Bruins eager for regular season

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Bruins eager for regular season

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
The Bruins have reached a point in the preseason where some veterans are ready to go, and the regular season cant come quickly enough.

Obviously there are others getting their timing perfected or shaking off the rust from a wildly abbreviated summer, and there is still one dress rehearsal against the New York Islanders on Saturday to get things synchronized. Its kind of an in-between mode that has players traveling at different speeds with a week to all collectively get in the same gear.

For some players like Tim Thomas and Nathan Horton that have been brought along deliberately in training camp, the extra few days are a boon for their readiness. Brad Marchand estimated that Thursday nights preseason game against the Senators was probably running at 95 percent speed when compared to the regular season, and thinks hes ready to go as well.

The last few games Ive felt like Im catching back up to speed and my mind is reacting quickly enough again, said Marchand. I feel pretty good. The last game is really when it started to feel better, and I got my legs under way. Each game was a little bit better, and one more will be good for a lot of these guys.

But a well-trained hockey machine like Patrice Bergeron in the prime of his career needed exactly three games in the exhibition season, and told his coach that hes as ready to go as hell ever be. Its almost like clockwork for the two-way center.

Weve only played five preseason games and well finish with our sixth one. Some teams play a lot more than six games during the preseason, so I think our guys have been happy to get a few games under their best, said Julien. Ive talked to a few guys from last year that are saying theyre feeling pretty good.

Bergie has played three games and he feels like hes ready to go. Other guys as well. So theres an element where I think guys are feeling ready to go and theyre excited about getting the season going. But I dont feel like theyre antsy to start tomorrow. They know theres another game to play and team-building to go.
Ah, yes, the team-building.

Perhaps any readiness to start the season is tempered by some Bruins readying themselves for the natural order of things in training camp.

Over the last few seasons the expected group of Bs players set for the NHL roster escape Boston for several days of a camp retreat. The teams players and coaches take off just prior to the season for a sequence of events that promote team-building and camaraderie between players.

Even in the hustle and bustle of last seasons trip to Europe, the team found time to steal away to Vermont for a couple of days. Thats on tap for the two days following their preseason finale against the Islanders on Saturday, and Julien and his coaching staff have kept the camps location a secret from the players for the last month.

The coaches know the location and the players dont. We have it organized. They dont know where were going and they dont know what were doing, so were keeping the element of surprise, said Julien. Its going to be a surprise, itll be fun and itll be good. So we left it that way and thought it was the best way to approach it.

So it will a quick next few days of games and ropes courses designed to bring the Bs together. One thing is known and certain: theyll all be on the ice Oct. 6 on the Garden ice to watch the new Stanley Cup championship banner raised in the rafters before getting the season started.

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

Bruins' Patrice Bergeron named Selke finalist for fifth time

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Bruins' Patrice Bergeron named Selke finalist for fifth time

It was assumed that Patrice Bergeron will be finalist for the Selke Trophy again this season, and it became official on Thursday when it was announced that Bergeron, Ryan Kesler and Anze Kopitar were the three finalists for the award given to the best defensive forward.

It would be the third straight Selke Trophy and fourth overall for Bergeron if he can take the hardware home again during the NHL Awards in June, and the ever-humble No. 37 said he was just honored to once again be nominated.

“Being named a finalist for the Selke Trophy is a tremendous honor and one I am very grateful for,” said Bergeron in a press release. “While it is an individual award, my teammates and coaches deserve a lot of credit as well. Ryan and Anze are two elite players who both had great seasons and it is a privilege to be a finalist alongside them. Thanks to all of those who voted and I look forward to the NHL Awards Show on June 22.”

The Bruins center has won the Selke Trophy three times (2012, 2014 and 2015) and has now been a Selke finalist in each of the last five seasons. His three wins are tied for the second-most in NHL history, one behind Hall of Fame Canadiens forward Bob Gainey, who is the all-time leader with four Selke Trophies. Bergeron was the Bruins’ lone representative at the All-Star Game this winter for the second straight season, and was a no-brainer as a finalist given all of his defensive qualifications.

