In the interest of transparency, following is my ballot for the 2013-14 NHL awards.

Before I jump into it, I will freely admit that the votes that you see here are the ones I had in the final hours before they were due Wednesday at 7 p.m. and I changed my mind on some of them several times leading up to the deadline.

I also didn’€™t arrive at my votes totally by myself –€“ nobody does –€“ but through discussions with other writers. In particular, I discussed the various awards with two non-voters in WEEI.com’€™s Scott McLaughlin — one of the premier advanced stats nerds and a major help to geezers like me who see a place in the world for some of the crazy numbers out there but can’€™t always understand them — and the MetroWest Daily News’€™ Dan Cagen. The Pro Hockey Writers’€™ Association cut the number of voters this season down to 150, with Cagen being Exhibit A of the baby being thrown out with the bath water.

At the end of the day, any votes here you don’€™t like are still my fault. Also, the PHWA doesn’t vote for the Vezina Trophy or the Jack Adams, as those are determined by NHL general managers and broadcasters, respectively.

[Also, in the interest of transparency, I will admit that the first explanation I wrote was for Hart and was way too long. Given that I had other work to get to, I decided to only write out explanations for the heavy hitters (Hart, Norris and Selke). If you have any questions about any of the votes, you can find me on Twitter @DJ_Bean.]

HART TROPHY
(“to the player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team”)

1. Sidney Crosby
2. Ryan Getzlaf
3. Patrice Bergeron
4. Tyler Seguin
5. Joe Pavelski

The Penguins led the NHL in man games lost due to injury with 429. While that was happening, Sidney Crosby was doing everything, and he finished with an NHL-best 104 points en route to leading the Penguins to the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. Points-wise, it wasn’€™t even close, as nobody else had 100, or even 90. Getzlaf was second with 87. Plus, it wasn’€™t like achieved his numbers by being surrounded by Pittsburgh’€™s star forwards. His third most-common linemate was Lee Stempniak.

Bergeron was a real toughie, because I believe in the eye test over stats when appropriate. I gave Jonathan Quick a Hart vote the year they won the Cup for that reason even though other players had better numbers. Yet when determining a middle-of-the pack Hart candidate who didn’€™t have the traditional numbers, it’€™s difficult to figure out where they fall. For example, I had him ahead of Seguin despite not having similar numbers, so why wouldn’€™t I have him ahead of Getzlaf?

At the end of the day, Getzlaf edged out Bergeron in the consistency department. Bergeron was steadier there defensively, as he was only a minus player in 14 games (sorry for using plus-minus to prove a point) with only one minus-2 game, while Getzlaf had 22 minus-performances with four games of minus-2 or worse.

Getzlaf however, produced far more consistently than Bergeron. People forget that Bergeron had a slow start to the season, as he was coming off injuries and his most productive linemate in Brad Marchand really struggled early. When all was said and done, Bergeron had 35 games without a point, while Getzlaf, who played in three less games than Bergeron, only had 22 performances in which he didn’€™t pick up points.

Bergeron definitely deserved a vote, however, as he was terrific down the stretch, scored 30 goals and led the league with 1015 faceoffs won.

Speaking of faceoffs, Seguin was terrible on them but got the Stars to the postseason. This was a tough call because his linemate Jamie Benn should also be given a lot of credit for Dallas’€™ turnaround. Seguin gets the nod on the eye-test/stats combo: He was brought in to make a terrifying line with Benn and get the Stars back to the playoffs and he did. Seguin’€™s 84 points at season’€™s end were fourth-best in the NHL and his 37 goals were fifth.

The most notable omission here is Claude Giroux. Though he was a big reason as to why the Flyers got back in the playoff picture, he was way too streaky, and that’€™s when his value to the team really showed, but in a bad way. Giroux had three streaks of five or more games without a goal. The results for Philly in those games: 4-10-1, 2-3-2, 1-2-2. Long story short, he was prone to being unproductive and the Flyers lost when it happened. Though their point totals were similar (Giroux had 86 to Pavelski’€™s 79), Pavelski was more important to San Jose’€™s penalty kill and was a superior faceoff man.

NORRIS TROPHY
(“to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position”) 

1. Zdeno Chara
2. Drew Doughty
3. Shea Weber
4. Mark Giordano
5. Alex Pietrangelo

I tried until the end to keep Duncan Keith – who I’€™m guessing will win –€“ on my ballot, but he fell off when McLaughlin talked me into Pietrangelo.

