Morning Skate: Wednesday, October 5

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Morning Skate: Wednesday, October 5

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs

Here are some always interesting odds from the fun-loving gambling folks at bodog.com about the NHL Awards with some interesting trends when it comes to Bruins players.

First of all Alex Ovechkin is the 4-to-1 favorite to win the Hart Trophy, and there isnt a single Bruins player listed among the favorites to nab the NHLs version of the MVP trophy. Any goaltender is listed at 112 odds and any defensemen sits at 30-to-1 odds to win the trophy.

Most interesting of all: Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller is a 5-to-1 favorite to win the Vezina Trophy for the second time in three years, and oust Tim Thomas as the best goaltender in the land. It appears that Vegas is just as in love with the Sabres as the rest of the NHL as the trendy pick to emerge out of the Eastern Conference this season with new ownership and suddenly deep pockets. Thomas, by the way, is 7-to-1 odds to repeat as the Vezina Trophy champ for two years in a row.

Zdeno Chara is also the runner up favorite to win the Norris Trophy at 9-to-2 odds with Nashville Predators defensemen Shea Weber listed as the favorite to win best defensemen at 4-to-1 odds. Interestingly Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban is listed among the favorites at 20-to-1 odds.

David Krejci was the only Bruins player to be mentioned among the favorites for the Art Ross Trophy, and is 55-to-1 odds to lead the entire NHL in points this season.

Here is the full list courtesy of bodog.com with the morning links listed afterward:

Who will win the Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHLs Most Valuable Player?
Alexander Ovechkin (WAS) 41
Steven Stamkos (TB) 112
Sidney Crosby (PIT) 132
Daniel Sedin (VAN) 121
Henrik Sedin (VAN) 141
Pavel Datsyuk (DET) 141
Anze Kopitar (LAK) 181
Jonathan Toews (CHI) 181
Corey Perry (ANA) 251
Martin St. Louis (TB) 251
Evgeni Malkin (PIT) 301
Jarome Iginla (CAL) 301
Brad Richards (NYR) 301
Joe Thornton (SJ) 401
Any Other Forward 115
Any Goaltender 112
Any Defenseman 301

Who will win the Vezina Trophy for being the NHLs top Goaltender?
Ryan Miller (BUF) 51
Tim Thomas (BOS) 71
Roberto Luongo (VAN) 152
Henrik Lundqvist (NYR) 81
Carey Price (MTL) 91
Marc-Andre Fleury (PIT) 101
Pekka Rinne (NAS) 101
Martin Brodeur (NJ) 101
Ilya Bryzgalov (PHI) 121
Miikka Kiprusoff (CAL) 141
Jaroslav Halak (STL) 161
Cam Ward (CAR) 161
Antti Niemi (SJ) 161
Tomas Vokoun (WAS) 181
Jonathan Quick (LAK) 201
Jonas Hiller (ANA) 251
Jimmy Howard (DET) 331
Corey Crawford (CHI) 401
James Reimer (TOR) 401
Semyon Varlamov (COL) 401
Craig Anderson (OTT) 501
Field (Any Other Player) 301

Who will win the James Norris Trophy as the NHLs best defenseman?
Shea Weber (NAS) 41
Zdeno Chara (BOS) 92
Nicklas Lidstrom (DET) 132
Mike Green (WAS) 71
Drew Doughty (LAK) 101
Duncan Keith (CHI) 101
Kris Letang (PIT) 121
Keith Yandle (PHO) 121
Christian Ehrhoff (BUF) 151
Dan Boyle (SJ) 151
P.K. Subban (MTL) 201
Lubomir Visnovsky (ANA) 201
Dustin Byfuglien (WIN) 221
Dion Phaneuf (TOR) 251
Andrei Markov (MTL) 251
Chris Pronger (PHI) 301
Mark Streit (NYI) 351
Tobias Enstrom (WIN) 351
Field (Any Other Player) 91

Who will win the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHLs Rookie of the Year?
Brayden Schenn (PHI) 31
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (EDM) 72
Gabriel Landeskog (COL) 112
Nino Niederreiter (NYI) 71
Adam Larsson (NJ) 81
Tim Erixon (NYR) 101
Erik Gudbranson (FLA) 101
Jared Cowen (OTT) 101
Ryan Johansen (CBJ) 151
Alexei Yemelin (MTL) 151
Field (Any Other Player) 31

