The Boston Bruins have had their own adventurous summer of sorts. After getting bounced out of the playoffs by the Philadelphia Flyers in seven games after once holding a 3-0 series lead, the Bruins’ summer has consisted of fighting off Marc Savard trade rumors, going to arbitration with Blake Wheeler and dealing with losing Marco Sturm until at least November. If you think that sounds like a daunting off-season, a summer where you’re trying to re-sign Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron sounds as equally appealing and it’s why the Bruins are already talking to those players.
Of course, talking and making progress are two entirely different things as ESPN Boston’s Jimmy Murphy finds out.
That’s why it’s not surprising to hear that there is nothing new to report on the Bergeron and Chara extension talks. Chiarelli and Chara’s agent were unavailable to comment on the matter Tuesday but a source told ESPNBoston.com that it’s status quo on Chara, and Bergeron’s agent Kent Hughes said the same regarding the center.
“Nothing to report at this point on the contract front,” Hughes told ESPNBoston.com.
There has been speculation that the recent arbitration ruling that rescinded Ilya Kovalchuk’s 17-year, $102 million deal for circumventing the spirit of the CBA, and the subsequent focus and continuing investigations of similarly front-loaded deals like that of Bergeron’s teammate Marc Savard could have an effect on the extension talks with Bergeron and Chara.
But Hughes said he doesn’t expect that issue to impact Bergeron because the 25-year-old isn’t about to sign a “retirement” contract.
“Kovalchuk is unlikely to impact Patrice on this contract,” Hughes said. “He is 25 years old and I don’t anticipate him signing past his 40th birthday. I don’t expect this to be his last contract.”
We’ve hit on the potential Kovalchuk impact on the Bruins future deals earlier, but the Bruins do have some good things going for them in that there’s a ton of money coming off their cap after this season so the stress to get a “creative” deal done with Chara and Bergeron is low. They certainly don’t need to get a deal done sooner than not, but you’d always like to avoid having two unrestricted free agents avoid making it to July 1 in the first place. Let’s just hope for the Bruins and their fans’ sake that Chara and Bergeron aren’t opposed to negotiating new deals during the season.
(Photo: Elsa – Getty Images)
The Nashville Predators have been on a roll lately, and keeping Peter Laviolette around seems like it keeps things going in a positive direction.
The team announced a two-year contract extension for Laviolette during Saturday’s State of the Union event.
During his first two seasons behind the bench in Nashville, the Predators have managed two playoff berths, beating the Anaheim Ducks in the first round during this last postseason trip. The Predators have managed to stay competitive in the Central Division, which is no small task.
With P.K. Subban added to the mix, it makes great sense to retain Laviolette’s surfaces. You never know how a situation will work until it plays out, yet on paper, his system seems like a seamless fit for the star defender.
Nashville’s shown some promise already under Laviolette’s watch, particularly in quietly putting up some promising possession stats. At this moment in time, the future looks even brighter.
It can’t hurt that the guy has a Stanley Cup on his resume, either.
As difficult as it is to believe, it’s October already. You know what that means*; hockey season is rapidly approaching.
Along with stories about guys who might still be a little injured claiming they’re “100 percent” and teams carrying in optimism that will eventually look foolish, we also get fun stuff like new goalie masks.
We’d already seen Petr Mrazek pay tribute to Joe Louis Arena a month ago, but with the preseason in high gear, we’re seeing more masks.
While there will likely be some other fun entries before the games start to count in 2016-17, PHT is kindly saving your delicate fingers a few extra clicks by collecting a few choice masks in one post.
To start things off, Michal Neuvirth paid tribute to late Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed Snider:
This Miami Herald video shares Roberto Luongo‘s very-cool concept: the old Panthers cat on one side, the new one on the other. Here’s a shot from George Richards:
(Anyone else get a little John Vanbiesbrouck nostalgia from that lid?)
Thankfully, no birds were harmed in the making of Louis Domingue‘s mask, which features Arizona sports figures from Randy Johnson to more obvious Coyotes choices:
Nitpick: Steve Nash’s hair could have been floppier. Just saying.
Finally, hockey and Seinfeld once again mix better than a black-and-white cookie in Scott Wedgewood’s mask, which features a Puddy reference:
If you want more goalie masks, DaveArt.com’s list should keep you entertained for some time.
* – Barring all-too-frequent lockouts.
Evgeni Malkin is back in Penguins training camp after a stint with Team Russia at the World Cup.
Malkin and his team reached the tournament’s semifinal before being knocked out by the eventual champions, Team Canada.
The Pens forward collected three points in four games, but he wasn’t satisfied by his overall performance.
“I need to start now,” Malkin said on Saturday, per the Tribune. “I’m not playing great. I’m not happy with my game at the World Cup. I will play better here and now.”
When he’s at his best, Malkin is fully capable of taking over games. That’s easier said than done in a best-on-best tournament, but those are the standards he’s set for himself.
So, what does he have to do to get back to that elite level?
“Play more with the puck. That’s my game always, if I have the puck and I spend more time with the puck. The last four, five games in the World Cup, I tried to use my partners, but my confidence when I play with the puck.”
The 30-year-old dealt with some injuries last year, but still managed to produce 58 points in 57 games during the regular season and 18 points in 23 games during Pittsburgh’s Stanley Cup playoff run.
KHL hockey is still relatively new in China and it showed prior to Kunlun Red Star’s game against Lada Togliatti earlier this week.
Prior to the game, the team organized a ceremonial puck drop, which ended up being a little awkward to say the least.
You can watch the entire thing by clicking the video at the top of the page.
That’s pretty funny!
The awkward look the two captains gave each other was priceless too.