Vatrano another B's player to admit he 'didn't have best relationship with Claude'

Vatrano another B's player to admit he 'didn't have best relationship with Claude'

A few days after Ryan Spooner voiced his honest, true feelings about a relationship with former head coach Claude Julien that wasn’t all that functional, third line winger Frank Vatrano echoed some of those same sentiments. In a Thursday morning interview with Toucher and Rich, the 22-year-old Vatrano admitted he “didn’t have the best relationship with Claude” during their two seasons working together. One of the reasons that Julien was ultimately fired in Boston was the difficulty integrating younger players into Boston’s roster as the Black and Gold were clearly starting to rebuild things, and Vatrano felt like he wasn’t always put in a position to best succeed in deference to veteran players.

This season has been a different story with Vatrano gelling with Ryan Spooner and Jimmy Hayes as an effective, productive third line under interim head coach Bruce Cassidy, but last season it was customary to see Vatrano playing his off-wing, doing time on the fourth line and not seeing many reps on the power play.

Those are not good fits for a natural born goal-scorer that has 10 goals for the Black and Gold in 29 games this season, and potted over 40 goals between Boston and Providence in his first pro season last year.  

“For me, I didn’t have the best relationship with Claude. But that comes with time. Obviously now with Butch [Cassidy] here I have a good relationship with him having been with him last year,” said Vatrano. “Obviously Claude had his guys and he trusted the guys that he’d had for a while. It’s something you can understand especially if they had a good relationship with him. At the end of the day I didn’t have the best relationship with him, but I think he liked me as a player. I liked playing for him while he was here.

“He had those other guys that were ‘his guys’ in those spots where it was a spot you thought you could be playing in. It’s tough when [Julien] had those relationships with those guys that had been there. You thought you’d maybe proven that you deserved to be used in those spots, but maybe it comes with seniority and all that stuff. That’s the kind of stuff that happens.”

It’s been a whole different world for Vatrano, Spooner and a number of other players since Cassidy took over for the fired Julien eight games ago. Young guys are put in prime positions to succeed, and more than one Bruins player has said they have “a green light” to create offensively that hadn’t previously been there under the more conservative Julien.

“Right when I signed out of college [Cassidy] was my coach in my first year as a pro and he was great to me. Right away he put me in spots where I could do what I do best, and he put me in a spot where I could succeed,” said Vatrano. “Now that he’s here in Boston it’s going to benefit me hugely. Now he’s the head coach and he knows where to use me where I’m going to be successful in the league.

“The game of hockey is changing, especially the NHL. You look at every team that’s been successful, and even if you look at Pittsburgh last year, and there is a lot of youth in the lineups. It’s just exciting for the game when young guys are in the lineup and they’re playing with speed and confidence. I think it just makes the game even better than it was when you had to be 6-foot-5, 230-pounds to play the game. Now you see smaller guys getting into the lineups and being successful, and it just shows how the game is changing.”

The bottom line is this for the Bruins: The more younger guys like Vatrano and Spooner that come out and admit there was an issue, then clearly there was a disconnect between Julien and the young players despite the protests of so many Claude apologists in the Bruins media. It’s all been stunningly obvious in the last eight games as the Bruins have collectively played better, harder and with much more confidence and freedom than they did under a coach at the sagging end of an exceedingly great 10-year run in Boston.

It was time for a change behind the Black and Gold bench, and the words and actions of players like Vatrano and Spooner are just further confirmation of what had become stunningly obvious to many people around the team. 


NHL round robin, qualifying series schedule 2020: Dates, scores for every game

NHL round robin, qualifying series schedule 2020: Dates, scores for every game

The NHL is officially returning to play.

The league and NHLPA ratified the Return to Play Plan and a new CBA deal Friday, paving the way for the 2019-20 season to finish. The regular season is over, but the league is not yet jumping into the first round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App

The top four teams in each conference will determine their seeding for the first round by playing a round robin format. The teams ranked No. 5 through No. 12 in each conference will square off in a qualifying round that will use a Best-of-5 series format. The four winners of the qualifying series in each conference will be matched up against the top four teams for the first round based on seeding.

These games will take place in two host cities. The Eastern Conference games will be played at Scotiabank Place in Toronto, and the Western Conference matchups will be played at Rogers Place in Edmonton.

Here's the schedule for every round robin game and qualifying round series. Check back to this article after each game for scores and updated schedules.


