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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Bruins Superfan Jill Murphy Recognized By Upper Deck Hockey

(Photo Credit: @jmurphx11)

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

“I’m going to think of you yelling at me on TV when I turn the puck over.”

That’s what Bruins superstar Brad Marchand said to his superfan Jillian “Jill” Murphy after visiting her at Boston Children’s Hospital last March. And as the rest of the season — and now a full year — unfolded, so too did their relationship, both in person and on Twitter, as documented by B’s writer Eric Russo in a heartwarming and entertaining feature story he shared with the Black N’ Gold fanbase.

Now, Murphy needs more than just Marchy to help her earn an even more prestigious recognition: Upper Deck’s #UltimateMVP award!

That’s right, she needs YOU — the fans of the Boston Bruins, and hockey in general — to show her some love just like he did AND like she does on a daily basis for the B’s:

Speaking of likes… that’s what it will take to make her UD’s top fan! People need to click on the tweet she shared from @UpperDeckHockey, LIKE IT by clicking on the “heart” button and then telling others via shares and comments to do the same!

As Russo pointed out in his feature piece on Murphy, she suffers from a genetic connective tissue disorder called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, which limits her mobility and requires the use of a wheelchair. And it was Marchand who sent her plenty of hearts when he invited the Murphy’s to not only experience the B’s up close and personal on TD Garden Ice, but also in the locker room post game one year ago this week:

Now, with the calendar flipped to 2020, Murphy has her sights set on another goal (and perhaps Marchand, too, if he can stop “the turnovers” she so comically chirped him about online): becoming OUR Boston Bruins MVP online! And as you can see from her very inspiring and supportive Twitter account, she’s definitely more than qualified for the job.

So, what say you Black N’ Gold brethren? Can we help Murph MARCH to the top of the #MyMVP competition at Upper Deck Hockey? I most certainly think we can. After all, the puck stops here!

Image(Photo Credit: Upper Deck Hockey)

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Bruins Champion 8-Spoked Salute!

8Spoke(Photo Credit: Boston Bruins)

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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Bruins’ Salary Cap Outlook: 2020 Off-Season

( Photo credit: Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images )

By: Andrew Lindroth | Follow me on Twitter @andrewlindrothh

With the trade deadline in the past and the playoffs starting in a few weeks, everyone’s focus is in the moment, but it’s essential to look ahead and see what the future holds, starting with the 2020 off-season. The Bruins are known for their tight salary cap situation, but thanks to the Bruins’ GM, Don Sweeney’s most recent trade deadline deals open up a significant amount of cap space, but who will the Bruins re-sign?

Projected Cap Space

According to CapFriendly, the Bruins are projected to have around $22.2M-$23.75M in cap space for the off-season, as it looks like there will be a bonus overage of $1.5M (TBD). At first glance, it seems like the Bruins have plenty in the bank to negotiate with, but players like Torey Krug, Jake DeBrusk, and Jaroslav Halak, may demand a pay rise that will put more than a dent into their salary cap for next season. With that being said, the Bruins will need to prioritize.

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Jaroslav Halak (UFA)

There is no doubt that the Bruins have one of the best goalie tandems in the league between Tuukka Rask and Halak. Both goalies sharing the starting duties have been a recipe for success starting in the 2018-2019 season, with Halak starting in 37 games, collecting 22 wins, and a .922% save percentage. Sharing starting positions allowed Rask to remain fresh entering the playoffs, where he had a historic playoff run leading the Bruins to a game seven in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Even though Halak didn’t start in a single game during the 2019 playoffs, if called upon, Halak would be the Bruins’ best option going forward in case of an injury to Rask. So far this season, Halak has started in 28 games, collecting 17 wins and a 0.917% save percentage. He will be a UFA at the end of this season, and will likely desire a pay raise worth $3M-$4M per season. Although Halak is 34 years old, he still has plenty of hockey left in the tank and will continue to be a valuable piece for the Bruins.

Torey Krug (UFA)

Torey Krug, the quarterback of the Bruins’ central power-play unit, will be one of the Bruins’ main priorities in the off-season. Krug is a vital piece to the blue-line and activates an offensive spark, especially on the man-advantage, and so far this season has two power-play goals and 24 power-play points, only four short of his career-high of 28 from the 2018-2019 season. During the 2019 playoffs, he continued to be an absolute force on the power-play, tallying two goals and 10 points.

