Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Dominik Luszczyszyn of The Hockey News,
If there was a consensus “least favourite player” in the league among fans, it’d probably be Brad Marchand. Considering all the dirty and sometimes reckless plays the Bruins left winger has administered over the years, it’s a pretty deserved reputation too.
Fans always remember the bad stuff, and it’s because of that they forget just how good Marchand actually is. This season he’s reached another level, one that even THN web editor Ian Denomme didn’t realize.
“Holy s–––, Brad Marchand is on pace for 42 goals. That’s insane,” was his immediate reaction when this story was pitched. After coming up short in a 2-1 Bruins win on Tuesday that pace has actually dropped to 41, but the point still stands: Marchand – who doesn’t have a 30 goal season to his name – might actually hit 40 this year. (And he’d probably have a better chance too if it wasn’t for this dumb play in late December that earned him a three game suspension).
Marchand is currently fifth in the league with 28 goals in 52 games. The torrid pace is thanks in part to his current hot streak where he’s scored 13 goals in 14 games, vaulting him up the leaderboards. Even more impressive is that Marchand averages just 18:32 of ice-time per game, while everyone above him gets at least an extra minute per game, not to mention more powerplay time, too. In terms of efficiency, Marchand is second only to Alex Ovechkin among the league’s Top 10 goal scoring leaders at 1.8 goals per 60 minutes.
BOSTON, MA – The Boston Bruins issued the following update on goaltender Malcolm Subban, who sustained a fractured larynx after being struck in the throat with a puck on Saturday, February 6 during the Providence Bruins game against the Portland Pirates in Portland, ME:
"Malcolm underwent successful surgery on February 8 at Mass Eye & Ear Hospital in Boston to repair his larynx fracture. He is doing well and has been released from the hospital. While there is no definitive timetable for his return at this time, he is expected to be out a minimum of eight weeks."
The Boston Bruins played this tribute to Lucic last night.
The LA Kings defeated the Bruins 9-2.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Milan Lucic is a bear of man. Everything about him is oversized, from his 6-foot-3, 228-pound frame and the force of his personality to the way he plays hockey – mean and on the edge.
Some NHL players just fill space in a dressing room. When Lucic walks in, he radiates a natural ebullience, and it is contagious. And so the fit for Lucic – going from Boston, where he played the first eight seasons of his career, to the Los Angeles Kings – has been seamless.
Lucic makes his first return to Boston Tuesday, when the Kings start a season-high seven-game road trip. They’re comfortably atop the Pacific Division and plotting another long playoff run.
For Lucic, the timing really couldn’t be better. He’s been with the Kings for five months now, long enough to distance himself from his days in Boston, during which the Bruins won a memorable Stanley Cup in 2011. But he’s also looking forward to renewing acquaintances with old friends and the Boston staff, many of whom he plans to see before the teams hit the ice.
His return to Beantown may be a big deal in hockey circles, but, as he says in an interview, “I never asked to get traded.”
from Milan Lucic at The Players' Tribune,
is is how naive I was when I got to Boston. Are you ready for this?
We had this really nice guy who worked for the team and handled all the road travel. He was in his early 70s. His name was Johnny, and he was just awesome. I was a 19-year-old kid in my first training camp. I didn’t know what the hell was going on. I didn’t know about NHL travel. I knew about WHL buses. So Johnny had my back. He was kind of like a cool grandfather to me.
One day after practice, I was sitting in the locker room talking to one of my teammates, and I was like, “Johnny’s a real nice guy, eh?”
He goes, “Johnny who?”
“You know, the road guy. Johnny. Can’t remember his last name.”
“You mean Johnny friggin’ Bucyk?!”
“Is that his name? Sorry, man. Still trying to learn everybody.”
from Kerry Fraser of TSN,
The fully extended push from behind by Ristolainen occurred after Marchand had lost possession of the puck and therefore did not prevent the scoring opportunity. The actions of Ristolainen throughout this play were worthy of a minor penalty.
