Bruins

Patrice Bergeron on David Pastrnak talks: 'He wants to be here'

Patrice Bergeron on David Pastrnak talks: 'He wants to be here'

BRIGHTON, Mass – With roughly two weeks to go until NHL training camp, the Bruins commenced with captain’s practice on Thursday morning at Warrior Ice Arena without 21-year-old David Pastrnak. The game-breaking right winger remains the lone unsigned B’s player as the calendar turns to September on Friday, and regulars like Patrice Bergeron, Matt Beleskey and Brandon Carlo skated together while Pastrnak works out away from his teammates.

The Bruins have made a pair of long-term offers to Pastrnak over the course of the offseason with both amounting to a $6 million average annual value (AAV), an amount that isn’t close to what a couple of comparable players in Vladimir Tarasenko ($7.5 million per season) and Leon Draisaitl ($8.5 million per season) signed for under similar circumstances.

So the two sides currently sit a fair distance apart from each other in negotiations, and the clock is ticking toward the start of B’s camp. Despite all of that and semi-recent organizational failures with other young stars like Dougie Hamilton, Tyler Seguin and Phil Kessel, Bergeron remains “optimistic” that the Pastrnak contract situation won’t become a major issue for the team.

“It’s one of those [things] where I’m still optimistic and positive. It’s a situation where it’s up to them to figure it out and I leave it up to Don [Sweeney],” said Bergeron, after finishing off a 45-minute skate. “At the same time I think David [Pastrnak] is a young player that wants to be here, and that wants to be a part of the solution with us and wants to win.

“I guess I’m not necessarily worried about the situation going too long. I certainly wish that it could be done soon, but that being said I can’t really take a position on that. I’m going to leave it up to David and his agent, and Don [Sweeney] to figure this one out.”

One issue brought up has been a hesitancy from the Bruins to blow up their internal salary structure, and end up paying 21-year-old Pastrnak more than Cup-winning veterans like Brad Marchand ($6.125 million), Bergeron ($6.875 million) and David Krejci ($7.25 million) on just his second contract. That may be something Sweeney and Bruins management want to keep intact, but then again none of those other players ever scored 34 goals and 70 points when they were 20 years old.

Bergeron said that isn’t something he’s concerned about in the B’s dressing room, and differing player salaries isn’t something the players would be dwelling on.

“It’s business at the end of the day. In those contract negotiations you’ve got to leave the emotion out of it, and it’s the same for [all of] us,” said Bergeron. “We’ve all been a part of negotiations and you know how it goes sometimes. It’s not always easy. I think the hard feelings of the numbers shouldn’t be an issue. It’s about hopefully getting it done soon and moving forward, so we can have [Pastrnak] with us and start building something good here.”

One would assume there will be some movement on both sides as things creep closer to the start of camp, but it also feels like it might be a little while before things get resolved with a sizeable gap between the Bruins and Pastrnak’s camp. 

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Bruins, Marchand struggle mightily on power play in defeat

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Bruins, Marchand struggle mightily on power play in defeat

BOSTON – The Bruins have to hope the ugly look for their power play units ends up being a temporary phase.

The Bruins managed to put together just six shots on net in seven power play chances during Saturday night’s 3-2 overtime loss to the New York Rangers, a situation that was just barely salvaged by a third-period power play goal. The score was a timely one on a connection from David Pastrnak to Brad Marchand that pushed things into overtime, but it did little to wipe out the monumental struggles earlier in the game.

The Bruins couldn’t cohesively get the puck in the offensive zone, and plenty of their team-high 22 giveaways in the game took place in the handful of instances they were rewarded with PP’s this season.

Couple that with the back-to-back shorthanded goals allowed in back-to-back games against Detroit and Washington, and there may be some issues to be straightened out on the man advantage.

“Early on, I thought the pressure in zone, we weren’t able to handle it. They were more aggressive on the kill than we were ready for, and we just did not handle it well,” said Bruce Cassidy. “We had a couple plays in mind we thought might work down low around the net. I think we forced the puck on those down by the goal line, so we spent a lot of time going back into our own end and breaking the puck out, which becomes frustrating.

“We tried to run a delayed play tonight; we were out of sync on it. So, there was problems getting into the zone and there were problems in the zone. There was problems, I mean, whoever watched the game clearly – I mean, we struggled on the power play. We’re not going to hide from that, but it got us a goal later, so we eventually kind of got it squared away but we certainly had opportunities early to take advantage and we didn’t.”

The overall performance during the month of December isn’t that bad for the Bruins, who are 6-for-26 (23 percent success rate) on the power play in the games played this month. They’ve been getting more production with better health, but they’re also playing a little too fast and loose with the puck management and decision-making on the ice.  

Brad Marchand admitted after Saturday night’s loss that it’s up to the Bruins players to start picking it up on special teams and make some better choices with the puck.

“It’s on us. We’re forcing plays when they’re not there. Maybe we need to realize we have an extra second, need to calm it down a bit. When we do that, we are at our best that’s kind of when things go well,” said Marchand. “When we take that extra second, we have good support and read off each other well. We aren’t doing any of that now, we are pressing a bit, but something we need to work on and get better at.”

Perhaps that Marchand goal can be the rallying point for the Bruins power play to move on and move out with all the proper personnel healthy and in place with Ryan Spooner, and just a good, old-fashioned confidence-booster acting as the only thing that can quickly lift the Black and Gold man advantage out of their current status in the dumps.

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Cassidy: Too-many-men penalties 'a lousy way to lose'

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Cassidy: Too-many-men penalties 'a lousy way to lose'

BOSTON – The Bruins made plenty of mistakes in Saturday night’s overtime loss to the New York Rangers, but perhaps most glaring was the pair of too many men on the ice penalties late in the tightly contested hockey game.

The first too many men call wiped out the Bruins' final power play of the game, and the second infraction set up the Mats Zuccarello overtime game-winner in the 3-2 victory for the Rangers. Bruce Cassidy had a wry smile on the Bruins bench right after the penalty was called, and copped to a guilty plea of trying to get away with a little something after the game was over.

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Truth be told, the too many men on the ice call in OT could have been called on any one of Torey Krug, Patrice Bergeron or Brad Marchand as they headed off the ice after a long shift going back and forth up the ice. The Bruins were scrambling to try and change players while also catching up to a Rangers rush into the B’s defensive zone, and that’s where the trouble came in.

“We’re scrambling to get on the ice, so the call might have been from, like, [Charlie] McAvoy jumping for [Torey] Krug, it might have been Krech [David Krejci] going for Bergy [Patrice Bergeron]. I don’t know. I can’t complain, I mean, we’re trying to gain an advantage there,” said Cassidy. “Sometimes you get away with it, sometimes you don’t. We didn’t. And the other one was on the power play; we had a forward jump for the wrong guy.

“We had six guys. So, it’s hard to complain about them, you know, we were at fault there, we’ll take the blame for that and unfortunately it’s a lousy way to lose, but we had some chances in overtime too, we just lost our footing on a couple too. It was one of those nights, it seemed like we were – we had some chances at the offensive blue line, even in overtime, we just lost control of pucks and lost our footing and took away some good chances for us.”

Cassidy and the Bruins had a little too many men on the ice trouble during their first-round playoff series against the Ottawa Senators last spring, but it hasn’t really been a recurring issue at all for the B’s bench this season. So the expectation is that Saturday’s OT loss to the Rangers, too many men on the ice penalties and all, was another example of a lot of odd things happening to the Bruins in a game they most definitely didn’t deserve to win. 

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