Nash finds himself at center of controversy in return to Bruins

Nash finds himself at center of controversy in return to Bruins

TORONTO -- Riley Nash certainly didn’t expect to be in the middle of a controversial call in his return to the Bruins lineup, but there it was in the first period of Monday night’s Game 3 at the Air Canada Centre.

The B’s third-line center chipped a puck out of the defensive zone that careened off the glass and then rode up and over into the stands. It appeared to be a whistle and a face-off. But the Maple Leafs immediately began calling for a delay-of-game penalty. The referees went into a conference and called a penalty on a play that clearly wasn’t a delay of game.

The mild-mannered Nash said his peace on the way to the penalty box. The Maple Leafs scored seven seconds into the power play for the first goal of the game, and went on to a 4-2 win. And after the game, Nash was still shaking his head about it.

“I know it was the wrong call," he said. "I saw it go off the glass and that’s about all there is to it.

“They see what they see. It’s hard because you want to change their minds sometimes, but that might be one of those [plays] that you might allow a challenge. It seems like there are a lot of close plays like that. It was a little frustrating, but you need to be able to put it behind you and move on.”

Otherwise it was a pretty solid return to the lineup for Nash after missing the previous seven games, regular season and playoffs, after taking a puck to the side of the head in the final game of March.

“I felt pretty good," he said. "You never know how your legs are going to react, especially in a playoff game with that kind of game speed. You try and mimic it and bag skates and practices, but overall I thought it was pretty good.

“There was a little bit of rust on some plays I’d like to have back, but overall we made some good plays and we’ll just move forward from there.”

Nash finished with three shots on net, a blocked shot and 6-of-11 faceoff wins in his 13:08 of ice time while centering in his old spot between Danton Heinen and David Backes. The bogus penalty call ended up being his biggest impact on Game 3, but his return to the lineup should bring back some of the Bruins' very good depth down.

“Once [injured players are] cleared to go, they’ll get all the work they can handle in their role," said coach Bruce Cassidy. "[Nash is] a third-line center, so we expect him to kill penalties, play his regular shift and matchup with whoever he’s out there against."

Nash did all of that as described on Monday night, but also unwittingly because the center of controversy with a completely benign clear from the defensive zone that, thanks to the referees, went completely awry.


Bruins trade target Hanifin traded to Calgary

File photo

Bruins trade target Hanifin traded to Calgary

Former Boston College defenseman Noah Hanifin, a Bruins trade target who they once tried to trade up to get in the 2015 draft, has been traded from the Carolina Hurricanes to the Calgary Flames in a deal that includes former B's defenseman Dougie Hamilton going to Carolina.

The 'Canes sent center Eric Lindholm and Hanifin, both restricted free agents who rejected Carolina's most recent contract offers, to Calgary for Hamilton, winger Micheal Ferland and prospect defenseman Adam Fox, who was a third-round pick in 2016 now playing at Harvard,

The Bruins have a longstanding interest in Hanifin that goes back to their efforts to trade up for him in when he was the fifth overall pick three years ago. The Canes likely sought Bruins left winger Jake DeBrusk in the hefty package they were seeking for Hanifin. 




Bruins choose Swedish D-man, Czech forward with first two picks

Bruins choose Swedish D-man, Czech forward with first two picks

DALLAS – On the second day, the Bruins finally got involved in the NHL draft at the American Airlines Center and made a few picks. The day started in the second round (57th overall) with the B’s selecting young Swedish defenseman Axel Andersson from Djugardens, a 6-foot, 183-pounder from the Swedish junior leagues who's put up pretty good offensive numbers with what’s said to be pretty good skating ability.

"It meant a lot to me and my family," Anderson said. "My mom is in tears right now, and we just hugged each other. It was a big day for me."

In the third round (77th overall), the Bruins took Czech center/left wing Jakub Lauko, who played for Team Czech in the World Junior tournament this past season. Lauko, 18, is 6-foot, 179 pounds and is a speedy, tenacious forward from the assorted scouting reports on him. Lauko was expected to be drafted higher than the third round and certainly didn’t lack for confidence in saying he’s one of the fastest skaters in the draft.

“My speed is my biggest strength. I think I’m one of the fastest players in the draft, so I want to use my speed to help a team like Boston,” said Lauko, who said he only spoke with the Bruins scouts at the NHL combine earlier this month in Buffalo. “[Detroit Red Wings'] Dylan Larkin is the same like me. He’s a really fast guy that likes the breakaways. I think in this way we are the same.”

Lauko compared himself to Larkin and the speed game is certainly one that the Bruins are continually interested in with their prospects.

There was a very funny moment when the Czech-born Lauko was asked what his parents do (for a living), and he misunderstood the question and answered: “I don’t know? Maybe they will drink tonight.”

In the fourth round (119th overall), the Bruins took big center Curtis Hall, a 6-foot-3, 191-pounder who's committed to Yale next season and who scored 13 goals and 31 points in 54 games last season for the USHL Youngstown Phantoms.  

In the sixth round with the 181st pick, the Bruins selected 6-2, 188-pound defenseman Dustyn McFaul out of the Ontario Junior Hockey League. McFaul is considered a strong two-way D-men with good size and skating ability and is committed to play at Clarkson University. 

With their final pick (seventh round, No. 212), the Bruins selected forward Pavel Shen, 18, from Russia. The 6-1, 183-pounder got into 29 KHL games last season with 12 goals and 14 assists, which is impressive considering his age.