Carter getting last laugh in Cup Finals

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Carter getting last laugh in Cup Finals

NEWARK, NJ Apparently it was a Flyers thing, and not a Jeff Carter thing.

One year after the Philadelphia Flyers jettisoned both Jeff Carter and Mike Richards in trades after determining they were a problem inside a dysfunctional dressing room, the troubled duo are still standing.

Theyre just two wins away from being Stanley Cup champions, and the Flyers are taking up tee times all over the world.

Further adding insult to Philly injury, Carter potted the game-winning shot in overtime during a Herculean shift that pushed the Los Angeles Kings to a 2-1 victory at the Prudential Center.

Its a pretty special moment, said Carter. Its my first overtime goal in the playoffs. Obviously anytime you get a chance to play in the Finals its exciting, but scoring an overtime goal in Game 2 to put us up 2-0 in the series. Thats pretty special.

The play started with a scramble in front of the New Jersey net, and a tiring group of Devils players looking for a whistle with the puck resting in front of the net.

Carter wrapped around the back of the net while beating every Devils player to the loose puck, and then curled to his left before dragging back into the slot area moving right to left.
Carter buried a bullet of a shot at the 13:42 mark with Dustin Penner using his 6-foot-4, 250-pound bulk to screen Martin Brodeur in front of the net, and the Kings are once again well on their way to a short postseason series triumph.

Though Carter finished with only 21 goals in a star-crossed year going from Columbus to Los Angeles, it was the kind of sizzling shot that would have been a goal had Brodeur seen the puck or not.

Good to see him score, right? asked Darryl Sutter rhetorically after the Kings took their 2-0 lead. Hes a goal-scorer. Youre counting on him to score a big goal.

Too many times with the Flyers Carter never scored that big goal despite gaudy numbers, but his LA redemption story has been a sweet one.

The overtime win pushes the Kings to 10-0 on the road during the playoffs this year an NHL record -- but thats not the most eye-popping number when it comes to Carter and his Los Angeles teammates. The Kings are 25-7 in the regular season and playoffs in 32 games since Carter arrived in a trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets, and reunited him with his Dry Island partner in Philly, Richards.

Dry Island was a reference to the notion within the Flyers organization that both Richards and Carter werent fully focused on the playoffs last year, and the idea that a parting of ways was necessary.

Its not a coincidence that Carters arrival in LA has brought the wins.

Its instead one of the driving reasons why the eighth-seeded LA hockey club has taken the world by storm during the postseason. They havent played like an eight seed since a healthy, happy and productive Carter joined the Los Angeles lineup.

Carters Kings teammates immediately noticed a difference when the Columbus Blue Jackets exile was brought on board, and the Kings had some consistent offense to go with Jonathan Quick and the stifling LA defense.

He was very professional. Hes been focused since he got with us, said Penner. He knew we needed some offensive scoring punch. He came in and had familiarity with Richards and that helped a lot.

I can speak from experience about being traded, but not while having a 10 or 12 year deal like those guys did. Its probably disheartening when you expected to be part of the Flyers franchise for a long time. When you get a 12-year deal you probably expect that youll always be there. Im sure it was tough on him. But hes been professional since he came here. Its great for him to get a goal like that.

Clearly both Richards and Carter left the City of Brotherly Love with something to prove, and their Kings experience has allowed them a chance to do just that.

We were pretty mad. I'm not going to lie," admitted Richards of the deals that sent the two buddies away from the Flyers to differing NHL locales. "It's something that I've never had before. I've never been traded; Jeff's never been traded. For us to be traded at the same time, I think was a lot of venting to each other."

Had things gone stale with the Flyers for both players, or did they just need a swift kick in the pants to get them motivated enough for a Stanley Cup title?

Perhaps, but there wont be too many complaints from Los Angeles after Kings GM Dean Lombardi showed a riverboat gamblers moxie in putting the Philly twosome back together again. Richards was sent to L.A. for forwards Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds, and an undisclosed draft pick.

Carter was dealt to Columbus for forward Jakub Voracek, the No. 8 pick in the 2011 NHL Draft (Sean Couturier) and a third-round pick in the 2011 draft (Nick Cousins).

Fast forward a year and now Carter and Richards have been reunited in Los Angeles, theyre living together in a condo on Manhattan Beach and theyve got the Kings 120 minutes of good, winning hockey away from the organizations first Stanley Cup title.

Who knows?

Perhaps theyll even take the Cup to Dry Island for a visit on their respective Cup days should Carter and Richards finish off the job they helped start with two road wins in New Jersey.

Saturday, Aug. 27: Adding toughness Habs' priority

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Saturday, Aug. 27: Adding toughness Habs' priority

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, after a busy morning celebrating my 3-year-old’s birthday at the trampoline park. Yee-ha.

*PHT writer Joey Alfieri says that adding toughness was a big offseason priority for the Montreal Canadiens.

*There’s at least one big fan of the Edmonton Oilers trade that brought defenseman Adam Larsson from the New Jersey Devils, and that fan’s name is Mark Letestu.

*Here’s everything you need to know about the Ice Guardians movie premiering this fall that takes a long, balanced look at the NHL enforcers.

*Roberto Luongo has an alibi for the robbery in Winnipeg with one suspect getting away in goalie equipment, and it’s funny as you would expect it to be.

*CSN Washington takes a look at the New York Rangers in their season previews for the Metro Division.

