Bruins winger Frank Vatrano joined WEEI.com’s Josh Dolan following Friday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena.

The two were also bombed by two of Vatrano’s teammates not long into the interview.

Follow WEEI on Facebook for more live videos and the latest news and updates on the Bruins.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson

No. 1 center Patrice Bergeron and ace goaltender Tuukka Rask could not be found on the ice for Friday’s Bruins practice in Brighton.

Patrice Bergeron and Tuukka Rask were not on the ice for Friday's practice. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Patrice Bergeron and Tuukka Rask were not on the ice for Friday’s practice. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

No. 1 center Patrice Bergeron and ace goaltender Tuukka Rask could not be found on the ice for Friday’s Bruins practice in Brighton.

Bergeron, dinged up in the third period of Wednesday’s loss to the Capitals when a Matt Niskanen slapshot blasted off the inside of his knee, has been labeled with a lower-body injury and is considered day-to-day. It’s worth noting that Bergeron did attempt to come back from the injury with the Bruins down by two, but retreated back to the room after just two shifts and ended the night with 16:24 of time on ice.

The 31-year-old Bergeron missed the first three games of the regular season with a lower-body injury and battled a lower-body injury to finish last year and has 12 goals and 26 points in 51 games this season.

Ryan Spooner skated in his spot between Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak in his place, while Austin Czarnik took his spot on line three.

Meanwhile, the Bruins have called Friday’s absence a maintenance day for the 29-year-old Rask, who said he ‘popped’ his groin late in the third period of Wednesday’s loss to the Capitals.

Rask is 25-13-4 with a .914 save percentage this season.

The Bruins’ backups have combined for just one win in 12 decisions this season. 2017 AHL All-Star Zane McIntyre, the current backup, has an 0-3-1 record and .860 save percentage in seven games for the Big B’s this season.

The Bruins are back in action Saturday night against the Maple Leafs.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson

Less than a month from the NHL trade deadline, the Bruins are alive in the playoff race and active in the trade market.

The Bruins and Rangers are among those most interested in Kevin Shattenkirk. (Billy Hurst/USA Today Sports)

The Bruins and Rangers are among those most interested in Kevin Shattenkirk. (Billy Hurst/USA Today Sports)

Less than a month from the NHL trade deadline, the Bruins are alive in the playoff race and active in the trade market.

Although their current group has managed to keep the team afloat into February, the Bruins could use another scoring presence on their wings (particularly one who could help team score some five-on-five goals on a more consistent basis) or another top-four defenseman.

And while everything is still seemingly in the beginning stages of ‘silly season’, the Bruins have been linked to Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog multiple times, and the idea of acquiring Blues defender Kevin Shattenkirk has been a two-year plot that continues to thicken.

The latter’s name popped up once again in regards to the Bruins on TSN’s latest edition of Insider Trading, too.

Although there are ‘several’ teams monitoring Shattenkirk’s situation with the Blues, who fired head coach Ken Hitchcock on Wednesday, Pierre LeBrun mentioned both the Bruins and Rangers as two teams that have significant interest in Shattenkirk.

A pending unrestricted free agent, the general and original consensus regarding a Shattenkirk trade seemed to center around the idea that it would be a sign-and-trade that would keep the 28-year-old in town with whatever team traded for him long after the stretch run. But LeBrun added that no team has proposed such a plan yet, meaning that any calls made to Blues GM Doug Armstrong from Don Sweeney have been about the Black and Gold simply renting Shattenkirk for the rest of the season.

That’s a risky proposition for the Bruins for a number of reasons. The biggest being that the expected price to be paid to acquire Shattenkirk (the Blues wanted David Pastrnak and two first-rounds picks last June, and while there’s no way they would ask for that same package, it would still be something that would make the Bruins think twice) is going to be gigantic, and the fact that the Bruins do not become anything close to Cup favorites — or even playoff locks, for that matter — with Shattenkirk plugged into their lineup for the final 20 games of the season doesn’t help. The elephant in the room, too, is that he’s probably going to test the market this summer no matter what the Bruins offer given the league’s undying need for right-handed, offensive defensemen.

