Hagg Bag

#HaggBag: Putting it together after the trade deadline

#HaggBag: Putting it together after the trade deadline

Now that the NHL trade deadline has come and gone, the Bruins are fully formed as a group. They brought in a couple of new faces in Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson and a familiar face in Lee Stempniak as the veteran depth piece. They have more depth than they had before and they’re playing their best hockey of the season in the middle of a 16-game point streak.

So now, all that remains is the 17 remaining regular-season games and a playoff run that will make or break how this season is viewed. The Bruins have elevated to Stanley Cup contenders with the way they’ve played the past six weeks, and now it’s time to see how good they can be.

All the Bruins fans are finally satisfied by what they’ve seen over the past six weeks, right? Well, maybe some are happy, but others always think there’s just a little more that the Black and Gold are capable of. As always these are real questions from real readers sent to my Twitter account using the #HaggBag hashtag, messages to my NBCS Facebook page and emails to my @JHaggerty@nbcuni.com email address. Now, on to the bag:

What line does Pasta fit in when he returns?

--Eugene Mannarino (@steelman58)

JH: Good question and a pressing one with David Pastrnak expected to return as early as Monday when it’s been roughly a month since he first suffered his thumb injury. I’m not going to lie. I’m looking forward to a chance to talk to No. 88 and find out what the hell happened for him to get injured in the first place. Still, when he does come back, I’d expect that he’s going to slot back into the "Perfection Line" alongside Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.

That would allow Marcus Johansson to continue jelling with David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk, and then Danton Heinen could slide back over to his strong left side with Coyle and David Backes. The Bruins have said as much given the kind of matchup problems they can create against playoff opponents based on how good that top line is. Last spring’s first-round series against the Maple Leafs was a prime example of that.

Still, it’s all predicated on the second and third lines consistently producing secondary offense. If they can do that, then the Bruins can keep their top line together, but if they again have trouble generating offense then it’s going to force Bruce Cassidy to drop Pastrnak down to the second line for some offensive diversification. So, short answer: I’d expect No. 88 to be back with No. 37 and No. 63 when things get settled.

Hi Joe!

Great to see the B’s rolling with sound defense and a way to win games with a never give up attitude! There is still a lot of hockey to play and as we have seen in the past two seasons— injuries to key players can derail this strong play. And I am certainly not of the mindset that a first round against a Babcock coached Leafs team will be another route to round two! Best to temper that enthusiasm and see the overall health of team moving forward after April 6! Like many in Bruins Nation, I too have seen my share of many disappointing outcomes since 1968.
Ron
Saitama, Japan 

JH: No doubt, Ron. The Bruins have owned the Maple Leafs the past couple of seasons, but I don’t expect that to turn into an easy first-round win right off the bat. Think about it: It took all of seven games for the Bruins to beat Toronto last season while enjoying home ice in Game 7. And this season the Leafs added John Tavares and Jake Muzzin to that group, so they are markedly improved from last season even if defense and goaltending are still a question mark.

The bottom line is that good health is paramount for the Bruins. That means keeping Bergeron, Marchand and Zdeno Chara in one piece while hoping that Pastrnak comes back at full power. Injuries could also give the Bruins an opening should something befall a player or two on the Tampa Bay Lightning roster, though, so it works both ways for every team.

The bottom line, Ron, is that the Bruins should have you believing in them as a Stanley Cup contender based on the way that they’ve played, so you should get excited about what awaits them next month in the playoffs. It should be a fun, entertaining run. There will be playoff hockey in Boston, so that’s a very good thing no matter how long it lasts.

So Haggs, I have a question that I feel like belongs in the category of a "George Carlin" question if you were on death row and you are hours from your death, what is your last meal? #HaggBag

--matthew Wilson (@mattframingham)

JH: Wow. That’s a damn good question. I would probably go with a prime rib with sautéed mushrooms, mashed potatoes and green beans from a steak house that I’ve been to in the past. I had Ruth’s Chris a couple of weeks ago for the first time and that was pretty good, and I certainly like Smith and Wollensky, DelFrisco’s, Flemings, the Capital Grille or Morton’s. But the best prime rib meal I ever had and my favorite restaurant of all time is actually Bugaboo Creek. If I could get a Snowbird Chicken appetizer, the prime rib and all the fixings and I could get the talking moose above the bar to just shut up the entire time I was there, that would probably be my final meal topped off with some apple crisp for dessert. Unfortunately, Bugaboo Creek doesn’t really exist anymore and the ones that are still around aren’t really as good as the originals. So I am out of luck, unfortunately.  

