Bruins Place Torey Krug on IR, Recall Paul Carey from Providence

krug

( Photo Credit: USA Today Sports )

By: Yanni Latzanakis  |  Follow Me On Twitter @yanlatz

The Boston Bruins announced that the team has placed defenseman Torey Krug on injured reserve and has recalled forward Paul Carey from the Providence Bruins. The news comes after the Bruins defeated the Maple Leafs in Toronto 4-2 on Friday night and ahead of the club’s big tilt against the Washington Capitals at TD Garden tonight.

Torey Krug left the game before the start of overtime in the Bruins 3-2 shootout loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on November 10th. Krug has missed the last two games against the Florida Panthers and the Toronto Maple Leafs and will be out tonight against the Capitals. In 17 games this season, Krug has two goals and 11 assists and a minus-four rating with all of his assists coming on the potent Bruins power-play. Krug adds to the list of banged-up Bruins including Brett Ritchie, David Backes, Jake DeBrusk, and Karson Kuhlman.

Paul Carey leads the Providence Bruins in scoring with seven goals and six assists for 13 points in 17 games. The 31-year-old forward is a Weymouth, MA native and has played 99 career NHL games notching eight goals and eight assists for 16 points.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 153 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.

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Providence Bruins Post-Game Recap Vs. Bridgeport 11/11/19

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By Carrie Young | Follow me on Twitter @carrieyoung512

The Providence Bruins faced off against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers for the third time this season on Monday afternoon, with Providence leading the season series two games to none. The Bruins came into the game ranked second in the Atlantic Division with a record of 8-5-0-2. Providence was looking to bounce back from a 2-1 loss to Hartford on Sunday but would have to play without defenseman Urho Vaakanainen, as he was called up to Boston this morning due to an injury to Torey Krug. Bridgeport entered Monday’s game on a two-game losing streak and ranked last in the division.

Starting Lineups

Providence:

Hughes – Frederic – Steen

Zboril – Didier

Lagace

Bridgeport:

Bourque – McDonald – Kubiak

Burroughs – Wotherspoon

Gibson

Game Recap

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First Period

The Bruins started slowly, unable to establish an attacking rhythm or challenge Sound Tigers goalie Christopher Gibson.

Bridgeport’s Arnaud Durandeau scored the first goal of the game at 6:31, assisted by Mason Jobst and Sebastien Aho. There wasn’t much that Max Lagace could do about the well-played rush, letting in just his second goal in three games.

Despite one power play for each team, the rest of the period was scoreless. Bridgeport outshot Providence 11-8.

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Second Period

The Bruins began the second period with a few seconds of carryover power play time. They were given their second man-advantage of the game 2:05 in as Sound Tigers Hickey was called for elbowing but were unable to convert. Bridgeport was whistled for yet another penalty just one second after they killed off the previous one. This time, the power play was cut short, with Robert Lantosi heading off for a trip 46 seconds in. Yet another penalty was called seconds before Kieffer Bellows exited the box, and Bridgeport headed to a 5-on-3 advantage. Providence did a good job killing the penalties off and had a shorthanded scoring chance that they weren’t quite able to convert.

Providence was nabbed for their third offensive-zone penalty of the game at 10:19 of the second. The penalty kill stayed perfect, with Lagace looking solid in net.

Simon Holmstrom scored with 4:57 remaining to put Bridgeport up 2-0. Rookie Oliver Wahlstrom provided the primary assist, his second point in two games against Providence.

Frederic was sent to the box for slashing five seconds after the center-ice face-off following Holmstrom’s goal. The Providence penalty kill remained strong, and after failing to convert on a late power play, the Bruins went to the second intermission down by two.

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Third Period

The Bruins seemed to have a jump in their step at the beginning of the third period. After largely failing to generate offense in the first 40 minutes, Providence was able to spend more time in the Sound Tigers’ zone, leading to their fifth power play of the game when Trent Frederic was tripped up on a rush to the net. They were unable to get one past Gibson.

Both goalies were excellent in the third. Lagace made some challenging saves from in close, and Gibson robbed Frederic twice on a breakaway. After mustering just 15 shots through the first two periods, Providence peppered Gibson with 17 shots in the third.

Providence had one more chance on the power play with just under 8 minutes remaining in the game as Steen was hauled down while trying to exit the Bruins zone. It proved to be short-lived, with Oskar Steen committing a penalty of his own 44 seconds later. Despite pulling Lagace for an extra attacker with over 4 minutes left, the Bruins couldn’t convert and were shut out. It was the first time they were unable to score so far this season.

The Bruins are now 8-6-0-2. Their next game is this Friday at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center against the Hartford Wolf Pack

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 153 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 Recall Urho Vaakanainen on Emergency Basis

urho

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

By: Yanni Latzanakis  |  Follow Me On Twitter @yanlatz

The Boston Bruins announced that the team has recalled defenseman Urho Vaakanainen from Providence on an emergency basis and joined the team for practice today, November 11, at practice at Warrior Ice Arena following a 3-2 shootout loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday Night.

