A Rational Look at Injuries and the Remaining Boston Bruins Schedule

dm_180319_Donato_first_goal364Photo: ESPN
By Thomas Nyström | Follow on twitter @nahstrom

We were all warned. Hell, I even warned you that the upcoming schedule was daunting a few weeks ago: https://blackngoldhockey.com/2018/03/07/predicting-the-rest-of-the-season-bruins-final-record/

Here’s the updated remaining schedule:

Wednesday March 22 @ STL 8:00 PM ET
Friday March 23 @ DAL 8:30 PM ET
Sunday March 25 @ MIN 7:30 PM ET
Tuesday March 27 @ WPG 8:00 PM ET
Thursday March 29 vs TBL 7:00 PM ET
Saturday March 31 vs FLA 1:00 PM ET
Sunday April 1 @ PHI 12:30 PM ET
Tuesday April 3 @ TBL 7:30 PM ET
Thursday April 5 @ FLA 7:30 PM ET
Saturday April 7 vs OTT 7:00 PM ET
Sunday April 8 vs FLA 7:30 PM ET


My prediction in that previous article was the Bruins would end with 111 points. With 11 games remaining an sitting 12 points shy of my prediction at 99 points.. Boston needs to play .500 hockey to hit that mark. Looking at the remaining opponents, travel, and relentlessness of the ‘every other day’ nature of the calendar — I still believe that’s precisely what we will get.

The schedule lines up that they play every other day with exception to next weekend where they play back-to-back; Saturday @ Florida at 1:00 pm followed by an immediate northbound flight to take on Philadelphia for another early game with puck drop happening at 12:30 pm. After that comes the first of two key games against Tampa Bay — this one at home, the later date scheduled to be played in Tampa. Now before we even get to that, the Bruins have a troublesome road trip that they are currently in the midst of starting tonight in St. Louis. On tap after that is Dallas, Minnesota, and Winnipeg. Each team is playoff bound or at the very least in the hunt right now and will be putting forth playoff caliber efforts against a banged-up B’s lineup. I fully believe that despite the thin roster on this road trip, Boston has the ability to take 4 out of 8 points from these quality opponents. I expect Boston to split the two remaining games against Florida, because well, it’s the Panthers and we all saw the game last week. The back-to-back day games are very hard on the traveling team.. and I wouldn’t be surprised if they drop the Philadelphia game. While we know how unbearable ‘hockey-twitter’ can be after a B’s loss, we must take everything into account and not jump off the Zakim Bridge if Boston struggles against a very good team like Winnipeg.

That said, let’s take a rational look at what to expect with the injuries to this Bruins roster as we near the Stanley Cup Playoffs:

Although there were reports that we may expect to see Patrice Bergeron return from injury on this current road trip that ends next Tuesday, a more reasonable expectation — or really, a hope would be he rejoins the line-up at home on Thursday March 29th when the Bruins host Tampa Bay. Boston themselves shared footage of Bergeron getting ice time in and running drills on his own just a few days ago. Regardless, a foot fracture is a substantial injury to any player, especially one like Bergeron who is arguably the best two-way forward in the sport.

No updates regarding Jake DeBrusk, or at least nothing of substance. The ‘upper-body’ designation does very little in the way of telling us anything about a) the injury b) his timeline. If this is a concussion he could be out the rest of the regular season as we’re winding down to single-digit games by the end of the weekend. Unfortunate timing for Jake as he was on a tear before his injury with 9 points in his last 8 games. The Bruins would certainly benefit if that switch can be flipped again entering the playoffs.

My goodness did David Backes have a rough couple of days last week. It seemed like the hockey gods were against David for a bit there and then to cap it off he suffered a nasty laceration from an errant blade to the thigh that required 18 stitches. While that will take some time to heal naturally and to be tended to incase of any set-back such as infection, Backes may be out of the line-up until the playoffs as well, although I feel as though we will see him for a few tune-up games in the final week of the regular season.

