Bruins Place Krejci On IR, Recall Bjork

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Boston Bruins

Photo Courtesy Of NBC Sports Boston

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney announced on Tuesday morning that the team has placed forward David Krejci on injured reserve and recalled forward Anders Bjork from Providence on an emergency basis.

Krejci has recently been sidelined due to an upper-body injury suffered on October 14th against the Anaheim Ducks. The Bruins second line center has recorded just one assist in five games this season after matching his career high in points a year ago. Meanwhile, Bjork has appeared in seven games for Providence this season and leads the team in scoring with three goals and five assists for eight points.

Bjork, the Mequon, Wisconsin native was originally drafted by the Bruins in the fifth round (126th overall) of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. The young forward has appeared in 50 career games in the NHL, recording five goals and ten assists for 15 points. Unfortunately his previous two seasons have been cut short due to injury, but so far this season he’s shown tremendous growth and initiative and has greatly earned this recall. It’ll be interesting to see where Bjork slots into the lineup and he should make his season debut tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 3 Preview

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week three of the AHL season is here, and the Providence Bruins go into it 3-1-0-1 (7 points). This is good for second in the Atlantic Division as well as third in the Eastern Conference. Our boys in black and gold are coming off a down week in which they beat the Rochester Americans 3-2 in their home-opener. They would then lose to the Springfield Falcons 5-2 before losing again to the Laval Rocket 5-4 in a shootout to end the week. Week three should be full of exciting hockey that you don’t want to miss.

The hockey fun kicks off on Friday, October 18, 2019, when the Providence Bruins take on the Laval Rocket for the second game in a row at Place Bell in Laval, Quebec, Canada. The action continues on Saturday, October 19, 2019, as the Bruins continue their tour of Canada when they travel to Belleville, Ontario, Canada to battle the Belleville Senators at CAA Arena. Finally, the week wraps up on Tuesday, October 22, 2019, when Providence invades Bridgeport, Connecticut to take on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at Webster Bank Arena.

Friday, October 18, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Laval Rocket (AWAY)

The Providence Bruins kick off the weekend against the Laval Rocket. It’s the second of four meetings between the two clubs this season. Our boys in black and gold lost to the Montreal affiliate in the first meeting 5-4 in a shootout. They got goals from Peter Cehlarik (2), Paul Carey, and Brendan Gaunce. Goalie Max Lagace was less than stellar in net turning away 14 of the 18 shots he faced. The Providence club has had a tough time with Laval historically.

Over the past five seasons, they’ve gone 2-1-0-2, including 1-0-0-2 on the road. The Laval hockey club has had a rough start to the year. They are 2-3 (4 points) to start the season. This is good for sixth in the North Division and 12th in the Eastern Conference. They had a record of 30-34-6-6 (72 points) last season. This was good for seventh in the North Division and 14th in the Eastern Conference.

The defense is going to play a major role in this game. The Montreal affiliate gave up 231 goals last season while only scoring 195. This means their goal differential is -36. Anything below zero is incredibly bad, but -36 is awful. Providence has had some ups and downs defensively over the past few games, but I believe this is still one of the better defenses in the AHL. Urho Vaakanainen is one of the major reasons I believe this. He’s been stellar so far, and I expect him to help shut down Laval.

Saturday, October 19, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Belleville Senators (AWAY)

The Saturday night matchup between the Belleville Senators and the Providence Bruins marks the first of two these teams will have. There isn’t much history between these two clubs over the past five seasons, because of being in different divisions. Despite this, our boys in black and gold are 2-1-1 against the Ottawa affiliate in that time frame including 0-1-1 on the road.

The Belleville Senators have had a rough start to their season going 1-2 (2 points). This is good for eighth in the North Division and 16th in the Eastern Conference. Last season the Ottawa affiliate was 37-31-3-5 (82 points). This was good for fifth in the North Division and 10th in the Eastern Conference. Special teams are going to play a big part in this game.

The Senators are 0/11 on the power play to start the year. The Bruins’ penalty kill is stingy only giving up four goals in 22 opportunities. These two components coupled together should tip the scales in Providence’s favor. On the other hand, our boys in black and gold have netted just three goals in 23 power-play opportunities and Belleville has given up three goals in 16 chances on the penalty kill. Hopefully, this can give the Providence club a chance to get the power-play on track.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AWAY)

The Tuesday night matchup between Bridgeport and Providence will be the first of 12 between the two clubs. Over the past five seasons, the Sound Tigers and Bruins have been pretty evenly matched. Our boys in black and gold are 21-16-6-3 including 7-10-3-3 on the road. It should be an evenly matched game between the two clubs.

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers are 1-2-1 (3 points) to start the young season. This is good for eighth in the Atlantic Division and 15th in the Eastern Conference. Last season, the Islanders’ affiliate was 43-24-6-3 (95 points). This was good for second in the Atlantic Division and fourth in the Eastern Conference. They would go on to lose to the Hershey Bears in the first round of the playoffs.

I expect this game, and the season series to be close. Last season, six of the 12 games went to overtime or shootout. With both clubs so evenly matched, it seems likely that the Tuesday night game will be a one or two-goal game. When you have closely contested matchups, goaltending, defense, and special teams generally play a huge part in deciding the outcome. To start the season Providence has the edge in those categories. I expect them to come out on top.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Anders Bjork: Anders Bjork has had a blistering start to the season. In five games with Providence, he’s netted three goals while dishing out three assists for six total points. This is exactly what both the young forward and the Bruins wanted to see after each of the last two seasons were cut short with shoulder surgery. If the Notre Dame alum keeps this up, he may force his way into Boston’s lineup.

Peter Cehlarik: Peter Cehlarik is a guy who had an excellent season in Providence last year. The young forward is in an awkward position currently. The team doesn’t really have room for him in Boston, and he’s a restricted free agent at the end of the season. Despite that, he’s started off hot scoring three goals in his first two games of action for three total points. He looks like one of the best players on the ice which is an excellent sign.

