Haggerty: Don't expect huge deadline deals for Bruins

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Haggerty: Don't expect huge deadline deals for Bruins

ST. LOUIS, MO Those expecting Rich Nash, Ryan Suter or Zach Parise to strut through the door with a hockey bag slung over their shoulder ready to play for the Bruins at the NHL trade deadline are likely going to end up slack-jawed and crestfallen.

Those throwing out the idea of Boston trading for Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban might have been hanging out with Puff the Magic Dragon for far too long.

Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli is working the phones while potential trade pieces are being dealt to other teams with needs around the NHL. So there is work being done to consummate a deal, but Chiarelli has also deliberately stressed over the last month that there arent an overwhelming number of names on Bostons big board of players available via trade.

Theres a lot of players that are locked up with contracts, said Chiarelli. I have all the names on my board of potential UFAs, and its not a real big list.

In a perfect world players like Pavel Kubina and Dominic Moore might have been useful pieces for a Bruins team in need of some healthy, energetic bodies. But they went elsewhere with the Bs no longer holding their own second and fourth round picks in this summers draft.

Theres also a flat refusal to entertain trade talks centered on Tuukka Rask or the rights to potential franchise defenseman Dougie Hamilton a pair of players that would be the centerpieces to any deal with Columbus for Nash. The Blue Jackets are a team in dire need of talented, young goaltending, but they wont be getting it from Boston.

The Bruins arent exactly loaded with prospects at the AHL level this season, either. Thats been another impediment toward potentially making a deal for any players still available on the trade market. Carter Camper will get a chance to show his potential value now that hes been recalled to the NHL level on Monday, and that along with a pick may be enough to get something done if he flashes offensively.

But nobody around the NHL envisions Zach Hamill, Anton Khudobin, Matt Bartkowski or Craig Cunningham as potential answers for their team.

Thats just the way it is.

There are still deals to be made for a team thats gone 7-9-1 over the last 17 games and now finds themselves only two points ahead of the streaking Ottawa Senators for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.

The Bruins look like a tired bunch getting beaten to the punch in the third periods of games. Theyre getting out-muscled in all phases of the game in the intimidation department thats been their bread and butter for the last five years.

The Bruins are missing two of their most offensively gifted right wingers in Nathan Horton and Rich Peverley, and that opens up a major need for a talent infusion.

The Capitals continue to flounder in the Southeast Division, and Washington GM George McPhee insists embattled Caps veteran Mike Knuble isnt going to be traded but that might just be one of those little white sports lies that executives tell when subterfuge is the name of the game.

Columbus Blue Jackets winger Antoine Vermette isnt prolific. But hes a potentially solid depth acquisition, and he does all of the little things correctly. He could help the Bruins if hes willing to show the same versatility Peverley did upon arriving in Boston last year.

More importantly he wouldnt be an expensive get and hes a close friend of Patrice Bergeron while serving as his main off-season workout partner in Quebec during the summer.

One name you can summarily cross off the list is Ray Whitney.

The Phoenix Coyotes are 7-0-1 in their last eight games and theyve become buyers in the trade market rather than sellers. Phoenix GM Don Maloney has gone on record saying that he wont be trading any of his desirable commodities leading up to the deadline.

Thats been big part of Chiarellis challenge: too many teams with valuable commodities are still heavy in the thick of the playoff hunt.

Theres still a chance the Bruins will pay the premium price of a first round pick and a prospect for Carolina Hurricanes winger Tuomo Ruutu, who still hasnt signed any kind of extension with the Canes while sitting out injured.

None of the Eastern Conference teams on the bubble are in a hurry to improve a Bruins team thats already proven they pound most everybody else into submission when things are going well. The teams that are way out of contention have been retaining their players rather than casting them off in a strange departure this year.

That makes for a difficult landscape to net a significant deal ahead of the trade deadline, and all of those factors make it nearly impossible when Chiarelli correctly refuses to part with anything making up the nucleus of a Stanley Cup-winning club.

Right now the Bruins appear to be battling through the heavy legs of fatigue, Perhaps theyre even going through a second Cup hangover phase after theyd seemed to escape it following the first 10 games of the season.

But the Bs have still earned the right to defend their Cup with minor nips and tucks in lieu of the extreme roster makeover necessary to pave the way for the showy hockey household names being tossed around as available.

Nash, Suter, Parise and Subban arent walking through those doors, and if they did theyd be coming at a player asset cost the Bruins would be crazy to bankroll.

Friday, Dec. 2: Toews vs. Matthews

Friday, Dec. 2: Toews vs. Matthews

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading, while everybody in New England is in mourning over the latest Gronk booboo. 

*A pretty neat sharpshooting video with Jonathan Toews and that young whippersnapper Auston Matthews squaring off against each other. 

*Craig Custance looks a little deeper into the situation with the Florida Panthers and how things are stabilizing after the rough firing of Gerard Gallant last week. 

*Now. let’s get to the real important stuff: the San Jose Sharks website has put together their Movember rankings for the player’s mustaches. 

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Bruce Garrioch says that the plans for an outdoor game in Ottawa are again back on the NHL’s agenda. 

*Erik Erlendsson has put together a “Lightning Insider” website where you can find all the latest news about the Tampa Bay franchise. Check it out. 

*As guys such as Anton Khudobin prove when they’re thrust into the starting spot, backup goalies matter in today’s NHL. 

*For something completely different: a mash-up of Kylo Ren and “Girls” from the mad mind of Adam Driver is exactly just that. 

 

Chara ‘feels better’ as he closes in on return, but won’t play in Buffalo

Chara ‘feels better’ as he closes in on return, but won’t play in Buffalo

BRIGHTON, Mass. – Zdeno Chara said he is “feeling better” after going through a full practice with the Bruins, but the captain won’t be making the one game road trip to Buffalo for Saturday afternoon’s matinee game vs. the Sabres. 

Chara was going through line rushes and battle drills with the rest of his teammates while practicing for the second day in a row, but made it clear that his lower body injury hasn’t been cleared for game action yet. 

“It’s day-to-day. It feels better…yeah. But it’s still day-to-day,” said a rather laconic Chara when it came to questions about his injury. “It would feel much better [to play] than it feels [not playing].”

Claude Julien said his 39-year-old defenseman has moved into true “day-to-day” status as he nears a return after missing what will be his sixth game in a row on Saturday afternoon, but that he isn’t quite ready to go just yet.

“[Chara] and [Noel] Acciari won’t be on the trip,” said Julien. “I think [Chara] is getting pretty close. When you see him at practice things are going pretty well for him. I think that the term day-to-day is fitting for him right now. A lot of times when we say day-to-day we don’t know whether it’s going to be two days, three days or even a week. But in his case I would say that day-to-day is really day-to-day now with him.” 

One thing the Bruins can be heartened by is that they’ve managed to survive without Chara: the B’s have gone 2-2-1 and allowed just nine goals in the five games since their No. 1 defenseman went down. They have been able to continue collecting points in sometimes ugly, workmanlike fashion. 

That gives the Bruins the luxury of not rushing their D-man along before he’s ready and gives some of their other defensemen added confidence that they can effectively do the job with or without their 6-foot-9 stopper.