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Category: Boston-Bruins

Afternoon Line- Derek Sanderson

“Stay healthy if you can, because being 74 really, really sucks.”

-Derek Sanderson, retired NHL player.  Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe has more on Sanderson and other topics.

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Window Closed In Boston?

from Matt Porter of the Boston Globe,

In this space, we believe in the fickle bounces of the frozen biscuit, which is to say that anything can happen in this sport.

The Bruins could ride a rejuvenated Tuukka Rask and a duck boat’s worth of lucky goals to the Stanley Cup in 2021. Hope springs eternal. You never know.

But as team president Cam Neely acknowledged this past week, this is a gut-check offseason for the local hockey club. He knows the work of the weeks ahead, before the draft (Oct. 6 and 7) and the opening of free agency (Oct. 9), involves taking “a hard look at our roster and our organization and [seeing] where we should be going for this next year or two.”///

Offer sheets are rare as is, and the Bruins, bleeding draft picks for several seasons as they try to remain elite, would not be a candidate to use that tool on a restricted free agent such as Pierre-Luc Dubois, Anthony Mantha or Tyler Bertuzzi.

more plus other topicx like this...

One of the damning playoff numbers from an analytics perspective: minus-10.96, which was the Bruins' rate of expected goals against actual goals they scored at five on five. Some teams outscore their expected goals numbers. The Islanders and Lightning have. The Stars and Golden Knights have not. Of the 24 teams involved in the restart, one team scored less against expectation than the Bruins. That would be Vegas, which has created more, finished more, and gotten more saves, and has little issue getting pucks and bodies to the net.

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Bruce Cassidy Wins The Jack Adams Award

EDMONTON (Sept. 9, 2020) – Bruce Cassidy of the Boston Bruins is the 2019-20 recipient of the Jack Adams Award as "the NHL coach adjudged to have contributed the most to his team's success," as selected by the NHL Broadcasters’ Association.

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The Future Of Zdeno Chara In Boston

from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,

Less than a week after the Bruins closed up shop for 2019-20, all we know for sure is that free agent Zdeno Chara, their 43-year-old captain, would like another kick at the can.

“I want to be a Boston Bruin,” Big Z proclaimed to one and all on Thursday, placing the negotiating puck squarely on GM Don Sweeney’s desk.

What we don’t know is whether Sweeney cares to extend Chara that opportunity, particularly if he wants to make a bold play and offer, say, St. Louis free agent Alex Pietrangelo huge dough to be the next franchise defenseman hitched to the Bobby Orr-Brad Park-Ray Bourque-Chara legacy train.

We get lost in a lot of discussions around here, but that has been one incredible, unparalleled string of backline dominance. Orr, Park, and Bourque all have been inducted in the Hall of Fame. Chara’s plaque is at the Yonge Street pickup window. The continuum, dating to Orr’s arrival in Boston in 1966, was interrupted only by the six years between Bourque leaving in the spring of 2000 until Chara was hired on in the summer of ’06.

continued plus more hockey topics...

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Morning Line- Don Brennan On Zdeno Chara

Chara, at 6-foot-9 the tallest player in league history, is also currently the oldest at 43. On Monday, his Bruins were eliminated from the playoffs by the Lightning in double-overtime of Game 5, after which he said he would be “open-minded” while contemplating his future.

The next announcement coming from “Big Z” should be his retirement … unless he has a real desire to unseat the great Gordie Howe as the career games played king.

-Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun where you can read more on this topic.

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The Season Is Over In Boston

from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,

All done in Bubbledom.

The Bruins ended their longest season Monday night in Toronto with a 3-2 double OT loss to Tampa Bay, the Lightning clinching their Round 2 playoff series, 4 games to 1.

The end came at 14:10 of the second overtime when Victor Hedman snapped home a short-range wrister with Patrick Maroon setting a screen in front of Jaro Halak.

Thus ended Boston’s hopes of winning the franchise’s seventh Stanley Cup. It ended a season that began Oct. 3, 2019 in Dallas and ended Aug. 31, some 11 months later, amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that interrupted the season for some five months.

