By Joe Haggerty
UNIONDALE, N.Y. Theres no denying the Bruins are moving closer to a deal for Toronto Maple Leafs premium defenseman Tomas Kaberle, and Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli is working to fit the puzzle pieces in place for another move to free up some salary cap space.According to several hockey sources, and as reported earlier on Thursday morning by TSNs Darren Dreger, the Bruins are getting close to a trade agreement on a deal with the Leafs for the four-time All-Star defenseman. The package is believed to be Blake Wheeler and a draft pick headed to the Leafs, and that package of playersprospects would net the Bs the puck-moving defensemanpower play quarterback that Boston desperately needs.Right now if we can improve then Ill take whatever Chiarelli can give us, right? said coach Claude Julien. But I think its pretty obvious and pretty clear that we want to upgrade our puck-moving part of our game from the back end. Steve Kampfer has done that as a young player, and now were looking for a guy with a little more experience. Thats what were looking right now.Hockey sources have indicated to CSNNE.com theres a second, salary-cap clearing deal being moved into place to give Boston some cap flexibility. The Bs are discussing sending rugged defenseman Mark Stuart to the Chicago Blackhawks, who are looking for a little more toughness around their net.The Stuart deal would net the Bruins a draft pick, and would be strictly for salary cap relief rather than instant roster improvement.The Bs have roughly 2.5 million salary cap space, and shedding the cap hits of Wheeler (2.2 million) and Stuart (1.675 million) would give Boston room to add Kaberle to their pop-gun power play and have some room in case any other roster tweaking is needed prior to the Feb. 28 NHL trade deadline. Stuart is aware of the trade chatter surrounding his name and clearly wants to remain with the Bruins, who drafted and developed him. But he's done a good job of blocking everything out as hes resumed his hard-hitting role in the Boston lineup.Were not having problems because of rumors the last three games. Were just not playing good hockey, said Stuart. Trade rumors are a part of the game, but you cant let those kinds of things affect your game or how you play.
Joe Haggerty can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs
ANDOVER, Mass. — Former Boston Bruins star Ray Bourque, who's facing a drunken driving charge, says he accepts the responsibility of his actions.
Bourque was charged Friday night with operating under the influence of alcohol and following too closely. He posted bail and was released.
"For the first time in my life, I find myself in unfamiliar territory," Bourque said in a statement released Sunday. "I am not happy about the situation I put myself into."
Andover Police Chief Patrick Keefe said the 55-year-old Bourque was arrested about 11:30 p.m. after his Mercedes-Benz rear-ended a minivan in a construction zone in the city. No injuries were reported.
Bourque is to be arraigned in Lawrence District Court. Police haven't provided a date.
According to The Boston Globe, Bourque currently owns Tresca, a restaurant on Boston's North End.
Little more than a year after he was drafted in the middle of the first round by the Boston Bruins, some are whispering that 19-year-old Jakub Zboril isn’t going to live up to advanced billing. Clearly the Czech defenseman took a step back for the Saint John Sea Dogs after being taken 13th by the Bruins in last year’s draft, and dropped to six goals and 20 points in 50 games in the QMJHL while watching second round pick Jeremy Lauzon pass him by on the prospect hype chart.
Perhaps the more concerning thing have been the whispers about an erratic work ethic and bad habits in Zboril’s game, a couple of criticisms that haven’t exactly gone away since the Bruins signed him to a contract last summer following development camp. Bruins assistant general manager Scott Bradley was asked about those concerns with the young D-man as he heads into an important training camp with Boston this fall, and didn’t seem all that concerned about his first round pick being a “bust.”
“I think his offensive production was down, and that he struggled a little bit coming out of the gate” said Bradley of Zboril, who had 13 goals and 33 points in 44 games during his first season in the Quebec Major Junior League prior to getting drafted by Boston. “But he had a strong playoff. Everybody forgets that he’s a gritty guy, and a strong player that moves the puck. The thing that stands out about him are that his numbers are down from last year.
“But everything is on track with him. He’s going to come to camp and hopefully shines, and has a good year this year…patience.
“I think it’s great if the second rounders are on par with him: the [Brandon] Carlos and the [Jeremy] Lauzons. If you look at the whole of our draft last year you can’t rule out the first eight picks that they might play [in the NHL]. We’re excited. Donnie and I were at the Memorial Cup, and Lauzon raised our eyebrows every night that he played. You’d come away with a good feeling like this kid plays hard, plays the Bruins style, moves the puck and is tough. Obviously [you had to like] what Carlo did when he was brought in [to Providence] at the end. It just bodes well for what we have coming this year. Zboril and Lauzon are probably going back to junior, but Carlo is going to get a long look.”
The young Czech D-man is still at a point where his stock can still shoot higher than it’s ever been with a good showing at training camp, and a strong season for the Sea Dogs entering into his professional hockey career. But he can’t afford to go through another down season, or that talk of him being a first round bust is only going to get louder and stronger.
Joe Haggerty joins Dalen Cuff on SNC via phone to discuss the Bruins chances at landing a top free agent, the NHL Draft, and where the team still needs to improve.