Krug’s current cap hit stands at $5.0M per season, and with him setting up to become a UFA in the off-season, the Bruins’ management should not be stingy with the defenceman’s asking price. The recent deals made before the deadline have made enough room in their cap space for the Bruins to re-sign Krug no matter the asking price. So far this season, Krug leads all Bruins’ defenders with eight goals and 45 points. It is a no-brainer that the Bruins need to re-sign Krug, but at what cost? I believe Krug’s price range for the Bruins will be between $7M-$8M per season.

 

Jake DeBrusk (RFA)

The 14th overall pick in the 2015 draft, Jake DeBrusk, will be the most interesting contract negotiation this off-season. DeBrusk is known for his elite scoring ability and speed, but has shown to be inconsistent at times and is facing a regression this season.

Playing in 70 games his rookie season in 2017-2018, DeBrusk produced 16 goals and 43 points with a +16 rating. He carried that success over to the following 2018-2019 season, producing 27 goals and 42 points with a +2 rating in 68 games played. So far this season though, DeBrusk has suffered several cold-streaks off the score sheet, and currently has one goal, one assist and a -5 rating in the past 11 games.

Despite having only two points in his past 11 games, DeBrusk is only two goals away from having his second 20-goal campaign and is only nine points short of his career-high of 43. Because of his recent inconsistencies, Cassidy has moved DeBrusk down to the third-line with Charlie Coyle. DeBrusk can use this time to build chemistry with Coyle and regain his offensive touch again. His entry-level contract is about to expire, and I predict the price to re-sign DeBrusk will be between the $3M-$4M range.

Zdeno Chara (UFA)

Yes, the 43-year old Iron Man, Zdeno Chara. Even though fans were very reluctant to bring the Bruins’ Captain back on board last season, Sweeney has made it very clear that Chara has the right to play in Boston. “I think he’s earned the right to determine [his future here] and when his career will end,” Sweeney said back on Bruins Media Day. “As long as his game aligns with his pride and preparations that he wants to put forth to keep it at the level he’s accustomed to having it to then we are going to explore having him as part of our group. He’s an impactful player.”

Chara continues to be an impactful player, registering five goals and 13 points with a +24 rating so far this season. He also provides a wealth of leadership and continues to build on the legacy he’s been building with Boston since 2006-2007. Chara also continues to be one of the Bruins’ most reliable players on the penalty-kill unit and maintains over 20 minutes of average time-on-ice per game. If Chara believes he is fit for another season, it would be in the Bruins’ best interest to re-sign him for another year between $1M-$2M.

Bold Predictions

Other Bruins players who will be looking to extend their contracts at the end of the season are; Matt Grzelcyk (RFA), Joakim Nordstrom (UFA), Anders Bjork (RFA), Karson Kuhlman (RFA), and Kevan Miller (UFA). If the Bruins were to re-sign Halak, Krug, DeBrusk, and Chara at my predicted amount(s), they would have about $5M-$8M left in cap space. Does this leave room for Sweeney to make a trade, or sign other depth-players with expiring contracts?

I predict the Boston Bruins will re-sign Halak, Krug, DeBrusk, and Chara. I also believe the Bruins will look to come to terms with Grzelcyk, Bjork, and Kuhlman, but I believe they will let Nordstrom walk and because of injuries, will not re-sign Miller. If you were the GM of the Boston Bruins, what moves would you make this off-season?

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

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How The Trade Deadline Affects The Bruins Offseason Plans

Dallas Stars v Boston Bruins

( Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images )

By: Lucas Pearson  |  Follow Me On Twitter @LucasPearson_

It’s been a few days since the trade deadline and I still don’t quite know how to feel about it all. There’s no questioning if the Bruins improved, they did, but many (including myself) am still asking if Don Sweeney and co did enough for this season, but that’s not the point of this article. Regardless of what the Bruins did to affect the team for this year, the trades made certainly helped the team for years to come.

