What A Canceled Season Could Do For The Boston Bruins

( Photo Credit: Dave Sandford / NHLI via Getty Images )

By Jack Cinquegrana | Follow me on Twitter: @bruinschewy

It has been over one hundred years since an epidemic or a pandemic has derailed the course of a professional hockey season. The Spanish Flu in 1919 caused the Stanley Cup to not be awarded for that season. Folks all over North America are struggling to fill the void of a hockey-less March and what could be a hockey-less April. But I do not believe it is all bad. 

The Boston Bruins have made the playoffs over the past 3 seasons and has had the best record in the league during this 2019-2020 season. They made it to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final this past season and lost to the St. Louis Blues. After a short summer, they returned to training camp in September with a vengeance, but not completely healthy. 

Defenseman Kevan Miller has been out for the entirety of the 2019-20 campaign, after performing very well in my opinion during the 2018 playoff run and also the run in 2019. Having a player like Miller for the future is a valuable asset as a sixth or seventh defenseman.

( Photo Credit: Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports )

There is, of course, the David Krejci conversation in which another year is burned off of his contract and Bruins fan debate trading him before he becomes an unrestricted free-agent in 2021-2022. Will we see the most out of Krech next season coming back fully healthy?

Patrice Bergeron has played some tough years and played through some awful injuries. Zdeno Chara is forty-two years old. Say if the Bruins went into the playoffs this year, guys would be tired and it would lead to a possible early exit, I am just speculating but there is always a chance that we do not make it back to the final. 

Beginning next season, in the case that the season is canceled, the Bruins would finally have had some rest going into a full 82-game season juiced up and healthy. I think this could be a blessing in disguise for our Boston Bruins, fully healthy and ready to tear up the league again in 2020-2021.

( Photo Credit: Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports )

What does that mean for Boston? Hopefully, we can still get Torey Krug to sign, being that he may take a cut because of the pandemic, or we can lose him to a team with a lot of space still coming up like the Colorado Avalanche or the Detroit Red Wings. The Bruins still need to sign DeBrusk, Grzelcyk, and Chara. The owners do not want teams buying out many players because that is bad for the league, so the owners may have to move some money around and give teams a little more flexibility if they want the league to stay relatively the same

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 171 that we recorded below on 3-23-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

 

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Why Did Bruins Fans Dislike Danton Heinen So Much?

heinen

(Photo Credit: NHL.com)

By: Joe Chrzanowski| Follow me on Twitter @jchrz19

This is a topic that has been weighing heavily on me for the last year or so. With the Trade Deadline behind us and Danton Heinen off to Anaheim, perhaps it’s a moot point? However, the question remains, what was it about Danton Heinen that was such a turn-off for so many B’s fans?

If you spend any amount of time on Bruins Twitter, you couldn’t go more than 10 minutes without some sort of derogatory comment about Heinen. Most commenting on his lack of toughness, physicality, or production. I would say that Tuukka Rask was probably the only player on the team that was more polarizing than Heinen.

So what was it?

By all accounts, he was well-liked in the dressing room. Given his reaction to the trade, he obviously wanted to be in Boston. He played up and down the lineup and performed reasonably well wherever Bruce Cassidy put him. His salary of $2.8m is a little high based on his production this year but is in line for what players of similar age and production earn. He was extremely durable, having missed only one or two games to injury in almost three NHL seasons.

His detractors say he provides no offense. That he’s soft, never wins board battles and constantly gives the puck away. Obviously, if these were all true, he would not have been taking a regular shift for one of the best teams in the NHL, but why bring common sense into the equation?

For his career, the 2014 4th Round pick played in 220 games, had 34g/69a (103 pts), and was a +23 for the Bruins. Also had 138 hits, 103 blocks, 105 takeaways, and 87 giveaways. That equates to a .47 points-per-game average, which is average to above average for most NHL third-line players. This year Heinen was off his career pace a bit, with only 22 points in 58 games, which no doubt led to increased frustration with him by the fan base.

Not to pick on specific players but when you look at these stats in comparison to some other B’s guys, the “Heinen-Hate” doesn’t make a lot of sense. Jake DeBrusk, who is loved by most of the B’s fanbase, has been stapled to Krejci’s hip in the Top 6 since he entered the NHL. His career totals: 198 games played, 61g/58a (119 pts), +14 (.60 ppg). Throw in 147 hits, 65 blocks, 96 takeaways, and 67 giveaways. Better than Heinen in some categories, but not overly impressive for the 14th overall pick in 2015.

Smaller sample size, but another player B’s fans love is Anders Bjork. In 107 career NHL games, he has only 14g/20a (34 pts), +6 (.32 ppg). He also has 71 hits, 44 blocks, 47 takeaways, and 33 giveaways. The majority of those numbers are actually below Heinen’s totals, even when you double them to get close to his total games. I’m not sure how often people look at stats like this before they tweet out their opinions on Heinen, but given the actual numbers, it’s probably not very often?

Danton-Heinen-copy

( Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer / Getty Images )

The supposedly “soft” Heinen has similar hit totals to both Bjork and DeBrusk and blocks significantly more shots than either. In my humble opinion, stepping in front of a slap shot takes a lot more guts than checking a player or face-washing someone in a scrum when the refs are sure to break things up, but to each his own I guess.

One of the legitimate issues fans had this year with Heinen was definitely his production in comparison to his salary. He got a raise after his ELC expired and was having his worst statistical year as a pro. If he was still making $800k, there would have been less noise about it for sure.