It’s a pattern: Tuukka Rask goes into the playoffs on fire but suddenly it’s a headache or some undisclosed ailment and he’s day to day. Seen this act before

--Jack Cann (@Tubroke2002Jack)

JH: Yeah, Rask has some questions to answer in the playoffs. Certainly, his numbers are excellent career-wise just as they are in the regular season. This 14-0-3 stretch he’s in since Christmas is extremely impressive. He’s as good as he’s ever been right now and it’s been that way for a couple of months. But the things he really has to prove are the big-game moments in the playoffs. Last season’s Game 7 vs. Toronto, for instance, when his Bruins teammates had to bail out a struggling Rask. That was one of those times when he couldn’t answer the bell in a big-game situation. There are too many instances of those and the only way that’s going to get vanquished is by Rask and the Bruins winning the Cup and the goaltender playing a major role to make that happen. There shouldn’t be any excuses with a well-rested Rask after getting all kinds of backup support from Jaroslav Halak, so we’ll see how it plays out.

There was a question on Twitter. If you were to start a new NHL franchise, who would you start it with? I’m still a big fan of what the Bruins have for a core and Bergeron, Marchand would be my top two. Your thoughts?

--bartz1924 (@bartz1924)

JH: I’d probably start the franchise with Connor McDavid because he’s awesome and young. Duh. It’s such a standard, pat answer, but it’s the only way to start a franchise. The whole key with a player like that is surrounding them with veteran winners who can show the young superstar the right way to play, and that’s where guys like Bergeron and Marchand come in. They are such a good example for all the young talent on the Bruins, and it’s exactly the kind of thing that McDavid, unfortunately, doesn’t have out in Edmonton. That’s part of the reason that they aren’t winning despite having a player with McDavid’s considerable talent level. So it’s not all about who you would start an NHL franchise with, but rather about what you are surrounding that player with as well.  

Thoughts on this year's winter being uneventful? #HaggBag

--Danielle (@bruinsgirl33)

JH: Do you mean the trade deadline? Yeah, it wasn’t super eventful for the Bruins, but they still upgraded with Coyle and Johansson. We’ll see how good they are, and it hasn’t been a great start for the pointless Coyle while Ryan Donato is off to a scoring spree with the Minnesota Wild. But Johansson is better than I thought he’d be already and that’s a credit to his talent and to the fact that he’s healthy for the first time in a couple of seasons. But they were never going to shell out the prospects or the massive contract for Mark Stone, and it seems clear that they didn’t see Wayne Simmonds as a good fit. So, they went with a couple of middle-tier moves instead of the big, massive trade that would have been a potential game-changer against an elite team like Tampa Bay. So, there were events, but they probably didn’t rock the world of Bruins fans.

Hey Joe

I know like many would have loved to see the B's get Stone, Hayes or Simmonds but I think Sweeney did a very good job at improving the team’s depth and filling holes without giving up too much. When you consider outside of Columbus nobody in the East filled their needs as close to the Bruins. Tampa (don't think they have any) Toronto Right Shot D, D depth, Somebody to hit somebody, Islanders and Montreal Overall depth, Carolina scoring Pittsburgh Gudbranson? Also when healthy Johansson is a 45-50pt guy and it seems like he is just starting to get healthy after the hit 12 points in the last 13.

When Healthy:

Bergy, March, Pasta

Krejci, Debrusk, Johannson

Coyle Heinen Backes/Nordstrom/Stempniak(whoever is hot)

Kuraly Acciari Wagner

Now that Debrusk and Heinen have turned things around the depth has increased and their back end is already deep when you consider John Moore has been sitting and he could be on many teams top-4, and almost all teams top-6 plus Steve Kampfer, Urho Vaakanainen, Jeremy Lauzon, they have the bodies for a long run.

