Sochi 2014: Who’s Invited?

Over the course of the last few days rosters for the competing countries involved in the Sochi 2014 Olympics. Naturally, players from the NHL are invited to participate, after reaching an agreement allowing players to have an ‘Olympic Break’ from February 9-26. The first team to announce their invitees was Team Canada.

Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand are two Bruins invited to try out for the Olympics. (Photo Credit: Steph Phillips)

Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand are two Bruins invited to try out for the Olympics. (Photo Credit: Steph Phillips)

To no surprise, Patrice Bergeron made the cut along with fellow teammates Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand. Patrice Bergeron is no stranger when it comes to the Olympics, being a part of the gold medal team in 2010. He appeared in 7 games and registered a single assist. In addition to winning the gold in the last winter Olympics, Bergeron has also captured the gold in World Juniors, World Championship and the Spengler Cup.

Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand will be embarking on their first Olympic tryout for the first time of their careers. Lucic was invited to camp in 2010, but failed to make the final cut, whereas Marchand is embarking on his first invitation. Both forwards are coming off of great seasons, Marchand had team-high totals for the calendar 2013 season, while Lucic practically pushed the Bruins through the playoffs single-handed after struggling in the regular season. Newly signed Bruin Jarome Iginla did not make the invitation list, despite being a part of the 2010 Olympic gold medal team in 2010 along with Bergeron.

In addition to three of the teams’ best forwards trying out, the Bruins will also have team presence with Coach Claude Julien being named as part of the coaching staff for Team Canada as well as GM Peter Chiarelli being part of the management.

As Finland unveiled their roster, it should come as little surprise that Tuukka Rask got invited. Rask came off of a career-high season, leading his team to the Stanley Cup Finals and posting career-bests. He was among the top five goaltenders of the NHL all season long along with being a part of a Championship team (HC Plzen) which he played for during the lockout.

New to the Boston Bruins this season, after a blockbuster deal, Loui Eriksson will represent the black and gold for Team Sweden after being formally invited earlier this week.  Eriksson, like Bergeron, participated in the 2010 Olympics and registered 3 goals and an assist in 4 games played before his team was eliminated. He’s coming off of a decent season where he recorded 12 goals and 17 assists.

While Slovakia and the Czech Republic have yet to release their rosters, it is assumed that Zdeno Chara and David Krejci will be invited to represent Boston.

Jordan Caron Signs Extension

Today the Boston Bruins announced that they had reached an agreement with Jordan Caron concerning a one-year contract extension in the amount of $640,000.

Jordan Caron sticks around Boston with a one-way deal worth $640,000. (Photo Credit: Steph Phillips)

Jordan Caron sticks around Boston with a one-way deal worth $640,000. (Photo Credit: Steph Phillips)

Caron was the Bruins first round draft pick in 2009 and has bounced back and forth between Providence and Boston throughout the course of the past three seasons.  In total he has suited up for 88 games in Boston, registering 11 goals and 14 assists, but that number will grow significantly this season. With Rich Peverley and Tyler Seguin being dealt to Dallas in a blockbuster deal earlier this month, Caron could easily fill in the third line roster spot that previously belonged to #49 at a fraction of the cost than what Peverley was making. However, he’s going to have to prove himself.

While he has 25 points in his career with Boston, only 3 of those came from 17 games this season without a single appearance in the playoffs. The 22 year-old is coming off of his worst season yet and needs to find his game, fast if he plans on sticking around in the major league. Despite starting off with a hattrick in the opening weeks of the AHL season, he was otherwise quiet throughout the opening half of the baby Bruins season.   He struggled to find a natural scoring pace and a few weeks prior to the lockout ending, he injured his shoulder, knocking him out of the running for an open third line spot. One that, in the end, went to team mate Chris Bourque.

Caron was given a chance after Bourque failed to meet the expectations set for him, but still continued to struggle along with the rest of his line mates and found himself back down in Providence. It wouldn’t be until the Calder Cup Playoffs that he would seem to find a groove and contribute to the top scoring line of the postseason alongside Carter Camper and Craig Cunningham. Though they were eliminated in the second round against the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins, Caron tallied half of his regular season points in a 12-game span and was a major factor in the team advancing as far as they did.

