Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
And just like that, the picture changed for a pair of Eastern Conference contenders Wednesday with the news the Pittsburgh Penguins had lost their top minute man and the Boston Bruins their top offensive weapon.
But just how badly will the injuries to Pens defenseman Sergei Gonchar (broken wrist) and Bruins center Marc Savard (broken foot), both out four to six weeks, affect each club?
Let’s start with the Penguins. After all, they are the Stanley Cup champions.
Yes, we all know how badly they missed Gonchar last season when the All-Star blueliner missed the first 56 games of the season. They were basically a .500 team and on the playoff bubble. He later returned and the Penguins went on a tear all the way to the Promised Land.
I’m not discounting what the 35-year-old defenseman brings to this team. He’s their best defenseman, their top puck-mover, the key to their transition game, their best defensive shut-down guy, and, of course, their power-play quarterback. But I believe Kris Letang and Alex Goligoski are better equipped to handle some of that load than they were when Gonchar went down in September 2008.
BOSTON, MA - Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced today that the club has placed forward Marc Savard on long term injured reserve (broken left foot) and has recalled forward Trent Whitfield from Providence on an emergency basis.
Savard is expected to miss four to six weeks with the injury. He has led the Bruins in scoring each of the last three years and currently leads the team in scoring this year, with 4-3=7 totals in seven games. In 2008-09, Savard played in all 82 games with a 25-63=88 line
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
The three ramifications: it puts every Bruin on notice that their early season malaise has consequences; it clears Kobasew’s $2.33 million hit off the cap this year and next, creating space either for an immediate deal to bolster the sagging blue line or possibly to extend center Marc Savard; and it gives Claude Julien a chance to juice the roster with a couple of hungry minor leaguers in Brad Marchand, Vlad Sobotka and Guillaume Lefebvre, all of whom were called up from Providence. It’s not a shot at Kobasew’s effort to suggest that this deal was all about addition by subtraction for the Bruins.
And maybe that’s all it was. But it wouldn’t be a surprise to hear that his former teammates will be rooting for Kobasew to provide a big boost to the Wild. At least enough of a lift to keep 29th-ranked Minnesota ahead of the last place Toronto Maple Leafs…the team whose first-round pick the Bruins own this summer.
via Neil Keefe of NESN,
Milan Lucic will have to wait a little longer to make good on the three-year contract extension he recently signed. The Bruins placed Lucic on long-term injured reserve with a broken finger on Sunday and recalled forwards Guillaume Lefebvre, Brad Marchand and Vladimir Sobotka from the Providence Bruins.
from Michael Russo of Russo’s Rants,
The Wild has traded Craig Weller, a second-round pick and the rights to Alex Fallstrom to the Boston Bruins for forward Chuck Kobasew.
from Joe Haggerty of the Big Bad Blog at WEEI,
“We haven’t played Bruins hockey, and played the way that this team has grown its identity over the last couple of years,” said Mark Recchi. “We have to get back to it and realize how hard it is. Get our focus back. I really believe it’s not that far away. This is a little bit of a wake up call, and this isn’t a bad time to go through this.”
With that in mind, here are three things the Bruins can do turn things around just five games into their 82-game schedule:
1. Will the real Looch please stand up — The bruising 21-year-old winger might have been in too much of a light-hearted mood after becoming the B’s newest millionaire several weeks ago, and by his own admission lost some of his surliness over the last few games.
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
All we know for sure right now about the Bruins is that something isn’t right. In fact, a lot is not right.
They’re engaged, but only sometimes. They hit, but not nearly enough. They think, but their thoughts wander to risky places even AIG workers wouldn’t dare go. There is nothing at all special about their special teams, which yesterday went a listless 0 for 5 on the power play and killed only one of three shorthanded situations.
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
Geez, talk about getting ahead of the curve. The Bruins lost only six times on Garden ice last season, their best record on Causeway Street in a quarter-century, en route to finishing first in the Eastern Conference and winning back a lot of lost love in the Hub of Hockey.
Don’t ask. Don’t tell. Don’t look.
For the second time in three home games, the Bruins last night rolled out their “D’’ game, looking mostly “dull,’’ quite often “disinterested,’’ sometimes almost comically “discombobulated’’ in an embarrassing 6-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks.
from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
More people probably raised eyebrows at the fact that a player who scores, on average, one goal every four-plus games somehow merited an almost 500 percent raise. (Sure the guy brings intangibles, but geez, $4 million worth of intangibles?)
It’s amazing this contract passed the desk of notorious skin-flint and ownership hawk Jeremy Jacobs. Because, what the Bruins did, in effect, was help Lucic have a little more resolve if there is another lockout.
That’s because the $1 million bonus is due to be paid July 1, 2012. For those of you not keeping score, that could very well be a couple of months before another labor disruption. The current collective bargaining agreement expires after the 2011-12 season, but the players have the option of extending it for another year, which means it could very well come to an end after that season.
So if the owners lock the players out the way they did in 2004, Lucic will at least have $1 million in his pocket to get him through the lean times. You have to think the NHL isn’t crazy about teams giving their players lockout protection.
BOSTON, MA - Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced today that the club has signed forward Milan Lucic to a three-year contract extension through the 2012-13 NHL season. Per club policy, financial terms of the deal will not be disclosed.
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