Morning Skate 124: Bergeron deserves All-Star berth


Morning Skate 124: Bergeron deserves All-Star berth

By Joe Haggerty

MARINA DEL REY, CA With Sidney Crosby officially out of the All-Star game proceedings after suffering a concussion at or immediately after the Winter Classic, its clear theres a spot to be filled on the roster of 40-something players taking part in the game. The NHL has already asserted that some of the top rookies selected for the Superskills competition would be the first choice as replacements for All-Stars too injured to take part in All-Star weekend in Carolina.But lets be honest here. Nobody is coming to All-Star weekend to watch rookies that arent quite ready for prime time skating against the best players in the world, and there are still plenty of worthy choices ready, willing and able to play that werent among the original crop of All-Stars. Pierre Lebrun clarified this morning on his Twitter accountthat only All-Stars pulling out on ThursdayFriday at the last minute would be replaced by rookies, so there is a chance that Bergeron could be included.Guys like Tomas Plekanec, Mike Richardsand Paul Stastny would be great replacement choices for Crosby, but the most fitting in this humble writers opinion would be Patrice Bergeron as he continues coming on strong this season. Bergeron has helped carry the Bruins offensively over the last six weeks and finds himself on a 27-goal, 67-point pace thats in line with his pre-concussion offensive numbers.Add to that hes Bostons leading scorer, tied for seventh in the NHL with a plus-21 and will again be one of the top contenders for the Selke Award as the NHLs best defensive forward along with the offense, and youve got yourselves one of the most complete players in the league. Bergeron is too classy, selfless and team-oriented to campaign for something individual like the All-Star game, but theres little doubt hes both deserving and interested if the NHL did come calling in the next couple of days.The NHL rookies will get their time to fill in and be All-Stars on their own, but the NHL should do the right thing and find worthy veteran players on track with All-Star seasons as injury replacements for those like Crosby that are unable to play. On to the links:

Three goaltenders is a crowd for the Maple Leafs, who need to start making some decisions and trading some players as the season slips away from them. Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk has had it with his underachieving Senators teams, according to AOL Fanhouse, and hes ready to begin dismantling things this year with an eye toward a complete overhaul this summer. "Hi, Evgeni . . . this is Garth Snow. Hello? Hello? The epic fail that is the New York Islanders just continues to grow with each passing day. Patrick King does a great job with junior hockey for Sportsnet, and he comes through with a weekly review of players and teams for those of us that need a little schooling in junior hockey. RaleighDurham native Clay Aiken is setto sing the National Anthem at the NHL All-Star game in Carolina this weekend. Chaka Khan must have been unavailable. Elliotte Friedmans always great 30 thoughts for the week, including some rumors that Ottawa native Peter Chiarelli could be headed back to Ottawa if their GM positions opens up in the future. Interesting.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Pastrnak's third-period goal gives Bruins their fourth straight victory, 4-3 over Pens


Pastrnak's third-period goal gives Bruins their fourth straight victory, 4-3 over Pens

BOSTON – The Bruins always hope to give their fans something good in their annual matinee on the day after Thanksgiving, and that was the case Friday.

They got off on the right foot with a great first period, then finished with an electric breakaway from David Pastrnak in the third period, and posted an entertaining, solid 4-3 win over the back-to-back Stanley Cup champ Pittsburgh Penguins at TD Garden.

Pastrnak’s 11th goal of the season was the game-winner. The Penguins had battled back from 2-0 and 3-1 deficits and tied the score, then Pastrnak was freed up by a brilliant neutral-zone pass from Riley Nash. He sped in all alone and flipped the puck over Matt Murray’s glove hand at 5:06 of the third.

David Krejci and Sean Kuraly had opened things up with goals in the first period, as the B's outshot the Penguins by a 14-4 margin. But Sidney Crosby and the Pens answered back in the second with three goals of their own, including a controversial game-tying score from Sid the Kid after Boston had moved ahead 3-1 on a goal from Charlestown native Matt Grzelcyk.

The Crosby goal came after it appeared the refs had called play dead with a whistle as the puck sat on Anton Khudobin’s waist in the crease. It also appeared to have been goalie interference, as Crosby’s stick had made contact with Khudobin while the puck was in mid-air. But on replay the officials overturned the call of no-goal on the ice, and the score was tied 3-3 after two.

That set things up for Pastrnak, who snapped a five-game goal-scoring stretch, and handed the red-hot Bruins their season-high fourth win in a row.

Morning Skate: Predators kicking it into gear


Morning Skate: Predators kicking it into gear

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while anticpating the turkey leftovers, ready for the taking.
-- NHL referee Wes McCauley is at it again, this time going with a fun no-goal call after having some trouble with his microphone.
-- After getting humbled on Opening Night by the Bruins, the Nashville Predators are starting to get on a roll.

-- NBC Pro Hockey Talk has Kyle Turris excelling for the Predators, and Matt Duchene very much still stuck in neutral for the Ottawa Senators.

-- NHL stars go through their favorite traditions, and what they enjoy is a game that’s full of routine, superstition and tradition.
-- FOH (Friend of Haggs) Ray Ferraro says “it looks rotten” with the Edmonton Oilers as they continue to struggle out of the starting gate.
-- Larry Brooks goes through an all-time ranking of the general managers for the New York Rangers, and it’s an illustrious list.

-- The Vegas Golden Knights could make the playoffs in their very first season, and are absolutely far ahead of expectations for a new expansion team.
-- For something completely different: Wild turkeys are making a major comeback in Massachusetts after being all but extinct here.