This season, Caron is going to have to bring the fire and gumption he found at the tail end of last season into training camp and prove to CJ, Neely and the rest of the organization why he deserves his right wing spot. Worse case scenario he can be placed on waivers to head back to Providence and it won’t hurt the Bruins cap space. This contract is seemingly a win-win, low-risk with potential to succeed beyond expectations.

 

Boston Bruins Release 2013-2014 Preseason Schedule

Is it October Yet? (Credit: Flickr/ Slidingsideways)

Bruins fans if you’re like me, then everyday you wake up wishing for October. The 2013-2014 hockey season is still a few months a way but thankfully today we have something to look forward too. Boston’s seven-game preseason schedule, along with a few other important days were released and we have them here for you now!

Rookies Rookies Rookies:
B’s rookie camp opens up on Tuesday, September 3rd at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington. As with most B’s camp, I can assume that part of this will be open the public. That weekend (Sept 6th through the 8th), the rookies will head down to Coral Springs Florida for a tournament. The roster of this camp will be released as the dates near closer.

The Boys are Back:
Training camp for the Black and Gold will kick off September 11th at the B’s practice rink in Wilmington. The days that will be open to the public should come out as the camp gets closer.

Preseason Games:
The Bruins will start their seven-game schedule on Monday, September 16th against our favorite Montreal Canadiens. Here’s the full rundown of the schedule including times and locations. Note that there’s two home games so for all you Boston locals it’s a chance to see the B’s before October.

Monday, September 16 (Montreal, QC) @Montreal Canadiens (Bell Centre, Montreal, QC, 7:00 p.m. ET)

Tuesday, September 17 (Baltimore, MD) @Washington Capitals (1st Mariner Arena, Baltimore, MD, 7:00 p.m. ET)

Thursday, September 19 (Boston, MA) vs. Detroit Red Wings (TD Garden, Boston, MA 7:00 p.m. ET)

Saturday, September 21 (Detroit, MI) @Detroit Red Wings (Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, MI 7:00 p.m. ET)

Monday, September 23 (Boston, MA) vs. Washington Capitals (TD Garden, Boston, MA 7:00 p.m. ET)

Thursday, September 26 (Winnipeg, MB) @Winnipeg Jets (MTS Center, Winnipeg, MA 7:00 p.m. CT, 8:00 p.m. ET)

Friday, September 27 (Saskatoon, SK) vs. Winnipeg Jets in Saskatoon (Credit Union Centre, Saskatoon, SK 7:00 p.m. CT, 8:00 p.m. ET)

Note that this schedule is subject to change and if it does we’ll keep you updated!

CONFIRMED: Seguin and Peverley For Eriksson

 

Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley both dealt to Dallas in a blockbuster deal. (Photo Credit: Stephanni Phillips)

Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley both dealt to Dallas in a blockbuster deal. (Photo Credit: Stephanni Phillips)

Rumors..er..reports are swirling around the social media networks that the Dallas Stars and Boston Bruins are making some big fireworks on this Independence Day as a rumored 5-player deal involving Tyler Seguin, Rich Peverley and Loui Eriksson is going down. While there hasn’t been any confirmation as of yet, we do promise to keep you posted in the coming minutes/hours until there is a definitive answer.

For now, let’s look at the pros and cons of this deal. Loui Erikson is 28 and comparable to Nathan Horton, a player who the Bruins are losing to the free agency. The Bruins would gain an actual winger, rather than continuing to use a centerman as a winger. There’s also some talk circulating that Eriksson would be a good fit with Soderberg. That is something that only time will tell.

What are the Bruins losing? A 21 year-old superstar who was known for ‘having a good time’ and being able to ‘live it up; off the ice. He had a stellar sophomore season, but under-performed for Boston this season after coming back from Switzerland. General Manager Peter Chiarelli stated earlier this week that Seguin had to come into this season more focused and committed. Basing this solely on our own assumptions, it seems as though the Bruins Organization had enough of Seguin’s off-ice antics and the superstar is learning the hard way that, anyone is replaceable.

