Bruins

WATCH: Bruins honor goaltender Jaroslav Halak for 500 career NHL games

WATCH: Bruins honor goaltender Jaroslav Halak for 500 career NHL games

The Boston Bruins honored Jaroslav Halak Tuesday night ahead of their matchup with the Calgary Flames at TD Garden.

Why? Because Halak is one of 74 goaltenders in NHL history to play 500 career games.

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The B's backup goaltender received plenty of praise from current and past teammates:

Halak, in his 14th NHL season, spent time with the Montreal Canadiens, St. Louis Blues, Washington Capitals and New York Islanders before joining the Bruins in 2018.  Game No. 500 came earlier this season and Halak has now totaled 518 in his career (482 starts). He is 270-167-58 with a 2.48 goals-against average,  .916 save percentage and 50 shutouts overall. 

The 34-year-old has been a solid backup for Tuukka Rask and has pushed him to play better when necessary. Halak is16-6-6 this season with a 2.42 GAA and .918 save percentage with three shutouts.

Halak's contract expires after this season, and although he's been stellar, he could possibly find a new home next season if Boston signs its free agents Torey Krug, Jake DeBrusk, Zdeno Chara, Matt Grzelcyk and others.

Tuukka Rask 'hasn't made any decisions' on his long-term Bruins future

Tuukka Rask 'hasn't made any decisions' on his long-term Bruins future

Tuukka Rask finally addressed an interview he gave weeks ago where he mused about retiring at the end of his current contract following next season, and brought a little more clarity to the situation.

The 33-year-old Bruins goaltender was on the Greg Hill Show on WEEI on Tuesday morning and made it clear no decisions have been about his future beyond the 2020-21 season that he’s still signed for in Boston. Rask was on track for a Vezina Trophy-level season this year when things were put on pause due to the coronavirus outbreak and was leading the NHL with a 2.12 goals against average while ranking second in the league with a .929 save percentage.

So it’s clear that Rask has still got more than one or two good years left if he wanted to keep on playing in Boston beyond his current deal.

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“Listen, I remember the interview if you can even call it an interview. This [Boston Globe] reporter asked me some questions right after practice when I was packing my bag, and all I said was my contract’s up (in 2021) so every option is on the table,” said Rask. “I haven’t made any decisions on any direction yet, obviously we’re not even playing hockey right now, so that’ll be in the future. But it’s definitely not in my mind right now, just trying to take care of the family now and go back to hockey whenever that happens and then go from there.

“I’m sure we’re going to have good conversations with (Don Sweeney) after this season and go from there. But I’m only 34, so it’s not too old, might play another year or two and go from there. I don’t want to promise anything either way because you never know what’s going to happen.”

Given the high level that Rask is currently playing at, his current $7 million per season contract wouldn’t be an outrageous ask without knowing how the current coronavirus work stoppage is going to impact the overall salary cap picture.

Clearly nothing is set in stone and perhaps the retirement talk is as much about contract leverage the next time around as anything else. But it still puts the Bruins in a tough position following this season if they don’t have any certainty when it comes to the future with Rask. They could re-sign Jaroslav Halak to an extension following this season and continue to hope to ride things out with a great goaltending duo while shelling out nearly $10 million for both goalies.

But the Bruins may also need to quickly groom a new No. 1 goalie if Rask is a question mark for the long-term future in Boston. Halak certainly doesn’t feel that guy at this point in his NHL career while in his mid-30s as well.

That may push the Bruins to install Dan Vladar, Jeremy Swayman or Kyle Keyser as Rask’s backup for next season to evaluate exactly what they currently have inside the organization should things change drastically.

Obviously, there are a lot of moving parts when it comes to Rask’s future in Boston. But even with his mild assurances that nothing is set in stone, the Bruins will have to be prepared that it’s not a lock the No. 1 goalie will remain with the Bruins beyond his current contract.

NHLPA's new player poll results give Bruins' Patrice Bergeron plenty of respect

NHLPA's new player poll results give Bruins' Patrice Bergeron plenty of respect

The NHL Players' Association has released the results of its 2019-20 player poll, and it's clear Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron is still viewed as a top player by his peers.

Almost 600 players participated in the poll, and the voting took place before the league suspended the season earlier this month due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.

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Bergeron finished in the top five of the results for two on-ice player categories. One of them was: "If you need to win one game, who is the one player (any position) you would want on your team?"

Here are the results:

1. Sidney Crosby, C, Penguins (44.04 percent of the vote)
2. Connor McDavid, C, Oilers (35.53 percent)
3. Nathan MacKinnon, C, Avalanche (4.11 percent)
4. Patrice Bergeron, C, Bruins (3.33 percent)

These results are hardly a surprise. Bergeron is one of the most clutch players of his era. He's one of two active players who've scored multiple goals in a Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, and his heroics in Game 7 of Boston's first-round playoff series versus the Toronto Maple Leafs were incredible as well. Bergeron's trophy case is pretty impressive, and it includes a Stanley Cup ring, four Frank J. Selke trophies, two Olympic gold medals, a World Championship gold medal and a World Junior Championships gold medal, among other team and individual honors.

Whether you need a goal, a defensive shift or a faceoff win, Bergeron arguably is the most reliable player in the world.

The other category in which Bergeron appeared in the top results was, "Who is the most complete player?"

Here are the results:

1. Sidney Crosby, C, Penguins (45.56 percent)
2. Patrice Bergeron, C, Bruins (25.44 percent)
3. Aleksander Barkov, C, Panthers (7.50 percent)
4. Ryan O'Reilly, C, Blues (5.33 percent)

Bergeron's inclusion in this category was fully expected. He's the best two-way player in the league and likely will be among the finalists for the Selke Trophy (best defensive forward), an award he's won four times. The Bruins center is best known for his excellent defensive play, but he's also an elite special teams player (both on the power play and penalty kill) and an underrated scorer. Bergeron has scored 31 goals this season, giving him three consecutive years of 30-plus goals and nine straight non-lockout seasons of 20-plus goals. 

It's uncertain when/if the 2019-20 season will resume. If it does, the Bruins will be among the top contenders for the Stanley Cup. If they make another deep playoff run, Bergeron likely will be one of the driving forces behind that success.