Bruins

Talking points: Marchand shines, B's feel McAvoy's absence

Talking points: Marchand shines, B's feel McAvoy's absence

GOLD STAR: On a night when the Bruins needed their best players to step up and make plays if they were going to beat the Red Wings, Brad Marchand did exactly that for the Black and Gold. Marchand kicked off an epic night with a hat trick, five points and a plus-2 rating in 19:38 of ice time while also putting up with some definite targeting at the hands of the Red Wings players coming at him. Marchand also set a Bruins franchise record with his 11th overtime game-winner, which passed Dit Clapper and Glen Murray for the top spot on the all-time list. What was perhaps most impressive was Marchand providing the final three goals for the Bruins in the game, and essentially refusing to let Boston lose in a game where they played far from their best brand of hockey. 

BLACK EYE: It was a very “meh” night from Zdeno Chara where the Bruins captain was on the ice for four of the five goals against, finished a minus-2 in 25: 26 of ice time, and made some poor decisions in puck management, zone coverage and execution in clearing pucks. It seemed like one of those nights where the heavy schedule might be getting to the 40-year-old captain a little bit, and Chara somehow didn’t have even a single hit or a blocked shot  while logging the most ice time of anybody in the game. Clearly the Bruins were just good enough to survive and the hope has to be that the Chara/Brandon Carlo pairing gets a little better as things move along, but it wasn’t a very good showing for them just hours after it was learned that Charlie McAvoy would be out for the next four weeks. 

TURNING POINT: The Bruins are only 8-8 in overtime this season, but they’re beginning to develop a confidence and swagger when the extra session hits. It’s probably because they have an absolute OT weapon in Marchand, and he was once again in full effect crashing the Detroit net and cleaning up a Torey Krug chance for his 28th goal of the season and 66th point of the season. All the Bruins needed was 34 seconds once the overtime session started, and they were ready to dispatch a Detroit Red Wings team that really isn’t very good this season. Once it reached overtime and the Red Wings had put up a reasonable fight, it was all over for them and it was winning time for the Black and Gold. 

HONORABLE MENTION: Torey Krug had an opportunity to really step up and fill in the offensive defenseman void with Charlie McAvoy out, and he did just that on Tuesday night against the Red Wings. Krug finished with two goals, four points and a plus-2 rating in 20:18 of ice time, and he was part of the early offensive boost from the Black and Gold that got things up and running for them. Krug had seven shot attempts and a couple of blocked shots as well in his night’s work, and looked pretty good in a pairing with Nick Holden that’s been put together with McAvoy missing. It certainly looked like that might be a better fit for No. 47 than the work he’d done with Carlo for most of this season. 

BY THE NUMBERS: 3 – the number of assists for Nick Holden in his three games as a member of the Bruins as he’s managed to notch a helper in each of the three games that he’s played thus far.  

QUOTE TO NOTE: “We know there are 82 of these [games], and it’s hard to stay in the moment for 82, and focused and not want to have a little offensive surge and trade chances. But we’re trying to play to our identity, as well. So we talked about it; hopefully it doesn’t go in one ear and out the other and we take it to heart, and build on it for our next game.” –Bruce Cassidy, knowing that the Bruins have some defensive things to work on after allowing five goals.

Kovalchuk goes to Kings with 3-year deal

Kovalchuk goes to Kings with 3-year deal

Veteran winger Ilya Kovalchuk, who had been in talks with the Bruins among other NHL teams, has signed a three-year deal with the Los Angeles Kings.

The Kings, Bruins, San Jose Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights were all in the running to sign the 35-year-old, who hasn't played in the NHL in five years.

Click here more on the Bruins' bid for Kovalchuk. 

B's set sights on Day 2 of NHL draft after "excruciating" first round

B's set sights on Day 2 of NHL draft after "excruciating" first round

DALLAS – With the opening night of the 2018 NHL draft behind them, the Boston Bruins are looking forward to making their five draft picks on Saturday morning’s second day at the American Airlines Center home of the Dallas Stars. 

