Bruins

Bruins playing it safe with Chara, hope to see dividends later

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Bruins playing it safe with Chara, hope to see dividends later

BRIGHTON, Mass – It’s not your imagination if you feel like you haven’t seen 6-foot-9 Zdeno Chara much this preseason.

After all, it’s awfully difficult to miss the massive D-man out on the ice, and some of the Bruins' sloppy D-zone mistakes in Detroit and Philly probably wouldn’t have happened if Ol' No. 33 was out there.

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Chara, 40, has played just a single preseason game - a home victory over the Flyers last week - and the Bruins captain isn’t expected to be making the trip to Chicago for the preseason finale on Saturday night. Instead, the Bruins will save their bullets for the regular season with Chara, who looked in midseason form while clocking 23 minutes of ice time in his only appearance against Philadelphia. It sounds like Bruins are playing it safe after already losing their only other natural left-shot defenseman when Torey Krug went down more than a week ago with a fractured jaw.

All the Bruins have behind Chara and Krug are relatively inexperienced left-side D’s Matt Grzelcyk, Rob O’Gara, Jeremy Lauzon and Jakub Zboril, so having both players down at once would be something approaching disastrous.

“I don’t think Zee needs it to be honest with you. He’s been around a long time and he’ll get his work in at practice,” said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. “It might be a little more measurable down the road, so there’s always an advantage with a little less wear and tear. You never know where could be an injury. Right now with our left shot ‘D’ that would be a big concern [playing Chara in Chicago].

“What if some freak thing happened and we basically lose our only left-shot ‘D’ with Torey already out of the lineup? It’s a blessing in that sense [that Chara can be rested].”

Chara also missed some time in the middle of the preseason schedule with an illness, but in a roundabout way, it could benefit the oldest player in the league to save his legs for the regular season. There’s no way of knowing how much it will benefit Chara, but it certainly won’t be as much of a challenge as last season when he played deep into the World Cup of Hockey tournament with Team Europe.

Instead, Chara appears destined for another season paired with Brandon Carlo in a shutdown role and the Bruins would gladly take a repeat of the 10 goals, 29 points, plus-18 rating and 75 games played from last season.

“Everybody is looking forward to the season beginning,” said Chara, who is making final preparations for his 19th full season in the NHL. “It’s up to the coaching staff. Obviously, I’m feeling much better. If they feel I need to play then I’ll be ready to play, and if they feel like they need to look at other options, combinations or pairings then it’s up to them to decide.

“These preseason games are good preparation, but at the same time I think everybody is anxious for the real games and to get going with the season.”

Given how much care and precaution that the Bruins are handling Chara with given their delicate situation on the back end, management and the coaching staff seem just as anxious as the players to get things going with the real games. Perhaps it will pay dividends when the Bruins need the best out of their 40-year-old in big moments such as when he averaged an astounding 28:46 of ice time in the playoff series vs. Ottawa last spring.  

NHL releases 2018-19 regular season schedule

NHL releases 2018-19 regular season schedule

The Boston Bruins' schedule is set after the NHL released the 2018-19 regular season schedule on Thursday. Boston opens the season in Washington to take on the defending champion Capitals on October 3rd, and have their home opener against Ottawa on October 8th. 

Boston and the Chicago Blackhawks were announced as the opponents for the 2019 Winter Classic, which takes place on New Year's Day. 

The Bruins are coming off a 4-1 series loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, who they will meet again for the first time on December 6th. 

Other key games include an early season back-to-back at home against the Toronto Maple Leafs and Vegas Golden Nights on November 10th and 11th. 

The full schedule can be found below.

OCTOBER:

Wednesday, October 3 @ Washington, 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, October 4 @ Buffalo, 7 p.m.

Monday, October 8 vs. Ottawa, 1 p.m.

Thursday, October 11 vs. Edmonton, 7 p.m.

Saturday, October 13 vs. Detroit, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, October 17 @ Calgary, 9:30 p.m.

Thursday, October 18 @ Edmonton, 9 p.m.

Saturday, October 20 @ Vancouver, 10 p.m.

Tuesday, October 23 @ Ottawa, 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, October 25 vs. Philadelphia, 7 p.m.

Saturday, October 27 vs. Montreal, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, October 30 at Carolina, 7 p.m.

NOVEMBER:

Saturday, November 3 @ Nashville, 8 p.m.

Monday, November 5 vs. Dallas, 7 p.m.

Thursday, November 8 vs. Vancouver, 7 p.m.

Saturday, November 10 vs. Toronto, 7 p.m.

Sunday, November 11 vs. Las Vegas, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, November 14 @ Colorado, 10 p.m.

Friday, November 16 @ Dallas, 8 p.m.

Saturday, November 17 @ Arizona, 8 p.m.

Wednesday, November 21 @ Detroit, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, November 23 vs. Pittsburgh, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, November 24 @ Montreal, 7 p.m.

Monday, November 26 @ Toronto, 7 p.m.

Thursday, November 29 vs. N.Y. Islanders, 7 p.m.

DECEMBER:

Saturday, December 1 vs. Detroit, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, December 4 @ Florida, 7 p.m.

Thursday, December 6 @ Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, December 8 vs. Toronto, 7 p.m.

Sunday, December 9 @ Ottawa, 5 p.m.

Tuesday, December 11 vs. Arizona, 7 p.m.

Friday, December 14 @ Pittsburgh, 7 p.m.

Sunday, December 16 vs. Buffalo, 5 p.m.