Zdeno Chara and Charlie McAvoy have been sorely missed at times over the last stretch of games. Chara could be back by the end of the week although I would suspect that since Boston is on the cusp of clinching a playoff spot as early as tonight in St. Louis, head coach Bruce Cassidy may hold him out of the line-up an extra game. Remember that just prior to the injury there was debate on whether or not to give the big man a few games off to reset. Meanwhile, Charlie McAvoy has been quietly going about his work to get back on the ice. The severity of his knee injury wasn’t made entirely known, but all indications are that he will be ready to go come playoff time. Similarly to Backes, McAvoy may get on the ice in the final few regular season contests to ‘test the waters’, if you will. Seeing the defensive first line out there again would no doubt be a sigh of relief for Bruins fans.

dcbbaf89-2446-487f-949e-d459cda158ab_TVASPORTS_WEBSee? Isn’t this nice?
Photo: www.tvasports.ca/

Lastly and perhaps least concerning would be the injuries to Rick Nash and Adam McQuaid who are both considered day-to-day. Bruce Cassidy also hasn’t been shy about handing out ‘maintenance days’ which may be a contributing factor to the way he’s handling both individuals. He is fully aware that in two weeks it will be all hands on deck as his Boston Bruins look to start what we all hope will be a deep playoff push.

Thomas Nyström, Contributor.

Follow me on Twitter @nahstrom

Bruins Sign Donato To Entry-Level Deal


PHILADELPHIA, PA – JUNE 28: Ryan Donato meets his team after being drafted #56 by the Boston Bruins on Day Two of the 2014 NHL Draft at the Wells Fargo Center on June 28, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

By: Mark Allred   |   Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The Boston Bruins announced earlier this evening that they’ve signed prospect and Harvard University forward Ryan Donato to an entry-level contract.  This year was a career season for the Crimson Junior as he posted 26-17-43 numbers in in 26 games and was the ECAC Player of The Year and a nominee for the prestigious Hobey Baker Award given to the best NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Athlete annually. The 21-year-old was also selected to the United State hockey team that played at the 2018 Winter Olympics and played very well with six points in five games (5-1-6).


Donato, a second-round selection of the B’s in 2014 has really taken a huge step in his development over the past year and deservingly generated a great deal of hype from those professional opinions down to the fans that pay close attention to the developing youth on a yearly basis. Although I knew Ryan was going to be signed at some point in 2018, my projection of when was way off as I had him coming to the National Hockey League during the offseason as I believed the Bruins would go with the roster that’s had so much success in 2017-18. Regardless of my projected timeline, I’m very excited to have him with this team and look forward to seeing him when he makes it on the roster with 12 games remaining in the regular season and upcoming playoff schedule.

This is what Ryan had to say shortly after signing his entry-level deal with his beloved Boston Bruins…..

“I am excited to announce that today I have fulfilled a lifelong dream, signing a NHL contract to play for the Boston Bruins,” Donato said in a statement. “While I am beyond thrilled for this next opportunity, it comes with a bittersweet feeling, as my time as a student-athlete at Harvard comes to a close. I am so thankful for every day I have spent at Harvard and the remarkable people I have met along the way, from the classroom, to the ice, and beyond. It has truly been a privilege to wear the Harvard jersey and represent my school alongside such incredible teammates and coaches. My time in the Harvard hockey program has provided me with some of my closest friends and fondest memories, and I will strive to continue representing Harvard well from afar as I enter this next stage of my life.

“While no longer on campus, I am so proud to consider myself a member of the greater Harvard community, and I am still fully dedicated to working towards another lifelong dream of mine: a degree from the university that has given me the best three years of my life.”


