Both Patrice Bergeron and Tuukka Rask underwent surgery this week. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Both Patrice Bergeron and Tuukka Rask underwent surgery this week. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

After playing the waiting game and seeing how each player reacted to some rest and recovery, the Bruins have confirmed that two of their best successfully went under the knife this week.

Patrice Bergeron, who missed the first three games of the season before he played the rest of the season with a sports hernia, underwent successful surgery on Monday. The procedure was performed by Dr. Brian Busconi and Dr. Demetrius Litwin. 

Bergeron finished the regular season with 21 goals and 53 points in 79 games, added two goals and four points in six postseason games, and earned yet another nomination as a Selke Trophy finalist.

Meanwhile, it was today that Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask underwent successful right groin surgery by Dr. Peter Asnis.

The 30-year-old Rask missed a total of four games this season because of a lower-body injury (three in October and one in March), but still managed to win a career-high 37 games and eight shutouts.

Both Bergeron and Rask are expected to be ready for the start of next season.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson
Matt Beleskey had three goals and eight points in 49 games this season. (Sergei Belski/USA Today Sports)

Matt Beleskey had three goals and eight points in 49 games this season. (Sergei Belski/USA Today Sports)

Bruins winger Matt Beleskey is not one to shy away from criticism, and he didn’t when he cleaned his locker out after what was a dud of a sequel in Boston and probably his worst season of his entire career.

It was in 49 games this season that Beleskey scored just three times and totaled five assists, along with a minus-10 rating and over two-minute drop in time on ice per contest.

“That’s not who I am. That’s not what I signed to do here,” Beleskey, who recorded 15 goals and 37 points in his first year with the Black and Gold before those aforementioned (subpar) totals, admitted.

“This is going to be a big summer for me with sticking around here. I’m going to train here with all of the facilities and everything available to me here. I think this will be a great summer here in Boston, and I’m looking forward to next season.”

Beleskey, who was signed by the Bruins after a white-hot postseason run with the Ducks back in 2015 piqued first-year general manager Don Sweeney’s interest in the hard-hitting winger, continued that painful ineffectiveness in the postseason and closed his season parked on the bench for the entire third period and overtime frame of the club’s season-ending Game 6 loss to the Senators. (No, seriously, Beleskey didn’t take a single shift in the final 26 minutes plus of that game.)

It was a somewhat fitting end to a year Beleskey would rather forget.

And one that he promises won’t happen again.

“With Matty, there’s a challenge there, because he’s an accomplished player in terms of he’s scored goals in this league,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said at his year-end availability. “We’ve made a commitment to him as a player, and what we’re looking for from Matt is getting back to where he was in terms of a good, solid, physical guy that can chip in offensively.”

Of course, it would be impossible to fairly assess Beleskey’s year without mentioning the knee injury that knocked him out of action for 23 games in the middle of the season. Naturally, the injury occurred when Beleskey was finally beginning to appear to return to form, too, with two goals and four points in 12 games, and with No. 39 returning to his physical brand of hockey.

“You start playing well, you get injured, you struggle in a season with little to no practice with players, jump back in hoping to be up to pace, and obviously, I wasn’t there yet,” said a clearly frustrated Beleskey. “And with that, your confidence kind of goes down, opportunity goes down, and it’s a tough hill to climb, but, that’s that.”

“With his injury, he was always playing catch-up, and we’ve got to get him going from Day 1,” Cassidy said. “I’ll be perfectly honest, we sat down [and said], we need you to be at this level, conditioning-wise, health-wise, right out of the gate. I think it will benefit him, because when he’s able to get there, he’s a very effective player.”

But can that happen in Boston? Beleskey sure hopes so.

“I made a commitment to this city, they made a commitment to me, and I owe a much better year than this year,” Beleskey, who has a limited no-trade clause, said during the team’s break-up day. “I can guarantee it won’t happen again.”

The Bruins attempted to shop Beleskey at the trade deadline according to one source, and while a deal did not materialize then, it’s still a possibility this offseason, and it’s more than possible that Beleskey could get plucked by the Vegas Golden Knights.

Until then, however, the Bruins will prepare for an improved Beleskey to show up to their camp come September.

“I think obviously certain things limited him this year, so we’ve got to get him to that particular point,” Cassidy noted of Beleskey’s future. “I think the rest will take care of itself going forward, and hopefully we get positive results. That’s what we’re all after. We want the player to play well, play to the best of his ability and that’s the challenge in front of us.”

The 28-year-old winger is entering the third year of a five-year contract that comes with a $3.8 million cap hit.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson
Matt Beleskey had three goals and eight points in 49 games this season. (Sergei Belski/USA Today Sports)

Matt Beleskey had three goals and eight points in 49 games this season. (Sergei Belski/USA Today Sports)

Bruins winger Matt Beleskey is not one to shy away from criticism, and he didn’t when he cleaned his locker out after what was a dud of a sequel in Boston and probably his worst season of his entire career.