No, they didn't get a 30+ goal guy but they have 3 on the first line and now you 5 guys who are 15-25 guys plus maybe the best 4th line in hockey where you have received nine goals from Wagner and tons of versatility. Plus prospect pool and 1st round picks in hand. Losing Vaakanainen, Frederic or Studnicka (who has been on fire since traded from Oshawa to Niagara) plus a first plus, plus to Ottawa (and they most likely would have wanted more to from the B’s than any other team being a division rival) for Stone would have been a tough one. I am pretty sure Dorion was not going to let Sweeney have the same opportunity to negotiate like Vegas did a new contract, and have to face Stone 4 times a year for the next 8.

Hopefully the new guys gel and we go for a run. Maybe Pittsburgh gets the 8th spot and upsets Tampa Bay in round 1.

Thanks

DJ

JH: Boy, it is a positive world that you live in DJ! Look, the Bruins certainly upgraded with Coyle and Johansson. The problem, as you correctly mentioned at the end, is that the Bruins are going to need help taking Tampa Bay down whether it’s a first-round upset or a key injury or two that takes away some of the Lightning’s explosiveness. Once you’re hoping for that kind of stuff in order to beat a team in the postseason, then you’re kind of in trouble if it doesn’t happen. I think the B’s are better after making those trades, but I still don’t think they are nearly as good as Tampa Bay, and this season would probably end similarly to last spring’s second round when they fell to the Bolts in five games.

I do agree with you about Stone, though. Look at where the Senators traded both Erik Karlsson and Mike Hoffman. They shipped both out to San Jose with the hope that their former players wouldn’t get a chance to torment them in the division over the years, and you expected the same was going to happen with Stone. And lo and behold he ended up in Vegas.

So, we’ll see how it works out for the Bruins, but they are in good shape in terms of the NHL roster quality and the prospect depth that’s supporting it.

Only two teams that I’m worried about getting passed in a playoff series Toronto and Tampa, and thanks to the terrible playoff structure, we have to go through both. I’ll take any other team any day of the week, what’s your take? Also any thoughts on Mandalorian series? #HaggBag

--Adam (@aldred224)

JH: I don’t know enough about the Mandalorian series, but I’ll buy anything that Jon Favreau is involved in. So I’m sure I’ll watch it and I’m sure it’s going to be good. As far as the playoff structure goes, I actually don’t hate it and have never hated it. I like that divisional rivals play each other over and over again in the postseason and that fosters the rivalry thing over time. It’s true that there’s always going to be a tough division where a team is going to get screwed in the first round, and that might be Toronto or Boston this season. Certainly, a second-round matchup against Tampa Bay is going to be unfortunate for either one of them if it ends up happening.

But I’ve made peace with that happening from time to time as long as the rivalries grow better within the divisions and the hatred starts to bubble over when two teams face each other over and over again. Think about how nasty, entertaining and hard-fought a first-round series between the Bruins and Leafs is going to be this season. I am all in on that and that's thanks to the current playoff format.  

Are you going to see the #KISS during the #EndOfTheRoad tour?

--Stewart Allen Clark (@StewartAllenCl1)

JH: Nope. Sorry. Not a member of the Kiss Army. I just never got into them. They kind of scared the crap out of me as a kid, to be honest with you. I like some of their songs, but I was maybe a year or two too young to really get caught up in their heyday in the late 1970s.

Hi Joe,

I like the Coyle trade, fixing that third-line center spot was a must. Riley Nash was very good for the Bruins in that role last year, but I think Charlie Coyle is an upgrade. I agree 100 percent with you on the Marcus Johansson trade, they needed to get Stone, Simmons or Kevin Hayes. I will say this, Johansson will produce more than the over-rated Rick Nash. But this roster is not good enough to beat Tampa, and they will have their hands full with the Leafs. Being from the Toronto area I just hope they beat the Leafs.

PS I got to see the Bruins win in Vegas last week.

Terry Carpenter

JH: This pretty much sums up my feelings too, Terry. We’ll see how it plays out and anything can happen in the playoffs based on injuries, hot goaltenders etc. But they needed a bona-fide, game-breaking scorer on the wing added to this roster if they wanted to really match firepower with the Lightning and they just didn’t do it, or couldn’t do it. You know what’s even worse? Maybe this team is peaking early with this current 16-game point streak and we’ll look back and say “the Bruins were never able to get back that late February/early March level” once the playoffs came around. There’s a positive thought to end the Hagg Bag! See you next week, folks.  