Who will win the Art Ross Trophy as the NHLs points leader?
Alexander Ovechkin WAS) 72
Steven Stamkos (TB) 72
Daniel Sedin (VAN) 112
Martin St. Louis (TB) 172
Henrik Sedin (VAN) 141
Pavel Datsyuk (DET) 161
Corey Perry (ANA) 181
Ryan Getzlaf (ANA) 181
Sidney Crosby (PIT) 181
Anze Kopitar (LAK) 251
Evgeni Malkin (PIT) 301
Nicklas Backstrom (WAS) 301
Henrik Zetterberg (DET) 301
Jonathan Toews (CHI) 301
Joe Thornton (SJ) 351
John Tavares (NYI) 401
Patrick Kane (CHI) 401
Jarome Iginla (CAL) 401
Bobby Ryan (ANA) 401
Zach Parise (NJ) 401
Matt Duchene (COL) 451
Brad Richards (NYR) 451
Eric Staal (CAR) 451
Rick Nash (CBJ) 451
David Krejci (BOS) 551
Derek Roy (BUF) 551
Jeff Carter (CBJ) 851
Ilya Kovalchuk (NJ) 851
Dany Heatley (MIN) 1001
Jaromir Jagr (PHI) 1001
Field (Any Other Player) 251

Who will win the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy Trophy as the NHLs Top Goal Scorer leader?
Steven Stamkos (TB) 72
Alexander Ovechkin (WAS) 41
Corey Perry (ANA) 92
Evgeni Malkin (PIT) 61
Sidney Crosby (PIT) 132
Jeff Carter (CBJ) 101
Rick Nash (CBJ) 151
Daniel Sedin (VAN) 151
Zach Parise (NJ) 181
Ilya Kovalchuk (NJ) 201
Bobby Ryan (ANA) 251
Jonathan Toews (CHI) 251
Jarome Iginla (CAL) 251
Patrick Marleau (SJ) 301
Henrik Zetterberg (DET) 301
John Tavares (NYI) 351
Jeff Skinner (CAR) 351
Field (Any Other Player) 121

National Post columnist Bruce Arthur examines the tough summer endured by the NHL, and it includes a photo of Zdeno Chara fighting back his emotions at the funeral for his friend Pavol Demitra. It was such a tragic off-season for so many.

The Pro Hockey Talk boys take a look at a Seattle lawmaker thats looking to lure an NHL team to their city with a new arena. Seattle is obviously in close proximity to Vancouver, and one has to wonder if the area could support two NHL teams with the Supersonics long gone.

An interesting read at Justin Bournes new series of blogs at the Score radio station in Toronto.

The heat is getting turned up on the Maple Leafs brass this season, and its no surprise given the time theyve had to build up a franchise.

NBC and Versus guy Jeremy Roenick talks NHL preview among other things with Yahoo Sports Radio.

Brad Richards is bringing a new kind of flavor to the New York Rangers, and the New York Post has the story.

Evgeni Malkin continues to show signs that this could be a breakout year for him in Pittsburgh.

FOH (Friend of Haggs) Sarah Baicker of CSNPhilly.com notes the pressure on Ilya Bryzgalov to start the season strongly with the Philadelphia Flyers after last years goaltending breakdown.

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

Krug out 6 months, Krejci 5 months after surgery

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Krug out 6 months, Krejci 5 months after surgery

It sounds like the Bruins will be without puck-moving defenseman Torey Krug at the very outset of next season.

Krug (right shoulder), Matt Beleskey (left hand) and David Krejci (left hip) all underwent successful surgeries in mid-to-late April for injuries sustained over the wear and tear of NHL duty last season and both Krug and Krejci are now facing recovery times on the long end of things. 

Krejci’s rehab and recovery is initially set for five months after undergoing surgery with renowned hip surgeon Dr. Bryan Kelly on April 25, but the hope is that the 30-year-old playmaking center will be ready for the start of the regular season.