Sunday, Aug. 2: Philadelphia Flyers vs. Boston Bruins
Monday, Aug. 3:  Washington Capitals vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Lightning vs. Bruins
Thursday, Aug. 6: Capitals vs. Flyers
Saturday, Aug. 8: Bruins vs. Capitals
Sunday, Aug. 9: Flyers vs. Lightning

(No. 5) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (No. 12) Montreal Canadiens
Saturday, Aug. 1: Canadiens vs. Penguins
Monday, Aug. 3: Canadiens vs. Penguins
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Penguins vs. Canadiens
Friday, Aug. 7: Penguins vs. Canadiens*
Saturday, Aug. 8: Canadiens vs. Penguins*

(No. 6) Carolina Hurricanes vs. (No. 11) New York Rangers
Saturday, Aug. 1: Rangers vs. Hurricanes
Monday, Aug. 3: Rangers vs. Hurricanes
Tuesday, Aug. 4: Hurricanes vs. Rangers
Thursday, Aug. 6: Hurricanes vs. Rangers*
Saturday, Aug. 8: Rangers vs. Hurricanes*

(No. 7) New York Islanders vs. (No. 10) Florida Panthers
Saturday, Aug. 1: Panthers vs. Islanders
Tuesday, Aug. 4: Panthers vs. Islanders
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Islanders vs. Panthers
Friday, Aug. 7: Islanders vs. Panthers*
Sunday, Aug. 9: Panthers vs. Islanders*

(No. 8) Toronto Maple Leafs vs. (No. 9) Columbus Blue Jackets
Sunday, Aug. 2: Blue Jackets vs. Maple Leafs
Tuesday, Aug. 4: Blue Jackets vs. Maple Leafs
Thursday, Aug. 6: Maple Leafs vs. Blue Jackets
Friday, Aug. 7: Maple Leafs vs. Blue Jackets*
Sunday, Aug. 9: Blue Jackets vs. Maple Leafs*
*If necessary


Sunday, Aug. 2: St. Louis Blues vs. Colorado Avalanche
Monday, Aug. 3: Dallas Stars vs. Vegas Golden Knights
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Avalanche vs. Stars
Thursday, Aug. 6: Golden Knights vs. Blues
Saturday, Aug. 8: Golden Knights vs. Avalanche
Sunday, Aug. 9: Stars vs. Blues

(No. 5) Edmonton Oilers vs. (No. 12) Chicago Blackhawks
Saturday, Aug. 1: Blackhawks vs. Oilers
Monday, Aug. 3: Blackhawks vs. Oilers
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Oilers vs. Blackhawks
Friday, Aug. 7: Oilers vs. Blackhawks*
Saturday, Aug. 8: Blackhawks vs. Oilers*

(No. 6) Nashville Predators vs. (No. 11) Arizona Coyotes
Sunday, Aug. 2: Coyotes vs. Predators
Tuesday, Aug. 4: Coyotes vs. Predators
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Predators vs. Coyotes
Friday, Aug. 7: Predators vs. Coyotes*
Sunday, Aug. 9: Coyotes vs. Predators*

(No. 7) Vancouver Canucks vs. (No. 10) Minnesota Wild
Sunday, Aug. 2: Wild vs. Canucks
Tuesday, Aug. 4: Wild vs. Canucks
Thursday, Aug. 6: Canucks vs. Wild
Friday, Aug. 7: Canucks vs. Wild*
Sunday, Aug. 9: Wild vs. Canucks*

(No. 8) Calgary Flames vs. (No. 9) Winnipeg Jets
Saturday, Aug. 1: Jets vs. Flames
Monday, Aug. 3: Jets vs. Flames
Tuesday, Aug. 4: Flames vs. Jets
Thursday, Aug. 6: Flames vs. Jets*
Saturday, Aug. 8: Jets vs. Flames*
*If necessary

NHL Round Robin Schedule: Dates for Boston Bruins' three games revealed

NHL Round Robin Schedule: Dates for Boston Bruins' three games revealed

Hockey is back, and soon the Boston Bruins will resume their quest to win the Stanley Cup.

The NHL and NHLPA have officially ratified the Return to Play Plan and a new CBA deal, the two sides announced Friday. 

The league also released the schedule for the round robin and the qualifying round.

Get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App

The top four teams in each conference will play a round-robin format to determine their seeds for the first round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The No. 5 through No. 12 teams are taking part in a qualifying round that will use a Best-of-5 series format. The winners of the qualifying series will be matched up (based on seeding) with the top four teams in their respective conferences for the first round of the playoffs.

The Bruins finished the regular season as the Presidents' Trophy winners with the league's best record. They will enter the Eastern Conference's round robin along with the Philadelphia Flyers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Washington Capitals. 

Here is the Bruins' round robin schedule. All of their games will be played in the host city of Toronto, and the start times have not yet been announced. 

--Sunday, Aug. 2: vs. Philadelphia Flyers
--Wednesday, Aug. 5: vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
--Saturday, Aug. 8: vs. Washington Capitals

The Bruins will begin their formal training camp Monday at Warrior Ice Arena.

Here are the other key dates for the league's return:

The Bruins have been on a mission all season to avenge last year's heartbreaking loss in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final and finish the job in 2020. Their opportunity to accomplish that goal begins in just a few weeks.