Bruins

Krejci expresses desire to stay in Boston after win

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Krejci expresses desire to stay in Boston after win

TORONTO Its only natural that the news of the Anaheim Ducks shopping talented winger Bobby Ryanwas met with excitement in just about every other NHL city. Its not every day that a 25-year-old power forward with 40-goal potential and a reasonable contract (5.1 million over the next three years) becomes available to the highest bidder.Alas, the firing of Anaheim's head coach Randy Carlyle in favor of Bruce Boudreau has likely ended the Ryan sweepstakes before they even got started.

When the Duckswere mullingRyan not being apart of the solution, it was expected a deal forthe forward could net the Ducksa dynamic top line center, a top-four defenseman and a first round pick as part of the return package.

So its only natural David Krejci be mentioned as part of a potential package deal for Ryan given that hes approaching restricted free agency, and given that the Bruins are stacked depth-wise at the center position. The B's playmaker has also been struggling a bit out of the gate this season, and Ryan's salary cap tag matched up favorably with the kind of money Krejci will be seeking in a contract moving forward.

So the Ducks would also likely havesoughtDougie Hamilton and a first round pick to round out the ransom for a winger thats potted 100 goals over the last three full seasons in Anaheim. That made it a non-starter for many around the Bruins -- this hockey writer included -- but there were other possibilities.

If they were to get involved perhaps the Bruins could talk Ryans price tag down to Johnny Boychuk or Adam McQuaid along with Krejci and the draft pick getting shipped to the Ducks for their young superstar.

But there is no concrete proof that Boston had everdipped their toes in on the Bobby Ryan sweepstakes. The New York Rangers weresaid to be the leaders in the clubhouse for the Ducks sniper, and Krejci finally snapped out of a weeks-long funk with a three-point effort in Bostons 6-3 win over the Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre.

Krejci cleaned up Nathan Hortons net drive by popping in the rebound for Bostons second goal of the evening, and snapped a nine game goalless streak in the process that dated back to aNov. 7 winagainst the New York Islanders.

He then set up a pair of goals following his second period score, and equaled the number of points hed been able to muster in nine games leading up to Wednesday nights divisional battle with Toronto. The third period pass to Lucicin front of the night was classic No. 46 and showed that the playmaking pivot is still operating at a very high level when the mood strikes him.

Its one of the biggest keys to our line. When hes moving the puck with confidence and hes protecting it hes good. It seems like hes been a little frustrated this year, said Milan Lucic. But he didnt have that tonight, so hopefully hes getting some confidence as well.

We went into this game wanting to end the month right head into December."

Then Krejci spoke at length about building confidence and going on a run with linemates Lucic and Horton now that theyre feeling it offensively.

The playmaking center has admitted in recent days that hes heard some of the tradetalk surrounding him, and its only become louder in the moments following Anaheims management flirting with flippingRyan. So Krejci was aware of some of the rumors, and theres no telling whetherthe urgency that comes with tradewhispersreally spurred him onto a higher level of performance. Krejci is a player that seems to rely on motivation to push him into his highest level of play, and he looked like his motor was running Wednesday night.

One thing is certain: Krejci doesnt want to go to Anaheim or anywher else.He sounded more like somebody ready to cross his arms and refuse to budge from the Bruins should things haveprogressed with Anaheim on Ryan. The Czech Republic center was drafted by Boston, hes developed in his time with the Bruins and he wants to potentially win another Stanley Cup with his current set of teammates.It's good to hear, and it's something Krejci should want to protect with heightened play until he signs another deal with the B's.

I love the city. I love the team. Everybody really gets along well. We are winning, said Krejci when asked about the trade rumors. "I like to be on a winning team and I like to have a chance to win the Cup. This is the team, you know? I would like to have a chance to stay here.

There were some talk about me getting traded, but I didnt even know about it. I try to focus on my game and stay away from these things.

Did it seem curious that whispers and rumors start kicking up when the Bruins are in the middle of their best month of hockey in more than 40 years?

Its probably somebody starting a rumor and then other people getting involved. I dont really care, said Krejci. I really like this team right now and Im going to do everything I can to help them win.

