Notes: Bruins to stay at Lake Placid on off-days

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Notes: Bruins to stay at Lake Placid on off-days

By JoeHaggerty
CSNNE.com

WILMINGTON, Mass. There were indications the Bruins werent going to spend the two off days in Montreal between Games Three and Four against the Canadiens during the first round of the playoffs, and that became official on Tuesday.

Rather than travel all the way back to Boston for a couple of days of practice, however, the Bs are going to head to the setting of the 1980 Miracle on Ice for several days away from the Montreal circus.

Following Game Three on Monday, the Bruins will travel to Lake Placid - home of the United States' stunning Olympic victory over the Soviet Union in 1980 - where they will practice on Tuesday and Wednesday. The team will then head back to Montreal on Wednesday evening to get ready for Thursdays game at the Bell Centre.

The Bruins dont have many American players on the roster, but going to Lake Placid will be incredibly meaningful for goaltender Tim Thomas.

Thomas grew up a youngster in Flint, Michigan inspired by the 1980 Team USA goaltender, Jim Craig, and has always spoken glowingly about the Miracle on Ice squad. Now hell be able to practice on the same surface where they pulled off one of hockey's - and, in fact, one of sports' - greatest upsets.

It's an inspired move by Bs president Cam Neely and general manager Peter Chiarelli to get the team into a friendlier environment outside of Quebec.

Count Milan Lucic among the Bruin players looking forward to the hostility getting kicked up between the Bs and Canadiens once the first puck gets dropped in anger on Thursday night.

Lucic aptly described the mindsets of both fan bases while getting ready for the 33rd postseason matchup between the two squads.

Its definitely going to be there. Our fans are going to want to see us beat the hell out of them and their fans are going to want to see them beat the hell out of us, said Lucic. We know the energy is going to be high in both buildings, and thats what makes the rivalry so great. The fans are so pumped up about it.

Mark Recchi refused all questions about the Max Pacioretty statements he made the last time Montreal was coming to town - he said the Montreal medical staff publicly embellished Pacioretty's injuries in an attempt to force the NHL to punish Zdeno Chara - and said he didnt care about what reception was waiting for him when he get to the Bell Centre.

There was also a report that Recchi, a former Canadien, had never reached out to apologize to the Montreal medical staff, but he wasnt really willing to go there at all.

Im not talking about it, said Recchi. I dont care. I have a job to do. I dont really care. I said it was the last time I was speaking about it the last time. Ive got a job to do. I spent five wonderful years there, and thats about it.

Steve Kampfer was present at the Bs practice facility at Ristuccia Arena, but was rehabbing his knee injury rather than taking part on any of the practice drills on the ice.

Claude Julien was barking out orders at the beginning of practice as he put his players through the paces, but said the emotion wasnt anything out of the ordinary.

It was about clarifying the message of what we were trying to accomplish. My voice might have been raised, but I wasnt barking, said Julien.

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

Haggerty: No move may be the best move for Bruins at deadline

Haggerty: No move may be the best move for Bruins at deadline

The NHL trade deadline is now less than a week away, with plenty of movement expected despite the perpetual lack of sellers, and an expansion draft perhaps preventing some teams from taking on players they will then need to protect. 

The Bruins shouldn’t be much of a seller as long as they can continue their current good stretch for three more games before the March 1 deadline. The expansion draft shouldn’t be much of a scare either based on the players {Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller, Malcolm Subban) they might be in danger of losing to the Vegas Golden Knights this summer.

With the Bruins currently outside of a playoff spot by virtue of the one game in hand held by the Florida Panthers (both teams have 66 points vying for the final wild-card spot), it would be no surprise if GM Don Sweeney wanted to be a buyer at the deadline for a Boston roster that could use a big top-six winger with finishing ability, a top-four defenseman that can move the puck and a backup goaltender should Anton Khudobin have any more struggles this season.

The Bruins and Avalanche had been talking steadily in recent weeks about a possible deal for 24-year-old left wing Gabriel Landeskog, but those discussions have hit a standstill with Sweeney refusing to part with either Brandon Carlo or Charlie McAvoy in the trade package. That's the 100 percent right move for a Bruins team that shouldn't start trading away blue chip D-man prospects. 

Landeskog has made sense for the Black and Gold because he’s signed long term with a reasonable $5.7 million cap hit, and because he’d theoretically be a good, power forward fit alongside David Krejci.

It’s that type of trade Sweeney and the Bruins are looking to make for a young player with term that will be part of the long-term solution in Boston. They aren’t looking for a repeat of last season where they shipped off good future assets in exchange for pedestrian rental players Lee Stempniak and John-Michael Liles and missed the playoffs anyway after dipping into the trade market.

In other words, Sweeney doesn’t sound all that keen in dipping heavily into the rental market, for a Patrick Eaves or a Dmitry Kulikov for instance, as he did a year ago.  

“Do I think we have an opportunity to make the playoffs? Absolutely, there’s no question this group has a chance to get in. Whether or not I can find a player between now and the deadline that sort of fills all those gaps, that does remain to be seen,” said Sweeney at the time of the Claude Julien firing, prior to the current four-game winning streak. 

“But I think it dovetails with the fact that I’m not going to be short-sighted. I’m going to stick to the longer term view as to what I have put in place with the intention of being able to bridge and bringing in players like David Backes and surround our guys that we get a chance to win now and be competitive now.

“I’d prefer to err on the side of a player that will integrate into us on the longer-term. Last year, we gave up draft picks. I wasn’t prepared to move players that I felt in the same regard that teams had asked for in order to get a higher-level rental or a different kind of rental. I’m not going to deviate from what I said. Are there players and we have a surplus? That’s what I want to try and evaluate and find out whether or not we can deal from a position of strength.”

Some of that may change after a current four-game winning streak with a Bruins team that looks much more playoff-worthy than the aimless group that struggled through the first 55 games. But it would have to be the perfect rental at the right price for it to make sense for the Bruins this time around and chances are that might not materialize for a team just looking to hang in there until McAvoy, Anders Bjork, Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson and Zach Senyshyn are ready to contribute a couple of years down the road.

So, would people be okay if Sweeney and the Bruins stand pat at the trade deadline if they can’t swing a big hockey deal for a young player like Landeskog who would be part of the long-term plan? Is it acceptable to just let it ride with the current group that has suddenly shown a different gear under interim head coach Bruce Cassidy, and bet on the core group rising to the occasion like they didn’t the last couple of years under Julien?

The answer from this humble hockey writer is that Sweeney should pass on anything less than a home run deal for the Black and Gold. The worst thing the Bruins GM could do is get in the way of the momentum that’s naturally starting to roll with his team, or make another severe misstep with his NHL talent evaluation. Right now, draft and development seem to be his strengths, and he should lean into those and away from being a wheeler dealer with wiser, more experienced managers around the NHL looking to once again rob the Black and Gold blind.

So, there’s a chance the Bruins do very little at the deadline and, after thinking about it, the fickle fans should be perfectly okay with that as they watch a newly transformed hockey club. 

Wednesday, Feb. 22: Talking Bruins with Ray Ferraro

Wednesday, Feb. 22: Talking Bruins with Ray Ferraro

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while getting ready for the February heat wave headed our way.

*In the interest of self-promotion, here’s a podcast I did on Tuesday talking Bruins with former Hartford Whalers great and current outstanding TSN hockey analyst Ray Ferraro, who is also a great FOH (Friend of Haggs).

*Good piece on a Hockey Night in Canada broadcaster that has already gained plenty of internet plaudits for his great, and now legendary, Nick Bonino goal call in last year’s Stanley Cup playoffs.

*It’s never too early to look at this summer’s crop of NHL draft-eligible players. Right, Kevin Allen?

*Apparently Toronto Maple Leafs rookie Auston Matthews has his own rap song, so he’s got that going for him…which is nice.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) and PHT writer Jason Brough has James Wisniewski trying to revive his NHL career after a short stint in the KHL.

*There’s a call for Nashville backup Juuse Saros to get more playing time between the pipes for the Predators.

*Larry Brooks brings his always interesting take to the Bruins situation in allowing Claude Julien to take the head gig in Montreal, and said it all came down to money. Big surprise there. I think there was also a concern from the B’s about having another PR nightmare on their hands if it was perceived that they stepped in and didn’t allow Julien to gain employment someplace else, regardless of what waited for him in the offseason. It also tells me that the Bruins aren’t afraid of Julien coaching their arch-rivals, which makes perfect sense since they just fired him.

*For something completely different: the image of Woody Harrelson in the Falcon cockpit is both jarring and super awesome.