Bruins

Jack Studnicka the next great hope for the Bruins at center position

Jack Studnicka the next great hope for the Bruins at center position

Jack Studnicka didn’t participate in any of the on-ice activities during Bruins development camp a couple of weeks ago, but the 20-year-old clearly remains Boston’s best hope as a top-6 center of the future as he approaches his first full pro season.

The 6-foot-2, 175-pound center skated with the Black Aces and served as a reserve for the Bruins during their Stanley Cup playoff run, so he had been skating up until the Final ended in early June. That was the reason for his absence from the ice, but he still participated in the week, served as a leader among the Bruins prospects and continued to sound a determined, confident tone when it comes to helping the NHL team.

It won’t happen, of course, but Studnicka is so intent on getting to the NHL as fast as possible that he volunteered to play wing this coming season while knowing that the Bruins will have openings on the wing in NHL training camp.

“Anything to help the team, in my eyes. I’ll play any position. Obviously, my goal is to play with the big club, whether that’s right wing or center, I’m just going to work as hard as I can and compete,” said Studnicka, talking to the Bruins media with a pair of missing front teeth after an incident in the OHL last season. “I think going into any camp, you’re in the wrong place if you’re goal isn’t to make the team. That’s my goal going into this year, that was my goal last year and the year before. It should be everybody’s goal to come here and try and compete and play at a high level.”

That’s the sound of a kid that’s hungry to get to The Show.

That’s excellent news for the Bruins with a pair of top-6 centers in Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci that are on the wrong side of 30 years old. They could really use some young blood down the middle when it comes to their top-6, even if it’s a player that’s NHL-ready a year or two down the road, as both Bergeron and Krejci hit their mid-30’s.

The numbers were excellent in his final season at the junior level with 36 goals and 83 points for Oshawa and Niagara in 60 games played for them, and another 11 points (5 goals, 6 assists) in 11 playoff games before going pro. During that time he showed off the playmaking, the goal-scoring, the two-way play and the leadership that’s been part of the package since he was drafted in the second round back (53rdoverall) in 2017.

“I think I can contribute offensively and that’s what I’m going to be looking to do,” said Studnicka. “And just compete. Doing all the little things right. That’s something the Bruins always talk about along with winning battles. I just want to show them that I can compete at the NHL level.”

It’s a game the Bruins are looking forward to developing up close at the AHL level in 2019-20 and then deciding how quickly his ascension will be to the NHL level. One of his potential competitors for an NHL spot has gone back to Sweden in Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, and another in Trent Frederic doesn’t have quite the same high-end offensive ability that Studnicka should have when he gains full maturity as a hockey player.

“He was very good,” said Bruins player development coordinator Jamie Langenbrunner. “I think a testament to who that kid is, he gets traded to Niagara and he’s wearing a letter to the team he was traded to within a month. That’s impressive. That means you’re stepping right in and doing the things coaches see from leaders. [He had a] good season."

“He continues to do the little things in the game that translate to being a good pro, When he came to us in Providence at the end, he had some good playoff games, stepped right into the lineup. (Niagara) lost on a Sunday or Monday and he was in our lineup three days later. He’s just continuing to grow, adding strength. He’s still skinny. He’s working at it and he’s doing everything he can. It’s just taking a little time with him.”

Studnicka had a goal and two points in four playoff games for the Providence Bruins at the end of the AHL season, and then practiced all spring with the Bruins while traveling with the NHL team and getting an up-close look at their run to the Stanley Cup Final.

That experience made him equal parts adept learner and anxious reserve awaiting for his own chance to experience the Stanley Cup playoffs.

But there’s no substitute for getting to watch Krejci and Bergeron prepare every day, even if it was from the outside watching inward.

“That was awesome,” said Studnicka. “One of the best times of my life. You get to watch the Stanley Cup Finals live. You get to travel with the team and see what it’s all about and you can just soak things in. Obviously, it was the stage for them and they deserved to be there.

“[It was] an unfortunate ending, but to be there to see it all unfold right in front of my eyes was really cool. [Bergeron and Krejci] are two high-end players in the National Hockey League, they have been for a long time and they will continue to do that. So you see what they do on the ice that’s given them success over all those years.”

Hopefully Studnicka was paying close to attention to No. 37 and No. 46 during the playoffs because he might just be called upon to help them as soon as next season if he shows that is game is NHL-ready at his next development phase in Providence.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Stanley Cup playoff schedule 2020: Dates, Times, TV Channel, scores for every game

Stanley Cup playoff schedule 2020: Dates, Times, TV Channel, scores for every game

The start of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs is just a few days away.

The NHL's round robin and qualifying round series concluded Sunday, setting up all eight of the first round matchups. 