Urho Vaakanainen has played in 15 games for the Bruins AHL affiliate Providence Bruins this season tallying two assists and four penalty minutes. The 20-year old defenseman has played in two NHL games during the 2018-2019 season but has yet to record a point in the NHL. His last NHL game was October 23, 2018 in Ottawa when Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki elbowed Vaakanainen and injured the young defenseman with a concussion. The 6’1″ defenseman from Joensuu, Finland was drafted in the first round, 18th overall in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft by the Bruins.

This call-up by the Bruins is most likely due to the Bruins losing Torey Krug in Sunday nights game against the Flyers. After the game, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said that Krug left the game prior to the start of overtime with an upper-body injury. If Krug is unable to go on Tuesday when the Bruins host the Florida Panthers, it is likely that Vaakanainen will draw into the lineup.

Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller was also skating Monday morning at Warrior Ice Arena wearing a normal black practice jersey which is a good sign for the 31-year-old defenseman who has played just three NHL games since February.

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Postgame Recap, November 5th | Montreal Defeats Boston 5-4

Image result for boston bruins vs montreal canadiens(Photo Credits: SF Gate)

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

Old rivalries die hard and tonight things got heated at the Bell Centre as Boston played the second of their back-to-back. The Bruins were looking to carry over their momentum from the previous win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, however lady luck would not be on their side as they played North of the border.

Game Recap

Montreal opened the first period up as Victor Mete got the Habs on board with a wrist shot at 1:13. However, with five minutes left in the first,  the Bruins would tie things up as David Pastrnak slapped his 15th goal of the season past Carey Price.  As defensive skills were breaking down  Boston’s end, Tomas Tatar would net a wrist shot in the Bruins goal, making the score 2-1. Boston would try to continue to find their legs, but the Habs took advantage as Paul Byron cushioned the lead late in the first, making the score 3-1.

With the second period underway, the boys in Black and Gold would mount a comeback when Connor Clifton sent a wrister in the Habs net. Boston would later tie in the second as Anders Bjork netted one in after a pass from Charlie McAvoy. Unfortunately, seconds later Victor Mete would score his second of the night, putting Montreal back in the lead 4-3.

Things started to shift for the Bruins as they opened up in the third period. Sean Kuraly would tie the game 4-4  when he sent a wrist shot in the back of the Habs net. With momentum swinging back and forth, Boston looked to have taken the lead when Charlie Coyle jammed one in, however, the goal was reversed for being offside after a coach’s challenge.

With the score still tied at 4-4, Montreal would once again gain the lead when Ben Chiarot sent one sailing in Boston’s net. The Bruins made one final push, only to close the game with a final score of 5-4. Tonight’s loss marks their second regulation loss of the season as Montreal ended their six-game win streak.

Game Stats

The Bruins are still first in the Atlantic Division with an 11-2-2 record with Montreal improving to an 8-5 record, fifth in the Atlantic Division. David Pastrnak continues to sizzle as he extended his game streak to 13 games. Tuukka Rask made 26 saves while Montreal’s Carey Price made 21 saves. Boston had 25 shots on goal while Montreal had 31.

History In Montreal

Bruins Captian Zdeno Chara hit a historical milestone as he played his 1,500 game tonight,  becoming the 21st player and sixth defenseman in NHL history to play that many games. Chara made his NHL debut in 1997 when he suited up for the New York Islanders.

Image result for boston bruins vs montreal canadiens zdeno chara(Photo Credits: Harry How/Getty Images)

The 42-year-old  Slovakian-native is in good company; he joins Hall of Famers Ray Bourque, Chris Chelios, Scott Stevens, Larry Murphy, and Nicklas Lidstrom as the only defensemen to hit 1,500 games. Chara is one of the very few active players to hit that benchmark. He is also the third player not born in North America to reach that record (Jaromir Jagr and Nicklas Lidstrom being the other two).

“It’s very humbling. It’s something that I will cherish and remember for the rest of my life. Obviously very proud of it too…I have so many people that I should be thanking – obviously starting with my parents. They did such a great job of raising me and so much sacrifice for me to be able to play hockey.

“My family, my wife, my children – there are so many people. I’ve been very lucky. Very grateful that I’ve been able to be in the right place at the right time and get to know some very special people along the way.

“All of my teammates, coaches…they’ve been tremendously helpful, and I wouldn’t be playing the game without them. It’s a special, special night.”

Boston will have a few days off as they travel to face the Detroit Red Wings this Friday at the Little Ceasars Arena.

WHEN TO WATCH: Friday, November 8th with puck drop at 7:30 PM

WHERE TO WATCH: NESN, NHLN, FS-O

 

 

 

Bruins Early Season Play Still Sparks Trade Rumors

Image result for boston bruins david pastrnak jersey 4 goals(Photo Credit: LA Times)

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

“Hands Down”… the Boston Bruins have started the season playing some of the most successful and spirited hockey in all of the league (hence why the team’s 7-1-2 record with 16 points is towards the top of the standings early on).

