Pacioretty still bitter toward Bruins

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Pacioretty still bitter toward Bruins

By Mary Paoletti
CSNNE.com Staff Reporter Follow @mary_paoletti
Not everyone was thrilled when Boston won the Stanley Cup.

In a phone interview with thescore.com, Max Pacioretty talked as much about the Bruins as he did his new two-year deal with the Canadiens. That he was prodded about his rival is no surprise. Not only did Boston oust Montreal from the playoffs in a seven-game quarterfinal, but Pacioretty missed the postseason entirely after a controversial hit from Zdeno Chara in March.

Yesterday he wasn't quick with congratulations.

"I'm going to be dead honest with you, I turned the game off when I knew it was over," Pacioretty said. "I didn't want to see any of the Bruins' celebration. Just knowing that that team won the Cup was definitely hard because I know we were so close to beating them. And maybe if we had had a full roster we would have beaten them."

He continued the candor when asked about Chara and the hit that ended his season.

Pacioretty and the Chara made contact in a March 8 game in Montreal. The two were chasing a puck along the boards with 15.8 seconds left in the second period. Chara's hit sent Pacioretty face-first into the turnbuckle at the end of Boston's bench. The Canadiens forward collapsed and was eventually put into a neck brace and wheeled off the ice on a stretcher. Chara received a game misconduct but no supplemental discipline from the league.

Montreal and its fans were outraged. Pacioretty, in reflection of Chara's 'escape' from consequence to continue on to the Cup, is still bitter.

"It was definitely frustrating," he said. "The league's gotta stay consistent with headshots like this. It might not be the same type of headshot as everyone else's experience through them, but everyone who plays hockey knows that that's an illegal play. I mean, Chara got kicked out of the game and it ended up with me having a broken neck and out for the season with a concussion as well. I definitely would have liked to see some further punishment. That didn't happen.

"I hope down the road that they can clean up the game a bit and keep stuff like that out of it. Players don't want to see it and fans don't want to see it either. There's really no place for it. "

Pacioretty was then reminded how, after he Tweeted about feeling well enough to see a movie just days later, the Bruins' Mark Recchi -- referred to sarcastically as "Dr. Recchi" -- claimed the concussion was embellished to draw a suspension of Chara. Recchi later admitted his aim was to take the heat off his captain, but the comment was viewed as abhorrent to those north of the border. Especially in light of Nathan Horton's Game 3 concussion during the Stanley Cup finals.

Did Pacioretty catch the injured Horton smiling and waving a rally towel at TD Garden's Game 6?

"Yeah. I did notice that," he said. "Someone told me Horton might have done warmups, too. I'm not sure about that, that's just what I heard. That definitely shows what type of fans the Boston Bruins fans are because . . . I try not to look at it, but through Twitter I still get some pretty nasty stuff regarding embellishing injury. It's sad that people think that way, especially after it happens to someone on their own team."

Though there's no love lost for Boston's fans, Pacioretty hopes the best for Horton.

"Concussions are a weird thing . . . I think mine was similar to the case of Horton's, where we were both unconscious for a long period of time but came back a couple days later and had no symptoms since. I hope the same for him and I would never say he embellished his injury at all. I know exactly what he's going through and I hope a lot of fans out there are trying to realize the same thing now."

You can listen to the Boston-focused part of the interview here.

Mary Paoletti can be reached at mpaoletti@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Mary on Twitter at http:twitter.comMary_Paoletti

Haggerty: Bruins putting a lot of their hopes in one roster fix

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Haggerty: Bruins putting a lot of their hopes in one roster fix

The improvement plan has become as clear as it’s going to be for the Bruins this offseason.

With Bruins general manager Don Sweeney locking up Kevan Miller to a four-year, $10 million deal this week and vowing to sign Torey Krug as well, the Bruins defensemen corps is going to look awfully similar to last season’s misbegotten group.

Almost identical, it would seem.

Sure, Sweeney said on Wednesday that the Bruins are actively seeking out “a transitional defenseman” that’s presumably a little better than 35-year-old journeyman John-Michael Liles, and can be paired with Zdeno Chara as a top duo for next season. It’s the No. 1 priority on the Bruins offseason shopping list just as it was last season once they shipped Dougie Hamilton to Calgary for draft picks and were instead saddled with a fearsome, crippling black hole at the top of their organizational D-man charts.

The trade market has been set to a degree by the Erik Gudbranson trade from the Florida Panthers to the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday night with Jim Benning giving up a Grade-A center prospect in Jared McCann, a second-round pick and a fourth-round pick in exchange for the 24-year-old top-four defenseman. Per a hockey source with knowledge of the situation, the Bruins were not involved in any talks for the towering Gudbranso. It sounded like the Panthers and Canucks were pretty locked in with each other on making a deal.

That’s an unfortunate product of Boston not being able to match up with the available center prospect that might have interested Florida and having dealt some of those 2016 draft picks on fruitless deadline rental deals for Lee Stempniak and Liles.

So, how difficult will it be to land Kevin Shattenkirk, or Jacob Trouba, or Sami Vatanen, or Tyson Barrie, or any other mobile blueliner able to play big minutes, move pucks and survive against the other team’s best offensive players while being sheltered defensively by Zdeno Chara?

“Time will tell on that one, you know? Either through free agency or through acquisition, it’s a matter of finding a trading partner or finding a match in the marketplace. We’re going to be aggressive,” said Sweeney. “We certainly have identified, we had our pro meetings … I’m not going to give my whole plan out to you today. But we have areas that we want to address in the depth of our organization more likely in the forward position, either on the right wing or the center, or again on the backend. We’re exploring a bunch of different things trade-wise. It’s difficult in this league, but I think that we’re in the position with two first-round picks to be either selecting really good players or to be in the marketplace.”

The Bruins had better hope it’s a miracle-working puck-mover that they bring to Boston because otherwise they are on course for bringing back the same old sorry usual suspects from last season. Miller and Adam McQuaid will be taking up a combined $5.25 million on the salary cap, Krug will have a salary in the range of $5 million per season after watching the B’s largesse in the Miller deal and both Chara and Seidenberg will trudge on as proud, aging warriors well on the back end of their careers after outstanding service in Boston.

That means many defenders, including Joe Morrow and Colin Miller, return. Defense was the clear weakness on the team, which finished 19th in the NHL after being in the bottom third of the league pretty much all season. It was inarguably the worst defensive group of Claude Julien’s 10-year tenure with the Bruins and had major difficulties in all areas ranging from tape-to-tape passes, to coverage breakdowns and good, old-fashioned lost battles in all of the danger areas.

So, with the plan to add one high-caliber “transitional defenseman” already laid out, it’s clear the B’s belief is that will be enough to substantially improve things on the ice.

At least that’s the theory before the bullets start flying next season and Sweeney gave a few perfunctory lines about the team improving in every area.  

“This is a results-oriented business, so we have to get better in areas. We have to improve our roster. I’ve said all along that we need to continue to improve our roster. We’ll be in the marketplace in every different way, shape, or form to try and acquire players that will continue to help us do so,” said Sweeney. “Talking with Claude and going over the time he spent with Butch [Cassidy], through my dealings with Butch, and realizing the development of a lot of the players that have been a part of our roster and success is the transition game and stuff that Butch has brought to the table.

“[It’s] how he saw the game, how he expects players to play and move pucks and work on it every day, is an area that I think he’s going to be an addition to our [coaching] staff and how he sees the game. I think I identified that if Butch was playing in this day and age now, he’d be a very welcome addition to our roster.”

So that’s the plan, folks. The big move of the summer is getting a defenseman they badly need, filling in a few roster spots, signing a good deal of their own players and then hoping for a better result next time around.

Isn’t there some kind of line about insanity and expecting different results with the same cast of characters year in and year out? 

 

Thursday, May 26: Will going with Fleury haunt Penguins?

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Thursday, May 26: Will going with Fleury haunt Penguins?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while still laughing at the #TeamFrich movement.

*Dave Lozo says that the decision by Mike Sullivan to play Marc-Andre Fleury could still come back to haunt the Pittsburgh Penguins.

*Miracle on Ice goaltender Jim Craig marvels at the evolution of USA Hockey from the Miracle days to the current system that just keeps on producing top talent.

*Mike from Woburn hates the Kevan Miller contract almost as much as I do.

*Speaking of the Kevin Miller deal, here’s a scenario where the big overpay for Miller might help them land another talented young player.

*In other hockey news, the Vancouver Canucks landed legitimate top-4 defenseman Erik Gudbranson while the ink was drying on the Kevan Miller contract.

*Chris Phillips is expected to announce his retirement from the Ottawa Senators after a long career in Ottawa as a defensive warrior.

*PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough says some tough decisions await the St. Louis Blues after dropping the conference finals to the San Jose Sharks.

*The San Jose media has decreed that it was worth spending a first-round pick for Martin Jones after he helped carry them to the Cup Final. For the Bruins it means that their first round pick will be No. 29 or No. 30 in the first round, so whoop-de-do for that.

*For something completely different: 21 scientists say that Tom Brady is right and the NFL is wrong about Deflategate.