Armstrong’s situation is a tricky one, as the Blues remain in the playoff picture and in the second wild card spot in the Western Conference as of right now, but are in a spot where getting something for Shattenkirk while they still can may outweigh the pros of holding onto him for one last playoff run led by the hope that the Blues’ goaltending situation resolves itself.

A native of New Rochelle, N.Y., Shattenkirk has 11 goals and 34 points in 50 games for the Blues this season.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson

Future Hockey Hall of Famer Jarome Iginla made the right call three summers ago when he left the Bruins to cash in with the Avalanche.

Now he’s hoping the Avalanche will make the right call on him.

Avalanche winger Jarome Iginla wants to be traded by the deadline. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Avalanche winger Jarome Iginla wants to be traded to a playoff contender before next month’s trade deadline. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Future Hockey Hall of Famer Jarome Iginla made the right call three summers ago when he left the Bruins to cash in with the Avalanche.

Now he’s hoping the Avalanche will make the right call on him.

In the final year of a three-year deal signed back in 2014, and with the Avalanche in dead last in the entire NHL with just 13 wins and a minus-72 goal differential in 48 games this year, the 39-year-old wants a trade out of the Rocky Mountains to return to a contender.

“I would like to, at the deadline, go somewhere,” Iginla told Yahoo!’s Puck Daddy blog on Wednesday. “I would like to be in the playoffs. I would hope that there is some opportunity to go and play in the playoffs. Those are the best games, the most fun for sure, and you have a chance to win. So no, I haven’t given up on that chance to win.”

Iginla’s last chance to win it all came with the Presidents’ Trophy winning Bruins in 2014, when he contributed five goals and seven points in 12 games en route to a second-round series loss to the Canadiens. Iginla likely would have remained in town, too, had the Bruins been able to offer a multi-year deal (the Bruins were so tight against the cap that they could only offer Iginla another one-year, bonus-laden contract). The contract length was something of significant importance to Iginla given his age (it was going to be his last big deal and he had already love some money on the tables with a couple of NHL lockouts), as was his desire for stability for his family, which was something he got with the Avs.

But as the Avs prepare their search to find Iginla a new landing spot for the stretch run, you have to wonder if such a search would involve, or at least entertain, the idea of the veteran Iginla reuniting with the Black and Gold for another go.

 

The Bruins are a playoff team (for the moment, anyways) and sit in third place in the Atlantic Division, but their need for secondary scoring remains a dire one. If Iginla came back to the Bruins, the B’s would have the option to either put him back with Krejci, the center that helped him score 30 goals in 2013-14 and in a corresponding move send David Backes back to the third line and create a potentially dangerous three-line unit, or move Iginla in a complementary scoring/power-play presence on your third line and give Ryan Spooner a physical, scoring threat to his right side, which is something he’s simply never had. No matter the move, it would be one that focuses on giving the Bruins three offensively capable lines that Claude Julien can roll out and keep up with the Penguins, Capitals, and Rangers of the world in a seven-game series come April and May.

But there’s also been some chatter of weighing the need for a scorer versus the need for another top-four defenseman. And it almost goes without saying that the price paid for either one will probably be the biggest factor in any deal made or nixed.

There’s a plus when it comes to hammering out a potential deal with the Avalanche, and it’s with the fact that the Black and Gold have some familiarity with Avalanche GM Joe Sakic this season. And although those talks have focused heavily on Gabriel Landeskog (and/or possibly Matt Duchene), Bruins general manager Don Sweeney likely has an idea as to what the Avalanche are looking for in a trade. He would also not have to pay the premium of trading a Brandon Carlo or Charlie McAvoy if you’re talking about Iginla instead of a player like Duchene or Landeskog. (The Avalanche, by the way, are in massive need for defensive personnel, be it at the NHL level or further down the road.) And with just six goals and 12 points in 48 games this year, Iginla’s stock is probably at an all-time low — at least compared to what it was the last time Iginla was on the trade market back in 2013 when the Bruins’ bid fell short because Iginla wanted to go the Penguins — and that seemingly bodes well for the Bruins.

