Bruins Could Benefit from This Impromptu Break

( Photo Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports )

By: Jeremy Grabowski | Follow Me On Twitter @JeremyBNGhockey

As we all know, the Boston Bruins took it to the limit last season once the playoffs started. In the first-round, they eliminated the Toronto Maple Leafs in 7 games once again! Then they went on to eliminate the high flying Columbus Blue Jackets in 6 games. A team that had swept the Presidents Trophy-winning Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round. Then in the Conference Finals, they met with a team that was a surprise to me to even be there, the Carolina Hurricanes. They swept them to move on to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2013 and the third time in a decade. Ultimately losing in a brutal seventh game on home ice to the St. Louis Blues 4-1. 

With the devastation of another Stanley Cup Final loss on home ice, the Bruins could have easily come back in the 2019-2020 season and laid an egg, but they were far from doing that. The Boston Bruins came out hot at the beginning of the 2019-2020 season. Winning five of their first six games and going on a 17 game point streak to start the season at home.  They were unbeaten on home ice until a cold December night when the Colorado Avalanche rolled into town and handed the Bruins a decisive 4-1 loss snapping their streak. 

But, the Bruins picked up right where they left off after that for the rest of the year until the Coronavirus pandemic hit the world. The Bruins finished the season at 44-14-12 with 100 points, the most in the NHL. Also winning the President’s Trophy for the first time since 2014. 

Now, here is where things start to get interesting. Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the NHL paused its season on March 12th, 2020. The players have had pretty much four months off before training camps are supposed to start on July 13th, 2020, which is phase three of the NHL’s Return to Play plan. That’s basically another whole month more than they have off during a regular off-season if you were to make it all the way to the Finals like the Bruins did last year. 

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In my head, I think this could work tremendously in the Bruins favor. Players that were injured at the time the season paused have had time to heal up and get back to playing condition during this break. Older players like Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, and David Krejci have gotten the extra rest that they need to push them over the edge in the playoffs. And maybe give them a little extra left in the tank that they didn’t have last year against the Blues. And most importantly, in my opinion, Tuukka Rask. 

Proven in the past, Tuukka has run out of gas in the playoffs because of his excessive workload during the regular season. Most of the time, it’s because of poor backup goaltending and not much faith from the coaching staff. The last two years, however, with Jaroslav Halak now in the backup spot, it has given Tuukka the much-needed rest in the regular season that has made him primed and ready for a deep playoff run. 

In the 2016-2017 season, he had to play 65 games with three different backups throughout the season. With Anton Khudobin playing 16 games, Zane McIntyre playing eight games, and Malcolm Subban playing one game. In the 2017-2018 season, he played 54 games with only Anton Khudobin as his backup. Then Jaroslav Halak joined the fray in the 2018-2019 season and Tuukka only played 46 games and Halak played 40. 

Since then, Tuukka’s regular-season games total has been steady at that number or close to it taking a lot of the workload off his shoulders. Tuukka tends to perform better when he has had a good amount of rest. So four months should be plenty of rest for Tuukka and the Bruins to catch lightning in a bottle and get back to the finals and win it all this year. 

Stats credited to hockeyreference.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!

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Five Players You Forgot Played For The Bruins: Part Two

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

By: Andrew Lindroth | Follow me on Twitter @andrewlindrothh

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

Marty Turco

(Photo Credit: Times Union | timesunion.com)

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

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

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

Chris Nilan

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

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

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

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

Brian Gionta

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

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

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

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

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Jarome Iginla

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

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

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

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

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

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Zac Rinaldo

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

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

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

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

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

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

Five Players You Forgot Played For The Bruins: Part One

(Photo Credit: Boston Globe | bostonglobe.com)

By: Andrew Lindroth | Follow me on Twitter @andrewlindrothh

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

Simon Gagne

(Photo Credit: Toronto Star | thestar.com)

That’s right, Simon Gagne was a Bruin back in the 2014-2015 season and appeared in 23 games wearing a Bruins jersey while collecting three goals and four points before retiring from the National Hockey League. Although his career was about finished by the time he arrived in Boston, he has had quite the NHL career.

The 6’1, 195-pound forward, began playing for the Philadelphia Flyers from 1999-2010, playing in a total of 691 games and posting 264-271-535 with a +140 rating. On July 19th, 2010, Gagne was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for Matt Walker and a fourth-round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. Gagne spent the season with Tampa Bay before signing with the Los Angeles Kings as a free agent. That year, Gagne was used more as a depth forward, especially after missing most of the season due to a head injury. Regardless, he played four playoff games, and the Kings ended up winning the Stanley Cup in 2012, making Gagne a Stanley Cup champion.

