Zdeno Chara, Dougie Hamilton

The Bruins received some bad news earlier this week as future Hall of Fame defensemen and team captain Zdeno Chara was declared out for 4-6 weeks with a Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) injury in his left knee. Since signing with the Bruins in 2006, Chara has only missed 15 games and has proven himself to be one of the most important players in team history. He is one of the centerpieces around which the front office has built two Eastern Conference championship teams and a squad that raised the Stanley Cup in 2011. He is a leader both on and off the ice and has been the driving forces behind the resurgence of hockey in Boston.

Chara averages 25 minutes of ice time a game and is routinely tasked with playing against an opponent’s best line. He also logs time on the power play and penalty kill, the mark of a truly great player. His slap shot has set world records and his presence alone has made some of the most skilled players in the game skate the other way. No one can replace him and the Bruins are clearly worse off without him but if he can come back fully healthy, the six week break could help him and the Bruins in the long run.

The past two playoff runs have showed Chara battle minor injuries and fatigue and not be the same force he usually is during the regular season and during previous post seasons. In the 2013 Stanley Cup Final against Chicago, Chara was a -5 rating including a -1 rating in the crushing series ending loss in game six. In the 2014 second round against Montreal he was a +4. However, that positive rating was inflated as he was a +1 in game one and a +5 in game two of the series. In the final five games, he was an even rating three times and a -1 on two occasions. Continue reading Why Six Weeks Off For Zdeno Chara Could Help the Bruins in the Long Haul »

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Seth Griffith Proving Worth for Bruins

October 27, 2014 at 9:00am in Boston, Bruins
nhl-san-jose-sharks-boston-bruins-850x560

Entering the 2014-15 season, one of the biggest question marks on the Bruins roster was who would play right wing on the Milan Lucic/ David Krejci line. Loui Eriksson and Matt Fraser were early candidates but through two weeks another player has emerged to fill that role: Seth Griffith. The 21 year old is five games into his first NHL season and has one goal and one assist with an even rating thus far.

When asked about his adjustment to the NHL Griffith noted, “We’re starting to gain a little chemistry going, so that’s good to see. But, you know, it’s not too hard playing with two great players.”

Griffith is attempting to fill big shoes playing in a spot in which Jarome Iginla scored 30 goals last season. The Bruins are hoping that Griffith is the answer and he can present a different match up than Iginla. He is not as physical as Iginla at 5’9” and 192 pounds but he brings a speed element on the wing that was not a part of Boston’s top line last season. He is adept at moving the puck and has shown good instincts in the defensive end. Griffith also has not allowed playing with two stars to affect his game or make him timid, which is something that can be common among young players. Lucic and Krejci are both just getting back to full speed after injuries affect their early season availability and play. As they get more comfortable playing and being on a line with Griffith, the top line could become a formidable one. Lucic and Krejci are both on multi-game point streaks and Griffith recorded his first NHL goal against San Jose on October 21.

The Bruins still have some other potential options whether it is in house (Eriksson, Fraser) or through a trade. There have been reports that Boston has interest in young Edmonton Oilers star Jordan Eberle to play as a top six right wing. Boston will likely make a decision on what direction to go at right wing in the next few weeks. In the meantime, Griffith is making his case to be the answer for the Bruins.

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Injury Fallout: Chara to miss 4-6 weeks

October 24, 2014 at 8:42am in Boston, Bruins, NHL
Zdeno Chara ( Michael Ivins-USA TODAY Sports)

The Bruins lost to the New York Islanders 3-2 on Thursday night but it turns out they may have a lost a lot more than that. Zdeno Chara, the team’s captain and anchor on the blue line,  suffered a knee injury and did not return to the game. He is expected to miss 4-6 weeks, maybe more.

This is a huge blow to the team because in Chara they have their leader as well as the most important part of their defense.

“You see your captain go down, and probably your most important player go down. It’s definitely not a great sight to see,” B’s winger Milan Lucic said after the game. “He’s irreplaceable.”

The situation goes from bad to worse when it seems as though Chara may need surgery on top of that. For someone his size, at his age, this is not a good thing to hear. Chara has been a rock for the Bruins in his 9 seasons here, missing only 20 games during that span. Needless to say, his loss will be a very difficult one to replace.

Injury Fallout

So what options to the Bruins have in the wake of his injury? For starters, each of the members of the defense has to step up. This is especially true for Dougie Hamilton and Dennis Seidenberg, who will be called on to log the most minutes on the team’s top pairing. Adam McQuaid will have to up his physical presence, and Torey Krug will have to be the B’s top weapon on the blue line.

Continue reading Injury Fallout: Chara to miss 4-6 weeks »

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Jonathan Drouin (Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

Your first weekly matchup of fantasy hockey likely wrapped up over the weekend and hopefully you managed to get out of it with a win. If not, don’t sweat it. It’s a long season and there’s still plenty of hockey to be played. At this point, we don’t really put too much stock into hot starts or cold starts with the players in the league.

However, this doesn’t mean that we should ignore the players’ performances thus far, either. Every year, we see players get off to hot starts. Some cool down, whereas others just don’t let up all season and it’s the managers who snagged them early that reap the benefits.

Here’s a list of players worth taking a look at if you need some help on your roster. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t?

Add now:

TJ Brodie – D - Calgary

There’s a reason Brodie just signed a 5 year extension with his team. He’s been in the league for years, but is now starting to put up points at an elite level. He’s quickly surpassing Giordano and Wideman as the best offensive threat on Calgary’s blue-line. With 7 points already, 3 of them on the power play, go ahead and see if he’s still on your waiver wire. He should’t be.

Sami Vatanen – D - Anaheim

We all thought Cam Fowler would be the one to blossom into an offensive weapon, but Vatanen has taken on that role run with it. He had a fantastic Olympics last in 2012 and is becoming a star in southern California. He’s got 5 points already and will keep it up as long as he’s got weapons like Getzlaf and Perry in front of him. Continue reading Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Adds; Weekly Mailbag »

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Bruins sign Gagne and Additional Notes

October 15, 2014 at 2:00pm in Bruins, NHL
Simon Gagne (Bruins.NHL.com)

The Bruins officially announced Tuesday morning that they signed forward Simon Gagne to a one year, $600,000 contract. Gagne, who was invited to camp on a tryout basis, impressed Coach Claude Julien and GM Peter Chiarelli enough to warrant a roster spot.

As a player, Gagne has been a talented goal scorer who can put the puck in the net and make smart passes. However, he has been a bit fragile as he has consistently missed time due to injury over the years. He hasn’t played more than 63 games in a season since ’08-’09, when he put up 74 points  for the Flyers.

It will be interesting to see where he fits in with this Bruins line-up. I think he would be a good fit with Patrice Bergeron (who wouldn’t), but you don’t want to break up the 63-37-18 line. Will he slide in with Milan Lucic and David Krejci on the first line? That’s a tall task for someone who has exactly 12 goals over the past three seasons.

Continue reading Bruins sign Gagne and Additional Notes »

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fraser

When the Bruins traded young offensive star Tyler Seguin to the Dallas Stars in July 2013 they received an impressive haul in return. The two headliners of the deal were Loui Eriksson and Reilly Smith, both of whom played extensively last year save for the time Eriksson missed due to injury. The Bruins also got a little known right wing named Matt Fraser. Fraser played sparingly last season, 18 games including playoffs, but performed in big moments including scoring an overtime winner in game four of the second round against the Canadiens in Montreal. This season the 24 year old winger could not only end up playing on the Bruins’ top line, but he could be a real difference maker for a team with Stanley Cup aspirations.

Fraser will begin 2014 skating with Milan Lucic and David Krecji, once Krecji returns from injury. Originally it was thought that Eriksson would occupy the right wing spot vacated by Jarome Iginla, but Fraser outplayed Erikson during training camp and will get an opportunity to play with Boston’s top line. If Eriksson ends up playing on the top line, Fraser would play on the third line with Swedish assist master Carl Soderberg and defensive stopper Chris Kelly. Either way, Fraser is poised to score often.

Continue reading Why Matt Fraser Could be the Piece that Puts the Bruins Over the Top »

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Chris Kelly (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

The Bruins season started off with a bang as the Bruins got goals from Reilly Smith and Chris Kelly to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 on opening night. Tuukka Rask made 19 saves for his first win.

It’s just the first game of the season so we should take everything with a grain of salt, but the team looked good in all three periods. They dominated the play in the first and third periods, keeping the puck in the Flyer’s zone and generating scoring chances. The Flyers had some stretches where they carried the play, but for the most part the Bruins were able to suffocate them and keep their forwards quiet.

I had a few thoughts coming out of this game:

  • Great to see that the Bruins powerplay is already looking good. They were able to move the puck pretty well and generated good chances. Carl Soderberg‘s pass to Smith made Philly’s PK look silly.
  • Great game for Chris Kelly. This is the kind of play we need from him in order to really justify his $3m contract. He was passing well and forcing turnovers. Hope we see more from him like this.
  • Not the best game for Dougie Hamilton. Expectations are high for this kid and he looked pretty shaky in Game 1. There were some pretty bad turnovers and entire shifts where he couldn’t handle the puck or get it out of his zone

Continue reading Bruins defeat Flyers 2-1 in Season Opener »

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