Bruins recall goalie Malcolm Subban

January, 30, 2015
Jan 30
The Boston Bruins on Friday morning recalled goaltender Malcolm Subban from Providence of the AHL, assigning backup goalie Niklas Svedberg to the P-Bruins for a conditioning stint.

This is Subban’s first NHL recall. In 22 games for the P-Bruins this season, first-round pick (24th overall) in the 2012 NHL draft posted a 9-10-2 record, along with a 2.31 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage.

In his past three starts, the 21-year-old netminder is 2-1-0 and allowed only three goals on 91 shots to earn the AHL’s player of the week honors.

Svedberg has played 12 games for the Bruins this season, registering a 5-5-0 record with a 2.22 GAA and a .922 SP. He also has two shutouts. Svedberg, 25, last played on Jan. 8 against the New Jersey Devils.

Bruins carry over momentum after break

January, 29, 2015
Jan 29

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- After the six-day All-Star break, the Boston Bruins showed little signs of rust and posted an impressive 5-2 win over the New York Islanders Thursday night at Nassau Coliseum.

Bruins coach Claude Julien was pleased with his team’s practice on Wednesday, and he kept the players on the ice longer than usual for Thursday’s morning skate. Come game time, the Bruins were sharp and beat the best team in the Eastern Conference.

Prior to the break, the Bruins had regained their form, and now they’re one of the hottest teams in the league, earning at least a point in 12 of their last 13 games for a record of 8-1-4.

“It was mentioned many times before the game how we need to recapture the confidence we had going into the break,” Bruins defenseman Torey Krug said. “We were going through quite a stretch there and we were playing well. We were back to our identity.”

[+] EnlargeReilly Smith, Torey Krug, Milan Lucic
Brad Penner/USA TODAY SportsTorey Krug, Reilly Smith and Milan Lucic all scored in the Bruins' win over the Islanders.
On Thursday, Boston received contributions from nearly everyone in the lineup as Reilly Smith, Patrice Bergeron, Kevan Miller, Krug and Milan Lucic (empty-netter) each registered a goal. Smith and David Krejci also chipped in a pair of assists apiece.

Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask continued his solid play. He finished with 43 saves, but his best stop of the game -- and so far this season -- came early in the second period when he robbed the Islanders’ Michael Grabner. Grabner was on the off-post when he collected a rebound and seemed to have an easy tap-in, but Rask reached out with his stick and made an outstanding paddle save to keep the puck from crossing the goal line to secure Boston’s 2-0 lead at 5:34 of the period.

“When you’re out of position, you’ve got to make those saves,” Rask said with a smile. “It was just a reactionary save. Sometimes [the puck] hits you, sometimes it doesn’t. Today it hit me and I hope I make the highlights.”

During this stretch of success for the Bruins, it’s evident the players are feeding off Rask’s performances.

“It’s always important when you’ve got your goaltender holding the fort the way he has. It gives your team a lot of confidence,” Julien said. “It’s been one of the reasons we really started going in the right direction. He’s giving us confidence and the rest of the team has picked up their game because of that, so it goes hand in hand and right now we’re relying on him heavily. He’s a Vezina Trophy winner and certainly right now he’s playing like one.”

Only two shifts into the game, Julien didn’t like the matchups the Islanders were getting, so the coach tweaked his line combinations, replacing David Pastrnak with Smith on the top line. As the game progressed, Julien liked how those combinations were clicking, so he kept them intact.

Julien had Loui Eriksson on the second line with Bergeron and Brad Marchand, while Pastrnak played the right side with Chris Kelly and Carl Soderberg.

“You have to adjust to your linemates last minute and you’re not expecting [changes], but it seemed to work out tonight,” Smith said. “All four lines did a great job getting pucks in deep and really making them work for their breakouts and transition game.”

Rask Makes Unbelievable Save

January, 29, 2015
Jan 29


Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask made an incredible stick save on Islanders right wing Michael Grabner's backhand before it crossed the red line.
[+] EnlargeJohnny Boychuk
Bruce Bennett/Getty ImagesWith 24 points this season, Johnny Boychuk has already topped his previous season high.