He appeared in 11 games with the Kings that next season before being traded back to Philadelphia for a fourth-round pick. After that season, he played impressively at the Boston Bruins training camp and inked a one-year deal. Although his time spent in Boston was cut short, it would’ve been great to have had a prime Gagne at one point in the lineup.

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Drew Stafford

(Photo Credit: National Hockey League | nhl.com)

Drew Stafford had a quick cup of coffee with the Bruins after being traded by Winnipeg for a sixth-round pick on March 1st, 2017. He suited up in a Bruins uniform 18 times that year and produced four goals and eight points with a +8 rating.

Stafford began his NHL career with the Buffalo Sabres in 2006 and played from 2006-2015, playing in 563 games while producing 145-177-322 numbers, before being traded to the Winnipeg Jets. After spending a full season with Winnipeg, the following year, he was traded to the Bruins, then in 2017 signed to the New Jersey Devils as a free agent. He played his final two years in the NHL with New Jersey, suiting up for 116 games and posting 13-15-28 numbers.

Throughout his 13-year NHL career, Stafford played for four teams, appearing in a total of 841 games while posting 196-232-428 numbers before retiring from the NHL.

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Blake Wheeler

(Photo Credit: Zimbio | zimbio.com)

For those that don’t know, Blake Wheeler was drafted by the Phoenix Coyotes as the fifth-overall pick in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, but signed to the Boston Bruins as a free agent in 2008 and began his NHL career in a Bruins jersey. He had a successful rookie campaign with Boston from 2008-2009, racking up 21 goals and 45 points with a +36 rating in 81 games.

He continued to play with Boston for the next two seasons until being traded to the Atlanta Thrashers on February 18th, 2011, with Mark Stuart going to Atlanta in exchange for Rich Peverly and Boris Valabik. The Bruins went on to win the Stanley Cup that year.

Wheeler suited up in a Thrashers jersey for the remainder of the 2010-2011 season before being transferred to the Winnipeg Jets after the Atlanta franchise relocated. Wheeler has been a top-notch winger for Winnipeg ever since. So far, he has appeared in 687 games with Winnipeg and has produced 207-427-634 numbers with a +58 rating. The 33-year-old forward is currently signed to Winnipeg until 2024, with a current cap hit of $8.25M.

Rick Tocchet

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

Rick Tocchet spent a short amount of time with the Bruins from 1996-1997 after being traded to the Bruins by the Los Angeles Kings for Kevin Stevens. During the 1995-1996 season, Tocchet appeared in 27 games with the Bruins and contributed 16-8-24 numbers.

The following season, the power-forward played 40 more games with the Bruins, producing 16-14-30 numbers before being traded to the Washington Capitals. He was traded along with Bill Ranford and Adam Oates in exchange for Jim Carey, Anson Carter, Jason Allison, and a third-round pick (Lee Goren) in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft. After his time with the Bruins, Tocchet finished his career playing with Washington, Phoenix Coyotes, and the Philadelphia Flyers from 1997-2002.

Throughout his 18-year career in the NHL, Tocchet played in 1,144 games while posting 440-512-952 numbers with 1,815 PIM. He is now the current head coach for the Arizona Coyotes.

Maxime Talbot

(Photo by Jana Chytilova | Freestyle Photography | Getty Images| nationalpost.com)

The former Pittsburgh Penguins grinder ended up in Boston at the tail-end of his career from 2014-2016. The Bruins saw grit and leadership that could help the team, especially during playoffs. During his tenure with the Bruins, he suited up for 56 games while producing just ten points while spending time with the Providence Bruins (AHL) as well.

Talbot began his career with the Pittsburgh Penguins from 2005-2011, winning the Stanley Cup in 2009 while playing in 338 games and posting 52-56-108 numbers. He was then signed to the Philadelphia Flyers in 2011 as a free agent and then was traded a few years later in 2013 to the Colorado Avalanche. He was then traded to the Bruins in 2015, where he finished the rest of his NHL career.

Later, he signed with Avangard Omsk (Russia) in 2018 to continue his playing career. Throughout his 11-year NHL career, he became a Stanley Cup champion, and played a total of 704 games with 91-113-204 numbers.

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

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

Providence Bruins Announce Winners Of Team Awards

(Photo Credit: Providence Bruins | providencebruins.com)

By: Andrew Lindroth | Follow me on Twitter @andrewlindrothh

Every year the Providence Bruins (AHL) hosts their awards for their players who exemplified excellence and leadership throughout the season. If you followed Providence in any way this season, then you’ll recognize a few of these names and might have predicted who would win a particular award. Some players won more than one award and blew away people’s expectations. There is a good chance some of the players you see here today might crack the Bruins roster for the 2020-2021 campaign. Here are the winners of Providences’ awards!