With the current injuries on the Bruins coming down the stretch, this is a solid depth move for the organization with players like David Backes, Patrice Bergeron, and Jake DeBrusk returns up in the air with a dozen games to go before the Mid-April Stanley Cup Playoffs begin, the addition of the young Donato wasn’t exactly shocking. Regardless of how much action he gets into, he has to be a serious candidate at this point to make a full-time NHL player next season as current players that will be unrestricted free agents this summer might not be coming back and creating a permanent spot for him in 2018-19.


I’ve seen many games that Ryan’s played at the NCAA level and every Bruins development camp that he’s attended and in my opinion, he’s got the skills of an NHL player now, and the pedigree is there with his father and former Crimson coach for the last three seasons Ted Donato who spent several seasons in Black and Gold cannot be denied. The way this kid can skate and stickhandle in traffic is second to none, and he does possess an NHL release. Now his development has brought him to the highest level in the world and can’t wait to see him play NHL opponents shortly as he’s been rumored to get his first taste of the top tomorrow night when the Columbus Blue Jackets come to the TD Garden in Boston. I have to go with a few professional analysts and say I doubt he plays against the Jackets tomorrow night without practicing with the team. Wednesday on the road in St. Louis is a better opportunity in my opinion as he’ll be more acclimated to his new club.

Boston Bruins Post Game Recap: Game 70


Photo Credit: USA TODAY Sports

By KG | Follow on Twitter @kgbngblog | FanCred at K G


As the Bruins face their toughest opponent yet on this road trip, David Backes slides into the top center position in between Marchand and Pastrnak. Rask and Vasilevskiy take their respective nets as these two titans get set to play a potential playoff matchup.

What I Am Looking Forward To

Backes is finally sliding into the 1stC role. The offensive production should be way better than it was last game with a veteran guy like Backes. The 48-86 defensive combo will be nice to see because they have very compatible playing styles.


Tampa started to control the play right off the opening faceoff and would hold the puck in the Bruins zone for a while until the B’s defense started to throw some big hits below the goal line to create some turnovers. Boston was finding success early entering the zone and got some good opportunities early, including the great play from Krug to find the streaking Pastrnak, who would score on a simple forehand-backhand move. Boston continued to shoot from every angle, resulting in lots of rebounds. The Bruins defense played a big part of their offense in the first half of the period with Torey Krug and Nick Holden being the standouts. After Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos was called for interference, Boston took little time in scoring their second goal of the game, scored by newly appointed first line center David Backes. Boston continued to get great chances, but couldn’t get the puck in the net. Tampa picked up the pace as they had two great shifts in the Bruins’ end that forced Boston to ice the puck at the end just to catch their breath. David Backes was hurt with less than a minute left in the period. This will be a big loss for Boston if he doesn’t come back.


BOS – Pastrnak (Krug, McQuaid), Backes PP (Krug, Marchand)

TB – N/A


David Backes was not on the bench when the second period started. Rask was tested quickly but stood strong. Boston had a couple more great chances from using the d-men and tipping pucks, but Vasilevskiy did a good job of staying in place. Brandon Carlo took a tripping penalty. Not something that you want happening against the second best PP team in the league. Rick Nash and Brad Marchand both had incredible offensive chances on the PK, but couldn’t convert. Tuukka Rask continued to make great saves and the physical presence ramped up even more. This game has more of a playoff game feeling than some actual playoff games. Boston would go back on the power play after Brian Gionta was high sticked. This resulted in a Riley Nash goal off of a rebound in front of the net. After a great play to spring a Bruins favoured 3-on-2, Noel Acciari was given a goaltender interference call after failing to stop before crashing into Tampa’s net. The Bruins killed it off after some great saves/blocks, but right after Brandon Carlo took another penalty. Tuukka Rask was all over Tampa Bay’s cross-ice one-timer. He seemed to have been in place for years when receiving the shot. Rick Nash killed off quite a bit of time after he found his way into the Lightning’s zone and held the puck along the boards even though four Tampa players were attacking him. The period would end with David Krejci almost popping in a rebound at the horn.


