Kaberle hopes to have a future in Boston

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Kaberle hopes to have a future in Boston

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON -- The NHL free-agency period doesnt begin until July 1, so the Boston Bruins have a short window of time to discuss things with a couple of their potential unrestricted free agents.

Tomas Kaberle and Michael Ryder are the two big names who will hit UFA status at the start of July, and its unknown whether either or both players will be back in Black and Gold after helping the Bs win a Cup. Ryder didnt speak at Sundays breakup day for the team as the players packed up their belongings and said farewell for the summer, but Kaberle said he truly enjoyed his taste of Bruins hockey after arriving via trade in late February.

The 33-year-old defenseman had 11 assists and a plus-8 in 25 playoff games while averaging 16:02 of ice time per contest, and played well in the seven Stanley Cup Final games against the Vancouver Canucks.

Kaberle actually finished in a tie with Dennis Seidenberg (1 goal, 10 assists) for the leading scorer among defensemen on the Bruins in the postseason.

Kaberle said hell speak with his agent and GM Peter Chiarelli over the next couple of days, but is hoping he can return to the Black and Gold.

Were going to talk in the next few days. Everything was hectic in the last couple of days, said Kaberle, who mentioned hell be taking the Cup back to his home village of Rakovnik, Czech Republic, this summer. Hopefully we can sit down or we can talk to my agent . . . it would be nice to be back here."

It will be an interesting decision on Kaberle, as he really didnt appear to be a very good fit for the Bruins with his soft defensive play and propensity for mental breakdowns at the worst times. But he does fill a role as a needed puck-moving defenseman, and the Bruins did give up a motherload to Toronto (Joe Colborne, a first-round pick in 2011, and a 2012 second-round pick, which was guaranteed once the Bs qualified for the Cup Finals) in exchange for Kaberle.

With his performance against Vancouver and strong final few games against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Chiarelli sounded like he might be in favor of re-signing Kaberle if the price and terms were right. Steve Kampfer is waiting in the wings as a young puck-moving defenseman and there will be alternatives on the free-agent market, but the door is still ajar for Kaberles return despite some tough moments.

I know Tomas had been criticized. The expectations were very high on him when he came in, said Chiarelli. I go to him because he seems to be -- of the group that we brought in -- the most vulnerable. You saw what he brings more against Vancouver. He brings the ability to both slow down the play and speed it up with his passing and skating.

He freezes guys. He freezes guys on the opposing forecheck and he freezes them in the neutral zone. He makes great passes, he skates into the trap and I think he was our top defensive scorer. He skates right into the trap. He was a real important component here and I know he was criticized for a time. But Ill continue to defend him because hes a good person. He brought a lot to the back end.

Since Kaberle has voiced his desire to come back and should command less than the 4 million per year he was making with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Chiarellis actions toward the impending free agent will speak to just how much the defenseman actually brought to the back end.

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

Nash stepping up when Bruins need him most

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Nash stepping up when Bruins need him most

BROOKLYN -- It took most of his first season in Boston, but Riley Nash is hitting his groove with the Bruins at exactly the right time.

Nash came up huge in a must-win game Saturday night against the Islanders, scoring both goals in a 2-1 win over the Isle. The unheralded Nash and equally unheralded backup goalie Anton Khudobin were the two most important performers in the tight, playoff-style win that snapped a four game losing streak while pushing the B's back into playoff position.

"That's part of [a big win], right? Big performances,” said interim coach Bruce Cassidy. "Generally you look to your best players, but [Nash] did a really good job. He's got a sneaky shot, so hopefully he uses it a little bit more. You can't say enough about those goals. We needed them tonight.

"Generally our top guns have been good offensively and have come through. But tonight it was the lesser lights for us in terms of offense, so good for us.”

Both Nash goals were titanic. The first came on the first shift following the Islanders goal in the first period. The fourth-line winger stripped Isles defenseman Scott Mayfield in the neutral zone and then flipped a shot past Thomas Greiss to the short side that tied the game at 1-1. Then in the third period, Dominic Moore hit Nash in stride as he sped into the offensive zone, and Nash weaved through defenders before sneaking one past Greiss for the game-winner.

The two goals give Nash four goals and six points in 21 games since the All-Star break, in line with his normal offensive output during his NHL career, and a step up from the three goals and nine points in his first 52 games this season.

The affable Nash was more than happy to contribute in a big win, and enthused at seeing the offense finally starting to flow on a semi-regular basis when the Bruins can really use it.

"It's quite the output as opposed to the season I've had so far, so I'll take it and be happy that we won the game,” said Nash. "I think everyone in here knew that was the biggest game of the year. It was going to be a really big uphill battle if we lost that one.

"Both teams came out desperate in a pretty tight, playoff-style game, but that's what it's going to be like for the rest of the season. So we've got to hunker down and take it one game at a time as the saying goes.”

With the Bruins third line fading a bit in these tight, physical games where players have to battle for their ice, it's been vital that Boston's fourth line step up and provide big minutes at both ends of the ice. Nash and Co. did more than that on Saturday night by potentially saving the season with his biggest, best game in a Bruins uniform.

 

Morning Skate: Old friend Warsofsky called up by Penguins

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Morning Skate: Old friend Warsofsky called up by Penguins

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while waiting for the next wave of announcements that the Bruins have signed college players out of the NCAA tournament.
 
-- Former Wild goaltender Josh Harding is finding his way after his MS diagnosis forced him out of the NHL prematurely.

-- Young D-man Seth Jones is becoming the “hoss” defenseman that the Blue Jackets will need come playoff time.

-- PHT writer Cam Tucker has Wild coach Bruce Boudreau calling a loss to the Canucks “embarrassing” as the hard times continue for Minnesota.  

-- Backup goalie Curtis McElhinney is ready to step up for the Leafs after they lost Frederik Andersen to injury.
 
-- Old friend David Warsofsky has been recalled from the AHL and will be with the Penguins as crunch time hits ahead of the playoffs.

-- USA Hockey is now reportedly reaching out to rec league and former Division III women’s hockey players to find a replacement roster for the world championships as the USA women continues their boycott.
 
-- For something completely different: We have an honest-to-goodness think piece about pulling the “Irish Exit.” Well, okay then.