Bruins

Morning skate: TJ Oshie reflects on his great Olympic shootout

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Morning skate: TJ Oshie reflects on his great Olympic shootout

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while sad to confirm that longtime Boston Herald hockey reporter and columnist Steve Harris has passed away this week. Steve was a constant figure on the Bruins beat for the last four decades, a devoted dad and husband with a hockey-playing son and was a consummate pro in every situation in a profession where the stress can often be unbearably high. The laughs and conversations over the years through traveling together, spending countless hours at practice and everything in between will always be cherished. Steve will be missed by all members of the Bruins community. Condolences to his family on their loss, and may he rest in peace.    

*Good piece on Tim Schaller, his older brother and the “Timmy Heads” that you see up in the balcony of TD Garden during home games. It’s all for a good cause, and it celebrates a proud New Hampshire kid playing an important role for his hometown team. 

*The Florida Panthers players react to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, and it hits really close to home for many of them 

*The Islanders should stick with Garth Snow as their GM until the end of the season, even as the natives are getting very restless on Long Island

*Pro Hockey Talk has the details of a couple getting married during a Vegas Golden Knights game. This probably went off much better than the time I saw the Atlanta Thrashers pull off the same kind of promotion during one of their home games. 

*TJ Oshie reflects on his great Olympic shootout performance for Team USA exactly four years later as the NHL stays home and skips the Winter Games this time around. 

*For something completely different: Check out the teaser trailer for the New Karate Kid series with Ralph Macchio and Billy Zabka. Nice.

Making a run at Artemi Panarin makes more sense now than ever for Bruins

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Making a run at Artemi Panarin makes more sense now than ever for Bruins

With David Pastrnak out for an undetermined amount of time following tendon surgery on his left thumb, the Bruins' search for a top-6 winger capable of scoring goals and generating offense has taken on even more importance. It was top priority before Pastrnak fell and hurt himself last weekend and it’s still the top priority now for a team that’s been in the bottom third of the NHL in even-strength offense for most of the season.

So it makes sense that the B's are interested in Columbus Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin, who continues to make noise that he won’t be returning to Columbus when he becomes a free agent this summer. Certainly it leaves the Blue Jackets in a tough spot as they sit in a playoff spot in the Metro Division, but it also leaves other teams around the league envisioning what he would look like in their uniform.

Panarin, 27, is on pace for 33 goals and 95 points this season despite the backstage drama that’s unfolding with the Blue Jackets, and has pretty much been an automatic 30 goals and 75 points since entering the NHL four seasons ago. He’s a scorer, a playmaker and fits the bill for a Bruins team that’s much more heavily focused on skill, speed and offense these days. Clearly he’s on the minds of the Bruins given what oach Bruce Cassidy said earlier this week when asked about the trade deadline:

“We talk about the lineup and where is the pressing need. I’ll use last season as an example and obviously it was getting a winger for [David Krejci]. We went out and got [Rick Nash], you know?

"I don’t talk to the players about the trade deadline. I think they all know what’s going on. We just try to deal every day with the lineup we have every day and we move pieces around. Of course when I go home tonight I’ll wonder ‘I wonder if we’re going to trade for Panarin tonight.’ Then it’s gone and I’m cooking burgers or fish at home. That’s it, and I don’t concern myself with it a lot. We’ll see where it goes.

“There are areas, of course, that we can improve on, but I don’t want to disrespect the players in the room. We’re trying to make it work with a young third-line center. We’re always going to have options, but if a better player comes along from another organization that fits there? Hey, I’ll be happy if it makes our team better . . . absolutely.”

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Certainly Panarin wouldn’t be the answer to the revolving third-line center saga, but he would bring the offense that Boston desperately needs.  

Cassidy went on to make it clear he just using the Bread Man as an example, and he was obviously doing it in a lighthearted joking fashion. But there’s also a little truth in the jokes and it’s pretty obvious he'd love to have another offensive piece. It will make the Bruins tougher to defend against once Pastrnak returns from the thumb injury, and it will give them some much-needed insurance in case the 22-year-old Pasta isn’t able to regain his 50-goal pace once he's back.

