Jonas Gustavsson

Jonas Gustavsson

The Bruins made some roster moves upon returning from the All-Star break, most notably by placing goaltender Jonas Gustsavsson on injured reserve and recalling Malcolm Subban from Providence. David Pastrnak, who was sent to Providence to play games during the break, was also recalled.

Gustavsson had a health scare in last Tuesday’€™s contest agains the Ducks, as he left the game after one period due to an elevated heart rate and was taken to Mass General hospital. After spending the night in the hospital, he was discharged when preliminary tests came back negative. The team said last week that Gustavsson would rejoin the team after the break ‘€œpending clearance from the Bruins medical staff.’€

The 30-year-old netminder has had three different heart procedures since coming to the NHL in 2009. He was on the ice prior to Monday’€™s practice working with goaltending coach Bob Essensa, but did not appear to be facing any shots. Instead, Gustavsson worked on positioning and puck management outside the net.

Adam McQuaid, who has been out since Jan. 5 with an upper-body injury and remains on IR, also skated Monday. The 29-year-old blueliner took passes from strength and conditioning coach John Whitesides in addition to skating and shooting.

Both Subban and Pastrnak were present for Monday’s practice. It is unclear how long the Bruins will keep Gustavsson out for, but Subban’€™s recall could potentially give him the opportunity to play his second NHL game. In his only NHL game to date, Subban only faced three shots in the first period, stopping them all, but then allowed goals on the first three shots he saw in the second period before getting pulled against the Blues on Feb. 20.

In 26 games for Providence tis season, Subban has a .913 save percentage, a 2.45 goals against average and one shutout, all of which lead the Baby B’€™s. The Bruins’€™ next three games see them host the Maple Leafs and then play the Sabres twice, so if the team were inclined to give him a start, at least it would be in one of their schedule’€™s more manageable games.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

Shea Weber had the best slapper, but the hardest shot involved in All-Star weekend was the one the NHL took at making sure John Scott had nothing to do with Sunday’€™s tournament.


Shea Weber had the best slapper, but the hardest shot involved in All-Star weekend was the one the NHL took at making sure John Scott had nothing to do with Sunday’€™s tournament.

(That lede was dreadful, but in celebration of John Scott it’s only fitting to embrace the bad.)

Yet after all the sides went through — Scott getting voted into the All-Star game as a joke given his status as one of the league’€™s worst players, then getting asked not to go, then getting sent to the minors, then getting traded and sent to the minors, during which he and his wife were nearly nine months into expecting twins — Scott persevered and proved to be the best thing about an event that is constantly trying to find ways to make itself exciting.

Playing without any team logo on his uniform, Scott scored two goals in the Pacific Division’€™s first game, which served as a treat for everyone given that Scott has scored five goals in 285 NHL games since debuting in 2009. The Pacific Division team he captained ended up winning the 3-on-3 tournament, and when the event’€™s MVP finalists were announced as Taylor Hall, Roberto Luongo and Johnny Gaudreau late in the final game, boos filled the Nashville crowd, forcing the voting fans to “right” something that wasn’€™t necessarily a “wrong,” but was clearly the best and funniest thing to do. When all was said and done, Scott was the new owner of a Honda Pilot as the game’€™s MVP.

The NHL, which has had to try its darnedest to save face throughout this whole process, ended up getting what it wanted — actual interest in its All-Star festivities — thanks to the man it tried to push away. He’s not a good player, but he was certainly the most valuable despite the NHL‘s previous behavior.

Scott had previously never been known as more than an enforcer who lacked the talent to be in the NHL, but he’s been able to kick around at 33 thanks to his 6-foot-8 stature. In Boston, he was only known as the guy who concussed both Loui Eriksson on a hit that got him suspended seven games and Shawn Thornton in a fight.

Yet after Sunday, Scott is a cult hero. If last week’€™s piece in the Player’€™s Tribune wasn’€™t enough to win him fans, Sunday was.

Who knows what’€™s next for Scott? He should be given some sort of made-up award at the NHL Awards, or he should present. Scratch that. He should host. It’€™s not like it would be much worse than it usually is. Maybe he can save that, too.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean
DJ, Joe and Pete are in the house for the NHL All-Star weekend edition of Sunday Skate. They discuss a little bit about the skills competition last night, the John Scott situation and the events of the weekend before taking a step back and looking at the state of the Bruins a little over the halfway point of the season. They talk about the B's needs going forward, Chara's decline and how the Bruins are still hanging around while quietly rebuilding in Don Sweeney's first season at the helm.

