David Krejci, Anton Khudobin and Dougie Hamilton were the only three Bruins players still missing from the Bruins contingent skating at Ristuccia Arena on Thursday morning. Krejci is headed back from the Czech Republic and theres no reason to think the playmaking center wont be back in Black and Gold by Sundays start to training camp at the very latest.
Since theres a very formal process to a junior hockey player joining an NHL camp, its expected that the 19-year-old Hamilton wont be here until camp officially opens on Jan. 13. The 2011 first round pick will be given every chance to make the Bruins roster, and barring any unforeseen struggles should be in the opening night lineup.
Khudobin is in the same boat as Krejci: the Kazakhstan native is returning from the Moscow Oblast Atlant team hed been playing with in the KHL for the duration of the lockout. But theres one twist with the 26-year-old Khudobin: hes already begun making noise in his native country that he might prefer to remain in the KHL long term.
The Bruins are expecting him for training camp this weekend just like everybody else, and he impressed in a 44-save shutout against the Ottawa Senators at the end of last year's regular season. But Khudobin told a Russian media outlet, RSport, that he might prefer playing in Russia to the North American NHL game.
I can say that these three months have been simply excellent," said Khudobin, who was 6-14-4 with a .912 save percentage and a 2.96 goals against average in the KHL this season. In the summer my contract with Boston finishes, and the choice of which league to play is going to be a serious dilemma.
I could definitely turn up in the KHL, why not? Here you get really good hockey, it's a really decent league. The KHL is taking confident steps forward, and that's something that's really pleasing."
It was stated within that report that Khudobin was contractually obligated to head for Boston as soon as the NHL lockout was over, so he should be turning up at Ristuccia Arena for practice any day now. But the confusion with Russian players like Ilya Kovalchuk skating in the KHL over the last few days means nothing should taken for granted until the player has officially reported to camp.
BOSTON – The Bruins are doing it again.
With a team that was badly in need of a win, the Bruins couldn’t get any separation from the Tampa Bay Lightning before ultimately sagging in the third period on the way to a deflating 6-3 loss at TD Garden on Thursday night.
It marks four losses in a row for the Black and Gold with Thursday night as the worst among them, and doesn’t extinguish any of the concerns that Boston is in another late-season tailspin.
Jonathan Drouin beat Tuukka Rask with a shot from the face-off circle that dipped underneath his glove hand for the game-winner, and Nikita Kucherov added the final two goals to give him a hat trick for a Bolts team that snapped their own three-game losing streak.
This game had all the warning signs after a nondescript first period with the Bruins giving up goals immediately after they scored three times in the second period. The first was a David Pastrnak power play strike for his 32ndof the season, and the Lightning struck 44 seconds later with a Brayden Point rebound score after a big breakdown by Boston’s best players on the ice.
Zdeno Chara again gave the Bruins a short-lived lead on a shorthanded goal in the second period, but Tampa Bay responded with a blistering Nikita Kucherov one-timer just 24 seconds later with the Bolts still on the power play. Boston scored again on a Riley Nash wraparound bid that he threw off the diving Victor Hedman in the crease, and Boston had a brief one-goal lead once again.
It was 1:35 later that Anton Stralman beat Rask high to the glove side on an odd-man rush and that set up a third period where Tampa Bay scored three unanswered goals and sent the Bruins to their fourth straight loss.
Dont'a Hightower left money on the table in New York and in Pittsburgh, and instead took a smaller deal to return the New England Patriots, according to CBSSports' Jason La Canfora.
The Jets' offer was previously reported to be $12 million per year, including incentives. La Canfora reiterated that report. But he also detailed Pittsburgh's offer, as the Steelers also outbid the Patriots with over $9 million per year.
Instead, Hightower settled for $8.7 million per season with New England, and will play under Bill Belichick in a Patriots jersey for the sixth season in 2017.
Hightower traveled a great deal during free agency, and ended up garnering interest from the Steelers, Jets, Tennessee Titans and Miami Dolphins.
The 27-year-old linebacker finished the 2016 season with 65 tackles tackles, 2.5 sacks, two pass deflections and one forced fumble. He also had a game-changing strip sack on Matt Ryan in Super Bowl LI that shifted the momentum of game.