Bruins vs Canadiens: The Definition Of The Word Rivalry.

( Photo Credit: news.22bet.com )

By: Josh Houreas  |  Follow Me On Twitter @JHoureas

The Montreal Canadiens are one of, if not the oldest hockey team in the National Hockey League. The Boston Bruins are the pioneer American Franchise in the League.

On December 8th, 1924, a rivalry, unlike any other, was born.

And it would change the course of hockey history forever.

Part I: The Beginning 

Montreal won the first meeting between the two clubs 4-3, and it was one of Boston’s 24 losses that season. If you think that 24 losses aren’t bad, back in 1925, the Bruins schedule consisted of only 30 games. The expansion Bruins finished that season with 6 wins and only 12 points.

While finishing with a dismal record of 6-24-0 that season, Boston recorded their first-ever victory over the Canadiens on January 10, 1925. A 3-2 overtime win.

While Montreal won the title for the best regular-season record in 1929, the Bruins swept the best of 5 series against Montreal on their way to the first Stanley Cup win in franchise history. This would be the only time in franchise history that Boston held an undefeated record in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, sweeping the New York Rangers in two (that isn’t a typo) straight games.

While Boston saw relative success in the late 1930s and early 1940s, it would be the original six team from Quebec that would sucker punch the playoff success out of Boston. Montreal won two Stanley Cups in two seasons while it took Boston a decade to capture their second title after their Championship season in 1929.

Part II: A World War (on Ice) 

On February 10th, 1942, in one of the most respectful gestures in the history of this famed rivalry, players from the Canadiens would carry Milt Schmidt, Bobby Bauer, and Woody Dumart (known today as the Kraut Line) off the ice. These three men had selected to turn in their hockey sweaters for military uniforms to fight in World War II. As for the game itself, it was an 8-1 romping victory over Montreal. Dumart, Schmidt, and Bauer combined for an astonishing 11 points.

( Photo Credit: Sportsnet.ca )

But the rivalry between the two clubs with two extremely different cultural backgrounds continued on, while a war was being fought.  

Part III: Post War Antics

After the War, Boston saw the return of the Kraut Line for one more season, before Bauer’s retirement in 1947, but failed to see the return of success over Montreal. The 1946 Stanley Cup Final, played between the two teams that season only lasted five games, three of which went to overtime. Montreal won that series. Eleven years would pass before each team saw one another in a Stanley Cup Final.

Part IV: Canadiens Soar while Bruins stumble

In 1952, one of the most famous pictures in hockey history was born. And of course, the two teams involved were Boston and Montreal (because of course, it was). It depicts Maurice Richard, who had scored the series-winning goal in Game 7, shaking hands with Samuel “Sugar Jim” Henry after the game. Both players left bloodied and in grueling pain. You’ve heard of the saying  “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

This one is worth a million.

( Photo Credit: habseyesontheprize.com )

Fast forward to 1957. The Canadiens still have Maurice “Rocket” Richard at their expense. The Bruins, well, they have Terry Sawchuck. This Final didn’t last very long. Five games, to be exact. The following season saw a rematch between the two clubs; only this time, well, Boston was able to capture two victories in the series.

This would be the last Stanley Cup Final matchup between the two teams for quite some time.

Part V: The Big Bad Rivalry. 

While Boston captured its first Stanley Cup in 29 seasons in 1970, thanks to a soaring Bobby Orr, the Canadiens were the far superior team over the course of the past three decades. (I’m just stating facts)

Boston had a chance to build a dynasty in the early 1970s had it not been for a rookie sensation between the pipes for Montreal. Ken Dryden had stolen the 1971 playoff matchup between Boston and Montreal. Johnny Bucyk had compared the rookie goaltender to an octopus.

( Photo Credit: Boston.com )

Gerry Cheevers (known for his famous stitch covered mask) helped the Bruins forget about their heartbreaking loss the season prior by setting a record of 32 straight wins (24-0-8 being the official stat line)

Boston won the Stanley Cup that season, defeating the New York Rangers in six games.

While the mid-1970s saw some tense moments between the Bruins and Canadiens, it wasn’t until 1979 that the feud boiled over. And as history would have it, the game and the series would go Montreal’s way.

With less than 3 minutes and holding a 4-3 lead in the deciding game 7, the Bruins got caught for too many men on the ice (one of the dumbest penalties in my opinion). Montreal, trailing, would find an answer in one of the most accurate shots you’ll ever see in your life. Guy Lafleur had smashed the puck on a back pass one-timer. As Bruins netminder Gillies Gilbert fell over, failing to catch the shot, the Forum erupted.

