Peverley brings added ingredient to Bruins

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Peverley brings added ingredient to Bruins

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON -- The Bruins first choice this summer to replace Mark Recchi on Patrice Bergerons right wing was the versatile Swiss Army Knife of NHL forwards.

That Swiss Army Knife has a name, and its Rich Peverley.

Hes fast, shifty, creative, hard-nosed, hard-working and responsible in the defensive end of the ice, and Peverley also has all kinds of chemistry with Bergeron and Brad Marchand a fact that was evident to even the hockey neophyte trying to execute the wave in the lower bowl at TD Garden during Bostons 6-3 win over the New York Islanders in the home preseason opener.

Peverley can even take face-offs in the instances when Bergeron is kicked out of the face-off circle, and hell kill penalties and be one of the trusted players out on the ice closing out narrow leads. Armed with all this information Peverley wasnt shying away from his desire to supplant Recchi at the right wing spot.

Well, I think we all know theres competition there for that right wing spot and obviously they play well together, said Peverley, after finishing with a goal and two assists that helped stir up a third period explosion. But I think nothings set in stone. Going forward here it could be anybody.

Peverley had three points in the third period and helped spark the Bs to four unanswered goals en route to the two-goal victory. More importantly he looked like a natural fit with Bergeron and Marchand flying up and down the ice.

Their speed and creativity including Peverleys beauty of a dish from behind the net to Dennis Seidenberg darting to the backdoor on the power play elevated them above every other player on the ice Friday night.

Perhaps it shouldnt have surprised anyone as Peverley had skated with the dynamic Bruins duo at points toward the end of last years regular season.

Peverley also spelled Recchi for occasional shifts during the playoffs as the Bruins coaching staff attempted to reap the most out of that outstanding trio of forwards, so there didnt need to be any grand introductions on the ice. It amounted to a winger with speed and 20-goal potential finding a way to fit with a couple of supremely talented 20-something hockey players.

The game-winning goal made that fact plainly obvious as each forward touched the puck on the play in tic-tac-toe fashion before Marchand flipped a shot past the flabbergasted defense into the open net. It demonstrated an unspoken vibe that all three forwards admitted feeling and enjoying on Friday night.

It also had Bergeron smirking postgame at the thought of starting the season together as the PBM (PeverleyBergeronMarchand) line.

Obviously we're not starting from scratch. You know we've all played some games last year. Peverley has got that speed and he's so smart with the puck. That makes plays easy, said Bergeron. You know whatwe really read each other very well. We didn't talk much on the ice at all.

We were just executing and just reacting and playing with instincts and when you do that, you know it makes the job easy for everyone on the ice.

Though theyve only been together for one highly productive preseason game, its hard to envision Claude Julien experimenting with too many line combinations beyond the one thats already snatched the jackpot.

Tyler Seguin will likely get a look with Bergeron and Marchand as well, and the 19-year-old deserves it after the work and dedication he put into his offseason. Not to mention the similar skill and skating speed he could add to that line himself.
It would also seem that Benoit Pouliot will earn a few reps at some of the top line spots, and skating right wing with fellow French-Canadian Bergeron and Marchand could be a scenario that gets a few chances to work.

Thats all well and good with both young guys deserving a look.

We can look at different things. It will depend on the games and whos in and whos out. Theres no doubt well have a look at our options, said Julien. Weve seen Tyler Seguin at centerit doesnt mean hes going to play there, maybe winger. Hes another guy that can add some speed, but well try to balance things out once we know who those guys are that are going to fill in those spots.

You lose Michael Ryder and you lose Mark Recchi, two guys that play the right side. So we got to be able to see whos going to fit where.

Sure, there will be more than one possible fit for that coveted right wing vacancy on the Bruins.

But its pure hockey folly to step in and separate a trio of forwards that are clicking together with chemistry, instincts and perhaps even a little gift from the hockey gods and Julien isnt going to mess with a good hockey thing after watching how important Bergeron, Marchand and Recchi were to last years Cup win.

It was those three that really hammered home the win over the Canucks in Game 7, and it was that particular line that also plays the shutdown role against the oppositions best offensive players during the season. Thats not an easy job description for three forwards to live up to each and every night, but perhaps Peverley is up for it. A similarly effective line could give the Bs a leg up on the seemingly impossible task of repeating.

