NHL Notes: What the Bruins have to be thankful for
NHL Notes: What the Bruins have to be thankful for
In the spirit of the season of Thanksgiving, here is what each of the Bruins players have to be thankful for as we approach Turkey Day, when the B’s will be playing up in Ottawa on the holiday next week.
A few extra pounds and the added muscle to win battles, hold onto the puck and evolve into the player everybody knew he could become after his dazzling rookie season as the youngest player in the NHL. “Pasta” is on the track to NHL stardom at the ripe old age of 20. He just needs to stay healthy to see it happen.
The Bruins agitator has to be thankful for his newfound national recognition across the US and Canada after first winning at last summer’s world championships, then capturing the World Cup with Team Canada a couple of months ago. The Nose Face Killah is one of the NHL’s big boys these days and he’s got the big contract to prove it.
Bergeron is thankful for simply being on the ice after missing the first few games with injury, but it hasn’t gone unnoticed that No. 37 is a minus player one month into the season and is on pace for 11 goals and 23 points this season. That is very un-Bergeron like.
The playmaking Czech center is thankful for David Backes on his line, the kind of big and strong, power forward-type that has always allowed him to unlock his offensive game. Krejci is now the team’s leading scorer with two goals and seven points, along with a plus-2 rating, in nine games in November.
Spooner is thankful to still be with the Bruins after trade rumors have had him moved for a defenseman umpteen times over the past six months. One thing is for sure: the B’s are going to be very careful about moving anybody with Spooner's speed, offensive talent and creativity. B’s fans should be thankful for that.
The B’s offensive defenseman is simply thankful that October is over. He finished with zero points and a minus-4 rating in eight games and simply wasn’t himself as he came back from shoulder surgery.
The big, bruising forward is thankful to be fully healthy and operational now at the beginning of his Bruins career after going through the bursa sac issue in his elbow a couple of games into the season.
The fourth-line center, at 36, is simply happy to be with the team because it’s given the journeyman center a chance to show once again why he has been in the NHL for 782 games and counting.
The 39-year-old captain is thankful for his new D-man partner Brandon Carlo, who has helped Big Zee get off to his best start in a couple of seasons while enjoying the luxury of simply worrying about his own responsibilities on the ice.
Liles is thankful to be leading the Bruins defensemen group with four assists this season despite a bottom-pair defenseman role and the creative D-man has mostly the power play to thank for it.
The Bruins rookie is thankful for second chances after a concussion slowed him down out of the starting gate and resulted in a brief demotion to Providence. The speedy, small-ish Czarnik has been outstanding since being called back up.
The fourth-line left wing is thankful to be on his hometown Bruins as a New Hampshire native who idolized Patrice Bergeron and now gets to share a dressing room with the Bruins forward.
The 19-year-old is thankful for pretty much everything at this point. He’s living the dream as a 2015 second-round pick who stepped into a great situation with the B’s as a top-pair D-man alongside Chara. The 6-foot-5 D-man has made a giant positive impact.
The rugged left-winger is thankful to now have Austin Czarnik on his line because it seems that the speedy, creative forward has helped Beleskey find his game after a really rough October.
The veteran NHL forward is happy to have carved out a solid, flexible role for himself with the Bruins where he’s already been a fourthline center, a third-line center and a top-line winger filling in for David Pastrnak alongside Bergeron and Marchand.
The hard-hitting fourth liner is thankful for a couple of points in 12 games prior to getting hurt and a few more chances to show he’s got some occasional offense to go along with his sturdy physical game.
The 23-year-old defenseman is thankful he needs waivers to go down to Providence because that’s probably where he’d be headed when Kevan Miller comes back if he were still on an entry-level contract. He’s too talented to be struggling like he is right now with the Bruins.
Hayes is thankful to still be with an NHL team with zeroes across the board and a minus-9 in 15 games thus far for the Black and Gold. You have to wonder how much longer this can go on for if it doesn’t change.
The 24-year-old defenseman is thankful that he continues to get chances from a Bruins team despite his inconsistency. He keeps the hope alive that somehow he’ll be able to put it all together at some point.
The veteran defenseman is thankful for his current good health (knock on a wooden hockey stick), which he doesn’t take for granted given his struggles with an assortment of injuries over the years.
The Finnish netminder is thankful his lower body has stayed in one piece in the opening 12 games to his season while he’s playing the best hockey of his career. It seems to be coming out of the woods a bit given his injury issues. That is the ultimate Thanksgiving prize given his 1.49 goals-against average and .947 save percentage.
The affable backup goaltender is thankful for a two-year contract that pretty guarantees he’ll be in the NHL for the next couple of years in Boston or in expansion Las Vegas by some happenstance.
The young netminder is thankful for the opportunity to show he could do the job in a couple of high leverage situations in New York and Montreal and that there might be a future for him in the NHL after a bit more seasoning once Khudobin returns.
The longtime Bruins coach remains thankful that all of the key veteran players still heed his message, play his system and maintain order within a Bruins dressing room that has almost always, with a few notable exceptions, seemed to respond to him over the past 10 years.
The Bruins GM is thankful that Boston’s quick start has seemed to make people forget giving up a third-round pick for Zac Rinaldo, failing to trade away Loui Eriksson at last year’s deadline when they could have collected value in return and signing Jimmy Hayes to a contract extension sight unseen in a B’s uniform. Okay, maybe people haven’t forgotten about that last one quite yet.
The Bruins President is thankful for Warrior Ice Arena, which has been every bit as posh, state-of-the-art and beautiful as he hoped the practice facility would be in the planning stages.
The CEO of Delaware North’s Boston holdings, including the Bruins, has to be thankful that things are starting to look up a bit for the Black and Gold franchise with a decent standing at Thanksgiving week, a crop of promising young players and a fan base fervent enough to have persevered through the dark times over the past couple of seasons.
Remember, keep shooting the puck at the net and good things are bound to happen. Oh, and have a safe and happy Thanksgiving everybody!