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. 


 

Morning Skate: 'After Hours'? Injured Jagr is open

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Morning Skate: 'After Hours'? Injured Jagr is open

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while wondering if it shouldn’t be more of an issue that potential Red Sox manager Alex Cora was good buddies with Dustin Pedroia when the two played together in Boston.

*Jaromir Jagr suffers a lower-body injury and then goes on Hockey Night in Canada’s “After Hours” program to show once again how wonderful it is to be “The Jagr.”

*The Ottawa Senators get Erik Karlsson back this week, but now they’ve lost power forward Bobby Ryan for a month with a broken finger.

*The Montreal Canadiens are getting exposed for the very flawed team that they are during a brutal start to the 2017-18 season.

*Keep an eye out on the Los Angeles Kings now that they’ve suffered an injury with Jeff Carter and do appear to be in the running for the playoffs this season.

*New Jersey Devils fans help a singer belt out the national anthem after there might have been a case of forgetting the words.

*Doug Gilmour might not have always enjoyed the prying eyes while playing in Toronto, a case that gives you an idea what it’s like to be a pro hockey player in a market like Toronto where everybody knows your name.

*For something completely different: There’s no doubting that Aaron Judge has brought life and energy back to the Yankees and that’s something that’s very good for baseball.

 

Brutal loss shows Bruins reaching their limit for injuries

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Brutal loss shows Bruins reaching their limit for injuries

BOSTON – It feels like the Bruins might finally be hitting their critical mass with all of the injuries in the first few weeks of the season.

The B’s were down Tuukka Rask, Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller and David Krejci as the new injuries Saturday night and clearly missed those players, along with the others currently out with injuries in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres at TD Garden. The Bruins had a three-goal lead in the second period and a two-goal lead in the third but frittered away both while allowing the hapless Sabres to outshoot them 21-6 in the third and overtime.

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Anton Khudobin battled his rebound control for most of the game while facing 42 shots on net but it was the absence of Miller and McQuaid in the D-zone that made it a little too easy for Buffalo to push Boston when it mattered late.

Torey Krug was on the ice for the last three of Buffalo’s goals and was out penalty killing late in the third period in a spot where he would never have been in if the B’s were healthy on the back end.

“That’s where the appreciation comes in for the Kevan Miller’s and the Adam McQuaid’s of the world. They’re not always flashy, but in those instances, they’re money. They get it done. And that’s why they are paid to get it done,” said Bruce Cassidy. “So yes, we miss them. But, last week we missed other players. So the guys that are out there, it’s up to them to get it done, right?

“It didn’t happen tonight, and hopefully we learned from it and can be hungrier the next time. There’s not much else to analyze that. That was it. Someone had to play in that situation. We pick guys who we figure would get the job done, and it didn’t work out for us. Next time, we’ll keep working at it.”

As part of the injury factor, there are also players that are banged-up and back in who are also clearly not back to full strength. Patrice Bergeron (lower body) and David Backes (diverticulitis) are both back from their early-season issues and Krug continues to play with a healing fractured jaw, but all three key players combined for just a single assist and three shots on net in a game that featured nine goals.

Krug was the most noticeable weak link in the loss as he was overwhelmed in the D-zone on the game-tying goal when an Evander Kane shot bounced on him on its way into the goal. Krug was down on his stomach after losing his balance while battling in front of the net. Krug then was out for an extended period in OT before bumping a Sabres player around the crease who fell into Khudobin just as Ryan O’Reilly was pushing the game-winning goal past him.

Krug spoke on Saturday morning about feeling like things were starting to come together for him but he finished a minus-3 against the Sabres with his big, bad teammates out with injuries. He's a startling minus-8 after the first two weeks of the season.

“Obviously we have to do a better job tonight. Two-goal lead in your own building, it’s got to be the hardest place for the opposing team to come in and overcome that. We’ve got to be better,” said Krug. “I thought I had an opportunity to win a battle in the corner on that loose puck. Just trying to swat away and all of a sudden it comes out the other side, and we just couldn’t overcome. That’s survival mode. “Especially when they were able to make changes like they were. We just got to stay calm, composed, and make sure we’re not getting beat one-on-one. We obviously managed it for a while, but we just couldn’t get the puck back.”

It was also clearly about Khudobin, who had a big chance to put the Bruins team on his back with Rask out with a concussion. The Russian netminder made 37 saves and at times looked energetic and ready to battle between the pipes but at other times couldn’t make the clean save that the Bruins needed in order to get a whistle and calm things down. In OT, Khudobin couldn’t make a clean glove save on a Rasmus Ristolainen tester from the high slot that would have allowed the Bruins to get some tired players off the ice in the 3-on-3 OT.

Instead, Krug, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak were out on the ice for 2 minutes, 15 seconds and eventually got beaten on O’Reilly’s play that took the puck straight to the Boston net. Cassidy called it an “erratic” night for Khudobin when they needed calmer, more poised play from their goaltender and that was clearly a reflection of the Black and Gold missing Rask.

“[Khudobin] was erratic. He battles. We love that about him. He battled to the end. [He] certainly made his share of saves. We need to be better in front of him,” said Cassidy. “But there were times that, there were fires that needed to be put out [on plays] that shouldn’t have been necessary. But that happens sometimes.

“[There were instances] in the third period, plus overtime, where we needed to calm the game down. Whether it’s a face-off, even right before the overtime goal, we had opportunities to get possession out of that pile. They came out with it. And that’s what I said. They were hungrier than us. Late, they won more pucks. If we win that puck out of that pile, we might not be talking about losing. Maybe we get out of trouble and it goes our way. We’ll never know.”

Maybe things would have gone the Bruins way if they had more of their walking wounded back and contributing. Instead, it feels as if the B’s are being tested with new, damaging injuries with each passing day. A number of those had a direct impact on a brutal loss to the Sabres on Saturday night. One has to wonder if there are more of those coming until the Bruins can start stabilizing their medical situation.