BOS – Riley Nash PP (Rick Nash, Krug)

TB – N/A


Tampa controlled the puck off the faceoff and Boston’s defence and netminder needed to be sharp right from the start. Adam McQuaid made a spectacular poke check to keep Tampa away from a great chance and Rask made a save on a completely open net. Boston kept the Lightning out of their end by cycling the puck in the offensive end. Victor Hedman took a high stick penalty and the Bruins headed back on the PP. While they got some decent chances, Boston couldn’t convert. But the B’s held on, and even with the goalie pulled Tampa couldn’t get many good chances. 3-0 the final.



TB – N/A


If that isn’t commitment to defense, I don’t know what is. Boston made the best scorers in the league obsolete.

KG’s Three Stars Of The Game

1st:  Tuukka Rask – This was the first time that Tampa was shut out. ALL. YEAR. While he only faced 23 shots, he kept the puck out when needed. Stellar performance.

2nd: Torey Krug – A great game at both ends of the ice for Krug tonight. He had 2 shots, along with assisting on all three goals. He shut down the Tampa offense and was incredible when breaking the puck out.

3rd: Rick Nash – Nash played some of his best hockey in awhile this game. While he did get an assist, his work on the penalty kill was crucial for the Bruins. On multiple occasions, Nash stood up the Tampa defense at their blue line and took the puck away from them. Great defensive game.

MUP (Most Under-Appreciated Player): Riley Nash: After he filled in for Backes on the first line, Nash was great all around. He even scored the third and final goal.

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


Monday, March 19th in Boston vs Columbus


Follow KG on Twitter @KGbngblog and on FanCred at K G Like, share and comment your takes on the article

BREAKING: David Backes Suspended Three Games


Photo: NBCSports Boston

By: Lauren Campbell | Follow on Twitter: @lalalalaurrrren

On Wednesday, the NHL Department of Player Safety announced that Boston Bruins forward David Backes has been suspended for three games after his hit on Detroit Red Wings center Frans Nielsen.

The hit came late in the first period after Backes made contact with Nielsen’s head with his shoulder while Nielsen did not have possession of the puck.

Backes will forfeit $96,774.18 over the course of those three games.

The team is already without defenseman Charlie McAvoy (MCL sprain), center Patrice Bergeron (fractured foot) and goalie Tuukka Rask (undisclosed minor injury).

In 848-career games, Backes has never been fined or suspended. He will be eligible to return March 13 against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Breaking: Bruins’ Lose David Backes to 3 Game Suspension

cut.jpgPhoto: nhl.com

By Thomas Nyström | Follow on twitter @nahstrom

The National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today that Boston Bruins RW David Backes has been suspended for three games the hit Tuesday on Detroit’s Frans Nielsen. The suspension is without pay and under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and based on his average annual salary Backes will forfeit nearly $97,000.

The incident took place with 16 seconds left in the first period. At the time, Backes was assessed a minor penalty for roughing and served the majority of the penalty at the start of the second period.

If the organization decides to recall a right-winger from Providence for depth, one would think it could be either Zach Senyshyn or Jordan Szwarz.

Thomas Nyström, Contributor.

Follow me on Twitter @nahstrom

Boston Bruins Post Game Recap: Game 64: 3/6/18: Detroit at Boston

Photo: Getty Images

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Home: Boston Bruins: 40-15-8, 88 points, second in the Atlantic Division

Away: Detroit Red Wings: 26-29-10, 62 points, fifth in the Atlantic Division

Boston’s Lineup


Marchand-Riley Nash-Pastrnak

DeBrusk-Krejci-Rick Nash










Detroit’s Lineup













The Bruins sported some nice St. Patrick’s Day themed warm-ups before things got interesting early.

