GOLD STAR: While it took a while for the Bruins to get going, Patrice Bergeron was one of the players that didn’t stop playing for the Black and Gold. It was his power-play goal in the second period that started to turn things moving in the right direction, and he continued that level of play with a no-look pass to Brad Marchand for the game-tying score in the third period. Bergeron finished with a goal and two points in 22:08 of ice time with four shots on net, a hit, a takeaway and managed to win 13-of-27 draws while doing yeoman’s work at both ends of the ice. It’s a shame that Bergeron was never able get involved in the shootout after Kenny Agostino and Brad Marchand were the first two guys to come down the pipe.
BLACK EYE: Kenny Agostino played just five minutes in the shootout loss to the Blue Jackets, but somehow he managed to be one of the two shooters that Bruce Cassidy was able to get out on the ice before Columbus iced the shootout win. That means Agostino was going to be one of Boston’s top three shooters over either Patrice Bergeron or David Pastrnak, and that is a choice that leaves plenty of room for second-guessing. Agostino might be a lights out shootout/penalty shot specialist in the AHL and he may have been impressive in practice, or perhaps it was more of a hunch from Cassidy that he would come through. Whatever it was, hopefully it’s the last time we see the career AHL winger get selected over Boston’s top-tier offensive players in their next shootout.
TURNING POINT: The Bruins came on strong in the third period and scored a pair of goals to wipe out the Columbus advantage, and push things into the extra session. It was goals from Torey Krug and Brad Marchand that ended up tying things up after Boston’s horrid start, and gave the Bruins an impressive finishing kick that showed some heart and character. It wasn’t completely dominant from the B’s as it was a 9-9 shot count in the final 20 minutes, but the Bruins were very clearly exerting some pressure on the Blue Jackets.
HONORABLE MENTION: Zdeno Chara didn’t factor into the scoring, but he did make a clear statement that the first period wasn’t acceptable when he stepped up and dropped the gloves with Josh Anderson at the start of the second period. He was targeted with a number of hits in his final shift of the first period, so he was pretty surly to start the second as the rest of his teammates should have been as well. Chara leveled Anderson behind the Boston net to start the trouble, and then finished things with the fight against another mammoth player on the other roster. In all Chara finished with seven shot attempts, a hit and a couple of blocked shots in 24:08 of ice time.
BY THE NUMBERS: 29:19 – the total ice time for workhorse defenseman Charlie McAvoy against a heavy, physical Blue Jackets bunch as the rookie continues to take on more and more responsibility for the Black and Gold.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “I don’t think we’re a team that’s going to win too many games if we don’t have all 20 guys going, and I don’t think that was the case pretty early on.” – Bruce Cassidy, to NESN on his assessment of the ghastly start for the B’s in their eventual 4-3 shootout loss.
BRIGHTON, Mass – As a workhorse 20-year-old hockey player, it wasn’t much of a warning signal when Charlie McAvoy missed Monday’s Bruins practice with what the team initially called “a doctor’s appointment.” But it turned out to be a fairly serious absence as the Bruins announced later in the afternoon that their prized rookie is going to miss roughly two weeks after undergoing a procedure at Mass General Hospital to address an abnormal heart rhythm.
According to the Bruins statement: “After the Nov. 26 game, Charlie told team physicians that he experienced heart palpitations during the game. Subsequently he underwent an evaluation, which diagnosed him with a supraventricular tachycardia (SVT). The type of SVT Charlie has is not considered to be dangerous to his health but can recur at any time and causes significant symptoms.”
After consulting with a multitude of doctors, McAvoy and the Bruins opted for the procedure because of the high likelihood of the condition’s recurrence. McAvoy will spend the night at Mass General, and is expected to return to the lineup in a couple of weeks.
The timing of McAvoy’s procedure around the NHL All-Star break means he’ll miss fewer games than he might have otherwise, but it also means the 20-year-old is obviously out of the running to be a replacement for the injured Victor Hedman on the Atlantic Division squad. At this point it’s just good news that the B’s prized young rookie is going to be okay by all accounts, and that the team was able to catch the condition early on with McAvoy’s entire career in front of him.
The 20-year-old McAvoy has been one of the best rookies in the entire NHL this season with five goals and 25 points in 45 games along with a plus-18 rating, and the B’s D-man also leads all NHL rookies by a wide margin with 22:49 of ice time per game.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while readying for some serious NHL All-Star game action later this week.
*In a world where we sometimes think it would be easy to replace Tuukka Rask with somebody as effective as a No. 1 goalie for the Bruins, the Carolina Hurricanes and Scott Darling serve as solid evidence that it really isn’t that easy to find a high-caliber goaltender. The Canes tried to go the route of grabbing a good, young established backup to be their No. 1 guy a la Cam Talbot in Edmonton, and it just hasn’t worked out for the Hurricanes. There is still time for Darling to step up and be the guy Carolina needs him to be, but it hasn’t happened yet.
*Rick Nash is a big fan of Pavel Buchnevich, and thinks the young Rangers forward can become a star in the league.
*It’s a sad day for USA Hockey as Jim Johansson has passed away far too young at 53 years old. Here’s a good piece from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Craig Custance on hockey’s loss with Johansson’s passing.
*In a great development for the Bruins and a not-so-great one for the Tampa Bay Lightning, Ondrej Palat is out for an indefinite amount of time.
*NBC is already getting fired up about the heated Team USA/Team Canada rivalry in women’s hockey, and I am right there with them.
*One of the leaders in the Colorado Avalanche dressing room said that the trade of Matt Duchene away has improved Colorado’s culture “a lot.”
*For something completely different: It sounds like it was a pretty awesome experience to go to the Eagles/Vikings NFC championship game if you were from Minnesota. In other words, not so awesome.