Talking Points: Bruins don't have answer for van Riemsdyk


Talking Points: Bruins don't have answer for van Riemsdyk

GOLD STAR: James van Riemsdyk was an absolute beast in front of the net, and something the Bruins didn’t have an answer for when they really needed to. JVR finished with both goals during regulation after winning battles in front of the net, had a game-high seven shots on net, 10 shot attempts and a couple of hits in his 16:57 of ice time. The first goal came during a Toronto power play where Zdeno Chara and Brandon Carlo couldn’t corral JVR, and the second was a couple of failures to clear the puck leading to van Riemsdyk once again stepping up and snapping in a shot after a scramble around the paint. JVR has had some pretty effective games against the Bruins over the years, but this will stand as one of the better ones.

BLACK EYE: It wasn’t a very strong night from Zdeno Chara, and that’s reflected in the way – and when – Toronto scored their goals in regulation. Chara was on the ice for both goals against, had three giveaways and took a pair of penalties in his 23:56 of ice time while not really looking like he was skating well most of the time also. But the real damning part was where James van Riemsdyk scored the goals in front of the net, which is usually Chara’s office and where he does the dirty work eliminating would-be invaders from getting into the scoring areas. But he couldn’t stop JVR from either of the two damaging goals, and didn’t have a particularly good road trip with a couple of physical, demanding games in New York and Toronto.


TURNING POINT: The Bruins had multiple chances to clear pucks from the defensive zone in the closing minute leading up to the tying goal, but couldn’t make strong enough plays to either clear it or simply ice the puck. Instead, it became a melee around the front of the net where eventually James van Riemsdyk stepped in and pushed things into the extra session. That inability to hold strong through the end of periods is beginning to become a bit of a “thing” for the Bruins, and it bears watching moving forward to see if it really becomes a full-blown problem. It certainly cost them a valuable point against an Atlantic Division League foe on Friday night.

HONORABLE MENTION: Patrice Bergeron played his butt off once again logging 22:49 of ice time, firing off a team-high six shots on net and scoring a second-period goal after once again teaming up with Brad Marchand for the offense. He finished 19-for-28 in the face-off circle, had a hit, a takeaway and a blocked shot to go along with everything, and generally did himself very proud on a night where he wanted to honor his Hall of Fame friend, Mark Recchi. The only shame of it was that there weren’t enough players on the Bruins roster that could execute like No. 37 did for the full 60 minutes of hockey. Bergeron has been sensational since coming back from his early-season injury, and Friday night was another example of that.

BY THE NUMBERS: 5 – the number of Stanley Cup rings for about-to-be-inducted Hall of Famer Mark Recchi, who had the three from his playing days along with two rings from each of the last two seasons as Player Development coach with the Penguins. That is an impressive collection of jewelry.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "On the tying goal the puck was on the stick of 3 different guys we trust to get the job done & we didn't get it out. We were soft on it." – Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy, who clearly didn’t like what he saw from his guys in the final minute of regulation leading to the tying goal. 

Bruins featured prominently on NBC national schedule

File Photo

Bruins featured prominently on NBC national schedule

The Boston Bruins are coming off back-to-back playoff seasons, so they won’t be any strangers to the national television audience in the upcoming NHL season.

The Bruins are set to be on NBC or NBCSN 14 times in nationally televised games during the 2018-19 season including the Jan. 1 Winter Classic against the Chicago Blackhawks at Notre Dame, and their Oct. 3 season opener against the reigning Cup champion Washington Capitals in DC. The 14 games are tied with the New York Rangers for the fifth-most in the NHL behind only the Blackhawks, Capitals, Flyers and Penguins.

The B’s season opener vs. the Caps will actually kick off NBC’s NHL coverage for the regular season, which is set to include a whopping 109 televised games.


Other highlights from the NBC Networks broadcast schedule include a home game against the Atlantic Division rival Montreal Canadiens on Monday, January 14, a road game against the defending Western Conference Champion Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday, February 20, and a home tilt on Thursday Feb. 28 against the Tampa Bay Lightning team that eliminated them in the playoffs.

Here’s the rest of the national television 2018-19 schedule for the Black and Gold that certainly has some games to circle on the ole hockey calendar:  

Bruins Games Broadcast on NBC and NBC Sports Network (all times Eastern):

Wednesday, October 3: Boston Bruins at Washington Capitals, 7:30 p.m., NBCSN

Wednesday, October 17: Boston Bruins at Calgary Flames, 9:30 p.m., NBCSN

Tuesday, January 1: Boston Bruins at Chicago Blackhawks (Winter Classic), 1 p.m., NBC

Monday, January 14: Montreal Canadiens at Boston Bruins, 7:30 p.m., NBCSN

Wednesday, January 16: Boston Bruins at Philadelphia Flyers, 7:30 p.m., NBCSN

Sunday, February 3: Boston Bruins at Washington Capitals, 12:30 p.m., NBC

Wednesday, February 6: Boston Bruins at New York Rangers, 8 p.m., NBCSN

Tuesday, February 12: Chicago Blackhawks at Boston Bruins, 7 p.m., NBCSN

Monday, February 18: Boston Bruins at San Jose Sharks, 10 p.m., NBCSN

Wednesday, February 20: Boston Bruins at Vegas Golden Knights, 10 p.m., NBCSN

Thursday, February 28: Tampa Bay Lightning at Boston Bruins, 7:30 p.m., NBCSN

Sunday, March 10: Boston Bruins at Pittsburgh Penguins, 7:30 p.m., NBCSN

Wednesday, March 27: New York Rangers at Boston Bruins, 7:30 p.m., NBCSN

Sunday, March 31: Boston Bruins at Detroit Red Wings, 7:30 p.m., NBCSN


Morning Skate: Mikita's legacy extends beyond the ice

NBC Sports Boston Illustration

Morning Skate: Mikita's legacy extends beyond the ice

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while the fog officially rolled in this morning.  

*NBC Sports announced their 109-game schedule for the NHL season, and it all starts with the Bruins season opener on Oct. 3 against the Washington Capitals. The Wednesday Night Rivalry games will be done away with and in its place Wednesday Night Hockey is going to feature a more diverse collection of teams and locations featuring non-traditional markets. It’s a great idea and completely called for given the emergence of teams like the Nashville Predators and Vegas Golden Knights.

*Good piece by FOH (Friend of Haggs) Tracey Myers on the lasting legacy of the recently passed Chicago Blackhawks great Stan Mikita when it comes to his work in the community.

*Dylan Larkin got a pretty good deal from the Detroit Red Wings that was deserved given his youth and his production to this point. So why on Earth are we writing 1,000 word think pieces on this? Yeah, I don’t know either.

*Speaking of the Red Wings, it sounds like Henrik Zetterberg may be a giant question mark for this upcoming NHL season based on his health. While it’s a big blog to the Red Wings competitiveness for next season, it might be the best thing for a team that’s still nowhere near competing for a Stanley Cup at this point.

*Three big questions facing the Edmonton Oilers as they ready for a massive season that will undoubtedly have jobs on the line based on an expected return to the playoffs.

*For something completely different: Well, this is one way to discourage cruise ships from going by your coastal home.