( Photo Credit: SI.com )

As the teams came back out on the ice for sudden death overtime, it would be Yvon Lambert who would find a way to get the puck past Gilbert, before Boston found a way to get the puck past Ken Dryden. 

Part VI: Bruins banish demons of decades past

It wouldn’t be until 1988 that the Boston Bruins would find a way past their hated rivals to the north. With help from Ray Bourque and Cam Neely, Boston accomplished a feat unseen for 45 years. Montreal would pack their bags for the golf course, and Boston would pack their bags for the Adams Division Finals. Although the Bruins made a magical run to the Stanley Cup Finals that season, they were defeated by the Edmonton Oilers, led by Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier. This wouldn’t be the last time that Boston met Edmonton in the Stanley Cup Final.

( Photo Credit: Boston.com )

Part VII: The 1990s: Ups and Downs for both clubs

While the turn of the decade saw a shift in success, with Boston winning 4 straight playoff series in the 1990s, the Black and Gold couldn’t find a way to make it back to the Stanley Cup Finals. Montreal would add a 24th Stanley Cup in 1993, but would never play the Bruins as Boston was swept in the opening round.

In 1995, the Bruins knew that a new home was soon needed. As Boston bid farewell to a mecca in hockey lore, they did it in an exhibition match against Montreal, because how else would you close the doors to such a historic building?

While the millennia was fading, the Bruins feud with Montreal, wasn’t. As it never had in years past. The Bruins wouldn’t meet Montreal in the postseason for a few more seasons, as Montreal Failed to make the playoffs in 1998. The following season both teams failed to make the playoffs.

But the rivalry was still there. In 2004, it reached a new boiling point.

Part VII: New Millennium, same old rivalry. 

2004 was certainly one of the most heated seasons between the Bruins and Montreal. As Boston would clinch another division title, it would be the Canadiens getting the last laugh as the Habs took the playoff series in another grueling 7 game series.

While being defeated in 2008 to Montreal, Boston would avenge their playoff defeat from the season before the following year. This would also be the series where Patrice Bergeron got his first-ever career fighting major.

As the feud between Boston and Montreal continued into the new decade, it would be 2011 when regular-season games led to a shove, a police investigation, and a goalie fight.

Let’s start out with the shove. After a Montreal overtime win, Max Pacioretty shoved Bruins Captain Zdeno Chara out of the way to celebrate with his teammates. It was a move that angered the Bruins Captain, and while the referees stepped in just in time, it wouldn’t be the last that Chara and Pacioretty would see of each other.

While an 8-6 Bruins win in February of 2011 (which included 192 penalty minutes and a goalie fight between Tim Thomas and Carey Price) didn’t see a Chara vs. Paccioretty fight night, it would light a short fuse between the two teams.

( Photo Credit: Pinterest.com )

On March 8, the stick of dynamite exploded.

As the first period came to an end, Max Pacioretty went to dump the puck in, and as he approached the Canadiens bench, Zdeno Chara ran him into the stanchion, which separated the two benches. This hit was so violent that personally, I thought Paccioretty was paralyzed from the neck down, and the Bruins fan inside of me was yelling YEAH WHAT A HIT! The hockey fan in me was yelling Oh no, that’s not good at all. Chara would not receive any form of punishment, and Montreal fans would go as far as to flood Montreal Police lines with complaints against Chara.

( Photo Credit: montrealgazette.com )

Boston would have the last laugh, defeating Montreal In the 2011 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in an overtime game 7 on their way to their first Stanley Cup in 39 years. Montreal hasn’t won since 1993, making it 27 years since the last Championship season for Bleu Blanc Rouge. HOW DOES IT FEEL NOW?! HUH!? (Sorry that’s the Bostonian in me talking)

While Montreal would seek and earn revenge in 2014, defeating Boston in the conference semifinals, it continues to be one of the most anticipated games of the season, each and every year

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 179 that we recorded below on 5-17-20! 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!

Bergeron Joins Elite Bruins Company

Image result for patrice bergeron bruins goal(Photo Credit: YouTube)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @00EvanMichael

“Patrice Bergeron. That’s it. That’s the tweet.”

Or, in this case, story. And further adding to his storied Spoked-B career, No. 37 for the Black N’Gold just joined an ELITE group of Bruins scorers.

