Changing on the Fly: Cleaning out roster cabinet


Changing on the Fly: Cleaning out roster cabinet

The nucleus of the Bruins is expected to be the same heading into next season after a one-and-done playoff showing against the Caps last week.

But that doesnt mean there wont be roster-tweaking and player changes for the Bs after a long summer away from the rink. Ten Bruins players will be approaching free agency on July 1 if you want to include Marty Turco in the mix -- and some of the names on the list were key performers during their Stanley Cup run.

Ive got to look at our roster and obviously we have some guys that are unsigned: Benoit Pouliot, Chris Kelly, Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell, Joe Corvo, the two additions three additions, sorry. So, we obviously have some guys to consider whether we sign them or not, said Peter Chiarelli. From the makeover perspective, certainly were not going to do anything to makeover this team. You hear me talk about the parity in this league and our first round loss in seven games this year can be another Stanley Cup Final next year its that close.

"You saw the number of teams in the West you kind of see the new four teams in the West and you see some different teams in the East so you just have to be prepared. Id like to maybe look at a forward to bolster our top nine, doesnt mean Im going to look at signing Pouliot. It doesnt mean were not going to consider Caron up there. I just want to look at the trade market and the free agent market.

Chris Kelly is the name at the top of the wanted free agent list after potting a career-high 20 goals during the regular season. The perfect 18-0-0 record when Kelly scored a goal this year tells you all about the importance of secondary scoring on the Bruins, and the gritty centers nightly impact on wins and losses. The 31-year Kelly picked the perfect time for a career year, and should attract interest around the league if he gets to July without a new contract.

Kelly said he loves Boston and has voiced a strong desire to return, but thats been the lament of many an athlete on their way out of town.

Playoff-caliber teams will look at the third line center as the exact sort of leadershipintangibles guy that could help put them over the top as he did with the Bruins last year. Peter Chiarelli might have to pay more than anticipated to keep Kelly in Black and Gold moving forward, and that might be difficult given the salary cap uncertainty headed into next year.

Kelly has come in and done a great job for us, said Bruins President Cam Neely. Hes got great character. Hes shown some very good leadership qualities that are also very important.

Kelly is the most likely unrestricted free agent to return, however.

Restricted free agents Tuukka Rask and Benoit Pouliot are likely to return to Boston next season with Rask a certified lock and Pouliot a good candidate as long as he brings along the same bargain basement price tag as last season.

Fourth liners Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille might return if the circumstance (ahemthe money) is right, but theres no denying simple facts: the fourth line didnt have a very good season for the Bruins and got dominated by the Mike Knuble, Joel Ward and Keith Aucoin fourth line of Washington during the playoffs.

It might be time for both players to cash in on the cachet of their Stanley Cup experience elsewhere. Likewise it might be best for the Bruins to bring in younger, hungrier players ready to breathe fire on Bostons fourth line.

It was telling that Shawn Thornton was taken care of during the regular season with a contract extension while his fellow Merlot linemates were not.

Local product Mike Mottau makes a lot of sense for the Bruins as their extra defenseman given his understanding of the system and veteran willingness to play in a reserve role.

Id welcome it a lot more after being able to get into the lineup and know that I could have some success here. Its a good group of guys that work with each other," Mottau said. "I know I could have success here because it plays to some of my strengths: hockey intellect and decision-making. I know I could be inserted into the lineup and play, and add value. I would totally welcome that.

Its really ultimately up to them to see where I fit within the organization. Well have a conversation and see where it takes us.

But it would be surprising to see Greg Zanon return to the Bruins after inconsistent work through the regular season and playoffs. It would also be jaw-droppingly stupefying to see Joe Corvo return after a season with the Bruins that defined the term short money mistake.

So the Bruins have some work to do on the defensive side of the ice whether its Dougie Hamilton joining the NHL ranks as a teen-ager, or a free agent singing that could answer Bostons power play and puck-moving issues.

There may be some new faces in the Bruins fold next season, but thats not necessarily a bad thing coming off such a disappointing finish.

Friday, Oct. 21: Pee-wee push-ups draw coach’s punishment


Friday, Oct. 21: Pee-wee push-ups draw coach’s punishment

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while anxiously awaiting a Cleveland/Chicago Cubs World Series showdown with all of the Red Sox subplots that could be involved.

*A peewee hockey coach in Quebec has been given a season-long suspension for punishing his players with hundreds of push-ups.

*The NHL game has changed radically over the last 11 years as Henrik Lundqvist has been a fixture for the New York Rangers.

*A lot has changed since Jaromir Jagr scored his first goal in 1990 and this article is worth it for the Jagr mullet picture alone.

*PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough says that a healthy Brandon Sutter has been a difference-maker for the Canucks.

*Carey Price is back in net for the Montreal Canadiens, and that makes the Habs a new team as they prepare for the Bruins on Saturday.

*This is what it looks like when you’ve completely given up on just about everything else except for being a hockey fan. So very gross.

*For something completely different: The Doctor Strange cast is being forced into answering some tough questions at the premiere of what is essentially a comic book movie.



Rask status in question vs. Canadiens with ‘general soreness’


Rask status in question vs. Canadiens with ‘general soreness’

BRIGHTON, Mass. – Tuukka Rask has been outstanding through his first three games this season after stumbling out of the gate last year. The .947 save percentage and sub 2.00 GAA are all the more impressive for Rask when also accounting for a lower body issue that’s been nagging at him since the opening night win a little more than a week ago.

Rask stopped 28 of 29 shots against the New Jersey Devils Thursday night in a 2-1 win over the New Jersey Devils at TD Garden, but it was also clear on a couple of stops that he was feeling discomfort in his lower half as he extended into the full butterfly. 

That was confirmed by Rask following the win when he admitted he was dealing with “something” after the game, and by his absence from the practice ice at Warrior Ice Arena on Friday morning.

“Uh-huh. There’s always a little something-something,” said a smirking Rask, when asked if he’s playing through something physically.

Instead, Babson College goalie coach Mike Ronan was called into emergency duty, and took the practice ice along with Bruins backup netminder Anton Khudobin.

Claude Julien said following practice that Rask was dealing with the same “general soreness” that last week pushed him out of a scheduled start against the Toronto Maple Leafs, and it’s uncertain whether he will make the start against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.

“The general soreness he had last week is still there,” said Julien. “[The medical staff] will see tomorrow how he's doing.”

Rask also missed a Bruins practice with soreness last Friday in Toronto, and wasn’t able to play the next night in the loss to the Maple Leafs. Injuries aside, Rask has been brilliant against both New Jersey and Winnipeg and was solid over the final 40 minutes against the Blue Jackets in an opening night win to start the season.

“Tuukka was outstanding in Winnipeg and he was good again [vs. New Jersey],” said Julien. “So, there are no issues with Tuukka. I think he’s giving us the hockey and the goaltending that we are looking for.”

Well, maybe there is one slight “issue with Tuukka” if a nagging lower body issue starts keeping him out of Bruins games and practices on the regular.

Here are the line combos and D-pairings at Friday practice:









Liles-C. Miller