Bruins Announce Return To Play Roster; Kampfer Opts Out

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(Photo: Bruce Bennett / Getty Images)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

On Saturday evening, the Boston Bruins announced their training camp roster as the National Hockey League prepares to conclude the 2019-20 season. 29 skaters and four goaltenders comprise the 33-man squad.

Forwards: Patrice Bergeron, Anders Bjork, Anton Blidh, Paul Carey, Charlie Coyle, Jake DeBrusk, Trent Frederic, Ondrej Kase, David Krejci, Sean Kuraly, Karson Kuhlman, Par Lindholm, Brad Marchand, Joakim Nordstrom, David Pastrnak, Nick Ritchie, Zach Senyshyn, Jack Studnicka, Chris Wagner

Defensemen: Brandon Carlo, Zdeno Chara, Connor Clifton, Matt Grzelcyk, Torey Krug, Jeremy Lauzon, Charlie McAvoy, John Moore, Urho Vaakanainen, Jakub Zboril

Goaltenders: Jaroslav Halak, Max Lagace, Tuukka Rask, Dan Vladar

One notable absence is that of right-shot defenseman Steven Kampfer, who has opted out of the NHL’s Return to Play. In a post on Twitter, Kampfer, 31, explained that, while it was a difficult decision, he must put his family first as his wife and son have a congenital heart defect that can pose complications if infected with COVID-19.

Kampfer joins Edmonton Oilers defenseman Mike Green, Calgary Flames d-man Travis Hamonic, Dallas Stars defenseman Roman Polak, and Vancouver Canucks forward Sven Baertschi among players who have opted out. The deadline to opt out without penalty is Monday, which is when training camps officially begin.

Among call-ups from the Providence Bruins, Boston’s American Hockey League affiliate are Anton Blidh, Paul Carey, Trent Frederic, Karson Kuhlman, Zach Senyshyn, Jack Studnicka,  Connor Cliffton, Urho Vaakanainen, Jakob Zboril, Max Lagace, and Dan Vladar. Blidh had been practicing with the barsity club in Boston, and Clifton had been injured throughout most of the season.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 184 that we recorded below on 6-28-20! 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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The Window To Win Another Cup Is Closing For Some Current Bruins Veterans

( Photo Credit: Boston Globe via Getty Images )

By Jeremy Grabowski | Follow me on Twitter @JeremyBNGhockey

For a little over a decade now, we as Bruins fans have been blessed with playoff hockey almost every year since 2008. Sure, not all of them have ended the way we would have liked, but playoff hockey is better than no
playoff hockey. We are entering a time now where we have to start asking ourselves this question, “how much longer does Boston have to win a cup with its core group of players still together and in their primes?”

Let me be more specific. By core players, I mean the guys that have been here since the Stanley Cup Championship in 2011. That involves Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, Brad Marchand, David Krejci, and Tuukka Rask. All of these guys are in their early 30’s except for Chara, who is 43. Chara is long past his prime. With that being said, he is still finding a way to be one of the most feared and lock-down defenders in the league. Let’s go more into depth on a few of these guys.

Patrice Bergeron

Other than being my personal favorite player for over a decade now, Patrice Bergeron is the perfect description of what it means to be a Boston Bruin. He plays the game with his heart on his sleeve and leads by example. He does the difficult things that not a lot of guys would do. Simply because he wants to win, and he doesn’t want to let his teammates or the fans down. Bergeron has had his fair share of injuries. Some he has been able to play through, some he has not.

I don’t think anyone will forget back on October 27th, 2007 the scary scene of Bergeron laying flat on his back after being boarded by Flyers defensemen Randy Jones. He would be stretchered off the ice after a 12-minute delay to tend to the injured forward. he was diagnosed with a “Grade 3” Concussion and would miss 72 games during the regular season plus another seven in the playoffs that year.

It wasn’t until the following pre-season that Bergeron was cleared to fully participate once again. He would only score four goals and 14 assists in the first 31 games of the 2008-2009 season. Then he got hurt again. On December 20th, 2008, Bergeron collided with Dennis Seidenberg, who was a member of the Carolina Hurricanes at the time and once again, sending Bruins fans to panic. Regardless of those fears, Bergeron was back in-game action a little over a month later.