(Via @NHLBruins on Twitter)

First Period

When I say things got interesting early, I mean it. Two goals in the 52 seconds from Torey Krug’s 12th and Jake DeBrusk’s 14th goals set the tone for a high scoring game. Frans Nielsen quickly spoiled the fun early in their power play, 2:16 into the game after Tommy Wingels went to the box for slashing. Mike Green then tied it up with 12:07 remaining in the first on what ended up being a weak goal on Khudobin’s part. Fours in less than eight minutes of action, not something you see every day.

Here’s Torey Krug’s best attempt at emulating one of his former teammates Johnny Boychuk’s “Johnny Rockets., ”

(Via @NHL on Twitter)

Charlie McAvoy’s MCL injury and Nick Holden’s impressive start to his Bruins career earned him a spot in the top-four with Torey Krug on the second defensive pairing.

With just under 7:00 remaining in the first, Nick Jensen went to the box for Detroit on a holding call, which allowed Torey Krug to notch his 13th goal of the season and second of the game on the power play, set up on a beautiful pass through the slot from Brad Marchand.

Some stunning puck work displayed here.

(Via @mkmolnar on Twitter)

Danton Heinen almost made it 4-2 about a minute later but hit the post. The Bruins threw plenty of shots at Jared Coreau early. Henrik Zetterberg then came in and nearly squeaked one between Anton Khudobin and the left post. It was just a wild start to the first period within the first 15 minutes.

The period concluded with Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak nearly adding a late goal on a give-and-go. Frans Nielsen left the ice after a hit away from the play on David Backes that put Backes in the box for roughing.

Score: 3-2 Boston

Second Period

Detroit started the period with 1:50 of power play time on the David Backes roughing penalty. Anton Khudobin faced zero shots while down a man and the penalty was killed by the Bruins.

With 17:48 remaining in the period, defenseman turned forward Luke Witkowski took a stupid crosschecking penalty on Torey Krug, handing the Bruins a two-minute man advantage. Torey Krug then returns the favor to Brad Marchand with a back-door one-timer, too easy. The Bruins take a 4-2 lead on the power play goal with 16:33 to go in the second. Jared Coreau then got the boot from the Detroit crease, Jimmy Howard came in to replace him. The goal marked Marchand’s 26th goal of the year and man, what a beautiful sequence it was.

(Via @NHLonNBCSports on Twitter)

Jonathan Ericsson and David Backes exchanged words early in the period, which then lead to a fight between the two with 15:15 to go in the period. Spoiler alert: Backes won.

(Via @Tashville401 on Twitter)

Detroit went on the penalty kill again with 13:45 remaining when Mike Green went to the box cross-checking. On the kill, Detroit got a chance from Justin Abdelkader, who after watching the instant replay, clearly kicked the puck in. No goal.

(Via @CBeswick on Twitter)

Yes, Colin, it was a distinct kicking motion. The Bruins failed to score on the power play.

Brandon Carlo then took a dumb interference penalty with 9:57 to go and a two-goal lead. Anthony Mantha nearly put in a rebound past a scrambling Anton Khudobin, but Khudobin sprawled and stopped it with his left arm. Shortly after, Mike Green ripped a slap shot that hit off of David Krejci’s stick and Nick Holden’s hand was picked up by Anthony Mantha for Detroit’s third goal of the game with 7:55 remaining. Khudobin couldn’t reset in time to make the save.

Brad Marchand rained on Detroit’s parade with 6:42 remaining after a few chances that lead to the puck bouncing off the board behind Jimmy Howard. Marchand then banked the puck off of Howard’s left skate and into the net, 5-3 Bruins on a fluky one, his 27th of the season and second of the game. He wasn’t done there, as he laid out Gustav Nyquist at center ice not too long after.

Andreas Athanasiou, a highly dangerous breakaway player, found space late for a breakaway and was robbed by Khudobin. The next breakaway? Zdeno Chara mishandles the puck, it’s picked up by Tyler Bertuzzi and put in on the backhand for Bertuzzi’s 3rd of the season with 4:10 left.