Yet, according to the popular puck YouTube blogger Hands Down Hockey, the strong start hasn’t quieted the sometimes deafening Bruins Trade Rumors about (take a guess):

  • ADDING A TOP SIX FORWARD / SECOND LINE WINGER
  • MOVING A BOTTOM PAIRING DEFENSEMAN
  • FIGURING OUT WHAT TO DO WITH PENDING UFA TOREY KRUG

 

To say this speculation is newsurprising or even unfounded would make any of us who follow the team consistently a bit dumbfounded. All of the above bullet points are a consistent topic of conversation within B’s Nation. But, with the recent injury to David Krejci combined with a complete lack of production from anyone not named David Pastrnak, you can see why GM Don Sweeney is not wasting any times “working the phones” as the video blog suggests.

Heck, we all know the likelihood of a trade happening before the deadline in 2020 is akin to Sweeney purchasing Michalengelo’s David (while we’re on the subject of “name dropping”). It’s a longshot. But, with potential other names like Taylor Hall and Alex Tuch and Jason Zucker being bandied about, it would be remiss of Sweeney not to put a tentative plan in place.

He’s already going to have some difficult decisions when Kevan Miller and John (not Josh as the blog mispronounces) Moore return from injuries to aid the back end — and that’s not even factoring in what will happen with Torey Krug, especially if the B’s hot start and consistent play fades by February. Boston Hockey Now’s Jimmy Murphy breaks down the likelihood of this happening:

What is actually happening re: Boston hockey right now? Nothing to complain about, fret about or worry about, despite the lack of secondary scoring and at times suspect D-zone coverage. Because point production, great goaltending and entertaining wins offset a lot of concerns in this game, not to mention speculation. But, that’s what being a Bruins fan (and blogger) is all about! It can be fun to play the “what if” game in between the real games. And it’s never really too early to do so, as Hacks with Haggs enjoys.

Now, you don’t have to agree with any of the above clips, tweets & posts — or even deem them worth of your time and attention. But, if they’re catching the attention of the B’s top brass and could, be it now or later this season, put this team over the top with a real chance at making another Cup run, then why not pay attention.

This truly is the best time of year for sports fans, and you can Bet(online.ag) on it! Isn’t it the SPORTS EQUINOX anyhow?

 

The Culture Of The Boston Bruins

bergeron_marchand_carlo_pastrnak_011919

(Photo Credit: USA TODAY Sports Photo)

By Joe Chrzanowski  |  Follow Me on Twitter @jchrz19

Like every other sport, hockey is a game that requires skill and certain physical abilities in order to be successful. Hockey is also a sport that involves a lot of intangibles. Anyone who follows the game, whether you have ever laced them up or not, knows how highly leadership and perseverance are valued. There are whispers about guys being dealt because they “weren’t good in the room.” We all know the story of the 2013 Finals when Patrice Bergeron played through a veritable laundry list of injuries that included torn rib cartilage, a broken rib, a separated shoulder, and a punctured lung. Just a few months ago, Zdeno Chara broke his jaw in multiple places in Game Four of the Finals…and didn’t miss a single game.

Both of those players are revered around the league for their toughness and leadership abilities. Players that join the team from other organizations speak to the culture of the room. As John Moore so succinctly put it during an interview back in May, “For lack of a better way to put it there are no ****heads.” Bergeron and Chara’s acts of will no doubt inspire the other guys in the room to play through pain and for one another. The 2011 and 2019 teams were reputed to have two of the tightest-knit rooms in the NHL. As fascinating as it is to discuss those displays of pure willpower (and it is), I have been asking myself if perhaps these events inspire a more tangible benefit than a bunch of guys that get along? Does the culture in the B’s dressing room directly affect the product they are able to put on the ice?

Looking at the deals that Peter Chiarelli and Don Sweeney have negotiated over the last few years, I think the answer is yes. There appears to be a trend in Boston of players taking “less than fair market value” in order to stay with the team. Boston is a great city with good schools, medical facilities and lots to do, but let’s face it, NHL players making millions will be able to get that in most cities. Bruins players truly enjoy coming to work every day, and it’s reflected in the “fair deals” they sign with the team.

Chara Room

(Photo Credit: AP/Charles Krupa)

This trend first started before Don Sweeney was named GM, with the two de facto leaders in the room, Chara and Bergeron. In 2010, Chara was in the last year of the five- year, $37.5 million contract that marked his departure from Ottawa for Boston. He came to an agreement on a seven-year, $45.5 million extension in October of 2010 that would set the tone for the rest of the guys in the room for years to come. When comparing contracts signed in different years (and with different cap ceilings) the key is to look at the percentage of the cap the deal eats up. Chara’s contract accounted for 11.64% of the cap at the time.