Not

Zach Senyshyn: Zach Senyshyn found himself in the not section last week as well. It’s unfortunate because you would like a player, especially one of Senyshyn’s caliber to start the year hot. The young forward is one of two players to play in all of the team’s games this season and not register a point. Despite this, Senyshyn does seem to be chomping at the bit. I expect him to break out of the scoreless streak soon.

Trent Frederic: Trent Frederic is the other player on the roster to play in every game and not register a point. The University of Wisconsin alum has had a slow start to the year, but he’s another player that I expect to break out of the slump soon. He’s way too good to go too long without a point.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Anders Bjork: Anders Bjork has had a marvelous start to the 2019-2020 season. He’s scoring at a point per game clip of 1.20 and looks excellent on the ice. This is exactly what you want to see from a top prospect who has been injured each of the past two seasons. I expect the Notre Dame alum to keep up his hot start. Keep an eye on him, he’s a joy to watch.

On The Blue Line

Jakub Zboril: Zboril has had a good start to his AHL season. He’s playing a heavy game and doing well defensively. He hasn’t found the back of the yet but has dished out an assist for one total point this season. The good news is one of the teams that Providence plays this weekend is the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. In 10 games against the Islanders’ affiliate, last season Zboril netted two goals and dished out three assists for five total points. Look for Zboril to rack up some points this weekend.

In Net

Max Lagace: Lagace came to Providence as a free agent after being in the Vegas Golden Knights’ system. The veteran netminder has been good thus far going 2-0-0-1 with a 2.22  GAA, and a save percentage of .923. Look for him to have a big weekend on the road for Providence.

The Providence Bruins looked great the first week and not great the second. As I’ve previously stated, I still believe this team could be special. They have all the tools to put together a magical season. I expect our boys in black and gold to have another stellar week. They should be able to collect at least four of six possible points. Feel free to send me any comments or questions on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!

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Boston Bruins: The Goal Is To Rebuild On The Fly

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

The Boston Bruins have been one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference for over a decade. Notably, Boston won their sixth Stanley Cup in the 2010-2011 season followed by a Stanley Cup Finals appearance in both 2013 and 2019. During this stretch of success, the organization has seen the same core of players rule the competition.

Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara, and Tuukka Rask were apart of each one of those successful seasons, but the remainder of the Bruins team has been altered, changed, and re-vamped with the emergence of the young players across the National Hockey League.

Today, the Bruins have star players that are staples in their lineup. David Pastrnak, Jake DeBrusk, Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, Danton Heinen are all on the starting roster night in and night out, wearing the Spoked-B proudly. Don’t get them wrong, though. These young players are not here because the Bruins are at the bottom of the standings, in fact, it is quite evidently the opposite. The Boston Bruins are defending Eastern Conference Champions.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (WEEI.com)

In the National Hockey League, there are multiple ways that a franchise can build their team for success. The Free Agency period always has serviceable players that can bring some talent to a roster and bring them to a more-successful season. The idea of trading is there, but it is sometimes difficult to convince another team to trade their top players without sacrificing one of your top assets in return. You could also be the Vegas Golden Knights who became a Stanley Cup-contending team from the expansion draft – but that is out of the question for everyone but Seattle now.

Without a doubt in my mind, the best option for teams to build a roster that contends for the Stanley Cup falls on the NHL Entry Draft. The best of the best young players around the world in a seven-round draft where all 31 NHL teams can select the players they feel will make their team better. The issue with this method is the waiting period for most rookies.

Looking at the Bruins, players like Jack Studnicka, Urho Vaakanainen, and Anders Bjork have been in the system for a couple years now – yet none of them are secured positions on the team due to their position already being filled by someone with either more experience or more success. In other drafts, the Bruins have had struggles with their selections, to the point where they fail to play a single regular season game with the franchise before being shipped off or let go when their contract expires.

In many cases around the league, the waiting period is not of concern for management. As long as one day, they can have a competitive roster once again, it’ll all be okay again. That idea is great and all – if you want to risk losing ticket sales, profits, and a fanbase in general. The Ottawa Senators, Florida Panthers, and others are prime examples of this fact alone.

Circling things back to Boston, the owners and fellow management personnel are not willing to sacrifice the years of money and profit that comes from a successful franchise to have a full-on “rebuild” when those veterans and core pieces begin to retire and move on from their hockey careers. Boston has shown over the past decade and continue to show into the 2019-2020 campaign that they are at the top of the NHL at performing a method of getting better on the fly commonly called – “retooling”.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Sportsnet.ca)

When retooling a franchise, there is one main factor that must stay consistent – competitiveness. Without the idea of competing for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, one could argue that it is more of a rebuild. In order to complete this retooling, you must have a group of veterans to lead another group of young, upcoming players who are taking their opportunities and thriving. Looking at the 2011 Stanley Cup win over the Vancouver Canucks, not much has changed regarding the landscape of the roster.

In 2010-2011, the Bruins had an average age of 28.3 and had ten players above the age of 30, (Michael Ryder, Chris Kelly, Andrew Ference, Tomas Kaberle, Shawn Thornton, Marc Savard, Zdeno Chara, Shane Hindy, Tim Thomas, and Mark Recchi). In 2019-2020, the Bruins have an average age of 28.9 and have eight players above the age of 30, (Brad Marchand, Steven Kampfer, Tuukka Rask, David Krejci, Jaroslav Halak, Patrice Bergeron, David Backes, and Zdeno Chara).

In 2010-11, the Bruins had younger players producing on their roster such as Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, Tuukka Rask, Tyler Seguin, Milan Lucic, David Krejci, Blake Wheeler, and so on. Today, those once-young players are now entering the later stages of their prime or have moved on from the franchise altogether in the event of trade or free-agency, but with the emergence of David Pastrnak, Jake DeBrusk, Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, Karson Kuhlman, Danton Heinen, Connor Clifton, and so on, the youth is still vibrant as ever – keeping the cycle fresh.

It does not stop there, either. This season, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Boston Bruins, the Providence Bruins, have one of their best rosters of the last few seasons. As of October 15th, the Baby Bruins have a record of 3-1-0 – tied for second in the AHL league standings. Forward Anders Bjork has been the top player so far for the P-Bruins, scoring three goals and two assists for five points in the opening four games, showcasing his skills that could be in the NHL sooner rather than later.