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Hagg Bag: Bye week edition means plenty of trade scenarios to consider

Hagg Bag: Bye week edition means plenty of trade scenarios to consider

The bye week is here for the Bruins and that means the players are scattered to the four corners of the Earth for warm weather, umbrella cocktails and some kind of beach setup. So, the Bruins are locked in third place in the Atlantic Division until next week and they’ve done well to stay in playoff position to this point.

Still, discouraging losses to Montreal, Philly and the New York Rangers leave concern about the direction of the team and reveal some flaws coming up to the surface after they were able to ride their top line, power play and strong goaltending for the first four months of the season. With the trade deadline a little more than a month away, the rumors are rampant and the Bruins should be right in the middle of all of it.

Here are some of those scenarios, rumors and good, old-fashioned questions about what the Bruins will do. As always, these are real questions from real readers that sent tweets to my Twitter account using the #HaggBag hashtag, messages to my NBCS Facebook account and emails to my @JHaggerty@nbcuni.com email account. Now on to the bag:

Ok your opinion on the Bruins at the trade deadline, could they be sellers?

--Eugene Mannarino (@steelmann58)

JH: In my opinion, they won’t be. And I think that’s going to be the opinion of Cam Neely, Don Sweeney and ownership. They’re in third place in the Atlantic and really in no danger of falling out of the playoff picture with Buffalo starting to come back to reality a little bit. There is a window to compete for Cups with Zdeno Chara, Tuukka Rask, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand not getting any younger.

Now, do they have the team to make a run at the Cup as currently constituted? It’s extremely difficult to see them beating Tampa Bay in a playoff series and they would likely fall short in the same fashion that they did last season against the Lightning. Still, it’s also reasonable to see them at least winning a round in the playoffs before they get to that point. That could change based on whatever kind of move Sweeney makes at the deadline.

Realistically, it would need to be a big, substantial move to get the Bruins closer to Tampa Bay in terms of talent, depth etc. but things can also happen whether injuries, slumps or something unforeseen. The Bruins are kind of stuck in a position right now where they’re clearly good enough to be a playoff team, but don’t seem quite Cup-worthy. It’s up to Bruins management to do something about that and find a way to get them closer to the elite in the East. Easier said than done, but that’s the gig.

Hi Joe,

McAvoy is the future for this team. However, is he untouchable at this time? The NHL seems to be moving more towards having an arsenal of #2/3 defensemen instead of the quintessential #1. If they are receiving calls on him I believe now is the time to sell. A future superstar for a future superstar. I personally do not believe Sweeney is capable of a trade this complex. However, the league is gearing more towards skill and speed. Besides the first line and DeBrusk, who stands out offensively? Even though Chiarelli may never negotiate with the Bruins, I would venture a McAvoy for Draisaitl move. Fixes the RW issue now, and bridges the C gap for Bergeron/Krejci. Thank you!

J

JH: I disagree about moving away from a quintessential No. 1. Now, is Charlie McAvoy going to be a No. 1 defenseman when it’s all said and done? That’s a legitimate question that needs to be answered. Clearly, he needs to stay healthy and needs to continue developing both ends of his game while showing that he truly wants to be a No. 1 guy.

But I’m not ready to give up on McAvoy in a seismic deal like you are talking about. As it is now, the Bruins are probably going to get him for a more reasonable contract than once thought given that this season hasn’t been a dominant one for him. Given the shortcomings that Torey Krug and Matt Grzelcyk have defensively and given that Chara is 41, there would be a huge void on Boston’s back end if they moved McAvoy without getting some kind of equal defensive talent in return.

It’s certainly true, though, that the Bruins are going to have to give up equal talent if they hope to get a young star forward into the mix who can really change their dynamic up front. And other teams will undoubtedly be asking about McAvoy. Still, I wouldn’t do it if I were Sweeney and Neely, and I don’t think they really have an appetite for it given some of the other young stars that they’ve traded in the past. McAvoy just needs more time to develop both on and off the ice and the Bruins need to give it to him.

 
Hey Haggs

I hear u about the B’s lack of response. The B’s seems to be in good shape when healthy but they need to make 2 moves up front: 1 for a scorer and 1 for a guy that can handle himself and add a bit of offence. Personally I like to see if they could get 2 rentals Maroon (any guy that would drop the gloves with Big Z is good in my books and can score a bit) and Simmonds (total package). Living close to Toronto often hear how the Leafs play a lot like the Bolts and they both may have a ton of offence but the Leafs don’t have Callahan JT Miller Paquette Hedman McDonough to compete in the physicality department and that was the difference in the B’s beating Leafs and losing to Tampa.