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Johnny Boychuk's intangibles have helped turn the once lukewarm New York Islanders into a dynamic and trendy pick to win the Eastern Conference.

His impact in New York was immediate. His absence in Boston has been felt all season.

When Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli decided to trade Boychuk to the Islanders, in exchange for a pair of second-round picks and a conditional third-round pick before the start of the 2014-15 season, the general manager knew the transaction would not be received well behind closed doors.

Despite knowing Chiarelli was dealing with salary-cap constraints, Bruins players were upset with the trade. Not only did the Boston Bruins lose a reliable, durable, Stanley Cup-winning defenseman, Boychuk's presence off the ice meant just as much to the team.

Boychuk learned accountability during his time in Boston. When he arrived in New York in the fall, he knew there would be more responsibility as the veteran player on the team. The Islanders rely on his leadership both on and off the ice, and it's evident with the team's success this season.

There's no denying the Islanders made out with this deal.

(Read full post)

Bruins place Simon Gagne on waivers

January, 28, 2015
Jan 28

The Boston Bruins have placed veteran forward Simon Gagne on waivers for the purpose of releasing him, a person familiar with the decision has told The Associated Press.

The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the team has not announced the move made Wednesday.

The decision is regarded a formality. Two weeks ago, the Bruins announced Gagne was placed on their "suspended" list and would miss the remainder of the season following the death of his father in December.

Gagne is a two-time 40-goal-scorer with Philadelphia. The 34-year-old was attempting a comeback with Boston after missing all of last season.

He had three goals and an assist in 23 games with the Bruins this season.

(Read full post)

B's hope to pick up where they left off

January, 28, 2015
Jan 28
WILMINGTON, Mass. -- The Boston Bruins finally found their game and started to enjoy some success prior to the All-Star break.

Boston had earned points in 11 of its last 12 games, posting a 7-1-4 record in that stretch. The Bruins had six days off before returning to the practice ice Wednesday at Ristuccia Arena, and coach Claude Julien hopes the extended break -- during which many of the players vacationed in warmer climates -- won’t have a negative effect on the team’s momentum.

“You hope not,” Julien said. “The rest is always a good thing. It’s a tough enough schedule that you go through during the season, so I don’t think it should hurt us. At the same time, it’s important we regain that momentum that we had just before the break and that has to start [Thursday].”

[+] EnlargeZdeno Chara
Steve Babineau/Getty ImagesThe Bruins face the red-hot Islanders on Thursday in New York.
Julien conducted an up-tempo, hour-long practice before the team traveled to New York to face the Islanders on Thursday night at Nassau Coliseum. Julien said it went well.

Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, who had finally regained his form prior to the break, said he continued to skate during the hiatus to stay sharp.

“I don’t think it’s about the momentum,” Chara said. “It’s about taking advantage of those days [off] for your best benefit. We all knew we were going to be away from the ice and we’re aware of where we are in the standings and how you need to maintain yourself during those days and be ready when you play.”

Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton stayed local and enjoyed his rest and relaxation. This season, he’s already set new career-highs in both goals (eight) and points (26). He even registered his first NHL fight in the final game before the break against Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog. Hamilton is sporting a blood-shot eye from the bout, and after Wednesday’s practice he admitted this recent break felt a bit different due to the length of it.

“It’s always a little tough when you’re off for six days and when you come back it’s a little tougher to get into the rhythm,” he said. “We’re obviously good enough to be able to [regain momentum] so it was good for us to get a rest. With everyone refreshed a little, it’s a good feeling.”

The Islanders have already played after the break, defeating the New York Rangers 4-1 Tuesday night. Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak made 40 saves in the win, improving his record to 26-9-0. New York’s 32 wins through 47 games equal a franchise record set in 1978-79 (32-6-9). The Islanders' 17 home wins in 21 games at Nassau Coliseum also matches a club record.

“They are a talented, young, confident team right now and they’ve been like that all year,” Julien said. “It was only a matter of time before you saw that team become the team that they are, so there’s a lot of respect for them. Again, it’s about us bringing our best tomorrow against a team like that.”

