Bruins

Zdeno Chara receives standing ovation from rival Canadiens crowd

Zdeno Chara receives standing ovation from rival Canadiens crowd

Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara received a rather unusual standing ovation from Montreal Canadiens' fans Tuesday night. 

Chara, playing in his 1,500th NHL game, probably wasn't expecting such a gesture from the Habs' crowd -- but they certainly recognized the big man's accomplishment. 

Check it out:

The 42-year-old has been part of the Bruins-Canadiens rivlary since he joined Boston in 2006, and has been with the team through plenty of ups-and-downs over the span of the heated rivalry. Including the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series which saw the Canadiens eliminated off a Nathan Horton overtime goal in Game 7. 

The big man also was booed earlier that year by Montreal fans after obliterating Max Pacioretty into the boards and injuring the Canadiens forward. Following the hit, Canadiens' fans actually wanted Chara arrested, and continuously called the Montreal police department demanding the B's defenseman be locked up for the "criminal"-like hit.

So, as you can clearly tell, the standing ovation was a bit uncharacteristic of Montreal fans -- at least they recognized what an accomplishment it truly is to reach 1,500 games played. Very classy.

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Don Sweeney admits Bruins face 'some hard decisions' with upcoming free agents

Don Sweeney admits Bruins face 'some hard decisions' with upcoming free agents

The Bruins head into this summer’s Return to Play with plenty of question marks about how it’s all going to turn out attempting to complete the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs. But there are question marks beyond that as well, with several key contracts ending once this postseason has been completed by the Black and Gold.

Torey Krug is set to become an unrestricted free agent and the offensive-minded D-man could be the most coveted defenseman on the market should he get there. Jake DeBrusk is a restricted free agent and will be looking at a big raise in his second contract after averaging 20 goals per season as a top-6 guy during his first three years in the NHL.

The two players combined will easily command over $10 million per season with their next contracts, and the Bruins will have to figure out new contracts for Zdeno Chara, Matt Grzelcyk and Anders Bjork among others. Complicating matters will be a flat salary cap for at least the next couple of years at $81.5 million with a chance it might go up a nominal amount in the third subsequent season after the NHL and NHLPA agreed to a CBA extension earlier this week.

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It will be interesting to see just how much the market corrects for a player like Krug that could have been looking at a payday in the $8 million per season range, and whether or not a player like him would take a shorter deal to remain in Boston and wait out the financial fallout headed for all of pro sports over the next couple of seasons.

Don Sweeney wouldn’t rule out negotiating deals with those potential free agents while Phase 3 and 4 roll out over the next few months, but also cautioned that the Bruins weren’t going to be “overly aggressive” given how much is still unknown about the way player contracts will be impacted moving forward.

“I’ve never stated that we’d never have conversations, so ultimately I think we’ll have [contract discussions] case-by-case. I’m not going to be overly aggressive as we get into Phase 3 getting ready to play and then into the playoffs. But if something makes sense then we’ll do it. If there are some players that are very particular and don’t want to have those conversations until we’re done [with the games] then I respect that as well,” said Bruins GM Don Sweeney during a zoom call with reporters on Sunday.

“I think I’ll just touch base with each and every one of [the free agents], and that includes RFAs that want to know where they’re going to be. There will be some conversations that will take place in terms of how we’re going to position contracts and how we’re going to structure contracts, and how you fit it together. Ultimately, we’re all going to have the $81.5 million for the next two years. We’re going to start to have conversations.  

“We’ve had to run simulations and still [get to a place] where we’re treating every player fairly from a compensation standpoint. But we have some decisions to make and we may have to make some hard decisions just like every other team in the league now that we have the parameters of the cap and how the mechanisms of the new CBA are going to work.”

Those “hard decisions” could mean they have to decide between Krug and DeBrusk when finding a way to get under the cap for next season, though it should be noted that the Bruins have a lot of cap space opening up two seasons from now when the current deals for both Tuukka Rask and David Krejci (almost $15 million in cap space) will be off the books.

Bruins expect to be missing a few players at start of camp due to quarantine rules

Bruins expect to be missing a few players at start of camp due to quarantine rules

Don’t be surprised if a couple of players are missing from the ice when Bruins training camp gets going at the outset of Phase 3 of Return to Play on Monday morning at Warrior Ice Arena.

The Bruins submitted a roster of 29 players and four goaltenders that will be a part of training camp for the next few weeks before leaving for the Toronto hub city on July 26. The list did not include Bruins reserve D-man Steve Kampfer, who has opted out due to health concerns for his wife and young son amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, but it sounds like everybody on the active training camp roster is intent on playing for the next few months.

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Still, at least one or two European players may not be on the ice for the first day of practice while observing the self-quarantine rules following international travel to get to Boston over the last couple of weeks. Several European players like Zdeno Chara, Par Lindholm, Jaroslav Halak and Tuukka Rask were already taking part in Phase 2 practices over the last month, and it's unknown exactly which players might not be cleared to go right out of the opening starting gate. 

“They have a final decision to make by Monday at 5 p.m. At this point in time we haven’t heard from anybody else [aside from Steve Kampfer],” said Don Sweeney. “We may have one or two players that are still facing international quarantine rules per the recommendation of our staff, but within a day or so we should be fully up and going.”

David Pastrnak, Ondrej Kase, Joakim Nordstrom, Urho Vaakanainen, Jakub Zboril and Daniel Vladar were the players expected to be traveling back from Europe, so any camp absences at the start would be expected to be among that group.