The qualifying round was full of surprises. Four of the eight series resulted in upsets, including the No. 12 seeds in both the Eastern Conference and Western Conference winning their matchups against the No. 5 seeds. 

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

The round robin didn't lack unexpected results, either. The Boston Bruins won the Presidents' Trophy with the league's best record in the regular season, but they finished at the bottom of the East's round robin standings after three consecutive losses. The defending champion St. Louis Blues had the best record in the West during the regular season and also struggled in the round robin with a fourth-place finish (1-2-1 record).

Could we see a first-round upset involving one or both of last season's Stanley Cup finalists? Anything is possible in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Here's the television schedule for every first-round series. Check back to this article each day for updated schedules and scores for all games (all times ET).

EASTERN CONFERENCE
FIRST ROUND

Philadelphia Flyers (1) vs. Montreal Canadiens (12)
Game 1: Flyers 2, Canadiens 1
Game 2: Friday, Aug. 14 at 3 p.m. -- MTL at PHI (NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS)
Game 3: Sunday, Aug. 16 at 8 p.m. -- PHI at MTL (NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS)
Game 4: Tuesday, Aug. 18 at 3 p.m. -- PHI at MTL (NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS)
Game 5*: Wednesday, Aug. 19 at TBD -- MTL at PHI (TBD)
Game 6*: Friday, Aug. 21 at TBD -- MTL at PHI (TBD)
Game 7*: Sunday, Aug. 23 at TBD -- MTL at PHI (TBD)

Tampa Bay Lightning (2) vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (9)
Game 1: Lightning 3, Blue Jackets 2 (5OT)
Game 2: Blue Jackets 3, Lightning 1
Game 3: Saturday, Aug. 15 at 7:30 p.m. -- TBL at CBJ (NBCSN, SN360, TVAS)
Game 4: Monday, Aug. 17 at 3 p.m. -- TBL at CBJ (NBCSN, SN, TVAS)
Game 5*: Wednesday, Aug. 19 at TBD -- CBJ at TBL (TBD)
Game 6*: Friday, Aug. 21 at TBD -- TBL at CBJ (TBD)
Game 7*: Saturday, Aug. 22 at TBD -- CBJ at TBL (TBD)

Washington Capitals (3) vs. New York Islanders (7)
Game 1: Islanders 4, Capitals 2
Game 2: Friday, Aug. 14 at 8 p.m. -- NYI at WSH (NBCSN, FX-CA, TVAS)
Game 3: Sunday, Aug. 16 at 12 p.m. -- WSH at NYI (USA, SN360, TVAS)
Game 4: Tuesday, Aug. 18 at 8 p.m. -- WSH at NYI (NBCSN)
Game 5*: Thursday, Aug. 20 at TBD -- NYI at WSH (TBD)
Game 6*: Saturday, Aug. 22 at TBD -- WSH at NYI (TBD)
Game 7*: Sunday, Aug. 23 at TBD -- NYI at WSH (TBD)

Boston Bruins (4) vs. Carolina Hurricanes (6)
Game 1: Bruins 4, Hurricanes 3 (2OT)
Game 2: Hurricanes 3, Bruins 2
Game 3: Saturday, Aug. 15 at 12 p.m. -- BOS at CAR (NBC, SN, TVAS)
Game 4: Monday, Aug. 17 at 8 p.m. -- BOS at CAR (NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS)
Game 5*: Wednesday, Aug. 19 at TBD -- CAR at BOS (TBD)
Game 6*: Thursday, Aug. 20 at TBD -- BOS at CAR (TBD)
Game 7*: Sunday, Aug. 23 at TBD -- CAR at BOS (TBD)

WESTERN CONFERENCE
FIRST ROUND

Vegas Golden Knights (1) vs. Chicago Blackhawks (12)
Game 1: Golden Knights 4, Blackhawks 1
Game 2: Golden Knights 4, Blackhawks 3 (OT)
Game 3: Saturday, Aug. 15 at 8 p.m. -- VGK at CHI (NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS)
Game 4: Sunday, Aug. 16 at 6:30 p.m. -- VGK at CHI (NBCSN, SN1, SN360)
Game 5*: Tuesday, Aug. 18 at TBD -- CHI at VGK (TBD)
Game 6*: Thursday, Aug. 20 at TBD -- VGK at CHI (TBD)
Game 7*: Saturday, Aug. 22 at TBD -- CHI at VGK (TBD)