That’s a very real possibility the Bruins are going to have to contend with, given how vital Pastrnak’s hands are to pretty much every brilliant thing he does on the ice.

So those are all the potential upsides to going after Panarin.

What are the downsides?

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Well, let’s start with how things are unfolding in Columbus. It doesn’t feel like Panarin is going to come to terms with any team ahead of free agency no matter where he's traded, and there’s a sense that either Los Angeles, New York or Florida are going to be his preferred destinations once the choice is his to make. The potential cost for a Panarin rental is going to be substantial, yet the trade package could be completely lost if Panarin bolts for somewhere else once the season is over.

Certainly the Blue Jackets would be looking for a haul in return for the best forward available at the deadline, and that would likely mean a young budding NHL player like Jake DeBrusk and a top draft pick for a few guaranteed months of service. Could the Bruins instead get the Blue Jackets to bite on Trent Frederic or perhaps even the suddenly red-hot Danton Heinen in exchange for a rental of Panarin? That might make it a little more palatable for the Bruins, considering the high risk in a deal for the Russian scorer with no guarantees he’s going to stay in Boston no matter what happens this spring.

The bottom line for Panarin: The Blue Jackets are in a tough spot and will likely have to take the best deal on the table, and that means other Cup contenders will be in the mix for him as well. Perhaps the situation will lower the price on Panarin a bit, though, given that there are no guarantees he’ll be anything more than a rental wherever he goes.

If it’s the right price then the Bruins should jump on it given their circumstances and given what we’ve seen in fits and starts from some of their young players this season.

Why not take a run at the most explosive scoring winger that will be on the trade market this month? Then Cassidy won’t have to daydream any more about another bona fide scorer in his lineup that could elevate the Bruins as a 5-on-5 team and allow them to replace the missing Pastrnak with a player who's got almost as much offensive juice himself.

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The Daily Line: Bruins road favorites against Ducks tonight

The Daily Line: Bruins road favorites against Ducks tonight

The Bruins (32-17-8) have been rolling lately and will take a three-game winning streak to the West Coast as -150 favorites (wager $150 to win $100) on the NHL odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com for a matchup with the struggling Anaheim Ducks (22-26-9) on Friday in the opener of a five-game trip for Boston.

The Bruins have also won five of their past six since losing two in a row after the All-Star break as part of a longer 1-5 skid to close out January.

So far, February has been very good for Boston, starting with a 1-0 victory against the defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals on the same day that the Patriots defeated the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 in Super Bowl 53. The only blemish for the Bruins this month has been a 4-3 shootout loss to the New York Rangers on Feb. 6.

Meanwhile, the Ducks have played poorly overall dating to Dec. 18, winning just three times in 22 games. Anaheim fired head coach Randy Carlyle on Sunday following a brutal 2-19 stretch, replacing him with general manager Bob Murray on an interim basis. The team responded with a 1-0 victory on Wednesday to end a seven-game losing streak behind 35 saves from goaltender Kevin Boyle, who was making his first NHL start.

It remains to be seen if Boyle will be back between the pipes here for the Ducks with All-Star John Gibson moved to injured reserve with an upper-body injury but Ryan Miller has recovered from a knee injury. Regardless, Anaheim will need another stellar effort defensively to upset a Boston team averaging 3.8 goals in its past five games, with the OVER going 3-1 in the past four at online betting sites.

The Bruins are coming off their best offensive performance in more than a month, doubling up the Chicago Blackhawks 6-3 on Tuesday to end Chicago's season-best seven-game winning streak. They had seen each of their previous three games go to overtime, winning twice after falling in the shootout at New York.

The Ducks have had a huge edge in this series recently though, winning nine of the past 10 meetings, according to the OddsShark NHL Database. Boston ended a nine-game skid versus Anaheim with a 3-1 win on Dec. 20.

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