Haggerty's thoughts from Bruins-Rangers

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Haggerty's thoughts from Bruins-Rangers

Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Rangers leading the Bruins by a 1-0 score after the first 20 minutes of action at TD Garden.

1) Rick Nash is nasty. How nasty? So nasty that his pass from one knee while carrying defenders to the Boston net to set up Carl Hagelins goal took place at the exact time the Columbus Blue Jackets fired GM Scott Howson. The timing was eerie, but the Rangers power forward has impressed a couple of times this season with his ability to carry defenders on his back while playing strong on the puck. He did that again before finding Hagelin for the score, and showed the full package of his skills in the process. Hes going to be tough to stop when hes motivated to make a play.

2) Tyler Seguin looks involved tonight, but theres been a little bit good and a little bit bad in the first 20 minutes. He fired off a one-timer from the left face-off circle on a give-and-go play with Brad Marchand that Henrik Lundqvist was forced to make a good save on, but he also took a hooking penalty in the offensive zone with the Bruins on the PP. He was trying to make a play on the puck, but thats a mistake the Bruins cant make on an already shaky man advantage.

3) Tough shift for Andrew Ference leading to Rangers goal. The Bruins defenseman couldnt clear the puck on a couple of chances during the shift and then got bull-rushed by Rick Nash on his way to the net before feeding to Carl Hagelin for the goal.

4) Four registered hits in 5:21 of ice time for Rangers rookie J.T. Miller tonight. Thats bringing the intensity just like the three hits apiece for Johnny Boychuk and Shawn Thornton in the first period. Best hit had to be Adam McQuaid lining up Darroll Powe behind the net as the force of the impact snapped Powes stick in half. Then Powe went across the ice on his next shift to blast Chris Bourque and get a little payback.

5) Eleven saves for Henrik Lundqvist in the first period including a good glove hand stop on David Krejci from the slot in the first minute of the game, and the sponge job on Tyler Seguins one-timer from the left circle. This is the best King Henrik has looked in any of the three games against the Bruins this season, and it seems pretty clear now he just wasnt ready to start the season.

Sources: Bruins engaged in trade talks involving Ryan Spooner

Sources: Bruins engaged in trade talks involving Ryan Spooner

This probably won’t come as a complete shock to those watching the way things have played out with him this season, but the Bruins have engaged in discussions with multiple teams about a Ryan Spooner trade, per multiple sources with knowledge of the situation. 

The 23-year-old Spooner was mentioned casually a few months ago as possible fodder in a Jacob Trouba deal with the Winnipeg Jets, but that deal never really materialized prior to the Jets signing their young, frontline D-man to a two-year deal. The Carolina Hurricanes, New York Islanders and San Jose Sharks have all expressed interest in Spooner, per one hockey source, as it appears that things simply aren’t going to work out for him in Boston. 

It’s been a challenging year for Spooner with pedestrian numbers of three goals and eight points in 24 games, but there are plenty of mitigating circumstances behind the slow start. Spooner has been pushed into playing left wing for the bulk of the season rather than his natural, preferred center position, and he’s been dropped to the fourth line by Claude Julien over the last few weeks. At times he’s also been pulled from the Bruins power play where he racked up six goals and 17 points working off the half-wall last season.  

Julien talked about the former second round pick in frank terms after this week’s win over the Carolina Hurricanes, which featured a Spooner snipe to the top corner during a successful shootout for the Black and Gold. 

“I think at times that [David Krejci] line goes quiet, other times it’s better. We’ve tried different guys on the left side right now and one [Spooner] might give them speed but doesn’t win as many battles,” said Julien of his search for stability at left wing alongside Krejci and David Backes. “The other way [with Tim Schaller] guys are a little harder right now, and they spend more time in the O-zone. So we’re really trying hard to find the right balance there.”

Trade talks have increased the past few weeks because A) the situation has worsened recently with Spooner’s prolonged stint as a miscast fourth line winger and B) the speedy, skilled forward will most likely be a man without a spot when 22-year-old left winger Frank Vatrano returns sometime around the mid-December range. 

According to one source, the Bruins are asking for a “top six forward” in exchange for a package including Spooner, and it’s a lead pipe certainty they’re looking for some goal-scoring given their 24th ranked offense this season. That represents a bit of an organizational sea change after the Bruins searched low and high for a top-4 defenseman in trade over the summer. The emergence of 20-year-old Brandon Carlo, and the Boston defense’s performance across the board, has lowered the Black and Gold’s priority list need to trade for a D-man. 

The Bruins have scored two goals or fewer in 18 of their 25 games this season and badly need somebody that can put the puck in the net from one of the wing positions. Unfortunately for the Bruins, there aren’t a lot of top-6 forwards readily available that could make an immediate impact. It’s highly doubtful any team is going to fork one over for an asset like Spooner that’s been downgraded due to the way he’s been utilized by the Bruins this season. He hasn't played with the same creativity or confidence this season after posting 13 goals and 49 points as their third line center last season. 

So it remains to be seen what the Bruins will get for Spooner after they offered him and a draft pick to Buffalo for rental forward Chris Stewart a couple of years ago. That was a deal Sabres GM Tim Murray turned down before trading Stewart for considerably less at the trade deadline.

The bottom line: the Bruins are working the phones discussing possible Spooner deals, and it feels like there is some motivation from B’s management to move a player that doesn’t seem like he'll ever be a proper fit in Julien’s system. 

Sunday Dec. 4: Zacha adjusting to life in the NHL

Sunday Dec. 4: Zacha adjusting to life in the NHL

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while marveling at the Bruins setting a franchise record this season for fewest practices in a regular season. Thanks compacted schedule due to the World Cup!

*Pavel Zacha is adjusting to life as a rookie in the NHL with the New Jersey Devils, and things are getting better as they go along.

*Manitoba Moose players relive their favorite Star Wars moments prior to the team holding their Star Wars Night.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Elliotte Friedman sits down with new Florida Panthers head coach Tom Rowe to discuss the massive changes in that organization with the firing of Gerard Gallant.

*Good for Anders Nilson putting a rainbow decal on the back of his goalie to mask to support some gay friends that have faced public resistance in their lives.

*Bruce Garrioch has his weekly NHL notes with several players, including Flyers defenseman Andrew MacDonald, potentially on the trade block if anybody wants them.

*PHT writer Cam Tucker has Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson suffering a broken leg that will keep him out 6-8 weeks.

*There was no blood for the Vancouver Canucks fans, but there was still plenty of drama in a win over the Maple Leafs.

*For something completely different: The World Baseball Classic works for everybody except for Major League Baseball, and that would appear to be a problem.