Ranford now with Kings, but still many connections to Bruins


Ranford now with Kings, but still many connections to Bruins

NEWARK, NJ Bill Ranford has a theory about the future career paths of goaltenders and journeymen, bottom line forward-types.

You can never tell which players will become coaches, but it seems like the goalies go do TV and the role players become coaches, said Ranford. Very rarely do the skill guys become head coaches over the long haul.

The formers Bruins goaltender and current Los Angeles Kings goaltending coach has been working with Kings prodigy Jon Quick for the last five seasons while helping turn him into the elite netminder ready to start in the Stanley Cup Finals Wednesday night.

But the former Bruins third-round pick in 1985 had actually thought television, rather than coaching, was going to be his hockey gravy train after his playing days were over.

Ranford did some work in Vancouver broadcasting local games and some analyst work for TSN after taking a broadcasting course offered by the NHLPA at the end of his playing days.

I did some broadcasting with the NHLPA Goals and Dreams program, and they approached me about taking the broadcasting seminar, said Ranford. I did a little work with TSN and some radio work in Vancouver, but Marc Crawford approached me about the goaltending job in LA after Id been doing it at the junior level for a few years.

It felt like the right time to try it and Ive been doing it for six years. With my international hockey experience and Canada Cup stuff I got to know Canadian TV executive John Shannon pretty well and I thought Id get into the color analyst stuffor something TV-wise. John helped me with that early on, but Ive really enjoyed my time with the Kings working with two very good young goalies.

Crawford cajoled him into coaching when he took the reigns of the Kings six years ago, and hes survived several regime chances as the goalie guru for a Los Angeles team thats got two great young ones in Quick and Jonathan Bernier.

Youve built that trust with your goaltenders early, and the two Jonathans have been together with me for five years now, said Ranford. You gain that trust in each other. Ive got their backs and theyve got mine.

Bruins fans will remember Ranford for several different things: jumping into the playoffs in 1986 after being selected in the third round by the Bruins just one year prior, and then later being traded to the Edmonton Oilers for Andy Moog.

Then he won Stanley Cup rings against the Bruins in 1988 and 1990 one as a backup to Grant Fuhr and one as a Conn Smythe winner gaining revenge on a Boston team that dealt him away before rejoining them at the end of his NHL career. Then Ranford was again moved in another infamous deal that sent Adam Oates, Rick Tocchet and the goalie to Washington in exchange for Jason Allison, Anson Carter and Massachusetts native Jim Carey.

He still looks back on his days with the Bruins fondly despite being traded out of the organization twice, and dropped in some of his old pals during last years Cup Finals against the Vancouver Canucks.

Boston is a great city. It was an excellent city to live in when I played there, and I still have friends there to this day, said Ranford. I was at Game 5 and went in to see Harry Sinden in the Bruins box. I still keep in touch with Johnny Bucyk. There are guys on the Cup winning team that I knew a little bit over the years.

During his time coaching junior hockey in British Columbia Ranford saw the career progression of a young kid from East Vancouver named Lucic, and that created another Six Degrees of Bill Ranford connection to the Bruins even if he didnt know it at the time.

I had Milan Lucic as a player at the BC junior level and I saw him grow and develop. It was pretty special to watch that, and then see him raise the Cup last year, said Ranford. I was with him with the Coquitlam Express where he was just hoping for a chance to play, and then saw him evolve into this really dominant player during his time with Vancouver.

He was very raw. He just wanted to play. He would go run through the end boards if you asked him to because he just wanted to get out there on the ice. Thats the kind of player he was.

No matter where Ranford goes it seems like hell always tied back to the Bruins organization on many different levels, and thats perfectly okay with him now that they dont have a chance to trade him one last time.

Czarnik 'playing bigger' while looking to secure job with Bruins


Czarnik 'playing bigger' while looking to secure job with Bruins

It’s not difficult to see why Austin Czarnik might have been a little overlooked headed into this Bruins training camp when forecasting favorites among the forwards to win a roster spot on the big club. After all he’s only 5-foot-9 and 167-pounds coming off just one very solid season at the AHL level for the Providence Bruins, and there are bigger, stronger forwards candidates that maybe rank a bit higher on the prospect list than him.

But the 23-year-old Czarnik put together an excellent training camp last fall before finishing with 20 goals and 61 points for the P-Bruins last season, and now he’s doing the exact same thing again this time around.

“Yeah, I feel more comfortable. I think we could have been a lot better in a lot of areas. Overall I think everyone is just happy to be back on the ice,” said Czarnik, who along with Frank Vatrano was one of the real starts of camp last season. “You know that type of mentality and you know mistakes are going to happen, and you’ve just got to move forward from it so everyone’s happy to be back.”