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B’s general manager Don Sweeney is also looking forward to trying not to repeat Friday night again, which became the Bruins essentially sitting on their hands without a first round pick as they watched 31 picks unfold around them. The B’s shipped their first round pick, the 26th overall selection, to the New York Rangers in the Rick Nash deal, and rued not having a pick of their own while not exactly regretting the “go for it” move they made at the deadline. 

“Painful. That was excruciating. Let’s try not to let that happen again,” said Sweeney. “You’re really disappointed that you’re coming out empty-handed [on Friday] night. I’ve said all along that draft and development is going to be a lifeline. I still don’t regret at the time making the decision. We were really looking upon our hockey club and we all said that we were in it to win it. 

“So we could put ourselves back in that position. I’ll never say that I would never do it again, but I would just like to have a better result. Bottom line.”

So now the Bruins focus on Saturday’s second day of the draft: Their picks include the 57th overall pick in the second round, the 77th overall pick in the third round, the 119th overall pick in the fourth round, the 181st pick in the sixth round and the 212th overall pick in the sixth round. 

The Bruins have done well in the second round under Sweeney with Jack Studnicka, Ryan Lindgren, Brandon Carlo, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and Jeremy Lauzon as their top Day 2 selections over the last three years. Some names to keep in mind with one of those expected to be in the mix for the Black and Gold, Hingham’s Jay O’Brien, scooped up in the first round on Friday night with the 19th overall pick going to the Philadelphia Flyers:

Bode Wilde, defenseman (US National Development Team): Armed with one of the best hockey names in the draft, the 6-2, 196-pound Wilde has ideal size and skill set to match on the back end. Wilde is strong and durable with all of the key ingredients to be able to play big minutes in all situations, has an excellent first step to get into fast gear with his skating game and also boasts a big, booming shot to really check off all the boxes at defenseman. Wilde was expected to be a first-round pick on the opening night of the draft, so he would make a really nice acquisition in the second round for a Bruins organization that’s done a really good job of collecting talent the past handful of years. The B’s may need to trade up higher in the second round to get Wilde, but there are several players like Ryan McLeod, Mattias Samuelsson, Akil Thomas, Jacob Olofsson and Benoit-Oliver Groulx that are first round talents still available when things open on Saturday morning.    

Oskar Back – center (Farjestads): The 6-foot-2, 192-pound center has the size and tools that you look for in a frontline center and posted 10 goals and 32 points in 38 games for his Swedish junior team this past season. The Bruins already have a wave of young center prospects in Trent Frederic, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, and Jack Studnicka, but you can never have too much depth or quality down the middle of your lineup. Back didn’t score in a 14-game audition in the Swedish Elite League last season, but just the fact that he was there for that many games says something about his game and the high ceiling for his hockey talent. His overall performance doesn’t scream out anything dynamic offensively, but the reports indicate he’s smart, strong along the boards and makes his teammates better when he’s out on the ice. He’d be a pretty safe pick at the 57th spot, but given his size/strength and the intangibles in his game, it certainly sounds like there’s some serious NHL potential there even if he doesn’t turn out to be a top-6 center. Why the Bruins would select Back: They certainly value prospects coming out of Sweden and he checks off many boxes at the point that the Bruins will be selecting at the very end of the second round. Why the Bruins wouldn’t select Back: He sounds like another potential third line center in an organization where they’ve already got a couple of those guys in Trent Frederic and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson.

