Baby B’s Agostino Awarded AHL Honors

( Above Photo Credit:   Youtube )

By: Mark Allred                    Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The Boston Bruins took a low-risk gamble when they signed Kenny Agostino from free agency with intentions of adding depth no matter what level barring waiver pickup from another franchise. With no takers via priority claim for last seasons American Hockey League scoring champion, his demotion to the Providence Bruins was yes a disappointment, but one of motivation to work harder to get back to the National Hockey League. The 6′-0″ 203-pound left winger reported to the Baby B’s and has played with an incredibly positive attitude and is one of the leaders of the offensive core that’s young enough to learn from his experiences.

Today the AHL awarded the New Jersey native with last week’s CCM/AHL Player Of The Week with his 2-3-5 numbers in games against the Springfield Thunderbirds on Friday night and Toronto Marlies the very next night. These numbers are not including his Providence debut on Saturday, October 7, 2017, against the mentioned Thunderbirds.

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Agostino and his Providence Bruins team get back to work for three straight contests this weekend starting on Friday night on the road in Springfield then the next two at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island against the Belleville Senators on Saturday night and finish off the weekend with an afternoon game on Sunday against the Laval Rocket.

For those who haven’t seen much of what kind of player Agostino is, I encourage you to watch these Youtube highlight videos below.

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Boston Bruins Post Game Recap: Game 5

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Photo Credit: @bluinsfan2017 on Twitter

By: KG                   Follow me on Twitter: @kgbngblog

PREGAME NOTES

This will be the first time that the Bruins have ever played the Golden Knights, and their first time playing a game in the new T-Mobile Arena in Nevada. Yet again, there will be the absence of both Patrice Bergeron and David Backes as they are still on the IR. The lineups are almost exactly the same as last night, but Frank Vatrano has regained his spot in the roster from Austin Czarnik. An interesting move, but we’ll see if it pays off for bench boss Bruce Cassidy. Malcolm Subban, former Bruins first-round pick, will make his first start tonight as a Golden Knight while Rask starts for the B’s.

What I Am Looking Forward To

It’ll be interesting to see how Malcolm Subban does tonight. He has zero wins in his first two NHL games played. But he is going up against the team that waived him, which could be a good or bad thing. The Bruins should know where to shoot on him, but Subban should also know the tendencies of the players on the Bruins. It’ll definitely be fun to watch this matchup unfold.

PERIOD ONE

The Bruins started off the game where they had left off last night against Arizona. They clearly had the momentum, keeping the Knights on their heels. A recurring theme was pucks put in front of the net in the offensive zone. Bruins couldn’t convert though. We had a faceoff violation about halfway through the period. It was riveting. David Perron tried to pull a fast one on the ref by placing his foot about two inches out of the designated area. But ol’ stripes was having none of it. Thank goodness we have these guys cleaning up our rinks and making them a safe place to correctly take a faceoff. Still the dumbest rule out there. On the ensuing power play, the Bruins had a lot of troubles setting up in the Knight’s zone. The Knights even sprung a player for a breakaway, but Brad Marchand made sure to put an end to that. Stand out player for me so far is David Krejci. I’ve seen him multiple times break into the zone and dance around with the puck, and then finding an open passing lane. Hopefully, he can continue to do so. Overall, it was a meh period for both teams.

Scoring

BOS – N/A

VGK – N/A

PERIOD TWO

As of 26:28 into the game, the shots are split at 6 each. For those who don’t know, that is not a lot. Not even close. It may be due to the amount of time each team is spending slapping the puck around in the neutral zone. Later in the period, VGK started to heat up. Alex Tuch picked Sean Kuraley’s pocket and walked into the zone untouched and beat Rask. The Knights came back down the ice again and scored on a scramble play. Adam McQuaid made a heroic leap to try and block a shot but ended up just flopping onto Tuukka Rask’s pads and stopping him from getting back up. The Bruins were definitely outplayed that period. They still only have 15 total shots on Subban after two. Not ideal to let a young, inexperienced goalie be eased into a game like that.