Now, on the other side of this is the injuries he did play through. More specifically, the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. In the toughest event, and at the highest level of play, Bergeron suffered torn rib cartilage in Game-Four. Then a broken rib in Game-Five. And to put the icing on the cake, he suffered a separated right shoulder and punctured lung in Game-Six. The Puncture in that lung caused it to collapse. Despite all those injuries and all the pain that comes with them, Bergeron KEPT PLAYING! He would spend the next three days after Game-Six in the hospital.

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Bergeron has literally given his body and soul to this organization and the fan base. I consider myself lucky to have grown up watching and learning from his style of play. That being said, Bergeron is now 34 years old. He is still in the prime of his career, but how much longer will that be true with the injury history he has? Eventually that will take a toll on his body and he wont be the same player. Hopefully, that happens later rather than sooner.

Zdeno Chara

Zdeno Chara has been the captain of the Bruins since the 2006-2007 season. He was the big piece the Bruins needed to turn its fortune around. Since joining the club, Chara has taken on the responsibility of being the captain of a team in a market that LOVES its hockey and knows the game. In Boston, if the fans are unhappy with the way you are performing, they are going to let you know! And Chara has been up to the task the whole time.

Now, Chara is well known for being the tallest person to ever be in the NHL coming at 6’9 and maybe a little more than that on skates. But, he is also known for his NHL record hardest shot at 108.8 MPH. That record has not been broken since and probably never will.

Chara has had his fair share of injury history as well. Like Bergeron, he is no stranger to toughing it out and playing through injuries. The most recent sign of this was in last year’s Stanley Cup Final. In Game-Four, Chara went to block a shot from Brayden Schenn that deflected of Chara’s stick and hit him directly in the mouth. He was spitting out blood and skating off the ice under his own power. He would return to the bench for the third period of the game with a bubble mask on his helmet but did not play. It was later revealed that Chara had broken his jaw.

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With two days off between Game-Four and Game-Five, all the talk around the city of Boston was, “Is Chara going to play, or is he done?” It wasn’t until hours before Game-Five that we found out he would play despite having a broken jaw. Once again, Chara showed his toughness by playing through a debilitating injury that most guys would even think of playing through. Chara came out for the start of Game-Five to a standing ovation that, to this day, still gives me goosebumps every time I watch it.

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Chara is 43 now. Seriously, how much longer can this man play? I don’t have an answer to that for you, but I think he could play for another two-three years, at least. We’ve already seen one Boston icon play well into his 40’s with Tom Brady. Is Big Z going to do the same if not longer?

Brad Marchand

Brad Marchand is the youngest out of the core players coming in at 32 years old. He is the kind of player that if he isn’t on your team, you love to hate him. But, if he is on your side, you absolutely love the guy! Early in his career, he got into some trouble with suspensions and fines from the league. Since then, he has learned how to toe the line without crossing it. He is an energetic player who, like Bergeron, plays the game with his heart on his sleeve. If there was anyone you wanted to get under the skin of the opponent, it was Brad Marchand.

He quickly became a fan favorite and an essential player in this team’s future. He has six years left on his deal, so he isn’t going anywhere any time soon, but how long will the Bruins continue to be useful during those six years? Will they all be good years for the team? Will they still have a chance to win another cup?

In conclusion, the Bruins core players are still in a great position to win another cup in the next two, maybe three years. But, what about after that? How good is this team going to be by then? Hopefully, the kids that come up from Providence or players that they sign in the offseason come in and fit in seamlessly. This core group can get it together and be as good as we all know they are.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 184 that we recorded below on 6-28-20! 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!

What The Bruins Defensive Pairs Could Look Like In The 2020 Playoffs

( Photo Credit: Getty Images )

By: Lucas Pearson  |  Follow Me On Twitter @LucasPearson_

The Bruins have arguably the deepest defensive core in the entire league, and that can never be a bad thing. It’s going to be very intriguing to see how each defenseman comes back from all the time off and will be very telling on who gets the nod when playoffs begin. I just recently gave my opinion on the Bruins forward group, and here are my thoughts on the defense.

1st Pairing: Matt Grzelcyk – Charlie McAvoy

(Photo Credit: Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Starting out with a bit of a surprise, I really think the Bruins should keep the former Boston University pairing together. I talked a bit about it in my last article about how important speed is going to be in the upcoming playoffs, and here is exhibit A. Taking nothing away from the future first-ballot Hall of Famer that is Zdeno Chara, but he doesn’t have the legs he used to and I’m not sure how the time off will affect his game. Matt Grzelcyk should get a bulk of shifts with Charlie McAvoy.

