Kelly to play in NHLPARBC Play Hockey charity game

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Kelly to play in NHLPARBC Play Hockey charity game

Aside from a quick stint in Switzerlands second division, Bruins center Chris Kelly has kept a fairly low profile during the NHL lockout. He never really reported to Boston to skate during informal practices, and hes largely kept to his home Ontario area where hes skated with other NHL exiles.

But Kelly will be front and center this week as hes one of more than 30 NHLPA members that will be taking part in the RBC Play Hockey Charity Challenge in Toronto on Wednesday night. The game will be played at the Mattamy Athletic Centre and will be led by RBC Play Hockey ambassadors Steven Stamkos and P.K. Subban. Stamkos will captain Team Blue -- Kelly's team -- and Subban will captain Team White.

Team Stamkos will include Chris Kelly, Michael Del Zotto, Mike Komisarek, Niklas Kronwall, Dion Phaneuf, Kyle Quincey, Dan Cleary, Tim Connolly, B.J. Crombeen, Steve Downie, Clarke MacArthur, Matt Martin, James Neal, Teddy Purcell, Stamkos, David Steckel, Kris Versteeg, Wojtek Wolski, Jonas Gustavsson and Mike Leighton.

Team Subban includes Chris Campoli, Carlo Colaiacovo, Tomas Kaberle, John-Michael Liles, Subban, Brad Boyes, David Clarkson, Logan Couture, Phil Kessel, Tom Kostopoulos, Matthew Lombardi, Joffrey Lupul, Jay McClement, John Mitchell, Steve Ott, Peter Regin, Chris Stewart, Dan Winnik and Martin Biron.

Kelly recently wrapped up his stint with HC Red Ice in Switzerland and had nine points (4 goals, 5 assists) before playing in his final game on Nov. 30. Kelly is entering the first year of a four-year, 12 million contract extension with the Bruins signed right after NHL free agency opened last summer.

All proceeds from the game will benefit grassroots hockey causes through the NHLPA Goals & Dreams Fund and the RBC Play Hockey program. The NHLPA Goals & Dreams fund is the largest grassroots hockey assistance program in the world. Founded in 1999, NHLPA Goals & Dreams has contributed over 21 million to grassroots hockey programs and related causes in more than 30 countries. Through the donation of equipment grants, the program has given more than 60,000 deserving children the opportunity to play hockey and benefit from the sports commitment to teamwork, discipline and physical fitness.

RBC Play hockey is one of the largest corporately funded hockey programs that supports grassroots hockey in communities across North America and has provided more than 1.5 million in grants to over 120 hockey programs.

Haggerty: Bruins would be foolish, impetuous to deal away Carlo

Haggerty: Bruins would be foolish, impetuous to deal away Carlo

There’s been smoke for weeks signaling trade talks between the Boston Bruins and the Colorado Avalanche, and things are reportedly heating up with the Bruins potentially reaching a tipping point with their subpar play on the ice. According to Bleacher Report columnist Adrian Dater, things may be progressing between the two teams because the Bruins are beginning to entertain the idea of trading away 20-year-old top pairing rookie defenseman Brandon Carlo.

Bruins Director of Player Personnel was expected to be out in Colorado scouting the Avalanche/Blackhawks game on Tuesday night, and perhaps getting a long look at players like Gabriel Landeskog, Matt Duchene and Tyson Barrie among others.

The expectation is that 24-year-old Landeskog is in the middle of these trade discussions, and that he would be one of the players targeted by a Bruins team that could use more size on the wing, and more players that can put the puck in the net. Certainly Landeskog has done that in his brief NHL career after being a No. 2 overall pick, and has four 20-goal seasons on his resume prior to a disappointing, injury-plagued current season in Colorado.

The word around the league was that talks fizzled between the Bruins and Avs previously when Joe Sakic asked about the availability of the Colorado Springs native Carlo, and those discussions hit the same crunching roadblock that Winnipeg did in discussions with Boston about Jacob Trouba.

Perhaps that has changed in the last 24 hours after Cam Neely and Don Sweeney watched their Bruins completely no-show against the worst team in the Eastern Conference, the New York Islanders, on Monday afternoon. Now one would expect that Bruins management is getting desperate feeling that a third “Did Not Qualify” for the Stanley Cup playoffs could be in their future if they don’t make a bold, swift move to shake up their dazed hockey club.

But let’s not pull any punches here. The entire Bruins management group should be fired on the spot if they trade a 20-year-old, top pairing shutdown defenseman on an entry level contract like Carlo unless they are getting a bona fide superstar in return. Carlo, Charlie McAvoy and David Pastrnak should all be young, untouchable assets for a Bruins organization that is years away from legitimately holding a chance at a Stanley Cup.

Landeskog is not a bona fide superstar. He’s a good player that’s topped out at 26 goals and 65 points in the NHL, but he’s also the Captain on a horrendous, underachieving Avalanche team over the last three years.

If the price were right for Landeskog it would make all the sense in the world for the Bruins to deal him, but it’s a giant honking red flag that Colorado is looking to unload a player like him that’s signed for a reasonable $5.5 million price tag over the next four seasons. Teams don’t trade young players like that with term unless there’s more to the story, and that’s something the Bruins would do well to consider before giving up a player that could be a top-4 shutdown defenseman in Boston for the next 10 years.

Teams like the Bruins that are in reloading mode also shouldn’t be trading 20-year-old players for 24-year-old players that have already cashed in on their second contract. That’s exactly how the Bruins can get right back into salary cap trouble, and do it with a team that’s producing far less than the Peter Chiarelli groups that were at least still making the playoffs.  

Certainly the Bruins have other young D-men like Charlie McAvoy, Jakub Zboril and Jeremy Lauzon coming down the pipeline, but none of those defensemen are in the mold of a true shutdown D like the 6-foot-5 Carlo. With Zdeno Chara in the final few years of his career with the Black and Gold, the B’s are going to need Carlo to slide into that defensive stopper role given his size, strength, wing span and willingness to do the dirty work the D-zone.

That goes beyond the simple fact that rebuilding the back end with ALL of those young stud D-men is the best way to actually build the Bruins back up into a legitimate Eastern Conference power. 

It would be a giant mistake for the Bruins to ship away a player like Carlo with the hope Landeskog can put Boston over the hump for the playoffs this season, and perhaps ease some of the intense pressure currently weighing on Sweeney and Neely. That kind of desperate move smacks of doing it for all of the wrong reasons, and that’s one way to ensure that the Bruins will never escape the web of mediocrity that they’re currently caught in.