Instead, the Bruins were awarded a penalty shot and scored.
Watch the play below...
from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News,
Sometimes, the video is hard to decipher. And sometimes, it shows an official blowing a call in hard-to-believe fashion in full high definition.
Such was the case Saturday night in TD Garden, as Brad Marchand scored on a penalty shot gifted by referee Brad Watson with 2:28 left in overtime to give the Boston Bruins a 2-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres.
After intercepting a Rasmus Ristolainen pass just outside the Buffalo blue line, Marchand tried to break into the Sabres’ zone. Ristolainen closed from Marchand’s left rear and the Boston center quickly lifted the Buffalo defenseman’s stick out of his hands into the air as the puck slid ahead of the pair. Ristolainen tried to put his right arm on Marchand and appeared to miss him before landing a two-hand shove to the back as goaltender Robin Lehner poke-checked the puck away.
Watson’s arm went up to signal a penalty and the Sabres were stunned to see him point to center ice. Marchand scored on the backhand and Lehner was among several Sabres barking at the officials after the goal ended the game. The goaltender even chucked his helmet to the ice in disgust.
Watch the sequence below...
added 11:54am, also added the Buffalo TV video below...
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
During Claude Julien’s time, the coach has never faced the possibility of a late-winter sprint with a diminished roster. The Bruins have always been active about addressing their would-be free agents before the trade deadline forced them into action.
There is no doubt that trading Eriksson will make the Bruins weaker. This is not the direction teams with playoffs dreams prefer to trend.
Eriksson is the one right wing who has earned Julien’s trust. The Bruins would have to find not just a second-line replacement, but another penalty killer and a net-front/goal-line presence on the No. 1 power-play unit. The latter will be especially difficult to find. No left-shot forward on the roster has Eriksson’s man-up skill set.
Under normal circumstances, Sweeney could command a first-round pick and prospect for Eriksson. Futures, however, do not serve Julien, not when he’s had Dougie Hamilton, Milan Lucic, and Johnny Boychuk moved from his toolbox within the last 16 months without varsity returns.
Even if the Bruins packaged one of their two 2016 first-rounders with Eriksson, the return would not net their preferred asset: a young top-four defenseman such as Matt Dumba, Jonas Brodin (currently out 3-6 weeks with a broken foot), or Sami Vatanen.
One outcome could be sending Eriksson out for a defenseman with term left on his contract, especially to a team looking to clear salary.
more plus numerous other NHL topics...
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
Every team would like to have Eriksson on its roster. And keeping Eriksson is no guarantee for the Bruins. This is the wing’s final shot at a long-term payday. Eriksson, via agent J.P. Barry, will be seeking a maximum payout, both in term and salary.
The Bruins believe they have room to re-sign Eriksson. Next year, they will likely say goodbye to Talbot, Chris Kelly, Kevan Miller, and Jonas Gustavsson. They will be free of the $2.75 million in salary retained from trading Milan Lucic. They are not projected to carry an overage penalty like the approximate $969,000 they are carrying for exceeding last year’s cap.
These savings will give them plenty of cash to pay Eriksson the salary — he would be justified in asking for $6 million annually — he wants on an extension.
The question is term. If Sweeney can’t sell his colleagues in hockey operations on the logic of re-upping Eriksson, it will be because the wing asks for more years than the Bruins are willing to cede.
Eriksson has excellent hockey sense. He is as good with his stick as any player in the league. But it will do his employer no good if his wheels don’t put him in place to maximize his assets.
So as they did with Lucic, they will wheel Eriksson for assets prior to the Feb. 29 trade deadline before letting him walk. The concern is whether they can improve by trading the all-around wing. The Bruins are in a playoff position and are likely to stay among the East’s top eight with the current roster.
more plus other topics...
Patrice Bergeron sits down with Scott Oake to talk about his acting career, how having a child changed his approach to life and how safety is getting better in the NHL.
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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