Heinen ready to show he still rates as a B's prospect


Heinen ready to show he still rates as a B's prospect

Bruins prospect Danton Heinen had an under-the-radar good training camp over the last few months, so it’s perhaps not a surprise the 23-year-old is back with the big club after being one of the last cuts in camp. 

It’s certainly got more to do with the Bruins being down a few forwards with Patrice Bergeron, David Backes and Noel Acciari all currently injured, and perhaps also somewhat connected to Anders Bjork and Jake DeBrusk stumbling in the second game of their NHL careers. The former Denver University standout will slot into the B’s lineup on Wednesday night in Colorado along with Tim Schaller and Sean Kuraly to add a little more offensive pop to Boston’s bottom-6 forwards. 

Clearly Heinen will be hoping to make more of an impact this time around after going scoreless in eight NHL games early last season, and looking pretty much invisible through the whole stretch. It’s clear now that he wasn’t ready for prime time, and didn’t have much self-assuredness when it came to his bread and butter, creating plays in the offensive zone.

Being one of the first call-ups for the B’s this season should be a nice confidence booster after he notched an assist in his one game with Providence this season. 

“I’m pretty excited and I want to do whatever I can help,” said Heinen. “I thought I started well and I ended pretty well [in training camp], but maybe I had a little lull in the middle there. I felt like leaving they gave me some pretty good feedback, and I had a good feeling about that. 

“I’m just going to be assertive and try to fill any role that they want me to fill. That’s my goal. Just try to make North/South plays and not get too cute and turn pucks over. If that’s what they want me to do then I’ll try to do it.”   

Bruce Cassidy said he’d have no hesitancy going to Heinen after he showed greater confidence with the puck in his second NHL camp, and truth be told the winger showed something as a point-per-game player with nine goals and 18 points in 17 games during Providence’s playoff run last spring. 

“Danton had a really good training camp. We liked what we saw out of the kids ahead of him in DeBrusk and Bjork, and Kuraly was a little bit of a different animal,” said Cassidy. “We’re not afraid to use him. Let’s put it that way. I thought he was really good in training camp for the most part. 

“We want to let guys relax and play, but by the same token this is a business, we have a standard, we didn’t play to it [on Monday] and we’re trying to get back to that [in Colorado]. If creating competition is going to be what makes it better, then we’re happy to look at that.”

The ball is now in Heinen’s court to seize the chance being given by the Bruins to show that he’s much better prepared for his NHL audition this time around than he was at just about the same time last year. 

Morning Skate: Blackhawks fans ejected for racist chants

NBC Sports Boston Photo

Morning Skate: Blackhawks fans ejected for racist chants

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while blown away at the amount of money that Black Panther is going to make this weekend. 


*An ugly incident in Chicago where Blackhawks fans were chanting racist garbage at Devante Smith-Pelly as he served out a penalty during the Caps visit to Chicago. Hockey fans are better than this. Everybody should be better than this. Here’s the statement from the NHL released on Sunday morning, and I sure hope those four fans ejected are never allowed into the United Center again after embarrassing their NHL team, and their city: 

 "Last night in Chicago, individuals directed racial taunts and abuse at Washington Capitals player Devante Smith-Pelly," said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. "The National Hockey League condemns this unacceptable and reprehensible behavior. The League fully supports the actions taken by the United Center and the Blackhawks to eject the offenders and would expect the same response to any similarly unacceptable behavior at any of our arenas.

"While this incident was isolated in nature, no player, coach, official or fan should ever have to endure such abuse at one of our games. The League will take steps to have our clubs remind all stakeholders that they are entitled to enjoy a positive environment - free from unacceptable, inappropriate, disruptive, inconsiderate or unruly behaviors or actions and may not engage in conduct deemed detrimental to that experience."


*The Hockey Night in Canada crew goes over the latest in rumors, including the NHL expansion into Seattle and the unclear situation still developing with Erik Karlsson in Ottawa. 


*Eric Staal deserves plenty of credit for the success of the Minnesota Wild after he’s been reborn as a player since going to Minnesota a couple of years ago. 


*Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray wants the prices to come down for potential deadline deals, and certainly they will to some degree ahead of the Feb. 26 trade deadline. 


*The Dallas media is certainly getting worked up about Tyler Seguin, as they’re starting to call him Mike Modano 2.0 as they enter the playoff picture. My prediction: Seguin is on his best behavior this season in his first year under Ken Hitchcock, but a leopard doesn’t truly change his spots. The talent is obviously there in huge amounts if he really wants it, but let’s see what Seguin does when things truly get nasty in the playoffs. 


For something completely different: As I mentioned above, it looks like Black Panther is going to break all kinds of box office records this weekend. Good stuff.



Loui Eriksson elevates game against Bruins

Loui Eriksson elevates game against Bruins

GOLD STAR: Loui Eriksson has been a massive disappointment for the Vancouver Canucks, but he found a way to get some measure of payback against a Boston team that walked away from him in free agency a couple of years ago. Eriksson scored the game’s first goal two minutes into the proceedings when he overpowered Brandon Carlo in front of the Boston net, and then he added insult to injury with a shorthanded goal late in the third period to really put a capper on the blowout. Eriksson finished with the two goals and a plus-2 rating in his 17:18 of ice time, and also found a way to collect four shots on net and three takeaways with his always active stick. Those were the ninth and tenth goals scored during the regular season with Eriksson, who has really been a big Swedish bust in Vancouver to this point.

BLACK EYE: Brandon Carlo finished with a minus-4 rating. Oof. The young Bruins shutdown D-man was clearly struggling early when he was losing battles in front of the net highlighted by Loui Eriksson’s first goal, and he had major issues getting good gap control in a stretch where the Bruins are struggling defensively. It’s really a bit of bad timing for Carlo as his play is dipping right now as he’s been mentioned as a key prospect leading up to the NHL trade deadline. On the good side, Carlo dropped the gloves with Darren Archibald after he threw a questionable hit on David Pastrnak, and continues to slowly-but-surely grow into more of a physical, defensive stopper while learning at the feet of Zdeno Chara, Kevan Miller and Adam McQuaid.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins actually outshot the Canucks by an 18-9 margin in the first period, and had some very good offensive chances turned away when Jake DeBrusk and David Pastrnak both hit the post in key spots. They had Anders Nilsson and the Canucks on the run based on controlling puck possession and getting some decent offensive chances against a goalie in Nilsson that isn’t a household name. But none of it mattered when Loui Eriksson scored just a few minutes into the first period and started a total defensive collapse that saw the Bruins surrender four goals in their worst period of the year. Through it all the Bruins continue to play hard even when a one-sided result on the scoreboard has pretty much dictated their fate.

HONORABLE MENTION: Jake DeBrusk was really good for the Bruins with his dad, Louie, working between the benches in Vancouver on the Hockey Night in Canada broadcast of the Bruins/Canucks game. DeBrusk had a shot that snapped off the post at the beginning of one of his early shifts, and then DeBrusk clobbered a few more chances at the front of the net as well among his four shots on net in 17:18 of ice time. Perhaps just as impressive DeBrusk turned over three pucks in his night’s work as he was a constant source of energy and attack for the Bruins. If DeBrusk had heard his name in trade rumors over the last couple of days, it certainly didn’t seem like that was really bothering him as he was one of Boston’s best players during the game.

BY THE NUMBERS: 10 – Tim Schaller scored a bit of a garbage time goal in the third period for the Bruins to bust up the shutout, and perhaps just as important Schaller is now a double-digit goal-scorer for the first time in his NHL career. His impressive development curve continues for the Black and Gold.       

QUOTE TO NOTE: “We lost the slot battle in the first period. Not hard enough in that area. I thought we had our legs, but the commitment to defending the front of our net has come and gone lately, and it’s added up to goals scored against us.” –Bruce Cassidy to NESN on the common thread in Saturday night’s loss to the Canucks that turned out to be a massive blowout.