Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mat Kalman at NHL.com,
Who will replace Jarome Iginla? -- Iginla was the new Nathan Horton. Now the Bruins need a new Iginla to skate with center David Krejci and left wing Milan Lucic. Among the Bruins' returning players, only Loui Eriksson and Smith seem to have the type of offensive skills it takes to play on the first line. Either player will give that line a different dynamic; Krejci is used to being surrounded by skill players with size and brute strength.
Eriksson figures to get the first chance to take that spot, barring a trade.
Can Loui Eriksson rebound? -- Bruins brass has faith the injury-plagued wing, who scored 37 points in 61 games last season and sustained two concussions, wasn't the player they're going to have this season and beyond.
"I think Loui Eriksson is a player that can be even better than he was last year," coach Claude Julien said. "I think we started seeing that at the end of the year, and he could be a replacement for Jarome as a possibility."
Eriksson had a strong last couple months of last season, especially when Carl Soderberg was switched to center and Chris Kelly moved to left wing. If Eriksson doesn't win the job with Lucic and Krejci, maybe the Swede plays with center Patrice Bergeron and left wing Brad Marchand, or maybe goes back to the bottom six.
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
The Bruins are in a jam. They have approximately $69 million committed toward 2014-15. This includes Marc Savard’s $4,027,143 annual cap hit and roughly $4.75 million in overage penalties (bonuses achieved last year by Jarome Iginla, Torey Krug, and Dougie Hamilton) they must apply toward their number.
By opening night, they will use the long-term injury exception on Savard to exceed the cap by his average annual value. But even when accounting for that deletion, the Bruins have little breathing room to re-sign Krug and Reilly Smith.
It would be possible to re-up Krug and Smith without moving salary; it would not be preferable. Management would have close to zero roster flexibility to trade or sign players or carry extra bodies.
A trade, therefore, is coming.
The Bruins have excess on defense. General manager Peter Chiarelli has repeatedly classified nine defensemen as contenders for jobs when training camp opens Sept. 18. David Warsofsky, one of the nine, can be assigned to Providence without clearing waivers. But that leaves eight still in varsity play, which is one more than the Bruins usually carry.
Locks to stay are Hamilton, Krug, and Zdeno Chara. The captain is one of the team’s three most important players. Hamilton is developing into a top-four fixture. Krug is the power-play specialist.
Dennis Seidenberg is coming off major knee surgery. He also has a no-trade clause.
The four remaining defensemen are Johnny Boychuk, Matt Bartkowski, Adam McQuaid, and Kevan Miller. McQuaid, who is entering the final year of his contract, is a known commodity as a nasty and experienced defensive defenseman. But he does not have a good health history.
from Steve Conroy of the Boston Herald,
Long summers are not what a hockey player wants. It means that he fell far short of every player’s goal of winning the Stanley Cup.
But goalie Tuukka Rask, speaking at Shawn Thornton’s charity golf tournament on Monday, is taking the long sabbatical for what it’s worth.
“It’s been a little different,” Rask said of the extended vacation, “but every once in a while I guess it’s good to refocus and reload the batteries. We’re still over a month away (training camp starts Sept. 18) and it feels like we’re ready to go already.”...
But if Rask is stewing over the loss to Montreal, he hides it well.
“You can’t just sit around and think about the past,” Rask said. “You have to focus on what’s ahead of you. But things happen quick and it’s just hockey. I don’t like to think about it too much. You’ve seen so many times that everything just needs to click in order to reach that ultimate goal and last year, it just wasn’t our year. You look at the Kings, who won it, and I think every series went seven games (three out of four series, actually). And you need some luck, too. So many things need to happen right and last year wasn’t our year.”
from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE,
A source with knowledge of Krug’s negotiations told CSNNE.com that there’s been a sizeable offer made for the defenseman’s services by an unidentified KHL team. The offer, according to the source, included a good chunk of money up front as a signing bonus.
When contacted by CSNNE.com, Krug’s agent, Lewis Gross, wouldn’t confirm, or deny, that the KHL offer existed, and instead offered an apologetic “no comment.”
The KHL offer is certainly plausible given Krug’s high profile after finishing fourth in Calder Trophy voting, and could be part of the KHL’s ongoing determination to cherry pick disgruntled NHL players for the Russian Hockey League. It also wouldn’t be unprecedented this summer as former B’s forward Vladimir Sobotka bolted St. Louis for the KHL after becoming unhappy when the Blues offered him arbitration rather than a big money multi-year deal.
It’s highly, highly unlikely Krug would eschew both the NHL and the Bruins to hop in bed with a volatile KHL outfit that hasn’t always turned out to be the greatest fit for American-born hockey players. Krug doesn't really fit the profile of NHL players that bolt for Russia.
It may be, however, the one very long shot option for Krug if negotiations don’t turn out well between his camp and the current B’s front office that has always treated their players fairly in the past when given the chance.
from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE,
All is quiet with Torey Krug and the Boston Bruins. That’s probably exactly the way the Boston front office has mapped it out.