But the Black and Gold are far from the only team looking for some additional scoring on the wings. The Kings, Penguins, and Blackhawks are just some of the other teams expected to be in the market for a scorer between now and the deadline. (And there’s more.) The plus for the Bruins there is that both the Hawks and Pens are tight against the cap and would probably have to move significant salary to make something major work, and that the Kings have already raided their cupboard a few times.

The other problem: Iginla has a full no-movement clause and might not view the Bruins as a legitimate Cup contender. Which was the problem the last time Iginla hit the trade market, and that was when the Bruins were a lot better than they are now.

The NHL trade deadline is on March 1.

 

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson

Brad Marchand (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Brad Marchand (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Here’s your mailbag …

Brad Marchand has heated back up again and climbed way up in the scoring race [note: after last night’s three point night, Marchand is now tied for third in points with 23-31—54 totals, trailing only Connor McDavid and Sidney Crosby]. If he hovers around that area, will he get some MVP votes? Timmy, Dorchester, MA

I think the impish left-winger should definitely be in the conversation if the Bruins manage to make it into the playoffs. After an absolutely torrid start, Marchand’s stats cooled off even though his overall play was pretty consistent. But he’s cranked it up to 11 as of late to vault into the top three in scoring.

It’s tough to imagine where the Bruins would be without him (or without Tuukka Rask for that matter). He’s started out as a fourth-liner six years ago and is now an All-Star that trails only the two best players in the game in points. Though it’s unlikely he’d nose out either of those two superstars, stranger things have happened. Should both ever miss any time, Marchand could easily slide past them to steal the Art Ross (most points). But the Ross is no guarantee of winning either the Hart or the Lindsay. So methinks he’d need to win the scoring title in a runaway to win one of the top MVP awards. Otherwise, the fawning media will award it to either Crosby or McDavid. And really, who can blame them?

What’s up with the Claude talk? It’s goes from ‘happening any minute’ to disappearing once they win three in a row. Charlie, Watertown, MA

Every media member should get a limited amount of times they can “fire” a coach. There should also be a time limits on a firing claim (i.e. if you say a guy’s getting fired in January but it doesn’t happen until June, then you didn’t have it). Because a bunch of reporters here in Boston would have already exceeded their quota on Claude.

What happens a lot of time is a guy or lady “hears something” that is hardly concrete, he/she draws own ultimately incorrect conclusion, then goes out on a limb (but not really) to say a guy’s getting canned. In other cases, a media member just straight up lies knowing full well that it’s almost impossible to prove a source didn’t tell them what they’re claiming. And there are times when front offices, players, agents, etc. use reporters to put out a false story or get their side out to the public. At the end of the day, nobody loses their job when their “reporting” regarding a firing turns out to be bunk. However, their reputation takes a hit and Twitter never forgets.

Who is the biggest disappointment at the break? Who is the biggest surprise? Teddy, Weymouth, MA

The Tampa Bay Lighting, currently six points back of the final playoff spot in the East, have no doubt been the biggest disappointment so far this season. Yes, I know they lost their best player for an extended time. But the Lightning have shown in the past that they can overcome not having Steven Stamkos in the line-up. That’s because they got top-notch goaltending. Unfortunately for them, they’re not getting that this year and it’s why they’re on the outside looking in. For a contender like Tampa Bay, it will be crushing to the franchise if they don’t even make the post-season.

It’s kind of hard not to pick the Columbus Blue Jackets for biggest surprise. After garnering just 76 points last season, absolutely nobody thought the John Tortorella-led squad would make a run at Pittsburgh’s most consecutive wins record this year. But they did just that in wining 16 straight games, coming up one game short of tying the record. The run did allow them to stockpile much-needed points because, despite the winning streak, they’re four points behind first-place Washington (thought Columbus has two games in hand). Still, it was a damn impressive accomplishment and let other teams know that the Blue Jackets are legit.

Blog Author: 
Rear Admiral

Tuukka Rask has made 43 starts this season, the second-most in the NHL.</p>
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Capitals forward Brett Connolly  became the fifth ex-Bruin to score against the team this season. (Brad Mills/USA Today Sports)

Capitals forward Brett Connolly became the fifth ex-Bruin to score against the team this season. (Brad Mills/USA Today Sports)

I had to rub my eyes. The picture was clear, but I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Brett Connolly received a pass, handled it perfectly, and found the seams in the B’s defense to bury his opportunity on Tuukka Rask and extend his team’s lead to two in the third period.

