Bruins notes: Kaberle distracted in homecoming

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Bruins notes: Kaberle distracted in homecoming

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

TORONTO The expansive Toronto stage was set for Tomas Kaberle to come up big and show everyone at the Air Canada Centre what he was all about in his first appearance against his former Leafs team.

The Leafs organization put together a nice video tribute on their jumbotron during a TV timeout in the first period set to the music of U2s Where the Streets Have No Name, and a warm ovation washed over Kaberle as he waved to the crowd from the Boston bench.

Kaberle admitted afterward that the night turned into much more of an emotional endeavor than he ever anticipated, and perhaps that played into the Bs defenseman playing an invisible game. It sounds like the Bruins defenseman was a little distracted to say the least, so hes got some make-up work to do in the final 11 games as Boston readies for the playoffs.

It was an emotional night. Its always tough when you lose, and there were a lot of things going through my mind all night, said Kaberle. It was a lot tougher than I thought it was going to be.

But that was the only highlight for the 33-year-old defenseman as he was otherwise silent in a 5-2 shellacking of the Bruins by the Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. The Bs power play went 0-for-2 to make it 2-for-34 since Kaberles arrival in Boston and the puck-moving defenseman was badly beaten by Toronto blue collar forward Mike Brown in a race to the puck for the Leafs fourth goal of the game.

Kaberle now has three assists and only one power play assist in 13 games along with a plus-4 since arriving in Boston, and its time for the offensively-gifted defenseman to shift into a higher gear with a hockey team that badly needs his puck skills.

Zdeno Chara took a Mikhail Grabovski puck to his left foot in the waning moments of the third period that felled the 6-foot-9 defenseman, and caused pockets of cheers throughout the Air Canada Centre at the sight of the fallen Bruins Captain.

It was a normal hockey, said Chara. Its okay. Its just part of the game.

It was an ugly moment in Toronto to be sure, but Chara said he thought hed be fine following the game. He was walking around the Bruins dressing room without a limp, but did say that he wasnt happy with the reaction from the Leafs fans a likely Canadian carryover from the incident in Montreal with Max Pacioretty.

I cant control that, said Chara. Its a little disappointing, but theres nothing I can do about it.

Andrew Ference returned to the Bruins lineup, but he and Adam McQuaid had a tough night while going a combined minus-6. Ference poked a puck from behind Thomas that carried through the crease and set up a Joey Crabb goal in front of the net that helped Torontos avalanche of goals in the second period.

It was par for the course for a group of Bruins defensemen that have been going through a difficult period over the last few weeks and dont look anywhere near the solid Bs defense thats led the NHL in goals against pretty much all season.

One of the things we need to correct is defense. We have bodies back, but for some reason were not picking up players and theyre getting into scoring chances, said Chara. Theyre eventually burying pucks. We have bodies back, but we need to start picking up our men in the defensive zone.

Tyler Seguin led the Bruins with five shots on net the same total Adam McQuaid had as well and logged plenty of power play time in another promising effort for the 19-year-old late in the season.

Adam McQuaids first period goal snapped a 17-game goal-scoring drought for the physical Bruins defenseman.

Nathan Horton engaged in a hockey fight with Dion Phaneuf for the second time this season, and this time skated off the ice with a bloody forehead after getting driven into the frozen sheet by the Leafs defenseman at the end of the bout.

Highly touted Leafs prospect Nazem Kadri scored his first career NHL goal in the first period for Toronto on a shot that appeared to be tipped by Darryl Boyce in front of the Boston net but was never changed by game officials.

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

Friday, July 22: Versteeg headed for Europe

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Friday, July 22: Versteeg headed for Europe

Here are all the hockey links from around the world, and what I’m reading, while vowing to never try to marry the NHL and Pokemon into the same lame story.

*PHT writer James O’Brien has Kris Versteeg one of a number of NHL veteran free agents going to Europe for next season.

*The New York Islanders have reportedly been discussing moving to Queens and building a rink right next to the Mets’ Citi Field. Interesting. I know the Isles fan base was not happy with the setup in Brooklyn last season.

*The Black Knights get the top odds as a moniker for the Las Vegas franchise with a number of funny long shot names.

*Ian Mendes said that it’s pretty clear by the moves of the Ottawa Senators that they believe their time is now.

*Jason Botchford wonders if the Vancouver Canucks have a shot at being a playoff team next season. I hope so for Jim Benning’s sake.

*Ken Campbell wants to know if Brad Richards and Vincent Lecavalier, now that they’re both retired, are Hall of Fame-worthy players. I say no to both of them, but I can be stingy with my Hall of Fame qualifications as the Jarome Iginla fanboys know so well.

*For something completely different: Jon Stewart brought the funk and the noise while breaking his TV silence on Thursday night and tearing into a GOP that’s coming apart at the seams right now.

 

Bruins set to appear 16 times on NBC national broadcasts

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Bruins set to appear 16 times on NBC national broadcasts

The Bruins might have missed the Stanley Cup playoffs  each of the past two seasons, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be taking a backseat on the national television schedule for NBCSN and the rest of the NHL on NBC programming. 

The Black and Gold will appear in 16 nationally televised games in the 2016-17 season across the NBC Sports networks, though they won’t be a part of the Winter Classic, the Black Friday matinee or most of the other NHL showpiece events featured by NBC aside from their one appearance in the late game on “Hockey Day in America.”

In total, 16 games will be broadcast on either NBC or NBC Sports Network, with all other matchups being televised locally on NESN, along with some of these non-exclusive games ceding rights back to the local rights-holder.

The Bruins are tied with the New York Rangers for the third-most appearances on national television this season, behind only the Chicago Blackhawks (21) and Philadelphia Flyers (20). The broadcast schedule is highlighted by the Bruins visiting the San Jose Sharks on Feb. 19 as part of a quadruple-header on “Hockey Day in America.” 

 Bruins games on NBC and NBC Sports Network (all times Eastern):

Wed., Oct, 26 at N.Y. Rangers at 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
Tues., Nov. 22 vs. St. Louis at 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
Tues., Nov. 29 at Philadelphia at 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
Wed., Dec. 7 at Washington at 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
Wed., Dec. 14 at Pittsburgh at 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
Tues., Jan. 10 at St. Louis at 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
Wed., Jan. 18 at Detroit at 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
Wed., Feb. 1 at Washington at 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
Sun., Feb. 12 vs. Montreal at 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
Sun., Feb. 19 at San Jose at 8:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
Sun., Feb. 26 at Dallas at 12:30 p.m. (NBC)
Thurs., March 2 vs. N.Y. Rangers at 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
Wed., March 8 vs. Detroit at 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
Thurs., March 30 vs. Dallas at 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
Sun., April 2 at Chicago at 12:30 p.m. (NBC)
Sat,, April 8 vs. Washington at 3 p.m. (NBC)

Bruins’ pick Frederic out to prove he wasn’t a reach

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Bruins’ pick Frederic out to prove he wasn’t a reach

Trent Frederic had heard all of the chatter about the Bruins reaching a bit for him when they selected the physical, athletic center with the 29th overall pick last month in the draft.

Draft night pundits had the Wisconsin-bound Frederic much lower in the rankings and even Bruins scouting director Keith Gretzky admitted that Frederic probably projects to being a third-line center in the NHL a few years down the line.

“[Frederic] is not going to be a top-two line guy, we know that,” said Gretzky on draft night. “But he has some jam. He plays hard with the [amount of] penalty minutes. We were fortunate to get him. We believed he was our next guy and we really liked the projection of him as a staff. Everybody raved about him, his character is outstanding. He’s an athlete.”

So, it’s fair to say it was a conservative pick going for a player more likely to have an NHL career rather than a boom-or-bust risk choice like the small, skilled Alex DeBrincat and it’s equally important to note that the Bruins were looking size, strength and jam with a few of their center choices in this particular draft class.

The B’s selected the 6-foot-2, 203-pound Frederic as an organizational need pick and a safe pick at the end of the first round, but there were also at least two NHL teams that had player pegged to go between 20-30 in the draft.

“If you watch him in the [fitness] testing he’s a really good athlete, and he’s explosive,” said Bruins assistant coach Jay Pandolfo. “He was playing on that US [National Development] team behind [Kieffer] Bellows and [Clayton] Keller, so I think maybe he’s got a little bit more skill than people are giving him credit for.

“He’s got some upside more than a third line player. I know that’s what everybody was saying, but there were a lot of teams that were pretty high on this kid. I think he just went under the radar a little bit playing on that US team behind the top skill players.”

So, Gretzky, Scott Bradley, Don Sweeney and the rest of the B’s talent evaluators weren’t on their own in making the selection, and only the passing of time will tell if he turns into the next David Backes, or the next Chris Kelly. 

It appeared early in last week’s Bruins development camp that Frederic was trying to do too much as he struggled at times in skating drills and looked a little nervous during the first session with fellow NHL prospects.

But Frederic settled in after that and showed the athleticism, the toughness and a fairly decent amount of skill over the four on-ice days of development camp prior to getting ready for college. He certainly wasn't bursting with over-the-top offensive skill like Jake DeBrusk or Charlie McAvoy, but Frederic didn't look out of place grinding and battling with fellow top prospects while showing a ready willingness to go to the danger areas on the ice. 

The 18-year-old admitted he’s got a little of a chip on his shoulder about the first round reach chatter, and that won’t be a bad thing as he develops at the NCAA level.

“I have the hard work and the dedication, and I think I’ve been a winner my whole life…so I have that’s something I can bring to the Bruins. I think my two-way play is what they like a lot. My overall skating and my offensive game are things that I’m working on a lot,” said Frederic, who had 20 goals and 40 points in 61 games for the USNTDP last season. “I think you use [the draft talk] as motivation, and something that can push you to get going and to prove people wrong I guess you could say.

“I think I’ll do it, and I’ll work my hardest to do it. [The best advice I got] was don’t read anything good and don’t read anything bad about yourself because none of it really matters. I don’t know if anybody gave that to me, or if I gave it to myself. The main point is [to not buy into anything] whether it’s really good or bad.”

That’s exactly the right kind of attitude for the Frederic, who will be under the microscope a little bit now that he’s become a first-round pick in a Bruins organization leaning heavily on their future prospects.