Haggerty: Bruins giddy over Kaberle trade

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Haggerty: Bruins giddy over Kaberle trade

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

It was pretty difficult to glide right on by the giddiness in the voices of many Bruins players after this weekends win over the Senators.

It wasnt happiness over an unrelenting effort in Ottawa, because it always could have been a bit better.

It wasnt about the Bs defense storming into shutdown mode, because defensive leaders like Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg admitted things certainly could have been a tad more mistake proof.

It wasnt Bostons three-goal rally in the third period that sparked up a twinkle in the eyes of grizzled hockey vets like Mark Recchi and Claude Julien eyes that have seen thousands of NHL hockey games over their years of service.

The buoyancy and excitement was all about defenseman Tomas Kaberle, and what hes going to bring to the Bs during five-on-five play and more importantly what the 32-year-old is going to contribute to the power play.

Everyone got a glimpse on Friday night at Scotiabank Place, and will have to wait for more until Kaberle catches up with the team in Calgary on Monday after taking care of the necessary visa paperwork thats all the rage during this years trade deadline.
On the ice, though, Kaberle is one of those rare guys that makes everybody else around him better in the offensive end.

He brings something we didnt have. You could see that. We were moving the puck well and quickly, and we were getting good opportunities because of it, said Chara. He brings so much to the power play and to our game. Its so exciting to have him here, and its really an honor to play with him.

It brings confidence to everybody because you know hes going to make that pass, and hes going to help everyone.

While the power play only went 1-for-5 in Kaberles first go-round, there was no denying the newly acquired defensemans potential future role as a power play specialist. Provided Kaberle doesnt have to kill penalties with any great regularity in Boston, the blueliner looks like he may just be running the point for both power play units -- and spending close to the full two minutes out on the man advantage during each man advantage chance.

Its a role that talented offensive defenseman like Mark Streit and Marc-Andre Bergeron have filled as power play specialists for the Montreal Canadiens, and its something the Bs could experiment with as Kaberle gets his game going for the Black and Gold.

That kind of cool-handed, creative presence on both units will open up the puck movement for both power play squads, and its exactly what the Bruins paid for with a first round pick, a top prospect and a conditional pick based on the Bs achieving their goals with the team or Kaberle following the year.

Hes pretty composed back there, and its pretty nice to have that puck-mover, said Recchi. There arent many guys that can do that as well. When they jump at him he can distribute the puck to where the open guys are, and there arent many of those guys out there.

It makes everybody else better because they see that and they say oh crap, I can go out there, drag the blue line and make the play. Players see that stuff, and it makes other guys better when you see it every day. Just look at it in Detroit where youve got a guy like Nik Lidstrom that you can watch do it every day. Obviously youre not going to move the puck exactly like him, but you get composed and learn how to move with the puck. When you have guys like Kaberle, it has an impact that lets other guys get better around him.

What the Bruins might not have envisioned was the influence that Kaberle could have on a young puck-moving defenseman in training like Steve Kampfer. The mobile 22-year-old blueliner has shown off the quick-skating and sound decision-making of a potential puck-mover in the making, but there werent a lot of teammates he could have patterned his NHL game after.

Kaberle will be that guy blazing a trail for Kampfer to follow, and will have a ripple effect on the calculated risks and creativity shown by the rest of the team particularly the defensemen skating in a group with him.

The biggest single Bruins player to gain in Kaberles arrival?

Its got to be Zdeno Chara, who will use his 105.9 mph slap shot as the big gun weapon on his power play unit, and will get teed up for chance after chance provided Kaberle is at the controls calmly working the puck into the open seams around the offensive end.

It makes all the sense in the world that Recchi, Chara and Julien were among the happiest with Kaberles arrival on that very first day.

But it wont take along for the rest of those in Bruins Nation to join right along with the growing chorus of Kaberle fans in Boston.

