Morning Skate 22: Weather dominating the NHL

Morning Skate 22: Weather dominating the NHL

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON With snow burying the East Coast and ice storms paralyzing places like Texas, it should be an interesting week all around for the NHL.The league already had to postpone a game between the Colorado Avalanche and the St. Louis Blues scheduled in St. Louis on Tuesday night, and its a much more difficult proposition to reschedule NHL games than it is to, say, replay a Major League Baseball game knocked out by rain.There isnt a lot of fat to trim from an NHL teams schedule, so it can take a healthy amount of juggling to set things right once again. Keep that in mind with the Dallas Stars attempting to get out of a crazy ice storm in Texas thats threatening to keep them grounded in the Lone Star State when they have to travel all the way to Boston for a Thursday night game.As more than one Bruins player said last night after dispatching the Hurricanes, its a good time to be going on a little homestand for a while.On to the links: E.J. Hradek breaks down the Calder Trophy race in the NHL, and needs to be clued in that Brad Marchand is both A) eligible and B) worthy of some consideration. Warning: you need to have ESPN Insider status to read the story. A good interview by CBC'sElliotte Friedman with Eric Staal during All-Star weekend in Carolina. The New York Posts Larry Brooks questions the heart of the Bruins, and said the players on the team dont care about each other. As opposed to the Rangers, who are just filled with heart and desire. Sarcasm. Donald Fehr sat sown with the Toronto Globe and Mail among several other media outlets over All-Star weekend, and introduced himself to the hockey media at large. Justin Bourne lays out three reasons why All-Star weekend lacked personality, though I think there was plenty of personality in the Friday night fantasy draft. It just didnt extend out more to Saturday and Sunday. Mike Santorelli is quietly putting together a solid season for the Florida Panthers in hockey anonymity. Funny little anecdote between Yahoo! Sports hockey blogger Sean Leahy and the St. Louis Blues mascot threatening to have a dance-off with each other. Good column from WEEI.coms D.J. Bean wondering aloud whether a goaltender like Tim Thomas should be considered the Hart Trophy. (Answer: He should.)Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Sweeney: Bruins head to market seeking 'transitional defenseman'

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Sweeney: Bruins head to market seeking 'transitional defenseman'

BOSTON -- This isn't exactly a state secret: The Bruins are on the lookout for a puck-moving, top-pairing defenseman who can help their transition game, and aid them in more easily breaking the puck out of their own zone.

The B's basically had two top-4 defensemen on their roster last season -- Torey Krug and Zdeno Chara were the only two on the Boston roster who topped 20 minutes of ice time per game -- and tried to fill in the blanks with Kevan Miller, Adam McQuaid, Dennis Seidenberg and several other young blueliners. Their success, or lack thereof, is reflected in the fact they finished 19th in the league in goals allowed.

So general manager Don Sweeney said during a Wednesday conference call with reporters that the team is in search of a “transitional” defenseman, and will do whatever is necessary to acquire one.

In Sweeney's words, the Bruins will be “aggressive” and pursue improving the hockey club “in any way, shape or form".

There are plenty of signs that Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk could figure prominently in Boston’s trade pursuits this summer, and free agents Keith Yandle and Alex Goligoski would be immediate upgrades in the “transitional defenseman” department. But the Bruins were also on a mission to get a “transitional defenseman” last season as well, and came up empty (aside from early season flameout Matt Irwin and 35-year-old journeyman John-Michael Liles acquired at the trade deadline).

They had grand plans to trade up in the first round of last year's draft and nab Boston College's Noah Hanifin. But -- after dealing Dougie Hamilton to the Calgary Flames for three 2016 draft picks -- they were unable to move into position to draft Hanifan.

So it’s clear that making efforts to land that elusive defenseman, and actually closing the deal, are two extremely different things.

Toward that end, Sweeney also talked about looking for defensive help from within the organization. 

“We’ve had talks with (Krug, a restricted free agent) and we’ll find, whatever term that ends up being . . . we’ll find a contract for him," said Sweeney. "But we’re looking for balance. We’re also looking for players like Colin Miller to take the next step. We’ve got younger players that will hopefully push, and that’s what you want.

“You want the depth of the organization to be there for the younger players to push somebody out because they’re ready to play . . . (young players such as) [Matt] Grzelcyk and [Rob] O’Gara. And [I] just came back from seeing [Jeremy] Lauzon play. You know [we're] very excited about the trajectory of that player and the possibility (of his making the NHL roster) down the road, depending on what his development curve looks like and when he gets in here and [starts] playing against the men.

“We’ve got pieces in place that will hopefully push the group that we currently have and that’s what you want. You want that internal competition that players feel like they better perform."

But, he added, "we’re also looking outside the marketplace because we need to continue to transition the puck better.”

Wednesday, May 25: Are you #TeamHaggs or #TeamFrich?

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Wednesday, May 25: Are you #TeamHaggs or #TeamFrich?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while wrapping my brain around exactly what the heck the Bruins are doing.

-- In the shameless self-promotion department: Fred Toucher and yours truly did battle this morning over the $10 million contract that the Bruins handed out to Kevan Miller. Are you #TeamHaggs or #TeamFrich?

-- What do the Dallas Stars need in the 2016 NHL Draft, with the combine and draft both coming up just weeks away.

-- A nice tribute from Hockey Night in Canada to the Tragically Hip as their front man battles through terminal brain cancer.

-- Damien Cox puts together his Team Canada list for the World Cup of hockey. Check out Brad Marchand's line: He plays left wing with Jonathan Toews and Tyler Seguin. That would be very fun to watch.

-- With the Bruins signing Kevan Miller to a bloated four-year, $10 million contract, similar defensemen like Eric Gryba will be lining up at the trough.

-- FOH (Friend of Haggs) Kevin Kurz weighs in on the Sharks run to within one win of the Stanley Cup Final, and what a player like Joe Pavelski has meant to them in the postseason.

-- For something completely different: It sounds like things are getting a little strange with Marco Rubio.

Haggs and Fred Toucher debate signing of Kevan Miller

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Haggs and Fred Toucher debate signing of Kevan Miller

Fred Toucher and Joe Haggerty disagree about the new deal the Boston Bruins gave Kevan Miller and got in a heated debate Wednesday morning on Toucher & Rich.

Haggerty says the Bruins would be better off with "players on entry level deals" over Miller for the money he'll received.

Miller signed a four-year deal worth $10 million on Monday.

As for Toucher? Watch the video above for his response. Then comment below with your thoughts on the deal.