Next up was Patrice Bergeron. In July of 2013, after the Bruins made their second trip to the Finals, Bergeron signed an eight-year extension at $6.875 million per season that would make him a Bruin for life. This contract would take up 10.69% of the cap that year. Nearly seven million dollars and more than ten percent of the cap sounds like a lot until you look at deals for similar players. The closest comparison that year to Bergeron was the Anaheim Ducks captain, Ryan Getzlaf. The season before Getzlaf had 11g/46a (Bergeron had 22g/42a), which was a down year for him. Despite that, in March of 2013, he inked an eight-year deal for $8.25 million a season that accounted for 12.83% of the Ducks total cap space. A little more than a two percent difference doesn’t sound like a lot until think about the other 21-22 players on the team that are going to want a few more percentage points on all of their deals (because that’s what the team leaders did).

Another veteran that signed a long-term extension in 2014 was center, David Krejci. While his six-year, $43.5 million contract was for a slightly higher AAV ($7.25m) then Bergeron’s, it didn’t take effect until 2015-16. In the interim, the cap went up, and as a result, Krejci’s deal was actually a slightly lower percentage to the cap than Bergeron’s (10.51%). So, now it’s the 2016 offseason, Sweeney is the GM, and the Bruins have three of their key (and most influential) veterans locked up on long-term deals at very reasonable money. Whether it was intended to do this or not, the effect of having those three Cup-winning leaders locked up was to create an artificial ceiling. Combine that with the personalities of those guys and the culture in the room and what happened next should not have been much of a surprise in hindsight.

Boston Bruins vs Winnipeg Jets

(Photo Credit: Christopher Evans/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

Brad Marchand was in the last year of his four-year, $4.5 million per deal and B’s Nation was worried. Marchand was coming off career highs of 61 pts and 37 goals. There was talk of an $8m contract, not being able to afford the controversial wing, and potentially trading him, rather than losing him for nothing to free agency. This went on all summer, and all through camp, until the last week of September. At that time Sweeney and Marchand announced an eight-year deal for $49 million (8.39% of the cap) that would likely keep Bad Brad in Boston for the remainder of his career. He has done nothing but make that deal look like a bargain since. His point totals the last three seasons are: 85 pts (39 goals), 85 pts (34 goals), 100 pts (36 goals). Many believe Marchand’s contract to be the best value in the league.

Fast forward to the following summer. The Bruins returned to the playoffs under Bruce Cassidy, who replaced Claude Julien with 27 games left in the season. They were eliminated in the first round, but optimism reigns. The team has a new coach and an exciting young wing in David Pastrnak who produced 70 points, including 34 goals. The only thing more captivating than Pasta’s scoring ability was his gap-toothed smile and Bruins fans adored him. There was one problem. Pastrnak had his breakout season in the last year of his ELC. To most fans, this meant that he would command a big salary that would put a strain on the salary cap. I guess we should have known better by this point? After several months of angst and speculation, in September of 2017 Pastrnak signed a six-year deal for $40 million ($6.66m per year, 8.89%). In the two seasons after, he has 73 regular-season goals and 161 points. Another deal that has some fans referring to the Bruins GM as “Sweenius” for his team-friendly extensions.

It seems like every offseason, there are contracts that need to be negotiated, and this year was no exception. Three young regulars: Danton Heinen, Charlie McAvoy, and Brandon Carlo were all coming off their ELC’s and needed new deals. After the long postseason run, and loss in the Finals, fans were cranky and needed something to complain about. The dialogue was that there was no way Sweeney could sign his three restricted free-agents with David Backes’ deal still on the books, limiting him to roughly $12 million to work with. It would turn out that all the gnashing of teeth and stress were for nothing. The solution would come in the form of three “bridge” deals. Heinen signed first, two years, $2.8m per season. McAvoy was next and he came in at $4.9m for three years. That left only Carlo, who ended up at $2.85m for two years. A Top-9 forward and two Top-4 defensemen for less than $11 million. Who would have thought it possible?

The thing that makes all of this even more delicious is that the Bruins main division rival du jour, the Toronto Maple Leafs, had their own high-profile RFA to sign. Leaf wunderkind Mitch Marner was coming off three 60+ point ELC seasons, culminating in last season’s 94 point effort. He ended up signing a six-year deal for more than $65 million ($10.89m per, 13.37% of the cap), which was significantly more than any of his RFA peers. I am not saying that Toronto has “bad” guys in their dressing room, but the leaders on that team have not taken “team-friendly” deals, and you can see the trickle-down effect with a lot of their contracts.

