Morning Skate 37: B's making their move

191545.jpg

Morning Skate 37: B's making their move

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

WILMINGTON, Mass. The sprint has started in the NHL.The Bruins have 17 games to go in the regular season, and continue to shoot up the standings as teams like the Philadelphia Flyers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Pittsburgh Penguins have suddenly hit the skids.Boston now sits only two points behind the Flyers for the top seed in the entire Eastern Conference after a season where theyve been picked apart and dissected despite having themselves a very good year. Its the complete opposite of Bostons team from two years ago, which came out like gangbusters in the first three months of the season and then hit a slight skid in the second half that they couldnt shake. And very different from last years Bs squad, which couldnt muster up enough offense while injuries dragged them down every time they seemed like they might be nearing some consistency.In many ways the Bs are set up nicely for this years playoff run, and right now it comes down to collecting points and staying healthy. Boston has done a nice job of that so far, and simply needs to maintain for another month.On to the links:With exclusive negotiating rights coming up with the Versus Network, it appears that other networks will be entering the equation for NHL rights with things up in the air for the NFL and NBA. The belief here is that the VersusNBCComcastNHL partnership is simplytoo good to notcontinue. Pierre McGuire and Mike Milbury break down what both the Tampa Bay Lightning and Washington Capitals have going for them headed down the stretch for NBC's Pro Hockey Talk. Like Washingtons moves, but it all comes down to Alex Ovechkin at the end of the day. As for Milbury, Tampa Bay is going in the right direction but theyre also soft as can be. Predators TV announcer Terry Crisp talks memories of Calgarys Saddledome after winning the Stanley Cup there more than 20 years ago. Everybody is focused on Dustin Penners ability to merge with Anze Kopitar and the Kings top line, but its really all about the third line when it comes to LA having some success. Nobody likes the Buffalo slug. Nobody. Adrian Dater says that the Craig Anderson deal is Colorados best hope for a No. 1 pick, and Daters longstanding man crush on Anderson is well-documented. So another reason to write about him is a good thing. The Flyers have lost a couple of tough games, and Mike Richards is getting surly with the media. Looks like the playoffs are coming in Philly. Could Winnipeg finally be getting their NHL team back as things continue to crumble in Phoenix? I think everybody is hoping for the affirmative, but how many times have we heard this before. If I were Winnipeg Id be getting sick and tired of being used as a negotiating patsy. Hockeybuzz Habs writer Eric Engels documents a Twitter discussion that we had over the weekend heading into Tuesday nights showdown between Boston and Montreal. We both seem to agree that the Bruins will beat the Canadiens, and now its only a matter of whether Montreal gets crushed or not. Louise K. Cornettas always-entertaining Bruins blog with Johnny Boychuk where he talks about being scratched, Darth Quaider as a nerdy nickname and going home to Edmonton. CSNNE.coms Unfiltered which includes a few precious moments between Kevin Walsh and Iat TD Garden following a Bruins game.

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

Bruins don't extend qualifying offer to Joe Morrow

Bruins don't extend qualifying offer to Joe Morrow

With free agency just around the corner, the Bruins have officially cut ties with former first-round pick and last bastion of the Tyler Seguin trade, Joe Morrow.

The 24-year-old Edmonton native arrived in Boston along with Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith and Matt Fraser in exchange for Seguin when he was shipped to Dallas, and now all of those players have moved on from Boston as well. Boston does still carry Jimmy Hayes on their roster, a player traded from Florida in exchange for Smith, as a last remnant of the Seguin deal, but it isn't expected to be too long before Hayes moves on from Boston as well.  

The B’s announced on Monday afternoon that they hadn’t extended a qualifying offer to Morrow, as well as P-Bruins power forward Colton Hargrove, as a restricted free agent, and that both B’s youngsters were now free to sign with any of the 30 NHL teams as free agents.

The Bruins extended qualifying offers to restricted free agents in Noel Acciari, Linus Arnesson, Austin Czarnik, Zane McIntyre, David Pastrnak, Tim Schaller, Ryan Spooner and Malcolm Subban, and will retain the associated team rights with all of those players. Negotiations are ongoing between the Bruins and Pastrnak continue over a long term deal that would put him in the same $6 million plus per season level as teammate Brad Marchand, but one source with knowledge of the negotiations indicated it’s “not close” to being a done deal.

Some RFA’s like Spooner and Subban might not necessarily fit into the long term plan for the Black and Gold, but they need to maintain their rights if they hope to trade them as valued assets down the line.

Morrow never put together the talent that made him a former first-round pick while he was in Boston, and totaled just one assist in 17 games for the B’s before playing well in five playoff games after getting pushed into duty due to injuries. In all Morrow finished with two goals and nine points along with a minus-8 rating in 65 games over three seasons in Boston, but could never string together an extended run of consistent play at the NHL level.

With the Bruins in the market to bring on another left-shot defenseman into the Boston fold this summer, it was pretty clear that the time had come to move on from Morrow while allowing him to potentially develop as an NHL D-man elsewhere.