Theres no denying that perhaps some of the trade chatter has served as a good motivational tool for Krejci going into big games against Toronto.But theres also nousedenying the homegrown centers intentions. Krejci knows he can continue building toward being a better player this season, and can almost taste another long Cup run despite the checkered start to his season.Krejci is staying for the time being, and that's exactly the way he wants it.

Khudobin can't save Bruins' goaltending situation

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Khudobin can't save Bruins' goaltending situation

The entire concept of Tuukka Rask getting pushed by one of his backups is based on the backup consistently performing at a high standard, and that wasn’t the case for Anton Khudobin over the weekend.

Just as it isn’t solely the fault of Rask when the Bruins lose, it wasn’t solely the fault of Khudobin that Boston squandered leads of 3-0 and 4-1 in an overtime loss to Buffalo on Saturday night. But Khudobin couldn’t step up and carry the B's when they clearly started losing their edge in the second half of the game, and that inconsistency will certainly make the Bruins pine for a sooner-rather-than-later return of a concussed Rask.

“Erratic,” said coach Bruce Cassidy when asked to describe Khudobin postgame. “He battles. We love that about him. He battled to the end. He certainly made his share of saves. We need to be better in front of him. But there were times that, there were fires that needed to be put out that shouldn’t have been necessary. But that happens sometimes.”

It was certainly too much to expect Khudobin to be perfect, but they just needed him to be good enough to pull them through while they were getting waylaid in the second half of the game. That proved to be a major challenge, given the players the Bruins are missing and the extremely rough night suffered by Torey Krug (minus-3 on Saturday night, and minus-8 for the season). Khudobin finished with 37 stops as a defense corps without Adam McQuaid and Kevan Miller wilted in the third period and the overtime, but he couldn’t make the clean saves for whistles when the team really needed them. Case in point was a Rasmus Ristolainen tester in overtime while the Bruins were in the midst of being outshot by a 6-0 margin in the extra session. Khudobin got a glove on it but couldn’t cleanly catch it for a badly needed stoppage in play at a time when Krug, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand had been caught on the ice for over two minutes.

"The start was great, and the game was great until we scored the fourth goal, and I think after that, we thought it was an easy game,” said Khudobin. “[The high volume of shots] wasn’t that much difficult, I like shots, like probably every other goalie, but they were crashing the net. They were going hard. There were a lot of deflections, a lot of rebounds, a lot of scrums in front of the net, which were . . .that’s the dangerous part, not just the shots.”

Khudobin, 31, has taken five of a possible six points in the games he's played this season and is off to a solid start with a 2-0-1 record, a 2.98 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage. He looks like he’s going to be a perfectly fine backup, enabling the Bruins to hold Rask to the 55-60 games they’ve forecasted for his peak performance this season.

But Saturday night was a major blow to any hopes that Rask would be pushed competitively by his backup, and that a Khudobin hot streak could spark a slow-starting, and now injured, Rask when he does return.

Instead the Bruins are left to hope they can survive while missing Rask along with a number of other key players, and that the goalie returns sooner than later to a team that can’t survive too many morale-crushing defeats like the choke job against the lowly Sabres.

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Morning Skate: 'After Hours'? Injured Jagr is open

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Morning Skate: 'After Hours'? Injured Jagr is open

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while wondering if it shouldn’t be more of an issue that potential Red Sox manager Alex Cora was good buddies with Dustin Pedroia when the two played together in Boston.

*Jaromir Jagr suffers a lower-body injury and then goes on Hockey Night in Canada’s “After Hours” program to show once again how wonderful it is to be “The Jagr.”

*The Ottawa Senators get Erik Karlsson back this week, but now they’ve lost power forward Bobby Ryan for a month with a broken finger.

*The Montreal Canadiens are getting exposed for the very flawed team that they are during a brutal start to the 2017-18 season.

*Keep an eye out on the Los Angeles Kings now that they’ve suffered an injury with Jeff Carter and do appear to be in the running for the playoffs this season.

*New Jersey Devils fans help a singer belt out the national anthem after there might have been a case of forgetting the words.

*Doug Gilmour might not have always enjoyed the prying eyes while playing in Toronto, a case that gives you an idea what it’s like to be a pro hockey player in a market like Toronto where everybody knows your name.

*For something completely different: There’s no doubting that Aaron Judge has brought life and energy back to the Yankees and that’s something that’s very good for baseball.