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

Rask: Last season 'something to rebound from' personally

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Rask: Last season 'something to rebound from' personally

BRIGHTON, Mass. – While David Pastrnak, Tuukka Rask and David Backes are back from competing in the World Cup of Hockey in Toronto, that doesn’t mean you’ll see those players on the ice over the next couple of days. Perhaps the trio will practice on Monday in the fourth on-ice session at main training camp, but Bruins GM Don Sweeney confirmed that none of those returning players will suit up against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the B’s preseason debut at TD Garden on Monday night.

“Yeah…absolutely,” said Sweeney when asked if those three players have been ruled out for Monday night. “They’re going to get through the weekend here. Next week, we’ll evaluate [them] when they get on the ice. But, all those guys will not be on the ice until next week.

“It might be case-by-case for each guy. Those guys have been playing for a while at a high level. It’s unique for David Backes coming into the organization, so he’d like to integrate himself. I talked yesterday with all three of them just to get a read of where they’re at. But, sometime first of next week, they’ll be on [the ice].”

Both Pastrnak and Rask have checked in with the Bruins media over the last couple of days after returning from Toronto, and the Bruins goaltender, in particular, has plenty of motivation coming off a down statistical season. The 2.56 goals against average and .915 save percentage were well below his career numbers, and people like B’s President Cam Neely have pointed to Rask as somebody that needs to have a better season for Boston to rebound back into the playoffs this year.

“There were a couple of years where the standards pretty high, so obviously when they go down there’s something to rebound from. You kind of know where you can be. That’s where I try to be every year and I’m working on being there this year, and taking us to the playoffs and moving forward,” said Rask. “But every year is a new year where you’ve got to work hard, and set your goals to be at your best. More often than not you hope [being at your best] is going to happen, and I hope this year is going to be a great year for us.”

Clearly Rask wasn’t alone in his struggles last season behind a mistake-prone defense that allowed plenty of Grade chances, and that could be a repeating phenomenon again this season for the Bruins unless the defense is substantially upgraded along the way.

As far as the other three B’s players still taking part in the World Cup, it could be a while for Patrice and Brad Marchand as Team Canada has advanced to the final best-of-three series that could also feature Zdeno Chara if Team Europe is victorious. 

Sweeney: 'Helpless feeling' hoping World Cup players return healthy

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Sweeney: 'Helpless feeling' hoping World Cup players return healthy

BRIGHTON, Mass. – It’s a bit of a helpless feeling for an NHL general manager watching their star players participate in an intense hockey tournament like the World Cup of Hockey that doesn’t directly benefit their respective teams.

Not helpless because of the tournament’s outcome, obviously, but helpless because players could return from Toronto dinged up, or even worse significantly injured.

Aaron Ekblad had to shut it down for Team North American with what many speculated was a concussion, and Pittsburgh goalie Matt Murray is out a month, or more, with a broken hand sustained playing for the same young guns team.

So, it certainly must have been an uneasy few moments for Don Sweeney when Brad Marchand was pulled from Team Canada’s last game for the concussion protocol after a nasty-looking collision with Team Europe forward Marian Hossa.

Marchand went through the testing, and ended up returning to the game no worse for the wear. But it could have been a lot worse for a Bruins team that can’t afford to be missing Marchand, Patrice Bergeron or Zdeno Chara, who are still playing for teams alive in the semifinal round of the tourney.

“I would expect all of us to have been in a similar situation. For everybody - any general manager, coaches, staff, you're concerned about [injuries],” said Sweeney, talking about the World Cup and Marchand’s close call. “I mean, especially when you realize the stakes are going to go up as the tournament goes along. The pride involved - it's a risk. There's no question, it's a risk.

“But you also want to see them play their best hockey and they're not going to hold back. Yeah, it's a definite concern. You've got your fingers and toes crossed.”

David Pastrnak and Tuukka Rask have already returned to Boston fully healthy. David Backes should be joining the team anytime now after Team USA’s rude dismissal from the tournament. But Sweeney and the Bruins still have their sensors out for the three B’s players taking part that aren’t quite out of the woods yet before returning to B’s camp in one piece.