The Bruins could be buyers or sellers by Wednesday's deadline. (Jerome Miron/USA Today Sports)The Bruins and interim head coach Bruce Cassidy are like new lovers back on the dating scene for the first time in what’s felt like an eternity for each party. 



Finally, Blues general manager Doug Armstrong has traded defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. But not to the Bruins or the Rangers, the two teams rumored to be most interested in Shattenkirk.

The Capitals have acquired Kevin Shattenkirk from the Blues. (Brad Rempel/USA Today Sports)

The Capitals have acquired Kevin Shattenkirk from the Blues. (Brad Rempel/USA Today Sports)

Finally, Blues general manager Doug Armstrong has traded defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. But not to the Bruins or the Rangers, the two teams rumored to be most interested in Shattenkirk.

According to multiple league sources, it’s the NHL-best Capitals (and last year’s Presidents’ Trophy winners) that have pulled the trigger and officially gone all-in with the move for the talented puck-mover.

Per Pierre LeBrun, the Caps have sent a 2017 first-round draft pick, a conditional second-round pick in 2018, and prospect Zach Sanford to the Blues to complete the deal. It is also believed that the Blues retained some of Shattenkirk’s $4.5 million salary to complete the deal.

And according to another report out of TSN, Shattenkirk is already on his way to the Capitals tonight and will be available for the club’s head-to-head against the Rangers tomorrow night in New York City.

The Bruins had an interest in Shattenkirk at last year’s draft, but were not willing to meet the insane ask from the Blues’ Armstrong, which was rumored to include David Pastrnak and both of the team’s first-round picks that year. They had interest in Shattenkirk this season, too, but were not willing to part with any of their organization’s top prospects in a rental deal.

The 28-year-old Shattenkirk has 11 goals and 31 assists in 61 games this season, and has five 40-point seasons in his NHL career.

Shattenkirk is an unrestricted free agent this summer and is expected to net a seven-year deal worth at least $42 million.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson

Bruins general manager Don Sweeney is on record saying that he expects the Bruins to stand pat by this Wednesday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline. But after a series of moves by teams either ahead of or chasing the Bruins, you have to wonder if that has changed.

Alex Burrows has been traded to the Senators. (Anne-Marie Sorvin/USA Today Sports)

Alex Burrows has been traded to the Senators. (Anne-Marie Sorvin/USA Today Sports)

Bruins general manager Don Sweeney is on record saying that he expects the Bruins to stand pat by this Wednesday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline. But after a series of moves by teams either ahead of or chasing the Bruins, you have to wonder if that has changed.

The afternoon of moves began with the Maple Leafs acquiring big-bodied center Brian Boyle from the Lightning in exchange for prospect Byron Froese and a 2017 second-round draft pick.

The 6-foot-6 Boyle has tallied 13 goals and nine assists in 54 games for the Bolts this season, and comes to the Maple Leafs with 100 games of NHL postseason experience since 2011. With Boyle in the fold, the Leafs may bolster the best center depth in the division, with Auston Matthews, Tyler Bozak, Nazem Kadri, and now Boyle.

The Leafs are currently just one point behind the B’s, but have one played one less game than the Black and Gold, and the teams have one remaining head-to-head left on the schedule, with a Mar. 20 matchup at the Air Canada Centre.

It was not the only move made by division rivals on a busy Monday.

The Canadiens, who are 2-2-0 under Claude Julien but still in first place in the division over the Senators by two points, made a trade with the Stars to acquire defenseman Jordie Benn (brother of Stars captain Jamie Benn) in exchange for d-man Greg Pateryn and a 2017 fourth-round draft pick. The 29-year-old Benn has two goals and 13 assists in 58 games for the Stars this season, and comes to the Habs as a defense-first helper for the club, with 52 hits and 113 blocked shots this season.

But the biggest deal of the day may have come from Ottawa, where the Sens acquired B’s villain Alex Burrows from the Canucks. Picked up from the selling Canucks in exchange for Swedish prospect Jonathan Dahlen (a second-round pick of the Sens, 42nd overall, last June), they have also signed the 35-year-old Burrows to a two-year extension worth $5 million in total.

In Burrows, the Sens have acquired yet another pain-in-the-ass talent that knows the Bruins despite his distance from Boston.

His scoring touch has faded a bit, with just 11 goals and nine assists on 114 shots in 55 games this season, but this is still a player that knows to contribute even when he’s not scoring. And he’s been a solid playoff contributor when healthy, with 19 goals and 34 points in 70 playoff games, including a nine-goal, 17-point run for the Canucks in 2011, which obviously came with a feisty fourth-round series against the B’s that included bites against Patrice Bergeron and an in-your-face confrontation with Tim Thomas.

