Staying fresh: An update on Bruins overseas


Staying fresh: An update on Bruins overseas

Though there might be some good news in CBA negotiations between the NHL and NHLPA this week, an even 10 Bruins players are still skating overseas waiting for the lockout to be over.

The actual count of Bs players overseas is nine with Tyler Seguin back in Boston this week during a two-week break from regular season games for his Swiss EHC Biel hockey club. Seguin finished his first stint with Biel totaling 13 goals and 23 points in 15 games, and racked up four goals in a game last Friday while the home crowd chanted Seguins name amid the offensive outpouring.

Here's an update on the rest of the Bruins overseas:

Zdeno Chara has two goals, seven assists and has a minus-1 rating in 11 games HC Lev Prague in the KHL, but he has been saddled with a lackluster team that lost eight games in a row after bringing the Bs captain on board. Its really not often that you see Chara as a minus player after a double-digit amount of games, but the speed of the Russian hockey league plays away from some of Charas strengths.

Tuukka Rask has bounced back nicely from his tweaked groin and is 6-2 with a 1.85 goals against average and a .936 save percentage for Plzen HC. The Finnish goaltender appears primed and ready for a return to Boston as the starter between the pipes for the Bruins.

Patrice Bergeron has 16 points (8 goals, 8 assists) and is a plus-15 in eight games for HC Lugano and has returned from an injured hand that kept him out for a few games.

Andrew Ference has three points and is a plus-1 in seven games for Ceske Budejovice HC, and also missed a game with a banged up finger after he took a shot off the hand during game action.

David Krejci has 14 points (seven goals and seven assists) in 12 games and is a plus-2 for HC Pardubice. He has been one of the Bs best performers overseas while skating in his home country.

Dennis Seidenberg has four assists and is a plus-5 in 10 games for the Mannheim Eagles while skating in his native Germany. Between Seidenberg, Chara and Ference skating in Europe and Dougie Hamilton playing for the Niagara IceDogs during the lockout, that means four of six projected Bs defensemen should be ready to hit the ground running when the regular season does begin.

Rich Peverley has 2 goals and 11 points in 14 games for JYP in the Finnish League, and is clearly thriving in a European League that focuses on skating speed and high-class offensive skill.

Goaltender Anton Khudobin is 3-6-2 in the KHL for Moscow Oblast-Atlant with a 3.02 goals against average and a .908 save percentage, and has remained healthy while playing in his native Kazakhstan.

In addition to Bostons NHL players overseas, the Bs 2012 second round pick Alex Khokhlachev has two points and is a minus-5 rating in 19 games for Moscow Spartak in the KHL. He is in Canada this week to play with Nail Yakupov for Team Russia in the Subway Super Series in Quebec. Its expected that his old OHL team, the Windsor Spitfires, is going to at least kick the tires on any potential interest Khokhlachev might have in returning to Canada after his struggles in his native Russia.

WATCH: Celtics vs. Raptors

WATCH: Celtics vs. Raptors

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Celtics-Raptors preview: DeRozan, Lowry a challenge for Bradley, C's

Celtics-Raptors preview: DeRozan, Lowry a challenge for Bradley, C's

BOSTON – Avery Bradley doesn’t mind being a standout, but this is probably not what he had in mind. 

Injuries have ravaged the Boston Celtics’ starting five to the point where only one player, Bradley, has been with the first unit in all 22 games this season. 

Just like Bradley was looked upon to step his game up in the absence of Isaiah Thomas (right groin) at Orlando on Wednesday, he will once again be challenged to lead Boston (13-9) to victory tonight when the Thomas-less Celtics face the Toronto Raptors. 

Bradley’s emergence as a two-way talent this season has overshadowed at times what has been another season of elite play defensively. 

And he’ll need to be on top of his defensive game tonight against a Raptors All-Star backcourt of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. 

Both Lowry and DeRozan present a different kind of challenge for Bradley who will spend time defending each of them at various points during the game. 

Lowry has good size, strength and deceptive quickness in addition to an under-rated perimeter game that will keep Bradley on his toes for sure. 

This season he's averaging 20.8 points, 4.9 rebounds and a career-high 7.6 assists while shooting 42.9 percent on 3's which is also a career mark. 

And DeRozan is having the kind of season that might get him a few league MVP votes. 

His 28.0 points per game ranks fifth in the NBA, but making his numbers even more impressive is that unlike most guards DeRozan doesn’t generate much offense from three-pointers.

DeRozan averages 1.8 three-point attempts per game which is the fewest attempts among any player ranked among the league’s top-25 scorers.

The 6-foot-7 All-Star is the master of the mid-range game which accounts for 31.5 percent of the points he scores. And when he’s not shooting the mid-range, he’s working a defender in one-on-one iso-situations. 

That helps explain why 76.4 percent of his two-point made field goals are unassisted. 

But here’s the thing about Bradley. 

As much as we give him props for what he does defensively, it’s his offense that has put him on the map as a potential All-Star this season. 

Bradley is averaging a career-high 17.9 points while shooting 47.2 percent from the field. He’s also averaging a career-high 7.8 rebounds per game in addition to shooting a career-high 40.7 percent on 3's.

But for Bradley, individual accolades are only going to come his way by the Celtics winning games; preferably against above-average teams like the Toronto Raptors.

And that would make both Bradley and the Celtics stand out this season.