BOSTON – In a bit of an update on the Anders Bjork situation, the Bruins prospect is expected to notify the NHL club holding his rights about his plans for the upcoming season following his stint for Team USA at the World Championships.
The Notre Dame forward will be on the USA Hockey contingent set to travel over to Europe to compete in the world championships, and there he’ll be teammates with 19-year-old Charlie McAvoy after his successful run with the Black and Gold at the end of the season. Bruins President Cam Neely said the Bruins hope it doesn’t turn into a Jimmy Vesey-type situation if Bjork opts to return to the Fighting Irish for his senior season, and he’s given the club no reason to think that might be the case.
Vesey is among a number of college players in recent years that have spurned the teams that drafted them, and become an NHL free agent after not signing with the team holding their rights a few months after they’d left school.
“We’re doing everything we possibly can. He had a very difficult decision (about turning pro) right after his season was over. I think it was overwhelming for him. He’s at the World Championships now. His camp has told Don that he’s going to make a decision whether or not to return to college hockey or turn pro after the World Championships at some point,” said Neely. “Our hopes are that he sees where we’re at as a team and some of the young players we’re putting in our lineup. We hope that he understands that he’s a player that we think very highly of that can step in and contribute [in the NHL].”
Making matters more complicated is the fact that Bjork, who projects to be a top-6 left wing candidate playing on a line with David Krejci, could return to a Notre Dame team primed for an NCAA title run, and a possible Olympic chance to play for Team USA next winter if the NHL players don’t end up going to South Korea.
Bjork, a former fifth-round pick, has clearly elevated his NHL profile since he was drafted three years ago, and finished with 21 goals and 52 points for the Irish while getting major Hobey Baker consideration as a junior. There’s also the fact Bjork holds particularly strong ties to Notre Dame as a bit of a legacy there: His father Kirt was an All-American hockey player there and his cousin, Tampa Bay Lightning forward Erik Condra, also played for the Irish before jumping into the NHL.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while the Bruins are going into troll mode.
*Here is the aforementioned “troll mode” for the Bruins now that they’ve clinched a playoff berth. They came out with a marketing campaign where they’re dragging FOH (Friend of Haggs) Mike Felger for his early season take that the Bruins season is over. He also ripped the young players at the beginning of the year as well, so they used the sound from “Felger and Mazz” with video clips of David Pastrnak and Charlie McAvoy dominating for the Black and Gold, and shots of the young players mean mugging at the camera. It definitely shows that the Bruins perhaps care a little too much about what the media thinks about them, but it’s also a fair bit of clap-back toward a take that was a little too harsh on the B’s early in the season.
*What a great piece on the Stoneman Douglas hockey team as they embark on a national hockey tournament after winning at the state level in the weeks after the Parkland shooting.
*Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman says the Hawks aren’t shaken even as they’ll be missing the playoffs for the first time in a long time. What a disappointing season.
*Despite a great season, Taylor Hall may end up missing the playoffs with the New Jersey Devils amidst his Hart Trophy-type season.
*Good news for the Toronto Maple Leafs as Auston Matthews is returning from injury ahead of the playoffs.
*For something completely different: This new, updated version of the Karate Kid web series looks awesome with Billy Zabka and Ralph Macchio.
Bruins star center Patrice Bergeron has been dealing with a fractured foot injury since late February. He sustained the injury while blocking a shot in the loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Coach Bruce Cassidy is predicting a return for Bergeron this weekend against the Minnesota Wild if he is medically cleared. He will be evaluated tomorrow.
Depending on the results from the evaluation, there might not even be a need to rush Bergeron back with the Bruins clinching a playoff berth in a 2-1 OT loss to the Blues yesterday evening.
MORE BRUINS: Bruins clinch playoff berth in 2-1 OT loss to Blues
The Bruins currently sit six points behind the Tampa Bay Lighting for first place in the Atlantic Division. Ten games currently remain on the B’s schedule with the Presidents' Trophy also hanging in the balance.
If the B’s decide to make a run for the Presidents' Trophy, Bergeron would definitely provide a boost in play in addition to leadership for the final stretch of the regular season.