The 29-year-old former Flames and Thrashers winger isnt going to camp in front of the net and battle with NHL behemoths like Recchi did before, but the famous Peverley could make the new look line very deadly.

Rex Mark Recchi was very smart and he knew exactly where to go. He liked to be in front of the net, though, and we knew that, said Marchand. So we would just kind of do our thing in the corner and bring it to the net -- and Rex was there.

Peverley is always very creative. Hes quick and smart with the puck, so it just adds another look to our line. Were three quick guys out there and good with the puck, so were making some pretty good plays.

The good plays started in Friday nights preseason opener, but there seems to be a lot more where that came from for the PBM line in the future.

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

Coyotes hire Craig Cunningham as scout

Coyotes hire Craig Cunningham as scout

The Coyotes have hired former player Craig Cunningham as a pro scout, keeping the 26-year-old in hockey after a cardiac episode ended his playing career this season. 

Drafted by the Bruins in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, Cunningham played 34 games for Boston over parts of two seasons before he was waived and claimed by Arizona. He totaled 19 games for the Coyotes, but served as captain of the Tucson Roadrunners, the team’s AHL affiliate. 

Cunningham was hospitalized after he collapsed during pregame warmups on Nov. 19. He was kept alive by continual CPR, but had his lower left leg amputated the next months due to an infection from the episode. 

Known as a high-character player who was popular with his teammates, Cunningham’s transition to scouting lets him further his career after a scary break. 

"I'm very excited to begin the next chapter of my life with the Coyotes," Cunningham said in a statement released by the team. "I'm very grateful to John Chayka, Dave Tippett, the Coyotes and Roadrunners organizations, and all of the great fans across Arizona for the incredible support I've received over the past year. I'm looking forward to helping the Coyotes and I can't wait to get started in my new role."

Said Chayka, the team’s general manager: ”We're thrilled to have Craig join our hockey operations department as a pro scout. Craig was a smart, hard-working player with an incredible passion for the game. We're confident that he will bring those same qualities to the Coyotes in his new role and that he will be an invaluable asset to our organization. We look forward to Craig helping us in several areas and are excited that he is staying with the club."
 

Morning Skate: Overreacting to the Oilers' window

Morning Skate: Overreacting to the Oilers' window

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while really enjoying what the CW does season in and season out with the Flash.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Don Brennan says that the Senators fans not showing up for Game 6 is their way of sticking it to Sens owner Eugene Melnyk.

*The talk is turning to the next captain of the Buffalo Sabres, and what they can do to help open up communication up and down the roster.  

*A guy that wore a Habs toque on his twitter avatar writes a glowing, praise-filled article about the performance of PK Subban during these Stanley Cup playoffs. He’s undoubtedly been good, but he just might have been wearing his Montreal Canadiens footie pajamas when he wrote this one, and rattling his fist at Habs management all the while.

*Interesting piece by Jason Gregor about the “window to win” for the Edmonton Oilers, and an odd notion that the window will close when Connor McDavid has moved out of his entry level contract. I’d say that’s kind of ludicrous.

*The Colorado Avalanche coaching staff has been let go after last year’s dreadful season, and that’s too bad for a really good guy in former Providence College head coach Tim Army. I’m sure he won’t be out of work long.

*Colin White made his Stanley Cup playoff and NHL debut for the Ottawa Senators in Game 6, and helped push Ottawa to a Game 7. It will be interesting to watch the Massachusetts native and former Boston College standout develop with the Senators as White was one of the players that the Bruins skipped over to instead draft Jake DeBrusk and Zach Senyshyn in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft. The others, Mathew Barzal, Travis Konecny and Kyle Connor, are all either in the NHL or knocking on the door as well, and it’s going to be a challenging road for both of Boston’s forward prospects to live up the justification of the B’s drafting them first. Granted DeBrusk and Senyshyn are also both doing their thing for the P-Bruins as they push into the conference finals of the Calder Cup playoffs, and they’re both bright prospects in their own right. It’s going to take years to determine the rights and wrongs of that first round, but White getting into the lineup for the Senators is proof of just how high that organization is on him.

*Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan says that Sidney Crosby handled the targeted abuse well from the Senators in a Game 6 loss that will push to a Game 7 between the Penguins and the Senators.

*For something completely different: A great message from Brookline homey and former Sox GM wonder boy Theo Epstein in his commencement address to Yale University.