-813-1369 numbers, two Stanley Cups, two Lady Byng trophies, and was named to two All-Star teams.

3 – Phil Esposito (1963 – 1981)

Phil Esposito, born in Sault St. Marie, Ontario, was one of the greatest scorers in not only Boston Bruins history, but NHL history at the time of his playing career. Esposito’s tenure with the Bruins took place for nine seasons, playing in 625 games while scoring an incredible 459-553-1012 numbers during that short time.

Esposito once held the NHL record for most goals scored in a single season with 76 goals in the 1970-71 campaign and while that record would later be passed by Wayne Gretzky, it’s just a small sample size of how talented Esposito was in Boston and how he was a massive piece to Boston’s two Stanley Cup victories in 1970 and 1972. Esposito was a ten-time All-Star, two-time Hart Trophy winner, five-time Art Ross winner, two-time Pearson winner, and was apart of the Hockey Hall-of-Fame Class of 1984.  As a member of the Bruins, Esposito scored 40 or more goals in seven consecutive seasons and 50 or more goals in five straight seasons.

At the international level, Esposito was a big piece to Team Canada in the infamous 1972 Summit Series, finishing the eight-game series against the Soviet Union with the most points with thirteen and tied for most goals with seven. Phil also helped Canada win the 1976 Canada Cup and represented his country in the 1977 IIHF World Championships where Canada finished 4th.

Phil Esposito ranks 2nd in franchise history for goals, 4th in franchise history for assists and 3rd in franchise history in points while not even hitting the 700-game mark as a Boston Bruin. Throughout his entire NHL career combined, Phil Esposito scored 717-873-1590 numbers in 1282 games played putting him 10th in the NHL for points and 6th in the league’s history for goals. The Bruins retired his #7 in 1987, creating one of the most infamous moments in Bruins history with the player who is next on this list.

2 – Raymond Bourque (1979 – 2001)

Born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Ray Bourque is one of the greatest defensemen to ever play the sport of hockey. Throughout 21 incredible seasons as a member of the Boston Bruins, Bourque amassed 395 goals and 1111 assists for 1506 points. As of the current day, Bourque is the franchise leader in games played (1518), assists, and points.

As mentioned above, Bourque was involved in one of the best moments in Boston Bruins history. As the Bruins were set to raise Phil Esposito’s #7 up into the rafters, Ray Bourque (who took the #7 after Espo’s retirement), skated over to Esposito, took off his #7 sweater and handed it to Esposito. Under the original sweater was Bourque’s new #77 which would later be retired by the Bruins after Bourque’s own career ended.

Out of the 21 seasons in Boston, he was named an All-Star eighteen times and won the James Norris Trophy as the league’s best defensemen five times. He also won the team’s scoring title on five occasions which included four 90-plus-point performances. Bourque was also well-known around the NHL for his blistering accurate shot, winning eight Accuracy Shooting competitions at the NHL All-Star festivities.

While Bourque never won a Stanley Cup in Boston, he did win a Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche in 2001, further cementing himself as one of the greatest ever at his position. He is still the NHL leader for points as a defenceman and was inducted into the Hockey Hall-of-Fame in 2004.

1 – Bobby Orr (1966 – 1979)

If you ask anyone to name one legend of the Boston Bruins, 99% of the time they will respond with “Bobby Orr”. Born in Parry Sound, Ontario, Bobby Orr is the greatest Boston Bruin player ever – let alone players born in Canada. While his career was unfortunately cut short due to injuries, his time with the Boston Bruins proved him to be one of the best players the NHL has ever seen.

In 631 regular-season games for the Boston Bruins, Bobby Orr scored 264 goals and 624 assists for 888 points. In only those ten seasons, he won eight straight James Norris trophies as the league’s best defenceman, three Hart trophies, two Art Ross trophies making him the only blueliner to ever win a scoring title, two Conn Smythe trophies as the Most Valuable Player of the playoffs in Boston’s 1970 and 1972 Stanley Cup wins. In addition, Orr was named as an All-Star nine times and was the first NHL player to not only reach 100 assists in a single season but was also the first NHL player to record six-consecutive 100-point campaigns – a feat he accomplished between 1969-70 and 1974-75.

Bobby Orr is also extremely well-known for his infamous “Flying Goal” in Game Four of the Stanley Cup Finals against the St. Louis Blues. The photo of Bobby flying through the air after scoring the game-winning goal that won the Bruins the Stanley Cup in 1970 is synonymous with Boston Bruins culture and every Bruin fan around the globe is proud he was a member of the Boston Bruins.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Ray Lussier/Boston Herald American via AP)

Bobby Orr changed the game of hockey forever. The way he controlled the game with such finesse, skill, and talent as a defenceman was never seen before and has never been replicated to that degree even now. A true athlete that altered the sport of hockey for the better and is truly in the conversation as one of the best hockey players in the history of the National Hockey League.

And with that, the Top Ten Greatest Canadian Boston Bruins of All-Time is now complete. Do you agree with my list? I’d love to hear your thoughts via my Twitter (@tkdmaxbjj). On behalf of the Black n Gold Hockey Podcast crew, Happy Canada Day to all my fellow Canadians!

Information and Statistics courtesy of hockey-reference.com, hhof.com, eliteprospects.com, quanthockey.com, and nhl.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!