Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
David Backes had a bridge to sell. The Bruins were in the market.
With five years and $30 million as bait, general manager Don Sweeney reeled in Backes on Friday, officially making him the Blues’ former captain.
Part of Sweeney’s job is to procure reinforcements to complement Patrice Bergeron, Tuukka Rask, David Krejci, Brad Marchand, and Zdeno Chara, his primary strongmen, until their successors are ready to execute their share of grunt work. Backes is another piece for Sweeney to insert while he waits for Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Zach Senyshyn, and Jake DeBrusk, among others, to spit out their pacifiers and replace them with mouthguards.
The trouble with bridges, though, is they tend to be long, expensive, and subject to wear and tear.
Backes is 32, older than every member of his new core group except for the 39-year-old Chara.
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
I think members of the Hockey Hall of Fame voting committee sat around, pondered all their choices for the Class of ’16, and in the true spirit of 21st century media, decided to go full click bait on us.
Meet the new class of the HHOF: the one without Mark Recchi.
This is where the click-bait masters would show the pictures of those admitted to the Hall on Monday: Eric Lindros, Sergei Makarov, Rogie Vachon, and Pat Quinn. And right next to them, the silhouette of the unchosen Recchi, with the big bold question mark floating over his head.
Recchi, now five years into retirement, his last of three Stanley Cups fresh in hand as he left Boston, should have been ushered through the FastPass door. But the Hall is not Disney World, and Recchi will have to wait another day to be granted entrance. Hopefully, he won’t have to wait more than 365 days.
from Stephen Harris of the Boston Herald,
General manager Don Sweeney and president Cam Neely passionately want their team to play the fast, up-tempo, stretch-the-ice hockey we saw from the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins.
But wanting to play that way, and having the players to do so, are two different matters. If you ain’t got the legs and the quickness and the skill, brother, it’s not going to work.
The biggest impediment in the Bruins’ transition to the up-tempo style of play is the presence of four decidedly down-tempo defensemen in Zdeno Chara, Dennis Seidenberg, Adam McQuaid and Kevan Miller.
There can be no fast-break attack unless there are blueliners making quick breakout passes and/or quickly skating the puck up themselves.
So here Sweeney is, little over 13 months since taking over the team, continuing his efforts to reinvent the Bruins. He faces a daunting challenge.
from Christopher L. Gasper of the Boston Globe,
The “Twilight” saga featured a blood feud between vampires and werewolves, two staples of horror canon. Watching Thornton or Kessel lift Lord Stanley’s hardware qualifies as a horror film of sorts for Hub hockey fans. It’s a reminder of what has contributed to the Bruins’ current rudderless state — squandering valuable assets.
While the Bruins are selling their fan base on the merits of re-signing ordinary people such as Kevan Miller, two of their former phenoms are fighting for the Stanley Cup.
This is already a spring of discontent as the Bruins are playoff bystanders for the second consecutive year. Adding insult to playoff inactivity is the fact that one of these erstwhile Bruins, both traded away in their primes, is going to have their career validated with a Cup. One of them is going to have as many Stanley Cups to his name as Patrice Bergeron. Fighting in hockey is flagging, but this is a punch in the teeth for the Spoked-Believers and the Jacobs clan.
This is the first Stanley Cup Final appearance for Thornton or Kessel, top-five picks who have piled up points and criticism during their careers.
The parallel between the Team Edward (vampire) and Team Jacob (werewolf) showdown in the “Twilight” movies applies shockingly well here.
BOSTON, MA – Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney announced today, May 24, that the team has signed defenseman Kevan Miller to a four-year contract extension through the 2019-20 season at an NHL cap figure of $2.5 million per year. The Bruins have also signed forward Seth Griffith to a one-year, two-way contract through the 2016-17 season at an NHL cap figure of $625,000 per year.
In his third season with Boston, Miller competed in a career-high 71 games and also established career highs in goals (five), assists (13), points (18) and penalty minutes (53). He posted the second-best plus/minus rating on the team (+15). Miller played in his 100th NHL game on November 5, 2015 at Washington.
from the NHLPA,
Colton Orr has announced his retirement today from the National Hockey League (NHL), following nine NHL seasons and a 13-year professional hockey playing career.
“I feel privileged to have played for a decade in the NHL and to have had the support of four great organizations in Boston, New York, Toronto and Calgary. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to play with great teammates and against great players, many of whom have become great friends. It has been an amazing journey that would not have been anywhere near as fulfilling as it was without the love and support of fans, friends, agents, GMs, coaches and family,” said Colton Orr.
from Bill Burt of the Eagle Tribune,
The Bruins appeared to be one step ahead of the gritty and talented Chicago Blackhawks, who had won a Cup three years earlier and were arguably the best of the talented Western Conference.
The Bruins appeared to be possibly melding into ... well ... the New England Patriots.
They were young. They were tough. They were smart. They could win 1-0 and they could win 8-7. They were well-managed. They were well-coached. And, for the first time since Bobby Orr floated through the air in 1970, they appeared to be “championship driven.”
Jeremy Jacobs, who had owned the franchise since August of 1975, was in uncharted waters.
For the first time in nearly four decades, he was almost adored. Almost....
The Bruins we have learned are pretenders, with most of that great, young talent we saw in 2013, gone.
Other than five or so players, this franchise looks like it’s in big trouble immediately going forward.
They are a team that reflects its management and ownership.
Who is going to fire them?
thanks to a KK reader for the pointer
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
The Bruins on Wednesday held their second end-of-season press conference in less than a week, with ownership more firmly standing behind Cam Neely as president and Don Sweeney as general manager. It’s their team to fix and make ready for 2016-17.
Otherwise, the briefing amounted to status quo for a club that missed the playoffs for a second straight season. Claude Julien, as announced last week, will return as coach, and the Neely-Sweeney partnership will look for ways to upgrade a roster that again melted into the ice surface at the tail end of the season.
According to Neely, the three areas of greatest need for the roster are: 1. defense; 2. right wing; 3. backup goalie. None of which is a surprise, particularly on the back end, where the Bruins traded free agent Dougie Hamilton last summer without sufficiently stocking the blue line corps with NHL-ready talent....
Ownership, represented by Jeremy Jacobs and son Charlie Jacobs, made clear its feeling that the club continues to suffer for the financial dealings of former general manager Peter Chiarelli. Without naming Chiarelli specifically, the Jacobses noted that some of the player contracts Chiarelli negotiated hamstrung the organization and played a part in the club’s failures the last two seasons.
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
We finally learned on Thursday, five days after the season ended, what Bruins management thinks went wrong in 2015-16. In somber, sometimes funereal tones, general manager Don Sweeney explained how a bad start, a worse finish, and spotty roster talent produced a second consecutive postseason DNQ. When I left the Garden after the news conference, I felt like I needed to sign a book of condolence, shake a grieving spouse’s hand.
Instead, I paid my $28 for 3-4 hours of parking and drove home, somewhat bewildered by it all, much like I felt many nights during the season.
How will Sweeney fix it? He’s not sure. He was key in creating the mess at hand, a rookie GM handed the keys just a year ago, and it stands to reason he doesn’t yet have all the answers. But he needs to find them, and quickly, or this time next year he’ll have to explain the club’s first three straight DNQs in the post-Bobby Orr era, and probably do so while handing the keys to a new GM....
Sweeney’s charge now is to add to the team’s talent. If amid that search he overlooks heart, what this year’s team lacked most, he’ll be right back where he was Thursday, ignoring the obvious, or unwilling to say it.
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.
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