With Rich Peverley being dealt away, you’re freeing up some more space on the wing to bring in an upcoming player like Chris Bourque or Jordan Caron (or one of the other 5 guys involved). Peverley was seemingly transparent through the entire season and only managed to post 6 goals and 12 assists with a -9 rating.

There’s only so many times that you can show up late, miss team practice and be transparent on the ice before it’s too late. Unfortunately, this seems to be the case. Seguinistas, it was fun while it lasted, we’ll see you when we play Dallas. (unofficially at the moment.)

UPDATED: Seguin, Peverly and Button to Stars. For Eriksson, J.Morrow R.Smith and Matt Fraser.

Bruins Draft Day Live Blog

Happy NHL Draft Day everyone! The Boston Bruins saw no action in the first round of the draft. They had the 60th, 90th, 120th, 150th, 180th, and 210th picks in all other rounds. And here are the newest members of the Boston Bruins organization!

Happy Draft Day! (Credit NHL Bruins Twitter)

(Updates will follow as they come)

Round 2, 60th pick overall:
Linus Arnesson (@ArnessonLinus)
Position: Defense
From: Stolkholm Sweden
Last team: Djurgarden IF Stockholm of the Swedish Elite League
The Big Picture: Arnesson is an 18-year-old defensive defenseman. Though you won’t see him shooting many goals, Arnesson is a solid passer and is able to easily shut down the opposition. In 31 games last season, he had one assist, a minus-3 rating and eight penalty minutes. Most recently, Arnesson played on the silver medal-winning Sweden of the 2013 World Juniors Team.

Round 3, 90th pick overall:
Peter Cehlarik
Position: Left Wing
From: Slovakia
Last team: Lulea Jr
The Big Picture: Cehlarik is a 17-year-old two way forward. Like Arnesson, he comes from the Swedish Elite League. Unlike Arnesson, he has his own facebook fan page which you can check out here. In the draft prospect ratings, he came in at number 28 for International skaters after a great performance at the U18 World Championship. In 6 games, he had 2 goals and 5 assists for team Slovakia.

Round 4, 120th pick overall:
Ryan Fitzgerald (@RTF_17)
Position: Center
From: North Reading, Massachusetts
Last team: EJHL Valley Jr. Warriors
The Big Picture: Son of former Bruin Tom Fitzgerald, Fitzgerald is a Mass native currently committed to playing for Hockey East’s Boston College Eagles for the fall. Fitzgerald was named Eastern Junior Hockey League Rookie of the Year in 2012-13 after tallying 30 points (14-16–30) in 26 games for the Warriors. Before that he played for Malden Catholic High helping them win back-to-back Division 1A championships. Though small, 18-year-old Fitzgerald is fast and judging by his stats can score. It’s nice to see a local boy joining the organization!

Round 5, 150th pick overall:
Wiley Sherman
Position: Defense
From: Greenwich, Connecticut
Last team: Hotchkiss High
The Big Picture: After round three, it looks like Chiarelli started looking towards local kids because like Fitzgerald, Sherman is from the New England area. Sherman is committed to playing at Harvard University for next fall. The 6’6″ defenseman is clearly at a huge size advantage and the B’s are familiar with big d-men! He’s a good skater and could provide the B’s with some well needed strength in future seasons.

Round 6, 180th pick overall:
Anton Blidh (@Bliddan)
Position: Left Wing
From: Sweden
Last Team: Froluda Junior Swedish Junior League
The Big Picture: Blidh notched 27 points (17 goals, 10 assists) and 80 penalty minutes for Froluda Junior in the Swedish Jr League this year aka he can score and he’s not afraid to give a hit. Blidh is known for being a good penalty killer and since the Bruins are known for their solid PK, he’ll be considered an asset.

