Bourque makes debut in Bruins sweater

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Bourque makes debut in Bruins sweater

SPRINGFIELD, MA Chris Bourque had been waiting all summer for the chance to finally wear the Black and Gold Bruins sweater in a game, and that finally happened Saturday night.
It was as a member of the Providence Bruins rather than the locked out Boston Bruins, and it arrived in a 4-1 loss to the Springfield Falcons in the P-Bruins final preseason tune-up at a largely empty MassMutual Center. But Bourque made the most out of it while wearing No. 17 for Providence.

The confident winger finished with an assist on the only goal Providence supplied over the sixty minutes of hockey, and felt good about the experience headed into the AHL regular season. Its the first of more than 80 games he hopes to play in a Bs sweater with a very familiar Bourque stitched on the back of it.

Or perhaps many more than that if the forward is tapped for third line duty in Boston once the NHL lockout has been lifted.

This is definitely something Ive been looking forward to since I got traded to Boston, said Bourque. Playing in a game for the first time since last April it was good to simply knock the rust off and compete against somebody other than my own team.

We had a few scrimmages at the beginning of training camp, but its always hard to gauge things just from those. So it was good to get into the game and I felt pretty good out there. We didnt get the win, but it was good to get a feel for the puck and get ready for the season.

The Bourque helper was from a neutral zone feed to Lane MacDermid that the P-Bruins turned into a booming shot from the left face-off circle. The MacDermid wrister stunned the handcuffed goalie, and a rebound bounced right back to the top of the slot area. Trent Whitfield scooped it up and shoveled a backhanded shot into the open net that tied the score at 1-1 in the first period.

Bourque and Spooner skated together once again on Providences top forward line throughout the game, and Ray Bourques eldest son was also a big presence on what appears to be a much improved power play. Bourque was working a point position on the man advantage and showed both the quick decision-making and on-ice vision that will make things happen when the P-Bruins have the puck.

It seemed like on more than one occasion Bourque flipped the puck into a space that surprised the skater he was passing to while working the power play, but that should lessen as the skill players get used to each other.

Its also one area where hes anxious to help young offensive playmakers like Spooner and Jared Knight on the man advantage after Providence struggled in that department last season. Thats the least the 26-year-old should be capable of after piling up 93 points in 73 games for the Hershey Bears last season.

Weve got some really good young offensive players and it was fun to snap the puck around with them on the power. It doesnt really matter how good it looks if the puck doesnt go in, said Bourque. But wed also only worked on it for one day. It should be 100 percent ready to go by next Friday the AHL season opener.

Unlike the NHL, Bourque and his P-Bruins teammates will all be ready to go next Friday when pro hockey finally makes its return to the New England area.

Eriksson named Lady Byng finalist for 2nd time

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Eriksson named Lady Byng finalist for 2nd time

Patrice Bergeron will have some Bruins company at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas at the end of the month of June.

Loui Eriksson was named a finalist for the Lady Byng Trophy on Saturday afternoon along with Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar and Florida Panthers pivot Aleksander Barkov. It’s the second time in his career that Eriksson will be named a finalist for the award given annually "to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability."

The Swedish winger finished his best season in a Bruins uniform with 30 goals (third on team) and 33 assists for the second most points (63) on the team along with 12 total penalty minutes through 82 games played. Eriksson was excited to once again be a finalist for the award, and to be lumped in with a couple of the NHL’s best players in Kopitar and Barkov.

“It is a great honor to be considered for the Lady Byng Trophy, an award that has been won by some of the best players of all time,” said Eriksson, who will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1 after three seasons in Boston. “There are many deserving candidates so to be named one of the finalists with Anze Kopitar and Aleksander Barkov is very exciting for me. Thank you to my teammates and the coaching staff and I appreciate all those who voted.”

The last Bruin to win the Lady Byng Trophy was Rick Middleton back in 1981-82, and Eriksson is the first B’s finalist for Lady Byng in more than 10 years.

Bruins will select 14th overall in first round

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Bruins will select 14th overall in first round

The Boston Bruins basically had a three percent of moving up into the top three of the NHL Draft Lottery on Saturday night, but they didn’t strike it draft rich when it was all said and done up in Toronto.

With Bruins general manager Don Sweeney in attendance representing the Original Six franchise, the Black and Gold were the first team logo selected in the draft lottery meaning they will own the 14th overall pick in the first round for the second straight summer.

Instead the Toronto Maple Leafs will select first overall after putting together the worst record in the NHL last season, and the Winnipeg Jets and Columbus Blue Jackets won the lottery to move up into the second and third slots in the draft.

This marks the sixth time in franchise history that the club has owned the 14th overall selection in the NHL Draft. The Bruins drafted Jake DeBrusk 14th overall last summer in Florida at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, Stephane Quintal 14th overall in the 1987 NHL Entry Draft, Normand Leveille 14th overall in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft, Douglas Halward 14th overall in the 1975 NHL Amateur Draft and Terry O’Reilly 14th overall in the 1971 NHL Amateur Draft.

Based on finishing with the highest point total of all non-playoff teams for the second straight season, the Bruins owned a 1.0% chance of winning the 2016 Draft Lottery overall and a 3.4% chance of securing a top-three pick.

The 2016 NHL Draft will take place on June 24-25 at the First Niagara Center home of the Sabres in Buffalo just a couple of months from now, and the Bruins also own the first round pick of the San Jose Sharks that will end up somewhere in the 20’s based on the fact they’re still currently alive in the playoffs.

Saturday, April 30: Preparing for the lottery

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Saturday, April 30: Preparing for the lottery

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while celebrating Greek Easter this weekend by way of my in-laws. Christos Anesti.  

*Pro Hockey Talk writer James O’Brien has everything you need to know about tonight’s NHL Draft Lottery.

*Brent Burns is recognized as a Norris Trophy finalist after his best season as a member of the San Jose Sharks. For the record, the top three of Drew Doughty, Burns and Erik Karlsson were also the top three votes on my awards ballot, and exactly in that order.

*Puck Daddy eulogizes the Anaheim Ducks, who lost in the first round and promptly got their head coach fired.

*Speaking of the Ducks and a great man and good coach in Bruce Boudreau, who is now out of work, Anaheim GM Bob Murray is now getting ready to round up the candidates for a new coach.

*Spector has a number of hockey rumors, including what’s expected for offseason changes for the Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks now that they’re on the golf course.

*If the Edmonton Oilers win the draft lottery again, two things will happen: a lot of people will be angry, and Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli will have a lot of options at his disposal.

*Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk bring the Stanley Cup pedigree to an Islanders team that’s voyaging deep into the playoffs.

*For something completely different: Kevin Faulk gets mad props for wearing the Tom Brady jersey to the NFL podium to help announce New England’s draft picks.