B’s get Maroon and Simmonds imagine:

Bergy Marchand Pasta

Krejci Debrusk Simmonds

Kuraly Maroon Wagner

Backes Nordstrom Heinen/Donato/JFK (at least one of them would leave in Simmonds deal)


Thanks

DJ

London Ontario

JH: I have long been a fan of the Bruins going after Wayne Simmonds and still think he might be the best fit for what they truly need on that second line. He’s more skilled offensively than Michael Ferland and certainly a top-6 guy where some of the other players (Ferland, Patrick Maroon) are more third line guys at this point.

From talking to people around the Bruins, it sure seems as if they want somebody younger that they can control for a while under contract. Don’t forget that when they made the Rick Nash trade and gave up a first-round pick, the understanding was that Nash was going to resign in Boston so they were making an investment for beyond just last season.

Obviously, it didn’t come to pass with Nash retiring due to the concussion, but the Bruins are still in a position where they want somebody beyond this season. That might be a bit of a rub with Simmonds, who's probably looking to make some big free-agent bucks after this season. But who knows? Maybe they trade for Simmonds, he realizes the Bruins are a perfect fit and they find something reasonable that can work for both sides. Crazier things have happened.

As far as Maroon goes, I’d take a pass at this point. If you get Simmonds, then I don’t think you really need him. They just need somebody up front that plays a big, strong, heavy, mean game, and if he can score a few goals, then all the better. That’s the very definition of Simmonds, but we’ll see if the Bruins can pull it off.  

I also still like the idea of Brayden Schenn as a versatile, tough, competitive player who would really upgrade the Bruins up front. And he’s signed for next season. I don’t think he’d end up costing the Bruins something they wouldn’t be willing to part with either.

Hi Joe,
Wow! These B’s are NOT there to compete against the top teams when they struggle against teams they should be man-handling, especially on home ice! Sorry, ‘man-handling’, was thinking of those 2010-2013 Bruins that had players with grit, jam, size to go with scorers.....won a Cup and a finalist!  It’s still called hockey and the NHL (physical) even in 2019!

Sayonara......
Ron

JH: I agree, Ron. Playing down to the competition with the Flyers and Rangers over the past week was a concern. It also looked to me that, like the Christmas break, the Bruins were already thinking about their vacation plans ahead of the bye rather than focusing on beating the Rangers. Still, they’re in a good spot and they managed to battle through plenty of adversity in the first half. Let’s see what they can do at the trade deadline and then we’ll adjust our expectations from there.  

When do you think we'll get the Title for Star Wars Episode XI? #HaggBag

--Alissa #RSPNow (@nerdmetalchic4)

JH: How about Star Wars Episode XI: The Search to Undo what the Last Jedi Wrought? Seriously, I’d go with something like “The Last Stand of the Resistance” maybe.

Hi Joe,

That was a bad week by the Bruins. One point against the Canadiens, Flyers and Rangers is just not good enough. And losing to the Rangers, another bad Hockey team, puts them at 9 losses to bad teams this year. That game was lost in the first 10 minutes tonight. Six power play minutes and the Rangers had the better of the chances. That’s not good enough. Bergeron and Krejci are the best 2 Bruins when it comes to puck management. So you put Krejci on the point on the power play. By doing that you probably cut down on the number odd man rushes the opposing teams constantly get.

And come on Halak, you got to make a save on the winning goal. There was very little traffic in front, that's a save that's got to be made.

Terry Carpenter

JH: Agreed. Terry. Halak is simply coming back to his usual level of performance after playing so well in the first half of the season, but I’m sure some of it is also about his playing time getting spaced out with Tuukka Rask’s performance on the rise. I would expect, barring any unforeseen issues with Rask’s concussion against the Rangers, that it will continue to play out that way in the second half.

