David Pastrnak has scored 13 goals in just 18 games this season. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

David Pastrnak has scored 13 goals in just 18 games this season. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

What does the second-most goals in the NHL get you? Well, I’m not sure to be honest, but I can tell you that it does not get your name on the ballot for the 2017 NHL All-Star Game in Los Angeles.

Not if you’re Bruins winger David Pastrnak, anyways.

Despite his 13 goals and 17 points in 18 games played this season, the 20-year-old was not among the four Bruins featured on the ballot that dropped earlier today for Atlantic Division representation in this year’s weekend festivities at the Staples Center. Instead, the ballot featured Pastrnak’s linemates, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, along with defenseman Zdeno Chara, and goaltender Tuukka Rask.

In comparison to Pastrnak’s stats on the year among other forwards on the team (and more specifically those put on the ballot), only Marchand is close, with seven goals and 20 points in 23 contests. Bergeron has tallied just three goals and six points in 20 games played. Bergeron, of course, was the lone Bruins rep at last year’s All-Star weekend in Nashville.

And among the 16 other forwards featured within the Atlantic over Pastrnak, only the Leafs’ James van Riemsdyk (19) and Lightning top-liner Nikita Kucherov (26) have recorded more points than No. 88 in black and gold has this year.

It’s still possible for Pastrnak to get into the game, however, but it will just need to be done via a write-in campaign.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson

On the ice for the club’s morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena, it’s another day closer to a return for Bruins captain Zdeno Chara.

Zdeno Chara

Zdeno Chara

On the ice for the club’s morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena, it’s another day closer to a return for Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. Unfortunately for the Bruins, though, that day is not today, as Chara will miss tonight’s matchup against the visiting Hurricanes and his fifth straight contest overall.

“He’s out there skating,” confirmed Claude Julien, “but not playing tonight.”

In four games without Chara, the Bruins are 1-2-1, and have allowed eight goals over that stretch. Dating back to Chara’s exact absence, which came after just one shift in the second period of Nov. 22’s loss to the Blues (the Blues scored all four of their goals with No. 33 out), the Bruins have been outscored 12-to-9.

Though their record does not show it, the Bruins have remained a stingy defensive unit in Chara’s absence, with just 107 shots allowed (26.8 shots against per game) in those four sans Chara contests. But perhaps no performance was more impressive than Tuesday’s effort in Philly — in a shootout loss, naturally — in which the Bruins peppered Steve Mason for 47 shots on goal while only allowing 21 at the other end of the rink.

“We’ve hung in there,” Julien said of his team’s recent defensive performances without both Chara and now John-Michael Liles (out indefinitely with a concussion). “Last game we give up two early goals — one power-play and one even strength — and for the rest of the game, we managed to shut them out. Good goaltending helps, but at the same time I think we really minimized the scoring team’s opportunity that night. [The Flyers] didn’t have as many scoring chances as they normally do.”

Down Chara and Liles for the second straight contest, the defensive pairings are expected to remain the same after a morning skate without much change, with Torey Krug and Adam McQuaid as the club’s de facto top pairing, Kevan Miller and Brandon Carlo paired as the club’s shutdown unit, and Joe Morrow and Colin Miller as the team’s third pair.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson

Send questions for next week’s mailbag to letitbleedrearad@gmail.com or @RearAdBsBlog on Twitter.

Should the Bruins keep David Krejci? (Ron Chenoy/USA Today Sports)

Should the Bruins keep David Krejci? (Ron Chenoy/USA Today Sports)

How will the Bruins fare in December with 16 games in 31 days? Dan, Wakefield, MA

Obviously much better if they get Zdeno Chara back soon. Despite the many games, the team never leaves the Eastern time zone, and South Florida is the longest trip. The B’s can’t wrap up a playoff spot before 2016 ends, but they can certainly dig themselves a tough hole. The guess here is that they bob and weave through the month with an 8-5-3 record.

David Krejci is due $7.25M for four more years after this season. Do the Bruins try to move him? Steve, Hyde Park, MA

I think they’d move any player if the right deal came along (or, in the case of the B’s, the wrong deal). But if you’re a GM, do you want an underperforming, finicky pivot who presumably will get slower at that number? I don’t. I think the team is giving him plenty of rope after his offseason hip surgery because the healing can be notoriously long and I wouldn’t count him out yet. But he needs to stop being bored by the regular season or he’ll miss yet another postseason.

What’s your take on the Las Vegas Golden Knights? Jason, Nashua, NH

I love that Vegas finally has a pro team in any sport because it’s been way too long due to outdated, puritanical thinking about gambling. But that name almost makes me wish they take it back. I know the new owner is a big West Point guy and was intent on working “knights” into the name. But the name and logo are both very underwhelming. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter, only the team’s play does. But it definitely feels like a squandered opportunity from a marketing perspective.

Florida surprisingly fired Gerrard Gallant. Does Tom Rowe get them to the playoffs? Danny, Plymouth, MA

Gallant’s canning seemingly came out of nowhere and blindsided his players. The popular bench boss was let go due to “philosophical differences” with the now analytics-heavy front office. This is Massachusetts native Rowe’s first NHL head coaching gig. He last coached in 2015 in Portland, Maine, before joining the parent club’s staff (he also was the first American to score 30 goals in the NHL). Either due to injury and/or subpar play, The Panthers’ goaltending will keep them on the outside looking in when April gets here.

