Bruins

Cehlarik makes first appearance in Bruins camp following shoulder surgery

bruins_peter_cehlarik_092917.jpg

Cehlarik makes first appearance in Bruins camp following shoulder surgery

BRIGHTON, Mass – After missing nearly the entire Bruins training camp, young Slovakian winger Peter Cehlarik has finally shed the red, non-contact jersey and returned to the fold following a gradual recovery from offseason shoulder surgery.

The 22-year-old had 20 goals in 49 games for the P-Bruins last season and notched a couple of assists in 11 games in Boston last year while mostly skating with David Krejci. He’d flashed soft hands, a good passing touch and the size/strength ability to be a factor around the net, but took a backseat last season once the Bruins traded for Drew Stafford at the deadline. The big left winger was again with Krejci and David Pastrnak during Friday’s practice while going through a full skate with the rest of the team, but he won’t be ready to play in Saturday’s preseason finale.

Cehlarik was simply just happy to finally be back on the ice

“It felt good to be with the guys after a long summer. I’ve just been trying to get back on the ice and get healthy,” said Cehlarik. “It still felt like the summer [until now]. It felt like camp just started for me today. You work hard to get back and be patient with it, but I’m feeling healthy now.

“No matter who I was practicing with, it finally felt like I was a part of the team. It was good and we’ll see what happens this weekend.”

It would certainly seem at this point Cehlarik is destined for the AHL given that he missed all of training camp, and that there’s already a glut of left wing candidates like Matt Beleskey, Frank Vatrano, Sean Kuraly and Jake DeBrusk before even entering the 6-foot-2, 202-pounder into the mix. Still, there’s no denying that given his size, skill level and the numbers he posted with Providence last season, Cehlarik could be a part of the NHL mix

“Especially at left wing it’s getting a little gummy over there, so we’ve got to sort through it,” said Bruce Cassidy. “[Cehlarik] was just cleared [medically], so we were just mixing him in today. We played him [with Krejci] last year in a lot of the games he played, so essentially we needed a spot for him to keep the continuity for the lines [against Chicago].

“I’ll say this about Peter. He looks like he’s improved his skating and he looks stronger. Like a lot of kids his age, it looks like it was a good summer for him. This injury unfortunately [didn’t allow] us to get a good look at him, but I think he would have learned a lot from his experience last year. I think when he finally does get back into our lineup I think it will be a positive for him. We’ve always liked Peter and we won a lot of games last year with him in the lineup.”

It remains to be seen how long it will take Cehlarik to get his next NHL chance with the Bruins, but it doesn’t sound like it’s going to happen in the short term. Here are the line combos and D-pairings from Friday’s practice with the Bruins not expected to travel a loaded lineup to Chicago for their final tune-up against the Blackhawks:

 

Cehlarik-Krejci-Pastrnak

Marchand-Bergeron-Bjork

Vatrano-Kuraly-Backes

Beleskey-Spooner-Heinen

 

DeBrusk-JFK-Purcell

Schaller-Nash-Acciari

 

Chara-Carlo

Miller-McAvoy

Grzelcyk-McQuaid

O’Gara-Postma

 

Rask

Khudobin

Subban 

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Morning Skate: Try to keep up with Chara's offseason workout

Morning Skate: Try to keep up with Chara's offseason workout

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while watching Captain America’s entrance to Avengers: Infinity War on a 24/7 loop. It’s just that good.

*Cool Instagram video from Zdeno Chara that shows a peek behind the curtain of his offseason workout with crazy strength, balance and conditioning drills for a 6-foot-9 man on the wrong side of 40. It’s no wonder he’s a physical marvel still at his advanced age, and that the end of his Hall of Fame career doesn’t look like it’s coming anytime soon. Chara may be older, he may no longer be a viable Norris Trophy candidate and his body may be starting to break down just a little bit more given his age, but the man is a true freak of nature with his strength, size and conditioning. There are no two ways about that.

*Ryan Ellis has signed a long-term extension with the Nashville Predators for a cap friendly number as the Preds continue to build and sustain a long-term winner.

*Interesting piece on Buffalo Sabres head coach Phil Housley’s wife, Karin, running for a Senate seat in Minnesota.

*Pro Hockey Talk says that Ilya Kovalchuk is under pressure as he begins a big three-year contract with the Los Angeles Kings.

*Boy, it sure sounds like the Arizona Coyotes are in a heap of financial trouble as their fiscal losses continue to mount.

*For something completely different: Pretty interesting interview with Michelle MacLaren, the director from this week’s "Better Call Saul" that gives some good insight into the characters on the show, and the exciting direction its headed toward Breaking Bad-ville.

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Could Sekera injury spark renewed Oilers' interest in Torey Krug?

Could Sekera injury spark renewed Oilers' interest in Torey Krug?

The Bruins raised some eyebrows on July 1 when they signed defenseman John Moore to a long-term contract and thereby locked themselves in with eight NHL-caliber defensemen headed into training camp next month.

It sparked plenty of informed speculation that one of the D-men would eventually be moved, with Torey Krug the most likely candidate given his contract, value on the trade market and what the Black and Gold could get in return.

Either way, Don Sweeney said after the signing that having a healthy supply of D-men was a good situation for the Bruins just in case needs arose with other teams around the league. Well, the need around the league is getting greater with the news that Edmonton Oilers D-man Andrej Sekera is out long-term following surgery to repair his Achilles tendon. 

Sekera, 32, a left-shot defenseman who was limited to only 36 games last season, had been a top-4 mainstay for the Oil the previous two seasons. Sekera was being counted on to again be that kind of quality D-man again, but that looks very much in question right now.

That leaves the Oilers badly in need of a left-shot, top-four D-man with some offensive upside and leaves open the kind of job description that Krug could very neatly fill in Edmonton. This is after some very clear interest from Edmonton in the talented, productive Krug last season. It would bring about a reunion of the offensive D-man with the general manager who originally signed him with the Bruins as an undrafted defenseman out of Michigan State.

As has often been stated, the Bruins don’t want to trade Krug, 27, after he produced 110 points the past two seasons with only Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns, Victor Hedman and John Klingberg scoring more from the back end in that span. Still, they badly need a top-six sniper to even off their forward lines and bring some scoring depth to a team that was far too one-dimensional in the postseason against the Maple Leafs and the Lightning.

Could a strong trade package featuring Krug be enough to pry Ryan Nugent-Hopkins away from the Oilers after he showed some great things on the wing last season? Could he also be a top-six center candidate with Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci entering NHL middle age? Could Edmonton’s desperation to turn things around be enough to really push Peter Chiarelli into desperation mode looking for a left-handed defenseman in light of Sekera’s injury?

These are good questions to ask as the Bruins ready for camp with an abundance of talented, proven NHL defensemen. They'd be dealing from a position of strength as teams, such as Edmonton, suddenly become buyers out of circumstance and desperation. Don’t be shocked if we haven’t heard the last of Krug-to-Edmonton trade rumors because the dominoes are beginning to fall and it continues to look as if it's a very real possibility.     

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