Morning Skate 411: Let the Cup playoffs begin

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Morning Skate 411: Let the Cup playoffs begin

By JoeHaggerty
CSNNE.com
BOSTON Not much to say at this point except bring on the playoffs, and bring on HabsBruins set to begin Thursday night at TD Garden.Itll be the 33rd playoff meeting between the two teams with Montreal still holding a commanding 24-8 lead in the history of the series, but with the Black and Gold holding the favorite status headed into the series. Im guessing the Bruins take the series in five or six games and Ill have a longer breakdown later on in the week and the Bs distinct size and strength advantage comes through as the series goes on."It's two really contrasting styles in this series," said Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli. "We're a straight-ahead, heavy on the puck, hard forechecking kind of team, and they're a fast, skilled, quick into transition kind of team with some verygood shooters. So it should be a very good series."But its sure to be a wild spectacle up in Montreal at the Bell Centre for a certainty.Heres a take from Hockeybuzz.com Montreal writer Eric Engels hoping that the HabsBruins action is just as good as past meetings without going too overboard. I say here, here!Mike Felger says that Tim Thomas setting a single-season save percentage in the NHL doesnt mean the Bruins will win the Stanley Cup this season, and that it in fact is a mark against them. Given his track record for having everything Bruins totally ass-backwards (Hey Brad Marchand!), that should be a good thing for the Bs. In other news, water is wet, the sky is blue and Felger is still downing haterade by the gallon. Maybe Felger would like a 22-year-old rookie from Russian that has the Flyers fans petrified, or the thoroughly unproven goaltending in Washington. Montreal Gazette writer Dave Stubbs says that Mark Recchi has yet to reach out toward Dr. Mulder on the Habs' medical staff after calling into question his thoughts on the Max Pacioretty diagnosis.Tough job dissecting a Dallas Stars season that came down to them choking away a playoff bid on the final day of the season. Now thats a hockey team with some flea problems.A big thumbs up review of the picture-in-picture camera utilized by NBC when a hockey team is pulling a goalie from the game later in the third period.Bill Meltzer tells us everything he loves and hates about the NHL's Stanley Cupplayoffs at his versus.com blog.Pierre McGuire hops on XH Home Ice and talks about the end of the regular season while previewing the Stanley Cup playoffs.USA Todays Kevin Allen tackles a number of season-ending subjects including the sacking of Minnesota Wild hockey coach Todd Richards.
Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Bruins still in waiting mode on Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, Anders Bjork

Bruins still in waiting mode on Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, Anders Bjork

BRIGHTON, Mass – While the NHL debut for Charlie McAvoy is a matter of “when” rather than “if” at this point after agreeing to an Amateur Tryout Contract (ATO) with the Boston Bruins, the jury is still out on Boston University center Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson and University of Notre Dame winger Anders Bjork become pros. 

Bruins general manager Don Sweeney says that Forsbacka-Karlsson has yet to make a “final decision” on his status for next season after BU’s elimination from the NCAA hockey tournament, and Bjork is readying for the Frozen Four this weekend along with the rest of his Fighting Irish teammates. The 20-year-old Forsbacka-Karlsson just wrapped up his sophomore season with the Terriers and posted 14 goals and 33 points in 38 games with a plus-11 rating, and has not given the Bruins any firm word on his plans for the immediate future. 

The urgency perhaps isn’t there for the Bruins to lock things up with Forsbacka-Karlsson right this second, because he wouldn’t be a factor for this year’s NHL team. 

Meanwhile the Bruins can’t do anything with the 20-year-old Bjork until at least the end of next weekend, but have been mightily impressed with a player that’s posted 21 goals and 52 points in 38 games for Notre Dame this season. Bjork had three assists in the game that propelled Notre Dame into the Frozen Four, and there would be a great deal of urgency for the Bruins to lock up a talented forward that might be able to help them right now. 

“I’ve been able to see [Bjork] a few times including the regional [in New Hampshire] last weekend, and he was outstanding. He played every other shift, he set up goals in the game and he’s had a really nice progression as a college player this season,” said Sweeney of the explosive Notre Dame junior, who was far and away the best player at B's development camp last summer. “They’ve done a fabulous job with their team, and hopefully they get to the Finals on Saturday against Harvard, and we get the best of both worlds seeing how our prospects play in the final game. He’s had a tremendous college career to this point, and we’re excited about his development.”

McAvoy is the front-burner issue for the Bruins at this point, but it would surprise exactly nobody if both Forsbacka-Karlsson and Bjork join him in Providence in the next couple of weeks as they wrap up their AHL season.