The flip-side to this is that it happens a lot with players. You can only have them on short money for so long, and I didn’t hear anyone complaining when Heinen put up 47 points on the first year of his ELC. As big a Heinen fan as I am, I would agree that he didn’t play to his contract this year as a Bruin. That said, I still don’t believe that his salary was the primary reason that Boston fans disliked Heinen.

So, if it wasn’t the production and the salary was only part of it. A relatively small part that really doesn’t explain the venom with which people went after Heinen. Then what was it exactly?

Heino2

(Photo Credit: Amy Irvin/The Hockey Writers)

More than anything else, I believe it was simply a perception that Heinen was not passionate about the game and didn’t care because of his cerebral and “quiet” style of play. He went about his business as a Bruin very calmly and without any fanfare. Goal celebrations were muted and there was no tugging on the spoked B of his jersey. Instead of big, attention-grabbing hits, opponents were efficiently ridden off the puck. Instead of flashy steals and end-to-end rushes, lanes were clogged and passes sent off the mark or deflected.

Ever since the “Big Bad Bruins” of the early 1970s and Don Cherry’s “Lunch Pail A.C.” teams of the late ’70s, Boston fans have identified more with players they see as gritty, nasty, and tough than they do with guys who are skilled and play a quieter game. I don’t have enough time or space to debate the merits of that approach in this article, but it is the way a lot of Boston fans think. Heinen was not the first B’s player that was disliked by fans because of his style of play and he won’t be the last. He’s just the most recent example.

Blake Wheeler was not physical enough for his size. Reilly Smith was too quiet. Loui Eriksson was a piss-poor return for Tyler Seguin and wasn’t edgy enough. Even a long-time Bruin like David Krejci is not immune to this bias. For years, despite evidence to the contrary, he has been considered “soft” and too cerebral by much of the fanbase he has given so much to. Anybody who watched him fight Pavelski the other night and saw the look of absolute glee on his face as he was throwing punches should realize you don’t judge a book by its cover.

I don’t think we will see Heinen exchanging haymakers with opponents in ANA any time soon, but it won’t be a surprise if he does well there. Hopefully, the deal ends up working out for both teams and both players.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 167 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!!

Bruins Need Strong “Finish” All Around

Image result for boston bruins(Photo Credit: WCVB Boston)

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

The Boston Bruins need a big finish to the schedule this season. Or, in the case of Tuukka Rask, a big Finnish

And I mean all around, in every aspect of the game: from taking care of lackluster low-pointers like the Red Wings & Rangers to tight tie-breakers like the Penguins & Lightning to just properly putting points up by building up and protecting leads and shutting down opponents.

Because unlike the ALMOST-Cup-clinching season of yesteryear, the B’s road to playoff success in 2020 will undoubtedly go through more qualified, consistent and competitive match-ups than Toronto, Columbus and Carolina.

Yes, if the B’s truly want to win the Atlantic Division, hold off Tampa Bay, win a few rounds against the likes of the Capitals and Penguins and then return to the Stanley Cup Finals, they’re going to need everything in the tank — and then some!

What exactly does that entail? Well, for starters, no “off” days or “bad” games. The Bruins need to treat each and every contest between now and April 4th like the playoffs have already started. The team’s recent 9-out-of-10-games win streak is a great way to get this mindset going.

But with the Bolts truly bolting their way to the top of the division and league (and perhaps even past the Bruins by Leap Day), that could mean a loss of home ice or being seeded against an unfavorable team come this Spring. That’s not the kind of “finish” the B’s are looking for.

Speaking of which, Dealin’ Donny Sweeney must learn to finish off one of his myriad trade proposals before the pickens are slimmer than Slim himself! As pointed out by numerous Black N’ Gold bloggers and podcasters recently, the B’s are thus far standing pat as all their competitors pick up potential targets that could bolster an already strong Bruins’ lineup.

It “bears” no repeating how badly Boston needs a top 6 RW for the second line to play alongside David Krecji and consistently put the puck in the net and/or set-up his linemates. Perhaps this is the reason the B’s didn’t “finish” off the Blues in the Cup finals last year — no depth or secondary scoring!

But ruminations and repudiations aside, here’s what we ALL want to see down the scheduling stretch and into the second season for the B’s: a fighting finish. Literally and figuratively. Throw the gloves down when necessary. Put teams away whenever you can. Make Tampa and Pittsburgh and Washington work as hard as humanly possible to catch you in the standings. Seamlessly integrate new players via trade or call-ups.

In short, play Bruins hockey. The kind of hockey we all know, love and remember from 2011. Now wouldn’t that be a way to FINISH!

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 166 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!!

NHL Trade Deadline: Who Boston Should Be Looking At Moving Forward

( Photo Credit: Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images )

By: Jack Cinquegrana  |  Follow me on Twitter: @bruinschewy

 

The Boston Bruins have had a great sense of team defense and acquiring two-way forwards in order to retain that reputation, a good defense is the best offense they always say. But, for the past few seasons, since the trading of Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton after the cup win, the Bruins have had a hard time scoring goals. Boston’s top line does most of the scoring currently tallying 45% of all of the team’s goals, compared to the second line scoring at 19% of the team’s total goals, not ideal.

With an addition of a bonafide offensive scorer that can be had for a good team-friendly contract, preferably a right-handed winger, the offense can be much more balanced offensive attack. When we rely too heavily upon 63-37-88 the frustration starts to show and that makes it even more difficult to stay composed and score goals.