Shocked, I had to check my roster sheet and make sure that the Capitals did not have more than one Connolly than Brett the Bruin-turned-Capital. Nope. It was real, and it was him.

Connolly had scored a goal against the Bruins. A pretty one, too.

If Connolly, who might honestly have been the most snakebit man in the world last year (note: that was before I watched Patrice Bergeron this season), even tried that move a year ago, he would have tripped over his own body, lost the puck, and somehow landed in the penalty box with a bad penalty. But go figure, in just his 37th game with the Capitals, Connolly recorded his ninth goal of the season, the same he had in 71 games with the Bruins last season, and 76 games overall if you care to include his five-game sample from the year before. It was a goal that held as the game-winner for the Capitals in a 5-3 final over the Black and Gold.

Because of course.

The unlikely finish from Connolly, who was not even tendered a contract from the Bruins as a restricted free agent last summer, got me thinking. It feels that every game against a former Bruin ends with that player burning his former team in some fashion.

Is that right? Well, it’s not necessarily wrong.

Not if you care to include the larger sample size, anyways.

Connolly’s game against the Bruins was his first since leaving the Bruins for the Capitals last July, but it was the club’s 23rd game against a former player this season. Overall, he’s the 20th ex-Bruin to go against the Black and Gold this year — 21 if you care to include Matt Benning, an unsigned draft pick of the Bruins that signed with the Oilers last summer — and the fifth to have scored a goal against the Bruins. (Jaromir Jagr, Phil Kessel, Carl Soderberg, and Blake Wheeler are the others.) The goal also made Connolly the ninth player to record a point against his former team this season, again 10 if you care to include Benning on that list. He’s joined by Johnny Boychuk, Matt Hunwick, Reilly Smith and Lee Stempniak there.

The list of ex-Bruins held scoreless so far, in case you’re wondering, includes Seth Griffith (one game), Shawn Thornton (two games), Chris Kelly (one game), Dougie Hamilton and Dennis Wideman (one game), Dennis Seidenberg (two games), Matt Irwin (one game), Milan Lucic and Benoit Pouliot (one game), and Jarome Iginla, who was invisible in two games against the B’s.

In total, that group has totaled five goals and 13 points in just 23 games against the Bruins.

That production seems a tad high, sure — and it’s somewhat expected given the motivation a player has going against their old team — but it’s actually an improvement from last year, when the Bruins were torched at will from their former teammates.

In 33 games against the B’s in 2015-16, ex-teammates recorded 10 goals and 28 points.

It was a year where the heavy hitters came to collect against the B’s; Tyler Seguin had three goals in two games versus the Bruins. Joe Thornton recorded one goal and four points in two games. Lucic each had three points in two games against the Bruins. And it would have likely been a lot worse had the Bruins not shut Phil Kessel down for zero-zero-zero in three head-to-heads.

Even goaltenders found some success against the Bruins last season, with Chad Johnson and Michael Hutchinson combining for a 1-0-1 record against the Bruins and a .925 save percentage in three games against the Bruins.

Over the last two seasons, that’s 15 goals and 41 points in just 56 games. More simple math tells you that the Bruins have allowed their ex-talents to record 0.56 points per game against them this year versus the 0.85 points per game pace they rolled at last season. It’s still a kick in the head, especially when it costs you valuable points like Connolly did Wednesday night, but it’s a bit more tolerable and dispels the notion of this year being just a shinier version of everything that happened to the club last season.

At the same time, the Bruins are far from out of the woods of getting torched by friends-turned-toes for the second year in a row. Remember, the Bruins still have two head-to-heads with Thornton’s Sharks, Seguin’s Stars, and Loui Eriksson’s Canucks.

Thornton has 11 points in 13 career games against the B’s. Seguin has five in six. And Eriksson, the newest member to join the Club of Exes after Connolly and after spending three seasons with the Bruins before signing with the Canucks this past summer, has one goal and three points in four career games against the Bruins, though all came during his tenure with the Stars.

History tell us that those totals will bump up when those matchups come.

And it’ll probably sting when they do, too.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson