Bruins

Talking Points from the Bruins' 2-1 Game 5 loss to the Maple Leafs

Talking Points from the Bruins' 2-1 Game 5 loss to the Maple Leafs

GOLD STAR: Auston Matthews has really grown up in this series and it was the Leafs franchise center that broke open the game in the third period with a one-timer bullet from the face-off circle on a broken play. That was the go-ahead goal that snapped a defensive battle and gave the Leafs the operating room to eventually win. Matthews finished with a goal, five shots on net, six shot attempts, two takeaways, a blocked shot and a plus-2 in 17:44 of ice time. Matthews has four goals in five games in the series and has been the difference-maker this time around that he wasn’t last spring vs. Boston.

BLACK EYE: It’s the Bruins for failing to capitalize on three power-play chances they had after routinely winning games with their special teams in the regular season. The first two power plays actually featured some pretty good scoring chances and decent pressure on the Leafs penalty kill that they’ve solved the past few seasons. But on Friday night, they couldn’t push a puck past Freddie Andersen on the first two PP chances, and then they had one final, dreadful power-play chance in the second period after Mitch Marner had tossed a puck over the benches and into the stands for a delay of game. Given their struggles to score 5-on-5 this season everybody knew Boston’s PP was going to have to be huge for them in the playoffs, and it let them down in a big way in Game 5.

TURNING POINT: Clearly, the Matthews goal. It was a one-timer bullet from the weak side, but it was also a possible case for goalie interference as Zach Hyman backed into Tuukka Rask after cross-checking Charlie McAvoy in front of the net. Hyman definitely nudged Rask before the Matthews shot arrived and by the letter of the law, it could have been interference. But it seemed as if the league officials thought that Rask wasn’t going to make that save anyway and truth be told he probably wasn’t based on the play and who was shooting the puck. Still, that won’t, - and shouldn’t - stop Bruins fans from being pissed about it.

HONORABLE MENTION: Kasperi Kapanen was another Leafs forward who came to play and finished with a goal and two points while also ending up what proved to be the winning goal. Kapanen finished with the two points, a plus-2, six shot attempts, three hits and some of the few offensive plays made in a defensive showdown. The fact that Matthews and Kapanen come away as two of the Leafs offensive stars in a grimy defensive grudge match tells you plenty about the Maple Leafs' as playoff performers from one year ago. If Toronto is going to advance. then it’s largely on the backs of these young guys finally growing into their own.

BY THE NUMBERS: 3-20 – The Bruins record in a best-of-seven series when they trail 3-2. The last time they won Games 6 and 7 of a series? Their Stanley Cup Final victory in 2011.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “It’s either interference or it’s not. He backs into Tuukka. From my viewpoint, it certainly looked like interference, but it didn’t go our way.” –Bruce Cassidy on the third-period Matthews goal that invited controversy when Hyman bumped into Rask prior to the puck arriving. But a goalie interference challenge was waved off by the NHL. 

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Bruins bring back Chris Kelly as player development coordinator

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USA TODAY Sports

Bruins bring back Chris Kelly as player development coordinator

Chris Kelly is back on the Boston Bruins, but he's trading in his hockey gear for a suit.

The Bruins announced Thursday they have hired Kelly as player development coordinator, while also adding Andrew Dickson as an amateur scout.

Kelly came to the B's as a player in 2011 and won a Stanley Cup during his first season in Boston. He went on to play 288 games for the Bruins over six seasons, tallying a total of 43 goals and 58 assists as a third-line forward.

The 38-year-old last played for the Anaheim Ducks during the 2017-18 season and spent last season as a development coach for the Ottawa Senators -- his first NHL team as a player -- before coming to Boston.

Dickson spent the last seven seasons as an amateur scout for the Detroit Red Wings.

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Is McAvoy really in line for 'a huge contract' with Bruins? Maybe not

Is McAvoy really in line for 'a huge contract' with Bruins? Maybe not

There’s quite the interesting debate going on these days about just how much Bruins RFA defenseman Charlie McAvoy should get on his second contract.