These players that the Bruins should be targeting are not necessarily perfectly attainable but would be a great fit on the team filling the wide-open second-line winger spot beside David Krejci. The Bruins currently sit with 3.1 million in cap space to make a signing or have money going out for money coming in. Trade bait would include one of Jokiam Nordstrom/Danton Heinen and a prospect (Zach Senyshyn, Cameron Hughes, or Peter Cehlárik) and depending on the player, a pick as well.

Tomas Tatar

( Photo Credit: Montreal Canadiens / NHL.com )

A versatile C/W that has produced consistently throughout his entire career. He has a left-shot but can play a complementary game with DK46 and has proven himself a steady defensive forward. He is currently having the best season of his career on the stat sheet and commands a 5.3 million dollar cap hit for this year and next. That is a steep price but Sweeney can definitely move some money around. The only issue may be Tatar’s No-Trade Clause that was issued on February 2 includes 15 teams. Another potential issue could be that he plays for Montreal and there are not many trades between Boston and Montreal.

Kevin LeBanc

( Photo Credit: Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group )

The 24-year-old winger who has great playmaking and scoring ability has burning speed and some playoff experience. San Jose seems like they are blowing it up to reload for next season, they will want picks or prospects. I think he is an easy choice being that he is on a one-year, one million contract, he can potentially resign and will not command a high cap hit. He is a right-shot and can play the off-wing, I think he is a weapon that we need to pounce on.

 

Kyle Palmieri

( Photo Credit: NJ.com )

Palmieri from the New Jersey Devils has been a solid top-six winger throughout his entire career. Like Tatar, he is a seasoned veteran that can score, be a complementary player to the center and is currently on pace for his career-best goal-scoring season. Palmieri is a right-shot and his contract holds an annual average value of 4.65 million. Slightly a better deal than Tatar would be and having another right-handed forward would not hurt on Krejci’s wing.

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Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 166 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!!

Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston vs. Vancouver: 2/4/20

Image result for boston bruins vancouver canucks"

Photo Credit: Derek Cain/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Home: Boston Bruins

Away: Vancouver Canucks

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak

DeBrusk – Krejci – Kuhlman

Kuraly – Coyle – Bjork

Blidh – Lindholm – Wagner

Defense

Chara – McAvoy

Krug – Carlo

Grzelcyk – Lauzon

Goalies

Rask

Halak

Vancouver’s Lineup

Forwards

Pearson – Horvat – Eriksson

Miller – Pettersson – Boeser

Roussel – Gaudette – Virtanen

Schaller – Beagle – Sutter

Defense

Edler – Stecher

Hughes – Tanev

Fantenberg – Myers

Goalies

Markstrom

Demko

Another back-to-back stood in the way of the Bruins, starting with the Vancouver Canucks. Just recently beating the Winnipeg Jets and Minnesota Wild in a back-to-back set the tone for another one. The Chicago Blackhawks are next up after this one, tomorrow night at 8 PM ET at the United Center. It’s definitely an interesting way to get back into the swing of things for the Bruins after their long break.

First Period

Both teams were playing with great pace in the early going. Most notably was the Kuraly-Coyle-Bjork line creating havoc on the forecheck.

Charlie Coyle buried a nice goal off of a shot from Charlie McAvoy, but a challenge was called by Canucks head coach Travis Green to check for offsides. While the play looked to be offsides during the review process at first, it was ruled a good goal and the Canucks were assessed a delay of game penalty for losing the challenge. McAvoy’s helper on the goal was his 18th, Anders Bjork’s was his eighth. It was 1-0 Bruins with 5:36 remaining.

Despite only getting on the board once, the Bruins held a healthy 13-6 advantage in shots going into the first intermission. I don’t think the Canucks didn’t play bad despite not generating a lot of chances.

Score: 1-0 Boston

Second Period

The Canucks were assessed two penalties in quick succession – delay of game on Troy Stecher and tripping on Alexander Edler. As a result, the Bruins were given a brief 5-on-3 with 13:14 remaining. Solid play from Jacob Markstrom helped lead to a huge penalty kill for the Canucks, and the score remained 1-0.

David Pastrnak had six of the first 20 Bruins shots, and Markstrom stopped them all. He also stopped a shorthanded breakaway chance from Chris Wagner, while Wagner was working to kill of Bjork’s hooking penalty. The Bruins went on to kill the penalty successfully. Tuukka Rask made a nice save of his own on Canucks captain, Bo Horvat.

Matt Grzelcyk got the sequence going from behind the Bruins net for Brad Marchand’s goal. Patrice Bergeron (21) and Charlie McAvoy (19) ended up with the helpers though. A great sequence from the start increased the lead to two with 4:35 remaining.

Shortly after the goal, Wagner went off for two minutes for hooking. Coyle saw a great shorthanded chance come his way, much like Wagner earlier in the game, but was denied by Markstrom. The Canucks failed to convert and the period eventually ended without any more goal scoring. Shots in the period were 17-9 in favor of the Bruins, bringing the game total to 30-15.

Score: 2-0 Boston

Third Period

Markstrom continued to make big saves for the Canucks, robbing Jake DeBrusk on a give-and-go in the slot. The game could have been much more lopsided if he wasn’t in net. Despite trailing, in the game, Markstrom was fantastic.

Torey Krug went off for slashing with 7:22 remaining, giving the Canucks a huge opportunity to cut their deficit to one. The trend of solid shorthanded scoring chances continued, this time with Sean Kuraly toe dragging and his way to a chance that was stopped by Markstrom. In doing so, he forced a slashing penalty on Quinn Hughes, making it 4-on-4. David Krejci made it hurt on a nice play with Kuraly. Brandon Carlo had the secondary assist, his 13th of the season, while Kuraly’s was his 14th.

Jay Beagle collided with Rask and McAvoy didn’t like it, so they had a tussle. Beagle received a two-minute minor for goaltender interference and ten-minute game misconduct as a result. Tyler Myers then took a delay of game penalty and created a 5-on-3. Karson Kuhlman buried one on the man advantage with 1:50 to go, marking his first goal of the season. Coyle (19) and Grzelcyk (13) had the helpers.

Rask held on for the shutout in this one, making 25 saves for his third of the season. The final shots were 42-25 in favor of the Bruins, 12-10 in the period. The win marked four straight wins dating back to Jan. 21 against the Vegas Golden Knights. Next up are the Chicago Blackhawks tomorrow night at the United Center at 8:00 PM ET. The Bruins are 32-10-12.

Final Score: 4-0 Boston

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 164 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!!

Top 3 Bruins Trade Deadline Targets

boston-bruins-don-sweeney-draft-062516

( Photo Credit: NBC Sports Boston )

By: Yanni Latzanakis  |  Follow Me On Twitter @yanlatz

The NHL trade deadline is quickly approaching and with it another push to the Stanley Cup Playoffs (seriously? it feels like the B’s were in the Finals a week ago). The Bruins along with every NHL team in the playoff race are laying out potential targets for the Monday, February 24th trade deadline. The Bruins under Don Sweeney have rarely made a humongous splash at the deadline in the past but here’s to hoping that changes this year.

The Bruins are often reluctant to give up top prospects and first and second-round picks for deadline trades. In 2018, the Bruins made arguably their biggest deadline move bringing in 33-year-old Rick Nash in exchange for a 2018 first-round pick, 2019 seventh-round pick, Ryan Spooner, Matt Beleskey, and prospect Ryan Lindgren who was a second-round pick of the Bruins. This was a pretty hefty return for a veteran forward at the tail end of his career and the Bruins went on to lose in five games to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Last season, the Bruins traded for Weymouth, MA native Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson as deadline deals and they both had big impacts on the Bruins run to the Stanley Cup Finals. However, the Bruins still fell short.

In my opinion, the Bruins go for it now and give up the picks and prospects to get another crack at the Stanley Cup as the core of Bergeron, Chara, Marchand, Krejci, and Rask is aging and time could be running out for the Bruins to make another run. Here are my top 3 trade targets for the Bruins at the 2020 NHL Trade Deadline:

1. Chris Kreider

Chris Kreider has been linked to the Bruins for a couple of years now but it seems as though there is much more traction on this rumor this year as opposed to in the past. It has been reported that the Bruins have had Kreider on their radar for the deadline virtually all season and I think he would make a great winger for David Krejci who is still desperately awaiting a locked up wing spot along with Jake DeBrusk.

Kreider would feel right at home as the Boxford, MA native would be yet another New England kid to suit up in the Black ‘N Gold. Kreider is having a solid season for the New York Rangers playing in 48 games and racking up 32 points through his 17 goals and 15 assists. However, It would be a little bit of a hefty asking price from the Rangers as they are in a full rebuild mode and would likely want a top tier prospect along with a first-round draft pick.

2. Kyle Palmieri

Another player who has been rumored to be on the Bruins radar is Devils forward Kyle Palmieri. The 28-year-old seasoned vet could help the Bruins on the right side of David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk as he is a right-shot. Palmieri has appeared in 46 games with New Jersey and has scored 17 goals and dished out 16 assists for 33 points. He is a rugged player who can put the puck in the net but also a tough player who is not afraid to scrap and could be a perfect fit in the Bruins lineup.

Palmieri has another year after this on his deal worth a $4.65 million cap hit which could be beneficial to the Bruins if he fits in the Bruins lineup. The Bruins got a similar situation with Charlie Coyle coming over to the Bruins last season with a year left on his deal so he was not a traditional “deadline rental” player. Obviously, for this deal to happen, the Bruins would need to move a roster player to create cap room for the addition of Palmieri.

3. Andreas Athanasiou

This one might come as a surprise to many as he isn’t a top tier NHL player right now but he is a highly thought of young forward across the NHL. The 25-year-old Greek-Canadian from Woodbridge, Ontario has incredible speed and great hands (maybe he can help the Bruins in the shootout down the stretch?). He currently has five goals and 14 assists for 19 points this season in 36 games but is currently battling an injury and sitting out a few games this weekend for Detroit. This would be a cheaper deal for the Bruins than Kreider and they would get a younger, faster, and extremely talented winger. Although there is some risk with his recent injury and the fact that he hasn’t completely broken out just yet.

Other Notable Trade Targets:

Ottawa Senators F Jean-Gabriel Pageau

Los Angeles Kings F Tyler Toffoli

San Jose Sharks D Brenden Dillon

 

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 162 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!!

Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston vs. Vegas: 1/21/20

Vegas Golden Knights right wing Alex Tuch (89) and Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug (47) chase after a loose puck during the second period at TD Garden.

Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

 

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Home: Boston Bruins

Away: Vegas Golden Knights

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak

DeBrusk – Coyle – Bjork

Heinen – Krejci – Kuhlman

Blidh – Kuraly – Wagner

Defense

Chara – McAvoy

Krug – Carlo

Grzelcyk – Lauzon

Goalies

Halak

Vladar

Vegas’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchessault – Stephenson – Smith

Pacioretty – Stastny – Stone

Carrier – Eakin – Tuch

Nosek – Roy – Reaves

Defense

McNabb – Schmidt

Holden – Theodore

Hague – Engelland

Goalies

Fleury

Subban

David Krejci returned to the lineup after missing the last three games with an upper-body injury, centering Danton Heinen and Karson Kuhlman. Anton Blidh slotted into the lineup for the first time this season, as he has been sidelined since September due to shoulder surgery.

Jeremy Lauzon jumped right into the lineup after being called up earlier today. He suited up once for the Bruins earlier in the season on New Year’s Eve against the New Jersey Devils. The Vegas Golden Knights, now led by head coach Peter DeBoer, stood in the way of the Bruins.

First Period

The Bruins came out of the gate with plenty of intensity, but Mark Stone put the Golden Knights on the board first just a minute and 24 seconds in, on their first shot of the game. Nicolas Hague took the first penalty of the game for the Golden Knights, 15 seconds later for interference. Luckily for them, they killed the penalty and held onto their lead.

Later in the period, Stone found his way to the box for tripping with 12:45 to go in the period. The Bruins couldn’t beat Marc-Andre Fleury despite playing with such intensity and generating some high-quality chances. Through the first ten minutes, they held a 9-3 advantage in shots.

Lauzon loves playing against the Golden Knights. Last season, he scored his first career goal against them. This time around, he sent a shot through traffic and past Fleury to tie the game 8:20 remaining in the period. His first of the season was assisted by David Krejci (22) and Karson Kuhlman (3).

Zdeno Chara sat for two minutes for tripping with 4:05 remaining. A solid penalty kill from the Bruins kept the game tied. Jake DeBrusk nearly broke the tie off of a great pass from Krejci not too long after the penalty expired, but was stopped by Fleury. The final shots through an entertaining first 20 minutes were 14-8 in favor of the Bruins.

Score: 1-1

Second Period

An early Bruins power play came when William Carrier went off for interference just a minute and 42 seconds in. The Golden Knights killed the penalty, but were caught with too many men on the ice just 25 seconds after Carrier’s penalty expired. Despite taking four penalties very early on, they managed to kill them off successfully.

Brandon Carlo took the second Bruins penalty of the game for high sticking with 10:45 remaining. Hague made it hurt on a booming one-timer from the point for his first career NHL goal. With 9:01 remaining, the Golden Knights regained the lead. Hague’s goal magnified how the struggles on the power play that the Bruins were experiencing can really sting.

Charlie McAvoy went pretty hard into the boards head first following contact with Chandler Stephenson. As a result, Stephenson sat for two minutes for boarding and McAvoy surprisingly remained on the bench, but in some pain, understandably.

Power play chances came and went, but the Bruins couldn’t convert on their fifth power play. They went into the third period 0-for-5 on the man advantage for the game with just three shots. Through 40 minutes, the total shots 23-16 overall and 9-8 in the period, both in favor of the Bruins. Converting on their opportunities was the problem, and they needed to fix it fast if they want a chance to win.

Score: 2-1 Vegas

Third Period

DeBrusk saw some good opportunities come his way throughout the game and was rewarded for his efforts in the third. His 15th goal of the season came in the form of a sweet snipe to tie the game. Charlie Coyle’s 18th assist helped set it up, as did Jaroslav Halak’s second assist of the season with 15:34 remaining.

Matt Grzelcyk made his way down the tunnel after a collision with Cody Eakin. Not good, although he eventually returned to the bench. Krejci’s goal was good though. A great effort by Kuhlman began to establish offensive zone time and with some help from Carlo, Heinen, and the hand-eye coordination of Krejci, the Bruins took the lead. The goal marked Krejci’s 12th of the season, plus Carlo and Heinen’s 12th and 14th assists respectively. The Bruins led for the first time all night.

Fleury was pulled for an extra attacker and Stone made an incredible effort to thwart Krejci’s bid for an empty netter, but it wasn’t enough for Vegas to tie it up. The Bruins held the advantage in shots at 14-13 in the final frame, bringing the grand total to 37-29 in their favor. They really had to grind to earn two points ahead of the long break that awaits. Halak made 27 saves in the win. Next up are the Winnipeg Jets on Jan. 31 at MTS Centre at 8:00 PM ET. The Bruins are 29-10-12.

Final Score: 3-2 Boston

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 162 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!!

Are The Bruins Showcasing A Defenseman?

lauzon

( Photo Credit: Paul Rutherford )

By: Michael DiGiorgio  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BostonDiGiorgio

Another day, another Bruins trade rumor.  Elliotte Friedman is a seasoned hockey reporter for Canada’s Sportsnet and NHL insider.  He is known to have credible sources and news when it comes to NHL rumors.  Friedman is a weekly guest on the “Oilers NOW with Bob Stauffer” podcast, where he piqued Bruins fans’ interests with the latest story.  “Tyler Toffoli is a name that’s been out there a while.  Boston has expressed interest.  The price for Toffoli is a second-rounder and a prospect.”

