Purcell hopes to rekindle NHL career in Boston on a tryout


Purcell hopes to rekindle NHL career in Boston on a tryout

BRIGHTON, Mass – It’s going to take a few things to fall into place, but NHL veteran winger and former University of Maine star Teddy Purcell is hoping that he comes away with an NHL job in Boston at the end of training camp.

The 32-year-old Purcell found himself in the AHL for the bulk of last season after eight straight seasons in the NHL, including a five-year stint in Tampa Bay where in his best season he finished with 24 goals and 65 points in 2011-12. Now he’s with the Bruins on a PTO tryout agreement for training camp where he can lend a bit of an experienced hand on the wing just in case things don’t pan out with younger Bruins prospects like Anders Bjork, Jake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen among others.


Purcell has been skating at right wing along with Matt Beleskey and Ryan Spooner in the first couple of days in Bruins training camp, and is just trying to keep things simple as one of a growing number of NHL veterans looking for employment.

‘I know I have my work cut out for me, but hopefully I’ll get put in a good spot to show them what I can. . . and then work hard and hope for the best,” said the 6-foot-2, 195-pound Purcell, who had two assists in 12 games with the LA Kings last season to go along with 10 goals and 38 points in 38 games for the AHL’s Ontario Reign. “There’s a lot of things you could blame [for the career downturn], but you’ve just got to be better yourself as a player. You can also say you could work harder or in hindsight make different decisions about where you signed and stuff, but when it comes down to it you need to be better as a player. I worked hard this summer, and hopefully I can come in and make an impression on the guys [in management] upstairs.”

Purcell said the tryout with the B’s came together just a couple of days before the opening of training, so perhaps the former Kings, Lightning, Oilers and Panthers forward was insurance just in case the Pastrnak holdout became a thing during camp. Either way, Purcell has walked into a situation with Boston where a couple of top-6 winger spots are currently open for competition, and much of the competition is lacking the experience Purcell brings to the table with nearly 600 career games in the NHL.

So it stands to reason that Purcell actually walked into a pretty good opportunity to win a job if injuries or rookie jitters become a factor up front for the Bruins. Just as Drew Stafford came in at last spring’s trade deadline and made an impact in Boston after a down period in Winnipeg, Purcell hopes to do the same kind of career resuscitation in Boston.  

“It happened pretty quickly, and as an older guy I don’t know a whole lot about the younger guys coming up,” said Purcell. “I’ve heard there are some good players there and they’re going to be hungry for spots, and management probably knows them a little better than they know me. But as an older guy, you just have to come in with confidence. I’ve played on a lot of good teams with good players, and I’ve played up and down the lineup.

“There are good players here too, so it won’t be anything too new for me. I just need to go out and play my own game, and try to impress those guys [making the decisions].”

Purcell still had enough in the tank to put up 14 goals and 43 points between Edmonton and Florida a couple of years ago, so there’s clearly still some offensive ability there if the Bruins decide they want to go with a little more experience. 


Bruins resiliency on full display in third-period comeback vs Stars

AP Photo

Bruins resiliency on full display in third-period comeback vs Stars

GOLD STAR: Every once in a while Brad Marchand wills the Bruins to a win that they probably wouldn’t have otherwise had, and that happened again on Friday night with a three-point explosion for No. 63 in the final 20 minutes. Marchand finished with a goal and three points in 19:57 of ice time along with a plus-2 rating, and played a key role in the three-goal outburst that allowed the B’s to vanquish a 2-0 deficit. It was Marchand that opted not to shoot from the face-off dot with a look at the net in the closing seconds, and instead dropped it down low to David Pastrnak as he curled around the net and pushed a puck past Kari Lehtonen for the game-winner. Marchand finished with two shots on net, eight total shot attempts and a number of big plays in the third period redirecting pucks in close, kicking off shorthanded scoring plays and then setting up clutch game-winners in the final 15 seconds of the game. It’s the kind of night where Marchand played like an MVP even if he isn’t going to get much of a sniff at the Hart Trophy. 