The reason Keith isn’€™t on here is because of the fact that he isn’€™t used in a shutdown role ‘€“ something he has done in years past, but no longer does as Joel Quenneville has employed Niklas Hjalmarsson and Claude Julien favorite Johnny Oduya as the team’€™s shutdown pairing. That means easier minutes for Keith, who still ended up leading his team in time on ice.

The reason I think Keith will win is because people will look at the numbers he’€™s put up against lesser competition (61 points; second among NHL defensemen) and put it to video from 2010 when he was playing against the other teams’€™ best players.

As for Chara, McLaughlin basically did all of the voters’€™ research for them when he took a hard statistical look at this year’€™s Norris race. That extensive research found Chara to be one of only four defensemen in the NHL who played over 23 minutes per game, had 25 points or more, started most of his shifts outside the offensive zone, had a positive CorsiRel (meaning he helped his team in possessing the puck when he was on the ice rather than hurting it) and faced a quality of competition of 1.00 or higher. Chara’€™s 1.58 quality of competition means this season has been the most difficult competition he’€™s faced since 2007 (information for previous seasons are not available).

CALDER TROPHY
(“to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition”)

1. Nathan MacKinnon
2. Ondrej Palat
3. Tyler Johnson
4. Jacob Trouba
5. Olli Maatta

LADY BYNG TROPHY

(“to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability”)

1. Ryan O’€™Reilly
2. Martin St. Louis
3. Tyler Seguin
4. Nick Leddy
5. Jordan Eberle

SELKE TROPHY
(“to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game”)

1. Patrice Bergeron
2. Anze Kopitar
3. Jonathan Toews
4. Joe Pavelski
5. David Backes

Bergeron’€™s primary competition here is Kopitar, and Kopitar could end up giving him a real run for his money.

The Kings finished 26th in the NHL with 2.42 goals per game and Kopitar still finished fourth in the league with a plsu-34 rating. Plus-minus isn’€™t the most important stat, but it’€™s telling when a player on a team that doesn’€™t score is still able to be on the ice for 34 more goals for than goals against in 5-on-5 play.

Kopitar also had more points than Bergeron, but Bergeron’€™s faceoff numbers were far superior. Bergeron led the league in Corsi and was second in CorsiRel (first among forwards), while Kopitar was third in Corsi (second among forwards) and 26th in CorsiRel.

NHL ALL-STAR TEAM

CENTER — Sidney Crosby, Ryan Getzlaf, Patrice Bergeron
RIGHT WING – Corey Perry, Phil Kessel, Jaromir Jagr
LEFT WING — Jamie Benn, Max Pacioretty, Taylor Hall
DEFENSE –€“ Zdeno Chara, Drew Doughty, Shea Weber, Mark Giordano, Alex Pietrangelo, Duncan Keith
GOALTENDER – Tuukka Rask, Semyon Varlamov, Ben Bishop

NHL ALL-ROOKIE TEAM

FORWARD –€“ Nathan MacKinnon, Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson
DEFENSE –€“ Jacob Trouba, Olli Maatta
GOAL — Frederik Andersen

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean
Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo! Sports joins DJ to break down the first-round matchup between the Bruins and Red Wings. Also discussed is Zdeno Chara's Norris candidacy, transparency with voting for the NHL awards and whether the Canadiens will get out of the first round.

[0:02:41] ... -- possession with them the UC bigger. Deeper offensive team you see Zdeno Chara UC -- -- getting to its that the things that worry you if you're facing a Bruins. Are far more intimidating and the things that were future facing the red rulings. For sure and ended it. You've got up the seat for the technicality here that the Bruins bring the table and and the red wings -- Mike Babcock street here and there have been you know -- -- -- -- response that level of brutality. Mean outside of both nick was -- all strong want to settle at check in again. So there's a lot is the bruins' advantage -- you know I think depth one of those things that -- currently has really not been able to get fired. With the cast of characters that would. Sort of eight children prison. It's beautiful credit Mike Babcock shepherding that squad into the playoffs. -- the depth of the Bruins then you're -- -- that the spiritual well people that ...
[0:06:57] ... they've had in years past I'm hesitant to say that but 'cause Nathan Horton in the post season at least really. Exclusively he in the post season with a dominant player and he and instituted to ...
[0:08:43] ... I guess when people look at the Bruins. Is their defense beyond Zdeno Chara and I think that it's a somewhat valid point IE. A president of the Matt Marko ski fan club but I see ...
[0:09:12] ... the EU Bradley's young. If not greater except they don't have a Zdeno Chara so I mean how do you see the defense that picture playing -- where. I think that Brendan Smith is just as ...






