Bruins

Sources: Bruins engaged in trade talks involving Ryan Spooner

Sources: Bruins engaged in trade talks involving Ryan Spooner

This probably won’t come as a complete shock to those watching the way things have played out with him this season, but the Bruins have engaged in discussions with multiple teams about a Ryan Spooner trade, per multiple sources with knowledge of the situation. 

The 23-year-old Spooner was mentioned casually a few months ago as possible fodder in a Jacob Trouba deal with the Winnipeg Jets, but that deal never really materialized prior to the Jets signing their young, frontline D-man to a two-year deal. The Carolina Hurricanes, New York Islanders and San Jose Sharks have all expressed interest in Spooner, per one hockey source, as it appears that things simply aren’t going to work out for him in Boston. 

It’s been a challenging year for Spooner with pedestrian numbers of three goals and eight points in 24 games, but there are plenty of mitigating circumstances behind the slow start. Spooner has been pushed into playing left wing for the bulk of the season rather than his natural, preferred center position, and he’s been dropped to the fourth line by Claude Julien over the last few weeks. At times he’s also been pulled from the Bruins power play where he racked up six goals and 17 points working off the half-wall last season.  

Julien talked about the former second round pick in frank terms after this week’s win over the Carolina Hurricanes, which featured a Spooner snipe to the top corner during a successful shootout for the Black and Gold. 

“I think at times that [David Krejci] line goes quiet, other times it’s better. We’ve tried different guys on the left side right now and one [Spooner] might give them speed but doesn’t win as many battles,” said Julien of his search for stability at left wing alongside Krejci and David Backes. “The other way [with Tim Schaller] guys are a little harder right now, and they spend more time in the O-zone. So we’re really trying hard to find the right balance there.”

Trade talks have increased the past few weeks because A) the situation has worsened recently with Spooner’s prolonged stint as a miscast fourth line winger and B) the speedy, skilled forward will most likely be a man without a spot when 22-year-old left winger Frank Vatrano returns sometime around the mid-December range. 

According to one source, the Bruins are asking for a “top six forward” in exchange for a package including Spooner, and it’s a lead pipe certainty they’re looking for some goal-scoring given their 24th ranked offense this season. That represents a bit of an organizational sea change after the Bruins searched low and high for a top-4 defenseman in trade over the summer. The emergence of 20-year-old Brandon Carlo, and the Boston defense’s performance across the board, has lowered the Black and Gold’s priority list need to trade for a D-man. 

The Bruins have scored two goals or fewer in 18 of their 25 games this season and badly need somebody that can put the puck in the net from one of the wing positions. Unfortunately for the Bruins, there aren’t a lot of top-6 forwards readily available that could make an immediate impact. It’s highly doubtful any team is going to fork one over for an asset like Spooner that’s been downgraded due to the way he’s been utilized by the Bruins this season. He hasn't played with the same creativity or confidence this season after posting 13 goals and 49 points as their third line center last season. 

So it remains to be seen what the Bruins will get for Spooner after they offered him and a draft pick to Buffalo for rental forward Chris Stewart a couple of years ago. That was a deal Sabres GM Tim Murray turned down before trading Stewart for considerably less at the trade deadline.

The bottom line: the Bruins are working the phones discussing possible Spooner deals, and it feels like there is some motivation from B’s management to move a player that doesn’t seem like he'll ever be a proper fit in Julien’s system. 

Morning Skate: Bruins fan celebrates Game 7 by. . . swimming in a puddle?

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Morning Skate: Bruins fan celebrates Game 7 by. . . swimming in a puddle?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while still in awe of the magic of a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup playoffs. That game was off the hook on Wednesday night. 

 

*Speaking of off the hook, take a look at these crazy, very inebriated celebrating Bruins fans swimming around in a dirty puddle outside TD Garden after Game 7. This is like an episode of Cops: Causeway Street Edition. 

 

*Damien Cox is saying that Frederik Andersen was not very good in the first round series, but I don’t think that series gets to a Game 7 unless the Toronto goalie was as good as he’d been in some of the Leafs wins. 

 

*After a painful year playing for the Philadelphia Flyers, Wayne Simmonds is thinking about his long-term future

 

*There is still plenty that separates the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins when it comes to playoff results even if Sid and Ovie have been on similar tracks in their careers. 

 

*Patrick Roy is coming back as the head coach/general manager of the Quebec Remparts after his stint with the Avalanche. 

 

*For something completely different: Give me a break, George R.R. Martin. You’ve been completely lapped by the TV series. 

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Haggerty: Fact is, Bruins beat Leafs in spite of Rask and not because of him

Haggerty: Fact is, Bruins beat Leafs in spite of Rask and not because of him

BOSTON – At a time like Wednesday night’s Game 7 against the Toronto Maple Leafs, it’s perhaps appropriate to remember what a certain Bruins insider said toward the end of the B’s regular season.

This version of the Bruins is so good that there will be times in the postseason when they can win in spite of goaltender Tuukka Rask rather than because of goaltender Tuukka Rask. That was 100 percent the case in Wednesday night’s Game 7 as Rask was not good in the first two periods while allowing four goals on 16 shots, but was rescued by a Bruins team that pounded Frederik Andersen and the Leafs for four goals in the third period en route to a 7-4 win at TD Garden.

One could certainly give Rask some partial credit for making eight saves in the third period once the Bruins had scored a couple of goals and wrestled the lead away from Toronto, and he was certainly better than his counterpart Andersen at the other end of the ice. 

But the truth is that Boston didn’t allow a single shot on net in the first 10 minutes of the third period while taking their goalie out of the equation as a possible factor. That is how the Bruins ended up winning the game and bailing out a goalie that was struggling once again in a Game 7 situation, and had to battle the entire way.  

“For entertainment value that was probably one of the better game 7’s you’ll see. It was offense going both ways and a goalie’s kind of nightmare there – only scoring chances coming at you,” said Rask. “We stuck with it that’s what we’ve been doing all year. It was only a one-goal game going into the third, and we shut it down and scored some good goals.

“[My confidence] can’t [waver] in that situation. You try to stay tall there and play your angles right and make some saves. It’s definitely it’s a little bit easier when you have experience from that kind of game, I was trying to stay calm and battle through it.”

When the Bruins were trailing by a goal at the end of the second and Rask was struggling in a do-or-die Game 7, there were many (this humble hockey writer included) wondering if Bruce Cassidy would pull his ineffective No. 1 in favor of backup Anton Khudobin. Credit the Bruins head coach for making the right call in sticking with Rask, and having the faith that his dominant third-period team from the regular season would show up in the playoffs. He said after the game that the team’s confidence in their goalie was never shaken despite a couple of tough goals allowed in the opening 40 minutes.

“You want your goalie to be at his best. There’s no doubt. That’s stating the obvious, but I think our guys were comfortable with where we were,” said Cassidy, at the start of the third period. “We knew we could get some by [Andersen]. We had. We got three by him at the time. He got hot there in the second period, so we stuck with it. 

“But I don’t think there was a doubt that if we got ourselves back tied or in the lead, that Tuukka would be fine down the stretch. The guys have confidence in our goaltending; they have all year. Both goalies obviously [had] big moments. There’s a lot of pressure on them, and we saw it at both ends. At the end of the day, he found his game. We picked each other up, and off we went.”

Here’s the plain truth about Rask in that Game 7, and in a series where he compiled an .899 save percentage.

A Patrick Marleau goal from the right circle less than two minutes after Boston’s first goal of the game was a potential momentum-killer on a lesser Bruins team, and an elite goalie needs to make a save on the Kasperi Kapanen shorthanded breakaway in the second period. Rask is now 2-2 with a .847 save percentage in four Game 7’s in his Stanley Cup playoff career, and he’s now been rescued twice by his teammates with epic third-period comebacks against the Leafs in the first round for both of those wins.

The Bruins’ hope at this point is Rask can springboard the first-round victory over the Leafs into something much better in the later rounds, but the Black and Gold won a seven-game series against Toronto in spite of Rask rather than because of him.  

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