Sunday Skate has its final one-hour show of the season before moving back to two hours next week. Call in at (617) 779-7937 and chat with Pete Blackburn, DJ Bean and Joe McDonald starting at 8 a.m. Click here to listen live.

Live Blog Sunday Skate Live Chat: Skills Competition edition
 

Blog Author: 
WEEI

Age may be catching up to Zdeno Chara, but he's still producing. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)In Zdeno Chara’s prime, there weren’t many defensemen who compared to him.



Frank Vatrano

Frank Vatrano

While Boston’€™s hockey team was off-duty due to the All-Star break, Boston’€™s AHL farm club in Providence put on an NHL-type show.

Featuring a top-line of Frank Vatrano – Seth Griffith – David Pastrnak, the P-Bruins blitzed the Springfield Falcons on Friday night at the Dunkin Donuts’€™ Center by a final of 8-1. Vatrano and Griffith each had five points, with Vatrano’€™s hat-trick stealing the show, while Pastrnak added a goal and two assists.

And while the 19-year-old Pastrnak is almost assuredly on a short-term loan to Providence as he continues to sharpen his game after missing time due to injuries, the 21-year-old Vatrano and 23-year-old Griffith are making strong cases that they should be working back in Boston soon, too.

With Griffith’€™s goal-and-four-assist night Friday he took over the AHL scoring lead, having compiled 46-points (14-goals and 32-assists) over his 35-games of action. And that’€™s having played some 10 to 12 fewer games than many other players close behind him on the AHL points’€™ leaderboard.

Vatrano, meanwhile, has already seen 30-games on NHL ice this season. Since being demoted on January 21 due in-part to a Boston numbers-crunch, all Vatrano has done is light up the AHL stat sheets to the tune of six goals and four assists over a four-game stretch. In 15 AHL games this year, he has now scored 16 times.

“I just feel more and more confident on the ice,” Vatrano said of his second stint in the AHL this season. “€œPlays are coming quicker to me, I feel like I have more time and space. I came down here to make a statement when I got sent down from Boston, and I’€™m feeling really great out there. Playing with some good guys down here has helped me build confidence.”

In order to get the three promising prospects on a line together, Providence Coach Bruce Cassidy shifted Griffith over from his normal right-wing spot to center.

“Pastnak got assigned here and it was the easiest way to keep continuity in our lineup,” explained Cassidy. “€œIt allowed Pastrnak to play with some skill, too. He’€™s just better when he’€™s allowed to do that. He needed a game where some things happen for him offensively. So I didn’€™t want to play him on a checking, energy line, even though he may do that in Boston. To get a good feel for the puck, that’€™s ultimately how he’€™s going to make hay in Boston. He was able to do that tonight.”

“€œIt was a fun game,” said Pastrnak. “We played good, had a good start and followed up. I played with good players. I missed a lot of hockey because a had a lot of injuries, [so] they sent me here to play more. My finger is getting back, so it’€™s nice to be able to stick-handle the puck a little bit and get back into my shape. The finger doesn’€™t really hurt, but I played with a brace on so the brace kind of affected me with the stick-handling. Now, I’€™m playing without so it’€™s good to get back my hands.”

Two of Vatrano’€™s goals came on the power-play, where he manned the middle of the ice. Griffith earned assists on both man-advantage goals, starting tic-tac-toe passing sequences from his position on the left half-wall. Pastrnak set up Vatrano’€™s third tally at even-strength, bringing the hats over the boards at the ‘€˜Dunk.’

“€œOur line had really good chemistry going,” said Griffith. “We hadn’€™t ever played together but it’€™s a good fit, Pastrnak and I are both kind of playmakers and obviously Frankie is going to shoot the puck every chance he gets. I’€™m happy for him to get his hat-trick. We were talking about it the whole time. Sometimes you can get a lot of two-goal games but it’€™s hard to get that last one. ‘€˜Pasty’€™ gave him a nice pass there in front and I’€™m glad he got a stick on that to go in.”

“€œEverybody knows he’€™s a shooter,” Pastrnak said of Vatrano. “All you need to do is just give him the puck. Great skater, just follow what he needs to give him the puck, that’€™s what Griffith and I were trying to do.”

From Cassidy’€™s view, Vatrano is the same player he saw in Providence in October, but with a little more polish.

