Morning Skate 311: B's new guys need to step up

Morning Skate 311: B's new guys need to step up

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.comIts time for the new guys in Black and Goldto step up after an extremely promising start.It looked like Tomas Kaberle, Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly were going to enjoy seamless transitions into the Bruins way of doing things after a handful of games, but it hasnt been all roses, puppy dogs and rainbows over the last two weeks.Its time for that to change after Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli hand-picked each ofthese particular players to assistvaulting him team over the top.Kaberle arrived in Boston with an All-Star pedigree and reputationas a bona fide difference-maker on the power play, but the puck-moving defenseman holds justone lonelyassist in nine games while Bostons vaunted power play is mired in an 0-for-19 drought dating back to Kaberles first game with Boston.Meanwhile Peverley clanged the left post in overtime last night on a nice littleplay that would have gone into the books as a rousing game-winner after he faked out the entire Sabres defense.The play clearly showed off some of the nifty, slippery moves in Peverley'sarsenal that have made him a 20-goal scorer in the NHL.But it was a few too many inches to the left as it rang post, and PeverleyKelly have three points (one goal, two assists) in 17 games with their new team, and need to start producing a few more results. In total, Peverley, Kaberle and Kelly have five points in 26 games with the Bruins and havent been the offensive booster shot that anyone had hoped for but there also needs to be some time allowed for transitioning into a new way of doing things.The new trio got that time in the Western part of Canada during a week-long Bruins orientation trip, and now its about getting things done on the ice.Yeah, weve got all those things starting to go right now, said Peverley of the chances he received in his first game with a couple of new linemates. Were getting chances. But weve got to keep shooting. At this point its about getting some production because were getting the chances.Peverley has been given power play minutes and now sits with a prominent role on the right wing with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand and needs to start showing some of the spark he featured during low-pressure situations with the Atlanta Thrashers.Nathan Horton has caught fire with Bostons first line and the fourth line continues to kick in valued offense, so now its up to the new guys to start pulling their fair share of the weight.On to the links:Gary Bettman is getting into Richard measuring contests with sponsors and other NHL power brokers, but theres a reason for that: hes in the beginning of a new five-year deal as NHL commissioner, as noted by NBC Pro Hockey Talk.The Montreal Gazette gets a 2-for-1 in writing a love letter to Habs coach Jacques Martin while also cracking on Team 990 sports radio personalities in Montreal. Hey, I like the Team 990.Steve Montador can do a lot more than serve as a punching bag for opponents as an NHL defenseman. He can also attempt to bad-mouth the Captain of the Bruins in an interesting interview with Buffalo radio.Bruce Arthur doesnt like the hockey play defense for certain controversial hockey hits. As far I can tell, this is a Bruce Arthur problem rather than an NHL problem.Antti Niemi is coming up big for the San Jose Sharks in their second-half surge, and USA Todays Kevin Allen is there to provide detail.A Montreal newspaper believes that Zdeno Chara crossed the line by hitting Max Pacioretty. You dont say?CSNNE.coms own Mike Felger lambasting the Montreal Canadiens fan base in his always-entertaining mailbag. Let the bridges he burns light the way.The Hockey News Adam Proteau takes a crack at why so few NHL coaches have been fired this year, and no its not because its the most well-coached season in pro hockey history.A good piece by SI.coms Adrian Dater on the resurgence of the Calgary Flames under the watchful eye of GM Jay Feaster. Its amazing what happens when you call in a hockey exterminator and start getting rid of those pesky Sutters.

Felger: Bruins have no choice but to overpay for defenseman

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Felger: Bruins have no choice but to overpay for defenseman

Yes, four first-round picks for Jacob Trouba is crazy.

Yes, two firsts and David Pastrnak for Kevin Shattenkirk is stupid.

And, of course, Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson is ridiculous. (Remember Bruins fans: As bad as it's been, it could be worse. Peter Chiarelli could still be here.)

No one is disputing that the asking price for good, young defensemen across the NHL has gone haywire. If you're acquiring one of those players, you are likely going to lose the deal, and that's no way to run a franchise.

But here's the question for the Bruins: What's the alternative? Do the Bruins want to try and win in the Patrice Bergeron window or not?

That's what it comes down to for the B's. Bergeron will turn 31 in three weeks, and while he may have plenty of seasons left, his time as one of the best two-way players in the NHL is certainly more finite. He will likely be out of that elite status by the time anyone currently in the B's system develops into the type of No. 1 defenseman the team so desperately needs -- if there's even anyone who fits that description in the first place.

In other words, if the B's want a top-pairing defenseman anytime soon, they're going to have to pay for it. Or overpay for it. Draft picks. Players. Offer sheets. Whatever. Something unappealing is going to have to go out the door.

If there's another way, I'd like to know what it is. There's virtually nothing to choose from in the unrestricted pool. And everyone on the current depth chart is either too old, too young or too crappy.

So four first-rounders and a $7 million annual cap hit for Trouba? That's an impossible price to wrap your head around, until you consider the alternatives.

Ideally, the B's are using that Jets offer sheet threat as a leverage play, an attempt to create options in hopes the Blues lower their ask on Shattenkirk, or the Ducks lower their price on Cam Fowler. Maybe the B's have been trying to work a trade with the Jets for Trouba himself and are just bringing a hammer to the table. Lower your demands or we'll offer sheet him. Perhaps that offer sheet isn't even a realistic consideration and is nothing more than noise.

I have no idea. The only thing I know is that the B's still stink on D.

The players they have drafted the last few years may not be any good, and if they are it will be a half-decade before they're capable of playing the kind of playoff minutes necessary to contend for a Cup. The Bruins keep saying they want to contend now, which is pretty much impossible given the personnel on the blue line.

So what do they want? To wait for the kids and blow the rest of Bergeron's prime? Or give up an exorbitant price in a deal they'll very likely lose?

I'd probably lean towards the later, but there's really no right answer. It's called Bruins.

Email Felger at mfelger@comcastsportsnet.com. Listen to Felger and Mazz daily from 2-6 p.m. The simulcast runs on CSN.

Kalman: Bruins have to wait for secondary market of defensemen

Kalman: Bruins have to wait for secondary market of defensemen

Matt Kalman provides his take on what the Boston Bruins should do in terms of potentially landing a top defenseman this offseason.