By Joe Haggerty
BOSTON A rare off-day practice at TD Garden for the Bruins Friday afternoon got a little moreinteresting whenbigright wingerNathan Horton decided to wake up the sleepy affair with a little nastiness.Horton started throwing bodies around during 5-on-5 battle drills at the end of the hour-long sessionwith his line facing off against Patrice Bergerons line at practice. Its pretty clear both lines are making their claims about where the bulk of ice time should go once the postseason dance begins. Horton drilled Bergeron in the corner with a punishing hit that was a little above and beyond the intensitynorm at practice, and it caused both Bergeron and Mark Recchi to both hit the ice as a result of the body check'safter-shock.Both Bergeron and Recchi appeareda little stunned at Hortons surprise helping of mean, but it plays right into the snarl the B'sright winger has been playing with over the last month of the regular season. Different players get ready for the postseason in different ways, and this is just another piece of evidence that there wont be too many smiles on the ice from Horton once hisfirst Stanley Cup playoff experiencegets going.Horton later smacked into Dennis Seidenberg in the corner to perhaps show that the first car crash wasnt by accident, and it immediately sparked up the tempo and intensity of a practice sessionbetween games against the Leafs and Thrashers.
David Krejci laughed when asked about the incident, but indicated there was a purpose to it. It is what it is, said Krejci. Just change it up a little bit, I guess. It was nothing personal or anything. The practice was a little sleepy, I guess, and the physical game woke us up a bit and the practice was way better.Lots of people are going through different emotions. As long as when the playoffs come everybody is on the same page and theyre feeling comfortable with themselves thats what everybody wants.Interestingly enough, Horton also approached Bergeron in the dressing room following practice to make sure there were no hard feelings stemming from their collision, and the Bs center certainly doesnt have any issues with a competitive practice ramping up toward the postseason.Its a part of the game, right, said Bergeron. Thats the way its going to be in games. If you bring the intensity and emotion that you had in practice then everything will be fine. It was intense and I was the one on the receiving end, I guess. You need to get the puck out, and thats how you get the puck back, I guess. I was a little surprised. I wasnt expecting it necessarily, but its all good. Zdeno Chara was again missing from the on-ice portion of Bruins practice after the team gathered for the team picture, but Julien said his captain would be in the lineup against the Thrashers on Saturday afternoon. No decision has been made on Shane Hnidy for Saturdays game against the Thrashers, but Hnidy did say hed like to play more than one or two games if possible to get ready for the playoffs.
Joe Haggerty can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs
Patrice Bergeron will have some Bruins company at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas at the end of the month of June.
Loui Eriksson was named a finalist for the Lady Byng Trophy on Saturday afternoon along with Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar and Florida Panthers pivot Aleksander Barkov. It’s the second time in his career that Eriksson will be named a finalist for the award given annually "to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability."
The Swedish winger finished his best season in a Bruins uniform with 30 goals (third on team) and 33 assists for the second most points (63) on the team along with 12 total penalty minutes through 82 games played. Eriksson was excited to once again be a finalist for the award, and to be lumped in with a couple of the NHL’s best players in Kopitar and Barkov.
“It is a great honor to be considered for the Lady Byng Trophy, an award that has been won by some of the best players of all time,” said Eriksson, who will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1 after three seasons in Boston. “There are many deserving candidates so to be named one of the finalists with Anze Kopitar and Aleksander Barkov is very exciting for me. Thank you to my teammates and the coaching staff and I appreciate all those who voted.”
The last Bruin to win the Lady Byng Trophy was Rick Middleton back in 1981-82, and Eriksson is the first B’s finalist for Lady Byng in more than 10 years.
The Boston Bruins basically had a three percent of moving up into the top three of the NHL Draft Lottery on Saturday night, but they didn’t strike it draft rich when it was all said and done up in Toronto.
With Bruins general manager Don Sweeney in attendance representing the Original Six franchise, the Black and Gold were the first team logo selected in the draft lottery meaning they will own the 14th overall pick in the first round for the second straight summer.
Instead the Toronto Maple Leafs will select first overall after putting together the worst record in the NHL last season, and the Winnipeg Jets and Columbus Blue Jackets won the lottery to move up into the second and third slots in the draft.
This marks the sixth time in franchise history that the club has owned the 14th overall selection in the NHL Draft. The Bruins drafted Jake DeBrusk 14th overall last summer in Florida at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, Stephane Quintal 14th overall in the 1987 NHL Entry Draft, Normand Leveille 14th overall in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft, Douglas Halward 14th overall in the 1975 NHL Amateur Draft and Terry O’Reilly 14th overall in the 1971 NHL Amateur Draft.
Based on finishing with the highest point total of all non-playoff teams for the second straight season, the Bruins owned a 1.0% chance of winning the 2016 Draft Lottery overall and a 3.4% chance of securing a top-three pick.
The 2016 NHL Draft will take place on June 24-25 at the First Niagara Center home of the Sabres in Buffalo just a couple of months from now, and the Bruins also own the first round pick of the San Jose Sharks that will end up somewhere in the 20’s based on the fact they’re still currently alive in the playoffs.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while celebrating Greek Easter this weekend by way of my in-laws. Christos Anesti.
*Pro Hockey Talk writer James O’Brien has everything you need to know about tonight’s NHL Draft Lottery.
*Brent Burns is recognized as a Norris Trophy finalist after his best season as a member of the San Jose Sharks. For the record, the top three of Drew Doughty, Burns and Erik Karlsson were also the top three votes on my awards ballot, and exactly in that order.
*Puck Daddy eulogizes the Anaheim Ducks, who lost in the first round and promptly got their head coach fired.
*Speaking of the Ducks and a great man and good coach in Bruce Boudreau, who is now out of work, Anaheim GM Bob Murray is now getting ready to round up the candidates for a new coach.
*Spector has a number of hockey rumors, including what’s expected for offseason changes for the Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks now that they’re on the golf course.
*If the Edmonton Oilers win the draft lottery again, two things will happen: a lot of people will be angry, and Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli will have a lot of options at his disposal.
*Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk bring the Stanley Cup pedigree to an Islanders team that’s voyaging deep into the playoffs.
*For something completely different: Kevin Faulk gets mad props for wearing the Tom Brady jersey to the NFL podium to help announce New England’s draft picks.