Notes: Bruins return to Olympic site in Vancouver

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Notes: Bruins return to Olympic site in Vancouver

By JoeHaggerty
CSNNE.com

VANCOUVER It was just about exactly a year ago that David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara were all in the city of Vancouver participating in whats gone down as one of the greatest -- if not the greatest -- hockey tournaments in Olympic history.

Zdeno Chara captained his Slovakian team to a respectable finish, David Krejci was the best player on his Czech Republic squad and Patrice Bergeron did all kinds of penalty killing and faceoff dirty work a Team Canada that memorably captured Gold with an epic win over Team USA.

The 25-year-old Bergeron couldnt hide the smile on his face when recounting the experience in Vancouver -- a winter party atmosphere that was capped off by capturing the tourney when Bergerons buddy Sidney Crosby potted the game-winner in overtime.

I think about the whole experience in and of itself. Being in the Olympic village and meeting all of the athletes, but obviously the biggest thing was getting the Gold medal, said Bergeron. Standing there in line and getting that medal was something special. Being at home in Canada you could tell the whole country was behind us, and Vancouver was crazy, you know? It was loud, there were people everywhere this city was rocking. It was fun being a part of it. The whole experience was something Ill never forget, but the icing on the cake was that Gold medal.

With the Olympic Gold medal still a memory fresh in Bergerons mind each time he comes to Vancouver, nobody would blame Bergeron if he starts thinking about Saturday nights game vs. the Canucks as a potential Stanley Cup Finals preview if things break right for both hockey clubs.

That would truly get things loud and crazy in Vancouver, wouldnt it?

The Bruins announced season ticket renewal prices for next season, and there will be price increases for many currently holding season ticket packages. While some tickets will stay exactly the same, most season ticket packages will see an increase of 1-9 for each individual ticket next season.

Season ticket holders will be able to renew their Season Tickets for the 2011-2012 NHL Season beginning on Tuesday, and an email was sent out to notify the Bs season ticket base. Its the first time in the last several seasons that many of the season ticket prices rose for a Boston season ticket base thats grown exponentially in the last five years.

This is primarily for season tickets, the information were distributing today. I think there is a different philosophy if youre just a casual fan coming to a couple of games, said Bruins Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing Amy Latimer. And for that we have in place mini-plans and group sales, our family section and some other things for individuals.

For season-long season ticket holders, we still have season tickets that are under 30 dollars per game so we still think thats a very good value in our market and based on the performance of our team.

During this process, there will be a weighted average increase of 4.34 (per seat, per game) over their 2010-2011 Season Ticket Holder pricing. Some renewal prices will remain the same, while other Season Ticket Holders will see an increase in prices ranging from 1-9 (per seat, per game). A range of Season Ticket Holder renewal prices are as follows:

Loge Seat: 65-110 per game

Balcony Seat: 25-69 per game

While Milan Lucic is getting most of the press for his return to the city of Vancouver, Mark Recchi is also enjoying something of a homecoming to British Columbia. Recchi is a native of Kamloops some 3 hours away from Vancouver, and rooted for the Canucks as a youngster growing in B.C.

All three of Recchis brothers will be traveling to the game in Vancouver on Saturday night, and Recchi said hell be purchasing in excess of 20 tickets for the large grouping of the Recchi clan intending to come watch their future Hall of Famer.

Its a beautiful area and Im not far from home. Especially where its an extended stay for a few days rather than an in and out trip, this is going to be fun for me and my family, said Recchi. It was Canucks for me. But we were so busy with four boys growing up that we didnt actually get out to see games with the Canucks in Vancouver very much. It was more in the summertime that we would get down to Seattle, and see some baseball. But its still a lot of fun to come back here.

Shane Hnidy said that he did indeed have surgery on his right shoulder in September, and is attempting to come back from the rotator cuff procedure as he joins up with the Bruins.

Tyler Seguin is clearly in tune with the efforts by BlackBerry to get younger and hipper with their BBM messaging feature, and was sporting a BBMe T-shirt as he left the Pacific Coliseum on Thursday afternoon.

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.