Bruins

Former Bruins forward Jarome Iginla highlights 2020 Hockey Hall of Fame class

Former Bruins forward Jarome Iginla highlights 2020 Hockey Hall of Fame class

Jarome Iginla only spent a single season playing in Boston, but he clearly made an impact that befits today’s news that he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as a member of the 2020 class.

Iginla joins Marian Hossa, Kevin Lowe, Kim St-Pierre, Doug Wilson and Ken Holland as this year’s inductees as it caps off a 20-year NHL career that included 625 goals and a dead even 1300 points in 1,554 career games with the Flames, Penguins, Bruins, Avalanche and Los Angeles Kings.

“Iggy” is obviously known best for his 16 years with the Flames, where he was a four-time All-Star and twice led the league in goals as one of the dominant power forwards of his generation. Iginla topped 50 goals twice in his career and surpassed 40 goals four different times as a game-breaking scorer, but he was also a tough customer who threw hard hits and was willing to drop the gloves when the moment called for it.

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

Iginla had an interesting run with the Bruins as he was nearly a member of the 2013 group that went to the Cup Final, but the right winger chose the Penguins over the Black and Gold when it came down to it at the trade deadline. Instead the Bruins settled on another Hall of Fame-level player in Jaromir Jagr, who famously was held without a goal while the Bruins fell a couple of wins short in the Stanley Cup Final against the Blackhawks.

Could Iginla have been enough to push the Bruins over the top in 2013 if he’d picked the B’s over the Penguins, and added the Stanley Cup title that ended up eluding him over the course of his 20-year Hall of Fame career?

We’ll never know the answer, but he ended up joining up with the Black and Gold anyway.

Iginla signed with the Bruins in free agency the following season and posted 30 goals and 61 points in 78 games at 36 years old. It was a memorable season that included Iginla’s first, triumphant return back to Calgary since he was traded away by the Flames the season prior, and Iginla passing Johnny Bucyk on the all-time goals scored list while he was a member of the Black and Gold.

Certainly, those still around Boston from his time with the Bruins remember his one-year stint very fondly and very well.

“It’s a well-deserved recognition and an amazing accomplishment. [Iginla] should be proud of himself and the way he played the game, and the positive effect he had on every team he played for, and every player that he played with,” said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, who will someday be joining Iginla in that Hockey Hall of Fame. “There are no surprises. There was no doubt that [Iginla] was going to be a Hockey Hall of Famer someday. Thank you for everything you did for our team in Boston, and personally for me I learned so much from you every day. You are an amazing pro, a natural leader and an incredible person.”

David Krejci played with Iginla and Milan Lucic on a line that season, and the playmaking center got a front row seat while assisting on many of his 30 goals that season for the Black and Gold.

“Your leadership on and off the ice was really fun to watch,” said Krejci. “Just like watching you play and watching you practice and watching you shoot the puck. It was pretty special.”

Iginla is the second Hall of Famer to play in Boston with this current core group of Bruins players after Mark Recchi was inducted a couple of years ago, and both share many of the same admirable qualities on and off the ice.  

“You were the ultimate professional on and off the ice with the way you carried yourself, and with the way you played the game every day,” said Patrice Bergeron. “Your consistency, your effort, your dedication and let’s not forget what a great role model you were to all the kids you inspired to be hockey players. Thank you for all of that.”

Interestingly enough, Iginla has retained a residence in the Boston area following his playing career while his children, Jade and Tij, play hockey for local hockey programs. 

The 2020 Hall of Fame induction ceremony is tentatively scheduled for Monday, Nov. 16 in Toronto, but that certainly may be subject to change given the current circumstances of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Bruins-Hurricans Preview: Which team has the edge in NHL playoff series?

Bruins-Hurricans Preview: Which team has the edge in NHL playoff series?

The Bruins certainly didn’t take the path of least resistance in losing all four games of the round robin.

Instead, they plopped themselves into the path of the Carolina Hurricanes in the first round after they trounced the New York Rangers in the qualifying round. The Canes are young, skilled, fast and have pretty good depth up front and on defense and are almost as adept at the special teams game as the Bruins at this point in their development.

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

Interestingly, both teams are loading up on top lines of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak against Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen and Andrei Svechnikov, and both teams have considerable talent on the back end. Carolina might be a little lighter when it comes to their shutdown defensemen than the Black and Gold, but they are also younger and faster as a group headed into the seven-game series. Plus, the addition of Dougie Hamilton would be significant if he’s healthy enough to play.

Either way, though, Bruce Cassidy expects the same coaching staffs and similar personnel to play out in the same type of hockey as it during last spring’s Eastern Conference Final. That would seem to bode well for Boston.  

“Same coaching staffs on both sides and a lot of the same players, so you can see the tendencies from last year will probably play into this year’s series. For us, we felt when we were able to counter Carolina’s puck pressure with good support and execution and good decision-making, that’s when we were at our best in that series. So that will be our game plan going in,” said Cassidy. “It comes down to making the right plays at the right times against that pressure. Who wins the battles against the walls? Who wins the foot races to loose pucks in the neutral zone after those board battles?

“Last year our power play was good against Carolina and it helped us out a lot. It helped us win games, so that’s something that will be a big X-Factor in this series. Can we replicate that success?”

So who has the edge in the head-to-head matchups in a Tale of the Tape? We’re so glad you asked.

Click here for the gallery.

Tuukka Rask, David Pastrnak 'unfit to participate' in practice as Bruins ready for Carolina

Tuukka Rask, David Pastrnak 'unfit to participate' in practice as Bruins ready for Carolina

The Bruins had a couple fairly important faces missing from practice on Monday as both David Pastrnak and Tuukka Rask were “unfit to participate” with the rest of the group in the Toronto bubble.

Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said both were expected to be on the ice for Tuesday’s opener against the Carolina Hurricanes in the first round of the playoffs, but it certainly gives Bruins fans a little anxiety knowing the NHL’s top goal-scorer and their Vezina Trophy finalist goalie were both held out of practice the day before a playoff game.

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

“They were unfit to participate, and I expect they’ll be on the ice tomorrow,” said Cassidy, with a quick turnaround time to prepare for the Hurricanes when NHL teams usually have closer to a week to get ready for their first-round playoff opponent under normal circumstances. “We did work this summer [preparing] for every team and how we install any adjustments we make from team-to-team had to happen on the ice this morning.

“You’d like a day to get yourselves back together, but we don’t have that luxury. We start on [Tuesday] and the schedule is what it is. I would have liked another day just for rest after Sunday’s game, but maybe for us it’s good to get back in it right away. We haven’t been involved in the sudden death playoff atmosphere.

“We’ve been involved in good, hard hockey games [in the round robin], but this just reseeded us. So for us, the first game can’t come soon enough and I think we’ll be completely healthy for that game. We’ll make adjustments as we go along.”

After watching Victor Hedman go down with some kind of lower body injury during Tampa’s round robin games last week, the complete health for the Bruins roster headed into the real playoffs is the best news of all regardless of their wins and losses over the last two weeks.

Here are the line combos and D-pairings at Monday’s practice with Pastrnak and Rask fully expected to play in Game 1 against Carolina:

FORWARD LINES

Brad Marchand Patrice Bergeron Karson Kuhlman
Jake DeBrusk David Krejci Ondrej Kase
Nick Ritchie Charlie Coyle Anders Bjork
Joakim Nordstrom Sean Kuraly Chris Wagner
  Par Lindholm  

DEFENSE PAIRINGS

Zdeno Chara Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk Jeremy Lauzon
John Moore Connor Clifton

GOALTENDERS

Jaroslav Halak
Dan Vladar