Morning Skate: Thursday, September 29


Morning Skate: Thursday, September 29

By Joe Haggerty Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
Claude Julien knows its going to be a bit of a safe new world in the NHL this season as players, coaches and managers attempt to adjust to the new head shotboarding punishments being handed out by NHL Senior VP of Player Safety Brendan Shanahan.

Shanny isnt pulling any punches, and has handed out over 20 games of suspensions and 500,000 in lost game salary before the NHL preseason is even two weeks old. The biggest and most meaningful was the eight game regular season suspension for Columbus defenseman James Wisniewski that will cost more than a half million dollars in salary as a repeat offender.

The NHL isnt going to turn into a warm and fuzzy game of tiddlywinks anytime soon, but the belief is that setting the tone now will lessen some of the catastrophic injuries suffered by players like Marc Savard over the last few seasons.

Its like anything else. When youre trying to insert new rules youve got to go not overboard but youve really got to go to the extremes to send a message. Right now I really think hes sending a message, said Julien. At least hes bringing awareness that theyre serious about it. As a player youve got to be careful how youre going to be hitting guys with those head shots.

Eventually everybody will get comfortable with it and it will make things better. Thats how you need to put in the new rule. If you put something in and dont go to the extremes to apply then there will always be that gray area. Im supporting what Shanahan is doing right now. Hopefully the players understand that hes not trying to punish them or make a name for himself. Its about trying to clean up that part of our game that needs to be cleaned up.

Thats what everyone is hoping for, and so far everything Shanahan has done is coming up aces for player safety and bettering the game. On to the links:

Columbus defenseman James Wisniewski spoke with Aaron Portzline, and is looking ahead rather than dwelling on the slap down he received from the league this week.

The Vancouver Canucks will be recognizing local heroes that distinguished themselves during the Game 7 riots, and rightfully so given how many good people in Vancouver had nothing to do with the post-game chaos.

The Buffalo News wonders whether the Sabres will see the good or bad Brad Boyes once the season begins. He could be a key component for a loaded Sabres roster heading into an important season.

The USA Today has a photo gallery of the suspensions handed out from Brendan Shanahan thus far, and its an impressive compilation.

The winding road of recovery for Sidney Crosby as detailed in an excellent piece on yesterday afternoon.

Kudos to hockey humorist Down Goes Brown for satirizing the reign of Colin Campbell by imagining what his video breaking down the Matt CookeMarc Savard head shot would have looked like.

For something completely different: Joe Posnanski from Sports Illustrated does a great job of painting last nights baseball picture as one of the greatest regular season nights in Major League history.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Bjork returns to Notre Dame after impressing at Bruins' development camp


Bjork returns to Notre Dame after impressing at Bruins' development camp

Given that he’s a former fifth-round pick, he’s not a local guy with any Boston ties to speak of and that there isn’t a lot of fancy to his game, Anders Bjork might be a bit under the radar as far as Bruins prospects go right now. 

Still, the 19-year-old Notre Dame forward has been steadily rising among the ranks at the NCAA level and Bjork put on a pretty impressive show at B’s development camp right along with more hyped forwards like Danton Heinen and Jake DeBrusk.

Bjork showed great skating speed and a hard-nosed willingness to battle whether the puck was on or off his stick. Even better, he showed a finishing flourish with the puck whenever he was around the net. He was literally blowing by defenders with his speed throughout drills each and every day at camp, and it was hard not to notice. Time after time Bjork buried those chances earned through speed and tenacity and showed the offensive confidence that saw him lead Notre Dame in points (12 goals and 35 points in 35 games) last season as a sophomore.

“You can tell the guys that have been here. Grizzy [Matt Grzelcyk] has a great week and Anders [Bjork] has a great week because they’re just comfortable in what they’re doing,” said Bruins general manager Don Sweeney. “I mean they’ve played at the college hockey level for two, three, four years in some of these cases. They’re very comfortable in their own skin and in what they do.

"In Anders’ case he gained a tremendous amount of confidence in the World Juniors last year and you can tell he’s carrying that over offensively. He also plays in a very tight system at Notre Dame, so the habits away from the puck are really ingrained in him. Now he’s looking to explore his offensive side.”

The good news for the Bruins: Bjork wants to keep improving on the offensive end and pump up the goal-scoring numbers in his third season with the Fighting Irish. If the week spent at Ristuccia Arena is any indication, Bjork should be lighting it up in Hockey East next season after being a second team All-Hockey East selection last season.

“I’m just working on trying to contribute a little more offensively, and really work on my goal-scoring and offensive abilities like that,” said Bjork, who is a bit of a legacy at Notre Dame with his father, mother, siblings and cousin NHL forward Erik Condra all having matriculated in South Bend as well. “Working on the little things in areas like goal-scoring and playing on the wall are what I’ve been focused on. The feedback from the Bruins has been really good, and really helpful.

“Sometimes they’ll check in after a game or after a weekend of games, and give really helpful feedback. Sometimes it’s even different than what my coach said, so it’s nice to get my viewpoint and sometimes they see things that my coach doesn’t notice. Stuff like that has been really helpful, and has helped me develop as a player definitely.”

Bjork said the Bruins have stressed consistency and greater focus in his game from shift-to-shift and game-to-game and that’s something he clearly took to heart in a dominant week at development camp. Given the rising number of college hockey players that are foregoing the teams that drafted them and become free agents following their senior seasons, one would expect that next season will be Bjork’s last at Notre Dame before signing with the Bruins.

The way that the 6-foot, 188-pound Bjork is improving his game each and every season after being projected a couple of years ago as a possible third-line player in the NHL, the Bruins should be looking to bring him into the Black and Gold fold sooner rather than later. 

Tuesday, July 26: Daley’s surprise visit with the Cup


Tuesday, July 26: Daley’s surprise visit with the Cup

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while never getting tired of the Bernie Sanders/Curb Your Enthusiasm parallels.

*PHT writer Cam Tucker has Trevor Daley making a surprise visit with the Stanley Cup and talking more about his emotional moment hoisting the Cup right after the win by the Penguins.

*Don Cherry and Ron MacLean get their just reward with a star on the Canada Walk of Fame after years of great hockey entertainment.

*Adam Larsson has heard the fan reaction in Edmonton after being traded for Taylor Hall, and he’s downplaying it all.

*A lack of a deal for RFA defenseman Jacob Trouba with the Winnipeg Jets doesn’t mean Trouba trouble quite yet. But it sure doesn’t sound like things are all ducky in Winnipeg.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Dan Rosen sits down with Arizona Coyotes GM John Chayka to answer five questions about his new gig, and some big changes for the Desert Dogs.

*Scott Powers has Jimmy Vesey’s camp confirming that the Chicago Blackhawks will be one of the teams on Vesey’s “short list” when he speaks with teams on Aug. 15. Watch out for Stan Bowman and the Blackhawks, who have been out to see Vesey a couple of times in Foxboro over the last month.

*The Washington Capitals continue to build depth among their forward group, and have constructed a strong roster for next season.

*For something completely different: if you love baseball or have ever enjoyed some of the truly great Dan Shaughnessy columns over the years, you will enjoy this column from Shaughnessy about his Hall of Fame induction. Congrats to Dan, a true titan in our industry.