Haggerty: 15 thoughts from Bruins-Capitals

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Haggerty: 15 thoughts from Bruins-Capitals

WASHINGTON, D.C. Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Bruins leading the Capitals by a 1-0 score after the first 20 minutes at the Verizon Center.

1)David Krejci had a couple of close scoring calls including a Milan Lucic dish that left him all alone in front for a backhanded bid, but had his period end early when he blocked a shot that appeared to cause him some discomfort. Krejci took a couple more shifts, but then eventually disappeared from the bench with Chris Kelly taking his shifts between Lucic and Rich Peverley.

2)Speaking of Rich Peverley, nice job using the wood in bowling parlance in front of the net for Bostons only goal. Peverley got a hold of the puck after a big Milan Lucic fore-check popped it loose, and flipped it toward the front of the net where Lucic was actually headed. Instead the puck bounced off the stick of a seated Karl Azner swinging it toward the net. The puck bounced right off the stick and past Tomas Vokoun for games only score.

3) Sleepy first half of the first period, but a few big hits towards the end with Zdeno Chara lowering the boom on Cody Eakin during one of the last shifts closing out the period.

4)A tip of the cap to Dennis Wideman, who crossed the 500 games played barrier with the Washington Capitals this week and was recognized by the home crowd. Hes one of the top five scoring defensemen in the NHL this season and has really found a home in DC.

5) Jay Beagle and Cody Eakin are undefeated in six face-offs through the first period and it looks like Gregory Campbell, Chris Kelly and David Krejci needed to step up their draw game.

WASHINGTON, D.C. Here are five thoughts from the second period with the Bruins and Capitals tied at a 3-3 score after the first 40 minutes of action at the Verizon Center.

1)Big garbage man rebound goal to tie things up for Brad Marchand jamming in front of the net during a power play at the end of the period. Hes the smallest guy on the ice, but hes never afraid to go to those danger areas, and appears to be enjoying his place back on the power play with Nathan Hortons injury. I wonder if we should start calling Marchand the Little Mound of Rebound? Would Obama approve of that one?

2)In a night of varying compete levels, Daniel Paille, Rich Peverley and Dennis Seidenberg all have four shots on net. Theyve all brought their A game tonight with Peverley and Seidenberg factoring into goals.

3) Some sloppy turnovers by Zdeno Chara and Johnny Boychuk tonight in their own zone, and extending into the neutral zone. Boychuks giveaway at the blue line led to Mathieu Perreaults second goal of the second period on a play Tuukka Rask didnt have a chance at.

4) Highlight play by Tyler Seguin, who snapped a stick and took the hand-off of a new stick from Bruins assistant equipment manager Matt Falconer before jumping into the play to roof a backhander off a Capitals turnover by John Carlson. Just a simple play showing off Seguins game-changing explosiveness.

5)Looks like the Capitals are doing just fine without Alex Ovechkin, arent they?

WASHINGTON, D.C. Here are five thoughts from the third period with the Bruins falling to the Capitals by a 4-3 score after 60 minutes of action at the Verizon Center.

1)Only the second time Tuukka Rask has given up four goals this season. Give the Capitals credit for coming storming back in the final 20 minutes.

2)The Bruins, on the other hand, looked sluggish and tired out of the gate in the final 20 minutes and perhaps had their minds on All-Star break vacations a period too early tonight.

3)Way too difficult to prove the Tim Thomas flap had any effect on the Bruins tonight, so Im not even going there.

4)Mathieu Perreault had 15 career goals headed into tonights game and leaves with a hat trick against the Bruins. Second straight game the Bs have allowed a hat trick to an opponent, but at least all three of Perreaults goals were demonstrably different.

5)Way too many defensemen turnovers and mistakes. That seems to be the surest sign that the Bs arent really invested into a game like they can be.

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Is trading for Paul George worth the risk?

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Is trading for Paul George worth the risk?

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0:41 - Michael Holley, Kayce Smith and Tom Giles recap their thoughts on drafting Jayson Tatum and trade rumors involving the Celtics.

6:21 - Ian Thomsen joins BST to discuss if it would be worth trading for Paul George as a one-year rental and if there would be a chance he could still around long-term if traded to Boston.

11:13 - Evan Drellich joins BST to talk about Rick Porcello’s outing, the Red Sox offense coming to life, and Doug Fister being claimed by the Red Sox. 

15:10 - Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakely look back at the Celtics/Nets trade, what the assets have turned into, and if Danny Ainge has done a good job turning those assets into players. 

Haggerty: Bruins playing it pretty safe at the NHL Draft

Haggerty: Bruins playing it pretty safe at the NHL Draft

CHICAGO – As opening nights go at the NHL Draft, Friday night was a bit of a ho-hum affair for the Boston Bruins at the United Center home of the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Bruins went the safe route by drafting a smooth, defensive-minded defenseman with the 18th overall pick when they selected Finnish product Urho Vaakenainen, and in doing so left more dynamic forwards like Kristian Vesalainen and Kailer Yamamoto still on the draft board for other teams to claim as their own. It was a bit of a curious choice given how many defensemen the Bruins already have in the prospect pipeline, but the lack of strength in the draft class seemed to lead teams to carve their own paths looking for players.

MORE: Bruins select defenseman Urho Vaakanainen with No. 18 pick

The 6-foot-1, 188-pounder clearly has miles to go offensively despite his smooth skating and solid passing skills, but there’s also a consideration that the teenager has been playing in the men’s league in Finland for the last couple of seasons. It makes things a little more difficult to project for the Finn D-man, but the Bruins believe there is some upside to his offensive game given the skills, the hockey IQ and the considerable confidence that the player has in his own game.

“His gap control and skating ability are really good. He’s obviously played in the Finnish Elite League at a very young age for one and a half years now and he’s played on the big stage at the world juniors. We feel like there’s a lot of upside for a 200-foot player that gets back on pucks, and then can transition them back out. Being able to cover ice is an important part of the game, and it continues to evolve in that direction,” said Bruins GM Don Sweeney, who indicated Vaakenainen will play in North America in 2018-19 after fulfilling his contractual obligations in Finland. “We tracked what he did on offense at the junior league level prior to him jumping to the elite league, and it lines up pretty well with other elite players that made the jump to that level.

“It’s a valid question and whether he gets put into those [offensive] situations this year is what we’re excited about with his [Finnish] team moving forward.”

While Vaakenainen sounded surprised the Bruins selected him after only a single meeting at the NHL scouting combine, Sweeney said that Boston’s head scout in Finland has enough history with the family to vouch for the kid’s makeup.

So while it’s far from a sexy pick and the Bruins could have tried to hit a home run with an 18th overall selection in a mediocre draft, the B’s will also get some time before anybody is ready to label the Finnish blueliner a boom or a bust.

The rest of the draft night didn’t add up to much for the B’s, however. They made the selection of Vaakenainen after strongly considering dropping down in the first round, and in doing so lost one of the better trade chips in the form of their 2017 first round pick. There were discussions with Minnesota about Marco Scandella and a few trade feelers to other clubs that might listen on a D-man, but the Bruins now have to hit the reset button on trade discussions for left-shot defensemen or top-6 left wings.

Perhaps Scandella’s $4 million per season salary was an issue for the Bruins, or maybe the Bruins didn’t want to give up their first round pick for a 27-year-old D-man coming off a so-so season with the Wild. Either way, there wasn’t enough momentum for the Bruins to get a trade done with a bevy of defensemen rumored to be available if the offer is good enough.

“I was on the record saying that we’d be offering our first round pick for target-specific players, and we did do that,” said Sweeney. “I don’t blame teams for not necessarily wanting to go through with it, so we went ahead with a player we wanted with our own pick. We continue to build what we think is a good group of guys moving forward.

“There are a couple of areas we’d like to address and get better. We’re trying to help our team currently. Certainly Brandon [Carlo] jumped into our lineup and we hope Charlie [McAvoy] will carry over what he did, and we have other players that will push. We have six returning defensemen we feel good about and we’ll certainly push from underneath, but it’s an area we’ll continue to address. We have some forwards that we also hope will come online, but we’ll never stop exploring and trying to improve our club.”

So let’s sum it all up after a week of additions and subtractions from the Original Six organization: The Bruins added a decidedly vanilla defenseman in the first round of the NHL Draft that might be a simple stay-at-home guy, and they weren’t able to muster any kind of deals for a D-man or winger to enhance the NHL roster. On the other hand, they didn’t give up much over the week as well and they didn’t do much at all to harm a solid roster that looked like they were finally on the right track pushing into the playoffs last season.

The Bruins could be in store for an action-packed Day Two of the draft on Saturday full of promising prospects and bountiful trades, but it sure feels like the 2017 NHL Draft in Chicago isn’t going to be a very memorable one for the Black and Gold.