Neely wants the Bruins to play outside more often

627898.jpg

Neely wants the Bruins to play outside more often

WILMINGTON, Mass. It seems like only yesterday the Bruins were gearing up in special Winter Classic Bs sweaters and skating on a temporary NHL rink inside Fenway Park.

But its now the third season since that game, and things have developed quickly with the gem of an event in the middle of the NHL schedule. The HBO cameras trailing around the teams and creating the 247: Road to the Winter Classic TV series along with the potential for the game to be on prime time depending on the weather has put a whole different spin on the teams involved in the series. Thats something that began the year AFTER the Bruins defeated the Philadelphia Flyers in overtime at Fenway with a famous Marco Sturm goal face celebration.

So the Bs missed the boat a little bit on marketing their unique blend of players in the 247 series, and Bs fans were teased a little while watching the Black and Gold essentially cast as hatchet-wielding villains in the second episode of the show when they trounced the Flyers.

Clearly the Winter Classic wont be held in Boston again anytime soon, but Bruins' President Cam Neely admitted in a radio interview last week with Felger and Mazz on 98.5 the Sports Hub that hed love for his team to be involved again in the early January game. Given the kind of TV ratings the Bruins can command and the natural interest inherent in a Cup-winning level hockey club, it would seem to make a lot of sense to once again bring Boston into the proceedings.

Whispers around the league have either Detroit or Washington hosting the next Winter Classic given the settings already visited by the NHL, and the Bruins could be a natural opponent for either one of those teams. After all, the Winter Classic two years ago at Fenway was originally supposed to be the Bs hosting the Caps, and perhaps they could reverse the home and road teams for the next NHL centerpiece. Thats the kind of game people would watch, and Neely said his team is highly interested in getting involved with the Classic and the 247 TV series if the opportunity presents itself.

The league holds it pretty close to the vest on who theyd like to have each year. I think theyre doing a better job of getting teams a little bit more notice. We pushed for that certainly because its a big undertaking and the more time you have, the better its going to turn out, said Neely. I would certainly welcome it as an organization. I think it would be fantastic for the Bruins.

Its great what the league does and its great what HBO does. Im all for it. I know its a little intrusive and the coaches have a hard time with it at times because the cameras are all around much more than theyd probably like. Everybody is buying into it, and I would love for our organization to be a part of the Winter Classic again. Its a fantastic event; wed love to be a part of it whether its hosting it or going on the road.

So when the Rangers and Flyers suit up for the Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park this afternoon, just imagine that the Bruins could be dusting off their special WC edition jerseys for another game in the near future if everything goes according to plan.

Marchand: Selection to Canada World Cup 'on a different level'

usatsi_9235538.jpg

Marchand: Selection to Canada World Cup 'on a different level'

Bruins left wing Brad Marchand definitely altered a lot of people’s perceptions about him as a hockey player when he scored 37 goals this season, and embraced more of a leadership role on a B’s team getting younger by the year. The B’s agitator started to reap the rewards of those changed opinions with a gold medal at the IIHF World Championships in Russia earlier this month, and on Friday with his inclusion on a ridiculously talented Team Canada roster set for the NHL and NHLPA-organized World Cup of Hockey in the fall.

Marchand will join linemate Patrice Bergeron and head coach Claude Julien as part of the Team Canada contingent, and could even be part of a reunited Marchand-Bergeron-Tyler Seguin line if Mike Babcock and Co. are looking for instant chemistry.

Either way Marchand was excited about suiting up for his country, and being part of a World Cup tournament that will include Bruins players Tuukka Rask, Zdeno Chara, David Pastrnak, David Krejci (who may not be available to play due to his hip surgery), Loui Eriksson and Dennis Seidenberg along with the Team Canada contingent.

“It’s an incredible honor to play for Team Canada. It’s something that I think we all take a lot of pride in, and something that is…it’s not an easy accomplishment,” said Marchand. “It’s not something you get to do very often, and to have that opportunity twice this year is very special and it’s not something I take for granted

“I think being part of a team like this is on a different level, and people may give a little more respect to that fact and may look at more of the kind of player I am, other than just the stuff they’ve seen in the past, with the hits and being a pest and stuff like that. Maybe those people will realize that I’m an OK hockey player, and I do play the game as well. But regardless, that’s not why I play the game. I play it to help our team win and just because I love the game, so however they feel, then that’s their opinion. But [earning more respect league-wide] is a possibility.”

This is the fifth time Marchand has been selected to compete for his home country of Canada in international play. The 5-foot-9, 181-pound forward tallied four goals and three assists in 10 games while helping Canada earn a gold medal at the aforementioned 2016 IIHF Men’s World Championships, held earlier this month in Russia. Marchand previously won gold with Team Canada at the U-20 World Championships in 2007 and 2008. He also earned a bronze medal with Team Canada Atlantic at the 2005 World U-17 Hockey Challenge.

The 2016 World Cup of Hockey will take place from Sept. 17 to Oct. 1, 2016 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, home of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs. The two-week tournament, featuring eight teams comprised of more than 150 of the best players in the NHL, will progress from the Preliminary Round to the Semifinals and ultimately the Final. 

The involvement of so many Bruins players along with Julien will make for a spare NHL camp in Boston come September with so many important pieces out for what is traditionally the first two weeks of camp. 

Haggerty's Morning Skate: Phil Kessel emotional about reaching Stanlery Cup Final

cp-morning-skate.jpg

Haggerty's Morning Skate: Phil Kessel emotional about reaching Stanlery Cup Final

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while picking the San Jose Sharks over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Final.

 

*Patrick Lalime hopped on sports radio in Ottawa, and said the Chris Phillips/Zdeno Chara defense pairing was the best he ever played behind.

 

*Don Cherry had a major problem with Steven Stamkos suiting up and playing in the losing Game 7 to the Penguins.

 

*Phil Kessel gets pretty emotional about finally getting to the Stanley Cup Final after years of struggle in Toronto.

 

*USA Today’s Kevin Allen says the gap between the No. 1 goaltender and the backup isn’t what it used to be.

 

*Speaking the Sharks, the trip back to Pittsburgh for the Cup Final brings back memories for Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau.

 

*PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) writer has the news about Dustin Brown getting stripped of the captaincy with the LA Kings.

 

*Bryan Rust was in the AHL to start this season, but much like Mike Sullivan and Matt Murray he killed it for the Penguins in the playoffs.

 

*For something completely different: It’s official that moving Jackie Bradley Jr. in the lineup wasn’t what killed his hitting streak.