It’s no secret the Bruins have been searching for years for their top-six forward to pair with David Krejci.  They have plenty of in-house options, but most haven’t been consistent enough for the opportunity.  Some have even had the misfortunate of untimely injuries (Anders Bjork and Karson Kuhlman).  When nothing in the system works, teams look for outside help.  Don Sweeney, current Bruins General Manager, has reportedly been on the phone since day one of the 2019 season.  He recently sent David Backes and Brett Ritchie down to the American Hockey Leauge for cap relief, which will help in a potential future trade.

The Bruins also recently called up Jeremy Lauzon from Providence.  The current Bruins defensemen are not hurt, so it’s reasonable to think Lauzon’s call up is to showcase his skills for a trade.  If Tyler Toffoli genuinely nets a second-round pick and a prospect, Lauzon could fit the mold.

Jeremy Lauzon, a left-handed shot defenseman, was the Bruins’ 52nd overall draft choice in 2015.  He was coming off of a career year as captain of the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with 50 points and a plus-40 in 46 games.  He was drafted for his size (6’1, 205 pounds), his physical presence, and offensive ability.  In his four years in the QMJHL, he finished with a plus-81 rating and 130 points in 200 career games.  He made his AHL pro debut in the 2017-18 Providence season.

In Providence, Lauzon had a tough time finding the same scoring touch he had in the QMJHL but was able to continue his defensive tenacity.  Through the first 15 games in his rookie season, he was among the top defenseman in plus/minus with a plus-8 rating.  Unfortunately, he sustained a concussion and missed the majority of that season.  He returned at the end of January 2018 and made a lasting impression on the Providence Bruins fans and writers.

He would only finish the year with seven points but looked to regain some of his confidence, which is immense for a young defenseman.  A year later, he would receive the call up to the Bruins for 16 total games, one of which he will remember forever.

Lauzon has the makings of a solid NHL defenseman because he is useful in all three zones.  He has the scoring ability but has been untapped up to this point.  He’s nearly doubled his first two seasons point total this year in Providence and still has a plus-rating.  The Bruins may be showcasing him to the Los Angeles Kings to help with their depleted blue-line.  The Kings have been heading toward a massive roster rebuild for over a year.  They’ll need to unload some of their aging stars (Jonathan Quick and Dustin Brown) and expiring contracts (Tyler Toffoli) to jump-start the rebuild.  A second-round pick and Lauzon could be great a complimentary piece for the Kings’ future plans.

Tyler Toffoli is a 27-year old right-winger for the Los Angeles Kings.  He has been with the Kings organization since the 2010 draft, where he was selected 47th overall.  He made his NHL debut in 2012, where he scored five points in 10 regular-season games and six points in 12 playoff games.  He was even part of Los Angeles’s 2014 Stanley Cup-winning season.  Toffoli has surpassed the 30-goal total once and currently has 27 points on an abysmal Kings team.  Bruins fans may remember Toffoli for his heroic game-winning goal in overtime in the 2017 season.

Toffoli has the resume to play alongside Krejci for the remainder of the year, but will that be his only time in a Bruin uniform?  Tyler is an unrestricted free agent after this season.  Rentals are a significant trade risk because their future is uncertain.  Sweeney and the Bruins may show Toffoli the benefits of playing in Boston, but players’ mindsets are always unknown.  He has the pedigree and the fantastic shot release to be a long-time contributor for Boston.  At 6’0, 197 pounds, Toffoli has Stanley Cup experience and currently plays on the top line of the Kings with Anze Kopitar and Alex Iaffalo.

Backes and Ritchie’s demotions to the AHL also fit a trade mold because the Bruins are trying to clear cap space for a potential player.  The Bruins started off the year with thousands of dollars in cap space, but have since been able to move money around for a current-day $1.3M in cap space.  If the Bruins wait to trade for Toffoli until the February deadline, his in-season cap hit would be much lower than it was at the beginning of the season.

The second-round pick is probably the hardest ingredient to send.  Sweeney has been very mindful and frugal with his draft picks.  He has been on record saying he wants a first-round pick in the upcoming draft. He won’t part ways with a high draft selection unless it nets him an unbelievable long-term player. He would have to be quite confident to send a draft pick that Toffoli will help his team get over the hump to a Stanley Cup win or that Toffoli would sign long-term.

It’s a risky business, but in this day and age, NHL teams need to give the talent to receive the talent.  It just so happens, the Kings have plenty of it and require a new direction.  Toffoli would be a beneficial addition to the Bruins, who are searching for the last few puzzle pieces for their seventh Stanley Cup.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 162 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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

Boston Bruins Week In Review Jan 6th-12th

Boston Bruins v New York Islanders

(Photo Credit:Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

By: Lucas Pearson  |  Follow Me On Twitter @LucasPearson_

There we go, THAT’S Bruins hockey. After a brutal stretch of hockey that saw the Bs go 4-5-6, the Black and Gold are back to their winning ways. Here’s everything you missed from this week’s action.

Jan 7 Boston Bruins @ Nashville Predators

The Bruins were able to acquire some help for their trip to Nashville to face the Predators. No, it was not Tyler Toffoli or Chris Kreider, but it was actually a the Bruins’ moms. This was the Predator’s first game after parting ways with Peter Laviolette, so the Preds were certainly going to bring their A-game with new coach (and former Devils’ coach) John Hynes. 

The first period started off with a bang as the NHL’s leading goal scorer David Pastrnak came down the wing and blew a shot past Pekka Rinne just 1:36 into the game to give the Bruins the lead. The Bs continued their strong play throughout the period, testing Rinne for the full 20 minutes. A good period from top to bottom for the Bruins, where they were able to outshoot the Preds 13-8.