A skirmish late following a low Brad Marchand hit lead to a 4-on-4 with Riley Nash and Justin Abdelkader heading to the box as a result. Brandon Carlo went at it with Trevor Daley a little over a minute into the 4-on-4, Brian Gionta joined in. Not shortage of nastiness in this game.

David Pastrnak had three assists through two periods, by the way.

An interesting thing to note from Kevin Paul Dupont here.

(Via @GlobeKPD on Twitter)

Score: 5-4 Boston


Third Period

Brad Marchand takes a slashing penalty five seconds into the period, five seconds. That’s impressive. The penalty was killed successfully by the Bruins.

With 15:22 left, Luke Witkowski went to the box again, this time for roughing. Detroit killed it off. The penalties continued when Sean Kuraly went to the box for tripping Dylan Larkin with 12:19 left. Not much going on besides penalties early in the third period.

Five seconds after the conclusion of the Sean Kuraly tripping penalty, Tyler Bertuzzi finds Martin Frk open out front to tie the game. It was a weird goal, hitting off David Krejci in a shot block attempt and getting a little bit of spin on it, which tripped up Anton Khudobin and was the driving force behind the goal.

Many people were not fans of the referee’s performances tonight, including Billy Jaffe.

(Via @BJaffe on Twitter)

Back-and-forth chances followed for the longevity of the period. Nothing too crazy, but some consistent action making for an exciting finish. We’re on to overtime

Score: 5-5


Brad Marchand scored in overtime, for the 11th time in his career. Shocker. Third career hat trick, 28th goal of the season. Most overtime goals in Bruins history for the NHL’s greatest pest. Five points on the night. Brad Marchand loves playing the Wings. Game over.

(Via @PeteBlackburn on Twitter)

It was a wild, at times a frustrating game, but the Bruins came out with two points in the end. Not all wins are pretty.

Trade Deadline Approaching- Bruins Unmoveable Pieces

( Above Photo Credit:  NHL .com )

By: Chris Nosek                 Follow Me On Twitter @cnosek6342

This year the Bruins have shown great progress in adapting to Bruce Cassidy’s style of play along with strong chemistry between the veteran core and the new youngsters. So with the NHL trade deadline quickly approaching in February, let’s take a step back and examine the roster to see who could and should be mentioned during Sweeney’s calls with the other GMs around the league.

To properly dissect the roster, first we must establish where the team currently stands and the goal of what the team is working towards. I think we can all agree that the Patriots have set the bar for “long-term sustained success” in the Boston area and for its’ fans. With that thought in mind, it would also make sense that similar success would be the long-term goal for this organization as well – being in the playoffs year in and year out with deep runs towards winning more Stanley Cups.

To sustain this type of success, the roster needs to have a balance between youth and veterans; skill and physicality, and speed and grit. In building the roster, you have to identify the group of guys who stay and get long-term contracts and filling in the rest of the roster. So far Sweeney and his crew have done a great job, but there is still work to be done. Let’s take a look at what options Sweeney has going into this year’s upcoming trade deadline.

Identifying the core group of guys is one of the most crucial steps in this process; below is the current group that I have defined as the essential people in continuing the construction of the roster moving forward. Later we will examine the rest of the players; there are many players they should not move on from, and many prospects who they should not part with – we will examine those situations next time. Bruins core, most important guys who should not be moved under any circumstances are:

Patrice Bergeron

Many believe that Patrice Bergeron will be the next to dawn the captain’s C for the black and gold. Despite being 32 years of age, Bergeron is one of the best defensive centers in the game and with Marchand and Pastrnak as his line-mates, he is still averaging just shy of a point-per-game. Having him locked up for another four (4) years at only $6.875 million per season, Bergeron can be safe and secure in knowing that he won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. Let’s not talk about the riots in the streets of Boston that would occur should Sweeney move the fan favorite.


David Pastrnak

Going into his last contract negotiation, every fan of the black and gold was worried just what would happen with the budding superstar. With bad tastes in their mouths from Seguin and Hamilton, many were terrified they would lose the 21-year-old. After a tenuous process, Sweeney netted the winger to a team friendly 6-year contract for only $6.66 million. After getting through the hard part of the negotiations, Sweeney won’t move the youngster.


Brad Marchand 

After breaking into the league as the little ball of hate, Marchand has shown his growth and maturity and has now become a prolific scorer. Lining him next to Bergeron and Pastrnak has proven to be a deadly combination and what seems like an unstoppable force. He now has himself an 8-year contract with a very team friendly $6.125 million with a no-movement clause. Moving Marchand would not only break up a top two-way line in the league but would be a huge mistake, and Sweeney knows this. Don’t look for 63 to be moved now or anytime soon.


David Krejci 

Now at the age of 31 and with multiple stints out of the line up this season from being banged up, Krejci is teetering on this list. Still able to produce at a point per game rate, Krejci gives the Bruins one of the best two way 1-2 center combinations. Every time Krejci misses a game people start calling for him to be dealt more and more. With a team-high cap hit of $7.25 million (actual salary of $7.5 million), Krejci is the one who would make the most sense of this core group to start looking to move first. However, the time to look to move him just isn’t quite here yet. If Ryan Spooner had emerged more consistently as a possible replacement for Krejci, then it would make sense to see if 46 would waive his NMC, but at this point, it doesn’t even make sense to ask.


David Backes

While it was quickly starting to look like Sweeney would regret this deal profoundly, Backes has finally returned to full health and has seemingly begun to turn a corner and show that he can still play as he did during his days in St. Louis. Backes is using his versatility to play both centers and along the right wing to show that he still has a lot to offer a team making a push for a cup. With his leadership capabilities that he brings to the table, it is not worth dealing him off just yet as this team looks like it will be back into serious cup contention during his tenure here and they have a lack at depth along the right side at this time. Given more time for some younger players to step it might be worth looking into moving him in 2019 when his NMC is downgraded to a modified NTC, and $6million on the books becomes more of an issue looking to resign some of the young guys already stepping up.


Riley Nash

Probably the most shocking name on this list to most people, Nash has earned his way on this list over the past two (2) seasons. With his contract up at the end of this season, Nash is due for a significant raise going into the 2018-2019 season, and Sweeney would be smart to give him that increase. Nash has shown he can play up and down the lineup along the right side while still filling in as needed in the middle. His physicality sets him up to be the perfect 4th line center who can jump up the lineup as injuries dictate. Sweeney would be smart to lock him up using the same four years $12million contract that Peter Chiarelli signed Chris Kelly to back in 2012. Moving Nash at the deadline this year could net Boston a decent early round pick or prospect, but that wouldn’t help the team over the coming years as much as keeping the 28-year-old around.


Charlie McAvoy

Should they call him up or should they leave him in Providence? That was the question surrounding Charlie McAvoy going into the 2016-2017 playoffs. This question got answered for them as injuries forced them to call upon their depth along the blue line. Calling upon the 19-year-old during the playoffs did burn off the first year or his rookie contract. However, it did solidify his place on this roster for this season and moving forward. McAvoy is the defensive building block for this team moving forward and over the next two (2) seasons, resigning him should be Sweeney’s top priority.


Zdeno Chara

They made it. The Bruins finally got to the last year of Chara’s contract, and for the past couple of seasons, he was not playing to the full value of it. This season’s cap hit of $4 million instead of the previous $6 million. With a couple more young kids coming up on the blue line, resigning Chara to a one or two year contract to keep him with Carlo would help this team grow and create depth along the backend.


BFR1 – Game 35 – Bruins’ Holiday Magic

BFR1 - Game 35 Pic

By: Spencer Fascetta                                                                   Twitter: @pucknerdhockey

Heck of a way to come back after the holiday break! Riley Nash went off, there were plenty of shenanigans, and we got confirmation once again that the Ottawa Senators are devolving into a tire fire. PuckNerd brings back the BFR to discuss all this and more.