*I’m not entirely sure whether this “RIP Harambe” thing is genuine or meant to be ironic by the largely millenial group that seem so enamored with it, but I think it’s just stupid. I think the same with the crying Jordan meme…also stupid.

*For something completely different: a look at how Triumph the Insult Comic Dog learned how to poop on Trump’s politics.

 

Countdown to camp: Danton Heinen

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Countdown to camp: Danton Heinen

Click here for the gallery.

From now until the beginning of training camp, Bruins Insider Joe Haggerty is profiling players who will be on, or have a chance to be on, the 2016-17 Bruins. Today: Danton Heinen.

Danton Heinen exploded into a high-profile prospect for the Bruins after finishing among the NCAA’s top scoring players a couple of years ago as a freshman along with a couple of guys named Jack Eichel and Dylan Larkin. 

Since then, Heinen has continued to produce offense at the University of Denver and continued to create offense that leads to points. Now, the 21-year-old Heinen will be entering the professional arena for his first full season with the Bruins and he’ll be attempting to transition from the prospect phase to a regular gig in the NHL. That’s the challenge for a talented player who appears headed into a very good opportunity in NHL training camp.

 

What happened last year

Heinen was every bit as explosive in his second season for Denver as he was in his brilliant freshman campaign. He improved on his scoring with 20 goals and 48 points in 41 games. Then Heinen signed with the Bruins at the end of his sophomore season and played in a couple of pro games in the AHL with Providence as a tune-up for this first full pro campaign with the Bruins organization. Heinen finished with two assists and a plus-1 rating in four games with the P-Bruins and showed the coaches in Providence that he was ready to play and produce with more talented players. If Heinen surprised a little bit as a breakout freshman two years ago, his sophomore follow-up in Denver last season proved to everybody that he wasn’t a fluke.

 

Questions to be answered this season

The real question surrounding Heinen is about his ceiling as an NHL player and just how good he can become as a player with the skills and playmaking abilities to be a top-six forward. He’s proven he can dominate at the collegiate level while admittedly playing with some pretty good teammates at Denver. Heinen showed at the end of the season in Providence that the pro scene might not be much different for him. At this point, Heinen simply needs to go out and prove it against the best players in the world and show that his speed, playmaking and hockey sense are all elite in the AHL or NHL. Heinen’s biggest obstacle might be his size. He'll need to survive as a targeted skill player despite not being much more than the 6-feet, 180-pound range for a forward. It’s about average for a playmaking wing in the NHL, but the hits and attention will be at a much more intense level than anything he faced in the NCAA world.

 

What they're saying

“He’s the type of player that he can play with good players because he’s got high hockey IQ and he’s got really good skill. I think anywhere you put him, he’s smart enough to figure it out. I think you’ll notice him during training camp. It will definitely be up to him, but I think he’ll push some guys.” –Bruins assistant coach Jay Pandolfo on Heinen during last month’s development camp where Heinen soared as a performer.

 
Outlook

While Heinen still has some things he’ll need to prove before he’s a regular contributor for the Bruins, he comes into the Boston fold as an experienced player following two very good seasons at the college level. So, Heinen should be a little closer to plug-and-play for Claude Julien than some of the other young players that have come through the system in the past couple of years. Heinen will still need to flash in camp while being handed a big spot to perform with high-end veterans Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Brad Marchand potentially off playing in the World Cup of Hockey. Heinen also has a much greater chance of winning an NHL job sooner rather than later after the Bruins lost out on the Jimmy Vesey sweepstakes and still have a top-six forward opening that somebody is going to fill. Heinen and Frank Vatrano are the two biggest favorites to fill that position, which became vacant when Loui Eriksson departed for Vancouver. Whichever winger loses that battle should be also be a strong candidate for a role on the third line, as well, barring any late veteran signings by the B’s. That set of circumstances leaves a very good situation for Heinen to potentially walk into with the Black and Gold, but he'll still have to show he’s fully capable of seizing his good fortune and good timing. 

Bruins’ new Warrior Ice Arena practice facility to open Sept. 8.

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Bruins’ new Warrior Ice Arena practice facility to open Sept. 8.

The Bruins’ new practice facility has been years in the making and they will finally get to officially open the doors to Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton next month. 

The B’s players will start informal captain’s practice skates at the new facility on the New Balance property in these final days of August, but the team announced on Friday that the new facility will be officially opened to the public on Thursday, Sept. 8.

Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, Bruins CEO Charlie Jacobs, team president Cam Neely, general manager Don Sweeney and a number of players will be on hand for the opening ceremony and ensuing open house for the media. Also planning to attend from New Balance will be Owner and Chairman Jim Davis and NB Development Group LLC Managing Director Jim Halliday, along with Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Massachusetts Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo. 

Following the formal portion of the event, Warrior Ice Arena will host the “Boston Youth All-Star Game featuring Bruins Alumni” which will feature local squirt players from the Boston communities of Allston-Brighton, Charlestown, Dorchester, Hyde Park, South Boston and West Roxbury mixed in with members of the Bruins alumni. 

The Youth All-Stars will team with Bruins alumni and they will play the first official game before the ice is turned over to the current Bruins players for their training camp later in the month.

The Warrior Ice Arena gets its name from the Warrior brand of hockey equipment that is now a division of New Balance and comes with a 79-foot high Warrior hockey stick that greets visitors at the front entrance doors.

Warrior Ice Arena will be the B’s new and permanent practice home after the Bruins spent 25-plus years practicing in the suburbs of Boston at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington.