Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
Chiarelli has slightly more than seven weeks (52 days) before the March 4 trade deadline to figure out some contingencies if neither Bergeron nor Sturm can make it back before the playoffs.
Five names to consider:
# Keith Tkachuk - The former Malden Catholic star, who will turn 37 March 28, still has a little bit of touch (14 goals and 27 points) in those meaty hands (now 514 career goals and counting). He is finishing up a two-year deal with the Blues, with a cap hit of $4 million, and certainly will be moved at the deadline with the Blues able to trim some $800,000 in cap exposure….
Jason Williams - A season lost in the ongoing train wreck in Atlanta. Not big (5-11/195), but can play both center and wing and is only 28 years old. Cap hit is $2.2 million….
more plus additional hockey topics…
from Fluto Shinzawa of Bruins Blog,
Patrice Bergeron, making his first public appearance since suffering a concussion on Dec. 20 against Carolina, spoke for approximately 15 minutes in the home dressing room at TD Banknorth Garden this morning.
“I’m very confident I’ll play this year,” said Bergeron. “It’s a matter of when. That’s why I don’t want to put on a date on it and get disappointed like I was last year in the playoffs. I’ve learned from that. So yes, I do think I’ll be back.”
Update 7:45pm ET (alanah): More on Bergeron from James Murphy at NHL.com. Murphy also told me that Bergeron looked much better and was in much better spirits than he expected.
Chris Neil vs. Shawn Thornton last night…
from Matt Kalman of the Bruins Blog,
A patch of adversity was inevitable for the Boston Bruins as a noreaster hitting the Hub this February and people complaining about the All-Star voting.
But the Boston Bruins’ two-game losing streak — their first in regulation of the season — isn’t all that important….
Until Thursday, the Bruins are in for some extra work with their coaches before, during and after practice Wednesday.
“First of all, you don’t panic,” head coach Claude Julien said about how he’ll handle his team’s current predicament. “I don’t think anybody thought we were going to be flying the way were flying for 82 games without going through some bumps and bruises.
“It’s a combination of a lot of things. … Eventually things catch up as well in certain areas. You’ve got four key players that are out of the line-up. You’ve got some top players right now that probably aren’t at the top of their games, so it doesn’t take much sometimes to slip a little bit. But you’ve just got to work your way through it.”
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
A lot of money remains on the sidelines these days for the Bruins. Marco Sturm, on the books for $3.5 million a year, will have knee surgery this week, the timeline unknown for his return. Patrice Bergeron’s cap number is $4.75 million, and he is now two-plus weeks beyond another concussion, his second in 14 months.
As of today, no one knows whether either will be back in uniform for the second half of the season, or the postseason.
What is Peter Chiarelli to do? Is the time at hand for the third-year general manager, with what amounts to $8.25 million in shopping money, to dress up his roster by adding a veteran free agent for what appears to be a legitimate run at a Cup?
Truth is, it’s not that easy. Chiarelli said yesterday that if it were determined, say, this week or next that neither Sturm nor Bergeron could make it back before the playoffs, bringing in another high salary now could prevent him from making moves around the March 4 trade deadline.
from Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the National Post,
It took some time, but Peter Chiarelli’s unconventional plan is finally starting to pay off.
When the Boston Bruins’ general manager acquired goaltender Manny Fernandez from Minnesota in July, 2007, he envisioned a goaltending tandem - Fernandez and Tim Thomas - that could lead his team to NHL supremacy.
Thomas set career bests in goals-against average (2.44) and save percentage last season - and the Bruins, eighth in the East, made the playoffs for the first time since the lockout - but a knee injury limited Fernandez to just four games.
This year, the goaltenders are making Chiarelli look like a genius.
from Tony Massarotti of the Boston Globe,
The Bruins are for real. The Bruins are loaded. The Bruins are deep, talented and extremely well-coached, and they are a legitimate threat to win—deep breath here—Le Coupe.
I mean, aren’t they?
Admit it: If you are like most Bostonians, the Bruins have had their place for a long time. They are No. 4. (This is the only similarity to Robert Gordon Orr.) Yet the simple, indisputable truth today is that Bruins are indeed No. 1, in more ways than one, meaning it is time for some of us to learn, once and for all, the true difference between a hockey puck and a Ring Ding.
from John Bishop of BostonBruins.com,
The 10-game run of victories is the Bruins longest such streak since a 10-game win streak from March 9-28, 1973. It is the longest such streak in the league this season and is tied for the fourth longest in team history behind streaks of 14, 13 and 11 games.
The Bruins also extended their home win streak to 14 games. It is their longest such streak since a 16-game home win streak from Jan. 10-Mar. 25, 1976. It is the longest such streak in the league this season and is the fifth longest in team history behind streaks of 20, 19, 16 and 15 games.
Not bad, but just don’t expect the Bruins to be talking about the victory on Friday.
“After every game…we’ve really turned the page,” said Julien. “[Friday], we’re going to start talking about Buffalo – we’re not going to be talking about Pittsburgh….”
The Vancouver Canucks placed Curtis Sanford on injury reserve Tuesday and listed the goaltender as week-to-week.
With star netminder Roberto Luongo (groin) still on the mend until at least the All-Star break, the Canucks acquired Jason LaBarbera from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for a 7th round pick in the 2009 NHL Entry draft.
Sanford suffered a groin injury in Tuesday’s morning skate but had hoped the injury would loosen up prior to the evening contest against the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Boston Bruins have placed forward Patrice Bergeron on injured reserve.
“His headaches are always better as we move on. But they’re still there,” Bruins coach Claude Julien told the Globe. “That’s the reality of it. He is feeling better, and certainly at a better rate than the first time it happened. It’s not even comparable. But the headaches are still there. They’re minimizing every day and hopefully, sooner or later, they’ll disappear.”
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
While the NHL doesn’t track time of possession, the Bruins’ offensive numbers indicate they have had the puck more this year than they did last season. By scoring five times last night, the Bruins jacked up their output to 3.65 goals per game, a Zdeno Chara-sized bump from the 2.51 goals they scored in 2007-08.
The Red Wings seemingly have mastered the art of puck possession. Their skilled defensemen retrieve pucks smoothly. They hit their on-the-fly forwards with outlet passes in center ice. The forwards carry the puck into the offensive zone with speed and swarm opposing netminders. Even when a play isn’t available for the Wings, they backtrack, regroup, and try to restart the flow.
The Bruins, in contrast, have featured a more lunchpail version of puck possession that, while missing the grace of Detroit’s game, has been just as effective in wearing down opponents.
“It’s not like we have the puck all the time,” Thomas said. “And it’s not like we want to regroup, set it up, and try again, which is Detroit’s tendency. That Russian influence.”
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.
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