Bruins quick-strike offense stunning opponents

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Bruins quick-strike offense stunning opponents

BOSTON -- The Bruins made a name for themselves last season with scoring depth among their forwards, and routinely overwhelmed opponents with the sheer volume of their relentless and variedattack.

The Bs breadth of scoring manifested itself on numerous occasions with quick-strike attacks: theywould score multiple goals within a minute or twoof each other and demoralize an opponent with the ultimate momentum-builder ina two-pronged attack that's nearly impossible to counteract.

Three times the Bruins potted goals within a minute of another score in the resounding win over the Leafs last weekend, and the lightning-in-a-bottle Bs once again scored twice within a minutes time against the thunderstruck Islanders in their 5-2 win at the Garden.

Its part of an offensive renaissance thats seen the Bruins pot 18 goals in the first three games in November after they managed toscrap together only22 goals in the 10 games during a fitful month of October.

Nathan Horton and Tyler Seguin notched goals within 29 seconds of each other in the first period to hand the Islanders an initial gut punch in the first 20 minutes. That 1-2 combination chased Isles goalie Evgeni Nabokov out of the game with the final strike from Bergeron-to-Seguin. Then Milan Lucic and Horton teamed up again within 49 seconds in the third period to pile on insurance goals to a slim one-goal lead heading out ofa second periodthat featured some offensive frustration in a scoreless 20 minutes with 16 shots on goal.

Therapid fire goals areactually part of a quick-strike philosophy employed bythe Bruins that Claude Julien and his coaching staff preach to their players. It's also a game-changing philosophy they used to big advantage in winning the Stanley Cuplast season. The Bruins basically target the beginnings and endings of periods along with the first shift after a goal is scored by either teamas major momentum shifters during a game. It's apoint of emphasis for the players, and it was plain to see on Monday night how disorienting it was to an Islanders team frantically searching for a foothold.

I think a big thing if you look at it whether its a goal that we score or the other team that next shift is always big. For whatever reason the last couple of games its almost like we score a goal, and we dont get too high and we go right back to work, said Lucic. We go right back in the offensive zone and try to create that chance we just had. "Its really been working for us. We cant lose that. Its a mindset, and its a mindset we cant overlook. The best way to put it is that weve really learned as a team not to get too high or low about things, and thats why we can get right back to work and get that next goal.

A website called The Checking Line compiled the NHLs best defenders against quick-strikes last season, and described them as: allowing a goal in the first 1:30 of a period and allowing a goal before either team scores in 2:30 following the goal. The Bruins actually allowed the fewest of those goals (36) in the NHL last season en route to the Stanley Cup, and it appears their attention to quick strike detail is once again working in their favor. Whether it was defending quick strikes or inflicting them as a damaging body shot to their opposition, the Bruins have been in control of the hockey phenomenon over the last two seasons.

When we score a goal, we seem to come back the next shift and weve always emphasized how important that shift following the goal for or against. Our guys just have been good at responding when they go back, and they get off to a real good shift, said Claude Julien. In Toronto, same thing we scored a couple of quick goals. Tonight, was the same thing against the Islanders. Its just paying attention to little details and what every part of the game means to your hockey club. Our guys are just responding to all of that right now.

The modest three-game winning streak in Novemberisa good sign for the Bruins this hockey team is beginning to take on some of the personality of last years special bunch: the return of the quick strike attack is proof positive of it.

OFFSEASON

Future uncertain for Johnson and Jerebko as Celtics pursue Durant

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Future uncertain for Johnson and Jerebko as Celtics pursue Durant

BOSTON -- When you’re the Boston Celtics and you have your sights set on a star like Kevin Durant, the potential impact on your roster is undeniable.

That’s a good thing, right?

Well . . . not exactly.

One of the options that the Celtics are considering during the free agency period is whether to waive Amir Johnson and Jonas Jerebko before July 3 which would create additional salary cap space to potentially sign Durant and another near max-salaried player.

But here’s the problem.

Boston could potentially waive Johnson and Jerebko, fail to get Durant or another elite free agent and see the duo gone for nothing in return while they play their way into a big contract toiling in the NBA’s basement with one of the league’s worst teams.

How you ask?

Multiple league sources contacted by CSNNE.com Tuesday night indicated that if the Celtics waive both players, it’s “very likely” that both will be claimed off waivers.

According to a league office official, waiver priority goes to the team with the worst record attempting to claim a player.

And what team had the worst record in the NBA last season?

Yup. The 10-win Philadelphia 76ers.

And what team was right behind them, or ahead depending on how you look at things?

