Morning Skate 322: Where does all this leave Savard?

Morning Skate 322: Where does all this leave Savard?

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.comBOSTON It was a fleeting question during the second annual Peter Chiarelli conference call with Bruins season ticket holders, but it takes on greater significance given everything going on around Matt Cooke and the NHL.Chiarelli was asked about Marc Savards current condition two months after he suffered another concussion after a collision with Matt Hunwick at Pepsi Arena in Denver against the Avalanche. It was Cookes act of hockey violence against Savard with a cheap shot elbow to his chin a little over a year ago thats inexorably changed the Bs centers life for the worse and made him more susceptible to the concussion he suffered again this season.Chiarelli said that Savard has daily symptoms of concussion, but isnt suffering from the same depression that really bothered him last summer. The Bruins general manager called it a slow and delicate matter for Savard to continue fighting the concussion symptoms and get on the road to wellness, but its eye-opening that the crafty pivot still has symptoms two months later with little to no physical exertion during his down time.It continues to look as if Savards career is permanently altered due to Cookes reckless on-ice actions, and its only a shame that it took the NHL an additional year to finally slap Pittsburghs rat around with the NHL rule book.Somewhere Savard is nodding in agreement with the decision to ostensibly end Cookes season after his elbow to the head of Ryan McDonagh but also certainly wondering if fiery hot intensity why that justice never arrived for him when he was unconscious on the ice at the Igloo last spring.On to the links:An SI.com photo gallery of NHL players that have had their careers shortened by multiple concussions over the last few decades. This should be required viewing for "Cookie."Good work by Rob Rossi to get some comments from Matt Cooke on Monday night where the Pittsburgh punk finally says I need to change. No crap there, Sherlock!Elliotte Friedmans 30 thoughts on the NHL are always a must-read and theres no reason why this week would be any different. Several thoughts about Matt Cooke and his suspension within the piece.Puck Daddy radio makes its debut on the morning skate, and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Greg Wyshynski actually creates a new nickname for Milan Lucic when he calls him Cheech. He also gets Looch to admit his favorite American beer is Budweiser.My CSNNE compatriot Mike Felger tells us the Bruins arent as bad as their current losing streak and werent as good as their road winning streak last month. Good call there, Captain Obvious.The Predators fans are throwing catfish on the ice. This is much better than waffles.A good breakdown of the Matt Cooke decision and how difficult its going to be to take the Pittsburgh hatchet man back if he doesnt change his ways.FOH (Friend of Haggs) Matt Kalman of bruinsblog.net comes up with the nit-picking blog entry of the year by saying the Bruins current losing stretch is much worse than other elite teams because they picked up two less points through a seven-game stretch this season. Thats not contrived at all. No!Good debut Versus.com column for FOH (Friend of Haggs) Steve Lepore, who writes about whether the NBC national stage played into the heavy suspension for Matt Cooke. Good to have you in the ComcastVersusNBC family, Steve.Don Cherry talks to WEEI about the recent Bs slide and also calls Matt Cooke a rat while recounting the run-in he had with the Pittsburgh cheap shot artist a couple of years ago in the hallways of an NHL rink.ESPNs Pierre Lebrun and Scott Burnside discuss the amazing story of the Penguins, and their ability to keep winning despite the absence of Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. Its a nice story, but theres no way they sustain that during the playoffs with a lunch-bucket crew.XM Home Ice chats with Anaheim enforcer George Parros about his mustache and the Cooke suspension. Parros says that Cooke needs to smarten up a bit about the way hes playing, and potentially hurting fellow players.

Heinen looking to be dark-horse candidate for Bruins' roster

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Heinen looking to be dark-horse candidate for Bruins' roster

While much of the focus is going to be on the young D-men headed into Bruins training camp, it would be foolhardy to overlook a forward prospect Danton Heinen, who is in position for a real dark horse run at an NHL roster spot. 

The strong odds are that the former University of Denver star is going to be begin the season in the AHL for the Providence Bruins after putting up a couple of points in four games there at the end of last season.

Still, that certainly hasn’t stopped Heinen from setting his sights on an NHL spot out of this fall’s camp, most likely in a third- or fourth-line capacity to start things off, or perhaps at the top-six right wing spots that have given the Bruins some problems filling permanently over the past couple of seasons.