(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Just a minute into the second period it seemed the Predators scored after a bizarre play. Charlie McAvoy was knocked into the net, taking it off its pegs, while Nick Bonino proceeded to put the puck in the net. After it was originally called a good goal (because the puck would’ve gone in regardless of the net being off) it was then called back due to the Pred’s Rocco Grimaldi causing McAvoy to knock off the net. Confusing, I know. At the 11:39 mark, Danton Heinen finished off a pretty passing play from Charlie Coyle and Matt Grzelyck with a rip from the slot, making it 2-0 Bruins. Nashville finally got their goal back after Filip Forsberg converted on a five on three PP for the Preds. Late in the period, Boston was able to regain their two-goal lead after Patrice Bergeron finished a nice feed from Jake Debrusk on the powerplay.

The Bs nearly added yet another goal seconds into the third, but Pekka Rinne shut the door on the top line. It wasn’t long after that chance when the Bruins did tack on yet another goal when a Par Lindholm shot went in off of Chris Wagner in front. You could tell it just wasn’t Nashville’s night after Tuukka Rask STONED Viktor Arvidsson midway through the third. Nashville found a little life late after pulling within two on the powerplay, but it was all for not after a David Krejci empty netter and a late Charlie Coyle goal.

Jan 9 Winnipeg Jets @ Boston Bruins

The moms made the trip back to Boston with the team and it paid dividends in a back-and-forth game against the Jets. We aren’t going to mention the 2015 draft, at all, but the 17th overall pick Kyle Connor put Winnipeg on the board first after dipsy-doodling past Torey Krug and roofing one on Jaroslav Halak. A good shift by the second line and a semi-break for Chris Wagner both amounted to nothing, so the Bs remained without a goal. That was until the duo of Sean Kuraly and Joakim Nordstrom connected with David Pastrnak in the slot to tie the game. After a great play from David Backes, Danton Heinen and Charlie Coyle wouldn’t go, the period closed, knotted at one. 

Exactly six minutes into the second, the Jets were able to retake the lead on the powerplay after Andrew Copp collected his 7th goal of the season. That lead didn’t hold for much longer as who but the league’s leading goal scorer, David Pastrnak, sent an absolute rocket past Laurent Brossoit on the powerplay, 2-2. Chris Wagner was inches away from giving the B’s their first lead of the game as he rattled one off the post, but the game remained tied. That 2-2 tie wouldn’t last the period as Jake Debrusk came in on a breakaway and buried one past Laurent Brossoit with 1:11 left. What should’ve been an easy final minute to kill off for the Bs, ended up being the opportunity for the Jets to tie it up,  when Neil Pionk scored on the powerplay with just seconds left on the clock

NHL: Boston Bruins vs Winnipeg Jets

(Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)

After about eight minutes of stalemate, the Jets were able to regain their lead after Mark Schiefele banked a shot in off of Jaroslav Halak. When Jake Debrusk took advantage of a poor change from the Jets by driving to the net, David Krejci collected the rebound and fed Pasta in front of the net, queuing the hats to start flying down from the rafters. If you thought you had time to run to the bathroom before the lamp was lit once again, you missed the Bs take the lead. Just 30 seconds after the tying goal, Krejci won a faceoff clean to Matt Grzelyck, who fed McAvoy for a one-timer that Jake Debrusk tipped in, and topped it off with a beautiful celly. That proved to be the nail in the coffin for the Jets, as they were not able to muster up anything to come back.

Jan 11 Boston Bruins @ New York Islanders

The mom-less Bruins headed to New York for their next game with a couple of players hitting milestones along the way (Torey Krug and Sean Kuraly playing their 500th and 200th games respectively). It was all Islanders early in this game, with Tuukka Rask forced to make save after save until the Isles were able to breakthrough. Scott Mayfield’s shot from the point snuck past Rask, giving New York the lead. Rask continued to battle after a bad period from the Bs and made 13 saves in the first. 

A couple big saves by Rask opened the second period until the Bruins were able to knot the game up at one.  A clean breakout led to Charlie McAvoy joining the rush, and the ensuing traffic in front of the net lead to Jake Debrusk’s equalizer. The rest of the period showcased the two goaltenders battling it out, and the game continued into the third, tied 1-1. 

That was until a seeing eye shot from John Moore found its way through Semyon Varlamov to give the Bruins their first lead of the night. That, unfortunately, didn’t silence Barclays Center for too long after Josh Bailey fed Matthew Barzal in front, who tucked it past Rask to tie the game. Some big saves from both Varlamov (namely two on David Krejci) and Rask sent the game into OT.

The Bruins were gifted a powerplay early into OT after Brock Nelson tripped up Brad Marchand, and that ended up being the demise for the Isles. “Mr. Perfect” Patrice Bergeron was able to collect a pass from Torey Krug in the slot, looked off the defense and wrist a shot past Varlamov to give the Bs the victory and complete the 3-0 week.

Roster/Injury News

  • Zdeno Chara missed the Bruins’ game in Winnipeg due to a jaw injury but played their next game in New York with no problem.
  • Joakim Nordstrom missed the game against the Predators due to an illness but has played in every game since.
  • Matt Grzelcyk left the game against the Islanders early and never returned. He played the next game in Philly.

Boston Bruins v New York Islanders

(Photo Credit:Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

My Three Stars of the Week 

A lot of contenders for this week’s honors. A few guys who just missed the cut were Danton Heinen (one goal, two assists, +3 rating), Charlie Coyle (one goal, two assists, +4 rating) and a trio of defensemen (Charlie McAvoy, Torey Krug, and Matt Grzelyck) who all picked up three assists in the week.

