The Bruins began their three-game road with back-to-back wins — in impressive fashion, too — in Arizona and Colorado, but will have to go for the clean sweep of the trip without their top goal-scorer, as David Pastrnak will miss tonight’s head-to-head with the Wild at Xcel E

David Pastrnak.

David Pastrnak.

The Bruins began their three-game road with back-to-back wins — in impressive fashion, too — in Arizona and Colorado, but will have to go for the clean sweep of the trip without their top goal-scorer, as David Pastrnak will miss tonight’s head-to-head with the Wild at Xcel Energy Center with an undisclosed injury.

Given a maintenance day on Tuesday, absent from Wednesday’s practice, and then confirmed out for tonight’s game following an optional skate early this morning, coach Claude Julien quipped “not sure” when asked if Pastrnak’s injury was an upper or lower-body injury.

The loss of Pastrnak — who is tied for the second-most goals in the NHL, with 10 — is a big one for a Bruins club that while winning, have scored just four goals (one empty-netter) on 75 shots on this road trip.

“I like the way we’re playing,” Julien said. “I like the fact that we’re winning some hockey games here and playing well. You build on the positives here and let the other stuff hopefully come.”

This is not the first time the Bruins have been without No. 88 in their lineup, as the team was forced to skate without him during his two-game ban for an illegal check to the head of the Rangers’ Dan Girardi, and went 2-0-0 in his absence.

With Pastrnak out, the B’s are expected to skate Riley Nash in his spot on the top line with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron, while Dominic Moore will move up to the middle of the third line with Matt Beleskey and Austin Czarnik. Tim Schaller will move to the middle of a fourth line with Jimmy Hayes flipped to the left side and recent AHL recall Sean Kuraly on the right side.

 

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson
David Backes has earned his money this season. (Eric Bolte/USA Today Sports)

David Backes has earned his money this season. (Eric Bolte/USA Today Sports)

Today’s column is a mailbag comprised of questions received via Twitter and/or email. For future pieces, questions can be sent to:letitbleedrearad@gmail.com or @RearAdBsBlog. Please include name and city/town:

Has David Backes been worth the $6M (cap hit) so far this season? —- Todd, Quincy

Absolutely. The physical, grinding forward has 3-4—7 totals in 11 games and has brought the intensity and effort that are the trademarks of his game. His .64 points per game is third on the team behind David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand. Additionally, his leadership during the game and in the room has carried with it a dose of accountability that had perhaps been lacking. Money well spent thus far.

Can Tuukka Rask continue playing at this pace? —- Jimmy, Winchester

If there’s one position in hockey where a guy can keep up a seemingly torrid pace all season, it’s goalie. Rask has come flying out of the gate with Vezina-like numbers (10-1 record, 1.54 GAA, .945 SP, and three shutouts) and might be playing the best hockey off his career right now. Though he might have a hiccup at some point, expect Rask to challenge Montreal netminder Carey Price for year-end hardware.

Who has been the biggest surprise this season? —- Ronnie, West Roxbury

This is an easy one: defenseman Brandon Carlo. Though he came into camp as one of the team’s better prospects, it’s still a very pleasant surprise just how seamlessly the teenager has fit in. Playing alongside captain Zdeno Chara, Carlo’s mistakes have been rare and he’s more resembled a steady vet than a 19-year-old kid just 16 games into what should be a nice long career. Like most rookies, it’s expected he’ll hit the proverbial wall at some point. But given what we’ve seen so far, I’m expecting Carlo to simply scale the wall and keep doing what he’s doing.

Who or what has been the biggest reason for the Bruins success so far this season? —- Dave, Arlington

Rask’s goaltending is the obvious answer given his play (though Brad Marchand essentially carried the team early on). But one guy who should get more credit for the results thus far is Claude Julien. Claude’s steadying hand has kept the team on an even keel and, after some early bumps, has been seemingly been pushing every right button. There’s been no talk about ‘short leashes’ since before the season started and it’s clear the team is playing for their coach. Some day, he’ll get the respect he warrants in this town.

Patrice Bergeron has just two goals and two assists so far in 13 games. Should we be worried? —- Patti, Plymouth

Nah, nothing to worry about here despite the five straight games without a point. Bergy’s numbers will come around. He started the year hobbled due to his injured foot acting up and needed a few games to get up to speed. Though he has points in just three of 13 games, Bergeron is back to playing his standard high-end game and his offense will soon follow.

Blog Author: 
Rear Admiral
Tom Brady isn't the only New England athlete to star in some killer commercials. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Tom Brady isn’t the only New England athlete to star in some killer commercials. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

By now, you’ve seen the new Foot Locker commercial featuring Tom Brady and some subtle jabs at Deflategate. And if you haven’t… well, I refuse to believe that, because you live in New England and therefore are incapable of not thinking about or Googling either Tom Brady, the Patriots, and/or Deflategate at least six times a day.

Seriously, you’re not fooling anybody.

The Week of Greatness ad is just the latest spot featuring the best quarterback of all time, but far from the first. Everybody remembers when he lost his damn mind when he just went looking for some Under Armour, and when he worked as a telemarketer.

But what about the city’s hockey team?

Surely there’s been some commercials featuring members of the Black and Gold — and no, those godawful World Cup of Hockey commercials do not count — over the years, no? Right you are.

With the help of YouTube, here’s a look at some of the best commercials featuring members of the Bruins.

5. Zdeno Chara decapitates a goaltender, terrifies Wings’ Jonas Gustavsson and Jimmy Howard

Everything about Zdeno Chara’s shot is scary. It comes bombing in on you at over 100 miles per hour, and you’re luckily if you can even see it before it goes by you and hits you right where there’s not enough padding (read as: everywhere). But did you know it once decapitated the Red Wings’ third-string goaltender? In the words of Jimmy Howard, “That m—“… well, watch it.

Honorable mention to this Sportsnet commercial that Big Z shot last year, too. 

4. Tim Thomas gets stuck in a cab (a Boston cab)

Like the Marchand commercial, this ad came out shortly after the Bruins had won their first Stanley Cup in 39 years and the entire city of Boston could not get enough of the Conn Smythe winner, Tim Thomas. But there was one person that couldn’t get enough of Thomas, and it just happened to be his cab driver. Shout out to Peggy, we miss you. And let the record show I will take a billion Peggy commercials if it means I don’t have to watch another Frog/Fraud Protection commercial for the rest of my life.

3. Brad Marchand gets a part-time job

This commercial came out around the height of Boston falling in love with No. 63, and showed off his hilarious side as a pest and actor. Marchand popularized the phrase “You got a big dome, eh?” in the Boston area for the next calendar year, if not longer, and would later go on to sing on stage about NHL 15, hung out with Bear and the Gang. Though his acting days have settled down of late, Marchand would go on to score some big goals for the B’s and Canada and get paid a lot of money, but that’s not important.

2. Patrice Bergeron and Andrew Raycroft get to the game

This one’s a favorite of mine, and no, not just because nobody noticed that they called Patrice Bergeron a “roockie” forward. (How did that not get cut from the finished product?) But there’s a few things that make this a great throwback. First of all, Bergeron looks like he’s 12 years old. Secondly, there’s no traffic on the Zakim Bridge. And third, it’s not even called the TD Garden yet, as you can see with the Fleetcenter emblem still located right on the back-facing side of the building. Incredible.

1. Cam Neely invites ESPN to kick his dog

Cam Neely proved to be more than a one-role actor (the B’s legend played “Seabass” in 1994’s “Dumb & Dumber” and there’s literally no way you don’t already know this) with his spot in this ESPNews commercial. In the ad, Neely, now retired, is just verbally destroying an unseen ESPN employee while gardening in his front yard with a Dachshund standing guard. This alone makes this commercial straight-up incredible, I know, but it’s Neely’s closing line that makes this commercial a classic.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson

On a long three-day layoff between games ahead of their road trip finale against the Wild on Thursday, the Bruins welcomed another body back to the ice on Tuesday with the return of defenseman Kevan Miller.

On a long three-day layoff between games ahead of their road trip finale against the Wild on Thursday, the Bruins welcomed another body back to the ice on Tuesday with the return of defenseman Kevan Miller.

