Bruins Post-Game Recap: Philadelphia at Boston: 11/10/19

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Photo Courtesy Of MICHAEL DWYER / AP

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Pre-Game Notes

Arena: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

Home: Boston Bruins (11-3-2)

Away: Philadelphia Flyers (9-5-2)

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

Heinen-Krejci-Coyle

Bjork-Lindholm-Senyshyn

Nordstrom-Kuraly-Wagner

Defense

Chara-Clifton

Krug-Carlo

Grzelcyk-McAvoy

Goalies

Halak

Rask

Philadelphia’s Lineup

Forwards

van Riemsdyk-Giroux-Farabee

Lindblom-Couturier-Konecny

Twarynski-Hayes-Voracek

Andreoff-Raffl-Pitlick

Defense

Provorov-Niskanen

Gostisbehere-Braun

Sanheim-Myers

Goalies

Hart

Elliott

First Period

The Bruins appeared to be a little disjointed early in the period, giving up a few turnovers in their own zone but despite that were able to get some scoring chances down the other end. The Flyers began to establish quite an attacking zone rhythm toward the middle stages of the period as the B’s looked to be a step slow. The Bruins responded with a few shifts in the Philadelphia zone as they tried to manufacture some scoring opportunities. The Flyers drew first blood as Travis Konecny banged in a rebound after an odd man rush with about six minutes to go in the period.

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The Bruins would get their first man advantage opportunity shortly after the goal as Joel Farabee was whistled for a penalty. The Flyers were able to kill off the power play despite the Bruins getting a few good chances. Philadelphia doubled their lead with just over two minutes left in the period as Philippe Myers found the back of the net.

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Score: 2-0 Flyers

Second Period

The Bruins appeared to cut the lead in half on a scramble play in front of the Philadelphia net but the call on the ice was inexplicably ruled no goal and the B’s were left still looking to get back in the game. The Bruins continued to have trouble getting anything going in the offensive end as the Flyers dominated the possession game in early moments of the period. The Flyers would go to their first power play in the middle of the period as David Pastrnak went to the penalty box for hooking. The B’s were able to kill off the penalty despite the Flyers getting a few opportunities.

The Bruins responded with a couple rushes into the Philadelphia zone but still had a hard time completing plays. The Bruins followed up with a number of shifts deep in the Philadelphia zone to try to manufacture something but were still left searching for their first goal. Philadelphia responded with a few glorious scoring chances including a partial breakaway but it was stopped by Jaroslav Halak.

Score: 2-0 Flyers

Third Period

The Bruins had some good jump to open the period and nearly cut into the lead but Patrice Bergeron was denied by the skate of Myers in front the Flyers net. The B’s tried to follow it up but Carter Hart made a few key stops to keep them scoreless early in the final period. Danton Heinen cut the Philadelphia lead in half with a nice move in front of the net with 14 minutes to go in the game.

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The Bruins responded after the goal with flying colors, putting together a couple impressive shifts in hopes to tie the game. The Flyers answered back with a few attacking zone shifts, forcing Halak to make a few saves. Brad Marchand fired a wrist shot past Hart to tie it with 7:38 to play, sending the crowd into an absolute frenzy.

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Pastrnak drew a penalty shot after a great feed by Marchand with just under five minutes to go. Pastrnak was easily denied by Hart on the penalty shot as he failed to get enough elevation on the shot. Marchand drew another penalty with 3:20 to play as Oskar Lindblom was called for tripping. Philadelphia killed off the penalty despite the B’s getting some good looks.

End Of Regulation: Tied 2-2

Overtime

The B’s were called for too many men at the tail end of the period as the Flyers got a tremendous opportunity to clinch the game. The Bruins were able to kill off the remainder of the overtime session to get the game to a shootout.

Shootout

The Flyers scored the only goal of the shootout as Farabee beat Halak on their first attempt. Pastrnak was denied by Hart again with a chance to tie it.

Final Score: 3-2 Flyers

Three Stars Of The Game

First Star: Hart. The Flyers goaltender wasn’t overly busy but he made a number of key stops especially in overtime and the shootout to preserve the victory.

Second Star: Halak. The B’s backup kept them in the game all night with a couple big saves including a stop on a Giroux breakaway.

Third Star: Marchand. The Bruins winger was buzzing in the third period and was credited with the tying goal in this one.

The Bruins Unsung Forward: Danton Heinen

( Photo Credit: Bill Greenblatt/UPI )

By: Michael DiGiorgio  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BostonDiGiorgio

Over the years, the NHL’s recipe to win Lord’s Stanley Cup has changed. We have seen fewer teams like the 2011 Bruins win with a goalie who catches fire at the right time, coupled with physical and mentally draining gameplay. In recent years, the NHL is trending toward teams winning with a well-rounded offense, two to three talented puck-moving defensemen, a hot goaltender, and role players. These role players don’t always end up on the score sheet night in and night out, nor receive the recognition for their deeds. Instead, these players are winning key puck battles, keeping the puck out of their own end, ensuring the opposition can’t get a quality scoring chance and maintaining high average time on ice. They are an integral part of the current NHL’s winning recipe. Players like Charlie McAvoy and Erik Karlsson are insanely fun to watch and many fans fall in love quickly, but teams need players who can help them in the defensive zone and break the puck out to their fellow line-mates. Enter: Danton Heinen.

Danton Heinen was drafted 116th overall in the 2014 NHL draft from the British Columbia Hockey League Surrey Eagles. In 2014, he attended the University of Denver, having two very successful consecutive years at center for the Pioneers. He posted 93 points and a plus 38 in 81 games, while also winning Rookie of the Year in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference; he led the Pioneers both years in scoring. His scouting report highlighted that he has very good hands and a nose for the net. He can play on both wings, which adds to his overall versatility.