Because Bergeron accomplishes so much so often, it’s easy to forget just how amazing some of his milestone moments truly are (New England community & league leadership notwithstanding) — from the overall number of games played to the oftentimes player of the game status. But his most recent accolade BEARS some highlighting and not just for the illustrious company he now keeps with names like Neely & McNab, Espo, The Chief and Nifty.

It’s for the workmanlike — dare I say, yeoman-like — way Bergeron has earned his sixth 30-goal season that we should tip our caps (or should I say helmets). Without the above tweet, I don’t think many of us would have even blinked an eye when we heard it. And that’s because Bergy is ALWAYS at his consistent best, whether he’s scoring goals, setting up others or shutting down his fellow forwards.

 

Here are the five previous seasons where No. 37 eclipsed the coveted 30-goal plateau:

PATRICE BERGERON SEASON GOAL TOTALS:

2005-2006 – 31 goals

2013-2014 – 30 goals

2015-2016 – 32 goals

2017-2018 – 30 goals

2018-2019 – 32 goals

And notice the near-decade gap in between season’s one and two of his historic marker! Lest we all forget that Bergeron began his Bruins career as a babe — only 18 years old. And then had nearly three playing seasons combined taken off his tally sheet due to injury and concussion concerns over the next few years.  So LONGEVITY goes hand-in-hand with consistency when it comes to the courageous B’s co-captain.

Speaking of consistency, Bergeron is only a “hat trick” away from accomplishing yet another career achievement — most goals in a season. And “B”-lieve you me, when he’s putting up goals AND assists, then watch out competition.

This is exactly how he hopes to reward the B’s — and in turn how his teammates hope to reward him… by producing on the ice and hoisting up ONE MORE CUP to round out an incredible decade of two-way dominance!

Check out our latest Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast!

And follow us on YouTube for all the latest Bruins related content both in Boston and Providence!

 

Bruins Champion 8-Spoked Salute!

8Spoke(Photo Credit: Boston Bruins)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @00EvanMichael

Giving appreciation to our military heroes and veterans is something the Boston Bruins organization not only takes pride in, but also champions year after year and season after season. And for the remainder of the 2019-2020 season, the franchise is looking to recognize local and New England-area Armed Forces members –Active Duty, Guard or Reserve — who are exactly those champions!

And *YOU can nominate them by doing the following, per the Bruins website:

The Bruins and the Massachusetts State Lottery are proud to salute the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. At select games throughout the 2019-20 season, a member or members of the Armed Forces [Active Duty, Guard or Reserve] will receive the 8-Spoked Salute for their service to our country. Selected winners will receive four (4) complimentary tickets to a Bruins home game and a live welcome on Garden HDX (video scoreboard). If you would like to nominate a Service Member of the Community, fill out the form below. Entries for selection must include a valid reason as to why an individual should be selected for this honor. Last year, the Lottery gave back over $1.1 billion to the Commonwealth, providing essential local aid for all 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts.

The B’s and the MA Lottery have partnered up before to salute our nation’s heroes, with the Black N’ Gold tipping their helmets to those who wear navy, green, tan, camouflage and of course red, white & blue! The video below shows just how up-close-and-personal our service members can get to the players during such games as Military Appreciation Night and the 8-Spoked Salute:

 

The Bruins’ organization also has a proud history during the 8-Spoked-Salute games of honoring those service members we’ve lost while fighting for our freedoms. The team has even surprised military families with reunions on TD Garden ice:

It’s one of those occasions where sport and sacrifice intertwine to form a bond that is honored by all — no matter your politics, passions or pursuits. And, in the case of the Bruins, that intertwining involves 8 spokes, bringing even more value, sentiment and meaning to the beloved and bespoked B’s!

*Again, YOU can send in your nominations here: https://www.nhl.com/bruins/community/8-spoked-salute   

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 168 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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

Boston Bruins: A Stanley Cup “Runner Up” History

Image result for bruins blues handshake line(Photo Credit: NBC Sports)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @00EvanMichael

When you look up and see the half-dozen Stanley Cup banners hanging high above the TD Garden ice, you can’t help but feel a sense of pride, admiration and accomplishment for the Boston Bruins. “An Original Six got six,” as my late grandfather belovedly bellowed after watching Zdeno Chara celebrate like a champion in 2011.

