Bruins

Ray Bourque hopes 'special player' Torey Krug re-signs with Bruins

Ray Bourque hopes 'special player' Torey Krug re-signs with Bruins

The Boston Bruins will be among the favorites to win the Stanley Cup if the 2019-20 season resumes, and one reason for their success throughout the campaign has been the performance of Torey Krug.

The 29-year-old veteran ranks among the best offensive defensemen in the NHL, and he leads all B's blueliners with 49 points (nine goals, 40 assists) in 61 games. He's tallied three consecutive seasons of 50-plus points, and his 0.80 points per game scoring rate this season is the second-highest of his career.

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It's safe to say Krug is an integral part of the Bruins' offense. The real question is whether Krug will be calling Boston home next season. He is, of course, eligible to become an unrestricted free agent whenever the league's free agency period begins. Krug would be one of the most talented players available if he were to hit the free agent market, and we've often seen teams overpay to sign defensemen with impressive offensive abilities.

One Bruins legend who understands the value of top-tier defensemen is Ray Bourque, and in a recent Q&A with Fluto Shinzawa and Joe McDonald of The Athletic, the Hall of Famer gave his take on Krug's future in Boston.

"I certainly know he would love that and the Bruins would love that, too, but the business side of it might make it hard for that to happen, because of the success and how Torey has really flourished into a top-notch defenseman on both sides of the ice," Bourque said. "He’s a special player. He’s such a competitor. He’s a great kid. He’s a great Bruin. He wants to be a Bruin. You watch that team play and you can see the joy and the fun that they have playing together and the chemistry that team has. You’ve got to look at the top and with that leadership group that they have is a special one with Patrice (Bergeron), (Zdeno Chara), (David) Krejci and that core that they’ve had with Tuukka (Rask), (Brad) Marchand and all those guys. And Torey’s a big part of that now too. I’d love to see him sign here.

"We’ve got to know Torey very well. He broke in playing in Providence with Chris (Bourque) and they were working the point on the power play together. We got to spend a lot of time with Torey after games, going to dinner with him and his wife, and Chris and his wife. Chris and Torey are really close and we got to spend some time over the holidays with the Krugs, so it’s been a lot of fun and joy watching him play and grow as a player and a person. I just hope he gets to live out his career here in Boston. It’ll be great for everybody and I know he knows that, but he knows the business side of it as well and that always makes it tough."

It's difficult to predict what kind of contract would keep Krug in Boston. Krug has every right to earn what he's worth, and there's no doubt he deserves a nice raise above the $5.25 million average annual salary in his current deal. It's also hard to figure out what the 2020-21 salary cap will look like given the revenue losses stemming from the season being on pause.

In any event, the Bruins would be wise to make a strong effort to re-sign Krug. Not only is he a tremendous player, he's also one of the team's best leaders on and off the ice.

Providence Bruins create award dedicated to memory of Colby Cave

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Providence Bruins create award dedicated to memory of Colby Cave

Four months after the tragic death of Colby Cave, the Providence Bruins are taking action to ensure his legacy will not be forgotten.

Cave was just 25 years old when he died in April after suffering a brain bleed.

But now the Providence Bruins have partnered with the Cave Family and the Boston Bruins Foundation to create the Colby Cave Memorial Award to honor his commitment to helping those in need. The award will be presented each season to a deserving Providence Bruins player for their dedication to the community and charitable organizations. 

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“The Colby Cave Memorial Award is a special way to honor and remember Colby for his leadership qualities and humanitarian efforts,” said Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney in a statement. “Driven and committed to be an NHL player, Colby was also uniquely unselfish with teammates and anyone that needed help! Emily, the Cave Family and the entire Hockey World lost a great person who was beloved by everyone that was fortunate enough to spend time with Colby Cave.”

"From the first day he stepped into the Dunkin’ Donuts Center to the day he left for the NHL, Colby Cave inspired each and every one of us with his diligence, selflessness and compassion,” added Providence head coach Jay Leach. “Always the first to help, both with his teammates, and throughout our community, Colby set the precedent that we aspire to uphold."

Cave signed with the Bruins as an undrafted free agent in 2015 and spent several years in Providence where he played alongside Bruins like Jake DeBrusk (also a teammate of Cave's in juniors), Sean Kuraly, Matt Grzelcyk, Jeremy Lauzon and others. 

In 239 games with the P-Bruins, Cave often wore the 'A' as the team's assistant captain, racking up 43 goals and 115 points in parts of five seasons. He made his Boston debut in December 2017 and appeared in 23 games with the Bruins over two seasons, but when the team attempted to return him back to Providence in January 2019, he was claimed on waivers by the Oilers, with whom he played 44 games over the last two seasons.

Fans who would like to honor Colby’s memory can do so by donating at BostonBruins.com/Community/Foundation-Donations. The fund’s proceeds go toward community programs with an emphasis on mental health initiatives and providing access to sports for underprivileged children.

NHL Playoffs: Bruins make lineup changes for Game 1; David Pastrnak, Tuukka Rask ready to go

NHL Playoffs: Bruins make lineup changes for Game 1; David Pastrnak, Tuukka Rask ready to go

The Bruins will have a full, healthy group when they take the ice for Game 1 against the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night at the Toronto bubble at Scotiabank Arena.

David Pastrnak and Tuukka Rask were both part of an optional morning skate on Tuesday and Rask will get the start against the Hurricanes after posting a gaudy .955 save percentage against them in the Eastern Conference Final a little over a year ago. Otherwise, it will be rugged rookie D-man Jeremy Lauzon getting the starting nod for the Bruins on the bottom pairing and Connor Clifton coming out of the lineup after he played well in last weekend’s round-robin finale vs. Washington.

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On Monday, the Bruins readied for the “real games” by watching a video that featured all of the coaches', players' and staff’s families wishing the Bruins well from back home, and sending the message that “we are all in it” from Boston. Now that the glorified exhibition games of the round robin are over with, Cassidy said there’s a tangible note of excitement in the group as they ready for the first round.

This is exactly what the Bruins have been waiting five months for while staying sharp and in shape during a global pandemic.

"I think guys right now are pretty focused on the job at hand. That's Game 1 against Carolina,” said Bruce Cassidy. “I think we've all been looking forward to this first playoff game. I think our guys are excited.

“It’s the way we played at the end of the year [with Lauzon] and we’re not burying that part of the season. Clifton played [a round robin game] and Johnny Moore one game, so we probably made that decision back in training camp with the way we allotted the ice time. At the end of the day if we need to make a switch in the lineup then we will, but we felt that gives us the best balance in our lineup of size and puck-moving ability.”

For the Carolina Hurricanes, they are expected to get Dougie Hamilton back after having not played for the last seven months following a broken leg suffered in the middle of January.

With Lauzon in the lineup and the Bruins settling into their middle-6 lines with Ondrej Kase and Anders Bjork on the right side, here are the projected Bruins line combos and D-pairings set to go up against the Hurricanes on Tuesday night:

FORWARD LINES

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

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS

Zdeno Chara Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk Jeremy Lauzon

GOALTENDER

Tuukka Rask