Boston Bruins

Haggerty: Kaberle deserves cheers in Garden return

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Haggerty: Kaberle deserves cheers in Garden return

BOSTON -- If anything should make things all forgiven for the most recent chapters in Bruins history, it should be winning a Stanley Cup in dramatic fashion.

Sports Tonight Question of the Day: Will you cheer or boo Tomas Kaberle tonight? Let us know!

Who cares about the Joe Thornton trade anymore, aside from the fact it paved the way for signing Marc SavardZdeno Chara, and moving on to the next chapter in Bs history?
Do the past Bs ownership transgressions specifically those in not going after enough quality players with big price tags really matter with a league salary cap in effect, and a Stanley Cup in tow?

Who remembers anything from the Mike Sullivan era coaching the Bruins, with only Tim Thomas and Patrice Bergeron to show for that epoch in Black and Gold history?

Whats the point of all these scatter-brained Bruins questions from their long and sometimes distinguished history?

The point is everything thats past in recent Bruins history was prologue to them winning the Cup last season, and there are more than a few things that should be forgiven and forgotten.

The Bruins fan punching bags formerly known as Hal Gill and Dennis Wideman are two pretty good examples, but perhaps the best one is suiting up for the Carolina Hurricanes tonight at TD Garden.

Tomas Kaberle was presented his Stanley Cup championship ring as hand-delivered by Peter Chiarelli on Tuesday morning, but hes also set for what should be an interesting reception from the Bs faithful tonight at puck drop.

Kaberle has his ring, hes got his name etched on the Cup, he had his bizarre medieval Cup celebration in the Czech Republic this summer, and he should be embraced with an appreciative round of applause from Bruins fans during his return to TD Garden as a visiting player.

As was the case with Jeremy Jacobs on banner-raising night against the Flyers, there really is no need for booing in the wake of winning the Cup when it comes to last years team.

While Kaberle wasnt as good as advertised upon arrival and he certainly didnt do a thing for the power play in his Boston stint he was also a contributing member of a Boston club that captured the Cup. An argument could be made that the Bruins dont win without Kaberle if Shane Hnidy was forced into regular action, and thats not even counting what might have happened when both Zdeno Chara and Adam McQuaid missed games during the run.

It was Kaberles stretch pass in Game 3 to a streaking Michael Ryder at the Bell Centre that helped wake up the Bruins, and proved to be a difference-maker in the series. Not only that, but the Bs power play is 1-for-21 to start this season as well so perhaps it wasnt all Kaberles fault that the Bs man advantage sucked swamp water throughout the postseason.

For better or worse Kaberle was a contributing member to a Bs team that brought the hockey holy grail back to Boston for the first time in 39 years, and that should be worth at least one congratulatory pat on the back in his return to the Hub.

To boil it down to simplest terms on Kaberle: dont hate, but appreciate.

There will be plenty of time for the vitriol to build back up and the hate reservoir to be filled for opponents after all the piping hot Phil Kessel and his Leafs will be here Thursday night but Tuesday night is a chance for Bs fans to rise above and accept another undeniable part of the Bs unfailingly entertaining Cup run.

Nobody is ever asking anyone to claim that Kaberle is the All-Star defenseman that he once was or was the best defensemen on the ice for the Bs during his time here, but a little applause for helping bring the Cup back to Boston isnt too much to ask for.

Its just the right thing to do if only once, and then go back to the regularly scheduled booing thats expected to take place for a hockey crowd thats now had a taste of greatness.

Czarnik trying not to be 'the forgotten man' in Bruins camp

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Czarnik trying not to be 'the forgotten man' in Bruins camp

BOSTON – With all of the talk about young forward prospects Anders Bjork and Jake DeBrusk, it would seem that Austin Czarnik wants to serve a reminder that he can play a little hockey too.

For the second year in a row, the 24-year-old diminutive forward is putting together a strong start to his training camp with a multi-point performance in a 4-2 exhibition victory over the Detroit Red Wings Tuesday night at TD Garden.

Czarnik finished with a penalty-shot goal, two points and tied for the team-lead with four shots on net while playing with the energy, skating aggressiveness and in-your-face attitude that he’s going to need for NHL success. He also made his point that there are more than just a couple of young forwards in camp who can potentially help in Boston this winter.

“He was very good. I think the forgotten man, maybe, he was thinking [a bit] because we’ve talked about a lot of young guys. He’s still a young guy, and wants to make his mark and push for a job on the team,” coach Bruce Cassidy said of Czarnik, who posted five goals and 13 points in 49 games for the Bruins last season. “I thought he looked real good tonight. He won a lot of pucks. He’s always going to make plays in space, that’s his game. He won a lot of pucks and did a lot of little things well.”