 

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Versatility is something the Bruins have always valued.  They’ve sought out players who are able to give more than just a scoring touch, which speaks to most of their players’ abilities.  Injuries and poor play can elevate another player into a role they’re not used to. Heinen has been given the opportunity to play on all four lines and in most situations. He has seen time on both the power-play and penalty kill, as well as playing alongside David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron, and Charlie Coyle without skipping a beat. These opportunities aren’t new to Heinen in his hockey career. When signing with the Bruins, Heinen’s college coach (now Dallas Stars Head Coach) Jim Montgomery spoke of Heinen in high regards: “The accolades he’s accrued and the (statistical) numbers he’s produced during his time at Denver speak volumes about his talent as a hockey player, but the things that don’t show up on a score sheet – his tremendous character, work ethic and dedication to his teammates – are truly immeasurable and that’s what makes him such a special young man.”  These attributes are what make Danton an extremely special player and unfortunately misunderstood. 

 

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Over the years, Bruins fans have fallen in love (almost to a fault) with the gifted and exciting players who zip in and out of defenders for highlight-reel goals.  In last year’s Stanley Cup run, Heinen was wrongfully judged to the point where fans wanted him watching from the press box as a healthy scratch.  He wasn’t the top goal scorer, power-play contributor, or delivering massive neutral zone hits.  He was, however, consistently breaking the puck out and winning puck battles in corners and open space to allow scoring plays to develop.  If a defenseman has a great game, you rarely notice them on the ice because they are doing their job. The same applies to Heinen: one of his biggest strengths is preventing the opposition from scoring, which is what fans admire Patrice Bergeron for.  So why is the love lost with Danton?

He played the majority of the 2018 playoff games on the third line with Weymouth-native Charlie Coyle, who was acquired at the trade deadline from Minnesota for another Massachusetts native, Ryan Donato.  Heinen was second on the team in plus/minus in the playoffs, only behind Coyle.  Even further, Heinen did not post a minus from Game 5 of the Toronto series through Game 2 of the St Louis series, which totals 13 straight games.  Many have disputed the plus/minus stat because sometimes it doesn’t give an accurate assessment of a player or play.  For example, a player will receive a minus on the score sheet if they are on the ice for an empty-net goal.  However, Heinen was on the ice for an average of 13:14 throughout the playoffs, which is very modest for a third liner and supports his plus play.   He was also tied for third on the team in takeaways with Brandon Carlo at 43.

 

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The Bruins’ Achillies heel last year was their lack of consistent scoring depth. Many hoped the acquisition of Coyle would spark Heinen and his teammates throughout the playoffs, but it did not come to fruition. The first line was relied on heavily throughout the playoffs to provide the goal-scoring, which fans rightfully expect out of their star players. The problem arose when the same group of stars went cold in the Stanley Cup Final, resulting in the St. Louis Blues raising the Cup on the TD Garden ice.  Depth scoring needs to come from all four lines in order to win: see the Merlot line in 2011. There is some blame to cast on Heinen in last year’s playoffs, specifically with his lowly 8 points.  He showed flashes of offensive prowess in a few games, but unfortunately could not consistently sustain it over a seven-game series.

This year, Heinen has been able to play with the likes of Jake DeBrusk and (when healthy) David Krejci on the Bruins second line.  He already has 6 points in 13 games played this season, which puts him on pace for 38 points.  This would not surpass his career-high of 47 points set in his rookie season, however, it would provide the regular depth scoring the Bruins have lacked for a few years. He is frequently in the right place at the right time, which is not by accident.  Heinen’s ability to get the puck out of the neutral zone from multiple defenders has lead to great rewards.

 

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The Bruins have been searching for a dominant and consistent top 6 forward since Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton have left town. They have tried numerous players on Krejci’s right side, but none have been able to stick for a full season. Danton Heinen is the next player to be given the chance to seize the opportunity. If he can continue his strong two-way play and create plays out of the zone, Heinen and his teammates will reap the benefits and Boston may have finally found the top 6 forward they’ve been desperately searching for

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 152 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!!

Happy Halloween from the Boston Bruins!

IMG_4529(Photo Credit: Zdeno Chara’s Instagram)

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

No tricks.

This may be the greatest Boston Bruins team photo of all-time! I mean, do the B’s do Halloween right, or what? Every year. Even before the 31st… when they dress up for area children’s hospital visits!

And if you visited any of the player’s social media sites this spooktacular season, you’ll see they’re loving the costume creativity just as much as we are. From Toy Story to Wayne’s World (The Bergeron’s)! From Dodgeball to Dumb and Dumber (Danton Heinen / The Backes’)! And from Stranger Things (The Marchand’s) to “strange behavior” (Kampfer as a waffle?), the Black N’ Gold went ALL IN on becoming the Black N’ GHOULD.

And we need to thank them. Tonight. Tomorrow. Everyday for the rest of the season. You can’t make Halloween any happier (or kookier & spookier) than this.

Dare I say, what a treat!

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What To Expect From Anders Bjork This Season

( Photo Credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images )

By: Lucas Pearson  |  Follow Me On Twitter @LucasPearson_

The injuries have already begun to pile up for the Bruins. With David Krejci and Karson Kuhlman out (as well as the lack of offense in general), the Bruins looked to call in some reinforcements from Providence. That reinforcement came in the form of Anders Bjork.

I think everybody expected Bjork to be back in the NHL at some point this year, but I don’t believe it was intended to be this early. After back to back season-ending injuries, the original plan was to have the Wisconsin native get his feet back under him in the AHL and to play his way back to the NHL. Before the season, coach Bruce Cassidy believed Bjork was “better off finding his scoring touch in Providence,” rather than beginning in Boston. 