The Bruins have 34 games remaining in the regular season, and a healthy and consistent lineup will help the team’s chances of climbing the Eastern Conference standings. Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask needs to remain atop of his game because his teammates feed off his confidence.

The Islanders are one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference and will present a good challenge for the Bruins as they start their sprint toward the playoffs.

“We’ve had some confidence. We’ve had some good games. [Thursday] will be a good first test for us,” Julien said.

Top flaws of 10 playoff contenders

January, 27, 2015
Jan 27

The difference between a ninth-place team and a playoff team can be a single player who shores up the club's one glaring weakness at the trade deadline. The same goes for the gap between a first-round loss and Stanley Cup run. For example, the Los Angeles Kings could not have won the Stanley Cup in 2014 without offensive dynamo Marian Gaborik, acquired in a deadline deal.

At this point in the season, NHL teams are beginning to assess their playoff chances, including whether they should be buyers at the deadline. Can they fill holes by trading for upcoming free agents? Would they sacrifice taking on a bad contract from another team to take a shot at the Cup? As we begin the unofficial second half of the season, we look at the 10 teams contending for four wild-card spots. What are their weaknesses? How can they solve them?

Eastern Conference

New York Rangers

Weakness: Lack of goal scoring up the middle
Trade fix: Third-line center
Key stat: 18 total 5-on-5 goals from Derek Stepan, Derick Brassard, Kevin Hayes and Dominic Moore

Ryan Johansen wins MVP fan vote

January, 25, 2015
Jan 25

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Blue Jackets forward Ryan Johansen spent the past few days showing off Columbus to his fellow NHL All-Stars.

On Sunday, Johansen did some showing off of his own by winning an online fan vote to be named the game's MVP.

"It's been really cool. It hasn't hit me yet for sure," he said. "This is something I'll remember for a very long time."

The fourth-year forward, and first-time All-Star won despite being on the short end of Team Foligno's 17-12 loss to Team Toews. Johansen led the team captained by Blue Jackets teammate Nick Foligno with four points (two goals and two assists) and won a new car to go with the honor.

He beat out two Team Toews players -- New York Islanders forward John Tavares and Boston's Patrice Bergeron. The three were announced as the MVP finalists early in the third period, when the vote on Twitter began in the first time fans have determined the winner.

Though the vote amounted to a popularity contest, Johansen's fellow All-Stars called the honor deserving.

"Ryan played great," said Bergeron, who had a goal and four assists. "There were a lot of guys who had great nights."

That included Philadelphia's Jakub Voracek, who had a game-leading six points (three goals, three assists) to tie the All-Star record set by Mario Lemieux in 1988.

"Joey deserved it, the way he handled the weekend overall," Voracek said, referring to Johansen. "Him and Nick Foligno, I'm sure, have been under a lot of the spotlight. They did a great job. It was well deserved."

Tavares, meanwhile, matched an All-Star record in becoming the sixth player to score four goals.

Johansen has emerged as a fan favorite in Columbus after getting off to an uncertain start to the season. As a restricted free agent, he held out the first two-plus weeks of training camp before signing a three-year, $12 million contract in October.

The 2010 first-round draft pick has since delivered on that potential by leading the Blue Jackets with 43 points (17 goals, 26 assists) in 45 games.

On Sunday, Johansen's first goal tied the game at 2 at 11:05 of the first period, when he skated out of the left corner and snapped a shot in off the far post. Johansen scored his second goal 5 minutes later, when he one-timed in a pass from Alex Ovechkin

(Read full post)

Johansen steals All-Star skills show

January, 24, 2015
Jan 24

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Not that they did before, but it's official now: No one wants to get in front of Shea Weber's shot.

The Nashville Predators defenseman fired the hardest shot, at 108.5 mph, at the NHL All-Stars skills competition Saturday night and took advantage of five-time champion Zdeno Chara's absence.

