P-Bruins ready to roll with young talent

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P-Bruins ready to roll with young talent

PROVIDENCE While the Boston Bruins should have begun their season on Thursday night along with three other games across the league, the Providence Bruins will kick their 21st AHL season off at the Dunkin Donuts Center on Friday night. The Manchester Monarchs will take on the P-Bruins within the friendly confines of their Rhode Island backyard, and local hockey fans will get their first glimpse of favored son Chris Bourque in a Bs sweater.

It will also feature much better AHL competition with proven NHL commodities like Jeff Skinner, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle and Cory Hodgson mixed in with the normal AHL hodgepodge of veterans and rookies. But despite the rise in talent level across the league due to the lockout, Providence still expects to claw back into the postseason after missing out last year.

Our expectations are high in terms of winning. This season were very young, but were anticipating greater success with wins and losses to start things off this season. Were expecting those young players to build on some of the success that they had last year, said Providence coach Bruce Cassidy. Until the puck drops youre never quite sure where you stand, but thats our expectation level. Getting back into the playoffs is our goal, and once youre in then you can from there.

Cassidy pointed to Bourque as one difference-making player thats going to liven up their power play, and infuse plenty of offense into an attack that was lacking far too often over the last few years.

Bourque is a guy that knows how to run a power play, said Cassidy. Weve added some very good power play personnel, and lets see what weve got to open the year.

Life is moving along for the Bruins coaching staff, front office, and the Providence roster of players after they made their final cuts on Thursday a group of roster moves that included shipping former Boston College defenseman Tommy Cross to the ECHLs South Carolina StingRays. Providence will instead up their AHL season with familiar faces like Bourque, Ryan Spooner, Jared Knight, Torey Krug, Jordan Caron and Matt Bartkowski ready to fill in the gap left by the locked out NHL players.

Thats too much to ask of them, obviously, but its the role being thrust upon them over the next few months while the NHL and NHLPA attempt to bridge the billion dollar gap in CBA negotiations. The P-Bruins should, at the very least, be a more enjoyable product to watch on the ice with more highly skilled players, and the playoffs are within their reach after they were reduced to a barren hockey wasteland last winter.

Weve got some young guys and some veterans. I think weve got more talent than we did last year, said Caron. Weve got some size. Were looking forward to having a good season, making the playoffs and having a good run.

Its been five months since I last played in a game, so itll be a bit different. But Im excited to get it started and have a good season.

The P-Bruins start their excellent AHL odyssey Friday night as the only show in town until the NHL gets its affairs in order and begins their regular season at a point unknown on the hockey calendar.

Haggerty's Morning Skate: NHL teams aren't just making trades for themselves ahead of deadline

Haggerty's Morning Skate: NHL teams aren't just making trades for themselves ahead of deadline

Here are all the hockey links from around the world, and what I’m reading while feeling like Warren Beatty took the sneaky way out by handing that wrong Academy Award card to Faye Dunaway last night. Clearly he knew something was amiss and he let her step into it. Kind of a weasel move if you asked me.

-- An interesting letter from FOH (Friend of Haggs) James Mirtle about the pay wall involving The Athletic sports website in Toronto.

-- Dean Lombardi and the Los Angeles Kings dealing for Ben Bishop is about more than just an insurance policy for Jonathan Quick.

-- FOH Mike Halford has the Minnesota Wild going for it with their trade for Martin Hanzal, but also keeping him from the other teams in the West.

-- NHL commissioner Gary Bettman says the Penguins are in great shape after winning the Cup last spring, and it’s clear they’re in good hands after Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle opted not to sell the franchise.

-- Kyle Quincey is being held out of the lineup in New Jersey because of pending trades, and the wonder is who else in New Jersey might be getting dealt.

-- Gabriel Landeskog and his Colorado Avalanche teammates know the trade deadline is coming. It would certainly be weird if they didn’t.

-- The San Jose Sharks feel fortunate for the timing of their bye week as it was clear that they needed a break.

-- For something completely different: Gronk was busy doing Gronk things at the Daytona 500 over the weekend.