The Boston Bruins had 12 players join European clubs during the lockout, which is more than most NHL teams. (For example, Vancouver had just three, and none of them stars.)
Included among the Boston 12 were key players Zdeno Chara, Tyler Seguin, Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Tuukka Rask.
As such, B’s president Cam Neely thinks his team is primed for a fast start.
“I don’t want to come out and say we’re set up better, but it is beneficial for us that a number of our players have been playing in Europe and actually playing very well,” Neely said, as per the Boston Herald. “We had both goaltenders (Rask and Anton Khudobin) playing over there at some point, which is a big plus. So, yeah, from that perspective of having such a large number of guys who’ve been playing in games, it is certainly helpful.”
Granted, not every Bruin is already in game shape. Forward Milan Lucic admitted yesterday that it’ll take some time to “shake the rust off.”
“It definitely was difficult [to stay motivated] when [the NHL] canceled the entire month of November,” Lucic told CSNNE.com. “It was really hard. It came to a point where I decided to step back from the ice a bit because I felt like I was hurting myself rather than helping myself.”
One of the driving forces behind the NHL’s growth over the last decade is moving on.
John Collins, who’s served as the league’s chief operating officer for the last seven years, will be leaving his post to embark on a new business opportunity.
More, from the League:
Collins, who joined the NHL in November 2006, had been COO since August 2008.
“John leaves a lasting mark,” said Commissioner Bettman. “His energy, creativity and skill at building strategic partnerships helped drive significant revenue growth for our League. We are grateful for his many contributions and wish him the best in his new endeavors.”
Said Collins, “I’m grateful to Commissioner Bettman for his leadership and friendship over the past nine years. He had a vision for extending the reach of the NHL and supported us completely as we set out to make the game as big as it deserves to be.
“The NHL’s future is filled with promise and potential and I will admire and cheer the League’s successes to come on the global stage.”
Collins, 53, was regarded as one of main presences behind a number of the NHL’s most successful initiatives, including the Winter Classic and Stadium Series, the HBO 24/7 collaboration, the relaunched World Cup of Hockey, Canadian and American television deals and partnerships with companies like SAP, Adidas, Major League Baseball Advanced Media and GoPro.
During Collins’ tenure, the NHL was twice named “Sports League of the Year” by the SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily — once in 2011, and again in 2014.
Columbus will have some reinforcements up front when it takes on the Devils tomorrow in New Jersey.
Brandon Dubinsky, who’s missed the last six games with an elbow injury, and Alexander Wennberg — who’s also missed the last six games, but with a foot ailment — have both been activated from injured reserve, and should be available for selection on Wednesday.
The Winter Classic Alumni Game is back this year, scheduled for New Year’s Eve at Gillette Stadium between former members of the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins.
Today, the NHL announced the rosters and coaching staffs.
Famous ex-Habs that will take to the outdoor ice include Larry Robinson, Guy Carbonneau, and Mats Naslund. Behind the bench will be Yvan Cournoyer, Jacques Demers and Guy Lafleur, among others.
The home side will counter with Bruins legends Ray Bourque, Cam Neely, and “Nifty” Rick Middleton, while Don Cherry, Mike Milbury, and Derek Sanderson will be among the coaches. (Quite a trio of personalities right there.)