By Joe Haggerty
BOSTON It doesnt get much better than a weekend home-and-home series against the Detroit Red Wings that will end with a Sunday afternoon game at Joe Louis Arena, set to be televised nationally on NBC.Steve Kampfer and Tim Thomas will be playing against the team that they rooted wildly and passionately for as kids growing up in Michigan, and the rest of the Bruins players get another measuring stick weekend after slapping division rival Montreal across the face earlier this week. The Bs are 3-5-2 against Western Conference teams this season, and will certainly be looking to improve on that number. Its also their fourth and final home-and-home series of the NHL season with the Bs putting up a 2-1 record in the two previous home-and-home showdowns earlier this season.Its also the first Friday night home game for the Bruins at the Garden since the Bs hosted the Florida Panthers at TD Garden on Nov. 21, 2008 and it was quite a while before that game two seasons ago.With that on to the links: More on the Quebec City castle thats being built to woo a team back there, and how the community is willing to pay for it with their wallets. Great account by Friend of Haggs (FOH)Arpon Basu on the mountain being made out of a playful exchange between Hal Gill and P.K. Subban, and the unique issues with media groups speaking two different languages in Montreal. Matt Cooke always disappoints in his reactions to wrongdoing and on-ice treachery, and hes no different this time around after a four-game suspension. Would much rather just hear him say: Im a punk now, I have been a punk and I will always be a punk. Buyers and sellers at the NHL trade deadline from the Philly point of view, which I always appreciate. An interesting story on Anssi Salmela and his ability to turn things around with the Devils in New Jersey as the team is finally emerging for a late season push. Great job over at Wicked Good Sports to have some fun with the BostonMontreal epic fight night of two days ago, and one of my favorite Nintendo games growing up. Good job, gents and ladies. A great story out ofMinnesotaon the butterfly style, goalie injuries and the way of the world changing for the masked men between the pipes. I have talked to some prominent hip doctors and heard many of the same theoriesideas tossed around.
Joe Haggerty can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs
CHICAGO – The Bruins finished up their 2017 NHL Draft class with a bit of a project, but a 6-foot-5 defenseman with some great skating wheels is a pretty good way to go with a seventh round pick. The B’s nabbed Brandon Wheat Kings defenseman Daniel Bukac with the 204th pick in the draft, and admitted afterward that he’s an ultra-big bodied player that could take some time in the development process.
Bruins assistant GM Scott Bradley said Boston is more than happy to be patient with Bukac given the tools that he’s working with as an 18-year-old prospect. Bukac had two goals and 17 points to go along with 38 penalty minutes in his first season in North America after coming over from the Czech Republic, and Bradley said that B’s scouts noted that he continued to improve and get comfortable as the season wore on.
"He's raw. He's a project. [He’s a] kid from the Czech Republic that played in the Western Hockey League,” said Bradley. “At the start of the year - he's come leaps and bounds with his development. Talking to the people - the coaches, the management, and the GM in Brandon, they're very excited about him coming back to Brandon. They're expecting big things from him. We look forward to seeing him in camp."
Bukac is starting to garner some good international experience after playing for the Czechs in the Under-18’s and the Ivan Hinkla Tournament, but this weekend it was all about his addition to the talented group of Bruins prospects in the hockey world.
"I'm so excited to be drafted by the Boston Bruins," said Bukac, who described himself as a solid two-way defenseman with a good first pass. "It's an awesome feeling. I'm so glad that I was drafted by Boston."
CHICAGO – While the Bruins went strong two-way defenseman early in the 2017 NHL Draft, they took a shot at a more offensive-minded Swedish defenseman late with seventh-round pick of Victor Berglund.
The six-foot, 165-pound Berglund clearly has a way to go in physical development and will need to get much bigger and stronger before he’s potentially ready for the North American pro ranks, but B’s assistant GM Scott Bradley raved about the Swedish defenseman’s skill set and potential. He also noted that Boston’s entire European scouting contingent, including former B’s forward PJ Axelsson, were fully on board with taking a flier on a talented player that simply needs to develop in the Swedish hockey system.
“Our Swedish guys were on top of Berglund. They think he’s a mobile D, he’s ultra-skilled and he skates well. He’s a six-footer, but [PJ Axelsson, Svenake Svensson and Victor Nybladh] were all pounding the table for him,” said Bradley. “We went along with it and I think we might have something there. Talking to his strength coach after the fact he’s working on putting some muscle and weight on, so we look forward to seeing him at development camp.”
In 62 games at three different levels, Berglund posted five goals and 18 points last season and displayed the kind of speed, creativity and play-making that one needs from their defensemen in today’s NHL.
"I'm an offensive defenseman, who likes to play with the puck, with a great short pass," said Berglund. "I like to follow the rush up ice and want the puck."
It will be a matter of building size and strength and for Berglund to continue developing his game in Sweden for the time being, but the Bruins are certainly happy with him at the 195th pick in Saturday’s second day of the draft.