Haggerty: Nothing fluky about Bruins

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Haggerty: Nothing fluky about Bruins

Its become increasingly trendy over the last few months to describe the Bruins epic run to the Stanley Cup two seasons ago as a fluke, or the serendipitous case of a hockey team simply catching lightning in a bottle.
Thats right, folks.
Subduing three different quality opponents in a trio of gripping seven game playoffs and reducing a once-proud Philadelphia Flyers team to rubble in four games - before GM Paul Holmgren dropped an off-season pile-driver onto the roster with trades of Mike Richards and Jeff Carter -- was more about luck than skill.
The quality hockey was kept to a minimum in the opinions of some hockey pundits despite Bostons ability to take down the best statistical opponent in the Vancouver Canucks.
Thats the kind of ham-fisted flotsam and jetsam getting floated by those pining for big, bold moves from Peter Chiarelli and the Bruins in this summer of discontent.
But lets get one thing straight: the Bruins arent a superstar-infused dynasty like the 1988 Edmonton Oilers. The Bruins will always be forced to wring maximum level or CL10 type efforts out of their roster to enjoy sustained success -- and if you dont know what CL10 is then youre not listening to enough Damon Amendolara in the evenings on 98.5 the Sports Hub.
But winning the Cup was no fluke. It wasnt a one-hit wonder like Mexican Radio from Wall of Voodoo, but it wasnt the decisive, victorious question that would answer all others. It was instead a healthy, fully efficient hockey club playing at the top end of their capabilities, and doing the hockey-rich city of Boston proud.
If anything was fluky about a recent Boston foray into the postseason, it was their first round fall to the Washington Capitals in seven games. The 2011-12 postseason run appears to be the outlier everybody was searching for when attempting to quantify what exactly is going on with this Bruins team.
But here are some facts that always seem to get in the way: the Bruins have pushed things to at least the seventh game in the second round of the playoffs in three of the last four years, theyve won the competitive Northeast Division in three of the last four years, and theyve finished among the top five NHL teams in goals per game in three of the last four years.
There was also the whole first team to win the Cup in Boston in 39 years to digest, brag about and finally contemplate on.
Furthermore, the Bruins finished as No. 2 in the NHL in goals per game twice in the last four years, and have experienced no goal-producing problems aside from the year Phil Kessel left town.
Does that sound like a hockey offense thats in dire need of an offensive transfusion from Rick Nash, Bobby Ryan or Keith Yandle?
Prior to this spring, the Bruins hadnt been a first round playoff victim since 2007-08 when Patrice Bergeron nearly had his hockey career derailed by a Randy Jones cheap shot. The Bruins were also a No. 8 seed during those playoffs, and widely expected to lose. Since then, the Black and Gold have been favorites in just about every playoff series theyve welcomed, and thats no fluke at all.

Ray Bourque arrested and charged with OUI Friday

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Ray Bourque arrested and charged with OUI Friday

Bruins Hall of Fame defenseman Ray Bourque was arrested in Andover this weekend, and charged with operating under the influence of alcohol according to multiple reports.

Andover Police told CBS Boston that the former Bruins and Avalanche defenseman was taken into custody around 11:30 p.m. Friday night on Lowell Street. The Bruins legend has lived on the North Shore with his family since retiring from the NHL, and has been a constant presence in the community at charitable events and Bruins functions.

Bourque was released on bail. No additional information was immediately available

Sweeney on chasing Stamkos, Lucic: 'We will make all the calls'

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Sweeney on chasing Stamkos, Lucic: 'We will make all the calls'

BUFFALO – While it certainly doesn’t feel like there’s any chance of it realistically happening, the Bruins plan to reach out to some of the bigger fish on the free agent market with roughly $21 million in cap space to work with.

Bruins general manager Don Sweeney lost out on a defenseman trade target in Dmitry Kulikov on Saturday when he was dealt by the Panthers to the Buffalo Sabres and appears far away from acquiring top D-man target Kevin Shattenkirk.

So, the Bruins will turn their attention to the free agent market opening on July 1, and with that in mind Sweeney didn’t rule out the Bruins making a run at Stephen Stamkos, or potentially welcoming back power forward Milan Lucic.

“The interview period has already begun, and we were on the phone today with players that we had targeted. It was our first opportunity to speak with them, and see if things line up. It will play out over the next few days and we will be aggressive about it because we want to improve,” said Sweeney, who was adamant that the Bruins would make all the necessary exploratory phone calls when specifically asked about both Stamkos and Lucic. “We will take the temperature of whoever will help our hockey club, and it if lines up then that’s what we’d like to do.

“There are a lot of coveted ones on the market, and we will make all of the calls. It’s everybody. The city would embrace it, and the organization has great respect for [Lucic]. So there’s no question that we would explore all players.”

There may be some sentimental interest from Lucic's camp in returning to Boston, but there's also a sense the left wing has become comfortable back on his native West Coast. The Canucks in his home city of Vancouver and the Edmonton Oilers are expected to push hard for his punishing, board-rattling services. Wooing Stamkos would be particularly difficult given that the Bruins seem years away from truly competing for a Stanley Cup and have two frontline centers in Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci.

While either one would certainly help a Black and Gold team likely to be losing Loui Eriksson in free agency, much of their existing cap space is going to be eaten up by a contract extension for RFA Torey Krug, a deal for whatever replacement they have in mind for Eriksson should he sign with a different team and the top-four defenseman that Boston has needed since trading Dougie Hamilton at last June’s draft weekend in Florida. 

Bruins wrap up draft by picking Koppanen, Clarke, Steen

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Bruins wrap up draft by picking Koppanen, Clarke, Steen

BUFFALO – The Bruins continued their drafting of big centers, defenseman and potential bottom-six forwards on Day 2 of the NHL draft with their final three selections,  including a pair of European prospects.

With back-to-back picks in the fifth round, the Bruins took 6-foot-5 Finnish center Joona Koppanen with the 135th pick, then tapped 20-year-old late-blooming defenseman Cameron Clarke with the next pick. The big-bodied, defense-minded Koppanen sounded quite a bit like fellow countrymen and ex-Bruin Joonas Kemppainen as an overall player, but clearly the Bruins are hoping he can develop more of his offensive game over the next few years.

A 5-foot-9, 187-pound Swedish forward Oskar Steen was the pick in the sixth round. The Bruins then traded their 2016 seventh-round pick to the Florida Panthers for a seventh-round pick in 2017.

Add those three players to the first three players selected in the first two rounds (Charlie McAvoy, Trent Frederic and Ryan Lindgren), and the Bruins clearly pursued big, bottom-six centers and defensemen as their main target areas.

“I think we addressed the defensive part of our game, and we addressed our centermen. We got some speed and some compete, and those are things [we liked] from all of us,” said Bruins head of scouting Keith Gretzky. “Charlie likes to get up and give the big hits, and makes big plays with the puck. He was a young kid that played in an older league, and you’ve got to have the ability to do that. His game just got better as the year went along.

“With [Frederic] we wanted a center with some size and heaviness, and we really believe he’s going to a good program. His teammates all talked highly of him, and character is a very big thing. You want guys that will pay the price, and when you look at him and Lindgren [those are the type of guys]. Lindgren isn’t the most skilled guy like McAvoy, but he brought an element that we really liked as an organization. We believe he’s a leader, and you win with those guys.”

All six of the players will be in Boston for development camp a couple of weeks from now, along with the rest of the Black and Gold prospect group.