The Celtics forward will be cheering on the St. Louis Blues when they face off against the Boston Bruins. He made that clear with his reaction to the Blues' Game 6 victory over the Sharks to clinch the Western Conference championship:
New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider is going to be one of the most talked about players as the Feb. 24 NHL trade deadline approaches.
It's not hard to understand why. The 6-foot-3, 216-pound winger has the type of power forward skill set that is well-suited for the Stanley Cup playoffs, which makes him an attractive trade target for any contending team. In fact, NBC Sports Boston's Bruins insider Joe Haggerty reported earlier this week that Kreider "will be the Bruins' top option for a top-six winger at the trade deadline, according to multiple hockey sources."
The Rangers are 11 points behind the Carolina Hurricanes for the second wild-card playoff berth in the Eastern Conference, so the chances of the Blueshirts making the postseason are pretty slim. Kreider is an unrestricted free agent in July, and it would make sense for the Rangers to trade him before the deadline and not risk losing a very talented player for nothing in free agency.
Kreider was asked about his Rangers future at NHL All-Star Media Day on Thursday, and his immediate focus is solely on his current team.
"I’m just worried about winning hockey games," Kreider said Thursday at All-Star Media Day, per ProHockeyTalk. "Winning solves a lot of problems. It’s the old adage and probably a little bit cliché, but we take it one day at a time, one game at a time and just try and get better. I think we are getting better. Our group’s worlds better than we were at the beginning of the year.”
Kreider also added: "I’ve only ever pictured myself in a Rangers jersey, and until I’m not a Ranger, I’m a Ranger.”
The 28-year-old forward has tallied 32 points (17 goals, 15 assists) in 48 games this season. He's almost certainly going to hit the 20-goal mark for the fifth time in his career.
Besides his offensive skill and physical style of play, Kreider also is a good target for the Bruins because of his familiarity with Boston. He was born in Massachusetts and played three seasons at Boston College.
Kreider has 77 games of playoff experience as well, and several of his 23 career postseason goals came in clutch situations.
The Bruins have a great chance to win the Stanley Cup this season, and it would behoove them to upgrade their roster with another proven top-six forward who can provide secondary scoring behind the Perfection Line. Kreider is an ideal player for that type of role.
David Pastrnak will be the sole Bruins player representing the Black and Gold at NHL All-Star Weekend commencing in St. Louis tonight, so he’ll be the guy the Bruins fans will be watching when it airs on NBCSN tonight starting at 8 p.m.
Even cooler, the 23-year-old Pastrnak will be taking part in an exciting new part of Friday night’s Skills Competition with the inaugural “Shooting Stars” event.
While it was perhaps a little bit of a surprise that Pastrnak won’t be defending his title in the Honda NHL Shooting Accuracy competition that he won at last year’s NHL All-Star Weekend, it’s no surprise at all that the league chose his star power and natural charisma to help usher in this newly invented shooting competition.
Pastrnak is leading the NHL with 37 goals at the All-Star break and is on pace for 60 goals and 113 points this season in a half-year that’s already garnering Hart Trophy talk for the B’s right wing.
The Shooting Stars will involve players standing approximately 30 feet high on a platform and shooting at targets on the ice just as Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin did in a recent video starring the two faces of the Penguins.
Along with Pastrnak, here are the rest of the “Shooting Stars” competitors, also including a pair of female players from the U.S. and Canadian select teams that will be selected by social media vote:
Matthew Tkachuk, Calgary Flames
Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks
Tyler Seguin, Dallas Stars
Brady Tkachuk, Ottawa Senators
Ryan O’Reilly, St. Louis Blues
David Perron, St. Louis Blues
Mitch Marner, Toronto Maple Leafs
Here’s a rundown on the Shooting Stars competition, courtesy of the NHL: Ten players — eight NHL All-Stars, and one American Elite Women’s All-Star team member and one Canadian Elite Women’s All-Star team member — will compete in the Gatorade NHL Shooting Stars™.
Players from the American and Canadian Elite Women’s All-Star teams will be selected by social media vote. Players will be positioned on an elevated platform behind the goal, approximately 30 feet above the ice surface, where they will shoot pucks at a variety of targets located on the ice, with each target possessing different point values. One at a time, each player will attempt seven shots and earn points for each target hit.
• Pucks that do not hit a target will earn no points.
• Pucks that bounce, deflect, or otherwise ricochet onto or into a target will be counted for the highest scoring value they hit.
• A puck that hits the face of a target then falls into the center will be scored as if it went directly into the center.
• A puck that hits the center and bounces out will be scored the point value of the center.
• A puck that bounces off the ice then up onto or into a target will be awarded the corresponding value.
• A puck that hits the base of the target will not be awarded any points.
• Players may hit the same target multiple times.
All scoring denominations will be decided by the on-ice officials. If at the completion of the event there is a tie for the highest score, players will shoot three pucks each to determine a winner. If the players remain tied after the three pucks, a sudden death “score-off” will occur.