That scoring touch Cassidy alluded to was what made Bjork a Hobey Baker finalist during his time at Notre Dame. He began his tenure with the Fighting Irish with 22 points in his rookie campaign. He continued to grow on that the season after, scoring at a point-per-game pace through 35 games. The 2016-17 season was where Bjork really shined. In 39 games, he was able to score 21 times and added 31 assists, finishing the year as a Hobey Baker finalist.

Bjork’s first season out of college started in Boston, where he flashed his potential at times, but left a lot to be desired in many aspects of his game. After 30 games, where he totaled 12 points, he was sent down to the AHL where his season was unfortunately cut short due to a shoulder injury. Bjork came into the 2018-19 season looking build off of his rookie year, but the narrative was all too similar to the season before. He was only able to tally three points in 20 games and was sent down to the AHL later in the season. Bjork was finally able to get something going in Providence with 10 points in 13 games but yet again, his season was cut short due to another shoulder injury.

To say Anders Bjork’s first two professional seasons didn’t go as planned would be an understatement. They were filled with inconsistencies and injuries, and for someone so highly touted, it is pretty safe to say that it was a failure of two years. With that being said, just as all good things must come to an end, all bad things do as well and Bjork is back and looks as good as he has ever looked.

Despite only playing in seven games in the AHL, the Bruins believed that now was the time to bring Bjork back to the big-leagues. The 23-year-old looked great in his stint in Providence. He potted three goals to go along with five assists and a +5 rating. Aside from the stats, Bjork has really looked like a much-improved player. His confidence has continued to grow and has added a bit more snarl to his game. Obviously, none of that matters unless he is able to convert that to the NHL level but within his first three games in the NHL this season, we’ve seen positive results.

Not only did he rip a beautiful one-timer in the back of the net, but the most promising results have actually been his very apparent improvements in board-work and his offensive zone possession. Despite only averaging 11:47 of ice-time a game, whatever forwards Bjork has been paired with has generated multiple high-end chances and maintain a lot of zone time. That’s apparent with Bjork’s CF% (a possession stat) sitting at 62.5%. For reference, the Bruins outstanding top line has averaged 59.9%, so yea, Bjork has been good. After that game against St. Louis, coach Bruce Cassidy had some good things to say about Bjork, “nice to see him get rewarded, nice play. He was good hunting pucks, on the walls. Great kid, quiet, he’s worked hard and the guys love him. He’s going to be a National Hockey League player.” A young player getting praised by their coach (especially the same coach that believed he needed some time in the AHL) is always promising to see.

So what can we expect from Bjork for the rest of the season? Considering the injuries continuing to pile up, we should get our fair share of Bjork over the next few weeks. With a healthy David Krejci, I’d think Bjork would stay on the third line with Charlie Coyle and Danton Heinen or Brett Ritchie, which with the former, proved to be an effective line throughout their games together in the pre-season. When Bjork-Coyle-Heinen was used they held a 16-3 edge in shot attempts, and a 3-0 edge in hi-danger chances), during the 7:55 of 5v5 TOI (stat courtesy of @ConorRyan_93 on twitter). If that line can get some chemistry and solid playing time, there’s no reason why it couldn’t be just as effective as that line in the playoffs with Marcus Johansson.

They say third times a charm, and in Bjork’s third chance with the big club, I think he finally makes his mark in the NHL. With his always apparent speed and skill, and clearly much-improved work without the puck, the Bruins have yet another dynamic player on their hands. Anders Bjork will be a big part of the Bruins team this year.

(Also to end it off, this goal was too good to not share)

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 151 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!!

Can The Bruins Solve Their Secondary Scoring Issues?

Boston Bruins vs Calgary Flames

(Photo Credit: Matt Stone/Boston Herald)

By Joe Chrzanowski  |  Follow Me on Twitter @jchrz19

If you spend any time following Bruins fans on Twitter and other social media outlets (and I do), you might think the team had started out 2-6-1, instead of their actual record of 6-1-2. Losing two of the last three games to Tampa and Toronto in extra time was a little frustrating, but I thought the Bruins were the better team Saturday night against the Leafs and Andersen won the game for them. I’m not one of those “doom and gloom, the sky is falling” types to begin with, but even less so when the B’s have taken 14 out of a possible 18 points with Krejci missing most of the games.

That said, one of the things that was a problem early in the season last year was a lack of secondary scoring. Unfortunately, it has reared it’s ugly head again early this year. The Bruins have scored 26 goals as a team through nine games. The first line has accounted for 17 of those goals (Pasta has ten, Marchand five, and Bergeron two). The only two players not on the first line that have multiple goals this season are Danton Heinen and Brett Ritchie, the two guys that scored in the opening night win against Dallas.

As optimistic as I am, I don’t believe that relying on one line to score and having your goalies stand on their heads nightly is a sustainable model for success. You can get away with it during the regular season for a time, but eventually, it will catch up with you. It also tends to become even more of a problem in the playoffs. I’m not sure exactly why, but secondary scoring and more specifically the RW2 position seems to have been an issue since Jarome Iginla left.

So, what realistic moves can the B’s make to fix this issue? I’m here to tell you that it can be done “in-house” with three relatively painless moves. You want some additional good news? I’m going to tell you how the Bruins can do it without requiring you to pay for a subscription to our site.

Pasta Celly

(Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Move David Pastrnak Down

The first move in rebuilding the B’s sparse secondary scoring is to slide Pastrnak down to the second line. Before anyone starts wailing, yes, I am well aware of how good the Bruins first line is. And yes, after they move Pasta down with Krejci and DeBrusk, I will miss all the headlines about the Bruins having the best line in hockey, but it will be worth it. I won’t miss teams being able to largely shut down the Bruins offense in the playoffs by containing one line.