The lineup in Providence is filled with players that have caught the eye of management and fans alike, keeping people hopeful that the Boston Bruins can continue this success that they are seeing this season into future seasons for years to come – and they have every right to feel that way. In fact, they should. Only a few seasons ago, David Pastrnak was in Providence and on the fourth-line in Boston, now he is scoring four goals in a game and leading the team in goals.

Call it what you want – retooling, rebuilding on the fly, staying competitive – it’s all the same. The Boston Bruins are professionals at this by now. The idea puts pressure and expectations on young players, but with the guidance of the veterans that have been there before, it works. With a record of 5-1-0 to begin the 2019-2020 regular-season, the Bruins are proving that.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 149 that we recorded on 10-11-19 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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Providence Bruins Opening Weekend Recap

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The American Hockey Leagues Providence Bruins started the 2019-20 regular season on a positive note with victories over the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (3-0 Shutout) and Hershey Bears (2-1 In Overtime) both on the road. Over the weekend, the top minor-pro affiliate of the National Hockey Leagues Boston Bruins held it’s annual Opening Weekend festivities with two games at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island.

Before I recap the first two regular-season games from the Dunk over the weekend, I’d like to take a moment to share some incredible news. Our Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast, and blackngoldhockey.com website has been granted full season press credentials from the AHL’s Providence Bruins organization. This is a tremendous opportunity for our team of 15+ Bruins writers and a group of podcasters. Acceptance from a professional organization is pure motivation to increase our prospects coverage as a team, but it also opens doors to others that want to get involved with special access. If you live in the Providence area or willing to travel there regularly, please send a cover letter to blackngoldhockeyblog@gmail.com with a sample of your writings to join our team.

Saturday, October 12th, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Rochester Americans (Home)

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

The first home game of the season was a much-anticipated one for the hometown Providence fans, which had a decent crowd on hand for the mid-weekend tilt. The first period was lackluster at most as the Bruins seemed to be skating in cement, trying to fight there way through the heavily tilted Rochester ice. The first period ended with the Americans leading 1-0 and leading in the shots department 14-6.

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It didn’t take long for the hometown Bruins to get on the board in the second period as AHL rookie forward Jakub Lauko notched his first professional goal at the 4:36 mark assisted by a pair of B’s defensemen in Urho Vaakanainen and Alex Petrovic. Exactly two minutes later forward Anders Bjork scored his second goal of the season on the power-play assisted by Vaakanainen and Cameron Hughes, who’s been outstanding to start the year even though his face got mashed by a skate in an NHL Bruins preseason game. Almost a minute after the Bjork goal on the man advantage, the Rochester club tied the game at two at the 7:40 mark of the second, and the score remained the same until the end of the period. The Bruins led that period in shots with an 11-8 advantage and started to be more competitive other than the first frame where they had troubles completing passes and struggled in defensive zone exits.

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Both teams entered the third and final frame of the contest tied at two apiece, and after a second period that saw some physicality and a little bit of hatred for one another, both teams battled until the final moments with positive results at least for the hometown Providence crowd. With 57 seconds remaining in the game Bruins forward, Oskar Steen broke the 2-2 deadlock scoring his first professional goal assisted by forward Ryan Fitzgerald and defenseman Jeremy Lauzon.

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New goaltender Maxime Lagace was in goal against the Amerks and stopped 30 of 32 shots for his second win in the early season. Lagace is 2-0-0 so far in 2019-20 with a 3-0 shutout in his first game and currently has a 1.00 goals-against-average and .967 save percentage. Maxime is the fifth-ranked goaltender in the AHL thus far and has looked sensational since being a sneaky free agent steal when he signed over the summer offseason.

In this game, Rochester led the way in shot totals with a 32-30 advantage. Special teams for both sides had the visiting Americans going 1/2 on the power-play while the home Bruins went 1/5. Forward Cameron Hughes and newcomer Josiah Didier had team-highs with four shots apiece. On this night, 9,722 faithful fans were in attendance at the Dunk for game one of Opening Weekend.

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Sunday, October 13th, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Springfield Thunderbirds (Home)

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

The second leg of the Providence Bruins Opening Weekend games didn’t exactly live up to Saturday night’s heroics as the cross-state Atlantic Division rival  Springfield Thunderbirds came to play. Much like Saturday nights game, the first-period scoring had the visiting Thunderbirds up 1-0 after the opening frame, but this time the B’s were the ones doing the outshooting in this particular period having a 13-3 advantage.

Down 1-0 in the middle frame, the Bruins only needed 20 seconds to tie the game at one apiece with a power-play goal from forward Peter Cehlarik, who scored his first of the year assisted by Anders Bjork and Cooper Zech. The 24-year-old Cehlarik who slipped through the wavier wire on his way down from his time at the NHL Bruins training camp got injured shortly after his arrival in Providence, and this was his first game back in action which he didn’t disappoint. The B’s would once again give up the lead to Springfield on the man advantage at the 7:37 mark of the second period and again at 15:59 on the power-play to end the middle frame for the Thunderbirds and their 3-1 lead. The Hometown Providence club had 13 penalty minutes vs. the seven that Springfield had. Both teams were showing signs of frustration for each other, and this will continue no doubt with both clubs facing each other 11 more times in the 2019-20 regular season.

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In the third period, the Bruins seemingly took matters into their own hands, tilting the ice to stay in this game, and Providence Head Coach Jay Leach relied heavily on his veteran core for heavy minutes and a grind’em down style. In this final period, the Bruins club showed impressive signs of diligence staying out of the penalty box for the entire period, but the Thunderbirds got to a commanding 4-1 lead with a shorthanded goal at the 11:51 mark. Providence forward Anders Bjork scored his second goal of the weekend (3rd Of Season) assisted by forward Jack Studnicka and forward Paul Carey at 14:47 of the final frame as the B’s were pushing hard to at least tie the contest. The last desperation effort just wasn’t enough as the Thunderbirds added another at the 17:54 mark capping off the 5-2 road victory for their second win of the season.