Is this the year Dallas finally takes it to another level? Ricky, Auburn, MA

If the Stars upgrade the goaltending. Antti Niemi and/or Kari Lehtonen aren’t going to get them there. But the problem is finding a team willing to take one of those contracts off their hands. Paying $5.9 million for Lehtonen or $4.5 million for Niemi just isn’t a smart move for a GMs until the pot is really sweetened. But the Stars’ window is now, so they better fix their net issues soon.

Blog Author: 
Rear Admiral

In their annual valuation list, Forbes Magazine has ranked the Boston Bruins as the fifth-most valuable franchise in the National Hockey League this year, with a value of $800 million.

A hair over the quarter mark of the season, you can probably count the nights that David Krejci has looked like, well, David Krejci, on one hand. You might even only need a couple of fingers to do it, actually.

The Bruins traded Joe Thornton on this day 11 years ago. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)Want to hear something weird?



David Krejci has scored three goals and 14 points in 23 games this season. (Eric Hartline/USA Today Sports)

David Krejci has scored three goals and 14 points in 23 games this season. (Eric Hartline/USA Today Sports)

A hair over the quarter mark of the season, you can probably count the nights that David Krejci has looked like, well, David Krejci, on one hand. You might even only need a couple of fingers to do it, actually.

With three goals and 14 points through 23 games this season, Krejci is currently paced for an 11-goal, 50-point season. Both those figures would finish as Krejci’s lowest totals in any full season (years excluding injury or lockout shortened campaigns) since a six-goal, 27-point rookie season in Claude Julien’s first year behind the bench in 2007.

Those projections assume that Krejci stays healthy and fails to miss any time this season, too. That’s proven to be pretty difficult in these last couple of seasons, with 35 games missed in 2014-15, 10 games missed a year ago, and an offseason hip surgery forcing Krejci out of action for the Czech Republic in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey this fall.

The surgery — Krejci’s second hip procedure since the 2009 offseason — was a likely reason for a slow start that featured just three assists in the first nine games of the season. For the record, Krejci refused to let it become an excuse.

“I wouldn’t be playing if I was [still] hurt,” Krejci said back then.

It also didn’t help that Krejci’s linemates were what they were at the beginning of the season, which was both a revolving door and a staunch change from the norm he had become accustomed to in town. With Patrice Bergeron on the shelf to begin the season, Krejci’s projected go-to winger on the second line, David Backes, was moved to the middle of the club’s first line. That left Krejci with Ryan Spooner and Danton Heinen on his wings. One was a center and the other was jumping from the NCAA to the NHL. Overall, Krejci skated with over four different line combination in the opening 10 games of the season, so could he really be blamed for failing to develop any meaningful chemistry? And in fact, Krejci’s first impactful presence on his line didn’t come ’til Oct. 26, when the Bruins recalled Austin Czarnik — another natural center — up to his wing because they simply had to.

In just three years, Krejci went from having top-tier talents such as Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton or Jarome Iginla on his wing to Loui Eriksson (a departure he was pretty vocal about this past summer given the chemistry he felt the duo had) to Czarnik, Spooner, and Heinen. Perhaps his frustration — and dip in production — was understandable, to say the least.

(Backes, by the way, is finally with Krejci on a second line with Tim Schaller moved up to the left side of the line.)

And though the chemistry developed between Backes and Krejci has appeared laborious at times since being united on the same line, Krejci has finally found results with points in seven of his last 10 games (two goals and nine points overall).

But there’s been no greater performance from No. 46 than his effort in Tuesday’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Flyers.

Behind a season-high eight shots on goal, Krejci scored his third goal of the season and one that kickstarted the Bruins’ comeback that earned the club a much needed point, and nearly struck for the overtime winner in the waning moments of the three-on-three. Krejci was also a monster possession wise, with an 81.3 CF%, with 26 shot attempts for and just six against at five-on-five play (and on the road against a Philly club that’s been a pretty solid five-on-five team this season, too).

What stuck out about Krejci’s night, though, was the number of shots he put on goal. Krejci alone attempted 14 of the Bruins’ 80 total attempts on Steve Mason on a night in which Mason stopped all but two of 47 shots on net (and then eight of nine of the B’s shootout attempts, including one by Krejci in the bottom of the sixth round). And through 23 games this season, Krejci has put 52 shots on goal and is currently paced for a 190-shot or so season. That would be a new career-high by about 30 shots, too.

This does seem somewhat telling.

With his go-to shooters out of town, Krejci has appeared to put more onus on himself to shoot the puck and create opportunities. That makes sense when the best presence on your wing is a front-of-the-net rebounder like Backes, of course, but it also speaks to the do-it-yourself mindset that No. 46 could have now forced upon himself given the thinned out goal scoring ability on the B’s wings. I mean, the Bruins currently have three natural centers — four if you care to include Backes though I believe the Bruins have always envisioned him as more of a winger-by-design, center-by-necessity type of talent — playing out of position and on the wings. Part of that is because they’re down Frank Vatrano, but also because the club lost so many wingers this past offseason, and of course, all three have skated with Krejci at various points this season, including his current left wing, Schaller.