The Identity Of The Boston Bruins Is Starting To Show Up

(Photo Credit: Associated Press)

By Mike Cratty                             Twitter: @Mike_Cratty

As the 2017-2018 Boston Bruins continue to get healthy, they are showing us what they can do with an optimal lineup. The Bruins have won six of their last seven games, dating back to November 16 against the Los Angeles Kings. Their last loss came on November 26 against the Edmonton Oilers.

Adam McQuaid and Peter Cehlarik are still recovering from leg injuries, and Jake DeBrusk is dealing with an upper-body injury. The team is almost there after a crazy string of injuries, with some players missing multiple stretches of time.


The team isn’t blowing teams away on the score sheet, but rather they are finding different ways to win, night in and night out. That is their identity in my mind – a team that won’t always blow teams away on the score sheet but has a solid mix of different playing styles, can wear teams down, and find different ways to win. Whether Anton Khudobin or Tuukka Rask step up, or David Pastrnak buries a sweet goal on a breakaway, their newfound health and energy have been huge in allowing them to climb the Atlantic Division standings and make up ground. For a little while, it seemed like the misfortune didn’t have any plans of stopping and the Bruins would be near basement territory in the Atlantic Division. That hasn’t been the case as of late, as they sit in fourth place in the Atlantic with a 12-8-4 record and 28 points, three points ahead of the Detroit Red Wings and one point behind the Montreal Canadiens.

The misfortune that was dumped on the Bruins in the injury department prevented hockey fans from getting a glimpse at the identity a team with the potential to return to the playoffs. The season opener, a 4-3 win over the Nashville Predators at home, gave us a quick, short-lived look. With guys like Brad Marchand and Anders Bjork recently returning, as well as David Backes incredibly returning ahead of schedule, this Bruins team is showing fans what many expected. A team with some new faces, some young, some old, and some legitimate Calder trophy candidates. That bunch is starting to meet expectations and wear teams down.


Part of their resurgence has come from the goaltending. When you’re a team that doesn’t score a whole lot, it’s nice to be able to rely on your goalies, and the Bruins sure have as of late. Tuukka Rask has regained some composure in the crease in three straight starts dating back to the loss last Sunday against Edmonton. In those three starts, Rask is 2-1-0 with a 1.67 GAA, .940 save percentage. The Bruins just have two thriving goalies at the moment, which is nice to see because they simply didn’t have that luxury last season. There is no controversy, Tuukka Rask is the number one goalie, but in this case, both goalies are playing very well. That doesn’t change Tuukka’s status as the number one, and he seems to be ok with split time with his buddy Dobby. Anton Khudobin will slot back in tomorrow night against Nashville.


The returns of numerous players have just helped this team gain consistent stability and begin to establish a reputation and an identity.  The lack of stability is a huge part of what led to the team’s slow start. One shining example is the fact that they held off the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2, arguably the best team in the NHL and definitely the best team in the East.

Whether the Bruins maintain consistency moving forward is going to be one of the main storylines.

With the lineup nearing full health (fingers crossed), here are my optimal lines for the Bruins when they regain full health (not including trades that could be made):


Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – Anders Bjork

Jake DeBrusk – David Krejci – David Pastrnak

Danton Heinen – Ryan Spooner – David Backes

Tim Schaller – Riley Nash – Noel Acciari

Matt Beleskey/Frank Vatrano


Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy

Kevan Miller – Brandon Carlo

Torey Krug – Adam McQuaid

Paul Postma


Tuukka Rask

Anton Khudobin

All I want for Christmas is a fully healthy Bruins lineup, and you should too. This team is showing fans what they are capable of. If this positive trend can continue consistently enough, we may not be looking at a first-round playoff exit like last season.