Bruins

Report: David Pastrnak has multiple offers from the KHL

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Report: David Pastrnak has multiple offers from the KHL

BOLTON, Mass – With the start of NHL training camp just a couple of days away and 21-year-old David Pastrnak still unsigned, both sides continue to brace for leverage and the upper hand in negotiations. The latest unconfirmed development is a report from a KHL Hockeybuzz reporter, Aivis Kalnins, that Pastrnak has “multiple offers” on the table from the KHL if he and the Bruins can’t come to a suitable agreement for the restricted free agent.

As of Monday evening, there was no confirmation or denial to CSN New England from Pastrnak’s agent, JP Barry, in an email seeking clarification on the report.

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The Bruins have a couple of confirmed offers of six and seven years at $6 million per season that are months old at this point. Pastrnak’s camp made a counter-offer over the last few weeks for a maximum eight years that’s believed to be in the neighborhood of $8 million per season. That leaves a wide gap between the organization and the player’s camp on the 21-year-old that broke out for 34 goals and 70 points last season.

It would certainly appear there’s a middle ground there with Pastrnak eventually getting something in the $7-7.5 million per season range that Vladimir Tarasenko earned a couple of years ago in a comparable situation to the B’s right winger. But there’s been little budging from either side and that leaves tactics out of the negotiating playbook, including threats to have the Czech-born Pastrnak skip the NHL season and play in Russia instead.

It’s the same threat restricted free agent Andreas Athanasiou has attempted to use to pry a bigger contract out of the Detroit Red Wings this summer, and the same tactic Torey Krug’s camp used when he eventually held out in training camp a couple of seasons ago. It certainly feels like a ploy to get the Bruins to finally pony up the money that Pastrnak is rightfully asking for. 

The difference in Pastrnak's case being the massive void on the right wing that would be there for the Bruins if the game-breaking forward took his talents to Russia for the season. Boston has botched things with other elite young talents like Dougie Hamilton, Tyler Seguin and Phil Kessel, and doing so once again with an elite young player would only cement that reputation. 

One potential sticking point to a massive contract for Pastrnak that was debunked on Monday was any potential issues with his Bruins teammates should he become one of the highest paid players on the team. In fact, Brad Marchand said it was exactly the opposite despite the Bruins agitator going a different route and taking a hometown discount last fall with an eight-year deal that pays him $6.125 million per season.

“We all want to see each other be successful,” said Marchand at the Bruins Foundation Golf Tournament at the International on Monday. “[Pastrnak] had a great year last year so we’ll be very happy for him with whatever he ends up getting. The contract that he signs, Pasta’s going to make a lot of money, he’s a phenomenal player, he’s 21 years old, and he’s going to have a long career. We all like to see each other be successful and do well, and that’s the way the game goes.

“The league’s trending upwards and the contracts are getting higher and higher. You look around and some of the deals that were thrown out this summer for young guys, it wasn’t like that three or four years ago and that’s the way it is now. So again, we’re all very happy for one another, and whatever he gets is going to help other guys get more too. So that’s just the way it is.”

Perhaps the Bruins value their internal salary structure so much that they don’t make a restricted free agent one of the team’s highest paid players while coming off an entry level contract, and that means pushing him toward an AAV (Average Annual Value) below Marchand, Patrice Bergeron ($6.875 million) or David Krejci ($7.25 million) . But it’s clear by the words of both Marchand and Bergeron that they don’t begrudge the 21-year-old Pastrnak doing whatever he can to maximize his payday, but doing so while also making certain he’s signed, sealed and delivered back to Boston sooner rather than later. 

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David Krejci, Adam McQuaid forced out of Bruins win with injuries

David Krejci, Adam McQuaid forced out of Bruins win with injuries

BOSTON – The Bruins returned Patrice Bergeron and David Backes to good health and their lineup on Thursday night, but they also saw a few more players get banged up in their win over the Vancouver Canucks. 

David Krejci exited Thursday night’s 6-3 win over the Canucks with an upper body injury after scoring a power play goal, and Adam McQuaid also had to leave the game after dropping to one knee to block a shot with his right leg. McQuaid was also already banged up after taking a shot off his knee in last weekend’s loss to the Vegas Golden Knights, so taking another shot off the leg certainly wasn’t a helpful development. 

“He blocked a shot, so he’ll get evaluated tonight or tomorrow. I don’t know how serious – he blocks a lot of shots. This one stung him obviously so we’ll see how it turns out. Adam [McQuaid] has been doing that for years around here. He’s one of the unsung heroes in that locker room. Doesn’t get a lot of credit for what he does, the tough parts of the game, blocking shots, sticking up for your teammates,” said Bruce Cassidy. “He actually manages the puck very well. He’s not a flashy player. He’s not a guy that just throws it away either. He makes good decisions with it, and every team needs an Adam McQuaid. We’re certainly fortunate to have him.”

With Krejci it appeared that he suffered some back spasms after getting cross-checked, and that’s what ended up forcing him out of the win. Cassidy doesn’t foresee it being a long-term thing with Krejci, who finished with a goal and two points in 8:21 of ice time centering Jake DeBrusk and David Pastrnak.  

