Rask, Horton at full-strength heading into season

191545.jpg

Rask, Horton at full-strength heading into season

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON -- The Bruins enjoyed rare good health en route to their Stanley Cup victory last spring, and it appears that has carried over through the summer.

Tuukka Rask looks to be at full strength following surgery on the meniscus in his left knee after the playoffs, and Nathan Horton has experienced zero setbacks or symptoms from his Cup Finals concussion. Both players went through the Fridays afternoon of physicals and fitness testing, and should be at full strength when training camp practice sessions begin this weekend.

The Bruins coaching staff will pull back on the reins if either Rasks knee or Hortons noggin become an issue, but that doesnt appear to be the case at all.

Right now Rask is ready to go and that was the whole key behind it, said Claude Julien. Now if he has a little bit of stiffness which is normal when you have surgery well be able to tell more once we start grinding through camp. There are no limitations for Tuukka and were going to treat him like hes 100 percent.

What about Horton?

As we speak right now everything seems like its a go, said Julien. We havent seen any red flags and we dont expect to see any.

Thats a good sign for Bostons outlook in 2011-12, and its something that could continue to pay dividends after it was a sizable factor in the Bs run toward the Cup. Andrew Ference played up to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals as a member of the Calgary Flames and had an entire season to rest up afterward as the NHL lockout washed away the ensuing season. But Ference said that team was beaten up physically by the end of their attempted Cup run, and would have been hard-pressed to repeat their deep playoff run.

Ference sees a completely different scenario playing out with a Bs team thats missing Marc Savard and nobody else.

The Flames were really beat up. Its not even close if you compare that team to last years Bruins team, said Ference. Our health last year through the playoffs was one of the reasons that we won. Guys were able to stay fresh and the ice time was fairly balanced.

Calgary was like a hospital ward with guys out all over the place. I cant even really draw on that year at all. You saw guys coming into our camps the last couple of years with a long list of surgeries and guys rehabbing all summer with long term injuries. Those summers are hard because its 6-8 weeks with surgeries before you even start feeling close to normal. To not have any of that to deal with means a lot of guys including me feel much better about things coming into camp.

It remains to be seen how long the good health run will last for the Black and Gold, but its something theyre going to enjoy and utilize rather than think about.

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

Pastrnak, Marchand and Vatrano represent Bruins at World Championship

bruins-pastrnak-marchand-050416.jpg

Pastrnak, Marchand and Vatrano represent Bruins at World Championship

The Bruins have three players headed to the IIHF Hockey World Championship, which begin this weekend in Russia.

Brad Marchand was invited to play for Team Canada early on in the process, coming off his 37-goal season for the Bruins. Last week the Czech Republic added 19-year-old right wing David Pastrnak to their squad with plans to skate on a line with the Montreal Canadiens' Tomas Plekanec.

And Frank Vatrano -- who scored a total of 44 goals between Boston and Providence in this, his first full professional season -- was added to the Team USA roster this week. Vatrano, 22, confirmed it on his own Twitter account on Tuesday night prior to hopping on a flight bound for Russia:

Torey Krug played for Team USA last season, but was unavailable this time around after undergoing right shoulder surgery just a couple of weeks ago that will have him sidelined until late October. 

Vatrano is one of four Massachusetts players on this year's version of Team USA. The others are Canadiens goaltender Mike Condon, Hurricanes defenseman Noah Hanifin and Devils D-man David Warsofsky.

Both Marchand and Pastrnak previously suited up for their countries in the World Junior championships, and Vatrano played in the U.S. National Team Development Program prior to playing college hockey at the University of Massachusetts. Vatrano also previously represented the U.S. at the 2012 IIHF Under-18 Men's World Championship in Brno and Znojmo, Czech Republic, where he helped Team USA claim the gold medal.

The IIHF Men's World Championships will start Friday and run until May 22 in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia. It features featuring many of the NHL players that aren’t participating in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Haggerty: Anticipate ‘great deal of player movement’

tr_bruins050416_1280x720_679245379882.jpg

Haggerty: Anticipate ‘great deal of player movement’

Ahead of the expansion draft, teams may look to get something in return for players they’d otherwise lose for nothing.

May 4, 2016: If expansion hits, which Pens goalie is protected?

cp-morning-skate.jpg

May 4, 2016: If expansion hits, which Pens goalie is protected?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while giving a warm May the Fourth Be With You to everybody out there.

*Mike Francesa has declared sports radio war on former New York Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro, and it’s getting ugly folks.

 

*A humbled Bruce Boudreau, who really didn’t need to be humbled given what a nice man he is, will have a long line of NHL suitors interested in his services.

 

*The Northeastern University hockey team has gone to some extremes with their pregame wrestling matches.

 

*Pro Hockey Talk asks the question: if there’s an expansion draft, which goaltender should the Penguins protect given what’s going on in their playoff series?

 

*A really nice gesture within the PHT morning skate with Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper going to bat for a Lightning beat reporter that finds himself out of a job.

 

*Max Domi had a very memorable rookie season even if it didn’t end with any serious consideration for the Calder Trophy.

 

*The Nashville Predators got a little better this week with the decision to kick Mike Ribeiro up into the press box.

 

*For something completely different: these Han Solo uniform jerseys for the Durham Bulls’ Star Wars Night are the freakin’ truth.