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Providence goaltender Dan Vladar took the loss in this one stopping 23 of 28 shots giving him a season record of 1-1 with a 2.91 GAA and .880 Save%. I thought Vladar showed signs of greatness with some exceptional saves, especially down low with his big frame but also was left out to dry with defensemen and backchecking forward missing assignments. This is not all on his teammates as he’s a work in progress and has to keep working hard to correct those small mishaps.

Some positive mentions in this lopsided loss for the Bruins. Anders Bjork was the only “plus” player in this game with a +1 and five shots to accompany his two-point afternoon. Forward Cameron Hughes also had five shots in the contest giving him 10 shots on goal in his last four games, one behind Bruins leader Bjork with 11 on goal.

To finish, I once again have to mention our Black N’ Gold writing team on the threshold crossing achievement this season with press access. This is a huge step for us and looking forward to the challenge of bringing you the readers our opinions and insight of this Providence Bruins team. Please give fellow BNG team members below a follow as they’re truly the ones that make this Bruins related platform happen, and without them, this couldn’t continue. Thanks, to everyone for the continued support and hope you all enjoy the content from all levels of the NHL’s Boston Bruins organization throughout this 2019-20 season.

BNG Team Members To Follow For B’s Coverage From The NHL Down To The Prospects Playing Worldwide: Thomas Nystrom ,  Mike Cratty , Max MainvilleEvan Michael , Garrett HaydonLiz St. PierrePatrick DonnellyTim RichardsonYanni Latzanakis , Joe Chrzanowski , Lucas PearsonScott DelanoJamara Wakefield

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Prospect Podcast episode 002 that we recorded on 10-8-19 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 AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 2 Preview

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week two of the Providence Bruins season is upon us. Our boys in black and gold had a marvelous week one beating the Lehigh Valley Phantoms 3-0 and taking down the Hershey Bears 2-1 in overtime. After starting on the road, the spoked P finally comes home for the first time this year. The offense is playing well. That coupled with the defense and goaltending hitting on all cylinders, should make for an exciting home-opening weekend of hockey.

The action kicks off on Saturday, October 12, 2019, when the Rochester Americans roll into Providence, Rhode Island to invade the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. The weekend action continues Sunday, October 13, 2019, when a familiar foe the Springfield Thunderbirds travel to Providence to take on the Bruins at the Dunk. Finally, week two wraps up on Wednesday, October 16, 2019, the Providence Bruins travel to Laval, Quebec, Canada to take on the Laval Rocket at Place Bell.

Saturday, October 12, 2019, Providence Bruins vs Rochester Americans (HOME)

The Providence Bruins finally come back to Rhode Island for their home opener against the Rochester Americans. This will be the first of two meetings that these teams will have this season. Despite also being in the Eastern Conference, the Buffalo Sabres’ affiliate is in a different division and that’s why the two teams don’t play often. Last season our boys in black and gold were 1-1 against Rochester and have been good against them in recent years.

Over the past five seasons, they hold a 7-1 record, including 4-0 at the Dunk. The Rochester Americans are 1-0 on the young season after beating the Syracuse Crunch in overtime 3-2 in their season opener. Last season they were 46-23-5-2 (99 points) this was good for second in the North Division and third in the Eastern Conference. They would go on to be swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Toronto Marlies.

Special teams are going to be a major part of this game. The Providence Bruins are a perfect 12 for 12 in killing penalties this season. The penalty kill has been outstanding. The Americans have also yet to register a goal in five power-play opportunities. Though the Bruins have only registered one power-play goal in seven chances, the Rochester club has given up two power-play goals in five opportunities. This could be a chance for the spoked P to get their power-play going.

The Bruins penalty kill was excellent stopping seven of eight power-play opportunities for the Americans, while also scoring on two of eight themselves. With both games last season one-goal games, we should be in for an exciting night of hockey. I believe the Bruins will come out of this game on top and give the home crowd something to cheer about.

Sunday, October 13, 2019, Providence Bruins vs Springfield Thunderbirds (HOME)

The Providence Bruins continue their homestand against a divisional foe the Springfield Thunderbirds. This is the first of 14 meetings between the two clubs. Last season our boys in black and gold had a rough time against the Panthers’ affiliate going 6-7-1. However, over the past five seasons, the Bruins have seen success against the Springfield club going 23-14-3, including 12-7-1 at the Dunk.

The Springfield Thunderbirds are currently 1-1 after opening weekend. They beat Bridgeport 5-1 in their opening game and fell to Charlotte 4-2 their last game. Last year was a rough year for the Panthers’ affiliate going 33-29-9-5 (80 points). That was good for seventh in the Atlantic Division and 12th in the Eastern Conference. The defense and goaltending are going to be major factors in this game.

Last season the Springfield club gave up 241 goals. This was good for sixth in the Atlantic Division and 11th in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins meanwhile, gave up 212 goals last season. This was good for second in the Atlantic Division and third in the Eastern Conference. The spoked P has a much better defense, and to top it off they may have stronger players at the position this year. The Providence club also has only given up one goal so far this year. This should all equate to a victory for our boys in black and gold.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019, Providence Bruins vs Laval Rocket (AWAY)

The Providence Bruins end week two by traveling to Laval, Quebec, Canada to take on the Laval Rocket. This will be the first of four meetings the two teams will have this season. This is another case of a team being in the same conference but a different division so they do not play each other often. Last season, Providence had a tough time with the Montreal affiliate last season going 0-1-0-1.

Over the past five seasons, they’ve gone 2-1-0-1, including 1-0-0-1 on the road. The Laval hockey club has had a rough start to the year. They lost both opening weekend games to Cleveland 3-2 and 4-1. They had a record of 30-34-6-6 (72 points) last season. This was good for seventh in the North Division and 14th in the Eastern Conference.

The defense is going to play a major role in this game. The Montreal affiliate gave up 231 goals last season while only scoring 195. This means their goal differential is -36. Anything below zero is incredibly bad, but -36 is awful. With the Bruins having one of the stingier defenses in the league, this should be an easy win for Providence.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Brendan Gaunce: Brendan Gaunce came to the Providence Bruins on a one-year contract after being an unrestricted free agent. He played in 60 games with the Utica Comets last season, netting 16 goals and dishing out 22 assists for 38 total points. So far this year, he’s netted two goals and dished out one assist for three total points in two games. He’s been excellent. Let’s hope he keeps it up.

