Boston Bruins

Mike from Attleboro: Goodbye, Columbus, and take Nash with you

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Mike from Attleboro: Goodbye, Columbus, and take Nash with you

Mike from Attleboro -- the leading contributor to Michael Felger's old mailbag and one of Felger's favorite callers to his radio show -- is now contributing occasional pieces to CSNNE.com. Today he gives his take on the Rick Nash-to-Boston rumors.

If youre a diehard Bruins fan, the weeks since their untimely playoff demise have not been easy ones. We've had to witness an eminently winnable Eastern Conference get narrowed down to two less-than-imposing contenders: The New York Rangers, who are just about ready for the glue factory after coach John Tortorella has been riding them like its the last furlong, and the New Jersey Devils, who are a game away from the finals despite Martin Brodeur allowing more charity goals than a United Way fundraiser.

To make matters worse, the LA Kings stampeded through the Western Conference in the exact same fashion our Bruins did last year: With grinding, villainous 5-on-5 play, stellar goaltending from Mike Quick (a.k.a. Vezina Smythe), and little to no contributions from the PP unit . . . and never once have they had to hear the phrase turnover by Kaberle.

In short, a very familiar case of the what might have beens has set in.

So what better way to recover than with the chicken soup of vanquished teams: The absurd offseason trade rumor.

When rumors of a big trade start to crop up, two things come to mind immediately. The first reaction is that it will never happen because we are hearing rumors about it. The second is what the motivation is for the rumors to be out there in the first place.

The origins of the Rick Nash-to-the-Bruins rumors seem to stem from nothing more than Nash listing the Bruins as a team he would approve a trade to and Columbus play-by-play man Jeff Rimmer reporting the Bs were preparing a major offer. Could the Bruins be making an offer? Sure, and I hope Peter Chiarelli does his job and investigates all possibilities thoroughly. But to me this feels like an early attempt by the Blue Jackets to stir up the market for Nash. And honestly, its a market I want zero part of.

Lets get down to the bare facts. Rick Nash will be 28, has a 7.8 million cap hit for the next four years and had his goals and points in decline for the past four seasons. He hasnt been a 40-goal scorer since 2009 and just managed 30 last season. This is not a player I mortgage a franchise for.

According to CSNNEs Joe Haggerty, the Blue Jackets are looking for. a package of Seguin or Lucic and Doug Hamilton. Peter Chiarelli is a lot of things but the State of Rhode Island he isnt. Sorry, Columbus.

Here are some more facts: Last season, Milan Lucic had four fewer goals and two more total points than Nash. Lucic will be 24 next season, can play in Claudes system, is far more difficult to play against than Rick Nash, is a better passer than Nash, and costs half as much against the cap. I wouldnt trade Lucic for Rick Nash straight up. And no, I havent been drinking.

Look at what happened to Ilya Kovalchuk. Kovy lit up the stat sheet on a bad Atlanta team. Pop him into New Jersey and force him to say defense in Russian and hes a minus-26, his scoring drops off and the Devils flounder. I will be more than content to watch desperate GMs like Torontos Brian Burke drive up the bidding on a player with four career playoff games while the Bruins explore other options.

What options you might ask? Here are two that would turn Bruins fans Fifty Shades of Black and Gold: Shane Doan and Jerome Iginla.

Doan will be 36 and is a pending free agent, so all he would cost is money. Iginla will be 35, is a pending free agent and would require far less in a deal than Nash. Both players ooze playoff caliber gameplay. They are tough, gritty, pains in the butt who not only go to dirty areas to score, they make even more of a mess while there. They both are right wings and would fit in perfectly on the first line opposite Lucic. They would also allow Nathan Horton to take his time coming back. Doan is good for at least 20 goals and 50 points and Iginla is a 50-goal scorer who hasnt scored less than 30 in 11 years. Most importantly, both Doan and Iginla are real captains. They are the consummate teammates and leaders. Doan and Iginla have been on bad teams and carried them like luggage into the postseason. Captain Nash packs his luggage and asks for a deal.

As thankful as I am for the opportunity to talk about the Bruins during the offseason, I will celebrate wildly if the Bruins dont get suckered into overpaying for Nash. Were talking confetti and fireworks people and something tells me that after tonight, Ill be able to get a good deal on party supplies from the Rangers.

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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