Bruins

Sunday, Jan. 8: Babcock not a fan of bye weeks

Sunday, Jan. 8: Babcock not a fan of bye weeks

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while digging out from under the snow in Boston.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Tracey Myers says the Chicago Blackhawks are looking for more consistency in the second half of the season.

*Dandy Don Cherry is looking for some changes to the way Hockey Canada runs their World Junior teams after they come up short against Team USA in this year’s tournament.

*“Sarge” Mike Riley has the preview details behind a big day of outdoor hockey at Fenway Park this afternoon. It should be a great day for hockey after we got dumped with all that snow on Saturday to make for a nice wintry Fenway setting.

*Mike Babcock doesn’t think the idea of the bye weeks in the NHL schedule has been a good one for player safety.

*Bobby Ryan was scratched from the lineup of a struggling Ottawa team without any explanation from coach Guy Boucher. Maybe he forgot how to spell intensity again?

*Andrei Vasilevskiy says that he needs “to be better mentally” after struggling along with his Lightning teammates recently.

*PHT writer James O’Brien has the details behind Lucas Sbisa getting hit so hard that trainers needed to pull pieces of his helmet from off his head.

*For something completely different: a nice NBCBoston piece about the real-life local fishing boat featured in the Manchester By the Sea movie.

Return of Patrice Bergeron, David Backes propels Bruins to win over Canucks

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Return of Patrice Bergeron, David Backes propels Bruins to win over Canucks

BOSTON – The Bruins were hoping for a big boost from the return of Patrice Bergeron and David Backes to the lineup, and that’s exactly what they got in a solid 6-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks at TD Garden on Thursday night. 

Bergeron finished with a goal and three assists and a plus-2 rating in the win, and it appeared his return to the Boston lineup was exactly what the doctor ordered for a hockey club in need of a little direction. 

Vancouver actually scored the first goal of the game, but then the Bruins exploded for the next four goals in the first period including three power play goals courtesy of a five minute major boarding penalty on Erik Gudbranson. The mammoth Canucks D-man slammed Frank Vatrano from behind against the end boards, and David Pastrnak, Anders Bjork and David Krejci all tallied power play strikes within 1:37 of each other. 

The Pastrnak score was the beauty of the bunch as he took the puck coast-to-coast through the teeth of the Vancouver penalty kill, and completely faked out Michael Del Zotto before snapping a forehand bid past Anders Nilsson. 

Prior to the PP outburst, Derek Dorsett drew first blood for Vancouver on a wobbly bid from the slot and then Anders Bjork followed with his second NHL goal after tapping home the rebound of a Patrice Bergeron bid from the perimeter. 

Brad Marchand teamed up with linemates Bergeron and Bjork for his fourth goal of the season to make it 5-1 in the second period, and then Vancouver managed to get a couple of goals from Thomas Vanek and Bo Horvat to make for an interesting final period. 

Bergeron made certain that it was a happy ending for the Black and Gold by burying his first goal of the season and his fourth point of the night on a power play strike to ice the game. Anton Khudobin was strong stepping in for the injured Tuukka Rask and stopped 26-of-29 shots for his second victory of the season. 

Kenny Agostino looking forward to 'the right opportunity' with the Bruins

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Kenny Agostino looking forward to 'the right opportunity' with the Bruins

BRIGHTON, Mass – It’s been a few different stints with a few different NHL teams for 25-year-old Kenny Agostino, so he knows the drill at this point in his pro hockey career. The Bruins signed Agostino as a free agent on July 1 after he led the AHL in scoring last season, and they gave him a one-way contract as a show of proof that he’d get his chances at the NHL level.

It didn’t happen immediately out of camp as Agostino was felled by a concussion for part of the preseason, but he’ll get his chance now with injuries and ineffectiveness creating an opening for him on the Black and Gold. Agostino should get a look as the left winger on the third line after lighting it up in Providence with two goals and seven points in his first three games with the P-Bruins, and he’s looking forward to seizing another chance at the NHL level after stints with the Flames and Blues. 

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“I’ve been doing this a few years and I like to think I’ve developed my game outside of my offensive ability,” said the 6-foot-1, 200-pound Agostino, who had 24 goals and 83 points for the Chicago Wolves last season. “That’s kind of been my goal to become more of a complete player. I’m excited and looking forward to another opportunity and just want to make the most of it. I’m not looking past tonight.

“I was fortunate as a college guy to get my first pro experience at the NHL level in Calgary, but then you understand how difficult it is to establish yourself. You need a lot of different things. You need the right opportunity and you need to do well with it, so it makes you appreciate how great of an opportunity it is anytime you get to play in this league.”

Certainly, the Bruins are anxious to get a look at Agostino, and probably Peter Cehlarik at some point soon, and the lack of production from some of the NHL incumbents have fast-forwarded that process a little bit. Agostino will replace Ryan Spooner along the half-wall on the first power play unit, and perhaps he can add the kind of scoring touch in the bottom-6 that Matt Beleskey and Frank Vatrano haven’t been able to thus far.

“We know Kenny is going to start in Spooner’s power play spot, he’s done it before and he’s had some success at the lower levels when given that opportunity. Obviously he’ll play left behind [Brad] Marchand and [Jake] DeBrusk, probably on the third line spot,” said Cassidy. “He’s played with [Riley] Nash yesterday [at practice] so there’s a good chance he’ll play with him today.”

The Bruins certainly need a spark after limping out to a 2-3-0 start to the season in the first five games, so perhaps a hungry Agostino can do that while being given a legit chance to show what he can do by the Black and Gold.