The Bruins don’t usually put Krejci and Bergeron together on the power play unless it’s a two-man advantage. I’m not sure putting a forward back there on point is going to cut down on the shorthanded chances for other teams. It may simply be that the Bruins are going to have to live with that as long as the power play continues to score goals. The problem in the last few games was that the PP wasn’t functioning well offensively and was still giving up chances to the other team. When that happens, it’s time to change something up on the special teams. Maybe it’s about putting McAvoy as the top point guy on the top unit rather than Krug, who tends to run into problems when it comes to those shorthanded chances allowed. Either way, there’s an adjustment that needs to made, particularly given how dependent the Bruins are on the power play for much of their offensive success. The PP needs to come through if they’re going to win games against good teams and even against not-so-good teams as well. It’s as simple as that.


Hi Joe, 

Thanks for taking my question. I'm worried that Sweeney will trade away some of our young assets for aging veterans just to get an opportunity to get out of the 1st round.

Case in point, last year's acquisition of Rick Nash. NYR got a great young developing star in Ryan Lindgren. 

It's clear that the B's are more than a few players away to match top echelon teams like the Bolts, Caps, Jet and Flames. It take 3 years for your rookies to come into own with a team. I wouldn't rush to trade Heinen (who is having a down year), JFK, Donato etc.  Both Carlo and Grzelcyk have really come into their own this year and I would hate to see the B's org developing these assets over the past couple of years and then trading them to a non-playoff team that will end up with a valuable asset.....while we lose our trade acquisition to free agency or retirement.

Your thoughts?

Art

JH: I’ll be honest, Art. I don’t think Ryan Lindgren is a young developing star. Certainly, he might be an NHL defenseman, but I don’t think there is much in the way of star qualities there. I think the Bruins need to trade somebody from the Danton Heinen/Ryan Donato/Anders Bjork troika and obviously, it’s not going to be Bjork given he just went down with another shoulder surgery. I actually think Donato could end up being the guy that gets moved if/when it does happen. Clearly, there is NHL talent there in his shot and release, and other teams will value that highly.

I wouldn’t trade Brandon Carlo. I think he’s made real progress this season offensively and he’s started to develop a bit of the warrior mentality in the defensive zone as well. Would I trade Matt Grzelcyk? I probably would if it was a forward who could come in and be a difference-maker. You can make arguments about waiting three years for the young players to come into their own, but where are Bergeron, Chara and Marchand going to be at that point? Where is the Bruins team as a whole going to be at that point? They are in a competitive window now and that means making a trade to help this season’s team, and it may mean trading away a young piece that clearly could become a good player for another team.

I wouldn’t trade any of those assets for a rental player unless the Bruins had designs on keeping him beyond this season, however. They didn’t do that last season when the only NHL talent they gave up was Ryan Spooner, who they weren’t going to keep anyway (and who just waived by the Edmonton Oilers as well).  
 

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Hagg Bag mailbag: Still looking for ways to improve the Bruins roster

tuukka_rask.jpg
File Photo

Hagg Bag mailbag: Still looking for ways to improve the Bruins roster

The Bruins are just past the midway point of the season, on a pace for 100 points and in a pretty solid playoff position while having nearly a full, healthy lineup for the first time all year. So things are looking pretty good for the B’s, right?

Well, as always the Hagg Bag is full of helpful suggestions from the fans and faithful readers. As always, these are the actual tweets to my account using the #HaggBag mailbag, messages to my NBCS Facebook fan page and emails to my joseph.haggerty@nbcuni.com email address. Now on to the bag!

Hi Joe!

Looks like Bruins prospects did fairly well in WJC.

Both Shen (RUS) and Lauko (CZĘ) showed good offensive skills with Bukac (CZĘ) on backend; and Vaakananien (FIN) appears to have fully recovered from concussion! He will be anchoring B’s backend with Lauzon, Carlo, Sherman, and hopefully, McAvoy! Now need to get Shen signed to an ELC and hope Studnicka (CAN) will continue his strong development! 

Must keep a watch on Lauko! He may just become ‘Pasta lite’ next season.....

Ron
Saitama, Japan

JH: I agree, Ron. There were all kinds of positive signs at the World Junior tournament. The continued star development of Jack Studnicka is obviously one, and the play of Urho Vaakanainen was another big, big one. He looked like a stud two-way defenseman in the tournament, and obviously looked fully recovered from the concussion.

It will be interesting to see how he’s deployed for the rest of the season by the Bruins, and whether his development will make a left shot D-man available via trade whether it’s Matt Grzelcyk or Torey Krug. It sure looks like they’re going to have some valuable assets to make a deal at the deadline, and just need to decide which direction they want to go in.