Scoring

BOS – N/A

VGK – Tuch, Shipachyov (Tuch, Engelland)

PERIOD THREE

The third period started just as the second ended. Terribly. The Bruins could only get very limited shots and net and when they did the majority of them were so easy you could put in one of those shooting dummies that you put in the net for road hockey as your goalie and it would still save it. One of the few “Highlights” in the third for the Bruins was when Kevan Miller tried to fight David Perron. And there were no punches thrown. That was how un-exciting the period was. Scary moment with McQuaid going down and not getting up to quick after taking a shot to the leg. With 30 seconds left, the Bruins had four shots in the third. And they had just gotten that fourth shot for a very greasy goal that was put in the net by Karlsson on his own team. But of course, it was too little, too late. Vegas got the empty-netter and the Bruins finish their Western road trip at 1-2 after a very disappointing game. The four-day rest will hopefully do them well.

Scoring

BOS – Pastrnak

VGK – ENG Lindberg

POSTGAME

A textbook example of what NOT to do. Really only 5 shots from below the top of the circle since Pastrnak shot from behind the goal line and banked it in on his goal. This is exactly why Subban, a goalie who has 6 professional hockey shutouts almost got another tonight.

KG’s Three Stars Of The Game

1st: Tuukka Rask- Rask saved 24 of 26 shots tonight. Not his best, but he was the only thing that kept the game somewhat close. He made some key saves, mainly the one against Reilly Smith on a breakaway.

2nd: Torey Krug – Krug was one of the better players in a terrible game by the Bruins as a whole. When Boston did have the puck in the offensive end, he was doing his usual thing of getting pucks to the net and make passes to open up the zone.

3rd:  David Pastrnak – Pastrnak had a decent game, but I should probably have him in the Three Stars just because he was credited with the goal. Other than that, not much to rave about.

MUP (Most Under-Appreciated Player): Malcolm Subban – I try to only have Bruins players in my Three Stars/MUP, but this game shows that in the right situation, Subban could be pretty good. It sucks that the Bruins couldn’t find a scenario that they could work with him and that they lost him for nothing.

BIRDHOUSE – Round-up of the best Tweets during the game

NEXT GAME

Thursday, October 19th, 2017 in Boston VS Vancouver

 

Follow KG on Twitter @KGbngblog Like, share and comment your takes on the article

Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast Episode 64

By: Mark Allred               Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Welcome back to episode 64 of our show in partnership with Grandstand Sports Network. On this weeks show Mark fly’s solo as his two faithful co-hosts take some much-needed vacation time to prepare for the NHL start of the 2017-18 season.

This week SB Nation’s Stanley Cup of Chowdah Bruins writer Colin Beswick joined me and later QMJHL Scout, TV Colour Analyst, and writer Craig Eagles came on the show to talk about Bruins prospects Jakub Zboril and recently drafted Cedric Pare. Both were great guests and class acts for taking the time to do this. I look forward to both writer returns to the show.

Please follow our new partners over at Grandstand Sports Network Twitter: @Grandstand_SNgrandstandsportsnetwork.com

If you’d like to support the show and are an Amazon or Fanatics, shopper, we ask that you, please use our blackngoldhockeyblog.com advertising partner banner located to the right of the screen in our affiliation link area. By going through our website every time you shop we get a commission to help offset our operating costs at no extra charge to you.

Follow us on Twitter at:
Mark Allred @BlackAndGold277
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Have a question or a comment for the hosts? Please send us an email at blackngoldhockeyblog@gmail.com

Thanks for tuning in and all the support! We’ll be back next week for another show of Bruins Hockey related material. Take Care and GO Bruins!!

Bruins Prospect Shines In 2017-18 Season Debut

CHICAGO, IL – JUNE 24: Jack Studnicka puts on the Boston Bruins jersey after being selected 53rd overall during the 2017 NHL Draft at the United Center on June 24, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. BRUCE BENNETT / GETTY IMAGES

By: Mark Allred                        Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Boston Bruins 2017 Second-Round selection Jack Studnicka certainly made the best of his release from the summer offseason training camp events in Boston to return to his Ontario Hockey League’s Oshawa Generals in style with a four-point effort and 8-2 pounding over opponent Sudbury Wolves.

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The 6′-2″ 180-pound right-shooting center had 2-2-4 numbers to start his third year of Canadian Junior Hockey tonight and had a solid season before getting selected 54th in round two as he contributed 18-34-52 totals in 64 games played.  If you want a solid prediction of what kind of year this kid might have, check out OHL Writers Regional Prospect guru Dominic Tiano’s Tweet below, and if this is what’s to be expected it’s another solid selection moving forward in the developmental scheme of the Bruins.

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As being a recent draft pick I can only go on what I’ve seen on video and his first development/main camp experience and have to say he’s a quick player with a set of crafty hands. Smart player with nice passing skills as he seems to be a look first unselfish type of player and I’m only basing my words on same team training sessions.