It started with John Tavares. He signed in July 2018 to the tune of $77 million (7 years, $11m AAV, 13.84% of the cap). Then restricted free agent William Nylander held out until December, missing the first two months of the regular season. On the last day of eligibility to play in the 2018-19 season, Nylander inked a deal with the Leafs worth $45 million (6 years, $6.96m AAV, 12.93% of the cap). After those two contracts, can you really blame Matthews and Marner for wanting their piece of the pie? Matthews signed his extension in February of 2019. It was a five-year deal worth almost $58.2 million ($11.63m AAV, 14.63% of the cap) that will make him an unrestricted free agent at the ripe old age of 28.

Carlo and Krug

(Photo Credit: Stuart Cahill/Media News Group/Boston Herald)

Obviously, you have to take into account that the league has changed over the last few years, and also the ages of the players involved. Even taking those factors into consideration, the difference between the paths the two teams have taken is striking. Toronto’s top four forwards account for more than $40 million, or roughly half the cap. Boston has its top four forwards signed for a total of less than $27 million. Each one of the Leafs forwards has a percent-to-cap number of about four-to-five percentage points higher than the comparables in Boston.

I realize that there are a lot of numbers involved in what I have been talking about and that the salary cap can be a very confusing topic of discussion. That said, if I had to boil it all down to a single overriding idea for the reader to take away from this article, it would be that the culture in the Bruins dressing room has had a very tangible and measurable effect. In addition to being good in the room, Bruins veterans have been willing to take less money to enable Bruins management to keep the core of the team together. It started about five or six years ago and continued into this past offseason. Next year Don Sweeney will have roughly $24 million in cap space, and he will have to make decisions on players like Krug, Coyle, DeBrusk, and Grzelcyk. It will be extremely interesting to see if the unique culture in the Bruins dressing room influences these players to be reasonable in their salary demands so the band can stay together. Only time will tell.

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!

 

Extremely Bold Prediction: Torey Krug Wins 2020 Norris Trophy

krug

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

By: Yanni Latzanakis  |  Follow Me On Twitter @yanlatz

Hear me out: Torey Krug is arguably the best offensive defenseman on the Bruins and as well as across the league. Krug is entering the last year of his contract before he is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July first, 2020. Here is why I think he will have his best season as a pro and will not only be in the top three votings for the Norris trophy, but he will win it.

Torey Krug was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Michigan State University in March of 2012. After playing most of the 2012-2013 season with the Providence Bruins, he was called up on an emergency basis and made his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut against the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals series. In game one of the series, the Bruins were down 2-1 in the third period and Torey Krug scored his first goal in the playoffs in his first playoff game becoming the first Boston Bruins defenseman to do so since Glenn Wesley in 1988. From that series, Krug scored four goals in five games and instantly became a fan favorite.

Krug has since become a staple on the Bruins blue-line and often been labeled as the Bruins quarterback on the powerplay. Krug has scored 39 or more points in each of his six seasons in a Black ‘N Gold uniform. Krug hit a career-high in points during the 2017-2018 season at 59 and this past season, Krug reached his second-best offensive season with 53 points.

Krug is only going to improve as he matures as a veteran. His point totals will continue to climb as he quarterbacks the deadly Bruins power-play that I think will be lethal again this season. His ability to find passing lanes, his vision, hockey IQ and his speed allows him to set up scoring plays and contribute to the Bruins offense. In January, he set up Pastrnak with an incredible pass from his own defensive zone that Pastrnak was able to corral and deke past the Flames netminder for one of the best scoring plays of the season.

Probably the biggest reason why I think he will win the Norris trophy this season is that he is set to become an unrestricted free agent in July. There is no doubt that whether Krug is going to re-sign with the Bruins or another NHL club, he will get paid. Some believe that Krug will be looking for a contract of seven or eight years at around 45 to 50 million dollars. Krug’s predicted contract is compared to some other top defensemen that got new contracts like Ryan Ellis of the Nashville Predators who signed an eight-year $50 million contract as well as Keith Yandle of the Florida Panthers who is signed at seven years, $44.4 million.

Players that are set to get contracts often have big seasons as they await to sign. I think Torey Krug will have a monster year for the Bruins and will have his best offensive season. Torey Krug is also healthy at the beginning of the year for the first time in a few seasons which will allow him to have a fast start out of the gate.

He does have some competition for the Norris Trophy, however. Last year’s winner Mark Giordano won the award after a huge year for the Calgary Flames with 17 goals and 57 assists for a whopping 74 points. Previous winners Victor Hedman, Brent Burns, Drew Doughty, and Erik Karlsson will also most likely have good years but I think Krug will get the recognition that he deserves this season and will win the Norris Trophy as the leagues best defenseman.

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!

 

Cratty: Bold Predictions For The 2019-2020 Bruins Season

(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

There’s a lot to be excited when it comes to the Bruins this year, and I have high expectations, as you’ll soon find out. Some new faces will join the fold, while Marcus Johansson and Noel Acciari went elsewhere within the division in unrestricted free agency. Luckily the Bruins are equipped internally within the organization and with new outside additions via free agency to soften the blow of losing Johansson and Acciari. I think it’s going to be a big year.