He’s undersized, not very physical, and doesn’t put up crazy offensive numbers, but Matt Grzelyck may be the most underrated defensemen in the league. His importance to the Bruins is wildly understated, he just does everything right. The mobile defenseman always makes a good first pass and is excellent at the transition game.

The Charlestown native is an analytical darling. Among NHL defensemen with 40+ games, Gryz ranks third in even-strength goals per 60 minutes. He has a very solid 52.8 Corsi and 54.6 Fenwick. And did all of Grzelyck’s success halt in the playoffs? Nope. In last year’s playoff run, the 26-year-old totaled four goals and eight points. Despite being put in tough positions and starting in the Bruins’ end 53.4% of the time, Grzelyck still managed to post a 54.4 Corsi. It’s going to suck seeing him in Seattle…

Boston media was all over Charlie McAvoy at the beginning of the season. Pekka Rinne (yes the goalie) scored a goal before Chucky Mac did, but he was still playing good hockey. He’s constantly paired against his opponent’s top lines and has proven time and time again that he can take any task he’s assigned. McAvoy came to Boston as a teenager and averaged 26 MINUTES a game in the playoffs without a lick of NHL experience. He’s done a remarkable job against the likes of Steven Stamkos, Auston Matthews, and Nikita Kucherov in the playoffs and deserves to eat up as many minutes as Bruce Cassidy gives him.

2nd Pairing: Torey Krug – Brandon Carlo

(Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Yin and Yang. The pairing just works. On the left, you have one of the most dynamic offensive defensemen in the league. On the right, you have a 6’5 defensive specialist who’s grown into an incredibly reliable player on the back end for the Bruins. 

When I think of playoff Torey Krug I think of two things. The first being his 2013 run where he was plucked out of Providence and lit it up for the Bruins. Watching him against the Rangers was special. He displayed a crazy amount of poise and skill, scoring FOUR goals in five games. The subtle things are what stood out. Getting into open space, a little footwork before scoring are just a few examples. The second thing is this.

Brandon Carlo is a defenseman every team wishes they had. He reminds me of Niklas Hjalmarsson. He’s not a player that will light up the scoresheet (although his offensive output has been far more impressive as of late) but he’s so hard to beat one on one, he blocks everything that comes his way and is the type of guy you need to win a cup (see Hjalmarsson’s three Stanley Cups). The 2015 2nd rounder has become a great skater, and he’s finally using his size against opponents. And the craziest thing is he’s still just 23. 

3rd Pairing: Zdeno Chara – Jeremy Lauzon

NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 31: Jeremy Lauzon #79 of the Boston Bruins waits for a face off during an NHL hockey game against the New Jersey Devils on December 31, 2019 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Devils won 3-2 in a shootout. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
(Photo Credit: Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

I need to retcon a bit on having Grzelcyk on the first pairing. Maybe it’s a 30%-70% split, maybe it’s a 50%-50% split, but there are still circumstances where Chara needs to be with McAvoy because they are so effective in so many situations. In last year’s postseason, he had six times the amount of giveaways as takeaways and had a tough 46 Corsi, but he led the entire playoffs with a plus-11 rating and you can’t argue with the captain of a team that was a game (or a penalty call) away from winning the cup. He’s the ultimate competitor, not many people can break their jaw and play the next game. 

I had to deliberate a lot with the sixth man at the backend. Bruce Cassidy could go for experience and play John Moore (who I thought played very solid in the Cup), he could elect for someone to play on their strong side like Connor Clifton, or go with the “hot” hand (if you could call it that after all the time off) with Jeremy Lauzon, who I think should get the nod. 

Lauzon doesn’t have any playoff experience, but like we’ve seen with some of the aforementioned players, that may not be an issue. The French-Canadian has a whole lot of grit to his game, he already has two fights under his belt, one against the tough bastard that is Matthew Tkachuk, which is something you love to see from a young player. His style of play should mesh perfectly with the pace of typical playoff hockey.

Having John Moore, Connor Clifton, and even Steven Kampfer are huge luxuries to have and will all be big assets if Lauzon (or any others) look out of place. And of course, Tuukka Rask will be the starter, don’t need anyone to say otherwise.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 184 that we recorded below on 6-28-20! 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!