I’m definitely going to be paying more attention with a closer eye with available streams when I can but will heavily rely on the fantastic members of the Minor League Hockey community such as Guy FlamingSteve Kournianos, Dobber Prospects Radio, and the mentioned Dominic Tiano for their knowledge and insight of tomorrow’s stars. If you’re a prospect person and need solid outlets, I highly recommend you give them a follow.

David Pastrnak Re-Ups with Boston Bruins

David Pastrnak

Boston Bruins’ David Pastrnak, 2016. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

By: Bob Mand             Follow Me On Twitter @HockeyMand

David Pastrnak signed a 6 year, 40 million dollar extension with the Boston Bruins Thursday morning ending months of speculation regarding the relationship between the team and the player. The deal includes no trade clause and will have the winger in Black and Gold at least through the summer of 2023.

Finally <exhales>.

Many in the Boston area and the sports world in general were concerned that the relationship had degraded significantly following ceaseless conjecture about the negotiation’s sticking-points. Some had opined that the Bruins’ forward was asking for double-digit rewards and some that the Bruins wouldn’t budge above their current leaders’ (Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Krejci) salaries… both assumptions were proven wrong Thursday morning, though the scales certainly appear tilted in the team’s favor.

The signing marked what some consider a complete coup by the Bruins’ management group, especially given the contracts recently handed out to Alexander Wennberg and Leon Draisaitl. Bruins’ GM Don Sweeney said, “Draisaitl is a comparable, certainly, as were other players.”

“There’s a lot of variables that go into it, a lot of work…” said Sweeney. That work played out in a four-month melodrama with hints of fleeing overseas, bombshells dropped by GMs in other cities, and rumors of ridiculous demands by both parties.

There’s a lot of good and a teaspoon of ‘bad’ in the Bruins’ now ironed-out arrangement with Pasta. The deal is almost a full two million dollars per season less than Edmonton’s contract with Draisaitl. Pasta is better and younger than many of his in-range comparables… and if exceeded, only exceeded by a very limited amount.

The main drawback of this deal is the length. I – and many others – were hoping for a longer, perhaps the eight-year max deal, to buy out an extra two years of unrestricted free agent eligibility from Pastrnak. If he plays like one might expect him to – with a perennial 30-45-75 slash, minimum – he will be due for a monster (repeat monster) deal after the 2022-23 campaign. Six years is a long way off, true, but Pastrnak will (unlike many players coming off a long-term second contract) still be deep in his prime at age 27. Financially it might have been better to bite the bullet on an extra half-million to million annually to preserve their rights until his age-28 year.

Conversely, by retaining Pastrnak for only $6.67 million AAV, the Bruins opened a window to add another veteran to help the Bergeron and Co. core win now. According to Capfriendly, with a 22 man roster (meaning two players riding the elevator to the press box each night), the Boston Bruins are $2.6 million under the cap.

If the Bruins were to trade for, let’s say, a winger with a cap hit just shy of six million, they could manage it even now if they sent back a little salary in addition to perhaps getting some cap retention from the other side. Their cap space balloons to over twelve million dollars come the deadline, giving them the flexibility to add more than one skater, should the need arise. Now, and for the next half-dozen years, Boston will be the beneficiary of some savvy leverage-work by Sweeney.

“We feel like David is a big part of what [they’re doing] going forward,” said GM Don Sweeney at his press conference this morning. About that, there is no question now. No question at all.

 

Boston Bruins lockup their goaltenders

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By: Andrew Thompson                                                          Twitter: @godwentwhoops

The Boston Bruins found themselves back in the playoffs last season after a two-year drought. One of the biggest reasons why the B’s found themselves back in the playoff hunt was their goaltending. (OK, it was entirely Tuukka Rask for the first half of the season, and mostly him for the second half.)

The Bruins had already locked up both Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin for next season. But the B’s were going to need some insurance. The Bruins ugly start to the season showed just how badly they were going to need quality goaltending to help back of Rask and Khudboin in case of injury.

The Bruins organization locked up their goaltenders today by signing both Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban to two-year, two-way contracts. Both contracts are worth a very modest $650,000 at the NHL level.

In all honesty, Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban didn’t have their best NHL starts last season. (McIntyre was 0-4-1, with a 3.97 GAA and a .858 save percentage. Subban was 0-1, with a 5.81 GAA and a .813 save percentage.) But they’ve had another season in the AHL to get better and be ready for their next call up to the big leagues.

