Haggerty: New teammates get a chance to bond

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Haggerty: New teammates get a chance to bond

By JoeHaggerty
CSNNE.com

WILMINGTON, Mass. The old saw of hockey wisdom goes a little something like this: The best time for players with disparate backgrounds to bond and gel as a unit is on the handful of long, extended road trips rife through the regular season.

The Bruins had one such monstrous trip when they ventured to Belfast and Prague over the first few weeks of the NHL season for the Premiere games. Theres another one set up this week as the Bs leave for a nine-day sojourn through the Canadian outposts of Calgary, Vancouver, Edmonton and Ottawa.

It cant be drawn up much better than that.

It actually is a pretty ideal situation, said coach Claude Julien. I think the fact theyll be spending a lot of time together is great. Bonding with your teammates is always important, and the new guys are going to get that chance on the upcoming road trip.

Its the Black and Golds last major road trip of the regular season, and its not a coincidence the Bs hurried to make all of their trade acquisitions prior to this final chance at a team bonding experience.

Tomas Kaberle, Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley will all be indoctrinated to the Bs way of doing things by the time the trip is over, and its the best possible way for the newly configured hockey club to be forged together as a single-minded unit prior to the playoffs.

I think its a great chance for us to get away, get that team bonding going again and find a way to get the new guys involved and fitting in with the team, said Milan Lucic. It always helps being on the road. You lose great people like Mark Stuart and Blake Wheeler, who were great friends of mine. But its part of the job and weve got to move forward with what weve got on this team.

Lucic remembers just a few short months ago when Gregory Campbell and Nathan Horton were both little more than strangers to everybody on the Boston roster, but that was no longer the case after the new guys traveled to Europe with the rest of the Bruins.

Thats the same kind of rapid initiation that awaits Kaberle, Kelly and Peverley over the next week.

Its funny, said Lucic. If you looked at the start of the year when we began the season in Europe, the new guys coming in like Horton and Campbell you didnt know very well at all. But you're on a trip with them and you seem like youve known them forever after a trip like that.

Theres more time to spend with each other because there are less distractions off the ice. I think its going to be great for this group, and we get a chance to see right away where were at with all of these new players. The big thing for us is that chemistry, and we want to build that up as soon as possible.

While the established Bruins and longtime players were looking forward to really breaking things down with their teammates, the new guys were just as anxious to have a few team dinners, shake a few hands and start working their way into the fabric of the team.

Both Kelly and Peverley have been placed on a line with Michael Ryder, and the team will be joined in Calgary by Kaberle after he takes care of the ubiquitous visa paperwork in Canada. That forward trio will be all about speed, grit and plenty of offensive upside on a team that desperately needed to quicken the tempo more than a little bit.

I think its perfect right now for three new guys coming into a new team, said Kelly. To get on the road and get away from the obvious commitments that guys have to family and friends or whatever they have to do when theyre at home, to get away and be together as a group is going to make things a lot easier on us.

If all goes well for the Bruins on a road trip featuring some tough games against the hot Flames and elite Canucks, then the three newest members of the Bruins wont be known as anything close to the three new guys when the Bs return to Boston in March.

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

Eriksson named Lady Byng finalist for 2nd time

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Eriksson named Lady Byng finalist for 2nd time

Patrice Bergeron will have some Bruins company at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas at the end of the month of June.

Loui Eriksson was named a finalist for the Lady Byng Trophy on Saturday afternoon along with Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar and Florida Panthers pivot Aleksander Barkov. It’s the second time in his career that Eriksson will be named a finalist for the award given annually "to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability."

The Swedish winger finished his best season in a Bruins uniform with 30 goals (third on team) and 33 assists for the second most points (63) on the team along with 12 total penalty minutes through 82 games played. Eriksson was excited to once again be a finalist for the award, and to be lumped in with a couple of the NHL’s best players in Kopitar and Barkov.

“It is a great honor to be considered for the Lady Byng Trophy, an award that has been won by some of the best players of all time,” said Eriksson, who will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1 after three seasons in Boston. “There are many deserving candidates so to be named one of the finalists with Anze Kopitar and Aleksander Barkov is very exciting for me. Thank you to my teammates and the coaching staff and I appreciate all those who voted.”

The last Bruin to win the Lady Byng Trophy was Rick Middleton back in 1981-82, and Eriksson is the first B’s finalist for Lady Byng in more than 10 years.

Bruins will select 14th overall in first round

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Bruins will select 14th overall in first round

The Boston Bruins basically had a three percent of moving up into the top three of the NHL Draft Lottery on Saturday night, but they didn’t strike it draft rich when it was all said and done up in Toronto.

With Bruins general manager Don Sweeney in attendance representing the Original Six franchise, the Black and Gold were the first team logo selected in the draft lottery meaning they will own the 14th overall pick in the first round for the second straight summer.

Instead the Toronto Maple Leafs will select first overall after putting together the worst record in the NHL last season, and the Winnipeg Jets and Columbus Blue Jackets won the lottery to move up into the second and third slots in the draft.

This marks the sixth time in franchise history that the club has owned the 14th overall selection in the NHL Draft. The Bruins drafted Jake DeBrusk 14th overall last summer in Florida at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, Stephane Quintal 14th overall in the 1987 NHL Entry Draft, Normand Leveille 14th overall in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft, Douglas Halward 14th overall in the 1975 NHL Amateur Draft and Terry O’Reilly 14th overall in the 1971 NHL Amateur Draft.

Based on finishing with the highest point total of all non-playoff teams for the second straight season, the Bruins owned a 1.0% chance of winning the 2016 Draft Lottery overall and a 3.4% chance of securing a top-three pick.

The 2016 NHL Draft will take place on June 24-25 at the First Niagara Center home of the Sabres in Buffalo just a couple of months from now, and the Bruins also own the first round pick of the San Jose Sharks that will end up somewhere in the 20’s based on the fact they’re still currently alive in the playoffs.

Saturday, April 30: Preparing for the lottery

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Saturday, April 30: Preparing for the lottery

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while celebrating Greek Easter this weekend by way of my in-laws. Christos Anesti.  

*Pro Hockey Talk writer James O’Brien has everything you need to know about tonight’s NHL Draft Lottery.

*Brent Burns is recognized as a Norris Trophy finalist after his best season as a member of the San Jose Sharks. For the record, the top three of Drew Doughty, Burns and Erik Karlsson were also the top three votes on my awards ballot, and exactly in that order.

*Puck Daddy eulogizes the Anaheim Ducks, who lost in the first round and promptly got their head coach fired.

*Speaking of the Ducks and a great man and good coach in Bruce Boudreau, who is now out of work, Anaheim GM Bob Murray is now getting ready to round up the candidates for a new coach.

*Spector has a number of hockey rumors, including what’s expected for offseason changes for the Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks now that they’re on the golf course.

*If the Edmonton Oilers win the draft lottery again, two things will happen: a lot of people will be angry, and Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli will have a lot of options at his disposal.

*Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk bring the Stanley Cup pedigree to an Islanders team that’s voyaging deep into the playoffs.

*For something completely different: Kevin Faulk gets mad props for wearing the Tom Brady jersey to the NFL podium to help announce New England’s draft picks.