It was in 49 games this season that Beleskey scored just three times and totaled five assists, along with a minus-10 rating and over two-minute drop in time on ice per contest.

“That’s not who I am. That’s not what I signed to do here,” Beleskey, who recorded 15 goals and 37 points in his first year with the Black and Gold before those aforementioned (subpar) totals, admitted.

“This is going to be a big summer for me with sticking around here. I’m going to train here with all of the facilities and everything available to me here. I think this will be a great summer here in Boston, and I’m looking forward to next season.”

Beleskey, who was signed by the Bruins after a white-hot postseason run with the Ducks back in 2015 piqued first-year general manager Don Sweeney’s interest in the hard-hitting winger, continued that painful ineffectiveness in the postseason and closed his season parked on the bench for the entire third period and overtime frame of the club’s season-ending Game 6 loss to the Senators. (No, seriously, Beleskey didn’t take a single shift in the final 26 minutes plus of that game.)

It was a somewhat fitting end to a year Beleskey would rather forget.

And one that he promises won’t happen again.

“With Matty, there’s a challenge there, because he’s an accomplished player in terms of he’s scored goals in this league,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said at his year-end availability. “We’ve made a commitment to him as a player, and what we’re looking for from Matt is getting back to where he was in terms of a good, solid, physical guy that can chip in offensively.”

Of course, it would be impossible to fairly assess Beleskey’s year without mentioning the knee injury that knocked him out of action for 23 games in the middle of the season. Naturally, the injury occurred when Beleskey was finally beginning to appear to return to form, too, with two goals and four points in 12 games, and with No. 39 returning to his physical brand of hockey.

“You start playing well, you get injured, you struggle in a season with little to no practice with players, jump back in hoping to be up to pace, and obviously, I wasn’t there yet,” said a clearly frustrated Beleskey. “And with that, your confidence kind of goes down, opportunity goes down, and it’s a tough hill to climb, but, that’s that.”

“With his injury, he was always playing catch-up, and we’ve got to get him going from Day 1,” Cassidy said. “I’ll be perfectly honest, we sat down [and said], we need you to be at this level, conditioning-wise, health-wise, right out of the gate. I think it will benefit him, because when he’s able to get there, he’s a very effective player.”

But can that happen in Boston? Beleskey sure hopes so.

“I made a commitment to this city, they made a commitment to me, and I owe a much better year than this year,” Beleskey, who has a limited no-trade clause, said during the team’s break-up day. “I can guarantee it won’t happen again.”

The Bruins attempted to shop Beleskey at the trade deadline according to one source, and while a deal did not materialize then, it’s still a possibility this offseason, and it’s more than possible that Beleskey could get plucked by the Vegas Golden Knights.

Until then, however, the Bruins will prepare for an improved Beleskey to show up to their camp come September.

“I think obviously certain things limited him this year, so we’ve got to get him to that particular point,” Cassidy noted of Beleskey’s future. “I think the rest will take care of itself going forward, and hopefully we get positive results. That’s what we’re all after. We want the player to play well, play to the best of his ability and that’s the challenge in front of us.”

The 28-year-old winger is entering the third year of a five-year contract that comes with a $3.8 million cap hit.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson
The Bruins are fielding offers on Ryan Spooner. (Gregory Fisher/USA Today Sports)

The Bruins are fielding offers on Ryan Spooner. (Gregory Fisher/USA Today Sports)

An arbitration-eligible restricted free agent this summer, Ryan Spooner may very well be done in Boston, with his name reappearing on the trade block, according to a Thursday report from The Hockey News.

But that should not be a shock.

The Bruins scratched Spooner for the final two games of their six-game playoff run in April. The second scratch was quite indicative of just how far Spooner had fallen out of favor with the B’s coaching staff, too, as the club lost center David Krejci (who is probably the closest comparable on the B’s roster at least when we talk about centers with offensive creativity in their passing game) to injury, but did not put Spooner back in action, instead opting for winger Matt Beleskey.

It was the whimpering end to a season that saw the 25-year-old put up just 11 goals, 39 points, and 145 shots in 78 games, along with two assists and a minus-2 rating in four postseason contests.

Still, there’s an interest in Spooner from at least three NHL teams.

Among those included in THN’s report are the New Jersey Devils, Vancouver Canucks, and the league’s 31st team, the Vegas Golden Knights. One source has confirmed to WEEI.com that the Canucks had an interest in Spooner earlier in the season when he his name first came up on the trade market. That said, it’s hard to imagine any of these teams having anything to offer the Bruins, as they’re all short on left-side defensive help and/or scoring wings. Vegas, of course, has zero players, but are in a situation where they could negotiate a deal with the Bruins that lands them Spooner and also allows the Bruins to maintain the defensive depth that would surely be attacked by the Golden Knights come June’s expansion draft.

