Haggerty: Bruins giddy over Kaberle trade

191545.jpg

Haggerty: Bruins giddy over Kaberle trade

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

It was pretty difficult to glide right on by the giddiness in the voices of many Bruins players after this weekends win over the Senators.

It wasnt happiness over an unrelenting effort in Ottawa, because it always could have been a bit better.

It wasnt about the Bs defense storming into shutdown mode, because defensive leaders like Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg admitted things certainly could have been a tad more mistake proof.

It wasnt Bostons three-goal rally in the third period that sparked up a twinkle in the eyes of grizzled hockey vets like Mark Recchi and Claude Julien eyes that have seen thousands of NHL hockey games over their years of service.

The buoyancy and excitement was all about defenseman Tomas Kaberle, and what hes going to bring to the Bs during five-on-five play and more importantly what the 32-year-old is going to contribute to the power play.

Everyone got a glimpse on Friday night at Scotiabank Place, and will have to wait for more until Kaberle catches up with the team in Calgary on Monday after taking care of the necessary visa paperwork thats all the rage during this years trade deadline.
On the ice, though, Kaberle is one of those rare guys that makes everybody else around him better in the offensive end.

He brings something we didnt have. You could see that. We were moving the puck well and quickly, and we were getting good opportunities because of it, said Chara. He brings so much to the power play and to our game. Its so exciting to have him here, and its really an honor to play with him.

It brings confidence to everybody because you know hes going to make that pass, and hes going to help everyone.

While the power play only went 1-for-5 in Kaberles first go-round, there was no denying the newly acquired defensemans potential future role as a power play specialist. Provided Kaberle doesnt have to kill penalties with any great regularity in Boston, the blueliner looks like he may just be running the point for both power play units -- and spending close to the full two minutes out on the man advantage during each man advantage chance.

Its a role that talented offensive defenseman like Mark Streit and Marc-Andre Bergeron have filled as power play specialists for the Montreal Canadiens, and its something the Bs could experiment with as Kaberle gets his game going for the Black and Gold.

That kind of cool-handed, creative presence on both units will open up the puck movement for both power play squads, and its exactly what the Bruins paid for with a first round pick, a top prospect and a conditional pick based on the Bs achieving their goals with the team or Kaberle following the year.

Hes pretty composed back there, and its pretty nice to have that puck-mover, said Recchi. There arent many guys that can do that as well. When they jump at him he can distribute the puck to where the open guys are, and there arent many of those guys out there.

It makes everybody else better because they see that and they say oh crap, I can go out there, drag the blue line and make the play. Players see that stuff, and it makes other guys better when you see it every day. Just look at it in Detroit where youve got a guy like Nik Lidstrom that you can watch do it every day. Obviously youre not going to move the puck exactly like him, but you get composed and learn how to move with the puck. When you have guys like Kaberle, it has an impact that lets other guys get better around him.

What the Bruins might not have envisioned was the influence that Kaberle could have on a young puck-moving defenseman in training like Steve Kampfer. The mobile 22-year-old blueliner has shown off the quick-skating and sound decision-making of a potential puck-mover in the making, but there werent a lot of teammates he could have patterned his NHL game after.

Kaberle will be that guy blazing a trail for Kampfer to follow, and will have a ripple effect on the calculated risks and creativity shown by the rest of the team particularly the defensemen skating in a group with him.

The biggest single Bruins player to gain in Kaberles arrival?

Its got to be Zdeno Chara, who will use his 105.9 mph slap shot as the big gun weapon on his power play unit, and will get teed up for chance after chance provided Kaberle is at the controls calmly working the puck into the open seams around the offensive end.

It makes all the sense in the world that Recchi, Chara and Julien were among the happiest with Kaberles arrival on that very first day.

But it wont take along for the rest of those in Bruins Nation to join right along with the growing chorus of Kaberle fans in Boston.

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

Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation

ap_17146189635759.jpg

Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while wishing everybody a safe and relaxing Memorial Day weekend. 

*Apparently Nashville Predators head coach Peter Laviolette has yet to try Nashville’s hot chicken despite his time behind the Preds bench. It’s okay, I have yet to try it either in my handful of visits to Music City. 

