B's wonder: What were mouthy Canucks thinking?

191545.jpg

B's wonder: What were mouthy Canucks thinking?

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins InsiderFollow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON The Bruins finally came clean about some of the more oft-discussed things from the Stanley Cup Final with the mouthy, confusing Vancouver Canucks.

Several of the Canucks continually chirped the Bruins publicly and chose some very ill-timed moments to comment on things that the Bs were doing rather than putting their own Vancouver house in order. Everybody will go back to the Roberto Luongo verbal gaffe after Game 5 when he backhandedly criticized Tim Thomas for failing to save Maxim Lapierres goal in the 1-0 Boston loss, but there was also Kevin Bieksas disparaging comments about the 1980s Bruins Starter-style jacket purchased by Andrew Ference on EBay.

The jacket was passed from player to player over the final two months of the season and the playoffs, and awarded to the player of the game in victory that exemplified performance, teamwork and all of the things that make up the Bruins Way of doing things.

When Bieksa called the awarding of the jacket a Pee Wee hockey thing to do in the world of stone cold pro hockey, the Bruins took notice and stored the Vancouver defensemans comments in the back of their minds. The Pee Wee jacket took root along with the notion Tim Thomas wasnt pumping Roberto Luongos tires enough, and Boston derived all kinds of motivation and fire from the self-inflicted verbal wounds authored by the Canucks.

I know we got ripped on it a bit and people questioned it apparently it was a Pee Wee thing to do but I really thought that jacket was something special that we did, said Chris Kelly. It was given to the guy that played hard and played for his teammates. I loved it. For us to raise that Cup the jacket had a lot to do with it.

While Ference claimed he wasnt really annoyed by Bieksa ripping on the jacket, he did openly wonder during the Stanley Cup Final what public relations Vancouver was running under while continuously tweaking their opponents in a public forum.

Needless to say it didnt work out for the Canucks, and instead added fuel to Bostons fire.

It didnt annoy me. It just surprised me that he would say that publicly, said Ference. How did that benefit them? You can think whatever you want and chirp us in your own locker room, but to say it publicly was more surprising than anything else.

It didnt hurt our feelings. We loved it, you know, and what it represents. Some of the decisions by the Canucks to say some things publicly was very surprising because it does no good for their team.

It will continue to be one of the great unsolved mysteries of the 2011 NHL playoff season: what were the Canucks thinking while self-destructing against a team that was their physical and emotional superior despite holding much less in the way of skill and skating ability.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Bruins go for a defensive project late with Daniel Bukac

nhl_draft_2_062417.jpg

Bruins go for a defensive project late with Daniel Bukac

CHICAGO – The Bruins finished up their 2017 NHL Draft class with a bit of a project, but a 6-foot-5 defenseman with some great skating wheels is a pretty good way to go with a seventh round pick. The B’s nabbed Brandon Wheat Kings defenseman Daniel Bukac with the 204th pick in the draft, and admitted afterward that he’s an ultra-big bodied player that could take some time in the development process.

Bruins assistant GM Scott Bradley said Boston is more than happy to be patient with Bukac given the tools that he’s working with as an 18-year-old prospect. Bukac had two goals and 17 points to go along with 38 penalty minutes in his first season in North America after coming over from the Czech Republic, and Bradley said that B’s scouts noted that he continued to improve and get comfortable as the season wore on.

"He's raw. He's a project. [He’s a] kid from the Czech Republic that played in the Western Hockey League,” said Bradley. “At the start of the year - he's come leaps and bounds with his development. Talking to the people - the coaches, the management, and the GM in Brandon, they're very excited about him coming back to Brandon. They're expecting big things from him. We look forward to seeing him in camp."

Bukac is starting to garner some good international experience after playing for the Czechs in the Under-18’s and the Ivan Hinkla Tournament, but this weekend it was all about his addition to the talented group of Bruins prospects in the hockey world.

"I'm so excited to be drafted by the Boston Bruins," said Bukac, who described himself as a solid two-way defenseman with a good first pass. "It's an awesome feeling. I'm so glad that I was drafted by Boston."

Bruins take a flier on skilled Victor Berglund in 7th round

2017_nhl_draft_062417.jpg

Bruins take a flier on skilled Victor Berglund in 7th round

CHICAGO – While the Bruins went strong two-way defenseman early in the 2017 NHL Draft, they took a shot at a more offensive-minded Swedish defenseman late with seventh-round pick of Victor Berglund.

The six-foot, 165-pound Berglund clearly has a way to go in physical development and will need to get much bigger and stronger before he’s potentially ready for the North American pro ranks, but B’s assistant GM Scott Bradley raved about the Swedish defenseman’s skill set and potential. He also noted that Boston’s entire European scouting contingent, including former B’s forward PJ Axelsson, were fully on board with taking a flier on a talented player that simply needs to develop in the Swedish hockey system.

“Our Swedish guys were on top of Berglund. They think he’s a mobile D, he’s ultra-skilled and he skates well. He’s a six-footer, but [PJ Axelsson, Svenake Svensson and Victor Nybladh] were all pounding the table for him,” said Bradley. “We went along with it and I think we might have something there. Talking to his strength coach after the fact he’s working on putting some muscle and weight on, so we look forward to seeing him at development camp.”

In 62 games at three different levels, Berglund posted five goals and 18 points last season and displayed the kind of speed, creativity and play-making that one needs from their defensemen in today’s NHL.

"I'm an offensive defenseman, who likes to play with the puck, with a great short pass," said Berglund. "I like to follow the rush up ice and want the puck."

It will be a matter of building size and strength and for Berglund to continue developing his game in Sweden for the time being, but the Bruins are certainly happy with him at the 195th pick in Saturday’s second day of the draft.