Marchand not sweating added pressure after MVP-level year


Marchand not sweating added pressure after MVP-level year

BRIGHTON, Mass – It might be getting difficult for Brad Marchand to top himself with each passing season.

Last year the Bruins left winger and resident agitator led the B’s with 39 goals and 85 points in 80 games for the Bruins, and finished seventh in the Hart Trophy voting while getting MVP consideration for the first time in his career. He was the first point-per-game player for the Bruins since the heyday of Marc Savard in Boston and took another step toward becoming more iconic, respected player than the guy opposing fans are most likely to hate.


He still has some of the latter in his arsenal, of course, but Marchand knows he’s a guy that’s become somebody the rest of the team banks on for offense, production and making things happen in the big moments. There’s a pressure that comes along with that kind of expectation, but it’s something he’s ready to take on without any associated burdens on his shoulders.

“I think [opposing defenses] should just be following Pasta and Bergy around, but it’s fine if they want to cover me. They can just do their thing,” said Marchand, who has spent the first three days of training skate with Bergeron and rookie Anders Bjork in a trio that’s looked very comfortable together. “When you’re fortunate to have a year like [last season] there are definitely higher expectations. But I’m not going to put that on myself. It’s more about being prepared for every game and following Bergeron around and let him hit me when I go backdoor. We’re all just going to work hard, and hope it just works well for everyone.

“It’s just one of those things where everything came together, and I had a little bit more power play time. If you were to add all those power play points in other years it would be similar, so I really don’t think much changed aside from special teams’ time. Things just went well. I don’t expect that to happen every year, but it would be great if it did. I know my role is to go out, work hard and try to make things happen, so hopefully that’s how it goes.”

All polite, Canadian modesty aside, however, No. 63 has to know this Bruins team is relying on him more than ever after posting career-highs in all the major offensive categories. Perhaps there will be a little more point-production support from his center with Bergeron entering the season 100 percent healthy following offseason surgery for a sports hernia, and that will take some of the attention away from being directed at him.

But Marchand knows he won’t be sneaking up on anyone anymore after scoring 76 goals over the last two seasons, more than any player in the NHL aside from some guys named Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby, Patrick Kane and Vladimir Tarasenko. 


'Light at end of tunnel' for Bergeron's return

'Light at end of tunnel' for Bergeron's return

BRIGHTON, Mass – The long regional nightmare for Bruins fans might be coming to an end sooner rather than later.

That’s because Patrice Bergeron hopped on the ice on Monday morning at Warrior Ice Arena ahead of his team’s morning skate and then stuck around to jump in and out of drills while showing strong progress from his fractured right foot suffered at the end of February. 

Clearly,  Bergeron isn’t ready to play now and will miss his 11th consecutive game Monday night when the B's face the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night at TD Garden.

Still, it looks like No. 37 will be headed on the four-game road trip after the game and could potentially become an option to play at some point over the next week or two. Certainly, it’s a sign that Bergeron is going to be able to come back and play meaningful games before the playoffs. That’s something that has the 32-year-old excited after missing the past three weeks.

“It was nice to be back on the ice and skating. It felt good. It’s been a long three weeks, but it was nice to finally move forward and be on the ice. It was definitely nice to be on the ice with the guys,” said Bergeron, who skated on Sunday with Bruins Skating and Skills Coach Kim Branvold as well. “There’s definitely still some discomfort, but it’s a lot better. That was to be expected that it wasn’t going to be perfect when I was back right away.

“I’m seeing a light at the end of the tunnel right now being on the ice. We’re trying not to set a timeline right now, but just make sure I feel good and have my bearings on the ice. So far I’m happy with where we’re at.”

Certainly, it would be good timing if Bergeron returned soon when it appears David Backes (deep laceration on his right leg) is going to miss a week or two and Jake DeBrusk is out with no timetable for a return after getting dinged with a big hit in Carolina on Boston’s most recent trip.

Impressively, the Bruins have gone 8-2-0 since Bergeron has been out. Riley Nash has been a point-per-game player in March while filling in for No. 37 with three goals and nine points in nine games along with a plus-4 rating. Still, the Bruins all know their all-around game will rise to another level when they get their best all-around player back in the lineup and re-form what’s been the best two-way forward in the NHL this season with Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak.


Donato to make Bruins debut as a member of the third line

File photo

Donato to make Bruins debut as a member of the third line

BRIGHTON --  Ryan Donato will make his NHL debut for the Bruins on Monday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets, and it looks like he’ll do it as a member of the third line.

The newly-signed Harvard star was wearing No. 17 at morning skate on Monday at Warrior Ice Arena, and skating on the left wing with Noel Acciari and Brian Gionta in a new-look third line made necessary by injures to Patrice Bergeron, David Backes and Jake DeBrusk in the last few weeks. 

Donato signed with the Bruins on Sunday, so it will be interesting to see how ready he is to “plug and play” at the NHL level after crushing NCAA competition with 26 goals in 29 games for the Crimson this season. 

Otherwise it was a fairly standard lineup for the Bruins aside from Tommy Wingels dropping down to the fourth line to allow Acciari to center the third line, and thereby allow Donato to play the wing position where the B’s project him to be at the NHL level.

In other very positive B’s news, Bergeron -- recovering from a fractured right foot -- made a return to the ice, working on his own ahead of morning skate and then jumping in here and there in the team skate/

Here are the projected Bruins line combos and D-pairings vs. the Blue Jackets based on morning skate: