Bruins expect Marc Savard to attend training camp, hope to ease Tyler Seguin into the NHL

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Thumbnail image for screamingsavard.jpgIt’s true that when people talk about Tyler Seguin, they’ll often discuss fellow top draft pick Taylor Hall too. But in the immediate future, Seguin’s name will also be echoed as people discuss his talented teammate Marc Savard.

Both Boston Bruins centers were the center of discussion yesterday as CSN North East’s Joe Haggerty provided an update on both players. First, let’s take a look at his thoughts on Savard’s “hurt feelings” and short-term future with the B’s.

The market for Savard never fully developed into what the B’s might have hoped for a perennial 85-point scorer with a palatable $4 million salary cap hit, and that isn’t expected to change between now and the Sept. 17 opening of training camps.

The tepid Savard market combined, with the ongoing NHL investigation into the center’s seven-year, contract have pretty much cinched that No. 91 will be with the B’s to start the season despite any hard feelings and rumors to the contrary.

When you consider that “palatable $4 million salary cap hit,” I think it’s a blessing in disguise that the Bruins failed to trade their brilliant passing center. Obviously, his concussion issues are a cause for concern, but 85-point forwards don’t come along very often. Especially at such a cheap price.

Thumbnail image for tylerseguindraftday.jpgMoving on to Seguin, Haggerty points out that the Bruins are being careful not to put too much pressure on the Calder Trophy candidate in the making.

The B’s, however, have also been very careful not to center too much of their marketing campaign around the 18-year-old Seguin, and don’t want the hype machine to get too out of control with their newest puck phenom.

It’s a smart move to temper expectations, and starting Seguin off with true, two-way professionals like Bergeron and Recchi will give the teenager a pair of sterling examples of how to play NHL hockey with class, dignity and honor. It’s probably the perfect situation to drop a talented, impressionable hockey talent like Seguin into as an 18-year-old kid playing against cold-hearted men without much in the way of mercy.

Few top-end draft picks have gotten the opportunity to ease into the NHL with a quality team around them like Seguin could in 2009-10. In fact, it’s rare that such a high-end prospect might not even make his team right away. In some ways, it reminds me of Tim Duncan coming into a near-playoff team in the San Antonio Spurs and immediately acclimating to the NBA game.

(Although it might be hasty to assume that Seguin will be an instant star like Duncan.)

While the Bruins haven’t always been experts at signing wise contracts or managing their salary cap, I like a lot of the moves they’ve been making. If they handle things well with both Savard and Seguin, they could become a dominant team in the Eastern Conference.

Ducks take control of second in Pacific after edging Oilers

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Connor McDavid was fantastic on Wednesday, but the Anaheim Ducks overcame his strong showing for a significant win in the Pacific.

McDavid scored a goal and two assists, yet Ryan Getzlaf was right there with him with three assists, helping the Ducks win 4-3.

With that, Anaheim is clearly ahead of Edmonton for second in the Pacific. The Ducks would hold home-ice over the Oilers if the playoffs began today, and better yet for them, a division title isn’t out of the question:

1. Sharks – 91 points in 73 games played
2. Ducks – 89 points in 73 GP
3. Oilers – 87 points in 73 GP
4. Flames – 86 points in 73 GP

As you can see, the Oilers aren’t exactly far ahead of the Flames for third, either.

Going forward, the Oilers have an interesting schedule: a mix of games against cellar dwellers (two apiece against the Canucks and Avalanche) plus two games apiece versus the Kings and Sharks.

The Ducks’ schedule includes two matches against the Flames, one against the Kings and one more match at Edmonton on April 1.

Long story short, the jockeying for position is far from over, but this was a pretty significant win for the Ducks.

Video: Connor McDavid shows off speed and skill (again)

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Connor McDavid‘s 26th goal of 2016-17 was a lot like many others: an impressive display of skill and speed. He didn’t blaze past the Anaheim Ducks like has against opponents on other occasions, but his rare wheels still came in handy.

Maybe more than sheer speed, this tally is a reminder that McDavid could do impressive things while losing little or no momentum. It’s one thing to have straight-line speed, but he has the hands and hockey IQ to take advantage of his swift skating.

McDavid already has two points in this one, pushing him to 84 points. He also extended his point streak to five games (three goals, six assists if he stays at one of each on Wednesday).

Islanders grab precious points by beating Rangers

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The goal posts might move from time to time – now they’re chasing the Boston Bruins more than the Toronto Maple Leafs – but the bottom line is that the New York Islanders need to get it done to make the playoffs.

They still have some climbing to do, but Wednesday represented a step in the right direction with a tough 3-2 win against the New York Rangers.

The Rangers built 1-0 and 2-1 leads in the second period as John Tavares struggled with a “hat trick” of penalties, but Tavares & Co. wouldn’t give up. They managed two power-play goals in the third (one by Nikolay Kulemin, the winner by Andrew Ladd) to turn things around for a significant win.

Anders Lee was also a big part of the win, grabbing a goal and an assist. The biggest difference-maker may very well have been Thomas Greiss, who stopped 34 of 36 shots (including all 11 in the third) as the Rangers created a lot of offense.

The Islanders now have 80 standings points, placing them two behind the Bruins for the East’s final wild card spot.

The Rangers’ hold over the first wild card seems quite secure, but they do have to worry ever so slightly about their play at home. With this defeat, they’ve now lost seven straight (0-5-2) at Madison Square Garden.

Video: Rick Nash scores 20th goal in sprawling style

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Rick Nash has his critics stemming from his playoff struggles in the past, but for those who support him, moments like these are satisfying.

Why? Because you’d be absurd to discredit how hard he tries when Nash scores goals like he did for the New York Rangers against the New York Islanders on Wednesday.

Nash went all-out for his 20th goal of the season, sprawling after scoring against Thomas Greiss. It’s quite a sight, and Getty Images really was on top of that one.

via Getty Images

The Rangers may need more from him tonight, however, as the Islanders just went up 3-2. Watch the remainder of the contest on NBCSN.