The Bruins, for what it’s worth, do not have their natural second-round pick (moved in the Lee Stempniak deadline deal last year) or their natural third-round pick (traded to the Flyers in the Zac Rinaldo trade) in this year’s draft.

It’s also worth noting that the Bruins themselves did not seem fully committed to the idea of Spooner returning next season.

“Well, to be determined,” Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said last week when asked about Spooner’s future with the Bruins. “We’ll look at our roster and what our options are. He has options as well as a restricted free agent and we’ll have discussions with his representatives and see where there’s a fit. Ryan struggled down the stretch, had a nice bump when Bruce [Cassidy] first took over, the familiarity probably helped. Offensively it tailed off.”

Moved back to his natural center position under Cassidy (former Bruins coach Claude Julien constantly toyed with Spooner on the wing to Krejci’s left this year prior to his firing), Spooner tallied three goals and 12 points in 24 games under Cassidy’s leadership, but went 12 straight games without an even-strength point to close out his season.

“Ryan’s a talented player and he’s had a lot of success,” Sweeney continued.

“Our power play is better when he plays as well as he’s capable of playing and he can be a good complement to our group.”

Spooner has played his entire career with the Bruins, with 32 goals and 117 points in 214 NHL games.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson
Dale, Holley and Keefe interview the newest coach of the Boston Bruins for the first time, Bruce Cassidy.
Dale, Holley and Keefe interview the newest coach of the Boston Bruins for the first time, Bruce Cassidy.

[0:00:27] ... right now is the 28 head coach in the history of the Boston Bruins Bruce Cassidy joins us Bruce it's dale Michael and rich thanks for taking a few minutes. I don't know how you got ...
[0:01:09] ... it is and it does the process. Just to get over. A series. A series that ends your season so you guys lose to Ottawa at what what did you do next day to go back ...
[0:04:06] ... so you know a little bit both sides. We're talking with the Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. Safe to say that if you hadn't had all the injuries on the back on the back line ...
[0:05:12] ... you've new apprentice for this job with a Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League you developed a reputation of being. Good with younger players do you agree with that assessment and if so what makes you ...






Bruce Cassidy thinks the Penguins and Ducks are the two best teams remaining in the playoffs. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

Bruce Cassidy thinks the Penguins and Ducks are the two best teams remaining in the playoffs. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy admitted that it took him a little bit to get over the sting that came with the club’s first-round exit to the Senators.

But Cassidy is back to enjoying the Stanley Cup Playoffs for what they are, and offered his take on the remaining field to WEEI’s Dale and Holley with Rich Keefe during a Wednesday interview.

“Well, I would have said Pittsburgh about 48 hours, but they took some serious hits,” Cassidy said when asked who the best team remaining is. “I don’t know how bad [Sidney] Crosby is, [Conor] Sheary, [Matt] Murray I thought might have been back by now, [Kris] Letang we know is out, so if they can get through those injuries, wow, that’s a full load.”

The Penguins have been without Letang and Murray for the entire postseason, and it was in Game 3 that they lost both Crosby and Sheary, as both suffered concussions in a losing effort to the Capitals.

“Obviously Washington [is better] on paper, but they’ve had a tough time,” Cassidy noted. “They haven’t been able to do it in April and May. Doesn’t mean they won’t do it this year, so in the East I’d say Pittsburgh.”

Out in the West, Cassidy seems to think that it’s the winner of the Oilers-Ducks series that will prevail.

“Always like Anaheim. I thought they had a good mix,” Cassidy said of the Ducks, who currently trail their second-round series against the Oilers two games to one. “They’re in a bit of trouble with Edmonton. I think Edmonton is a little underrated, but [the Ducks and Penguins] would be my top two teams.”

The Penguins won the Stanley Cup last season, while the Ducks have not lifted Lord Stanley since 2007.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson

Over a week after being named the club’s full-time head coach, Bruins bench boss Bruce Cassidy joined WEEI’s Dale and Holley with Keefe to discuss his team, and also laid out some future plans for a group

Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Over a week after being named the club’s full-time head coach, Bruins bench boss Bruce Cassidy joined WEEI’s Dale and Holley with Keefe to discuss his team, and also laid out some future plans for a group whose run was cut short in round one.

The plans for Cassidy, whose team went 18-8-1 with him behind the bench to close out the regular season, include going even farther in the Stanley Cup Playoffs by this time next year.

“I do, I do,” Cassidy said when asked if he believes this roster, which with the exception of a few minor moves here and there, is expected to remain the same heading into this upcoming season. “Because I think some of these younger kids are a year older.”

