Paoletti: It IS Bruins hockey; it just looks a little different

Paoletti: It IS Bruins hockey; it just looks a little different

By Mary Paoletti
CSNNE.com

PRAGUE -- Step off the elevator and onto the drab concrete of the concourse. Breathe deeply.

Popcorn. That classic arena smell.

Huge signs over kiosks say "HOT DOGS" in block letters. Fans in hockey jerseys shift from one foot to the other while they wait in line. It's almost game time. It's almost time to step inside and feel that chill, cast your eyes down on that gorgeous sheet of ice.

For the moment, it's unscarred. In the shine you can see blurred reflections of the Bruins logos that glow on the 360 display halo. You stop and look down to take the scene in. And then your eyes move up.

Someone said that the designers visited most or all of the arenas in the United States to get ideas for the O2. But where they got the idea for rafters like this . . . ?

It should be so daunting. The visual elements for a European NHL premier are as impressive as you would imagine. And the fans dress the part, too.

In a single row sit seven fans wearing seven different hockey sweaters: Capitals, Sharks, Coyotes, Bruins, Ducks, Blues, Lightning. There are German STURM jerseys and Czech JAGR jerseys. These people are radiating excitement. They want to see hockey -- North American hockey.

But for the majority, the passion is for the plays and not the players. A few hundred Phoenix and Boston fans traveled from the U.S. to watch their home teams square off; the other thousands who fill balcony and trickle on down? Locals. Europeans.

This is how you know you aren't in Kansas (or Pittsburgh or Washington) anymore. The crowd applauds when they should -- for big hits and bigger goals -- so you know these people know the sport. There's just no general "Garden noise."

Cheers die as soon as they're born. The attempted "BOSTON! BOSTON! BOSTON!" chant doesn't seem to be taken seriously. Maybe because it sounds weird with a Czech accent. (BOHS-TOHN! BOHS-TOHN!)

And did you ever imagine that the in-game music would throw you off? It's as though the sound crew did a Google search for "American hockey soundtrack" to make the playlist but the search results returned "Stereotypical American warm-up songs" instead.

Scorpions - "Rock you like a hurricane"
Reel 2 Reel - "I like to move it"
Michael Jackson - "Beat it"
Survivor - "Eye of the tiger"
Lucas - "Lucas with the lid off"

At least one of them is comforting: Zombie Nation. Even if you hate it 90 percent of the time, when the Bruins light the lamp and that tune comes on . . . well, you're probably doing this:

You knew things would be different, though. It's just nice that the important things are the same.

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

Saturday, June 25: No stress for No. 16 pick Chychrun

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Saturday, June 25: No stress for No. 16 pick Chychrun

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while there’s a beautiful day going on outside in Buffalo.

*D-man Jakob Chychrun says that he wasn’t stressing dropping into the middle of the first round before the Arizona Coyotes picked him.

*It’s a great piece of video from Friday night’s first round as Tyson Jost’s grandpa became a sobbing, proud man when his grandson was taken early in the first round of the NHL Draft.

*PHT writer Joey Alfieri has Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin believing that Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning crossed the line by publicly expressing interest in P.K. Subban.  

*Evander Kane is being investigated on a couple of harassment claims in the Buffalo area, a tough development during NHL Draft weekend there.

*The Blue Jackets had the biggest surprise of the first round by drafting Pierre-Luc Dubois with the third overall pick in the first round. They must think he’s going to be a center long term.

*The Edmonton Oilers and Minnesota Wild are talking trade for a D-man, but none of the defensemen names moved on Friday night.

*For something completely different: Adam Kaufman gives his take on the draft night for the Celtics.

 

 

Bruins' D-man target Kulikov goes from Panthers to Sabres in trade

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Bruins' D-man target Kulikov goes from Panthers to Sabres in trade

One of the Bruins' defenseman trade targets is off the market. 

Dmitry Kulikov was traded from Florida Panthers to the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday. He was on Boston's list of usual suspects for D-men.

Buffalo traded defenseman Mark Pysyk and the 38th and 89th pick to Florida for the 25-year old Kulikov and pick No. 33.

The Bruins had discussed a Kulikov deal with the Panthers last week. 

 

Bruins plan to discuss re-signing Chris Kelly

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Bruins plan to discuss re-signing Chris Kelly

BUFFALO – The Bruins might not quite be finished with the Chris Kelly era in Boston.

After the gritty, seasoned and defensive-minded forward played only 11 games last season due to a left femur fracture suffered in November, there was some question about his future with his contract up on July 1. The B’s have maintained a consistent interest in potentially bringing back the team leader if Kelly proved he was healthy enough to contribute and of course if the price was right for the 35-year-old.

Bruins GM Don Sweeney confirmed that Kelly now has a full bill of health seven months after the injury and that Sweeney planned to speak with the fourth-liner’s agent in the near future.

“I’m actually going to speak with Chris Kelly’s representative,” said Sweeney. “We had great news that he was physically and medically cleared, so we’re going to have a discussion with them in short order.”

While Kelly’s days of scoring 20 goals or playing big minutes as a third-line center might be behind him, he’s still a respected leader and gritty, tough penalty killer that sets a great example for the young players in the B’s dressing room. If Kelly is willing to sign for short term and something in the neighborhood of $1 million, he could be an acceptable fit as a fourth liner/13th forward on a Bruins team gearing more toward speed and youth with each passing month.

If not, then Kelly is more than likely one of those veteran players who might have to win an NHL job in training camp, given that he’s coming off a pretty major leg injury, and that the league is skewing more toward entry level contract players as fourth line/extra forwards.