It’s the same rough timetable Krejci faced following hip surgery on his right side after the 2008-09 season and, seven years ago, the center was able to start the season on time.

Krug is up for what’s expected to be a long-term new contract after July 1, and will be out six months after undergoing shoulder surgery with Bruins team doctor Peter Asnis on April 21. That means there’s a good chance the 5-foot-8, 180-pound Krug will miss the preseason and be out the first few weeks of the preseason at the very least. 

Shoulder injuries are also always a bit of a concern for NHL defensemen considering all of the pounding those players absorb on a nightly basis, and that goes doubly so for a smaller blueliner (5-9, 186) such as Krug.

Any absence at all is tough news for the B’s considering Krug was second on the Bruins in ice time (21:37) among defensemen this season, and led all Bruins blueliners with 44 points last season in a challenging year for a clearly undermanned D-corps.

Beleskey is expected to undergo a six-week rehab after his April 14 surgery with Dr. Matthew Leibman at Newton-Wellesley Hospital.  

Tuesday, May 3: Stamkos, Subban as 10-year-old teammates

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Tuesday, May 3: Stamkos, Subban as 10-year-old teammates

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while starting to actually feel badly for the Republican Party.

*Lukas Head revisits an old photo taken with Steven Stamkos and PK Subban when all three were youth hockey players together.

*A disappointed Brooks Orpik gets emotional when discussing his playoff suspension. Maybe he should stop lining up guys for predatory hits if he doesn’t want to be suspended. His track record, and unwillingness to answer the bell for his actions, is well-chronicled.

*Barry Trotz hints that the Pittsburgh Penguins received preferential treatment in the aforementioned Brooks Orpik suspension.

*A heartwarming story of the San Jose Sharks saving the black cat that somehow jumped on the ice at the Shark Tank prior to Game 1 of their playoff series.

*Congratulations to the inspirational Travis Roy, who was inducted into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame last weekend.

*Bob Hartley is fired by the Calgary Flames. Could it be that it was done to make room for Bruce Boudreau, asks Puck Daddy?

*Former Bruins enforcer PJ Stock did some kind of FaceTime television hit with Rogers Sportsnet to make some playoff predictions.

*For something completely different: Jerry Thornton has a number of local Boston businesses banning Roger Goodell from their premises.

 

 

Youth needs to be served

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Youth needs to be served

This is the second in a five-part series about the breakdowns that doomed the team this season, and what must change for the Black and Gold to once again get moving in the right direction. 

In the days after the Bruins' regular-season demise, it was striking to hear Don Sweeney speak about the development path of David Pastrnak.

The Bruins general manager paid the second-year forward perfunctory compliments about the prodigious skill set that made him a first-round draft choice. Pastrnak -- in spite of getting almost no power-play time, even though he's one of the most gifted offensive players on the roster -- scored five more goals and roughly the same number of points in about the same number of games as he did in his rookie year, despite suffering a fractured foot in the first month and then competing in the World Junior tourney around the holidays. He also gained steam at the end of the season, scoring goals in three of the final four games while the rest of his teammates struggled.

But Pastrnak, one of the youngest players in the NHL at age 19, struggled with puck management and turnovers, and had some rough nights as a teenager making his way in a rough-and-tumble man’s league. He's still on the learning curve, something Sweeney readily acknowledges.

“The impatience about putting players [at the NHL level] before they’re ready, it shows up at times,” said Sweeney, who invoked Pastrnak’s name while answering a question about the potential NHL readiness of promising young B's prospect Danton Heinen. “It absolutely does. We’re talking about David Pastrnak, who leads the league in giveaways per 60 minutes. He’s a tremendous talent and a tremendous young man with tremendous character, and he wants to get better and needs to get stronger.

“At times it’s unfair to [coach Claude Julien] that people will be like ‘Ah, there’s Pastrnak not out there on the ice in this situation.’ But [Julien's] the same guy that put [Pastrnak] out there (in a crucial late-season game against the Red Wings with the Bruins leading 5-1) and he makes a bad mistake and they score . . .