Jake DeBrusk scores 30 goals

He was close last year, but I think DeBrusk will hit 30 goals this season. Right on the dot. Potentially having a full year with David Krejci and Karson Kuhlman will increase his goal-scoring output.

If Kuhlman can seal the revolving door on Krejci’s right-wing shut, it will allow the line to establish their chemistry even further. Last year, they generated 7.00 GF/60 last season. Imagine what they could do in a full season versus the limited amount of time we saw them together last season? He hit 27 last season in just 68 games, mark DeBrusk down for the 30 this year.

Charlie Coyle hits the 20-goal mark

While we’re on the topic of goals, I think Charlie Coyle has a big year on the third line and eclipses the 20-goal mark. He has hit 21 and 18 goals respectively in a single season in the past, but in the past two years, he has scored 11 and 12 goals. This will be the second time he hits 20.

He established some serious chemistry with Danton Heinen last season and even looked good with him when the Bruins played the Flyers just last Thursday. Last season, after getting his feet wet for a few games, Coyle was a tank from after the trade deadline into the playoffs.

Add Anders Bjork to that line and you add a young, hungry player with really solid playmaking upside on a line that’s already set to be good. Whether Bjork plays on the third line in the regular season much remains to be seen, but he has seen time with Heinen and Coyle on that line throughout the past week or so.

Coyle looked extremely comfortable after coming over from Minnesota at the trade deadline. If he can pick up where he left off, I think there’s a really good chance he can score 20+ goals.

Patrice Bergeron has a career year

Bergeron had a great 2018-2019 season despite missing 17 regular-season games. This is contingent on him staying healthy, but I think Bergeron will hit a new career-high in points with 88 of them.

Age isn’t slowing him down. He tallied a career-high 79 points last season at 33-years-old in just 65 games. If good health is on his side and he can play a good bit more than 65 games, a fairly sizeable point jump isn’t out of the question. Marchand and Pastrnak are in the primes of their careers and Bergeron will continue to seem prime ice time on special teams as well as even strength. That combination of things sets up the potential for a huge year for Bergeron. Building on a milestone year last year would be awesome to see.

Torey Krug signs a contract extension during the season

No unrestricted free-agency for Torey Krug. From an undrafted former Michigan State Spartan now, Krug continues to improve and become a better leader by the day. His tenacity couple pure puck-moving and offensive excellence make him a vital piece on the back end.

Torey Krug’s don’t just fall from the sky. He is a unique defenseman in a lot of ways. Krug has hinted at him being interested in taking less money than he may be worth to stay in Boston, and that would just make things easier.

Krug and his wife Melanie just welcomed a baby girl to the world over the summer. He loves it here. Signing long-term to stay with a team in which he plays a big role and loves the city, as well as being able to raise his daughter makes a lot of sense. Having that burden off his back of having to deal with unrestricted free-agency makes sense for him, the team, and his family.

Boston Bruins: 2020 Stanley Cup Champions

The sour taste of defeat in the core from 2013 was already there, now everyone except for the free-agent additions essentially has that bad taste of defeat in their mouths from this past season. The team was devastated and is still set to be a cup contender, even after losing Johansson and Acciari to unrestricted free agency. They took the loss hard.

Teams in the East such as the New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, and Florida Panthers definitely got better, plus prominent teams like the Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, and the Washington Capitals are still in the mix. But, I trust that the Bruins are formidable enough to make a run to the Cup Final.

A chunk of young players gained very valuable experience from a long cup run, even in defeat, and the team as a whole is going to come out with redemption on their minds. I have them playing the Vegas Golden Knights in the finals, but it’s anyone’s guess as to who will go the distance this before the regular season even starts.

October 3 isn’t far away, redemption isn’t far away. The sky is the limit for the Bruins this year. Nine years is a long time in between Stanley Cup Championships. The Bruins have what it takes to capture banner number seven.

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!

Boston Bruins: Salary Cap Projections In Three Years

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

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

It has been a successful week for General Manager Don Sweeney and the rest of the Boston Bruins management staff. On Sunday, the Bruins re-signed RFA defenceman Charlie McAvoy to a three-year contract with an annual average salary (AAV) of $4.9 million and also managed to lock up the other RFA defender – Brandon Carlo – to a two-year contract worth $2.85 million per season.

Throughout the league, the Bruins are being praised for their “genius” work to re-sign both of these future franchise defensemen while keeping forward David Backes and not making any other trades to free up cap space and rightly so. I was one of the people who was convinced that Boston would be forced to ship out a body in order to make room for both players. Evidently, Sweeney knew he could sign both without making other adjustments and he proved it.

However, things might not seem so perfect after taking a further glance. In the lead-up to the signings, it was made clear that Charlie McAvoy wanted to stay in Boston for the long-term and it was clear that the organization felt the same way. In that case, many imagined that when the details of the contract would be released, it would lock up the 21-year-old for the next seven or even eight years.