At the ripe old age of 23, Pastrnak has officially reached “carry a line” status in my opinion. After last night’s two-point effort, he has 17 points in the first nine games. This is the best start to a season by a Bruins player since Adam Oates in 1993-94. He’s going to produce no matter who he’s with, so if the Bruins can find a competent guy to replace him on the first line, they will definitely have at least two scoring lines. Which brings us to Step Two…

Bruins vs Hurricanes

(Photo Credit Stuart Cahill/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

Put Danton Heinen On The First Line

Danton Heinen only has two points so far this season. This is not indicative of his overall play. He’s been more assertive and he’s shooting more while still giving the Bruins a high level of defensive play. He showed last season that not only could he hang on the top line, but that he could contribute there as well. During the 16 game span, while Pastrnak was out of the lineup with a wrist injury, Heinen had one goal and twelve assists over that time. In addition, the first line’s advanced and defensive numbers were significantly better than when Pasta was there.

I am in no way suggesting that Heinen is a better or more explosive player than David Pastrnak. What I AM saying is that he brings a different dynamic to the line. When he’s there, he allows Marchand and Bergeron to take more chances and be more creative because they know he will get back and cover. When Pasta is on the first line, I believe he becomes the focus of his linemates. They both will pass up scoring opportunities to get him the puck. When Heinen is in that RW1 position, those two become a bit more selfish and shoot more. When you have two players of that caliber firing the puck more often, it’s not a bad thing. With Heinen and Pasta now in the Top Six, Charlie Coyle needs a buddy on the third line that can take advantage of his puck possession skills. Enter the third and final step of my diabolical master plan…

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(Photo Credit: Matt Stone/Boston Herald)

Call Anders Bjork Up From Providence

Tuesday night we got our first taste of Anders Bjork in the B’s lineup and I thought he acquitted himself quite well. In 13:17 TOI, he had four shots, one giveaway and takeaway, and one block. He was a minus one, but also created a nice scoring chance and hit the crossbar. He also showed that he could play a Bottom 6 checking role effectively. The biggest takeaway for me was that he didn’t look out of place. The speed and physicality of the NHL game was not an issue.

Bjork was an “emergency recall” when David Krejci was placed on IR and had to be sent back down to Providence. This was done so a roster player would not have to be sent down and clear waivers. Given that, it would appear that Krejci is close to returning. I expect Bjork’s stay in PRO to be brief. With Karson Kuhlman out for at least four weeks (and probably longer) with a broken tibia, Bjork will likely be recalled again as soon as Kuhlman is placed on IR.

The only “fly in the ointment” is that it appears the Bruins want to keep Bjork on the left side. In the past, he played a lot of right-wing, but he looks more comfortable on his natural side. There was also some speculation that his tendency to get hit in the middle of the ice was partly due to playing the off-wing. Playing the left side should allow Bjork to come out of the Boston end much easier. This doesn’t appear to be a huge issue because Ritchie has been playing better and Heinen is capable of playing on the right side.

When Krejci returns, my forward lineup would be:

Marchand – Bergeron – Heinen

DeBrusk – Krejci – Pastrnak

Bjork – Coyle – Ritchie

Nordstrom – Kuraly – Wagner

That should give Boston two legitimate scoring lines and a third line that can contribute some offense as well. You can still keep Marchand, Bergeron, and Pastrnak together on the man advantage. The powerplay is a pretty large part of their production and would remain unaffected. The best part of my plan is that it doesn’t require any outside personnel moves. This means that if it doesn’t work, Cassidy can always reunite the first line.

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(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Hopefully, Bruce reads my article, adopts my foolproof plan and massive improvements in the Bruins secondary scoring follows. Once that happens, I may not be writing as much, as I would expect Boston to offer me a coaching job. Unrealistic? Of course, but let a man dream.

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!

Boston Bruins: The Importance Of The Upcoming Weeks Schedule

jaroslav halak bruins

( Photo Credit: Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images )

By: Lucas Pearson  |  Follow Me On Twitter @LucasPearson_

After beginning the season on a tough Western road-trip against three playoff teams (the Dallas Stars, Vegas Golden Knights, and Colorado Avalanche) and a promising young Arizona Coyotes team, you would think the Bruins would catch a break and get to a bit of an “easy” part of their schedule. Well, after a couple of home games against the Anaheim Ducks and New Jersey Devils, the Bruins are about to enter their toughest challenge yet. Within the next week or so, the Bruins face have four massive games that, could really show what kind of Bruins team they really have this season.

( Photo Credit: Winslow Townson/AP )

The Bruins begin this stretch of games tonight at home against the all too dangerous Tampa Bay Lightning. This Lightning team is lead by one of the best first-lines in the league that consists of three bonafide superstars in Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point. In three games since Point returned from his injury, the trio has had a combined six goals and nine assists in those games. Touting an incredible defense lead by Victor Headman and Ryan McDonagh and Vezina winner Andrei Vasilevsky between the pipes, it will certainly be a tough start to this already challenging string of games. (To read more about tonight’s game, check out the preview by fellow Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast writer Max Mainville here.)

After playing Tampa at home, they take a trip to their rivals in Toronto to play the Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena and then turn around to play those same Leafs at home three days later. Austin Matthews has been on a tear as of late, reaching the back of the net a whopping seven times in the Leafs eight games. Unlike the Bruins, secondary scoring has been the Leaf’s biggest strength this season with 14 players at or above a point every other game and they’ve had 12 different players notch a goal. The high-flying Leafs will be a little less potent without captain John Tavares, who went down with a broken finger, but it will certainly be a tough two games regardless.