Due to the interesting circumstances behind their first pro contracts, neither Krug nor Reilly Smith have full restricted free-agent rights; instead, they're entry-level restricted free agents. Both Krug and Smith got that designation after burning the first year of their entry-level deals coming out of the NCAA, and currently have just two years of service time in pro hockey.
They can’t sign any offer sheets this summer, can’t move to any other teams, don’t have any arbitration rights and are fully under the power of a salary cap-strapped Bruins team while waiting for new bridge-type contracts....
It was believed initially that both Krug and Smith could be looking at second contracts in the Ondrej Palat/Tyler Johnson range of 3 years/$10 million. Now that won’t be happening this summer, given their service-time status.
It’s much more likely that Krug and Smith will be steered into signing one- or two-year deals in the $1 million-2 million AAV (average annual value) range that are friendly to the organization. That’s clearly a positive development for Peter Chiarelli and the Bruins, but isn’t so great for exciting young players in Krug and Smith after breakout NHL campaigns in 2013-14.
read on for more on Krug...
from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE,
Canadiens center Tomas Plekanec isn’t very well-liked or well-respected within the B’s dressing room, and a national hockey audience got a taste of why when he repeatedly snapped his head back in embellishment during phantom high stick encounters against the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Finals. The blatant play-acting even spawned the hash tag #Plekanecing on twitter where fans snapped selfies in mock pain and head-snapping embellishment.
During the 2014 Phoenix House Champs for Change dinner in Halifax, Marchand was asked by AHL President Dave Andrews during a panel discussion which NHL player irritates him the most. Surely it’s a long list with an agitator like Marchand, but there wasn’t much hesitation in his answer (YouTube video).
“There are a few guys out there that really irritate,” said Marchand, who it should be noted has authored his own adventures in embellishment over the years. “Tomas Plekanec from Montreal…I hate him. I can’t stand him. No, I probably shouldn’t say that. I dislike him very much. Now somebody is going to call and get mad at me tomorrow.”
from Luke Winkie of Extra Mustard at Sports Illustrated,
MIKE HAYNES, Colorado Avalanche
Listen to how excited this grown man gets when a player on the Colorado Avalanche beats up a player on the Chicago Blackhawks. I mean, it's Doug Gilmour so I get it BUT STIILL. I don’t know much about Mike Haynes, but what I do know is that he shouted “HOW YOU LIKE THEM APPLES” to an opposing hockey team. That will live on forever.
JACK EDWARDS, Boston Bruins
Look, we don’t want to harp on Boston too much, but it’s really hard to write a list about homer broadcasters without returning to Beantown fairly regularly. I love Jack Edwards, he’s got that old stony voice that tends to elevate the viciousness of hockey, and I love that he wages all-out verbal warfare against the Canadiens every time they play the Bruins. It's fairly clear that Jack Edwards likely has never met a French-Canadian he didn’t want to punch in the face.
read on for a video on each plus other non-hockey homer announcers....
thanks to Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated for the pointer
Boston, MA - The Boston Bruins announced today, July 24, that the club has hired Joe Sacco as Assistant Coach.
A native of Medford, MA, Sacco spent the 2013-14 season as an Assistant Coach for the Buffalo Sabres. Prior to that position, the former NHL forward served as the Head Coach of the Colorado Avalanche (2009-13) where he compiled a 130-134-40 record and was a Jack Adams finalist in 2010.
Sacco served two years as an Assistant Coach in the AHL (American Hockey League) for the Lowell Lock Monsters (2004-05) and the Albany River Rats (2006-07) before becoming a head coach for the Lake Erie Monsters (2007-09).
from Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe,
... Still, nine is too many. Seidenberg is healthy, and so is the injury-prone McQuaid. Miller will be fighting to retain his spot, as will Bartkowski and McQuaid. And Warsofsky, whose skills and size are a duplicate of Krug’s, is likely No. 9 in the field, but will be trying to prove himself.
“I think David’s ready to play in the NHL,” said Providence coach Bruce Cassidy. “Could he beat out eight guys in Boston? I don’t know. That’s a pretty good lineup, right? So a good problem for Boston to have, tough for David. But I’ve always felt if you’re good enough and you’re ready and you go up and prove it, they’ll make room for you.”
That could provide some good competition in camp — if Chiarelli lets it get that far.
Despite the GM emphasizing that he wants to keep his core together, Boychuk ($3.366 cap hit) is a free agent after this upcoming season and could command a deal approaching that of new Washington Capital Brooks Orpik (five years, $27.5 million) on the open market. Boychuk would bring more return and more cap relief than other options. Chiarelli also has already shown a willingness to deal Bartkowski ($1.25 million), who was headed to Calgary at the 2013 trade deadline before the deal was nixed by Jarome Iginla.
The Bruins need to continue showing they’re the tough, experienced, puck-possession team to beat in a wide open East or the current band may not be together that much longer.
-Joe Haggerty of CSNNE on the Boston Bruins. Read more to find out what choices the Bruins may be forced to make.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org