For Cassidy’s Bruins, that increased experience goes beyond the forward group that includes David Pastrnak, Frank Vatrano, and bottom-six roleplayers such as Noel Acciari and Sean Kuraly, too.

“Going into last year, it was well documented that our backend was going to be a problem and I thought we played through that,” Cassidy said. “I’m not saying we’re the best defensive corps in the NHL, but I think that part of the group held their own.”

For the Bruins, that emergence on the point was led by the 20-year-old Brandon Carlo, who became a top-pairing defenseman in just his first professional season, while the 19-year-old Charlie McAvoy proved to be a capable fill-in during the club’s playoff run.

“A guy like Carlo, who was a pleasant surprise, you hope he doesn’t go through a sophomore jinx, and continues to get better,” said Cassidy. “A guy like McAvoy coming in, if he continues to develop at the rate we saw over the course of a couple weeks at the end of the season, then you got two young players right away that you’re injecting into your lineup.”

On top of their seemingly reloaded defense, Cassidy’s idea of future success also hinges on the idea of finding more rest for Tuukka Rask, which will be attainable if backup Anton Khudobin shines like he did after the coaching change, with six wins and a .922 save percentage in seven decisions under Cassidy versus a 1-5-1 record and .885 save percentage under Claude Julien.

But also hinting at the idea of a player like Jake DeBrusk, who has scored 19 goals and totaled 49 points in 74 AHL games along with three goals and an assist in five AHL playoff games this spring, joining the B’s top six, and with the idea of getting more out of a shoot-first winger such as Frank Vatrano (he had 10 goals in 44 games this season), the Bruins know they will not be the only team infusing more youth and energy into their lineup this season. Especially not in an Atlantic Division chock full of youth.

“But teams around you get better, so it’s all relative, but I think we will,” said Cassidy, subtly referencing many of the skaters in the middle lines of the Black and Gold this past season. “Obviously we gotta get a little bit more out of a few of the players we didn’t this year, and that’s fine, we’ll put the work in, and hopefully they do, and they’ll have good seasons for us.”

 

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson
David Backes had 17 goals and 38 points in 74 games this season. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

David Backes had 17 goals and 38 points in 74 games this season. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Deep down, the Bruins know that the early years of the five-year, $30 million contract handed down to David Backes, who turned 33 years old just two days ago, are going to be the most rewarding ones.

What they didn’t account for, however, was that Backes’ first year removed from the Blues, the team that he called his own for over a decade, would come with a whole different set of adjustments.

Those adjustments did not derail his first season in Boston, which featured 17 goals and 38 points in 74 games along with absences due to an elbow procedure and concussion, but rather appeared during Backes’ fair share of dry spells and production dips from years prior.

“It was a big transition. He was very honest in saying he was overwhelmed with moving from a place where he had been very well established, had a very identifiable role as captain, and a relationship with the coach,” Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said of Backes’ first season with the Bruins. “All those things are moving parts that he admitted openly that it was a little overwhelming at times, despite everybody doing what they can to make him comfortable.

 

“He was very grateful and happy that the wives and girlfriends helped his own wife and family adjust.”

“David had a hard time adjusting,” B’s president Cam Neely said at his year-end press conference on Tuesday, backing up Sweeney’s claims. “He mentioned that at the end of the year that it was more of a challenge to come to a new city and a new team and get to know 22 to 24 other players. That took a while for him to get adjusted.”

With goal-scoring dips in four straight seasons, and with a 13-point dropoff from 2015 to 2016, and then a seven-point dropoff from that season this past year, the writing on the wall in terms of Backes’ expectations is seemingly there. But the Bruins believe that they’re going to get an even better No. 42 next season with these adjustments a thing of the past.

“I think that David will be an even better player for us going forward,” Sweeney noted. “I thought his production was pretty good overall. Played a couple of different roles and situations, sees himself probably staying on the wing, but can certainly provide the depth up the middle of the ice, depending on how the lineup looks and who emerges, and we’re happy to have him.”

It also helped that the Bruins probably saw some of Backes’ best in the playoffs, where he recorded one goal and four points, along with a forward-leading 29 hits in six postseason games in the club’s first-round loss to the Senators. Those contributions are a big reason why the Bruins signed Backes in the first place, as he entered the free agency market with 49 games of postseason experience with the Blues, including a 20-game run to the Western Conference Finals with the club back in 2016.

“I feel like David is really built for the type of playoff hockey you have to have and play to go deep. I feel he’s a great leader. He’s helped the young kids a ton. If he can pick up a little bit of a step in his game, which he’s going to work on in the offseason, I think that’s going to be beneficial for him and us,” said Neely. “But, I like his physicality. I like the fact that he’ll stand front of the net and pay the price to be there. I think offensive wise, we got kind of what we expected from him. Would we like a little more? Yeah. But, all the things that he brings, I thought that whole package was a welcome addition.”

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson