Mike from Attleboro: Goodbye, Columbus, and take Nash with you

677434.jpg

Mike from Attleboro: Goodbye, Columbus, and take Nash with you

Mike from Attleboro -- the leading contributor to Michael Felger's old mailbag and one of Felger's favorite callers to his radio show -- is now contributing occasional pieces to CSNNE.com. Today he gives his take on the Rick Nash-to-Boston rumors.

If youre a diehard Bruins fan, the weeks since their untimely playoff demise have not been easy ones. We've had to witness an eminently winnable Eastern Conference get narrowed down to two less-than-imposing contenders: The New York Rangers, who are just about ready for the glue factory after coach John Tortorella has been riding them like its the last furlong, and the New Jersey Devils, who are a game away from the finals despite Martin Brodeur allowing more charity goals than a United Way fundraiser.

To make matters worse, the LA Kings stampeded through the Western Conference in the exact same fashion our Bruins did last year: With grinding, villainous 5-on-5 play, stellar goaltending from Mike Quick (a.k.a. Vezina Smythe), and little to no contributions from the PP unit . . . and never once have they had to hear the phrase turnover by Kaberle.

In short, a very familiar case of the what might have beens has set in.

So what better way to recover than with the chicken soup of vanquished teams: The absurd offseason trade rumor.

When rumors of a big trade start to crop up, two things come to mind immediately. The first reaction is that it will never happen because we are hearing rumors about it. The second is what the motivation is for the rumors to be out there in the first place.

The origins of the Rick Nash-to-the-Bruins rumors seem to stem from nothing more than Nash listing the Bruins as a team he would approve a trade to and Columbus play-by-play man Jeff Rimmer reporting the Bs were preparing a major offer. Could the Bruins be making an offer? Sure, and I hope Peter Chiarelli does his job and investigates all possibilities thoroughly. But to me this feels like an early attempt by the Blue Jackets to stir up the market for Nash. And honestly, its a market I want zero part of.

Lets get down to the bare facts. Rick Nash will be 28, has a 7.8 million cap hit for the next four years and had his goals and points in decline for the past four seasons. He hasnt been a 40-goal scorer since 2009 and just managed 30 last season. This is not a player I mortgage a franchise for.

According to CSNNEs Joe Haggerty, the Blue Jackets are looking for. a package of Seguin or Lucic and Doug Hamilton. Peter Chiarelli is a lot of things but the State of Rhode Island he isnt. Sorry, Columbus.

Here are some more facts: Last season, Milan Lucic had four fewer goals and two more total points than Nash. Lucic will be 24 next season, can play in Claudes system, is far more difficult to play against than Rick Nash, is a better passer than Nash, and costs half as much against the cap. I wouldnt trade Lucic for Rick Nash straight up. And no, I havent been drinking.

Look at what happened to Ilya Kovalchuk. Kovy lit up the stat sheet on a bad Atlanta team. Pop him into New Jersey and force him to say defense in Russian and hes a minus-26, his scoring drops off and the Devils flounder. I will be more than content to watch desperate GMs like Torontos Brian Burke drive up the bidding on a player with four career playoff games while the Bruins explore other options.

What options you might ask? Here are two that would turn Bruins fans Fifty Shades of Black and Gold: Shane Doan and Jerome Iginla.

Doan will be 36 and is a pending free agent, so all he would cost is money. Iginla will be 35, is a pending free agent and would require far less in a deal than Nash. Both players ooze playoff caliber gameplay. They are tough, gritty, pains in the butt who not only go to dirty areas to score, they make even more of a mess while there. They both are right wings and would fit in perfectly on the first line opposite Lucic. They would also allow Nathan Horton to take his time coming back. Doan is good for at least 20 goals and 50 points and Iginla is a 50-goal scorer who hasnt scored less than 30 in 11 years. Most importantly, both Doan and Iginla are real captains. They are the consummate teammates and leaders. Doan and Iginla have been on bad teams and carried them like luggage into the postseason. Captain Nash packs his luggage and asks for a deal.

As thankful as I am for the opportunity to talk about the Bruins during the offseason, I will celebrate wildly if the Bruins dont get suckered into overpaying for Nash. Were talking confetti and fireworks people and something tells me that after tonight, Ill be able to get a good deal on party supplies from the Rangers.

Heinen looking to show his offense in his shot on Krejci line

Heinen looking to show his offense in his shot on Krejci line

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins mixed things up with their roster a bit on Saturday after dropping a couple of games in a row to Washington and Colorado. 

Fourth-line energy winger Noel Acciari and playmaking forward Danton Heinen were called up from Providence and will be in the lineup against the Toronto Maple Leafs at TD Garden on Saturday night. 
Acciari went to Providence the past couple of days to get some game action in after missing the past month with a lower body injury, but clearly showed he’s ready to go. 

So, Acciari is back to provide the same hard-hitting and energy he showed before he was hurt and Heinen is looking to show off a little more offense than in his first stint with the Black and Gold this season. He’ll be featured in a top role as left wing with David Krejci and David Backes and with marching orders to shoot the puck like he never shot it in his previous stint in Boston. 

For the Bruins, it’s about getting another look at a candidate to play left wing beside Krejci with both Ryan Spooner and Tim Schaller, with limitations to their respective games, unable to fully grasp that same opportunity. 

“My hope is that Heinen can come in and give us some good hockey. He’s a skill player and he’s been down there for a while, and he’s back up again because he’s been playing well,” said Claude Julien of the Bruins rookie, who had four goals and seven points in his past five games with Providence. “Hopefully he can play well here also. It’s about getting some confidence. When he went down to [the AHL] the pace of his game had to get a little bit better, and in the battles coming up with the puck along the walls. Those are the kinds of things we thought he could work on down in Providence.”

Heinen knows he needs to shoot the puck a bit more to show off his offense after a seven-game stint with the Bruins where he went scoreless, was a minus-2 and had just six shots on net.

“Being hard on the walls, playing fast and shooting the puck, those were all things I was working on [in Providence],” said Heinen, who has seven goals and 13 points in 13 games for the P-Bruins after being assigned to Providence. “I was doing what they told me to do [in Providence] and that’s shoot the puck. They were going in, and I was getting some good opportunities on the power play. It’s seriously tough to get chances [at the NHL level], so you can’t pass them up when you have chances. That was kind of my focus down there.”

Fellow fourth-line energy winger Anton Blidh has been shipped to Providence after three solid games with the Black and Gold. 

Julien said Blidh goes back to Providence having adequately shown that he can play in the NHL. He clearly showed the Bruins that he understands his role as a player that stirs things up a bit and gets his nose dirty on a regular basis.

“[Blidh] was fine. No issues there. He does his job. He plays with lots of energy and obviously he’s getting more experience. He’s a lot better at understanding his positioning within the game and what he has to do,” said Julien. “I thought he helped us out for the time that he was here.”

With Heinen and Acciari both in the lineup and Blidh back in Providence, that means Jimmy Hayes will be scratched after dressing for three of the past four games for Boston.

Saturday, Dec. 10: Vegas, scoring on NHL governors' minds

Saturday, Dec. 10: Vegas, scoring on NHL governors' minds

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while doing some early Christmas shopping ahead of the late rush. 

*Mike Zeisberger sits down with a quartet of NHL governors and discusses a number of hot topics including the Vegas franchise and scoring around the league. 

*Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos has been removed from the NHL Board of Governor’s Executive Committee amid rumors that the Canes might be a prime candidate for relocation. 

*Pierre McGuire weighs in on Connor McDavid’s war of words on the ice and Carey Price losing his mind in the crease against the New Jersey Devils. To that end, Wayne Gretzky liked seeing McDavid get a little combative at such a young age. 

*The New York Islanders signed Cal Clutterbuck to a five year contract extension, and some are skeptical it will turn out well for the Isles.

*David Pastrnak is a premier scoring threat in the league, and Scott Cullen has some details behind that. I will say this: his stock falling in the draft had less to do with his size or heaviness, and more to do with him being concussed for a long stretch of time during the year leading up to the draft. 

*The Florida Panthers are really struggling to stay positive with a 1-5-0 record since the ownership group and management decided to fire Gerard Gallant. 

*For something completely different: Baywatch stars then and now.