Bruins

There'll be a couple of Fathers' Days for Bruins on this trip

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There'll be a couple of Fathers' Days for Bruins on this trip

PHILADELPHIA – In their steady, successful run that culminated with a Stanley Cup title in 2011, the Bruins never really tried out one of the father’s road trips that many other NHL teams have adopted in the past 10 or 15 years.

Perhaps it was a Claude Julien, or it was an organizational thing, but either way it never really happened for the Black and Gold.

Clearly, it was about business first and foremost at that point and it was something the B’s had never really done before as it becomes en vogue around the NHL. But they’ve started making up for lost time, and gotten into the act the past few seasons inviting the B’s players’ moms and dads on Bruins road trips.

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An impressive group of Bruins’ paterfamilias are with the players in Philadelphia this weekend and will be in Nashville on Monday as well as they get an up-close look at the NHL lifestyle of their talented sons. It’s clearly a treat for the dads after serving key roles in the hockey upbringing of their sons, and it’s also a cherished trip for the players who don’t get to spend too much family time in a bustling season.

“It’s good. So far, so good. They really love being here, and we love having them around. So hopefully we get a big win for them. You never want to let your parents down, so hopefully, we have a big performance,” said Danton Heinen, whose dad Rick is a bigger, balder spitting image of the young B’s winger. “Just showing him the day-to-day life [is cool], and just spending time with him. He’s a long ways away [in British Columbia]. He’s all the way across the country, so it’s great spending time with him and showing him what it’s like.”

In all, 21 fathers are traveling with the Bruins players. Fathers living in faraway places, such as Zdeno Chara’s dad and Anton Khudobin’s father, didn’t make the trip, and David Pastrnak’s father passed away when he was a teenager. Instead,  Pastrnak will have his brother with him on the trip. More members of Tim Schaller's family are descending on Philly to be a giant New Hampshire-based Bruins rooting section at the Wells Fargo Center.

“I think it’s awesome. As a player, we didn’t do that way back then, and I lost my dad when I was 21. So I’m not sure we would have had a chance, but I would have loved to do it. We had the moms last year, and they had a great time,” said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. “Hopefully the guys put their best foot forward for their dads. I think it’s a great acknowledgment of the time, support and effort that they lent to their children’s success. You can’t get there without that.”

One thing for certain with all the dads in a luxury box watching in Philly and Nashville: The Bruins players should have plenty of motivation to take two points in each spot and make certain that the father/son plane trips are happy ones through the two-game trip over the next three days.  

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Morning Skate: Try to keep up with Chara's offseason workout

Morning Skate: Try to keep up with Chara's offseason workout

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while watching Captain America’s entrance to Avengers: Infinity War on a 24/7 loop. It’s just that good.

*Cool Instagram video from Zdeno Chara that shows a peek behind the curtain of his offseason workout with crazy strength, balance and conditioning drills for a 6-foot-9 man on the wrong side of 40. It’s no wonder he’s a physical marvel still at his advanced age, and that the end of his Hall of Fame career doesn’t look like it’s coming anytime soon. Chara may be older, he may no longer be a viable Norris Trophy candidate and his body may be starting to break down just a little bit more given his age, but the man is a true freak of nature with his strength, size and conditioning. There are no two ways about that.

*Ryan Ellis has signed a long-term extension with the Nashville Predators for a cap friendly number as the Preds continue to build and sustain a long-term winner.

*Interesting piece on Buffalo Sabres head coach Phil Housley’s wife, Karin, running for a Senate seat in Minnesota.

*Pro Hockey Talk says that Ilya Kovalchuk is under pressure as he begins a big three-year contract with the Los Angeles Kings.

*Boy, it sure sounds like the Arizona Coyotes are in a heap of financial trouble as their fiscal losses continue to mount.

*For something completely different: Pretty interesting interview with Michelle MacLaren, the director from this week’s "Better Call Saul" that gives some good insight into the characters on the show, and the exciting direction its headed toward Breaking Bad-ville.

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Could Sekera injury spark renewed Oilers' interest in Torey Krug?

Could Sekera injury spark renewed Oilers' interest in Torey Krug?

The Bruins raised some eyebrows on July 1 when they signed defenseman John Moore to a long-term contract and thereby locked themselves in with eight NHL-caliber defensemen headed into training camp next month.

It sparked plenty of informed speculation that one of the D-men would eventually be moved, with Torey Krug the most likely candidate given his contract, value on the trade market and what the Black and Gold could get in return.

Either way, Don Sweeney said after the signing that having a healthy supply of D-men was a good situation for the Bruins just in case needs arose with other teams around the league. Well, the need around the league is getting greater with the news that Edmonton Oilers D-man Andrej Sekera is out long-term following surgery to repair his Achilles tendon. 

Sekera, 32, a left-shot defenseman who was limited to only 36 games last season, had been a top-4 mainstay for the Oil the previous two seasons. Sekera was being counted on to again be that kind of quality D-man again, but that looks very much in question right now.

That leaves the Oilers badly in need of a left-shot, top-four D-man with some offensive upside and leaves open the kind of job description that Krug could very neatly fill in Edmonton. This is after some very clear interest from Edmonton in the talented, productive Krug last season. It would bring about a reunion of the offensive D-man with the general manager who originally signed him with the Bruins as an undrafted defenseman out of Michigan State.

As has often been stated, the Bruins don’t want to trade Krug, 27, after he produced 110 points the past two seasons with only Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns, Victor Hedman and John Klingberg scoring more from the back end in that span. Still, they badly need a top-six sniper to even off their forward lines and bring some scoring depth to a team that was far too one-dimensional in the postseason against the Maple Leafs and the Lightning.

Could a strong trade package featuring Krug be enough to pry Ryan Nugent-Hopkins away from the Oilers after he showed some great things on the wing last season? Could he also be a top-six center candidate with Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci entering NHL middle age? Could Edmonton’s desperation to turn things around be enough to really push Peter Chiarelli into desperation mode looking for a left-handed defenseman in light of Sekera’s injury?

These are good questions to ask as the Bruins ready for camp with an abundance of talented, proven NHL defensemen. They'd be dealing from a position of strength as teams, such as Edmonton, suddenly become buyers out of circumstance and desperation. Don’t be shocked if we haven’t heard the last of Krug-to-Edmonton trade rumors because the dominoes are beginning to fall and it continues to look as if it's a very real possibility.     

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