TORONTO It was pretty clear that Brad Marchand was uncomfortable with the line combinations when Tyler Seguin was slotted in with Milan Lucic and David Krejci.
The Bruins agitator was happy to be skating with Patrice Bergeron and Brian Rolston, but it means Marchand moving over to the right wing to allow the 39-year-old Rolston to play on the left side of the line.
That forced Marchand to his off-wing and it was pretty clear in the loss to the Ottawa Senators last week the lines first game together that he wasnt able to create and handle the puck with his normal amount of speed and skill. So Marchand and Rolston put their heads together, and switched sides to allow Marchand back into his happy zone on Bergerons left side.
The line hasnt produced points since reconfiguring things, but Marchand admitted things feel a lot closer to normal since they made the adjustment. Rolston did pick up his first point as a member of the Bruins when he assisted on Milan Lucics power play goal over the weekend, and his minutes have picked up drastically as the Bruins work into the proper shape to handle 15 minutes plus per game.
Weve had some decent games. You need to adjust and find some chemistry. Its about building and establishing that chemistry as a line, said Patrice Bergeron. Weve got to find a way to score now. We know we good we are, how good we can be and how good we need to be. Theres a lot of difference between those three words.
With any new line combinations it can take a couple of games to get things clicking at a good rate, and the BergeronMarchandRolston trios play has been trending upward for each of their first three contests together. They finished with a combined five shots on net and another nine that were either blocked or missed the net, and its clear the familiarity and comfort level is growing.
It just took a little bit to get used to each other out there. Were new linemates. It was just getting comfortable. We kind of switched around on the wings and we were reading off each other better. Were talking a lot out there and on the bench, said Marchand. Were just trying to get comfortable there and its showing on the ice. We had a lot more chances in that last game against the Rangers. We werent able to get any of them to go in, but we can keep building on that and eventually get a couple of goals.
The increased chatter on the bench and shots created on the ice are both good things, but a few goals scored over the next couple of games would go a long way toward making the new line a success story.
Rob Gronkowski is a model citizen in the NFL. In fact, the NFL Players Association is advising rookies to be more like Gronk, according to The Boston Globe.
The New England Patriots tight end has developed a name for himself on and off the football field. With that attention comes branding. And at the NFLPA Rookie Premiere from May 18 to 20, the NFLPA encouraged rookies to develop their own brand -- much like Gronkowski.
“Some people think he’s just this extension of a frat boy, and that it’s sort of accidental,” Ahmad Nassar said, via The Globe. Nassar is the president of NFL Players Inc., the for-profit subsidiary of the NFLPA. “And that’s wrong. It’s not accidental, it’s very purposeful. So the message there is, really good branding is where you don’t even feel it. You think, ‘Oh, that’s just Gronk being Gronk.’ Actually, that’s his brand, but it’s so good and so ingrained and so authentic, you don’t even know it’s a brand or think it.”
Gronkowski's "Summer of Gronk" has indirectly become one of his streams of income. The tight end makes appearances for magazines and sponsors. Because of his earnings from branding and endorsements, he didn't touch his NFL salary during the early years of his career.
Gronk was one of three players who were the topics of discussion during the symposium. Dak Prescott and Odell Beckham were also used as examples of players who have been able to generate additional income from endorsements. Beckham, in particular, has been in the spotlight off the football field. He's appeared on the cover of Madden, and just signed a deal with NIke which is reportedly worth $25 million over five years with upwards of $48 million over eight years. His deal, which is a record for an NFL player, will pay him more than his contract with the Giants.
“A lot of people talk to the players about, ‘You should be careful with your money and you should treat your family this way and you should treat your girlfriend or your wife.’ Which is fine. I think that’s valuable,” Nassar said, via The Globe. “But we don’t often give them a chance to answer the question: How do you see yourself as a brand? Because Gronk, Odell, none of those guys accidentally ended up where they are from a branding and marketing standpoint.”
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while wishing everybody a safe and relaxing Memorial Day weekend.
*Apparently Nashville Predators head coach Peter Laviolette has yet to try Nashville’s hot chicken despite his time behind the Preds bench. It’s okay, I have yet to try it either in my handful of visits to Music City.
*Good stuff from PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough. Apparently it wasn’t so easy to make Wayne Gretzky’s head bleed when it came time for director Doug Liman to cut Swingers together.
*Sidney Crosby cares about the history and the issues of the game, and has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation despite the hate that always comes with such responsibility.
*Puck Daddy examines Crosby’s performance in the playoffs, and the odds of him winning another Conn Smythe Trophy.
*The Penguins have made it to the Stanley Cup Final without Kris Letang for their playoff run, and that’s an amazing accomplishment.
*Erik Karlsson said that he will be tending to his injured foot next week, and expects a full recovery for next season after a brilliant run with his Ottawa Senators.
*Larry Brooks again rails against the Stanley Cup playoff structure and it’s relation to an “absurd regular season.” Say what you will, but the fact the Penguins are there for a second straight season shoots down some of the absurdity stuff in my mind. The best team from the East is where they should be and they did it without Kris Letang to boot.
*Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alex Debrincat is confident his abilities will translate to the NHL despite his size after taking home honors as the best player in junior hockey this season.
*For something completely different: Apparently there’s a hard core comic book geek gripe that “The Flash” is burning through bad guys too quickly. This would make sense if they couldn’t revisit these bad guys at any point, but they absolutely can go back to a big bad like Grodd anytime they want.