Rookie of the Year Award – Jack Studnicka

(Photo Credit: Boston Globe | Bostonglobe.com)

The ‘Rookie of the Year’ Award presented by Cross Insurance goes to the one obvious choice, Jack Studnicka. Since graduating from juniors and getting the promotion to Providence, the 21-year-old forward has showcased his talents at the AHL level and even at the NHL level when called upon for two games where he also collected his first career NHL point.

Studnicka not only produced offensively 5-on-5 and on the power-play but was an absolute brute on the penalty-kill unit and led the AHL in shorthanded goals this season (seven). He also led Providence in goals, assists and points this season. He took the professional hockey world by storm this year, and I believe if anybody deserves a chance in the Boston Bruins lineup this upcoming season, it is Studnicka. Congratulations, Studnicka!

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Fan Favorite Award – Dan Vladar

(Photo Credit: National Hockey League | nhl.com)

The ‘Fan Favorite’ Award presented by Electrical Wholesalers goes to goaltender Dan Vladar. He has been apart of the organization since being drafted by the Bruins in the 3rd round of the 2015 NHL Draft. He has split his time between the Atlanta Gladiators (ECHL) and Providence since his career in the organization but had his most stellar campaign in 2019-2020.

The 6’0, 185-pound goalie led the AHL in goals-against average (GAA) with 1.79 and in save percentage with a whopping .939%. Vladar also set a career-high 14 wins at the AHL level while collecting three shutouts. He has seemed to find his game this past season. With Jaroslav Halak and Tuukka Rask holding down the goalie tandem for 2020-2021, Vladar will be looking to spend another year in Providence, given he re-signs his soon-to-be expired contract after the NHL season. Congratulations, Vladar!

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Three Stars Award – Brendan Gaunce

(Photo Credit: Causeway Crowd | causewaycrowd.com)

The ‘Three Stars’ Award presented by AAA Insurance is an award for the player with the most ‘Three Stars’ nominations this season, and it goes to Brendan Gaunce. He led the team in first star, second star, and overall nominations this season. The 6’2, 207-pound forward was a spark plug for his team all season long and placed third in points with Providence (18-19-37 numbers). Gaunce has been very reliable for Providence, and when he was called up to the Bruins for a game and was able to produce a point.

Gaunces’ contract expires at the end of the NHL season and will be a restricted free-agent (FA). I believe another one-year deal will get done, and they will be able to rely on Gaunce to help with the development of their younger prospects and serve as a depth piece for the Bruins. Congratulations, Gaunce!

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Leading Scorer Award – Jack Studnicka

(Photo Credit: Providence Bruins | providencebruins.com)

The ‘Leading Scorer’ Award presented by National Grid is awarded to Jack Studnicka. As mentioned above, Studnicka led Providence in goals (23), assists (26), and points (49) this season. Averaging 0.81 Pt/G with three power-play goals and seven shorthanded goals, there is no doubt Studnicka will be the offensive spark the Bruins have been looking for within their young pool of prospects.

If Studnicka doesn’t crack the Bruins lineup the next campaign, then expect for him to be putting up even more points than this past year with Providence. At this rate, he will be a point-per-game player at the AHL level and can produce 40-50 points within his rookie year in the NHL, in my opinion. The opportunities and possibilities are endless for this rising star. Congratulations, Studnicka!

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Plus/Minus Award – Josiah Didier

(Photo Credit: Providence Bruins | providencebruins.com)

The ‘Plus/Minus’ Award presented by RI Medical Imaging goes to the player who led the team in plus/minus, Josiah Didier. New defensive addition, Didier, has done a tremendous job of holding down the blue-line for Providence this season and has earned this reward for finishing with an impressive +32 rating. The 6’3, 207-pound defender has been consistent throughout his first campaign with Providence and is a solid depth piece for the Bruins blue-line.

Didier also re-signed with Providence on a two-year deal before the season ended and will be looking to repeat that same success in the next two seasons. Players like Didier exemplifies leadership in the locker room, and that presence alone can help take Providence to the next level, especially during the playoffs. Congratulations on your hard work, Didier!

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Hendricks Memorial Fan Appreciation Award – Paul Carey

(Photo Credit: The American Hockey League | theahl.com)

The Hendricks Memorial ‘Fan Appreciation’ Award goes to the player who shows exemplary leadership & on-ice performance, and this award goes to Providence captain, Paul Carey. There is no doubt, returning captain Carey deserves this award. He plays a significant role in molding and teaching the younger prospects in the organization and remains productive as a forward as well, finishing second on the team with points.

