Bruins

Morning Skate: Has USA Hockey's junior program surpassed Canada's?

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Morning Skate: Has USA Hockey's junior program surpassed Canada's?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while it’s probably still snowing on the outdoor rink in Buffalo. 
 
*Hockey media outlets in Canada are wondering whether USA Hockey has surpassed Canada in terms of the best junior hockey programs. It’s hard to argue against what the US National Team Development Program has been doing over the last 15-20 years while cranking out high-end talent that’s won medals, filled the NHL ranks and begun creating legit American-born hockey superstars.

*In case you were wondering, Gord Miller did the math for the prospects representing the 31 NHL teams at the World Juniors tournament. The Bruins have six players including a couple on Team USA and Team Finland.

*Pro Hockey Talk asks the eternal question about whom to root for in a fight between Ryan Kesler and Matthew Tkachuk? I’m going Tkachuk all the way.

*Check out this great Captain Phasma-inspired Star Wars hockey jersey for the Youngstown Phantoms that they wore in last night’s USHL action.

*Victoria Bach is lighting it up for the BU Terriers and remains a beacon for the women’s program as the men’s hockey team struggles a little bit this season after departures to the NHL.

*For something completely different: Friend of Haggs (FOH) Damon Amendolara has some tough love for the Last Jedi while comparing it to the New York Giants disaster.

B's not anticipating any Game 6 availability issues with Bergeron

B's not anticipating any Game 6 availability issues with Bergeron

BOSTON – It looks like Patrice Bergeron made it through his Game 5 return without any pressing issues or lingering problems that should limit his availability for the last couple of potential games in the best-of-seven series with the Maple Leafs.

Bergeron topped 20 minutes of ice time in the 4-3 loss to the Maple Leafs in Saturday night’s Game 5 at TD Garden, and had six shots on net, 10 shot attempts, three hits and won 16-of-25 face-offs while being held without any points. There were times where No. 37 looked like he was playing through a little bit of pain, but the numbers certainly don’t back that up as he was still very strong even if he was less than 100 percent. 

“I won’t project past Game 6. He made it through [the Game 5 loss] healthy and he finished the game,” said Bruce Cassidy on Saturday night following Game 5. “You always want to see how they are in the morning. I don’t anticipate there will be any issues going into Game 6. Of course, that could change, but that’s the way it is right now.”

Bruce Cassidy indicated after Saturday night’s loss that Bergeron, who has five assists and a plus-3 rating in four games vs. the Leafs, finished the game without issue, and further said at Sunday’s chat with the media that he wasn’t expecting health issues would cause any lineup changes for Monday night’s very important Game 6 in Toronto. Bergeron was also spotted at Warrior Ice Arena on Sunday afternoon and certainly looked no worse for the wear, so the B’s aren’t bracing for any last minute scratches in a heavy duty playoff game on Monday night at the Air Canada Centre. 

“We’ll reassess on [Monday] morning when guys go back on the ice health-wise,” said Bruce Cassidy. “Sometimes they feel good today and then they get on the ice…I don’t anticipate much going on health-wise, but we went up to Toronto [earlier this week] and one game Bergeron didn’t play and then Grzelcyk in another one. So [a change in the lineup] could happen.” 

That would indicate Bergeron came through Saturday night’s heavy workload without any further issues, and that perhaps he’s over the hump with whatever upper-body injury caused him to miss a game in the middle of the series. That’s a great sign with the Black and Gold in serious need of all hands on deck for another chance to eliminate the Maple Leafs on Monday night in Toronto.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Morning Skate: Kadri's presence makes difference for Leafs in Game 5

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NBC Sports Boston Photo

Morning Skate: Kadri's presence makes difference for Leafs in Game 5

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while spring appears to finally be arriving in Boston.

 

*Some solid war stories from the NHL penalty box compiled by FOH (Friend of Haggs) Alex Prewitt at Sports Illustrated.

 

*Keeping an eye on the Tampa Bay Lightning, and rookie D-man Mikhail Sergachev is enjoying a strong playoff series for the Bolts as they advanced past the New Jersey Devils this weekend.

 

*Nazem Kadri definitely helped make a difference for the Maple Leafs in Game 5 at the Garden, and Toronto is going to need more of that if they’re going to force a Game 7.

 

*The Philadelphia Flyers are finally ratcheting up some drama with the Penguins in their first-round series.

 

*Good memories from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Dave Goucher out in Vegas as he talks about Gil Santos at the time of the New England sports legend’s passing this week.

 

*For something completely different: When you’re writing think pieces about Adam Sandler, it may be time to reevaluate things.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE