Bruins

Cassidy on facing the similar Blues: 'I think they're a bit of our twin'

Cassidy on facing the similar Blues: 'I think they're a bit of our twin'

BRIGHTON, Mass. – Bruce Cassidy said when he looks in the hockey mirror, he sees the B’s Stanley Cup Final opponent looking back at him.

The Bruins head coach called the St. Louis Blues, who closed out the San Jose Sharks in six games on Tuesday night, their “twin” and thinks there are plenty of similarities between the two hockey clubs now preparing for Game 1 on Monday night at TD Garden. While the season trajectories were certainly a little different with the Blues in last place in their division as late as January during the regular season, the roster makeup and the style of play certainly do seem similar with physicality and skill present in equal parts, along with strong goaltending.  

“I think they’re very similar to us in the way that they play. They’re a fore-checking team that plays North/South and they use all four lines. Their fourth line in particular gets a lot of assignments like ours. Goaltenders are both playing excellent,” said Bruce Cassidy. “Their D is bigger than ours, but both can move the puck. I expect the games will be probably lower-scoring, more physical. I think they’re a bit of our ‘twin’ so to speak with the way they balance their minutes. They might have a guy that plays a few more — Pietrangelo — on average than us in terms of time on ice, but I think I see a lot of similarities.”

The Blues have their top-end offensive talent with guys like Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz, they’ve got their two-way center in Ryan O’Reilly and they’ve got some big-name defensemen with Alex Pietrangelo and Colton Parayko leading the way. So there are certainly plenty of similarities between the two clubs, who have historically played heavy, low-scoring games against each other in their non-conference meetings over the years.

Clearly the Bruins were a little more accomplished during the regular season with 107 points to the 99 that St. Louis accumulated. And the Blues were middle of the road offensively with 2.98 goals per game during the season, but top-10 in the other major categories, showing very few glaring weaknesses in their lineup once rookie Jordan Binnington took over between the pipes midway through the year.

Cassidy also mentioned the invented word “Columbus-ish” when describing the size, physicality and attitude that St. Louis brings to the table.

So what does it all mean?

One can expect an entertaining, hard-nosed Stanley Cup Final between the Bruins and Blues that will live up to the historical significance from the last time these two franchises met in the Final when Bobby Orr went flying through the air. 

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Bruins' Jake DeBrusk 'more aware of what to expect' as RFA after watching McAvoy, Carlo

Bruins' Jake DeBrusk 'more aware of what to expect' as RFA after watching McAvoy, Carlo

BRIGHTON, Mass. — Jake DeBrusk will be one of 10 potential free agents for the Bruins when this upcoming hockey season comes to a close, and further complicating things, the 22-year-old will be a restricted free agent. DeBrusk is coming off a career-high 27 goals scored during the regular season and a fairly disappointing postseason when he managed just four goals and 11 points in 24 playoff games.

Of course, the hindsight breakdown of DeBrusk’s postseason also includes that he may have been playing through a bit of a fog after absorbing a Nazem Kadri cross-check to the face in the first round against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Still, after averaging 21 goals and 42 points in his first two NHL seasons, DeBrusk will be looking at a substantial raise next summer provided he can put together another season with those kinds of numbers. So the Bruins left winger was watching things fairly closely with Brandon Carlo and Charlie McAvoy this summer knowing that it will be his turn a year from now when he’s a part of another talented restricted free agent class.

“Obviously that’s going to be my situation [as an RFA]. Hopefully not [as a holdout], but maybe, possibly next year just looking around the league you see different things with guys dragging it out,” said DeBrusk, who will be joined by Brett Ritchie and Matt Grzelcyk as next summer’s restricted free agents for the Bruins. “It’s one of those where you ask questions on the business side of it. Things change and different stuff happens with talks, but at the same time I mostly just try to stay out of it. I try to stay dialed in to get ready for training camp and the season. I guess when that time comes, though, I’ll be more aware of what to expect.”

Certainly guys like Carlo and McAvoy will be more than happy to pass on whatever pearls of wisdom they derived from their RFA situations with the Bruins this summer.

“I’d say just to remain calm and don’t be shocked by different things with the back and forth, and how long [the entire] process might take. For me I didn’t expect it to be that long. I was excited when the season was over to sign back real fast, but it took a little bit more time than anticipated,” said Carlo. “You just try to be as patient as you can, but it’s really hard to be patient in that scenario with your first larger deal off your entry level. [At the end of the day] you’ve done everything you can do up to that point, so just stay calm [in negotiations].”

One would expect that DeBrusk saw a couple of guys from his draft class, Brock Boeser (3 years, $17.625 million) and Travis Konecny (six years, $33 million), both top $5 million per season on second contracts they signed less than a week ago, and knows that kind of payday awaits him as well. Boeser is in a bit of a different class given his upside and production, but DeBrusk and Konecny are pretty comparable players provided DeBrusk surpasses 20 goals and 40 points this season.

B's focused on improving 5-on-5 this season>>>>>

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Highlights of the Bruins' 3-2 preseason loss to the Blackhawks

Highlights of the Bruins' 3-2 preseason loss to the Blackhawks

FINAL SCORE: Blackhawks 3, Bruins 2 (OT)

IN BRIEF: Swedish free-agent signee Par Lindholm scored his first goal with the Bruins but Patrick Kane's goal in overtime gave the Blackhawks a 3-2 preseason victory over the B's in Chicago. Ryan Fitzgerald scored the other Bruins goal. BOX SCORE 

BRUINS PRESEASON RECORD: 1-0-2

HIGHLIGHTS:

PATRICK KANE'S OT WINNER:

SWEDISH CONNECTION: OSKAR STEEN TO PAR LINDHOLM IN 3RD:

BRANDON SAAD BEATS MAXIME LEGACE FOR CHICAGO LEAD:

B'S RYAN FITZGERALD TIES IT AT 1 ON A PENALTY SHOT:

DYLAN STROME ON THE POWER PLAY GETS HAWKS ON BOARD:


UP NEXT:
Vs. Flyers, Monday, 7 p.m., NESN Plus

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