BLACK EYE: Jamie Benn scored a shorthanded goal for the Dallas Stars, but he also jumped up in the air and clobbered Brad Marchand from behind with a completely unnecessary hit in the third period that went without a penalty being called. Instead it seemed to incense Marchand, who never gave up in the final sequence and ultimately fed a pass to David Pastrnak down low for the game-winner with just 11.1 seconds remaining in the game. Benn finished a minus-2 for Dallas while being on the ice for a pair of goals against, had a brutal 1-for-7 performance in the face-off dot and really acted like a punk on the play with Marchand in the third period. Benn is a better player than that and shouldn’t be resorting that level on a fellow star player like Marchand. 

TURNING POINT: Once again the Bruins really turned things around in the third period while outscoring the Stars by a 3-0 margin, and really flooding the Dallas net with 10 of their 36 shots on net for the night. It all started with a relentless shift from Boston’s top line where Riley Nash made a pass from his knees before taking a big hit, and then Brad Marchand redirected a David Pastrnak shot from the slot off his leg and into the net for Boston’s first goal. That first score finally allowed the Bruins to begin building some momentum, score each of the next two goals as the game slipped away from Dallas and once again proved themselves as a hockey club that one doesn’t ever doubt in the third period. 

HONORABLE MENTION: Tuukka Rask had a career-high 40 saves and turned away some really good looks from the Dallas offense while showing exactly what the Bruins can be capable of when their goaltending is on point. The only goals that beat Rask were a first period score with droves of traffic in front of the net, and a second period shorthanded score for Jamie Benn where he pulled one of those unconventional finishing moves on Rask at the very end. Rask made 11 saves on the Dallas power play alone during a trio of PP chances, and made a crucial leg pad save on Antoine Roussel in the third period that helped open things up for the goal-scoring outburst late in the game. Hopefully the strong, resounding performance from Rask answers some of the questions about some of his recent so-so performances between the pipes.   

BY THE NUMBERS: 29 – the number of goals this season for David Pastrnak as he readies to become only the ninth Bruins player to hit the 30-goal plateau in back-to-back seasons over the last 35 years of franchise history. 

QUOTE TO NOTE: “Resiliency. We didn’t want to go quietly for sure. We can live with the end result as long as we play the right way. The end result went our way again in the end, and I think that’s a credit to the guys.” –Bruce Cassidy to NESN about another comeback win for the Black and Gold.

Pastrnak scores with 12 seconds left to lift Bruins over Stars, 3-2

AP Photo

Pastrnak scores with 12 seconds left to lift Bruins over Stars, 3-2

DALLAS - David Pastrnak broke a tie with 12 seconds left and the Boston Bruins scored three straight goals in the third period to rally past the fading Dallas Stars 3-2 on Friday night.

A scramble followed a faceoff in the Dallas end, and Brad Marchand passed to Pastrnak in front. While falling down, he put the puck past Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen.

TALKING POINTS: B's resiliency on full display vs Stars

Tuukka Rask made a season-high 40 saves for the Bruins. Marchand scored Boston's first goal and also assisted on a short-handed goal by Tim Schaller that tied it midway through the third period.

The second-place Bruins won for the first time in three games (1-0-2) to move within four points of Atlantic Division leader Tampa Bay. Boston has already clinched a playoff berth.

The Stars are winless in their last seven games (0-5-2). They remained four points behind Colorado for the second Western Conference wild card.

Dallas led 2-0 on a first-period goal by Esa Lindell and Jamie Benn's short-handed score late in the second.

In the third, Marchand tipped in a shot by Pastrnak before Schaller scored on a 2-on-1 with Marchand.

Lehtonen finished with 33 saves.

Lindell scored 2:26 into the game. Jason Dickinson tried to deflect a shot from the right point into the net but the puck went wide right. Curtis McKenzie picked it up behind the goal line and passed to Lindell high in the left faceoff circle. His wrist shot went in off Rask's right arm.

Benn missed two good scoring opportunities early in the second period, but connected at 19:22. He took a pass from Tyler Seguin at the Dallas blue line and had a breakaway when Matt Grzelcyk fell down. Benn slid a backhand under Rask.