Round 7, 210 pick overall:
Mitchell Dempsey (@Demper11)
Position: Left Wing
From: Cambridge, Ontario.
Last team:  Sault Ste. Marie of the OHL
The Big Picture: Dempsey, a 6-foot-3, 204-pound left wing, had one goal and four assists for five points in 36 games for Sault Ste. Marie last season. He’s the only player from the OHL that the B’s drafted this year but previous OHL draft picks for Boston have been Tyler Seguin and Malcolm Subban. Dempsey is an aggressive forward that plays a physical game and he’s only 18. Also what was nice to see in my opinion was that upon searching his name several listings for hockey fights came up. A forward that doesn’t mean getting into a fight..that’s what I like to see!

And with that the 2013-2014 draft has come to an end! Though the Bruins aren’t the clear winners of the draft, they’ve picked up a lot of young potential. I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot of these guys as the seasons progress.

Rask Ready For Re-Signing

“That would be an ideal situation, I think, to play here forever. I hope we can make that happen.”-Tuukka Rask

Tuukka Rask is expected to re-sign with the Bruins (Photo Credit: Steph Phillips)

Tuukka Rask is expected to re-sign with the Bruins (Photo Credit: Steph Phillips)

During the extended off-season last summer Peter Chiarelli agreed to a one-year contract extension with goaltender Tuukka Rask. The announcement came just after word got out that Tim Thomas would sit out for the 2013-2014 season to focus on his friends, family and faith.  With Thomas gone many people questioned whether Rask would be able to rise to the occasion of starting netminder and handle a full schedule. While he may not have played a set 82-game season, he placed himself among the top five goalies in the National Hockey League and led the Bruins to the Stanley Cup Final for the second time in three years.

Sure there can be some speculation that Rask let a few ‘easy’ saves go by him, but it certainly can’t be said that Rask lost the Cup for the Bruins. It was because of his stellar talents and cat-like reflexes that the Bruins were able to advance from the first round against Toronto and especially against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Conference Finals as he shut down their offensive prowess with ease.

With the news that veteran defenseman Andrew Ference will not be staying in Boston next season, along with Jaromir Jagr and Nathan Horton, means that Rask will definitely still be around. Rask more than proved himself to the fans of Boston that he can handle the pressure and resist the urge to throw milk crates, while carrying his team while they struggled to find their way at different points of the season, frequently being referred to as the ‘backbone’ of the team. Ultimately he was unable to bring the dream to life in winning the Cup in his first year as starter, but he did tally some monumental stats.

Through the postseason Rask compiled a 1.88 goals-against average and .940 save percentage during his 14-8 stretch. He saved 715 of 761 shots fired on him, and recorded three playoff shutouts, two against the Pittsburgh Penguins and another against the Blackhawks in the Final. Pair that with a solid regular season, in which he had a 19-10-5 record, finishing the season fourth in goals-against average (1.96) and fifth in save percentage (.927) as well as tying for fifth in shutouts with five. (stats via Bruins.com)

“You always try to play good, but then you are trying to get your average game level as high as you can. That the gap between a good game and a bad game wouldn’t be so big,” added Rask, about using a contract extension as motivation. “.. I think we just have to keep doing that and keeping our focus on the right things and not letting it slip. So yes,think we have a chance to bring the Cup back soon and keep having success.”

While there has been no finalization as of yet etching the contract in stone, there is little reason to believe that Rask won’t be wearing the spoked-B on his chest for the next six years or so (at least).

 

NESN Says No More Naoko

naoko

Tyler Seguin said it best with his tweet when word started circulating around the Twitter universe that NESN’s Bruins sidelines reporter Naoko Funayama would not have her contract renewed with the station as they were ‘going in a different direction.’  Hours after Bruins fans had their hearts shattered with the game 6 loss on Monday night they learned that their alternate captain would not return to the Bruins squad in addition to Jaromir Jagr and Jay Pandolfo. Now, as that dust had begun to settle and the eyes began to dry up, we’re hit with another devastating story. The news comes shocking and as a major blow to Boston sports fans who had grown accustomed to the intermission reports with the players and Funayama’s uncanny ability to bring out the natural personalities of the players she interviewed.

Funayama, like Ference, came to Boston in 2007 after covering Daisuke Matsuzaka’s introductory press conference as a reporter for New Hampshire’s WMUR, aiding the struggling translator. In 2008, she joined full-time as a reporter for the Bruins.  Continue reading