Colorado Avalanche (2) vs. Arizona Coyotes (11)
Game 1: Avalanche 3, Coyotes 0
Game 2: Friday, Aug. 14 at 2 p.m. -- ARI at COL (NHLN, SN360, TVAS)
Game 3: Saturday, Aug. 15 at 3 p.m. -- COL at ARI (CNBC, SN360, TVAS)
Game 4: Monday, Aug. 17 at 5:30 p.m. -- COL at ARI (NBCSN, FX-CA, TVAS)
Game 5*: Wednesday, Aug. 19 at TBD -- ARI at COL (TBD)
Game 6*: Friday, Aug. 21 at TBD -- COL at ARI (TBD)
Game 7: *Sunday, Aug. 23 at TBD -- ARI at COL (TBD)

Dallas Stars (3) vs. Calgary Flames (8)
Game 1: Flames 3, Stars 2
Game 2: Stars 5, Flames 4
Game 3: Friday, Aug. 14 at 10:30 p.m. -- DAL at CGY (NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS)
Game 4: Sunday, Aug. 16 at 2 p.m. -- DAL at CGY (NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS)
Game 5*: Tuesday, Aug. 18 at TBD -- CGY at DAL(TBD)
Game 6*: Thursday, Aug. 20 at TBD -- DAL at CGY (TBD)
Game 7*: Saturday, Aug. 22 at TBD -- CGY at DAL (TBD)

St. Louis Blues (4) vs. Vancouver Canucks (7)
Game 1: Canucks 5, Blues 2
Game 2: Friday, Aug. 14 at 6:30 p.m. -- VAN at STL (NHLN, SN, TVAS)
Game 3: Sunday, Aug. 16 at 10:30 p.m. -- STL at VAN (CNBC, SN, TVAS)
Game 4: Monday, Aug. 17 at 10:30 p.m. -- STL at VAN (NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS)
Game 5*: Wednesday, Aug. 19 at TBD -- VAN at STL (TBD)
Game 6*: Friday, Aug. 21 at TBD -- STL at VAN (TBD)
Game 7*: Sunday, Aug. 23 at TBD -- VAN at STL (TBD)

*If necessary

Krug not changing his play style despite free agency looming

Tuukka Rask not a fan of bubble playoff hockey: 'It's like playing an exhibition game'

Tuukka Rask not a fan of bubble playoff hockey: 'It's like playing an exhibition game'

Tuukka Rask was far from the problem in Boston’s 3-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series in the Toronto bubble at Scotiabank Arena.  

The goalie was beaten on a couple of short side rockets from Carolina snipers Teuvo Teravainen and Andrei Svechnikov, and the game-winner for Dougie Hamilton in the third period was a big-league blast after the B’s ran around in their own zone. In all, he stopped 23-of-26 shots, which was a pretty similar performance to Rask stopping 25-of-28 shots in their Game 1 double-overtime win against the Hurricanes.

The .889 save percentage that Rask is sporting after two games against the Hurricanes certainly isn’t anything to write home about.

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

But Rask made some strange comments after the loss downplaying the playoff atmosphere inside the Toronto bubble with the empty seats. Rask compared the atmosphere to an exhibition game feel rather than the Stanley Cup Playoffs, which is understandable in some ways.

But it’s one thing to bag on the round-robin tournament that had zero meaning for a Bruins team with Stanley Cup aspirations. Rask’s comments on the Game 2 loss really fly in the face of everybody else among the Bruins group working diligently and sacrificing family time to embark on this unusual Cup run.

“To be honest with you, it doesn’t really feel like playoff hockey out there. There are no fans, so it’s kind of like playing an exhibition game,” said Rask. “It’s definitely not a playoff atmosphere out there. You try and play as hard as you can. When you’re playing at a home rink and an away rink and the fans are cheering for and against you, it really creates a buzz for the series.

“There’s none of that. So it just feels like dull at times. There are moments when there are scrums and whatnot, and then there will be five minutes when it’s coast-to-coast hockey. There’s no atmosphere. So it feels like an exhibition game. We’re trying our best to ramp and get energized, and make it feel like it’s a playoff game.”

You can’t ever fault Rask for being honest, and that’s exactly what he’s doing in describing these bubble games when he knows just exciting Stanley Cup Playoff hockey can be during normal times in front of packed NHL arenas. But this really isn’t the kind of less-than-enthusiastic message anybody wants to hear from Boston’s No. 1 goaltender at the start of what the team hopes will be a long, deep run into the postseason.

Maybe somebody on that Bruins team needs to find a way to get the goaltender into more of a playoff mindset that Rask clearly isn’t a couple of games into Boston’s postseason run in this most unusual 2020 Stanley Cup Playoff experience?  

Or maybe, just maybe, Rask needs to get over the dullness of the bubble hockey environment and be like the rest of his Bruins teammates that clearly seem to be on the same page about making the best of their current situation in Toronto.

Either way, it's going to sound like Rask is already cranking up the excuse-making machine just in case the Bruins eventually fall short in the playoffs and further clouds just how important getting a Cup is to him at this point.