Bruins

Talking Points from the Bruins' 1-0 win over the Coyotes

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Talking Points from the Bruins' 1-0 win over the Coyotes

GOLD STAR: It’s got to be Jaroslav Halak, who one-upped Tuukka Rask’s excellent performance on opening night and stopped 35 shots en route to the 1-0 shutout victory of the Arizona Coyotes. He stopped a Vinnie Hinostroza breakaway chance in the first period, and then made his best save in the second when he threw a full-extension leg pad save at a Clayton Keller chance right at the doorstep after a crisp cross-ice pass from Phil Kessel. Halak did some of his best work in the third period when he stopped 14 shots over the final 20 minutes to protect the one-goal lead. Once again, the Bruins backup looks ready to play out of the gate just like he did last season, and that means being there in case Rask pulls his Mr. October at some point in this first month of the NHL season. Halak looks ready to go.

BLACK EYE: The Bruins mentioned Par Lindholm as a guy that could help the Bruins, and a player who had more offense than he showed last season in Toronto. We certainly didn’t see much of that on Saturday night. Lindholm didn’t have a shot on net and had a rough night in the face-off circle going 2-for-6 while not really showing up much in his 12-plus minutes of ice time. David Backes ended up being the healthy scratch with David Krejci entering back into the lineup on Saturday, but there really doesn’t seem to be much that Lindholm is doing to stay in there over Backes. At least Brett Ritchie was playing a physical role with five hits even though there wasn’t much offense coming from him against the Coyotes.

TURNING POINT: It was all about the final few shifts of the first period for the Perfection Line after the Bruins had been dominated for most of the first period. They were about to head to the dressing room for the first intermission after a dreadful 20 minutes, but Boston’s best players stepped up and made the difference in the game. Patrice Bergeron threw a slick backhanded pass to Brad Marchand waiting in the face-off circle, and No. 63 snapped one past Darcy Kuemper to the short side for the game’s only goal. It was a good response for that trio after a rusty-looking opening night and it was the game-winner with Jaro Halak on top of his game.

HONORABLE MENTION: Brad Marchand was very good while leading all forwards with 20 minutes of ice time. He scored the game’s only goal in the first period, was active throughout with six shot attempts, a hit and a blocked shot, and was arguably Boston’s most effective forward while playing locked in hockey at both ends of the ice. The goal was the thing, though, as the Bruins needed something to pull them out of their malaise at the end of the first period, and Marchand is one of the few players in the league who can consistently finish off that kind of play. No. 63 was a difference-maker on Saturday night like the B's need him to be.

BY THE NUMBERS: 15 — the number of consecutive wins for the Bruins over the Coyotes while outscoring them by a whopping 56-19 margin over the span. Obviously Saturday night’s game was closer, but it’s amazing how the Coyotes have found ways to lose against Boston over the years.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “This wasn’t our best game, but we won. At the end of the day that’s all that matters.”  —Brad Marchand to reporters in Arizona after it was all over.

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Bobby Orr calls Don Cherry's firing 'disgraceful' says his former coach is 'not a racist'

Bobby Orr calls Don Cherry's firing 'disgraceful' says his former coach is 'not a racist'

Days later, the argument over Don Cherry’s comments on Hockey Night in Canada that sparked his dismissal is still going strong. Now, the NHL’s greatest player has weighed in. 

Bruins legend and Hall of Famer Bobby Orr stood up for Grapes when chatting with the Toronto Sun and WEEI's "Ordway, Merloni and Fauria" show in separate interviews Thursday and called his former coach's firing “disgusting” and “definitely unfair.”

Cherry was fired on Monday by Rogers Sportsnet in Canada after his comments over the weekend on his "Coach’s Corner" segment on "Hockey Night in Canada" when he went on a diatribe about people not buying poppies to support Canadian military veterans.

The former Bruins coach - Orr played for him in the 1974-75 and '75-76 seasons - didn’t just stop with a statement supporting the military, and regrettably segued into singling out immigrants to Canada as a group not supporting the military enough publicly. Cherry, 85, started it all off by saying “you people that come here” and that set off a firestorm of criticism in the US and Canada against the analyst who has been part of Hockey Night in Canada telecasts for almost 40 years.

