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

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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.

Friday, July 22: Versteeg headed for Europe

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Friday, July 22: Versteeg headed for Europe

Here are all the hockey links from around the world, and what I’m reading, while vowing to never try to marry the NHL and Pokemon into the same lame story.

*PHT writer James O’Brien has Kris Versteeg one of a number of NHL veteran free agents going to Europe for next season.

*The New York Islanders have reportedly been discussing moving to Queens and building a rink right next to the Mets’ Citi Field. Interesting. I know the Isles fan base was not happy with the setup in Brooklyn last season.

*The Black Knights get the top odds as a moniker for the Las Vegas franchise with a number of funny long shot names.

*Ian Mendes said that it’s pretty clear by the moves of the Ottawa Senators that they believe their time is now.

*Jason Botchford wonders if the Vancouver Canucks have a shot at being a playoff team next season. I hope so for Jim Benning’s sake.

*Ken Campbell wants to know if Brad Richards and Vincent Lecavalier, now that they’re both retired, are Hall of Fame-worthy players. I say no to both of them, but I can be stingy with my Hall of Fame qualifications as the Jarome Iginla fanboys know so well.

*For something completely different: Jon Stewart brought the funk and the noise while breaking his TV silence on Thursday night and tearing into a GOP that’s coming apart at the seams right now.

 

Bruins set to appear 16 times on NBC national broadcasts

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Bruins set to appear 16 times on NBC national broadcasts

The Bruins might have missed the Stanley Cup playoffs  each of the past two seasons, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be taking a backseat on the national television schedule for NBCSN and the rest of the NHL on NBC programming. 

The Black and Gold will appear in 16 nationally televised games in the 2016-17 season across the NBC Sports networks, though they won’t be a part of the Winter Classic, the Black Friday matinee or most of the other NHL showpiece events featured by NBC aside from their one appearance in the late game on “Hockey Day in America.”

In total, 16 games will be broadcast on either NBC or NBC Sports Network, with all other matchups being televised locally on NESN, along with some of these non-exclusive games ceding rights back to the local rights-holder.

The Bruins are tied with the New York Rangers for the third-most appearances on national television this season, behind only the Chicago Blackhawks (21) and Philadelphia Flyers (20). The broadcast schedule is highlighted by the Bruins visiting the San Jose Sharks on Feb. 19 as part of a quadruple-header on “Hockey Day in America.” 

 Bruins games on NBC and NBC Sports Network (all times Eastern):

Wed., Oct, 26 at N.Y. Rangers at 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
Tues., Nov. 22 vs. St. Louis at 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
Tues., Nov. 29 at Philadelphia at 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
Wed., Dec. 7 at Washington at 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
Wed., Dec. 14 at Pittsburgh at 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
Tues., Jan. 10 at St. Louis at 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
Wed., Jan. 18 at Detroit at 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
Wed., Feb. 1 at Washington at 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
Sun., Feb. 12 vs. Montreal at 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
Sun., Feb. 19 at San Jose at 8:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
Sun., Feb. 26 at Dallas at 12:30 p.m. (NBC)
Thurs., March 2 vs. N.Y. Rangers at 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
Wed., March 8 vs. Detroit at 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
Thurs., March 30 vs. Dallas at 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
Sun., April 2 at Chicago at 12:30 p.m. (NBC)
Sat,, April 8 vs. Washington at 3 p.m. (NBC)

Bruins’ pick Frederic out to prove he wasn’t a reach

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Bruins’ pick Frederic out to prove he wasn’t a reach

Trent Frederic had heard all of the chatter about the Bruins reaching a bit for him when they selected the physical, athletic center with the 29th overall pick last month in the draft.

Draft night pundits had the Wisconsin-bound Frederic much lower in the rankings and even Bruins scouting director Keith Gretzky admitted that Frederic probably projects to being a third-line center in the NHL a few years down the line.

“[Frederic] is not going to be a top-two line guy, we know that,” said Gretzky on draft night. “But he has some jam. He plays hard with the [amount of] penalty minutes. We were fortunate to get him. We believed he was our next guy and we really liked the projection of him as a staff. Everybody raved about him, his character is outstanding. He’s an athlete.”

So, it’s fair to say it was a conservative pick going for a player more likely to have an NHL career rather than a boom-or-bust risk choice like the small, skilled Alex DeBrincat and it’s equally important to note that the Bruins were looking size, strength and jam with a few of their center choices in this particular draft class.

The B’s selected the 6-foot-2, 203-pound Frederic as an organizational need pick and a safe pick at the end of the first round, but there were also at least two NHL teams that had player pegged to go between 20-30 in the draft.

“If you watch him in the [fitness] testing he’s a really good athlete, and he’s explosive,” said Bruins assistant coach Jay Pandolfo. “He was playing on that US [National Development] team behind [Kieffer] Bellows and [Clayton] Keller, so I think maybe he’s got a little bit more skill than people are giving him credit for.

“He’s got some upside more than a third line player. I know that’s what everybody was saying, but there were a lot of teams that were pretty high on this kid. I think he just went under the radar a little bit playing on that US team behind the top skill players.”

So, Gretzky, Scott Bradley, Don Sweeney and the rest of the B’s talent evaluators weren’t on their own in making the selection, and only the passing of time will tell if he turns into the next David Backes, or the next Chris Kelly. 

It appeared early in last week’s Bruins development camp that Frederic was trying to do too much as he struggled at times in skating drills and looked a little nervous during the first session with fellow NHL prospects.

But Frederic settled in after that and showed the athleticism, the toughness and a fairly decent amount of skill over the four on-ice days of development camp prior to getting ready for college. He certainly wasn't bursting with over-the-top offensive skill like Jake DeBrusk or Charlie McAvoy, but Frederic didn't look out of place grinding and battling with fellow top prospects while showing a ready willingness to go to the danger areas on the ice. 

The 18-year-old admitted he’s got a little of a chip on his shoulder about the first round reach chatter, and that won’t be a bad thing as he develops at the NCAA level.

“I have the hard work and the dedication, and I think I’ve been a winner my whole life…so I have that’s something I can bring to the Bruins. I think my two-way play is what they like a lot. My overall skating and my offensive game are things that I’m working on a lot,” said Frederic, who had 20 goals and 40 points in 61 games for the USNTDP last season. “I think you use [the draft talk] as motivation, and something that can push you to get going and to prove people wrong I guess you could say.

“I think I’ll do it, and I’ll work my hardest to do it. [The best advice I got] was don’t read anything good and don’t read anything bad about yourself because none of it really matters. I don’t know if anybody gave that to me, or if I gave it to myself. The main point is [to not buy into anything] whether it’s really good or bad.”

That’s exactly the right kind of attitude for the Frederic, who will be under the microscope a little bit now that he’s become a first-round pick in a Bruins organization leaning heavily on their future prospects.