Andy Brickley

Andy Brickley

NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley made his weekly appearance with Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to talk about Dennis Seidenberg and the upcoming playoff series against the Red Wings. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

When Seidenberg tore his ACL last December, most assumed he was done for the season. But with Seidenberg back on the practice rink, some have speculated that he could be back at some point, including Peter Chiarelli. Brickley said if Seidenberg is going to come back, he has to come back at full strength.

“He’€™s just such an incredibly strong athlete that if he can look like he’€™s able to play and actually get up to speed and be a productive player then that would be a tough decision, but a good decision to have to make,” Brickley said. “That being said, I’€™m still in the camp that I just totally don’€™t expect it.”

Added Brickley: “€œI think if he’€™s back he’€™s going to play regular minutes. And I don’€™t think they want him in a 10-15-minute range. … If he’€™s in the lineup and he’€™s playing, he needs to be able to handle similar minutes.”

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock was the coach of the Canadian team for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, with Claude Julien his assistant. While the two shared coaching ideas and strategies during that time, Brickley doesn’t see it as an advantage for either coach.

“I don’t think we’re at any point of the season now where there are any secrets, with all the video pre-scouting that you do, with all the actual scouts that represent Detroit that have been following the Bruins over the last month or two,”€ Brickley said. “Everybody is well aware of how the Bruins play and everybody is well aware of how Detroit defends as well. Usually Claude Julien gets the checkmark when it comes to who’s got the better coaching when you’€™re comparing two teams, but this one is a pretty even matchup when it comes down to that.”

One of the highlighted aspects of the upcoming series is Detroit’s speed vs. Boston’€™s aggressiveness. Brickley sees the Bruins being OK if they manage the puck well and don’€™t give Detroit any easy chances.

“The speed [of Detroit] only hurts you when you turn the puck over in transition,” Brickley said. “€œThat’€™s the only time that the speed can really beat you when you talk about Detroit if you think that’s an issue. So that means puck management for Boston. Not only coming out of their own zone but center ice. Center ice becomes an obvious key in this series. You can’t be turning pucks over there to Detroit because their turnaround speed is real good.

“So you need to own center ice, you need to own the middle of the ice, you need to establish your forecheck and make Detroit have to go 200 feet. Don’t allow them to stretch the neutral zone when they do have puck possession on your forecheck, on their control breakout or anything that comes back to the neutral zone on the regroup. Don’t let them get in behind you. Don’t allow those easy breakaway chances or the quick two-on-ones on the counter. So it becomes puck management, it becomes the neutral zone.”

Blog Author: 
Arjuna Ramgopal

WILMINGTON – Daniel Paille and Chris Kelly both missed Wednesday’s practice.

WILMINGTON – Daniel Paille and Chris Kelly both missed Wednesday’s practice. Both players missed the team’s final game of the regular season, with Kelly sitting out the last three with back spasms and Paille suffering what appeared to be a head injury in the team’s second to last game.

Also missing from practice were defensemen Matt Bartkowski and Kevan Miller. Claude Julien had said numerous Bruins were battling the flu Tuesday, but Patrice Bergeron, Andrej Meszaros and Loui Eriksson were all back at practice Wednesday as missing Tuesday’s skate.

The Bruins’ lines in practice were as follows:

Lucic – Krejci – Iginla
Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
Florek – Soderberg – Eriksson
Caron – Campbell – Thornton

Dennis Seidenberg skated again Wednesday, marking at least his third straight day on the ice. Seidenberg was on the ice for about 25 minutes and did the same thing as Tuesday, working with strength and conditioning coach John Whitesides as he did big circles, then smaller circles, shot and practiced taking pucks on the blue line and moving across it.

Adam McQuaid was not on the ice Wednesday and did not skate Tuesday.

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

Dougie Hamilton and Zdeno Chara are expected to be postseason partners. (AP)Last year, Dougie Hamilton could only watch from the press box as the Bruins came so close to their goal of winning the Stanley Cup. He was a rookie then, and the Bruins didn’t need him on the blue line. 