The 6’1, 196-pound forward appeared in 60 games this season while racking up 22 goals and 39 points with a +9 rating. Carey also played in 30 games with Providence in 2018-2019 and produced 33 points during that time. Carey serves as a leadership role for the young prospects as well as an offensive plug for Providence. The 31-year-old has one more year left on his contract and will most likely serve that time with Providence unless he is called upon by the Bruins. Congratulations, Carey!

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Best Defenseman Award- Josiah Didier

(Photo Credit: Providence Bruins | providencebruins.com)

The ‘Best Defenseman’ Award presented by Dunkin’ Donuts goes to Didier, who collects his second award. Along with being team-best in plus/minus, he also led the AHL in that same category. Didier played in 61 games this season and contributed 3-12-15 numbers with 79 PIM.

Didier will be a crucial piece to Providence, especially during the playoffs next season because of his experience after winning the Calder Cup with the Charlotte Checkers in 2018-2019. He collected four assists in 19 playoff games during that championship year. With his defensive skills, leadership, and physicality, he will be able to help Providence to their first Calder Cup Championship since 1999. Congratulations, Didier!

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Team MVP Award – Jack Studnicka

(Photo Credit: Boston Globe | bostonglobe.com)

The ‘Team MVP Award’ presented by Metlife is awarded to Jack Studnicka. The 21-year-old forward walks away with three team awards from the 2019-2020 campaign and rightfully so. In his first year in the AHL, he led his team in goals (23), assists (26) and points (49), while leading the entire league with shorthanded goals (7) and setting a new team record in that category.

If Studnicka remains healthy and performs well at camp this year, I expect him to be slotted into the Boston Bruins lineup almost immediately. I don’t think his rookie year was a fluke, and his hard-work ethic is going to reward him soon. There is no question Studnicka deserves this award. Congratulations, Studnicka!

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

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

Bruins’ Top 5 Underrated Draft Picks Of The Decade

(Photo Credit: The Boston Globe | bostonglobe.com)

By: Andrew Lindroth | Follow me on Twitter @andrewlindrothh

Every year, one of the most significant events in the National Hockey League occurs; the Entry Level Draft. Draft picks play an incredibly important role in a General Manager’s Strategy to improve his hockey team. Some picks carry high expectations from the start, and others become well over-looked. The Boston Bruins are well known for having three straight 1st round draft picks in 2015 and only one so far being a full-time NHLer. But, they have had other selections even in later rounds that ended up becoming a hidden gem for the organization that nobody would’ve predicted right away, or at all.

Many of these young talents boast so much potential, and others fly right under the radar of discussion. Today, I will be diving deep in the debate on who I believe are the most underrated draft picks for the Bruins this past decade (2010-2019). Please note, these are in no particular order.

Jakub Lauko (F) 3rd Round, 77th Overall Pick – 2018 Draft

(Photo Credit: The Boston Globe | bostonglobe.com)

Jakub Lauko is a versatile forward that brings a lot of energy and momentum to his game. After being drafted, he reported to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) and played for the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL) as an 18-year-old forward. The 6’0, 195-pound forward suited up for 44 games and posted 21-20-41 numbers with a whopping +34 rating from 2018-2019.

Lauko played a significant role for the Huskies (QMJHL) during their playoff run, contributing 6-7-13 numbers with a +10 rating in 19 games played, helping the team to win the President’s Cup in 2019. The Huskies went on to compete for the Canadian Hockey League’s championship, the Memorial Cup. They ended up winning the championship with Lauko taking home the CHL Ed Chynoweth Award for most points in the memorial cup (2-6-8 numbers in five games). With such an impressive rookie season, the Bruins decided to call him up to the Providence Bruins for further player development.

Most Bruins fans really caught a glimpse of Lauko’s work ethic and scoring potential during the 2019 NHL pre-season when he scored a goal against the Philadelphia Flyers. Since then, the forward has spent little time with Providence for the 2019-2020 season due to suffering back to back concussion and knee injuries. Lauko had battled back and returned with Providence for some games before the unprecedented pandemic ended the American Hockey League (AHL) season. He finished his first AHL season with 5-4-9 numbers with a +3 rating in 22 games played.

I believe Lauko has a massive up-side to his potential; he has an incredible work ethic, scoring ability, and isn’t afraid to be a physical player either. In a few years, Lauko could develop to be a very reliable mid-six forward for the Bruins in the near future.

Jeremy Swayman (G) 4th Round, 111th Overall Pick – 2017 Draft

(Photo Credit: News Break | newsbreak.com)

Swayman was a 4th round gem for the Bruins and could be a starter/backup for the Bruins in the next season or two. The 6’3, 185-pound goaltender has spent the past few seasons with the University of Maine and has found tremendous success. Swayman was named to the NCAA (East) All-Rookie Team in 2017-2018 after finishing the season with 2.72 GAA and a .921% save percentage.