The Trades

To Boston: Nick Ritchie, Ondrej Kase

To Anaheim: Danton Heinen, David Backes ($1.5 mill retained), Axel Andersson, 2020 1st round pick
Nick Ritchie

( Photo Credit: AP Photo/Charles Krupa )

No Rentals

 

Unlike years in the past where we saw the Bruins’ management go after rentals like Marcus Johansson, Rick Nash (oof) and Lee Stepniak (even bigger oof), the Bruins acquired players with term. They saw how well it worked with last year’s acquisition of Charlie Coyle and looked to continue that success of grabbing players that won’t be gone at the season’s end. 

Both Ritchie and Kase have extra years on their contract and even more years of team control due to their RFA status. The duo are both young and have plenty of room to grow on their already solid NHL careers. Nick Ritchie is a hard-nosed player that fits the style of play the Bruins love. The former 10th overall pick is still young at 24 years-old and with his recent play (three goals and three assists in his last four game) has a chance to trump his career-high in goals of 14. 

If healthy, Ondrej Kase has a real chance to be a game-changer for the black and gold. Two seasons ago, the Czech Republic native hit the 20 goal mark in 66 games. The following season was unfortunately cut short due to injury, but Kase was well on his way to hit career highs in both points and goals with 11 goals and 20 points in 30 games. Now playing on a far better Bruins squad, we’d hope to see the improved play on his part.

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

( Photo Credit: Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports )

Offseason Plans

The Bruins have a lot on their plate this offseason. Powerplay QB Torey Krug is an upcoming UFA and will certainly get paid whether he stays or goes. Matt Grzelcyk, Jake Debrusk, Anders Bjork and Karson Kuhlman are among the slew of RFAs that will get a considerable bump in salary. There’s no guarantee if Zdeno Chara will call it quits after this season, but if he doesn’t, that’s another contract to add to the books. Fellow Slovakian and backup goaltender Jaroslav Halak has been huge for the Bruins over the past couple years and it would be a tough loss if the Bs weren’t able to resign him. 

The Bruins had about $17 million in projected cap space for next year before the deals. With the subtraction of Heinen and Backes’ combined $7.3 million and addition of Kase and Ritchie’s and additions of roughly $4.1 million, it gives the Bruins an extra $3.2 million worth of cap space to work with. If we loosely project what the Bruins UFA and RFAs we get contracts that look like this:

Torey Krug – 7.25m

Zdeno Chara – 1.5m

Jaroslav Halak – 3m

Joakim Nordstrom – 1.5m

Kevan Miller – Honestly no idea with all of his injuries, I think he’s a goner regardless. 1m

Jake Debrusk – This one really depends if it’s long-term or a bridge, I’d say 4-5m

Matt Grzelyck – 3m

Anders Bjork – 1.5m

Karson Kuhlman – 1m

Adding all these together gives the Bruins a rough estimate of $24 million worth of contracts to give. With Nordstrom and Miller likely gone, a number of $21.5 million seems doable with the amount of cap space the Bruins are projected to have. with that number likely increasing as the cap continues to grow. With the now over $20 million in space with that number likely increasing as the cap continues to grow, it seems more likely the Bruins will be able to keep most of the gang together. If the Bs fail to win the ultimate prize this season, Don Sweeney has set this Bruins team up for the future.

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

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

Bruins Clifton Ready To Join Boston After Conditioning Stint

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Boston Bruins defenseman Connor Clifton may be ready for a return to NHL action as soon as this week. Per the official AHL transactions page and RinksideRhodeIsland.com’s reporter Mark Divver, the 24-year-old defenseman’s conditioning stint with the Bruins top minor-pro affiliate the Providence Bruins. Clifton sustained an upper-body injury in late December of 2019 in a 3-2 victory against Buffalo.

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In two games with the Providence Bruins, Clifton failed to register any points but his production on and off the scoresheet wasn’t important in this timeframe. In games against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and the Springfield Thunderbird that he played in almost a week apart, Connor got to stretch his legs and get back into game shape. In 30 NHL games this season prior to his late December injury the Quinnipiac University graduate posted two goals to bring his career NHL numbers to 2-1-3 in 49 games.

With this recall, it should be interesting to see how the Clifton fits in the defensive core moving forward with 22 games remaining in the regular season. If Connor is going to be that seventh, eighth, or ninth blueliner working in a rotation while Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy utilizes load management in an attempt to keep core members rested and ready for another long postseason run.

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Clifton, in my opinion, is an aggressive strong defenseman with the ability to transition out of his zone quickly and offers a decent pair of hands with it comes to offensive and puck protection attributes. Currently, under the last year of his entry-level contract for the remainder of the year, the Bruins see great potential in the young Connor as they locked him up at one million per season for the next three years. Potential departures on the backend over the offseason could pave way full-time opportunities for the 5′-11″ 174-pound New Jersey native on the backend.

I believe a low-risk high reward “show me first” contract like this was both beneficial to the player and organization moving forward. For the player, the landscape looks good as positions become available and for the Bruins club, his salary cap number allows the organization to add when needed if the forever need of cap space is available. Not saying he’d the heir apparent to a Zdeno Chara in a year or two but might make a solid replacement for a player like Kevan Millar and his uncertain future.

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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 “Serve Up” Pucks & Paddles Event

(Photo Credit: Boston Bruins Foundation)

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

The Boston Bruins “served up” quite the successful charity event in mid-January to kick-start what will undoubtedly be another milestone year of community service and fundraising in 2020.

The third annual Pucks & Paddles event to benefit the Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center raised $125,000 after all was said and done, with B’s players partnering up with fans, broadcasters and community members for a competitive single-elimination table tennis (aka ping pong) tournament.

Patrice Bergeron “captained” the always entertaining event with 98.5 The Sports Hub co-sponsoring all the fundraising fun and festivities. Here’s the description from the official Pucks & Paddles page:

“Fans [had] the opportunity to bid for their chance to play ping pong with their favorite Bruins player. The tournament commenced with two select players playing ping pong against two patients from Floating Hospital for Children, followed by a single elimination tournament featuring the players, on air talent and bidders. The rounds advanced to a championship game featuring the final two teams, with a winning tandem being crowned the ping pong fest champions. In addition, the four best Bruins ping pong players participated in a separate informal singles competition to demonstrate their talents to the crowd.”

Bruins prospect Anton Blidh and his partner were crowned “the champions of the event” according to the B’s website, where more than a dozen friendly photos of ping pong prowess and table tennis tenacity are on display.

If you’re wondering how that “whopping $125,000” will benefit local children and families, look no further than this description from the Boston Bruins Foundation:

“Patients from Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center are invited to participate in the tournament and proceeds raised from the annual event benefit the hospital and the Boston Bruins Foundation. In 2019, Pucks and Paddles raised a grand total of $120,000. Portions of the money raised goes toward providing extraordinary care and exceptional comfort when families need it most. Floating Hospital for Children knows that helping kids requires cutting-edge research, state of the art facilities, and caregivers who treat all children as if they are their own.”

As expected, the event was a “hit” for area families, fans and local businesses — all benefiting from the B’s consistent commitment to community that will continue to resonate… from pucks to paddles!

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!

The Bruins’ Silent Defender: Brandon Carlo

carlo-image

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

By: Michael DiGiorgio  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BostonDiGiorgio

There’s a famous saying amongst NHL teams and scouts around regarding defenseman.  A defenseman’s ceiling is not known until they’ve played at least 250 NHL games.  Well, Boston’s Brandon Carlo recently eclipsed 278 games, and Carlo’s trajectory is clear to the organization and its fanbase.

The 6’5 Colorado Springs native began his path to the NHL in Canada’s Western Hockey League in 2012.  He spent three seasons in the WHL with the Tri-City Americans, progressing his game and points each year.  He was also featured on the American U-20 World Junior Championship teams in 2014 and 2015.  In 12 games at the World Junior Championships, he brought home a Bronze medal, scored five points, and an impressive plus-10 rating.

He even led the entire tournament pool of U-20 defenseman with two goals, winning the “U20 WJC Most Goals by Defenseman” award in 2015.  He is in great company for this award with the likes of Cale Makar, Thomas Chabot, and Zach Werenski.  Scouts predicted Carlo either be selected at the end of the first, early second round, and the Bruins were one of many teams interested.

The Bruins were fortunate enough to acquire four extra picks between the first two rounds in 2015.  Upon trading Johnny Boychuk, the Bruins found themselves with an additional pick in the second round, and with it, they selected Brandon Carlo.  His pre-draft scouting report was foreshadowing to what Bruins fans see night in and night out.  “Through maneuvering his way around the ice and making high-percentage, skilled decisions in all three zones, he is able to shut opposition offense down before it begins to take shape.”

