Depth the order of the day for Bruins at deadline

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Depth the order of the day for Bruins at deadline

Depth was the name of the game for the Boston Bruins at this years NHL trade deadline.

While last season the Bs executed deals that led to three key players in last years Cup run, its unclear whether any of the three players snagged this February will play the same kind of role this spring.

But they bring the Bs depth prior to another long playoff run that will surely test their staying power and ability to withstand injuries.

We were happy; we were fortunate to be able to get one forward. Theres a bunch of teams that were maybe trying and they didnt get what they wanted. We were fortunate to add to our depth, said Chiarelli. Anytime you have uncertain injuries you automatically think, 'Jeez I got to get deeper, I got to get deeper,' so thats what we tried to do.

The Bs started their series of transactions by locking down a versatile forward in 39-year-old former Bruins skater Brian Rolston, who in some ways is like an older version of Rich Peverley. Rolston can kill penalties, play point on the power play with his booming shot as he did during his Bruins days, and can play up and down the lineup just as Peverley does.

The big difference is clearly age. Rolston will be a little more injury-prone approaching 40 years old and he might not have the same wheels as he did pre-lockout when he was last a member of the Black and Gold. But Rolston also brings leadership qualities most will remember form his former days with the Bruins, and is a friend to Bs goalie Tim Thomas after the two grew up playing hockey together in Flint, Michigan as youngsters.

Rolston hasnt had a great year, but I feel hes a motivated player. Hes got a terrific shot, said Peter Chiarelli, who added Rolston will wear the No. 12 he donned the last time he played in Boston. He can really skate, and hell add to our depth and versatility. He can move up and down the lineup. Youve heard me say the same thing before with some of our additions and he has that big shot.

Mike Mottau has been limited to less than 30 games this season due to a nasty concussion suffered with the Islanders, but two years ago hed turned into a steady, 20-minute per night defenseman for the New Jersey Devils. Mottau and the Bruins had actually spoken about the defenseman coming to Boston as a free agent, but it didnt appear to be a good fit at the time.

Now it is for a Bruins team looking for left-handed shooting defenseman and excited to add Mottaus cerebral hockey style and ability to move the puck up the ice with precision. Best of all hes a Massachusetts native that wanted badly to get involved with the Bruins, and the recent additions of Josh Hennessy and Mottau have been a reminder that its so much better to have a couple of locals skating for the Bs.

Mottau returned to action last weekend and cant wait to get started. He may very well be in the lineup on Tuesday night against the Ottawa Senators wearing No. 27.

I always said that Id take a puck in the teeth to play for the Boston Bruins, said Mottau. Now Ill get that chance.

The Bruins surrendered ECHL talent in Marc Cantin and Yannick Riendeau to acquire the two Isles players, but had to give up Steve Kampfer in order to land 32-year-old Greg Zanon. The rugged, blue collar Zanon was described by Chiarelli as a warrior and finished second behind only Dan Girardi in blocked shots (212) last season among all NHL players. The fact he had 38 more blocked shots than Dennis Seidenberg stands as a testament to just how hard-nosed Zanon plays the game.

Hes a left-handed shot as well from the blue line and will be a viable option for Claude Julien should injuries or ineffectiveness hit the rest of the Bs defensemen crew during the postseason. Whereas Claude Julien had only Shane Hnidy and Steve Kampfer to turn to if he wanted to go away from a struggling Tomas Kaberle during last years playoffs, hell now have Zanon if Joe Corvo becomes too much of a defensive liability during the postseason.

Zanon is a terrific shot blocker; hes a real gritty competitor, said Chiarelli. Hes a warrior-type defenseman, so now we have eight defensemen in the mix now. Weve added the forward, so weve improved our forward depth. Well wait and see what happens with our two forwards (Nathan Horton, Rich Peverley) that are currently injured right now.

With the injuries and postseason mounting for the Bruins, depth was the name of the day at the trade deadline and thats exactly what the teams front office accomplished.

Two more Pastrnak goals pull him into tie for NHL lead with Crosby

Two more Pastrnak goals pull him into tie for NHL lead with Crosby

BOSTON – While the loss to the Avalanche on Thursday night was a monumental dud, it put another dazzling display on the hockey resume of David Pastrnak. 

The 20-year-old star right winger scored two more goals in the 4-2 loss at TD Garden and nearly brought the Bruins back into the game by himself before another defensive breakdown at the end of the second period doomed them. 

Instead, Pastrnak had to settle with being the proud owner of 18 goals scored in 23 games that places him in a tie with NHL superstar Sidney Crosby for the NHL lead in goals. 

The goals also showed his wide range of lethal offensive skills. On the first score, he just broke away from the Avalanche defense and managed to bury a second-effort breakaway chance after a nice Tim Schaller stretch pass off the boards. The second goal was a straight one-timer bomb from the high slot off a slick setup pass from Brad Marchand in the corner, and it had the Bruins right back into the mix after a dreadful first period. 

It wasn’t enough when the B’s defense faltered again toward the end of the second period, but it was enough for everybody to be singing Pastrnak’s praises once again following the loss. 

“He’s a game changer. The momentum is going the other way, and he has the ability to break away on any given shift and score a big goal for us. He did that tonight,” said Torey Krug. “We can’t just keep relying on the same guys to score goals. We’ve got to come up with secondary offense, and I know every other guy wants to do that. 

“Now it’s about showing that on the ice and making sure we’re doing the work and getting better and proving to ourselves. But Pasta [David Pastrnak] has been great for us so far, and we’re obviously lucky to have him.”

The 18 goals barely two months into the season are not too shabby for a kid, in his third NHL season, who just now coming into his own. He’s nearly halfway to 40 before Christmas. For Pastrnak, however, it’s about the team result and he wasn’t overly satisfied with his two goals in a losing effort. 

“I’ve said before the season that our goal is to make the playoffs and to have that experience and have the chance to win the Stanley Cup. I’m still focusing on that,” said Pastrnak, who has yet to experience the Stanley Cup playoffs in his two-plus seasons with the Black and Gold. “We have zero points from tonight’s game and we have to move on. I think our game gets better in the second and third periods, you know, and we have to regroup and get ready for Saturday’s game.”

The Bruins will undoubtedly regroup and once again count on another Pastrnak offensive explosion to help lead the way in what’s become a truly spectacular season for the youngster. 

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Major league manager. Inventor of the wrap sandwich. Champion ballroom dancer.  And…

US ambassador to Japan?

Bobby Valentine is on the short list for that position in President Donald Trump’s administration, according to a WEEI.com report.

The former Red Sox manager (fired after a 69-93 season and last-place finish in 2012), and ex-New York Mets and Texas Rangers, skipper, also managed the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons. 

Valentine, 66, has known the President-elect and Trump's brother Bob since the 1980s, is close to others on Trump’s transition team and has had preliminary discussions about the ambassador position, according to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. 

Valentine, currently the athletic director of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., is also friendly with current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who, like Valentine, attended the University of Southern California.