Anders Bjork: Bjork has had a rough few seasons. He’s needed season-ending shoulder surgery two-years in a row. In the first two games this year he’s netted a goal and dished out an assist for two total points. The Notre Dame alum looks excellent so far this year. If he keeps playing at a high level, we may see him called up to Boston before long.

Not

Zach Senyshyn: Zach Senyshyn remains a player that Boston Bruins fans are split on. You have one side that is ready to call him a bust. Then you have the other side who says he just needs time to develop. The young winger has had an up and down career in Providence and has started this season slower than you’d like. He’s yet to register a point in two games. Hopefully, he just needs time to warm up and gets his game going soon.

Trent Frederic: Frederic is another guy who fans seem split on. The young center, I believe may end up being a solid NHL player, but he too has started the year slower than you would like. He has yet to register a point this season, but hopefully, the slow start comes to an end this weekend.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Jakub Lauko: Lauko is playing in his first season with the Bruins. The young forward comes to Providence after an excellent season the QMJHL where he scored 21 goals and dished out 20 assists for 41 total points in 44 games for Rouyn-Noranda. He has yet to score a point this season, but I expect that to change soon. He’s a top prospect in the Boston system and is primed to have an excellent year.

On The Blue Line

Urho Vaakanainen: Vaakanainen is one of the best young defensemen in the Bruins system. I expect him to take a big step forward in his second full season in North America. He’s looked good so far this season. He’s also played really well against Springfield in his career. In nine games he’s netted three goals and dished out five assists for eight total points. I expect him to have a big weekend.

In Net

Dan Vladar: Dan Vladar is one of the best young goaltenders in the Bruins system. He had an excellent first outing against Hershey stopping 21 of 22 shots in an overtime win. It’ll be interesting to see how the 22-year old follows up his excellent first win of the season.

It’s been an excellent start to the 2019-2020 season for the Providence Bruins. Taking their first two games of the year on the road was important. Now they get to come home and play two games at the Dunk in Providence, Rhode Island. I expect them to finish the weekend with two more wins under their belt, and honestly, I expect them to beat Laval on Wednesday. This team has a chance to be something special. I hope everyone enjoys the weekend action and as always, GO, Bs, GO!

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Report: Bruins Send Players To Providence; Place Cehlarik on Waivers

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

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

According to veteran freelance writer, Mark Divver, (@MarkDivver on Twitter), the Boston Bruins have assigned the following players to the American Hockey League as they joined the Providence Bruins’ practice today, September 30th. The move comes on the final day that NHL teams around the league can place players on waives for purpose of AHL assignment and have that player clear according to CapFriendly. 

  • F Anders Bjork
  • F Jack Studnicka
  • F Cameron Hughes
  • F Trent Frederic

On Saturday, the Bruins played their final preseason game of the 2019 off-season, defeating the Chicago Blackhawks 8-2 the final score. David Pastrnak and Jake DeBrusk each scored a hat-trick while Charlie Coyle and Karson Kuhlman potted goals of their own to add to the large victory.

Today, the Bruins hosted one of their final practices before the regular season officially begins this Thursday against the Dallas Stars in Dallas, Texas. Not present – David Krejci and Joakim Nordstrom. Head Coach Bruce Cassidy re-iterated on Saturday post-game that he does expect Krejci to be ready for the season-opener and that his lower-body injury is not that serious. In regards to Nordstrom, his availability for Thursday is still in question.

For the players that have been sent down according to Divver, none of them are a huge surprise. Anders Bjork is one of the most hyped Bruins prospects in the system and many want to see him get playing time with Boston to start the 2019-2020 campaign, but Cassidy feels that he could use some additional time in Providence to improve his skills and earn that spot in the NHL. Studnicka, Hughes, and Frederic were all expected considering the lack of roles available for them with the main club.

One player that remains with the team for practice is defenceman Jakub Zboril, who with Steven Kampfer, are the only spare defensemen with Boston for practice according to Boston Globe writer Kevin Paul Dupont, (@GlobeKPD on Twitter). It is likely that once John Moore and Kevan Miller return to the lineup further into the season, he will be re-assigned to the P-Bruins.

The other big news piece today for the Bruins organization was the news that forward Peter Cehlarik has been placed on waivers by Boston in order to be sent down to the AHL.

Cehlarik played in 53 games for the Baby Bruins in 2018-19, scoring 12-28-36 numbers along with one goal in four playoff games. The 24-year-old winger also scored four goals and two assists for six points in 20 games with the Boston Bruins last season.

For the latest Boston Bruins news, updates, and injury reports, make sure to follow me on Twitter (@tkdmaxbjj) and stay locked on the Black N’ Gold Hockey website for articles from all our staff writers.

Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 147 that we recorded on 9-29-19 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!

Many Questions Face The Bruins Before Regular Season Begins

NHL: New York Islanders at Boston Bruins

(Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)

By: Lucas Pearson  |  Follow Me On Twitter @LucasPearson_

Hockey is oh so close to being back. The Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo contracts have been signed, and the Bruins are beginning to play actual hockey again. But even with the regular season less than two weeks away, many questions still face the Bruins entering the year.

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(Photo Credit: Paul Sancya/AP Sports)

How Healthy Is The Team Going to Be?

It seems like the Bruins, and the injury bug are becoming synonymous terms. Following the long and grueling playoffs, it’s not a major surprise that health is a concern, but the Bruins already have multiple regulars that are questionable to begin the year healthy. On the back-end, John Moore and Kevan Miller are already confirmed to be out for the season opener, and Zdeno Chara is questionable for the opener due to the jaw injury he suffered in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Patrice Bergeron has been practicing in a non-contact sweater and is also questionable for the opener. Luckily depth on defense isn’t a real issue for the Bs, but if the Bergeron and Chara injuries take a wrong turn, the Bruins may be in trouble.

seny

(Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer-Getty Images)

What Kids Can Make The Team?

