WINNIPEG Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Boston Bruins and Winnipeg Jets locked in a scoreless tie after the first 20 minutes at the always loud MTS Centre.
1) Im not sure who this James Wright character is, but he dumped Zdeno Chara into the side boards with a hit from behind and then knocked Adam McQuaid off-balance with a hit in the defensive zone. You dont see that very often, but Ill go out on a limb and say hes pretty strong. He also zinged a shot wide of the net when he had a wide open look after a Mark Stuart point shot bounced off the end boards to him.
2) Only four Winnipeg players have shots on net in the first period including a pair of shot attempts from Nik Antropov. Bruins defense doing a good job of containing the Jets in the defensive zone thus far this afternoon.
3) Three of Bostons nine shots in the first period were from Nathan Horton, who looked like he was attempting to pick up the slack on that line with his power forward partner Milan Lucic out of the lineup. Every forward on the Bruins will need to step up, but a guy with size, strength and the ability to finish like Horton elevating his game becomes even more important.
4) Five blocked shots for Ron Hainsey in the first period. Hes certainly got a leg up on the Ice Bucket Award for this game when its all over. It must always be a thrill for a local guy like Hainsey to play against the Bruins after starring in Massachusetts and for UMass Lowell.
5) Three shifts and 2:04 of ice time for Jay Pandolfo in the first period. Nothing spectacular but certainly enough to get his feet wet as Claude Julien has been very selective with usage of his fourth line against a Winnipeg team that doesnt use their fourth line much at all.
The Bruins have three players headed to the IIHF Hockey World Championship, which begin this weekend in Russia.
Brad Marchand was invited to play for Team Canada early on in the process, coming off his 37-goal season for the Bruins. Last week the Czech Republic added 19-year-old right wing David Pastrnak to their squad with plans to skate on a line with the Montreal Canadiens' Tomas Plekanec.
And Frank Vatrano -- who scored a total of 44 goals between Boston and Providence in this, his first full professional season -- was added to the Team USA roster this week. Vatrano, 22, confirmed it on his own Twitter account on Tuesday night prior to hopping on a flight bound for Russia:
Torey Krug played for Team USA last season, but was unavailable this time around after undergoing right shoulder surgery just a couple of weeks ago that will have him sidelined until late October.
Vatrano is one of four Massachusetts players on this year's version of Team USA. The others are Canadiens goaltender Mike Condon, Hurricanes defenseman Noah Hanifin and Devils D-man David Warsofsky.
Both Marchand and Pastrnak previously suited up for their countries in the World Junior championships, and Vatrano played in the U.S. National Team Development Program prior to playing college hockey at the University of Massachusetts. Vatrano also previously represented the U.S. at the 2012 IIHF Under-18 Men's World Championship in Brno and Znojmo, Czech Republic, where he helped Team USA claim the gold medal.
The IIHF Men's World Championships will start Friday and run until May 22 in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia. It features featuring many of the NHL players that aren’t participating in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Ahead of the expansion draft, teams may look to get something in return for players they’d otherwise lose for nothing.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while giving a warm May the Fourth Be With You to everybody out there.
*Mike Francesa has declared sports radio war on former New York Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro, and it’s getting ugly folks.
*A humbled Bruce Boudreau, who really didn’t need to be humbled given what a nice man he is, will have a long line of NHL suitors interested in his services.
*The Northeastern University hockey team has gone to some extremes with their pregame wrestling matches.
*Pro Hockey Talk asks the question: if there’s an expansion draft, which goaltender should the Penguins protect given what’s going on in their playoff series?
*A really nice gesture within the PHT morning skate with Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper going to bat for a Lightning beat reporter that finds himself out of a job.
*Max Domi had a very memorable rookie season even if it didn’t end with any serious consideration for the Calder Trophy.
*The Nashville Predators got a little better this week with the decision to kick Mike Ribeiro up into the press box.
*For something completely different: these Han Solo uniform jerseys for the Durham Bulls’ Star Wars Night are the freakin’ truth.