In his regular-season career, Burrows has recorded three goals and one assist in 10 games against the Bruins.

But this is a big deal for the Bruins because they still have three head-to-heads with the Sens remaining on their schedule.

The Senators currently have a two-point advantage over the Bruins for second place in the Atlantic Division — and the B’s have played two more games than the Sens this season — and an inability to take those games over the Senators could in fact bump the Black and Gold from the playoff picture for the third season in a row. A sweep or maybe taking two out of three of those games, however, and the Bruins could find themselves in position to nab either the first seed in the Atlantic or the second seed (which may actually be the best spot for the club, unless they want a first-round matchup against the Metro’s fourth-best team).

The Bruins could not match the Sens in their only prior head-to-head this season, a 3-1 Thanksgiving night loss in Ottawa.

If the Bruins do indeed opt not to make a deal, it will be their first silent deadline since 2008.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson
John-Michael Liles played for the first time since Feb. 9 on Sunday. (Christopher Hanewinckel/USA Today Sports)

John-Michael Liles played for the first time since Feb. 9 on Sunday. (Christopher Hanewinckel/USA Today Sports)

On Sunday, the Bruins scratched Colin Miller for John-Michael Liles.

It was definitely a peculiar move from B’s interim coach Bruce Cassidy, and maybe one of his first what-the-hell-are-you-doing moves from Cassidy since taking over for the fired Claude Julien earlier this month.

That’s not to suggest that Liles is not a fit to play in games (he’s fine in his role), either, but rather a commentary on the idea that this organization is at a point where the 24-year-old defender whose long-term ceiling is still unknown to this organization should play over the 36-year-old pending unrestricted free agent. If you care to dig into B’s general manager Don Sweeney’s words on the day he fired Julien, they would seem to indicate that decisions like that are among the litany of reasons as to why Cassidy has replaced Julien in the first place, too.

Liles, for the record, was perfectly fine in his first game since Feb. 9, with one shot on goal in 16:21 of time on ice in a 6-3 win.

But the decision was still a weird one, and it got my mind thinking, even for just a little bit: Was the decision to play Liles a mere showcase of a potential (minor) trade Sweeney and the Black and Gold could make before Wednesday’s 3 p.m. deadline?

I know, I know.

It’s hard to imagine the Bruins receiving anything close to a king’s ransom for a veteran bottom-pairing defender whose season has been derailed by concussion problems. And even when healthy, it’s been a painfully so-so year for the veteran Liles, who has just five assists (three power-play helpers) and 26 shots on net in 31 games for the Bruins this season.

A one-year veteran stopgap re-signed to help replace any versatility that departed with the Dennis Seidenberg buyout, Liles has been outplayed by Colin Miller on a night-to-night basis (and Miller is more of a fit for what the B’s want their defense to do in terms of generating offensive chances the other way), and even lost out on a spot on his natural left side by a right-shot moving to the left in Kevan Miller. Hanging onto him and letting him waste away in the press box in the hopes that you have a sufficient backup option in the event of an injury does little for the B’s. And it does even less for Liles’ potential final NHL rodeo.

You’re still not close to winning a Stanley Cup this season, either, so having Liles at your disposal versus Joe Morrow or a P-Bruins call-up such as Robbie O’Gara doesn’t make much of a difference for this club or the player in the grand scheme of things.

So, it makes little sense to keep him, even if the return isn’t going to blow your mind. If the trade deadline has taught us anything, too, it’s that general managers can get a little silly. And Sweeney, in his second year on the job, would be wise to take advantage of that as best he can and with any asset he can possibly move without changing the long-term view of the team.

Of course, Sweeney did come out and basically say that he expects the Bruins to stand pat between now and the deadline. But it’s entirely possible that Sweeney feels that way when it comes to adding pieces to his roster, but not necessarily subtracting.

But the Bruins are also in a situation where it would be wise to recoup some lost assets between now and the trade deadline.

This is the Zac Rinaldo year, so the club’s third-round draft pick? Yeah, that belongs to Philadelphia. They have just one second, and it’s the one they received from the Oilers in exchange for Peter Chiarelli, as they moved their natural second-round pick for Lee Stempniak last season. The Bruins are also down a fifth-round choice because of that Liles trade a year ago (the B’s moved a 2016 third-rounder and this year’s fifth rounder, along with prospect Anthony Camara to make that deal happen).

