Bruins coach Claude Julien talked down any reference to their bad blood with the Buffalo Sabres as speculation, but actions usually speak louder than words. The Bs coach has inserted AHL tough guy Lane MacDermid into the lineup as a fourth-line winger along with Shawn Thornton, and scuffling left wing Chris Bourque will take a seat as a healthy scratch for the first time this season.
But Julien wasnt going to opine on why the Sabres opted to sign 6-foot-8, 260-pound enforcer John Scott and trade for noted agitator Steve Ott in the offseason a couple of clear signs that Buffalo was looking to toughen up against their divisional foes in Boston. Thats been the case since Milan Lucic trucked Ryan Miller at the beginning of last year, and set off a bitter rivalry between the Bs and Sabres that lasted throughout the regular season.
I have no problem with anything. Its Buffalos choice to build a team any way they want, said Julien. Speculation is speculation as far as Im concerned, and thats all it is until something happens. Weve played our style of game forever and we dont plan on changing that. Theres nothing, as far as Im concerned, to be worried about.
The Bruins coach was pressed and asked if there's any carryover from the LucicMiller fracas last season, even after Paul Gaustad addressed the situation by dropping the gloves with Boston's power forward in Buffalo last year.
"You're asking the wrong coach," said Julien, with a nod that any extra aggression would be coming from Buffalo's end.
Tuukka Rask was the first goaltender off the ice for the Bruins at morning skate and hell get the start against Buffalo as the Sabres are expected to counter with Ryan Miller between the pipes. Here are the expected lines and pairings tonight with Adam McQuaid also returning to the lineup:
New England has been elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame, pretty much.
The Bruins’ owner, two former Bruins players and one Hockey East legend are among those announced to be enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2017. The full list: Dave Andreychuk, Danielle Goyette, Paul Kariya, Mark Recchi, Teemu Selanne, Clare Drake and Jeremy Jacobs.
Acquired from the Lightning at the 2009 trade deadline, Recchi played parts of three seasons with the Bruins, notably winning the Stanley Cup in his final season in 2011. Over 189 regular-season games for Boston, Recchi scored 42 of his 577 career goals.
Andreychuk spent part of one season with in Boston, joining the B’s in 1999 but being moved to the Avalanche at the trade deadline of that season in the Ray Bourque trade.
Kariya became the first freshman to ever win the Hobey Baker award, a feat he accomplished by putting up 100 points in his first of two years at the University of Maine. He got to triple digits again soon in the NHL, posting 50 goals and 58 assists in his second of nine seasons with the Ducks. He followed his Mighty Ducks tenure with stops with the Avalanche, Predators and Blues before retiring due to concussion issues in 2010. He finished with a point a game on the nose, putting up 989 points in 989 games.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while the NHL pre-July 1 wooing period is underway.
*Another draft pick has snubbed the team that selected him after their college career, and this time it’s the Buffalo Sabres.
*It’s a shame to see the demise of the CTV sports staff in Montreal. Brian Wilde is a friend and a colleague, and a voice on the Habs that deserved to be heart up in that city.
*In an emotional letter penned to the only NHL city that he’d ever played in, Marc-Andre Fleury has plenty to say about Pittsburgh.
*The Edmonton Oilers and Peter Chiarelli have signed rugged power forward Zack Kassian to a three-year, $5.85 million contract. Interesting risk here for a player that might be a fourth line guy, and has had some issues toeing the line in the past, but Kassian has been pretty effective for the Oil since they stuck out their neck for him.
*Teemu Selanne is a no-brainer for this season’s Hockey Hall of Fame class, and that’s great. But it will be a crime if three-time Stanley Cup champion and high-ranking lifetime scorer Mark Recchi doesn’t finally get into the Hall this season. Seriously, Recchi has the credentials statistically, he has the Stanley Cups, he has the time playing with some of the greatest players of his generation during his NHL career and he also happens to have been a great person and leader on top of all that. If former Bruins winger Recchi doesn’t hear his name announced this season then something is seriously flawed with the process.
*How exactly will the return of Brandon Saad impact both Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane over the next few seasons? One would imagine it’s going to be a positive impact.
*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Elliotte Friedman thinks that the Columbus Blue Jackets are making a push to be contenders, and will be in the mix for Ilya Kovalchuk.
*Speaking of Blackhawks former Cup champs, Niklas Hjalmarsson is bringing that winning tradition, experience and leadership to the Arizona Coyotes now that he’s been traded.
*For something completely different: What a crazy story this Han Solo movie intrigue has turned into, with reports that the movie’s crew “broke into applause” when it was announced that Ron Howard was taking over direction of the movie.