Image result for td garden banners bruins(Photo Credit: TD Garden)

But, there are some other banners that, if you pay them close attention, aren’t really as celebratory, or dare I say champion, as they seem. That’s because they reflect all the times the B’s have fallen short of hockey’s ultimate quest.

Some are marked by the Prince of Wales Trophy designation (for winning the Eastern Conference)… others the old Adams Division… even a few for the woefully unreliable Presidents’ Trophy acknowledgement.

What they all share in common is a familiar heartbreak for hockey fans in the Hub. One that began in 1927 at the hands of the original Ottawa Senators and was most recently relived courtesy of the cutthroat St. Louis Blues this past June of 2019.

In the 92 years in between, there were twelve other occasions where the B’s — from Brown N’ Gold to Black N’ Gold (with some honey and/or yellow mustards thrown in for forgettable measure) — played runners-up to the Cup.

That’s a lackluster record of six and fourteen. Or, typed out in a style that’s hard to miss, 6 – 14. That’s right, only 6 Ws compared to 14 Ls, all when competing for Lord Stanley’s coveted silver chalice.

And for some oddly annoying and historically humdrum reason, they seam to happen in spurts of two, all within a few short years of each other (or in modern-day terminology — during the same winning window). “Two” wit:

BOSTON BRUINS – STANLEY CUP LOSER STREAKS:

1927 & 1930 / Ottawa & Montreal

1943 & 1946 / Detroit & Montreal

*1957 & 1958 / Montreal & Montreal

*1977 & 1978 / Montreal & Montreal

1988 & 1990 / Edmonton & Edmonton

2013 & 2019 / Chicago & St. Louis

*Also lost in 1953 (Montreal) and 1974 (Philadelphia)

As you can see from above, even the outlier losing years were awfully close to the runners-up sequencing. Even hockey insiders like “Joey Mac” from The Athletic Boston have a hard time not noticing these unfortunate oh-so-close-to-glory trends.

Speaking of things not to glorify (a certain similar-sounding serendipitous song from St. Louis being one of them), McDonald’s article also points out the uphill battle the B’s now face in order to bounce back from a Stanley Cup-losing season.

As he mentions, no team in the modern-day NHL — a term we all keep going back to for six original reasons — has ever won the year after they’ve lost in a Game 7 final. Not even powerhouse teams of their respective eras like the Blackhawks, Devils & Red Wings.

Call it a hangover… call it depression… call it flat out not being as good (or as lucky) the following season, but history sure doesn’t seem to line up on the side of the B’s lineup in 2019-2020. But, maybe that’s exactly what the doctor ordered for Boston.

Maybe that’s exactly the kind of motivation this very talented team needs to get over the Cup hump one more time in the Chara/Bergeron Era. I know the aforementioned Mr. McDonald thinks so, and he isn’t even old and on the farm yet.

And considering the Bruins have one of the best farm systems in all of hockey, to steal a term made popular by their crosstown cohorts the Boston Red Sox, there’s a lot to be excited about both now and for future Cup runs in Boston.

Yet, if the Bruins really want their “Cup to runneth over”, especially during an upcoming season filled with plenty of historical harbingers and unsatisfactory stats as outlined above, then what they’ll need more than ever is the ability to forget — something history has made hard to do.

Thankfully (and regrettably at the same time) it’s history everyone wearing the spoked-B, or any “B” for that matter since 1927, has grown accustomed to — from Eddie Shore to Bobby Orr. From Cameron Neely to Donny Sweeney. From Uncle Milt to Tuukka’s guilt. The B’s know losing, especially in heartbreaking ways, whether we want to admit it or not.

So, how’s this for a banner statement: maybe NOT looking up to the TD Garden rafters this year will be what’s best for the B’s. Then, they can truly “look forward” to what every runner-up has ever wanted: an immediate next shot at the Cup!

Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 147 that we recorded on 9-30-19 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 Jaroslav Halak: Staying Sharp Between The Pipes

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 14: Goaltender Jaroslav Halak #41 of ...(Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

By: Liz Rizzo | Follow me on Twitter: @pastagrl88

Training Camp has officially started and as the team comes together on the ice, the focus will turn to re-amping their efforts as the boys in Black and Gold look to once again reach the Stanley Cup Finals. As Butch Cassidy and his Sundance Kids look to shake off last season’s tough end, many of those players are ready to start fresh. While some are working to get a spot on the Varsity team, Bruins back-up goalie Jaroslav Halak is ready to continue his journey in between the pipes.

TWO IS BETTER THAN ONE…

It’s something every professional NHL team wants and needs when it comes to having great goaltending: the perfect tandem. Last season, both Tuukka Rask and Halak acknowledged that their chemistry on and off the ice was the perfect combination of a winning duo. Halak’s calm demeanor in net allowed Cassidy more freedom in his choices, especially when it came time to give Rask much needed rest.

Image result for jaroslav halak(Photo Credits: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)

When the 32-year-old Finnish native needed to time resolve a personal matter back in November, duties fell on Halak. Rask missed the games against the Toronto Maples Leafs and the Vegas Golden Knights. With Jaro in net, the Bruins won both match-ups. When Rask returned to the team, Boston, unfortunately, fell to the Vancouver Canucks 8-5 with Halak in net (Rask would come in as relief but the damage was already done).

As the Bruins advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals for the third time counting 2011, one of the biggest observations was just how well Coach Bruce Cassidy was able to manage both goaltenders during the regular season. As noted in past performances, Rask faltered a bit when having to play a heavier workload. However, when the 34-year-old Halak signed with the Bruins (replacing Anton Khudobin), things were looking to balance out in favor of Rask. During the 2018-2019 regular season, Tuukka played 46 games and went 27-13-5 with a 2.48 goals-against average, while Jaro appeared in 40 games going 20-11-4 with a 2.34 goals-against average.

Image result for jaroslav halak tuukka rask(Photo Credits:  Matt Stone/ Boston Herald)

Having a successful back-up goaltender made it easier for Cassidy to shift responsibilities between the two, thus allowing Rask to stay fresh-something important especially when we’re talking Playoffs. It certainly allowed Tuukka to play phenomenal during Boston’s extended postseason run. As Bruins President Cam Neely noted:

“The way that Jaro played for us this year really helped Tuukka get some rest… We’ve seen when Tuukka’s workload gets too high he really starts to break down. I think the fact Jaro had such a great year and we were able to rely on him, and even (Anton Khudobin) had a great year the year before, that really allows us to maybe reduce Tuukka’s starts a little bit. We could keep him a little fresher this year and I think it made a really big difference in the playoffs.”

With the new season fast approaching, both Rask and Halak are poised to once again share the wealth. As Boston Globe’s Marisa Ingemi recently reported, Rask is feeling just as healthy now as he felt towards the end of the last season. For Jaro, he’s looking to move forward this upcoming year:

“I just want to help the team, any way I could , same thing this year…get the win, get the points..we still have the same goal..we wanna win the cup.”

Bruins Charitable Events: Patrice Bergeron Edition

See the source image(Photo Credits: Lapresse.Ca)

By Liz Rizzo| Follow me on Twitter @pastagrl88

To describe the perfect athlete that not only has the utmost respect from his entire team but an entire league, you won’t have to think too hard to search for words.  While you could write for days describing the many ways this player continues to be an example of what a leader should be,  it’s what he does off the ice that really shows you what kind of person Patrice Bergeron is.

See the source image

(Photo Credits: Boston.com)

CHARITY STARTS AT HOME

Throughout his career here in Boston, the 34-year-old Center has been involved with many local charities that have brought awareness to causes that especially involve children. Since its development in 2005, “Patrice’s Pals” has hosted countless families and pediatric patients to a Bruins game at a luxury suite at the TD Garden, where they get to enjoy VIP treatment. Immediately following a game, Bergeron personally meets with every one of his guests, signing autographs and taking pictures. To date, children that have became “Patrice’s Pals” were from the Cam Neely Foundation, Children’s Hospital in Boston,  Franciscan Hospital for Children, Joslin Diabetes Center, Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Big Brother and Big Sister of Massachusetts Bay, Oak Square YMCA, Shriners Hospital, and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.

 

See the source image

(Photo Credits: NBC Boston.com)

For the past two seasons, Patrice Bergeron teamed up with radio sports personalities from the 98.5 Sports Hub for the “Pucks and Paddles” ping-pong tournament, in which fans bid to have a chance to play alongside their favorite Bruin. The event raises money for patients at the Floating Hospital for Children at the Tufts Medical Center and benefits the Boston Bruins Foundation  (which  partnered with the hospital).

This past Thursday and in it’s 11th year, Patrice Bergeron, along with Simon Gagné (who played for Philadelphia Flyers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Los Angeles Kings and Boston Bruins) co-chair the annual Pro-Am Hockey Tournament held in Quebec City. The event features a match-up of professional and amateur hockey players from the area. To date, the charity tournament has raised over $1 million dollars which goes to organizations that help sick or disabled children. The fundraiser was held at the Videotron Centre in Quebec City. Here listed are players that were slated to participate in the event:

GOALTENDERS

Louis Domingue, Tampa Bay Lightning

Jonathan Bernier, Detroit Red Wings

DEFENDERS

Marc-Edouard Vlasic, San Jose Sharks

Samuel Girard, Colorado Avalanche

Mark Barberio, Colorado Avalanche

David Savard, Columbus Blue Jackets

Charlie McAvoy, Boston Bruins

FORWARDS

Paul Stastny, Las Vegas Golden Knights

Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins

Brad Marchand, Boston Bruins

Vincent Lecavalier, Former player Tampa Bay Lightning 

Yanni Gourde, Tampa Bay Lightning

Cedric Paquette, Tampa Bay Lightning

Simon Gagné, Former player Philadelphia Flyers

Philippe Danault, Montreal Canadiens

Alex Chiasson, Edmonton Oilers

Anthony Mantha, Detroit Red Wings

Samuel Blais, Blues of St. Louis

Mathieu Perreault, Winnipeg Jets

Maxime “Max” Talbot, former Boston Bruins member, Philadelphia Flyers, Colorado Avalanche and Pittsburgh Penguins

 

COACHES BRUINS

Joel Bouchard, Rocket of Laval

Philippe Boucher, general manager of the Drummondville Voltigeurs and former Remparts coach

Michel Picard (recruiter for the St. Louis Blues)

 

LIGHTNING COACHES

Benoît Groulx, Syracuse Crunch

Dave Morrissette, TVA Sports

Pierre Sevigny, former Montreal Canadiens player

FINAL THOUGHTS

2019 marked his 16th year playing for the Boston Bruins organization and Bergeron has distinguish himself amongst his peers as a role-model for professional-athletes in any sport, especially in the hockey community.  Hockey players are a different breed and giving back to the community has and will continue to be a vital part of the sport. And for any player, whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting your career, aspiring to be like Patrice Bergeron is well, pretty damn good.

Report: Boston Bruins Offer D Alex Petrovic a PTO Deal

Alex-Petrovic.jpg

PHOTO CREDITS: (Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

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

Earlier today, Alex Thomas of Boston Hockey Now wrote an article that highlighted the idea that the Boston Bruins have offered seven-year NHL defenseman Alexander Petrovic a Professional Tryout Contract.

Alex Petrovic is a 27-year-old defender from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada that has spent the majority of his career to date with the Florida Panthers. The 36th overall draft selection in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft by the Panthers has played in 263 regular-season games since the 2012-13 campaign and has accumulated five goals, 45 assists for 50 points total since his debut.

Petrovic’s tenure with Florida ended in December of 2018 when he was traded to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Chris Wideman and a conditional 2019 3rd Round Pick. After only playing nine games in 2018-19 with the struggling Oilers, Petrovic hit the free-agent market this past July 1st and has since been offered a deal.

Also included in Alex Thomas’ article for Boston Hockey Now, there is interest the Carolina Hurricanes and the Calgary Flames to sign the defenceman. It is unlikely that the Bruins use Petrovic for an NHL role when the season begins in October, so what is the purpose for the PTO?

For one, signing veterans to tryout contracts gives some more incentive to the younger prospects in the Bruins organization to play to their highest level during the NHL Training Camp that begins within the coming month. Petrovic may also be able to add some personal insight to these younger players and add some strength to the locker room in that regard.

If the Boston Bruins do like Alex Petrovic is some form, it would be likely that he is signed to an AHL contract only if he does indeed agree to a true contract. Bruins President Cam Neely discussed the issues they are having signing RFA defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo and in that case that it goes into the season, the Bruins will have to find some extra players to fill in those roles temporarily. Whether or not Petrovic is the right player for that replacement role, is yet to be seen.

According to Hockey Reference, the 6-foot-4, 216-pound Petrovic has a 49.9% Corsi For% (48.4% in 2018-19) and a 50% Fenwick For% (48.3% in 2018-19) all while at even strength. Not known whatsoever for his offensive talents, the big defenceman can bring some physicality and a defensive style to the depth defensive role.