McIntyre shined between the pipes for Providence last season. He had a 21-6-1 record with a 2.03 GAA and a .930 save percentage. He was the best AHL goaltender in goals against and second in save percentage. He was tapped to be a goalie in the 2017 AHL All-Star game and was part of the second team of AHL All-Stars.

Subban went 11-14-1 and last season for Providence putting up a decent 2.41 GAA and a .917 save percentage.

Both players will surely be invited to the Bruins training camp in September. They’ll both be given a shot to prove they can steal the number two job away from Khudobin. With Daniel Vladar coming up in the ranks of the Bruins goalie depth, the B’s will surely encourage both of them to try for the number two job. At the moment, McIntyre and Subban are the one-two combo for Providence next season.

Zane McIntyre will likely see several games in Boston this season. At the moment, he looks to be the next number two goaltender for Boston once Khudobin’s contract is up. Malcolm Subban continues to improve and it’s not outside the realm of reason to see the B’s put him the net a few times as well.

The Bruins appear to be locked in to the youth movement next year, and it wouldn’t be surprising if that included a goaltender.

 

 

Andrew Ference Calls It A Career

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Photo Credit: http://www.zimbio.com

By: Andrew Thompson                                                            Twitter: @Godwentwhoops

Yesterday, former Boston Bruins defenceman Andrew Ference decided to hang up the skates after a 16-year NHL career. The 38-year old blueliner spent seven seasons in Boston, helping the Black and Gold secure their first Stanley Cup in a generation back in 2011.

Ference appeared in 907 NHL games in the course of his career, putting up 225 points (43 goals) and and equally impressive 753 penalty minutes. He also played in 120 playoff games, racking up 38 points (eight goals) and 122 penalty minutes.

Ference had no regrets in hanging up the skates, and tried to thank as many people as possible on helping achieve and sustain such a long career in hockey.

“As I graduate from my time of playing in the NHL, I realize I have the problem of being unable to properly thank the hundreds of people who have helped me achieve my goal of playing in the best league in the world,” said Ference on the NHL Players’ Association website. “No one gets here on their own, especially average-sized guys with average skills. If you think you deserve a thank you from me, you probably do … Thanks!”

Ference wasn’t only known for his hockey skills.  He became a staunch defender of the environment, and embraced the unofficial nickname of ‘Captain Planet’. There are still posters of Ference urging Bostonians to do what they can to help the planet around the city (most notably outside the Boston Public Library).

He was also a strong defender of the LBGT community, and was the first pro athlete to march in Edmonton’s PRIDE parade.

Ference’s tenure as the Oilers captain was short-lived. He was sidelined by a hip injury back in 2015. It limited him to six games in the 2015-16 season, and forced him to sit out the 2016-17 season. He signed off on giving Connor McDavid the captaincy of the Oilers when it became clear he’d be unable to play last season.

Andrew Ference never did anything in half-measures. He was committed to helping his team the best that he could be. He had no reservations about putting his body on the line to block a shot, stop a play in the defensive zone, or throw down the gloves to support his team. His workout regimen was half-example/half-challenge to the younger Bruins players that were coming up in Boston.

While Ference was known for using his body as a shield or a sledgehammer, he’ll most likely be remembered in Boston for the use of one of his fingers.

Ference was fined $2500 for that finger and later apologized for it.

Ference isn’t the only member of the 2011 Stanley Cup team who retired this year. Shawn Thornton hung up the skates to become a Vice President in the Florida Panthers organization. Gregory Campbell retired to become a coach for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Godspeed Captain Planet. You taught us how to love the planet, hate the Habs, and reminded us to remind you to always shoot the puck.

 

 

Bruins Sign Szwarz To One-Year Deal

( Above Photo Credit:  CirclingTheWagon .com )

By: Mark Allred                        Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The Boston Bruins announced earlier today that the team has come to an agreement on keeping forward Jordan Szwarz with the organization for another year. The 26-year-old Ontario, Canada native has played in 312 career American Hockey League games primarily with the Arizona Coyotes minor-pro affiliates posting 69-97-166 numbers but in 35 career National Hockey League games when he’s been called upon has only produced four points with a +/- of -8. The deal with Szwarz is a two-way deal worth a reportedly $650,000 at the NHL level.

