Don Sweeney expecting 'to have conversations' with Torey Krug on extension

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Don Sweeney expecting 'to have conversations' with Torey Krug on extension

BRIGHTON – With the Bruins now having cost certainty with Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo in the last couple of days, the expectation is that they will be moving on to extending the players entering the final year of their contracts with the Black and Gold.

One of the top names on that list of players is Torey Krug, who wasn’t shy when asked over the last couple of weeks about his contract status with the Bruins entering the final year of a deal paying him $5.25 million per season. Krug indicated the Bruins haven’t really approached him with any contract extension discussions, but that he’d also be willing to take a hometown discount just as Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak have with their recent contracts. Given the seven-year, $53 million contract handed out to Jared Spurgeon by the Minnesota Wild less than a week ago, it’s clear that Krug is going to be facing a substantial raise given the market value for offensive defensemen playing top-4 minutes across the league.

The good news is that buyouts for Matt Beleskey and Dennis Seidenberg will be coming off the books after this season to free up some money, and Kevan Miller and Zdeno Chara could potentially be off the books as well. Don Sweeney was fairly non-committal when asked directly about Krug on Tuesday afternoon while discussing Carlo’s two-year extension, but did indicate a conversation was forthcoming between the Bruins and Krug’s representation.

“Everybody has their place on our hockey club. Torey is an important part of our hockey club. We have some forecasting to do. We have some conversations that have to take place and they will,” said Sweeney. “I have indicated to each of our players that we will have those [contract discussions]. Once I have the ability to forecast a little more accurately then I will have those conversations accordingly.”

There’s little question that Krug holds big time value to both the Bruins, and to any suitors across the NHL that might be looking for him to hit unrestricted free agency.

Krug is amongst the most productive NHL D-men in the league over the last three seasons while averaging nine goals and 54 points over that span, and he’s quarterbacked a PP that’s become a major weapon for the Black and Gold. Both Matt Grzelcyk and Charlie McAvoy have shown some promise when it comes to putting up numbers on the back end, but at this point neither one of them is ready to replace Krug’s production.

Sweeney said, while asked about all of his free-agent players next summer, those kinds of scenarios will be amongst the projections that the Bruins make about a whopping 10 Bruins players headed to free agency after this season including Charlie Coyle, Jake DeBrusk and Grzelcyk among others.

“We’ve got simultaneous things going on. There’s no prioritization from the standpoint of one player being in front of the other player. It’s just communicating that you have to make those decisions, maybe sometimes they are financially and maybe sometimes it’s based on who is actually coming along to replace those players if they decide to leave,” said Sweeney. “We have players that left our organization this year because they had other opportunities. We understood that well and it may happen again.

“But it won’t be for the Bruins underappreciating what they do for our hockey club. I’ll attack each and every one of them. When they finalize either here or somewhere else? That’s to be determined. But we have to do it with every one of them.”

One would expect the Bruins are going to “attack” things with Krug sooner rather than later now that they’re through the weeds of this summer’s contract stuff.

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Bruins encouraged by losing effort in Washington: 'That's the kind of hockey we want to play'

Bruins encouraged by losing effort in Washington: 'That's the kind of hockey we want to play'

WASHINGTON  – It might have been the Bruins' fourth loss in a row and, for the first time all season, the B's have lost three consecutive regulation games, but there were glimmers of hope in the 3-2 defeat at hands of the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena.

The Bruins marched out to a 1-0 lead after David Pastrnak’s first goal in five games and it would have been a two-goal lead early in the game if a silly offsides challenge that had nothing to do with the actual goal hadn’t overturned Patrice Bergeron’s power-play strike.

So, the Bruins had a better start than they have had recently, had a solid three periods of play while outshooting the Capitals 32-25 and played with more engagement, effort and urgency than they have shown in a couple of weeks. It was certainly encouraging that the Bruins are turning the corner back toward consistently good efforts rather than some of the forgettable, unfocused efforts of the past couple of weeks. Still, it was again a loss. 

