Bruins

Malcolm Subban placed on waivers as Khudobin retains backup job

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Malcolm Subban placed on waivers as Khudobin retains backup job

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins have made their decision on their backup goaltender and they’ve also opened the door for one of their former first-round picks to leave the organization. Malcolm Subban was placed on waivers on Monday after a solid training camp, but not close to solid enough to knock Anton Khudobin off his established pedestal as Tuukka Rask’s backup.

Khudobin, 31, clinched his spot with a 35-save effort in Boston’s 1-0 loss to the Blackhawks in their preseason finale on Saturday night, and the Bruins hope he’ll be the same goalie that was outstanding in the second half of last season.

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“I think we’d been upfront about there being a competition for the backup spot, but I think [Khudobin] came in and looked good right away, and was well-conditioned and practiced well,” said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. “He played well, so it’s his spot. He earned it.”

The writing was on the wall a bit for Subban, 23, after he was left unprotected in this summer’s expansion draft. The question now becomes if he’ll pass through waivers and report to Providence.

If Subban clears, then the Bruins hope he’ll be able to take the next step and dominate in the AHL after a fairly strong NHL camp. If he’s claimed by another NHL team then the door will be officially closed on another first-round pick bust from Peter Chiarelli’s tenure running the hockey operations in Boston. It will actually be interesting to see if any NHL team lacking goaltending depth takes a chance on claiming Subban before noon Tuesday, but it would be a bit surprising given his disastrous outings in the NHL regular season. (More below.)

“He’s carrying himself and he looks like he’s a more comfortable guy. It’s not confident because he’s always had a certain level of confidence, but he just looks more comfortable. Some of that I’d assume has to do with a good showing in Boston [during training camp],” said Cassidy. “[Subban] has stated publicly that he wants to play well for the Boston Bruins, and not for some other team. He wants to do it at this level. His camp was good and better than they’ve been in the past, and that’s why we’re talking about him.

“If he ends up in Providence then he needs to take that next step because there’s another guy down there that’s hungry to play in Zane [McIntyre]. He had a great year last year. The competition continues, but he looks better, more comfortable and more in control. It might just be maturity.”

Subban's 5.81 goals-against average and .727 save percentage in two NHL starts are among the worst in NHL history. Subban has been yanked in the second period from each of those games following pretty epic meltdowns. The hope is that he can build on the fairly average 2.41 GAA and .917 save percentage he posted last season in Providence, but he’ll need to do it while competing with McIntyre for playing time if he does clear waivers. 

Morning Skate: Is Ovechkin clutch?

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Morning Skate: Is Ovechkin clutch?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while still not believing what I saw in last night’s Patriots/Steelers game. Boy, has Tom Brady been a treat to watch over the course of his career. 

 

*Pro Hockey Talk asks if Alex Ovechkin is clutch. Why do I feel like this could develop into an “Is Joe Flacco Elite?” level of debate? 

 

*Nashville D-man (it still feels weird writing that) PK Subban is planning to use his creativity to help grow the game of hockey that he loves so very much. 

 

*Erik Karlsson is getting to the top of his game at a rather appropriate time as trade rumors start to swirl with him along with a massive price tag on his next contract. The question is this: Who has the prospects and the cap room to make a move for Karlsson work, and what would they have to give up to the Sens in order to get him? Multiple blue chip prospects, first round pick and an established, All-Star-level player would be my starting point.  

 

*Speaking of the Ottawa Senators, Vice Sports says that the Senators fan base deserves a better owner than Eugene Melnyk. 

 

*Ryan Reaves and Kris Letang headline a list of five big questions facing the Pittsburgh Penguins through the rest of the season. 

 

*For something completely different: A Spoiler-rific take on the Last Jedi, and the kind of things the next movie must do in order to make this movie more palatable to the hard-core fan base.  

Same B's lineup as they brace for glut of games leading into holiday

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Same B's lineup as they brace for glut of games leading into holiday

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins have enjoyed a lot of down time over the first two months of the NHL regular season, but that’s beginning to change now as they enter the holiday season. Sure they will get the three-day break around the Christmas holiday just like everybody else around the NHL, but they’re heading into that three-day respite with a schedule of seven games in 11 days, including back-to-back games Columbus and Buffalo kicking off tonight at TD Garden. 

It’s good that this kind of busy sequence didn’t come down when the B’s were injury ravaged over the first few months of the season, but there’s never an easy time to play four 60-minute effort games in a span of six days, including a short rest matinee on Saturday vs. the Red Wings.

Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy will undoubtedly roll lines a little more liberally and probably rotate some players into his lineup, but he’s going with the same forwards and D-men in front of Tuukka Rask on Monday night vs. the Blue Jackets. The Bruins are doing what they can during a dense portion of the schedule, and making certain they’re ready to give their best after dropping back-to-back games against the Capitals and Rangers last week. 

“You just need to make it easy on ourselves by not playing a hard game, and not doing damage to ourselves to make things more difficult,” said Brad Marchand. “You take care of the puck and keep it simple, and then whenever you get a day off you need to rest up and recover. That’s all you can really do.”

So Rask will get the nod with Anton Khudobin likely to start against the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night, and the lineup will be exactly the same as vs. the Rangers with Anders Bjork sitting for the second game in a row: 

 

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

DeBrusk-Krejci-Spooner

Heinen-Nash-Backes

Schaller-Kuraly-Acciari

 

Chara-McAvoy

Krug-Carlo

Grzelcyk-Miller

Rask

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