Three Bruins To Watch In The 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs

(Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara / USA Today Sports)

By Carrie Young | Follow me on Twitter @carrieyoung512

The National Hockey League is planning to hold the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs at some point this summer, though the exact dates are yet to be determined. The Boston Bruins hold the number one seed in the playoff bracket, having finished the shortened regular season as the President’s Trophy winners with a 44-14-12 record and 100 points. Finishing the season strong is no guarantee of success, however, especially with the new playoff format that the league has instituted this year. The Bruins will need both their stars and depth players to perform well in their quest for the Stanley Cup.

Which players should fans keep an eye on when the playoffs begin? There are the obvious choices: David Pastrnak, who shared this year’s Rocket Richard Trophy alongside Alex Ovechkin for the most goals scored in the regular season (48); Tuukka Rask, who has been one of the best goalies in the league for years but has yet to win the Stanley Cup as a starter; and dependable veterans like Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara. For this list, I chose players who are not quite so obvious but could still impact any potential playoff series.

Torey Krug

Torey Krug has been a mainstay on the Boston blue-line for years and is a top offensive defenseman in the league. He performed well during the Bruins’ run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2019, leading all players in playoff assists with 16. He scored 49 points 2019-20 regular season including 28 power play points.

This year, Krug is an unrestricted free agent. The Bruins are certainly interested in keeping him, but he could demand big bucks on the free agent market and there are other teams that would love to coax him away from Boston. A strong performance in the playoffs would be a cherry on top of an already impressive resume for the 5’9″ defenseman.

I think that Krug will be one to watch when the playoffs get underway. He is the power play quarterback for a Bruins team that was second in the league in power play goals and power play percentage this year. A strong man advantage is crucial to a deep playoff run, so Krug will need to keep it running smoothly (and get the puck to Pastrnak!) if the Bruins want redemption for last year’s Finals loss. A few big hits like the one on Robert Thomas in game one wouldn’t hurt, either.

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Ondrej Kase

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As a trade deadline acquisition meant to aid the team in the playoffs, Ondrej Kase is a player looking to turn heads. Unfortunately, he was never able to settle into his role on the team because the season was paused so soon after the trade deadline. If he can stay healthy and remain on David Krejci’s right wing, he could be an impact player when the playoffs begin.

The Bruins traded a 2020 first-round pick, David Backes (25% of salary retained), and prospect Axel Andersson to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Kase.

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Though Kase scored just 24 points in 55 games this season, he is only 24 years old and has the chance to play with a highly skilled center in David Krejci. If the Bruins’ second line can score consistently and take some of the pressure off the Pastrnak-Bergeron-Marchand top line, it would mean better chances for a deep playoff run.

One of the players that impressed me the most during the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs was Marcus Johansson, who fit right in on the Bruins third line with Charlie Coyle and Danton Heinen. That third line scored some huge goals and were definitely a factor in propelling the Bruins to the finals. This year, I think Ondrej Kase has similar potential. Fans of analytics already know that Kase is an impact player when given the opportunity. This is why I consider him to be a player to watch.

Brandon Carlo

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Brandon Carlo has been one of my favorite unsung heroes on the Bruins roster for a few years now. Beginning in his rookie year, his shutdown style and ability to move past mistakes have been impressive to watch. Bad luck and timing meant that Carlo was unable to participate in the playoffs for his first two years in the league: first he was concussed in the last game of the 2016-17 season, then he suffered a leg injury late in the 2017-18 season. 2019 was finally his chance to contribute in the playoffs. He played a strong defensive game and was second among all players in plus/minus (trailing only Zdeno Chara). I would argue that Carlo was a huge part of the Bruins’ success.

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This year, Carlo has the chance to do the same. 2019-20 was his best season yet in regards to points production, recording 19 points in 67 games. His game has matured and he has become a stronger and more physical player, which will translate well into playoff hockey. His shorthanded play is another asset. The Bruins were third in the league this year in penalty kill percentage (84.2). Carlo was ranked 13th in the entire league in shorthanded time on ice per game (second on the team behind Chara). As important as the power play is in the playoffs, so is the penalty kill. The combination of Chara and Carlo should help to keep the puck out of the net.

Boston is a well-rounded team, boasting superstar scorers, underrated analytics darlings, puck-moving defensemen, and shutdown blue-liners. They also have an elite goaltender as the last line of defense. This team should be fun to watch when the playoffs begin.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 178 that we recorded below on 5-10-20! 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!!