Kevan Miller

Kevan Miller

On a long three-day layoff between games ahead of their road trip finale against the Wild on Thursday, the Bruins welcomed another body back to the ice on Tuesday with the return of defenseman Kevan Miller.

Injured with a minor knee ailment in the preseason, and then shelved with a fractured left hand suffered in the preseason finale — one that was expected to come with a six-week recovery time — Miller’s participation in practice is just the first step of many in an eventual return back to the lineup.

“He’s back skating with us, so he’s coming around,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said after Tuesday’s practice. “Still not fully cleared for anything, for full contact and all that stuff, but he’s good enough to practice with us.”

The Bruins began a rotation of sorts with their defense before Miller even joined the team for practice, as Sunday’s win over the Avalanche came with a healthy scratch for Colin Miller, who has just one goal and an assist in 15 games this season, while Joe Morrow moved into the lineup for the first time since Oct. 22 and John-Michael Liles shifted over to the right side on the club’s third-pairing.

Signed to a four-year, $10 million extension last spring, who Miller bumps out of the mix remains to be determined.

The 29-year-old Miller, a frequent partner for B’s captain Zdeno Chara, established career-highs across the board in 2015-16, with five goals, 13 assists, 18 points, 64 shots, 164 hits, and 123 blocked shots.

An undrafted talent out of Los Angeles, Calif., Miller played his college hockey with the University of Vermont, and has totaled eight goals and 31 points in 159 games for the Bruins since the 2013-14 season.

 

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson

Defenseman Dougie Hamilton wanted out of Boston. Bruins general manager Don Sweeney granted his wish, too, with a draft day trade that sent Hamilton packing to the Calgary Flames for three draft picks (one 2015 first-round choice and two-second round choices) in 2015.

Tuukka Rask has returned as the Bruins' MVP, this season. (Eric Bolte/USA Today Sports)The "Tuukka Rask is actually good, after all" columns have been written over and over this season. This isn’t another one.



The Flames are reportedly taking calls on defenseman Dougie Hamilton. (Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports)

The Flames are reportedly taking calls on defenseman Dougie Hamilton. (Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports)

Defenseman Dougie Hamilton wanted out of Boston. Bruins general manager Don Sweeney granted his wish, too, with a draft day trade that sent Hamilton packing to the Calgary Flames for three draft picks (one 2015 first-round choice and two-second round choices) in 2015.

Now, less than two years into his tenure with a new organization, it’s the Flames that may want out of Hamilton.

Mired in a four-game losing streak, in 29th place in the NHL and with a league-high 59 goals allowed through 16 games this year, the Flames are an undeniable mess, and Hamilton has failed to be the star they thought they were getting from the Black and Gold in that trade (the Bruins used the picks acquired in the trade to draft forwards Zachary Senyshyn and Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, and d-man Jeremy Lauzon).

Hamilton has tallied just two goals and six points this season — and all six of those points came in a five-game stretch from Oct. 20 through Oct. 28 — and has accumulated a minus-10 rating over his last four games played. Overall, the former ninth overall draft pick (2011) has recorded 14 goals and 49 points in 98 games with the Flames — mainly as a No. 4 d-man — compared to the 22 goals and 82 points in 176 games in three seasons on the Bruins’ top pairing with Zdeno Chara from 2013 to 2015.

Under contract with a $5.75 million cap hit through 2021, Hamilton’s future in Calgary was the discussion of the Hockey Night in Canada panel last Saturday, with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Arizona Coyotes mentioned as teams interested in No. 27.

Interestingly enough, the Coyotes were rumored to be one of the teams that expressed in an interest in Hamilton in 2015.

HNIC’s Nick Kypreos continued that the Flames would be best served by waiting until Hamilton’s play improves and thus maximizing the value, but right now they absolutely do not have that (from much of anyone on their roster, for that matter).

Meanwhile, Senyshyn has recorded five goals and nine points in 14 games for the Soo Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League, Lauzon has contributed one goal and six points in seven games for his QMJHL team, the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, and Forsbacka-Karlsson has two goals and nine points in nine games for Boston University.

 

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson