Brandon Carlo hitting the rookie wall

Brandon Carlo hitting the rookie wall

BOSTON -- Claude Julien didn’t want to get into it following another disappointing loss, but it’s pretty apparent Brandon Carlo has smacked into the NHL rookie wall.

Carlo was on the ice for each of the damaging two goals scored against the Bruins in the opening seconds of the first and third periods, and in both cases couldn’t do enough to shut off Edmonton players attacking the net in the 4-2 loss for the Bruins at TD Garden. In both instances it looked like the share speed of the Oilers attack put Carlo on his heels a little bit, and created defensive vulnerabilities in front of the net.

There have been more instances of that in the last month for the 20-year-old Carlo as the heaviness of the NHL regular season schedule makes an impact on a young player, and the size and strength of opponents he’s constantly battling begins to make an impact as well.

Carlo has been a minus-10 over his last 15 games dating back to a rough night in Washington against the Capitals on Dec. 7, and said there are times when he feels like it’s been a bit of an uphill battle for him lately.

“Occasionally. I feel like pucks definitely aren’t bouncing my way as much as they were in the beginning of the year,” said Carlo, who was down to 16 minutes of ice time in the Thursday night loss to a fast, skilled Oilers bunch. “But that’s something that I just need to continue with, keeping it simple and moving the puck. I’m just trying to keep my gaps up and go through every game and know that I worked my hardest out there.

“[The Oilers] are a fast team. Coming right out of the gate, they were really fast that first shift. I felt like I wasn’t in terrible position, but unfortunately I didn’t get my stick on that one.”

It’s not exactly shocking that a young player in a prime shutdown pairing position would hit a rough patch in his rookie season, and it’s something the Bruins must have expected at some point as the dog days of the NHL regular season schedule approached. But it doesn’t make it any easier for a Black and Gold club desperate for wins and points while relying on Carlo to keep playing the rock-solid, poised game that he’s already shown he’s capable of doing at the NHL level. 

Morning Skate: Sabres' Okposo back on the ice

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Morning Skate: Sabres' Okposo back on the ice

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while officially in the Dead Zone of the NHL offseason.

*A great sight to see is Buffalo Sabres forward Kyle Okposo taking the ice in a summer league in Minnesota after a health scare at the end of last season.

*Nolan Patrick might be fresh off abdominal surgery, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to be rushed if he plays for the Flyers.

*Here’s an offseason power ranking of the offseason moves for the NHL teams, and the Bruins rank 28th out of 31 teams with the organization being “stuck” in the estimation of this writer. I don’t disagree that they’re kind of paralyzed right now until David Pastrnak signs an extension, with other things being held up because of that. The Paul Postma and Kenny Agostino signings were about as small time as you can get on July 1. But the Bruins’ goal for this summer wasn’t to win in the offseason moves department, but instead continue to let their interesting mix of young players and established veterans grow into an effective mix. Winning the offseason power rankings really isn’t the thing for the Black and Gold, and that’s perfectly okay given their situation.

*There’s a wide gap between the Detroit Red Wings and Tomas Tatar with salary arbitration looming.

*It’s a good thing that Barstool Sports is here to ask the really tough questions, like whether Jaromir Jagr is being treated unfairly by NHL teams because of his hair.

*PHT writer James O’Brien has Johnny Gaudreau really high on the window for the Calgary Flames to compete over the next three years with the young, talented group they have in place.  

*Nico Hischier is looking to be a playmaking force for the New Jersey Devils right off the bat after being the No. 1 overall pick in Jersey.

*A slew of soon-to-be college sophomores starred in development camps across the NHL and showed what they learned at the NCAA level.

*Classy tweet from the Arizona Coyotes wishing war hero and distinguished statesman John McCain well in his battle with brain cancer.

*Players that are on AHL contracts will be allowed to participate in the Winter Olympics this season. While the loss of NHL participation would be a difficult blow to the Olympics and fans, part of me is happy that some of these AHL guys will get to experience playing for their country when they might not have been able to otherwise.  

*For something completely different: Paul Pierce sees some very good things with first-round pick Jayson Tatum, but he’ll need to see “killer instinct” from the Celtics rookie for him to live up to the Pierce comparisons.

 

AHL allowing players on minor-league deals to go to Olympics

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AHL allowing players on minor-league deals to go to Olympics

Players on American Hockey League contracts will be eligible to play in the 2018 Winter Olympics.

President and CEO David Andrews confirmed through a league spokesman Wednesday that teams were informed they could loan players on AHL contracts to national teams for the purposes of participating in the Pyeongchang Olympics.

The AHL sent a memo to its 30 clubs saying players could only be loaned for Olympic participation from Feb. 5-26.

The Olympic men's hockey tournament runs from Feb. 9-25. Like the NHL, which is not having its players participate for the first time since 1994, the AHL does not have an Olympic break in its schedule.

The AHL's decision does not affect players assigned to that league on NHL one- or two-way contracts. No final decision has been made about those players.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly denied a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation report that the league had told its 31 teams that AHL players could be loaned to play in the Olympics. It was an AHL memo sent at the direction of that league's board of governors.

When the NHL announced in April that it wouldn't be sending players to South Korea after participating in five consecutive Olympics, Andrews said the AHL was prepared for Canada, the United States and other national federations to request players.

"I would guess we're going to lose a fair number of players," Andrews said in April. "Not just to Canada and the U.S., but we're going to lose some players to other teams, as well. But we're used to that. Every team in our league has usually got two or three guys who are on recalls to the NHL, so it's not going to really change our competitive integrity or anything else."

The U.S. and Canada are expected to rely heavily on players in European professional leagues and college and major junior hockey to fill out Olympic rosters without NHL players.