Boston Bruins

Morning Skate: Kassian completes transition from villain to hero for Oilers

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Morning Skate: Kassian completes transition from villain to hero for Oilers

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while marveling that US democracy still works even there are extreme factors that our founding fathers couldn’t possibly have imagined. 

 

*Edmonton Oilers reclamation project Zack Kassian continues his journey from villain to hero in the eyes of the Oil Faithful. 

 

*Old warrior Chris Neil is weighing NHL offers right now along with a number of other older veterans still waiting for the right situation to present itself for next season. Many of these veterans are probably going to have to report to training camps on tryout agreements and beat out younger players for jobs, and that may be exactly what happens with a grizzled, tough old bird like Neil. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Bruins bring in a veteran or two on PTO agreements in camp, and that could be the ultimate fate for guys like Neil, Jarome Iginla, Shane Doan and even Thomas Vanek. 

 

*The Vegas Golden Knights are still looking to inspire with a developing locker room message as their maiden voyage still awaits this season. 

 

*PHT writer James O’Brien has longtime Habs defenseman Andrei Markov leaving for the KHL after he couldn’t come to an agreement to stay in Montreal with the Canadiens. 

 

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Ryan Kennedy has a prospects mailbag at this quiet point in the summer, and he’s very, very high on Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alex Debrincat. 

 

*The Hockey News details why somebody needs to step up and sign the legendary Jaromir Jagr as one of the aforementioned veteran forwards still looking for a job. 

 

*For something completely different: Solid Steve Lattimer reference in this Pro Football Talk story about performance enhancing drugs. 

Bruins' Backes: 'I'm standing for every national anthem with my hand over my heart'

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Bruins' Backes: 'I'm standing for every national anthem with my hand over my heart'

BRIGHTON, Mass – As a two-time US Olympian, David Backes has never shied away from showing love and respect for the country he grew up playing and loving hockey, or for the people who serve and protect it as well. So, it’s probably no surprise where the 33-year-old Minnesotan came down when asked about the national anthem protests that have happened in the other three major North American sports, and hit something of an unfortunate high note Sunday in the NFL after some unfortunate, and all too predictably divisive comments, from President Donald Trump.

“My opinion is that I’m American and I love my country and I love my flag,” said Backes. “I’ve got great buddies that have been in the military and they’ve sacrificed for my freedom, so I’d never want to do anything to disrespect that. My standpoint is that I’m standing for every national anthem with my hand over my heart and I’m staring at that flag recognizing those sacrifices. If I’ve got beef with a social justice issue or something else-wise, I’m going to find different avenues that are not disrespectful, especially to those that are military men and women that give me the freedom to do what I do.

“I love what I do. There are better avenues and better methods to state [a protest]. At some point, it turns from stating disdain for what’s going on and it needs to go toward finding solutions to the problems that I think are widely recognized. They need great solutions coming from great leaders coming from different parts of the country. I think that opportunity has presented itself, and now it’s time for somebody to step, or collaborate, and bring those great solutions so that we can be the amazing country that I think we are.”

The national anthem has pretty much been a non-issue in the NHL to date where many games feature two anthems rather than just the "Star-Spangled Banner", but it was interesting timing to see the Pittsburgh Penguins officially accept their White House invitation on Sunday as the NFL national anthem activity was playing out in real time. 
 

Bruins prospects Zboril, Senyshyn and McIntyre among camp cuts

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Bruins prospects Zboril, Senyshyn and McIntyre among camp cuts

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins had waited and gave a long look before making their first substantial cuts in training camp, but they have done that after Saturday’s mistake-filled preseason loss to the Detroit Red Wings.

The timing clearly had more to do with the opening of Providence Bruins on Monday morning than a lifeless performance in the preseason, but it feels like for some players that their underperformance on Saturday led to them being cut from NHL camp.  Youngsters Anton Blidh, Colby Cave, Jesse Gabrielle, Justin Hickman, Zane McIntyre, Zach Senyshyn and Jakub Zboril have all been sent to P-Bruins camp for its start on Monday morning, and they’ll be joined by fellow camp participants Chris Breen, Connor Clifton, Taylor Doherty, Colton Hargrove and Chris Porter that were in Boston’s camp on minor league contracts. McIntyre gave up four goals in the loss to the Red Wings before getting pulled in favor of Malcolm Subban for the third period, and talented young first-round talents Senyshyn and Zboril both showed in camp that they still need some development time in the AHL.

Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy went through the performances of a number of young B’s prospects in camp following Sunday’s practice, and slightly ahead of Sunday night’s announcement of substantial training camp cuts.

“We were hoping that we’d see the [young guys] separate themselves in camp, and we’re seeing some of them doing that,” said Cassidy, with young B’s prospects like Anders Bjork, Jake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen fitting into that category. “Let’s use [Saturday night’s] game as an example. [DeBrusk] is a young guy in that position and he had two or three good chances in tight and just part of that is finishing now. [Heinen] has had some pretty good games where he’s made some plays and scored. Bjork has been dynamic at times.  

“[Ryan Fitzgerald] has played well. [Gabrielle] has had his moments even though he lost his discipline a little bit the other night. JFK has been a tough one to evaluate being injured, so hopefully he’s ready to go later this week. We’re getting good mileage out of those guys, but we’re going to be playing against stronger lineups so the task gets a little more challenging. On the back end [Grzelcyk] has played in three games and he’s done some good things with puck-moving. He’s just trying to close quicker and do the things we’re asking him to do. [Robbie] O’Gara has been more consistent in his all-around game than maybe Zboril or [Jeremy] Lauzon where it’s all new to them. But we didn’t really expect those guys to come in on the back end and dominate. It’s about playing well, being consistent and getting better.”

Young B’s players like Grzelcyk, O’Gara and Lauzon are still hanging around in camp along with JFK as well, so their NHL audition continues as some of their peers get busy on their development in Providence starting this week. 

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