NHL: Stanley Cup Final-St. Louis Blues at Boston Bruins

( Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports )

They end this stretch against the team that crushed all of Boston’s dreams last season in the Stanley Cup Finals, the St. Louis Blues. The Blues have maintained essentially the same roster we saw last playoffs aside from the departures of Joel Edmundson and Patrick Maroon, and the addition of Justin Faulk. The Blues are still the same hard-nosed team Boston saw all too much of in the Finals and have started the season well with eight points in six games. Much of the team has continued to build on their playoff success; Brayden Schenn already has five goals, Ryan O’Reilly has seven-point in six games and youngster Sammy Blais has three goals and five points to go along with a +4 rating. As we know all too well against the Blues, just because it’s a home game doesn’t mean it’ll be easy (that joke hurt to make).

So after all of this, what would really make this a successful couple of weeks for the Bruins? Well, to start,  if the Bruins were able to snag six points out of these four games, that’s a pretty big win. But the biggest win would be to overwrite the continued narrative of seemingly the past four seasons (at least) and that is to get some more secondary scoring.

Image result for david krejci jake debrusk

( Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images )

While the Bruins have had a great start to the season, sitting at fifth in the league with a 5-1-0 record, goal scoring, and especially secondary scoring, has been abysmal. The top line of David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron have been great as they always are and have combined to score 11 goals in the B’s first six games. Well, the rest of the team has combined for just FIVE.

Jake Debrusk, David Krejci and Charlie Coyle have had just one assist apiece. Danton Heinen has looked good this season but has just one goal to his name. Karson Kuhlman, who has also looked good, has a goose egg in his points column and the revolving door of other wingers in the top-nine haven’t done much to help either. Whether it’s calling up someone from Providence (ahem, Anders Bjork) shaking up the lines (splitting up the top line) or eating some extra Wheaties in the morning, the Bruins need to figure out their scoring problem if they want to have some success in this tough group of games. The outstanding goaltending from Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak can’t last for the entire year, this stretch is going to say a lot about this Bruins team going forward.

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.

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!!

Game 2 Preview: Boston Bruins vs. Arizona Coyotes 10/5/2019

Image result for boston bruins vs arizona coyotes

(Photo Credits: AP/Ralph Freso)

By: Liz Rizzo | Follow me on Twitter @pastagrl88

The Boston Bruins continue their tough road trip when they face the Arizona Coyotes tonight at the Gila River Arena. After the B’s held on to win against the Dallas Stars this past Thursday night, they’re hoping to have a repeat against a Phil Kessel-led team. One issue that continues to  face the Bruins: will David Krejci be healthy enough to play today or will his injury continue to sideline the forward?

As the team took to the ice in Arizona yesterday morning, the 33-year-old Czech native skated with more confidence, which bode well with Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy:

” Felt a lot better today (Friday). Did some battles at the end of practice, got through that fine. We’re gonna rule him as a game-time decision. But I’m more confident that he’ll get in tomorrow than I was yesterday morning. But it will be his call.”

Image result for david krejci

(Photo Credits: Getty Images)

Krejci skated alongside Jake DeBrusk and Karson Kuhlman and is as hopeful as Coach Cassidy in a potential return to tonight’s lineup:

“Another day, another good day. Feeling pretty hopeful for tomorrow…Obviously another practice…I think the thing for me was to get some battles in, alongside the boards. We did some battles after practice. A little extra. That felt good. Happy about it, so hopefully I’ll wake up tomorrow and there’s no setback and I’ll be good to go. We’ll see tomorrow.”

Image result for boston bruins vs arizona coyotes

(Photo Credits:  Christopher Evans/Boston Herald)

If Krejci is once again not able to play tonight, expect to see Par Lindholm and Brett Ritchie in the lineup tonight. Both played solid in their debut with Boston. Squaring off  against his former team, Ritchie notched the first goal of the season for the Bruins early in the first period.  Minutes later, Lindholm had a penalty in the first that led to a Danton Heinen power-play goal.  Tonight, the Bruins will be looking to continue their win streak versus Arizona as they have previously won the last 14-straight games. Provided that Krejci suits up, here are the projected lineups:

BOSTON BRUINS PROJECTED LINEUP:

Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak

Jake DeBrusk – David Krejci – Karson Kuhlman

Danton Heinen – Charlie Coyle – Brett Ritchie

Chris Wagner – Sean Kuraly – David Backes

Joakim Nordstrom – Par Lindholm

 

Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy

Torey Krug – Brandon Carlo

Matt Grzelcyk – Connor Clifton

Steven Kampfer

 

Tuukka Rask

Jaroslav Halak

 

WELCOME TO THE DESERT

With the addition of former Penguins star Phil Kessel and new ownership/chairman, the Coyotes have been thrust into the conversation of a team to watch this season. Kessel will be playing his 776th consecutive game-the second longest active streak in the NHL.  In tonight’s  home opener against the Bruins, Arizona will look to get a win on the boards after dropping their season opener, losing 2-1 to the Anaheim Ducks. Forwards Christian Dvorak and Nick Schmaltz spent most of last season injured and will return to the lineup with a full clean bill of health. Led by Head Coach Rick Tocchet, here are the projected lineups:

ARIZONA COYOTES PROJECTED LINEUPS:

Keller – Stepan – Kessel

Garland – Soderberg – Schmaltz

Crouse – Dvorak – Fischer

Graber – Richardson – Hinostroza

 

Ekman-Larsson – Demers

Goligoski – Hjalmarsson

Chychrun – Desterle

 

Keumper

Raanta

 

WHEN TO WATCH: Tonight at 9:00 PM EST; 6:00 PM-MT GILES RIVER ARENA

WHERE TO WATCH: ESPN+, FS-A, FS-A PLUS, NESN

 

Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston at Dallas: 10/3/19

(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Richard W. Rodriguez)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Home: Dallas Stars