He has become a steady, consistent shutdown defenseman that the team has lacked in the past few years.  There has been so much emphasis, energy, and draft choices spent on trying to find the league’s next Erik Karlsson. Teams should spend just as much time and energy on securing a player like Dennis Seidenberg.

Dennis Seidenberg came to the Bruins from Florida in a deadline trade in March 2010.  He was not known for his offensive prowess, but instead was a penalty kill specialist and a blocking shot animal.  Seidenberg amassed 1,417 blocked shots and averaged 20:44 minutes of ice time in 859 career NHL games.  This type of defenseman is needed to make a deep, unbeaten playoff run.

Brandon Carlo is following in the footsteps of Seidenberg, and for Bruins fans, that is a significant area of need.  The beginning of Carlo’s Bruins career would only require seven games in Providence before showing the Bruins he was ready for the big league.  In his first full year with the Bruins, Brandon played in all 82 games averaging 20 minutes on ice and finished with 16 points and a plus 9 rating.  He played alongside big man Zdeno Chara, and the two looked to have solidified an excellent working relationship.  Carlo was primed for his first NHL playoffs in 2017, but unfortunately, the game of hockey can be cruel.  In the last game of the regular season, Carlo suffered a concussion from an Alex Ovechkin brutal hit from behind.

The hit caused Carlo to miss the Bruins’ short playoff run.  The Bruins were eliminated heartbreakingly against the Ottawa Senators in the first round.  Their offseason began in April, and the Bruins were faced with an exciting offseason task.

The Vegas Golden Knights were the NHL’s newest expansion team in 2017, which created a new twist to the upcoming offseason.  The expansion rules required current teams to select 11 roster players for protection, while the rest of their roster was fair game.  However, NHL teams were allowed to exclude pro players who completed two or fewer years of the NHL from their list and the Knights.  These players for the Bruins included Charlie Mcavoy, Jake DeBrusk, and Brandon Carlo.  While this stopped the Knights from nabbing Carlo, it didn’t stop other teams from pursuing him.

The Colorado Avalanche were looking to unload their impending free-agent Matt Duchene in the same offseason.  They had a few calls, and one, in particular, piqued General Manager Joe Sakic’s interest.  Bruins General Manager, Don Sweeney, called Sakic inquiring the asking price for their second-line center.  Sakic expressed his interest in the Bruins budding blue-liner.

Don Sweeney was building a system and philosophy to develop and invest in players he drafted.  Thankfully, Sweeney stuck to his word and refused Sakic’s request.  Duchene would eventually be traded to the Ottawa Senators in a massive haul of prospects and draft picks.  Sakic tried a second time to pry Carlo from the Bruins, this time offering up their captain Gabriel Landeskog.

Sweeney, again, held onto his shutdown defenseman.  Carlo entered his sophomore season on the Bruins’ third-pairing with Kevan Miller.  Zdeno Chara and Charlie Mcavoy were leading the charge on the blue-line, with Adam McQuaid and Torey Krug right behind them.  When McQuaid broke his leg early into the season, Carlo moved up to Krug’s left side.  Carlo and Krug struggled to find chemistry right away, and he was heading towards a sophomore slump.

Hockey is just as much a mental sport as it is a physical sport.  Defensemen need to read plays before as it develops and react in an instance.  They need to pick themselves up after a goal is allowed on their watch.  Carlo struggled during the 2018-19 regular season, so much so that he was on the wrong end of the game-day roster in February against Buffalo.  The message was sent loud and clear, and Carlo quickly found his groove.  In 1,000 minutes played on 5-on-5 ice time, he led the league in the least amount of goals-against with 1.42 per 60 minutes that season.  Yes, even during a down year.  He was full-steam ahead for the playoffs when once again, the injury bug arrived, and he missed another playoff run.

The third time is the charm, and he finally made his playoff debut in 2019.  He averaged 21:31 of ice time throughout the Stanley Cup run and even scored two goals.  The most impressive part of Carlo’s playoff run was his ability to shut down the offensive talent.  Chara was the guy to shut down the likes of Max Pacioretty, Steven Stamkos, and Henrik and Daniel Sedin in 2011.  Unfortunately, Chara isn’t getting any younger and needs to pass the shutdown torch.  Carlo stepped up in a big way.

According to Natural Stat Trick, Carlo played his most playoff minutes against Artemi Panarin, Auston Matthews, and Pierre-Luc Dubois.  All three are an incredible talent and poised to be household names for years to come.  When the three players were on the ice with Carlo in a 5-on-5 situation, the three fired a combined 104 shots on goal.  Without Carlo, the shot total increased to 114.  He also led the team in penalty killing minutes with 77:22 in the entire 2019 playoffs.  The next most PK minute total was Chara at 55:04.  Carlo also added a little flair to his penalty-killing abilities.

Unfortunately, adding a Stanley Cup to his resume will have to wait, but he grew into a phenomenal player over three months.  Carlo received a team-friendly contract of 2 years, $2.85M this past offseason, and will be a restricted free-agent again when it’s complete.  He will be a long-term staple on the blue-line and is an outstanding defensive defenseman, which is rarely talked about.  It’s now clear why Sweeney refused to trade the former second-round pick.

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!!

Game Recap | Boston Bruins Defeat Nashville Predators 6-2

Image result for boston Bruins vs nashville predators"(Photo Credits: Getty Images/ John Russell)

By: Liz Rizzo | Follow me on  Twitter @pastagrl88

There’s nothing like playing in front of family and for many of the Bruins, they had the opportunity to showcase in front of one of the most important people in their lives. Serving as their life-long cheerleaders, many of the players’ mothers were in attendance tonight as part of the annual Moms Trip that started on Monday.  With the group watching their sons and brothers on the ice, the Bruins defeated Nashville, breaking their three-game losing slump.

GAME RECAP

In front of a loud “Smashville” crowd and with new coach John Hynes behind the Nashville bench,  the Black and Gold came out of the gates and it didn’t take long for the Bruins to get on board. Early in the first period, the red-hot David Pastrnak slapped his 32nd goal past Predators goalie Pekka Rinne to make the score 1-0.

SCORE: BOS-1, NSH-0

SHOTS ON GOAL: BOS-13, NSH-8

Image result for boston bruins vs nashville predators"(Photo Credits: AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

An interesting start to second saw the hockey gods smile on Boston as a potential goal was waved off for the Predators. As officials reviewed the play (twice), it was determined there was no goal as Nashville made contact with defenseman Charlie McAvoy that caused him to dislodge the net prior to the puck going in.

Nashville found themselves down  Boston zone for a good portion of the period as they peppered Tuukka Rask, forcing the Bruins to continue to keep bouncing pucks from going in. The Preds continued to outshoot Boston, however, it would be the boys in Black and Gold that would net one in Nashville’s goal. With a quick pass from Matt Grzelcyk, Danton Heinen would score his seventh of the season at 8:21 into the second.

The Predators would get on board on a 5-on-3 as Brandon Carlo and Matt Grzelcyk both went to the penalty box. Filip Forsberg would score his 15th goal of the season.  With minutes left in the period and with Boston on the power-play, the Bruins’ Patrice Bergeron would net his 18th of the season, making the score 3-1.

SCORE: BOS-3, NSH-1

SHOTS ON GOAL: BOS- 26 NSH-24

Image result for boston bruins vs nashville predators"(Photo Credits: USA Today Sports/ Christopher Hanewinckel)

Minutes into the third period, Boston would once again score as Chris Wagner was nudged into the Nashville net, sending the puck past Rinne. He would net his fourth of the season. Zdeno Chara, who had recent jaw surgery, dropped gloves with Nashville’s Yakov Trenin (his first NHL career fight) after a hit on McAvoy, leading the Bruins to the kill. The Preds would once again find themselves with a 5-on-3 advantage but were unable to score.

With a little over a minute left, Nashville’s Mikael Granlund would score on the power-play, making it 4-2.  David Krejci would score on an empty net at the 54-second mark. Charlie Coyle would add salt to the wound as he tapped the puck in the net, winning in regulation.

Boston improves to 25-8-11 while Nashville is 19-16. The Bruins lead the Atlantic Division and are second in the league; Nashville sits at sixth place in the Central Division.

FINAL SCORE: BOS-6, NSH-2

TOTAL SHOTS ON GOAL: BOS-36 NSH-30

WHAT’S NEXT:  Thursday, January 9th with puck drop @ 7:00 pm vs. Winnipeg Jets. NESN, TVAS

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!!