The Bruins have a plethora of NHL-ready prospects that are fighting for a spot on the team. They have talented players like Jack Studnicka, Oskar Steen and Zach Senyshyn looking for their first extended looks in the NHL as well as Anders Bjork, Trent Frederic and Karson Kuhlman who are looking to add to their previous stints in the big-leagues. Obviously, the Bs just don’t have room for all of these guys with their already impressive roster, but I would not be surprised to see two or three cracks the opening night roster (as you will see me get more into later).

On defense, it’s unlikely that any youngsters can have an extended stay, but if Chara does end up missing some time, we may get to see a few games. Urho Vaakanainen has looked very comfortable in the pre-season and seems to be NHL ready. Jeremy Lauzon is another NHL ready defenseman we got to see last year and again, looked very comfortable in his 16 game stint last year.

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(Photo Credit: NHL.com)

Who Starts To Krejci’s Right?

So it seems Bruce Cassidy is sticking to his guns and keeping the top line of Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak and Bergeron together so we should see a revolving door of players auditioning on that second line. Cassidy has said that Brett Ritchie, David Backes, Anders Bjork, and Danton Heinen will all get looks on the line, but it seems that Karson Kuhlman, who had some success with the duo of Krejci and Jake Debrusk in the playoffs, may get the nod to begin the year. After four seasons (and one championship win) at Minnesota Duluth, Kuhlman was a bit of a surprise call-up last season but had a good amount of success in both the regular season and the playoffs.

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(Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

How Does the Bottom Six Shake-Up?

The trio of Anders Bjork, Charlie Coyle, and Danton Heinen have played together in this pre-season and looked to already have developed some chemistry (all three tallied a point in the game). Albeit a very small sample size, but if the group continue to play well, they are a very strong candidate to begin the season as the third line. If Kuhlman ends up on line two and line three stays as it looks to be, that leaves a sea of players still vying for 4th line roles.

If previously mentioned young players like Frederic, Senyshyn, and Steen can’t crack the top nine, I see no reason to give them minimal minutes on the 4th line, eating up a lot of minutes in the AHL would be a far better alternative. The one kid that is the biggest wildcard is Peter Cehlarik. Unlike the other fringe-NHL prospects, Cehlarik is the only player that is not waiver exempt, meaning that if the Bruins want to send him to the AHL, he would need to pass through waivers. While he isn’t a game-changer, losing a guy with the skill and size for Cehlarik for nothing would hurt. Maybe that pushes him over the edge over players like Kuhlman or Bjork who don’t have to go through waivers but all we can do it wait and see.

That leaves David Backes, Brett Ritchie, Joakim Nordstrom, Chris Wagner Sean Kuraly and Par Lindholm all looking for 4th line minutes. Nordstrom, Kuraly, and Wagner partnered up to be one of the most effective 4th lines in the entire league last year, and are certainly a very good bet to start the season as the line.

Ritchie and Lindholm were both brought in this offseason as low risk, high(ish) reward players. Ritchie is a former 16 goal scorer and will certainly look to return to that form after two very lack-luster seasons. Lindholm was just under a point-per-game in his final season the SHL and will look to replicate that after a solid rookie year in the NHL.

Finally, we have David Backes, who I really think will come back and have a solid year. He’s obviously not the player he used to be in St. Louis. He is still an outstanding veteran presence with a lot to prove this season after the disappointing end of the playoffs. Both Bruce Cassidy and Don Sweeney still have their work cut out for them.

Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 146 that we recorded on 9-22-19 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!

Opportunities Are Abundant In The Bruins System For Anders Bjork

Image result for anders bjork

(Photo Credit: Brian Babineau: NHL/Getty Images)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

One of the most popular names in training camp in recent weeks has been Anders Bjork. Thanks in large part to an impressive showing at the prospects challenge, Bjork has caught the eyes of many. His dynamic skill set and comfortability are still ever so present after two shoulder surgeries in as many years.

Bjork has seen time with Danton Heinen and Charlie Coyle most recently, but there are still other options for him.

On the wing with Jack Studnicka in Providence

Whether it’s on the left-wing or the right, if Bjork and Studnicka both end up down in Providence to start the season, I would love to see what they could do together. Bjork and Studnicka are the two most dynamic forwards in the system and could seriously light it up together. The other winger could be any of a number of players, perhaps someone like Jakub Lauko, Ryan Fitzgerald, Cameron Hughes, or Oskar Steen.

If the coaching staff decides that playing in the AHL is best for Bjork to start, it would be best to equip him with skilled linemates such as the players listed above.

First-line right-wing

Despite not lighting it up on the scoresheet, it’s fair to say that Bjork has looked the most comfortable on the top line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. Playing with two well-established veterans allows Bjork to learn and if he puts himself in the right spots to generate chances, score as well.

In time with the top line this past year, Heinen also looked pretty confident on the first line right-wing. With Bjork’s career off to a turbulent start with injuries, playing with two established veterans that he can learn from and potentially produce at a high-level with could be just what Bjork needs to ease into becoming a full-time NHL player.

Second-line right-wing 

This one isn’t very likely in my eyes, but it’s still possible. The way I see it, the second-line right wing job is Karson Kuhlman’s to lose. Alongside Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci last season, Kuhlman completed a second line that generated 7.00 GF/60 last season. That’s insane. His speed and forechecking ability also adds a lot to that line and makes the line difficult to deal with in the offensive zone.

The speed of DeBrusk and Bjork on Krejci’s wings is definitely worth exploring at some point though. It just probably won’t be right away to start the 2019-2020 season.

Third-line left-wing

I think this is where Bjork will land to start the season. Bjork has been playing on Coyle’s left with Heinen on the right for the past week in practice, as well as last night against the Philadelphia Flyers. The three of them looked great together last night, consistently pushing the pace through the neutral zone and into the offensive zone.

Not only did they pretty much dominate through the neutral zone and into the offensive zone, but they also did a great job limiting the Flyers scoring chances.

