Bruins

Bruins explain what made 2018-19 team special despite Stanley Cup disappointment

Bruins explain what made 2018-19 team special despite Stanley Cup disappointment

The 2018-19 Boston Bruins ultimately fell short of their goal of winning the Stanley Cup, but that doesn't mean the playoff run as a whole wasn't exciting nor memorable.

This was one of the best Bruins teams of this generation. They were very talented, played an exciting style of hockey and provided many postseason memories fans won't soon forget.

Amid the heartbreak of Wednesday night's Game 7 defeat to the St. Louis Blues, several Bruins players tried to put into words what they'll take away from this season. Here's a roundup of player reactions to what made this Bruins team special, what they'll remember about this group or how proud they are of the team.

Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara: "I think it was the personalities we had, the leadership we had. I thought we came together. Not just this year, but the last few years as a team that really bought in as one, played for each other, played together. We battled together and we shared some ups and downs. We just came up a bit short."

Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron: "Just how close we are as a team. You know, there was no quit all year and we battled, fought our way back against Toronto and Columbus also down 2-1 and kept going and kept pushing. You know, right now, whatever we say doesn’t matter because it is what it is. I’m proud of the guys, I’m proud of everyone – the way that we’ve competed, but then you don’t get the result and it’s hard to be standing here and answering questions."

Bruins forward Brad Marchand: "Love these guys. We had a hell of a year, and we came very close. I love every guy on this team. I’m very proud of everyone that worked their ass off all year to get to this point, and you know, we’re a hell of a group. We came together. We’re like a family, so it hurts, but yeah, love this group."

Bruins forward David Krejci: "I think that this group was so close, so tight. That was one of the best things I was part of. So, like I said, this one is going to hurt for a long time. But over 2013, this one hurts even more. It’ll be tough, but we’ll see what the future brings. But, that will be really hard, really tough summer, and like I said, losses like that it’s hard to get over. You just kind of have to learn how to live with it."

Bruins forward Charlie Coyle: "One win away from the Stanley Cup, seeing the way the guys play together and interact together and love each other, you really feel that, it’s easy to just come and be a part of that. It’s what it’s about, just the team aspect, it’s how we were all year. I felt very fortunate to come in and be with this group, go through a lot of ups and downs, ending on a down here but I think everyone’s proud of each other."

Bruins lost the Stanley Cup because of this failure>>>

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Is McAvoy really in line for 'a huge contract' with Bruins? Maybe not

Is McAvoy really in line for 'a huge contract' with Bruins? Maybe not

There’s quite the interesting debate going on these days about just how much Bruins RFA defenseman Charlie McAvoy should get on his second contract.

NBC’s Pro Hockey Talk tweeted out a story proclaiming that both McAvoy and Columbus Blue Jackets D-man Zach Werenski should be in line for “huge contracts” and conjured up some numbers that put those two young defenseman in a class with Drew Doughty and Erik Karlsson at the same stage of their careers.

Certainly the 21-year-old McAvoy and 21-year-old Werenski have shown promise as excellent puck-movers and developing two-way D-men in their short NHL careers. But to lump the two of them together into the same class is not something I’m sure the Bruins would do at this point in their separate negotiations.

First off, both Doughty and Karlsson were Norris Trophy finalists before they got their massive contracts. Secondly, do you know how many games Doughty missed with injuries before he signed his eight-year, $56 million contract?

He missed seven NHL games with injuries in his first three seasons with the Kings, including just one in his first two seasons in Los Angeles. Doughty also put together a 16-goal, 59-point masterpiece sophomore season, all while averaging 24 plus minutes of ice time per game over those first three NHL seasons in L.A.

All due respect to a special talent in McAvoy who idolizes Doughty, but he hasn’t even been close to that kind of dominance yet in his very promising, young NHL career. He was brilliant in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and he's shown big time flashes for the B's, but he's also missed almost 50 games with injuries over the last two years. 

Werenski has averaged 13 goals and 40 points in his three NHL seasons with Columbus and missed a total of nine NHL games in his first two seasons before playing the full 82-game schedule this past season for the Blue Jackets. He’s a lot closer to Doughty in terms of a comparable situation at this point in his young NHL career.

Werenski has the ability to be offer-sheeted by other prospective NHL teams, and has all the makings of an RFA who could cash in on something similar to the massive eight-year, $60 million deal signed by Florida’s Aaron Ekblad a couple of seasons ago.

McAvoy, on the other hand, has topped out at seven goals and 32 points in the better of his two NHL seasons (his rookie campaign) and has missed a whopping 47 games due to injuries in his first two seasons. McAvoy also can’t be tendered with an offer sheet by other NHL teams because he has fewer than three full years of NHL service based on the 40-game rule adopted by the league when it comes to restricted free agents.

So really there are very few parallels between Werenski’s negotiating leverage right now and McAvoy’s situation headed into his third NHL season with Boston.

If McAvoy wants to get the “huge contract” with the B’s then he’s going to have to earn it with a dominant, healthy season that he has yet to put together at the NHL level. It’s really as simple as that, regardless of his Corsi numbers when he has been healthy over the last two seasons.

The best course of action for both the Bruins and McAvoy?

It would be sign a bridge contract for a couple of years where the young D-man gets the $5-6 million per season based on his closest comparable players (Esa Lindell, for one), and puts together the kind of years that would put him closer to the Doughty/Karlsson/Ekblad max contract neighborhood that he’s clearly aspiring to at this point.

Basically, McAvoy at this point will need to sign the qualifying offer given to him by the Bruins or sit out until he agrees to a long-term second deal with the Boston. The reality is this: The Bruins young D-man has zero leverage this time around in negotiations aside from being a key player for the B's in both their present and future plans. Then again, the Bruins did pretty well in the first half last season when McAvoy was barely a presence while battling through concussion-related issues, and before he put together a very strong second half and postseason during their run to Game 7 of the Cup Final.

There’s no reason to think they can’t do the same this season with a Stanley Cup Final-worthy group if McAvoy’s camp plays hardball and holds out ahead of NHL training camp.

All signs point to McAvoy getting a big raise and eventually getting the cap-busting contract that he’s clearly going to be looking for, and he could get it as soon as a year from now at this time. But the 21-year-old needs to earn it first, and shame on Don Sweeney and the Bruins if they shell out tens of millions of dollars on an admittedly talented, highly-gifted player before he’s done the kind of things that earn players that type of money at the NHL level.

Why Heinen signing left B's with cap questions>>>>

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Ex-Bruin Ryan Donato re-signs with Minnesota Wild on two-year deal

Ex-Bruin Ryan Donato re-signs with Minnesota Wild on two-year deal

Ex-Bruins forward Ryan Donato will be staying in Minnesota for the foreseeable future.

The 23-year-old, who was traded from the B's to the Wild for Charlie Coyle on Feb. 20, signed a two-year deal worth $3.8 million on Tuesday.

Donato played well after joining the Wild last season, notching 16 points (four goals, 12 assists) in 22 games. The Scituate native tallied 18 points (11 goals, seven assists) in 46 total games with Boston over two years.

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