Away: Boston Bruins

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak

DeBrusk – Coyle – Ritchie

Heinen – Lindholm – Kuhlman

Wagner – Kuraly – Backes

Defense

Chara – McAvoy

Krug – Carlo

Grzelcyk – Clifton

Goalies

Rask

Halak

Dallas’s Lineup

Forwards

Benn – Seguin  – Pavelski

Dickinson – Hintz – Radulov

Cogliano – Faksa – Comeau

Janmark – Dowling – Gurianov

Defense

Lindell – Klingberg

Heiskanen – Sekera

Oleksiak – Polak

Goalies

Bishop

Khudobin

The Bruins are back, and that’s pretty cool. The first stop on the road slate of the season was Dallas where the Bruins took on the Stars to start both team’s respective seasons. David Krejci was a last-minute scratch due to injury, leading to Brett Ritchie’s debut in response. For the Bruins, not a whole lot changed in the offseason outside of replacing Marcus Johansson and Noel Acciari with Par Lindholm and Brett Ritchie, essentially.

The Stars, on the other hand, landed Joe Pavelski and Corey Perry in free agency. Anyone that was watching knew that the Stars were going to come out of the gate with intensity against the defending Eastern Conference Champion Bruins.

First Period

What’s the weirdest way this season could have started? Former Dallas Star Brett Ritchie scoring on his first shot as a Bruin just 1:09 into the game. Yeah, that happened. Charlie Coyle had the lone assist.

Alexander Radulov went to the box 4:23 into the period for holding. Danton Heinen made him pay late in the man advantage to give the Bruins a two-goal lead 14:01 to go. Two goals on two shots. Matt Grzelcyk and Charlie McAvoy had the helpers.

The rest of the period was much quieter than the first five minutes. But, the Bruins managed to control the flow of play for much of the remainder of the period, despite not scoring more goals than the two they scored early on. Radek Faksa went off for high sticking with 2:27 go in the period, giving the Bruins an opportunity for the Bruins to go up by three.

Although they failed to convert on the power play, Dallas didn’t get on the board, so the missed opportunity was a bit more palpable. Not a bad way to start the season, especially the first period. The shots were 6-4 in favor of the Bruins.

Score: 2-0 Boston

Second Period

It was a pretty standard, back-and-forth period to start until Roman Polak went into the boards awkwardly and made some pretty painful-looking shoulder contact with the boards. He was down for quite a while in some serious pain before being helped off the ice on a stretcher by team personnel.

Shortly after the injury, Roope Hintz buried the first Dallas goal of the season to cut the Bruins’ lead in half with 12:05 to go. Radulov then went off the ice for the second time for tripping Par Lindholm just past the halfway point. It wasn’t a very eventful power-play opportunity, so normalcy ensued. Dallas certainly had a bit more energy after losing Polak to injury.

A fourth Boston power play came after McAvoy was interfered with by Mattias Janmark. McAvoy then went off for a penalty of his own, making it a 4-on-4, temporarily. Luckily, for the Bruins, Dallas didn’t score on the power play following the conclusion of Janmark’s penalty. The shots were 9-7 in favor of Dallas this time around, as they began to turn the tide a bit.

Score: 2-1 Boston 

Third Period

Some momentum was generated in the Bruins favor early thanks to some offensive chances from the Bergeron line. That was until Zdeno Chara went to the box for interference within the first minute. Rask made a couple solid saves within the final 30 seconds of the power play to preserve the one-goal lead.

Despite not scoring on the power play, Dallas kept the offensive zone pressure up and kept Tuukka Rask busy. That pressure kept up for quite some time, pretty consistently through the first ten or so minutes of the period. One of the highlights on the Bruins side of this onslaught in favor of Dallas was when Rask flashed the leather on a shot from Hintz that was labeled for the top corner.

Speaking of Hintz, Chris Wagner buried him at the eventual conclusion of the next shift. Through the first eight minutes of the third period, the shots were 11-7 Dallas, and they weren’t giving the Bruins much.

For the most part, outside of a Karson Kuhlman breakaway chance, credit to Dallas for not allowing a whole lot of fluidity through the neutral zone and into the defensive zone for the Bruins. If you scroll past the tweet below, you’ll see both of Kuhlman’s big-time scoring chances from the game.

Huge blocks from Brad Marchand, Chris Wagner, and a strong defensive stand preserved the win for the Bruins after Jim Montgomery pulled Ben Bishop late. The shots were 16-7 Dallas in the third, meaning Rask is very much worthy of praise for being instrumental in holding the one-goal lead for so long.

The Bruins start of the season in the win column. An 82-0 season is still possible, folks. Next up are the Arizona Coyotes on the road this Saturday at 9 PM. There is plenty to work on despite a hot start from now until Saturday night.

Final Score: 2-1 Boston

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!

Joe Chrzanowski: Bold Predictions For The Bruins 2019-20 Season

Bruins Bold Predictons

(Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

By Joe Chrzanowski  |  Follow Me on Twitter @jchrz19

We are only “Eddie Shore” days (two for our younger fans) away from the start of the 2019-20 NHL regular season, so it’s time to make some big predictions for the year to come. I will be sure to remind everyone on a daily basis if any of these things do happen…and deny I ever said any of the stuff I am wrong about.

Coyle

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Charlie Coyle Will Sign An Extension With the Bruins

When the Bruins first traded for Coyle, I was cautiously optimistic. He filled a definite need for the team, had another year on his deal, and I had soured on Ryan Donato as a prospect when it became apparent he did not know where his own end of the ice was. Even though Coyle was playing well after the deal, he wasn’t putting up a ton of points and Donato went on a little mini-tear for the Wild. It was probably best for my sanity that Coyle lit it up during the playoffs and centered the Bruins most consistent line with Heinen and Johansson. It’s funny, I don’t seem to be hearing as much about that deal from Minny fans? Odd?

I’m not sure if anybody is aware of this, but Charlie Coyle is a local kid that was born and raised in Weymouth (lol). He appears to be relishing playing for the home town team (unlike some others before him). Because of this local connection and Don Sweeney’s mystical GM powers, I see Coyle signing a team-friendly extension with the Bruins with a term of five or six years and an AAV of around $5.25-5.50 million. When Krejci’s deal is up, Coyle will transition into the 2C role, with Studnicka sliding into the 3C spot. Remember, you heard it here first.

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(Photo Credit: Matt Stone/Boston Herald)

Matt Grzelcyk Will Be McAvoy’s D Partner Before The Season Ends

I know that it’s only preseason, but to these eyes, Chara looks a bit slower than he was last year. This could be due to lingering injury or he could be just pacing himself, but he definitely looks like he lost another step. I watched him get burned on a couple of plays last week versus Philly because of his lack of foot speed. Before anyone’s head explodes, I am not saying that Chara does not still have a valuable place on the team. What I AM saying is that the team and the player would be best served if he slotted in on the third pair. This would likely give Z more favorable matchups against bigger and slower Bottom Six players, while at the same time preserving him for a much-needed role on the penalty kill.

Someone is going to have to step up and play the left-side with Charlie McAvoy on the first pair. Enter Charlestown’s own, Matt Grzelcyk. The two were paired together at Boston University when Grizz was a senior and McAvoy was a freshman. They were great together that season and have looked good as a tandem during a few preseason games. They would not be the biggest defense pair in the league, but they would definitely be one of the most nimble. I could see the opposing forecheck being shredded with 48 and 73 as a duo again. When this happens in December, you will want to buy me a Christmas present. I am letting you know now…I am not too proud to accept cash.

Heinen

(Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

Danton Heinen Will Have 60+ Points In 2019-20

Danton Heinen is the Rodney Dangerfield of the Boston Bruins. No matter how many different roles he fills, how many little things he does well, or how much the advanced stats point to his stellar play, the guy just can’t seem to get any respect from the average B’s fan. That is going to change this season in a big way, largely due to my daily letters and emails sent to Cassidy pleading with him to leave Heinen on one line for more than three consecutive shifts. While I am kidding (as far as you know), I am of the opinion that bouncing Heinen around from line to line is the primary reason for his lack of offensive consistency. As a rookie, he was somehow able to produce 47 points while playing with a variety of teammates. I suspect this was largely due to the veteran guys he was playing with (Nash, Schaller, Backes, etc.). This past season, Cassidy relied on Heinen to be the defensive conscience of several line combinations that included rookies Ryan Donato, Jacob Forsbacka Karlsson, and Trent Frederic. I believe this led to a much more defensive mindset from Heinen that greatly affected his scoring.

This year, if everyone stays relatively healthy, I expect Heinen to ride shotgun with Coyle for the majority of the season. I would have preferred Bjork play on the opposite wing, but it looks like it will be Backes, at least to start the season. If 42 can play the way he did in his last preseason game, it should help both Coyle and Heinen put up very solid numbers. The other thing I am banking on is that Heinen gets a little more time on the 2nd power-play unit this year than he did previously. This will give him about a ten-point boost, push him over the 60 point plateau, and allow Heinen to take over the title of the “best value contract in hockey” at a paltry $2.8 million per.

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(Photo Credit: CBS Sports)

Tuukka Rask Will Win the Vezina

Tuukka Rask is a lightning rod for Boston fans. People seem to either love him or hate him, and there does not appear to be a lot of middle ground. His regular-season stats last year (27 wins, 2.48 GAA, .912 Save %) were well below his career numbers, but in the playoffs Rask really shined. He played in 24 games, had a GAA of 2.02 and ridiculous Save % of .934. Boston fans have not seen those kinds of numbers since 2012-14 when Rask led the B’s to the Finals in 2013 and won the Vezina the following season in 2014.

The most impressive thing for me was his demeanor, which went well beyond the great numbers he put up. I have never seen Rask as calm as he was during the 2019 playoff run and it appears to have carried over into preseason. When he is playing like that, it has a soothing effect on the entire team. They play with more confidence and take more offensive chances knowing Tuukka has their backs. History is going to repeat itself this season with Rask taking home the Vezina the year after reaching the Finals and losing. The only difference is that the 2019-20 team will (fingers crossed) go much further than the 2013-14 squad did.

Steen

(Photo Courtesy of NHL.com)

Oskar Steen Will Outscore Every Bruins Draft Pick Since 2016 (Career)

This particular bold prediction will take some time to come to fruition, but what’re a few more seasons when I have had a man-crush on Oskar Steen since I first saw him doing the “rope drill” at Bruins Development Camp several years ago? I watched his career in the SHL with great interest and was very disappointed in his production during his first two seasons playing for Farjestads. He was not yet 20 years of age and playing on a good veteran team, so I should have expected a limited role to begin with I suppose. That changed in 2018-19, with Steen receiving a much larger role with the team. He took the opportunity and ran with it, finishing the season with 17g/20a and 49 PIM’s in 47 games. This was good for 10th in the SHL for scoring overall, but 1st for players 25 and under in the league.

After the SHL season ended, Steen signed his ELC with Boston in May and made plans to play in North America for the first time. Despite his relatively small stature (5’9″), Steen is a very solid 187 pounds. His low center of gravity, speed, and a bit of a nasty disposition should serve him well on the smaller ice surfaces. I believe he has the type of game that can translate even better in the NHL than it did in the SHL. Throughout the Prospects Challenge and the preseason games, he was easily one of the best players on the ice. If NHL roster spots were handed out based solely on merit, rather than age and waiver status, Steen would have been in Dallas on Thursday night. Given that he is new to the North American pro game, it should not hinder Steen’s development to play in Providence for a few months. I expect him to tear it up down there and make his NHL debut sometime after January 1st. He will be a regular in Boston next year at the latest, and you can take that to the bank.

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!

 

Pearson: Bold Predictions For The 2019-2020 Bruins Season

NHL: Anaheim Ducks at Boston Bruins

(Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)

By: Lucas Pearson  |  Follow Me On Twitter @LucasPearson_

After the shortest summer (albeit feeling like the longest) us Bruins’ fans have had in years, regular season hockey is just days away. The Boston Bruins had one of their most successful seasons in the last decade, coming just a game away from hoisting the cup. After a fairly quiet offseason of additions and subtractions, the Bruins are primed for another big year and here are a few of my big predictions.

Danton Heinen has a 55+ Point Season

Danton Heinen has his fair share of haters, and I still don’t understand why. Heinen flew under the radar in his rookie season with 16 goals and 31 assists (four more points than Jake Debrusk had in that same rookie season). The following year, Heinen had a bit of a sophomore-slump but still managed to have 34 points and a +13 rating. 

In the first half of the season, Heinen was predominantly paired with floundering players like Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, Ryan Donato and Anders Bjork. The winger managed to pot just four goals and six assists in his first 40 games of the season.

The second half of the season was an entirely different story, however. Mostly paired with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron, Heinen found his game again. In his final 37 games, Heinen was able to score seven goals and add 17 assists, good for 24 points and if that pace was averaged for the full 82 game season, Heinen would end up having a 53 point season.

Danton Heinen Bruins

(Photo Credit: Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Heinen’s play didn’t just stop at the regular season. He was 1/3 of arguably the Bruins’ best line in the entire playoffs. Partnering up with Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson, the line continued to score big goal after big goal and were a huge reason the Bruins were able to make the run they did.

It seems this season Heinen will begin on the third line with Charlie Coyle and David Backes (who also seems primed for a bit of a breakout season.) If Heinen was able to put up 47 points with Riley Nash and Backes before, I see no reason why he can’t have an even bigger season with an even better center. 

Boston Bruins v Edmonton Oilers

(Photo Credit: Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)

The Bruins Win the Presidents Trophy

I feel like people really didn’t talk about how good this Bruins team was in the regular season last year. Obviously, the Tampa Bay Lightning ran away with the Presidents Trophy last season with a staggering 128 point, but the Bruins ended up coming in 3rd with 107 points (the same amount as the 2nd place Calgary Flames but they had more ROW)

It’s remarkable the Bruins were able to do so well with all that happened throughout the year. We all know the injury train ran through the team, here’s a long list of key players that missed double-digit games due to injury: 

Brandon Carlo (10 games)

Jake Debrusk (14 games)

David Pastrnak (16 games)

Matt Grzelyck (16 games)

Patrice Bergeron (17 games)

Torey Krug (18 games)

Zdeno Chara (20 games)

Charlie Mcavoy (28 games)

(Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Boston’s problems didn’t stop at just injuries. The Bruins went into last season without a true 2nd line right-wing and a 3rd line center, with the thought that their youth would be able to take over. That plan, unfortunately, did not work out. The combination of Ryan Donato, Jacob Forsbacka Karlsson, Peter Cehlarik, Colby Cave, Anders Bjork, and Trent Frederic combined to play 137 games but totaled just 32 points and had a -13 rating. With the addition of Charlie Coyle, and seeing him at his best in the playoffs, the Bruins have one less big question mark regarding their lineup.

This season, there are far better options to shuffle around in the lineup compared to the last season. As I said before, I think David Backes can find his game again and have a successful season. After a handful of regular season and playoff games, Karson Kuhlman looks ready to take a full-time NHL role. We’ve already seen impressive growth from youngsters like Oskar Steen, Anders Bjork, Jack Studnicka and Jakub Lauko after their strong play in the pre-season and there is no doubt in my mind that at least one of them will get the call, and have success in whatever role they are placed in. With the addition of low-risk players with upside like Brett Ritchie and Par Lindholm, there are endless amounts of players the Bruins can give shots to succeed in their lineup.

Their D-core will only improve this season with one more year under the belt of young guys like Charlie Mcavoy, Brandon Carlo, Matt Gryzeck and Connor Clifton. If this Bruins team can stay healthy, and find a little more consistency in their middle-six forward group, a finish at the top of the NHL is certainly obtainable.

Image result for matt grzelcyk

(Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images)

Matt Grzelcyk Becomes a Top Pairing Defenseman

Zdeno Chara and his incredible NHL career is nearing the end. While he is still certainly effective, it’s very clear that Chara has lost a few steps over these past couples of seasons. With the league getting faster and faster, that doesn’t equate to a lot of success. This seems like as good of a time as ever to make the switch from the top pairing of Zdeno Chara and Charlie Mcavoy to Matt Grzelyck and Charlie Mcavoy.

Grzelcyk has developed into one of the most underrated defenseman in the entire league. If you aren’t a fan of the Bruins, you may have not even heard of the guy, but his importance to this club cannot be understated. He’s one of the smoothest skating defenseman out there and is incredible at breaking the puck out of the D-zone. 

The Charlestown native is very familiar playing with Charlie Mcavoy, after partnering up at Boston University to create one of the best pairings in the entire NCAA in 2015. The duo has already had success as a pairing in the NHL on the Bruins #2 powerplay and seems to be as natural of a defensive pairing as can be. Coach Bruce Cassidy has already given the pair a look in the pre-season, and the results just speak for themselves. The league is transitioning to quick, two-way defenders that move the puck incredibly well and this duo would certainly be one of the best.

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!