"I knew I got it," Weber said. "But it's tough. You never know how hard it is until it registers on the gun. But it felt like I got pretty much all I could into it, and [you] just kind of hope for the best."

Fighting his nerves (he doesn't practice high-velocity shots), Weber missed the entire net on a 101.8 mph drive with his first attempt. That nullified that try.

Washington Capitals star Alexander Ovechkin, who stole the show at Friday night's draft by pleading to be picked last so he would win a new car, had led the competition with a pair of 101.4 mph drives.

But then Weber stepped into his final shot to win the event.

He said it felt strange with the 6-foot-9 Chara -- who holds the record of 108.8 mph set in 2012 -- not participating.

"Obviously, he's the guy to beat all the time," Weber said. "He's got the big shot. Honestly, I was nervous because there's some guys out there that can rip it."

(Read full post)

Ryan Johansen selected 1st in draft

January, 23, 2015
Jan 23

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Phil Kessel was once again dealt for Tyler Seguin, Columbus Blue Jackets center Ryan Johansen was the No. 1 overall pick and superstar Alex Ovechkin did not get his new car.

In a wild and comic NHL All-Star draft to set the lineups for Sunday's game, almost nothing went the way anyone might have guessed.

The highlight of the evening was Ovechkin, the Washington Capitals' $10 million-a-year goal-scoring superstar, pleading to be taken last in the 17-round draft. Why? To compensate for the embarrassment of being the player no one wanted, the NHL gives the last player standing a new car.

At one point during the evening, a TV interviewer approached Ovechkin backstage and he hid behind a white piece of paper on which he had printed: "I want to be last. Need a car."

Ovechkin, the league's leading goal-scorer last year, came close to getting his wish. He lasted until there were just three players remaining, but then captain Nick Foligno selected him.

Ovechkin slumped in mock dejection in his chair, looked at the ceiling and sighed loudly. Then he looked into the camera and mouthed one word: "WHY?"

Foligno watched Ovechkin slowly walk onto the stage before despondently putting on a black Team Foligno jersey.

"Hey, Ovie, buy a car!" Foligno called out.

As it turned out, Ovechkin barely missed out on a new set of wheels. The two players who went last -- Edmonton's Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

(Read full post)


"SportsCenter" takes a look back at the top ten NHL plays of the season so far.

The Bruins enter the All-Star break playing some of their best hockey of the season behind the recent stellar play of goalie Tuukka Rask.

After break, B's poised for strong Cup push

January, 22, 2015
Jan 22
Even before the Boston Bruins’ recent string of success, players had already made plans and booked their All-Star break get-a-ways to warmer climates.

A few days of rest and relaxation without thinking, talking or dissecting hockey will help the players recharge, so when they return to practice early next week they’ll be ready to continue their strong push for a playoff spot.

Currently, the Bruins are holding on to the eighth and final playoff spot with a 25-16-7 record (57 points). Boston is seven points ahead of the Florida Panthers in the wild-card race, and the Bruins are only seven points back of the top-seeded Tampa Bay Lightning.

[+] EnlargeDavid Pastrnak
Maddie Meyer/Getty ImagesThe addition of rookie David Pastrnak has helped spark the Bruins' recent surge.
When the suntanned Bruins return from the break, they will have 34 games remaining in the regular season to make their postseason push. Coach Claude Julien will have a healthy and consistent lineup, so there shouldn’t be any excuses now if the Bruins fail to reach the playoffs.

The Bruins have shown signs in the last few games that they can, and should, become a playoff threat once again. After Wednesday’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Colorado Avalanche in Denver, the Bruins have earned points in 11 of their last 12 games, posting a 7-1-4 record in this stretch.

There are a few factors why the Bruins have improved, including a healthy roster, consistent lineup and outstanding goaltending from Tuukka Rask. All three will need to continue in order for the Bruins to earn their eighth consecutive trip to the postseason.

Due to the uncertainty regarding injuries, teams are always in need of depth. The Bruins seem to be OK in that area. And they have proven over the years that if Julien can roll four lines consistently with reliable combinations, it usually leads to success. That’s what we’ve seen during the team’s recent run.

Milan Lucic, David Krejci and David Pastrnak have built a resurgence on the team’s top line. Patrice Bergeron, the team’s lone All-Star representative, and his linemates Brad Marchand and Reilly Smith make up the Bruins’ best two-way line. The third unit of Chris Kelly, Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson has been Boston’s most consistent line the entire season. Of late, the on-ice chemistry between Soderberg and Eriksson, along with Kelly’s hard work, has been a lot of fun to watch.

Over the last few seasons when the Bruins have been perennial Cup contenders, it’s been the work of the fourth line -- the energy line -- that has been crucial for the team. For the majority of this season, that unit has been disjointed, but now Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell and rookie Craig Cunningham are producing at both ends of the ice and Julien has regained trust in that unit.

Earlier this season the Bruins’ defense committed too many mental mistakes and it had a major effect on the team’s success. Boston has cleaned up its defensive play and it has translated into a stronger offensive output. The Bruins haven’t been scoring as much as they would like, but if their defensive zone coverage is where it needs to be, they should be all set.


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It’s also no coincidence the Bruins are rolling now with rookie David Pastrnak in the lineup. The 18-year-old forward’s enthusiasm and drive have become infectious both on and off the ice. He has a genuine love of the game and his talents have helped Boston’s top line find its game.

The most important aspect to Boston’s renewed success has been Rask. The reigning Vezina Trophy winner struggled earlier this season, to a point where Julien made the comment that Rask “hasn’t stood on his head.” The goaltender has been tremendous of late and his teammates feed off Rask’s confidence. He’s the type of goaltender that once he finds his rhythm, he’s hard to beat.

In the final two back-to-back games before the break, Rask registered 70 saves total in a 3-1 win over the Dallas Stars on Tuesday and a shootout loss to the Avalanche on Wednesday. He’s 8-1-4 in his last 13 starts, and no doubt the Bruins will need to rely on Rask the rest of the way.

Even though the Bruins were set back by injuries and inconsistencies earlier this season, there’s no reason this team can’t earn a postseason berth. No matter whether they finish as the wild card or as the top seed, the Bruins have the ability to make a serious push toward the Cup.

The players should enjoy their brief hiatus, because once they return from the break it will be a sprint the rest of the way.

The Boston Bruins gained three of a possible four points on their last two games before the All-Star break, but they could have had a better outcome than their 3-2 shootout loss to the Colorado Avalanche Wednesday night at Pepsi Center in Denver.

Boston could have prevented both of Colorado’s two regulation goals, but the Avalanche scored in the final second of the first period, then tied the game during a 6-on-5 situation at 18:15 of the third period. The Avalanche’s Nathan MacKinnon scored the lone goal in the shootout to give Colorado the win.

With the one point earned Wednesday, the Bruins remain tied for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference with 57 points.

Back-to-back Rask: Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask continues his solid play. Despite the shootout loss, he finished with 34 saves and kept Boston in the game. Coupled with his 36-save performance Tuesday night in Dallas, he has 70 saves in the last two games. There’s no doubt the Bruins will need to rely on Rask if they want to climb in the standings and he’s been doing his job the last month with an 8-1-4 record in his 13 starts.

It’s about time: Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton recorded his first NHL fighting major when he dropped the gloves with Colorado’s Gabriel Landeskog at 36 seconds of the third period. Many in the Bruins organization have been waiting for the 6-foot-5, 212-pounder to show some emotion and fight, and when he finally did Wednesday he served himself well.

Still going strong: Former Bruins and current Avalanche winger Jarome Iginla scored the game’s first goal when he beat Rask and the clock with 0.3 seconds remaining in the first period to give Colorado a 1-0 lead. It was Iginla’s 574th career goal to surpass Mike Bossy for 20th place on the NHL's all-time scoring list. Next on the list is three-time Stanley Cup champion and former Bruin Mark Recchi, who recorded 577 career goals.

He’s back: In his first game back after serving his two-game suspension, Brad Marchand scored his 13th goal of the season to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead at 4:47 of the third period.