Boston Bruins

Morning Skate 421: Campbell trying to do right

Morning Skate 421: Campbell trying to do right

By JoeHaggerty

MONTREAL Gregory Campbell admitted that hed received a text message from a friend about his dads rant on TSN Radio when approached about it after todays morning skate, but he hadnt yet heard it for himself.The Bs fourth line center has heard it all before, though. He knows the kind of exhausting scrutiny and high pressure his father Colin is under as the Vice President of Hockey Operations and sheriff when it comes to supplemental discipline in the NHL for borderline hits and dangerous play.People think its an easy job, but its something he puts so much time into and works extremely hard at it, said the younger Campbell of his fathers responsibilities within the league Doing the right thing means a lot to him, and thats how hes always approached it.The elder Campbell was appearing on TSN Radio 1050 Wednesday night to discuss the latest round of controversies with TSN host James Cybulski, and it quickly turned into a Colin Campbell rant directed at the second guessers and press box hecklers. The latest wave of criticism arrived on Campbells doorstep when he opted not to suspend CanucksruffianRaffi Torres for a punishing hit behind the net on Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook a shot toward the head that some felt was a hard, playoff hockey play.Others felt was an obvious shot to Seabrooks head.Not too difficult to discern which side Campbell is on after deeming there was no need for supplemental discipline."Thankless job? Yeah, it's thankless," said the elder Campbell. "Especially at this time of year when there's so much at play here with the playoffs and cities are involved. When you rule on certain situations, all of a sudden you become public enemy No. 1 so ... Am I pissed off right now? Yeah, I'm pissed off.""I don't make up this stuff as I go along. We do lots of work on this. We send out lots of videos. You think I want to do the popular thing here? I don't get paid to do the popular thing. I don't get paid to do the easy thing to do.Campbell slammed the radio hosts pretty hard when he presented them with the David Steckel hit on Sidney Crosby during the Winter Classic a hit that resulted in a concussion thats kept Crosby out for the rest of the season and playoffs. Campbell asked both radio hosts if they felt the hit was dirty, and then lambasted them when they termed Steckels hit as borderline. "You guys are crazy when you say that," Campbell said. "What do you want to do to the game? You're nuts. There are some hits out there that we don't like, but ... Come on, you guys. You can't say that was dirty, you guys. ... You can't say that hit was dirty or you guys don't watch hockey."I've got a responsibility to try and protect players from other players in the game of hockey but yet keep the physicality in the game. To keep jobs like your jobseveryone's jobs. The game supplies a lot of jobs. That's what's thankless about this job. You try to do the right thing, you try to keep physicality in the game. You guys think that I enjoy hearing everybody saying Torres should have been suspended? Well, that would have been the easy thing to do. If they want to go forward and say that type of hit or all head hits should be suspended, maybe this job will be easier. But I don't think so.Say what you want about Campbell in individual cases, but the guy clearly feels passionately about his job and doing the right thing to protect players and the game of hockey at the same.Perfect hes not, but he seems to be trying.On to the links:A great story by ESPN.coms Wayne Drehs on game-winning puck from last years Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup victory, and the complete mystery of its whereabouts one year later. Has anybody called Doug Mientkiewicz?TSNs Darren Dreger says former Bruins player Craig MacTavish is looking for an NHL coaching job after sitting out the last two seasons following his dismissal from the Edmonton Oilers.FOH (Friend of Haggs) Dave Lozo talks with New York Rangers sniper Marian Gaborik after he severely screwed the pooch in overtime on Wednesday night.Tom Glavine is interested in putting an ownership group together to keep the Atlanta Thrashers in Georgia. Hed better hurry up before they end up in Winnipeg or Quebec City. Heres a good look by the Hockey News at the hockey connection the Billerica native has after being drafted by the Los Angeles Kings way back in 1984.Chicago goon John Scott certainly has a lot to say for a hockey player that doesnt actuallyyou knowplay all that often. This time hes chirping with Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa.An interesting look at the players potentially available via restricted free agency this summer, and sparking plenty of chatter about offer sheets according to Spector.Heres the actual audio of Colin Campbell going a little mad during a hockey discussion with TSN 1050.Brian Gionta has earned his captaincy with the Montreal Canadiens, and is playing like the leader hes already been at Boston College and in New Jersey.The Ottawa Senators are in no rush to hire a head coach according to the Ottawa Citizen, which is probably a good thing since nobody is in a rush to go there with such a long rebuild road ahead of them.A really nice look at the Sedin Twins by the Wall Street Journal, and bonus points for doing the wholeWonder Twins activate thing when it comes to the Vancouver superstars.Joe Haggerty can be reached at Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Morning Skate: Star players must get more involved in CBA negotiations to make Olympics a reality


Morning Skate: Star players must get more involved in CBA negotiations to make Olympics a reality

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while marveling that we’re just now learning about the massive rap skills of the brotherly duo of Andrew and Pete Frates. 


*Ken Campbell from the Hockey News says that if influential players, like Connor McDavid, want to go to the Olympics then they need to get more involved in the CBA negotiations


*Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang shows what a class act he is by taking the Stanley Cup to a children’s hospital in Montreal.


*PHT writer James O’Brien has the Minnesota Wild looking to find long term deals for both restricted free agents Mikael Granlund and Nino Niederreiter. That was pretty clear when they chose to deal off Marco Scandella in order to clear up some cap space to afford both of them. 


*The Edmonton Oilers are going to face higher expectations for next season, and are willing to embrace that kind of pressure.


*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Craig Custance wonders aloud whether there will be any offer sheets coming for restricted free agents. I appreciate Craig wanting to add a little more intrigue to the NHL’s offseason, but it isn’t going to happen as long as GMs are treated like they have small pox once they go that route with an offer sheet. Take a look at the future job prospects for general managers that went with offer sheets in the past, and you’ll see why GMs simply don’t do them. This is why the Bruins are uncomfortable with David Pastrnak sitting unsigned as a restricted free agent, but not overly concerned that he’s going to sign a mega-offer sheet elsewhere.  


*The CCM hockey brand is apparently changing hands from its former home at Adidas


*For something completely different: Speaking of Pete Frates, MLB has announced a fundraising drive for ALS research in his name. 

Haggerty: Spooner deal represents his last chance with Bruins


Haggerty: Spooner deal represents his last chance with Bruins

The Bruins and Ryan Spooner wisely came to a contract agreement on a one-year, $2.825 million deal just prior to the start of Wednesday’s arbitration hearing. Don Sweeney hasn’t yet taken a B’s player to arbitration during his three years running the Black and Gold, and it could have grown unnecessarily contentious with a player like Spooner if they’d been forced to point out his flaws as a player in the uncomfortable setting of an arbitration hearing.

“It’s a fair deal for both sides in our opinion,” said Spooner’s agent Murray Kuntz to CSN after the one-year contract had been agreed upon. 

Now that Spooner has been signed to the one-year deal, it represents the last chance for the 25-year-old to show some growth as a player if he wants to be a member of the Bruins for much. Spooner has averaged 12 goals and 44 points over the last two seasons as Boston’s third line center, and has amassed 35 PP points while serving as the trigger man on Boston’s power play from the right-side half-wall. 

But he dropped from 49 points two seasons ago to 39 points last year, and didn’t exactly flourish under the more offensive-minded coaching of Bruce Cassidy. 

Spooner is an excellent special teams player and has been one of the key ingredients in Boston finishing with the NHL’s 7th ranked power play in each of the last two seasons. But he tailed off badly late last season after suffering a concussion, and showed so much tentativeness in his overall game that he became a healthy scratch by the end of Boston’s first round playoff series against the Ottawa Senators. Spooner also continues to sit under a 40 percent success rate in the face-off circle, and shows little consistent interest in winning one-on-one battles anywhere along the ice.

The work on the draws is something, in particular, that comes down to hard work and diligence at practice, and should be an area Spooner can become at least average while practicing every day against a face-off maestro like Patrice Bergeron.  

All of this might be easier to overlook if he consistently utilized his excellent skating speed and considerable skill level to create offense during 5-on-5 play, but that hasn’t been the case enough over the last couple of seasons. A one-year deal for $2.85 gives Spooner one last opportunity to show some growth in those areas with the Bruins, and if he doesn’t then it should be fully expected the Bruins will rekindle trade discussions around Spooner. 

His situation is unmistakable: Spooner isn't going to be a top-6 center with the B's because Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci are firmly entrenched at this spots, and Spooner really doesn't have the right skill set to be a fourth line center. So it's third line center or bust for Spooner as the internal competition grows around him. 

Spooner is now 25 years old and should no longer be viewed as a young player that’s still in the development phase. He should be close to a finished NHL product, and may not get demonstrably better in any area of his game if he doesn’t show it this upcoming season. He was one of the main pieces discussed when the Bruins talked trade with the Minnesota Wild prior to them dealing Marco Scandella to Buffalo, and there is clearly trade value for the former second round pick. 

But the Bruins also have a potential third line center replacement in Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson after signing him out of Boston University at the end of last season. Forsbacka Karlsson may need some AHL time to start this season after looking overmatched in his only NHL appearance late last season, but he’s the eventual two-way center replacement for Spooner in the long term. 

Forsbacka Karlsson may not be as fast or as flashy as Spooner, but he projects to be better on draws, better at winning battles and puck possession and better at being more difficult to play against while boasting his own set of offensive skills. 

It’s now up to Spooner to win that training camp competition with Forsbacka Karlsson for his current third line center position, and protect his own spot on the B’s roster by playing like his very job security depends on it. If he doesn’t show that kind of urgency and hop to his game right from the start of training camp, then it’s only a matter of time before he becomes trade fodder at a salary cap number ($2.825 million) that should be easy to move.

It’s no hyperbole to say that Spooner is entering his final chance with the Black and Gold after avoiding arbitration, and it’s wholly up to him to dictate exactly how long it lasts for.