Bruins

Sources: Bruins quietly gauging trade value of some veterans

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Sources: Bruins quietly gauging trade value of some veterans

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins might just have a Plan B for this season after all.

After getting off to their worst start in 10 years -- being outscored 10-4 in home losses to Winnipeg and Montreal -- the B's may be starting to develop contingency plans in case things don’t drastically improve in the next few weeks.

According to separate hockey sources, there has been some level of recent trade discussion about veterans Zdeno Chara and Brad Marchand with other teams around the league, just to name a few B’s players. The talks haven’t been substantial but more exploratory in nature, as the team quietly gauges the market value of higher-priced veterans who may not fit in the long-term picture if the decision is made to tear down the current roster.

Clearly, it’s not something that will happen tomorrow or even next week. But there’s a sneaking suspicion that Bruins management is formulating a backup plan in case the bottom completely drops out.

The original hope was that the Bruins could compete for a playoff spot with a roster comprised of young players, new faces, and a smattering of holdovers from the 2011 Stanley Cup team. President Cam Neely stressed prior to the season the Bruins would get better as the season moves along and also that the playoffs -- and winning Cups -- was still the ultimate goal.

“We’ve tracked in the past and by Thanksgiving, if you’re in the playoff picture, generally by the end of the year you’re still going to be in the playoff picture," he said then. "This year we have a lot of younger players that I think will develop over the course of the year, and I think the coaching staff’s going to do a really good job in helping these players develop. I think we’ll see the team improve over the course of the season.

"But having said that, we still have enough players that have been around the game long enough and are good NHL players . . . really good NHL players that I think can help bring those guys along at a quicker pace. I feel like we can have a strong start because of that.”

Their start -- partially due to injuries, partially due to poor play -- has been anything but strong; in fact, it's probably been worse than anything Neely or new general manager Don Sweeney feared. The team is attempting to right the ship with Chara (upper body injury), Marchand (concussion) and Dennis Seidenberg (back surgery) on the sidelines, though it's possible Chara will return today against Tampa Bay. Not helping matters is a ragtag defense corps that isn't able to compete against playoff-caliber teams.

The Bruins played exactly one good period in the first two games. And if things truly do go sideways, it would make long-range business sense to make a number of high-priced veterans available on the trade market. Players like Marchand, Chara, David Krejci and Loui Eriksson could bring back useful assets in the form of draft picks, top prospects and building blocks.

There are, of course, no-trade clauses and other road blocks before deals can be made. But it might be that some of those players will be ready to go elsewhere if they see Neely and Sweeney opting for a complete rebuild rather than the roster retooling that was talked about over the summer.

 

Bruins wowed by scrimmage turnout: "Not many other cities where that would happen"

Bruins wowed by scrimmage turnout: "Not many other cities where that would happen"

BOSTON – The final score didn’t matter, and truth be told the identities of the goal-scorers and the assist-makers didn’t really matter all that much either.

The only things that really mattered during Thursday night’s Intra-squad scrimmage at TD Garden were that all the Bruins players got out of the exercise healthy (they did after a brief scare with Brad Marchand), and that an amazing 16,000 plus Bruins fans filtered through the gates as paying customers to watch a glorified night practice.

Certainly it was a good night for David Pastrnak scoring a couple of goals, and David Backes kicked in a couple of scores of his own. It was a little less than stellar for Tuukka Rask giving up a couple of goals in his 25 minutes of work, and David Krejci never even made it on the ice after running a fever earlier in the day on Thursday.

But the biggest winners of all were the Bruins fans that got to see their Bruins for a $20 fee going to the Bruins Foundation, and showed exactly the kind of support that the Black and Gold get from their hardcore fan base.

“I thought it was great to be back in front of our home crowd. They had good energy. I think the guys fed off that a little bit. It’s nice to be appreciated I guess or cheered on in these circumstances, but we’re trying to get our work done. That was the message. We can’t get out there and have it like a summer hockey league game,” said Bruce Cassidy. “You’re going to make some plays but try to stay detailed as best you can.

“Sometimes in these environments, you want to do a little more, so we got a little bit of both, but we got our work done. Thanks to the fans for coming out. Supports a good cause and got to see some decent players playing, getting ready to go into the Final, so it’s a win-win.”

It showed just how hungry Bruins fans are for the Stanley Cup, and just how frenzied the following is with Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final scheduled for Monday night against the St. Louis Blues at the Garden. Bruins President Cam Neely saluted the fans ahead of the two-quarter scrimmage on Thursday night, and B’s leaders Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron addressed the crown after the two teams produced eight goals during the game rehearsal.

It all added up to an impromptu love-fest with a Bruins team that’s exceeded expectations and hopes this season, and could bring a second Stanley Cup back to Boston in the last eight years. All of that good mojo was apparent to the Bruins players as they talked it about after scrimmaging for 50 minutes in front of a packed house.

“I was saying to my dad or somebody that I hope [the fans] remember that we still have one more series to go. They showed up and it was great. Not many other cities around the league where that would happen,” said Torey Krug. “It was fun to get out there and extremely beneficial for us to get out there in some game-type situations.

“We have the type of locker room that gives 100 percent all the time whether it’s a practice or a game, and that’s what we tried to do tonight. Looking up and seeing the upper bowl was pretty full, that’s pretty special.”  

Some will say that the game day simulation with the night scrimmage was odd, or that it didn’t really make much of a difference with the 10 days off between the Eastern Conference Final and Stanley Cup Final. Certainly those both might be true, but the B’s had to try something to keep too much rust from gathering on their game prior to puck drop on Monday night against the St. Louis Blues.

Now all that’s left is to count down the days until the Cup Final begins in earnest on Monday evening, and the fans really get a treat with the Bruins and Blues facing off after Thursday night’s scrimmage appetizer at the Garden. 

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Breakfast Podcast, May 23, 2019: Bruins play Intra-team scrimmage 3 days before Stanley Cup Final

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Breakfast Podcast, May 23, 2019: Bruins play Intra-team scrimmage 3 days before Stanley Cup Final

LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE

01:35: DJ Bean, Michael Holley, and Danielle Trotta react to Bruins decision to have intra-squad scrimmage three days before the start of the Stanley Cup Final. Although no one was injured, there was a close call in Brad Marchand.

05:25: Kyrie Irving was named 2nd-Team All-NBA, Chris Forsberg joins DJ Bean and Danielle Trotta to react. Was he named correctly? And Dan Gilbert comments on Kyrie Irving trade saying, “We killed it.”

09:50: After Bruce Cassidy commented on Patrice Bergeron’s legacy as a Boston athlete, Michael Holley and Rich Keefe rank the top ten most beloved Boston Athletes. 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.