Due to the fact that people assumed the length of McAvoy’s deal, it was expected for Carlo to have a shorter, bridge-type deal because of the lack of cap space available to spend on Carlo. In a perfect world, Boston would have traded David Backes and signed both Carlo and McAvoy to contracts with long terms to solidify the defensive core for years to come.

Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world and in some cases, we have to be thankful and settle for what we do have. As we look ahead for the 2019-2020 NHL season, the Boston Bruins have a true chance to contend again for the Stanley Cup or at the very least, contend in the Eastern Conference. Regardless, it is good to keep an open mind on the future and the next half-decade for Boston could be a stressful one.

2020 Expiring Contracts:

Forwards:

  • F Charlie Coyle (UFA)
  • F Jake DeBrusk (RFA)
  • F Karson Kuhlman (RFA)
  • F Chris Wagner (UFA)
  • F Joakim Nordstrom (UFA)
  • F Brett Ritchie (RFA)
  • F Anders Bjork (RFA)
  • F Zach Senyshyn (RFA)
  • F Ryan Fitzgerald (RFA)
  • F Brendan Gaunce (RFA)
  • F Peter Cehlarik (RFA)

Defensemen:

  • D Torey Krug (UFA)
  • D Kevan Miller (UFA)
  • D Zdeno Chara (UFA)
  • D Matt Grzelcyk (RFA)
  • D Jakub Zboril (RFA)
  • D Wiley Sherman (RFA)
  • D Jeremy Lauzon (RFA)

Goaltenders:

  • G Jaroslav Halak (UFA)
  • G Daniel Vladar (RFA)
  • G Maxime Legacé (UFA)

If you thought that this past off-season was hectic and stressful, just wait for the stress a year from now. The Bruins will have big-name players such as Torey Krug, Jake DeBrusk, Jaroslav Halak, and Charlie Coyle that will have an expiring contract. According to CapFriendly, the Bruins are projected to have $25,158,334 in available cap space for the 2020 offseason, so it is inevitable that players will have to be let go – whether it is in a trade or just leaving on July 1st.

However, there are a few players that I’d imagine are guaranteed to return to Boston – forward Jake DeBrusk, defenceman Matt Grzelcyk, forward Karson Kuhlman, forward Anders Bjork, defenceman Jeremy Lauzon, and forward Zach Senyshyn. The remaining players are up in the air and their performance and/or development in the 2019-20 campaign will prove their worth.

Sticking to NHL roster, Torey Krug, Kevan Miller, Zdeno Chara, Charlie Coyle, and Jaroslav Halak are the biggest pieces that are question marks for me. In regards to the captain, Zdeno Chara, his decision on whether or not he wants to continue playing hockey is still up in the air. When his current deal expires this July, he will be 43 years of age.

Kevan Miller has dealt with numerous injuries and with the rising defensive prospects, I don’t see him returning. Charlie Coyle was great in the playoffs last season, but a full year wearing the Spoked-B sweater will really show what he is worth contract-wise. Jaroslav Halak is a big piece, but same thing with Coyle, this season will show what he can demand in the negotiations. Finally, Torey Krug could be a player for trade bait, but he brings a high-level of play to Boston’s defense and it is likely that he returns.

For Chris Wagner, Joakim Nordstrom, and Brett Ritchie – I personally don’t see them re-signing with the organization mainly due to the plethora of talent in the AHL that Boston can use to fill those bottom-six roles.

2021 Expiring Contracts:

Forwards:

  • F David Krejci (UFA)
  • F David Backes (UFA)
  • F Danton Heinen (RFA)
  • F Sean Kuraly (UFA)
  • F Par Lindholm (UFA)
  • F Trent Frederic (RFA)
  • F Cameron Hughes (RFA)
  • F Anton Blidh (RFA)
  • F Paul Carey (UFA)

Defensemen:

  • D Brandon Carlo (RFA)
  • D Steven Kampfer (UFA)

Goaltenders:

  • G Tuukka Rask (UFA)

After the Bruins make some difficult decisions in the 2020 offseason, the 2021 offseason proves to be one of the biggest in a long time for the organization. Core players such as David Krejci, Brandon Carlo, and superstar goaltender Tuukka Rask have expiring deals. However, the Bruins will be free of $6 million due to David Backes’ contract and the likely departure of Steven Kampfer, Paul Carey, and Par Lindholm.

I’d imagine that Krejci and Rask take a decrease in pay when they negotiate a new deal, as both will be in their mid-30s at the end of the 2020-2021 season, (Krejci – 35, Rask – 34). That saved salary will likely be thrown right back into Brandon Carlo’s deal which will hopefully be a longer contract in comparison to the two-year deal that he recently agreed to.

It’ll also depend largely on the success of the young players like Danton Heinen, Trent Frederic, Anton Blidh, and Cameron Hughes – but I don’t see any of them earning a large deal with only Heinen in my eyes making more than $1.5 million.