NBC’s Pro Hockey Talk tweeted out a story proclaiming that both McAvoy and Columbus Blue Jackets D-man Zach Werenski should be in line for “huge contracts” and conjured up some numbers that put those two young defenseman in a class with Drew Doughty and Erik Karlsson at the same stage of their careers.

Certainly the 21-year-old McAvoy and 21-year-old Werenski have shown promise as excellent puck-movers and developing two-way D-men in their short NHL careers. But to lump the two of them together into the same class is not something I’m sure the Bruins would do at this point in their separate negotiations.

First off, both Doughty and Karlsson were Norris Trophy finalists before they got their massive contracts. Secondly, do you know how many games Doughty missed with injuries before he signed his eight-year, $56 million contract?

He missed seven NHL games with injuries in his first three seasons with the Kings, including just one in his first two seasons in Los Angeles. Doughty also put together a 16-goal, 59-point masterpiece sophomore season, all while averaging 24 plus minutes of ice time per game over those first three NHL seasons in L.A.

All due respect to a special talent in McAvoy who idolizes Doughty, but he hasn’t even been close to that kind of dominance yet in his very promising, young NHL career. He was brilliant in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and he's shown big time flashes for the B's, but he's also missed almost 50 games with injuries over the last two years. 

Werenski has averaged 13 goals and 40 points in his three NHL seasons with Columbus and missed a total of nine NHL games in his first two seasons before playing the full 82-game schedule this past season for the Blue Jackets. He’s a lot closer to Doughty in terms of a comparable situation at this point in his young NHL career.

Werenski has the ability to be offer-sheeted by other prospective NHL teams, and has all the makings of an RFA who could cash in on something similar to the massive eight-year, $60 million deal signed by Florida’s Aaron Ekblad a couple of seasons ago.

McAvoy, on the other hand, has topped out at seven goals and 32 points in the better of his two NHL seasons (his rookie campaign) and has missed a whopping 47 games due to injuries in his first two seasons. McAvoy also can’t be tendered with an offer sheet by other NHL teams because he has fewer than three full years of NHL service based on the 40-game rule adopted by the league when it comes to restricted free agents.

So really there are very few parallels between Werenski’s negotiating leverage right now and McAvoy’s situation headed into his third NHL season with Boston.

If McAvoy wants to get the “huge contract” with the B’s then he’s going to have to earn it with a dominant, healthy season that he has yet to put together at the NHL level. It’s really as simple as that, regardless of his Corsi numbers when he has been healthy over the last two seasons.

The best course of action for both the Bruins and McAvoy?

It would be sign a bridge contract for a couple of years where the young D-man gets the $5-6 million per season based on his closest comparable players (Esa Lindell, for one), and puts together the kind of years that would put him closer to the Doughty/Karlsson/Ekblad max contract neighborhood that he’s clearly aspiring to at this point.

Basically, McAvoy at this point will need to sign the qualifying offer given to him by the Bruins or sit out until he agrees to a long-term second deal with the Boston. The reality is this: The Bruins young D-man has zero leverage this time around in negotiations aside from being a key player for the B's in both their present and future plans. Then again, the Bruins did pretty well in the first half last season when McAvoy was barely a presence while battling through concussion-related issues, and before he put together a very strong second half and postseason during their run to Game 7 of the Cup Final.

There’s no reason to think they can’t do the same this season with a Stanley Cup Final-worthy group if McAvoy’s camp plays hardball and holds out ahead of NHL training camp.

All signs point to McAvoy getting a big raise and eventually getting the cap-busting contract that he’s clearly going to be looking for, and he could get it as soon as a year from now at this time. But the 21-year-old needs to earn it first, and shame on Don Sweeney and the Bruins if they shell out tens of millions of dollars on an admittedly talented, highly-gifted player before he’s done the kind of things that earn players that type of money at the NHL level.

Why Heinen signing left B's with cap questions>>>>

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