According to a report out of Russia (non-Russian-speakers: Hit the translate button on your browser), Bruins 2011 second-round pick Alexander Khokhlachev will sign with SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL next month.

Khokhlachev, who is still 22 and had 70 points (23 goals, 47 assists) in 63 games for Providence last season, vented his frustrations with the Bruins organization during training camp prior to this season. The Russian center has played in just nine NHL games, registering no points. The B’s will retain his rights until he’s 27 in the event that Khokhlachev returns to the NHL.

Khokhlachev is the second player to leave the Bruins’ organization for the KHL this offseason, as center Joonas Kemppainen signed with Sibiu Novosibirsk earlier this month.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean
Martin Jones is better than Tuukka Rask, according to someone, probably. (Aaron Doster/USA Today Sports)

Martin Jones is better than Tuukka Rask, according to someone, probably. (Aaron Doster/USA Today Sports)

This probably should have been written before the series started, but I didn’t think of it until now. As such, I started writing it during the National Anthem of Game 1 and here it is.

These days, advanced metrics, GIFs, line-matching data and more are available to help inform the opinions of sports fans, media and even coaches.

Yet because a lot of people grew up without these things, it’s still relatively common for them to go unignored out of either laziness or one’s desire to share a very forced opinion, or what the internet unflatteringly calls a “hot take.”

You hear takes every day, many of which are horrifyingly dumb: Shea Weber deserves a Norris because he’s never won one, one-time 20-goal-scorer Matt Beleskey is better than two-time 30-goal-scorer Loui Eriksson, the Blues lost because of Vladimir Tarasenko, John Farrell moving Jackie Bradley Jr. up in the lineup killed his hit streak, etc.

Many Bruins followers are torn as to whom they should root for in the Stanley Cup Final between the Sharks and Penguins. Either way, they’ll see a big-name former Bruin who receives a laughable lack of credit for their career win. From there, it’s tougher to decide, so it’s worth it to consider which scenario will bring about the dumbest takes and pick against that one. Here are some of them:

IF THE SHARKS WIN

– Firing the coach is the way to go. Always fire the coach. Call it “parting ways” if need be, but get him out of there.

– Martin Jones is better than Tuukka Rask, the latter of whom hasn’t done anything since getting a big contract (except win the Vezina).

[By the way, as of the first period, Jones had allowed as many goals in one period as Rask did in 14 periods against the Penguins in the 2013 Eastern Conference finals. Jones obviously had a better year, albeit with a far better team and against far fewer high-danger chances.]

– It is technically true that Joe Thornton did not thrive under Claude Julien during his time in Boston, and now he’s off winning the Stanley Cup. Just another reason as to why Julien should be canned.

– Logan Couture [presumably] led the playoffs in scoring. Do the Bruins really have a guy who can do that?

IF THE SHARKS LOSE

– There was no way they were going to win because they have Joe Thornton and Joe Thornton is never going to win the Stanley Cup hur durrrrr durrrr.

IF THE PENGUINS WIN

– Firing the coach is the way to go. Always fire the coach. Do it during the season. If you fire the coach during the season, you will win the Stanley Cup.

– If at all possible, have an unproven goalie. Do not have an elite goalie with a big contract. Usually, if you have an unproven goalie not making any money, you will win the Stanley Cup.

– Two-time Stanley Cup champion Sidney Crosby did not Lead The Team. Someone else did.

– Who won the Kessel trade?

– How many Cups would the Bruins have now if they hadn’t fired Mike Sullivan?*

*This is only a slightly dumb take. Sullivan was a really good coach in Boston and absolutely should not have been fired when he was.

IF THE PENGUINS LOSE

– Team USA knew what it was doing leaving Phil Kessel off its roster. He did not show the Grit that Team USA will undoubtedly bring. With more grit, the Penguins would have won. Matt Beleskey is better than Loui Eriksson.

– One-time Stanley Cup champion Sidney Crosby did not Lead The Team.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

Eight Bruins were selected to preliminary rosters for this fall’s World Cup of Hockey, none more notable than left wing Brad Marchand.