“We prepared. We worked. And these things have to work out perfect to win,” said veteran winger Brad Maerchand. “Everything has to go your way — the calls, the bounces. Everyrone needs to play their best all the way through and it’s tough to look back and say ’What if …’ ”

continued

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Video- Nick Ritchie Five For Boarding Yanni Gourde

Further discipline coming?

 

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  Tags: nick+ritchie

A Goalie Decision For The Boston Bruins Tonight

from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,

The Bruins and Lightning are tied, 1-1, through two games of the Eastern Conference semifinals, but that’s just the math.

The reality, after the Bolts’ 4-3 overtime win Tuesday night, is that the Lightning are heavier and faster than the Bruins, and their franchise goalie, Andrei Vasilevskiy, spent an easy night on the front-porch rocking chair in Game 2, facing only 25 shots.

Now Boston coach Bruce Cassidy has to decide whether to come back with backup-made-starter Jaroslav Halak with less than 24 hours of rest, or hand Game 3 to Dan Vladar for the 23-year-old Czech goaltender to make his NHL debut. No pressure there, right?...

Seconds before the winning strike by Ondrej Palat — on a sequence that included more Boston breakdowns than the old Central Artery at rush hour — Halak failed to glove a shot that whizzed by just wide of the right post. Seconds later, the puck squibbed from left to right through the slot and the onrushing Palat knocked it inside the right post from short range.

A different ending, a Boston win, virtually would have guaranteed Vladar being in there for Game 3 and asked to shepherd a 2-0 series lead. Now Cassidy has to make a decision, one all the harder with the Lightning playing with more pluck, more pace, more confidence, and the Five Hour Energy boost that comes from an OT win. Dan Vladar, Boston’s new Bobby Sprowl. Maybe.

read on

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Halak Or Bust

from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,

Now, will this less-is-more approach bode well for the Bruins now in the Round 1 afterlife? Here’s a bulletin: It all hinges on Jaroslav Halak. Shocker there, huh?

Pressed into No. 1 duty when Rask went rogue, Halak faced 99 shots over three games and turned back all but five, for a robust .949 save percentage and a 1.67 goals-against average. Magnificent numbers.

For a guy who hadn’t logged a real playoff game since 2015 (with Islanders), the 5-foot-11-inch Slovak stopper was immense. Had the Hurricanes been able to wring out similar from their Petr Mrazek-James Reimer tandem, this space instead would be devoted to key story lines headed into Game 6 on Thursday night.

Instead, the Hurricanes are toast, yet again, and the Bruins stand four wins from advancing to Edmonton for the Eastern Conference finals.

Halak, 35, is now 16-16 lifetime in the playoffs. His best run in the postseason was a 9-9 stint with the Canadiens 10 years ago. A decade later, no one should be expecting him to steal a series. He has to be at least OK, and everyone has to be better. He was less than average in Game 4, falling into a 2-0 deficit because he allowed a couple of softies to beat him to the glove side. Everyone else was better.

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Tuukka Rask May Have Played His Last Game For The Boston Bruins

from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,

“There are things more important than hockey in my life,” he said, as relayed through the club’s media release issued late in the morning, “and that is being with my family.”

It was nearly verbatim what he said in November 2018 when GM Don Sweeney granted him a leave of absence, thrusting the netminding duties that weekend entirely in the hands of Jaroslav Halak, the same guy who was tossed the car keys Saturday.

What we have here is Déjà vu Tuukka. Not good.

In 2018, Rask returned three days later, noting it was time he needed to spend away, do right by his family, and he plugged seamlessly back into the job and led the Bruins to within one win of capturing the Cup last spring.

“This was a time that, deep inside my heart,” Rask said upon returning from his brief LOA, “I felt like I needed to take time to be with my family and make things right, so I can be back here and focus on my job.”

Look, we don’t really know what’s going on here, because whatever the state of Rask’s family dynamics, whatever influence they have on his mindset for the job, that’s his business.

What we do know with absolute certainty, though, is that Rask now twice has proven he is unable to balance being both family man and franchise goalie. That’s trouble. That’s no way to run a hockey team, never mind try to survive four grueling rounds of postseason play and capture what would be the franchise’s seventh Stanley Cup in its near century of existence.

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

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