31 shot attempts. 31! Anders Bjork was a menace to deal with last night. His smooth skating and offensive abilities could add an important element to the third line. Coyle was a tank last year, especially in the playoffs. His big body, prowess in all three zones, and scoring abilities in a third-line role make him the ideal man for the job.

As the third-line center, Coyle established some serious chemistry with Heinen. The two looked very comfortable with each other again last night.

Where Heinen thrives is creating scoring chances for his linemates and limiting opponent scoring chances. He thrived in that area in a down year offensively for him last year. If Heinen can get back to around the 47-point mark he hit in his rookie season, do what he does best, and Bjork and Coyle can bring what they do best to the table, as previously mentioned, this has the potential to be a dominant third line.

Bjork spoke to Bruins reporter Eric Russo about Charlie Coyle and Danton Heinen before last night’s preseason win for the Bruins over the Flyers.

Where Bjork lands is still to be determined over the next couple weeks, but there are certainly a lot of options for him. If he can stay healthy, he has high upside that is worth getting excited about.

Bruins 2019 Prospects Challenge Recap

Bruins rookie camp

( Photo Credit: Nancy Lane/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald )

By Joe Chrzanowski  |  Follow Me on Twitter @jchrz19

For the fifth year in a row, the Bruins sent a team to participate in the Prospects Challenge in Buffalo. This year’s edition split it right down the middle, finishing with a 1-1-1 record after three games versus prospects from the Penguins, Sabres and Devils organizations. I would like to say that it was a good opportunity for fans of the team to become more familiar with some of their prospects. Unfortunately, that was not the case, unless you were lucky enough to actually attend the Challenge in person.

That’s because the Bruins organization did not see fit to televise or stream any of the games. The Penguins and Sabres streamed the games locally, but most in the Boston area were unable to watch. Fortunately, the Devils broadcast the Monday game on YouTube, and it’s still available for your viewing pleasure. It would be great if the Bruins decided to remedy this situation going forward, but that’s a discussion for another day. On to the actual games.

On Friday afternoon the Bruins took on the Penguins, and the good guys managed to come out on top, 4-3. The game did not start off very well for the Bruins, with the team falling behind 2-0 after goals by Sam Miletic and Pittsburgh first-round pick, Samuel Poulin. Boston bounced back on goals from draft picks Jakub Lauko, and Jack Studnicka and camp invite Scott Conway. The Pens tied it on a score by Nathan Legaré late in the second period. Anders Bjork came to the rescue for the Bruins, scoring the game-winner on the PP with just two seconds left in regulation. It was a good showing for Bjork, who had an assist to go along with his goal. Jack Studnicka also had a score and a helper.

The second game was Saturday evening against the host Buffalo Sabres. The final score was the same as Friday, 4-3, but the hometown boys came out on the short end, despite a great offensive effort by C/W Oskar Steen. Buffalo opened the scoring on a goal by Rasmus Asplund. Steen tied it midway through the second period on a feed from diminutive camp invite Dante Hannoun before the Sabres scored three goals in less than four minutes. Two of the goals came from center Matej Pekar, a fourth-round pick in 2018. The Bruins closed the gap in the third period on two power-play goals, from Steen and QMJHL free agent signing Samuel Asselin. They had a number of good chances to tie the game in the last minute or so with goalie Dan Vladar pulled for the extra attacker. Unfortunately, they were unable to get the equalizer by 2014 draftee Jonas Johansson.

The final game was a breakfast tilt with an unusual 9:30am start time Monday morning against the New Jersey Devils prospects, including first overall pick, Jack Hughes. The Bruins dropped this one in OT, but I felt they were the better team for the majority of the game, particularly at even strength. Both regulation goals by NJ were scored on the PP. The Devils tallied the first goal of the game while on a 5 on 3 PP. I would term the calls that led to the two-man advantage as “generous.” The score came by Nathan Bastian off a tic-tac-toe passing play that goalie Kyle Keyser had no chance at.

The Bruins tied the game with less than 30 seconds to go in the first period on a Dante Hannoun goal (assisted by first pair d-men Urho Vaakanainen and Axel Andersson). Scott Conway put the Bruins ahead 2-1 midway through the second period. That was it for the regulation scoring until 8 seconds remained in the contest. NJ was on the PP (thanks to another iffy penalty call) and had the goaltender pulled when former Merrimack forward Ludvig Larsson tied the game. Larsson scored again, ending it two minutes into the OT, even though Boston had the better of the play and chances.

I would be remiss if I didn’t comment on the play of Jack Hughes. It’s very early in his pro career, but I have to say, I wasn’t overly impressed. He’s a very good skater, extremely quick, but appeared to be forcing a lot of plays. He fanned on a wide-open chance that would have been the go-ahead goal in the third period. Then in the OT, he failed to make a pass on a great 2 on 1 opportunity. I have no doubt that Hughes is going to be a fantastic player in the league, but I can’t help but think he would have been better off playing in college for at least a year like older brother Quinn. He was overshadowed, at least in this one game, by forwards Jesper Boqvist (36th overall 2017) and Mikhail Maltsev (102nd in 2016) who both played extremely well.

As much fun as it is to watch hockey again, that’s not really the point of these prospect games. With Training Camp starting today, the idea was to get these kids some playing time before training camp and to allow the staff to see if they think any of them can make the jump to the NHL. In the case of the camp invites, the teams want to see if there are any players they should bring on board. I will be basing my observations primarily on the game against NJ. I watched the game Saturday night versus Buffalo as well, but the quality of the stream I found left a little to be desired.

There were no huge surprises, in my opinion, but a few players made good impressions. I’m going to preface everything that comes after this by reminding people that it was only a prospect tournament. Players that performed well aren’t necessarily going to be superstars, and ones that did poorly are not necessarily busts. My colleagues at Black N Gold Hockey are doing a fine job giving in-depth looks at these prospects. There is no need to rehash that, but let’s take a quick look at how some of those prospects acquitted themselves.

 

Forwards:

Most of the kids up front that impressed at the Challenge were the names you would expect. Studnicka (1g/2a in 3gp) and Steen (2g/1a in 3gp) each had three points to lead the team, while Bjork had two points (1g/1a in 2gp). Lauko only had one goal in three games, but played well and showed his speed. Bjork (in the little I saw of him) was moving well and looked strong, which was to be expected given the experience advantage he has over the other prospects. There were few unheralded kids that I thought played well also. Scott Conway and Tommy Marchin, who both have AHL deals in place with PRO for the 2019-20 season were solid. Conway, who played his college hockey at Providence had two goals in his two games. Marchin, a Brown University product was held off the scoresheet, but every time he had the puck, he seemed to make the smart play, even if it was a just a cross-corner dump-in.

The player that surprised me the most this past weekend was an undersized wing, Dante Hannoun. He played his junior hockey for Prince Albert in the generally rugged WHL, and it showed. Despite being only 5’6″, and 165 pounds, he was fearless, taking hits and delivering some to much larger opponents. Hannoun was very quick, displayed a strong base, and was able to protect the puck well. He collected a goal and an assist in his two games and did not look out of place. He has not officially signed a deal yet, but based on comments from Bruins management, it appears that he will be somewhere in the system (possibly Atlanta).

On the flip side, a couple of kids that didn’t really stand out, in my opinion, were Robert Lantosi and Pavel Shen. Lantosi is a 23-year-old right shot wing who averaged more than a point per game in the highest Slovakian league last year. Shen, the Bruins 7th Round pick in 2018 looked a step slow. He was significantly better in the WJC’s this year for Russia, playing against his peers. It could just be that both Lantosi and Shen need time to get acclimated to the smaller ice surfaces and style of play in North America

Defense:

The prospect that stood out on the back end was definitely Cooper Zech. He had two assists in three games, but it was his skating and “escapability” that impressed me the most. He is calm with the puck, makes good decisions, and on the rare occasion when he doesn’t, he’s able to skate his way out of trouble. I think he is going to have a great rookie year in PRO and I’m looking forward to catching as many games as possible. Next up was Urho Vaakaneinen. He started off slow but seemed to get progressively better. Monday was his best game by far. He was very efficient on the defensive side and led several rushes into the offensive zone as well. He’s not flashy, but he moves extremely well and is very efficient.

It’s going to be tough for him to crack the NHL roster, but I believe he’s definitely the first man up in case of injury. Another guy I was really looking forward to seeing was 2018 2nd rounder, Axel Andersson. He only played in Monday’s game and looked a little tentative. The skill is there, and you can see flashes, but I think he just needs to be a little more consistent, which should come in time. Wiley Sherman was decent, but not really noticeable one way or another (which is not always a bad thing for a defenseman). Unfortunately, none of the camp invites on the blue line did much. On the positive side, as long as the contracts get done, the Bruins appear to have plenty of depth on defense at both the NHL and AHL levels.

That’s going to put a wrap on the 2019 Prospects Challenge. There was some good and some bad, but we will get a much better idea about what some of these kids are capable of over the next week or so as they hit the ice with the big boys at Bruins Training Camp. I’m not sure I see any of the guys from the Challenge roster breaking camp with the NHL team, but only time will tell.

Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 144 that we recorded on 9-8-19 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 Link To Our YouTube Channel!

For Bruins’ Bjork, Uncertainty Looms Ahead Of Training Camp

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(Photo: Paul Rutherford / USA TODAY Sports)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

Anders Bjork has not had the start to his professional hockey career that he, or anyone else for that matter, likely envisioned. Between inconsistency at the NHL level, a demotion to Providence that led him to miss the Winter Classic at his alma mater, and two season-ending shoulder surgeries, the forward is basically starting from scratch this season.

Surprising or not, the fact that Bjork was included on the Bruins’ rookie camp and Prospects Challenge roster should have been beneficial to his chances of having a good showing at training camp. The Notre Dame product said he was fully cleared to play in July and trained hard all summer; however, few things can simulate game speed, but the Prospects Challenge should have served as a great chance for Bjork to get his legs back under him ahead of what looks to be an extremely competitive training camp. From the way things sounded on Twitter (because most of the games were not streamed, of course), Bjork was among the standouts during the games in Buffalo.

The Mequon, Wisconsin, native is among other prospects, like Jack Studnicka, Zach Senyshyn, Peter Cehlarik, and more, who are looking to make a strong impression at camp and seize one of the two forward spots that are up for grabs. With 50 games of NHL experience under his belt, Bjork has a leg up on most of the others, likely aside from Cehlarik and Karson Kuhlman, though.

In those 50 games (5-10-15 numbers), Bjork has shown flashes of the skilled, speedy, all-zones force that many thought he would become in time with the Bruins. He looked most promising when playing on Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand’s right wing during his rookie season, but struggled when suiting up further down the lineup in a bottom-six role last season.

Entering the last year of his entry-level contract, the 23-year-old will not only be looking to stand out to secure a spot in the NHL, but also to earn a decent pay raise this off-season when his deal is up. So, if Bjork wasn’t motivated enough to prove that he still has the potential to become the player everyone once thought he could be after shining at Notre Dame, the added factor of it being a contract year almost certainly adds to the fire under him.

So where exactly does Anders Bjork fit within the Bruins’ organization? The answer to that question is hard to pinpoint. In an ideal world, the Bruins have the two wide open forward spots sorted out, which would allow Bjork to start the year in Providence to regain his confidence and get up to speed. However, this is not a perfect world, so it remains to be seen who might step up during training camp and seize the spots. Head coach Bruce Cassidy even specifically named Bjork as one of the guys in the running to slot in on David Krejci’s right on the second line; you can read about that in my last article here.

On paper, based on Bjork’s skillset alone, the obvious choice for where he would go in the NHL lineup would be in the top-six next to either Krejci or Bergeron, whom he has found success with in the past, as I previously mentioned. However, a third-line role next to Charlie Coyle would not be the worst thing in the world, especially considering Bjork would be making a significant upgrade from the start of last season when he flanked David Backes.

Long story short, Bjork needs to play meaningful minutes, whether it is in top-flight role in Providence, or a top-nine spot in Boston. With training camp beginning tomorrow, there is no doubt that he needs a strong showing at camp to ensure that he is still in the organization’s future plans.

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