Cherry said on the Nov. 9 telecast: “You people … you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey, at least you can pay a couple bucks for a poppy or something like that. These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada, these guys paid the biggest price.”

Orr’s words carry a lot of weight in the hockey world in Boston, where he won a pair of Stanley Cups while revolutionizing the game, and all over Canada, where he’s still revered as the greatest hockey player of all time.

And he’s sticking by his buddy, nicknamed Grapes, which is admirable.

“He got fired on Remembrance Day. That is just wrong,” said Orr to the Sun. “The whole thing is unbelievable. Don Cherry is a good man and to do this to him is disgusting. I know what he was saying. We all know what he was saying. He was saying we should buy a poppy. All of us. You can take it any way you want, but he isn’t a bigot.

“Yes, he’s my friend. But I have known him a long time and I know he is not a bigot or a racist. He is the most honest and generous guy there is. He’s very good to the veterans, the police, the firefighters, minor hockey players and fans. They all know what he meant and I know what he meant.”

Orr told WEEI: "What they’ve done to him up there is disgraceful, it really is. It's a new world, I guess. Freedom of speech doesn't matter." He added that Cherry is "hurt, but he's going to be fine. He's getting some nice calls from his friends here in Boston. He is getting some wonderful support."

It’s still unknown exactly what awaits Cherry after his departure from Hockey Night in Canada, and it remains to be seen what Sportsnet will do to replace him with Brian Burke, Ray Ferraro and Mike Milbury mentioned as possible replacements for the bombastic analyst. 

While it was probably never going to matter when it comes to his ultimate fate with a corporate entity such as Rogers Sportsnet after Cherry's divisive, offensive language, it’s good to see that No. 4 still has Cherry’s back.

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Bruins call up Trent Frederic, hope move to wing can let him tap into his inner power forward

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Bruins call up Trent Frederic, hope move to wing can let him tap into his inner power forward

BRIGHTON, Mass. — Trent Frederic has largely been a bottom-6 center for the Boston Bruins when he’s received his shots at the NHL level in Boston.

So it will be a little different for the 2016 first-round pick when the 21-year-old Frederic gets back into the B’s lineup on Friday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs as a physical left winger based on Boston’s need for healthy bodies up front. Frederic skated on the left side with Par Lindholm and Danton Heinen on a makeshift third line at Thursday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena.

Frederic has just five points in 15 games for the P-Bruins this season and went scoreless in 15 games with Boston last season while mostly in the middle and admitted he hasn’t exactly hit his stride in the AHL as of yet this year.

“I’ve been playing hard and I’ve been playing well,” said Frederic. “It hasn’t exactly gone my way the whole year, but I keep battling through it and playing hard every game.”

Bruce Cassidy is interested to see if plugging the 6-foot-2, 200-pounder on the wing can free him up for some needed physicality and more offense. Those are a couple things the B’s are certainly a little light on up front with David Backes and Brett Ritchie both injured and out for Friday night’s tilt against the Maple Leafs. 

The move to left wing might be just the thing to allow the big, physical forward to tap into his inner power forward, though he did have a whopping 40 penalty minutes in his 15 AHL games this year. 

“We'll see if that frees him up to go out and be physical and play more his style, just straight-line game instead of overthinking it as a centerman," said Cassidy. "We're not going to bring him up as a left shot and throw him on the right wing, I think that's a little unfair. We're already kind of moving him to begin with to see where he's at."

Certainly the Bruins are getting a good look at their organizational depth with all of these call-ups to Boston this early in the season, and that could help them down the line when it gets closer to potentially dealing some of those young forward assets for more NHL help à la Marcus Johansson last spring. Here are the projected line combos and D-pairings for Friday's game based on Thursday’s practice:

FORWARD LINES

Brad Marchand Patrice Bergeron David Pastrnak
Anders Bjork David Krejci Charlie Coyle
Trent Frederic Par Lindholm Danton Heinen
Joakim Nordstrom Sean Kuraly Chris Wagner

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS

Zdeno Chara Charlie McAvoy
Matt Grzelcyk Brandon Carlo
Urho Vaakanainen Connor Clifton

STARTING GOALIE

Tuukka Rask

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