“He has an upper body; he had to leave. He wasn’t feeling too terrific today, and then he got, I think there was a cross-check there. He tried it, but couldn’t continue [playing]. I think he had some spasms, but I don’t think there’s anything long-term there at all.”

It remains to be seen if either McQuaid or Krejci will miss any time with the bumps and bruised suffered on Thursday, but it goes without saying that the Bruins hope they can stay in a lineup that’s beginning to take shape with the full group. 

Haggerty: Patrice Bergeron returns as game-changing force for Bruins

Haggerty: Patrice Bergeron returns as game-changing force for Bruins

BOSTON – To the surprise of absolutely nobody, the presence of Patrice Bergeron is a major game-changer for the Boston Bruins. 

Bergeron finally felt good enough to return to the B’s lineup after missing the first five games of the season with a lower body injury, and the impact was immediate and unmistakable with a goal and four points in a 6-3 win for the Bruins over the Vancouver Canucks at TD Garden. It was also a far-reaching impact with the Bruins center pumping life back in the B’s power play with a return to his bumper position, returning a top penalty killer to the Bruins rotation, bringing normalcy back to the forward group by slotting fellow forwards back into their rightful spots and simply giving the B’s their best all-around player back. 

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Clearly it was a joyous moment for Bergeron to get back on the ice and play after getting a couple of good days in on the practice ice leading up to Thursday night. 

“It’s hard no matter what it is. You know, when you’re missing games, when you’re missing time, it’s… you miss being out there with the guys and battling with them and going through what we have to go through as a team. It’s good to be back,” said Bergeron. “You don’t know what to expect obviously [after a long layoff]. You’re trying to hope for the best. I don’t want to say I was surprised [at his high level of play] because you want to be at your best every time you step on the ice.”

Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Anders Bjork finally skated together for the first time after building chemistry all throughout training camp, and they finished with four goals, 10 points, a plus-6 rating and 13 of Boston’s 35 shots on net for the game. It was the way that the Bruins roster was drawn up headed into the season before they had a five-game detour due to the injuries, and the hope is that’s the way it will continue to look for the Black and Gold moving forward. 

“I mean it’s pretty evident, you know, the way [Bergeron] played out there. He just, it’s incredible the way he came back and dominated the game after being out for that long, you know?” said Brad Marchand, who finally has his longtime partner-in-crime back. “He’s just such a big part of the group. He’s able to calm things down in the room, on the bench, and he leads by example. He just does everything that a top guy does.”

Perhaps most striking of all was the emotion and organization that the Bruins played with having Bergeron and David Backes back in the lineup. The breakouts, reloading counter-attacks and defensive zone coverage all had more noticeable structure, and the Bruins were able to get the wave after wave attack from their forward groups that spurred on goals both during 5-on-5 play and when special teams were involved. 

Some of that is getting two highly talented players like Bergeron and Backes back from injury, and some of it is getting an important, tone-setting leader like No. 37 back for everything he does off the ice as well. 

Bergeron set up the important answering goal in the first period by firing a puck that created a rebound for Bjork to clean up, he did the same for David Krejci’s power play to close out the first period scoring, he created the turnover that led to Marchand’s goal in the second period and then he sniped home his own goal from the bumper spot to finally clinch things in the third period. It was clear that Bergeron is still navigating through discomfort and some level of injury while playing at this point, but his hockey IQ and his gritty toughness are allowing him to still be a highly effective player. 

“I think it was self-evident out there that the play on the ice, first of all, built a matchup against whoever we really want. The Power play obviously [was a] big impact there. I think it’s just morale as much as anything, on the bench and in the room,” said Bruce Cassidy. “Those intangibles, leadership, first shift of the game, he’s standing up. They had scored a goal and [he’s] kind of settling the troops down, talking about the details of the game. 

“[He’s talking about] finishing your routes on the fore-check and reloading all the way to our zone.

[It’s the] stuff that coaches preach a lot, but goes in one ear and out the other sometimes. When you hear it from the leaders of the group, it means so much more. To have that back in the room and along with David Backes, those are guys that are just vocal players that bring a lot in that aspect. It’s generally, a quiet group. That doesn’t mean you can’t be effective and win as a quiet group, but it just helps sometimes to have a little bit of that energy.”

While it was a clearly a feel-good story to see Bergeron back in his proper environs on the ice, it was also just as apparent there’s still some lower body discomfort with the Bruins center. He looked like he was in pain or laboring at times out on the ice, and admitted after the game that the lower body injury might be something he’ll need to manage for the time being. That would tend to mean that once again this isn’t something that’s going to go away anytime soon, and Bergeron will again need to grind his way through the pain. 

“That’s the million dollar question, right? I don’t know what to say to that. I guess yeah, I mean I’m feeling good,” said Bergeron. “But there’s… we might manage a little bit for quite a while. But I’m feeling good and tonight was no issue.”

Clearly Bergeron and the Bruins will gladly take it if he can be a difference-maker like he was on Thursday night with a four points, eight shot attempts and plenty of hard-working shifts in his 20:58 of ice time for the game. They’ll just need to keep their fingers crossed that No. 37 can keep suiting up and playing at a high level, and that the 32-year-old can avoid any further problems after already sitting out the first five games of the regular season.