The so-called fancy stats back this theory up, too, as Krejci is averaging 6.26 five-on-five shots per 60 minutes through 23 games this year after back-to-back seasons in which Krejci averaged just under five shots per game in such a category. In fact, this 6.26 mark is his highest mark there since he averaged the same exact figure in 2013-14, which was perhaps his most consistent year. (Krejci finished that season with 19 goals and 69 points in 80 games and had just two streaks of five games without a point.)

And not for nothing, at $7.25 million per season, it’s sorta what you’d expect.

One of the harsh realities Krejci has been forced to cope with in recent years is the fact that the Bruins can’t keep everybody. Even if they’re his linemates or there’s chemistry to his right or left. Even if they wanted to, too. Part of the reason that’s the case is because Krejci is making over $7 million per season. Krejci is one of only 19 active NHL forwards counting for at least $7.25 million against his team’s cap and all of those teams are either budget teams (like Bobby Ryan’s Senators) or have been forced to move on from players they really liked at one point or another. Hell, you could make a whole roster out of the players the Blackhawks have been forced to move on from to pay the likes of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, and even Vladimir Tarasenko’s Blues have been forced to make tough decisions (it might be the only reason the B’s landed Backes last summer).

That said, you obviously can’t fault Krejci for accepting that much money from the B’s front office in Sept. 2014 (I’d probably go do just about anything if you offered me $7 million dollars for the next seven years), but it’s a real thing that’s hurt the Bruins.

But it might be something that Krejci has finally accepted as an inevitability in a tight salary cap world.

If that acceptance leads to more nights like Tuesday in Philly, where Krejci realized that it’s on him — not the castoffs he was close to in the past — to make his line a dominant force, then that $7.25 million cap hit will return to its status as money well spent.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson
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The Bruins are the fifth-most valuable team in the NHL, according to Forbes. (Steve Mitchell/USA Today Sports)

In their annual valuation list, Forbes Magazine has ranked the Boston Bruins as the fifth-most valuable franchise in the National Hockey League this year, with a value of $800 million.

Ranked behind the New York Rangers ($1.25 billion), Montreal Canadiens ($1.12 billion), Toronto Maple Leafs ($1.1 billion), and Chicago Blackhawks ($925 million), the Bruins also generated the sixth-highest revenue on this list, at $169 million.

As expected with most of these lists, the top five most valuable teams in the league are all part of the league’s Original Six and the lone Original Six not in that group, the Detroit Red Wings, rank eighth on the list.

What’s interesting, however, is that the Bruins had the highest one-year value change from the year before at a 7% increase by any team in the top five, and the ninth-highest among any NHL team in that category (the Florida Panthers had the highest one-year change of any NHL team, at a 26% increase). The jump in value from the year before was accomplished all while the Bruins missed out of playoff gates for the second time in as many seasons, too, although it does help that the Black and Gold are one of seven NHL franchises without any debt to their name.

And behind a sellout streak that’s now reached over 300 consecutive contests, the Bruins had $33.5 million in operating income this past year, the fifth-highest in the NHL, behind the four teams ahead of them ranked ahead of them on the overall value list.

Earlier this year, B’s owner Jeremy Jacobs, who owns the TD Garden and 20 percent of NESN, along with his status of the chairman of Delaware North, ranked 142nd on the Forbes 400 list.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson
John-Michael Liles will be out indefinitely with a concussion . (John Hefti/USA Today Sports)

John-Michael Liles will be out indefinitely with a concussion . (John Hefti/USA Today Sports)

The Bruins finally broke their silence on the status of veteran defenseman John-Michael Liles, who did not travel to Philadelphia with the rest of the Bruins for their Tuesday head-to-head with the Flyers, during the club’s pregame warmup at Wells Fargo Center.

Out of action since the five-minute mark of the first period of Sunday’s 4-1 victory over the Lightning after a thunderous collision with the Garden endboards, the Bruins have confirmed that the 36-year-old Liles suffered a concussion on the crash and will be out indefinitely as the B’s follow the league’s concussion protocols.

Tripped up by the stick of Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop, and then kneed in the head by teammate Austin Czarnik on his out-of-control headfirst tumble into the boards, Liles remained down on the ice for close to a minute before he was helped to his skates and guided off the ice with the help of the training staff and defenseman Adam McQuaid.

Acquired from the Hurricanes last trade deadline in exchange for a 2016 third-round draft pick, 2017 fifth-round draft pick, and prospect Anthony Camara, Liles proved to be a capable third-pairing presence in his post-deadline run with the B’s, and was re-signed to a one-year, $2 million contract this past summer following the buyout of veteran d-man Dennis Seidenberg.

The 5-foot-10 has recorded five assists in 22 games this season, and 11 assists in 39 games with the B’s overall.

This is the third recorded concussion of Liles’ career, and his first since a Dec. 2011 concussion that kept him out of 16 contests.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson