Cehlarik has ‘confidence’ and ‘good feeling’ headed into Bruins camp


Cehlarik has ‘confidence’ and ‘good feeling’ headed into Bruins camp

BRIGHTON, Mass – He might have been a bit of a forgotten Bruins prospect while playing over in Europe for the past few years, but 21-year-old Peter Cehlarik looks ready to throw his hat into the ring for an NHL winger job along with young bucks Jake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen. 

Cehlarik scored a goal in each of the rookie camp games in Buffalo last week and found himself skating left wing on a training camp line with potential NHL fourth-liners in Dominic Moore and Riley Nash.

The 6-foot-3, 202-pound Slovakian finished with 11 goals and 20 points in 46 games for Lulea in the Swedish Elite League last season and clearly has the combo of skills and size that should make him a factor on the ice.

Perhaps more impressively, Cehlarik has five goals and nine assists in 23 games played for Team Slovakia in international play at the World Junior and World Championship tournaments and has shown flashes that he could be very effective in the NHL. 

For now, Cehlarik is hoping to continue adjusting to the North American game after playing his entire career in Europe. That may ultimately be the biggest reason he starts the year in Providence no matter how good his camp ends up being.

“Once you start to produce you get that confidence and that good feeling, and now you bring that over to main camp,” said Cehlarik, who was taken by the Bruins in the third round of the 2013 draft. “I’ll compete hard. I know I have to bring everything I’ve got. I always competed hard for my team in the Swedish Leagues, and now that I’m here I’ll try to compete just as hard.

“I worked hard a lot during the summer, so I’m trying to show my strength a little bit and being able to protect the puck along the walls. I’ve been prepared for this move, and I’m really excited to be here. It’s a dream to be here and be around all of these famous guys. I know I’m going to try to learn a lot from them and try to make the team.”

Does Cehlarik truly believe that he can crack the NHL roster with household names Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Tuukka Rask, Brad Marchand and Zdeno Chara?

“You have to trust yourself,” said Cehlarik, who teamed with DeBrusk a couple of times for goals in the rookie tournament. “But if it doesn’t work out [making the NHL roster] then I’ll learn a lot down at Providence. Then maybe I’ll get to the point where I can make it.”

The big Slovakian winger is off to a good start with the Black and Gold after his rookie camp performance, but now it becomes a much bigger challenge against determined men trying to win NHL jobs at main camp. 

"I was impressed [with Cehlarik] like a lot of other people at the rookie camp in Buffalo. I thought he played really well," said Bruins assistant coach Joe Sacco. "He seems to be skating better than he was in the past, and he's a big, strong kid. His ability to hang onto pucks [is good], and he can make plays in small areas with his good hands. 

"He made a lot of good plays in that rookie tournament, and he was one of the forwards that really stood out. I believe he's played against men in the past, so you can see he's a little bit stronger and a little more advanced in that regard. He's certainly off to a good start."


NHL still debating possible discipline on Schenn-Krejci collision

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NHL still debating possible discipline on Schenn-Krejci collision

The NHL Department of Player Safety is still debating if supplemental discipline is needed for the Blues'  Brayden Schenn for the violent hit he delivered to the Bruins' David Krejci in the B's 2-1 overtime loss in St. Louis on Wednesday night. 

In the second period, Schenn clobbered David Krejci in the corner with a punishing hit to the head as the B’s playmaking center was facing him immediately after releasing the puck. Schenn was whistled for a two-minute minor for charging at the time of the collision, but luckily Krejci was able to remain in the game and played 15:54 of ice time in the loss.

Upon further review, it was very clearly a big, heavy hit delivered to Krejci’s head, but there were plenty of mitigating factors. Krejci had his head down until the last second while looking down at the puck on his stick and was hunched over as Schenn moved in to deliver a check on a player eligible to be hit. Schenn’s skates left the ice to finish the hit after impact, which made the collision look even worse to the casual observer, but that isn’t considered launching into a hit by the NHL’s standards.

Adding to the equation is that Schenn has been suspended twice by the NHL before, three games in 2016 for a charging hit on TJ Oshie and one game back in 2013.

Clearly, it’s a difficult call for the league as they try to deter hits to the head and reduce the number of concussions. Still, this would appear to be another situation where, as the league says, a player “assumed a posture that made head contact on an otherwise full body check unavoidable." It’s absolutely similar to the Patrick Hornqvist/Charlie McAvoy hit from a few weeks ago that never ended up with any supplemental discipline for the Penguins hard-hitter despite plenty of hue and cry from the Bruins fans.

So what does everybody else think about this hit, and whether or not Schenn should be facing discipline from the NHL as a result of it?


Talking points: Ryan Donato's goal helps Bruins clinch playoff berth

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Talking points: Ryan Donato's goal helps Bruins clinch playoff berth

GOLD STAR: Jaden Schwartz stepped up and won the game for the Blues with a couple of really good plays in the third period and overtime. He took advantage of a line change and a lax Bruins defense to snap a shot past Anton Khudobin from the face-off circle in the third period that tied up the game, and then went on a one-man rush in overtime before blasting a puck past Khudobin for the game-winner on a beautiful individual play. Schwartz finished with the two goals that represented all of the St. Louis offense, four shots on net, a hit and a takeaway in 20:02 of ice time while logging a plus-2 rating as well. The Blues clearly needed somebody to step up to the plate with Vladimir Tarasenko and the Schwartz was with St. Louis on Wednesday night.

BLACK EYE: The Bruins were quite literally black and blue after a physical, punishing game with the St. Louis Blues. A number of players took heavy hits against a St. Louis team that felt free to throw hits and take runs with Zdeno Chara and David Backes out of Boston’s lineup among other players, and that culminated with Brayden Schenn drilling David Krejci in the second period. It was a hit that earned Schenn a two minute penalty for charging midway through the period, but shouldn’t result in anything more for the Blues forward. The hit wasn’t late, his skates were on the ice when he made contact, and Krejci was crouched down when Schenn made impact on a heavy check with his elbows tucked in, so it looked like a relatively clean hit that isn’t going to be on the radar of the NHL’s Player Safety Department. That physicality for the Blues really seemed to slow down the Bruins a little bit as things went on over the 60 plus minutes of the overtime game.


TURNING POINT: The Bruins actually only got outshot by a 15-13 margin in the second period, third period and overtime, but it was clear that they slowed down in terms of attacking and creating chances as things moved on in the game. By the latter half of the game the Bruins were simply trying to hang on to their one-goal lead, and then after that simply trying to hang in there for the point earned by getting to overtime. They managed to do it, but it was a different wave of momentum in the game once the Blues tied things up in the third period on Schwartz’s first goal. After that the Bruins were scrambling and hanging on, and did just enough to hang in there for a single overtime point for the second game in a row.

HONORABLE MENTION: Ryan Donato made it two goals in two games when he stepped into a loose puck created by an Alex Pietrangelo turnover that bounced off referee Brad Watson after he attempted to throw a puck up the middle of the ice. Donato pounced on the fortuitous bounce and rocked a puck on edge past Jake Allen for the game’s first goal and another affirmation that the 21-year-old can both shoot and score. Donato was pretty quiet after that goal, of course, with a couple of shots on net, but it seemed like a big, heavy hit on him by Dmitri Jaskin in the second period kind of quieted the youngster down a little bit. Still, you’ve got to love the production from a player just getting his feet wet at the NHL level.

BY THE NUMBERS: 100 – The number of points for the Bruins after falling in overtime by a 2-1 score to the Blues, and in getting to the century mark the B’s clinched a playoff spot for the second season in a row.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “It’s step one. Going into the season we wanted to make the playoffs and be a Stanley Cup contender. Right now we got in and we’re going to be a contender, right? Now it’s about being in the best position possible going forward.” –Bruce Cassidy, to reporters in St. Louis about clinching the playoff spot on Wednesday night.