2022 Expiring Contracts:

Forwards:

  • F Patrice Bergeron (UFA)
  • F Pavel Shen (RFA)
  • F Oskar Steen (RFA)
  • F Jakub Lauko (RFA)
  • F Jack Studnicka (RFA)

Defensemen:

  • D Charlie McAvoy (RFA)
  • D Urho Vaakanainen (RFA)
  • D Axel Andersson (RFA)

Goaltenders:

  • G Kyle Keyser (RFA)

The list takes a dramatic decrease in the number of players and that is a result of all the short-term deals or the longer deals that are nearing the conclusion. At this point, it is nearly impossible to predict the numbers and the results, especially because of all the restricted free-agents in this class. Everyone but Patrice Bergeron and Charlie McAvoy have something big to prove if they want that NHL contract. I expect everyone to sign in this free-agent class, but who really knows.

Another thing to note is that at this point, previous players on the list could be expiring this year too due to the possibility of one or two-year deals signed as well as free-agents and acquisitions in trades.

Players Extended Past 2022:

Forwards:

  • F Brad Marchand (2025-26)
  • F David Pastrnak (2023-24)

Defensemen:

  • D John Moore (2023-24)
  • D Connor Clifton (2023-24)

With only four players signed past 2022, the Boston Bruins franchise as we know it will be completely different. Retirements, departures and arrivals are going to be surrounding the management team and for Don Sweeney, his job will be the most difficult as it ever has been. These next three years will prove how good of a General Manager he is.

A lot of this will also come down to the players. Now is the time to prove yourself for that contract – big or small. If you want to remain a member of the Boston Bruins and skate on that TD Garden ice with the historic Spoked-B on your chest, this is your moment. No pressure.

Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 145 that we recorded on 9-15-19 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!

NHL Player Media Tour: Bruins Edition

 

2015 NHL Player Media Tour(Photo Credits: Claus Andersen/Getty Images North America)

By: Liz Rizzo | Follow me on Twitter @pastagrl88

The countdown is on, the new season is thisclose to starting and familiar faces that embody the Boston Bruins team are more than ready to hit the ice with fresh legs. With the NHL European Media Tour under their belt, a few of the Bruins players are currently in Chicago attending the 2019 NHL/NHLPA North American Player Media Tour. Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask and defenseman Torey Krug are this year’s attendees where they partook in a day filled with photos, videos and interviews:

The annual event takes place before the start of each season and features many players that represent their respected teams. It’s also an opportunity for those participating to be exposed to the national media and offers a chance to meet other elite players. From past events, the best of the best are invited to the Media Tour and this year, two of the Bruins’ best were invited. Both  Krug and Rask are coming off a tough Stanley Cup Series that saw the team fall one-short shy of winning the cup. The loss still resonates with many on the team  and will undoubtedly serve as the push they’ll need this new season. For Torey Krug, (who will be one of the top defenseman in the  market when he becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer) this last season “was big for me and my development and my growth. I feel like I’m just hitting my prime.”

Krug ended his regular season with a career-high of 47 assists in 64 games played. He also garnered 53 points-his second best of his career. Last season he ended with 59 points. Last postseason, the 28-year-old had 18 points with 16 assists and netted two goals during the Playoff run.

32-year-old Tuukka Rask is coming off of having one of his best seasons, even earning top marks in the NHL Network’s Top Players list, coming in at number five on the top goalie rankings. Rask also landed on number 44 on the the top 50 players list. He ended his regular season with a 27-13-5 record with a 2.48 goals-against-average and a .912 save percentage. Postseason, the Bruins goaltender was stellar, boasting an average of .934 saving-percentage with a 2.02 goals-against-average in 24 games.

As NHL Network analyst Darren Pang noted on Rask:

“I think every year he gets better…He seems to be under the heat so often and the criticism comes at him, but I watch Tuukka Rask and [he’s] fundamentally good, his demeanor is calm, he makes glove saves now where he just makes it look easy. Pucks coming into his body and he doesn’t even go down…He’s got really nice patience in the net.”

Much like Krug and the rest of the team, the Game Seven loss still stings a bit. In speaking with WEEI’s Matt Kalman, Rask reflected on last season and looking ahead :

“I don’t think you ever get over that, still getting flashbacks. But you know you got to realize it’s only sports, and it is what it is…I think the mental aspect is the biggest thing, especially if it’s a disappointing loss like that. You have to just kind of unwind and try to forget about hockey as much as you can. But then again you only have two ½, three months until the next season starts and you’ve got to take a month for your body to recover.”

“But I think mentally, it’s just such a grind, hockey season, you know you play 82 games plus 25 possibly, so mentally it’s very draining. And the fresher mentally you can be, the better off you are I think.”

September 12th marks the start of Training Camp and with Rask and Krug going through the media gauntlet  during the Player’s Tour, here’s hoping the trip to the windy city helps them unwind as they return to face the grueling 82-game schedule.