Two NHL teams interested in former Bruin PJ Axelsson

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Two NHL teams interested in former Bruin PJ Axelsson

It would appear that career Bruins forward P.J. Axelsson wants back into the NHL, and the feeling is mutual for at least a couple of teams.

Axelssons longtime agent Neil Abbott confirmed to CSNNE.com that he is talking to two NHL teams about Axelsson returning to the NHL. The 37-year-old Swedish forward spent 12 years with the Boston Bruins before leaving the NHL after scoring 30 points in the 2008-09. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Axelsson has played three seasons for Frolunda in the Swedish Elite League, including posting 14 points in each of the last two seasons while skating for his hometown team.

Axelsson played in 797 career games for the Bruins while putting up 103 goals and 184 assists, and became a dependable third line left winger known for his defensive capabilities and strong leadership qualities. In fact Axelsson has played for only the Bruins and Frolunda during his 19-year professional hockey career in a clear display of location consistency.

Abbott wouldnt confirm that the Bruins were one of the teams interested in Axelsson, but said that the amiable Swedish winger wants to finish out his hockey career playing in the NHL.

PJ would like to finish his career in the NHL and I am trying to achieve that for him, wrote Abbott in an email to CSNNE.com. I should have a better idea of what is possible by the end of July.The Swedish forward has one more year on his contract with Frolunda, but typically those deals have "out" clauses for the NHL if there are opportunities for establishedplayers like Axelsson.

Axelsson has visited the TD Garden several times over the last three years to visit his former team. The Bruins meanwhile have expressed a summer-long desire to sign a veteran top-nine Recchi-type forward that could bring leadership and grit to a Bs dressing room that was missing a little of that last season. While Axelsson isnt the grittiest player in the world he is still capable of using his good skating abilities and strong defensive instincts to enjoy success in Claude Juliens offensive and defensive systems.

The Swedish sports news periodical Expressen.se had the original report that NHL teams were interested in Axelssons services.

Bruins don't poll well in latest New England Sports survey

Bruins don't poll well in latest New England Sports survey

It’s no secret Bruins fans are getting fed up with a hockey team in decline, one that’s missed the playoffs each of the last two years. Now there are numbers to prove it.

Channel Media and Market Research, Inc. came out with its annual New England Sports survey,  tabulating responses from over 14,600 polled, and, according to the numbers, the Bruins are dropping in popularity, fan support and faith in the current management group.

The B’s are holding somewhat steady with 16 percent of voters listing them as their “favorite sports team” behind the Patriots (46 percent) and Red Sox (29 percent) while ahead of the Celtics and Revolution. Claude Julien also ranked ahead of John Farrell among the big four teams in the “coaches/manages most admired” category.

But after sitting at a relative high of ranking at 27 percent for “ownership performance” in 2014 -- they year after their trip to the Cup Finals against the Blackhawks -- the Bruins now rank dead last in that category at 2 percent, behind the Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics and even the Revolution. Ouch, babe.

Also sitting at a lowly 2 percent is Bruins president Cam Neely in the “leadership performance” category. In "management performance," Neely has dropped from a solid 49 percent in 2014 to just 16 percent in this summer’s survey.

So B’s fans are clearly upset with a team that traded away Tyler Seguin, Johnny Boychuk, Milan Lucic and Dougie Hamilton, and has featured a decimated defense corps for each of the last two seasons. But do the B’s fans think that things are getting any better with prospects coming down the pipeline?

Not really.

In the “which team has done the best job making its product better.” category, the Patriots (35 percent) and Red Sox (31 percent) were resting at the top, with the Celtics (27 percent) a respectable third. The Bruins limped in at just 4 percent with a fan base that very clearly sees that, on paper, this upcoming season’s club doesn’t appear to be much better than last year's.

On top of that, only 13 percent of those surveyed believe the Bruins have gotten better over the last year, and 52 percent believe they’ve just gotten worse. A lowly 3 percent of those surveyed think the Bruins have the best chance of the five teams to bring a world championship back to Boston; the Patriots (79 percent), Red Sox (11 percent) and Celtics (5 percent) all ranked higher.

Finally, Zdeno Chara, Tuukka Rask and Jimmy Hayes were at the top of the list of the Boston athletes “who did not meet expectations” last season. None of that is a surprise, given the state of Boston’s defense along with Hayes’ subpar season.

The good news for the Bruins: They still have a passionate fan base. But they need to start reversing course immediately before they do lasting damage to the B’s brand.

Wednesday, August 24: B's dealing with post-Vesey aftermath

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Wednesday, August 24: B's dealing with post-Vesey aftermath

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading with the Olympics coming to a close . . .
 
-- FOH (Friend of Haggs) Kirk Luedeke sorts through the aftermath for the Bruins after losing out on Jimmy Vesey

-- Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland gave an interview where he said the Red Wings aren’t Stanley Cup contenders this season. 

-- Related to Holland’s comments, some of the media in Detroit aren’t taking the dose of reality all that well

-- It’s a big season for New Jersey Devils forward Kyle Palmieri, who will be starring for Team USA on the World Cup team. 

 -- PHT writer Cam Tucker says the Buffalo Sabres still have a strong group of forwards even without Jimmy Vesey.

-- Jamie Benn is giving everything to his Dallas Stars team, and that means that the World Cup of Hockey is taking a backseat
 
-- The Colorado Avalanche are nearing the end of their head coaching search as they look for their replacement for Patrick Roy.
 
-- For something completely different: NBC is making the argument that millenials watched the Olympics, but just not on the traditional formats