And weak draft or not, you can’t help but like the draft picks made under Sweeney, so nabbing a pick for a player that simply hasn’t played for your team all that much (and will do little to impact your playoff fate), makes all the sense in the world.

More sense than playing him over Miller, anyways.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson

It’s been one hell of a two-year ride for Bruins winger Brad Marchand.

And it’s far from finished.

Brad Marchand had three points in a 6-3 Bruins win over the Stars. (Jerome Miron/USA Today Sports)

Brad Marchand had three points in a 6-3 Bruins win over the Stars. (Jerome Miron/USA Today Sports)

It’s been one hell of a two-year ride for Bruins winger Brad Marchand.

And it’s far from finished.

In what’s become an undeniable jump from top-six winger to bonafide NHL superstar, another multi-point effort in a 6-3 Bruins win over the Stars on Sunday came with the results that were simply inevitable given the pace the 28-year-old has clicked at this season.

With a goal and two helpers in the victory in Dallas, the B’s third of a possible four on this daunting road trip, Marchand now has 27 goals and 37 helpers in 62 games, good for a new career-high 64 points, beating his previous career-best of 61 set last season.

And as he has so often this year, the 5-foot-9 winger struck early.

Marchand scored the game’s first goal just 5:56 off some great passing sequences from David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron. This line has been on-again, off-again under B’s interim head coach Bruce Cassidy, but when they are together, they’re a combo that simply has too much firepower to keep at bay, which is what allowed Marchand to create space for his shot in the first place.

In the middle frame, Marchand came through with the shot through traffic that was tipped by Patrice Bergeron to re-establish the B’s two-goal lead, which allowed the Bruins to carry a 4-2 edge through 40 minutes of play.

In case that wasn’t enough, No. 63 came through with the assist on Bergeron’s second goal of the afternoon, 7:48 into the third.

It was the third goal that really showed off what makes Marchand — and the Bruins as a team, really — just so dangerous when he’s playing his game. Immediately following by a huge stop on John Klingberg by Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask, Torey Krug found Marchand blowing through the neutral zone for a one-on-one chance against Stars defenseman Esa Lindell, but Marchand pulled Lindell far enough from the play to find Bergeron coming into the attacking zone while David Backes set the screen on Dallas goaltender Kari Lehtonen for Bergeron’s 15th goal of the season, and sixth point of this road trip.

It was an equally impressive four-game stretch for Marchand, who will return to Boston with three goals and six points in four games on the road, and fittingly enough, Marchand’s lone pointless game of the trip was the club’s only loss.

Marchand has become the test for the Bruins in a lot of ways. When he scores, they’re almost untouchable, with a 14-2-4 record. When he records a point, they’re 25-11-6. And I know it’s fairly obvious to point out that when a team’s top player succeeds the team generally seems to succeed, but this run put forth by the Nova Scotia native has been something to behold.

Not only does Marchand (64 points) now trail just two forwards for the most points in the NHL — them being Sidney Crosby (67 points) and Connor McDavid (69), the two best players in the whole world — but since the start of last year, only 11 forwards have totaled more points than the 125 in 139 games from the Bruins’ Marchand. Only Crosby, Patrick Kane, Vladimir Tarasenko, and Alex Ovechkin have scored more goals than the 64 tallied by Marchand, too.

And in the midst of the best stretch ever, with 16 goals and 29 points in his last 20 games, it’s clear that nobody is stopping him.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson
The Bruins have four of a possible six points on this road trip. (Jerome Miron/USA Today Sports)

The Bruins have four of a possible six points on this road trip. (Jerome Miron/USA Today Sports)

In a trip of late starts, a four-game Western Conference road swing will end with a bizarre morning start in Dallas, as the Bruins and Stars will square off for an 11:30 a.m. local start this afternoon.

It’s been a strong trip for the Black and Gold through three games, with four of a possible six points to their name, and a strong bounceback game in a 4-1 win over the Kings on Thursday night. But in their penultimate trade deadline contest, Bruins interim head coach Bruce Cassidy will make some lineup tweaks to the club’s on-ice group.

The most noticeable switch comes with defenseman John-Michael Liles expected to slide in for Colin Miller for what will be Liles’ first game action since Feb. 9 against the Sharks when he was a late substitution for the ill Zdeno Chara. The 36-year-old Liles, who has been limited by concussion problems this year has played just nine times since Jan. 8, and has five assists in 30 games to date, while Miller has tallied four goals and nine points in 45 games on the season.