Bergeron finished the 2015-16 regular season leading the NHL in faceoffs taken (1,978) and for the second straight season led the league in faceoffs won (1,130) while finishing a solid seventh overall with a 57.1% faceoff win rate among players taking a minimum of 500 draws.

Thursday, April 28: Who are the lottery picks?

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Thursday, April 28: Who are the lottery picks?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while giving a thumbs up to “The Good Dinosaur” as quality family viewing.

*TSN Hockey Buddha Bob McKenzie breaks down the players available in the NHL draft lottery and what kind of names teams like the Boston Bruins should expect to be available with the first 14 picks.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Greg Wyshynski talks about the World of Cup ads with the ESPN creative people that made them happen. They used the word jarring in something of a positive fashion to describe them. I would use the word “not funny” for Reg Carling, the fictional character created for the ads. If they were trying to feature the personality of NHL players in those ads, I think they missed the mark. It’s not really a big deal in the final scheme of things, but it doesn’t make for a good first step in drawing hockey fans back to the four letter network.  

*Good luck to Cam Tucker, a hockey writer based out of Vancouver that appears to have been one of the latest to be downsized in our industry.

*Dennis Bernstein has some thoughts, facts, analysis and theories surrounding the Los Angeles Kings, who have a long time to think about their first-round exit from the playoffs.

*Bruce Garrioch has some info on Ottawa’s long range plan to move to a needed downtown arena and that being the blueprint for most other Canadian cities.

*Tracey Myers has a dilemma for the Blackhawks: Andrew Shaw wants to stay, but the question is whether the Blackhawks can afford him?

*PHT writer James O’Brien has Bruce Boudreau lamenting the tough Game 7 loss for the Anaheim Ducks to the Nashville Predators. The loss may cost Boudreau his job, and will see a lot of new blood in the West with Chicago, Los Angeles and Anaheim now all out of the postseason.

*For something completely different: how can you say “no” to a tour of the world’s most magnificent treehouses.

Bruins have slim chance at No. 1 in NHL Draft lottery Saturday

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Bruins have slim chance at No. 1 in NHL Draft lottery Saturday

The Bruins will know a great deal more in a couple of days about their prospects for NHL Draft weekend in Buffalo this June.

The NHL will hold its annual draft lottery in Toronto on Saturday night for those teams outside the playoffs that hold first-round picks or those shrewd enough to have secured a first-rounder and still have reached the playoffs. 

The Bruins will have two first-round picks regardless of what happens: they hold their own lottery-eligible selection along with the first-round pick from the San Jose Sharks sent to Boston last summer in the trade for goaltender Martin Jones. The Sharks are still alive in the postseason, so the B’s second selection will be a late first-rounder.

The Bruins were the last NHL team eliminated from playoff contention, so they hold the slimmest odds of securing the first overall pick with a 1 percent chance in the Auston Matthews sweepstakes.

It’s too bad because the kind of game-breaking talent available at the top of the draft is exactly what the Black and Gold franchise needs after trading away top-10 first-round picks in Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton the past three years.

The Bruins will have roughly the same odds for the second (1.1 percent chance) and third overall picks (1.3 percent chance) should they miss out on No. 1, but the chances are still slim at they will pick anywhere but the same exact 14th overall pick where they selected Jake DeBrusk last season. Should they get a selection in the top three, the Bruins would be looking at big-time center Matthews, and a pair of Finnish wingers in Patrick Laine and Jesse Puljujarvi, along with Matthew Tkachuk (son of Keith Tkachuk and cousin to Jimmy Hayes).

The highest rated D-man on the board is Sarnia Sting blueliner Jakob Chycrun, who is a player the Bruins would need to trade up for, a la their attempt at Noah Hanifin last year. The Bruins will have assets to potentially make that happen, but we all know how that worked out last season for Don Sweeney when a big part of “the plan” was moving up to nab one of last year’s blue chip D-men in the draft.   

Hopeful Bruins fans can try their luck with the NHL Draft Lottery Simulator online, but fair warning that you won’t see the Spoked ‘B’ come up very much while hashing out the order of the top three overall picks for late June at the First Niagara Center.