Jacobs: 'Cup is on loan' to this season's winners

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Jacobs: 'Cup is on loan' to this season's winners

BOSTON -- Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs has a message to whatever NHL team of the remaining eight eventually hoists the Stanley Cup in the middle of June.
Dont get too comfortable with Lord Stanleys chalice.
Jacobs was presiding over an end-of-season press conference for the reigning Cup champ Bruins that came too soon after getting knocked out in the first round by the Washington Capitals.
While expressing disappointment at the seasons final outcome and pride at the regular season that produced a Northeast Division title and a No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, Jacobs indicated the Black and Gold have their sights set on more hockey immortality next year.
I think weve got to tell the Stanley Cup winner this year that the Cups on loan to them, said Jacobs, in a show of chest-thumping bravado. Thats going to come back home here in the near term.
Jacobs son Charlie has taken over much of the day-to-day presence with the Bruins on Causeway Street, and he expressed a similar mixture of pride and disappointment with a hockey club that was on two very distant ends of the spectrum over the last year.
They climbed to the NHL mountaintop last June while defeating the Canucks in a seven-game series, but they couldnt overcome Cup fatigue, a tiny dose of champions arrogance and a healthy dose of adversity this year.
Its disappointing to be sitting up here this early in the postseason and have a season-ending press conference the fact that its very disappointing. Having said that, we cant overlook where weve been: the Stanley Cup parade here was a very special moment for the summer, said Jacobs. We perhaps got probably caught up in the bit and it snuck up on us in October, but I thought we righted the ship by the time November and December came around the team certainly responded well.
Then when you get set up and come into the playoffs as we did when youre missing your top-line winger, its not an excuse its a fact. There is such parity in the league today, if youre missing a top-line center as we were, and a fifth or sixth defensemen as we were... its a difference maker. We get a series that was as close as we had in seven games of one goal apiece and it shows. I cant say Im not proud of my team I am really proud of the organization and Cam Neely, and General Manager Peter Chiarelli and Head Coach Claude Julien and the players. Im real happy and proud of the effort that we gave. But I cant say that Im up here with a giant smile on my face because I just dont have one. I feel we couldve had a better ending.
The elder Jacobs seems to have a happier ending in mind for next seasons team after forging together the hunger and disappointment stemming from this season, and harnessing it into another excuse-free Cup run next year.

Reports: Blues trade Kevin Shattenkirk to Capitals

Reports: Blues trade Kevin Shattenkirk to Capitals

The Kevin Shattenkirk-to-Bruins rumblings are done for the remainder of the season.

Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Dispatch is reporting that the Blues have traded defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk to the Washington Capitals.

According to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, the “main parts” the Blues will receive in the deal are 2017 first-rounder, a second-rounder in 2018 and Zach Sanford 

More to come. . . 

Haggerty: Mark it down -- the Bruins WILL make the playoffs

Haggerty: Mark it down -- the Bruins WILL make the playoffs

The Bruins are going to snap their two-year drought and get into the Stanley Cup playoffs this spring. 

Sure, it’s going to be a tight race. And it'll come down to the last few games, befitting a team that's lived on the Atlantic Division bubble over the last three years. But in the seven games under interim coach Bruce Cassidy, the Bruins have shown they have the goods to get into the postseason. There's every reason to believe they’ll sustain their winning ways over the final two months of the regular season. 

There's a long way to go, of course, but a third-place (or higher) finish would ensure the B's a berth in the Atlantic Division playoff bracket, and they could conceivably advance a round or two based solely on the poor quality of clubs in their division. With 20 games to play, the Bruins are now third in the division and have a one-point cushion (70-69) over fourth-place Toronto, though the Leafs have a game in hand. If Toronto passes them, they currently have a two-point lead over the Islanders (70-68) for the eighth and final spot in the conference playoffs, though the Isles also have a game in hand. 

And that's not to say Boston couldn't climb higher. The B's are only four points behind the first-place but spinning-their-wheels Canadiens (20-20-7 since their 13-1-1 start), and they're even with the Habs in games played. They trail second-place Ottawa by two points, but the Senators have two games in hand.

All that, however, is another story for another day (even if it is a reason for Boston adding, rather than subtracting, at Wednesday's NHL trade deadline),

So how can we so stridently state that the Bruins are going to make the playoffs, and assure that this seven-game run isn’t just a flash in the pan?

Clearly they're playing with more urgency, higher compete levels, and a consistent focus that wasn’t there in the first 55 games under Claude Julien. They've now scored first-period goals in nine straight games and scored first in each of the four games on the highly successful Western swing through San Jose, Los Angeles, Anaheim and Dallas over the last week. 

To put that in perspective, the B's had gone 1-8 in California over the previous three seasons, when those late-in-the-year road trips spelled the beginning of the end for Boston.

But even more convincing is a simple look at the numbers, the production and the reasons behind the surge forward. 

The Bruins have long needed their two franchise centers operating at a high level at both ends of the ice, and consistently playing the 200-foot game that can cause major problems against teams not blessed with frontline talent in the middle. That wasn’t the case under Julien this year, but things have changed. 

David Krejci has three goals and eight points along with an even plus/minus rating in seven games under Cassidy. Patrice Bergeron posted three goals and nine points along with a plus-7 over that same span of games. With those two big-money, big-ceiling players operating at their highest levels, the rest of the team has shown its true potential . . . and the talent level is considerably higher than many thought.

It wasn’t long ago that many Bruins fans, and some major Julien apologists in the media, would have had you believe that Claude was keeping together a substandard NHL roster with a MacGyver-like combination of duct tape, chewing gum and an offensive system that only a dump-and-chase, trappist wonk could love. Now we’re seeing there's offensive talent on a group that’s been given the green light to create and produce. 

To wit, the Bruins' third line is now winning games for them after serving as a liability for the first half of the season. Ryan Spooner, Jimmy Hayes and Frank Vatrano have combined for 6 goals, 15 points and a plus-11 in the seven games under Cassidy after never getting a chance to work together under Julien because they weren’t in his defensive circle of trust.

There's also the elevated level of production -- across the board -- from Boston’s defensemen. Not to mention Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak continuing to produce offense at elite levels. Marchand just set a career-high with his 64th point on Sunday afternoon, and still has another 20 games left in attempting to become the B's first point-per-game player since Marc Savard (88 points in 82 games in  2008-09).

All of it amounts to a Bruins offense that’s now choosing quality shots over quantity: Boston is scoring 1.5 more goals per game under Cassidy while averaging a significant 4.5 fewer shots per game. The Bruins have finally ditched the weak perimeter attack that so entralled the Corsi crowd -- it was putting up 40-plus shots per game, yet only about 2.5 goals -- and are instead honing in their offensive chances between the dots and in closer to the net .

Should people still be wondering if this current B’s run of entertaining, winning hockey is sustainable? They certainly can if they want to wait until the season is over to decide, but the jury is in for this humble hockey writer.

Bruins fans should take the cue and start lining up for their postseason tickets. 

Because there is going to be playoff hockey in Boston this spring. Remember, you heard it here first.