Marchand will join Bruins linemate Patrice Bergeron in representing Team Canada. His selection comes after he followed years of stout production as a first-liner and penalty killer with a career-best 36 goals.

Brad Marchand

Brad Marchand

Eight Bruins were selected to preliminary rosters for this fall’s World Cup of Hockey, none more notable than left wing Brad Marchand.

Marchand will join Bruins linemate Patrice Bergeron in representing Team Canada. His selection comes after he followed years of stout production as a first-liner and penalty killer with a career-best 36 goals.

Other Bruins who will play in the Toronto-hosted tournament are goaltender Tuukka Rask (Finland), defensemen Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg (Team Europe), David Krejci and David Pastrnak (Czech Republic) and winger Loui Eriksson (Sweden).

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 3.13.16 PMPart of the Bruins’ justification of re-signing Kevan Miller to a four-year, $10 million contract is that Miller has what Don Sweeney calls “relative low mileage.”

On paper, they’re in that maybe-kind-of-technically-correct area. Miller has still only played 180 NHL games, and Hall of Fame defenseman Denis Potvin’s theory is that it takes 300 games in the NHL before a defenseman’s development is complete.

“For a defenseman, you come into the NHL and I think the first 100 games are a freebie,” Potvin explained to WEEI.com back in 2014. “Guys around the league are seeing you develop; they’ve heard about you, there’s talk about first-round draft picks, that kind of thing. So you kind of get a freebie the first hundred games.

“The next hundred games, you’re starting to realize that they’re aware of you, and you’re starting to deal with the glove in the face and a little bit of backtalk, a little bit more hitting and a little more of them trying to get to you.

“The next hundred games are spent adjusting to life in the big leagues. By the time you get to 300 games, you’ve got a pretty good feel of where you belong, how you can play this game, how you fit with your own team. I think it takes that long, and we’re talking a good three years, four years before a guy can really reach his maximum.”

Here’s the thing, though: Miller, who will turn 29 in the second month of next season, is no spring chicken. And as for the mileage, it’s not like he wasn’t playing hockey while he was working his way to the NHL (163 AHL games). Furthermore, he’s spent enough seasons in the NHL (three) to suggest that staying healthy is a challenge. Best-case, he’ll hit that 300-game mark during the second year of his new contract. To say he likely won’t get worse is a safe enough assumption, but the Bruins say he’s still getting better. Common logic would suggest a player of Miller’s age might not a whole lot of untapped potential.

Miller’s contract will take up his age 29, 30, 31 and 32 seasons, years that should be considered rather harmless as far as depreciation goes. A University of British Columbia study published in 2014 found that defensemen typically perform “within 90 percent of their peak” from ages 24 to 34 years old, which is two years longer than the study found to be the case for forwards. IPOD (Incredible Pal of Deej) Ryan Lambert also took a diligent look at this, and found 32 to be the age where uh-oh time typically begins for defensemen. 

So in Sweeney’s defense, this is unlike Dennis Seidenberg’s contract, which pays the former top-pairing player an average of $4 million annually as he regresses into his mid-30s. The soon-to-be-35-year-old Seidenberg, a candidate to be traded this offseason, is signed until he is 36.

Sweeney said that the Bruins use regression of players based on age as well as how much hockey they’ve played to gauge what they feel to be the mileage of a player.

“Also, Kevan’s been on an upward swing,” he added. “I think this year was a good indication of that. Obviously the style he plays, he’s subject to getting dinged up. He came back from his shoulder surgery and didn’t miss time with his shoulder at all. He works extremely hard; he works hard on his own individual game. But the character piece speaks for itself. The depth that you need and are required to have at that position is important. I think it allows the younger players that we have in the system to come in and either push players out or develop at the right pace. So we felt comfortable that at his age and the term of it that he was going to continue to get better and work on his game because he’s diligent about it.”

The question is whether Miller’s season last year — which saw him struggle early and play well down the stretch — was just the sign of an inconsistent defenseman who was coming off an injury. Players have peaks and valleys every season, so the fact that the peak of a 28-year-old Miller’s peak last season came later rather than sooner is not necessarily a suggestion that he was actually developing.

The more likely case is that the Bruins signed a player who probably isn’t going to get much worse over the course of the contract. If he gets better during it – as Johnny Boychuk did in a deal that took up his age 28, 29 and 30 seasons – that would be dandy. It just might be a leap to assume that’s going to happen.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

Joe Thornton and his magnificent beard are heading to the Stanley Cup final.</p>
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This is just a picture of Steven Stamkos. Relax. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

This is just a picture of Steven Stamkos. Relax. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Here’s an interesting tidbit from Wednesday’s conference call with Bruins general manager Don Sweeney and coach Claude Julien: When asked what he wanted to fix, Sweeney listed center as a position he’d like to address via free agency or trade.

At least at the NHL level, center is the one position where the Bruins seem completely set. The team has Patrice Bergeron signed through 2021-22, David Krejci signed through 2020-21, Ryan Spooner signed for another year and Noel Acciari still on his entry level contract.

“We’ve got areas that we want to address in the depth of our organization, more likely in the forward position, either on the right wing or the center and again on the back end,” Sweeney said. “But we’re exploring a bunch of different things trade-wise. It’s difficult in this league, but I think that we’re in a position with two first-round picks to either be selecting really good players or to be in the marketplace.”

In terms of organizational depth, the B’s probably could use bodies in the middle, as Providence first-liner is expected to leave North America to play in the KHL. Or, if Bruins fans want, they can take Sweeney’s answer as a “saying there’s a chance” quote to attach to pipe dreams of Steven Stamkos coming to Boston. Whichever.

Some other quick takeaways from the conference call:

– Sweeney said the Bruins still hope to sign Loui Eriksson.

– New assistant coaches Bruce Cassidy and Jay Pandolfo will have specific roles. Cassidy will be on the bench, running the defense. Pandolfo, who will officially be a coach for the first time after spending the last two seasons in player development, will be the team’s “eye in the sky,” meaning he’ll work from the press level.

– The Bruins have had discussions with restricted free agent Torey Krug and intend to sign him. That shouldn’t come as breaking news, but then again the Dougie Hamilton fiasco told us that good RFA defensemen and this team are no sure thing.

– On the impact of Kevan Miller’s new contract, Sweeney answered a question about possibly trading Adam McQuaid or Dennis Seidenberg by saying that he will explore anything and everything. A non-committal answer, yes, but he certainly doesn’t sound married to the idea of keeping the defensemen he has under contract.

– Sweeney has not told any of the Bruins’ free agents — restricted or unrestricted — that they won’t be back yet. The GM said he might have those discussions this week.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

The signing of Kevan Miller does not figure to impact what ends up happening with Loui Eriksson.

Loui Eriksson

Loui Eriksson

The signing of Kevan Miller does not figure to impact what ends up happening with Loui Eriksson.

Speaking on a conference call Wednesday, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said that the team remains interested in retaining Eriksson, who was one of three 30-goal-scorers for Boston last season. Playing in his third season with the B’s since coming over from Dallas in the Tyler Sequin trade, Eriksson added 33 assists to his 30 goals for a total of 63 points.

“We’ve been in discussions with Loui and have a pretty good idea where they would like to be at. We’ll see whether or not we can find common ground there, but we have been having ongoing discussions on that front.

“As I’ve always said, [I] really respect him as a player. He had a fabulous year. Would love to be able to retain him.”

The Bruins offered Eriksson a four-year contract prior to the trade deadline, but Eriksson’s camp has insisted on at least five. The veteran wing will turn 31 in July.

The team floated after the trade deadline that the player was not in high demand on the trade market, an idea that Eriksson didn’t necessarily believe.

“It’s hard to tell [if teams didn’t offer the Bruins high draft picks],” Eriksson told WEEI.com after the season. “I don’t know. There was a lot of things going on at around that time.

“I think the type of player that I am, I think a lot of teams want that type of player. We’ll see what’s going to happen.”

Eriksson is coming off a four-year contract worth an average annual value of $4.25 million. He figures to get somewhere in the $5 million or $6 million range annually depending on term.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

Kevan Miller is a third-pairing defender on whom the Bruins have relied too much. (Bob DeChiara/Getty Images)On Oct.