The former Miami University star is clearly happy to be back, and it’s showing on the ice with each chance he gets to show his tenacity, withering fore-check and his willingness to crash the net despite his smallish stature.

Czarnik was one of the most dangerous forwards on the ice for the Black and Gold in their preseason opener, and collected a key assist on Boston’s first goal of the game when he pushed a puck through the neutral zone before setting up on odd man rush for Jimmy Hayes and Jake DeBrusk.

This time around Czarnik scored the game’s only goal on a nifty rush during four-on-four play through the offensive zone by Ryan Spooner, who drew in the defense and dished to Czarnik for a wide open tap-in chance.

So it’s a couple of big plays in each of the first two preseason games that led to goals, and a genuinely excellent level of play throughout both contests. It’s something the Bruins coaching staff has taken note of along with his skating speed and hardnosed mentality, and now they have to figure if it fits in with their other NHL pieces.

“We were just talking about it. Everybody has that same feeling. He’s playing well. He moves well. He’s on the puck. He competes, and that’s the thing you’re looking for really,” said Bruins assistant coach Joe Sacco. “Like right now, we know there’s going to be mistakes made by a lot of our players, especially the younger ones.

“We’re looking to see who’s got that competitive, you know, that competitive fire. [We’re looking for] who’s going to go out there and who can compete at a high level. I know he’s not big in stature, but he plays bigger than he is. He’s had two pretty good games so far.”

Czarnik had a couple of good games early in B’s camp last year before flat-lining a bit at the end when the NHL jobs were seriously on the line, and the 23-year-old wants that story to change endings this time around. It remains to be seen where he’s going to fit as yet another center among Boston’s group of training camp players this month, but Czarnik might just force the Bruins to make a tough decision if he keeps playing at his current high level.   

Talking Points: Veteran Red Wings torch Bruins


Talking Points: Veteran Red Wings torch Bruins

GOLD STAR: Take your pick: Steve Ott, Drew Miller and Luke Glendening torched the Bruins with veteran savvy and toughness against a very young defensemen unit trying to survive in the second preseason game. Ott and Glendening each scored a goal and finished with three points, and Miller finished with a goal and two points while all three forwards had a plus-3 rating for the night. All of their goals came off winning battles, crashing the net and taking advantage of defensive miscues. The goals provided a good lesson to the young kids that have a ways to go before they’re NHL ready at this point in their careers. It certainly must have been a kick to the stones to many Bruins fans when “Brave” Steve Ott was named the No. 1 Star of the game after it was all over, but that was certainly appropriate.

BLACK EYE: Adam McQuaid was the most experienced defensemen out on the ice for the Bruins on Wednesday night, and it was a rough night for him with so many young guys around him on the back end. McQuaid finished a minus-2 in 17:41 with a couple of hits and got a little better as the game was going on, but was on ice for two of the first three goals allowed to Detroit in a really lackluster middle section of the game. In general, it was about more than just one player, though. There were blown assignments in the D-zone and some really noticeable lost battles leading to scoring chances for a Red Wings group that aggressively took it to the Bruins. This is a game that will leave the Bruins coaches with plenty of video material moving forward.

TURNING POINT: The real slippage came early in the game when the Bruins failed to score on some good power play chances for Peter Mueller and Matt Beleskey, and then allowed two goals within 19 seconds of each other in the first period. The first goal was a PP one for the Red Wings with Ryan Spooner whistled for a face-off infraction, and the second was simply the Bruins falling asleep at the wheel just seconds after the first goal was scored. Lost battles led to a bang-bang play in front with Steve Ott scoring as Malcolm Subban was turned around looking for the puck, and the B’s were reeling headed into the first intermission. Only a Subban shoulder save kept it from being 3-0 at the end of the first, and that was something the B’s never seemed to rebound from.

HONORABLE MENTION: Austin Czarnik scored the B’s only goal off a nice play from Ryan Spooner driving toward the net, and continues to put together another strong training camp after doing the same thing last season. Czarnik finished with the goal, three shots on net and six shot attempts in 17:38 of ice time, and battled back from a rough start to go 6-for-12 in the face-off circle while centering an extremely young line with Sean Kuraly and Zach Senyshyn. While Czarnik might not have been a big name when talking about an open roster spot with the Bruins a couple of weeks ago, he’s pushed toward making himself a part the conversation with his heart-filled, high effort energetic performances for the Black and Gold.

BY THE NUMBERS: 4-for-16 was the final tally for Ryan Spooner in the face-off circle as he continues to be a work-in-progress on the draw.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “Maybe I was a little bit shocked first going out there. The speed of the game is noticeably faster, but I think as time went on I got more comfortable out there. Hopefully I can build off that moving forward.” – Bruins rookie D-man Matt Grzelcyk on his first NHL preseason game being a bit of a big wakeup call.