Monday, December 17 @ Montreal, 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, December 20 vs. Anaheim, 7 p.m.

Saturday, December 22 vs. Nashville, 1 p.m.

Sunday, December 23 @ Carolina, 5 p.m.

Thursday, December 27 vs. New Jersey, 7 p.m.

Saturday, December 29 @ Buffalo, 7 p.m.

JANUARY:

Tuesday, January 1 @ Chicago, 2 p.m.

Thursday, January 3 vs. Calgary, 7 p.m.

Saturday, January 5 vs. Buffalo, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, January 8 vs. Minnesota, 7 p.m.

Thursday, January 10 vs. Washington, 7 p.m.

Saturday, January 12 @ Toronto, 7 p.m.

Monday, January 14 vs. Montreal, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, January 16 @ Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, January 17 vs. St. Louis, 7 p.m.

Saturday, January 19 vs. N.Y. Rangers, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, January 29 vs. Winnipeg, 7 p.m.

Thursday, January 31 vs. Philadelphia, 7 p.m.

FEBRUARY:

Sunday, February 3 @ Washington, 12:30 p.m.

Tuesday, February 5 vs. N.Y. Islanders, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, February 6 @ N.Y. Rangers, 8 p.m.

Saturday, February 9 vs. Los Angeles, 1 p.m.

Sunday, February 10 vs. Colorado, 3 p.m.

Tuesday, February 12 vs. Chicago, 7 p.m.

Friday, February 15 @ Anaheim, 10 p.m.

Saturday, February 16 @ Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m.

Monday, February 18 @ San Jose, 10:30 p.m.

Wednesday, February 20 @ Vegas, 10 p.m.

Saturday, February 23 @ St. Louis, 4 p.m.

Tuesday, February 26 vs. San Jose, 7 p.m.

Thursday, February 28 vs. Tampa Bay, 7 p.m.

MARCH:

Saturday, March 2 vs. New Jersey, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, March 5 vs. Carolina, 7 p.m.

Thursday, March 7 vs. Florida, 7 p.m.

Saturday, March 9 vs. Ottawa, 7 p.m.

Sunday, March 10 @ Pittsburgh, 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, March 12 @ Columbus, 7 p.m.

Thursday, March 14 @ Winnipeg, 8 p.m.

Saturday, March 16 vs. Columbus, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, March 19 @ N.Y. Islanders, 7 p.m.

Thursday, March 21 @ New Jersey, 7 p.m.

Saturday, March 23 @ Florida, 7 p.m.

Monday, March 25 @ Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, March 27 vs. N.Y. Rangers, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 30 vs. Florida, 7 p.m.

Sunday, March 31 @ Detroit, 7:30 p.m.

APRIL:

Tuesday, April 2 @ Columbus, 7 p.m.

Thursday, April 4 @ Minnesota, 8 p.m.

Saturday, April 6 vs. Tampa Bay, 12:30 p.m.

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Haggerty: Bruins should pass on trading for Wayne Simmonds

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Haggerty: Bruins should pass on trading for Wayne Simmonds

DALLAS -- Interesting times for the Bruins as they head into NHL Draft weekend here, as a number of names have been bandied about as possibilities,. Things are fluid right now as far as targets and potential strategies go, what with the draft being held this weekend and free agency opening on July 1. 

One name that has popped up in recent days is Flyers power forward Wayne Simmonds, who is entering the final year of his contract at age 29. Simmonds was mentioned as a possible target by NBC Sports Boston way back in May, and has been kicked up in the last few days with The Athletic’s Michael Russo mentioning him as possible trade bait for the Minnesota Wild. 

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In a vacuum, Simmonds would be a terrific second-line fit for Boston. Despite battling injuries that culminated with him undergoing hip surgery, Simmonds scored 24 goals and 46 points last year. Just a couple of seasons ago he put up 32 goals and 60 points. At his best, the 6-foot-2, 183-pounder is a prototypical power forward capable of scoring goals around the net, throwing big hits and dropping the gloves with a ferocious level of intimidation when the situation calls for it. 

He’s very much in the mold of Milan Lucic, Nathan Horton and Jarome Iginla as the kind of power winger that’s been very good with David Krejci in the past, and would make the Bruins a little tougher and much harder to play against. 

So, clearly, as a player Simmonds would be “a great addition” for the Bruins, as Bruce Cassidy said about Ilya Kovalchuk, with all things being equal. 

Here’s the rub: The cost is going to be considerable for Simmonds. The Bruins will have to give up significant assets to get a full year of Simmonds ahead of his free-agent walk year, and then they’d need to pay up again to sign him to a big contract extension at some point next season.

Certainly the B’s would feel beholden to sign Simmonds if they gave up blue-chip prospects and draft picks to land him.

As with most trade discussions over the last year, Jake DeBrusk is a name that's been an ask from other team. Even if it's Danton Heinen or Anders Bjork involved in the discussions instead, the Bruins would need to give up a valued young winger in order to get the more established Simmonds. 

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They’d be doing all this for a big-bodied, 29-year-old player who's probably going to start slowing down, and breaking down, over the next few seasons.

A couple of years ago landing Simmonds would have been a master stroke move for the Bruins as they sought to replace Lucic’s hulking presence in the lineup. Certainly they could have used the offensive punch on their second line, where Rick Nash disappointed after arriving at the trade deadline last spring. 

But in this humble hockey writer’s opinion, the window should probably be closed at this point on acquiring Simmonds, given the cost in terms of both assets and future dollars.

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