Best Bruins Moments Of The 2019-20 Regular Season

(Photo Credit: Charles Krupa / AP)

By: Bryan Murphy | Follow me on Twitter @bryan_murphy10

Playoff hockey is on the horizon, and with the Boston Bruins 2019-20 regular season concluded, there’s plenty to look forward to as the Bruins will make another run at the Stanley Cup.

But let’s not forget about everything that led up to the break. The Bruins were the best team in hockey and had so many great memories along the way to a President’s Trophy victory. A mix of highlight-reel plays and touching moments made up some of the best of the Bruins’ 2019-20 regular season.

Pastrnak Scores 4 Goals

All it took was six games into the season for David Pastrnak to make history.

Pastrnak and The Perfection Line roasted the Anaheim Ducks on Oct. 19, with Pastrnak tallying all four goals in a 4-2 win. He became the third player in Bruins’ history to score at least five hat tricks in the regular season before turning 24 years old, joining Barry Pederson and Cam Neely. 

Surprisingly, at that point, Pastrnak was the third player in the NHL to score four goals in a game this past season. Anthony Mantha and James Neal had already completed that feat in the first week. Nonetheless, Pastrnak’s four-goal game was certainly foreshadowing of the season he would have, as he was recently named co-winner of the Rocket Richard Trophy for the NHL’s leading goal scorer. 

Pastrnak Goes Between the Legs

What’s better than David Pastrnak highlights? More David Pastrnak highlights. 

Just over a week after his four-goal performance, Pastrnak was in the headlines again with his between-the-legs goal on Michael Hutchinson and the Maple Leafs. 

His 300th point in the NHL was an absolute beauty. With his back to Anderson, Pastrnak went full-finesse mode to beat Hutchinson between the legs. It’s the kind of goal players might practice but rarely use it in a game, let alone have it actually work. 

Chara Plays In His 1,500th Game

Zdeno Chara just keeps on churning on. 

The 43-year old captain played in his 1,500th career game on Nov. 5 against the Montreal Canadiens. And even the bitter rivals of the B’s couldn’t help but recognize the accomplishment of Big Z with a standing ovation at the Bell Centre. 

Chara is sixth on the all-time career games played list for defencemen and 15th out of all players. With 1,553 total games under his belt, he is 12 games shy of passing Nicklas Lidstrom to move into the top 5 of all-time for defencemen. 

The Bruins later would honor him with a ceremony in February at the Garden for his accomplishment. 

Rask Makes Potential Save of the Year

Talk about down and out. Evan Rodrigues of the Buffalo Sabres was staring at an empty net against the Bruins on Nov. 21. It looked like the Sabres were about to cut the score to 3-2 when all of a sudden, Tuukka Rask flashed his blocker hand and made the tremendous save. 

You could see Rask flexing his right hand afterwards, as he basically caught the puck with his right hand to prevent the goal. 

Rask’s sensational stop was voted 2nd as the NHL Fan Choice Award for Best Save of the Year, only behind Marc-Andre Fleury’s fantastic glove save on Nic Petan

Jake and Louie DeBrusk Share Heartwarming Moment

There’s not much more touching than a father-son moment of national TV. 

In his hometown of Edmonton, Jake DeBrusk and his father, Louie, shared a heartwarming moment on the ice before the Bruins and Oilers game on Feb. 19. Louie, a former professional hockey player himself, is now one of the main color broadcasters for Hockey Night in Canada and got the rare chance to interview his son. 

This moment also was a finalist for the NHL Fan Choice Award category of “Best Feel-Good Moment”, coming in third behind Bobby Ryan’s return and David Ayres EBUG win.

But seriously. “Thanks, Dad, love you.” What’s not to love more than that?

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 184 that we recorded below on 6-28-20! 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 Recognize Season Ticket Holder & Healthcare Heroes!

Bruins STH Heroes(Photo Credit: Boston Bruins)

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

The Boston Bruins organization is honoring faithful fans dedicated to not only the team, but also our health and safety during these unprecedented times.

 

Through their Season Ticket Holder (STH) Heroes initiative and the equally relevant Healthcare Heroes program, the B’s “are highlighting season ticket holders who have been directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic or are on the frontlines of the fight against the virus… [as well as] the care and compassion of countless [Bruins fans] in healthcare,” according to the team’s website and Twitter account.

