BOSTON – The Bruins still hold out hope they’ll be able to sign Anders Bjork this summer as he prepares to play for Team USA at the World Championships.
Bruins GM Don Sweeney said there’s an active dialogue ongoing with the Bruins prospect’s family advisor since Bjork finished a Hobey Baker-level junior season at Notre Dame and he has yet to inform the B’s brass of a final decision.
The 20-year-old is coming off 21 goals and 52 points for a Notre Dame team that lost in the opening rounds of the Frozen Four and clearly would be a fast-skating, offensively polished winger who could potentially be a top-six left wing candidate for David Krejci’s line.
Sweeney made it clear the ball is completely in Bjork’s court at this point, but there becomes a real danger he could follow the Jimmy Vesey route to unrestricted free agency if he heads back to college for his senior season. The B’s general manager made it clear that they would like the 5-foot-11, 183-pounder in the fold, and there are plans for him next season and beyond if he decided to sign an entry-level deal this summer.
“We’ve had discussions. We’ll continue to have discussions. He hasn’t made a firm decision, whether or not he’s leaving school. So it will be his decision,” said Sweeney. “The opportunity is there for him to join us, and we’d like him to. But again, that’s his decision to make at the right time.”
Bjork, a former fifth-round pick, has clearly elevated his NHL profile since he was drafted three years ago, and also holds strong ties to Notre Dame: His father Kirt was an All-American hockey player there and his cousin, Tampa Bay Lightning forward Erik Condra, also played for the Irish. So there might be real, genuine interest for Bjork to return to Notre Dame for personal reasons, and another chance at an NCAA title with a loaded group after falling a couple of games short this season.
The Ottawa Senators announced Tuesday that team captain Erik Karlsson and his wife Melinda lost their son one month before his due date.
"The collective thoughts and prayers of the Ottawa Senators organization, the city of Ottawa and entire hockey community rest with Erik and Melinda Karlsson following the loss of their son.
We ask that you respect the family's wishes for privacy during the grieving process."
The couple announced via Instagram in November that they were expecting, and the CBC reports the baby was due in April.
Sens head coach Guy Boucher spoke about the tragedy after Ottawa's game vs the Panthers on Tuesday (1:36 mark in video below).
Karlsson, a rumored Bruins target before the trade deadline, received heartfelt condolences from the hockey world on Twitter:
Our thoughts too go out to Erik and Melinda during this incredibly difficult time.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while welcoming in spring with open arms.
*Interesting exercise from ESPN putting together the best all-time lineups for a number of college hockey programs. We know about a lot of the powerhouse programs, but UVM could put together a pretty damn good lineup based on the players that have come out of the Catamounts program, including former and current Bruins Tim Thomas and Kevan Miller.
*Jack Eichel scoffs at the notion that his ankle injury should have caused the Sabres star to shut it down for the rest of the season.
*Nice work by Star Wars Rebels showrunner Dave Filoni to put together a Star Wars jersey again this season for the Wilkes Barre Scranton Penguins.
*Rob Rossi has got some major issues with ESPN the Magazine omitting Sidney Crosby from their Most Dominant Athletes of the last 20 years list. Yeah, I’d say that doesn’t make any sense. Not that anybody really cares about ESPN the Magazine or anything.
*Strange times with the CWHL as Cassie Campbell Pascal has resigned from her role as a CWHL Governor ahead of the league’s marquee weekend.
*The Golden Knights and Marc-Andre Fleury are both tied together in their rise toward the top of the NHL this season.
*For something completely different: Never before has a mustache been talked about as much as the CGI mustache for Henry Cavill in Justice League, and now it’s gone forever.