The lowly, 17-win Los Angeles Lakers.

Johnson is due $12 million next season while Jerebko is due to earn $5 million, chump change in this new age of the NBA with the 2016-2017 salary cap expected to be around $94 million.

In addition, both players would join clubs in contract years. Couple that with each being relatively productive and there’s the potential for each player to have a really big season.

Johnson was the Celtics’ top rim-protector last season, in addition to being a solid pick-and-roll defender. He also averaged 7.3 points, 6.4 rebounds with 1.7 assists and 1.1 blocked shots per game. 

And Jerebko shot 39.8 percent from 3-point range last season, and finished up the playoffs in the starting lineup.

The Celtics are well aware of how valuable both players were to Boston’s success last season, and how their production relative to their contracts makes them extremely important to whatever team they play for.

To lose them for what would essentially be a lottery ticket in the Durant sweepstakes, is certainly a gamble that it remains to be seen if the Celtics are willing to take.

Best-case scenario for Boston is to know where they stand with Durant within the first 24 hours of free agency which would then allow them time to make a more informed decision about Johnson and Jerebko’s futures.

As you can imagine, the Celtics are as eager as any team to know what Durant plans to do this summer.

Because the way things are starting to take shape with Boston’s pursuit of the former league MVP, he’s going to have an impact on the Celtics’ roster one way or another. 

Source: Bruins preparing offer sheet for Jets D-man Jacob Trouba

Source: Bruins preparing offer sheet for Jets D-man Jacob Trouba

According to a hockey source, Don Sweeney and the Boston Bruins “are preparing an offer sheet” this week for Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba as an aggressive option to land a No. 1 defenseman after trades didn’t pan out at last weekend’s NHL Draft.

The Bruins have watched Trouba closely for some time, and clearly have an interest in the 22-year-old D-man with size, offensive abilities and a workhorse nature that’s seen him average more than 22 minutes of ice time per game since entering the league as a 19-year-old.

Trouba is coming off a six-goal, 21-point season while playing in 81 games for the Jets, and was a career-best plus-10 for Winnipeg. With Trouba a restricted free agent and the Jets locked into big money deals to fellow right shot D-men in Dustin Byfuglien and Tyler Myers, the writing has been on the wall for some time that the Jets would need to give one of them up.

Now it appears the Bruins may be willing to put their money, and their assets, where their interest is, and come up with an offer sheet that totals a minimum of $47 million for Trouba’s services.

Part of that high total is crafting an offer that the Winnipeg Jets aren’t going to match, and part of that is the Bruins’ own doing while casually tossing away their own draft picks. Because they sent their 2017 third round pick to the Flyers for Zac Rinaldo and their 2017 second round pick to New Jersey for Lee Stempniak, the Bruins must put together an offer sheet with an average annual value (AAV) of at least $9.3 million that will require Boston to give up four consecutive first round picks as compensation.

The good news for the Bruins: for offer sheet purposes, AAV is determined by dividing the total compensation offered by the lesser of the length of the contract, or by five. For contracts longer than five years in term, this will result in a higher AAV than simply dividing the contract total by the number of years.

Example: a 7 year offer sheet worth $49 million total, would be considered an AAV of $9.8 million ($49 million divided by 5) for offer sheet compensation purposes. That means the Bruins could make an offer sheet to Trouba in the $7-8 million per season neighborhood on a seven year deal, a reasonable contract if Trouba turns into the No. 1 defenseman that the B’s are envisioning.

The real price for the Black and Gold would be surrendering four first round picks, but the Bruins have made five first round picks in the last two years while stockpiling their prospect cupboard. The B’s have also been hit-or-miss with their first round picks, so sacrificing a few of them for a surefire, young defenseman would theoretically be worth the price.

Clearly the offer sheet route is the product of Bruins’ frustration at being unable to broker a deal for Kevin Shattenkirk or Cam Fowler last weekend in Buffalo, and at the realization that they need a stud No. 1 defenseman in order to again be competitive in the Eastern Conference. Perhaps even the threat of an offer sheet could spur the Jets into dealing Trouba, just as the threat of an offer sheet pushed forward the trades of Dougie Hamilton and Brandon Saad last season. 

Dirty Water Media Bruins reporter James Murphy was also reporting the buzz that the B's are exploring their offer sheet option. 

Tomase: Red Sox are better than this but I have real concerns

Tomase: Red Sox are better than this but I have real concerns

John Tomase, Chris Gasper and Gary Tanguay discuss is the Boston Red Sox recent slump is more than just a slump and also when John Farrell needs to start worrying about his job security again.