As many of us have experienced firsthand be it through family, friends, fellow fans or even ourselves, the fight against COVID-19 has required ample amounts of sacrifice, dedication, perseverance and a mutual respect of each other’s well-being — echoing the recently-published posts (and ideals) of Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara as players and more importantly people.

Now with the team sharing positive and inspiring stories about Bruins supporters who simultaneously support everyone’s health and well-being with their tireless efforts and actions, the B’s are putting themselves in a position to succeed both on and off the ice when the season (hopefully) resumes mid-Summer.

Here’s an example of how the Bruins are tipping their caps online to each STH and Healthcare Hero right now:

Name: Amy Ginter / Occupation: Respiratory Therapist

STH since: 2017

Seats: Loge 8, Row 20, Seats 1-2

Favorite Player: Zdeno Chara – “I admire his skill, leadership qualities and record-fast slap shots! I can’t wait to see my Bruins in action again at the Garden.”

“Being a Registered Respiratory Therapist for 13 years has been an amazing experience. Respiratory Therapy, as an occupation, is not widely known or understood by the general population, but we are a key part of the bedside care team with nurses and doctors. Our responsibility is the patient’s airway, so we initiate and manage ventilators (life support) as well as other means of ventilatory support.

“COVID-19 has presented significant challenges that I have never witnessed before: new ventilation strategies, stringent PPE requirements, overwhelming numbers of patients who require intensive care, etc. The most difficult aspect has been witnessing family not able to be with their suffering and dying loved ones because they are in isolation and cannot have visitors. Respiratory Therapists and nurses are at the bedside for these patients for their last moments which has been profoundly sad.

“On a positive note, COVID-19 has brought forth a better understanding of the role that Respiratory Therapists play as part of the care team through recognition on social media and news outlets. This really means a lot to me, and I am proud of my profession and feel blessed to be a part of such an integral team. Yay Respiratory!

“Currently, I am a traveling Respiratory Therapist in Boston at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center on a COVID-19 crisis assignment.”

                                                                                                            –Boston Bruins Website

If you’d like a chance to be recognized, or to nominate someone as a Bruins “STH or Healthcare Hero,” I suggest tagging the @NHLBruins online or commenting on any of the team’s official posts. Like a David Pastrnak “Goal of the Year,” now is a great time to be celebrating some positive news when it comes to one of our passions — Bruins hockey!  

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Bruins, NHL Move Into Next “Phase” Of Return

Patrice Bergeron(Photo Credit: Boston Hockey Now)

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

The same week the Bruins won the Stanley Cup almost a decade ago in June now “bears” another marker worth remembering: hockey’s return having a tentative date!

Per the league’s official announcement on the B’s website, “the National Hockey League Player’s Association (NHLPA) and the National Hockey League (NHL) announced today that formal training camps (Phase 3) for the 24 teams resuming play will open on Friday, July 10th.”

That’s right, hockey could be back in under a month, Bruins fam (“provided that medical and safety conditions allow and the parties have reached an overall agreement on resuming play” to refer back to the official wording of the release).

Of course, we already had reason to celebrate the B’s this week when team leaders like Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand hit the Warrior Ice Arena to get their hockey legs (and timing) back after a long, but necessary, hiatus.

And talented members of our very own Black N’ Gold Hockey Blog have hit the books expertly breaking down how the new playoff format will work and which B’s could fill out a potential playoff roster… not to mention all the amazing activism Bruins players have taken part in “Beyond The Ice” recently.

So, even though “the length of training camp and, therefore, the START DATE for formal resumption of play (Phase 4) will be determined at a future date” as the official release reminds us, it’s still good to know the return of hockey is heading in the right direction.

And that our hunger for B’s hockey, just like David Pastrnak’s ever-growing trophy case, will soon be filled by actual, meaningful games with the ultimate trophy — The Stanley Cup — still well-within reach!  

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Which Bruins Will Fill Out The 28-Man Roster?

( Photo Credit: Michael Dwyer / Associated Press )

By: Bryan Murphy | Follow Me On Twitter @bryan_murphy10

With the NHL’s return to play approved with the 24-team playoffs voted in by the NHL and the NHLPA, that means playoff hockey is on the horizon. And as always, comes the opportunity for the infamous Black Aces to be called upon.

However, this season, the NHL has told general managers to prepare for a 28-man roster, which would allow teams to carry additional skaters and unlimited goaltenders. 

For a team like the Boston Bruins, who won the President’s trophy as best team in the regular season, this means adding more depth and giving some younger players the potential to practice and skate at an NHL level. 

The Locks

Whenever that first game of the resumed season finally kicks off, here’s a projection of what the lineup will look like for Boston.

Forwards

Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak

Jake DeBrusk – David Krejci – Ondrej Kase

Nick Ritchie – Charlie Coyle – Karson Kuhlman

Anders Bjork – Sean Kuraly – Chris Wagner

Defensemen

Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy

Torey Krug – Brandon Carlo

Matt Grzelcyk – Connor Clifton

Goalies

Tuukka Rask

Jaroslav Halak

Joakim Nordstrom or Par Lindholm will see time on the bottom lines and are expected to be on the roster. On the defensive side, John Moore would be my selection as the seventh defensemen. Those three would be the extras.

The Black Aces

So with 21 skaters selected above, that leaves seven open spots to fill out the 28-skater roster, in addition to however many goaltenders the Bruins want. The Black Aces group will be, in my opinion, five forwards and two additional defensemen. 

For the forwards, I see Anton Blidh, Brett Ritchie, Jack Studnicka, Trent Frederic and Paul Carey being called upon to fill out the roster. Ritchie has seen more NHL time than any other forward in Providence this season and should be slotted in the lineup if injuries occur to a wing position. Blidh was called up right before the season was suspended and could potentially fill in a role on the bottom line if nothing is clicking with the current forwards. 

Studnicka and Frederic provide relief at center, but shouldn’t see any time, barring any injuries, of course. Studnicka is coming off a fantastic AHL season and by next season, should be competing for a starting role night in and night out in Boston. But for now, he shouldn’t be thrown into the fire. 

Carey is on here because in my opinion, the guy deserves it. He took on the leadership role in Providence this season, helping groom the youth there that most likely will take a job in the NHL that Carey was hoping for. Similar to this whole group, he most likely won’t play in a game, but give the Weymouth guy a spot. 

If Cassidy wants to go younger, then Zach Senyshyn could replace either Ritchie or Carey. If Cassidy would rather have a left winger, Brendan Gaunce would be a fit, as well. 

On defense, Steven Kampfer and Jeremy Lauzon fill out the roster on the back end. Lauzon has made significant strides this season and gotten some increased NHL playing time. Kampfer has spent most of his time in Providence, but could be asked to answer the bell like he did last season in the NHL playoffs. 

Urho Vaakanainen may be taken over Kampfer. He’s in a similar spot as Studnicka, where he could make an impact if given the opportunity, but there’s no need to rush it. Vaakanainen is a better player than Kampfer, but Kampfer has the NHL postseason experience, so that’s why he gets the nod here.  

For the goalies, with the ability to bring as many goaltenders as you need, backing up Rask and Halak should for sure be Dan Vladar, who enjoyed a stellar season in Providence. 

But if the Bruins want to add a fourth goaltender – and I mean, why not if you can – it’s really a toss up between Kyle Keyser and Jeremy Swayman. Keyser has experience in the pros, but Swayman took home the Mike Richter Goalie of the Year award as the best goaltender in college hockey, and the Hockey East Player of the Year. A nightmare situation in the crease would have to occur for Cassidy to be turning to either of these two, but I think Swayman gets rewarded for his stellar season and will be on the playoff roster. 

So the Black Aces for the Bruins for this upcoming playoff would be: Anton Blidh, Paul Carey, Trent Frederic, Steven Kampfer, Jeremy Lauzon, Brett Ritchie and Jack Studnicka, in addition to adding Dan Vladar and Jeremy Swayman.

If all goes well and no injuries occur, there shouldn’t be any reason to believe any of the forwards would be utilized in these upcoming playoffs. Kampfer and Lauzon could slide in as the sixth or seventh defensemen instead of Moore or Clifton.

But the Bruins, as does the rest of the NHL playing in these upcoming series, now should not have to worry about bringing in players from the outside into the hub city once everything starts.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 182 that we recorded below on 6-7-20! 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!

Beyond The Ice | Boston Bruins Edition

Boston Bruins injury update: Zdeno Chara questionable to play in ...
(Photo Credits: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

By: Liz Rizzo | Follow me on Twitter @pastagrl88

As life slowly progresses to a “new normal” amidst all that has happened in recent months, the hockey community (more specifically members of the Bruins) have embraced the need for change. Others have continued their outreach to help those affected by Covid-19.

ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS

 “Silence is not an option for me anymore.”

Bruins center Patrice Bergeron released a rare statement reacting to the recent death of George Floyd, a American black man who died while being pinned down under the knee of a white Minneapolis police officer. Many in the hockey world showed solidarity by marching alongside those affected by the tragedy and Bergeron took to writing out his thoughts:

Boston Bruins fan letter: Happy Birthday Patrice Bergeron
(Photo Credits: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

“As many of you know, I don’t have social media. Right or wrong, I’ve often tried to stay away from making my opinions public. As hockey players, we have a tendency to do our business while staying quiet, without trying to make too much noise. It is in our culture. But surrounding the murder of George Floyd and the protests that followed, it made me realize that by not speaking up on the matter and not using my voice as a professional athlete, it’s in fact allowing racism to fester and continue…

“I realize that I will never truly understand the fear, pain and suffering the black community has endured. As a white man I have always tried to live by respect and equality, but I also acknowledge my privileges. I am disappointed in myself that it took this long for me to truly open my eyes. Seeing all this pain truly breaks my heart and forces me to seek answers.”

Bergeron and his family will be donating money to the Boston Chapter of the NAACP and to the Centre Multiethnique De Quebec-$25,000 each.

THE CAPTAIN

“I will never know what it’s like to walk down a street and feel unsafe. No one should have to experience that feeling.”

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Fans of the Boston Bruins and of any Boston sport can all agree that Captain Zdeno Chara embodies the characteristics of a bona fide leader. Whether its in the locker room or off the ice, Chara’s words and actions have resonated throughout the NHL. Politics aside and no longer wanting to be a bystander, the Captain took to social media a day after attending a local Black Lives Matter protest:

“For the last 13 days I have been sick about George Floyd’s murder. I have taken time to think and listen. Time to find bravery and time to try to find the right words, though I’ll admit I’m still struggling. First thing is first and let me be clear: I stand with the Black community. Black Lives Matter. There is no room in this world for racism. Period.

…we have to take better care of each other and respect each other. Equality must be a priority. Anything less is unacceptable.

I learned a lot yesterday and had good, honest conversations. Not only did we take steps in a walk but we made strides in learning and educating together. But it doesn’t stop there. I will continue to stand – and walk – with you. I have your back.”

RUN FOR CHARITY

While the country continues to deal with Covid-19, Bruins legend Ray Bourque changed up his annual Bourque Family 7.7k Road Race. Originally started in 2018, the Foundation is set up to help support important causes and help communiteis in need. While runners in the past have ran the unique course, this year’s race is virtual. It closed out this past weekend and proceeds from this year’s race will got to those affected by the virus.

For more information, click here.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 182 that we recorded below on 6-7-20! 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 D Kevan Miller Named Boston PHWA Chapter’s Nominee For Masterton

USATSI_11401330_kevan_miller

(Photo: Bob DeChiara / USA TODAY Sports)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

Boston Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller has been named the Boston Professional Hockey Writers Association (PWHA) chapter’s nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. The Masterton is annually awarded to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.

A player from all 31 franchises is nominated for the award each year, with the recipient being announced at the NHL Awards during the offseason. Here are all nominees for the 2019-20 season:

Miller has not skated in a game for the Bruins since April 2, 2019, where he suffered a broken right kneecap, which required surgery. The 32-year-old suffered a setback while trying to come back during the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, breaking his kneecap and having a procedure for the injury once again. The right-shot defenseman had spent the majority of the 2019-20 season rehabbing his knee before suffering another setback in March, which required a third surgery on his knee.

In April, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney ruled out the possibility that Miller suits up in a game for Boston this season, even with the added recovery time as when exactly games will resume is still a question. A native of Los Angeles, CA, Miller is slated to become an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of this season; however, Sweeney said that the team would explore options to re-sign the bruiser.

Boston signed Miller as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Vermont in 2011. Through 324 career NHL contests, the 6-foot-2, 210 pound blueliner has 12 goals and 55 assists for 77 points in addition to 261 penalty minutes and a plus-80 rating.

Boston captain Zdeno Chara was the team’s nominee last season. Former Bruins to have won the Masterton include: Phil Kessel (2006-07), Cam Neely (1993-94), Gord Kluzak (1989-90), and Charlie Simmer (1985-86).

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 181 that we recorded below on 5-30-20! 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!