But the bottom line is that there’s another wave of young players for the Bruins that are about ready to be added to the mix.  

Joe, will you be attending the “Rask won 3 regular season games in January” banner raising ceremony in October?

--Bruins Cup Quest 2019 (@richg6567)

JH: I am not just attending, I am hosting it. It’s great to see Tuukka Rask playing well now and really excelling on the big stage in the Winter Classic. But we’ve seen this movie before. Let’s see it in Game 7 of a playoff series after he was an absolute mess in that game against the Toronto Maple Leafs last spring. That is one of the things we just haven’t seen enough of during his career with the Black and Gold.

Haggs:

It's gotta stop.  Weakling getting sand kicked into his face by NHL bullies of the beach.  Blake Coleman?!  Beating you up to teach-you a lesson?!  From last year?!  

With impunity.

B's might miss the playoffs if this keeps going down.  Great goaltending ain't gonna do it all. "Big, bad Bruins." Quaider, we need ya'!

Happy New Year.

Greg PDX

JH: You’re preaching to the choir, Greg. That’s why I like the whispers I’m hearing about the Bruins being interested in Brayden Schenn with the St. Louis Blues. He’s not a killer like Adam McQuaid by any means. But he is a tough player, a team-oriented guy and somebody that plays with honest-to-goodness physicality, and he can put the puck in the net too. The Bruins need another big, tough player up front and Schenn could be that guy.

I was pushing for a tough guy for the fourth line earlier in the season, but the way Noel Acciari, Sean Kuraly and Chris Wagner are developing as a fourth line makes me very hesitant to do anything to mess that up. So it’s either Wayne Simmonds, or Schenn, or somebody like that who could lend some muscle and mean to a front group that’s pretty young, pretty small and pretty skill-oriented for the most part.

On a scale of ten to ten with ten being the worst how much ass did the last Jedi suck??

--Danny Leandres (@mastexarkun)

JH: I would give it a “37.” I liked some parts of it, but really did not like the middle part of the movie. The casino stuff was prequel-level bad and some of the humor was weird and un-Star Wars like. I also thought that Poe Dameron was kind of wasted in the movie too. And Princess Leia as Mary Poppins in space. It was supposed to be this big, emotional scene and the whole theatre I was in kind of laughed the absurdity of it. So yeah, I didn’t love it even though I wouldn’t say I hated it either. I thought the Luke Skywalker arc was pretty good, and most of the stuff with Kylo Ren and Rey was good too.  

Hey Joe

If the Stars owner thinks Jamie Benn is crap Sweeney should already be on the phone. The guy does everything scores fights hits and would be awesome with either Bergeron or Krejci. I would goes as far as including Carlo in the deal if necessary and provided Stars retain some cap space. Carlo Bjork plus whatever else it takes while still keeping McAvoy and DeBrusk. Even try to get them to throw in Brett Ritchie.

Happy Holidays

DJ London Ontario

JH: Sign me up. I’d take Jamie Benn in a heartbeat. I think he’s a good player and he could be a winner around the right group. I also think the Dallas Stars are having some serious buyer’s remorse after giving Tyler Seguin almost $10 million per season. As expected, he’s gone into major cruise control and doesn’t seem to show any of the urgency he did before signing the massive deal with Dallas. I like Seguin personally and he’s incredibly talented, but I just don’t think that winning hockey games is really that important to him at the end of the day. But Benn, he’d look great in Black and Gold. There’s just no way they could really afford him unless they were able to move David Krejci in the deal.

Gotta ask: Any interest from the Bruins in Duchene? He could be a nice center as Krejci/Bergy get older and he’s a great skill player but I have questions about his character and locker room presence.

--JCT MTG (@JCThacker21)

JH: I don’t think so. I think there’s an observation within the B’s management group/decision makers that the Colorado Avalanche became a much better team after dealing Matt Duchene, and that Nathan MacKinnon really took off as a player at that point as well.

Then there was the Uber video of him basically bragging about not paying attention during penalty kill meetings with the Ottawa Senators. That may be a two strikes and you’re out scenario as far as the Bruins are concerned. I would never say never because the Bruins clearly need either a top-6 winger that can score or a third line center, but I’d be very, very surprised if you ever see Duchene in Black and Gold. I think a lot would have to go wrong at the trade deadline before that would happen.  

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