Bruins

Looking at the long-term ramifications of the Jeremy Lauzon signing

Looking at the long-term ramifications of the Jeremy Lauzon signing

BRIGHTON, Mass -- On the face of it all, the signing of rugged, young defenseman Jeremy Lauzon to a two-year, $1.7 million contract was simply good business for the Bruins.

The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder is just developing into an NHL defenseman at 22 years old that plays the kind of hard, physical defensive game that the Bruins have missed a little bit this season with Kevan Miller sidelined with kneecap issues.

With Miller still nowhere close to a return despite skating on his own a bit and in the last year of his contract, one suspects that Lauzon is going to be part of the equation to replace a player in Miller that sadly might not ever skate in a game again for the Bruins based on his injury, age, and contract.

Clearly, the contract also makes Lauzon a very tradeable asset leading up to the Feb. 24 trade deadline now that he’s got cost certainty with an $850,000 cap hit for the next couple of seasons. If the Bruins traded for a hard-nosed veteran defenseman like Brenden Dillon, then there’s a chance a young, affordable player like Lauzon might be headed the other way to replace him as part of the trade package.

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But the more likely scenario for the Bruins is that they will retain a cheap, usable player in Lauzon that employs the kind of big, strong and unapologetically physical game that B’s fans still demand from a healthy portion of their NHL roster.

Lauzon just finished up a two-game suspension for his hit to the head of Derek Stepan last weekend and indicated after Friday’s practice the punishment wasn’t going to stop him from playing the heavy, physical game that got him to the NHL in the first place.

“I’m a physical player. That’s why I’m here. I’m just going to play my game,” said Lauzon, who has a goal and 16 penalty minutes in seven games for the Bruins this season. “I was a little bit nervous, but everything was fine [with the hearing]. I had some great people around me to guide me through the whole process.

“I just try to concentrate on myself. I don’t think serving two games is going to bother me. At the break I had four days off and when I came back I felt really good, so if I’m in [against the Red Wings on Saturday] then I’m going to be ready.”

Now that Lauzon is essentially playing at a minimal cap hit of $850,000 for the next couple of seasons as a bottom-pairing defenseman candidate, the Bruins would get some good cap savings if they traded away a player like veteran defenseman John Moore.

The Bruins would essentially shave $2 million off the books if they were able to move the 29-year-old Moore ($2.75 million cap hit for the next three seasons) prior to next season, either ahead of the trade deadline or in the summertime. Moore has been fine since signing with Boston before last year and he’s played better this season now that he’s further removed from last summer’s shoulder surgery, but he hasn’t been a mainstay in the Boston lineup and really hasn’t really been a good, permanent fit anywhere he’s been tried in the lineup.  

There may come a time in the near future where a change of scenery makes sense for both the player and the team, though it goes without saying a team with Cup aspirations can never have enough blueline depth headed into the stretch run.

If the Bruins were to move Moore and retain Lauzon while Miller’s money also comes off the books on July 1, there would theoretically be a few extra million dollars in the couch cushions to sign Torey Krug rather than let him walk in free agency.

Some will look at the signing of Lauzon for modest dollars as a sign that the Bruins are going to be dealing Krug, Matt Grzelcyk or Connor Clifton (another cheap defensive asset at $1 million per season starting next year) at the deadline, but it feels more like this is a long term strategy to free up money for a Krug signing down the line.

Credit where it’s due: The two-year deal for Lauzon also puts the young D-man into the NHL picture for the Bruins over the next few years while giving the Bruins a couple of solid second hits in their 2015 NHL Draft with Brandon Carlo and Lauzon as the selections. As much as the Bruins missed on a few of their first-round picks in that infamous draft, they did some excellent drafting in the second round that’s helped fortify their back end for the foreseeable future.

Bruins legend Bobby Orr has kind words for Mass General employees battling COVID-19

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Bruins legend Bobby Orr has kind words for Mass General employees battling COVID-19

Count Bobby Orr among the athletes that are offering their thanks to those battling the coronavirus.

Orr wrote a letter to Massachusetts General Hospital thanking the people involved in the battle against COVID-19. Here's a look at some of what the legendary Boston Bruins defenseman had to say in his letter, per Mass General's official website.

Undoubtedly, the days and weeks ahead will test us all in many ways. But none will be tested more than those of you who continue to manage, treat and research the virus day after day after day. Given your efforts and expertise, I have great confidence in the eventual outcome of this pandemic, in no small measure because of the excellence I have personally witnessed at Mass General.

To all of you, please ... keep on fighting the good fight, and thank you so much for all you do.

That is certainly a kind gesture by Orr and one that echoes how thankful a lot of people are for the dedication of these hospital staffers during these incredibly difficult times.

Bruce Cassidy 'thinks it all comes back quickly' for Bruins if NHL returns

Bruce Cassidy 'thinks it all comes back quickly' for Bruins if NHL returns

The Boston Bruins last played competitive hockey on Tuesday, March 10, a 2-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Shortly after that, the NHL suspended operations amid the global coronavirus pandemic. And at this point in time, it's unclear when -- or if -- the league will resume the 2020 season.

But Bruce Cassidy isn't letting that bother him too much. The Bruins head coach knows that the decision is out of his control, but the team's potential is what's keeping him motivated as the suspension drags on.

"We’re not done. We have a lot left in us. A good team, a good chance to win a Stanley Cup and that’s what motivates me," Cassidy said, per The Athletic's Joe McDonald. "The powers that be will decide that down the road and hopefully we get our opportunity."

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And if the Bruins do get that chance, Cassidy doesn't expect it to take long for the team to get back in the swing of things.

"Once we get together I think it all comes back quickly," Cassidy said. "We’ve all been through this for a long time, so for us getting back into work mode will be an easy transition."

The B's are a veteran-laden team, so the time off may benefit them more as they get fully healthy and recover from a long NHL season. Still, it's worth wondering how long it may take for them to get their legs underneath them if the season does start up again.

But given their torrid start to the season, in which they scored points in 13 of 14 games after playing into the summer in the battle for a Stanley Cup, they should have a good chance to come out well-rested and ready to go as Cassidy expects.

That said, there's no timetable on a potential return for the NHL. And until then, the B's will have to wait and mentally prepare for what will hopefully another long summer of hockey.