Report: Harvard's Vesey spurns Predators, will sign with Bruins

Report: Harvard's Vesey spurns Predators, will sign with Bruins

The Bruins have been very good lately when it comes to plucking pro prospects out of the NCAA ranks -- Torey Krug, Frank Vatrano and Noel Acciari among others -- and they might be doing it again with Harvard captain Jimmy Vesey.

The Crimson standout made waves this week when he and his camp informed the Nashville Predators he wouldn’t be signing with them during their exclusive-rights period, which they had as a result of selecting him in the third round of the 2012 NHL draft. Instead, Vesey intends to exercise his rights to become a free agent on Aug. 15, and the Boston Herald reports he’ll be signing with the Bruins later this summer according to an “extremely well-placed source within the Boston-area college hockey community.”

The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Vesey -- who had 56 goals in 70 games during his Harvard career -- grew up as a B's fan in North Reading. In addition, there's a clear Harvard-Bruins connection: Crimson alum Don Sweeney is the Black and Gold's general manager, and ex-Bruin Ted Donato is currently head coach at the school. Signing Vesey could help offset the potential loss of Loui Eriksson, who is expected to leave Boston via free agency in anticipation of a big-money, long-term contract.

The Predators were banking on Vesey's services after not making a big move for another winger at the trade deadline, and Nashville GM Dave Poile lashed out at the player and his advisors.

"We told him if he was going to sign with us, we were going to keep a position available for him, and he told us that he was going to sign with us,” Poile told reporters earlier this week. “Up until a week ago Wednesday, I thought for sure we were going to sign Jimmy Vesey. So this is a shocker.

"I clearly believe that Jimmy's received bad advice and bad counsel. A player usually goes to free agency in order to increase his leverage and benefit financially, and that will not be the case here because whoever he signs with, he's going to get less of a deal on Aug. 15 than he could get from the Predators today. He's going to sign for an extra year at the same money.”

It was thought that Vesey might be headed to the Maple Leafs given that his father, former NHL player Jim Vesey, was hired by the Maple Leafs as a scout last summer, and that his brother Nolan was drafted by Toronto in 2014 as well. That still might be the case as it won’t be a certainty until the 21-year-old Vesey can explore his free agent rights in August after the exclusive draft rights have wrapped up with an exasperated group in Nashville.

No supplemental discipline for Schenn on Krejci hit

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No supplemental discipline for Schenn on Krejci hit

UPDATE: 1:10 P.M.: The NHL Department of Player Safety ruled that no supplemental discipline is needed for the Blues'  Brayden Schenn for the violent hit he delivered to the Bruins' David Krejci in the B's 2-1 overtime loss in St. Louis on Wednesday night. 

In the second period, Schenn clobbered David Krejci in the corner with a punishing hit to the head as the B’s playmaking center was facing him immediately after releasing the puck. Schenn was whistled for a two-minute minor for charging at the time of the collision, but luckily Krejci was able to remain in the game and played 15:54 of ice time in the loss.

Upon further review, it was very clearly a big, heavy hit delivered to Krejci’s head, but there were plenty of mitigating factors. Krejci had his head down until the last second while looking down at the puck on his stick and was hunched over as Schenn moved in to deliver a check on a player eligible to be hit. Schenn’s skates left the ice to finish the hit after impact, which made the collision look even worse to the casual observer, but that isn’t considered launching into a hit by the NHL’s standards.

Adding to the equation is that Schenn has been suspended twice by the NHL before, three games in 2016 for a charging hit on TJ Oshie and one game back in 2013.

Clearly, it’s a difficult call for the league as they try to deter hits to the head and reduce the number of concussions. Still, this would appear to be another situation where, as the league says, a player “assumed a posture that made head contact on an otherwise full body check unavoidable." It’s absolutely similar to the Patrick Hornqvist/Charlie McAvoy hit from a few weeks ago that never ended up with any supplemental discipline for the Penguins hard-hitter despite plenty of hue and cry from the Bruins fans.

So what does everybody else think about this hit, and whether or not Schenn should be facing discipline from the NHL as a result of it?


Talking points: Ryan Donato's goal helps Bruins clinch playoff berth

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Talking points: Ryan Donato's goal helps Bruins clinch playoff berth

GOLD STAR: Jaden Schwartz stepped up and won the game for the Blues with a couple of really good plays in the third period and overtime. He took advantage of a line change and a lax Bruins defense to snap a shot past Anton Khudobin from the face-off circle in the third period that tied up the game, and then went on a one-man rush in overtime before blasting a puck past Khudobin for the game-winner on a beautiful individual play. Schwartz finished with the two goals that represented all of the St. Louis offense, four shots on net, a hit and a takeaway in 20:02 of ice time while logging a plus-2 rating as well. The Blues clearly needed somebody to step up to the plate with Vladimir Tarasenko and the Schwartz was with St. Louis on Wednesday night.

BLACK EYE: The Bruins were quite literally black and blue after a physical, punishing game with the St. Louis Blues. A number of players took heavy hits against a St. Louis team that felt free to throw hits and take runs with Zdeno Chara and David Backes out of Boston’s lineup among other players, and that culminated with Brayden Schenn drilling David Krejci in the second period. It was a hit that earned Schenn a two minute penalty for charging midway through the period, but shouldn’t result in anything more for the Blues forward. The hit wasn’t late, his skates were on the ice when he made contact, and Krejci was crouched down when Schenn made impact on a heavy check with his elbows tucked in, so it looked like a relatively clean hit that isn’t going to be on the radar of the NHL’s Player Safety Department. That physicality for the Blues really seemed to slow down the Bruins a little bit as things went on over the 60 plus minutes of the overtime game.


TURNING POINT: The Bruins actually only got outshot by a 15-13 margin in the second period, third period and overtime, but it was clear that they slowed down in terms of attacking and creating chances as things moved on in the game. By the latter half of the game the Bruins were simply trying to hang on to their one-goal lead, and then after that simply trying to hang in there for the point earned by getting to overtime. They managed to do it, but it was a different wave of momentum in the game once the Blues tied things up in the third period on Schwartz’s first goal. After that the Bruins were scrambling and hanging on, and did just enough to hang in there for a single overtime point for the second game in a row.

HONORABLE MENTION: Ryan Donato made it two goals in two games when he stepped into a loose puck created by an Alex Pietrangelo turnover that bounced off referee Brad Watson after he attempted to throw a puck up the middle of the ice. Donato pounced on the fortuitous bounce and rocked a puck on edge past Jake Allen for the game’s first goal and another affirmation that the 21-year-old can both shoot and score. Donato was pretty quiet after that goal, of course, with a couple of shots on net, but it seemed like a big, heavy hit on him by Dmitri Jaskin in the second period kind of quieted the youngster down a little bit. Still, you’ve got to love the production from a player just getting his feet wet at the NHL level.

BY THE NUMBERS: 100 – The number of points for the Bruins after falling in overtime by a 2-1 score to the Blues, and in getting to the century mark the B’s clinched a playoff spot for the second season in a row.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “It’s step one. Going into the season we wanted to make the playoffs and be a Stanley Cup contender. Right now we got in and we’re going to be a contender, right? Now it’s about being in the best position possible going forward.” –Bruce Cassidy, to reporters in St. Louis about clinching the playoff spot on Wednesday night.