Not great numbers, but someone who could maybe earn some minutes in the American Hockey League with the Providence Bruins if his upcoming training camp performance means anything to his future. In a lot of PTOs, the player does not sign a full contract with that team when the tryout expires. If this report indeed comes true as Alex Thomas is reporting, then I assume this is the case with Alex Petrovic as well.

Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 139 that we recorded on 8-2-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Sticher.

Will Bruins Sign McAvoy or Carlo Before Camp?

NHL: Dallas Stars at Boston Bruins

(Photo credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)

By Carrie Salls | Follow Me on Twitter @nittgrl73

August is upon us. With only about a month remaining until the players and coaches begin returning to Boston and training camp gets underway for the 2019-2020 season, the Bruins still have not signed key restricted free agents Charlie McAvoy or Brandon Carlo to new contracts. In fact, it doesn’t appear that team president Cam Neely and general manager Don Sweeney have done much at all since making a few unrestricted free agent signings on July 1, at least nothing that has been reported.

The first mention from team management about the status of talks with Carlo and McAvoy was not a particularly promising one, as vice president Cam Neely seemed to indicate Thursday that there is a chance that one or both of the blue liners may not be with the team at the beginning of camp.

Potential bridge deals aside, it stands to reason that the Bruins do not currently have enough cap space available to sign both young defensemen. A few other teams have found buyers for players who, like Boston forward David Backes, have expensive contracts but whose contributions to their teams have diminished. However, it appears the window may be closing, if it hasn’t already, on finding a team willing to take some or all of Backes’ contract off the Bruins’ hands.

There are a few issues that likely make moving Backes challenging, to say the least. One is that he has a no movement clause, so the Bruins would either have to make a deal with a team to which Backes has previously agreed or ask him to waive the clause. Teams may also be asking for a high draft pick to accompany the aging winger. After losing a first-round draft pick in the Rick Nash trade, general manager Don Sweeney understandably seems to be reluctant to go that route again. Boston also is not in a position to swap one expensive contract for another, like the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames did in their recent Milan Lucic for James Neal trade.

If freeing up space from Backes’ contract is not an option, it makes sense that the team would turn to a trade to find the money to come to terms with both McAvoy and Carlo. Potential trade pieces could include Torey Krug or David Krejci, most notably. Back-up goaltender Jaroslav Halak could also provide some cap relief if dealt, albeit not as much as Krug or Krejci.

Certainly none of these options are ideal for the Bruins. That, coupled with the team’s decided defensive depth, may be why Neely seems somewhat resigned to the reality that Carlo and McAvoy could start the season as holdouts.

The team has the most leverage in negotiating with McAvoy, as other teams cannot “offer sheet” the 21-year-old first-pairing defenseman. However, if McAvoy is looking at the contracts signed this summer by other young defensemen and asking the Bruins for most or all of the available cap space, that leaves the door open for Carlo to sign a potential offer sheet from another team.

The summer has been slow league-wide, with several bigger-name restricted free agents still un-signed. Offer sheets have also been in very short supply. So, it may not be just the Bruins who are taking their time in shoring up their rosters for the upcoming season.

It may be safe to assume at this point that neither player is willing to accept a bridge deal, especially given the going rate for future stars like McAvoy and Carlo. The Bruins front office definitely finds itself in a difficult position. The coming weeks will tell if a solution can be found.

Chris Kelly Rejoins Bruins Organization

Image result for chris kelly boston bruins(Photo Credit: CBS Boston)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @00EvanMichael

“The Bruins are looking to bring back Chris Kelly…”

That statement caused a Causeway panic and made #BruinsTwitter go atwitter this week. And I would’ve probably jumped on the bash-the-B’s-brass bandwagon were it not for a skill I learned long before the age of social media clickbating and hackneyed headlines: read more than just the first sentence. 

“…in a player development role.”

Deep breath in. Deep breath out. Now, that makes a lot more sense. In fact, I think it makes all the sense in the world, and so does the Bruins organization after officially announcing the move on–you guessed it, Twitter–just twenty four hours ago.