“We’re all frustrated, but as a coach, you like how the 60 minutes transpired better than some of the other nights. We were in the game, right there and very easily could have won the game,” said Bruce Cassidy. “Two or three things probably changed that, but in terms of a 60-minute effort we’re getting a lot closer to where we want to be.”

The good news is that the Bruins leadership group sees light at the end of the tunnel with another big game against the Tampa Bay Lightning awaiting them 24 hours later. 

“I thought that’s the kind of hockey that [we] want to play and you want to get back to,” said Bergeron of a Bruins team that’s taken just one out of a possible eight points in their last four games. “There are still some things to rectify with us coming up short, but we’re trending in the right direction. But it’s a short turnaround with the game [against Tampa Bay].”

The Bruins are still sitting on a 10-point lead in the division over Buffalo and Montreal despite having dropped four in a row, so there’s clearly no panic or feeling like their backs are against the wall. On the contrary, that might be part of the lack of urgency that’s crept into the B’s game the past couple of weeks, but they showed Wednesday night that they still have a solid, consistent effort in them when the mood strikes them.

Perhaps the good, honest and hard-working losing effort against the Capitals can spin the Bruins back into a winning direction with a couple of road games in Florida staring them in the face.

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Bruins-Capitals Talking Points: Too much Oshie, not enough DeBrusk

Bruins-Capitals Talking Points: Too much Oshie, not enough DeBrusk

WASHINGTON - GOLD STAR: All T.J. Oshie did was score a couple of goals that powered the Capitals for all of their offense in the second period while setting Washington up to win the third. The first score was a power-play goal right in front of the net that tied things up and the second was a nifty individual move where he split defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Connor Clifton before dangling around Clifton and roofing a backhander for a beautiful goal. Oshie finished with two shots on net and four shot attempts overall in 20:31 of ice time to go along with a blocked shot. Still, it was all about the offense provided when the Capitals needed it as a bit of a one-man goal-scoring show on a night when Alex Ovechkin was pretty much held in check.

BLACK EYE: Jake DeBrusk at least had a positive play when he fed Patrice Bergeron for a first-period, power-play goal that would have given the Bruins a 2-0 lead. Instead, the goal was wiped off the board by an offsides challenge and DeBrusk was a negative player for the Black and Gold for the rest of the night. DeBrusk finished with no points, no shots on net and had three giveaways in 20:50 while finishing with a minus-1 rating. He certainly wasn’t alone with not bringing enough to the table for the B’s, but it was him fading into the background in a physical, gritty game against a quality opponent that conjured up memories of his issues in the playoffs last season.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins tied the score by grinding for a third-period goal from their fourth line, but then they gave up a go-ahead goal less than two minutes later. Then the B’s proceeded to get outshot 11-9 in the third period despite never leading at any point in the final 20 minutes and never really mounting enough pressure to potentially tie it to pus things to the extra session. It’s a massive letdown for the B’s to claw all the way back and then watch as it goes up in smoke in just a couple of minutes, but it was about Nicklas Backstrom and John Carlson – two of Washington’s best players – stepping up and making the play when it needed to be made.

HONORABLE MENTION: David Pastrnak snapped his longest goal-scoring drought of the season at four games as he scored the first goal for the Bruins on a sizzling wrist shot. It was a nice transition play from Charlie McAvoy bombing down the left side before moving cross-ice to Pastrnak at the bottom of the face-off circle. Pastrnak snapped it off the crossbar and into the back of the net for his NHL-leading 26th goal and got Boston off to a good start for the first time in a while. Pastrnak finished with the goal, seven shot attempts, a hit and three takeaways in 21:16 while playing a strong, solid, Pastrnak-like game.

BY THE NUMBERS: 4 – the number of consecutive losses for the Bruins. They have lost four in a row one other time this season, but it’s the first time they’ve lost three regulation games in a row.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I just told him I'm happy for him and congrats. He looks like he's got a six-pack now, so I'm just happy for him. It was great to see him. It's been a while." –Brad Marchand, on what he said to former teammate Tim Thomas when he was on the ice for the ceremonial puck drop as a new inductee for the US Hockey Hall of Fame.

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