Now they do, and in a big way. 



The Detroit Red Wings present plenty of problems for the top team in the East. But Claude Julien isn’t worried about his Bruins being overwhelmed with the many challenges they’ll see from Detroit starting Friday at TD Garden.

The Detroit Red Wings present plenty of problems for the top team in the East. But Claude Julien isn’t worried about his Bruins being overwhelmed with the many challenges they’ll see from Detroit starting Friday at TD Garden.

The one characteristic that will be brought up often this week will be the speed of the Red Wings, namely Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, David Legwand, Daniel Alfredsson and Johan Franzen.

“We’ve played fast teams before,” Julien said, referring clearly to teams like Montreal and Ottawa. “And again, we can look at their record whichever way we want and see us 1-3. I look at the games we played against them and there was one game, the first one in Detroit that we didn’€™t play very well. The other three, we could have won the two that we lost, I mean, we had the lead in that last one.”

Julien brought up the three regular season losses because he is more than aware that there are those who think this is the worst possible first-round match for his team that finished with an NHL-best 117 points. But then Julien offered perspective, specifically that it’s the Red Wings who have to be worried about containing the weapons of a team that won 54 games.

“So I don’€™t think that it is going to be that big of an issue as much as we may be an issue for them,” Julien said. “Teams have strengths and it’€™s how you counter those things. I think our team can certainly skate, I don’€™t think we’€™re a slow team whether people underrate our skating or now, I don’€™t know. But we’€™ve shown that we can skate with these guys but certainly close the gap quick on those guys too. And that’€™s what you have to do, you have to make sure you don’€™t give those guys too much room because they will make plays and they will take the ice that you give them.”

With a team like the Red Wings loaded with offensive firepower, Julien was asked if he sees similarities to his young team that fought the 2007-08 Canadiens team tooth and nail before losing in seven games.

“I don’€™t know, they’€™re not all that young,” Julien said. “They have some young players but so do we. I’€™m not sure that that’€™s the same situation to be honest with you. You know, you have the [Pavel] Datsyuks and [Todd] Bertuzzi will be in there, they have some veteran players. And I know the [Gustav] Nyquists and [Tomas] Tatars, those kinds of guys have carried their team when they needed it the most but I think our young Ds have done a pretty good job the same way when a guy like [Dennis] Seidenberg went down.

“I think there are a lot of similarities there and I don’€™t think they’€™re as young or that much younger than we are, I haven’€™t done the math yet when it comes to the age of both teams because that’€™s not the important thing to me. But again, like I said, I don’€™t think that is going to be comparable to what we went through against Montreal. We had some real key players who had to grind it out, you just have to look at our roster now and look at where those guys are, a lot of them aren’€™t seen any more. So it was just one of those years where, to us, talent was fairly low for whatever talent we had was extremely young. But we had a really good work ethic.”

Here is the rest of Tuesday’s press conference from Julien:

On how Zdeno Chara has been as a teacher to Dougie Hamilton: “He’€™s a good teacher because he is a good example. You know, how he prepares, how consistent he is throughout the year, all the stuff that comes with it, stuff that goes on in the dressing room whether it’€™s off ice workouts, all that stuff. He’€™s a great example, and Zee [Zdeno Chara] talks a lot on the ice, talks a lot on the bench so he’€™s had a good mentor, let’€™s put it that way, to work with at times this year.”

On the young guys being a good thing to be on the top line considering the speed of Detroit: “Again, I don’€™t think we’€™re overly worried about any of them. I’€™m going to sound like I’€™m a boring coach again by saying I expect us to go out there and play our game. We know their strengths, they know ours, we’€™re going to both adapt to those situations and we’€™re going to more than likely make it an interesting series. But as far as getting in to all the little details, I’€™m certainly not about to start doing that here.”

On how Zdeno Chara’€™s confidence in Dougie Hamilton by being able to jump up in plays: “I think you’€™ve seen them both support the attack. Everybody in the back end loves to support the attack, the other guys job is to make sure he sees that, respects it and our forwards have to do the same thing when they see a D going up they have to make sure that somebody is ready to cover up for them. So none of that has changed through all our Ds or all our forwards but I don’€™t know what more to say about those two. They have played together and have played well and I have been happy with that pair. No whether we decide to go with that or not, I don’€™t think that’€™s a given yet.”