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Last season the 5′-11″ versatile forward (C/RW) played his only season with Boston’s top minor-pro affiliate the Providence Bruins after starting the 2016-17 campaign as an invite to training camp which turned into aa professional; try-out shortly after.  The Baby B’s franchise saw enough of the crafty forward and signed him to an AHL one-year deal in early November of 2016 where he’d go on to play in 65 games last season posting career highs with 22-32-54 numbers and lead the Providence team in scoring just five points ahead of Bruins prospect Jake DeBrusk who had 49 points.

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From watching every Baby B’s game last year that he made an appearance, I have to say I was pleased with his production as a smaller player not only in 5V5 gameplay but a lethal weapon on the special teams as he uses his quick speed to avoid troubling scenarios.  I thought him and Austin Czarnik worked well together covering the 200 feet of ice on a game to game basis. Hard for me to judge if he’s a candidate for a roster spot in September but will certainly challenge some players who are also heavily favored to be in the mix of playing in the NHL for the first time. If Providence is an option, I believe he has the skill and capabilities to pass 60 points next season and could benefit greatly with newcomers Jesse Gabrielle and Zach Senyshyn eligible for full AHL time in 2017-18.

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Boston Bruins Release List Of Protected Players (or how Kevan Miller won the Expansion Draft Sweepstakes)

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Photo Courtesy of NESN

By Andrew Thompson                                                                       Twitter: @Godwentwhoops

The Boston Bruins released their list of protected players for the upcoming Expansion Draft. The Bruins have two options in protecting their players from the new Las Vegas team joining the league this year.  The Black and Gold chose to employ the 7-3-1 option, meaning seven forwards, three defencemen, and Tuukka Rask were taken off the board for Vegas.

The Bruins chose to protect (or had no choice due to contact clauses) the seven players among the forwards:

David Backes
Patrice Bergeron
David Krejci
Brad Marchand
Riley Nash
David Pastrnak
Ryan Spooner

Riley Nash was a bit of a surprise.

The 28-year old forward did his job as a bottom-six player for Boston. His 17 point (seven goal) season wasn’t thrilling overall, but the former Cornell product ate up minutes and helped make the B’s fourth line the best it has been since the time of the Merlot Line.

For some reason, some people scratched their heads at Ryan Spooner.

In all honesty, keeping Spooner was a no-brainer for Boston. Not so much for what he brings to the team, but what moving him could bring to TD Garden.

Unless something drastically changes in the offseason, Spooner is leaving Boston. While he still has a decent amount of value (and a certain level of untapped potential), he’s just not cutting it in the Black and Gold. Claude Julien didn’t like his defensive game at the start of the season. Bruce Cassidy didn’t like his offensive game at the end of it.

Still, Spooner can be used as part of a package deal to get either a depending top-six left-winger or a left-shooting blueliner.

The Bruins could only protect three defencemen, and they (for better or worse) made the best of an unpleasant situation. Here are the protected blueliners for Boston.

Zdeno Chara
Torey Krug
Kevan Miller

During the offseason, it became clear that the Bruins were only going to protect one of the Millers when it came time for the expansion draft. The B’s decided to protect the 29-year old Kevan Miller rather than the 24-year old Colin Miller.

Personally, I thought keeping Kevan Miller was a mistake. It almost seemed an act of hubris on the part of the Bruins front office. The Bruins believe they can be a Stanley Cup team next year. That’s either fantastically optimistic or someone’s been putting too much bourbon in that dirty water at the TD Garden.

There is also the ugly fact that Kevan Miller is at the edge of his skill set and Colin Miller is still improving. Kevan Miller is a bottom-pair blueliner, while Colin Miller could be more for Boston. (‘Could’ being the operative word.) That’s part of the reason why the B’s went with the pugilistic Miller over the potential Miller. (The B’s were willing to go with what they know they had over what they might have.)

The other part of the Kevan of Colin choice is the B’s depth chart. Charlie McAvoy will be a full-time Bruin next year.  Rob O’Gara and Matt Grzelcyk are playing with Providence, and both have a shot of making the roster in October.  Jeremy Lauzon and Jakub Zboril could be ready in the next 18 months. With so much talent in the barn, the B’s front office might have thought that Colin Miller would be superfluous.

We’ll see how this plays out at the Expansion Draft. A few months ago, I argued that whichever Miller wasn’t protected would be grabbed by Las Vegas. That still seems to be the plan. The Golden Knights may choose defenceman Adam McQuaid, but his extensive collection of injuries might make Vegas wary.

So, congratulations to Kevan Miller the winner of the Expansion Draft Sweepstakes.