Bruins enjoy challenge of Richards, Gaborik, Nash line

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Bruins enjoy challenge of Richards, Gaborik, Nash line

NEW YORK They havent come up with a catchy name in New York like Legion of Doom or the French Connection quite yet, but pairing together Rick Nash, Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik for Wednesday nights showdown with the Bruins was certainly worthy of a statement.
The line combined for three goals all scored off the stick of Gaborik and the three forwards finished with 15 shots on net and a plus-6 in New Yorks 4-3 overtime win at Madison Square Garden.
Its safe to say the line made its presence felt in the Bs dressing. There wasnt a single Bs player that could take the puck off Nashs stick as he darted around the ice, Richards simply put plays together and Gaborik dazzled with his speed and aggressive forays to the net.
Its huge. I think the three of them combined is like 26 million in payroll, so they definitely expect a lot out of them. They played great tonight and scored some big goals for the Rangers, said Milan Lucic. They caught us flat-footed in the beginning, but to see that hunger for us to get back into it was good.
Gaborik got two on the board in the first seven minutes of the game when it appeared the Bruins werent quite ready to play, and then scored the game-winner just 27 seconds into the overtime session.
The goals were all different: one was a set play run off a perfectly times Brad Richards redirect pass into the offensive zone with Gaborik and Nash charging hard from each wing, the second was a rebound of a Michael Del Zotto shot from the face-off circle with Andrew Ference and Dougie Hamilton providing an open pathway to the net and the last was a simple breakaway with the Rangers forward swatting the rebound attempt out of mid-air for the decisive goal.
Gaborik is a good player and he showed why tonight, said Johnny Boychuk, who was chasing the Rangers speedster on the overtime goal. Its obviously a really high-powered line when you put them all together. Youve just got to bear down and try to limit their chances. Theyre three of the best players in the league.
Tuukka Rask certainly did his best to shut the high-powered trio down after his defense failed him on the first two goals allowed within the first six minutes of the game. Both goalie and defensemen corps locked it down from that point, and the Bruins goaltender made the save of the night to preserve the overtime point.
With the game tied at 3-3 in the final minute of regulation Nash bombed down the right wing and fired a wrist shot that Rask was able to deflect, but the puck bounced right to Gaborik on the doorstep. The Rangers forward didnt get a great piece of the puck but shuffled a shot toward Tuukka that the Finnish goaltender was able to land on and start making snow angels.
The one-two combination of saves didnt help in overtime, however, as Rask made the initial stop on Gaborik, but the Slovakian superstar was able to swat the puck out of the air for the winner. Those are exactly the kind of plays that the Rangers have bought and paid for with all three members of the to-be-named forward line for the Blueshirts.

Friday, July 29: Good signs in Bruins-Marchand negotiations

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Friday, July 29: Good signs in Bruins-Marchand negotiations

Here are the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while using “malarkey” in my day-to-day vocabulary as much as possible. 
 
-- Dale Tallon was promoted with the Florida Panthers to accentuate his strengths as a talent evaluator, but maintains that he still has final say on hockey decisions
 
-- PHT writer Cam Tucker has another young D-man off the board with the Wild’s Matthew Dumba signing a two year, $5.1 million deal with Minnesota
 
-- In the interest of self-promotion, here’s my take on the negotiations between Brad Marchand and the Bruins: There’s a couple of good signs at the outset of negotiations
 
-- The Arizona Coyotes are stressing the defensive side of things in a big, big way, and it appears to be part of John Chayka’s master plan

 -- Alex Pietrangelo would be a natural selection to replace David Backes as the next captain of the St. Louis Blues. 

-- A moving letter from Sens forward Bobby Ryan to his recently passed mother is up at the Players Tribune website. 

-- Chris Kreider has re-signed with the New York Rangers, and plans to get out of his head and onto the score sheet more often. 
 
-- For something completely different: Jerod Mayo will bring a new voice to Tom E. Curran’s Quick Slants program on our very own CSN network. 

 

List of Bruins prospects includes two familiar names

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List of Bruins prospects includes two familiar names

With decidedly Boston-sounding names and thoroughly familiar faces, given their resemblances to their ex-Bruin dads, it might have been easy to overlook Ryan Donato and Ryan Fitzgerald and focus on the truly little-known prospects at Development Camp earlier this month.

But on the ice, their brimming confidence, their offensive skills and the maturity to their all-around game was impossible to ignore.

When it was over, general manager Don Sweeney singled out Donato, who plays at Harvard, and Fitzgerald, from Boston College -- along with Notre Dame forward Anders Bjork and former Boston University defenseman Matt Grzelcyk -- as players who have developed significantly.
 
“[They're] just comfortable in what they’re doing,” said Sweeney. “I mean, they’ve played at the college hockey level . . . two, three, four years with some of these kids. They’re very comfortable in their own skin and in what they do.”
 
Donato, 20, is actually coming off his first season at Harvard, where he posted 13 goals and 21 points in 32 games. He looked like he was in midseason form during Development Camp, showing off a scoring touch, skill with the puck on his stick in tight traffic, and the instincts to anticipate plays that allow him to beat defenders to spots in the offensive zone. He’s primed for a giant sophomore season with the Crimson, based on his showing at camp.
 
“Every year is a blast," said Donato, son of former Bruins forward and current Harvard coach Ted Donato. "You just come in [to development camp] with an open mindset where you soak everything up from the coaches like a sponge, and see what they say. Then I just do my best to incorporate it into my game and bring it with me to school next year.
 
“One of the things that [Bruins coaches and management] has said to me -- and it’s the same message for everybody -- is that every area of your game is an important one to develop. The thing about the NHL is that every little detail makes the difference, and that’s what I’ve been working on whether it’s my skating, or my defensive play. Every little piece of my game needs to be developed.”
 
Then there's Fitzgerald, 21, who is entering his senior season at BC after notching 24 goals and 47 points in 40 games last year in a real breakout season. The 2013 fourth-round pick showed speed and finishing ability during his Development Camp stint and clearly is close to being a finished hockey product at the collegiate level.
 
“It was good. It’s definitely a fun time being here, seeing these guys and putting the logo on,” said Fitzgerald, son of former Bruins forward Tom Fitzgerald, after his fourth Development Camp. “One thing I’m focusing on this summer is getting stronger, but it’s also about just progressing and maturing.
 
“I thought . . . last year [at BC] was a pretty good one, so I just try to build off that and roll into my senior season. [The Bruins] have told me to pretty much continue what I’m doing in school. When the time is right I’ll go ahead [and turn pro], so probably after I graduate I’ll jump on and make an impact.”
 
Fitzgerald certainly didn’t mention or give any hints that it could happen, but these days it has to give an NHL organization a bit of trepidation anytime one of their draft picks makes it all the way to their senior season. There’s always the possibility of it turning into a Jimmy Vesey-type situation if a player -- like Fitzgerald -- has a huge final year and draws enough NHL interest to forego signing with the team that drafted him for a shot at free agency in the August following his senior season.
 
It may be a moot point with Fitzgerald, a Boston kid already living a dream as a Bruins draft pick, but it’s always a possibility until he actually signs.
 
In any case, both Donato and Fitzgerald beat watching in their respective college seasons after both saw their development level take a healthy leap forward.