On if it is easier with the experience of the team in which he doesn’€™t have to manage the nerves and emotions of the players: “I think it’€™s just a, you know, when they are calm it doesn’€™t mean they’€™re not necessarily excited and it doesn’€™t mean they’€™re not intense about the whole situation. I think they’€™re just having the whole, I guess, hoopla before the first puck drops in a more calm manner. And to me, it’€™s just one of those things that with time ‘€“ this is seven years for a lot of these guys in a row so you get that experience but you also take the lessons that you had along the way, how some of the series have been tough and how you’€™ve had to climb back in to them because of a certain situation. So you hope that all that experience is also going to pay dividends for them.”

On how he balances teaching the young defenders while keeping their confidence up: “I think a lot of it is communication. Players today need to know where they stand and there was a time a long time ago where you didn’€™t have a conversation with a coach, you just kind of sucked it up and the next time you were in you just played. But as everything else, this world changes as does the game and your approach with players. Right now, I think communication is a big thing between players and coaches. And our young players sometimes sat out not because they weren’€™t playing well but because we had a bunch of young players and we want to keep everybody going. You make sure that they know that so they don’€™t start questioning themselves whether it’€™s because of their play when they are playing well. So that was one of the things but at the same time, you have to give them the opportunity to play and they are going to make mistakes but you have to keep working with these guys to help them get better. We’€™ve seen guys make mistakes and then go back on the ice a few shifts later. So you don’€™t take their confidence away, especially when you see the effort and the determination is there. So you develop that way and although it’€™s the NHL, it doesn’€™t mean you can’€™t take that approach because in the long run, to me, it ends up being enough.”

On if working with Mike Babcock in Sochi will influence the series: “No, I think we’€™re on even grounds there. We all got to know each other a little bit better but I don’€™t think ‘€“ there’€™s no secrets in this game anymore and I think at the same time I know his tendencies, he knows mine. It’€™s just going to make for a more interesting series but I don’€™t think there’€™s that big of a difference between the two of us because we worked together or if I was going against someone else that I didn’€™t work with. We do pretty well with tendencies, not just with players but also with coach’€™s tendencies. How certain guys are hard matchers, other guys don’€™t and that kind of stuff. This is all the stuff that we have to do as coaches.”

On the guys that weren’€™t on the ice this morning: “I don’€™t know for sure, I would like to think so but as you know, the flu bug has hit our team right now. So we’€™re trying to manage that the best we can and the best thing right now is to keep those guys away from others. But a few more have gotten that, started off I think just before Saturday’€™s game for certain players and it just kind of evolved from there. So we’€™re trying to manage it right now and as far as more is concerned, keep your fingers crossed and hope that that is the end of it and that your players come back.”

On Daniel Paille: “We’€™re not discussing injuries, remember?”

On having extra time to prepare for the series: “Well, I am today when you see what is happening to our group here with flu bug going around, they’€™ll take the extra days. It’€™s a blessing in disguise there.”

On if he can separate the guys who have the flu: “Not really.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Zdeno Chara spoke for an entire organization when he responded to the question Tuesday of what the one year anniversary of the most painful day in Boston history meant to him.

“I’m not born and raised but I feel a part of the city,” the Bruins captain from Slovakia said with pride. “I’m always going to call myself a Bostonian. It’s just one of those things that it feels like a home. You try to respect the city and what it represents.”

The Bruins held practice Tuesday morning at TD Garden, getting ready for their playoff opener on Friday against the Detroit Red Wings. But after practice, coach Claude Julien, Chara and Jarome Iginla all recalled what they were feeling one year ago to the day when Boston was terrorized and attacked by the bombings at the Boston Marathon and the weeklong manhunt that nearly shut down the city.

Julien and Chara were getting ready to play Iginla and the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday, April 19 at TD Garden when a manhunt for the two bombers centered in Watertown shut down the entire city. The game between the Bruins and Penguins was eventually called off on that Friday night and rescheduled for the next day.

The Bruins had two games rescheduled due to the bombings and the manhunt. On April 15, the Bruins postponed their game against the Ottawa Senators to the last day of the season.

On Tuesday, the Bruins reflected on that day in 2013, and how sports and the Bruins helped the city heal.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Multiple Bruins are dealing with the flu, Bruins coach Claude Julien said after Tuesday’s practice.