This past season, Swayman had his most stellar year yet, playing 34 games and contributing a 2.07 GAA and a whopping .939% save percentage, ultimately winning the Hobey Baker Award (player of the year). He also won the 2020 Walter Brown Award as a top American-Collegiate college hockey player in New England, NCAA Goaltender of the Year, NCAA Top Collegiate Goalie (Mike Ritcher Award), NCAA (Hockey East) Player of the Year, and NCAA (New England) Most Valuable Player. With Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak entering the final year of their contracts, Swayman could be looking to make a significant impact within the organization sooner rather than later.

Swayman decided to forgo his senior year at Maine and signed his entry-level contract with the Bruins. Maxime Legace and Daniel Vladar both have expiring deals, so I imagine Swayman will be playing with whomever Don Sweeney ends up re-signing in Providence. The quiet 4th round selection might end up being part of the long-term solution for the Bruins’ future goaltending.

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Anders Bjork (F) 5th Round, 146th Overall Pick – 2014 Draft

(Photo Credit: National Hockey League | nhl.com)

Bjork is a speedy and creative player that has the potential to be a mid-six forward for the Bruins, in my opinion. After being drafted, Bjork committed to the University of Notre Dame and played from 2014-2017 but surrendered his senior year to ink his entry-level deal with the Bruins. Bjork had his most impressive campaign during his last year with Notre Dame, contributing 21-31-52 numbers with a +17 rating in 39 games played. Since then, Bjork was one of the Bruins’ most promising rookies but became plagued with season-ending injuries from 2017-2019, limiting his ice-time with Providence and Boston.

Bjork was finally able to showcase his talent at the NHL level this season, to manage a full-time position in line-up throughout most of the 2019-2020 season, suiting up for 58 games and posting 9-19-19 numbers with a +5 rating. He began to become a healthy scratch for stretches near the end of the season due to inconsistencies, but the left-winger has shown to be a difference-maker at the NHL level.

I hope that the Bruins can come to terms with Bjork this upcoming off-season, and they choose to protect him during the 2021-2022 expansion draft as well. For a 5th round selection, Bjork was an absolute steal for the Bruins.

Trent Frederic (F) 1st Round, 29th Overall Pick – 2016 Draft

(Photo credit: ESPN | espn.com)

Even though Frederic is a 1st round selection, I believe he is an underrated pick that deserves a lot more credit, especially after a strong 2019-2020 campaign with the Providence Bruins. Frederic is a diverse player and can spark his team in a lot of different ways. The 6’2, 203-pound forward, provides a lot of physicality to the line-up and led the AHL in penalty minutes (148) during the 2019-2020 campaign. Although many Bruins fans know Fredric for his rookie game with the Bruins that involved a fight with Winnipeg Jets’ Brandon Tanev, he has the potential to be a strong two-way player through development with Providence.

Before the AHL season ended due to the unprecedented pandemic, Frederic suited up for 59 games and contributed 8-24-32 numbers with a +10 rating. Although the forward has been placed on the wing with the Bruins more often than as a center, either position he can play well as long as he is not shy, isn’t afraid to be physical and uses his large frame to his advantage.

Even though Frederic has played a total of 17 games at the NHL level without yet producing a point, he has improved substantially and could be looking to crack the bottom-six line-up for the Bruins in the next season or two. Frederic has one year remaining on his Entry-Level Contract and will use this upcoming season to prove himself worthy of this thriving organization.

Matthew Grzelcyk (D) 3rd Round, 85th Overall – 2012 Draft

(Photo credit: Bleacher Report | bleacherreport.com)

Although this underrated category is in no particular order, I can safely say that Matthew Grzelyck turned out to be one of the Bruins’ most underrated draft picks of this decade, in my opinion. Not only has Grzelyck cracked the line-up the past few seasons as a full-time NHLer, but the undersized defenseman proved much of the hockey world wrong.

After being drafted, the 5’9, 175-pound defender committed to Boston University and played from 2013-2016, appearing in a total of 87 games and contributing 23-67-89 numbers with an astounding +61 rating. He also scored the game-winning goal for Boston University to win the Beanpot Championship in 2015.

Bruins’ fans can be relentless in their opinions about Grzelcyk because of his physical stature and the fact that he doesn’t hit everything on site. Still, fans undermine his puck-moving and scoring abilities. If Krug chose not to re-sign with the Bruins this off-season, then Grzelyck would be one of the best options for the central power-play unit unless Bruce Cassidy decides to use five forwards. His skating ability also does not grow on trees by any means. When watching him play, he becomes elusive around other forwards pressuring him. He’s able to get out of tight space situations and break out the defensive zone without giving up the puck.

In the past three seasons, Grzelyck has appeared in 195 games and posted 10-44-54 numbers with a +45 rating while managing an average of 18:07 on-ice time. During the 2019 playoffs, Grzelyck produced four goals, eight points, and 17 blocks in 20 games. The defender is continually improving year after year, and with his contract expiring at the end of this season, the Bruins should focus on re-signing him.

Unfortunately, if Grzelyck were to re-sign for at least two more years, he would most likely become exposed during the 2021-2022 expansion draft. Grzelyck holds more value than most people perceive, and I believe he can become a franchise defenseman for the Bruins if he keeps up his production.

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

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Boston Bruins Prospect Season Review: Zach Senyshyn

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

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

Next up on my list of prospect season reviews is a player who sparks many debates amongst Bruins fans. That player is none other than Zach Senyshyn. A native of Ottawa, Ontario, he was drafted 15th overall in the 2015 NHL Draft. The drafting of Senyshyn has come under much scrutiny because people felt the pick would have been better used on someone else. Even though that debate will continue to rage on, I believe that Senyshyn took some steps forward this season.

 

The numbers may not jump off at you on the scoresheet. In 42 games, Senyshyn netted seven goals while dishing out nine assists for 16 total points (stats courtesy of EliteProspects). Despite this, the young forward started becoming more consistent with his play and stood out on the ice almost every game. He was even playing so well in Providence, that he received the call to Boston. The young forward was playing great in Boston, but unfortunately, injury cut his time short. In four games with the big club, he had two points, both assists (stats courtesy of EliteProspects).

 

After his return from injury, Senyshyn continued to play well for the Providence Bruins. He flashed spurts of brilliance on the ice. His biggest asset is his speed. The young forward has speed and ability to make a defensive stop in his own zone, and then get ahead of the opposition for a scoring opportunity at the other end of the ice. There are very few players in the league that possess this ability. He’s also proven that he can be a defensively responsible winger. This is something that the Bruins like to make their young players learn in Providence. They want everyone to be the best two-way player they can be.

 

One other area that Senyshyn can be a difference-maker on the ice is the power-play. His combination of speed and offensive-skill makes him a nightmare to play defense against. One major thing the former first-round pick needs to do to utilize these tools more often is to become even more consistent. Game consistency is something that took a step forward this season, but it is still something he needs to work on. Once he has that step figured out, the sky is the limit for Senyshyn. He posses the speed and offensive skill and instincts to become a top-notch goal-scoring winger in the NHL.

 

One major question remains with Zach Senyshyn. Where does he end up when all is said and done? I believe that Senyshyn will end up being a middle-six scoring winger for the Boston Bruins for many years to come. His speed, offensive ability, and instincts are too great to ignore. This season he really took a step forward with his defensive responsibility and his game to game consistency. If he’s able to continue making those strides, there is no reason that we shouldn’t seem him in Boston next season. I hope everyone is staying safe. Feel free to send me any comments or questions on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!

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

 

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

 

Five Former Bruins I Wish Were Still Playing In Boston

(photo credit:sportslogohistory.com)

By Josh Houreas|Follow me on Twitter @JHoureas

Disclaimer: This article is strictly my opinion and everyone is entitled to put their own players here, or the same ones listed below just in a different order.

When the Boston Bruins lose a player to trade or free agency, it can be tough on the fans who showed such player what it meant to dress for the six-time Stanley Cup Champions. That being said, let’s take a look at five players I wish were still playing for the Bruins.

5: Johnny Boychuck

(photo credit: LehighValleyLive.com)

Johnny Boychuck was a key role for Boston on their way to the 2011 Stanley Cup Championship. But a year prior to Boston celebrating with Lord Stanley, his career almost came to a screeching end. After taking a slapshot to the face in 2010 against the Vancouver Canucks with no visor, Boychuck would soon attach protection to his bucket (that’s hockey slang for helmet). While I was at that game, it is a vague memory that I’d rather forget, because it was eerily quiet at TD Garden the night it happened. On a more positive note, I miss him because of a certain call that Bruins play by play announcer Jack Edwards would yell each time Boychuck scored a slapshot goal, known as a Johnny Rocket.

Boychuck is currently playing for the New York Islanders. He is in his 18th season in the National Hockey League and he spent eight of those playing for the Bruins.

4: Nathan Horton

(photo credit: stanleycupodchowder.com)

To say that Nathan Horton was a hero in Boston would be an understatement. After being traded from the Florida Panthers in 2010, he would go on to score when the Bruins needed him most in the 2011 playoffs. Scoring two game seven winners, “Horton hears a WOO!” Became a staple quote all throughout New England. Although it is hard to think about his abrupt end to the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, there’s one thing I’ll never forget as a Bruins fan. Watching him pour the Gatorade bottle labeled “Boston Water” (or ice) in front of the Bruins Bench in Vancouver before game 7, the most important game in Bruins history up to that point.

