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 email@example.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading with the Olympics coming to a close . . .
-- FOH (Friend of Haggs) Kirk Luedeke sorts through the aftermath for the Bruins after losing out on Jimmy Vesey.
-- Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland gave an interview where he said the Red Wings aren’t Stanley Cup contenders this season.
-- Related to Holland’s comments, some of the media in Detroit aren’t taking the dose of reality all that well.
-- It’s a big season for New Jersey Devils forward Kyle Palmieri, who will be starring for Team USA on the World Cup team.
-- PHT writer Cam Tucker says the Buffalo Sabres still have a strong group of forwards even without Jimmy Vesey.
-- Jamie Benn is giving everything to his Dallas Stars team, and that means that the World Cup of Hockey is taking a backseat.
-- The Colorado Avalanche are nearing the end of their head coaching search as they look for their replacement for Patrick Roy.
-- For something completely different: NBC is making the argument that millenials watched the Olympics, but just not on the traditional formats.
Mike Felger and Glenn Ordway discuss a survey of New England sports fans showing that not many are happy with the Boston Bruins.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while appreciating all the birthday wishes I got yesterday while turning 42 years old.
*With the World Cup of Hockey around the corner, there is still a decision pending on NHL players participating in the Olympics.
*With the Winnipeg Jets and Jacob Trouba still unable to agree on a contract extension, some are wondering about comparable contracts for the young D-man.
*In the strict interest of self-promotion, here’s my radio hit with Pete Sheppard and Jimmy Murphy on the Bruins from Monday afternoon.
*Marek Zidlicky is still a free agent option for teams seeking a cheap solution on their back end.
*PHT writer Cam Tucker has the Ottawa Senators and Cody Ceci agreeing on a two-year contract extension after a summer without a deal.
*The Minnesota Wild do the right thing and officially change their goal song to Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” for next season.
*For something completely different: there will be a "Hamilton" documentary and the question will be whether I see that before I see the actual play.