  1. Jake Debrusk

The second line has regained life and so has Debrusk. The Edmonton native had a point in every game and ended with a statline of three goals, two assists, and a +3 rating. 

  1. David Pastrnak

The Bs’ main dish of choice this week was Pasta, who put up four goals in three games. His hockey IQ was on full display and he showed why he’s leading the league in goals.

  1. Tuukka Rask

Take that Rask haters. Tuukka was incredible this week, going 2-0 with a .944 save percentage and a sub 2.00 goals allowed average. He single handedly kept the Bruins in both games and without him, there was not a chance the Bruins go 3-0.

Play of the Week – David Pastrnak Goal

Gotta be this shot by Pastrnak. The video would be a whole lot better with sound.

Final Notes

  • Anders Bjork has made the 2nd line FAR more dynamic. While he only had one point, it was clear his playmaking ability gelled very well with Jake Debrusk and David Krejci. I think we’ll see a big uptick in points from the Notre Dame product
  • Joakim Nordstrom took a few shifts next to Krejci and Debrusk despite Bjork’s solid play. I’d hope that doesn’t continue to happen. 
  • Tuukka Rask is awesome.
  • Danton Heinen is getting his confidence back. He looked good this week, making skill and power moves while tacking on three points in the process. 
  • This big week proved that the Bruins can take a little more time to find the winger they need. I still think they need some help in the middle-six, but Bjork, Heinen and Debrusk’s play this week proved the Bruins still have a lot to work with on their roster.
  • Oh, and Pekka Rinne has more goals than Charlie McAvoy, that is all.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 162 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!!

Game Recap | Boston Bruins Defeat Winnipeg Jets

Image result for david pastrnak winnipeg jets"(Photo Credits: NHL.com)

By: Liz Rizzo | Follow me on Twitter @pastagrl88

It was the perfect ending to the Boston Bruins Moms Trip and suffice to say, the ladies brought some much-needed luck as the boys in Black and Gold rallied from behind, beating the Winnipeg Jets 5-4.

GAME RECAP

With the first period underway, both teams had decent shifts with Boston outshooting Winnipeg early in the period. As the Bruins continued to push the puck towards the Jets net, it would be the other team who would strike first. Winnipeg’s Kyle Connor would net his 22nd goal of the season as he scored off a backhand at 7:35. Boston would be playing from behind and had multiple chances with a potential goal on a 2-on-1 on goaltender Laurent Brossoit. Zdeno Chara would be out for the game, reportedly due to issue with his jaw: he did not speak to the media after this morning’s skate.

Image result for boston bruins vs winnipeg jets"(Photo Credits: Charles Krupa/AP)

Boston would fire back and with minutes left in the first period, it would be number 33 for David Pastrnak as he scored, tying the game at one-a-piece. The 23-year-old right-winger extends his game-point streak to 12 games.

SCORE: BOS- 1, WPG- 1

SHOTS ON GOAL: BOS-12, WPG-6

Boston would draw a  penalty in the first few minutes of the second period, however, they were unable to muster a goal down Winnipeg’s end. The Jets would go on the power-play on a “too many men on ice” call. At :23 seconds left to the man advantage, the Jets would score one past Jaroslav Halak, making it 2-1. Center Andrew Copp would notch his seventh goal of the season.

The Jets were down a man as the Bruins drew a tripping penalty that quickly led to a goal by (you guessed it) David Pastrnak.  The Czech-native blasted a one-timer rocket past Brossoit. In a back and forth effort, both teams have a good amount of zone time on either end of the ice. At 1:11 left in the period, Jake DeBrusk took full advantage of a Jets line-change and scored, putting the Bruins ahead for the first time. Winnipeg would get one last opportunity to even the score as they went on a power-play and unfortunately for Boston, their lead would be short-lived. Jets’ defenseman Neal Pionk scored his 4th goal of the season.

Image result for boston bruins vs winnipeg jets"(Photo Credits: Sports Night)

SCORE: BOS- 3, WPG- 3

SHOTS ON GOAL: BOS-24, WPG-14

The third period saw the Bruins go on the power-play but they were unable to score despite some really good missed chances. After some miscues down Boston’s end, Winnipeg’s center Mark Scheifele would pot his 22nd of the season, making the score 4-3.

Jake DeBrusk took the puck to the net on a self pass that would bounce off Brossoit, creating a rebound opportunity that saw David Krejci setting up a play, allowing Pastrnak to notch his seventh career hat-trick in regular season, tying the game 4-4. Seconds later DeBrusk would score his 13th and second of the night as he tipped the game-winning puck in Winnipeg’s goal.

Boston would draw a penalty, however, they were unable to score. The Bruins continued to play heavily down the Jets zone, keeping the momentum on their side. Winnipeg had chances as the clock ticked down to the final minutes of the game and in a nail-biter, Boston held on to win in regulation 5-4.

The Bruins are now 26-8-11 while the Jets are 24-17-4, with Boston leading the Atlantic Division.

SCORE: BOS- 5, WPG 4

TOTAL SHOTS ON GOAL: BOS-36, WPG-21

NEXT GAME FOR BOSTON: Saturday, January 11th vs New York Islanders, Barclays Center with puck drop at 7:00pm.

WHERE TO WATCH: NHLN, MSG+, NESN

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 161 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!!