There'll be a couple of Fathers' Days for Bruins on this trip


There'll be a couple of Fathers' Days for Bruins on this trip

PHILADELPHIA – In their steady, successful run that culminated with a Stanley Cup title in 2011, the Bruins never really tried out one of the father’s road trips that many other NHL teams have adopted in the past 10 or 15 years.

Perhaps it was a Claude Julien, or it was an organizational thing, but either way it never really happened for the Black and Gold.

Clearly, it was about business first and foremost at that point and it was something the B’s had never really done before as it becomes en vogue around the NHL. But they’ve started making up for lost time, and gotten into the act the past few seasons inviting the B’s players’ moms and dads on Bruins road trips.


An impressive group of Bruins’ paterfamilias are with the players in Philadelphia this weekend and will be in Nashville on Monday as well as they get an up-close look at the NHL lifestyle of their talented sons. It’s clearly a treat for the dads after serving key roles in the hockey upbringing of their sons, and it’s also a cherished trip for the players who don’t get to spend too much family time in a bustling season.

“It’s good. So far, so good. They really love being here, and we love having them around. So hopefully we get a big win for them. You never want to let your parents down, so hopefully, we have a big performance,” said Danton Heinen, whose dad Rick is a bigger, balder spitting image of the young B’s winger. “Just showing him the day-to-day life [is cool], and just spending time with him. He’s a long ways away [in British Columbia]. He’s all the way across the country, so it’s great spending time with him and showing him what it’s like.”

In all, 21 fathers are traveling with the Bruins players. Fathers living in faraway places, such as Zdeno Chara’s dad and Anton Khudobin’s father, didn’t make the trip, and David Pastrnak’s father passed away when he was a teenager. Instead,  Pastrnak will have his brother with him on the trip. More members of Tim Schaller's family are descending on Philly to be a giant New Hampshire-based Bruins rooting section at the Wells Fargo Center.

“I think it’s awesome. As a player, we didn’t do that way back then, and I lost my dad when I was 21. So I’m not sure we would have had a chance, but I would have loved to do it. We had the moms last year, and they had a great time,” said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. “Hopefully the guys put their best foot forward for their dads. I think it’s a great acknowledgment of the time, support and effort that they lent to their children’s success. You can’t get there without that.”

One thing for certain with all the dads in a luxury box watching in Philly and Nashville: The Bruins players should have plenty of motivation to take two points in each spot and make certain that the father/son plane trips are happy ones through the two-game trip over the next three days.  


Backes cut by errant skate blade in scary incident during Tampa game

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Backes cut by errant skate blade in scary incident during Tampa game

TAMPA – It’s always scary when errant skate blades injure players on the ice, and that appeared to be the case in Tampa Bay on Saturday night as David Backes rushed off the ice after a scrum in the Lightning end. 

It appeared that Yanni Gourde’s skate blade cut Backes in the right thigh area after he went down to his knees while heading toward the Tampa net, and the Bruins power forward immediately skated off the ice while putting no weight on his right leg. It wasn’t immediately known whether Backes would return to the game or not for a Bruins team that was already missing Patrice Bergeron, Jake DeBrusk, Zdeno Chara and Charlie McAvoy from the lineup with injuries. 

Backes had been moved up to the Bruins top line for Saturday night’s big game against the Lightning as a result of those injuries, and scored one of Boston’s two first period goals in taking an early lead against the Atlantic Division-leading Bolts. We’ll have more updates as they come in on Backes from Tampa Bay after that scary incident in the final minute of the first period.

UPDATE: Backes suffered a laceration above his right knee that required several stitches to close. He is resting and won't be returning to tonight's game, per Bruins


Slowed after a hot start, Rick Nash looking to 'open up the gates' on offense

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Slowed after a hot start, Rick Nash looking to 'open up the gates' on offense

TAMPA, Fla. – Rick Nash stormed in smoking hot for the Bruins after his trade to Boston ahead of the NHL trade deadline. He had two goals, three points and a whopping 15 shots on net in the three games after jumping into the lineup.

But it’s been a bit of an offensive slowdown for Nash with one goal and two points in his past seven games on Boston’s second line as they’ve shouldered a bit more offensive responsibility with Patrice Bergeron out. Nash, 33, it’s been par-for-the-course for a career where goals have come in bunches and offense moves in bursts that have become more spread out as he’s gotten a little older.

“It seems like my whole career I’ve always scored in bunches,” said Nash. “The chances are there. That’s the positive thing, but usually, it takes a funny one to go in to open up the [flood] gates. If we get a bit more traffic around the goalie it helps, and get a few more shots from the inside than the outside, where it’s tougher to score. You look at the highlights every night and the goals are all scored right around the net.”

Nash has enjoyed his share of chances in those seven games with 23 shots on net and at Carolina on Tuesday night was the only real stinker for him among the bunch. He's been around the net with his 6-4, 220-pound frame, working on the chemistry with David Krejci and actually skating better than most around the Bruins might have hoped for such a big-bodied player.

So, Bruce Cassidy is expecting his big power forward to finish some of those chances as he heats up a little bit offensively.

“I think he’s had one game where he didn’t have very many opportunities, but other than that he’s been around the net every night. It just hasn’t gone in as much as we had hoped,” said Cassidy. “So I don’t know him well enough to know whether that’s a trend, or if he’s just a little snake-bitten.”

The bottom line with Nash is that he’s consistently been a beast around the net and a puck possession force that can’t be derailed by defensive players attempting to take the puck from him. It will be interesting tonight for Nash playing against a number of his former teammates with ex-Rangers Ryan Callahan, J.T. Miller and Ryan McDonagh now all members of the Tampa Bay Lightning. That familiarity, along with the teams vying for the Atlantic Division top spot, should make it a special night for Nash along several lines.

“His size is his biggest asset I think, and the way he can hold onto it and control the play. Sometimes he grabs the puck and you can’t take it off his hands. He reminds me a little of Jaromir Jagr when you played him, and he sticks his butt into you and you can’t do much with it,” said former New York Rangers captain and current Lightning forward Callahan. “It’s tough to see him go to Boston where it’s a divisional rivalry, but I know what kind of guy he is, what kind of player he is…and that’s a huge pickup for Boston.”

In a huge game against the Lightning, who the B's are chasing. Facing his old Rangers buddies, Saturday night would certainly be a perfect time for the Nash goal-scoring floodgates to open for an undermanned Bruins team looking to make a stand.