Even though Horton has not dressed in an NHL game since 2014, as the surgery needed to fix his back would more than likely end his career, he is currently with the Toronto Maple Leafs organization. He spent only three seasons in Boston, but we have to be extremely thankful for his heroics on the way to Boston’s first Stanley Cup in 39 years.

3: Gregory Campbell

(photo credit: Zimbio.com)

Ah yes, Soupy as the fans called him in Boston. Campbell is known in Boston for one major reason. His commitment on a certain shift in 2013 after blocking a shot from Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin, which ended up breaking his leg. Campbell proceeded to stay on the ice longer than the Bruins could have asked for. Campbell finished a shorthanded shift for the Bruins in a tied pivotal game three in that season’s Eastern Conference Final, and it was crystal clear that he was in an unbelievable amount of pain. The Garden faithful bid their appreciation to the Boston center by giving Campbell a standing ovation and would continue to do so even after Campbell left the ice.

Gregory Campbell announced his retirement from the National Hockey League in 2016. He finished his career with the Columbus Blue Jackets but spent five of his last six seasons dressing for the black and gold.

2: Tim Thomas

(photo credit: thehockeynews.com)

I got absolutely nothing against Tuukka but I have to ask this question. Would the Bruins be eight-time Stanley Cup Champions if Tim Thomas was between the pipes? That’s a question that will have an unknown answer, but I’m just basing it on the count of the fact that Thomas proceeded to maintain a shutout in the 2011 Finals while Tuukka went on to give up critical goals in must-win games in 2013 against Chicago and 2019 against St. Louis. Thomas made some of the most amazing saves in his time in Boston, including a double-overtime diving stop against Montreal in game 5 of the 2011 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Although his best save had to have been against the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2006 when he showed Martin St. Louis the definition of highway robbery going across the crease to save what would have been a goal about 99.8% of the time.

After helping guide the Bruins to the Stanley Cup in 2011, Thomas would go on to play for Boston until 2013 where he signed with the Florida Panthers on a tryout contract. He announced his retirement in 2014 after being traded to the Dallas Stars.

1. Milan Lucic

( Photo Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Winslow Townson )

Ever since the hit that sent Mike Van Ryn through the glass (literally) I idolized Lucic more than any other player on all four Boston sports teams combined. His quickness to jump into a donnybrook (that is if he wasn’t the one to start it) won my appreciation right from the start of his career with the Bruins. It was an emotional night for me when he returned to Boston playing for my second favorite team in the Los Angeles Kings. And like every other player on this list, he was part of the 2011 Boston Bruins Stanley Cup-winning squad.

Lucic is still playing games for the Calgary Flames after being traded by the Edmonton Oilers. He is in his thirteenth season in the National Hockey League. His NHL career-high in goals came in the same season Boston won the Stanley Cup, in Lucic’s hometown of Vancouver.

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

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Bruins D Kevan Miller Named Boston PHWA Chapter’s Nominee For Masterton

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(Photo: Bob DeChiara / USA TODAY Sports)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

Boston Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller has been named the Boston Professional Hockey Writers Association (PWHA) chapter’s nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. The Masterton is annually awarded to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.

A player from all 31 franchises is nominated for the award each year, with the recipient being announced at the NHL Awards during the offseason. Here are all nominees for the 2019-20 season:

Miller has not skated in a game for the Bruins since April 2, 2019, where he suffered a broken right kneecap, which required surgery. The 32-year-old suffered a setback while trying to come back during the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, breaking his kneecap and having a procedure for the injury once again. The right-shot defenseman had spent the majority of the 2019-20 season rehabbing his knee before suffering another setback in March, which required a third surgery on his knee.

In April, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney ruled out the possibility that Miller suits up in a game for Boston this season, even with the added recovery time as when exactly games will resume is still a question. A native of Los Angeles, CA, Miller is slated to become an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of this season; however, Sweeney said that the team would explore options to re-sign the bruiser.

Boston signed Miller as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Vermont in 2011. Through 324 career NHL contests, the 6-foot-2, 210 pound blueliner has 12 goals and 55 assists for 77 points in addition to 261 penalty minutes and a plus-80 rating.

Boston captain Zdeno Chara was the team’s nominee last season. Former Bruins to have won the Masterton include: Phil Kessel (2006-07), Cam Neely (1993-94), Gord Kluzak (1989-90), and Charlie Simmer (1985-86).

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 181 that we recorded below on 5-30-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher!

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Boston Bruins Prospect Season Review: Trent Frederic

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

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

Trent Frederic came into the season with some buzz surrounding him. The 2016 first-round draft pick had just come off of his first professional season in which he netted 14 goals while dishing out 11 assists for 25 total points in 55 games played (stats courtesy of EliteProspects). The young center had also spent some time in Boston that season. He quickly became a fan favorite winning a fight in one of his first games.

There was talk at the beginning of the year that Frederic could potentially grab one of the bottom-six center positions out of training camp. Unfortunately, that wasn’t in the cards this year. The young center would spend all but two games in Providence. It was a less than ideal start to the season for Frederic. He would only register five points, all assists in his first 15 games (stats courtesy of the AHL). Despite the slow start, he would go on to have a fantastic season. In 59 games, he netted eight goals while dishing out 24 assists for 32 total points (stats courtesy of EliteProspects).

This is the type of season you’d like a young player to have in their second year. Assists, shots, and points were all up from his previous season. This shows growth. Frederic was able to round out his game more and find his playmaking ability. Some people may be concerned about the drop in goal production. I am not because his shooting percentage went from 13.7% to 6.1% (stats courtesy of AHL). One area of Frederic’s game that needs serious work is penalty minutes. He went from 67 to 148 (stats courtesy of EliteProspects).

Frederic is a physical player. It’s one of his biggest strengths. His willingness to play physical at any level is going to be a big reason why he sticks in the NHL. One thing the young center will have to manage is knowing when not to cross the line and cause a penalty. Something else that he was able to show off is how defensively responsible he is. Frederic played very well on the penalty kill. You also don’t have to worry bout him in his own zone. It was a very successful second full season for Trent Frederic. It’s one he’ll be able to build upon moving forward.

The biggest question that has yet to be answered regarding Frederic is; what does the future hold? Some people think he’s a potential top-six center. Others think he’s a bottom-six center. When all is said and done, Frederic will likely end up being a middle-six center. The former first-round pick possesses size, strength, skill, and defensive awareness.  He’s able to use his size to shield defenders from the puck and create scoring chances. These attributes are going to allow him to fit in with any team.

The future of the Bruins at the center position looks bright. They have Jack Studnicka, Trent Frederic, and of course, Charlie Coyle signed long-term. Frederic will end up having a good career in Boston, and I cannot wait to watch it unfold. I hope everyone is staying safe during this time. Feel free to send me any questions or comments on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 181 that we recorded below on 5-30-20! 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!

 

Report: Peter Cehlarik Leaves Bruins, Signs With Lugano

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(Photo: Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

Now former Boston Bruins forward prospect Peter Cehlarik has reportedly agreed to a terms with HC Lugano of the Swiss National League. The 24-year-old was slated to become a restricted free agent this summer after his one-year deal with an average annual value (AVV) of $700,000 runs out.

Last month, Cehlarik spoke with Slovak media about his frustrations with the Bruins organization after traveling to his native country to wait out the pandemic. The left-shot forward did not seem too pleased with his usage under Boston head coach Bruce Cassidy during his stints with the big club.

“I can’t cross the line to persuade Bruins [coach] Bruce Cassidy for good,” Cehlarik said at the time. “Sometimes I felt as if he was just waiting for my mistake to send me back to the farm.

“They know what they are doing. They’ve invested years of development in me. It’s all about trust from a coach I don’t get. I still hear that I’m ready for the NHL, I have it, but when it goes like this, I need a change and a new start. It is high time.”

The left-winger has suited up in just three games with the Bruins this season, notching just one assist and posting a minus-one rating. In 48 games with the Providence Bruins, Boston’s American Hockey League affiliate, he has 16-21-37 totals in addition to a plus-three rating in 48 games.

On Nov. 2, 2019, Cassidy was candid with the media about his thoughts on Cehlarik’s performance after a matchup with the Ottawa Senators, saying: “If [Cehlarik]’s going to stay in the National Hockey League, you’ve got to play to your strengths, and I thought he had opportunities to make plays. He made a few here and there, but I thought he left some on the table. At the end of the day, the details we’ll keep getting after him about, so overall, I thought he was okay.”

Boston’s bench boss also noted he feels Cehlarik’s ideal spot in the lineup is next to a “skilled centerman.” After failing to make the team out of camp, Cehlarik was placed on waivers to be assigned to Providence, and went unclaimed.

On his career, the 90th overall pick in the third round of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft has five goals and six assists for 11 points in 40 NHL games, as well as a plus-11 rating. In 185 AHL contests, Cehlarik has 59-77-136 numbers in addition to a plus-20 rating. Over nine Calder Cup Playoffs games, he recored three goals and one assist.

Bruins assistant captain Patrice Bergeron skated with Lugano during the 2012-13 lockout. In 21 games with the club before the NHL returned, Bergeron registered 29 points (11g, 18a).

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 180 that we recorded below on 5-25-20! 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!