*Good stuff from PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough. Apparently it wasn’t so easy to make Wayne Gretzky’s head bleed when it came time for director Doug Liman to cut Swingers together

*Sidney Crosby cares about the history and the issues of the game, and has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation despite the hate that always comes with such responsibility. 

*Puck Daddy examines Crosby’s performance in the playoffs, and the odds of him winning another Conn Smythe Trophy. 

*The Penguins have made it to the Stanley Cup Final without Kris Letang for their playoff run, and that’s an amazing accomplishment. 

*Erik Karlsson said that he will be tending to his injured foot next week, and expects a full recovery for next season after a brilliant run with his Ottawa Senators

*Larry Brooks again rails against the Stanley Cup playoff structure and it’s relation to an “absurd regular season.” Say what you will, but the fact the Penguins are there for a second straight season shoots down some of the absurdity stuff in my mind. The best team from the East is where they should be and they did it without Kris Letang to boot. 

*Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alex Debrincat is confident his abilities will translate to the NHL despite his size after taking home honors as the best player in junior hockey this season. 

*For something completely different: Apparently there’s a hard core comic book geek gripe that “The Flash” is burning through bad guys too quickly. This would make sense if they couldn’t revisit these bad guys at any point, but they absolutely can go back to a big bad like Grodd anytime they want. 

Playoff run ends for Providence Bruins, but some promising signs

Playoff run ends for Providence Bruins, but some promising signs

It was the longest run that the P-Bruins have had in a few years and another unmistakable sign that the future is brightening for the Black and Gold, but the Bruins AHL affiliate has ended their playoff push in the Calder Cup semi-finals. 

The Providence Bruins fell by a 3-1 score to the Syracuse Crunch on Saturday night to lose to the Crunch in five games when the best-of-seven series was set to return to Providence this coming week. The P-Bruins had vanquished the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins and Hershey Bears in the first two rounds of the Calder Cup playoffs before finally exiting against Syracuse. 

Though it’s over, it’s clear some of the Bruins prospects made a nice step forward over the second half of the AHL season and then into the Calder Cup playoffs. With the Calder Cup Finals yet to start, B’s forward prospect Danton Heinen stands as the second-leading playoff scorer in the entire AHL with nine goals and 18 points in 17 playoff games after really struggling in the first half of his first pro season while bouncing back and forth between the NHL and the AHL. 

This could bode well for the skilled Heinen and his hopes to make the leap to the NHL in the near future after a stellar collegiate career at the University of Denver. AHL journeymen-types Wayne Simpson and Jordan Szwarz were the next two top scorers for the P-Bruins in the playoff run, but Jake DeBrusk had a strong playoff season as well while popping in six goals in 17 games. DeBrusk led all Providence players with his 54 shots on net in the 17-game playoff run for Providence, and he headlined a group that included B’s prospects Ryan Fitzgerald, Zach Senyshyn, Matt Grzelcyk, Peter Cehlarik (who succumbed to shoulder surgery during the playoffs), Emil Johansson and Robbie O’Gara all getting some vital playoff experience. 

Both Heinen and DeBrusk will be strong candidates for jobs on the wing with the Boston big club when training camp opens in the fall after strong showings in the postseason. 

On the goaltending side, Zane McIntyre was solid for the P-Bruins at times while in 16 of their 17 playoff games with a .906 save percentage. But it was Malcolm Subban that was playing at the very end of the playoff run for Providence and featured a sterling .937 save percentage in the four AHL playoff games that he appeared in this spring after an up-and-down regular season. McIntyre had an .857 save percentage and 4.37 goals against average in the final series against Syracuse, and looked a little spent like many of the other P-Bruins players once they’d unexpectedly made it to the third round of the AHL postseason.  

The only unfortunate part of Providence’s run is that newly signed youngsters Charlie McAvoy and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson couldn’t be a part of it after signing and then appearing in NHL games following a cut-off date for AHL playoff rosters. Both missed on an experience that could have been very conducive for their professional development, and uncovered a wrinkle in the NHL/AHL transaction process that really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for a developmental league.