Undecided Bruins still mulling lockout options

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Undecided Bruins still mulling lockout options

FRAMINGHAM Milan Lucic admitted he was surprised that so many of his Bruins teammates seven of them, including Tuukka Rask and Rich Peverley have already bolted for European hockey leagues. The Bs power forward hasnt made any plans for playing anywhere other than the NHL this season, and it doesnt sound like thats going to change in the near term.

You start thinking about it, admitted Lucic, who chatted with CSNNE.com after speaking to the Mary E. Stapleton Elementary School in Framingham Monday morning in an event sponsored by NMTW Community Credit Union. Im actually kind of surprised that guys are so urgent and anxious to leave so quickly given where the labor dispute is where its at. As more and more guys start to go over and more and more guys from our team start thinking about it, you start thinking about it more. Right now I dont have any plans to go, but its in the back of my mind.

Things are a little more complicated for the 24-year-old Lucic than they might be for a 20-year-old Tyler Seguin, who can literally drop everything and head over to Switzerland until the NHL lockout ends. Lucic and his new bride Brittany are expecting their first child during the upcoming season, and the Bs power forward understandably doesnt want to be across the world for that life milestone.

That all makes it more complicated especially when its your first child, said Lucic. You want to be around for all of the experiences of it. Thats basically where Im at right now. I want to be there for her more than anything.

The concern, of course, is becoming rusty as a hockey player if the NHL layoff turns into months rather than days or weeks. Lucic might be forced to leave for Europe at some point if the scrimmages and informal skates arent enough to keep in tip-top shape, but thats a long way down the road.

CSNNE.com contacted both Shawn Thornton and Johnny Boychuk on Monday as well, and both players arent any closer to brokering a deal with a European club. Thornton is exploring potential opportunities in Europe, and is running into the same insurance challenges that many NHL players face while attempting to protect themselves from potential injuries.

A US underwriter estimated to CSNNE.com that NHL players will be footing a bill of roughly 10-25K per million of salary for each month that they play in Europe just in insurance costs.

The Belfast Giants team that the Bruins played two years ago in Northern Ireland would be a natural fit for a guy like Thornton thats only two generations removed from his Irish heritage. But thus far the Bs enforcer and the Belfast club havent come to an agreement on a deal suitable for both sides.

Boychuk hasnt explored the European option as of yet either. The Bruins defenseman is going to remain in Boston for the foreseeable future skating with some of his teammates. The question becomes how quickly the opportunities for NHL players dry up in the European Leagues as so many hockey players flock to Germany, Czech Republic, Finland and Switzerland among other places.

Well see, I guess, said Boychuk. I am not leaving right now. I know that much. I dont know where Ill go if I do end up playing in Europe.

Zdeno Chara is one European player that hasnt made the move back to his native Slovakia quite yet. The insurance premium would be considerable for a 33-year-old player carrying a big salary price tag like Chara, but he is rumored to be headed to Bratislava ifwhen he does opt for Europe.

Chara would be reunited with good buddy and former Bruins forward Miro Satan if he hops over to Slovakia, but the Bs captains daughter is already enrolled in Boston schools for the semester so Chara will be taking his time before making any final decisions.

Bruins coaches: Czarnik a ‘Belichick-type hockey player’

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Bruins coaches: Czarnik a ‘Belichick-type hockey player’

BOSTON – Austin Czarnik is off to a good start at Bruins training camp.

He’s got points in each of the first two exhibition games and just the fact that he’s cracked the B’s lineup in both games tells you that the coaching staff wants to get a long, good look at the undersized forward.

But the 5-foot-9, 167-pound Czarnik brings more than simply a touch of the Napoleon complex after always being told that he was too small to make it to the elite levels of hockey. The 23-year-old clearly can score after posting 20 goals and 61 points in his first pro season in the AHL in Providence last season. He plays with heart, energy and a dogged determination when he’s hunting pucks on the fore-check.

But former P-Bruins head coach and current B’s assistant coach Bruce Cassidy says that Czarnik also brings something a little extra that New England Patriots fans will certainly appreciate.

“As far as being a player goes, he would be, to me, that [Bill] Belichick-type player that you could use in a lot of different situations,” said Cassidy, in clear reference to intelligent utility guys Troy Brown, Danny Woodhead, Julian Edelman and others that all filled different roles in their time with New England.

“He’s got a very, very high IQ, he’s a quick learner and very coachable,” Cassidy said. “So, he’s a guy you can move around, and he can play with different players. He can play on the penalty kill, he’s good on the power play and especially on the point.

“So there are a lot of different things. I think from night-to-night if you wanted to, you could move him around in your lineup and he could be effective for you. I know he’s a center, but it would be interesting to see if he could play the wing and be effective. That’s something we haven’t really seen. Is that something we maybe attempt down the road? I don’t know. I don’t want to speak out of turn, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he could handle it. He even played for us 6-on-5 as a defenseman with the goalie out. He’s just a smart player, and he understands the game very, very well.”

So, Czarnik is off to a good start in training camp with the Bruins, but we also saw the same thing from him last year as a rookie to pro hockey. 

Now, it’s about seeing whether a smaller player can finish strong as the competition heightens deeper into the preseason, and perhaps he can bring that versatility and feistiness to the NHL level in Boston. 

 

 

Thursday, Sept. 29: Oilers right where they belong

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Thursday, Sept. 29: Oilers right where they belong

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while looking forward to watching the Luke Cage Netflix series.

*The Cult of Hockey has no issues with yours truly ranking the Edmonton Oilers 29th out of 30 teams in my first preseason NHL power rankings.

*An interesting piece about Brian McGrattan and his battle with alcohol in his career as an NHL tough guy. I can honestly say having covered him a bit when he was in the Bruins organization that he was one of the scariest dudes I’ve ever talked to in an NHL dressing room. A nice guy, but very intense and always looked like he definitely enjoyed his work on the ice.

*Dennis Seidenberg hopped on with the Hockey Central crew today to talk about his new contract with the New York Islanders.

*PHT writer and Friend of Haggs (FOH) Mike Halford has Guy Boucher with some serious Dion Phaneuf love going on in Ottawa.

*Jack Eichel is oozing confidence and swagger in his second NHL season with Buffalo looking to make a big step up this season.

*Scott Burnside said that the World Cup of Hockey could be coming to an end tonight and I think most predict that it will with a little bit of an anticlimactic thud due to the sheer awesomeness of Team Canada.

*For something completely different: “Aleppo Moment” sounds like a great name for a rock band. Not so much for a Presidential candidate.