Bruins

Morning Skate: Subban not speaking to media is a bad look for the NHL

Morning Skate: Subban not speaking to media is a bad look for the NHL

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while knowing the hockey season could be done on this day. 

 

*This situation with PK Subban not speaking to the media for three straight days during the Stanley Cup Final is ridiculous, and bad for the game. The league can’t allow one of the NHL’s most vibrant personalities and entertaining superstars to go silent during the league’s marquee event, and the Predators are doing the NHL a disservice by hiding him right now. The other sports have figured out that you maximize the availability and visibility of your best, most entertaining players in the big moments instead of hiding them behind a PR team looking to play it safe. Situations like this prove that the league still has a long way to go to sell their game, and to best use their most effective ambassadors to sell the entertainment value of the game as well. The Listerine stuff was fun and games, and his back-and-forth with Sidney Crosby has been one of the best things about this series. What a bummer to hear PK hasn’t been heard from for this long. 

*Larry Brooks says it will be a flat salary cap of $73 million for next season, which means there will be some tough salary cap decisions across the league this summer. 

*USA Hockey executive Dave Ogrean is retiring and leaving the state of US hockey in very good hands after a job well done. Ogrean made it clear he thinks that the US players will be back in China for the 2022 Olympics. 

*Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman is playing the waiting game with his team as he waits for opportunities to improve his roster this summer. 

*It shouldn’t come as much of a shock that Benoit Pouliot is going to be left exposed by the Edmonton Oilers in the NHL expansion draft. What a blow to the fancy stat geeks that advised signing Pouliot to that ridiculous contract in the first place as a free agent. He’s still got the same flaws and inconsistencies now as he did then, much to the chagrin of the Oilers. 

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Elliotte Friedman has his 30 Thoughts on which players might waive their no-movement clauses ahead of the NHL expansion draft. 

*The Philadelphia Flyers are in a no-lose situation with the No. 2 overall selection in the upcoming NHL Draft, and with a roster of players that could jump quickly back into the playoff picture. 

*For something completely different: Yup, the Black Panther movie looks excellent going by the first trailer dropped by Marvel Studios. 

David Krejci Line looks to shoulder their share of Bruins offensive burden

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USA TODAY Sports Photo

David Krejci Line looks to shoulder their share of Bruins offensive burden

TORONTO – The Bruins top line totaled up 20 points in the first two games, and the B’s took both of those against the Maple Leafs. Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak had zero points in Game 3 on Monday night at the Air Canada Centre, and the Bruins ended up dropping that game to the Leafs. 

So clearly the Bruins’ playoff fate could be strongly tied to the ebbs and flow of their top forward trio, but the hope with the B’s is that the formula won’t be that simple throughout the postseason. A big part of the reason the Bruins gave up a boatload to the New York Rangers in exchange for Rick Nash was to acquire another forward capable of shouldering a scoring load, and turn Boston’s second line into a much more dangerous group. 

All three members of the B’s second line, David Krejci, Rick Nash and Jake DeBrusk, all have goals during the best-of-seven series, but they also came up empty in Game 3 with Krejci and DeBrusk only managing two shots on net between them. They know that they’re capable of more given the offensive talent on the ice, and given that so much defensive attention is being paid to neutralizing Bergeron, Marchand and Pastrnak rather than them. 

“We had lots of good looks. I missed a couple. We had lots of good looks that just didn’t go in,” said Krejci. “So we need to work extra harder [in Game 4] to bury those chances and have them end up in the back of the net. We need to stick to the game plan and respect the game plan.”

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Nash had five shots on net and some pretty good chances, but the best scoring chance was a DeBrusk dangle and pass to Krejci wide open at the net. It looked like the puck hit a rut on the ice and Krejci was never able to settle it down for a shot despite the nice-looking pass, so that line is left biding their team for another chance to carry the offense. 

“I think that’s the main reason why we’re the second line. We all have attributes that can help this team. It hasn’t really come to the table yet, but I still thought that we generated chances [in Game 3], and I think our whole team did. It just wasn’t bouncing our way,” said DeBrusk. “It’s frustrating, but at the same time you take the positives from it. It’s not going to be easy. It’s going to get harder from here on in. Hopefully our top line does their thing, but if not then we’ll be ready to hopefully help out in that category.”

The Bruins top line is ready, willing and able to shoulder the lion’s share of the scoring burden for the Black and Gold, and most nights they’re going to be able to live up to that kind of responsibility. But if the Bruins want to beat the good defensive teams and become a much more difficult team to play against in the postseason, they’re going to need to start getting production from a second line that should be built to play the power, puck possession game in the postseason.

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Patrice Bergeron named Selke Trophy finalist for seventh straight season

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File Photo

Patrice Bergeron named Selke Trophy finalist for seventh straight season

TORONTO – At some point, they’re going to have to start thinking about re-naming the award after Patrice Bergeron himself.

The Bruins center was named a finalist for the Selke Trophy on Wednesday night for the seventh consecutive season, and is going for his NHL-record fifth trophy for being the best defensive forward in the NHL. Bergeron was named a finalist along with Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier and Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar. Bergeron finished his 12th NHL season with 30 goals and 33 assists for 63 points with 26 penalty minutes and a plus-21 rating in 64 games.

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He ranked fifth in the league in faceoff win percentage (57.3, min. 1,000 face-offs), 12th in face-offs won (784), third in even strength faceoff win percentage (58.0, min. 500 face-offs won) and first in shorthanded faceoff win percentage (58.3, min. 50 face-offs won). The 32-year-old forward also ranked second overall in the team puck possession metric SAT (shot attempts differential), with a 57.56%, which should make the fancy stat nerds very happy.

Some might argue there other more worthy candidates given that Bergeron missed 18 games due to injury this season, but he was also the center of a line that didn’t give up an even strength goal until January while putting up his customarily excellent stats. That being said, a guy like Aleksander Barkov also deserved plenty of consideration outside the top-3 finalists that all come in with equally strong chances of taking home the award.

Bergeron has won the Selke in 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2017. If he wins the year's Selke Trophy, he will break the record held by four-time winner and Montreal Canadiens Hall of Famer Bob Gainey. The Selke Award is given annually to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game. The winner is selected in a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association at the end of the regular season, and will be announced at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas on June 20.

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