Aidan Dudas – center/right wing (Owen Sound): The 5-foot-7, 165-pound Dudas is the kind of player that seems to be finding a lot of success at the NHL level these days. He’s extremely undersized, but he’s also fast, creative and highly productive offensively. The Bruins have already passed on a couple of these type players in the draft having bypassed both Alex DeBrincat and Kailer Yamamoto in recent years, and perhaps they’ll make up for that by zeroing in on Dudas. The right-shooting center-wing finished his draft season with 31 goals and 65 points in 68 games for the Owen Sound Attack, and really elevated his draft stock this year after a quiet rookie season in the OHL. The fact he also busted out for a pair of goals and three points in the CHL Top Prospects Game against the best and brightest of his peers also showed that size and strength levels will play beyond junior hockey. His blistering shot and release are probably his most NHL-ready attributes and certainly could carry him a long way. Why the Bruins would select Dudas: You can never have enough speed and skill, and Dudas has both of those things in large amounts even if he doesn’t have the prototypical size to go along with it. Plus the kid is from Parry Sound, and things worked out pretty well for the Bruins the last time they took the best player from that area. Why the Bruins wouldn’t select Dudas: They’ve passed on smaller skill players like DeBrincat and Yamamoto before, so they certainly could do it again as they’re already size and strength-challenged a bit on the wing. 

Kevin Bahl – defenseman (Ottawa): The 6-foot-6, 230-pound Bahl is one of the biggest players in this year’s draft and has consistently been a winner and among the best shutdown D-men of his age group throughout his amateur hockey career. Bahl is intimidating at his size and strength level, using his stick very well for a younger player and also skates pretty smoothly despite his massive frame. He hasn’t shown much offense at all to this point in his career and may be a fairly one-dimensional shutdown defenseman at the NHL level. Still, there is room for those kinds of players at Bahl’s size. The one thing that seems to be an issue for Bahl at this point in his career is his willingness to throw his weight around and play a more physical game. That’s something he’s going to need to do if he’s going to consistently play at the NHL level without much offensive skill. For the Bruins, it’s certainly a good value pick if you can get an accomplished, mammoth shutdown D-man at the end of the second round. Why the Bruins would select Bahl: With Zdeno Chara turning 42 years old this upcoming season, the idea of drafting a huge, left-shot shutdown defenseman is pretty sound logic. Bahl has been a winner throughout his career as well, and the Bruins value those kinds of players. Why the Bruins wouldn’t select Bahl: They already have Jakub Zboril, Jeremy Lauzon and Urho Vaakanainen in the system, and may not want to use their top selection in this draft on another left shot D-man. We’ll see.

Stanislav Demin – defenseman (Wenatchee): The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Demin was extremely productive in the BCHL with nine goals and 45 points in 57 games for the Wenatchee Wild. The California native is the highest-rated prospect coming out of the BCHL and had a strong playoff as well for the Wild. He’s committed to the University of Denver in the fall and could be a good, long-range defenseman prospect that the Bruins could let develop at the college ranks for a bit. The size and skill level is good as is the skating game for a solid D-man that’s only real question is going to be the competition level he faced in the BCHL. Why the Bruins would select Demin: He’s good value at the end of the second round as he looks and sounds like a prospect that could turn into a very useful and productive NHL player. Why the Bruins wouldn’t select Demin: They’ve taken a defenseman with their top pick in each of the last three drafts and might decide to go in a different direction this time around, though it shouldn’t really matter if he’s the best player available.

Justin Almeida – center (Moose Jaw): The 5-foot-10, 163-pound Almeida didn’t look like he was going to be much of a high-end draft prospect headed into this season, and then he absolutely exploded for the Moose Jaw Warriors this year. Almeida used his speed and high-end scoring ability to rack up 43 goals and 98 points in 72 games this season before piling up another six goals and 13 points in 14 playoff games for Moose Jaw. He’s obviously a bit of a project given his current size and he’s only got the one dominant season on his resume after being a bit of an underachiever earlier in his junior career, but it’s hard to ignore the kind of production and dominance he showed as a center/left wing this season in the WHL. Why the Bruins would select Almeida: The skills are there and if he’d done a bit more consistently, he’d probably be talked about as a possible first-round selection even though he’s already 19 years old. Why the Bruins wouldn’t select Almeida: He was a bit of an underachiever prior to his one excellent season, so it’s difficult to gauge what exactly he’s going to be at the next level where he projected as a bottom-6 prospect prior to this season.

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