Marchand bounces back to score vs. Sabres

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Marchand bounces back to score vs. Sabres

BUFFALO Brad Marchand is one of those players who denies conventional wisdom when it comes to missing time.

The Bruins agitator has impressed through the first three weeks of the season while becoming their leading goal-scorer with six strikes on the season despite staying idle for four months during the NHL lockout. Marchand skated sporadically over the four months, but also spent plenty of time moose-hunting with his father back in their native Nova Scotia as well.

But whenever Marchand did come back to the Boston area to skate with the other locked out NHL players, he was routinely the best player on the ice even if he hadnt skated in a week or two. The other guys would shrug their shoulders and simply say that Marchand was just one of those guys that could simply pick things up again quickly even if hed missed some time.

Its always great to have him on my side. He always finds a way to get himself involved and to get his teammates going, said Bergeron. Hes always a guy thats first on the puck and hell always be the guy puck-hunting in the corner and the first guy coming out with the stuff.

So it should surprise no one that the 24-year-old Marchand scored Bostons first goal of a 3-1 win over the Sabres after missing more than a week of game action while nursing a shoulder injury suffered last weekend.

Its always tough be watching and not able to help your team win games, said Marchand. Its nice that they can win without me, but its also nice to get right back out there. At this level everybody is prepared every day to play. When youre sitting out with an injury its almost more difficult because theyre pushing you hard to get you back in the lineup.

The trainers did a great job with that and Ive felt very good since Ive been out there.

The Nose Face Killah was simply doing his job when a scoring opportunity presented itself, and he pounced on it like a wild honey badger.

Marchand had fired himself up only a shift or two prior by getting into a battle of face-washes with Buffalo agitator Steve Ott, so he couldnt wait to get back on the ice. Marchand took a puck from inside the left face-off circle and squeezed off a shot that was partially screened by Nathan Horton and Robyn Refer battling in front of the Buffalo cage.

The sniper shot beat Ryan Miller to the glove hand side, and Marchand immediately turned around and gave a Shhh! sign to the Buffalo bench with his gloved finger up to his mouth. The Bruins agitator said his post-goal actions werent directed at any one player in particular, but instead Marchand said it was for everyone on the Buffalo bench that had been chirping him throughout the game.

Its all mounting evidence that Marchand is 100 percent healthy after it looked like he would be a healthy scratch on Sunday night: He was talking smack, scoring goals and seemingly in the middle of everything.

Sweeney: Bruins head to market seeking 'transitional defenseman'

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Sweeney: Bruins head to market seeking 'transitional defenseman'

BOSTON -- This isn't exactly a state secret: The Bruins are on the lookout for a puck-moving, top-pairing defenseman who can help their transition game, and aid them in more easily breaking the puck out of their own zone.

The B's basically had two top-4 defensemen on their roster last season -- Torey Krug and Zdeno Chara were the only two on the Boston roster who topped 20 minutes of ice time per game -- and tried to fill in the blanks with Kevan Miller, Adam McQuaid, Dennis Seidenberg and several other young blueliners. Their success, or lack thereof, is reflected in the fact they finished 19th in the league in goals allowed.

So general manager Don Sweeney said during a Wednesday conference call with reporters that the team is in search of a “transitional” defenseman, and will do whatever is necessary to acquire one.

In Sweeney's words, the Bruins will be “aggressive” and pursue improving the hockey club “in any way, shape or form".

There are plenty of signs that Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk could figure prominently in Boston’s trade pursuits this summer, and free agents Keith Yandle and Alex Goligoski would be immediate upgrades in the “transitional defenseman” department. But the Bruins were also on a mission to get a “transitional defenseman” last season as well, and came up empty (aside from early season flameout Matt Irwin and 35-year-old journeyman John-Michael Liles acquired at the trade deadline).

They had grand plans to trade up in the first round of last year's draft and nab Boston College's Noah Hanifin. But -- after dealing Dougie Hamilton to the Calgary Flames for three 2016 draft picks -- they were unable to move into position to draft Hanifan.

So it’s clear that making efforts to land that elusive defenseman, and actually closing the deal, are two extremely different things.

Toward that end, Sweeney also talked about looking for defensive help from within the organization. 

“We’ve had talks with (Krug, a restricted free agent) and we’ll find, whatever term that ends up being . . . we’ll find a contract for him," said Sweeney. "But we’re looking for balance. We’re also looking for players like Colin Miller to take the next step. We’ve got younger players that will hopefully push, and that’s what you want.

“You want the depth of the organization to be there for the younger players to push somebody out because they’re ready to play . . . (young players such as) [Matt] Grzelcyk and [Rob] O’Gara. And [I] just came back from seeing [Jeremy] Lauzon play. You know [we're] very excited about the trajectory of that player and the possibility (of his making the NHL roster) down the road, depending on what his development curve looks like and when he gets in here and [starts] playing against the men.

“We’ve got pieces in place that will hopefully push the group that we currently have and that’s what you want. You want that internal competition that players feel like they better perform."

But, he added, "we’re also looking outside the marketplace because we need to continue to transition the puck better.”

Wednesday, May 25: Are you #TeamHaggs or #TeamFrich?

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Wednesday, May 25: Are you #TeamHaggs or #TeamFrich?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while wrapping my brain around exactly what the heck the Bruins are doing.

-- In the shameless self-promotion department: Fred Toucher and yours truly did battle this morning over the $10 million contract that the Bruins handed out to Kevan Miller. Are you #TeamHaggs or #TeamFrich?

-- What do the Dallas Stars need in the 2016 NHL Draft, with the combine and draft both coming up just weeks away.

-- A nice tribute from Hockey Night in Canada to the Tragically Hip as their front man battles through terminal brain cancer.

-- Damien Cox puts together his Team Canada list for the World Cup of hockey. Check out Brad Marchand's line: He plays left wing with Jonathan Toews and Tyler Seguin. That would be very fun to watch.

-- With the Bruins signing Kevan Miller to a bloated four-year, $10 million contract, similar defensemen like Eric Gryba will be lining up at the trough.

-- FOH (Friend of Haggs) Kevin Kurz weighs in on the Sharks run to within one win of the Stanley Cup Final, and what a player like Joe Pavelski has meant to them in the postseason.

-- For something completely different: It sounds like things are getting a little strange with Marco Rubio.

Haggs and Fred Toucher debate signing of Kevan Miller

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Haggs and Fred Toucher debate signing of Kevan Miller

Fred Toucher and Joe Haggerty disagree about the new deal the Boston Bruins gave Kevan Miller and got in a heated debate Wednesday morning on Toucher & Rich.

Haggerty says the Bruins would be better off with "players on entry level deals" over Miller for the money he'll received.

Miller signed a four-year deal worth $10 million on Monday.

As for Toucher? Watch the video above for his response. Then comment below with your thoughts on the deal.