It was Czarnik who really helped put the game away in the second period when he sped past a pair of defenders and forced them into hauling him down for a penalty shot with the B’s already up, 2-0. Czarnik patiently slowed his penalty-shot attempt before ripping one past Petr Mrazek’s glove hand in what ended up being the game-winning goal. Czarnik was in the middle of things again in the third on the insurance marker as he engineered a 3-on-1 rush before expertly feeding to Teddy Purcell for the sizzled one-timer.

Czarnik was downplaying the idea that he’s been overlooked in camp but show there was a strong need to remind the B’s organization how he can potentially help them as a fast, aggressive, pesky little center that can also make some plays.

“I’m not going to worry about [getting overlooked]. It’s part of life, you know it’s happened a lot? I’m not going to worry about that,” said Czarnik, who similarly won a job with the Bruins after a strong initial training camp last season. I’m just going to worry about myself and just try to do the right thing every single time and show them what I can do.

“I need to be an energy guy. There’s a lot of young talent now, you know, on the power play and everything now, so I need to try to create energy on the penalty kill and the fore-check. So that’s what my main focus is going to be.”

The energy really is the key to Czarnik’s long-term hopes with the Bruins and, consequently, the rest of the NHL. If he can play with the same skating legs, high energy and rapid pace that he’s consistently shown in preseasons, then there’s no reason to think he can’t help the Bruins. But there were far too many lulls in Czarnik’s rookie NHL season where the skating game wasn’t good enough, there wasn’t enough bite to his fore-check and there just weren’t enough plays being made on the ice.

Clearly, Czarnik is trying to change that impression in this camp with the B’s, but that could prove to be a much more difficult task with so many more quality forwards now battling for a few jobs on the roster in Boston. 

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Morning Skate: Sorry, Shaughnessy but young B's are on the rise

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Morning Skate: Sorry, Shaughnessy but young B's are on the rise

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while appreciating that Brad Marchand is willing to say something is “an absolute joke.” There are not enough candid players in the NHL like good, ol' No. 63.

*So FOH (Friend of Haggs) Dan Shaughnessy writes that the Bruins are “a lowly number four nowadays” in the power rankings of the big four Boston sports teams. Certainly, Danny is technically correct in saying that the Patriots, Red Sox and Celtics are ahead of the Bruins in terms of the Boston pro sports zeitgeist and that they dominate the sports conversation.

But Shaughnessy points to the Bruins doing nothing to improve themselves last summer as some kind of reason behind their low position among the other Boston sports franchises, and that’s not really a factor. The problem right now is that the Bruins are extremely young and still a couple of years away from returning to true Stanley Cup contention as a result. 
Once Charlie McAvoy is a few years into his career, some of the other Bruins prospects are in the NHL for good and Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Tuukka Rask are still at the back end of their prime, the Bruins will once again be a Cup contender that’s pushing their way back into the championship conversation that commands the attention of the Boston fan.

Would Shaughnessy have been more satisfied with the Bruins if they spent bad money on a big free-agent contract as they did with Matt Beleskey and David Backes in back-to-back years, or if they traded premium prospect Brandon Carlo for hired gun Matt Duchene? That would be the kind of “big splash” move that a bad management group would make to appease the casual fans that don’t truly understand what the B’s are going with their draft-and-development plan.

This Bruins outfit is still a playoff team while they’re building back to that Cup-worthy level. They were playing a much more exciting, entertaining brand of hockey once Bruce Cassidy replaced Claude Julien last winter. This isn’t a lowly team unworthy of the fans’ attention, or more importantly their sports dollar. This is much more about the all-time greatness of the New England Patriots, the deserved excitement for a Celtics team that is truly going for it after being in the Bruins current “building it back up” phase for the past few years and a playoff-level Red Sox team that really has no competition in the summertime.

This isn’t about what the Bruins aren’t doing right now. This is about what the Patriots and Celtics, and to a lesser degree the Red Sox, are doing right now. It's as simple as that in a local sports landscape that’s cyclical and constantly in motion.  

*What a great Facetime hit here from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Ray Ferraro with Jay and Dan now that they’re thankfully back to their rightful home in Canada. The technical difficulties really make the whole thing come together.  

*Congrats to Jonathan Drouin for making a commitment to the city of Montreal that goes well beyond being a player for the Canadiens.

*Lots of prayers and well-wishes to Hingham, Mass., native and New Jersey Devils forward Brian Boyle after his stunning cancer diagnosis. Anybody that knows the Boyle family knows how courageous they are, and how much love and support that Brian will have at a time when he’s going to need every bit of it. I also included a link to a New York Post Q&A with Boyle where he talks a bit about his father’s miraculous battle with cancer as well.   

 *John Chayka is trying to bring with him a new chapter to the history of the Arizona Coyotes, but it’s seemingly always an uphill battle there.

*Nobody should have any problems with the contract extension handed out to Mikko Koivu by the Minnesota Wild.

*For something completely different: Are we seriously living in a world where the Juggalos are marching for their rights?

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