The press release didn’t include any of the reasoning behind the new hire, but it did wondrously remind us of Kelly’s resume, especially while wearing the spoked-B:

Kelly, 38, spent the 2018-19 campaign as the Development Coach for the Ottawa Senators. Prior to serving in that role with Ottawa, Kelly played 14 seasons as a center and left wing in the NHL, including six seasons with the Boston Bruins. Kelly appeared in 288 contests with the Bruins, scoring 43 goals and notching 58 assists for 101 points. Kelly was a member of the 2011 Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins. Over 25 playoff games in 2011, Kelly recorded five goals and eight assists for 13 points.http://www.bostonbruins.com

Image result for chris kelly boston bruins(Photo Credit: Bleacher Report)

Of the five 2011 playoff goals mentioned in the article excerpted above, perhaps none was more clutch than Kelly’s Game 7 third period tally against the Montreal Canadiens at the roof-blown TD Garden. Without that beloved backhand breaking through Carey Price, the B’s might not have experienced such overtime heroics later in the game—or during the rest of the Stanley Cup (winning) playoffs for that matter, if you like to play the “what if” game.

 

As for the former No. 23’s game, it was all about the intangibles — working hard, skating hard, going to the dirty areas of the ice, banging around in the corners and in front of the net, and always being responsible in the defensive end.  Kelly, like Patrice Bergeron, led by example on the ice while he wore the Black N’ Gold, something that certainly wasn’t lost on Don Sweeney or Cam Neely when they were checking off attributes for a good Player Development Coordinator candidate. Now that he’s set to fill the shoes & skates of fellow NHL alumnus Jamie Langenbrunner, his predecessor in the PDC role in Boston since 2015, Kelly will no doubt bring his valuable expertise, leadership, accountability and hockey IQ to a system stocked with young prospects eager to impact the B’s depth chart. If they’re wise, these up-and-coming players will take a page out of the Kelly playbook and learn that you don’t always need to be a superstar or 50-goal scorer to positively impact your team.

After all, we know what happened the last time the B’s went after Chris Kelly in 2011. Wouldn’t it be nice to “bring back” that feeling again?

 

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Mark Your ’19-’20 Bruins Calendar: Part II

Bruins Schedule 2(Photo Credit: Boston Bruins)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @00EvanMichael

ICYMI (aka Part I of this ongoing Summer series for the Black N’ Gold Blog)… the Bruins start the season with a grueling October schedule, including two stretches of hockey that could set them up for Fall success or put them behind the proverbial 8-Ball early. That being said/written, if the B’s can hold their own through Halloween, then a lighter and more playable lineup of games will arrive by Turkey Day celebrations in the states, including a marquee NHL Thanksgiving Showdown matinee versus the Rangers on NBC (a rematch from 2013 that featured a Rockwellian pie-off between Cam Neely & Mike Richter, as seen below).

 

November 4th & 5th: “Back-To-Back!”

The Bruins play their first “Back-To-Back” series of the season starting at home versus the always pesky Pittsburgh Penguins followed by a trip across the border to face off against their hated arch-rivals the Montreal Canadiens. It’ll be the first time Boston plays either of these competitive opponents on the year and will no doubt include plenty of penalties, power plays & pugilism, if history is any indicator. These are the kind of games that show, on full display, just how your team “measures up” to very similar competition, both in terms of skill & talent and strategy & coaching. If the B’s can make a statement in Boston versus the Pens, then perhaps the usual tired legs of next-day hockey versus the Habs will turn into two big Eastern Conference victories (and four big points).

November 15th & 16th: “Back-To-Back 2: Back At It!”

This Friday-Saturday sequel in the “Back To Back” series (within a series) features a rip-roaring road match-up with the Maple Leafs in Toronto followed by the Washington Capitals coming to TD Garden twenty four hours later. These two talented teams have played the Bruins up to and at their best almost every time on the ice over the last decade, particularly during the regular season. W’s are never guaranteed versus the Leafs & Caps and are as hard-fought as you can get in the East, especially when playing on consecutive nights. This weekend will either set the B’s up for a very fulfilling Thanksgiving holiday week or prove they need to give out the thanks to their hungry opponents.

November 26th & 27th: “Back-to-Back 3: Backed Up!”

And for your viewing & repetitive pleasure, Boston goes “Back-To-Back” for the third time in November just before the aforementioned Gobble Game on the 29th at home. This time, it’s a roadie twofer in the Great White North against those hated Habs again followed by the (most likely 4-16-2) inauspicious Ottawa Senators. Since the B’s will only have one off day after these two games (all holiday travel) before they’re served up on the national TV menu versus the Rangers, taking as many positives & points out of this quick Canadian kick would be highly beneficial and satisfying to all–especially against the senseless Sens.  It will also make it easier for everyone to digest what could be an uncomfortable post-Turkey-Day matinee, as the schedule over this short stretch for Boston is definitely stuffed.

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