“€œHe scored a lot when he was here [before] and he’€™s still scoring,” Cassidy said. “His awareness is better away from the puck, something he’€™s made a conscious effort to get better at. Just defending in his own end, getting positionally sound, better stick. His open-ice bursts were good then but he seems to be able to separate a little more assertively. That probably just comes from being more comfortable playing. He was a pretty good player for us before he left all-around, but like a lot of younger guys it’€™s a feel for the league a little bit, noticing some details in [your] 200-foot game.”

Vatrano is only a year removed from playing college hockey at UMass-Amherst, and has already had a big taste of NHL life. Griffith, meanwhile, has now played parts of three seasons in the AHL, with his biggest chunk of big-league action last season during a 30-game cameo in Boston.

“€œI got a chance to go up there for two games [this season], the game before the Winter Classic and the Classic,”€ said Griffith. “€œThe offense can come if I work at it, but it’€™s just the little things like the D-zone and down here [Cassidy] talks to me about it a lot. I’€™m going to have to work on it if I want to make the jump to the next level. My dream is to play in the NHL, I want to be back there as soon as possible but as long as I keep working here doing the best you can do, that’€™s all you can do, right? Just got to wait for your chance and when you get that chance you’€™ve got to make the most of it.”

Cassidy said he knows it can be a challenge for players to bide their time, but staying ready is the key.

“€œYou’€™d have to ask them if it drives them nuts when they go home at night,” Cassidy said when asked how patient Vatrano and Griffith have been as pupils. ‘€œListen, you control your own environment as with any job. Their job is to come here and play hard, practice hard, get better. When the chance comes, take advantage of it.”

Cassidy continued: “€œI’€™ve seen different paths for guys. I’€™ve seen Vatrano go up early in his career. Ryan Spooner had to wait a full two-and-a-half years and when he did he never looked back. Once they do get [a chance] it’€™s time to make sure they’€™re ready. That’€™s the only advice I try to give them, ‘€˜You don’€™t know when it’€™s coming so if you’€™re sulking and not working and get yourself out of shape then when your call does come and you’€™re not prepared you only have yourself to blame.’€™’€

“€œJust like at the beginning [of my career], I was doing well and being patient,”€ Vatrano said. “Some guys got called up before me but I didn’€™t get down on myself. Those guys deserved it just as much as I did to get called up. When it was my time to go up there I just wanted to make a statement and show I could play in the NHL. I think I did that for the two months I was up there. It’€™s a numbers thing up there right now so I’€™ve just got to come down here and keep playing my game, work on the things I need to get better to be a full-timer.”

Vatrano continued: “€œJust building off what I was doing good up there, and don’€™t let that slip away from me. There are some times where things don’€™t go your way in a game [in the NHL], especially I wasn’€™t playing a lot of minutes. I can’€™t dwell on the mistakes I was making in a game, whether it was one or two mistakes, just push that aside and do the little things right. That’€™s the biggest thing about being up there, obviously it’€™s a good thing if you’€™re scoring goals and getting points, but if the puck’€™s going in your net and you’€™re not making those little things happen then someone else is going to take your job. It’€™s something I really took to heart, and I’€™ve just got to be consistent every night.”

Blog Author: 
Ken Laird

The Bruins released an update on Jonas Gustavsson Wednesday night, revealing that the goaltender’€™s departure from Tuesday’€™s game and trip to the hospital was indeed heart-related.

Jonas Gustavsson

Jonas Gustavsson

The Bruins released an update on Jonas Gustavsson Wednesday night, revealing that the goaltender’€™s departure from Tuesday’€™s game and trip to the hospital was indeed heart-related.

“Jonas Gustavsson was removed from Tuesday’€™s game for precautionary reasons due to an elevated heart rate,” Wednesday’€™s statement read. “He was taken to Mass General Hospital and remained there overnight for testing. All preliminary tests came back negative and he was discharged Wednesday afternoon. Jonas is expected to rejoin the team after the NHL All-Star Break pending clearance from the Bruins medical staff.”

This is not the first time Gustavsson has dealt with heart issues in his career, as he has had three different heart procedures since coming to the NHL from Sweden in 2009.

The 31-year-old goaltender allowed two goals on 16 shots against the Ducks Tuesday before leaving the game. On the season, he is 9-3-1 with a .915 save percentage and 2.38 goals-against average.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

The Bruins announced Wednesday that forward David Pastrnak was assigned to AHL Providence.