"That’s a bit of give-and-take that everybody has to understand with our younger players. You have to hope that they’re ready for it. [We've] done it properly (in the past) . . . [Brad Marchand] started on the fourth line and worked his way up.

"David has been up and down a little bit. That’s the piece where we need to have some depth, and we’re in a transition to get there.”

Sweeney's mention of Marchand illustrates the Bruins' problem. When Marchand broke in, the Bruins were a talented Stanley Cup contender. His first full season was 2010-11, the year Boston won the Cup. The B's could afford to slowly develop him. letting him get his feet wet in low-pressure situations before asking more of him.

That's not the case today. The Bruins no longer have that kind of quality roster depth, and won't anytime soon unless a lot of these prospects come through. That means young players like Pastrnak are forced into bigger roles they might not be ready for.

And that strikes right at the heart of Boston’s development missteps from last season.  

Some of it was organizational. It seemed pretty clear by the end of the season that Zach Trotman, Joe Morrow and Brett Connolly aren’t going to develop into core players in Boston. That's just the way it is in a results-oriented business like the NHL. It doesn’t necessarily reflect poorly on the coaching staff’s work, as great coaching can’t magically turn a borderline NHL player into something he’s not.

But while the coaches handled Pastrnak well, they failed at times with Frank Vatrano and Colin Miller. Both showed flashes of NHL ability throughout the season, but spoke of losing their confidence based on their erratic usage patterns. The two of them needed stints in the American Hockey League to get their respective grooves back.

In particular, the electric Vatrano should have been back up with the B's weeks sooner than he was. The Bruins were struggling to score goals and he was rifling them home at a goal-per-game pace in Providence. As soon as he returned to Boston, he posted four points in his five games.

With Julien returning and the Bruins intent on introducing more young talent to the lineup, the transition into the NHL needs to be streamlined.

Given how much of a priority it is for Sweeney, there's no reason to think the process won't be improved.

The hope is that the next crop of B’s prospects will yield results. First-round picks from other organizations, like Morrow and Connolly, mostly fizzled last season, but Boston’s own crop of young players -- Heinen, Brandon Carlo, Austin Czarnik, Noel Acciari -- should augment the contributions of newcomers like Vatrano and Miller. And while most of last year's first-round selections (Jakub Zboril, Jake DeBrusk and Zachary Senyshyn) are probably still more than a year away, the feeling is there'll be a promising return from that batch of draftees. In addition, the Bruins have another two first-round picks this year.

Upper management makes the point that the present situation began developing in the final years of Peter Chiarelli's watch. With singular exceptions like Marchand the team was unable to develop its own talent, which led to overpaying veterans to stay competitive, which led to severe salary-cap issues, which led to the decay of the franchise we've witnessed over the last two seasons. 

"I think for a period of time we stopped being in an invest mode (and instead ran) with the guys we had," said owner Jeremy Jacobs. "You pay a price in this game if you’re not constantly investing in the next generation.”

Now, however, it's time to stop the finger-pointing and begin the rebuild in earnest. To their credit, the Bruins say they're doing just that.

“I think we did take a step back this year for that very purpose,” said Jacobs. 

Investing in youth is simply the way of the salary-cap world, for the Bruins and everybody else in the NHL. It will have to mean patience and longer leashes for young players under Julien.

“The younger players that we’ve drafted and recently signed and are going to develop are a big part of [the future], as long as they’re good enough players," said Sweeney. "We expect them to be. But when . . . you put them in your lineup is important . . . 

"This ownership is very, very supportive of what we need to do. It’s just, ‘Get it done.’ So that’s why the chair is warm [for everybody].”

While Julien clearly did play a role in the emergence of Marchand, David Krejci and Milan Lucic as NHL stars, developing young players has never been one of his coaching strengths. He certainly bears some responsibility for elite young talents like Phil Kessel, Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton not lasting in Boston. The warmth of his chair will depend largely on the development of the new crop of youngsters. That will be doubly so if Providence Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy ends up getting a job as an assistant in Boston next season, and gets a chance to work with the young players he’s helped develop at the AHL level.

The bottom line is this for the Bruins: They need the best draft-and-development season they’ve had in quite a while if things are going to significantly change for the better on Causeway Street.