The decision to scratch Miller is a curious one given his offensive impact and ability to join the rush — which as we all know is something Cassidy wants and expects from his defenders — and the B’s 4-9-3 record with Miller out of action seems to indicate that he plays a rather important role as the club’s secondary scoring option behind Torey Krug on the team’s backend.

Up front, Matt Beleskey will return to the press box as a healthy scratch for the second time on this trip, and Riley Nash will rejoin the lineup and likely skate on a fourth line with Dominic Moore and Tim Schaller.

There’s no morning skate to confirm anything one way or the other, but after getting the night off against the Kings, expect Tuukka Rask in the B’s crease. Rask took a loss in his last outing, a 5-3 loss in which he surrendered four goals on 24 shots against, and enters play with three wins and a .914 save percentage in five career starts against the Stars. The 29-year-old Rask has 28 wins and a .912 save percentage in 48 games to date overall.

The Stars should counter with Kari Lehtonen.

It’s been another rough year for the Stars’ goaltending corps of Lehtonen and Antti Niemi, but Lehtonen was good enough in their last game, with 25 saves in a 5-2 win over the Coyotes. Lehtonen has nine wins and a .913 save percentage in 17 career head-to-heads with the Bruins, but took a loss with six goals allowed on 41 shots in his last start against the Bruins.

This is the first of two matchups between the B’s and Stars this season.

Here are the expected lines and pairings for the Bruins…

Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Backes

Peter Cehlarik – David Krejci – David Pastrnak

Frank Vatrano – Ryan Spooner – Jimmy Hayes

Tim Schaller – Dominic Moore – Riley Nash

Zdeno Chara – Brandon Carlo

Torey Krug – Adam McQuaid

John-Michael Liles – Kevan Miller

Tuukka Rask

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson
The Bruins have four of a possible six points on this road trip. (Jerome Miron/USA Today Sports)

The Bruins have four of a possible six points on this road trip. (Jerome Miron/USA Today Sports)

In a trip of late starts, a four-game Western Conference road swing will end with a bizarre morning start in Dallas, as the Bruins and Stars will square off for an 11:30 a.m. local start this afternoon.

It’s been a strong trip for the Black and Gold through three games, with four of a possible six points to their name, and a strong bounceback game in a 4-1 win over the Kings on Thursday night. But in their penultimate trade deadline contest, Bruins interim head coach Bruce Cassidy will make some lineup tweaks to the club’s on-ice group.

The most noticeable switch comes with defenseman John-Michael Liles expected to slide in for Colin Miller for what will be Liles’ first game action since Feb. 9 against the Sharks when he was a late substitution for the ill Zdeno Chara. The 36-year-old Liles, who has been limited by concussion problems this year has played just nine times since Jan. 8, and has five assists in 30 games to date, while Miller has tallied four goals and nine points in 45 games on the season.

The decision to scratch Miller is a curious one given his offensive impact and ability to join the rush — which as we all know is something Cassidy wants and expects from his defenders — and the B’s 4-9-3 record with Miller out of action seems to indicate that he plays a rather important role as the club’s secondary scoring option behind Torey Krug on the team’s backend.

Up front, Matt Beleskey will return to the press box as a healthy scratch for the second time on this trip, and Riley Nash will rejoin the lineup and likely skate on a fourth line with Dominic Moore and Tim Schaller.

There’s no morning skate to confirm anything one way or the other, but after getting the night off against the Kings, expect Tuukka Rask in the B’s crease. Rask took a loss in his last outing, a 5-3 loss in which he surrendered four goals on 24 shots against, and enters play with three wins and a .914 save percentage in five career starts against the Stars. The 29-year-old Rask has 28 wins and a .912 save percentage in 48 games to date overall.

The Stars should counter with Kari Lehtonen.

It’s been another rough year for the Stars’ goaltending corps of Lehtonen and Antti Niemi, but Lehtonen was good enough in their last game, with 25 saves in a 5-2 win over the Coyotes. Lehtonen has nine wins and a .913 save percentage in 17 career head-to-heads with the Bruins, but took a loss with six goals allowed on 41 shots in his last start against the Bruins.

This is the first of two matchups between the B’s and Stars this season.

Here are the expected lines and pairings for the Bruins…

Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Backes

Peter Cehlarik – David Krejci – David Pastrnak

Frank Vatrano – Ryan Spooner – Jimmy Hayes

Tim Schaller – Dominic Moore – Riley Nash

Zdeno Chara – Brandon Carlo

Torey Krug – Adam McQuaid

John-Michael Liles – Kevan Miller

Tuukka Rask

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson