Bruins

Sweeney on Pastrnak: 'I know it's a deal both sides are happy with'

Sweeney on Pastrnak: 'I know it's a deal both sides are happy with'

BRIGHTON, Mass – The David Pastrnak contract ends up being a solid win for both sides of the negotiating equation.

The Bruins were able to coax the 21-year-old right wing into a deal that was probably slightly under market value ($6.67 million average annual value rather than the $7 million he could have demanded) for six years, and Pastrnak will miss only the first couple of days of training camp as he flies into Boston on Friday. Pastrnak gets a massive raise coming off his entry-level deal, the security of a six-year contract and can become an unrestricted free agent at 27, when he’ll get a monster contract if he continues to be a game-breaking force.

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It’s clear, however, that this is another big accomplishment for Don Sweeney in his time as Bruins general manager as he’s now locked up his two best offensive players to long-term contracts under $7 million per season.

“I’d always said we were going to find a deal. We were right up against [training camp], but there was no deadline. We didn’t look at it that way. We had strong, open communication and the work finally paid off for both sides to finally find a good landing spot,” said Sweeney. “I know it’s a deal that both sides are happy with and now we have a full complement [of players] at camp, which I think everybody would acknowledge is in everybody’s best interests.

“You just keep working at it. JP [Barry, Pastrnak's agent] and his camp and our camp, we just kept at it and found the right landing spot for both sides. There are a lot of variables that go into it, and in the long run, the result is a positive one for all parties. David is a big part of what we’re trying to build here and David is a very motivated player. He made a hell of a jump last year and he’s earned the opportunity to be in the top five of guys coming off the entry level [contracts].”

Sweeney also managed to preserve Boston’s internal salary structure where Pastrnak isn’t going to make more money per season than established Cup-winning veterans like Patrice Bergeron ($6.875 million) or David Krejci ($7.25 million). Perhaps most important in the short term is Pastrnak’s entry into training camp just a couple of days late, where he can begin rekindling the chemistry with Krejci, and the removal of any drama or potential bad vibes from a camp that’s crucial for Sweeney, team president Cam Neely and new coach Bruce Cassidy.

Instead, the Bruins players can rib Pastrnak about his 45-minute holdout on the first day of camp, then welcome with open arms. The Czech forward dominated to the tune of 34 goals and 70 points at 20. Now, it’s going to be all about hockey in camp rather than players, coaches and executives worrying about protracted negotiations with No. 88.

“We’ll get that kid from across the sea, and make him do all the testing hopefully with all of us watching. So, we can give him a little hazing for the...I don’t what was it...25- or 30-minute holdout. It will be great to have everyone here and be going at full power heading into the season,” said Backes. “That little side story [is over]. He’s a hell of a player and he makes us a lot more potent. He makes our lineup a lot deeper and we can spread out a lot more scoring while he’s going to garner a lot more attention after the year he had last year.”

Pastrnak is expected to fly into Boston on Friday, hit the ice this weekend and get plenty of time with Krejci as the two Czech forwards are expected to be paired together again this season. 


 

Talking Points: Bruins empty the tank but can't break through against Caps

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Talking Points: Bruins empty the tank but can't break through against Caps

GOLD STAR: Alex Chiasson really didn’t get going until about midway through the game, but he made a huge impact once he began making plays in the third period. It's worth mentioning he is a former Boston University Terrier so he made himself comfortable in TD Garden. He gave the Capitals a two-goal cushion in the third period when he followed his own shot and outmuscled Brandon Carlo for a bid right in front of the Bruins net. Then four minutes later, Chiasson blocked a Torey Krug shot on the penalty kill and raced down to finish off a breakaway for the game-winning goal. The former Terrier finished with two goals, a plus-2 rating, three shots on net, five takeaways and a couple of blocked shots in just 12:46 of ice time. Just add Chiasson to the long list of skilled big bodies for the Caps that have done damage to the B’s over the years.

 

BLACK EYE: Anders Bjork is going through a very quiet patch offensively since coming back from injury, and was benched for stretches of the game while totaling a team-low 6:47 of ice time for the Bruins. Bjork finished with a minus-1 rating and zero shots on net, and now has one point and just two shots on goal in six games since coming back from a concussion. It will be interesting to see what the Bruins do with Bjork, who may be a prime candidate to watch a game up in the press box with Ryan Spooner pushing to get back into the B’s lineup. Either way it looks like Bjork is going through one of those rookie valleys right now. Perhaps he simply needs more time to recover from his concussion.

 

TURNING POINT: The turning point came in the third period when the Capitals scored three goals on six shots and pulled away from the Bruins. The Black and Gold had been closely trailing the Caps until that point in the game. Washington was outshot 37-21 by Boston, but they proved to have more quality chances, scoring five goals despite a lower quantity of shots. The Bruins are now 1-9-1 when trailing after two periods, and can’t pull the same kind of comeback magic against a stronger team like the Capitals. It’s too bad because the Bruins had their chances in the game, but just couldn't get over the hump. 

 

HONORABLE MENTION: Patrice Bergeron was the best Bruins player, burying a couple of goals, finishing with nine shot attempts, a few hits, a blocked shot and 15-of-20 face-off wins. Patrice got both of his goals on the power play, but he also finished with a minus-2 rating. If Bergeron is a minus player, it doesn't bode well for this team. But he also deserves some credit for emptying the tank on a night when the Bruins got back in from Detroit at 3 a.m. and play one of the best teams in the conference on a back-to-back.

 

BY THE NUMBERS: 11 – the consecutive number of losses for the Bruins against the Washington Capitals in a woeful stretch of hockey that dates back to March of 2014.


QUOTE TO NOTE: "We shot a lot of pucks and it just didn't go our way. When the black cat cross your road, it's just a black cat crossing the road." –Anton Khudobin on the loss to the Capitals, where I think he’s referring to the B’s hitting three posts.  

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Caps have the Bruins number, win 11th straight against Boston

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Caps have the Bruins number, win 11th straight against Boston

BOSTON – The Bruins didn’t play badly against the Washington Capitals on Thursday night, but they certainly didn’t play well enough to beat the bully on their block.

The B's dropped a 5-3 decision to the Capitals for their 11th straight defeat, and haven’t won a game against Washington since March of 2014.

Washington scored first and never trailed in the game after a first period goal by Jakub Vrana. The Caps forward rushed in from the neutral zone and caught the Bruins out of sorts defensively. Vrana walked right around Matt Grzelcyk, and then beat Anton Khudobin with a slick move to capture the lead.

The Bruins tied it up on a power play strike from Patrice Bergeron in the second period, but then lost ground during a Washington powerplay. Nicklas Backstrom redirected a Evgeny Kuznetsov pass from the point to re-take the lead for the Capitals, and then they continued to build on that advantage in the third period.

Alex Chiasson followed his own shot beating Brandon Carlo in a physical battle in front of the net, and pushed the rebound past Khudobin for the insurance marker. Chiasson then doubled his pleasure and doubled his fun by scoring a second goal when he blocked a Torey Krug shot on the penalty kill. He skated home free down the ice and buried a breakaway bid. The B’s closed it back to two goals in the final minutes of the third when David Krejci redirected a Charlie McAvoy attempt from the point.

Alex Ovechkin cleared the puck on the next shift, banking it off the boards. Krejci looked like he was trying to sell an icing but the puck unexpectedly banked directly into the net. It looked like it was the final strike of the game, but Bergeron would add another seconds later. It was too late though, and Washington captured their 11th straight victory against the Bruins by a score of 5-3.

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