Either way, the 2014 fourth-round pick knows that his clock to fulfilling his dreams as an NHL player has started and that it’s up to him when he can start making that a reality.

“It’s something I’ve wanted to work toward my whole life, so I’m just going to try to keep getting better, have a good rest of the summer and then put my best foot forward to see what happens,” said Heinen, who had an assist and a sweet goal in the Friday scrimmage at development camp when he twisted D-man Cam Clarke around like a pretzel on a nifty rush to the net. “I just need to continue to get stronger this summer, and working on my skating to get a bit quicker.

“[The AHL] was a lot of fun to get in there and see what it was all about. It was a lot different than college hockey, and it was definitely good to get a taste of it. [Bruins officials] told me to have a really big summer getting faster and getting stronger, so that’s what I’ve been doing.”

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Heinen, 21, continued to show in development camp last week, however, that he has the playmaking skills and hockey IQ to flourish while surrounded by more accomplished players and in tighter situations. It’s exactly what he showed while posting 36 goals and 93 points in his freshman and sophomore seasons for the Pioneers and it was what he showed while finishing last week as one of the best forwards in camp.

“He’s looked really good at [development] camp. He’s a smart player, he’s committed and I think you’ll notice him in training camp. It will be up to him, but I think he’ll definitely be pushing some guys [for an NHL job],” said Bruins assistant coach Jay Pandolfo, who was running the Bruins development camp. “He looked good [in Providence]. He fit in well. He’s the type of player that can play with good players because he’s got high hockey IQ, and he’s got really good skill.

“Anywhere you put him he’s smart enough to figure it out. You could tell in his first game there was a little bit of an adjustment for him, but the second time game it really looked like he’d been playing [at that level] for a long time. He’s a quick study, and he looked really good last year.”

The Black and Gold management hope he continues to look good at main NHL training camp in a couple of months, where he’ll undoubtedly be featured, and could be a lot closer than many people think as a polished skill forward coming out of a big-time college hockey program. 

Saturday, July 23: Hammer Time for VP pick Kaine with Caps

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Saturday, July 23: Hammer Time for VP pick Kaine with Caps

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while everybody is working for the weekend...or during the weekend.

*The vice-presidential candidate for Hillary Clinton, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, made quite an impression while hanging out a Capitals game with MC Hammer. They call this guy boring, but that doesn’t sound very boring to me.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Bob Stauffer has the news that the Edmonton Oilers are parting ways with fancy stats lad Tyler Dellow. Boy, it seems like some teams are reversing course pretty quickly on some of these smarter-than-thou advanced statistics types, aren’t they? I certainly wish Dellow well and hope he finds another gig. But Instead of baselessly wondering whether the Oilers are going to continue down the fancy stats road (which they most certainly will), perhaps this is more a referendum on nonsensical stats-driven decisions like handing out that long term contract to a perpetually underachieving Benoit Pouliot.

*The New York Rangers have locked up Chris Kreider to a four-year contract at a reasonable number, and now he has the time with the Blueshirts to see how good he can be.

*Brian Leetch opens up to the Players Tribune about his NHL experiences playing with the New York Rangers, and all of his favorite experiences from a Hall of Fame career.

*PHT writer Cam Tucker says that Carey Price’s injury from last season is no longer a concern, according to Habs coach Michel Therrien.

*The Chicago Blackhawks will appear a whopping 21 times on national television across the NBC Networks next season.

*Incoming BU goaltender Jake Oettinger is among the names to look out for at the 2017 draft, according to the NHL Central Scouting bureau.

*Travis Yost says that the Carolina Hurricanes are on the rise thanks to winning the shot differential battle. I think it’s because they have an outstanding cast of young defensemen, who are helping them control the puck and win that shot differential battle. But they still need to score more if they’re going to really be a team on the rise, so we’ll see what happens there.

*For something completely different: for those that think I’m a Democrat because I am anti-Trump, here’s a story on the DNC machinery attempting to torpedo Bernie Sanders during the presidential campaigning over the last year.
 

 

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.